Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A New Year!

2020.  It's a new year.   It's new goals.  Every year I choose a word to focus my thoughts and goals.  Some years the word chooses me.  So it was for 2020.  A friend gave me a drink container with a lid and straw.  I like to use those for drinking my water every day.  This one is special because it says TRUST several times in a ring around the top of it.  I looked at it and it hit me.  That's my word for 2020.  TRUST.  Trust God with my future and where our new moving adventure will take us.

My 2020 goals include:
1.  Making the move to live near our daughters.  This involves selling our house and TRUSTING God for the timing.
2.  Like last year, I want to improve my gardening and herb growing skills.  I'll be learning about a whole new climate for growing.
3.  I noticed that this past year I was posting less often on my blog.  I am hoping to increase my posts this coming year--at least two posts a week.
4.  The Professor is planning a couple of trips for 2020.  More on that later.
5.  Again, this year I want to continue reading through the Chronological Bible.  I didn't finish in 2019, but maybe I can get it done in 2020.
6.  The never ending attempts to knit and weave my yarn stash down continues.
7.  Another continuing goal is my health--eating healthfully and exercising regularly are two great ways to maintain health.
8.  This final goal is most likely to be my hardest one to maintain.  I want to learn more about sketching and watercolor painting.  A friend has challenged me to 'just do it'.  Draw something every day!

Do you make goals (I won't call them resolutions!) or choose a word for your year?  Please share!

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 27, 2019

The Week Between

Christmas is over.  New Year's Day is coming.  It's Friday and we're not home.  But even so, I want to check in here at Willow's Cottage and be thankful for Willow's Week.  Friday Fave Fives is a good practice for me to remember to be thankful all the time.  Even when we're between the holidays.

1.  Traveling in the days before Christmas can be stressful.  We are thankful for a safe trip-- 400+ miles.

2.  A safe trip for Younger Son (Dr. Mike).  He flew in from New Mexico.  (I confess that I loved picking him up from the airport--that first glimpse--There he is!)

3.  Christmas was wonderful!  We celebrated with both of our sons at Older Son's home (Chaplain Dan).  PAL was suitably excited to see us.  AND they have a Christmas tree.  (We didn't put a tree up this year, so I missed having one.)

(This is the kind of photo you get when you leave your camera in the car and the lens gets fogged up.  I kinda liked it.)

4.  We sent out some of our Christmas letters via email and have already received sweet responses.  I love the reconnecting that happens during the Christmas season.

5.  The Christmas Day skype call with our girls who were together a long way away.  I missed being with them, but a video call was a good second best.

We will be returning home tomorrow, bringing Dr. Mike with us.  We just keep celebrating the whole week between Christmas and New Years!

Friday, December 20, 2019

December Means Christmas!

Happy Friday!  Friday Faves Fives time.  And it's almost Christmas!

1.  A hike in the Santa Monica Mountains.  According to The Professor's app, we walked 3.32 miles and almost none of it was level. It was a good workout with beautiful scenery.

2.  Christmas letter is written and printed.  We are ALMOST finished folding, stuffing, licking, and stamping.  And it's not even Christmas Eve yet.

3.  Another Christmas concert.  Two friends performed in the concert Sunday evening at their church in Thousand Oaks.  The program was Christmas music through history.  Sussex Carol, J.S. Bach, Charles Wesley, G.F. Handel, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Matt Redman.  It was wonderful!

4.  Christmas music playing at home and in the car.  What's your favorite carol?  (I don't think I could choose although Mary, Did You Know? is high on my list along with O Holy Night and Silent Night.)

5.  Bluegrass Christmas Campfire.  A young mom in our church (and I'm her mentor mom) sings in a Bluegrass band.  She invited us over for an evening of music around the campfire last night.  We bundled up, grabbed World's Best Neighbor and headed over to listen.  Lots of little kids running around.  Mugs of hot chocolate and spiced cider.  Christmas songs played on banjos, bass, guitars and harmonicas.  It was heavenly, under the stars and around the fire.  And my jacket smells like wood smoke this morning.

I am so blessed and thankful for this wonderful Christmas season!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Exploring England, Part 3

Lately, I have been scrolling through my photos of our March and April trip to England.  Scrolling and scrolling and stopping to gaze at a favorite memory.  Tintagel.  Canterbury.  Manchester.  York.

Glastonbury.  I never had any interest in visiting Glastonbury.  I considered it to be something like Haight Ashbury Street in San Francisco in the 1960s or some place where everyone was performing pagan rituals and dancing in the streets.  I was wrong.

Glastonbury is the site of a marvelous Christian abbey.  Legend says that Glastonbury Abbey was originally founded by Joseph of Arimathea (Yes, that Joseph.  The man who offered his new tomb for Jesus's burial.)  This is the place where, according to more legend, that King Arthur and Queen Guinevere are buried.

And standing high above the abbey is a hill where there was once a church.  Glastonbury Tor.  St. Michael's Tower still stands on the top of the tor.  Feast your eyes on these photos of this Grade 1 listed building, a true treasure of Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, Christian history.

The 360 degree view is breath-taking.

Friday, December 13, 2019

December Means Parties

It's Friday!  I almost missed that it's FRIDAY!
Brain clicks in.
Time for FRIDAY FAVE FIVES. (follow link to join in)
What happened this week?

Parties. Lots of parties.  No photos. (Only a little bit of knitting.)

1.  Monday night.  Our church small group of 16 people met for our last get together and dinner for the year.  We had so much fun.  Everyone said as we were leaving that we LOVE our group.  I'm so thankful for these close friends who rejoice and mourn together as we do life together.

2.  Wednesday evening we enjoyed a dinner and long chat with new friends.  Oh, it was good to get to know them!

3.  Thursday was a crazy busy day.  Morning started with our Mom to Mom monthly meeting.  Lots of young moms and a few of us older mentor moms.  This month two young moms spoke about what they have learned and how they've grown in the past few years.  Then I talked about Lessons I've Learned in Life and From Whom.  I'm so thankful for the opportunity to share with all the moms.

4.  I ducked out a little early and headed to lunch with a group of friends from my Friday morning Bible study group.  There are just seven of us, but we love each other like sisters!

5.  One more dinner.  This time it was the Vegan Gourmet Club.  We love this group of people who share a meal once a month which focuses on a whole food, planted based diet to encourage health.  We've been going for three years and have made good friends there.

Food, Friends, Fellowship!

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Celebrating December

I always have such great intentions of posting more her at Willow's Cottage.  And then the week flies by and it's Friday again.  So here I am with the one tradition I manage to keep-- Friday Fave Fives with Susanne.  Click on the link to see what other people are thankful for and blessed with this week.  Here are mine:

1.  Between the rain storms, we managed to get in two great walks. Since Friday was #optoutside day, we chose to walk around Ventura Harbor.  Ocean. Sand. Seagulls. Boats.  Is there a better way to spend the day after Thanksgiving?

 harbor entrance

so many boats!

2.  Then on Monday, The Professor volunteered his time to light a concert.  So I spent the time he was hanging lights and doing whatever it is he does to create that amazing ambience to walk all around the perimeter of the university.  It's a beautiful campus, having been renovated from an old state hospital done in mission style architecture. (and only 1 mile from the Pacific Ocean!)

 a view of the campus from above on the hill with the water tank

looking east through the palm trees to the hills that surround the campus

3.  The concert!  Channel Islands Community Chorale which also includes students from the university sang two concerts on the weekend.  We attended both--Sunday afternoon and Monday evening.  The Professor wanted to hear the concert before he did the lighting.  I have friends who sing in the chorale, so it was a double blessing for me to hear them sing Mozart and Rachmaninoff as well as numerous contemporary composers.

4.  I love Christmas!  I've started doing a little bit of decorating.  First:  advent wreath and candles.  This week is Hope!

5.  We joined several people from a current and former Bible study group for a Christmas dinner.  A few years ago, the group was so large that we split in to two groups.  But we still get together for a holiday celebration every year.  It was great to see these long time friends again.

I think that December is mostly about celebrating.  Celebrating places and people and beauty.  And anticipating Christmas!