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

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