Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Draw


~Image Credit~
What was the draw? she asked herself.   How was it possible that she had been so naïve as to not see the warning signs of imminent danger?   He was so charismatic, and she was fascinated by the hint of darkness cloaked in a shroud of mystery and complex philosophy.  She didn't know that in joining with him she would be in for the ride of her life. 

It wasn't long before she learned that his mind was twisted, that he was consumed with power, and that he worshipped evil. She had never taken satanic practices seriously, but now there was no denying that it was real; and the reality was more terrifying than anything she could have imagined. 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with the ever awesome Ivy Walker 
at "Uncharted" for Six Sentence Stories
The cue this week is "DRAW"
Come and read what others have written and share a story of your own!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

More Than We Believe



Today I'm participating in In Other Words at Patricia's Place where the writing prompt was the following quotation by Henry Ford -  "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.While I understand what he was saying, I think I am going to disagree with him! 

It is true that if we have so little confidence in our ability to do something that we won't even try, or give up without trying very hard, that we are destined to fail, so in that sense he is right.  It is also true that if we believe we can achieve something and we believe it strongly enough, we will stop at nothing to attain that goal, so he's right there too.

But there's another situation that occurs in many people's lives at some point - the belief that we can't possibly endure something or make it through another day.  It might be a financial disaster, a job that is a nightmare, the loss of home or property, a major medical problem, the loss of a loved one through death or divorce, or any other emotionally devastating situation.  What we discover is that whether we want to or believe we can, more often than not we do survive such situations, and come through on the other side to life stabilizing again. 

When we encounter times like this we have to remind ourselves of all the other hardships we've endured in the past that seemed insurmountable, and that we've managed to survive every single day up to the present one.  Odds are we can survive one more day... and then the next one... and then the next.  It's that old concept of  "tie a knot and hang on".  That doesn't mean that it won't  hurt, that it won't be confusing and painful and frustrating and all the emotions that come with intensely difficult things to deal with.  What is means is that if we remember to breathe and keep putting one foot in front of the other, and just get through the next hour and the next day, we will eventually find our way out of the maze and we will be ok again.

Never believe yourself to be a failure, look at all the times you've succeeded just to get to this point in life! We can do far more than we believe is possible, we can overcome far more than we believe is possible, we can achieve far more than we ever thought we could.  Don't give up on life, and even more importantly, don't give up on yourself.  You have the amazing ability to survive... and thrive! 

 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Guilty As Charged



She stood before Him sad and silent on the appointed day, head bowed, shoulders slumped in defeat. 

"You stand before me charged with a most heinous crime," the Judge intoned in a booming voice that rattled those present and awaiting their turns.

"How do you respond to the charge of not caring, of scorning those you considered beneath you and of turning away from those in need?" he demanded with a fierceness that shook her to her core.

She choked out the words "Guilty, Father," as tears streamed down her cheeks that burned with shame.

Then the Judge's voice softened, and the crowd gasped as He handed down his sentence. "I forgive you," he said, "Go in peace, be of service to others, and sin no more."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with the ever awesome Ivy Walker 
at "Uncharted" for Six Sentence Stories
The cue this week is "CHARGE"
Come and read what others have written and share a story of your own!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Yes It Can


How many times have we all had a series of bad incidents occur and find ourselves believing that  things couldn't possibly get any worse, only for one more evil wind to blow our way and topple what resolve we had remaining? 

There have been times in my life that I really felt like I was just going to collapse and die if one more thing went wrong... and yet, I didn't die and the world didn't end. 

I have a couple friends that leave me in awe at how much has been heaped on their plates, and yet they muster the courage and determination to tread water until they can find a way to move forward again.  Call it survival instinct, optimism or hope, or a healthy dose of all three.   

If you manage to hang in there during the bad times, you just might find yourself on the flip side of the coin, thinking that your life is going pretty good and couldn't possible get better... and then God smiles and sends a surprise in your direction that will light up your world.

There will be dark times in your life, but I believe that things can still work out better than you could possibly imagine!
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with awesome Ivy Walker at "Uncharted" for Six Sentence Stories
The cue this week is "CAN"
Come and read what others have written and share a story of your own!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

How I Met Papa Bear


Yesterday marked the eighth anniversary of the first night I met Papa Bear.  I drove the ninety miles from Hobbs, New Mexico where I'd been living for twenty years, to Odessa, Texas after work on that fateful Friday in January to spend the weekend getting to know him.

Our first meeting is fun memory that we often talk about, with both of us so nervous and yet so excited to finally meet after the many, many hours of late night phone conversation that had occurred in the three weeks prior to this first official date. 

We already knew we'd be great friends, we didn't know if their would be chemistry between us when we were actually together.  Just two weeks later he would purchase the house that was to become our home.  <3

Several bloggers that I've met in recent years have asked how I met Papa Bear.  I went back to my archives and found this post from 2009 that tells the story.  I hope you enjoy it...

Reporting In - Three Weeks Down


I started to write this update over the weekend, but as usual other things came into play and I was distracted/diverted.  So here's where I'm at now...
 
1)   Accountability - define steps, establish time frames, report in, follow through
      Step 1: Establish a first step for each goal on the list/time frame for each goal - by 1/3/16.
     DONE

     Step 2: Review goals weekly as a reminder, modify or adjust time frames as needed.
     DOING IT

      Step 3: Monitor and report progress status bi-weekly starting 1/09/16.
      Adjusting time frame to be more flexible - will report in every 2-4 weeks.
      DOING IT
 
2)   Spiritually - pray more, complain less, focus on reasons to be thankful
      Step 1: Update my daily prayer list to reflect current concerns/critical issues - by 1/4/16.
      DONE

     Step 2: Offer up more prayers in the moment, as the need comes to me, especially prayers
     for others - beginning 1/11/15.
     DOING IT
 
      Step 3: Reduce criticism/complaining to not more than twice a day - by 1/11/16
     HAHAHA - not even close, but more mindful of that and trying harder.  Begin again each day!
 
3)   Mentally - read more, sharpen skills, learn new things
      Step 1: Select a book from my reading list and begin  reading 30 minutes daily - by 1/5/16.
      HIT AND MISS. Haven't worked this into the schedule successfully on a regular basis yet. 
      Need to be more disciplined about going to bed early enough to enjoy that half hour of
     downtime reading. 
 
     Step 2: Play Words With Friends and at least one game of Sudoku daily for brain exercise 
     DOING IT
 
     Step 3: Identify something new I would like to learn how to do - by 2/07/16.
     
4)  Health - eat healthier, try new recipes, increase activity, increase endurance
      Step 1: Take prepared lunches to work at least three times a week - start 1/3/16.
      DOING IT - I enjoy having more time to relax and catch up on blogs, and having
      healthier things to eat, costs less too!
     
     Step 2: Keep breakfast items at work rather than doing drive-thru breakfasts - start 1/3/16.
     DOING IT
 
     Step 3: Make at least three home-cooked meals this week - start 1/10/16
     Not doing it regularly - kick it into gear by 2/01/16, no excuses!!
 
     Step 4: Do at least one domestic chores project each evening - beginning 2/01/16
    
5)  Time - manage chores, do more things that I enjoy, spend less time on Facebook
      Step 1: Check Facebook updates not more than four times a day - start today 1/3/16.
      Not there yet  - This proves to be the hardest goal!  I yield easily to temptation.  
      GETTING CLOSER - fewer checks, it's becoming easier to push the phone away!
 
      Step 2: Start a new craft project that I can work on daily - beginning 2/01/16.

 6)  Writing - blog frequently, journal, write poetry, develop reliable backup system
      Step 1: Post at least four times a week, even if just a brief check in - started 12/28/15.
      HIT AND MISS - some weeks better than others.  Going to continue for a couple more
     weeks then re-evaluate goal and see if I want to modify it.
 
      Step 2: Do at least two journaling post each week - start 1/10/16.
      NOT THERE YET - the desire is, the energy level at night isn't.  Will continue.
    
 7)  Finances - reduce expenses, build savings
      Step 1: Adopt the 52-Week Money Saving Challenge along with Papa Bear -
      start 1/5/16.  Will continue our deposits into the savings account on paydays.
      DOING IT
     
      Step 2: Identify specific ways to reduce expenses - begin 1/5/16
      DOING IT - WILL BE ONGOING ALL YEAR
      So far we have dropped at home Internet service, relying on our faster ATT hotspot instead.
      Brown bagging breakfast and lunch has resulted in food and gas savings too.
     
      Step 3: Reduce meal expense by eating dinner at home at least three times a week - start
      1/10/16.  Not doing it 3x a week yet, plan to meet that goal by end of next week!
      NOT HAPPENING REGULARLY YET
 
     Step 4: Organize kitchen and grocery shopping to better facilitate Step 4 - by 2/01/15
 
8)  Environment - de-clutter, deep clean,  enhance the décor of our house
     Step 1: Clear clutter from dining table, continue to clear daily - start today 1/3/16.
     DONE and being maintained thus far!

     Step 2: Clean interior/exterior of refrigerator and stove. - by 1/16/16.
     NOT DONE YET - extending deadline to 2/15/16.
  
     Step 3: De-clutter clean and organize one area weekly - beginning 1/23/16.
     DOING IT
     De-cluttered one area of the living room. Got rid of a couple pieces of unneeded furniture, 
     rearranged and reorganized the rest.  More de-cluttering in that room yet to be done.
 
9)  Relationships - help, encourage, practice tolerance, plan surprises
     Step 1: Send a note of encouragement to someone different each week - start by 1/9/16. 
     DOING IT

     Step 2: Be more tolerant of people who enter interrupt my time/space. Work on living in
     The present and being more willing to give my time to others - start 1/10/16
     WORKING ON IT - being more mindful of when I am impatient and judgmental.  Needs
     more work!

     Step 3: Plan a surprise for Papa Bear by 6/01/16.
 
10) Baggage - unpack old issues, re-evaluate motives/reasoning, face fears
      Step 1: Identify old issues that negatively effect how I live my life now - by 1/10/16.
      NOT DONE YET - I am going to extend the deadline for identifying some of the issues I
      want to unpack until 2/06/16, the day before my 62nd birthday. That seems appropriate. :-)

NOTES:
1/26/16 - I am learning that having set goals and reviewing them weekly helps me to be more
accountable to myself.  I have increased self-awareness of when I am falling off track, and can
make an effort to get back in line with the plan.

Not surprisingly, I am discovering that I am much better at adjusting my attitude than changing
actual behaviors, especially ones requiring physical effort.  That's an issue I will need to address.

The first re-organizing project we undertook in the living room this past weekend is just one
step of many, but a big improvement which gave a psychological boost to both of us, and
motivates us to go on to the next thing.  Sometimes chain reactions are a good thing!  :-)
 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Man Of My Dreams

Before I met Papa Bear I dreamed of finding a man who was the opposite of what I had experienced in my previous three marriages. I dreamed of someone who was giving, caring, compassionate, dependable, financially responsible, and stable.  Someone who was a good conversationalist, wasn't afraid to share his feelings, and had a great sense of humor.  Someone who wanted to visit new places and learn new things, and yet valued family and tradition.  Someone of faith, with strong ethics and moral character, who new how to conduct himself in public and private situations and would never intentionally say or do something that would embarrass me.  Someone who was affectionate and romantic, lived with simple needs and enjoyed sharing quiet times together, and love cats of course!  Someone with a deep voice, broad shoulders, and smiling eyes who didn't lash out in anger, and didn't fall apart when the going got rough.  Someone who would truly be there for better or for worse until the end. 

I have to admit that's a huge shopping list, and the likelihood of meeting someone with even half of those qualities is pretty small, and yet... that's exactly what happened.  Sometimes when you create a vision when planning for the future you will be blessed with the man of your dreams. I know it's possible, Papa Bear is all of this, and more.  As one of Papa Bear's friends told me early on, "He's the real deal." Yes, he is. There isn't an ounce of pretense in him.  Everyone who knows him admires him and respects him;  it is rare for us to go out anywhere in this city that someone he knows doesn't walk up to greet him and shake his hand. You don't have to be around him very long to discover that he is intelligent and entertaining, and it goes without saying that he has abundant patience to live with me! :-)  Is he perfect? No, no one is without a few flaws and foibles, but we compliment each other in all the ways that are important to create a relationship that we both treasure.

In short, God has truly given me the man of my dreams, and I am so very blessed.  If you are seeking a partner for your life, God just may have  the man or woman of your dreams waiting for you.
~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Patricia for her blog hop In Other Words
 where the writing prompt this week is the following quotation:
"Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning."

- Gloria Steinem
 
Come and add your words to ours!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

And Then One Day She Changed


Chloe lived her life as a doormat. Taught from birth to do as she was told, she never dared to question what was asked of her, or even what he demanded.

"Do as I say, do it now. Do it or I'll make you wish you had, and don't you dare tell anyone!" 

And then one day the years of buried anger rose within her.  "No," she said, as she turned and walked away, and on that day she changed.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with awesome Ivy Walker at "Uncharted" for Six Sentence Stories
The cue this week is "CHANGE"
Come and read what others have written and share a story of your own!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Reporting In - Week 1

 
This is my first check-in on the goals I've set for myself for this year. Things went pretty good for the most part, and I'm pleased with the fact that having set goals helps keep me focused on things I want to do.
 
1)   Accountability - define steps, establish time frames, report in, follow through
      Step 1: Establish a first step for each goal on the list/time frame for each goal - by 1/3/16 -
      DONE
     
      Step 2: Monitor and report progress status at least bi-weekly starting 1/09/16 - DOING IT/Will
      continue.
 
2)   Spiritually - pray more, complain less, focus on reasons to be thankful
      Step 1: Update my daily prayer list to reflect current concerns/critical issues - by 1/4/16 -
      DONE
     
      Step 2: Reduce criticism/complaining to not more than twice a day - by 1/11/16
 
3)   Mentally - read more, sharpen skills, learn new things
      Step 1: Select a book from my reading list and begin  reading 30 minutes daily - by 1/5/16 -
      Hit  and miss on this, 3 out of 5..  Will try bedtime reading for one more week because  it
      helps me relax for sleep.
     
4)   Health - eat healthier, try new recipes, increase activity, increase endurance
      Step 1: Take prepared lunches to work at least three times a week - start 1/3/16 - DONE/Will
      Continue. I brown-bagged by lunch all five days this week.  I won't always be able to do that,
      But I enjoyed having more time to relax and catch up on blogs, and having healthier things to
      eat at less cost! 
     
      Step 2: Keep breakfast items at work rather than doing drive-thru breakfasts - start 1/3/16.
      DONE/Will continue.
     
      Step 3: Make at least three home-cooked meals this week - start 1/10/16
    
5)  Time - manage chores, do more things that I enjoy, spend less time on Facebook
      Step 1: Check Facebook updates not more than four times a day - start today 1/3/16 -  UGH!
      This proved to be the hardest one.  I yield easily to temptation.  Did great first two days, then
      my sister got hurt and I spent a lot of time checking on her and updating people.  I need  to
      continue working on this one and try harder!
 
6)  Writing - blog frequently, journal, write poetry, develop reliable backup system
      Step 1: Post at least four times a week, even if just a brief check in - started 12/28/15 -
      DONE/Will Continue. I posted something nearly daily, skipped last night because I was
      worn out from the day.  This goal will continue.
 
      Step 2: Do at least two journaling post each week - start 1/10/16.
     
7)   Finances - reduce expenses, build savings
      Step 1: Adopt the 52-Week Money Saving Challenge along with Papa Bear - start 1/5/16 -
      Done/Will Continue.  The first two weeks $ are in the bank for both of us.
  
      Step 2: Look for ways to reduce expenses - begin 1/5/16 - Done/Will continue
      So far we have dropped at home Internet service, relying on our faster ATT hotspot instead.
      It's working out  so far and we have a clearer picture of how we use data.  Brown bagging
      breakfast and lunch to work this week, rather than doing fast-food has resulted in savings too.
 
      Step 3: Reduce meal expense by eating dinner at home at least three times a week - start
      1/10/16.
     
8)   Environment - de-clutter, deep clean,  enhance the décor of our house
      Step 1: Clear clutter from dining table, continue to clear daily - start today 1/3/16 - DONE
 
      Step 2: Clean interior/exterior of refrigerator and eliminate 1 pile of clutter - by 1/16/16.
 
9)   Relationships - help, encourage, practice tolerance, plan surprises
      Step 1: Send a note of encouragement to someone different each week - start by 1/9/16 -  
      DONE/will continue.  Sent several notes to my sister in the hospital this week. 

      Step 2: Be more tolerant of people who enter interrupt my time/space. Work on living in
      The present and being more willing to give my time to others - start 1/10/16
 
10) Baggage - unpack old issues, re-evaluate motives/reasoning, face fears
      Step 1: Identify old issues that negatively effect how I live my life now - by 1/10/16 - not
      Done yet.  I have given it some thought, but this week was busy with getting back into the
      work routine  after all the time-off over the holidays, and then with family issues including
      my sister's accident.I am going to extend the deadline for identifying some of the issues I
      want to unpack until 2/06/16, the day before my 62nd birthday. That seems appropriate. :-)
 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

What Exactly Is Your Problem?


Shaylene could not recall the exact date it happened.  The only thing that stood out clearly in the fog that now swirled about her was the last thing her supervisor had said. 

"What exactly is your problem?"

It was at that moment that Shaylene lost it.  The zillion bits of knowledge, thoughts, memories  and emotions that had been crammed into her brain for the last forty years surpassed maximum capacity and her head exploded in all directions like a Technicolor rainbow.

Shaylene soon discovered that she liked her life a lot better after the "cerebral accident", as the doctors referred to it; the soft swirls of light, sound, and color were a perfect match for her watercolor thoughts and dreams.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with awesome Ivy Walker at "Uncharted" for Six Sentence Stories
The cue this week is "EXACT"
Come and read what others have written and share a story of your own!