Friday, May 29, 2020

End of May Faves

Some weeks are just harder than others.  This has been a tough week and too much overload. I have just had to cut out news and much of social media.  A friend shared this liturgy from EVERY MOMENT HOLY this morning.  I love how these words calm me and help me focus on the right things.
Give us discernment
in the face of troubling news reports.
Give us discernment
to know when to pray,
when to speak out,
when to act,
and when to simply
shut off our screens
and our devices,
and to sit quietly
in your presence,

casting the burdens of this world
upon the strong shoulders
of the one who
is able to bear them up.

And I love to focus on things that bring me joy and gratitude.  FRIDAY FAVE FIVES does that for me.  Every day, I think, "Oh!  This should be in my Fave Fives this week!"  And then on Friday, I have the opportunity to review my week and be thankful again.  (Follow the link and join in!)

1.  Even though we are planning to move, we still want our home to look its best.  So we have been working on the border of our property to add edgers along the property line.  That way people can see exactly what is the property they would own.  It's a lot of heavy work, but it is going to look great.

2.  I have spent hours and hours this week in the garden.  It's small, but I love it.  I pulled the weeds and added some plants.
I had just read an article about Spilanthes, and lo and behold, there it was in the garden center!  I just had to have it.  I would be likely to call it the eyeball plant because I think that's what the flowers look like.

Marigolds pair nicely with Spilanthes.

Another new to me plant.

Doesn't it look nice with the Angelonia?

3.  Also, I worked at cleaning up my potting area.  I have numerous terracotta pots which I am not using and don't plan to move with me.  So I gifted them to a friend.  And we spent a lovely hour social distance chatting on her patio.  And my potting area is tidy.

4.  AND, I had a great park date with a friend.  We brought our lawn chairs and sat six feet apart and talked for a couple of hours.  I am so thankful to be able to see friends face to face.

5.  I love my Kindle.  While I do prefer a paper book, I am thankful that I can utilize the ebook option at the library and read more books.

Bonus:  Last week for FFF, I neglected to add the photos of the monarch caterpillars and raindrops on the flowers.  Here they are.  Enjoy!  Because you can't get enough garden!

Friday, May 22, 2020

Late May

Hello!  It's Friday!  Time for Willow's Week at Friday Fave Fives (hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story).  How was your week?  Mine was just the same old, same old.  Hanging around the house.  Staying safe.  Taking walks.  Being thankful for the small things.

1.  I've been doing a bit of sketching and really working at improving my skills.  I love the satisfaction of finishing  a sketch.  (The photo is a bit blurry, sorry.)

2.  This week, I received an email from the mother of a former student, thanking me for the input I had in her daughter's life.  Oh how my teacher heart glowed.  This young woman is surging forward in her writing!

3.  Ya'll doing Zoom and Skype sessions?  I know that, for me, sometimes I am 'zoomed-out'.  But I am thankful that during this time we have the option of 'seeing' people and 'spending time' with them.  I know it's not the same as really face to face interaction, but it's better than nothing.

4.  We woke up Monday morning to RAIN.   I managed to catch a few photos of raindrops on my flowers.  And the rain didn't bother the monarch caterpillar at all.  They just kept on chewing on the milkweed.  I do love my garden.

5.  It's still jacaranda tree time.  Normally, when we drive down the streets of our city, I don't notice the trees except that they're there and provide green and shade.  But during Jacaranda Season, oh my!  Those purple blossoms just celebrate spring!  Here are some photos of jacaranda trees in various spots around town.  [please note:  BEFORE deciding to plant a jacaranda tree, understand that there is no middle ground.  They're beautiful. BUT, they're messy. See bottom photo.]

Yeah, they're really messy.

I hope you had a good week and are staying well.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Mid May Faves

Spring is blooming in full force now.  The California poppies are still showing their orange blossoms; the bougainvillea are blooming in all their vibrant shades.  Roses are opening on the bushes.  I love spring and love the idea of new growth.  I'm thankful as always for the beauty around me.  Here are the things that have popped out at me that made me thankful this week.  My Friday Fave Fives.

1.  I just can't help sharing!  Everything is blooming!  The jacaranda trees!  We had an outing to the grocery store, and because we haven't been driving around town, we hadn't seen that the jacaranda trees are blooming!

2.  PAL graduated from preschool this week.  There was no ceremony, but the teachers came by her house and she put on her cap and gown and received her graduation diploma.  We are able to watch the 'ceremony' via skype.  Then her parents sent us these pictures.

In honor of all the masks I've been sewing, I decided to have a bit of fun and sew a mask for Eleanor.

3.  After I sent a picture of Eleanor wearing her mask to show PAL, I decided that her bunny Beatrix needed a mask, too.  So I made another one and mailed it off to her.  It's important to keep our bunnies safe, too.

4.  We miss spending time with The Professor's sister who lives in town.  So today we got take out from our favorite restaurant, Sharky's Woodfired Mexican Grill, and took it to her house where we sat on her front porch and had a social distance lunch with her.

5.  My wonderful art group friends are special to me.  Every Friday morning at 7:30 am, we get together on Skype and chat and pray and discuss a book we've chosen to read.  Now we are reading Hidden Art by Edith Schaeffer.  I love this special time with my friends.  We share our art projects and it doesn't matter if we're in our robes sipping our morning coffee.  We just love our time together.

I hope even during this very weird time in our lives that we will continue to keep on keeping on.  We can still be thankful for all the blessings in our lives.

Friday, May 08, 2020

Mother's Day in May

Hello from Willow's little cottage!  It is May and Friday and almost Mother's Day.  It's also 2020, and life is not normal.  Let's put some normalcy into our week and focus on what we are thankful for daily and weekly.  Here is Willow's Week in FRIDAY FAVE FIVES (the link for you to join us).

1.  It has been really hot (for us) this week!  I am thankful for air conditioning!

2.  What we see on our walks.  This week, we walked in the back part of the (closed) neighborhood golf course.  That's where we see deer and bunnies and geese.  Sometimes, we see birds like hawks, owls, quail, and egrets.  And road runners!  The picture isn't great, but Road Runner took off with his crest and tail feathers sticking up.  We don't often get to see the road runners, so that was fun.

3.  My favorite time of day is sunset.  I love the painted skies!

4.  I also love watching the moon rise above the mountain ridge behind our house.

5.  Did you notice that three of the four Faves are about nature?  I love God's creation.  He was the first landscape architect and shares His beauty with us.  My mother was the first person to constantly share her love of nature around us, and I carry that in my earliest memories.  "Oh, look!  The mountain is beautiful today!"  "See the beautiful forest?  There are fir trees and ferns and flowers!"  "Oh!  The ocean is so blue today!"  I'm thankful that my mom instilled her love of nature in me.

my mom in her early 20s


Friday, May 01, 2020

May Day!

May First!  May Day!  Wow, 2020 is moving along. Some days it seems like it is creeping slowly and other days just zip by.  But here we are in the merry month of May (although it doesn't seem so merry right now).   And it's Friday and time for FRIDAY FAVE FIVES here at Willow's Cottage.

1.  I know that it seems like every week when we are focusing on our blessings that someone mentions acts of kindness that people either give or receive.  This week as I was talking with someone, she mentioned how her mom (for whom she is a caregiver) insisted on knocking on a neighbor's door to say hello when they were on a short walk.  It turns out that the neighbor needed help with some things, and so our church care group was able to step up and help.  A knock on a door resulted in an older man being able to get the help that he needed.  I love hearing that story of kindness multiplied.

2.  My friend is decluttering her yarn stash.  I cluttered up my stash with three bunches of beautiful yarn, one white wool yarn, one deep ruby red alpaca yarn, and one hand dyed variegated blue and green merino wool yarn.  I've been scouring various sources searching for just the right pattern for each yarn.  I see lots of blissful shawl and sweater knitting in my future because of my friend's generosity.

3.  I'm thankful for lots and lots of books to read.

4.  I love those phone calls that begin with, "Hi, Mom!"  Those may be my most favorite words ever.

5.  Do you love cloudy days?  I realize that where I live (right now) that most days are sunny.  That's what a mediterranean climate is.  So when we get those "May Gray" and "June Gloom" days, we are enjoy them to the fullest.  We even had some May Gray days at the end of April.  The fog and low clouds hang on the mountains and hover over the coastal plain.  I think it is beautiful, and I'm thankful for cooler days.