Friday, October 22, 2021

Gratitude in Autumn

What made you smile and be thankful this week?  Some weeks, it is just the small things.  Other weeks, it is huge, amazing things.  Whatever God brings in to your life will have ways for you to be grateful.  Here are FRIDAY FAVE FIVES from Willow's Week.  (the link takes you to more!)

1.  When I was at Costco this week, I wandered into the fresh veggies and fruits area where I don't usually go.  Imagine my delight to find RAMBUTAN!  What's rambutan, you ask?  It's a tropical fruit, similar to lychee, that we loved eating when we lived in Indonesia.  The name mean 'hair'.  The reason is obvious when you see the photo.

2.  What's not to love about finding a package on your front porch that you weren't expecting?  And it contained BOOKS!  My beautiful, thoughtful, book loving, librarian daughter-in-law sent me some books by a new to me author.  D.E. Stevenson.  I love anything British, and this author reminds me of Elizabeth Goudge.

3.  The weather has changed.  Time to pull out my warm snuggly AFGHANS!  And one more is almost finished, just in time.

4.  Last night our family drove into the city to attend a showing of the MOVIE Ends of the Earth.  It is produced by Mission Aviation Fellowship, the group of aviators who provided our only means of transportation into the villages where we lived when we were missionaries in Papua, Indonesia.  As you can imagine, we were all so excited to 'see' the places we knew so well.  There was even a clip of one of the national missionaries preaching in OUR little village church.  PLEASE, if you have an opportunity to see this film, GO!

5.  To add joy to our evening, we met a family as we were walking out of the theatre.  Their family member lives in PAPUA!  So we chatted and exchanged information.  The sister even texted her brother--obviously we know the same people and he lives in the town where our children attended boarding school.  What a small and wonderful world!

And here is some fun for you to enjoy...a sign I noticed recently in a local park.  I don't think it is correct...

Friday, October 15, 2021

Best Blessings

FRIDAY FAVE FIVES. (follow the link to read more friends posting their faves)  This is Willow's Week condensed into FIVE BEST BLESSINGS.

1.  Saturday provided opportunities to have a great deal of fun and to show a great deal of patience.  Let me explain.  All the family here decided to drive about two hours south to attend the Renaissance Faire.  It was Viking weekend and we have been excited about enjoying the bagpipes playing and the knights jousting.  All went well with costumes and caravanning. Until.  The last THREE MILES took us THREE HOURS to drive.  Evidently, waaay more people than anyone thought wanted to attend on Saturday.  After two hours of going two miles, The Professor and all the kids jumped out of the two cars and walked the rest of the way.   I'm thankful for finally arriving safely, for good attitudes from everyone, and a fun time at the Ren Faire.

2.  Warm days this week has meant that I have spent hours and hours in my garden.  Mostly I am cleaning and cutting back although we are still eating tomatoes, lettuce and kale daily.  I am so very thankful to have a place to make a garden.

3.  I had a dermatology appointment this week.  Fortunately, there was only one spot that caused the PA to stop and take a small biopsy--just to be sure.

4.  During the evenings this week, we watched some documentaries about Walking Through History with Sir Tony Robinson on Hoopla.  These just made us want to return to England and explore that wonderful countryside and ALL THE HISTORY!

5.  I am so thankful for the wonderful friends we are making in our now home place.  I know I've mentioned our coffee friends.  Every Friday morning we try to meet up and try a new coffee shop around the county.  Good coffee.  Best friends.  You know what I love the most?  Watching the two guys talk nonstop.

BONUS!  Our PAL (youngest granddaughter turned seven (!) this week!  Happy Birthday, PAL!  We love you!

These are just Five Blessings I am thankful for this week.  How about you?

Friday, October 08, 2021

Better Late Than Not At All

 Oh wow!  It's Friday night!  I've had a busy day and am just now sitting down to relax a bit and share my Friday Fave Fives, my weekly discipline of looking back and focusing on the wonderful blessings of my week. (follow that link to join and read of others' thankfulness.)

1.  It doesn't happen often, but Saturday morning all the grandkids are busy and the adults weren't.  So...we took the dogs and enjoyed a morning at a wonderful coffee shop in a neighboring town and then took a long walk on part of the county bike path that we hadn't yet explored.

2.   The leaves are finally just barely turning on the trees.  Maybe autumn is really here.  So much beauty all over the landscape!

3.   Can you believe that this girl is FIFTEEN?  Happy Birthday to our beautiful ZG!  We celebrated with a large group of family at a downtown Columbus restaurant.  (I had to sneak this candid of her as she isn't big on having her photo taken.)

4.  I just have to share this fun photo.  As we were driving New Boy home after school at our house, we noticed this:

What is it???  A UAP? A UFO?  Answer below :)

5.  My brother had a rather major surgery this week.  All is well.  We are so very thankful for excellent healthcare!

That wraps up Willow's Week of many many blessings.  I hope you have a joyful weekend.  Watch for those blessings!

Answer for that UFO?  Did you guess it?  It's a ladybug that landed on our windshield.  It was so cute and I tried to take a picture of it.  The picture didn't turn out so well, but it made a great 'impression'.

Friday, October 01, 2021


 October?  How is it possible?  I know the daylight hours are a bit shorter but it just doesn't feel like October yet.  We've been able to be outside enjoying hikes and bike rides and the weather has been perfect.  There is so much to be thankful for all the time, but this first day of October is just full of blessings.  Here are Five from this week.  I'm sharing with Friday Fave Fives (follow the link).

1.  A new mystery series.  Father Dowling mysteries are set in small town Illinois in the 1970s-80s and center around a Catholic priest who is friends with the chief detective.  Written by Ralph McInerny, they have captivated The Professor and me. They somewhat remind us of Brother Cadfael books.  I admit I love murder mysteries and am glad to have found a new series.

2.  We try to get New Boy (grandson we are homeschooling) out on daily walks for PE.  One day this week we found this little guy hopping across our path.  Can this count as biology too?  I love the diversity of nature!

And here he is in camo...

3.  Garage sale score.  Again.  This week we found a standing lamp for $5!  Perfect for our living room which until now has had NO lights.

4.  On Sunday afternoon, The Professor and I drove to a town about an hour from us where the Frontier Spirit group was doing a weekend of demonstrations about life in 1799-1800.  Our friend is a blacksmith and was making hooks over his fire.  We were equally fascinated by the old surveying equipment and maps in a presentation booth.

5.  My younger girl had a free evening this week, and so did I.  So we enjoyed a yummy dinner at a local Mexican restaurant.  Then we spent about an hour finally hanging some pictures on the wall in my house.  Yeah, I know. I've lived here for a year.  I'm really happy with where we chose to display them. (Still have a few to do...)

I hope you enter this new month with joy and gratitude!

Friday, September 24, 2021

Nothing EQUALS Gratitude

 All things being EQUAL, this has been an interesting week.  Weather changes, rain and more rain, sick grandsons (one is better, the other not yet), harvesting tomatoes [so many tomatoes].  I am thankful for all the blessings of this week, and I am sharing with you to encourage you.  For more encouragement, you can go to Susanne's blog, Living to Tell the Story and find other FRIDAY FAVE FIVES.

1.  It's officially fall.  We've passed the EQUINOX.  That means (maybe) that our temperatures will moderate.   The fave of this?  Our weather this week has been cool and rainy already.

2.  I make a point of reading books about the Holocaust (like the book I recommended two weeks ago).  I wouldn't say I enjoy reading them, but I think it is important to keep these stories in people's minds and hearts.  This week I read Jack and Rochelle, an autobiographical memoir of two young Jewish people who survived and fought in a partisan group in Eastern Poland during World War II.  I highly recommend reading it!

3.  A drive around Amish Country.  This was our first trip to visit Amish Country which is about an hour away from where we live.  Besides the obvious horses and black buggies, we simply enjoyed driving through the rural areas of our state.  Stopping at one of the shops, we chose a few items to try.

4.  On Saturday, we joined Younger Daughter and her doggie Shep (he's a Bernese Mountain Dog) for a 'walk in the woods'.  Most of the time we were on a paved path, but we did take a turn onto a path that was quite overgrown.  We love those spontaneous detours.  And we love our hikes.  And Shep loves his Bapa.  I am so thankful for beautiful places to walk in nature, for living near my girls, for the health to be able to do so much outdoors.

5.  The trees are just beginning to lose their leaves; some are starting to change colors.  We have enjoyed our summer walks, but autumn walks are the BEST.  Stepping on all the crunchy leaves.  There is no EQUAL!

And bonus!  Barns!

Enjoy this first week of fall as we enjoy the AUTUMNAL EQUINOX.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Mid September Blessings

 Good Morning!  It is a lovely mid September morning here at Willow's Cottage.  I am sitting on my back patio enjoying a cuppa Joe and watching my hibiscus bush wave in the soft breeze.  This is the right time to ponder what blessings have come my way this week.  I do this every Friday and join several other lovely people in focusing on FRIDAY FAVE FIVES.

1.  A good laugh.  The New Boy (for those who don't know, that's older grandson) showed me something funny this week.  Go to google and type in askew (or click on the word).  Look carefully at the answer.  Trust me.  You'll laugh.  Then do the same with anagram.  Someone has been bored at work.

2.  A mother-daughter day with Younger Daughter.  We didn't do much of what we had planned because her lupus had flared.  But we did drop off Little Warrior (younger grandson) at Trail Life campout with The Professor, New Boy and New Boy's mom (they had a great weekend!).  We took a short hike in the woods, then we drove home along some beautiful country roads and filled our minds and hearts with all the peaceful scenery.

And of course I had to take at least one photo of a barn!

3.  On the way, we stopped at a yard sale.  Score!  She found a great deal on a recumbent exercise bike and an antique sled decorated for Christmas, and I snagged a well preserved 1940s style side table which will blend in well with my mid-century modern furniture.  And the man who was selling them was a delightful older gentleman so the visit was pleasant as well.

4.  Last week I met two of the neighbors who live across the street.  One evening this week, I was walking alone because The Professor had a meeting to attend, and they were sitting together on a front patio.  They invited me to join them and I enjoyed getting to know them more.

5.  I've started another sock yarn afghan.  Knitting is my calming activity.  I chose these colors from my stash because, well, I love turquoise! And it will be warm and snuggly this winter.

Friday, September 10, 2021

September Week Two

Friday night already!  Again, I am a bit late with posting my Friday Fave Fives.  But that doesn't mean I am not thankful and blessed!  Just busy.  Here is Willow's Week in Five things that blessed me this week.

1.  A book that reaches deep.  For Such a Time by Kate Breslin.  Even though this story of a Czech transit camp during WWII is heart wrenching at times, it is so well written.  I love a good story.

2.  The Professor finally bought his birthday present--a bbq!  AND it was on sale, had a second discount, and included The Professor's military discount.  So, he really scored on it!  Now, to get it up and running.

3.  Time in the garden.  The weather has been cooler which means I can be in my happy place.  Am I the only person on the planet who doesn't mind weeding?

4.   The Professor knows I don't do well with dentists.  After my dentist fixed a tiny cavity in one of my teeth this week, my sweet husband made me relax the rest of the day.  I truly appreciate his care and concern for me.

5.  Labor Day was lovely.   We ended the holiday with family dinner in the back yard and a fire in the fire pit where we roasted marshmallows.  Yum!

Bonus.   More tomato sauce.  Two more batches are in the freezer-- one for Younger Daughter from her tomatoes and one for us.

Friday, September 03, 2021

September means...

 Oh wow, it's September.  With all the heartache and unrest of this summer, I do welcome September.  Am I the only person who thinks that September is the real New Year?  Must be all the years of attending school and teaching.

As we head in to the fall season, I have so many things to be thankful for this week.  Here are my Friday Fave Fives which I am sharing to remind myself and to encourage others. (follow the link to join in)

1.  September means a break in the hot and humid weather (at least temporarily).  I truly appreciate the cooler temperatures we have experienced the past several days.

2.  I am reading through the Bible in one year, using a study guide that accompanies a chronological Bible.  This week, even though I am reading what some people might term as OT boring, I have been blessed and challenged to pray those Scriptures.

3.  I finished a knitting project!  I made this vest from yarn in my stash.  I love the colors!  And because the weather has moderated, I've already worn it twice!

4.  I love receiving photos of PAL!  She is on a road trip and her parents are sending us pictures. new computer is not cooperating to download those pictures...  I will post them if and when they do download.

5.  We haven't been out hiking this week although we have gotten in several neighborhood walk.  We live close enough to the local grocery store (almost a mile) that one evening we decided to walk over and grab a few items we needed.  Win-win.  Grocery shop and walk.

Friday, August 27, 2021


It has been silent here at Willow's Cottage for the past two weeks.  I had planned a few blog posts, but that didn't happen.  Why not?  Because my computer died.  It was not completely unexpected, so I did have plans in place to deal with data transfers.  Or rather, to be honest, The Professor did.

But I'm back now.  With a new laptop!

My first post on my new device is, appropriately, a Friday Fave Fives. Y'all know what FFF is.  Every Friday I write down five things that blessed me during that past week.  Susanne at Living To Tell The Story hosts this every week and if I am correct, this is the 377th edition!  (follow the link to join in)

1.  I am THN AKFUL for a new computer.  I have been without a laptop for about two weeks.  Although I tried to access and write a blog post via my phone, I couldn't do it.  So I am very happy to be back 'online'.

2.  Who do I have to thank for all of this?  Obviously, The Professor.  I am THANKFUL that he researched laptops and had a plan in place to purchase identical ones for each of us since we knew mine in particular was gasping its last breaths.  I'm thankful he isn't simply tech savvy, but he is a prof emeritus in computer science and can use his knowledgeable and magic fingers to do anything on such a device, including getting all my files onto a back up hard drive before my computer completely died.

3.  I'm THANKFUL I have a phone that allowed me to at least check my emails and communicate that way.

4.  OK.  Enough about computers and other electronics.  I am THANKFUL for an easy transition for grandchildren going back to school.  Two of them are transitioning to new schools--into high school and into middle school.  And two are continuing to homeschool.  Yes, New Boy is here daily with us as we are his teachers.

5.  I am THANKFUL for the abundant harvest of veggies (mostly tomatoes) from my first garden in my new home.  We've been eating lots of lettuce, kale and snap peas, too.  Also, I am picking herbs daily, mostly for drying.  I'm going to have some yummy mint teas to enjoy this winter.  I love that I can just open the back door and walk out to the back and have all those fresh foods at my fingertips.

Hopefully, I will have photos back up and posting within a few days.  In the meantime, let's focus on all the things that make us THANKFUL.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Mid August Heat and Humidity Faves

 Hello from Hot and Humid Ohio!  As I understand it, most of North America is experiencing this same weather, or worse.  Stay hydrated!  And those who are in southern climes, enjoy your winter weather.  And you may have noticed that I was able to change my header photo.  So.Much.Better.

I thought that this week would be quieter.  Nope.  The activities just kept piling up.  The posts I had planned to write didn't happen and here it is Friday already.  Friday Fave Fives (follow the link).  Here is Willow's Week.

1.  I love it when I finish some knitting.  This week I finally sewed the buttons on these two baby cardigans.  Done and Done!  Now I can move on to my next project without feeling that guilty tug to finish these first.

And a little hair band.

2.  Summertime also means Shakespeare (and other plays) in the Park.  This is a big city thing that we have been doing for years whenever we came to visit.  Now it is part of our summer plans to drive in and watch as many as we can.  This past Friday night, it was Euripides.  The Professor and all the children have acted in many plays (not me!) so they really enjoy this.  And the extra fun part for The Prof is watching the lighting.

3.  The New Boy and The Professor were at a local park for their Trail Life activity one evening, So Older Daughter and I took a walk along the river while they were in their meeting.  I love my walks even if they are just in town.

4.  The dentist.  Why oh why would this be a fave?  The fave part is that the dentist listens to me and understands my issues with deadening the pain (lots of meds don't work on me).  My visit was pain free.  Now THAT'S the fave.

5.  All the thunderstorms and rainstorms are keeping me inside.  That means (if I'm motivated) that I am able to get little projects done around the house.  I love thunderstorms anyway, so it is fun to watch the lightning as I read or work. 

And as a bonus,  just some green forest beauty.

Friday, August 06, 2021

Hello, August!

 Good Morning, friends!  It's August!  How does that happen so fast?  Wasn't it June just last week?

Here it is Friday already.  Here is Willow's Week for Friday Fave Fives.  As always, I am thankful for so much in my life.

1.  Two birthdays this week.  Younger Daughter's birthday was Saturday.  She wanted to celebrate by visiting a new to her local coffee shop and then taking a walk on the nearby lake.  (She has been dog sitting for the neighbors, so we had FOUR doggies to walk!).  Then Older Son, Chaplain Dan, had his birthday this week.  Although we couldn't be with him, we had a great phone conversation. And we had seen him two weeks ago.

2.  This has been a productive week.  I had gotten out of the habit of making a 'to do list', and it was evident by how little I was doing.  So I am back to using my 3x5" cards for making my daily list.  A few years ago, my friend showed me her method.  It really works well for me.  It was obvious this week.

3.  Bike ride.  We did six and a third miles one morning before it got too hot.  The Professor really loves riding his bike and I enjoy it too.

4.  Progress on finishing the pergola on our back patio.  Assembling and putting it up and adjusting its position takes more than two people.  Fortunately, we have strong daughters and grandchildren.  They joined us one evening and we are now working on the last step--drilling holes in cement to anchor the poles (The Professor may be having way too much fun with his new drill).

5.  How does one get helpers?  Feed them!  To gather our workers, we used the 'we buy, you work' method.  The overwhelmingly popular choice this week was Panda Express.  It's a win-win-win for me as I don't have to cook, I get yummy Chinese food, and we get (mostly)willing workers.  And of course the underlying feeling of thankfulness is always present when I realize that I am a phone call away from half my children and three-quarters of my grandchildren. 

What are you noticing in your life, events that push your attitude to thankfulness?

Friday, July 30, 2021

Closing Out July

Late again, but I'm here now on this next to the last day of July.  I spent quite a bit of time today waiting around for other people to complete medical appointments (I was the driver).  Then The Professor and I took the New Boy shopping for clothes to wear to a wedding tomorrow--nothing fancy, but Oh My!  He has been growing and growing and needed shirts and slacks and shoes that fit.  Now I'm home and enjoying a relaxed evening, some time to reflect on the blessings of this past week.  Here is Willow's Week in Friday Fave Fives! (follow the link to join!)

1.  My cousin and her husband visited and stayed for two days.  We haven't seen each other very often since we were early teenagers (her) and lower middle school (me).  Maybe a total of less than 10 times in all those years.  We settled right in to our childhood interactions with her bossing me around as the older cousin and me being snippy back at her.  It was great!  Since she is moving a (long) day's drive from me, maybe we'll see each other more often now.

2.  Good news from our uncle who is 94!  We were told he has been put on hospice care.  My brother lives fairly close and went to see him.  The news today is that he has rallied and is eating and drinking. (and is as grumpy as ever--heehee!)  I'm thankful for this news.

3.  So much yumminess from our garden.  The cherry tomatoes, those little mouthful bites of sweetness, the lettuce, snap peas and kale!  I can walk out my back door, take a few steps, lean over and pick our dinner salad!

4.  Air conditioning.  The heat has been getting to me.  When I walk into the house from outside, it's a welcoming coolness.

5.  Yesterday, we welcomed a rainy and stormy day.  After a week of high humidity, it felt wonderful to be cooler.  And the other reason to appreciate the rain?  I didn't have to water the garden.

These are five simple happenings in my life this week--I am thankful!

I did write a post about the fairy forest we visited last week.  If you missed it, you can click HERE to read about it and see the photos.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Oh Look!

 Another Fairy Trail!

This Fairy village seems to be in a bit more upscale area.  You will notice there are more brightly painted homes.  Also, this community does not seem nearly as shy as others I have visited.  Many of the residents allowed me to take their photos.

They even provided benches for the big people to use to rest if they were tired.  Evidently, they are used to having tourists visit this Fairy Forest.

I hope you enjoy your stroll through this fairy village.  (yes, there are more photos than normal.) Which home is your favorite?  It was difficult to choose, but I finally decided that I like the last one.  In fact, the owner stopped to chat with me a bit, and we talked about the flowers in her garden.