Thursday, January 25, 2018

It's the End of January?

Wow, this week just flew by.  It's already Friday again.  Here is what I like to call Willow's Week when I join others in focusing on being grateful for FIVE FAVES on FRIDAY.

1.  We have been getting in a walk almost every day in our quest to return to our regular routine.  One day we hiked one of my favorite trails--Hill Canyon.  It's such a blessing to be able to be active AND to have beautiful places to enjoy nature.

(photo from archives)

2.  Our weather has been sunny and pleasant.  Perfect for being outside. [ And here's a funny thing:  randomly, my weather app on my phone started giving me update information in Turkish!  And then, the temperature started showing that it was 81F!  I suppose that somewhere in the world it was 81F--maybe Istanbul?]

3.  We have come to sad conclusion that my camera cannot be resurrected.  The fave?  Well, we'll be shopping for a new one.

4.  Thursday evening we attended the opening of a multi-media exhibit at the university:  Finland at 100.   Finland is beautiful!  And fascinating!  Did you know that Angry Birds (the video game) was created by a Finnish company?  And Marimekko the nature inspired clothing and accessory designer is also a Finnish company.  A bit of trivia:  the longest word in Finnish is:  

(photo from my phone)

5.  Tangerines!  I wish I had my camera so I could photograph All.The.Tangerines. on my tree.  We've had a bumper crop this winter (yes, there are December ripening citrus!) and now we're giving away fruit AND eating a bunch of them ourselves every day.  YUM!  I  LOVE tangerines!

And so there is Willow's Week in Five Faves.  Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Five Reasons I'm Thankful This Week

This week I've been adjusting to jet lag, a three hour time change, and renewed routines.  Truly, I'm happy to be back home.  Here are five reasons which are my Friday Five Faves.

1.  Although there was ice and snow on the roads as we left for the airport Saturday morning, we arrived safely and in good time for our flight home.  I'm thankful for safety on highways and in the sky.  And that there isn't snow in Southern California.

2.  Hugs and more hugs from friends who cried, "You're back!"  World's Best Neighbor and I have had lots of catch up conversations.

3.  World's Best Neighbor sent me a text to tell me that she had booked us in for pedicures.  Now my feet look and feel so nice.  Added bonus was the drive to Ventura included a few peeks at the beach and ocean.

4.  Our mail was being held while we were gone.  So this week I've enjoyed opening all the Christmas cards and letters we received over the whole season.  It was wonderful to read them all.

5.  We are back in our walking routine.  How I've loved seeing our mountains and palms trees and brilliant sunsets.

6.  Bonus:  On Sunday, we were pleasantly surprised to see our nephew and his wife walk into church service, and they were equally surprised to see us.  They didn't know we were home yet, and we didn't know they were visiting The Professor's sister for the weekend.  As usual, we enjoyed lunch with them after church.

Unfortunately, as we were driving to catch our plane last weekend, my camera broke.  Result:  no photos.  [insert sad face]

Friday, January 12, 2018

Finding Faves in Cold Weather

We are still with our daughter in 'not Southern California' this week.  The weather has fluctuated dramatically between almost pleasant temperatures and frigid ice and snow.  I'm not a fan of cold winter weather, but I can choose to find joy, gratitude and thankfulness.  Click over to Susanne's blog and join in celebrating gratitude with Friday Fave Fives.

1.  A couple of days it warmed up enough so we could walk on paved paths without slipping on icy patches.  One of the walks was at the local arboretum.  Now we have walked these paths in every season.  (And, yep, I forgot my camera.)

2.  Another day, we walked on a bike path along a creek.  It wasn't a long walk but it was enough to keep us active.

3.  Lunches with our daughter and her coworker.  Twice.  Good conversations ranging from healthy eating habits to theology and everything in between.

4.  Picking up The New Big Boy from school, something we seldom have the privilege to do.  We even met his teacher and some of the administration people.  Good connections.

5.  It makes us happy to know that the next generations are keeping up the habit of visiting the library regularly.  I love the statue on the top of the arch in the local library parking lot.

We fly home tomorrow.  Goodbye, snow.  Hello, home!

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

A Natural Year

As I normally do in late December and early January, I have been pondering my Hopes and Goals for this year of 2018.  I have been considering what word best describes my focus.

I was coming up blank.  Nothing.  My prayer has been that God would show me what HE wants my focus to be this year.  Finally, yesterday it popped out at me.  Tracy posted a recipe for a natural body/face scrub on her blog, and I thought, YES!  I want to focus on having a more natural approach to everything in my life.

Already, I do quite well on eating only natural foods.  My whole food plant based diet requires that.  I've been learning about herbal teas and simple remedies.  I've backed off a lot on make up and use the most natural foundations and powders I can find.  My friend sends me her homemade soap.  Even my lip balm is natural and mostly organic.

But cleaning supplies and other body/facial cleansers have been areas where I have been confused and not very successful.  I'm going to begin here by making a natural sugar scrub.

My daughter has been focusing lately on Just Do One Thing.  I like that thought.  So during this year, I am going to Do One Thing at a time.  Naturally.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Baby, It's COLD Outside

Here it is, the First Friday of 2018.
Welcome to Friday Fave Fives!
I'm reporting in from a very COLD place where there is SNOW.

I am still visiting family, and it's COLD!   Being in this frigid weather, I am reminded to be thankful for things we often simply take for granted like:

1.  Hot drinks.  Sadly, my daughter's electric tea kettle died.  But, we were able to simply drive to the store and purchase another one.  Making a mug of tea is easy.  And helps keep me warm.

2.  Electric blankets.  Who knew?

3.  Hmmm, electricity.  To keep those appliances and blankets working.  Piped right into the house. Twenty-four hours a day.  Every day.

4.  Extra time with The (Not So) New Boy.  He has had late starts at school and now today school was cancelled due to 'weather' which I think means the COLD.  We braved the low temperatures one day and took a walk.  He decided he was my protector, using snowballs and icicles for defense.

5.  Warm clothes.  Wool socks.  Extra layers of clothes.  Boots.  I'm thankful I have these!

To all of you who live in this kind of weather all winter, you have my respect!

Monday, January 01, 2018

2017 in Review

It's January first.  But.  I'm still mentally in 2017 since I am visiting family 2500 miles away from home.  Anyway, I decided to look back through the photos I took and choose one for each month.  You know how it is...I couldn't choose just one!  So here are two (or maybe more) photos from January through December.  Mostly, I chose tried to choose one landscape and one micro photo. You can tell from the pictures where I was each month.  Enjoy!

At home where the jonquils were blooming.

Wait! What?? Snow?  Visiting Ohio.

Back home where the poppies are blooming.  In February.

And the Pacific Ocean quietly calls to me.

Spring comes to Southern California

And PAL comes to the beach.

The monarch butterflies grace our garden.

Poppies pop up everywhere.

And I travel again.
Ohio bike path

Back home
The neighborhood golf course

Santa Monica Mountains

The jacarandas were late to bloom.

Ventura County beach

June Gloom in Southern California is a real thing.


A Northern California and Oregon road trip

New Mexico and Arizona

Surfing and sunset

Even in SoCal, the leaves turn in autumn.  Sorta.



San Francisco

Humboldt County

Ventura County

Santa Monica Mountains tower above our home.

An egret enjoys the neighborhood lake.

 monarch caterpillar

Late autumn in Maryland


Passing national monuments is normal life in Washington, D.C.

See?  I just can't limit my favorites!