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Ten Things of Thankful - June 29th

Ten Things of Thankful
Once again I'm participating in Ten Things of Thankful, a blog hop that asks us to "focus on the good things going on in your life by listing ten things you are thankful for today."
 
1) I'm thankful for the last half of the work week being much easier than the first. The pace slowed down a bit and we fell into the rhythm of making it work while one short staff. It is nice to leave at the end of week and feel good about it instead of defeated.
 
2) I am thankful for the new co-worker that our supervisors chose from those who were interviewed. As each one passed thru the door we held our breath, figuratively (and sometimes literally as in the case of one who arrived in a cloud of perfume), and hoped they would choose not only someone who appeared to be capable of doing the job, but also someone who would fit well with the rest of us personality-wise.  It turned out that they chose the one we were hoping they would, she seemed very friendly.  She begins July 8th, fingers crossed that she will prove to be all that we hope for!
 
3) I am thankful that my beloved Papa Bear now allows Tiggy to join us in the bedroom at night for some cuddle time. When in the main living areas with us and the other three furkids, she tends to be stay more detached, always nearby and observing, but not as often interacting, and not wanting lap time.  But when she slips through the bedroom doorway she becomes "teddy bear cat" and just relishes in her role of snuggle bunny.  She won the privilege because she doesn't play "hide under the big bed" when it's time to go out, as the others usually do.
 
4) I am thankful that Papa Bear is so quiet when he leaves for work on Saturday mornings.  Once the alarm goes off he gets ready and leaves without me ever waking back up.  It is so nice to have this day to sleep another hour or so, until my body says "ready" instead of the not-so-blessed alarm clock that rules our lives on workdays.  This morning he let Tiggy back in when he departed, and she had a great time doing her best to wake me with all the usual cat tricks, finally surrendering to the realization that I wasn't quite ready, and curling up on top of me to purr contentedly and watch my eyelids for any signs of life. :-)
 
5) I am thankful for the wonderful blessing of Papa Bear being given a pay increase at work yesterday. It was a real morale booster for him because he works so hard... has been at the same  job for 32 (or 33, I can't remember which) years now, and is a loyal and devoted employee. Needless to say, the extra dollars for our budget will come in very handy and make things a little easier, yay!
 
6) I am thankful that I work in a wonderfully air-conditioned building and that the AC on my Escape works very well, as the heat rose to 110 one day and 106 the next.  With black asphalt parking lots of downtown absorbing heat and increasing the surface temperature much higher, it really felt like we were going to roast as we walked the short distance into the building, and while on that note, I am also thankful for the closer parking space I have now, with less distance to walk on such hot days!
 
7) I am thankful for the pleasure of watching a host of little birds have a wonderful "pool party" when I took out a huge bowl  of fresh cool water one evening after a scorcher day... they drank, and played and splashed and just had a wonderful time!  Needless to say, the furkids on their cat tree in my window were also totally absorbed in observing the party! :-)
 
8) I am thankful for Amazon.com... such an amazing, has it all, online store! "One click" shopping is the best, in less than five minutes time at lunch one day I had ordered a new book, paid for it, and had it downloading on my iPhone.  Instant library at your fingertips for eBooks - the best invention ever!
 
9) I am every so thankful for the wonderful posts of fellow bloggers that add humor, appreciation, and inspiration to my days.  I love going blog to blog to see what each person has added, there are some wonderful thinkers and writers in the blogsphere!  I wish I had more time to comment as I go, I'm going to try to do better on that, because I know how fun it is to have people respond to what you post!
 
10) I am thankful for the wonderful gift card my son gave my for my birthday in February. I've been saving  it, and today I'm going shopping for a  couple new outfits badly needed for work. Shopping for clothes isn't my most favorite thing to do, but it's certainly nicer when it won't make a dent in my bank account! Fingers crossed that I can find something I like, I have one favorite store that has things in my size, and usually I can come home with things that make me smile.
 
Wishing all of you an awesome weekend and a week ahead with blessings too many to count!
  

Two Shoes Tuesday Prompts for July 2, 2013

Another Two Shoes Tuesday is coming up in a few days!  There are now TWO word prompts each week... you can use whichever one inspires you. You are not required to use them both. You do not have to include the word in your post, but please use it as your theme.  You are welcome to write a post for each prompt word, if you like.

Since the intention is for this to be a CREATIVE WRITING effort, your contribution must be in the form of an original poem, essay, or short story (fiction or non-fiction), and it must be a new piece - not something drawn from your other writings or archives. Posts unrelated to either word prompt will be deleted from the Mr. Linky list.

I post an announcement with the writing prompts for the coming week on Saturday mornings, this gives you a little time to think about what you'd like to write and get it done! The upcoming prompt will also be posted on the Two Shoes Tuesday tab at the top of my blog for easy reference. 

The official Two Shoes Tuesday post with the Mr. Linky will appear shortly after 12 AM Central Time on Tuesday mornings.  You are free to add your link anytime through the following Saturday night, it does not have to be done on Tuesday.  I'm looking forward to reading what you share!

Your choice of word prompts for Tuesday, July 2nd are: 
 once  or  chain(s)
 
I hope you'll join us!

Feline Friday - June 28th

~  Gracie  ~
Why are you laughing?  Do you have your own swimming  pool? 
 
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I'm linking up with Steve at Burnt Food Dude for Feline Friday

The Swing

Come and sit by my side
At the end of a long summer day
Let the soft breezes cool you
Let my gentle touch soothe you
Let the slow swinging motion
Sweep all cares and worries away
 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Brenda Youngerman's Pondering With A Purpose
where this week's writing prompt is "swing"

Beneath This Tree


Dear Friend, how good it is to sit once more in the sacred space beneath your dark green canopy. How big you've grown in my absence! I see that you are doing well, casting shadows far beyond your center, spreading branches wide in all directions, fingers pointing to the light.
 
I well remember the days when you were not so broad and tall; I could circle my arms around you, and stretch to pull myself up to rest among your branches.  Countless summer days were spent with my back leaned up against you while I read book after book, heading home only when the sun dropped too far to make out words upon the page.
 
As I grew older life got harder, far more complicated than those simple carefree days. Often then I came to you, seeing shelter and solace from the cruelties of others that confounded me. You saw my tears, and called the gentle breeze to dry them. Together you soothed my soul with promises of better days whispered through your leaves.
 
The time came when I was grown and had to move away to start my own life. I remember still the sad goodbye when I embraced you and pledged to always remember what a good friend you'd been.  How I missed you as life led me on rocky paths for all those years; I longed for the shelter of your outstretched arms!
 
Now at last I have come home again, I've come to spend some time and tell you of my journey. Both of us have grown old now, my fingers gnarled like your branches. In these years of approaching sunset, I wanted you to know that, in spite of everything, in the end I learned that life is beautiful, love is real, and peace is always within our reach. 
 
I am happy now, can you believe that? I barely can myself! I love and I am loved, life is good, and very rarely is there reason for shedding tears. Just like you, old friend, I have grown strong from the center outward; I have learned to reach out to others and up to Our Creator.  When the end comes I will smile and say "Thank you for this time spent upon the earth," and I will ask that they bring my ashes and return me once again to the sacred space beneath your canopy of leaves.

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This post was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the prompt choices this week are big and waiting...
Come and join us there!

Two Shoes Tuesday # 33 - Big or Waiting

Welcome to Two Shoes Tuesday...  a place for those who love to write!

There are two word prompts to choose from... you can use whichever one inspires you. You are not required to include them both. You do not have to include the prompt word in your post, but please use it as your theme. You are welcome to write a post for each prompt word, if you like. Posts unrelated to either word prompt will be deleted from the Mr. Linky list.

Your contribution must be in the form of an original poem, essay, or short story (fiction or non-fiction), and it must be a new piece - not something drawn from your other writings or archives.

Your link must go directly to your post for Two Shoes Tuesday, and somewhere in the post you must provide a link to Two Shoes Tuesday.  It doesn't need to be big or fancy, just a text or logo link at the end of your post will be fine. You can add a link anytime through Saturday night. 

Please take some time to visit as many of the other TST participants as possible during the week, we all love feedback on our efforts! Feel free to email me at jts.2000@yahoo.com if you have any questions.

The June 25th writing prompts to choose from are Big and Waiting.  Have Fun!


Awww...Mondays - June 24th

 ~Best Friends From The Start~
Photo Credit
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Sandee's Awww..Mondays

In The Heat of the Night

It was yet another miserable summer night with humidity so high it nearly dripped off the walls, and Sonja lay there sweltering in the heat, tossing and turning, and trying to get some sleep. The slow moving ceiling fan barely stirred the air.  Eventually she succumbed to exhaustion and drifted into heavy slumber, then awoke with a start when the ceiling light suddenly came on and the fan blades begin to spin at a wild rate of speed.  The hair on Sonja's arms stood up and she experienced a flash of fear, but the cool breeze felt so wonderful she didn't care how or why; she just smiled, closed her eyes and drifted back to sleep.  They found her body there in bed, still smiling; no signs of fowl play, cause of death never determined.
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I'm linking up with Lillie McFerrin's Five Sentence Fiction
where the writing prompt this week is "blades"

What Will You Do With Your Beans?

This awesome video was shared by a friend of mine on Facebook today. It was originally posted on Sungazing. Take a few minutes to watch... a lot of work was put into it, and it has a great message!


Two Shoes Tuesday Prompt for June 25th, 2013

Another Two Shoes Tuesday is coming up in a few days!  There are now TWO word prompts each week... you can use whichever one inspires you. You are not required to use them both. You do not have to include the word in your post, but please use it as your theme.  You are welcome to write a post for each prompt word, if you like.

Since the intention is for this to be a CREATIVE WRITING effort, your contribution must be in the form of an original poem, essay, or short story (fiction or non-fiction), and it must be a new piece - not something drawn from your other writings or archives. Posts unrelated to either word prompt will be deleted from the Mr. Linky list.

I post an announcement with the writing prompts for the coming week on Saturday mornings, this gives you a little time to think about what you'd like to write and get it done! The upcoming prompt will also be posted on the Two Shoes Tuesday tab at the top of my blog for easy reference. 

The official Two Shoes Tuesday post with the Mr. Linky will appear shortly after 12 AM Central Time on Tuesday mornings.  You are free to add your link anytime through the following Saturday night, it does not have to be done on Tuesday.  I'm looking forward to reading what you share!

Your choice of word prompts for Tuesday, June 25th are: 
 big  or  waiting
 
I hope you'll join us!

Feline Friday - June 21st

Happy Summer Solstice!
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Steve at Burnt Food Dude for Feline Friday

Gathering At the Fire Fountain

Late in the summer of 1974 a group of young people from across the Midwest, and some who had come a further distance to join them, gathered at the capitol in  South Dakota. They came to share their belief in progressive revelation, unity, and the oneness of mankind; and to recruit new followers to a rapidly-growing religion which had been founded by a 19th-century holy man from Persia who taught that the purpose of life is to learn to know and love God through prayer, reflection, and service to humankind
 
Many parents and members of the community viewed this group as a cult, and feared that their young people would be drawn in and lured away from their fundamental Christian upbringing.  For those who saw themselves apart from mainstream religion and traditional social belief, the teachings of this faith offered a new way to look at things, a broader perspective than encompassed a One World philosophy and a new social order. 

Among those gathered was a young woman of twenty and her husband; she was pregnant with their first child. It was their common faith and membership in this group that had brought them together.  This  particular night stood out from other gatherings they had attended, as they circled the beautiful fire fountain located on the capitol grounds and sang the songs that bound them together in their beliefs, accompanied by the guitars of musicians among them. One song was perfectly befitting of this beautiful setting where devotion and the fervor of youth ran high...  
  
"...Angels, oh angels, angels of fire and snow...
Were it not for your tears, you would burn in the fire of your love,
Were it not for the fire, you would drown in your tears
Oh angels, oh angels, moth-like lovers of His light.
Behold the moth as it circles the candle,
It clings to the flame and dies.
Behold the candle as it gives light,
It weeps away its life drop by drop.
You fly, you weep, you die in your love.
You fly, you weep, you die in your love.
Were it not for your tears, you would burn in the fire of your love,
Were it not for the fire, you would drown in your tears..."

The young couple were to continue to hold membership in this organization for a few more years until the time came when they felt they could no longer ascribe to the teachings and  practices of the Faith. As with most doctrinal religions, choosing to separate yourself was said to be a certain path to self-destruction and distance from God. It was a difficult choice to turn and walk away, but I have never feared or regretted that decision.

Looking back from the distance and wisdom of years, it is hard to say where the greater evil dwells, with those who draw in sensitive young people to further their own cause, or with those who preach the gospels of fear and hatred for anything which is different from what they practice or believe, with little consideration for factual information.  But every now and then the verses from "Angels of Fire and Snow" play again in my head, and I smile in remembering a magical summer night at the fire fountain, long, long ago. 

Notes: Today members of this faith number more than five million, and their assemblies can be found in nearly every country in the world. The only reason I chose not to include the actual name of this religious group in my post is that their web-crawlers tend to seek out such posts and link to them.  I prefer that not happen again if possible.
 
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This post was written for Two Shoes eTuesday
where the prompt choices this week are laughter and fire...
Come and join us there!

Two Shoes Tuesday #32 - Laughter or Fire

Welcome to Two Shoes Tuesday...  a place for those who love to write!

There are two word prompts to choose from... you can use whichever one inspires you. You are not required to include them both. You do not have to include the prompt word in your post, but please use it as your theme. You are welcome to write a post for each prompt word, if you like. Posts unrelated to either word prompt will be deleted from the Mr. Linky list.

Your contribution must be in the form of an original poem, essay, or short story (fiction or non-fiction), and it must be a new piece - not something drawn from your other writings or archives.

Your link must go directly to your post for Two Shoes Tuesday, and somewhere in the post you must provide a link to Two Shoes Tuesday.  It doesn't need to be big or fancy, just a text or logo link at the end of your post will be fine. You can add a link anytime through Saturday night. 

Please take some time to visit as many of the other TST participants as possible during the week, we all love feedback on our efforts! Feel free to email me at jts.2000@yahoo.com if you have any questions.

The June 18th writing prompts to choose from are Laughter and Fire.  Have Fun!

Awww...Mondays - June 17th

~Sophie~
Self-packed and ready to ship...
 but this little sweetheart isn't going anywhere!
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Sandee's Awww...Mondays

Ten Things of Thankful - June 15th

Today I'm participating in Ten Things of Thankful, a wonderful new blog hop which asks us to "focus on the good things going on in your life by listing ten things you are thankful for today".

1) I am thankful for the long-delayed resolution of a work situation that generated endless strife and drama. It is said that "If you give a man enough rope he will hang himself", and that's pretty much what happened.  While I am never thankful to see an individual face difficult times, it can be an important lesson in work ethics and personal conduct.  All things work together for the good.

2)  I am thankful for the beautiful rain that we've had over the past two days with more to come.  It hasn't been huge amounts, but for us where it has been so very dry, it's like diamonds sprinkling down.  It is enough to cool the temperatures a bit, wash the dirt off my Escape, and green  up the weeds a little.  Let it rain, let it pour, thank you Lord, for the rain! I love thunder and lightning too!

3) I am thankful for the happiness I hear in my daughter's voice in our recent phone calls.  Leaving the gloom of her small, dark apartment for the light and space of her new home has worked wonders.  She is busy with unpacking, decorating and projects, and I love that she is truly living again!

4) I am thankful for the fun of catching glimpses of new feral cats showing up at the "cat café" food dish and water we leave out for them.  There is a colony that resides about a half mile from here and every now and then one begins to make regular appearances on our deck to enjoy the food.  Yesterday it was a young tortoise kitten meowing thru window from on top of the hot tub cover, and I saw it again last evening.  This morning it was a big yellow and white tomcat, pure muscle. Clearly he is doing well.

5) I am thankful for my beloved Papa Bear's quick responses with his iPhone camera.  It is he who "caught" the tomcat on the deck this morning and sent me the photo.  He has a keen eye and often spies things I might miss, an animal, a flower, the antics of his coworkers.  Phone cameras are such a blessing, I often think of how my mother and father would have enjoyed getting frequent photos!

6) I am thankful for the memories of my father and me working on house projects together and going fishing together in the evenings when he got off work.  I maybe didn't realize it as much then, but I'm thinking he enjoyed my company as much as I did his. We didn't talk a lot, but we were together.  I am also ever thankful for the values he taught me about life, work, and family. 

7) I am thankful for connecting on Facebook with people from the past whose lives have changed as dramatically as mine.  I am beginning to realize how often God takes us as lumps of unwieldy clay and molds us into something good and beautiful, then gives us wonderful partners to share life with!

8) I am thankful for the non-ending antics and interactions of our furkids which are the source of endless amusement and conversation between us.  Our "empty-nest"  house would feel far less like a home without these little characters and their unique personalities. We laugh about them daily.

9) I am thankful for moments of peace, like right now, today, when I realize that although there are dark clouds hanging in the sky at the moment, there are none hanging over my life. Stress is so hard on our bodies and spirits, and it is such a blessed relief when it is gone.  God is good, all is well, and anything that needs fixing I have the ability to do... now, to find the motivation! ;-)

10) I am thankful for having nice clothing to wear and launder, something I often taken for granted. Patricia at Patricia's Place wrote a  post on this yesterday, and it got me thinking about how right she is, and how pitiful it is when I grumble about washing a load of socks or towels. I am blessed to have all that I need and so much more.
Ten Things of Thankful
Come and share your blessings with us!

Two Shoes Tuesday Prompt for June 18th, 2013

Another Two Shoes Tuesday is coming up in a few days!  There are now TWO word prompts each week... you can use whichever one inspires you. You are not required to use them both. You do not have to include the word in your post, but please use it as your theme.  You are welcome to write a post for each prompt word, if you like.

Since the intention is for this to be a creative WRITING effort, your contribution must be in the form of an original poem, essay, or short story (fiction or non-fiction), and it must be a new piece - not something drawn from your other writings or archives. Posts unrelated to either word prompt will be deleted from the Mr. Linky list.

I post an announcement with the writing prompts for the coming week on Saturday mornings, this gives you a little time to think about what you'd like to write and get it done! The upcoming prompt will also be posted on the Two Shoes Tuesday tab at the top of my blog for easy reference. 

The official Two Shoes Tuesday post with the Mr. Linky will appear shortly after 12 AM Central Time on Tuesday mornings.  You are free to add your link anytime through the following Saturday night, it does not have to be done on Tuesday.  I'm looking forward to reading what you share!

Your choice of word prompts for Tuesday, June 18th are:
 
 laughter  or  fire
  
I hope you'll join us!

Feline Friday - June 14th

My daughter's furkids playing hide-and-seek in her new house
 
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I'm linking up with Steve at Burnt Food Dude for Feline Friday

The Million Dollar Pill

 It was beautiful, truly amazing, and after several months of secret negotiations he finally owned it.  Now he cradled the pill in the palm of his hand.  A million dollars, so much money... what would his wife say if she knew?  But she wasn't going to find out, ever -  he'd made sure of that; he paid for it with money he'd inherited from his grandfather, a vault full of cash that he'd kept hidden for the last twenty five years. 
 
He rolled the pill gently between his fingers, trembling with excitement, shaking with fear. Could he do it, did he really have the courage to go through with it?  He paused for a moment, reviewing the highlights of his life like a slide show; none of them held a candle to this.  In a moment, in one swallow, his life was about to change forever. There would be no turning back.
 
Standing before the full-length bedroom mirror, he placed the pill on the back of his tongue and washed it down with a shot of bourbon; it seemed the perfect toast to the life he was leaving behind.  For a moment nothing happened, then his reflection began to fade, becoming gradually transparent, until it vanished completely before his eyes. 
 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Brenda Youngerman's Pondering With A Purpose
where this week's writing prompt is "pill"

Overshadowed

I believe... that my loyalty lies with the business that I work for, and not with any individual within that business that may or may not have its best interests at heart.

I believe... that it is important for an employee to view the job as more than a paycheck, to see themselves as part of the whole picture, to realize that their contribution matters, and to have a desire to become a valuable member of the team.

I  believe... that all employees should be expected to act in a  professional manner regarding appearance, conduct, communication, and cooperation.  The image employees project is the first-impression that a business projects. 

I believe... that leadership is best done by example.  Employees pay close attention to how well management follows the rules they set for others.  "Do as I do" produces better results than "Do as I say".

I believe... that policies and procedures are only as good as they are enforceable and enforced, otherwise they are little more than meaningless rhetoric. The answer often isn't making more rules, but finding ways to make the rules you already have work better.

I believe... that all employees should be treated equally. Sacred cows might be ok in India, but have no place in the world of business.  Decisions based on emotion rather than thoughtful consideration and fairness are generally made for the wrong reasons.

I believe ...that enabling poor work ethic and substandard performance is not doing an employee a favor.  If no one sets the bar high, employees will never strive to reach their potential and become valuable assets to the business. 

I believe... that individuals who have issues with accepting authority, should also have issues with maintaining employment.  It is called "a learning experience."  Learning to treat those in authority respectfully is essential to maintaining order within the business.  It is equally essential for those in authority to treat their employees with respect.

I believe... that individuals who are deceitful in small ways will also be deceitful in large ways when the opportunity presents itself.  If you tolerate small infractions, larger ones are certain to occur.

I believe... that it is important for both employees and management to acknowledge mistakes when they are made, to apologize, to repair the damage caused if possible, and then try to avoid making that mistake again.  We all make mistakes, they can be the best learning experiences if we use them in that manner.

I believe... that employees need to be held accountable for their decisions and their actions. If they are allowed to make excuses, and if excuses are made for them, they will never learn to see themselves are responsible for what happens in their lives, there will always be someone else or something else to blame.

I believe... that sending out missives and memos to all employees may be useful in preventing future problems, but eventually those who are involved in drama on a regular basis need to be dealt with as individuals.

I believe... that there is a finite amount of time that should be spent trying to reform a non-responsive employee.  At some point one needs to cut their losses and move on to developing someone new for the position.  While it may be easier to put up with poor employees than to find and train new ones, in the end the time and energy spend dealing them will be greater than what it would take to train someone new who is interested in becoming a valuable asset to the business.

I believe... that poor performance of one, or a few, can overshadow the efforts of the majority to perform in a positive manner and meet the standards that the business has set for them. One dark cloud overshadows the efforts of those who are trying to work together and do things right. It consumes management time and energy and casts suspicion on everyone.

I believe... that one bad apple can indeed spoil things for the whole bunch, and over time the work environment will begin to stink!

I believe... that it is the responsibility of both management and coworkers to identify and expose rotting apples.  Believing that all people are capable of self-supervision and will handle it responsibly without oversight is a false assumption. 

I believe.... that management should listen to and consider what employees have to say.  They are the eyes and ears of the business and often have valuable insight on what is working and what isn't.  Additionally, managers should always check the facts before assuming what they've been told is true.

I believe... that it is my obligation to speak out against what is wrong. Everyone is affected by problems in the workplace.  Ignoring problems rarely makes them go away.  If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
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This post was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the prompts this week are cloud or shadow...
Come and join us there!

Two Shoes Tuesday #31 - Cloud or Shadow

Welcome to Two Shoes Tuesday...  a place for those who love to write!

There are two word prompts to choose from... you can use whichever one inspires you. You are not required to include them both. You do not have to include the prompt word in your post, but please use it as your theme. You are welcome to write a post for each prompt word, if you like. Posts unrelated to either word prompt will be deleted from the Mr. Linky list.

Your contribution must be in the form of  a poem, essay, or short story (fiction or non-fiction), and it must be a new piece - not something drawn from your other writings or archives.

Your link must go directly to your post for Two Shoes Tuesday, and somewhere in the post you must provide a link to Two Shoes Tuesday.  It doesn't need to be big or fancy, just a text or logo link at the end of your post will be fine. You can add a link anytime through Saturday night. 

Please take some time to visit as many of the other TST participants as possible during the week, we all love feedback on our efforts! Feel free to email me at jts.2000@yahoo.com if you have any questions.

The June 11th writing prompts to choose from are Cloud and Shadow. Have Fun! 


Ten Things of Thankful... A Wonderful New Blog Hop!

Today I'm joining up with the new Ten Things of Thankful blog hop which asks us to "focus on the good things going on in your life by listing ten things you are thankful for today".
 
1.  I am thankful for this wonderful new blog hop as a weekly place to count and share my blessings. I did this for the 26 days of the A-Z Blogging Challenge and can attest to the fact that it did wonders in helping me focus on the positive and finding reasons big and small to smile!
 
2.  I am so very thankful for my beloved Papa Bear who is celebrating his 60th birthday today! He is my knight in shining armor, he is the light of my life.  In my case, God saved the very best for last! :-)
 
3.  I am thankful for having two four day work-weeks in a row!  I love working only four days and wish I could do it always.  We were off for Memorial Day and then both took today off to begin a long weekend.  Having one less day of work made the week seem to go by so fast. That might also be because I had something fun to look forward to!
 
4.  I am thankful for getting to spend these three days at Ft. Davis at the foothills of the Davis Mountains in Texas with Papa Bear.  It was his choice of how to spend his birthday and it's beautiful here!
 
5. I am thankful for the wonderful Mexican food we had today for lunch at a place in Balmorhea, and for the delicious meal we had for dinner tonight at a small but elegant bistro in Ft. Davis. We love getting to eat in new places. In both cases the food was far above average and we loved it! We finished the evening off with the Italian Crème Cake birthday cake I brought along packed in an ice chest. :-)
 
6. I am thankful for the wonderfully cooler weather here in Ft. Davis.  It reached 109 one day last week in Odessa where we work, and 106 the following day.  It was miserable.  It is much cooler here in the higher elevation.  This evening we sat outside in the little rocking chairs on the patio and loved the cool 70 degree gentle breeze as the sun set.
 
7. I am thankful for all of our children, mine and John's, that love us and remember us on our birthdays.  He's had a host of Facebook messages, texts and phone calls today, and enjoyed every one of  them!
 
8. I am thankful for the many things Papa Bear and I have in common, we enjoy going the same places, and doing the same things.  This evening we drove around looking at the old and historic buildings here, delighting in each find and taking photos  Earlier we shared the roadway with a doe who was grazing in a yard with a couple of companions in the small town.  That's her pictured above.
 
9. I am thankful for the beauty of God's handiwork. I have learned over the years that each place has a beauty of it's own, be it the lakes and prairie that I grew up with, waves lapping at the ocean shore, the tree-filled squares of Savannah, or the stark beauty of the West here in Texas.  Someday we want to experience Alaska too!
 
10. I am thankful for Wi-Fi, as we sit here relaxing, Papa Bear reading his e-book on his tablet and me updating my Facebook and blog from the comfort of our little cottage at the foot of the mountains. I can leave home and take all my friends along with me.  I can share photographs instantly. I can have a book at my fingertips and never lose my place.  I can make friends from all over the world and send them greeting with the touch of a button on a keyboard that's connected to the Internet with nothing but signals that pass mysteriously thru the air!

Ten Things of Thankful
Come and share your blessings with us!

Two Shoes Tuesday Prompt for June 11, 2013

Two Shoes Tuesday is back!  There are now TWO word prompts each week... you can use whichever one inspires you. You are not required to use them both. You do not have to include the word in your post, but please use it as your theme.  You are welcome to write a post for each prompt word, if you like.

Since the intention is for this to be a creative WRITING effort, your contribution must be in the form of a poem, essay, or short story (fiction or non-fiction), and it must be a new piece - not something drawn from your other writings or archives. Posts unrelated to either word prompt will be deleted from the Mr. Linky list.

I post an announcement with the writing prompts for the coming week on Saturday mornings, this gives you a little time to think about what you'd like to write and get it done! The upcoming prompt will also be posted on the Two Shoes Tuesday tab at the top of my blog for easy reference. 

The official Two Shoes Tuesday post with the Mr. Linky will appear shortly after 12 AM Central Time on Tuesday mornings.  You are free to add your link anytime through the following Saturday night, it does not have to be done on Tuesday.  I'm looking forward to reading what you share!

Your choice of word prompts for Tuesday, June 11th are:
 
 cloud  or  shadow
  
I hope you'll join us!

Happy Birthday Papa Bear!

                      
 
 Today is
Papa Bear's
Birthday!

Yup, he's turning the Big 6-0!  In honor of his special day, I'm re-posting the links to Papa Bear's Tale, a series of interview posts I did with him last year.  If you haven't read them before, you might find them interesting; he truly is every bit as amazing as I've been telling you all this time!

We're headed to Ft. Davis for a three-day weekend of R & R.  This is what it looks like...
While we're there, I think I'll do a follow-up interview to Papa Bear's Tale, a turning-sixty retrospective. Watch for it in the days to come! If there are any questions you'd like to ask Papa Bear that are not covered in the interview posts above, feel free to leave them in the comments.  He'd be happy to answer!

Feline Friday - June 7th

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I'm linking up with Steve at Burnt Food Dude for Feline Friday

I Want To Paint


Yesterday on Facebook, a teacher friend of  mine posted this wonderful photo of paint tubes with bright primary colors squishing out like toothpaste.  Although the message was to have a colorful day, I commented that it made me want to play with paints. :-)  Seeing that luscious paint brought back fond memories of grade school activities with finger-paints and tempera paints.  I would readily admit that my artistic talents were limited then and haven't improved any over the years, but I can paint a great stickman or square house, and I'm an expert when it comes to drawing barren winter trees too! :-) 

I started thinking how fun it would be to set out craft tables at everyone's place of work on Friday afternoons.  Supply a bunch of paper and art supplies and let everybody just have fun with it.   We could even hang our "artwork" along the walls, and you know it would make visitors smile!

I believe that everyone has a spark of creativity within, whether it be drawing or painting, making music or writing, doing embroidery or needlework, growing beautiful gardens, decorating a house or piecing together a quilt, building something out of wood, creating a fabulous dessert, or tying fishing lures. What's your favorite way to express your creativity?  When was the last time you took time to play?

Midweek Meandering 6-05-13

 
~ The above picture was taken by my daughter on the walking trail near her new house that winds through trees and alongside the river. If I could go meandering outside this is where I'd choose to be; for now, I'll have to be content with pretending.

~ I just finished looking at the senior graduation photos from Red Cloud Indian School.  Among the class this year are a handful of young people that I have known since they were in first grade. I am so proud of the ones who've made it this far and have wonderful plans for their future.  Life on the rez in South Dakota is anything but easy. I'm praying that they all seize the opportunity to live out their dreams! 

~ It saddens me deeply to know that five girls out of that original class of first graders have already had babies or are pregnant now, two of those are pregnant for the second time. It's not about passing moral judgment, it's about babies having babies and how being a very young parent makes achieving your goals so much harder... not impossible, just a lot harder.  It is difficult to break free of  the cycle of poverty.  I want so much more for them!

~ My young blogger friend Judygirl from Diary of the Sunday Visitor noted in an email to me that last Sunday was a holiday of sorts - "No TV Day" in her community in India - a day for everyone to shut off the television and get out and enjoy life.  What a wonderful idea!  We should do that here... maybe monthly!  Many years ago when I lived in Germany, we survived without tv for the two and a half years I was there. We didn't miss it  one bit, there were so many interesting things to do, a library of good books to access at the military post where my then husband was stationed, a new language to learn, beautiful countryside to explore, great beers to taste and festivals to enjoy.   We are a nation of couch potatoes, and Papa Bear and I fall within that guilty group.  At the end of a long day or week, we are weary, and more often than not end up planted in our comfy chairs.  Although there are very few shows we actually look forward to watching and actively record, if none of those are on, there is most likely something mediocre playing on the tv in the background while he reads and I blog.  He is now opting to turn the tv off at times when he is reading, and I enjoy the quiet time to think as I write.  When I am home alone it is very rarely on.  I could live without it. I don't love it enough to miss it. It really isn't necessary that we fill  up all the quiet spaces in our lives with noise.

~ I have to be honest and admit that if you propose a "No Electronics Day" I'm going to whine and cry and probably sneak into the closet with my tablet, my iPhone and my battery power pack!  It's an addiction, I admit that.  It's not about the objects themselves, it's about my ability to reach out and interact with  all of you, I enjoy that so much, and I truly go through withdrawal if we power down!

~ When I complain that it's "hotter than Hell" here in West Texas, I'm not kidding.  Papa Bear captured this screen shot from the weather report on last night's news.  Note that we've also had less than two inches of rainfall this year.  I think  it's going to be a long summer! :-/

In My Corner

My name is Scotty. I am ten years old, and this is my bear.  His name is Brown Bear.  Ok, so I wasn't very clever at naming things when I was a little kid, but Brown Bear was my best friend, and he got me through a lot of tough times. 
 
When I was really young I lived in a house that was...  well, I guess you'd say that it was noisy. It seemed like there was always someone screaming, or yelling or crying in that house.  Dad did most of the yelling, Mama did the crying, though I did hear her scream at dad one night when he came home late; she was saying something about him drinking too much and coming home drunk.  I didn't hear everything that got said, but I heard him yelling back at her, and then I heard her crying.  They probably thought I was sound asleep in my bed upstairs, but who could sleep with all that noise.
 
At times like that, when I couldn't stand the noise anymore, I'd curl up in the corner of my room and hold Brown Bear tight, and wait for things to quiet down.  Sometimes I got kinda scared, but Brown Bear didn't care if I got his fur wet with tears, and he never told on me either. 
 
When I was about eight my Grandma came to live with us.  Mama said that Grandma was getting too old to live alone.  I loved Grandma so much and was really glad when she moved into the room across the hall from mine.  She didn't much like all that noise going on downstairs all the time either, and sometimes I would find her standing in the hallway shaking her head. 
 
One night when things were getting pretty loud between Dad and Mama, Grandma came across the hall and opened up my door and found me huddled in the corner with Brown Bear.  I was a little embarrassed, but she just smiled and sat down on my bed and talked a long time about Brown Bear and what a good friend he was.  She told me that Brown Bear was really smart and  knew a lot of things about life and people and that sometimes he might share secrets with me.  That sure got me curious, and I asked what she meant, but she just smiled and said I'd probably find out in time.
 
A few nights later I woke up to the sound of something crashing in the kitchen and it sounded like Dad must have tripped and fell.  I scrambled to the safety of my corner and grabbed Brown Bear who was waiting there for me.  As I held him close I noticed there was a small piece of paper folded up and tied to his paw with a string.  I turned on my pocket flashlight and read the note. It was printed in big round letters and I figured out that's how bears must write.  It said "I love you Scotty, and God loves you too.  You don't have to be afraid, we are going to be ok together. I like how you hug me and keep me warm.  XOXO, Brown Bear"  Wow! That made me feel a whole lot better!
 
In the weeks after that I found notes from Brown Bear almost always if I had to hide in my corner. That really helped me because things were getting more scary in our house.  One night I found a note from Brown Bear that told be to be really brave because we would soon be moving to a wonderful new life together.  I wonder how he knew that when I didn't know anything about us moving. 
 
Sure enough, just two days later Mama sat me down and told me that she and I were going to move to Grandma's house along with Grandma, that she didn't want me to live in a house with so much noise.  She said that it wasn't good for little boys, or mamas, or grandmas.  "Or bears?" I asked her. 
 
"This is definitely not a good place for bears," said Mama, and I saw her and Grandma share a smile.
 
After we moved to Grandma's house life was a lot different, there wasn't any more noise and I didn't have to hide in the corner of my room, but I always left Brown Bear sitting there just in case.  Every now and then I'd come home from school to find Brown Bear holding a note printed with his big round letters that would tell me how much he loved me and how proud he was of me. I was amazed when he knew that I got an 100 on a Spelling test or that I'd helped my Mama weed the garden. 
 
Like I said, I'm ten years old now, just about grown up.  Grandma died in her sleep and went to Heaven last year.  I miss her a lot.  The notes from Brown Bear stopped too, and I pretty much figured out that maybe she had been the one helping him do the writing, since everyone knows that bears wouldn't be very good at holding pencils with those big paws.  But even if Brown Bear doesn't leave me any more notes I know he loves me, just like Grandma promised she would love me even when she went to Heaven, and I know that she does.  
 
I think I'm going to keep Brown Bear around - even if I'm getting a little big for stuffed animals, and when I finish school and move to my own house some day I'm taking Brown Bear with me.
 
And he did.
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This post was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the prompts this week are corner or rescue...
Come and join us there!

Two Shoes Tuesday #30 - Corner or Rescue

Welcome to Two Shoes Tuesday...  a place for those who love to write!

There are two word prompts to choose from... you can use whichever one inspires you. You are not required to include them both. You do not have to include the prompt word in your post, but please use it as your theme. You are welcome to write a post for each prompt word, if you like. Posts unrelated to either word prompt will be deleted from the Mr. Linky list.

Your contribution must be in the form of  a poem, essay, or short story (fiction or non-fiction), and it must be a new piece - not something drawn from your other writings or archives.

Your link must go directly to your post for Two Shoes Tuesday, and somewhere in the post you must provide a link to Two Shoes Tuesday.  It doesn't need to be big or fancy, just a text or logo link at the end of your post will be fine. You can add a link anytime through Saturday night. 

Please take some time to visit as many of the other TST participants as possible during the week, we all love feedback on our efforts! Feel free to email me at jts.2000@yahoo.com if you have any questions.

The June 4th writing prompts to choose from are Corner and Rescue. Have Fun! 

Please get the code for this Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post and add it to your post too!


Awww...Mondays - June 3, 2013

This photo was sent to KARE 11 News (Minneapolis) by Deb Olson in Minnetonka.  Her dog Gracie went out back one morning last week and found a new friend...
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I'm linking up with Sandee's Awww...Mondays

Homesteaders

Source
How excited Abigail had been as she headed west on the stagecoach that would take her to Nebraska where her husband was eagerly waiting, having built her a sod house on their new homestead. Being born and raised in the East on heavily wooded acres laced with fast-flowing streams, she had no idea that a place could be so desolate.  The nearest neighbors lived eight miles away, and she rarely had the company of other womenfolk, except on Sundays when they took the horse-drawn buggy to church in town. Life was hard on the open prairie but Abigail learned to make the best of it, and as time went on four children were born. All did well except for little Emily whose tiny grave Abigail covered with bright flowers grown from seeds that her mother sent her from back home.
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I'm linking up with Lillie McFerrin's Five Sentence Fiction
where the writing prompt this week is "desolate"

Thankful Thoughts - June 1st

Always More Things I'm Thankful For!

Not that many years ago in  my life, weekends weren't usually so great.  I would go through the work week eagerly counting down the days to Friday as most of us do, but inevitably the next two days would bring issues and conflict with my then-husband, and I'd return to work on Monday more exhausted and defeated than before.  I was just sitting here in the heavenly quiet of this morning and reflecting on what a great life I have now, and how very much I am blessed!  No matter how stressful the workweek might be, and how tired I am by Friday night, home is always a place of refuge and a very welcome sight.  Papa Bear makes being married easy, he is so incredibly patient and kind.  I never cease to be amazed of how many things we  have in common, and how the same things make us happy.  If I could choose between the wealthiest man in the world and Papa Bear, he would win hands down.  He  makes me happy in so very many ways, and I know  how blessed I am!

Sitting here watching out the window, I see all kinds of small bird stopping by to enjoy a meal from the bird feeder or a cool drink of water from the bowl I've put out for them.  One wouldn't think that many different kinds of birds would show up in a place so devoid of trees and water.  I am grateful that I can do a small part by giving them a cool drink on a hot day.  Needless to say, the cats enjoy watching "live bird tv" from their cat tree in the window too. :-) 

Although coworker drama was in full swing at work this week, the majority of us (five out of six) managed to get along just fine, complete a ton of paperwork, and assist some folks who so badly need medical help and income.  Nothing makes us all happier than when a disability case is won for someone who has been struggling and often waiting so long.  I love the joy in their voices when I get the call that says "There was money from Social Security in my bank account this morning!)  That's the way the cumbersome system is supposed to work... helping those who truly are in need. 

Temps are rising into the summer stratosphere already, over 100 several days and of course many more to come.  I do  not like the heat, it does not like me, it makes me sick.  Yet I sit here in my nicely air-conditioned house and drive around in my air-conditioned car and realize, again, how blessed I am.  I'm still trying to figure out how we survived without both when I was growing up!

A wonderful blessing warmed my heart this week, as I wrote about here on Thursday - my daughter was able to purchase a home in Nashville.  Her brother helped her move her furniture, and she is happily sleeping in the new place and working her way through the many boxes.  How wonderful for her to be out of that dark little apartment with her belongings packed in storage!  How proud I am that she has been able to make this happen in her life!  I am equally proud that my son took a day off work to help her move.  I have great kids!  My strongest desire for their lives was that  they would grow up to have good careers and be able to support themselves, so that they would never have to depend on someone else or find themselves trapped in a bad situation.  As it is, both of them have chosen alternatives to long-term education, and yet are earning amazingly good income at jobs they enjoy. Every day that they continue to move forward with their lives and prosper I am blessed, I know how fragile life can be, and how many people are struggling just to survive.

I smiled when a photo arrived from my daughter with one of her beloved cats out on the upstairs deck in her new house on a closely held leash as she was helping it become familiar with the new surroundings.  Some folks take their pets for granted.  We don't!  When I left the farm I had to leave my cats behind and it broke my heart.  It was my greatest joy when Stormy came to live out his final years with us!  We were talking last night about each of our cats, their unique personalities, how fun it is to watch them grow and change just as people do, and what good lives they have here. It is my privilege to have them in my life, and to have a husband who loves them as much as I do and doesn't fuss about the cat fur adrift.  I never thought I'd be able to have a cat again, but God had a plan! One of my daughter's big considerations in choosing her new home and location was a place that her cats would have plenty of room and a safe place to be outdoors. Some people laugh to think that would be an important factor, but as a person living on her own, they are her furkids and she wants the best for them.  I hope they live long and happy lives together with her in their new home!

Our Chloe first belonged to my daughter who rescued her as a kitten.  When she moved to her last apartment in San Antonio, only two pets were permitted and the rules were strictly enforced. In tears, she asked if we could take Chloe, and I know how much it hurt her to have to say goodbye. Chloe has proven to be a wonderful addition to our family and we love her dearly, but we're now talking about a road trip to take her back to her mama at the new house this Fall... what a happy reunion that would be! Again, God has ways of working things out... in His time, and always with great love!

We also received great news yesterday from one of John's daughters about an upcoming move. I can't share much about it yet, but it will be a wonderful blessing for them; they've been waiting and praying for this a long time too!

Time for me to stop playing on the keyboard and head for the shower. Meeting Papa Bear in town after he gets off work for "date night"...  dinner and a movie.  :-)   GOD is GREAT, and life is good here in West Texas,  I hope you're all having a good weekend too!
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I'm linking up with Cate at Six Word Saturday...  join us there!