Friday, May 13, 2022

Mother's Day, Gardens, and Hikes, O Yes

 Even in the midst of another whirlwind week, I need to slow down and reflect on the blessings I have noticed blowing my way.  This is one purpose of Friday Fave Fives hosted by Susanne who faithfully sets up a link so we can share our FFFs with others (thanks, Susanne!).  Here are mine.

1.  Our extra grandson stayed another week and we enjoyed sharing some of our favorite coffee spots with him.  He has also helped me in the garden--adding compost, carrying tools, pounding in stakes.  He has been a big blessing.  And he loves to hike.

2.  I am happy that my daughters love gardening, too.  During their childhood, that wasn't so.  But now, we pull weeds together, run off to the garden center together, talk about what plants are doing well.

3.  The Professor surprised me by putting something in the garden center cart this week.  A little gnome!  I had mentioned I wanted one, and he remembered.

My new gnome needs a name!

4.  Mother's Day!  Both sons called and chatted with me.  Both daughters and their families met up with us after church to share picnic lunch and then walk around in the park woods.  Truly, I am blessed to be mother (and grandmother) to these precious people.

5.  Probably, mentioning the dentist in FFFs doesn't sound quite right.  But my dentist is wonderful.  He understands my fears, my issues with my jaws not numbing normally, and he works with gentleness and speed.  Having an expert and caring dentist is a true blessing.

I hope you have had many blessings this week, too!

Friday, May 06, 2022

First Friday Fave Fives in May

Good evening. Yes it has been a busy day and week. But here I am to celebrate Friday Fave Fives with others who join to focus on our blessings of the week choosing five of them to share. Follow THIS LINK to read more or add yours.

1.  We have company!  On Monday, a young man we call 'grandson' (he's an honorary one) hopped on a plane in Los Angeles and flew out to visit us!  Lots of laughter, fun, serious talks, walks.

2.  Rain.  Sorry, West Coast desert friends who are experiencing serious drought conditions.  'Rain on the Roof' is a lovely sound, and the garden needs it.

3.  Garden?  Yes, honorary grandson helped me prep soil and plant tomatoes, basil and far.

4.  Fun walks.  On not rainy days, we have been out walking trails so he can experience Ohio on the spring.

5.  I know this sounds like a "you choose this every week" Fave. But our weekly coffee chats with our friends are important to us. We enjoyed coffee in one of our favorite shops Buckeye Lake Coffee and chatted for at least two hours.

Bonus: I shared lots of photos from ONE DAY in our England trip.  Come back later for more!

Monday, May 02, 2022

Holy Island

You asked for it. Here it comes. 

Our first destination on our trip to England was Lindisfarne, or Holy Island.  A little background.  Why would my daughters and I be interested in hopping on a train and riding three hours north to visit an island? Lindisfarne is a tidal island off the northeast coast of England which is the site of an abbey established by Saint Aidan in 635AD at the request of King Oswald of Northumbria.  Aidan, an Irish monk, came from Iona to establish a monastery. After Aidan, a monk named Cuthbert became bishop there. Unfortunately, about 150 years later, the Vikings invaded the area several times and destroyed the monastery. Eventually, a new church was built about 1150AD and later fortified for protection. During the reign of Henry VIII, the priory was closed but not destroyed.  We visited what remains of the abbey because... we love ruins and history.

But. That's not all! Lindisfarne also has a CASTLE!  It started out as a fort but in 1901 Edward Hudson bought it and built an Edwardian country home.   Pretty remote but pretty amazing.

And people live where they can see this castle every day from their fishing huts.

Yes, people live full time on Holy Island. They have farms, and they do commercial fishing, and they cater to tourists. And they live in normal houses, not castles or abbeys.

And of course, Eleanor made a friend.

Friday, April 29, 2022


 I'm back!  The mysterious disappearance of Willow for almost a month is solved!  That three+ week trip I took with my daughters also included New Boy and The Professor joining us.  Basically, five people were involved and all five of us had different itineraries.  Since Younger Daughter is an administrative professional, we assigned her to the task of buying our plane tickets, and although it took one and a half hours, she was successful.  Where did we go?

ENGLAND!  Be prepared for many many photos!

But before I embark on the photo dump, I want to write out my Friday Fave Fives.  What were the best blessings of our travels?

1.  The precious times with my two daughters for the first week.  Holy Island, Hexham and Hadrian's Wall, York.

2.  Safe travels for everyone, especially the solo flight home for Younger Daughter and then The Professor and New Boy flying to meet his mom and me.  And of course, our different flights back to the US.

3.  Easter in Canterbury.  That was very special as we attended morning service at St. Martin's Church, the oldest church in the English speaking world.  Then we went to Canterbury Cathedral for Evensong.

4.  Reconnecting with a college friend who now lives in North Devon.  But!  She just happened to be in London the exact same one day we were there!  So we enjoyed hours of conversation and catching up.

5.  All. The. Memories.  Glastonbury, Jurassic Coast including Swanage, Poole and Corfe, Canterbury, Isle of Wight.  Don't ask me to choose my favorite place.  It was all wonderful.

But I am glad to be home.

OK.  Here are a few photos.  Just to whet your appetite...

Lindisfarne Abbey, Holy Island

A piece of Hadrian's Wall near Hexham

A church near the wall

City Wall around York

Wherever you walk in York, you can see the cathedral.

Corfe Castle. New Boy's favorite place

Just a quick taste of the wonder, beauty and history we experienced. Come back for more!

Friday, April 01, 2022

Don't Be Foolish; Be Thankful

 Friday Fave Fives in a hurry today.  Heads up.  I will be traveling for three weeks, so I may be in and out of internet.  But I'll do my best.

Here are five things that I am thankful for this week.

1.  The blessing of zooming for a memorial service for a very dear friend.  He passed away and is with Jesus now.  We might have shed a few tears, but they were tears of joy for him.   

2.  My girls and I are off on an adventure!  We've been dreaming and planning and it's happening today.

3.  I'm done packing BEFORE departure time!

4.  I am SO SO SO thankful for The Professor!  He is the best.  He ran to the store to grab something I realized I needed.  He is going to be keeping two teenagers and a pre-teen for a week while their mommies are gone.  THAT'S LOVE.

5.  We got fooled this morning!  Snow on April 1st.  The fave is that it isn't going to 'stick' around.  Can you see the white in the photos?  Yep, that's snow.  Big flaky ones.

Let us hope the weather heeds my advice.  Don't be FOOLISH!

Friday, March 25, 2022


 It has been a whirlwind this week.  By that I mean our schedule AND the wind.  All of a sudden, I realized, "Hey! It's Friday afternoon!  I haven't sat down at the computer and written my Friday Fave Fives!"  So here I am, taking a breather, sipping some herbal tea (sweetened with local honey), and focusing on what has blessed me this week.

1.  Safety.  A friend in Oregon texted me one on Wednesday and asked, "Are you OK?"  I had no idea what she was talking about, so I checked our weather channel.  Hmmmm, we were in line to maybe have a tornado??  The blessing is that we avoided the tornado warnings and 'only' got crazy rain and thunderstorms.  I'm thankful my friend alerted me and that we remained safe.

2.  As I was cleaning out my purse today, I came across a small torn bit of paper with a quote on it:  "With walking, familiarity breeds happiness."  Kevin Fossett.  Normally, one reads that statement--'familiarity breeds contempt'.  But with walking your neighborhood, your local paths, familiarity, breeds happiness.  This week has bred happiness for me as I have stuck to walking close paths.

3.  I can't help it!  I adore farm houses and old barns.  Driving even within a few miles of my home, I encounter those wonderful places.  This barn just reached out and touched me with happiness.

4.  I have been experiencing some severe pain in my left hand.  I needed to see a doctor and fortunately I was able to schedule an appointment with a hand specialist in one day!  The diagnosis is that I have 'trigger finger'.  The treatment was a steroid injection.  The pain is subsiding and we will see how things progress.  I am SO SO thankful I was able to secure a quick appointment and receive the help I needed.

5.  SPRING is here! (not that the weather is aware of that)  The daffodils are blooming!  Nothing speaks spring more than daffodils!  I am thankful for both the equinox arriving and the flowers blooming.

So my friends, let us be thankful and breed happiness and enjoy SPRING!

Friday, March 18, 2022

St. Patrick's Week

 Friday Fave Fives!  (follow the link to join us)  It's all about green and Irish and St. Patrick this week!   Yes, I am focusing on what I can do, not the situation in the world.  If I show love and am loved, maybe that will spread to others and encourage them and maybe love will flow around the world.

1.  I should have been named Pat.  Why?  March 17th is my birthday!  All my life, I've loved that people celebrate my birthday with much joy.  And everything green.  And parades.  And shamrocks.

Me, about two weeks old.

2.  So many messages, cards, and phone calls.  ALL my kids (and daughter-in-law) and grandkids chimed in as well as my brother and sister-in-law and The Professor's siblings.  Talking to my far away sons and Chap's wife was a highlight of my day.

3.  People asked what I did to celebrate.  Well, we drove into the city so The Professor could have two dr appts.  But between the appts, we enjoyed coffee and we picked up a couple of pies.  I would much rather have pie than birthday cake.  Yum!

4.  AND the weather was wonderful so we joined Older Daughter, The New Boy, and another pre teen boy who is nearly family on a hike. 2.6 miles along a river.  Coffee.  Pie.  Hike.  What could be better for my birthday?

5.  That pre teen boy?  He is visiting Older Daughter this week from Texas for his spring break.  His mom is one of her BFFs and he asked if he could spend his vacation with her and New Boy.  We've enjoyed having him here for dinners and walks and even a backyard bonfire.

All in all, St. Patrick's Week was a success!

Friday, March 11, 2022

Focus on the Small Things

Friday.  In the midst of global horror, I need to keep my focus on gratitude.  These may seem like little things (and they are).  But if we don't, we will just fall into despair.  Friday Fave Fives is important!  We share our gratitude publicly to encourage ourselves and others.  I just checked.  This is the 674th Friday Fave Fives that Susanne has hosted!

1. and 2.  This week I did a thing.  For the first time since we moved, I pulled out my Cricket loom.  There are two faves here.  The first one is obvious.  I am weaving again!  The second is my appreciation for a husband who helps me with something I love.  Warping a loom is NOT an easy thing.  The Professor understands the concept of how weaving works, so he helps me with the warping.  (for non fabric people:  warp is the rows of thread/yarn that is connected to the loom lengthwise)

3.  Yes, I know we are going to get snow this weekend.  BUT, several days this week have been 'warmish' and 'sunny-ish' enough for us to walk.

4.  That weather also allowed me to be outside in my garden a bit.  Mostly I cleaned up and pulled a few dead plants, just preparing for spring planting.  I can't wait!

5.  On Saturday, we did an expotition. (reference: Winnie the Pooh)  The Professor, Older and Younger Daughters and I wanted to do some shopping in the big city.  We hit the stores and purchased what we needed and then celebrated with a lunch at a Turkish restaurant.  Oh yum!  And Oh the joy of just spending time with our girls.

Yes, it's the small things that bring joy.  Let us focus our minds there.  We need to.

Friday, March 04, 2022

Marching In Like a Lamb

 The weather, that is.  We marched out to our car and marched south, to visit friends.  And the farther south we drove, the better the weather.  But you know what they say, "In like a lamb, out like a lion."  For now, I'll take the lamb.

And I realized last night, "It's going to be Friday!"  We had just returned home, and I had to think about home routine.  Friday means Friday Fave Fives. (follow the link)  Obviously, our whole week was focused on our visit to Tennessee.

1.  Lunch with The Professor's 'oldest' friend, oldest meaning longest in time.  They were three and one.  Their dads were both part of the college/seminary and remained colleagues until they both were retired.  Then The Prof's friend was one of my teachers at the college.  We have remained friends through the years, so when they moved east, we promised we'd stay in touch.  Lunch with them lasted until well into the afternoon.  Fortunately, the restaurant was chill about our staying and talking and talking.

2.  Then we drove over to our other friends' home and settled in for two wonderful evenings and a fantastic day of exploring their new town.  We moved from the same city and same church in the same month.  I don't think we four stopped talking the whole time.  Oh, it was wonderful!

3.  As always, my camera was out and I was searching for photos of old barns as we traveled down the highways.  I found a few... (come back later to see more...)

4.   Of course, I am thankful for safety!

5.  And the weather was wonderful.  The day we walked around town, the weather was shirtsleeve warm.  Even Eleanor enjoyed being out and about in the sunshine.

Our friends' view from their back deck.

Let us rejoice in friendship, fellowship and fresh warm air!  And hope that March doesn't go out like a lion but stays lamb-ish.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Final February Fave Fives

Hello, Friday!  TGIF.  And TGIFFF.  It's Friday Fave Fives.  Welcome to this end of February edition of Willow's Week in Five things that make me happy and thankful.  Even though my heart is very heavy and I have been praying and praying for peace in the world, I purposely focus on finding Five things to give me hope.  Follow that link above to join us in finding joy.

1.  Hikes and walks are always a fave with me.  Monday our weather was temperate and it was warm enough to walk.  Yay!  We drove out to the end of one path we have been wanting to walk or bike and walked 2 miles out and 2 miles back.  It was a school holiday and there were many others on the trail. Warm + free time = busy.  There was even a kitty monitoring the passing population of humans.

2.  Exploring new places in the area is also always a fave.  The county south of us is mostly rural but also has some sweet towns.  We found a coffee shop and have been twice this week, once with New Boy and then with our SoCal coffee time buddies.

3.  I finished this Many Buttoned Vest.  I particularly like the wide cabled section in the back.  Yes, I know there are no buttons on it.  The idea is to find and add your own favorite buttons.

4.  A long long zoom call with a long time friend.  We've known each other for thirty-six years, and through much of that time our friendship has been sustained over long distances.  I value her friendship so much!

5.  Family dinners.  That's what we call them.  Sometimes, they're planned.  Sometimes, they're spontaneous.  How I love living near my girls so we can just enjoy a meal and each other's company.  I am so blessed.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Dover, England

Dover, England.  A beautiful and historic town on the the English Channel.

Remember the famous White Cliffs of Dover?

And Dover Harbor?  It is the nearest port on the English Channel to France and so very busy in ferrying cargo and people across the water.

Dover Castle
You climb many many steps to reach the height of Dover Castle

There was an ancient hillfort on the site of Dover Castle.  Later, the Roman built a lighthouse on this hill overlooking the English Channel toward Normandy.

And then a church was built attached to the lighthouse.  Church of St Mary-in-Castro (the Castle)

Can you imagine ALL. THE. HISTORY.  Ancient hillfort.  Roman ruins.  World War II Operation Dunkirk.