Sunday, December 31, 2023

Photo Recap for 2023

 I spent some time scrolling through the photos I took in 2023 and chose a picture from each month.  OK, a couple of times, I chose two.  And evidently I didn't really take any photos in April.

Anyway, enjoy!





I got nothin'.









Friday, December 29, 2023

The Week Between

 Good Friday morning!  Here we are in the week between Christmas Day and New Year's Day.  Many people consider this time a 'holding pattern'.  For us at Willow's Cottage, this week has been filled with family.  I am so thankful for so much.  Here in my Friday Fave Fives I am only touching on a small amount of the wonder of Christmas at the Cottage.

1.  Of course the arrival and visit of Younger Son (shall I call him Dr. Mike?) is the absolute best.  We had not seen him for more than a year as he now lives in San Diego.

2.  All the breakfasts, lunches and dinners shared with family.  Christmas Eve was pasta.  Christmas Morning was The Professor's coffee cake along with all sorts of eggs and bacon/sausage.  Dinner was take out that we brought in from Thai and Chinese restaurants (we were cooked out...).  The rest of the week has been meals together to eat all.the.leftovers.  What feasts of abundance!

3.  Phone calls from our missing Older Son (Chaplain Dan) and his family, including PAL.

4.  I managed to catch a few photos.  Three of the four kids.  Three of the four grandkids.

No, you can't open your stockings yet.

Say Cheese!

Just chillin'

5.  Are you noticing a theme here?  Family!  I am thankful for family including lots and lots of texts from my brother and sister-in-law in Oregon.  One topic was our father's birthday, December 27th.  Dad would have been 101!

One of my favorite photos--Dad standing by the Old Columbia River Highway at the tunnel.  1942.

Bonus:  Our weather wasn't frightful, except for the rain, so we were able to get out to walk twice on the paved trails near our home.  We really needed the exercise!

I hope you enjoyed your Week Between and found many blessings, too.

Monday, December 25, 2023


 The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

John 1:14a

Merry Christmas to you from Willow's Cottage!

Friday, December 22, 2023

Almost Christmas!

 First, thank you to all who sent get well wishes last week.  Thankfully, I am feeling so much better especially since Christmas weekend is almost here.  As I fell asleep last night, I realized that for the first time in at least two weeks I wasn't coughing constantly.  I really am getting well!

This is the Friday before Christmas.  All through my house, I have lights, red and green fabrics and decor, and little piles of Christmas cards.  There is so much to be thankful for this Christmas of 2023.  Here are my Friday Fave Fives which I had to narrow down to just five things I noticed this week that are this season's blessings.

1.  I was well enough to attend a very dear and sweet friend's birthday party Sunday afternoon (yes, I tested negative for c-vid) and then an open house time at other friends' home.

2.  On Monday, we had our first snow!  It is now melted, but it was lovely to watch while it lasted.

3.  I finished that last baby blanket (last week's mention) and we delivered it to the parents on Tuesday so they can give it to their son for Christmas.  A bit out of focus, but the pictures show all the colors.  If you want details on the pattern, here is the link to the post I wrote for the other afghan I made.  Simply Soft yarns, size 8 needles.

4.  The weather was warm and sunny, so I took my first walk since being sick.  A half mile may not seem like much, but it was something to celebrate that I could walk that far and not feel completely fatigued.

5.  Do you enjoy cleaning?  Evidently, I'm one of those weird ones who like to clean and organize.  Younger Daughter requested my help in doing some deep cleaning at their house, so I spent much of Thursday there at the Hive (we call it the Hive because they are all busy as bees). It truly does give me great joy and I am thankful I have the energy to do it.

Bonus:  And now...we excitedly await tonight's arrival of Younger Son from San Diego who is coming for Christmas!

Friday, December 15, 2023

There Are Always Blessings, No Matter What

I certainly did not imagine that, ever, I would write a post about being thankful for catching that nasty virus the world has labeled C-v-d.  And yet, here I am, searching my foggy brain for Five Faves from this week.  I'm sure we would all agree that we are thankful that we are able drink, eat, breathe.  Last week, I thought I was dealing with a nasty cold.  Nope.  Tests on Saturday showed those dreaded black lines.  But as I Thessalonians 5:18 states, "Give thanks in all circumstances."  So here are my Friday Fave Fives, giving thanks even in the circumstances of illness. (the link takes you to Susanne's blog where she collects our links)

1.  I have finished reading several books.  Some I had started but not finished.  Others were on the table staring at me, waiting for me to pick them up.  So as soon as I had the energy to pick up a book and open its pages and when I had the ability to focus, I read three, maybe four? books  So I am thankful for quiet reading time.

2.  When your eyes won't focus any more on the words in the book, you pick up your knitting.  I finished my last baby afghan for the year.  Again, it is blocks of different colors randomly arranged.  This one is for a little boy who can use it to snuggle and learn to identify the names of the colors.  Sorry, no photos at this point.  My recovery hasn't quite made it to photographing anything.

3.  Being confined indoors and basically without energy to do much, I am thankful that the sun was shining in through our windows and cheering the whole house.

4.  I am thankful for a healing body.  Maybe TMI here, but ALL the mucus that one has to cough out of their throat, nose and sinuses, is the result of our amazing white blood cells sacrificing themselves to help us heal.  Yes, I knew that, but I am thankful that The Professor reminded me so I would not be grumpy about constantly blowing my nose and coughing up all that muck.

5.  Not quite sure how to phrase this as a fave--- Older Daughter loves to dance.  She's a member of the local youth ballet (which also has classes for adults).  We had tickets for their last performance in a beautiful theatre in a nearby town.  Sadly, I missed it.  But I am thankful that all the rest of our family (plus friends T and S) were able to attend. 

So, my friends, I hope you are well, and if you're not, you still find the goodness of God in your life.  And enjoy some poinsettias from my photo archives.

Friday, December 08, 2023


Hello to all my friends from around the world.

If you came here looking Friday Fave Fives, please return in a bit.  I'm fighting what is most likely a cold and need some rest.  Then I'll post my usual Five Blessings from the week, one of which will undoubtedly be that I am feeling better.

Until then...

Thanks for your patience.  I am feeling some better.  Here are my Friday Fave Fives from this past week.

1.  I am thankful for all the OTC helps I've been consuming.  They really have helped me feel better.  My favorite is still Cold Care tea from Traditional Medicinals.

2.  I'm thankful The Professor has been doing so much to help me.

3.  Can you imagine feeling sick and living in a cold house with no heat?  I am so thankful for my heated home, cozy blankets, and warm clothes.

4.  OK, on to other things...  Last night (Thursday) we attended our first Sights and Sounds of Christmas.  It is a tradition here and we loved walking around the center of our town and visiting eight churches and listening to Christmas music--bells and chimes, choirs, organs, harps and pianos.  It was beautiful!

5.  I love our library!  And I am thankful for all the books I can read which I can request from the library.  Especially when I am 'confined' to my recliner.

Friday, December 01, 2023

December Has Arrived

 Hello December!  We've made it through eleven months of this year.  And wow, has it flown by so quickly.  I really do need to slow down every week and contemplate what has happened, how I've been blessed and cared for.  And the best way for me to do that is to focus and plan my Friday Fave Fives.  (the link will take you where you can read more and share, too, if you want)

1.  Baby, it's cold outside!  I am thankful for my warm home and cuddly blankets!

2.  We are starting to decorate for Christmas.  Again, I am thankful for a  home where I can celebrate Christmas season.

3.  Both of our daughters were traveling this past week. The weeks around Thanksgiving are the busiest of the year, and all kinds of delays, problems and cancelations can happen.  But both are home safe and sound. For that, I am thankful.

4.  We were invited to attend an event about one and a half hours drive northeast of us, in Amish country.  After a wonderful buffet dinner, we walked over to the concert hall and enjoyed listening to The Hoppers, a Southern Gospel group.  I love music, and it was great fun to spend the time with friends in the car, too.

5.  And of course, I had an opportunity to grab photos of barns along the way (until it was dark...)

Friday, November 24, 2023


 HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  There is SO SO much to be thankful for!  As I write these Friday Fave Fives for this week, I am full of food, full of memories, full of thankfulness.  I am joining other bloggers to focus on the blessings of Thanksgiving week (and all the other weeks of the year).

1.  Thanksgiving dinner was a win.  Younger Daughter is in San Diego with ZG and Warrior Boy, so at our table were Older Daughter and Tall Boy and three lovely guests whose families are not in the area.  It was a wonderful fun time sitting around the table, eating and talking and laughing.

2.  We had more food than we could eat.  That is a blessing.  Left over food means more meals.  And it means that we will not be hungry.  We should never take an abundant table of delicious food for granted.   As Tall Boy commented, he is thankful that he doesn't go to sleep at night hungry like many children in Africa do.

3.  Earlier in the week, we spent a few wonderful hours with a couple who is planning a road trip to Oregon in January to attend a wedding.  They have never driven west and knew we were seasoned travelers and lived in Oregon for many years.  It was a wonderful time of fellowship and for us, a time of pulling up fun memories.  I'm thankful for all the exciting, mundane, summer, fall, spring and winter travels we have experienced (and lived to tell the tale).

4,  Tuesday nights are always special for The Professor, Tall Boy and Warrior Boy.  That's the evening of the weekly meeting of their Trail Life troop (similar to Boy Scouts).  This week was Court of Honor which included the passing out of badges earned and yearly renewing of the Trail Life pledge.  I am so thankful that our area has such a vibrant and fun troop.  And I'm thankful for all the friends our grandboys have made there and for the leaders who are The Professor's friends.

5.  I am thankful for memories.  Seven years ago, Older Daughter and I were in Dorchester, Dorset, England on Thanksgiving Day.  Older Daughter mentioned our trip and where we enjoyed our own Thanksgiving Day tea in an historic tea house.  That week, we walked the lovely streets, visited museums, ventured out to several historical sites.  Dorchester is a town where you can walk everywhere. What wonderful memories!

Just a few visual memories...

Friday, November 17, 2023

Mid November Fave Fives

Yes, it is late on Friday night.  Yes, I'm late posting my Friday Fave Fives.  Yes, I'm still thankful!  (I am trying to post some photos but my phone isn't talkin with my laptop.  I will keep trying.)  Update:  it took HOURS, but the photos finally downloaded in the middle of the night...

1.  We had a warm and sunny week. (until today)  I am thankful for the sunshine in November!  I really should be thankful, too, for the rain today.  We needed some moisture.

2.  Over the weekend (Sunday night), Younger Daughter took us to our very first pro soccer game.   And the Columbus Crew WON! 

3. Earlier in the week, we made a trip east about 30 miles to pick up my reframed counted cross stitch picture which I made for my grandmother a long long time ago.  I love how it looks now and plan to hang it in this cottage of mine in memory of her. 

4.  Since we were already out there, we decided to stop by and check out the A&W shop there.  Yes, it is a real A&W store.  And no, there were no car hops although there was a drive through window.  Since we had brought sandwiches with us, we only purchased cups of root beer.  I love finding these old fashioned places in random spots.

5.  Last weekend was my older son (Chaplain Dan) and his wife's wedding anniversary.  Seventeen years!  Happy Anniversary to them!

Friday, November 10, 2023

What a Week!

I really do need to stop and take a breath in this crazy week.  What I really need is a few minutes to relax and remember all the wonderful things about the week.  That's why I post every Friday and share with others at Friday Fave Fives (follow the link)    If I don't do this, I find myself just overwhelmed with the busyness of the week.

1.  On Saturday, Younger Daughter and I spent a few hours browsing around the local quilt show.  We ran into two friends who are members of the quilt guild and had fun conversations with them.  And now Younger Daughter is a member.  Here are a couple of samples and an overview of a section of the display (taken from the balcony).

2-3.  Tuesday was momentous.  Very early in the morning, The Professor drove Younger Daughter to take her NCLEX, which is the exam that prospective nurses must take to be licensed as a registered nurse.  Understandably, she was a bit nervous.  In the meantime, I drove myself in to have blood work done for my annual exam.  While I waited for my dr appt later in the day, Younger Daughter finished the exam and they met me at a coffee place, and we had a chance to just relax and chat.  My dr appt went very well, and I am thankful that my PCP and I can talk about health and wellness and basically agree on how to proceed with options.

4.  Wednesday morning, we woke up to the noise of an incoming text.  "I passed!"  Younger Daughter is a NURSE!  Three years of classes while working fulltime and raising two children (now teenagers)!  She's a warrior!  I cannot express the pride we have in her accomplishment and how thankful we are that she is DONE with classes.

5.  Last evening, we attended a banquet (cowboy western style in a barn) to support Young Life ministry in our local area.  A great time was had by all.

These events are only a few of the activities we had on our schedule this week.  Every one is important, but I chose these five as samples of how God has blessed me this week.  I hope you have had a good week, too.

Friday, November 03, 2023

Hello November!

Good morning!  It's November!  It's C-O-L-D!  According to various places I have read, November is a month to be thankful.  Nope.  Every day is the day, every month is the month, to be thankful.  That's one reason I try to always post my Friday Fave Fives here at Willow's Cottage-- a reminder to 'give thanks always'. (follow the link to join us)

Here are my Five Faves from this last week of October/first week of November.

1.  Yes, it's cold here in Ohio.  This is our fourth winter and maybe we are getting used to it.  It snowed Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.  Not in our neighborhood, but in areas nearby.  We happened to be driving to a town southeast of here and passed places where the snow was still on the ground, mostly in shaded areas.  I know the photos aren't great, but here's proof.  What is there to be thankful for?  I am thankful for the seasons.

2.  Even though the recent wind and rainstorms blew down most of the leaves, there were still a few spots of autumn color.  I am always amazed (and thankful) at the beauty of the trees as their leaves turn red, orange, yellow or brown.

3.  Why were we headed out to that area?  Brunch with our coffee friends, T and S.  We decided to enjoy a breakfast at the iconic Denny's there.  Lots of yummy nine grain pancakes for me (which I brought home and finished for dinner).  I love our conversations which switch around all the time.  Some weeks we discuss theological issues; some weeks it's gardening and other outdoor stuff; some weeks it's memories of California; always it's so rewarding.  We are so thankful for these friends.

4.  We needed some new bedding and found a set of warm flannel sheets.  This made me think of how thankful I am for a warm home with plenty of warm, comfy blankets.

5.  What's better than a mug of hot coffee (or tea) in the mornings?  Nothing!  I am thankful that when I wake up, there is always a hot pot of coffee waiting for me. Not sure how that's a daily miracle :)

And a bonus for your enjoyment of old barns, a dark barn on a rainy day.