Friday, October 19, 2018

Friday Favorites, This and That

"Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God." Psalm 90:2

Happy Friday! Today I have some favorites to share with you and an update on what's been going on around here. The view above was taken from the beach at Pt Ruston. Looking at our Mt. Rainier is always a favorite of mine. Here are five other current favorites:

Worship Song:  I discovered  "My Feet are on the Rock" by I AM THEY while listening to Spirit 105.3 in the car. It's SO good!

Beauty product:
Don't judge, but before my daughter's wedding this Summer I discovered the "Tinkle" razor while watching a YouTube video. It is a very safe, gentle way to remove facial hair. They are sold on Amazon and come in a 6-pack. It's not just for eyebrows; use it for anyplace you want a smoother surface. (My Mama passed on her Norwegian furry cheeks.) Make-up applies easier on a smooth face. The name is goofy, but it's a really cheap, helpful item!

Healthy thought posted on a local fitness chalkboard:
"Don't diet and work out, nourish and train." Isn't that good?

A favorite funny moment on a recent flight:
I think my fight attendant forgot he was pouring me wine, not juice... What do you think?

Favorite gift-book for the expectant Mama:
I found The Very Hungry Pregnant Lady while roaming around "Aunties" bookstore in Spokane, but it's also available on Amazon. My daughter, who is almost 37 weeks pregnant could TOTALLY relate to this hilarious rendition of the classic story about The Very Hungry Caterpillar. This might become my go-to shower gift!

My husband has been traveling a LOT for work and a few weeks ago I finally got to tag along when he went to Scottsdale. Arizona is one of my favorite spots to go for sunshine. We stayed at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass. It was quite a Native American cultural experience. I filled up on as much Vitamin D as I could and hope it will keep with me through the rainy PNW winter season.

I've had a chance to see my Spokane kids this Fall and my baby girl has had two wonderful baby showers. Sarah has been "nesting" downstairs and at the same time, our kitchen is completely torn up for an island remodel. I will show before and after pics when it's finished!

Yesterday at our MOPS meeting we were focussing on friendship. (I love being a Mentor Mom and I have made SO many dear friends due to that ministry.) I am convinced that women of all ages need community! I don't know what I would do if I didn't have my tribe of girlfriends to get together with, do bible study with, and call for encouragement or prayer. I hope you have a small group of close girlfriends too! I highly recommend looking into or a local group called Village 253 if you are a young Mama.

If you are an empty-nester it can be difficult to make new friends if you've moved to a new location. Try to put yourself out there. I experienced being new in 2010 when we had to move back to Illinois for a time. I made a few acquaintances that really helped my loneliness by joining our village Newcomers club, a Bible study, and asking a neighbor to go on walks with me.  It only takes courage and a smile to begin a friendship.

The countdown to our grandbaby's due date is in 23 days!!! WE CAN'T WAIT!
Thank you for stopping by See Jane Learn. Wishing you a fun Fall weekend.

In His Grip,
xo Jane

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

I am NOT the Conductor

Back when I was in Junior High, in Carmel, Indiana, I "played" the flute in our band for two years. I had heard a friend of my oldest sister play the theme song from Romeo and Juliet at a talent show and I decided then and there that I HAD to learn how to play it too! 

Photo source:
Playing this instrument did not come naturally. It took me practicing on the top of a Coke bottle just to make the sound. I kinda, sorta, learned the fingering enough to make my band teacher think I was reading and playing the notes, but I'm sure he knew better. (When you're a flutist, you sit in the front row so it's difficult to fake it.) 

Once I'd mastered the Romeo and Juliet song, and had met the requirement of two years (the school's rule, or my parents?) I quit the band. I did gain a few lessons though, that I started thinking about today on my walk after talking with a girlfriend.

This may or may not come as a surprise to those who know me, but it's been brought to my attention that I like to "orchestrate" things. As in control of the outcome. I over think things and try to micro-manage relationships and basically attempt to direct as if I'm the conductor. 

In a symphony or band, the music is superior if the musicians are directed by a veteran conductor. You can read more about that here. He or she knows all the details. I, however, am NOT the conductor; in my family, or friend group, or life. 
I know who is... 

"The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives." 
Psalm 37:23

So, what other lessons am I learning?

  • I have a part to play in God's story, but it's not my job to control outcomes, I just need to participate. 
  • Rather than worrying about what others around me are doing or thinking, I need to focus on following the conductor.
"I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken."
Psalm 16:8
  • Just as I should have spent more time practicing my music, and memorizing the fingering, I need to spend more time in and memorize the word of God.
  • If a Junior High band conductor can take a bunch of kids, some of whom have zero talent, and with time and patience use them together to make music, then our GOD can certainly be trusted with using little old me as a member of His masterpiece.
I am grateful for the nudge from a friend and the Holy Spirit today. Granted, I have some multi-tasking skills since I was a Kindergarten teacher and raised four children. If you ever see me pulling out the invisible conductor baton, you have my permission to remind me that it's not my job.

I will leave you with this beautifully played version of the song that initiated my short band career. I didn't ever sound ANYTHING like this, nor did I play a solo anywhere except my groovy bedroom. 

Alexandra Mukovnya (flute) -

In His Grip,
xo Jane

Saturday, September 15, 2018

What Matters Most: Wedding Planning for M.O.B.'s

Today is our youngest daughter's 25th birthday and it's been two months since her beautiful wedding day. I learned so many lessons during the year leading up to her special day. I have been a mother of the groom twice and now I appreciate my children's inlaws even more! Thank you Browns and Chandlers for making our son's weddings so wonderful! Here are some stories and tips for any M.O.B.'s (mother of brides) who are planning a wedding:

The budget:
My hubby told our daughter what our budget was and together they created a spreadsheet to estimate how much to allow for the different categories such as; photography, flowers, venue, dress, reception food and beverages, decorations, etc. Except for the dress snafu we did well!

Try to avoid dress drama:
I might have mentioned that my daughter chose her first wedding dress on our first day of looking last October. Yes, I said first because she changed her mind in January. She just didn't LOVE it enough... The store where it was purchased would NOT allow returns (read the fine print!) and she could not find another dress she loved enough to exchange it for. 

Here we were celebrating dress #1-back before she was expecting...

When she was able to come home from Spokane in the Spring, we ended up making an appointment at BHLDN, the wedding section of Anthropologie. Sarah found her dream dress at half the price of the first one. Shipping is free at BHLDN and we had the option to return it. The sales staff was very helpful and the experience was delightful.

We took her "no thank you dress #1" to a special consignment bridal shop up in Seattle to be sold the week before her wedding. I just received an email yesterday saying "Hi Jane, Good news--the dress you placed on consignment with us found a new home!! You should receive your check before September 30th." 

We are getting paid about a third of the original price. That said, let me say it's worth the drive up to Seattle to check out Blue Sky Bridal consignment shop since many of the dresses are still new with tags on like ours was.

Choosing a Venue:
My daughter had an idea for the look and feel she was after, so we started checking out venues in our PNW area as soon as she was engaged. (Actually, she KNEW she was getting engaged sometime soon so we may have started the hunt before he got down on one knee. Shh, don't tell!) 

All the spots we looked at up in the Seattle area were REALLY pricey. We asked friends for suggestions. We took notes and made pros and cons lists. We scoured the Internet. Our daughter had never envisioned wanting to be married at a golf course, but then we took her to Gold Mountain Golf Course. The coordinator showed us the beautiful, rustic, light-filled room for the reception and then drove us out to the woods to see where the ceremony could take place. 

When tears started streaming down her face, we knew it was THE SPOT! It also helped that the cost was totally in the budget we'd set, it was only a 30-minute drive from home and we were open to a Friday evening ceremony rather than a Saturday. The food was incredibly delicious, the staff was super helpful and we would recommend Gold Mountain to everyone!

Wedding details:
Even though we'd had 12 months to plan and looked organized on paper, I began to worry about the logistics of the day as it drew closer. Things like, "how would the reception room get decorated the day-of?" kept me up at night. 

Despite my fears, the bridal party not only looked amazing, but they pitched in and helped me. We were able to take a lot of our candles and other decor items up to the venue the night before when we went to the dress rehearsal. I won't go into all the details, but between my daughter-in-law Amy scaling a ladder to hang the macrame hoops and the parents of the groom (Thank you, Vanderlindas!) assisting me in securing the greenery to chairs out in the woods after family photos, it all got done! 

It was simple and perfect and none of the guests knew I'd had a few moments of angst getting lost while driving a golf cart (my first time) loaded with lanterns and greenery out to the woods alone a half hour before I needed to be dressed for family photos. 

As I watched my darling baby girl walk up the aisle with her Daddy (my wonderful husband of 35 years) toward her forever love, all the preparation was worth it. Such JOY!

Does, Don'ts and Tips:

  • Create a To-Do list on Google documents.
  • Do NOT get sucked into buying a dress the first day you look.  
  • Do NOT say "yes to the dress" until you've gone to at least two or three locations and tried on different styles. It really doesn't take months for dresses to be shipped so don't think you have to choose WAY in advance. 
  • Preferably choose a bridal salon that has its options hanging where the bride can see them.
  • Do be open-minded. Our daughter wanted her oldest brother to officiate her ceremony and Mitch did an amazing job. He also wore the "hat" of D.J. and saved us a bundle of $.
  • A day-of coordinator is probably worth the money! 
  • If the budget doesn't allow for a day-of coordinator, don't ask the bridesmaids; ask your Posse of girlfriends! 
  • Location matters. Pierce County is cheaper than King County, and only having to drive half an hour was helpful.
  • Once your daughter has chosen her reception decor, stop looking at Pinterest and Bridal magazines!
  • If it's a Summer wedding, have more white wine than red.
  • Ikea, Craig's list, friends, are all good resources for decor. It doesn't have to be new or pricey to look good!
  • Simple is best. The focus should be on the couple, not impressing the guests.
I would love to answer any specific questions you might have if you have an upcoming wedding to plan, so please feel free to ask in the comments section and I'll get back to you!

I will leave you with this... Mama might have a stressed-out bride if she is in charge of a High School yearbook and accidentally finds herself pregnant 5 months before the wedding!! Thankfully the yearbook got completed and looked fantastic, our daughter managed to pack up and move across the State a week before the wedding AND she was a lovely expectant bride!

God, who is always good and created marriage, blessed Sarah and Nick on July 6th. 
Everything that mattered most was accomplished, and the day was amazing. 

THEY ARE MARRIED and the countdown to our first grandbaby, their sweet baby girl, is only 57 days away! WE ARE SO EXCITED!

In His Grip,
xo Jane

P.S. So here's a ridiculous thing that happened. With dress #1 (the reject) we were given a $200 accessory allowance. AKA trick to get us to buy on day one. When I picked up the gown to take it to the consignment shop, I reminded them of the $200. I got to choose an accessory. Who knew a hair comb could be so expensive? I can't even... It did look pretty!

Thanks for reading "See Jane Learn" and I look forward to hearing from you!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

What I Learned This Summer

1. Without a "to-do" list, I procrastinate.
So, I was going to link this post to Emily P. Freeman's blog like I usually do at the end of each Season, but alas, I didn't write in time even though I know Summer is over. I wrote two lists this week using apps on my cell phone; Evernote and Apple Reminders. I wanted to see which was easier to use and I think "reminders" is the winner. It automatically makes the little circles I get to mark as I complete each task. I can also use it to make shopping lists.

2. Keep at it.
When I organized and "staged" our home last Fall when we thought we were moving, I packed away items that we wouldn't need until Spring or Summer. For the life of me, I could NOT find my sandals. I had one pair and flip flops but not the rest. This went on until late July when I was cleaning out my husband's side of our walk-in closet. I spotted a white kitchen garbage sack on the floor under his shirts and guess what was inside? Yep, about four pairs of sandals. Who knows why I stashed them there instead of in a labeled box out in our garage. Speaking of our garage, that leads me to my next lesson...
Lesson Learned: Clean and purge your closet often. I love this article written by Courtney Carver (no relation.)

3. I am beginning to understand why some families have a storage unit.
In the interest of attempting to become more of a minimalist and less of a sentimental hoarder, I have been judgemental about people that have storage units. "Why would someone pay money to store things they aren't using?"Maybe, just maybe, they have a Newlywed couple living downstairs who needs to store most of their belongings, plus shower and wedding gifts, and they don't want to have it taking over their garage!
Lesson Learned: Every family has a story and goes through the changing seasons. Don't judge.

4. What? I can't hear you!
If you have a friend that smiles and nods when you're telling a story across the table and it makes you wonder if they were really listening, it could be that they have some hearing loss and they just couldn't hear what you said. I've had my hearing checked years ago but I've been getting frustrated lately that I miss some conversations. I finally made an appointment at Costco for a free hearing screening. ugh! Not sure if I'm happy that it confirmed that I definitely could benefit from hearing aids. I am NOT that old. They are NOT that cheap or covered by insurance. We'll revisit the idea sometime in the future.
Lesson Learned: Hearing aides will help but they're expensive. Boo.

6. Take advantage of opportunities!
I've been a Rachel Hollis fan for a few years. She is an author, lifestyle blogger, podcast host, and general encourager that I discovered on social media. I could almost be her Mama, but her words resonate with me. I've read her fiction books and own her first cookbook and New York Times bestseller, Girl, Wash Your Face. When I learned that she'd made a documentary movie and it was being shown one night at local theaters in early August, I bought tickets for my daughter and me.
I am SO glad we went! My Sarah was very inspired and took great notes. We definitely left feeling empowered. I've attended marriage conferences, MOPS and Southern Living@Home conventions, but the "Made For More" documentary was the first time I'd gathered with others to be inspired while watching a movie.
Lesson learned: Live conferences are the best, but any gathering of people is way more advantageous than just watching or reading something by yourself.

7. Fear and Chairs go together.
Every Tuesday morning I head to my friend's property for Bible study with friends. This Summer we read two great books. The first was Breaking the Fear Cycle by Maria Furlough and the next was In the Right Seat by Dean Curry. We had great discussions about anxiety, our fears, faith, and trust. We also became convicted to be ready for any conversations that God brings our way. I highly recommend both these books.

I am a bit stuck right now thinking about finding the right recliner for my husband that will look good in our great room. I am fearful for this chair! I am trying to procure a sofa, HIS chair, and loveseat to replace our broken leather sectional and stay in our budget.  I decided to be brave and reach out to one of my favorite bloggers, (Nesting With Grace) and ask her opinion. Brooke answered my email! She gave me the confidence to continue on my quest.
Lesson Learned: When I need the confidence to fight fear, just ask! Ask your community of friends or family, but especially ask God for help. He hears and he answers.

8. My family packed a lot into the three months of Summer:
We celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary, found out our first grandbaby will be a GIRL, cheered our boys and our oldest daughter-in-law as they participated in another Hoopfest in Spokane, moving our youngest and her fiance' from Spokane to our lower level, hosted a fabulous wedding at Gold Mountain, saw the most amazing view of Seattle on a dinner date at The Golf Club at Newcastle, had fun days nannying baby Hazel and celebrated her turning one, cookouts and celebrations with friends, I golfed for the first time in years, farmer's markets, walks around our beautiful town, a HARD visit back to Indiana to see my Mama, saw whales right next to our friend's boat, prayed for the PNW and California fires to be put out and the firefighters and families as we dealt with smokey skies for several weeks, and ended the season by celebrating my birthday over in Spokane with our middle two kiddos. Whew! I am blessed.

As you look back on your 2018 Summer, I hope the joys outweighed the sorrows and that you were able to make some memories. I'll leave you with some photos of what we packed into June, July, and August.

In His Grip and Grateful for Grace, 
xo Jane

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Between Here and Heaven

Hi Friends. Last month I had the JOY of watching my youngest child marry the love of her life and the countdown until our first Grandchild continues: only 80 days!

I am glad I have the happy memories and our first Grandbaby to look forward to because right now my family is going through a difficult season. Throughout the Summer, My Mama, who is almost 92 years "young," has been failing. Last week she started Hospice. If any of you have ever had that happen with a loved one, then you understand the waiting...

I was with her in Indiana last week. I hadn't been back since last January due to wedding planning, expensive plane fares, and my schedule. I was excited to visit and see her new skilled care room.
Two days before my trip she was taken to E.R. and put in ICU. Let's just say it wasn't looking good. At all.  With excellent medical care, she rallied from Sepsis and Kidney failure. (We often say she's a cat with nine lives.) She was moved out of ICU. My Mom was in a lot of pain and due to LOTS of medical issues, she and my two older sisters and I were all in agreement that Hospice was the next best decision. We experienced the most wonderful, loving nurse and doctor at Carmel St. Vincent Hospital and we'll be forever grateful.

As a follower of Jesus, I firmly believe that if she passes away before I return to Indiana, that I will see my Mom again in Heaven. I had the privilege of witnessing my Mom chatting with God. I think that when life here on Earth is coming to a close, and we're approaching a time when God will take us to our Eternal home in Heaven, our ability to communicate with God increases dramatically. Case in point; my Mom was openly imploring God that she was ready and then she told me He'd been talking to her too. In all my years (I turn 59 this weekend-yikes!) I have never heard my Mom speak so openly about her faith and talk about God like He was in the room with us. It was very reassuring and a comfort to my hurting heart. She is also very excited to be reunited with my Daddy and her parents.

Since we don't know how many days, weeks, or months my Mama has, I had to say goodbye last Thursday and fly back home to my family and job here in Washington State. Yes, that was one of the hardest goodbyes ever.  So...for now, she's being loved on by her two local daughters, local grandkids, loads of friends, her Pastor, the Barrington staff and Harbor Light Hospice.

Before I left I spoiled her with some yummy treats she loves since she was able to eat solid food again; a donut, milkshake, and an ice cream sundae. She continues to get some treats although her appetite is quite small. Rather than spending her days reading and watching sports, she now sleeps and has short (sometimes funny) conversations with visitors.

I'm so thankful for how my sisters, who both work full-time and don't live super close, still manage to visit almost every day. They also took care of packing up her former apartment. It is HARD to be far away. All I can do is pray and wait for text updates. If I get an Indiana call I try not to assume it's sad news.

As the days go by I am very blessed with a community of friends who are lifting me up in prayer during this in-between-waiting time and making me feel loved and cared for. I've been invited to dinner, brought hot homemade fruit crisp, and even given flowers by the sweet family I nanny for.

These loving gestures remind me of Exodus 17:12.
"When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up--one on one side, one on the other--so that his hands remained steady till sunset."

"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." Matthew 6:25-34

The beautiful Lillies are a reminder that God IS in control and He knows exactly how many days my Mom has left...

My Mom is between here and Heaven... and she's happy and thankful and ready.
May I live the rest of my life that way.

In His Grip,
xo Jane

This song, Yes I Will, is one of my current favorites. A local family whose sweet baby girl is in the NICU (and whose name is Lilly Joy!) claim this song too. Please lift their sweet baby up in prayer that she can go home with her parents.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Two Years With Thor!

Two years ago, we adopted our feisty orange kitty named Thor. He's our first pet to not need a middle name. Our "little man" grown! He was rescued off the side of the road in Spokane and driven over by my son. He nicknamed him "Captain" since he road the five hours sitting on his shoulder. Here's a look back at life with Thor over the past two years:

He learned to get along with his sister-dog, Sydney. They fight a bit more now...

We knew he had talents from an early age. Now he spends his days outside hunting. Last week he caught/murdered two moles, a mouse, and at least one bird. I'm not sure if I should be proud?

All that hunting makes him hungry and tired.

Thor's world has been changed a bit since the newlyweds and their two kitties moved into our lower level. "The girls" not only miss their parents who are still on their honeymoon, but they have to deal with Thor stalking them through the window and patio door!

My friends wondered how I put up with him during his days of accidents in the house. Just like any parenting, it took time, love and patience, but I can't imagine life without this guy. In honor of his birthday/adoption weekend, I allowed him to sleep on my head last night. 

I hope you enjoy your weekend, and have some furry family members to keep your life interesting!

In His Grip, 
xo Jane

P.S. Thor wanted to participate in this blog post...

Saturday, July 14, 2018

A Recap: Our Village of Amazing People and a Wedding

My latest lesson learned: It not only takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to put on a wedding!

It's hard to put into words all the gratitude, emotions and memories I experienced before and during my youngest daughter's wedding last Friday.
 Between Hoopfest weekend, then moving the about-to- be-married couple over from Spokane we jumped into busy pre-wedding activities that included errands, meals, walks, spending a night on a houseboat so the bridal party could have our home for the Bachelorette Party, rehearsing, primping, and setting up for the main event.


We had the rehearsal dinner at Kinza Teriyaki, which both our family's love and where the bride and groom had MANY dates through the years. Thanks, Vanderlinda family. It was delicious and fun!

As Mary Poppins often said, our daughter's wedding was "practically perfect in every way!" We were blessed with a beautiful day, spectacular venue (thank you, Gold Mountain Golf Club!) hand-written vows that had everyone in tears, and an amazing dinner. These photos don't do this day justice because they're from my cell phone. We can't WAIT to get the professional photos back. 

Our daughter and son-in-law's "Best Day Ever" would not have been possible without the contributions of many, many people. I want to give a public shout-out to ALL the friends and vendors who made this wedding so special. If I left anyone out, please know it wasn't intentional!
  • Gold Mountain Golf course for the beautiful setting, service, details, and the amazing food.
  • Jesse McGee, the best wedding coordinator ever!
  • Anita; for altering Sarah's dress and re-making my veil for her. Such a blessing!
  • Sue for sharing her lovely greenery and Dawn for delivering it.
  • Sara for helping me fix my hair before I dashed out the door, and Michaela for helping with this MOB's eye make-up.
  • The Davis family for loaning us their truck for the now-married couple's move across the state, and to cart home wedding decor after the event, and hosting the photographers.
  • Loree at American Party Place for the pretty pink water goblets.
  • Lisa at Lisa Hysek photography for the amazing macrame' hoops and vintage settee.
  • Chapel Hill MOPS for the use of their lanterns.
  • Mike, Evan, John, and Todd for driving guests in golf carts out to the woods.
  • The bridal party for help setting up and for their love, laughter, and support.
  • Olivia and UPS for the pretty programs.
  • The photographers; wife and husband team. Alycia and Evan Lovell.
  • Amy Barnes, from "Brier and Ivy," for her incredible flowers!
  • Amanda Muchmore, the videographer.
  • My neighbors, for putting up with a million cars in the driveway, noise from the "Bride Tribe" and 12 months of hearing details.
  • My Bible study and Fab-5 prayer posse for on-going prayers.
  • Most importantly, God. For ALL the blessings.
My Mama's heart exploded with pride as I watched my oldest son officiate the service and then act as the Emcee. During the reception, I got the privilege of listening to the toasts given by my husband, oldest daughter (the maid of honor) and youngest son (a groomsman.) So much genuine love and respect and laughter was shared!

We celebrated the newlyweds the next morning with a family brunch and time of opening gifts and reflecting on our favorite moments. 

As the wedding notebooks and decorations continue to be put away, it's time to focus on our next special event and countdown; only 122 days until our first Grandbaby's due date!

I'll leave you with the sky God painted for us last Thursday night as a gift the night before the wedding. 

Wishing you joy!
In His Grip,
xo Jane