Thursday, September 25, 2014

Happy Autumn, Happy Weekend

Here at Willow's Cottage, it has been a Super Busy Week, this first week of Fall  The reason for our overwhelmingly crazy week was that we have moved all our possessions into storage while a major renovation is happening at our house.  I've been so tired, I've been falling asleep holding my knitting needles or my book--just nodding off.  I'm certainly looking forward to a quiet weekend.  But before the weekend begins, I want to share my Friday Fave Fives hosted by Susanne--a necessary part of my week to keep me accountable for maintaining a heart of gratitude.

1.  While we are 'displaced', the world's best neighbors have offered their primary home to us while they 'vacation' at their beach house.   We are able to be right 'next door' to our property while all the changes are happening and we can be on hand to keep an eye on the progress. I mean it, these two are truly the BEST NEIGHBORS EVER!

2.  Two other friends answered our plea for muscles and showed up on two Saturdays this month to help us move big things like pianos and bookcases and beds into the storage pods.  BEST YOUNG, STRONG FRIENDS EVER!

3.  My former TA, Miss P, came over on Saturday and helped me pack up the last minute items like the refrigerator food and the pantry.  We work together well, having had two years of practice in the classroom.   BEST PACKER EVER!

4.  This school year, I have two different teacher assistants assigned to three of my classes.  Partly, they are in class to observe and learn the program I teach, but mostly they just help in whatever way I ask them.   I truly appreciate their help and input in making our classes run smoothly and efficiently.  BEST TAs EVER!

5.  Our mechanic is fantastic.  He is experienced.  He's honest.  This week he gave me great advice on a automobile check up and changed my windshield wiper--for free.  BEST MECHANIC EVER!

I am so thankful for these people who act selflessly and kindly in our lives.

And again--I am dipping in to the archives for photos... four years ago this weekend, we were in Northern California--Humboldt County where we both have roots...celebrating The Professor's high school reunion.  It's a place of rolling surf and fog, gigantic Redwood trees and hanging moss--so very different from where we live now.

Happy Weekend!  Be Blessed!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

More About Natchez

A little more about Natchez, Mississippi.

 It's at the southern end of the Natchez Trace where groups from the north gathered to begin their return trip after having ridden down the Mississippi River in flatboats or larger vessels.

Lovely gracious Southern homes abound in the old down town area.

Another point of interest in Natchez is the Great Sun Ceremonial Mound.  Here is a link to more information about the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians and the Ceremonial Mound.

Boys and Girls, that is your history lesson for today.

Monday, September 22, 2014


I missed a number of days of posting a daily photo.  Hopefully, I can resume and stay on track.

Mississippi River
seen from
Natchez, Mississippi

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Three Great Goods Plus Two

Good Morning!  It's Friday!  Time for Friday Fave Fives with Susanne.

It is said that there are three great goods in life.  This week I have enjoyed each one of them on a daily basis.

1.  A warm shower.

2.  A comfortable bed.

3.  A good cup of morning coffee.

And if that isn't enough to make my week fabulous, two other great goods occurred.

4.  My #2 Son came home!  He has been gone, out of the country, for fifteen months.  Although we have kept in touch via phone, email, text and skype, there is nothing like a "Hi, Mom!" and a huge smile and a big hug.  I love that I can jump in my car and drive only six hours to see him face to face if I need a another #2 Son hug.  He is now the child living closest to us instead of farthest away.

5.  Speaking of sons, I connected on facebook with our Ugandan 'son' who we sponsored for many years.  He has grown up, graduated from secondary school, gained a profession.  If you are friends with me on facebook, you might notice him commenting on my home page.  Isn't technology wonderful?

Because this has been an incredibly busy and harried week, I haven't even pulled my camera out of its case to take even one photo.  Old photographic memories will have to suffice.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Poems, Promotions, Bunnies, and Hats

It's Friday!  After a long and most busy week which included travel for The Professor and airport trips for me, and a new school year beginning, I am looking forward to the weekend and to catching up with friends at Friday Fave Fives.

1.  Some things are just funny.  We spied this guy mowing (well, pretending to mow) the grass near the entrance to the freeway.  Made us laugh.

2.  Last weekend Son #1 was promoted to the rank of MAJOR in the US Army Reserve.  As a chaplain, he carries a heavy responsibility.  This responsibility is one he freely accepts, but sometimes it's hard.  I am thankful that he has been recognized for his sacrifice and service.  The Professor was able to be present for the promotion and pinning ceremony.  It meant so much for father and son to be together to celebrate this milestone.   (Photo compliments of a friend who attended the ceremony.

3.  I didn't fly out with The Professor, but someone else begged and begged to go along.  She was so new that her dress wasn't finished.

But she wanted so much to take a plane and to go visit her new home that I finally relented and knitted like a mad woman all the way down the El Camino Real to the Burbank Airport.  Just in time, with literally no time to spare, I made the last stitch and pulled her sun dress over her ears.  Introducing Alexandra, new companion to our soon to arrive granddaughter.  Here she is happily sharing her first adventure with Bapa. (Note:  you gotta LOVE a man who not only travels with a knitted bunny but takes photos of her IN PUBLIC PLACES.)

4.   Speaking of knitting--I often speak of knitting, about knitting, with knitting, for knitting--I stumbled on a new hat pattern.  The Golden Pear Hat is a free pattern offered by Melissa Thompson on ravelry. Although it is sized for babies and toddlers, it's super easy to adjust and make larger hats.  I think you'll be seeing more of these hats here this fall.  I finished two this week and am about half done with a third--larger than these.

5.  My sister-in-law mentioned a new to me author.  I'm shocked I didn't know about Jill Paton Walsh.  She has written more Lord Peter Wimsey stories in the Dorothy Sayers tradition of LPW and Harriet Vane detective novels.  I read A Presumption of Death and am now cruising through The Attenbury Emeralds.  

I leave you today with a poem:
I Opened a Book
by Julia Donaldson
I opened a book and in I strode.

Now nobody can find me.
I've left my chair, my house, my road,
My town and my world behind me.
I'm wearing the cloak, I've slipped on the ring,
I've swallowed the magic potion.
I've fought with a dragon, dined with a king
And dived in a bottomless ocean.

I opened a book and made some friends.

I shared their tears and laughter
And followed their road with its bumps and bends
To the happily ever after.
I finished my book and out I came.
The cloak can no longer hide me.
My chair and my house are just the same,
But I have a book inside me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tenth Memory

Butterfly on My Knee
Always Makes Me Happy

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Month of Memories #5-#9

Oops.  I certainly missed a few days already. Blame it on two round trips to Bob Hope Burbank Airport...

Nothing is better than sightseeing with grandchildren.

#5 Blue Angels

#6 Two Buddies watching the Blue Angels

#7 Two Boys at the Beach

#8 Boys and Girls Learning to Stand at Attention with Rifles

#9 American Flag Flying Over Ft. Pickens, Florida

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Sinking in to September Blessings

It's that time of the week.  I have been posting each day so far this month--just a photo--to reset my calender.  Part of that 'New Year in September' feeling I have.  And of course I always post my Friday Fave Fives with Susanne at Living To Tell The Story.

1.  Sunday night dinner and show-and-tell with the artists group.  I showed off my very first woven rug.  Yes, this one:

 These women have encouraged me and prayed with me for the past year and a half as we have studied inspirational artist books together.  Every time we meet I come away filled with thankfulness for such wonderful and creative friends.  And Sunday night we shared our time with our spouses.

2.  Wednesday field trip to Ventura with one of the artists.  Sold books.  Traded books for store credit.  Bought a book.  Quick lunch.  Great conversation.

3.  This same friend helped me work through a decision I had to make, reminding me of our "Monk Manifesto" to 'discern my use of energy and things spent on frivolous or dead works, letting go of what does not fit into my life of stewardship.'  If an activity, even a good one, is sucking energy and time from what rightfully fits into my life, then I need to have courage to remove it.  That's often easier said than done, right?  My friend gave me permission to be courageous.

4.  "Clutter is the great destroyer of peace."  I noticed this statement in an email from Flylady and was struck by its simple truth.  Lately, I've been doing a big declutter around here.  We're getting ready to do some major house remodel/overhauls and need to pack up our stuff.  So when I read that sentence, I immediately posted it on facebook, and evidently by the number of 'likes' and 'comments' it generated it has resonated with a lot of people.

5.  Often September in Southern California is just HOT.  Usually there are no 'signs of autumn'.  But this week our mornings have been foggy.  Yes, foggy.  We live about 13 miles inland from the ocean and the early morning coastal fog has crept in and kept the temperatures down a bit.  I'm not a big fan of grey weather, but in September it's a welcome respite.

Can you believe it?  I didn't take a single photo with my camera this week, so here is a picture from the summer-- a simple barn in a field on the Natchez Trace Parkway.  So green and so different from where I live.

Wherever you live this week, this month, I hope you are finding joy, beauty, and blessing in your life.

Month of Memories #4

I can never get enough of the beach.
Pensacola Bay, Florida

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Month of Memories #3

A Florida Sunset
Big Lagoon

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Month of Memories #2

Nothing says summer like flowers.  This is a Wisconsin version of the ubiquitous butter yellow flowers that bloom everywhere, all season long.

Monday, September 01, 2014

A Month of Memories

It's September, traditionally the month of new school years.  For me, it seems like September is more like New Year, the beginning, than is January.  That's probably because I count my life in 'school years'. Either I was in school, my children or husband was in school, or I was teaching school.

During the month of September, I have decided to look back on my summer months and choose one photo a day to remind me of this summer past.

Mountains towering above Taos Pueblo.
July 4th