Monday, November 13, 2017

Random Thoughts For a Rainy Monday

My boys and husband are BIG Arsenal "football" fans. Every Saturday morning, we tape the games so they can root for their favorite English Premier League team. I have my own current arsenal; it involves all the products I'm using on a daily basis to keep this "for sale" house looking clean and shiny.

I love both Method and Mrs. Meyer's cleaners, and since I was going through paper towels too quickly, I picked up some reusable Brillo wipes. Oh, Lemon Pledge too-not only to dust with, but it is great for stainless steel appliances. I must say, we've got this down since we can get ready for a showing in about 20 minutes; vacuum, counters shined, sinks wiped dry, dog and cat items hidden, lights on, soft music playing, air freshener sprayed. Yep, this is not our first house-selling rodeo.

Years ago I followed the blogger and author called "FLY Lady." She has really kept up with the times and even has a cell phone app now. "It all starts with a shiny sink." If you've never read any of her information, I highly recommend it. I might be getting a bit anal since I found myself clearing the prep counter before my husband had even had time to start eating his breakfast.

Notice the generic Day and Night Cold medicine mixed in with my arsenal of cleaners? Of course I'd get a scratchy throat and headache during a stressful time. I'm drinking lots of H20 and taking my vitamins. I blame our trip to IKEA on Veteran's Day. So many people...

Did our washing machine break last week? Of course, it did! I am SO grateful for my friend Dawn who lets me come over and use hers until our expensive part comes in so the expensive repairman can return to get it up and running.

"We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:3-5

I am still excited about the new adventure that is ahead for us and to live in the same town as three of my kids, but I will admit that the reality is sinking in a bit and I've been a bit down. I will REALLY miss this home and my friends. But then I think back to other times and other moves and I know that God really does have a purpose. This week my bible study is focusing on Joseph and in Genesis 45:8 it says, "So it was not you who sent me here, but God."

I also reread two of my previous blog posts that described my heart as we moved. If you take the time to read them, you might understand why we trust God so much with our next step. 
(The photo at the top was from a trip to Florida. I wish God would send another visual to us right now!)

Windows and Walls

(Our family's Yellow House: 1997-2010)
Looking Back...and a Five Year Blog Anniversary
The last sentence of this post I wrote sure applies to NOW: "I try to remember not to hold on too tightly to all we've been given. Who knows what the next five years might bring?"

We know that rainy November is not the ideal time to list and sell a home, so we'd really appreciate your prayers and referrals! Time to light a candle, sip some tea, and go shine my sink!

In His Grip, 
xo Jane

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Here We Go...Again!

Do you know anyone who decided to sell their home last Friday and got it ready to show in one week? Well, you do now...

Back in September, I wrote about how much we LOVE our Harbor home. We just celebrated our third anniversary of moving here from Fox Island and I really thought this was our forever home. God, however, has a different plan for us.

My husband and I have both been feeling weighed down by our debt and feeling like God was nudging us to consider a new adventure. After lots of talks and prayers, we came to the conclusion that we need to sell our "dream home" and then move across the state to Spokane.

God has been preparing us and whispering to our hearts for months. My job situation changed, Mike's might very soon, and we realized there won't be many times when three of our four grown children live in the same town. It's no coincidence that my bible study has been focusing on Abraham's trust and obedience to God's call, and every podcast I listen to talks about GOing and obeying.

Once we made our decision and shared the news with our kids, the hard work of purging, staging, and cleaning began. I'm becoming a regular at the Goodwill drop-off, my house no longer has ANY family photos (so sad) and our garage is overflowing with packed boxes.

We adore our community of friends and our Harbor town, but we are trusting that God has gone before us and will help us find a spot to rent, church to attend, friends to do life with and possibly new jobs! I will never be able to replace my sweet sisters in Christ I have here, but I will visit often and keep in touch via texting and phone calls. As I look ahead, I hope I can become involved in a MOPS group or maybe mentor some Whitworth University students, but if I've learned anything lately, it's to let God lead and then join Him.

Yesterday our photographer-friend sent us the shots he took yesterday and we're waiting for Zillow to activate our updated information. Our neighbor-friends helped my husband with a couple last minute outside chores and signs are now in the yard and down the hill. THIS IS HAPPENING!

If you know anyone who is house-hunting in the Gig Harbor, Washington area, please contact me or comment below. We plan on holding our first (and only?) Open House today from 1:00-4:00. We'll have the Seahawks game on so you won't miss a thing!

So that's whats been happening in my little corner of the world. I'm glad we got to turn our clocks back last night and get an hour more to sleep! In the last seven years, I have packed and moved five times. I'm tired! 

 “All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.” Psalm 25:10

In His Grip,
xo Jane
(The photo at the top was looking out my kitchen window two weeks ago before all the wind blew the leaves down.)

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Signs are Everywhere

Election Day is only 12 days away. There are signs posted all over my town, ads continue to show up in our mailbox and our ballots have arrived. Although I am not going to discuss candidates or who I may or may not vote for, I AM ready for the signs to go away in both public and private areas.

When I take walks around my neighborhood, where the current Mayor lives, there are signs for her and lots of signs endorsing her opponent up and down her street.

I envision an awkward moment if someone were to knock on the Mayor's door asking to borrow something. "Can I borrow a cup of sugar even though there is no way I'm voting for you?..." 

A friend of mine mentioned she and her husband never put any political signs in their yard. Why? They don't want to post anything that might act as an immediate turn-off to some of their neighbors.

"The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:31

What if we found out what we have in common with who we live by before we delve into topics of how we might believe differently...

This isn't the first time I've had negative feelings concerning signs. When I was living back in the Midwest seven years ago I wrote a blog entitled "Reading Yard Signs" and you can read it here.

In other news... a couple Fridays ago I went out to Happy Hour with some girlfriends for dinner, and when I returned I walked into a bit of a crime scene... I wish I'd taken a photo, but just picture this; glass all over the living room rug, glass all over the kitchen floor, and some splatters of blood on the cabinet door. No butter was left anywhere. What?!

I put my "detective hat" on and concluded that my naughty kitty Thor had hopped up on the island and knocked the butter dish down whereupon his accomplice, Sydney played a little soccer with the remains, attempting to get every little bit of butter. I never did figure out whose blood was spilled. Both my pets seemed fine and showed no remorse.

Kinda hard to ignore the SIGN of broken glass even if I was impressed that my pets worked on the same team in their campaign to enjoy a treat.

If you drive by my house you might catch a glimpse of a sign. Just trying to keep my naughty kitty Thor safe...

I also love the sign/artwork that hangs by my back door. These words speak to my heart, bring me joy, and help me put everything into perspective~even politics.

"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God." Romans 13:1

How do YOU feel about political signs? Thanks for reading SJL and enjoy the last few days of October!

In His Grip,
xo Jane

Friday, October 6, 2017

5 Favorites

Happy Friday, and Happy October! I've been taking my walks downtown this week, to experience the beauty of my Harbor town and to see all the faces of the people I live near.

It's always a challenge with Sydney, the dog who wants to pick a fight with EVERY other dog. Refer to the children's book, The Grouchy Ladybug. I know she's just trying to "protect" her Mama...

Last weekend Mike and I popped over to our high school to attend a disaster preparedness event and get some information on how to be "ready" for an earthquake, or other natural disasters.  It's ironic that only a week ago our nation was focused on all the horrific Hurricanes, and now our country realizes that sometimes disasters are man-made...

Besides walking downtown in the sunshine on a crisp Fall day, and waiting for one of my daughters to drive over for the weekend, here are some of my other "favorite things."

1. I love this Yoplait commercial! Let's just stop judging each other! (This campaign is so good! I'll share other commercials later...) "Mom on!"

2. I'm on a Mom theme today. Check out this Hebrew National Hotdog commercial. I was that Mom of 4 driving my kids to all their activities. Four minutes for dinner? Sounds about right...

3. This worship song by Plumb, called God Help Me.  No explanation necessary.

4. I have been on a Hallmark Channel kick. When my husband travels for work (way too often!) I hunker down to watch taped movies, Chesapeake Shores, or the Home and Family show. Check out the Home and Family website for ideas for crafts, recipes, homemade beauty treatments, interviews, and fashion. In case you wondered, the Countdown to Christmas movies begin in 21 days!

5. Perhaps it's because we live in a rainy area where the weather changes quickly, but we do have some of the BEST rainbows here in the Pacific Northwest. I love this visual reminder of God's faithfulness.

 Enjoy your weekend, pray for Las Vegas and our Country, and spread joy!

In His Grip,
xo Jane

Monday, October 2, 2017

Small Things Matter

"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."
Mother Teresa

I saw the importance of small things mattering first-hand when I was home visiting my Mom in Indiana last week. Due to her advanced age (almost 91!), her body is not behaving well and she depends on my sisters and her neighbors for little favors.

Millie buys her bananas each week, a gal from her church brings by the church bulletin each Sunday, and my retired brother-in-law drives her to the hairdresser each Friday morning. Both my sisters work full-time and don't live very close, and yet they take turns swinging over to The Barrington ( A Senior Living Center) to run a few errands for Mom, empty her trash, and do any other odds and ends. Their kindnesses allow her to continue staying in her "independent living" apartment. 

One of her friends down the hall took a NASTY fall on concrete before I arrived, resulting in a broken wrist and stitches on her forehead,  not to mention all the bruising. It warmed my heart to see the sign-up sheet taped to her door entitled, "Help Jo!" Every day people are bringing her meals or keeping her company. 

In order to have neighbors who are friends, you must BE a good neighbor. I learned this early from my thoughtful Mama. She drives around her residence on her scooter, delivering little Birthday notes and candy. I know she'd do more if her health would allow it... 

Mike and I are thankful for great neighbors who help with our pets, share their garden's bounty, keep an eye on our place when we travel, and even text if we accidentally put out the wrong recycling bin.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12:30-31

I had a fun visit with my Mom, sisters, and extended family while in Indiana. Even though I missed my 40th High School reunion (Gasp! How can 40 years have flown by?!), I navigated through my childhood hometown with ALL the roundabouts, saw a dear friend, hit a couple favorite shops, and survived 90+ degree temps and no Internet connection. I also helped my Mom clean out her closet and refrigerator. Little things to me... BIG to her!

Hi-lights of my Hoosier trip were lunch out together at Harry & Izzy's, spending Saturday on my sister's Pontoon boat "Gracie Blue,"  and meeting my adorable great-nieces, Tatum and Maren.

Last night's tragedy in Las Vegas is on all of our minds and hearts today. How can one evil man inflict that much death and injury? Despite the horror, LOVE wins. If we can't physically help the victims and their families, we CAN love on the people in our vicinity and lift up prayers.

Please join me in lifting up the families of the 58+ individuals who perished at the concert and the 500+ people who were injured. Pray also for the police, first responders, medical community and hotel staff who are dealing with the aftermath. I can't begin to imagine the horror...

Do small things with great love...and may you know the hope that is found in Christ Jesus.

In His Grip,
xo Jane

Thank you for reading SJL!

heart photo image:

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Unexpected Pruning

My yard seems to be teaching me lots of lessons lately. It's a fact that pruning is often necessary in order to help plants thrive. Sometimes it might even seem painful and unnecessary and unexpected. 

I enjoy working in my rose garden but am not a huge fan of weeding. A couple Saturdays ago I decided it was time to devote my morning to our yard and once I began I made a lot of progress.

The perfectionist in me wanted to get EVERY WEED! After an hour in the front yard, I turned the sprinkler on our Dahlias and Black-eyed Susans, (we don't have an in-ground system at this house) and went to the back to prune the rose garden.

I lost track of time and totally forgot that I'd left the water running in the front. I immediately noticed the river of water flowing down the driveway toward our garage door, but then I saw that our tall healthy Dalhia plant was snapped in half and lying on the ground!


Do you remember the Charlie Brown Christmas movie when the tiny pathetic decorated tree bends over under the weight of the ornaments and Charlie yells, "I've killed it! Oh, everything I touch gets ruined!"

Apparently, the thick, strong Dahlia stems weakened due to too much water.   How could I be so dumb? How could my efforts of trying to beautify our yard turn into such a disappointment?! I said naughty words and almost cried. 

Unfortunately, there wasn't anything I could do to "save it." My husband was very understanding and said to enjoy them in a vase and that they would return next Fall.

Too much of anything can be overwhelming. When my retail position I loved came to an end, my friends began offering lots of ideas about what I might do next. They shared their thoughts and words because they wanted to help, and yet I began to feel that too many voices were speaking to me and I wasn't feeling stronger. 

 I really only want to hear ONE voice. God's voice.

It might be awhile before I "hear" where God is directing me to next. My pretty orange flowers are now bringing me joy inside the house now instead of out front. 
My hope is to bring joy to something new...

"Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19 ESV

In His Grip,
xo Jane

Even though Christmas is a few months away, watching this will bring you JOY!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Let's Not Be "Pretenders"

I love our Rose garden in the backyard. It was planted by someone who used to live here and we're so thankful. This summer, due to our extreme heat, the flowers have been flourishing.
As I pruned them the other day, I noticed something...

Sometimes, what looks good or pretty on the outside, does not have strength and stamina on the inside. Some of the roses looked SO pretty and smelled wonderful, but as I cut them and lifted them off the branch, all the petals would drop. (Picture the petals falling in "Beauty and the Beast")

How do you tell a good rose from one that is dying? Sometimes it's easy; the color is bright and vibrant. Other times the flowers can trick us and fall apart the moment someone touches them.

Have you met someone that seems really pretty until you get to know their character? Or maybe a friend seems like they have it all together, but at the first jiggle of circumstances, they tend to fall apart?

Do you know someone who pretends to be a Christian? Do they go to Church most Sundays and talk like they believe in Jesus? Or... do they really love the Lord and because of that (despite sin and failures) others can see a beautiful heart?

Colton Dixson sings a song about this...."Let Them See You."

Beautiful AND strong; a woman of "substance." That, my friends, is how I would like to be described. OK, perhaps beautiful is a stretch, but maybe attractive with a beautiful soul? I am still learning and growing and hope others can see Jesus in me.

Look around. As you see the people around you, consider if they are authentic, or just "pretenders." Don't be fooled by appearance~look within to their heart.

"The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
1Samuel 16:7

Who do others see when they look at you?

In His Grip,
xo Jane