Monday, June 11, 2018

35 years!

And just like that, 35 years have flown by!

As I researched a little on how daily life has changed over the last 35 years, I discovered a few interesting facts from 1983:
  • The first mobile phones were introduced by the Motorola Company. Remember how big they were, and that they had to be kept plugged-into the car lighter?
  • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi came out on the big screen.  (Yes, I know...we spent the day after our wedding in the movie theatre watching it. NOT my idea!)
  • Emmy 10th Daytime Award presentation - Susan Lucci loses for the 4th time.
  • The song "My Love" by Lionel Richie peaked at #5.
  • The Baltimore Colts relocated to Indianapolis. Our family got season tickets!
  • On a sunny, hot and humid day, 35 years ago a young girl named Jane Story became Mrs. Michael Carroll Carver.

The BIGGEST event in my world that year was becoming a wife. I had NO idea what marriage really involved, even though my parents had been married for 32 years and I'd been in both my sister's weddings. Back then I was focused on planning my storybook wedding and the fact that I really loved this guy named Mike who I'd only known for about six months. 

You can read more about how we met, etc. on a blog post I wrote a few years ago called "He's a Keeper." The restaurant where we met, "DALTS," is now only in the town of Nashville, TN. Glad I snuck this keepsake plate out when I did!

I was a bit disheartened when I read an article written by blogger Julian Abagond, who grouped marriage into a list of other things that are much less common then they were 30+ years ago... He wrote:
"Less common or gone: watches, boom boxes, Walkmans, record players, VCRs, video arcades, Woolworth’s, Jheri curls, Crazy Eddie ads, pay phones, telephone books, writing letters, marriage." 

Really? Apparently, it IS true. Read more here. I personally don't think a covenant relationship should be grouped with material items. 

I am thankful we've hung in there. Together we have celebrated 35 anniversaries including renewing our vows on our 10th (while pregnant with #4), raised 4 incredible kids, owned 4 dogs and 3 cats through the years, 9 homes, had many job changes (and a couple job losses), lots of moves, laughter, lean years, disagreements, tears, Mike's fall off the roof and recovery, surgeries and illnesses, celebrating our sons' weddings, some bad choices, counseling, grace, and through it all we've been hanging on to God and each otherWhich brings us to now...

"…a cord of three strands is not quickly broken. "ECCLESIASTES 4:12

We celebrated on Saturday with breakfast out, wine tasting in Woodinville, and a delicious dinner at Morso overlooking our beautiful Harbor. Oh, there was also a surprise gift of sparkle!!

We're excited to see what's next for our marriage adventure!

In His Grip,
xo Jane            Thanks for reading "See Jane Learn!"

Sunday, June 3, 2018

What I Learned This Spring (2018)

The months of March, April and May were filled with all kinds of change and excitement.

I learned lots of things, about my family, myself and some random things as always:

1. Empty Nests don't always stay empty.

My youngest daughter who is getting married in a mere 35 days announced that she and her fiance' were expecting AND excited to take us up on our offer to let them bunk in our lower level after the wedding to save money for a few months. I certainly won't be lonely when my husband travels! After six years of being in Spokane, Sarah is ready to return to her childhood hometown as she starts her new life as a wife and mommy.
"In Christ's economy, if He ever sends you back, it's because he's sending you forward."             Beth Moore
2. I have more than one Hollywood connection.

Currently, my daughter-in-law Amy is working hard in L.A. to break into the entertainment business as a writer. Sometime soon you might see "Amy Brown Carver" in the credits.

Growing up, my claim to fame was my Uncle Jim. James Pande' Young was the executive producer of the Soap Opera "General Hospital" from 1963-1975. Before that, he had been an actor. He was in the 1951 movie, "The Thing From Another World" and several other movies. He's the good-looking actor on the left in the photo below.

Uncle Jim's ex-wife Judy, was the stepdaughter of a famous actor named Joseph Cotten. He was in lots of movies back in the day. Do you recognize him?

Photo source: Pinterest

Judy's biological mom was Lenore Kipp LaMont and Judy was two when they married. Lenore was a pianist and died at age 56 in Italy. Perhaps my Allie gets her talent for the piano from her! It took me a while to track down some of this information because I was spelling his last name Cotton instead of Cotten.

3. It's an honor and fun to be on a book launch team.

I was excited to be a part of the team getting the word out about Maria Furlough's book, Breaking the Fear Cycle. I  received the book and some extra surprises early, and we have an encouraging Facebook group. My bible study group is currently reading it together.
It never hurts to might get chosen!

4. It's never too late to take a road trip with your sisters.
My two older sisters, Ann and Jill, live in Indiana. Due to distance, jobs, kids, money, etc. we have never taken a trip together. Crazy right? So...they flew West to attend my daughter's Bridal showers since they can't be here for the wedding. We spent two and a half days in Oregon. We saw the Multnomah Falls, did Powell's bookstore in Portland, ate like Queens at McCormick and Schmick's at the Marina, hung out near the Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, hit a couple McMenamins (Edgefield and Sand Trap), some boutiques, and generally enjoyed just catching up.

                                                       Why do I always "pop" up my knee in photos?

5. My husband and baby Hazel both LOVE their music.
My husband adores the "Yacht Rock" station.  Baby Hazel loves the "Raffi" Pandora station. Young or old, music makes people calm and happy.

6. In my quest to become more of a minimalist, I am failing in certain areas:

I have never been a light packer for trips, I have a plethora of beauty products and make-up and then there are my dish sets: Fiestaware, plastic bird plates from Anthro, simple white and Dansk white with the blue rim that I received for my wedding. Oh, I also have Christmas Spode China...

7. I love the Ocean, but I prefer the warmer beaches.

I know I live on the rugged Pacific Coast and it's beautiful, but I'd much rather spend time on the beach in Florida or Southern California. 

 PNW-beautiful, but chilly
Anna Maria Island, Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico

8. I truly am blessed with the BEST friends
I hope all of you reading this have dear friends who will love your children whether they are still in school or are young adults. My daughter was given two bridal showers by my friends and they were so special!

Every day is an opportunity to learn... What did YOU learn this Spring? I'm linking up with Emily P. Freeman's blog.

In His Grip,
xo Jane

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Shifting, Surprises, Questions and Even Some Marriage Advice

Apparently, the whole world has been experiencing wedding fever as the excitement over Harry and Meghan's nuptials grew into a frenzy. I LOVE weddings so since I couldn't watch the Royal Wedding last weekend, I finally had a chance to see most of it last night. Oh my! Megan was beautiful, (that veil!,) her Mom was so classy, Harry was smitten, the messages and music were perfect... I am that girl who watched Diana's, Sarah's, and Kate's weddings, I love watching The Crown and Victoria. I love all things British (except their food.) Perhaps that is what keeps those princesses thin-the unpleasant food options!

In our family, we only have 43 days until the wedding of our daughter. Her wedding dress arrived today, the invitations should be heading out soonish, and all the small details are starting to get accomplished. Besides working on wedding planning and gearing up for Bridal showers we've been rather busy around here.

We've packed, unpacked and packed some more: Since we decided to stay in our Harbor home, I've been trying to unpack the stored boxes in the garage. Our #3 son and his wife bought their first house and we went over to help them move this past weekend. Lots of packing, cleaning and carrying happened and we had a wonderful time participating in this exciting life event. They are settling in and it feels like home. 

Love my boy!

We've done a lot of shifting: 

Definition of shift

transitive verb

1to exchange for or replace by another change

2a to change the place, position, or direction of move
b to make a change in (place)

After I graduated from college and got a job, I bought my first car; a 1981 blue Toyota Celica. I loved that car. It had a stick-shift but I didn't know HOW to drive a manual. 

I remember my Daddy drove it off the car lot for me and spent many hours on the hill near our home giving me shifting lessons. Shifting gears takes practice and it never helps to get frustrated or impatient. Apparently, I remember that skill.

We thought we were moving to Spokane; shift and stay.

I had become accustomed to working retail; shift and become a Nanny. 

My husband studied to become a financial advisor; shift and return to medical sales management.

I had accepted the fact that I wouldn't be a Grandma for a few more years. Well, surprise! Our bride-to-be is expecting our first grandchild in November.  We made a shift from surprise to joy and we're very excited for this sweet addition to the Carver Clan. Thanks to Nannying baby Hazel, I feel way more prepared.

We considered turning our lower level into an air bnb, but now we are shifting to prepare for the newlyweds. Yep, more packing. Our youngest daughter and her fiance' have decided to move back over to the West side of the state right before their wedding. They're going to stay with us for several months before finding their own place. Our empty nest is about to be full. Did I mention that they have two cats and we have a cat and a dog? Hmmm...
Meet Mimosa who will be hiding.

 Layla May the crazy kitty

I chose wisely: 
As all these crazy days of packing, unpacking, shifting and surprises take place I am ever-mindful how blessed I am to have my husband.  Not only do I love him, but he is my best friend and helper extraordinaire.  Despite a new job and busy travel schedule he still manages to organize this family. 

If I may, here are some questions I believe women falling in love should ask themselves about their future lifetime mate:

Does he love God?
Will he be a fun addition to your family dynamic?
Will he be excited to plan the wedding with you and be THRILLED to find out he's becoming a Daddy? 
Does he have a good work ethic? Will he support you if you hope to be a stay-at-home mommy for a while?
Can he multi-task and is he good at logistics?
Will he drive five hours to visit kids on a regular basis?
Is he strong and capable of packing, loading UHauls and moving a billion times (for you and your children; homes, dorms, apartments, etc.)
Will he share air miles with all the kids when they want to fly home?
Does he help cook or wash dishes?

Our 35th wedding anniversary is coming up next month and it still amazes me that I got such a catch even though our "courtship and engagement" was only 6 months long. My husband continues to amaze me at the way he can navigate this season of encouraging and supporting our four young adult children. I had NO idea he would be so good at everything! Granted, he didn't want to watch the Royal Wedding at all and he isn't perfect...but pretty darn close! All those questions above can be answered with a YES by my husband.

(My two sons are following in their Dad's footsteps, and my daughter's fiance' has great qualities too.)

God obviously knew ALL the details we would be dealing with this Spring and thankfully He equips us one day at a time. Although I trustI still wake up during the night trying to figure out how I'll get everything accomplished. Ugh!

 "We may make our plans, but God has the last word."
Proverbs 16:1

This Memorial Weekend: My oldest and his wife arrive tonight, my daughters, daughter-in-law, and sisters arrive tomorrow and we'll be celebrating with Sarah at two Bridal showers. After all the fun parties next Saturday and Sunday, my sisters and I are headed to Oregon for a girl's get-away! It's our first sister trip ever!!

Is your month turning out busy too? Will you tune in to watch the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday? I am a born and raised Hoosier girl so listening/watching the race was a thing. Whatever you're up to on Memorial Weekend, please pause and remember our military men and women who lost their lives serving our Country.

As always, thank you for reading SJL and I love to read your comments.

In His Grip, 
xo Jane


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Some Favorites Right Now

Happy Weekend!  This little sweet pea had to wait 9 months, but Hazel finally cut her first tooth! Her infectious smile is one of my favorite things! Below I've listed some other current favs.

We kicked off the weekend with a fun date night; pizza at our local Tides Tavern, followed by live music by Luke Stanton at Kimball Coffeehouse. Last night we had some good friends over for dinner and my live-in chef whipped up Tuscan Salmon and Bananas Plantains Foster. Tip: don't use Plantains-too chewy! Our day was spent doing yard work, housework and being grateful for the Spring sunshine!

Here are some of my favorites this week:

1. Shopping Discovery:
"Mighty Leaf" Green Tea Tropical is available at Target! I used to buy it occasionally at the Nordstrom Coffee stand after discovering it while eating lunch at the Cafe'. It was over $10 for a box. Target's price was $6.99 in-store and online I discovered other spots to order it from that are even cheaper.  Still a bit spendy, but you get 15 pouches and it is a delicious treat hot or cold!

2. Listening to the Dais Podcast by Rachel Hollis
Y'all, Rachel's book, Girl Wash Your Face, made the New York Times bestseller list this week! I'm so excited for her and I highly recommend you read it! She has done lifestyle vlogging for years and just recently started doing business-themed Podcasts. Although they are especially geared to women entrepreneurs, I feel that anyone will benefit from listening. Perhaps Rachel Hollis will convince me to become a businesswoman someday?...

3. Stitch Fix leggings for the win
I haven't done a "Stitch Fix" box for months. (Remember, my hubby was unemployed for 5 months.) I've talked about their personal styling before and how easy it is to return unwanted items. As I was updating my profile (I no longer need retail-job clothes, I need Nanny outfits and cute date tops.) I was surprised to discover this was my 14th "fix." What?! Guess I've been receiving shipments off and on for the last seven years.

I've never purchased all 5 items at the reduced rate but I always buy one or two things. This time the only keeper was a pair of legging pants; cute and comfy. The tops she picked out for me were either too close in color to what I already own, or just not pretty enough to justify spending the money. I will be even more specific in the future. Note: they really apologize if you don't LOVE it all...

Here are my tips if you've never tried Stitch Fix:
1. Be very truthful about your style and SIZE when filling out your personal profile.
2. Make a Pinterest board of favorites so the stylist can see what you love.
3. Write a detailed note on each order of what you need or hope for. Ex. Once I said sneakers and a cross-body purse, once I said ALL tops, once I asked for cute summer dresses.
4. If you love what your stylist sends, ask for the same person by name for future boxes.

If you use my referral number you will get a $25 discount. By the way, they now have fixes for men and maternity too!
Here is my referral Link:

4. I'm Hooked on a new TV series:
I binged on the new NBC show called Rise. It's about a high school drama teacher and is WAY more realistic than "Glee" ever was... It has the same producer as "Friday Night Lights" and "Parenthood" and stars Josh Radnor who you'll know if you were a fan of "How I Met Your Mother." One of the lead High School singers was the voice on "Moana." Check it out, but be prepared for some heavy situations.

5. I stumbled onto a New Skincare Line, "Farmacy"
While at Sephora with my daughters last weekend, my cute daughter-in-law introduced me to the "Farmacy" line of skincare products.

Here is the company's description:
 'We harness the healing powers of farm-fresh ingredients with cutting-edge science to create clean formulas for naturally glowing skin!

I wanted ALL the products, but I could only purchase one, so I chose the "Dew it all" eye cream. I love their packaging, smell, and affordable price.

Do you remember the story of The Princess and the Pea? My husband often refers to me as a princess and it's not always a compliment... Well, now I am sure I am one! The other day I was kneeling with baby Hazel at her house and I felt a sharp pain in my knee. See if you can discover the reason in the photo below:

Do you see that tiny little un-popped kernel hiding in the carpet? It felt like a ROCK to my old knee. Yep, I must be a princess. I do know I am the daughter of the KING.

"And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:18

I have my laptop back 24-7 so I will attempt to write and post more often.
(I mentioned earlier this week that I no longer had to share my MacBook with my husband...)

Thank you for stopping by "See Jane Learn!" Enjoy your week!

In His Grip,
xo Jane

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

All the Things Lately

Just your typical Wednesday here in the Harbor. Thor spends his early morning hours outdoors, and then enjoys coming back inside to eat and warm up on our heated bathroom floors. I head out early to care for little baby Hazel, and Mike is on the East Coast this week. Yes! He is working!

It took five months of applying, interviewing and WAITING.  Finally, Human Resources completed their process, and my husband got a terrific job! Although the waiting wasn't easy, we are thankful and knew God was with us each step of the way.

The benefits for us: paychecks, a car allowance, and the ability to rack up some air miles. He now has a purpose and the satisfaction of providing for his family, and I got my laptop back because he now has his own computer! (I celebrated when the box was delivered.)

Mike has to get used to traveling again and I have to get used to him not being home all the time. The ONLY thing I like about having the house to myself is control of the remote and not having to listen to his music on Alexa all day. Oh, and I can have a Chicken Pot Pie for dinner.

My daughters and future son-in-law were able to be with us for Easter weekend. We enjoyed cozy couch time, a great Resurrection morning at church and a yummy dinner.

Did you try out the new way to color eggs?  Using vinegar, Cool Whip, and some food coloring, you can make really pretty tie-dyed eggs. I did a couple things different than the link. Instead of a muffin tin, we put parchment paper on a jelly pan-I think we could have done a variety of colors if we'd used a muffin tin. I put the eggs covered in the "goop" in an empty egg carton in the refrigerator and then accidentally forgot about them. They sat overnight. I rinsed the cool whip off the next day in lukewarm water and they actually turned out great! Sometimes the extra wait-time is beneficial.

Because both my daughters are teachers and were on their Spring Break,  they got to stay a couple extra days after Easter. We were all reminiscing about last Spring when we took a girl's trip to San Diego! If you missed our adventure last year you can read about it here: part one, part two, and part three!

Since it was cold and rainy here, we had a Gilmore Girls Marathon one afternoon, which always makes us feel like eating.  I baked my first Lemon Meringue Pie using a Southern Living recipe. (It should be included in the Eat Like a Gilmore unofficial cookbook!) One of my tips is substituting some almond flour for part of the white crust flour; it is lighter and quite tasty.

Somebody else in our family ALWAYS has his mind on food. One night Thor smelled the milk in my Cheerios all the way from the other room and proceeded to beg...

Sweet baby Hazel, whom I Nanny, is a girlie on the go! She is cruising ALL the furniture. She pulls herself up on couches, tables, and even kitchen cupboards. She is still waiting to cut her first tooth!

I am still getting used to being at Hazel's house without sweet Jake, the family dog, being there. He battled Cancer and is now in "Doggie Heaven." What a fabulous dog he was. I only knew him for two months and yet I fell in love...We had to "put down" our dog Sadie and cat Tigger and so I know how very hard it is!!

We headed to Spokane last Friday afternoon, and wow was it Friday the 13th for us! A crash on the Pass shut down the Eastbound lanes for over two hours. Our normal 4.5-5 hour drive took a total of eight! Ugh. We have certainly been given lots of waiting opportunities lately. That said, we had such a fun time hanging out with our youngest three. 

We ate a late dinner at a new-to-us pub called Saranac Public House the first night, and our daughter-in-law prepared a delicious meal for us Saturday evening. We hit our favorite coffee house, Rocket Bakery for the best bagels and cream cheese, did some consignment shopping, and just enjoyed being together. We stayed with our oldest daughter in her cute apartment Friday and went to the Davenport Tower Saturday. The Tower has a great Happy Hour every day of the week and we met and chatted with a wonderful couple who had lived all over the world.

Due to an unexpected upgrade, we ended up on the 20th floor in the swanky honeymoon suite. Very nice indeed! We will be celebrating our 35th anniversary in June. The kids took advantage of the jetted tub before we left on Sunday after lunch. Aren't they clever? Have I mentioned how much I love my four kids?! (And my two daughters-in-law and future son-in-law?)

That kind of sums up the last few weeks in my little corner of the world. It is well with my soul and God painted a gorgeous masterpiece in the sky tonight as another reminder of His goodness and faithfulness.
"The Lord your God is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and constantly loves those who love him and obey his commands." Deuteronomy 7:9

Thanks for reading See Jane Learn. Wishing you a joy-filled Spring.

In His Grip, 
xo Jane

Friday, March 23, 2018

Friday Favorites: Pink Trees, Beaches, and Other Things

Happy Spring! While we were in Florida last week, our town "bloomed!" The Harbor had warm, sunny weather and Florida had... WIND and chilly temps. The sun did come out all but two days though, and we bundled up and enjoyed the beach and private pool.

Around my town are gorgeous pink blossoms, yellow daffodils and other signs of new life. Even though the Northeast is being blasted by snowstorms and we've had chilly rain and sleet, we can be assured that Summer is coming.

While baby Hazel takes her afternoon nap, I gathered this week's list current favorites:

Favorite new worship song: 
"More Than Anything" by Natalie Grant. The lyrics hit home as I watch friends going through hard medical issues. "Help me want the healer more than the healing..."

Favorite new vacation spot:
Have you heard of Anna Maria, Florida? It's a bit South of Tampa on the Gulf side. Our friends invited us to escape the waiting, and so we flew five hours and discovered a BEAUTIFUL beach.
We stayed in a rental home called "Serendipity" and once you see the pictures below you'll agree with the name and why it's already booked out for the next year...

I wanted to move in! It was amazing and I was in love with the decorating. Four Master Suites, chandeliers in every room... worth about four million. Golf carts are allowed on the island roads, and we also enjoyed riding cruiser bicycles to the shops. What a blessing to share a week here with friends! Thanks again, Gardners!

Favorite Florida Food:

Perfectly-made sweet tea! Fried shrimp! Fries! Breakfast burritos! Cinnamon rolls as big as our faces and donuts! I ate shrimp twice~the last night I had Coconut Shrimp before toasting another perfect sunset with my favorite frozen vacation drink; a Miami Vice! (I still can't understand why those are basically the only things I enjoy that contain coconut.)

On our last morning in Florida, I had breakfast on the sunny front deck; coffee, bacon, and a Mimosa. Perfect! We may or may not have eaten LOTS of Oreo cookies also... because they were there and we never buy them at home. YUM!

Favorite Non-fiction Book:

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, is fantastic! Make sure to buy the hard-copy because you are going to want to ear-mark pages and underline sentences. I KNOW I will be rereading this often and doing a lot more hi-lighting. There are so many good chapters and messages it's hard to pick one, but I was crying during the one about parenting. 

"Mom, you should parent in whatever way works for your family and spend less time worrying about other people's perceptions of how you're doing."

I've held onto guilt about mistakes I made raising my four children for years. It seems like my battle with self-confidence and people-pleasing has been going on for way too long. Time to let that go. I am 58 for goodness sakes!

Another favorite quote:
 “A confident woman doesn’t crave other people’s approval because she already has God’s. When we know we have His approval, our craving for other people’s approval decreases." Lynn Cowell Proverbs 31 Ministries

The waiting appears to be over! My guy received good news on the job front, and it will be official on Monday. Thank you for hanging with us during this time of uncertainty and unemployment. God's timing is perfect.
Easter is coming!

As always, thank you for stopping by my little corner of the world and reading, "See Jane Learn!" Enjoy your Palm Sunday and have a good weekend!

In His Grip and Choosing Joy,
xo Jane