Monday, December 31, 2018


2019.  Wow.  It's another New Year.  I don't do New Year's resolutions.  I do Hopes and Goals.  Also, each year, I choose a word that describes where my thoughts and focus seem to be leading me for the year.
I haven't been focusing much on the new year; I've just been trying to keep up with Christmas activities with my kids.  So when I realized that it was almost the new year, I hadn't considered any words to focus my intentions for 2019.
Then out of the blue, out of the wider world of thought, the word ENCOURAGE popped into my head.  For the past few months, I've noticed that my role among my friends and family has been moving in to encouraging them.  Rejoicing with them.  Mourning with them.  Sometimes, they have encouraged me, too.
I think that ENCOURAGE is how I am supposed to my time and energy this coming year.  I will encourage friends who are struggling, encourage loved ones to trust God in all circumstances.

I have written down a few hopes and goals, too.
1.  Keep on knitting and weaving through my yarn stash. (will that ever end?}
2.  Read through the Chronological Bible again this year.
3.  Pray more.  (keep my prayer journal handy all the time)
4.  Get back to exercising regularly and eating a more healthy diet (I already do these, but I want to refocus)
5.  Use up various consumables that have just been sitting around in drawers and cupboards--mainly lotions and cleaning supplies.
6.  Focus on learning more about gardening and growing herbs.

I think that's enough.

Do you have hopes and goals for 2019?  How can I be an ENCOURAGEMENT to you?

Thursday, December 27, 2018

That Week Between

I have been away from most blogs and websites for three weeks or more.  That's because I left on an airplane and flew many many miles and have been away from my little cottage.  It's been fun to spend my time with kids and grandkids and just focus on them.  The Professor and I are enjoying the season!

This Friday Fave Five is going to be a catch up session. Follow the FFF link to share your faves and to read what others have written.  I have been counting my blessings and have been remembering to be thankful.  I just haven't written them all down.  So, anyway, here goes:

1.  That list:  I finished the weaving projects and almost all of my knitting projects.

                         knitted scarf
                         six knitted hats in Christmas colors for my friend's studio open house
                         knitted hat for PAL's cousin
                         another knitted hat
                         woven scarf
                         knitted vest for baby boy (church friend)
                         knitted vest for baby girl (another church friend)

                         some knitted bunnies-these are half done and that's the last on my list left to do.

2.  Christmas is my favorite holiday and I just love singing Christmas carols!  Christmas morning I woke up with Hark! The Herald Angels Sing running through my brain, and it stuck with me all day.
Hark! the herald angels sing, 
"Glory to the new-born King! 
Peace on earth, and mercy mild, 
God and sinners reconciled." 
Joyful, all ye nations, rise, 
Join the triumph of the skies; 
With th' angelic host proclaim, 
"Christ is born in Bethlehem." 
Hark! the herald angels sing, 
"Glory to the new-born King!
Christ, by highest heaven adored: 
Christ, the everlasting Lord; 
Late in time behold him come, 
Offspring of the favoured one. 
Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see; 
Hail, th'incarnate Deity: 
Pleased, as man, with men to dwell, 
Jesus, our Emmanuel! 
Hark! the herald angels sing, 
"Glory to the new-born King!
Hail! the heaven-born 
Prince of peace! 
Hail! the Son of Righteousness! 
Light and life to all he brings, 
Risen with healing in his wings 
Mild he lays his glory by, 
Born that man no more may die: 
Born to raise the son of earth, 
Born to give them second birth. 
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King !"

3.  Dr. Mike was able to pause in his travels and research long enough to spend four days with us!  We put him on a plane Thursday night and waved goodbye but promised him we would try to get to his place in the next couple of months.

4.  We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with three of our four children and three of our four grandchildren.  And we were able to Skype with Chaplain Dan and his family (especially our PAL!) What a blessing!  And guess what...I didn't take any photos!  I can't believe it!

5.  No photos isn't quite right.  Someone took this photo of The Professor and me and I put it on my facebook page where it has gotten lots and lots of 'likes' and 'loves'.  We like our matchy shirts.

So Merry Christmas/Happy New Year to everyone!  Are you looking forward to 2019?  I'm reflecting on my word and focus for this next year.  Are you?

Friday, December 07, 2018

That December List

Do you have your December To Do List?  Have you been checking it? Twice?  As in twice every hour?  I have.  I've been working my way down that list, crossing items off as I complete them.  In fact, that is my focus for Friday Fave Fives.  Here is where you go to join in being thankful this week.

1.  Christmas letter.  We have (nearly) finished writing it and will be printing the copies to mail out.  The fave is that the addresses are all updated and labels printed.

2.  That letter:  I asked my children to contribute their paragraphs and they all sent me the information in (mostly) timely fashion so we could format the letter and add some cute photos.

3.  Activities.  I wrote them on my To Do List and checked them off.  Pick up my earrings that were being repaired at the jewelers.  Open House at my friend's weaving studio.  Steering committee meeting for my Mom to Mom group.  Two Christmas dinners with groups of friends.  Last Bible Study for the year.  Buying books and stocking stuffers.  Buying yarn and buttons for some knitting and weaving projects.

4.  I have been knitting and weaving like crazy to finish those projects before I leave for points in eastern US for Christmas.  You should see the list.  It's getting done!

                         knitted scarf
                         six knitted hats in Christmas colors for my friend's studio open house
                         knitted hat for PAL's cousin
                         another knitted hat
                         woven scarf
                         some knitted bunnies
                         knitted vest for baby boy (church friend)
                         knitted vest for baby girl (another church friend)

5.  Shopping.  Almost done.  I think all I have left to buy is one book.*  Amazon to the rescue! *The Professor just ordered it! Done!

This is definitely a busy time of year, but making my lists really helps me get things done!  I'm thankful for the time to get it all organized and get it done!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Done with November

I can't believe it's almost DECEMBER.  What happened to November?  I know that Thanksgiving was early this year and that the first Sunday of Advent is this weekend.  Wow!

So what did I do this past week?  What blessings arrived on the doorstep of Willow's Cottage?  I'm sharing Five Faves--five favorite things from this past week and linking to Susanne's group Friday Fave Fives.

1.  Obviously, the big fave this week is the RAIN we had on Wednesday and Thursday.  Here in Southern California, rain is somewhat of a rarity.  We popped into the library to drop off books and all the high school kids are in the front plaza running and jumping around in the rain.

2.  With rain comes some trepidation after having had two or more rain induced deadly mudslides in the past few years in our area after wild fires have decimated the flora on the hills.  So we are all very thankful that there were no mudslides this week.

3.  I'm thankful for the very diligent fire departments and police and sheriffs who patrolled all around the burn areas (including my neighborhood) checking on everyone and everyplace to make sure the mud and rocks stayed where they are supposed to be.  Our first responders have been very very busy lately.  I'm so thankful that they work hard to keep us safe.

4.  Also with rain and wind comes that phenomenon called tumbleweeds.  They are real things.  And they are big.  In the wind, the tumbleweeds were jay-walking across the roads and sidewalks and cutting off other drivers in their lanes and getting stuck on road signs.  I love 'tumbleweed season'.

photo taken in the rain near a lemon orchard

5.  And of course there is always knitting at Willow's Cottage.  Two new bunnies!  Aren't they adorable?  I love to knit and I love to create beautiful things.

So now we are done with November!  On to Advent and Christmas!  My favorite time of the year!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Five Faves For Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend to all my American friends!  I know I am a bit late posting my Friday Fave Fives, but because I had family visiting, I decided to just enjoy our time together and focus on them until they left on Friday.  I could have listed fifty things I'm thankful for, but I chose just five from this week.  So here are my Five Faves for Thanksgiving.  You can click on that link to join in.

1.  First, I'm thankful for Susanne who so faithfully posts and leads the Friday Fave Fives.

2.  For the first time in two or three years, I was home for Thanksgiving!

3.  Our older son Chaplain Dan and his family joined us.  Our PAL entertained us all.  Doesn't every four year old need a Hebrew alphabet puzzle?

4.  One of The Professor's sisters joined us for Thanksgiving dinner, and later his other sister and two nephews arrived to share pie and pie and more pie.

5.  Speaking of pie, Chaplain Dan made the apple pies.  It's nice to know that the years of teaching my children how to cook and bake have reaped their benefits.   They even tell me that they LIKE to cook.  And I don't have to do it anymore.

6.  OK, I couldn't do just five.  Because, truly, a week can't go by without knitting.  I finished these two Harry Potter house scarves for Chaplain Dan's nieces.  I made him model them.  The fave parts?  I was pleased that the girls asked me to make the scarves, I am glad I finished them before he left so he could take the scarves to them,and it made me happy that he was willing to model them.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend, everyone!  Be Thankful every day!

Friday, November 16, 2018

What a Week!

What a Week!  Yes, we're home.  Although there have been some fire flare ups on the hills above our neighborhood, we were able to return home on Saturday evening.  We are so thankful that our home is safe from the Hill Fire* and Woolsey Fire.  It hurts our hearts when we hear of people who have lost everything--especially so soon after the Thomas Fire which devastated Ventura in our county last December, and after the shootings at Borderline in Thousand Oaks which is the next town over from ours. So here are my heartfelt Friday Fave Fives.   This week I can link up to Susanne's blog!

1.  Saturday evening, we enjoyed a dinner out with long time friends before we 'repopulated' our home.  We sat there in the restaurant and chatted and laughed.  It was great.  Exactly what we needed.

2.  I was called for jury duty.  Yes. Again.  My report day was Wednesday and I did get called into the courtroom and stayed until 5:15 pm while prospective jurors were interviewed.  Because of the memorial service for the county sheriff who was killed in the Borderline shootings last week, we were held over until Thursday afternoon, so I had to report there again and sit in the courtroom until all the jurors were chosen and sworn in.  Then we who were not chosen on the jury were allowed to leave.  Hopefully. I won't be called again in the near future.  What was the fave?  Meeting a couple of other women who I really clicked with, one of whom noticed my felted bag and asked, "Did you knit that?  I knit, too."  Well, that obviously meant instant friendship.

3.  Meeting with a couple of friends for a morning planning session for our Mom to Mom group at church.  I am learning to love these co-mentor moms and appreciate their wisdom (and their humor).

4.  This is a funny thing:  when we left last Thursday, I had poured some hot water over dried chocolate mint leaves and left it to steep while we were gone for what we thought would be about an hour.  Well, when we returned Saturday night, there was the tea mug.  I decided to try the tea.  It was delicious!  Evidently leaving mint tea to steep for 50 plus hours makes excellent tea!

5.  We hadn't seen one of The Professor's sisters for awhile.  She texted and said, "Hey, I was missing you a lot tonight. Can I come over tomorrow to see you?"  So we had a wonderful visit with her and she stayed for lunch.  She even loved our usual lunch of veggies and more veggies with a bit of hummus thrown in.

I hope you are all preparing for a joyous and wonderful Thanksgiving!  Giving thanks is what we're all about here.

* The Hill Fire was named after the place the fire started:  Hill Canyon-- where The Professor and I hike on a regular basis.  It doesn't look like this anymore:

Friday, November 09, 2018

Faves in a Fire

Hello Friends, you may have heard by now that my county in Southern California is burning. Again. I am writing this while sitting in a Starbucks coffee shop.  We were notified of our evacuation as the first  to receive the notification. But. We weren't at home, so we were unable to pack anything.  However, we are ok and so is our home.

So here are my Five Faves From this new Fire. Here is the link. Hope it works! Until I can get my computer, I can't seem to link up...

1. We are safe.

2. As of now, our home is safe and secure.

3.  We had a place to sleep last night.  Friends invited us immediately to stay with them.  Actually, we had numerous offers for a bed.  We were amazed and overehelmed by the immediate response of so many people offering help.

4.  Following on #3, we were encouraged and felt so very loved by so many calls, emails and texts from friends and family checking on us. Those misty eyes of mine --maaybe it is the smoke in the air; or maybe not.

5. I am so thankful that The Professor and I were together when our phones began ringing with mandatory evacuation notices. I had planned to drive up to the shopping mall by myself, but in the end I waited for him to finish a task and he went with me. Otherwise, I would have been fighting my way down toward him on very.very.very slow back roads and he would have been walking out of our area to evacuate. Together is better. Even though we took that road to our friends' home, we were together.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Five Quotes to Contemplate

I am out of town right now taking a watercolor painting class (yes, it's true!). 

where I am
 (don't worry; The Professor is home keeping everything safe.)

But even so, I wanted to participate in Friday Fave Fives.  Here is the link to Susanne's blog and directions for how to post your own FFFs.  So here are five quotes I've been thinking of lately.  I share them with you so you can contemplate the truth and beauty of them.

1.  A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot.

2.  Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with your God.

3.  Sow the seeds of good health with a generous dose of gardening.

4.  Do something every day that makes you happy.

5.  And The Professor's favorite:  Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.

After I return, I will catch up with you all.  Happy Weekend!

Friday, October 26, 2018


Happy Friday!  Happy Friday Fave Fives!  Here's how I spent my week.  At least how I spent one of my favorite days this week.  Join us at Living to Tell the Story for Friday Fave Fives.

I've been thinking all week about how to share my day in Down Town Los Angeles.  Yes, I traveled down there again.  This time, two friends from our small artists group wanted to explore LA with me.  Sometimes, people will say, "When I think of Los Angeles, I think of traffic, smog, and Hollywood."  Well, yeah, there is traffic; sometimes there's smog (not much anymore, really); and of course, there is Hollywood, which I avoid, and truly it isn't all that glamorous.

But Los Angeles is so much more.  There's history and beauty and mystery.  And great food.

1.  "The Girls" wanted to go up to the top of the City Hall building.  Twenty-six stories.  The top floor also has a walkway/observation deck all the way around the outside.  You can look down on all of Down Town from the four sides.  What views!

2.  We had to laugh--we found where the Halloween witch keeps her broom.

3.  Right in the middle of the crosswalk, there was the city seal painted on the bricks:

4.  We visited a new to me spot:  The Last Book Store.  Really, it deserves its own post.  Here I am posing in front of a wall of books, one of hundreds.

Tunnel of Books

Of course there was a knit shop tucked into a corner of the second floor.

5.  Los Angeles, like any large city, has its share of funky art, fun signs, and beautiful architectural detail.

I hope you enjoyed your 'day' in Down Town Los Angeles (#dtla) as much as I did.

Friday, October 19, 2018

What a Week(end)!

Wow. Where did the week go?  Well, I know where my weekend went; but the whole week flew by, too, which is why I didn't even get around to check on others who posted their Friday Fave Fives last week (my apologies! I'll do better this week.)  If you wish to participate in Friday Fave Fives, follow THIS LINK to Susanne's blog.

1.  Of course, my first fave would be the days I spent at Reyes Adobe Days last weekend.  I love this venue because the staff there are so welcoming and helpful and encouraging.  They moved tables.  They offered water.  They gave hugs.  (Don't tell the other places, but I think this is my favorite place ever to do weaving and spinning demos.)
My very serene view of the patio before everyone arrived.  Do you notice the damp spots?  Yes, it rained Friday night.  Believe it or not.  In Southern California.  Not much, just enough to get everything wet and make it all smell wonderful.

2.  On Saturday, I took my rigid heddle loom and worked on a scarf which I nearly finished that day.

Eleanor enjoys helping me.

Finished on Wednesday!

3.  On Sunday, I had my spinning wheel and worked with some alpaca fiber.  It's fun to play the guessing game with the kids.  "What kind of fiber am I spinning?"  Some of the hilarious answers included elephant, giraffe, dog and cat.

4.  You'd think I'd take a day to rest, right? Nope.  Monday morning, my friends and I surprised our friend with a Birthday Brunch.  At her house.  Her husband and daughter organized it, and for once, she was truly surprised.  It was the BEST!

5.  Guess what I did on Tuesday.  Yep.  Nothing.  The reason that is one of my faves should be obvious.

And here are some wise words to make you laugh:

You only need two tools in life.
WD-40 and Duct Tape.
If it doesn't move and should,
Use WD-40.
If it moves and shouldn't,
Use Duct Tape.

Friday, October 12, 2018

It's Autumn! Truly.

Hello!  It's finally cooling down a bit.  We've even thrown a light blanket on the bed.   It is mid-October, after all.  And it's Friday, so I am celebrating Friday Fave Fives by linking up with everyone over at Susanne's blog.  You can, too.

1.  See? There are autumn colors in Southern California!  A fallen leaf.

2.  And since it's fall, it's time for another weekend of spinning and weaving at a favorite venue, Reyes Adobe Days.  Honestly, I think the workers at the adobe and park are the most friendly and helpful I've ever encountered at a demonstration.
I'll be there Saturday and Sunday.  All day.  Selling my autumn hats.

3.  And little headbands.

4.  Stretching my knitting a bit, I tried a new bunny pattern.  Isn't she adorable?  Those shoes!  What you can't see well is that there are even buttons on the shoe straps.

5.  I've been rereading a children's book this week:  Redwall by Brian Jacques.  It is a fiction story.  Have you read it?

Friday, October 05, 2018

Los Angeles Downtown Day

This week I combined several of my favorite things in to one memorable day.  Here are Five Faves from just that ONE DAY in Downtown Los Angeles, my contribution to Friday Fave Fives with Susanne.

1.  I spent the whole day with a very dear friend.

2.  I rode the train.

3.  I walked. And walked. And walked. More than 20,000 steps according to my pedometer.

4.  Although my friend has spent many years living in the LA area, she had never walked or even known about many areas in downtown Los Angeles. So. I led her on a walking tour.

Bradbury Building
which is famous for appearing in lots of movies

Bells of  Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

Who knew there were hidden monuments all over downtown?

The Million Dollar Theatre

Steps across the street from Riordan Library

5.  The compelling reason for us to meet 'halfway' was just to spend time together and encourage each other.  Which we did.  It was a day full of blessings!

Friday, September 28, 2018

End of September, Really?

Happy Friday!  It's time for Friday Fave Fives. with Susanne. And it's the last week of September!  How did that happen??  Anyway.  These are the five things I've found this week to be thankful for.

1.  Weather that is cool enough to wear my flannel shirts.  I do love my flannel shirts.

2.  My college friend wrote this book.  Another friend bought me a copy of it!  I can highly recommend it.

3.  Several years ago, The Professor and I read through all the books by Dick Francis.  He wrote murder mysteries based in England and focused on horse racing.  At least I thought we had read them all.  This week at the library, I found a title I didn't recognize, and as I read the fist chapter, I was sure I'd never read it before.  So I'm enjoying this new to me book.

4.  I've been working on a new bunny knitting pattern.  At this point, I have a head, a couple of arms, two ears and two legs.  Oh, and the body.  Now I just need to put Bunny together.  I'm enjoying the challenge.

5.  Our small groups at our church started up again for our autumn sessions.  It's good to be back together!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Farmers Market

Ralph Waldo Emerson stated, "Earth laughs in flowers." 

I think that the earth also rejoices in vegetables and fruit.
Especially when they are at our farmers market.

What an abundance!