Friday, May 31, 2019

What I Learned This Spring, 2019

I'm linking up with Emily P. Freeman and other bloggers to share what we've learned over the past three months. I feel honored that Emily allows novice writers like me to attach our posts to her amazing, talented, thoughtful writing. If you have not listened to her podcast, Do the next right thing, you must! Her book, by the same name, has been released and is fabulous. I have the audio version and I bought the hard copy for my oldest daughter. She says she's hi-lighted a ton and it's helping her as she navigates her summer move down to San Diego.

Here are five things I learned this Spring:

1. Blonde Coffee looks lighter, yet has more caffeine.
I might have blond hair, but I don't enjoy the "blonde roast" coffee. It has quite a lot of acidity~sort of why I don't like IPA beers. I assumed light meant light-in-flavor and low caffeine content. Although some coffee aficionados suggest there isn't a big difference in caffeine content, most agree that after the beans crack open the second time during roasting, they develop oil on the bean surface which changes the color and flavor. Let it be noted that most West coast coffee drinkers and Europeans enjoy a darker roast. That explains why I do too! I had my DNA tested and I'm a combo of Great Britain, Norwegian, French, Scottish, and German. Oh, and I'm a Midwest girl transplanted in the Pacific Northwest.) I might not enjoy a blonde roast, but I love going on adventures with my blond friends!

My hubby gifted me with a Mini-Keurig this Mother's Day and my favorite thing about it is I can choose a different blend every day! I've been rotating through Italian, French, Pike Place and Breakfast Blend pods.

2. Soy is an ingredient in almost everything! 
Due to a digestive issue, my Grandbaby's doctor forced my daughter to go on an elimination diet for a while. (No dairy, soy, eggs, nuts.) Every time I would grab a product that came in some sort of container (jar, can, box) rather than fresh produce or animal protein it seemed to contain soy! Why? Well, I looked it up... Here's how soy is explained by 
"Their consistency allows them to be transformed into oils and flours, as well as dairy and meat substitutes. Importantly, isolated soy proteins are used to emulsify fat and bind water, which keeps many products' moistness without affecting other ingredients."

Thankfully products must have an easy-to-read "contains soy" label since it's the 8th most common food allergy in the world. It might blow your mind to read a list of common food sources. The best substitute we found for actual Soy Sauce was the Coconut Aminos sold at Trader Joe's.

3. You can be sad from a distance.
It goes without saying that the day the Notre Dame Cathedral burned it caught the attention of the world. It was tragic to watch the gorgeous, historic landmark being destroyed by flames. It was so painful to watch on television; I can't imagine the horror that Parisians felt watching it happen in person. I am one of the fortunate people who got to visit Notre Dame on a trip years ago with my husband. It was magnificent!

Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt |  AFP | Getty Images

4. Parenting lessons can come from the news.
When I heard about the college admissions scandal when the story broke in March, I couldn't stop thinking about the mothers. It might have had to do with the fact that this Spring I binge-watched ALL the seasons of the Hallmark series When Calls the Heart, which starred Lori Loughlin as Abigail Stanton.  I just couldn't connect the kind character she played with her real-life mama decisions... I felt like I knew her. Then I remembered she was acting.

Emily P. Freeman's podcast episode 75 explained why she couldn't get it off her mind either. You need to read it or listen. Thank you, Emily, for describing what I couldn't put into words. 
"Doing the next right thing happens one step at a time. So does doing the next wrong thing." and "Today, as you make decisions about your own life and on behalf of those you love, be willing to admit the false stories you’ve been telling yourself." 
I remember when my four children were applying for college. It was a stressful time for a couple of them who missed the scholarship requirement by just a smidge. Thankfully they were still able to attend the University that was their first choice (Yay, Whitworth! Boo for loans.) Their life stories would have been different if they had gone to other schools, but I know God would have been with them down that path. In my brain, I believe it is a parent's responsibility to allow our children to succeed and fail without interceding on their behalf.  In my heart, I often see myself trying to "fix" things. I wrote a blog about my need to fix things. You can read it here.  Lori, I am really sad for you, but you crossed a line...
5. I was born to be pale.

If you read my last blog post, then you know I just had another bout of skin cancer; my second Melanoma. When we've gone on vacations to Florida, Arizona, Hawaii, and California, I love laying out in the sunshine reading. It's been my FAVORITE part of our get-aways besides enjoying the warm weather, scenery, food and drinks, and time with my man away from home. 
I now know that I need to spend more time in the shade and more diligence in coating myself in sunblock.  Life is more important than looks, so I will learn to embrace my fair skin and/or apply self-tanner like a superstar. I will protect myself like I'm a tender baby.

Thanks for taking the time to read See Jane Learn to find out what I've been up to in my little corner of the world.
What have you learned this Spring?
In His Grip, 
xo Jane

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Even With Scars, I Will Flourish

Why hello, friends! Yes, I know it's been three months since I wrote a blog post. I decided to pop over to my neighborhood Starbucks to write. When I'm at home I seem to get distracted. Here's my favorite distraction...Gracie!

The past couple of weeks have been rather scary and unpleasant, but the worst is behind me and I'm "on the mend." Sometime between October when I had my yearly mole check, a rainy Seattle Winter and a few sunny vacations, my fair Norwegian skin was damaged. I have had bouts of skin cancer in the past; Melanoma at age 20, a Basal cell a few years ago, and various precancer moles so I am predisposed to abnormal cells.  I get my moles checked once a year and I DO wear sunscreen when I'm on vacation but I don't apply it every day. 

I noticed an odd spot on my arm this Spring and made a Dermatologist appointment to have it biopsied. I am proud of myself for being proactive because unfortunately, it turned out to be a Melanoma. My diagnosis led to needing a wide margin removed around the area, and the sentinel lymph node removed for testing.

From the time I was diagnosed until my surgery, it was a mere two weeks. I then waited a
week to get my pathology report to find out if my Cancer had spread. I was so grateful for a good report! Now I'm in the process of healing; still wearing a sling, still having pain, and still waiting for the bandages to be removed and see my new scars. 

I heard this new worship song by the band I am They called "Scars" on the radio during the time leading up to my surgery.

"So I'm thankful for the scars
'cause without them I wouldn't 
know Your heart
And I know they'll always tell of who You are
So forever I am thankful for the scars."

Rather than focus on my ugly scars (hey, maybe I'll finally get a tattoo someday to hide them), I want to focus on God's goodness and how fortunate I am. I had SO many friends, family members and people that have never met me praying for a good outcome. What a blessing, and I felt covered in love. I will admit I had some anxious moments and sleepless nights while waiting, but I never doubted God was with me and for me. I want to take good care of myself now, and do what I can to prevent future Cancers. Which brings me to the my-one-word I chose back in January...flourish.

A few years ago my Fraternity, Chi Omega, chose flourish as their theme for both undergrads and alumni. Currently, the theme is "sisters on purpose" I love that too! 

Photo source: Sorority Sugar on Pinterest
The definition of FLOURISH resonated with me since I want to be used in my home and community to bless others. I'm adopting the bloom where I'm planted mentality. I also found a scripture verse that spoke to me.

Flourish definition:
1. To grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.
"wild plants flourish on the banks of the lake"

synonyms:growthriveprosper, grow/do well, developburgeonincreasemultiplyproliferate;
2. a. to achieve success: Prosper
    b. to be in a state of activity or production
    c. to reach a height of development or influence
3. to make bold and sweeping gestures.

"The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rockand there is no unrighteousness in him." Psalm 92: 12-15

If you have fair skin or suspicious-looking moles or spots, please learn from me. Don't spend too much time sunbathing and get checked out! The American Cancer Society website has a lot of information. 

Although I can't do a whole lot of typical summertime activities outside right now due to having my arm in a sling and needing to stay clean and dry, I will be applying my sunscreen, wearing a hat, and seeking an umbrella chair the next time I get to travel to a beach or desert destination. Oh, and using my self-tanner...

Thanks for reading, See Jane Learn! 

In His Grip,
xo Jane




Friday, March 1, 2019

What I Learned This Winter: 2018-19

Happy first day of March! Spring is on its way, as well as Daylight Savings Time on the 10th, so it's time to look back at what I learned this Winter. Obviously, I haven't written a blog in three months, since the last time I posted on SJL was at the end of Autumn.
Here are five things I learned:
1. Having my baby granddaughter lock eyes with me and then smile brings SUCH joy! 
Little Gracie is three months old and is quite a happy baby. Unless she's "hangry" Her smiles and giggles are adorable and because her parents are still living in our lower level, I get to enjoy them every day!

2. If the term "spark joy" makes you think of tidying and all things Marie Kondo, then believe me when I say that her technique of totally emptying out your closet and making a mountain pile on the bed does makes a difference.
I have attempted organizing my wardrobe many times over the years but a couple weeks ago I did it "Marie's way."  I emptied my closet rods and shelves and all my dresser drawers onto my bed. It took about five hours, but three garbage sacks got filled with all the clothes, shoes, coats, PJ's and accessories that I haven't worn in the last year, all items that didn't fit or didn't "spark joy." I was pretty ruthless and my minimalist daughter gave her opinion if I wasn't sure about something. I'm slowly working my way around the house. On a side note, the "Kondo effect" has given all Thrift stores a huge increase in donations. Have you watched the new show on Netflix based on the book The Magic Art of Tidying Up?

3. It is never easy to say goodbye to a loved one and grief is a process.
The last time I posted, I mentioned that my Mom had been on hospice since August. A week after her 92nd birthday, she passed away on Pearl Harbor Day.  Even though I knew her passing was imminent, it has still been so very hard.  In early January my husband and I and our two oldest children flew back to Indiana to join my sisters and extended family at my Mom's celebration of life. Her memorial was such a testimony of how many lives she'd touched; in addition to her family, there were former students, former teaching co-workers, friends, and the residents and staff of her retirement home.

A few weeks later I learned of the unexpected death of a friend. Liz and I used to live across the street from each other and our sons were great friends. She was one of the sweetest women I've ever known, and it's hard to fathom that she passed away suddenly. Now that both my parents are gone and I've lost two girlfriends in the last three years I've definitely been contemplating my mortality. I am thankful for my faith and the hope I can claim in life-everlasting with Jesus.

Grief comes whether we have time to prepare for a loss or no time at all...My Mama's church sent me a little book on grief. It's reminding me how important it is to go through the process surrounded by the love and care of others.

4. The middle lanes are fastest. 
My oldest daughter was driving us up to Seattle one rainy day and she was staying in the middle lane of the highway. When I noticed that traffic was going faster than most of the surrounding lanes, she compared it to swimming lanes. (She was on the swim team one year in high school.) The best swimmers are always given the honor of being in the middle lanes of the pool. This has to do with the wake, etc. If you want to learn more, check out this article.

5. Even though I've never excelled in math, I do know the answer to this: 
Heavy snow and/or wind + tall Evergreen & Cedar trees = destruction

The weather has been crazy all over our country, but February here in the Pacific Northwest broke records. We had more snow here than we've had in 30 years. 
Schools and businesses were closed, power was off for many, and basically, no one could drive anywhere. One of the biggest problems was the heavy snow caused branches to snap and knocked down trees across roads. One of our trees dropped three huge branches onto our neighbor's deck which will have to be rebuilt. When the wind blew our power out the other night it also flipped our tall gas heat lamp off our upper deck to the yard below. It did not survive. The snow was beautiful though, for a time...

I'm linking up with Emily P. Freeman and other bloggers sharing what they've learned. (I LOVE Emily's podcast The Next Right Thing and I'm excited for her newest book by the same name to come out this Spring.)

What did YOU learn over the Winter?

In His grip and grateful for grace,

xo Jane 

Monday, December 3, 2018

What I Learned This Fall

Happy December! Only 22 more days until Christmas! Our family is rejoicing over our own little gift from heaven; Gracelyn Love Vanderlinda, who arrived on November 20, eight days past her "due date." I'll share more details below. In just a few hours she'll be a whopping two weeks old!

I'm joining Emily P. Freeman and other bloggers, to share "What I learned this Fall." Below are nine things I learned:

Our town has free lending libraries just like in "Chesapeake Shores!" If you've watched the Hallmark series, you know I'm talking about the cute little book holders where people donate a book and take a book. I love this more than schlepping over to Half Price Books in Tacoma hoping to get a bit of money for my books. If your town doesn't have them yet, check out this post on how to make one.

Photo source: Pinterest
Hazelnut shells keep slugs away!
While looking for some new plants at a nursery for our side yard, I noticed hazelnut shells were surrounding the potted plants and trees. They are a chemical-free solution to a big problem here in the PNW. 

Don't judge too quickly:
While in Spokane this Fall, I went shopping with my son. We put money in the parking meter and were floored when we came out and found a ticket on our windshield even though we still had time left.

I snapped photos "for proof" and we went in search of the mean/misguided traffic policeman. Well, we found him and we plead our case. He listened patiently, and then calmly explained that the ticket was given because my son's license plate tabs had expired-back in February! Yikes...

The Fall purse search is over! 
I have a hard time finding a purse due to my must-haves. Do you call them purses or handbags? I don't really like the designer's name on the outside of the bag (unless it's a Kate Spade, which I can't justify spending that much on...) I do need it to be of a small-medium size, it must zip closed, and I want both wrist handles and a cross-body strap. I know that my list can be challenging on a budget. Trust me, I've been on the lookout since my birthday in August. I was in Kohl's last weekend picking up nursing bras for my daughter (great place to buy them!) and I took a peek in the accessories department. I looked for a while before spotting "the one" in the clearance section. It had all the necessary criteria, was marked down from $69 to $20, and Lauren Conrad kept her name inside. Score!

Missing church leads to missing church:
For various reasons, or perhaps excuses or laziness, I've missed three or four Sundays at my church home. This is unusual for me. I LOVE worship and my husband and I have been regularly attending for the last thirty years of our marriage. Anyhoo...whatever kept me away left me feeling unsettled during the week. Something wasn't right. Duh, I hadn't spent intentional time in the presence of God with my church family. Whoever claims they are a "believer" but doesn't really show up to join others to worship and hear the word taught, is only hurting themselves. I MISS it when I miss. Advent started yesterday, and I loved seeing our Sanctuary gussied up with beautiful trees and lights to honor the birth of Jesus. (Our Tuesday morning lifegroup had fun decorating it together last week.) If you don't have a "spot" to call your own, I hope you'll consider popping into Chapel Hill on a Saturday night or Sunday morning to get to know Jesus. We'll all do our best to make you know how welcome you are!

There are LOTS of go-into-labor suggestions:
My daughter was eight days overdue when the baby arrived. She never did end up going into labor but needed an unplanned Cesarean. As the days marched on past her due date, she was given lots of interesting ideas. Did any of the following work for you? Eat fresh salty meat like or crawl up and down deep-knee music down near your private area...

Her name fits:
My sweet Grandchild was named Gracelyn Love and she was born at 12:08 early on a Tuesday morning. She is SO loved and her first name is a version of her Great Grandma Grace and the middle name of her Mommy's sister. She is already bringing our family so much joy! I smiled when I reread  this old poem:

[Monday's child is fair of face
Tuesday's child is full of grace
Wednesday's child is full of woe
Thursday's child has far to go
 Friday's child is loving and giving
  Saturday's child works hard for his living
 And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.] 

My favorite view has changed in the last two weeks:
It used to be the view out my window. I love the Harbor, mountains, trees, and boats. 

Now I prefer to spend all my time gazing at my Grandbaby's sweet face. Isn't she adorable? 

Despite everything, God is STILL in control:
Things have seemed a bit out of control lately. My Mom was put on hospice back in August, and yet she's still on Earth and she just celebrated her 92nd Birthday. I thought for sure my daughter would deliver her baby by her due-date, and SHE thought she'd be in the Midwifery building when the time came, not the OB/ER. The citizens of Anchorage did NOT expect to end their Fall with a massive Earthquake last Friday. The people of California did not think the wildfires could move so quickly and devastate so many. 

We all have hopes and expectations that don't always line up with circumstances and our reality, but we can trust that God is with us through it all and knows how the story ends. Sending prayers to all who've been affected by the recent natural disasters.

What did you learn this Fall?

In His Grip,
xo Jane

Friday, November 16, 2018

Life Lately and Some Favorites

Still no Grandbaby news... Our sweet Sarah is five days past her "due date" and we're all feeling a little impatient. We've been taking walks, getting pedicures, continuing to nest, and getting lots of suggestions on how to convice this baby to put her pretty Mama into active labor. We hope tonight's Cajun Tator Tots help!

We are all trying to wait patiently on the "little woman" which made me think of  the Brad Paisley song. We are also trying to wait patiently for our kitchen to be finished. It's looking doubtful that it will happen before Thanksgiving.

Tomorrow I'll be heading over to the "Festival of Hope," the fairtrade marketplace at our church. Please check it out! It's such a great way to shop and help others around the world.

Here are this week's favorite things:

Book: I finished The Bookshop at Water's End, by Patti Callahan Henry. It was SO enjoyable and delved into the relationships between friends, mother and daughter, love, and small town life in the South. The story went back and forth between the present and past. (Sort of like "This is Us" does.)

Worship Song: "The Breakup Song," by Francesca Battstelli. Fear you will never be welcome here, and yes, there is somebody out there like you!

Quick Campbell's Soup Recipes: Since our daughter and son-in-law live with us, he mentioned some favorite meals his Mom made him. I've done two of them this week (Easy chicken and rice, and beef stroganoff) and they were both a big hit although not super low-calorie. You can find the recipes here on their website.

Friendsgiving: What fun it was to join a lot of my girlfriends from bible study and their husbands for a delicious early Thanksgiving meal. The atmosphere and food were delicious and the company was fantastic. Thank you Lott family for your hospitality! Have you participated in a Friendsgiving before? We've also been hosted by dear friends in the past when we didn't have a working kitchen and/or were in transition. (Thanks Davis and MacIntosh families!)

Holiday Blog Tours: OK, so if you know me, you know I'm kinda/sorta addicted to Hallmark Christmas Movies. While I watch them I am knitting baby girl's little blanket. If I have time to search around on the computer, you will find me getting decorating inspiration from bloggers. I love seeing their homes. Check out "Home Stories A to Z." At the bottom of Beth's post are 15 other homes you can peek into. I like how they often share where they found their products. I won't really need to purchase ANY decorations though, because last week my daughter and I went through ALL our Christmas boxes and took inventory. Then we had to put it all back in the garage because I live with a man who doesn't believe in decorating for Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving. I recommend everyone do this before heading out to any Holiday stores or to buy any new decorations. I realized I don't even have room in my home for what I own, let alone anything new! I do hope to switch up the way I use my sentimental collections of Santas, Nativity sets, Snowmen, trees and Nutcrackers.  

I am counting my blessings, and praying for California. I am trusting that God will show his faithfulness to all the victims and their families.

"To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory." Isaiah 61:3

Thank you for reading "See Jane Learn" and I wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

In His Grip,
xo Jane

I will leave you with a photo of my happy husband in his brand new recliner chair that we named "Mr. Comfy." We haven't picked our couch, but at least HE is happy! It should be interesting to see all the guys "fighting" for a turn over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Lessons from the Furry Ones

Happy November! We are in THE month. I've been waiting for this calendar month since my daughter surprised me with the news that my first Grandchild would arrive in November. Her due date is the 11th...we're all still waiting for the little one to make her appearance.

Our nest currently contains myself, my husband Mike, our youngest daughter, and her husband, along with their two cats who live in the lower level of our home, our rescue dog Sydney and our rescue cat Thor.

Whether you are the parent of humans or pets, if you have more than one, then I imagine you've noticed how very different their personalities and behavior can be. Let's take a closer look at the four furry animals currently living under one roof:

Since the downstairs kitties are not allowed outdoors, it's easy to see how different life is for our free-to-roam Thor. Memo and Layla, the indoor kitties, spend their days moving from bed to couch, waiting for their parents to come downstairs or sitting by the window, wishing they could go explore. Mimosa, Memo for short, has trust issues but is very happy curled up in her "Mom's" lap or hiding in her Igloo.

My cat Thor spends his nights' hunting. Thor often brings the mice or birds he catches into the garage right by the door so we can see how talented he is. I even found a dead mole in the glass recycling. Ugh! After eating a bit of kibble in the garage for breakfast he joins me for a morning snuggle on the couch while I drink my coffee and have my quiet time. He then takes over the dog bed or climbs up in his "condo" to nap until it's time to remind me he wants his wet food dinner.

Which brings us to Sydney the rescue dog, who should have been named Nervous Nelly. I will start off by saying she is very cute and very loyal. But... she spends her days shadowing me, desperate for attention, begging for walks, chewing on her pink flamingo toy Lola, or chewing on herself. I even had to put the dreaded cone on her since she chewed herself raw. The anti-itch prescription meds she requires are $100 for 45 days!

When we do go on walks, she isn't content staying near me; she always strains on her leash and acts aggressively toward any other dog.

Yoga with goats might be a "thing" but it's not as fun with my dog. Thor could care less, but Sydney is her usual stressed-out self. Sydney just can't relax!

 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27

So, I think we can learn a few things from these furry family members:

The girl kitties downstairs aren't living their dream life, but they are content in their circumstances.

Under NO circumstances should any dessert item be left out on a counter. Sydney WILL jump up if left alone and eat ALL the goodies and usually part of the Ziploc storage bag too! Muffins! Cookies! (She obviously is addicted to sugar, and is a visual snacker with a big nose,  just like her pet-mama.)
Sydney is a people-pleaser and constantly needs attention. She should remember she is given grace even when she misbehaves and always will be taken care if. I do give her credit for sticking close to her "master."

Thor is living his cat-life as he was created to be. He never feels guilty about killing, since that instinct was placed in him, and he never feels guilty about resting after a busy night. He is bold and sure of who he is, and he then feels confident and secure in my love.

I'd like to be more like my cat. Not the killing part though. I want to live my life as the Jane that God created me to be; loving others, secure in my identity as a follower of Jesus, tender-hearted yet tough when I need to be, and always caring more about God's opinion rather than being a people-pleaser.

Do you have some furry family members who are teaching you some "Pet Parables?"
I will leave you with a quick video of our daughter's cat, Layla. Is she begging or praying??

Enjoy your weekend, and thank you for taking the time to read "See Jane Learn!"

In His Grip,
xo Jane