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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 pineapple...eat salty meat like salami...run or crawl up and down stairs...do deep-knee bends...play 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






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 mops.org 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: Google.com
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...be 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... 
GOD

"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) - https://vk.com/id97736490


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!