Saturday, January 25, 2020

Always Thankful, No Matter When

I've been sick with a cold this week, and I thought I'd just skip posting.  Then I realized, NO. No matter how I am feeling right now, I still have so many things to be thankful for and it is important for me to focus on those.  So here are my Friday Fave Fives, a day late.

1.  I am so thankful for all the ways I can help my body heal from this cold.  Herbal teas.  Elderberry syrup.  Zicam.  Airborne.  Decongestants.   Ibuprofen.  Rest.  Naps.

2.  I am thankful I am not working now so I have the luxury of just resting and letting my body heal.

3.  Time to snuggle under my afghan while I finish knitting the last few blocks.  Yes, it's DONE! (off my knitting project list) Hopefully, there will be photos soon.

4.  I also finished one pair of socks. (knock that one off my knitting to do list, too)

5.  Books to read.  I can curl up with that afghan and my books and read all day.

I am thankful that I should be back and fully functioning tomorrow.  And here are some bonus photos of Southern England in early spring because few pictures make me happier than ones of rural England!

Friday, January 17, 2020


One new week!  Can it be possible that we are halfway through the month of January 2020??  I purposely carved a couple of days at the beginning of the week to relax.  But then the end of this week just got busy and busier.  Truly, I'm thankful for both the rest and the activities.  I just need to learn how to balance it.  So here is Willow's Week in Friday Fave Fives.  The link is to Susanne's blog Living To Tell the Story  where you can find other people's Fave Fives and join in, too, if you want.

1.  While I haven't been as consistent with my sketching as I would like to be, I have been doing well with my goal of exercising more.  In fact, I have walked, hiked, or worked out at the gym EVERY DAY this week.  I feel great.  Except of course for some sore muscles.

2.  One morning, a few of the moms from my Mom to Mom group met to walk part of the same trail I walked last week.  Walking with two and three year olds and stroller is a much slower gait than my usual pace.  But that's ok.  I had a chance to chat with a mom I hadn't really met before.

3.  Normally, I wouldn't add a memorial service to a favorite part of my week, but the service I attended for a Bible study friend was a wonderful celebration of her life.  And the words from the pastor were encouraging and comforting.

4.  As I am writing this, I am listening to 'the falling rain'.  It's one of my favorite sounds.  As a child, it was a most familiar one as I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, ie. the Rain Capital.  And we had A LOT of rain where we lived in the tropical jungles of New Guinea.  Where I live now, rain is always welcome!

5.  I am making progress on my afghan.  The blocks are now 10 x 12!  Photos soon because maybe by next week I'll be finished.  I've also finished one of the socks and have started on the second one.

Here's hoping I can balance the weekend's busyness with some 'down time', too!

Friday, January 10, 2020

January's Fave Fives, Week Two

I totally forgot it was Friday!  This week has been so busy that we have lost track of what day it is.   Willow's Week just kept coming!  But I'm happy to be able to pause, take a breath, and focus on what I'm thankful for this week.  Here are my Friday Fave Fives.

1.  Our Mom to Mom group met this week.  It's a ministry in our church for young moms.  Each month we have a speaker and this month my college friend Sue Moore Donaldson from Welcome Heart spoke on hospitality.  Geared for young moms, it still inspired me to be more hospitable.  And it was fun to catch up with an old college friend.

2.  Then I received two encouraging texts from a couple of moms about the presentation. Yay!

3.  Tangerines!  My tree is bursting with them.  Yum!

4.  I am happy to be staying mostly on point with my 2020 goals and specifically my January goals.  I've started a fun pair of socks, and I am forging ahead with the leftover sock yarn afghan. The afghan is growing--right now there are more than 100 squares.

5.  An extra long walk.  A friend and I walked the creek that flows through our town (usually it's a dry arroyo).  We forgot that the gate near where we parked our cars was locked, and so we "had" to walk part way back up the path to the place where we could get off the path and walk back to the car.  We didn't mind the extra mile--it just gave us more time to talk!

This is what the creek looks like after a rain storm.

What made you slow down this week to say "Thanks"?

Friday, January 03, 2020

Happy 2020!

It's the new year!  2020!  How 2019 for you?  What are your hopes and goals for 2020?

One of my goals is to post more often here on Willow's Cottage blog.  I have been mostly consistent with posting my Friday Fave Fives.  Last year, FFFs was one of the things that kept me posting!  So here I am.  Posting my Friday Fave Fives on the first Friday in 2020.

1.  Safe drive home from Phoenix.  We left at 3:00 pm because we stayed to attend the Children's Theatre production of Ella Enchanted with PAL.  It was a great play and we enjoyed sharing it with Chaplain Dan, PAL's mom and PAL.  Then we hopped in the car with Dr. Mike and made it home in record time.  It helped that we gained an hour in the westward change and that Dr. Mike took his turn driving.

2.  New Year's Eve.  This is the first time in several years that we have been home on New Year's Eve.  We joined many families in our church congregation for a fun evening and watched the ball drop -- in New York.  We were home by 9:30.

3.  New Year's Day we took a walk along the beach.  4.21 miles.

4.  How fast can you clean up your house and make it ready for a realtor to show it to a prospective buyer?  We were out of the house in twenty-one minutes!  (Is that a world record?)  No, the agent said his client isn't going to make an offer on our house.  But it is nice to realize that we can prep the place so quickly.

5.  One of my goals for 2020 is to actually practice my sketching this year.  I discovered that Leslie Fehling who I took a class with a couple of years ago has a January Everyday Artists Challenge.  Do a  pen/pencil sketch or watercolor every day in January.  I've done two.  This afternoon I am going to my Art Group and will do Day 3 there.  Three days in a row is already a record for me!

Yesterday's pen sketch
Palm trees from a photo

Here's to a New Year!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A New Year!

2020.  It's a new year.   It's new goals.  Every year I choose a word to focus my thoughts and goals.  Some years the word chooses me.  So it was for 2020.  A friend gave me a drink container with a lid and straw.  I like to use those for drinking my water every day.  This one is special because it says TRUST several times in a ring around the top of it.  I looked at it and it hit me.  That's my word for 2020.  TRUST.  Trust God with my future and where our new moving adventure will take us.

My 2020 goals include:
1.  Making the move to live near our daughters.  This involves selling our house and TRUSTING God for the timing.
2.  Like last year, I want to improve my gardening and herb growing skills.  I'll be learning about a whole new climate for growing.
3.  I noticed that this past year I was posting less often on my blog.  I am hoping to increase my posts this coming year--at least two posts a week.
4.  The Professor is planning a couple of trips for 2020.  More on that later.
5.  Again, this year I want to continue reading through the Chronological Bible.  I didn't finish in 2019, but maybe I can get it done in 2020.
6.  The never ending attempts to knit and weave my yarn stash down continues.
7.  Another continuing goal is my health--eating healthfully and exercising regularly are two great ways to maintain health.
8.  This final goal is most likely to be my hardest one to maintain.  I want to learn more about sketching and watercolor painting.  A friend has challenged me to 'just do it'.  Draw something every day!

Do you make goals (I won't call them resolutions!) or choose a word for your year?  Please share!

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 27, 2019

The Week Between

Christmas is over.  New Year's Day is coming.  It's Friday and we're not home.  But even so, I want to check in here at Willow's Cottage and be thankful for Willow's Week.  Friday Fave Fives is a good practice for me to remember to be thankful all the time.  Even when we're between the holidays.

1.  Traveling in the days before Christmas can be stressful.  We are thankful for a safe trip-- 400+ miles.

2.  A safe trip for Younger Son (Dr. Mike).  He flew in from New Mexico.  (I confess that I loved picking him up from the airport--that first glimpse--There he is!)

3.  Christmas was wonderful!  We celebrated with both of our sons at Older Son's home (Chaplain Dan).  PAL was suitably excited to see us.  AND they have a Christmas tree.  (We didn't put a tree up this year, so I missed having one.)

(This is the kind of photo you get when you leave your camera in the car and the lens gets fogged up.  I kinda liked it.)

4.  We sent out some of our Christmas letters via email and have already received sweet responses.  I love the reconnecting that happens during the Christmas season.

5.  The Christmas Day skype call with our girls who were together a long way away.  I missed being with them, but a video call was a good second best.

We will be returning home tomorrow, bringing Dr. Mike with us.  We just keep celebrating the whole week between Christmas and New Years!

Friday, December 20, 2019

December Means Christmas!

Happy Friday!  Friday Faves Fives time.  And it's almost Christmas!

1.  A hike in the Santa Monica Mountains.  According to The Professor's app, we walked 3.32 miles and almost none of it was level. It was a good workout with beautiful scenery.

2.  Christmas letter is written and printed.  We are ALMOST finished folding, stuffing, licking, and stamping.  And it's not even Christmas Eve yet.

3.  Another Christmas concert.  Two friends performed in the concert Sunday evening at their church in Thousand Oaks.  The program was Christmas music through history.  Sussex Carol, J.S. Bach, Charles Wesley, G.F. Handel, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Matt Redman.  It was wonderful!

4.  Christmas music playing at home and in the car.  What's your favorite carol?  (I don't think I could choose although Mary, Did You Know? is high on my list along with O Holy Night and Silent Night.)

5.  Bluegrass Christmas Campfire.  A young mom in our church (and I'm her mentor mom) sings in a Bluegrass band.  She invited us over for an evening of music around the campfire last night.  We bundled up, grabbed World's Best Neighbor and headed over to listen.  Lots of little kids running around.  Mugs of hot chocolate and spiced cider.  Christmas songs played on banjos, bass, guitars and harmonicas.  It was heavenly, under the stars and around the fire.  And my jacket smells like wood smoke this morning.

I am so blessed and thankful for this wonderful Christmas season!