Friday, March 27, 2020

Blessings in Isolation 1

Hello, world!  How are you all faring in this new situation of isolation, fear and pandemic?  I hope you are able to focus on the blessings of finding new ways to connect with people.  I've discovered how Zoom for Bible Study classes and Skype for friends to chat can almost take the place of meeting together in real life.  I love how our church has quickly developed ways to stay in touch, see/hear sermons, and offer help.  It would be easy for me to focus on the fear, but I find that noting (and writing) my blessings daily and weekly is a huge help.  Here is Willow's Week in Friday Fave Fives.

1.  More walks.  Since the parks are closed, we have been walking around (and around) our neighborhood.  One day, we logged over five miles.

2.  More friendliness.  We've noticed on our amblings around the area that more people are outside, and they are friendlier.  They say, "Hi!"  They smile.  They wave.

3.  More knitting.  I've finished the blanket for a soon to arrive baby girl.  (Can you imagine telling your child, "Yes, you were born in the middle of a pandemic"?)

4.  More garden.  Since everything has stopped in the real estate area, I decided to assume that we won't be moving in the next two months; so I planted my garden.  Cauliflower. Broccoli. Celery.  Lettuce.  Tomatoes.  Basil.  It's a start.

5.  More kindness.  I have a tendency to always be the one to offer help.  But this week, we were blessed by two young women in our church.  One went to the store and got some almond milk.  And a second one drove over and dropped that wonderful gift on my porch.  It was a good opportunity for me to work on accepting the blessing.

And here is a bit of humor that I documented on one of our walks.

Geese doing their part for social distancing

But evidently they haven't been properly training their goslings.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Five Birthday Faves

Hello from sheltered Willow's Cottage!  Yes, I'm in California.  That means I'm home.  Being forced encouraged to stay home is not a really hard thing for this somewhat introverted person.  We have food and water, books and more books.  Right now, we're good.  I want to be an encourager--here are five things that I am thankful for this week, my FRIDAY FAVE FIVES.

Usually, my birthday is celebrated all over the world with parades and green glitter.  This year, none of that happened, but this birthday is certainly one I will remember.

1.  We went shopping at two grocery stores.  Fortunately the lines weren't long and the stores had everything on our list.  I am thankful for food.

2.  We made one more stop:  for a birthday pie.  I didn't choose the St. Patrick's Day cookies or cupcakes.  I wanted pie.  Thank you, Professor, for letting me stop and get it.  And thank you, Marie Callender's, for being open.

3.  Other than that one day of grocery shopping, we have been home.  We have taken two walks every day which has been encouraging--sunshine, clouds, flowers, bunny rabbits.

4.  My son and his family sent me birthday gifts which are coming slowly via Amazon delivery.  So far, I have received THREE books (YAY! I have time to read!) and a beautiful skein of merino wool sock yarn.  Note the color:  hummingbird.  PAL was so excited to tell me she chose it because it is 'hummingbird'.  I know what I'm going to be doing the next few days.  All other knitting projects will be put on hold while I knit my hummingbird socks.

5.  Peace.  Trust.  I am focusing on some Bible verses.  Joshua 1:9. Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.  Psalm 28:7.  The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.

In these distressing days, where are you finding thankfulness, peace and comfort?

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Photos to Cheer You Up

Here at Willow's Cottage, we have been staying home.  The corona virus has necessitated that.  So I have been focusing on all the things that make me happy here at home.  Enjoy them with me!

Birthday pie.
I much prefer a good pie to any cake.

Flowers in my garden

The monarch caterpillars are chewing away at the milkweed, getting long and chubby.  They are about ready to spin their cocoons and undergo metamorphosis to become magnificent monarch butterflies.

This bunny was left in the garden by the former owners of the cottage.  No, he's not real.  He's a small statue.  I have adopted him, and he will be moving with us to our new garden.

And finally, a blankie and a book.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Lent, Week Three

Happy Friday Fave Fives!  I hope you are staying well and being careful to avoid getting sick.  It is so important to find the blessings and sunshine in the midst of this storm.  Here is a link to where you can find others who are sharing their Fave Fives.

1.  My older son, Chaplain Dan, received notification this week that his name has been posted to the promotion board and he is in line to be promoted to Lieutenant Colonel!  We don't know when the ceremony and promotion will take place, but we will do everything we can to be with him and attend the ceremony!  I'm so thankful for this confirmation of his hard work, scholarship and dedication.

2.  World's Best Neighbor has a little patch of rhubarb in her garden.  Whenever she has some freshly picked, she shares it with me because she know I love it.  This week, I made a small rhubarb strawberry crisp.  YUM!

3.  March is my birthday month.  In fact, I share my birthday with a very special person--St. Patrick.  So this week at our monthly Mom to Mom group meeting at our church, the other leaders surprised me with a bouquet of roses, a tiara, and a Hobby Lobby gift card!  Surprised is the exactly correct word.  I had NO IDEA even as our co-leader called me up to the front.  I thought she was going to have me make an impromptu announcement or something.  And all the young women wrote notes on a card.  I feel SO LOVED!

4.   I am really thankful that we were able to meet with all the younger moms because it may be the last time for awhile, considering all the closures that are happening all over our county because of the corona virus.

5.  RAIN!  We have been getting rain this week.  I am convinced that we were responsible for the first day of rain.  Why?  We took a nice long walk, and when we were at the farthest spot away from the house, of course, the rain started.  By the time we made it home, we were truly 'soaked to the skin'.  You're welcome, Southern California!

I think it's important to find the sunshine even in the rain.  Let's find the sunshine, the blessings, in the rainstorms of every week.

Friday, March 06, 2020

Lent Week Two

Happy Friday on this second week of Lent.  I'm late posting my Friday Fave Fives (see below for my excuse).  The link is where you go to join the FFF bunch. I hope you have found blessings in this week as I have:

1.  Foggy mornings.  "Early morning coastal fog, giving way to sunshine later in the day."  It seems like our usual May and June weather has arrived early. I love how the fog sits on the mountains and hovers over the valleys.

2.  Dinner with out of town friends.  They were visiting this week from Arizona, so eight of us got together and enjoyed a fun time.

3.  New cell phones!  It was really past time to replace the old ones. The Professor did all the research and we walked in to the store and just like that we had our new phones.  This time we also bought an 'otterbox' for each of us (it's an extra sturdy casing for the phone).  I'm so thankful for a new cell phone.

4.  This really deserves its own fave.  The new phone has a great camera!

The poinsettia bushes that line the road up to Camarillo Grove Park

5.  I had intended to write this post earlier today, but we decided to take our walk first.  Well, that walk turned into a regular hike and we just kept on going.  There is a park (Camarillo Grove Park) about 1.5 miles from our home, but we hadn't been up there since the city had added a nature center and trail.  Our three mile walk turned into a four mile HIKE.  The nature trail is basically a mountainside switchback up and down and around.  And we didn't even do all of the trail because it was getting late (and cold).  So we will plan another day.  I love the serendipity of an unexpected and fun hike.

Where did you find blessings in your week?

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Bloom Time

It's bloom time at Willow's Cottage.
The sun is shining.
The sky is blue.
California poppies are popping up everywhere in my garden.

The calendula plants are self sowing.
I love their cheery faces.

Potted plants are proudly showing their colors.

Spring always means camellias.
Frilly light pink ones.

Dark pink camellias.

Variegated pink blooms.

Even the pansies are showing up in their pots.

Oh how I love Bloom Time!