Friday, August 16, 2019

How Was Your Week? Here's Mine

I love and need to reflect every week on the blessings in my life  Here are my Five Fave things from the past week. (Follow THIS LINK to join if you want to.)

1.  Eight mile suburban hike.  The Professor and I joined a small group for an evening hike.  Most of it was on a bike path we regularly walk.  It was fun to walk with other people who love to hike.  One woman grew up in Cornwall and we had the BEST conversation about that part of England I love.

2.  Talking with my new Cornish friend made me want to look through the photos I took of Cornwall last spring.  Happy Sigh.

All those NARROW  Cornish hedgerow roads

The New Boy at his favorite place.
That building in the background isn't Tintagel Castle.  It's an ancient church which is still used for services.

3.  Instagram.  I'm more of a Facebook person, mostly because I am used to it.  Sometimes I forget that I even have an Instagram account.  I realized this week that I have been missing out on some pictures of The New Boy!  His mom posted photos on Instagram of him cooking dinner and breakfast.  Evidently, he really enjoys cooking.

4.  Two doctor appointments this week checked off the list.  Yay!  And everything is ok.  I am cleared for bending and stooping.

5.  I am working again (and again, and again) on those old photos.  This past week I have focused on my oldest son's baby pictures.  He was SO cute!

So that was Willow's Week. How was yours?

Friday, August 09, 2019

What Made Me Happy

Hello!  August is rolling on and here at Willow's Cottage, the weather is wonderful, and the skies are blue.  Perfect summer weather.  And Willow's Week was quiet and practically perfect.  I'm so thankful for the little things.  Here are my Friday Fave Fives.

1.  We were delighted when a young couple in our church approached us and asked if we would like to join them for lunch at our favorite Mexican place.  It took about ten five seconds for us to enthusiastically reply, "Yes! We'd love to."  An added bonus is that The Professor's sister came, too.

2.  Ventura County Fair!  We went TWICE this week.  That makes a total of three visits to the fair this year.  And we ended up paying a total of $2 for admission.  Day One was Dollar Day, hence we paid our $2.  Then this week, Tuesday was "Old People's" Day and we got in free.  Then today, Friday, we used our free tickets because we hadn't used them on Day One when I came to work in the weavers/spinners booth.

3.  Why would we want to attend the fair so many times?  Mostly, we love the music.  There's one performer who comes from Oregon (he calls his stint at our fair his vacation because the weather and beach is so beautiful) and we love to listen to all his sets during a day, which is three or four performances.  His name is Brady Goss and if you ever have the chance to attend one of his concerts, DO IT.  He's great.

4.  This fave is kinda silly, but it is still a fave.  The Pig Races!  Little pigs race around a track while the announcer makes constant piggy/hoggy puns.  It's just fun.

5.  I have a very dear long time friend who lives not far away.  We have been like ships in the night this summer.  She spent several weeks in another state helping her family as someone was dying.  Then I was gone for a month.  Finally, yesterday, we texted each other and set a meet up.  It was just a bit too windy and cool to sit outside and drink our drinks and it was too loud inside.  So we sat in my car.  Crazy Ladies!  But we were comfortable and had a great time catching up.

So that's how my week shaped up.  None of these events were particularly spectacular, but they were important to me and made me happy.  How about you?

Friday, August 02, 2019

August Means...

August! Wow!  I'm not ready for August!  But here it is and here it is the first Friday in August.  Fridays are my FRIDAY FAVE FIVES days.  (Follow the link to join in!)

1.  It's FAIR TIME!  Our county fair opened on Wednesday and The Professor and I were there.  We dragged along his sister and nephew and a young friend from church.  Dragged might be a bit of an exaggeration.  They happily accompanied us.  We love the exhibits and the musical group son the small stages.  I'm thankful for where I live!

2.  While I was demonstrating spinning at our weavers and spinners guild booth, they all took off to look at fun things like the stamps section in one of the "hobby buildings" and the photography competitions.  Then they decided to watch the pig races.  From their reports back to me, the pig races may have been their favorite.  I'm thankful they all wanted to spend a fun day with us.

3.  I have also been (FINALLY) organizing and scanning some of our old photos.  After I scan them, I am putting them into various albums.  Right now, I am focusing on the photos from our years in Indonesia.  We lived for three years in the house in the foreground of this photo.  For us, that was luxury living!  We had access to stores, four hours of electricity at night, and running water!

Erickson-Tritt Bible Institute

This is where we spent more of our time.
Our home is not in the picture--it was just to the right outside the photo.  The church is the building on the far right.  Only access to the village was helicopter (or walking for a week).

I'm thankful for the years we were able to live and minister in such an amazing place!

4.  The reason I started back up again was that my daughters asked me for some photos of them together when they were young because they are having a birthday party barbeque this weekend to celebrate their birthdays which are two weeks apart.  I found one which I though would be right.  They were SO CUTE! (They still are!)  I'm thankful my girls still love each other and love to spend time together.

And this one of the three of us

5.  I love to study new things.  Right now, I have TWO NEW THINGS to study.  I just signed up for a free introductory class for making herbal preparations.  AND I checked out some books from the library on sketching.  Why two such different things?  Well, partly because I want to learn about herbs and herbal medicines AND I want to draw the sketches of each herb I study. Now those are not the only reasons for my interests, but that's how these two intersect.  I'm thankful I can learn new things and it's mostly free access to so much knowledge!

What are you thankful for this week?

Friday, July 26, 2019

Be Thankful

Oh!  It's Friday already??  I totally missed the memo.

So...anyway, here we go. Friday Fave Fives from Willow's Week which whizzed by so fast I didn't realize it was Friday!  Here is the link to join in and read other people's FRIDAY FAVE FIVES.

1.  I love our church's Wednesday Night Dinners which we do in the summer months.  Most Wednesday evenings we gather together and share a meal.  Sometimes, it's Taco Guy providing the meal.  Other times, it's hot dogs and hamburgers.  Last week, my sister-in-law and I wore matching t-shirts and that prompted this week's "Wear a Crazy T-Shirt Night".  This resulted in lots of crazy shirts.  The Professor won a Starbuck's gift card for his:

I love how our church family enjoys spending time together.

2.  My daughters met at day care one evening--picking up their kids at the same time.  They snapped this photo and sent it to me.  I love that they love each other!  (They may hate me for posting this publicly.  I just love it.)

3.  It's summer.  For the first time this year, we have had to run the AC.  I'm thankful that we have that luxury when we are uncomfortably warm.

4.  On Saturday, we attended the funeral for a former (science dept) professor of ours.  This wonderful man was also a beloved colleague of The Professor's father.  It was wonderful to hear how he impacted so many people and how much his family loved and honored him.  Predictably, there were other long time college friends there and we reconnected and chatted with them.  I so appreciate living near enough to our college alma mater that we can attend these various functions.

5.  We had arranged to see a long time friend of The Professor's (since they were one and three!) who was also a colleague of our honored prof.  (I mentioned him and his wife a couple of months ago because she and I share a love of murder mysteries.)  Because they are planning a move, she passed on to me a WHOLE BOX of Agatha Christie novels!  I may have already finished a couple of them. And yes, I'm fine rereading some of them; they're that good.  I love having friends who share my love of books.

My friends in North America and Europe, please stay cool! And hydrated.  Enjoy your weekend.  And look back on last week and be THANKFUL.

Friday, July 19, 2019


I think this week's Friday Fave Fives is going to be a near repeat of last week. That's because my week has been almost the same as earlier this month.  Well, there was one big difference...

1.  We went camping!  Our church resurrected a neglected tradition last weekend and had a camp out.  The organizer of the event booked a group campsite in the mountains above Santa Barbara at Lake Cachuma.  It was so much fun!  We had people from age two all the way up to late seventies (he was in a motorhome).  The Professor and I popped up our tent and pulled out our camp chairs and watched the fun.  I played several board games which was fun.  We had planned on hiking around the lake, but it was SO HOT, so we just hung around camp.  It was so much fun! (Yes, I know that's a repeated sentence.)  I'm thankful for all the church people who contributed to a great weekend.

2.  One of the sweetest things? (besides hugs from some little ones who we've known since birth and have watched in the two year old class)  Our friends with the air conditioned motor home let us sit in the cool air on Saturday afternoon and even let me grab a quick shower!  I'm thankful for generous friends.

3.  OK, here is where my week is a repeat:  I had my second cataract surgery on Tuesday.  All went well again.  I'm thankful for a very skillful and kind surgeon.

4.  I love how the staff follows up with daily phone calls to make sure I'm healing well and not having any negative reactions or situations.

5.  The Professor wins more points for taking good care of me.  Evidently I was more affected by the anesthesia this time and slept most of the day.  Meals, coffee, tea and snacks were magically provided.  Helping hands were available when I needed anything.

Update on the use of agile toes for picking things up off the floor:  this morning,I dropped my earring as I was removing them from the jewelry box.  Toes to the rescue!  Yes, I picked up my earring with my toes, stood in a one leg yoga pose and grabbed that little earring.  At least I'm getting lots of practice.

Friday, July 12, 2019


Happy Friday!  Here is Willow's Week in five thankful things.  I'm sharing with Friday Fave Fives hosted by Susanne on her blog Living To Tell The Story.  Follow the link to join in and read what others have written.

1.  First things first.  I seldom mention anything medical here on Willow's Cottage blog.  But I decided to write about a recent surgery I had because it is truly a blessing.  Last week, I had a cataract surgery on one of my eyes, and this next week I will be having the same surgery on my other eye.  All has gone very well, according to my doctors.  I have remembered to put in ALL THE EYE DROPS so far, sometimes as many as eight during a day.  I am thankful that the surgery has been so successful, that I have recovered quickly, and that my eyesight is already improved.

2.  There are all kinds of restrictions on activities and movements after eye surgery.  I may not lift heavy things.  I may not lean over (for a month!).  I am thankful for a very kind and patient husband who comes over and picks up that thing I dropped and can't get.  I am getting lots of 'lower body exercises' by doing squats to NOT lean over but get down to pick stuff up.  I am also thankful that I have very dexterous feet.  Did you know that you can use your toes to grab things like towels, shirts and even knitting needles from the floor?  I'm thankful I'm agile enough to then move my leg up (think yoga poses) and catch what I've gotten with my toes.

3.  My sister-in-law loaned me her Kindle to read two books that our local library didn't have in paper form.  She was able to check them out digitally so I could read those two books in a series of murder mysteries.  I'm thankful for a great and thoughtful sister-in-law (The Professor's sister).

4.  Remember BYOD?  That's Bring Your Own Dinner.  We have long long time close friends who we love to get together with.  But we all got tired of 'what shall we eat/cook?', so we choose our own food from a restaurant, get it 'to go' (that's American for take away) and meet up at one of our houses.  No cooking, minimal clean up.  We did BYOD this week with our friends and the four of us chatted for HOURS.  I'm thankful that God brought this friend to me when I was eighteen and she was nineteen and that we have remained friends all these years (The Blueberry Strawberry Lady).  Best part was this photo which we sent to a third college friend MBP who was in our college singing trio together with us. (That's a whole story unto itself--our adventures singing all over the West Coast during our college years.)

5.  In April, a friend picked up some nasturtium seeds from the ground under a beautiful plant.  She gave me two of them and I planted them in a pot.  One sprouted and now I have this amazing and unusual flower.  I'm thankful for the beauty God provides every day in my garden!

How was your week?  What are you thankful for?

Friday, July 05, 2019

Home At Last

We're home!  It's time to get back in to our routine.  Routine means that on Friday I always post my thankful things from the week--Friday Fave Fives.  Today it's more of a travel documentary because I am always thankful for the wonderful places we are able to visit on our road trips.

 After having a wonderful visit, we said a long goodbye to our girls and grandkids at a yummy local coffee and cinnamon rolls shop.  Our goal was to take six days to drive the 2,400 miles back home. 

1.  First stop was in eastern Illinois.  We had hoped to walk the Chain of Rocks Bridge across the Mississippi River; however, because of the flooding, both approaches were closed.  I consoled myself with some photos of the bridge and with a promise to ourselves that we will be back to do it another time.   (Chain of Rocks Bridge was an early Route 66 passage across the Mississippi River and is now a walking/biking bridge.)

2.  St. Louis's Gateway Arch and the Museum of Western Expansion were beautiful!

3.  Then we drove on to another museum in Independence, Missouri--National Frontier Trails Museum.  If you ever have an opportunity, do visit it.  Although it's small, there is SO MUCH to see, read and understand about this beginning spot of the Oregon Trail, the California Trail, and the Santa Fe Trail.  In particular, I enjoyed it because I know that some of my ancestors stood there and climbed in their Conestoga wagons as they began their trip to California.

4.  Three other places held enough interest for us to make us stop on our way west.

Tall Grass Prairie National Preserve. 
We didn't really have time to walk anywhere along the trails through the preserve; we just ate lunch and enjoyed the views.

Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston, Kansas
Again, we gave ourselves an hour to walk around this gem of an arboretum and soak in the flora and fauna of the great plains.

 Route 66 Museum.  One sweet encounter in front of the Route 66 Museum sign was The Professor making an instant connection with a fellow Vietnam Vet who served in the SAME PLACE in the SAME JOB there but different years.  Oh, it was sweet to listen to them chat about their experiences.  I wish we had exchanged more than our first names and home towns.  Maybe someday we'll see them again.  On Route 66.

5.  We spent one night with our son in New Mexico where he lives and our last night with our PAL and her parents in Arizona.

ALL the changes in terrain and climate!

Then it was HOME AT LAST.

And for your amusement.  A photo of the obvious.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Summer and Still Traveling

It's the Summer Solstice!  Happy Summer!  We are traveling (still!).  I chose to miss writing Friday Fave Fives last week and chose to not post anything during the weeks because, well, we were traveling/visiting family. And truly my heart is just so full this week that I hardly know how to post about it all.  Here is what has so filled my heart.  (Follow the Friday Fave Fives link to join in and read what others are thankful for.)

1.  Driving east into South Dakota, we visited two special places.  One is a National Park and very well known and visited.  Mount Rushmore. 

"Mom! Why are those men up there on the mountain staring at me??"

The other place we loved but almost no one stops there--yeah, we are totally museum nerds.  Minuteman Missile Nation Historical Site (and museum).

2.  Time with grandchildren.  Our daughter-in-law brought PAL out to visit the cousins while we were with them.  Oh, it was so much fun to watch them!

 Who says that mamas can't play on the trampoline??

3.  We visited a couple of special places in the area where my daughters live.  Every time we are there we make a special effort to get to the local arboretum.  I always love this place.  So do the kids!

Do you have ANY IDEA how hard it is to get a NOT SILLY picture of four children??

4.  Friends.  I love how we have gotten to know our daughters' friends.  We bumped in to two of them in the first two days we were there--it was like seeing old friends.  And then we had breakfast with our young friend from our church in CA who took a job in the same company where my older daughter works!  AND we met a new friend who we will be having lunch with 'next time'.

5.  We found a new coffee shop!  And their cinnamon rolls--oh my!  We all met there the morning we left and enjoyed some time, coffee and breakfast before we had to say "good bye and we will see you again really soon, we promise."

See why my heart is bursting with thankfulness?

Thursday, June 06, 2019

More Road Trip

This past week has been a blur.  Starting with Friday, we have been visiting friends, classmates,  and family nonstop.  While it has ALL been wonderful, the schedule has not allowed for much down time (or computer time).  I didn't even get online to check in with other FFFers.  I hope I will have a bit more time this week to do that.

Here are my Friday Fave Fives from this past week.  There was so much it was hard to narrow it down to FIVE.  The link above takes you to Susanne's blog where you can post your link and share in the goodness of others' lives.

1.  This past weekend, `the alumni from FIVE classes got together for a reunion.  My brother was three years ahead of me, so we were both part of the group (and he and my sil were on the organizing committee) as well as my sister-in-law.  Oh! It was wonderful reconnecting with so many people from our high school years!

2.  Then on Sunday, we visited our former church.  We moved away from Oregon sixteen years ago, but we keep in contact with many people.  One amazing thing that happened was that our former adult ministries pastor, who has retired and now lives in Maine, and his wife were visiting their daughter who still lives in the area.  So we hugged and chatted after the service.  None of us had any idea we'd be in town at the same time!

3.  Then we hit the road.  We drove east.  In Idaho, we had two groups of people to connect with.  Mission Aviation Fellowship is headquartered in Nampa, Idaho.  During our years of ministry in Indonesia, we depended on MAF to provide transport for us in and out of our village.  In fact, on two different occasions, MAF pilots flew in on the helicopter and med-evacuated us.  Literally, they saved my life and my sons' life.  We value their ministry!  Those two pilots are still on staff and working at the headquarters.  We were privileged to stay overnight with one couple and have dinner with both families.

4.  Our pastor of church ministries moved to eastern Idaho six months ago to take a new church position.  They have four lively little boys and we had so much fun hanging out with them and eating an early dinner before we had to leave and drive on to our campsite for the night.

5.  Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park were our next destinations.  One paragraph cannot possibly contain enough expression of my awe of the beauty and majesty of those places!  (I haven't had enough time online to get all my photos downloaded and organized.  But, WOW!)
Eleanor was very impressed with the Grand Tetons!

She was a bit out of breath at 8,530 feet above sea level!

Lake Yellowstone is the largest high altitude lake in the United States.  
(those mountains almost hidden by the clouds way out there in the far distance are the 'back side' of the Grand Tetons)

Bonus:  we have discovered that when we chat with people in various landmark places, we find kindred spirits.  I commented to The Professor that people who travel to these amazing places have, like us, adventurous spirits.  We've met people from all over the world and with some of them we have really connected.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Friends, Family and Road Trips

Welcome to Willow's Week!  Here are my Friday Fave Fives for this last week of May.

1.  Meals out with friends. On Sunday, we were at World's Best Neighbor's house hanging out and she asked, "What are you doing for dinner before we all leave for small group tonight?" Our answer was obvious.  "Let's grab some dinner on our way."  Thai spring rolls with lots of peanut sauce = yum!  Monday was Memorial Day and since several people in our Monday night Bible study group were available, we decided to have dinner out instead of having our usual group meeting.  We had so much fun!  The guys sat together at one table and the gals at another.  So much laughter! I love our small group!

2.  Tuesday morning we left on a trip.  Background: my high school was small.  There were thirty people in my graduating class.  So a reunion is not much of a happening.  So this year, five years of senior classes are combining our reunions.  Since my brother and sister-in-law were part of these classes and are on the planning committee, of course I wanted to be there for the party!  So this weekend, we are 'home'.  So looking forward to our reunion!

3.  The trip 'home' is always a wonderful drive.  We travel from mediterranean coastal terrain to high desert to forests and mountains.  I just love it!  When we start seeing the snow capped mountains and fir trees, I know I'm 'home'.

4.  We always try to stop by our 'old' friends.  The husband was (and still is) a professor of English (and was my advisor in college).  Because of various reasons, we drove to their new-to-them home and spent a wonderful afternoon just chatting and reminiscing with them.  I so value their friendship even though I don't get to see them more than once a year at most.

5.  My brother and sister-in-law reserved Thursday for us.  We decided to drive up the Columbia River Gorge.  The fish hatchery just below the Bonneville Dam was our first stop.  Then we drove across the Columbia River to the Washington side and had lunch at Skamania Lodge.  After lunch, we walked the three mile loop around the lake there.  It was a really special time with them.

Our lunch view
That's the Columbia River and Oregon side of the gorge.

Brother and Sister-in-law walking the trail

Friday, May 24, 2019

Fiber Arts, Books and Friends

Good Morning!  It's Friday!
Willow's Week has been busy but normal.  I like normal.
Here are Five Things that just made my week happy.
I share these to encourage you to find the joy and good in your life.
Want more?  Here's the link to Friday Fave Fives.

1.  I bought two sweaters recently at the thrift shop.  One was a grey linen/cotton cardigan.  The other was this--a crazy pink, coral, grey and white combo.  I unraveled both sweaters and reset the twist (that's like getting the wrinkly twists out of the yarn).  Then I used the multi-colored yarns to warp my loom.  That means all the long strands.
I used the grey yarn to weave the scarf.

I like the result.
The scarf will be displayed in the Ventura County Handweavers and Spinners Guild booth at the county fair in August.

2.  More about weaving.
Here is the finished scarf I wove for Son #2. 
He says he likes it.

3.  My sister-in-law knows what kind of t-shirts I like!
A gift from her this week.

4.  This week we met up with long time friends for lunch and coffee.  It was great to renew our friendship with them.  The Professor and the husband were neighbor and friends from where he was one year old.  Yes, that long!  I met them in college when the husband was one of the new, young profs in the English department and I took several classes from him.  One of the best parts of the day was watching the guys smile and laugh--just like you do with your first friends.

5.  It turns out that both the wife and I love reading mysteries.  When she got home, she emailed me a LIST of all her favorite mystery writers!  I've already been to the library to search for some of them.

Normal activities in a week.
But these are what fill our hearts and minds
and make us thankful.