Pondering... Stretch

"What we think determines what happens to us,
so if we want to change our lives, we need to stretch our minds."
- Wayne Dyer
 
We most often tend to think of "stretch" in terms of something physical, but there is another stretching exercise that is equally important, that being learning to stretch our minds... to consider new possibilities and ways of thinking.  Not everything we believe to be true is true, or remains true forever.  Our lives are constantly changing, and hopefully evolving; we need to be willing to stretch beyond our preconceived limitations, reevaluate what we know and what we've been told, and then determine what beliefs are the right fit for us now.
 
A good way to stretch our minds comes in the form of believing in ourselves.  We tend to accept the labels that have been put on us, and the ones we've placed there, without ever going back to consider if they are still true, or were ever true to begin with.  From the time we are small, we hear negative messages like  "You are too __________",  "You are not ________ enough", or "You can't ______________."  (fill in the blanks with your most often heard put-down).   
 
An example of the above would be my second husband who was the master of psychological abuse. He often told me that my caring for people was fake, causing me to question if I was deceiving myself and that was really true.  He also told me "You won't ever leave me, you don't have the balls to leave."  Was he right, I wondered, was I going to be stuck with him forever?  Actually, no.  While I didn't "have the balls" (I'm not supposed to have those, right), I did have a an overwhelming need to escape him, so when I finally got a pay raise at work that made it possible for me to house and feed my two children, we packed and left.
 
For most of my life I've been insecure about myself and my own worth, so I've believed the labels people stuck on me, and I've weighed myself down with plenty more... "I'm not good at this", or "I can't do that."  The funny thing is that we can have ten people telling us we are good at something -  such as writing, being a friend, or encouraging others, yet it takes only one person with a negative comment telling us we aren't good enough and the doubt creeps in.  We hesitate, and sometimes we give up our attempts altogether because "they are probably right". 
 
What I'm asking you to do, is what I have to remind myself of all the time... to not let one person's criticism be your excuse to fail.  Find your inner strength, keep trying, and show them by your life how very wrong they were about you!  I may not be the perfect friend, but I think I am a caring, decent one.  I am certainly not the best writer in the world, but I'm not the worst either.  Caring about other people, trying to encourage them, is important to me.  Writing is also important to me, it is my passion!  Am I going to let one person's remarks cause me to shut down and quit trying?  NO!! 
 
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion... of me, and of anything else, but that doesn't mean I have to buy into it.  What matters is what I believe about myself, and how far I am willing to stretch myself to explore my own possibilities! 
 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Brenda at Pondering With A Purpose
here this week's writing prompt is "stretch"

G is for Garrulous


For Round 12 of ABC Wednesday I'm presenting a vocabulary word each week that we don't hear in everyday conversation, accompanied by a short story or verse. This week ABC Wednesday is all about the letter G, and my g-word is...
gar·ru·lous  
 
Adjective: Excessively talkative, esp. on trivial matters 
Synonyms:  talkative - loquacious - voluble - gabby - chatty

~*~*~*~*~*~*~ 
Bonita, Sam's garrulous wife
Was often the cause of much strife;
When she wouldn't stifle
He went for his rifle -
One shot, then a nice quiet life!
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        Stop by ABC Wednesday, link up your own G-word and read what other folks had to say!

Two Shoes Tuesday #26 - Procrastinate

 
Welcome to Two Shoes Tuesday... a place to share what we enjoy doing most... writing! Each week I provide a one-word writing prompt and invite you to share a short story, poem, essay, thought, or photo relating to that topic. You can add a link to your post anytime, there is no deadline. You are not required to use the actual word in your post, but please use it as the theme.

The writing prompt for Tuesday, February 26th
(as chosen by Jim at Jim's Little Blog )
will be "procrastinate"

When you've finished your post, share it with us by adding a link in the Mr. Linky widget below. Please link directly to your Two Shoes Tuesday post, rather than just to your blog. Also, please provide a link on your post back to this one.

The only other request is that you read and comment on the other entries, at minimum the one before and after yours on the list.
 
I've made it easy to locate this post and our archives by including a tab for Two Shoes Tuesday at the top of my home page.

Feel free to email me at jts.2000@yahoo.com with any questions, or to submit suggestions for future word prompts.

Now let's get down to business... what do you have to say about procrastinate!
 
 

Some Day Soon


When she was twenty, she decided that she was going to leave her small town and move to the big city... someday soon;

When she was thirty, she decided that she was going to go back and finish college... someday soon;

When she was forty, she decided that she was going to leave her abusive husband and start a new life on her own... someday soon;

When she was fifty, she decided she was going to go home and visit her aging father... someday soon;

When she was sixty, she decided that she was going to retire, write her memoirs, and spend more time with her grandchildren... someday soon;

When she was seventy, she asked her children to come and visit... they assured her that they would... someday soon.
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This post will be linked to Two Shoes Tuesday
where the prompt this week is "procrastinate"

TWO SHOES TUESDAY

Wait And See

Monarch caterpillar by ~agiaco
You laugh at me in my striped clown suit, moving sluggishly along on my journey, munching my way through green leaves and growing fat.  You have no idea of what is in store for me or what my potential might be.  One day I will reveal my true self to you in brilliant form, floating in the breeze and dancing 'round your head in colors of majesty and light.  Mock me now, it matters not to me; one day you shall envy me, wait and see!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Megg at  Sunday Scribblings
where the prompt this week is "monarch". 

El Santuario


I come here each morning with the others, kneeling in silence to pray for our children, and for their children too.  How clearly I recall the day we brought each of my daughters here to be baptized, and the day of their first communion.  We came together for joyous wedding celebrations; we gathered for the funerals of loved ones and wept. Our children are all gone now, they have moved on to other places and are busy with their own lives.  All that remains is the sound of rosary beads clicking in the shadowy darkness, as this old church and the bodies we once wore crumble together into dust.
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I'm linking up with Lillie McFerrin at Five Sentence Fiction
where the writing prompt this week is "abandoned"

Pondering... Stress


I took a required speech class in high school in which the teacher wanted to call attention to the poor speaking habits some people have when doing public speaking... things such as stuttering, long pauses, or stringing thoughts together with "and" or "but".  His idea of a good way to stress the disruption such mannerisms have on the listener, was to implement the use of a tin coffee can and a bag of marbles.  One person in the classroom audience would be appointed to drop a marble in the can each time the speaker hesitated or did anything else that interrupted the flow of what he or she was saying.

Needless to say, the sound of marbles clinking into a tin can was highly disruptive.  For those students who found public speaking a challenge to begin with, the effect of this technique was to stress them even more, making it yet more difficult for them to continue on with their presentation.  This created an uncomfortable situation for the entire class; we disliked this teacher's intimidating tactics and we hated his marble can! 

The situation reached the boiling point one day when a shy student, being badgered by clanking marbles while she attempted to speak, dissolved into tears.  Now days, parents would be paying a visit to administration over such harassment, but back then it wasn't done, you were expected to handle student/teacher conflict on your own.  So a few of us students took matters into our own hands and descended upon the classroom early the next morning prior to the teacher's arrival.  Retrieving the marbles from their can on the shelf,  we opened the small ventilation window and flung the marbles onto the grassy lawn three stories below. 

Needless to say, the missing marbles didn't go over well with the teacher, but he was unable to find anyone willing to tell him who was responsible for the crime.  Apparently he got the message though, as he never attempted to use this method to stress his point again.  Personally, I think he was lucky that they were thown out the window and not at him!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Brenda at Pondering With A Purpose
where this week's theme is "stress"

Inferno


Folks in the small town of Ispwich were jarred from their sleep by the sound of several explosions, followed by the wail of fire truck sirens.  Flames roared into the air in the blackness of night.  Melinda came to school the next day glassy-eyed and silent, in bedroom slippers and clothes she'd worn the day before.  Her father's gas station had burned to the ground, giving the family mere moments to grab essentials as they fled their tiny apartment in the rear.  Thank God for their dog Sam, whose frenzied barking had awakened them in the nick of time.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~ 
I'm linking up with Velvet Verbosity at Week #319 of the 100 Word Challenge 
where the prompt this week is "surviving"

F is for FECKLESS


For Round 12 of ABC Wednesday I'm presenting a vocabulary word each week that we don't hear in everyday conversation, accompanied by a short story or verse. This week ABC Wednesday is all about the letter F, and my f-word of the day is...
feck·less
Adjective - 1. (of a person) Lacking in efficiency or vitality.  2. Unthinking and irresponsible.
Synonyms: powerless - ineffective - helpless

"You feckless piece of crap", Jake's mother snarled at him, followed shortly by his father denouncing him as a "total waste of skin."  This verbal assault, occurring because he had forgotten once again to pick up his younger brother after school, was not the first and was not to be the last.  Jake's parents were exasperated with his forgetfulness, his inability to follow through on even simple tasks like remembering to put gas in the car, or lock the front door when he left for school each morning.

The more they harangued him, the more withdrawn Jake became, spending all of his time sequestered in his room, and frequently complaining of headaches, which his parents attributed to his avoidance of helping out around the house.

It wasn't until Jake awoke one morning crying out from his bed that he was unable to see, that his parents realized there was something seriously wrong.  He was immediately taken to the hospital where doctors discovered and removed a tumor from his brain that had not only affected his vision, but also his ability to remember.

After a time of healing Jake's memory returned to what it once had been, though his vision remained permanently impaired.  He went on to graduate from high school and college with honors, earning a degree in psychology and becoming a renowned therapist that specialized in adolescent care.  One lesson he never failed to impart to parents was the importance of listening to what their children are trying to tell them and not to be hasty in drawing conclusions, that what is obvious is not always what is true.
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            Stop by ABC Wednesday, link up your own F-word post (NO... not THAT f-word!!!),
                   and read what other folks had to say!

 

The Black Cat Connection


When Dan vowed on his wedding day to love and cherish Marlee, he knew that it meant he also must cherish her beloved cats.  He admired her devotion to animals, and supported her desire to rescue cats from the local shelter, knowing they could afford to take good care of them.  When the number of cats roaming the house reached a half dozen, Marlee agreed with Dan that any future rescue cats would be housed in their big barn, and she promised to limit the adoptions to just one or two now and then. Henceforth Marlee was able to keep her cat rescuing activities under the radar by arranging with the shelter to adopt only black cats, and they called her each time a black cat was brought in.  When Dan remarked on how friendly the barn cats were, noting that there always seemed to be one or two around wherever he was working, Marlee just smiled.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post is linked to Two Shoes Tuesday
where the prompt this week is "cheat"
TWO SHOES TUESDAY
and to Five Sentence Fiction
 where this week's prompt is "cherish"

Two Shoes Tuesday #25 - Cheat

Welcome to Two Shoes Tuesday... a place to share what we enjoy doing most... writing! Each week I provide a one-word writing prompt and invite you to share a short story, poem, essay, thought, or photo relating to that topic. You can add a link to your post anytime, there is no deadline. You are not required to use the actual word in your post, but please use it as the theme.

The writing prompt for February 19, 2013 is
"cheat"
 
When you've finished your post, share it with us by adding a link in the Mr. Linky widget below. Please link directly to your Two Shoes Tuesday post, rather than just to your blog. Also, please provide a link on your post back to this one.

The only other request is that you read and comment on the other entries, at minimum the one before and after yours on the list.

I've made it easy to locate this post and our archives by including a tab for Two Shoes Tuesday at the top of my home page.  Feel free to email me at jts.2000@yahoo.com with any questions, or to submit suggestions for future word prompts.
 
NOTE: This week (and every other week) the first person who adds a post link to the Two Shoes Tuesday Mr. Linky will be given the opportunity to choose the word prompt for the following week!

Now let's get down to business... tell me about cheat!

Homeward Bound

Joe's ticket was delivered by courier, and he couldn't have been happier.  He'd been hoping and waiting for it the past five years, ever since his Martha died after fifty-one years together.  He had been so lonely without her.  Lately his health had been declining and he missed her loving care; he was more than ready to go.

 Joe spent his last thirty days visiting the places and people that he loved, saying final goodbyes. On the evening of his departure his friends held a big going-away party for him, complete with all his favorite foods.  Each person present spoke about times they'd shared with him through the years.  Their stories were punctuated with laughter and tears, and Joe realized how much he was loved. 

Just before midnight, everyone got into their cars and followed the big limousine taking Joe to the station. He hadn't packed a bag for this trip, he wasn't going to need one. They arrived just as a beautiful train pulled in to the station with "Glory Bound" emblazoned in gold lettering on its side. 

Joe climbed up onto the platform, turned and smiled, and waved one last goodbye.  A shining silver door slid open and he stepped through it, eager with anticipation.  He was going  home, and he knew Martha would be there waiting.

Note: This story is based on my wish that death could be a event to celebrate, not a time of pain, suffering and sadness.  How wonderful it would be if we received a ticket for a train heading from this life to the next one!
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Megg at  Sunday Scribblings
where the prompt this week is "ticket".

Pondering... Live

"Celebrate Life" by by Kenneth Krolikowski
Looking Back...
 
I remember a time in my life not that many years ago, when a friend of my then-husband stopped by to visit us one day, and during the conversation asked me, "What have you done lately that was fun?"  I realized that I could not come up with a single answer, even when thinking back for several months. That's when I realized that my life was in far worse shape than I thought . 
 
 It's not that I didn't know that times were hard - struggling to pay the bills while living with a with a drug-fueled, chronically unemployed husband was no picnic.  It's just that it had been so long since we had done something fun together, or even me on my own,  that I'd forgotten what it was like to have fun. I was living in survival mode.   Do what you have to do to get thru each day, and then do it again the next day.  It had been a long time since I had felt alive, or felt much of anything for that matter; I was living on autopilot.
 
I'd like to say things got better from that point on, but they didn't for awhile.  The awareness only served to emphasize the darkness of a situation that I was currently trapped in.   However, a couple years later I did finally manage to escape that that hell.  I believe that when situations become desperate and things need to happen, God provides a way, at least He always has for me.
 
Flash Forward...

A I look back on those days it's more from the eye of an observer, the emotional connection has faded, and at seems like someone else's story, or a story from another lifetime altogether. The life I have now is so very different... there is love, there is joy and laughter, there is caring and commitment, there is time spent together because there's no way we'd rather spend our free time.

When I think about it, despite the drudgery of daily work and the weariness of being older and more easily tired, I have so very many things to celebrate and be grateful for.  Papa Bear and I have done all kinds of fun things together and we've made some wonderful memories in the past five years!

I realize now that it is not enough to just survive life, although it's important that we do and I am proud that I have.  We have to push beyond survivor mentality to reach a place where we experience joy and contentment, whether with someone or on our own... a place where life has purpose and meaning, a place where we can celebrate life and truly feel ALIVE! 
  
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Brenda at Pondering With A Purpose
where this week's theme is "live"

Goldilocks And The Bears


Stumbling over a teddy bear in the hallway, Hans' frustration hit the boiling point. "Damn it, Goldie", he blustered, "I understand that you're still trying to work through that childhood incident with the bears, but you've gone off  the deep end.  The whole damn house is overrun with bears, bears all over the furniture and piled against the walls; even the closets are full of bears!  Enough is enough, either they go or I do!"

Goldilocks cocked her gun, remembering the time when fear caused her to run away from bears.  She wasn't going to abandon them again, not ever!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~ 
I'm linking up with Velvet Verbosity at Week #318 of the 100 Word Challenge 
where the prompt this week is "enough"

E is for Eviscerate


For Round 12 of ABC Wednesday I'm presenting a vocabulary word each week that we don't hear in everyday conversation, accompanied by a short story or verse. This week ABC Wednesday is all about the letter E, and my e-word of the day is...

e·vis·cer·ate
 
Verb:  1. Disembowel (a person or animal)  2.  Deprive (something) of it's essential content
Synonym: disembowel, gut
 
 Ralph worked in the chicken processing plant at the edge of town.  He'd been there for over ten years and never once complained, despite the fact that his job was to eviscerate freshly slaughtered chickens.  At one point he'd been offered a promotion which he promptly turned down.  He said he'd gotten used to the feel of warm chicken guts in his hands and didn't like the idea of working with cold, lifeless poultry carcasses further down the line.

Ralph kept to himself mostly, rarely socializing with his coworkers beyond exchanging basic pleasantries. He lived alone in a ramshackle little house and spent most of his time inside, though he was known to walk the neighborhood at night.  Folks figured that he preferred to be left alone.  No one thought much of it until the neighborhood cats began disappearing... first one, and then two, and before long a dozen. 

Everyone was frightened and afraid to let their pets or children out to play.  Something had to be done!  A police officer was tasked with going door to door to investigate and make reports.  When he got to Ralph's house, Ralph invited him inside, and they visited over the noise of the tv.  Ralph claimed to have no knowledge of the disappearing cats, saying that he'd always been very fond of cats and had quite a few as a child. 

Ralph went on to regale the officer with tales of big game hunting in Africa and how exciting it had been to stalk the big cats there.  This took the officer by surprise, as he'd never heard of Ralph going on a Safari, and in this small town anyone's news was everyone's news. 

Assuring the officer that he was an expert marksman, Ralph offered to show him the trophies in his den.  Following him down the hallway, the officer stood too stunned for words as he surveyed the grotesque sight of domestic housecats that had been stuffed and mounted, and displayed like prize trophies all along the panelled wall.

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Stop by ABC Wednesday, link up your own E-word post, and read what other folks had to say!

Two Shoes Tuesday #24 - Inspiration

Welcome to Two Shoes Tuesday... a place to share what we enjoy doing most... writing! Each week I provide a one-word writing prompt and invite you to share a short story, poem, essay, thought, or photo relating to that topic. You can add a link to your post anytime, there is no deadline. You are not required to use the actual word in your post, but please use it as the theme.

The writing prompt for Tuesday, February 12th
(as chosen by Kristina Perez)
will be "inspiration"

When you've finished your post, share it with us by adding a link in the Mr. Linky widget below. Please link directly to your Two Shoes Tuesday post, rather than just to your blog. Also, please provide a link on your post back to this one.

The only other request is that you read and comment on the other entries, at minimum the one before and after yours on the list.

I've made it easy to locate this post and our archives by including a tab for Two Shoes Tuesday at the top of my home page.

Feel free to email me at jts.2000@yahoo.com with any questions, or to submit suggestions for future word prompts.

Now let's get down to business... tell us about  "inspiration"!
  


Inspired To Love

 
Reading about the varying opinions on Valentine's Day... what is and isn't expected, who likes the traditions and who doesn't, etc., got me thinking about the whole "demonstrating our love for one another" thing when it comes to relationships. 

If you've ever witnessed a group of guys huddled around the greeting card racks or floral arrangement display on Valentine's Day,  you've learned the meaning of desperation.  Does this card say enough?  Too much?  Is it big enough? Too big?  Is it too frilly?  To plain?  What about flowers?  Candy?  Will what I choose please her?  What if it doesn't?  And most importantly... why did I wait to the last minute again this year?

Many men seem to dread this "obligatory" gifting, fearing that they will come up short and fail the test of love.  In fact, they dread it so badly that they put it off until the last possible moment, then scramble to find something suitable among well picked-over racks, and to make dinner reservations if they can find a place that isn't already booked.

 Does it really have to be this way?  Should it be such torture?  One of the arguments often heard is "I'm not a romantic type of guy."   Is it really that you have no feelings of tenderness or a clue about what make the lady of your life smile?  Or does it just require a lot of effort to come up with a plan? 

Also fair game is the question of why is it just the men who are expected to "ante up" for Valentine's Day?  Isn't romance supposed to be a two-way street?  Ladies, have you got some plans in the works to make Valentine's Day something special to remember for your man?  Guy's like a little tangible proof of love and affection too!  Romantic doesn't just mean flowers and candy, or even sexy lingerie, though there's certainly nothing wrong with that if it makes him smile.

What matters, I think, is the whole motivation behind giving and doing for each other... do you do it out of a sense of obligation, because you feel that you have to for one reason or another - or do you do it out of a true sense of devotion, and a desire to do something that you know will touch the heart of the person you love?  And, do you really think that putting on a big display just one day a year, with very little show of affection the rest of the time, is what it's all about, is it what she/he really desires?

It is said that we make time for the things that are most important to us.  Where does your "Valentine" fit on your list of priorities? Are they up there at or near the top, or somewhere further down the list?  My belief is that if you have someone special in your life that you truly love, then you are also in tune with them enough to know what little things mean the most to them.  Is it flowers, candy, jewelry, dinner out, or maybe a day all to herself where you take the kids and disappear?  It might be something is simple as a nicely-scented candle, one unique and beautiful flower (it doesn't need to be a dozen roses, and maybe she likes daisies even better). 

What about for him? Cooking up a his favorite dinner, a new book by his favorite author, or a new release video game?  Tickets for his favorite team's next home game or a movie he's been wanting to see?  How about tucking a kid-style valentine somewhere for him/her to find, or a love note stuck in a purse/briefcase, or under the windshield wiper of the car/truck? Write a note on a mirror with a "white board" marker,  email a photo of a good memory you shared, compose a silly love poem and post it on the fridge, or send a text out of the blue that says "I'm thinking about you right now."

Do you get what I'm saying?  If you say you care about someone deeply,  let that love inspire you to make them feel special, not just on Valentine's Day, but any day!  The more unexpected, the more fun it is!  Say "I love you" every day, and take the time to say hello and goodbye, share that kiss, give each other the look that says "Wow, I think  you're something special".  It's not an obligation, it's a way to pay it forward, and I guarantee the return will come back to you a hundred fold!  Someone who feels loved and appreciated will love and appreciate you back, it's a great cycle to get started, one that grows and grows! 

Most importantly when the day comes that you must say that final goodbye to the one you love, you won't have a heart full of regrets for the time you wish you'd spent, and the little things you wish you'd done just to make them smile and know how much you loved them.

This year, let your love inspire you... don't do it begrudgingly or out of a sense of obligation, do it because you love them and you want them to know!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post is linked to Two Shoes Tuesday
where the prompt this week is "inspiration"

TWO SHOES TUESDAY 

Monday Quiz - 2/10/13

Acting Balanced

It's time to join Heather at Acting Balanced  and Wayne at Touristic for their blog hop Monday Quiz About Me.

 There are FOUR QUESTIONS for everyone to answer, and then you have the option to add a fifth question of your own for those who are visiting your blog to answer in the comment section, along with commenting on your answers to the week's questions.

Here are this week's Questions:
1. Do you tend to be more logically or emotionally driven in your decision-making?
2. Do you take vitamin or other supplements? Do you feel that they actually work?
3. Have you ever kissed someone and just knew they were not the right person or vise versa?
4. Why shouldn't the woman pay for a Valentine's Day date?  

And here's my question for you to answer in my comment section on this post:
5. What was one of the best Valentine's Day gifts you've ever given or received?

HERE ARE  MY ANSWERS TO THE ABOVE:

1. Do you tend to be more logically or emotionally driven in your decision-making?  I tend to be emotionally reactive, but when it comes to big or serious decisions I usually think it thru pretty carefully.  I think you have to follow where your heart leads, but you also have to use common sense to make sure your heart isn't leading you down a crooked path or off the cliff!

 2. Do you take vitamin or other supplements? Do you feel that they actually work?  Not in massive dosages like some folks choose to do. I do take Vitamin D, calcium and iron per my doctor's direction - most women are deficient in all three.  I also drink protein shakes and veggie juice that are both vitamin fortified.  I don't know if it helps, but I figure it can't hurt.  If I believe it makes me feel better, then it does.  I can sense when my Vitamin D and iron levels are low, I start feeling run down, both physically and emotionally.

 3. Have you ever kissed someone and just knew they were not the right person or vise versa?  Definitely. Chemistry is part of the love equation. If there isn't any spark, there is never going to be a fire!

 4. Why shouldn't the woman pay for a Valentine's Day date?  Strangely (at least to me), many women tend to think that Valentine's Day is all about them, what their guy is going to give them or do to make it special for them.  It should work both ways... what you are doing to make it special for your partner?  The guy doesn't have to pay, they could take turns or they could both chip in so they could be a bit more extravagant without breaking one or the other's budget. If you are in a relationship where you have to keep proving your love by what you spend or do, it's time to look  for someone else who appreciates you more for who and what you are than for what's in your wallet! We don't make a really big production or spend a bundle for Valentine's Day, love is something you should be showing and sharing every day!

5. What was one of the best Valentine's Day gifts you've ever given or received?  Five years ago, when we were engaged, I gave Papa Bear a tattoo he'd been wanting for years... it's a beautiful eagle and flag that's on his forearm.  It was done by a skilled artist and he's received hundreds of compliments on it.  He always tells people who comment, that I gave it to him for Valentine's Day, that makes me proud! :-)

With Great Love

Words of the Blessed Mother Teresa

Every day should be Valentine's Day
Not just one day each year!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~ 
I'm linking up with Cate at Six Word Saturday...  join us there!

When Lilacs Bloom


 
Cassie loved the lilac bushes bordering the dirt road up to their farmhouse, and spent many summer afternoons playing with her dolls in the grass beneath them, sheltered by the dense canopy of leaves.  Purple was her very favorite color, and she was certain that lilacs must be the scent of Heaven. 
 
When Cassie turned eleven, her mama took sick with pneumonia, and despite the doctor's efforts, she died in the month of June.  No one had much money for funerals or flowers, so they filled their parlor where the wake was held with lilacs, and covered the simple wooden casket with even more.
 
Years later, when Cassie and her husband moved into a house surrounded by lilac bushes, she surprised him by demanding that they be cut down, saying they reminded her far too much of Heaven.
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I'm linking up with Lillie McFerrin at Five Sentence Fiction
where the writing prompt this week is "purple"

Pondering... Race

Grown up at last! We can't wait to get there, school days over, tossed out into the bright lights of the real world.  Then the fun begins. On your mark, get set....GO... and go, and go.  Run without stopping,  produce without dropping; eye on the clock, headed for the weekend.  Doing the full-tilt boogie day and night, gotta get it all done, gotta get it right.  Is it Friday yet?  Yes, thank God it is!  We can play tomorrow, rest up on Sunday; come Monday we'll do it all over again.  Gotta wonder though, is this really how we wanted things to go?
 
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I'm linking up with Brenda at Pondering With A Purpose
where this week's theme is "race"

Another One Bites the Dust!


I've got this post to scheduled to appear on my blog at 2:32 AM on February 7th, precisely fifty-nine years after I made my official debut in the world!  Fifty-nine years...yikes, that feels mighty old!

For the next four months Papa Bear and I will share the same number, until he rolls the big 6-0 on June 7th. I am somewhat comforted in knowing that I am not the oldest of the old folks in the house. :-)   I can remember being young and thinking that my parents in their forties were "really old".  Oh dear! I would love to be forty all over again, but I sure wouldn't trade the wonderful life I have now for the relative youth I had then.  At that point my world was just about to descend into the depths of hell. Had I known that, I would have run like the devil was after me! But it was a "learning experience," and I definitely learned what not to do again! :-) Such is life.

Although physically my body has pretty much gone to hell in recent years, and my memory has apparently gone on an extended vacation, mentally and emotionally I just don't feel that old. Certainly my perspective on life has changed a lot over time, but I like to believe that I am still fundamentally the same person that I always was.  I don't see myself as ancient, even though my young co-workers do. They would be surprised to learn that I was once not that much different from them, and did a bit of travelling around the block in my time too. :-)

A lot of women seem to have some kind of hang-up about celebrating their birthday or divulging their age. Not me... I've earned every darn one of those candles and I'm proud of it!!  I always celebrate my birthday... it's another year when life didn't get the best of me... I survived!  All in all, fifty-eight has been a good year, and I'm hoping that fifty-nine will continue in that manner. I have things in life I still want to do, and things to look forward to, should I live long enough to semi-retire, and I know God isn't quite finished with me yet.  Besides... I've got dozens of craft projects stored around the house, and I'm not leaving until their done... in that case I might just live to be a hundred or two! :-)

Last weekend Papa Bear took me to Lubbock for an overnight getaway and a bit of early birthday celebrating.  (I would much rather make happy memories with him than have him buy things for me. I have all the things I need.)  We ate at Joe's Crab Shack, stayed in a nice hotel, and had prime tickets for Championship Bull Riding... my request... it's fun!  I think you've got to be a just a little bit crazy to risk your life and limbs on the back of a thousand-plus pound unhappy animal.  Maybe I relate to that element of risk in life... or the craziness! :-)  It was the second year we've attended, and we plan to go again next year.  Who'd have ever thought this small town girl from South Dakota would end  up living in Texas and doing things like that?! 

My kids always go overboard on my birthday, making sure I know that I am loved.  Today a surprise package arrived at work from my son... he scheduled it a day early because he wanted to ensure that it didn't arrive late.  It was a big box with refrigerated packing... inside was not one but two boxes of a dozen dipped strawberries... the biggest berries I've ever seen!  (See photos below.)  He said he sent two so there would be one box to share at work, and one to take home and share with Papa Bear! They are scrumptious!  Needless to say, he was a big hit with my both coworkers and the Bear!  Then he sends me a text to watch for something arriving in my mailbox tomorrow.  I love my kids! :-)
 
 
Today I am celebrating ME...  my life, the children I've brought into this world, and the wonderful man who shares my life now!  I may be getting a bit old and rusty, but I couldn't be more blessed!



Midweek Meandering 2-06-13

Random Thoughts Drifting Through My Mind Today...

~ I've finally worked my way out of my recent funk and am back in the land of the living, feeling good about life today!  I promise no more dark stories... well, at least for today. :-)  I've found that when I put negative energy to good use to produce tales of a darker nature, it serves as a pressure valve, allowing me to vent and get it out of my system, which is probably a better option than killing off people in real life! :-)

~ I was delighted to read that the people have spoken (via Facebook voting) and Hasbro will be retiring the iron playing piece in Monopoly and replacing it with the beautiful cat pictured above!  Who ever wanted to be an iron anyway? Geesh!  In years past, I've always chosen to be the shoe (rather fitting isn't it), but I'm giving everyone advance warning that I've got dibs on the cat from now on!  I've been playing Monopoly since I was old enough to count, and participated in countless Monopoly marathons that went on for hours and days until everyone became cross and Mom would shut us down.  In recent years I rarely have the opportunity to play board games, but I love them. My grown children are a bit leery of joining me, and I am never allowed to be the banker... I think it may have something to do with that unfortunate incident where I was caught embezzling large sums to enhance development of my properties! By the time they finally caught on that something was amiss, I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe! :-)  What's your favorite Monopoly playing piece?

~  Customer service... isn't it amazing what a difference a smile can make?  When I go thru the drive-thru at our local drycleaners, the young women who work the counter come out to the car to pick up or return my laundry, earphones in their ears, and sometimes cellphones resting on their shoulders, rarely even bothering to look directly at me as they exchange my clothes for a receipt or a debit card. If I want to tell them anything, I have to wave my hand in their faces to get their attention.  It speaks of poor management to say the least. 

On the other hand, when I go thru the McDonald's drive-thru on my way to work, stopping for my daily iced tea and oatmeal, the young man taking the orders has gotten to know me and always greets me as soon as I place the order over the speaker box.  When I pull up to the window he smiles and wishes me a good day and on Friday we both cheer for the coming weekend.  Sometimes he will ask, "Are you sure you don't want a cookie today?" He knows my vices well. :-)  That little bit of pleasantry makes all the difference in how the day begins, and you know, it isn't any harder, and doesn't take one bit longer to be friendly to those we encounter in the course of the day.

Well, my lunch hour blogging time was interrupted by the arrival of a delightful package via UPS... more about that in the next email... for now I'm out of time.  Hope you are all having a great day out there, or at least making the best of the one you have, and are remembering to count your blessings.

Shattered Dreams


Monday morning found him still seething.  How dare she say that his drug addiction was destroying her life?  Grabbing her purse, she climbed into the truck, locked the door and turned the key.  Suddenly a steel-toed boot exploded through the window, shattering the glass.  Fragments flew everywhere.  Stunned, she jerked the truck into gear and roared away.  Five miles later, tear-stained and trembling, she  pulled over and began to sweep the glass from her clothing and hair. It wasn't just his anger or the busted window she would remember, this was the day he finally broke her heart.
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I'm linking up with Velvet Verbosity at the 100 Word Challenge 
where the prompt this week is "busted"

D Is For Discombobulated

Discombobulated by Wilfred E. Sieg III
 For Round 12 of ABC Wednesday I'm presenting a vocabulary word each week that we don't often hear in everyday conversation, accompanied by a short story or verse.  This week ABC Wednesday is all about the letter D, and this is one of my favorite d-words...

dis·com·bob·u·la·ted    

Adjective: confused and upset
Synonyms: addled - disconcerted - shaken - thrown - undone

I recently wrote a story for Two Shoes Tuesday about someone who was discombobulated .  You can read it here...
http://www.josie2shoes.com/2013/01/discombobulated-life.html
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Stop by ABC Wednesday, link up your own D-word post, and read what other folks had to say!

 

Two Shoes Tuesday #23 - Old

Welcome to Two Shoes Tuesday... a place to share what we enjoy doing most... writing! Each week I provide a one-word writing prompt and invite you to share a short story, poem, essay, thought, or photo relating to that topic. You can add a link to your post anytime, there is no deadline. You are not required to use the actual word in your post, but please use it as the theme.

The writing prompt for February 5, 2013
in honor of my birthday this week
is "old" 
 
When you've finished your post, share it with us by adding a link in the Mr. Linky widget below. Please link directly to your Two Shoes Tuesday post, rather than just to your blog. Also, please provide a link on your post back to this one.

The only other request is that you read and comment on the other entries, at minimum the one before and after yours on the list.

I've made it easy to locate this post and our archives by including a tab for Two Shoes Tuesday at the top of my home page.  Feel free to email me at jts.2000@yahoo.com with any questions, or to submit suggestions for future word prompts.
 
NOTE: This week (and every other week) the first person who adds a post link to the Two Shoes Tuesday Mr. Linky will be given the opportunity to choose the word prompt for the following week!

Now let's get down to business... tell me about someone or something old!


The Price of A Miracle


The new vaccine was heralded as a medical miracle, promising those who were inoculated that it would forestall the physical effects of aging.  People flocked in droves to their physicians, eager to part with the $1000 required for this fountain-of-youth in a vial.  Five years of laboratory testing had proven that it worked amazingly well, with people's bodies remaining exactly where they were at the time of vaccination, never aging one day more.  There was just one drawback to the miracle elixir, the new drug not only prevented physical aging, it also prevented the accumulation of any new memories whether good or bad.  Those who were vaccinated remembered everything about their lives up into the moment of injection, but the ability to process new memories was somehow blocked, and there could be no more sad or happy memories committed to mind for safekeeping.  People were so eager to retain their youth forever that they didn't bother to consider the ramifications of this side-effect, what it was going to mean to them later on, but perhaps they should have. Imagine a life where future events would come and go like bolts of lightning, just photos from a camera that your memory could not recall.

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I'm linking up with Megg at  Sunday Scribblings
where the prompt this week is "immunity".
 
where the prompt this week is "old"
TWO SHOES TUESDAY