Friday, April 24, 2020

Bye, April

Last week of April.  The end of self isolation is Not in sight yet.  How have you spent your week?  I have been focusing on the beauty around me, on blessing others and appreciating how they are blessing me.  That's a whole lot better than grumping about not being able to get out or not having what I want at the store.  Right now we must all focus on what we are thankful for--I'm thankful for FRIDAY FAVE FIVES!

1.  SPRING FLOWERS.  Super bloom is happening!  The poppies are growing wild!  How I love California's state flower.  We walk around the neighborhood, peek out our back window, gaze at the mountainsides.  Poppies everywhere!!  (warning:  poppy picture overload below)

poppies all over my garden

even 'popping' up in my lavender

cream colored poppy

two toned poppy

ruffled poppy 

2.  SKILLS.  More masks made.  Oops. I didn't take  a photo of the five masks I dropped off at the gathering point on my friend's porch this morning.  The call for masks hasn't slowed down.  I've lost count of the number of masks I've made.  It doesn't matter.

3.  KINDNESS.   I made masks for several couples/families in our small group at church.  Some sent me notes to thank me, one gave me flowers and oranges, another shared some homemade carrot cake.  One of the things I am loving about all this crisis time is that I am seeing the KINDNESS of people.

4.  HUMOR.  This made me laugh.  Even the topiary bunny in our neighborhood is maintaining self isolation and social distancing.

5.  LIFE!  The baby I made this kimono for was born this week.  She is a preemie, in NICU, but thriving.  We've prayed her and her mama through all these months of stress and uncertainty.  Soon she'll be home and wearing this little sweater.

What KINDNESS, BEAUTY, or HUMOR have you experienced this week?  And here's hoping that May will be filled with more positive changes.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Focusing on the Good

Hello, Friday.  It is Friday, isn't it?  Or is it Thursday?  I don't think it's Tuesday.  Well, I'm just going with Friday cuz it feels like Friday.  And I feel like doing my Fave Fives.  I know I didn't do much all week online as we are still processing our situation.  See below for an explanation of my last comments last week.  But I am back and choosing to Focus on the Good.  HERE is the link to Friday Fave Fives.

1.  Food pick up and share.  Our local food share is working differently right now.  My sister-in-law usually volunteers there, but even she can't go in to help.  So we all stood outside and handed our bags to workers and they returned them filled with food (from Trader Joe's!).  We reserved a few apples and other fruit for us and dropped the rest off at the home of a young couple with two children.  A bag of apples got left at our pastor's door.  Few things make me happier than sharing things like food with other people.

2.  More masks.  Every time I decide I can set aside the mask making for a few days, I get a notice that someone needs a mask.  One day, The Professor and I drove around and delivered  nine masks for medical staff, three masks for a family who is imminently expecting a new baby, and several other masks to various friends.  This morning, I heard that an older man in our church needed a mask.  The Professor had already cut one; I quickly sewed it up, another friend picked it up, and it has already been delivered.  That's team work!

3.  Nature.  One of the advantages of having a closed golf course on the edge of our neighborhood is that the wild animals have decided to take back their territory.  I watched two hawks soaring above the course; they were screaming at each other, obviously both hunting for the same rabbit.  Deer and bunnies are showing up to eat the green grass.  Even the coyotes are becoming braver and walking the course in daylight.

4.  Garden.  The weather is finally dry and sunny, so I have been able to be out in my garden.  For me, a garden is a source of beauty, solitude, serenity, and self sufficiency.

5.  Coffee!  A few weeks ago, our coffee maker died.  The Professor researched and ordered a new one, but we didn't expect it to arrive until the end of April.  (Fortunately, we have a french press.)  But it was delivered this week and we have been enjoying some excellent coffee made with our new coffee maker.  (And THANK YOU to the Amazon delivery guy who dropped it on our front porch.) Coffee makes my day begin with happiness.

Thank you for all your kind comments and your prayers for us.  I can share with you now what happened.  Our 'adopted' son from Uganda passed away very suddenly at age 29.  Everyone who knew him was shocked.  Daniel was living and working in Doha, Qatar.  We had sponsored him through a program called Ugandan Lambs.  He was an orphan, and we had the privilege of sponsoring him since 2004  through middle school, secondary school and technical school, helping him prepare for his career.  He was an unusually charismatic, encouraging and responsible person who spread joy, kindness and God's love to everyone he met.  His smile would just light up any room and include everyone.  The Professor had been in a zoom Bible Study group with him less than two days before he died.  We were in the process of helping him get a student visa and attend college in the US. Now we are awaiting news of his funeral and burial in Uganda.  How can one express the sorrow of missing 'a son we never met'?  I can hear him saying, "O! Wuw! Mummy!  Heaven is amazing!"  Daniel, I look forward to sharing our experiences of Heaven with you some day.
"How precious in the sight of God is the death of His saints." 
Psalm 116:15.

Good nightsweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!”
Shakespeare, Hamlet

Friday, April 10, 2020

It's a Good Friday

Today is a very important day.  Good Friday.  The day we remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  Maybe I should call this Best Friday.

My lenten rose has bloomed just in time

This Easter weekend will be celebrated very differently than any I remember.  We may be isolated at home, but we will be celebrating today and Sunday with others via virtual videos.   I need to reflect back on the Good things of this week.  Here is Willow's Week in Friday Fave Fives.

1.  This morning I spent almost two hours skyping with my art group.  We can't meet together, so we do it virtually.  We all agreed that it is a highlight of our week.

2.  I am loving how our community and church are coming together to make masks, both for the medical facilities and for 'regular people'.  I asked for fabric.  Got it!  I asked for elastic.  Got it!  Wow!  Lots and lots of mask making in my week ahead.

3.  Rain.  Southern Californians never seldom grumble about getting rain.  For us, it is a blessing of renewal and new growth.

4.  Books.  As I take breaks from sewing, I grab a book and READ.  I'm loving my reading times.  Almost as much as I'm loving my daily walks.

5.  I read an article that referenced C.S. Lewis's sermon titled "Learning in War-Time" which he gave in 1939 at the beginning of World War II. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who wishes to read it, but I want to share a couple of things in light of our current world situation.  His advice:  Don't get distracted by too much news.  Look to history--life has always been lived dangerously.  Secondly, don't be frustrated or worried.  Focus on your vocation which is what you are supposed to do today.  For me, that's sewing masks.  Finally, Be Courageous during these trying times. [Can you just imagine reading this timely advice during the bombing of London?]   This was a very encouraging article for me.

Finally, I want to mention that I know I didn't get around to read everyone's FFF posts last week.  Right now I just can't go into details, but we are mourning the loss this week of someone very close to us.  Sometimes, I just have to stop and grieve, and I never know when it is going to hit me. I'll try to do better this coming week.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Bad News Good News

Is it really April??  Wow.  This fast pace (on one hand) is making my head spin.  The slow pace of being at home (on the other hand) is also making me lose track of days.  It seems like our world is full of Bad News/Good News.   I am trying to focus on the Good News part.  Here are my Bad News Good News Friday Fave Fives.

1.  Bad News.  We are fighting a pandemic.  Good News.  We're all working on flattening the curve.

2.  Bad News.  We can't meet with friends and coworkers.  Good News.  You tube Sunday morning church services.  Zoom small groups.  Skype calls with some of my besties.

3.  Bad News.  Some people can't get out to shop.  Good News.  Our community, neighborhood, church are banding together (metaphorically speaking) to make sure people have what they need.  Example:  I just now had FRESH STRAWBERRIES dropped off on my door step.  Bliss!!

4.  Bad News.  Our health workers in the county are struggling to have enough masks.  Good News:  Some people in our community have banded together to make masks.  Personal detail here:  my friend (the same one who dropped off those strawberries) is providing fabric to make the masks. I think people are going through their stashes.  Some people are cutting the fabric.  Others are delivering it.  After burrowing around in our storage unit, we found the box where my sewing machine is packed.  I brought it home, set it up, and made fifteen masks yesterday--almost done; I just have the ties to sew on.  Also, we've ordered fabric from a store (drive by store pick up) so I can make masks for ourselves since our county is starting to require everyone to wear masks out in public areas.

5.  Bad News.  No.  I jut can't do any more bad news.  Good News.  The Professor and I are safe and well.  We have plenty of food to eat.  We are feeling the love of our community and are able to give back some of that love.

How are you handling the Bad News and Good News?