Monday, November 30, 2015

November Thankfulness #30

November 30th, Monday
This is the last day of November, the last day of my month of thankfulness posts for this year.  Today I have been thinking about how thankful I am for warm things--warm socks, warm slippers,cozy jackets.  I am thankful for a solid and secure home which has an adequate heater.  I have an abundance of blankets.  All these items help to keep me warm when the temperature plummets to 49F.  Yes, I live in Southern California where 50F is considered frigid.  That doesn't change the fact that I appreciate wool sweaters and warm hats.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

November Thankfulness #29

November 29th, Sunday
Today is the First Sunday of Advent.  Each Advent season, I create an Advent wreath.  With a one year old scheduled to join us for Christmas, I have been searching for ways to keep burning things out of her reach.  So the Advent candles are tiny this year and on the table (and easily moved to the kitchen bar).  I call it the Minimalist Advent Wreath.

Thankful for HOPE.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

November Thankfulness #27 and #28

November 27th, Friday
I have spent the whole day thinking and acting as if it is Saturday.  As The Professor noted, "We have three consecutive days of 'Saturday'."  Today I am thankful for the beautiful place I live where we can hike in the hills nearby.

November 28th, Saturday
Today I'm thankful for healing and comforting tea.  Yes, we did pull out the Christmas mugs yesterday!  I have been hibernating all day nursing the beginnings of a virus or cold.  Gypsy Cold Care tea.  Echinacea drops.  Airborne.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

November Thankfulness #26


Prayer of Thanksgiving
by Vienna Cobb Anderson
God of all blessings,
source of all life,
giver of all grace:
We thank you for the gift of life:
for the breath
that sustains life,
for the food of this earth
that nurtures life,
for the love of family and friends
without which there would be no life.
We thank you for the mystery of creation:
for the beauty
that the eye can see,
for the joy
that the ear may hear,
for the unknown
that we cannot behold filling the universe with wonder,
for the expanse of space
that draws us beyond the definitions of our selves.
We thank you for setting us in communities:
for families
who nurture our becoming,
for friends
who love us by choice,
for companions at work,
who share our burdens and daily tasks,
for strangers
who welcome us into their midst,
for people from other lands
who call us to grow in understanding,
for children
who lighten our moments with delight,
for the unborn,
who offer us hope for the future.
We thank you for this day:
for life
and one more day to love,
for opportunity
and one more day to work for justice and peace,
for neighbors
and one more person to love
and by whom be loved,
for your grace
and one more experience of your presence,
for your promise:
to be with us,
to be our God,
and to give salvation.
For these, and all blessings,
we give you thanks, eternal, loving God,
through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

November Thankfulness #25

November 25th, Wednesday
Today I am thankful for a working oven.  The reason that we did the total upgrade of our home about a year ago was because our oven died, couldn't be fixed and couldn't be replaced in the space where it was located.  I have lived other times without an oven.  When we first moved into the Moskona area of Papua, Indonesia, I had neither an oven nor a stove.  We cooked on a wood fire.  Really.  Then we upgraded to a two burner kerosene stove (think camping stove) with a small removable stove top oven.  That oven had two heat settings:  off and burn.  Still we learned to adjust.  For awhile we had a wood stove/oven.  That was fun although it was a built in upper body workout machine too--if you want to cook, you need to cut the wood and kindling and carry in to the house. (My house helper was strong.)  So, today I have an efficient gas stove and oven combo.  I walk over, turn a knob, or punch a few spots on the white surface of the stove and PRESTO! my oven is working, and it's automatically the correct temperature.  A functional oven is a modern miracle.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Catch Up Again

November 20th, Friday
My Friday Precepts is studying the names of God.  This week we focused on "Jehovah-Raphah", the God Who heals.  I'm thankful for this study and what I am learning about God.

November 21st,Saturday
How many Saturdays can I report, "I love my farmers market?"  Having fresh, local fruits and vegetables is a blessing for which I give thanks daily.

November 22nd, Sunday
I love our small group which meets on Sunday nights.  As one member stated, "We're more like family."

November 23rd, Monday
I cleaned my house today.  I'm thankful for a safe, secure and comfortable home.  It has windows that open and close and lock, sturdy floors,  and bathrooms with indoor plumbing.

November 24th, Tuesday
Today I am thankful for connecting with friends who love coffee (morning coffee date), friends who like to walk (new neighborhood friend for walking date),  friends who just like to hang out (afternoon hang out date).

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Friday Fave Fives

The week before Thanksgiving.
Seven more days of November Thankfulness
another week of Friday Fave Fives.

1.  My computer had a problem this week.  It didn't display the black screen of death, but it was a very sick and sad shade of gray.  I could still read my email.  Sort of.  The Professor, he of the magic hands, figured out what was wrong and fixed it.  Evidently it had something to do with the video drivers...I don't know exactly.  Go ask him.  He's the King of Computer Healing.  Whatever he did, it worked, and I have my shiny screen of summer brightness back.

This counts as my November 18th Thankfulness.  I don't have to purchase a new computer because the fix for the dark screen was really easy (if like The Professor you knew what you were doing).

2.  I had a very encouraging conversation with a student's mom.  She was happy that her son is loving my class and learning better writing skills.  This is what keeps me teaching.
And this is my November 19th addition to my November Thankfulness list.

3.  Another student, who I am also tutoring during the week, is moving next month because her father is taking a job in another state.  She wrote me a note to tell me that she doesn't want to move unless I move there, too!  How sweet is that?

4.  I love the colors of autumn.
Southern California has autumn color, too.

5.  My potted geraniums just keep blooming.  Geraniums are wonderful.  They're easy to grow.  And their flowers are so very bright and cheerful.  

In comparison to what others around the world are suffering, my life is sheltered and so easy.  I don't want my Friday Fave Fives to seem trivial.  But sometimes it's best to focus on small, simple things which are also blessings.  I am truly thankful that I have clean water to drink, a warm and safe home.  No one is shooting at me.  I am very aware that others deal with these issues daily.  But sometimes kind words and beautiful flowers help to keep my priorities right.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

November Thankfulness #17

November 17th
Today I can finally share this beautiful handspun llama shawl. It arrived yesterday at its destination.
Why am I thankful?  She likes it!

Catch Up

I have missed several days of posting.  Catch up time.

Thursday, November 12th
I am thankful I have a pleasant job, teaching (mostly) pleasant children.  Fortunately, they think I'm funny.

Friday, November 13th
I'm thankful for quiet evenings at home.

Saturday, November 14th
I love my local farmers market.  It is open fifty-one weeks this year!  We always have fresh and local fruits and vegetables in our kitchen.

Sunday, November 15th
Planning a weekend Bring Your Own Dinner feast with friends.  Can't wait!

November 16th
I am thankful for music.  I know it is early for Christmas music, but this is one of my favorite Christmas songs.  Mary, Did You Know?

Friday, November 13, 2015

Slow Down

Friday Fave Fives from Willow's Week.
It has been another busy teaching and tutoring filled week.  This morning for Fave Fives, I'm reminding myself of the slow down blessings.

1.  Evening walks with The Professor.  We walk almost three miles as many evenings as we can.  If we miss those slow down walks for too many days, our lives are too busy.

2.  On Veterans Day, The Professor earned a free breakfast at Denny's and a free coffee at Starbucks.  Since he had the day off from teaching, we spent some time in mid morning relaxing with our coffees.  I had a free one, too, so I splurged.  Venti Soy Peppermint Mocha.  That doesn't happen often.  It was good to slow down enough to enjoy our coffees and each other (although I did take my papers to correct)

3.  A church friend had a bunch of stuff to take to a charity but couldn't lift the boxes and wasn't sure where to take them.  So I offered to load our CRV up and drive her to drop the stuff off at the boutique for Forever Found.  It's a bit of a drive to Simi Valley, but we both love that charity so we did it one afternoon when I wasn't teaching.  In addition, we were able to take three large bags of clothes over there for another friend.  This is an easy thing for me to do.  It helped them.  And it helped Forever Found.  And I loved my friend's comment:  "I am giving away so many cute little things.  Now they are cute little things for someone else."  

4.  I love those slow down moments talking with my daughters.  Usually it's by phone.  I'm truly thankful for phone technology.  When I lived in Indonesia at the end of the world, we had no phones, so I couldn't talk to my mom.  I treasure those phone calls.

5.  I force myself to slow down daily and knit.  I'm making Weasley sweaters for all the grandkids,  This week I bought yarn for our Little Warrior's grey and orange Weasley sweater.  The Princess's purple sweater is finished, and The New Boy's black sweater is half done.  PAL's is in the planning stages.  Photos as soon as possible.  I love having a slow down project like this.

How have you slowed down your week to bless others and notice the blessings you receive?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

November Thankfulness #10 and #11

November 10th
I am thankful for beautiful autumn colors.

November 11th
Today is Veterans' Day in the US.  11/11.
I am thankful for this day for two reasons.  First. today is my son and daughter-in-law's ninth anniversary.  Happy Anniversary to Chaplain Dan and his wife!  Second, since it's Veterans' Day, I am thankful for my husband, my son, my son-in-law, my father, my uncles who served and still serve in the US military.  I checked the time this morning as I was enjoying a cuppa with The Professor (a free one for him, as a veteran) and the time was 11:11 on 11/11.  Perfect timing.

Monday, November 09, 2015

November Thankfulness #8 and #9

Oops.  I missed yesterday, so today I am posting for two days.

November 8th
Not only is my husband funny and wise, he indulges my crazy ideas.  On our evening walk, we noticed a tumbleweed tumbling down the street in front of us. (Pause here and sing that cowboy tune by Sons of the Pioneers, Tumbling Tumbleweeds.)  The Professor picked up the tumbleweed and carried it home so I could photograph it.  You need to know that tumbleweeds have short but exceedingly sharp thorns.  Bringing that tumbleweed to the house was an act of sacrificial love.

The dried tumbleweed is indeed nearly spherical.
Below you can see where it broke from its root.

November 9th
I am thankful for opportunities to serve.  This afternoon, I drove a friend to another town to deliver several boxes of glassware and three bags of clothing to a thrift store which helps support a ministry for human trafficking victims in India.  I loved her comment:

I am giving away so many cute little things.
Now they are cute little things for someone else.

You may quote her, too.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

November Thankfulness #7

November 7th.

[Scroll down to the next post for Friday Fave Fives]

Today I'm thankful for a funny husband.  He's also considerate of my aversion to shopping.  We visited a Mission Market and found a couple of presents for Christmas.  Then we went clothes shopping.  To state that I am picky about my clothes is a gross understatement.  He bought socks.  I left the shops empty-handed.  His very wise and appropriate comment made me laugh:

"It's better to be picky about the clothes in the store
than the clothes in your closet."

You may quote him.

Friday, November 06, 2015

November Thankfulness #6 and Weekly Gratitude

My week did not include any photography.  It was that kind of a week.  It was also that kind of week when I am so tired on Thursday night that I didn't finish posting my Friday Fave Fives, so I am late putting them up.  But better later than never...

1.  I have added a class on Wednesdays to my teaching schedule.  The teacher who normally teaches the class needs to take some time off and I have stepped in as the long term sub.  I'm not quite sure why I would call this a FAVE except that I know I need to do this; it's the right thing.  Maybe I am going to appreciate the extra money in the future months.  If nothing else, this addition to my schedule is a reminder to not complain about being busy.

2.  It rained!  RAIN!  For about half an hour, it rained!  It's most important that the mountains inland (Sierra Nevada Mountains) get snow if we are going to break this drought, but it was lovely to smell the damp earth and feel the little drops of precipitation.  FAVE!

3.  In a conversation with a friend this week, I was reminded how thankful I am to have enough food, enough money to buy that food, and easy access to that which is really very inexpensive compared to other places in the world.  I consider good food a privilege. (And I don't like it when I see people throwing away perfectly good food.)  So yes, abundant FOOD is a FAVE.

4.  Finally, after several attempts to arrange my schedule, I was able to attend a local Prayer Shawl Knit/Crochet group.  A former co worker invited me and I was able to duck in for about 45 minutes after class this week.  The group is full of lovely and gracious ladies who made me feel so very welcome.  Obviously, anything to do with knitting would be a FAVE.

5.  I have decided to return again this November to my tradition of posting daily my November Thankfulness thoughts.  Writing about writing about being thankful can be a FAVE, right?  It encourages me to think daily about gratitude and it also encourages me to read the responses of people who let me know they've visited here at Willow's Cottage and appreciate my posts.

And here is my November Thankfulness for November 6th.
I am thankful for safety in travel.  This morning we drove to Hollywood to attend the graduation of a young man who we have known for many years.  We met him and his family when he was a wee little seven year old.  Today he graduated from the Los Angeles Film School.  I'm thankful for the evidence of God's grace in his life and also that we safely navigated those LA freeways.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

November Thankfulness #5

November 5th.
Today I am thankful for warm blankets and comfy socks.  This evening it is cold in the house and I am snuggled up in my Beaches Blanket and a pair of blue hand knit wool socks.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

November Thankfulness #4

November 4th.
Today I am thankful for the beautiful place where I live.  Today the weather is sunny, there is a slight breeze, and the current temperature is 68 degrees F.   The landscape is filled with palm trees, buckwheat and sage.

Poinsettias grow into trees.

And bougainvilleas bloom all year.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

November Thankfulness 1, 2, 3

During November I have a tradition of posting daily what I am thankful for.  This week, November sneaked up on me and I just realized today that it is November 3rd.  Although I am starting late, I am planning to post daily photos and short messages here at Willow's Cottage to focus on Thanksgiving.

November 1
I am thankful for my children.  I'm thankful they love to hike and walk in the woods as much as I do.

November 2
I am thankful for gorgeous hiking trails wherever I travel.

November 3
I am thankful for autumn beauty.  The colors!!