Thursday, March 8, 2018

Let's Talk Numbers and God's Timing

Back in the day, when I taught a two-year-old Sunday School class, one particular song stuck and often runs through my mind. 

"Tick, tock, goes the clock,
tell me what it's saying?
Time to ________
That is what it's saying."

The blank can be filled in with many options; pick up our toys, read a story, gather for circle time...
Right now I'm filling in the blank with~ HIRE MY HUSBAND PLEASE!

Yep. We're still waiting to hear our good news. We "pulled the trigger" despite NO news, and leave for a get-away to Florida on Saturday. We are looking forward to a change of scenery. Tuesday at my bible study we were discussing the Israelites wandering in the desert, feeling trapped and not being able to enter the "Promised Land." You can read more about that in the Bible Old Testament books from Exodus to Joshua. We want to honor God while we wait and stay grateful for his continued provision.

I am not a current fan of H.R. policies and procedures, but then I've never really been a part of the corporate world. It just takes sooooo long for companies to go through the process. Mike continues applying, connecting with SO MANY kind people on Linked In, and sends email follow-ups, but that doesn't take eight hours, five days a week. 

He has kept his daily routine of working out at the YMCA, devotions each morning, he cooks us dinner each evening, walks our puppy dog, Sydney, keeps our yard tidy when it's not raining, watches his shows or goes to the cheap Tuesday matinee. I finally realized it was time to buy him a new puzzle. Puzzling to him is like knitting is to me; therapeutic.

You'll notice a tiny puzzling-friend in the photo that is also a great distraction; baby Hazel. I care for her two days a week and bring her over to our home for a couple hours mid-day. It is hard to be impatient and bored when you're snuggling or attending to a sweet baby.

Mike also enjoyed being beat in Connect Four with one of my friend's Kindergartners. Since we have an empty-nest, it's nice to have the kid-distractions like we used to have when our four were in our nest. 

"While I was focusing on the speck of time I found myself in, God was busy writing a greater story than I could have ever imaged."
(Maria Furlough, Breaking the Fear Cycle, which just released on March 6th.)

God's timing is not like ours. Time marches on and the countdown we are excited about is the summer wedding of our youngest daughter. Yes, employment will help make PAYING for the wedding much easier.

120 days to go, Jane & Mike!

Sarah and Nick are really the engaged couple, but The Knot website thinks we're getting married because I signed up to get information. Ha! I get messages asking me when I'm going to start planning ... They think we haven't even begun to figure out the venue, website, budget, guest list, registry, dress, etc. We really DO have almost all the planning done. The dress drama might be cleared up at the end of the month. 

We've done weddings four times before; our two sons, our first "original" wedding back in 1983, and the tenth-anniversary renewing of our vows. The pastor who renewed our vows is part of the couple we're going on vacation with. It will be refreshing to be with friends who have known us for over 35 years with all the ups and downs that come with marriage. I wish I had a photo to show you, but they're still packed up in "we thought we were moving" boxes. Should I mention that our wedding album has gone MIA?!

Here are some other numbers in my world:

Three batches of cookies baked this week.
Six people including our daughter coming to stay overnight so they can attend the Chapel Hill Celebrate Recovery Ministry training conference.
Two bridal showers to help oversee.
Two sleeps until Florida.
23 Days until cake-tasting and dress try-on. 
24 Days until Easter!!
122 Days since my amazing husband has had a job and felt productive.
95 days until our 35th Wedding Anniversary.
10+ pounds gained back that need to disappear.

"Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."
Psalm 90:12

In His Grip,
xo Jane

Photo credit:

Sunday, February 25, 2018

This is the Week! Please...

I might have missed posting on "National Pet Day" but my pets are happy and spoiled. I also missed having a Margarita on "National Margarita Day" but made up for it last night when my husband whipped us up yummy drinks made with the muddled juices of grapefruit, lemon, and lime, Gold Tequila, Triple Sec and a splash of Cranberry juice.

OK, Winter is almost over. That means my husband has almost gone an entire Season without a job. Ugh. We are saying that THIS will be the week we hear good news! We've waited before; for two of our homes to be built, for 9 months times four pregnancies, for homes to sell, and for many other countdowns. This waiting has seemed so long. We are trying to keep our spirits up and our trust strong. Our unexpected time together has been sweet, but it would have been sweeter if we were on a sunny beach somewhere and we weren't paying bills with our savings. We are thankful for so many things despite our impatience, and it's actually been snowing in Gig Harbor!

Here are some of my favorite things that have been going on around here as the wait continues:

Delighted to be chosen! 
As I mentioned before, I am thrilled to be part of the launch team for Maria Furlough's new book, Breaking the Fear Cycle. I'm on chapter seven of eleven, and have learned SO MUCH! You will want to purchase this book, which releases on March 6th!

I LOVE my new job! 
I've been on-the-job as a part-time nanny for two weeks now. Getting to spend time with a baby girl is so much fun! We're getting into a rhythm and I spend time at her home and my house. It's been 24 years since I've been responsible for a baby but just like riding a bike, it comes back! When my daughters were tiny I think we had just one or two hair accessories. Hazel has a collection and you can bet I put one on her cute little head each day! I will share some of my favorite baby items soon. Look at this cutie!

No wine? Score! 
When I flew home from Indianapolis last month, my husband had upgraded my seat so I was in the "free cocktail" Zone. It was a long flight and I kinda/sorta was looking forward to a free glass of Red Blend while I flew across two time zones. My flight attendant kept forgetting my glass of wine. I didn't want to make a big deal out of it since safety trumps beverages, and the flight was full, but the crew just wasn't as friendly as usual, and their service just wasn't up to par. I have quite a few girlfriends who work for Alaska and they have set my service expectation high!

When I received a follow-up email from Alaska Airlines asking how my flight service was, I was truthful; it wasn't the best experience I've had. Alaska public relations responded by apologizing and gifting me a $50 credit for my next flight! What a lovely surprise! I wasn't expecting anything, I just shared my experience. IF good news about a new job for my husband comes this week, we have points on Alaska plus that credit, and an invitation to join some of our best friends in a beach house for a week in Florida mid-March. Fingers crossed!!

Old Navy has good sales!
With football season being over, I actually convinced my husband to accompany me to Old Navy after church. Their 50% off all jeans sale was worth the trip to the dreaded Mall. I had Christmas money from my sweet Mom that I've been saving. I decided to join the floral embroidered trend, and having them be on sale for $20 (this weekend only!) was a score. Quick! Check out the Old Navy website tonight if you're on the hunt for jeans. I really like the Rockstar line. I was reminded that "it's all relative." As I wished I was still a size 6 but knowing I'm an 8 and at the same time, the woman across from me was asking the clerk for a size 18. I was convicted that we shouldn't get wrapped up in numbers.

I got to be a "Good Samaritan" today!
OK, so my walk with Sydney was cut short today, but that's alright. I was walking down a hill to downtown, wishing I'd worn a hat on this blustery day, and listening to a good Beth Moore podcast when I noticed some items in the middle of the street. Thankfully it was a light traffic day. I spotted a cell phone and wallet. Someone was about to have a rotten evening. Thankfully their license was current and my husband drove over to their home. I guess the items had been put on the back of his truck and forgotten. So glad I spotted them and we could return them!

Thanks for reading "See Jane Learn." What have you been up to? Remember, Easter is coming!...

In His Grip,
xo Jane

Saturday, February 17, 2018


Happy Weekend! I had an unexpected day off from my new, very-fun job as a Nanny yesterday, and so I finally got a chance to head over the bridge to go to one of my favorite groceries. 

My original plan was to head to IKEA and research some items for my daughter's wedding reception, but I realized it would be quite tempting to only look and not buy. Enter plan B. I invited a friend to join me for a trip to Trader Joe's.  I had my list of go-to items and I finished my menu-planning as I took notice of some healthy, easy dinner products. (My friend appreciated the gluten-free options.) 

I'm a list maker. I always have an ongoing grocery list on the kitchen counter, and on my phone, I type in lists for Target and IKEA, so I don't forget things. Some of these things are "needs" but many are just "wants.

I seem to have developed a pattern of going clothes shopping only when I'm on vacation. It's fun to go to stores out of state, and I like to find unique items. Last month I mentioned a few stores I planned to pop into while I was in Indiana visiting my family. I found a striped top I loved at the "Restyled" boutique in my childhood town, and my oldest sister treated me to a Fixer-Upper style plant pot from "Amanda's" consignment shop. I realized I cannot afford to shop at "Evereve." Even though I appreciate their mission, which is to provide a positive shopping experience for Moms, it's just not in the budget for this empty-nester- mom whose husband hasn't received a paycheck for a month. 

As we lean into lean times, I realize how easy it is to get sucked into the world-view that we don't have enough. That we need the latest, newest, trendy fashion or decor item. Really though, I have ENOUGH. 

How often do I feel entitled to more things, Just like the little girl in Charlie in the Chocolate Factory?

Veruca Salt: Daddy, I want a squirrel. Get me one of those squirrels, I want one!
Mr. Salt: Veruca dear, you have many marvelous pets.
Veruca Salt: All I’ve got at home is one pony and two dogs and four cats and six bunny rabbits and two parakeets and three canaries and a green parrot and a turtle, and a silly old hamster! I WANT a SQUIRREL!
I am blessed with clothes, food, cars and a home. And so, I remind is not a hobby! Knitting, hiking, writing, reading, gardening, cooking; those are hobbies.
 I have so much to be grateful for.
Knowing that gift-giving is one of my "Love Languages" doesn't mean I always need to put emphasis on THINGS. I can give the gift of my time, and I can also give the gift of prayer. 
I love using the ECHO app. It allows me to keep track of prayer requests, and also gives me the option of a notification. At certain times of the day my phone chimes and reminds me to pray for my Mom or my husband. In the morning during my quiet time I swipe and pray for all the needs of friends and family members. The ECHO app also makes it easy to send and share prayer requests to others. 
What is your attitude about shopping? Is it a chore or a pleasure? Do you make lists or wander aisles? Are you good at sticking to your budget? Have you become best friends with the UPS driver since you order most things from Amazon Prime? 
During this Lent season will you join me in the quest to be content and thankful for all we have, to live within our means, and develop a healthy attitude toward shopping. 
If you're not familiar with the Veggie Tales Children's video called "Madame Blueberry" you can watch it here. It's about a depressed, materialistic berry who always wants more STUFF.
Enjoy your weekend! Easter is coming...
In His Grip,
xo Jane
photo sources: veggie tales/YouTube
"Daddy, I Want a Squirrel." photo credit www.alicia-logic. “

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

We Gather, Prepare and Pray~And Eat Too Much on "Fat Tuesday!"

Even though I know God is in control, I admit I still battle fear and anxiety. I learned that one of my favorite bloggers, Maria Furlough, was writing a book about her experience overcoming fear.  I was thrilled to be chosen as part of her Launch team for the book Breaking the Fear Cycle, which is releasing on March 6th and is available for presale. I received my copy early this week and will have much more to share about it soon. I'm almost finished reading it!

Like many people all over the World, we've been hunkered down in front of the TV watching the Olympics. The grit and drive the athletes exhibit is so impressive. The fear they overcome in order to compete and represent their countries is awe-inspiring. Even with all the mental and physical preparation, sometimes the outcome isn't a medal, but an unexpected moment that changes their dream in a split-second.

In the last week, two friends have received news that changed their world in a split-second and fear is involved. No one wants to hear the word; CANCER. Whether it's a routine exam that detects it or advanced tests that confirm it has returned and spread, it is NOT the news that is expected or hoped for. I am not a stranger to hearing that diagnosis.

When you get hard news, what do you do? Well, gathering around the table for lunch and prayer is always a good idea, so yesterday, that's why I hosted a luncheon for my sweet prayer group. Of the five of us, one is a Breast Cancer survivor, one is five treatments away from finishing radiation, and one just got diagnosed and has the battle in front of her. We gathered, prayed, and prepared for the "battle" ahead. Rather than focus on the fear, we are choosing to focus on God's goodness and faithfulness.

Lent begins tomorrow, and it is the goal of my husband and me to use the next 40 days leading up to Easter to focus more on gratitude and less on circumstances.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:4-7

My sweet friend with chickens (and ducks!) brought me a dozen beautiful and unique eggs. Looking at the various sizes and colors was a reminder that although we are all different, with different-sized problems (health issues, job loss, infertility, marriage trouble, etc.) we ALL matter to God and He desires to bring us peace in the midst of our circumstances.

Whatever you're currently facing, I hope you feel peace. Thank you for stopping by "See Jane Learn," and I wish you a very HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY. Let's go spread love and joy!
Easter is coming...

In His Grip,
xo Jane

In case you'd forgotten, today is Mardi Gras. "Fat Tuesday" isn't just happening in New Orleans, it's also happening at my house! I enjoyed a plethora of carb-loaded treats at bible study and came home with an extra cookie, scone, and apple fritter. We will attempt to return to healthy eating tomorrow, although it is Valentine's Day. As is our tradition, we made Jambalaya for dinner.

On Fat Tuesday a few years ago I concocted Hurricane cocktails, made Jambalaya and then discovered I had my "night before Lent" Mardi Gras dates mixed up and I was celebrating a week early! I wrote about that here.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Some Favorites Right Now

I am heading to my childhood hometown of Carmel, Indiana tomorrow. I look forward to quality time with my Mom, sisters and extended family. I'll also get to catch up with a friend or two. I love meeting people who have been to or lived in Indiana. It's sort of a "me too" moment but in a good way. 

God has been using the gifts and talents of others to teach me a lot of soul lessons lately.
Here are five of my current favorites that might help or teach you too:


1. Podcast
I've always enjoyed reading the work of Emily P. Freeman, but I just subscribed to her kinda-new podcast series, "The Next Right Thing."  Trust me, you will love this. My pastor-friend recommended it to all the Mops Mommies last week. I've been listening to them on my walks and while I get ready in the morning.

2. Non-fiction Book
I'm reading Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst. The author is president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, a writer, and speaker who somehow has looked inside my mind and heart to past feelings of rejection.  Everything she teaches us brings the reader back to the truth of God's love. Thankfully she is recovering both relationally and health-wise from her recent struggles with betrayal in her marriage and the diagnosis of breast cancer. 

3. Fiction Book
We are now officially in the season of living without a paycheck.  I'm reading Delicious! A Novel by Ruth Reichl, and the descriptions of how people "made-do" during WWII is quite fascinating. Knowing that lots of families have been through times of "making-do" and that God will provide, is helpful. When I'm with my Mom I want to ask her to recall more memories from that time-period in her life. I love history and historical fiction. Plus, this book has delightful food descriptions!

4. Healthy App
Are you drinking enough water each day? I now have the app called "Plant Nanny." Each time you record drinking a bottle of water, the pretend plant grows. It appears I have a brown-thumb for cell-phone plants too. It was fun the first couple of days to get the reminders that my plant was thirsty, but then I turned off notifications so now I'm not doing as well... It appears I have a brown-thumb for real and pretend plants.

5. Worship Song
The song "Reckless Love" just keeps running through my head. It was written by Cory Asbury, Caleb Culver, and Ran Jackson of Bethel Music. (He will leave the ninety-nine to come after you...) 

I am looking forward to seeing lots of my very favorite faces this weekend. 
My sweet IN family at Christmas.

I also plan to enjoy a few favorite Midwest dishes and possibly stop into three of my favorite shops; Evereve, Altar'd State and the boutique called ReStyled. Oh, there's also a great consignment shop called "Amanda's Exchange"! I know, my shopping budget is slim-to-none, but even looking is fun!

  Created by Pam1415253

Thanks for stopping by SJL (See Jane Learn.) I hope you get to enjoy some of your favorites this weekend!

In His Grip,
xo Jane

Sunday, January 21, 2018

How About You?

It's only January, but on my walk the other day I discovered a Forsythia in bloom! For all of you who live in the Midwest or on the East coast, I'm so sorry for the awful Winter weather you've been enduring. I'm flying back to Indiana next week and my fingers are crossed that the roads won't be too treacherous since I'm out of practice driving in anything but rain. Around here it's been in the 40's and we've had quite a bit of rain and some sun-breaks. Typical PNW weather.

Here's what I've been up to the last few weeks:

I attended the "Gathered" women's retreat at our church Friday night and Saturday. The teaching was on Isaiah 43,44 and 55, and everything about the talks, food, worship, fellowship fed my soul. I love learning more about God's love story for us! We also were inspired by Kelly Welk from Cider Press Lane to do what we love and allow God will use it to bless others. Check out her website here and see how their joy of hospitality has grown into a way to fight against human trafficking.

Around my town: It was like a ghost town at Safeway the other day. Where have all the shoppers gone? EVERYONE in my town has decided to check out the new Fred Meyer. As someone who doesn't deal super-well with change, I'm not in love with them closing MY Freddie's and closing Main and Vine (miss my Wednesday $5 salads!) and then opening a mega store. No more zip-in and zip-out. Now you have to pray for a parking spot and weave your cart around a billion people. Who are you? Where did you come from? 

Around my home:
How come I've gained weight since my husband has been unemployed?! Well...we now eat lunch together and it's probably more calorie-laden than I used to eat, plus at night our dinner portions are about the same size. He goes to the YMCA every day and burns lots of calories through lifting and cardio.  I take walks. Shoot. This can't go on! There are only 166 days until my daughter's wedding!

We finished season two of "The Crown" on Netflix. I won't spoil it for you, but it has definitely caused us to discuss healthy and unhealthy parenting and marriage relationships, and the Monarchy.

I grabbed what I thought was a matchbook out of my husband's bathroom drawer so I could light a candle for my bubble bath. Upon opening, I discovered not matches, but toothpicks. Is this a new thing? Now that smoking is no longer allowed in most places (thankfully!) are restaurants giving out cute toothpick packs? When trying to research, I did find an article on the history of matchbooks.

Did anyone else ever read the former online magazine called "Matchbook?" I loved their tagline; "Field Guide to a Charmed Life." I miss it! Bring it back!!!

I'm knitting again! Yay for yarn and little projects! I sent the girls of my family this blog that talked about the value of creativity and The Creator of all.

I'm back into menu planning and trying to use what we have in our freezer and pantry. Last night's Chicken Marsala was yummy, and I made One-Pot Kielbasa Pasta for a family who just had a baby. 

We've moved my husband's office upstairs to what used to be the guest room, and that is now on the lower level. We have some more projects to complete and then we're possibly going to make a stab at having an Air B and B. 

How about you? What have you been up to this month? 

In His Grip, 
xo Jane