Throwback Thursday: 2020 Christmas Letter


A snapshot of my 2020…the “normal” parts at least.
I’ll elaborate on some of it in later posts.

Dear Friends and Family,

Well, this has been quite a year, hasn’t it? I don’t know about you, but I am excited and slightly apprehensive to see the back side of it. I’m very ready for things to begin to be somewhat “normal” and more stable.  Yet, despite the upheaval and uncertainty of this past year, there has been good.

I have lived at my little place on the farm for a year now. I’ve been incredibly grateful for it, especially in light of all the “stay at home” time we’ve had. It was nice to have acres of outdoor space available to me during those times. As part of the remodelling of the outbuilding my home is attached to, my landlord created a private, paved patio area and a large storage closet for me. The patio turned out to be a real blessing. I was able to entertain friends and family on my patio in a “safe” manner over the summer. I was also able to try my hand at container gardening for the first time in about 15 years. I had some successes (zucchini and tomatoes) and failures (beans and cucumbers). My garden brought me much  joy. I learned a lot and am already planning my garden for next year. Now that the garden has wound down, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying birdwatching. I set up several feeders and regularly see sparrows, juncos, hummingbirds, chickadees, finches, towhees, jays, and a northern flicker. Ziva has been enjoying the added entertainment as well.  

Aside from a few new protocols, my job has been completely unaffected by the pandemic. I am very, very blessed in that regard. I still work for the same homecare agency. None of my patients or their families have been ill with COVID, thanks be to God. 

My health has also been good. This time last year, I sustained a minor injury to my right lower leg. It didn’t want to heal, so in January, I had a minor surgical procedure to open up and clean out what turned out to be a fairly severe, deep tissue injury. The next several months were filled with twice-weekly visits to a wound clinic to help heal the injury. As of August, it is fully healed. I have quite the scar from my ordeal, but I’m pleased that this was my only “health crisis” this year, especially in the light of the pandemic.I hope and pray that you are also well and that you are able to find Joy this holiday season despite it’s strangeness. Our celebrations might be different, but the one thing that remains the same is Emmanuel, God With Us, who’s birth we celebrate. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Now that is some “tidings of Comfort and Joy”!

Merry Christmas and a Brighter New Year!


TBT: WIP Wednesday

See what I did there? Ha. I wasn’t able to get photos on Tuesday, which meant that I couldn’t post from work Tuesday night. Yesterday was really busy, and I wasn’t home much at all. I got photos taken, but wasn’t able to write. And last night I inadvertently left my tablet at home which meant that I couldn’t post from work last night either. In the past, I would have just bagged it altogether. Today, though, I’m holding to the “better late lthan never” adage. I’ll link up with the Yarn Along as well.


The Hook

No surprise here, but there has been no crocheting going on in my place, unless using a crochet hook to fix knitting mistakes counts. 😉 I’m missing it a little, though.

The Book

My friend Tara is on a virtual book tour this week to promote Embracing The Body. She is visiting several blogs and websites. There is a great excerpt from her book on her own blog at Anam Cara. She has a guest post on Abbey of the Arts’ blog. And there is a wonderful interview with Tara done by Emily McFarlan Miller on her blog. I’m hoping to interview her here as well.

The Needles

I finished the little Milo that I was knitting last week for Milo May. I also finally got the finishing touches on the little sweater I was knitting.


They’ll get their own post once they reach their destinations.


I’ve made good progress on my sweater. In fact, I joined the second of five balls of yarn this morning. I had to transfer it onto my interchangeable needles. They’re wood instead of metal, so I hope they won’t meas up my gauge. During the transfer, I sort of tried on the sweater (meaning I laid it across my shoulders), and it appears to be a good fit.


I also cast on a new hat for CLICK for Babies. This one is knit in a soft DK. I’m hoping to get one hat done each week until the campaign ends in October.

That about does it for me. Hope you all have a great Thursday! Oh! Since it’s TBT, how about a picture for the occasion. This is me and my parents in 1974. Enjoy!



Throwback Thursday: My Grandma

This TBT falls on what would have been my Grandma Roth’s 92nd birthday. It is her third birthday in Heaven, so it seems only appropriate to honor her on the blog today. At the end, I’ll include the tribute I wrote and (very tearfully) read at her memorial service.

Grandma in High School

Grandma in High School

Grandma (48) and Grandpa (52) in 1970. They were married for 59 years.

Grandma (48) and Grandpa (54) in 1970. They were married for 59 years.

Grandma meeting me in 1974. This is possibly the first photo of us together.

Grandma meeting me in 1974. This is possibly the first photo of us together.

Grandma meeting my nephew Jonah in 2008.

Grandma meeting my nephew Jonah in 2008. She absolutely loved babies!

One of my indelible memories of my grandparents is of them turning off the TV in the evening and taking out their Bibles for a little while. Grandma continued doing this until she became to weak to do so. What a legacy of faith!

Grandma and her Bible. One of my indelible memories of my grandparents is of them turning off the TV in the evening and taking out their Bibles for a little while. Grandma continued doing this until she became to weak to do so. What a legacy of faith!

This is the last photo of us together. When we took it, I had a feeling it would be. (Dec 2010)

This is the last photo of us together. When we took it, I had a feeling it would be. (Dec 2010)


Mom tells me I was 2½ the first time she packed me into the backseat of my Grandparent’s car and sent me South for a few days.   Staying all by myself with them became a regular occurrence during my childhood.  In my younger years, Grandpa was still working, so it was often just my Grandma and me together all day.  I have such fond memories of those times.  From my earliest memories of my time there, one of the daily constants were the walks Grandma and I took.    

Grandma and Grandpa still lived on 122nd  when our walks began.  Grandma and I would set out from their home, within sight of I-84, and walk up to the Herfy’s on the corner of 122nd and Halsey, which I insistently called “Perky’s,” for coffee and a treat for me.   I now know that walk was ¾ of a mile one way!  Quite a jaunt for little legs.  Approximately half-way along our route, there was a pedestrian overpass.  Grandma would consent to let me walk up the steps and stand on the walkway to look down on traffic, but I could not go all the way across.  I’ll never forget the day when she actually let me walk all the way across the overpass and down the steps on the other side all by myself, as long as I came right back.  I’m sure she was not enjoying the experience one bit, but I felt so grown-up and big!

From the overpass we’d continue on our way.  There was a vacant lot just before the corner at Halsey that Grandma and I would cut through on our way to and from the restaurant.  It was full of trees, and Grandma and I would often stop there, sit on a stump, and watch the planes coming into Portland International, looking for “Flying Bananas” (bright yellow planes one airline used), before heading home.

These walks went on, day after day, visit after visit, year after year.  Just Grandma and me.  I never remember Grandpa joining us.  

But times change.  Herfy’s became Arctic Circle and eventually Arby’s.  The vacant lot was fenced in, the trees cut down, and new office buildings built.  Grandpa retired, and, when the urban paradise that was their yard grew too much for him to maintain on his own, the house of my childhood was sold, and they moved to the duplex on 162nd.  The walks continued, though changed.  After the move, we’d walk around the housing development behind their place, oohing and ahh-ing at the houses (we even “trespassed” on a job site and took a self-guided tour of a house in progress) .  Grandpa started joining us, and was with us on that clandestine excursion.  Eventually, the walks moved indoors, into the malls around Portland.  I think Lloyd Center was my favorite.  Grandpa usually did his own thing, and met us at the skating rink at an appointed time.

As time went on, and Grandpa’s dementia progressed, even these walks became too much, and my walks with Grandma ceased altogether.  I’d still walk around the neighborhood by myself, but it wasn’t the same.   I’ve missed those walks ever since.  

Several years ago, I found a plaque with this poem on it and gave it to Grandma.  It epitomizes my memories of my walks with her.  

Walking With Grandma

I like to walk with grandma,

Her steps are short like mine.

She doesn’t say “Now hurry up”,

She always takes her time.

I like to walk with grandma,

Her eyes see things like mine do –

Wee pebbles bright, a funny cloud,

Half hidden drops of dew.

Most people have to hurry,

They don’t stop and see

I’m glad that God made Grandma.

Unrushed, and young like me.

~Poem by Thena Smith~

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