Ten Things of Thankful - August 31st

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)  About that rather strange looking illustration up there, do you know what green object is that the line is pointing to? It is a gallbladder.  Everyone has one, or at least does in the beginning. Mine was surgically removed thirty years ago, along with my appendix, in response to an acute gallbladder attack.  Or so I was told...   This week I finally decided it was time to go to the doctor to address the chronic pain in my right side, I've suffered from it for a couple years and always believed it to be a hernia.  It's been getting worse, causing me a lot of discomfort, so the doctor sent me for a sonogram. Lo and behold, it soon became apparent that I still have my gallbladder, alone with the accompanying stones which have no doubt been the source of aggravation!  I was STUNNED!  I remember the hundred mile ambulance ride and the surgery clearly!  But, apparently the gallbladder was not removed as I was told.  I am curious to review the sonogram results at the surgical consultation this coming Wednesday.  Do I still have an appendix too, or did they discover that was the only problem and remove only it (although that is not what I was told)? I did feel much better following the surgery and recovery period, so something happened.  I sure would like to know what!  Sad to say, this kind of thing actually occurs all the time, my attorneys are friends with attorneys who deal in medical malpractice, and you would be surprised (or maybe not) at the stories they hear! In this case, no real harm was done, other than that I have been telling doctors for thirty years that I do not have a gallbladder, as I believed to be true. Had I known that I did, it would have explained symptoms that have caused me problems for years that I just learned to live with.  Needless to say, a bit of minor surgery is in my near future, hopefully this time it will be the end of Mr. Gallbladder :-)  So, when it comes to being thankful this week, I am VERY thankful for a doctor who  listens, and for sonograms that make discovering problems so very simple!

2) I am thankful for parents who have taught their children manners, and I am thankful that those children grow up to retain them. Twice this week I had people open and hold a door for me in public places when I had my arms full.  It was refreshing!  We should never be too busy to stop and help someone else.

3) I am thankful for the cooler mornings we had a few days this week.  It was heavenly to drive into work with the AC off and my windows open, catching the morning air! It doesn't happen often here in the summertime.  Our days won't begin to cool down for another month at least.

4) I am thankful for my hair rapidly turning silver.  I love it and wear it with pride, I've earned it!  I spent younger years coloring out that gray from my mid-thirties on. When I met Papa Bear I loved his beautiful silver hair and he encouraged me to let mine stay natural too. We are all about being real, and aging is part of that. I have grown weary of a society that shuns everything to do with the elderly.  While I don't love all that getting older entails, I think silver hair mixed in with my brown is wonderful, and I hope that someday it turns entirely white!

5) I am thankful for a few new followers that joined my blog this week. All of us enjoy it when this happens, it is fun to think that, for reasons that defy logic, some folks enjoy reading my scattered thoughts!

6) I am thankful for the relationships I have built with the two attorneys (a young married couple) that head our office. They are both intelligent and knowledgeable, and we often engage in conversations about all kinds of things from community issues to human nature.  I love conversations that require intelligent thought and have nothing to do with new shoes! :-)

7) I've said it before, but I am so thankful for the love and affection of my furkids. Coming home to find them watching for me in the windows and wrapping around  my feet when I enter  the door is heart-warming! I love how they vie for lap space and petting/brushing time, and nudge against our hands and bodies as their own way of showing of love.

8) I am thankful for all the wonderful quotations we share and exchange on Facebook. They inspire and encourage and lift us up!  My page is sort of a "Cats and Quotes" page, not a whole lot of personal stuff such as I share here. It's a fun way to keep in touch and also to offer support to those who need a little boost.  If anyone likes this kind of stuff and wants my FB address, feel free to email me for  it.  My email address is over there  on the right sidebar of my blog.

9) I am so very thankful for this three-day weekend, and that Papa Bear will at least have two days off... a break from the crazy pace at work for both of us!  I believe that every month should include one three-day weekend.  Wouldn't that be wonderful? 

10) I am thankful, truly blessed, to have a husband who wants to spend  his time  with me. He just texted to ask "What would you like to do when I get off work?"  He gets off at 3 PM on Saturdays, and typically Saturday is "date night".  When we are not at work, we spend 90%, at least, of our time together.  I remember past relationships that were like ships passing in the night, coming and going in the same house, often doing our own thing in separate rooms, and meeting up for meals and bedtime. This, what I have in my life now, is what companionship is all about - it's easy, and it's wonderful!

Life is GOOD my friends, we are privileged to be able to enjoy it!  Make sure that in the business of your week, and in addition to time spent on the Internet, that you plan time to spend with those near and dear to you... get up and do something fun together... go make good memories!
~Share your blessings with us at Ten Things of Thankful~
 
And if you enjoy writing... join us at Two Shoes Tuesday and Six Sentence Stories this week!

Two Shoes Tuesday Prompts for Sept. 3rd

 Two Shoes Tuesday is just a few days away!  There are 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 Friday 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, September 3rd are: 
 creature or  wild
I hope you'll join us!

Feline Friday - August 30th

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

Cry In The Night

"Stop it, stop it, stop it!" Kelly shrieked from the top of the stairs, covering her ears in a futile  attempt to block the sound of her parents quarreling down below. They didn't hear her, and didn't realize that she heard every hateful word they exchanged. She buried her head beneath her pillow and cried herself to sleep. The night drifted into an uneasy quiet, which culminated in deafening silence at the breakfast table. Kelly's father tried to break the ice by joking with his daughter. She smiled weakly at his efforts, knowing that last night's story would replay tonight.
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This post was written for Six Sentence Stories
where the prompt this week is silence...
Join us and give it a try!

Six Sentence Stories #3 - Silence

Welcome to Six Sentence Stories...  a place for storytellers who enjoy the challenge of keeping it short and sweet!

I've been talking with a friend about how much we enjoy writing flash fiction - micro-fiction - call it what you want... short stories that tell a tale in just a few sentences.  There are a few blog hops like this, but I want a place that includes a sense of community, interaction, and encouragement - where everyone will feel welcome to join in and develop their storytelling skills. I'm also wanting to get away from stories written for purely for shock effect or sexually explicit content.  That being said, I've created a weekly writing prompt that will motivate me to work on some flash fiction, and I'd be delighted to have you join me.  Even if you've never done it before, give it a try! :-)

Early each Thursday morning I'll put up a new Six Sentence Stories post with a theme for the week, and then you'll have a week to write a six sentence story to share.  The rules to this writing prompt are simple... 1) Your post must be in story form, either fiction or non-fiction.  2) It must relate to the theme, though you don't have to use the prompt word in your story.  3) It must be a new original piece, not something borrowed or from your archives.  4) It must be exactly six sentences long, using standard sentence structure. In other words, stringing one sentence on forever and ever is probably not in best form.  5) The link you add must go directly to your 6SS post.  6) Somewhere on your post you must provide a link to Six Sentence Stories.  It doesn't need to be big or fancy, just a text or logo link at the end of your story will be fine.  Posts that fail to adhere to these rules will be deleted from the link list out of fairness to those that do.

If you like, you can also grab the Inlinkz code below and paste it to the bottom of the html for your post, which will add the list of links to your post. This helps to increase awareness of Six Sentence Stories, and makes it easy for you to check the other linked up posts!

If you're curious to know next week's prompt ahead of time, it will usually be posted on the 6SS tab at the top of my blog by Monday.

Please take time to visit as many of the other Six Sentence Stories participants as possible by the end of the week, we all love feedback on our efforts!  Feel free to email me at jts.2000@yahoo.com if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

Our 6SS theme - for the Week of Aug. 29 - Sept. 4 is: "silence" 
get the InLinkz code

The Christmas Tree Lot

Eight-year-old Connie was so excited, she and her older sisters were going with their Mom to the Christmas tree lot tonight.  Her Mom had been promising them all week that, if they were good and didn't argue when they did their chores, they would go pick out their Christmas tree on Friday night. Connie had tried extra-hard to be good, and didn't even tattle when her big sisters started chasing each other around the kitchen while they were washing the dishes.  She was thankful that her Mom hadn't heard that commotion!  As soon as Mom gave the word, they all squeezed into the seat of Dad's pickup truck and off they went.
 
The Christmas tree lot was owned by the a family that ran a small market in their little Midwest town.  When the Christmas season drew near the empty lot behind the store took on a magical look, with lights strung on wires and fastened up high so folks could see the trees on display.  The glow cast by the light bulbs was soft in the frosty winter night.  The heady scent of fresh-cut pine, and the crunch of snow under her boots had Connie's pretending that she was walking in a deep forest thick with trees.
 
Connie and her sisters watched their Mom looking at trees as she tried to decide if this year it should be one with long needles or short; a slender, stately tree or a round one that would fill  up the whole corner of the room.  Connie knew that she wouldn't be satisfied until she found the perfect tree, one with no big gaps between the branches, and tall enough to nearly touch the ceiling once it was firmly anchored in the big bucket of bricks and sand that Dad had already moved in from the garage.  Being the youngest, it would be her that Dad lifted up to place the beautiful angel way up on top.
 
By the time they had selected what everyone agreed was the most magnificent tree in the lot, and it had been paid for, tied up securely so the branches wouldn't break, and loaded into the back of the pickup, Connie would be drowsy, intoxicated by the scent of pine, and would often fall asleep on the way home, dreaming of candy canes and colored lights and tinsel that would soon sparkle on the tree.
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Sixty some years later, Connie stood near the entrance to a large grocery store one evening in early December.  Just to the left a small area had been fenced off as a sales lot for a truckload of pine trees that had been cut somewhere up in the Northwest and trucked down to New Mexico just in time for Christmas.  Smiling, Connie gathered up her two small bags of groceries from the cart and headed over to the tree lot, walking carefully with her cane so as not to fall.  Slowly she made her way through the lighted rows of trees to the very back corner where it was darker and nearly quiet. She shut her eyes tightly, and slowly drew in a big breath of the pine-scented air... and just for a moment she was back in time, wandering the rows of that little Christmas tree lot in Dakota, and imagining that it was a very cold, snowy night in the forest.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the prompt choices this week are scent and stolen...
Come and join us there!

Two Shoes Tuesday #42 - Scent or Stolen

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 Friday 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 August 27th writing prompts to choose from are Scent and Stolen
get the InLinkz code

Awww...Monday - August 26th

Coyote pups learn to howl with mother
at a wildlife reserve in Hinckley, Minnesota.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
I'm linking up with Sandee's Awww...Mondays

Ten Things of Thankful - August 24th

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..."
 
I am so needing this exercise today, I am feeling "grumbly" and counting blessings is the best grumble-buster there is, so let me get started....

1) The first thing this week is a stand-out and has to do with the picture up above. On Fridays Papa Bear leaves for work before I do. Yesterday morning I came outside to find this pretty wildflower waiting for me on the window of my Escape. What a nice way to start the day! When I texted him a thank you, he texted back "You are my wildflower"... Awww!  <3  I am thankful that Papa Bear is such a romantic, he melts my heart with little gestures like this!

2) I am thankful for good movies (a rare thing in itself nowdays) such as The Butler, which remind us of how far we've come... and that we still have far to go.  Papa Bear and I went to see this movie last Saturday after he got off work.  It was intense drama, so very well done and acted.  Both of us grew up during these years, and we remember these events well.  If you haven't yet, go and see it!

3) I am thankful for Keurig "coffee makers", and all the wonderful little K-cup varieties that there are.  I don't drink coffee, but Papa Bear does, and he loves the convenience of being able to make a travel mug of coffee to drink on the drive into work each morning.  No clean up, no messy coffee grounds... wonderful!  I love them for hot chocolate in the cool months, a quick glass of iced tea, apple cider, and a huge variety of hot teas that are so good with honey!  Let's face it, we all love convenience, and these get a five-star rating when it comes to that!

4) I am thankful for such a kind and caring son.  He texted me and told me that he has reserved and paid for rooms at a very nice hotel in Nashville, for the three nights we will be there in September, as an anniversary gift!  It is a blessing to me, to know that I never need worry about if my kids will look after me in my old age, if I am unable to take care of myself.  They will see to it that I am in an nice home with WiFi and pet privileges, I'm sure! ;-)

5)  I am thankful that the power that be have hired a new replacement for the last office clerk that departed.  This time it's a guy, who has been managing a Pizza Hut, so hopefully has some concept of work ethics and being a team player.  They are training him for two weeks at our home office first, which will also make it much easier on all of us when he arrives.  One of my co-workers went to school with him and says he is very friendly and detail oriented.  Sounds like someone I will enjoy, fingers crossed!

6) I am thankful that I haven't grown too old to appreciate the adventure that is youth.  One of my coworkers turned twenty-one on Thursday.  Lordy, I can barely remember back that far!  I had fun helping to make the day special for her, and had to smile when she came in with her normally dark hair streaked with temporary colors to add festivity to her celebration.  Well  why not? You only live once!  I can remember a time or two when my hair sported unusual shades too, and it was fun.

7) I am thankful for Netflix rental movie services.  I subscribed for a long time, then they made some changes I didn't care for so we stopped.  Recently, they sent me one of those "come back" offers that I couldn't refuse, and for just $10 a month, plus taxes of course, we get two movies at a time by overnight mail and can exchange them as often as we want.  We can't even go to one movie for $10 in town, and this way we get to watch a couple each weekend and sometimes during the week if there is nothing worth viewing on 100 channels of Dish satellite tv, which amazes me... how can there be that many channels and so little quality program?  Are we that picky, or is imagination a lost art?

8) I am thankful for a daughter who sends me movie reviews, links to good information and things she thinks I would like, and photos of new items she's found at the store and liked.  I can't begin to count all the items I've tried at her recommendation, and all the things I've learned from her! 

9) I am thankful for the bright "rainbow" emails my best friend and I exchange. We reply to each  other's comments by choosing a new color for our text, thus easily keeping up with the flow of conversation.  After a few passes back and forth our emails become quite colorful, and as one who loves bright colors, they always make me smile!  Do you have a special friend in your life that makes it better?  Take a moment today and send them a note... cast some smiles out into the world!

10) I am thankful for the freedom of CHOICE!  My friend Joe over at Cranky Old Man has written a wonderful post today called At Least We Have Hope which is a powerful reminder of how good we Americans have it.  Reading it was a reality check for me. I may grumble and complain about my lot in life at times, but living here we have an amazing amount of freedom to make choices on almost every detail of our lives. Just for a moment, imagine yourself living in a country where that is far from true. I encourage you to drop over and give Joe's  post a read, and while you're there, check out some of his other posts, he also has a wonderful sense of  humor that I adore!

Well, making this list has worked it's magic. I started out wondering if I could even come up with ten things this week, yet once I got started I found them popping into my head with no effort at all, and by the time I finished I was smiling. I hope it works that way for you too! :-)

Life is GOOD my friends!  While you are counting your blessings in the week ahead, take a moment to be thankful for all the freedoms that you have, then use them to make good choices that you can live with happily for a long time to come!
~Share your blessings with us at Ten Things of Thankful~
 
And if you enjoy writing... join us at Two Shoes Tuesday and Six Sentence Stories this week!

Two Shoes Tuesday Prompts for August 27th

 Two Shoes Tuesday is just a few days away!  There are 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 Friday 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, August 27th are: 
 scent or  stolen
I hope you'll join us!

Feline Friday - August 23rd

Ahhh, yes indeed!
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Steve at Burnt Food Dude for Feline Friday

What She Dreamed Of

Winnie sat by the window at her favorite restaurant, eating dinner alone as she did every Monday night while her husband jammed with his band. "Sex, drugs, rock n' roll" as the saying goes; she was sick and tired of it all, tired of the drugs mostly.  The man she loved, or once did, had long since been consumed by his love of the rush... over-stimulated, self-medicated... marriage decimated.
As she dined in the peace and quiet that were absent in her home life, Winnie dreamed of freedom and a place of her own, a place where anger didn't run rampant and the floors didn't shake from amplified sound.  She fantasized about what life would be like with no fear and no more tears.
Although at the time Winnie saw no means of escaping, less than a year later she would find herself free of that seemingly endless misery and about to embark on an incredible adventure with a real live knight in shining armor.  
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post was written for Six Sentence Stories
where the prompt this week is dream...
Join us and give it a try!

Six Sentence Stories #2 - Dream

Welcome to Six Sentence Stories...  a place for storytellers who enjoy the challenge of keeping it short and sweet!

I've been talking with a friend about how much we enjoy writing flash fiction - micro-fiction - call it what you want... short stories that tell a tale in just a few sentences.  There are a few blog hops like this, but I want a place that includes a sense of community, interaction, and encouragement - where everyone will feel welcome to join in and develop their storytelling skills. I'm also wanting to get away from stories written for purely for shock effect or sexually explicit content.  That being said, I've created a weekly writing prompt that will motivate me to work on some flash fiction, and I'd be delighted to have you join me.  Even if you've never done it before, give it a try! :-)

Early each Thursday morning I'll put up a new Six Sentence Stories post with a theme for the week, and then you'll have a week to write a six sentence story to share.  The rules to this writing prompt are simple... 1) Your post must be in story form, either fiction or non-fiction.  2) It must relate to the theme, though you don't have to use the prompt word in your story.  3) It must be a new original piece, not something borrowed or from your archives.  4) It must be exactly six sentences long, using standard sentence structure. In other words, stringing one sentence on forever and ever is probably not in best form.  5) The link you add must go directly to your 6SS post.  6) Somewhere on your post you must provide a link to Six Sentence Stories.  It doesn't need to be big or fancy, just a text or logo link at the end of your story will be fine.  Posts that fail to adhere to these rules will be deleted from the link list out of fairness to those that do.

If you're curious to know next week's prompt ahead of time, it will usually be posted on the 6SS tab at the top of my blog by Monday.

Please take time to visit as many of the other Six Sentence Stories participants as possible by the end of the week, we all love feedback on our efforts!  Feel free to email me at jts.2000@yahoo.com if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

Our 6SS theme - for the Week of August 22 - 28 is: "dream" 
Put your thinking cap on and have some fun!


Breaking the Habit

My father believed that ridicule was a form of motivation, that making fun of someone would help them see the error of their ways, and encourage them to reform.  I suspect that is probably the way he was raised too.  People who pick on others were often picked on when they were children, and they do so without realizing it, just like abused children often become abusing adults. Patterns of behavior imprint from a very early age.
 
From the time I was young, I chewed my fingernails down to nothing...  my fingers looked very much like the ones pictured above. I don't recall when I started or why, I wish that my mom was still alive so that I could ask her.  I would venture to guess that it was at least in part due to insecurity. I internalized stress, and there was plenty of that in the house.  From an adult perspective, I also see that it was in reaction to my inner rage at being made fun of, and perhaps even a form of self-mutilation,  a sub-conscious acknowledgement that I was just as unacceptable as he seemed to believe.
 
I can't begin to count how many times he tore into me for biting my nails,  making it clear just how disgusting it was.  Yeah, that really helped a lot, like I didn't already know that. I thought I was ugly anyway, so what difference did it make if my hands were ugly too? It was already pretty clear that in his eyes I didn't measure up... I wasn't cute like my little sister, wasn't thin like my older one, wasn't coordinated, wasn't really anything but "book smart", and for some reason that didn't seem to count for much. My tattered fingernails were just one more thing to add to my sense of shame.
 
I can remember a time when he was so fed  up with me constantly gnawing on my fingernails, tearing them down to the quick until they were tender and sore, that he dragged me by the arm to the bathroom and stuck my hand in the toilet, making some vague point about it being just that disgusting.  Geesh!  Obviously, child psychology wasn't in vogue back in those days.  It was a "spare the rod and spoil the child" world, and it was the parents' job to make sure your child "straightened up", whatever it took to accomplish that.  Needless to say, his humiliating tactics didn't work.  Inside I seethed with anger, frustration, and self-loathing.  Bottom line, the things he said and did were cruel and they hurt my heart.  Every child wants their parents' acceptance and approval, and it was clear that I didn't have his.  That remained true of our relationship up until his very final years of life.
 
I don't remember what inspired it, but somewhere in my early teens I took a good look at my hands and decided I didn't want them to look like that anymore.  I stopped biting my nails, by myself, just like that.  Little by little I let them grow stronger and longer, at one point filing them rather pointy so that I could poke my sisters. :-)  It was a long, long time before I began to address other areas of my life that I'd been led to believe made me inferior, but this was a start, something I could take pride in.
 My nails still tear easily, and once in a great when life is stressful, I'll catch myself putting one to my mouth and contemplating a nibble.  But I never do.  This is one habit I broke for good, and it remains broken. 
 
These days, when I look at my old worn hands - that look surprisingly like my mother's with varicose veins, scars, and knobby knuckles - I smile.  Why?  Because instead of being a source of shame I've turned my fingernails into a source of pleasure.  Although I have to keep them short for typing, that doesn't mean they have to be dull and boring. I have them overlaid with sparkly acrylic to keep them strong, and have them painted with designs in bright colors, like they are in the photo below. 
 
I work with my hands all day long, hours spent at the keyboard... and every time I look at my ridiculously colorful nails, it makes me laugh. You see, he didn't win in his efforts to convince me that I was a failure.  My nails are a reminder that, by my standards at least, I turned out pretty good after all... and I did it on my own... that's something to celebrate! 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the prompt choices this week are habit and lost...
Come and join us there!

Two Shoes Tuesday #41 - Habit or Lost

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 August 20th writing prompts to choose from are Habit and Lost.  Have Fun!


Awww...Mondays - August 19th

Check out this link 
28 photos of 88 year-old Misa and her cat Fukumaru
I promise it will make you smile!
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
I'm linking up with Sandee's Awww...Mondays

Ten Things of Thankful - August 17th

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..."
 
This has been an "interesting" week, meaning it has had its ups and downs. But I've made it through and here I am at Saturday, my favorite day of all!  As always, I have plenty of blessings to count, so let's get started...

1) As I've noted before, Papa Bear works six days at week at his job, then one week a month he gets a three-day weekend which he looks forward to very much.  Last weekend was his long weekend for August, and I am very thankful that on Monday he chose to come into town to take me to lunch!  This was extra nice because our lunch hours are at different times and we never get to share lunch during the week. He also finally got to come up to my office and meet the folks I work with.

2)  I am thankful that Papa Bear has a great sense of humor!  While in town on Monday he went to wash his truck, then came to get my Escape and take it for a much needed wash too.  Unfortunately, as he was in the drive-thru car wash he soon discovered that it came with a free shower for him, since "someone" had apparently failed to close her sunroof properly.  When he reached up to hit the close button it went the other way and opened wide instead, soaking him and the front seats before he could get it shut.  He called me up, and it was impossible not to laugh... since it didn't happen to me! :-)  We are still laughing about it, and I bet neither one of us will ever enter another car wash without checking the sunroof first!

3)  I am thankful that I've matured emotionally... at least a little... in recent years.  One day this week at work I found a note card in the mail addressed to me. Thinking it was a "thank you note" that we sometimes receive from clients, I opened it up and was surprised shocked to discover that it was "hate mail note" obviously written by a former disgruntled employee, though done so anonymously and with handwriting assistance so that we can't prove it.  Let's just say it was rude and crude and filled with non-truths.  I am thankful that I was able to respond more out of pity than anger. In the old days I would have initiated a confrontation, I would have responded in kind.  But I am older and less reactive these days, I refused to let her actions steal my inner peace.  I feel sad for someone who carries such bitterness and resentment, and expends their energy in trying to make others feel bad. I pray that she will learn that she is responsible for the things that happen in her life, and that blaming others is not the way to live.

4) On much brighter notes, I wrote a short story this week that I was proud of, A Box Full of Love, and I am so very thankful that it was well received.  Most often I am not satisfied with what I write, always feeling when I re-read it later that I could have/should have done better. This one felt right, and I was very blessed by all the positive feedback I received from fellow bloggers, friends and family!

5) While on the subject of blogging, I am so pleased and thankful for the blogging friends who are stopping by to share some creative writing at Two Shoes Tuesday and Six Sentence Stories.  I love to see how people will take a word and make it their very own with a story, poem or essay. If you haven't tried your hand at creative writing yet... do, and join us here this week, it's fun! I am thankful for the positive place we are building together for writers to share their work, no critiques allowed, just encouragement and good feedback!  I am clearly not a pro, and you don't need to be to join in!

6) I am thankful for the bounty of fresh fruit available in summer... sweet  peaches from the roadside stand, cantaloupe, grapes, cherries.... mmm, it's all good! 

7) I am thankful for something we all take for granted that wasn't so readily accessible years ago... ICE!  Ice for water and tall cool glasses of tea, and ice for filling ice chests when travelling down the road! Nothing is nicer than a really cold drink on a hot summer day! And we don't even have to fill up ice-cube trays any more, or ration out the cubes two per glass! :-)

8) I am thankful for speech recognition texting on my iPhone 5! Its so much easier and nicer than trying to type lots of words with chubby fingers on tiny keys!  I am amazed at how well it works with different dialects and voices, and the occasional misinterpretations can be  pretty funny.  It's also intuitive and learns the names of people and things you use frequently.  Today I sent a message about a hat, and it entered cat instead, because I talk about cats so much... smarty pants phone indeed! :-)

9) I am thankful for sandals! I wear them twelve months out of the year, only switching to closed in shoes if the temps drop below freezing and it snows, which doesn't happen often in Texas.  My feet love the freedom of having wiggle space for my toes, and I grumble under the confinement of shoes.  Ideally, I would go barefoot, but since they frown on that at work, and there are stickers everywhere here in our Texas weed patch, I can live happily in comfy sandals, and comfort is what I'm all about!

10) I am thankful when life presents me with little opportunities to make a difference. Yesterday I had to mail out some legal papers at the end of the day.  The line at the Post Office was long, and we were all hot and tired.  As we moved slowly toward the front I looked behind me to see an elderly woman, maybe in her late 70's or early 80's, bent over and using a cane for support, with a small package that she was waiting to mail.  My heart went out to her.  Stepping aside, I put my arm gently behind her and motioned her forward ahead of me in line. At first she was hesitant.  I said, just loud enough for the folks in front of me to hear... "I was taught to respect my elders ma'am, please go ahead of me. I'm not in that big of a hurry today." She smiled and moved up a space. A middle-aged Hispanic man ahead of me looked back and smiled, and said "I was too," and insisted that she move ahead of him. The lady at the head of the line looked none to pleased by being "motivated" to do the same, but she knew she was going to look pretty pathetic if she didn't, so she obliged.  The elderly lady smiled sweetly and thanked us all, stating how much she appreciated the kindness.  She said it made her day, but really, the truth is, it made ours.  Doing the right thing makes you feel good inside!

Life is GOOD my friends. While you are counting your blessings in the week ahead, make sure you take time to BE the BLESSING to others around you!
~Share your blessings with us at Ten Things of Thankful~
 
And if you enjoy writing... join us at Two Shoes Tuesday and Six Sentence Stories this week!

Two Shoes Tuesday Prompts for August 20th

 Two Shoes Tuesday is just a few days away!  There are 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, August 20th are: 
 habit  or  lost
I hope you'll join us!

An Anniversary to Remember

When Jill and Gary got married they decided to celebrate their anniversary each year by taking a trip to someplace new.  They spent the first year at a cabin in the mountains, and the second at a cottage by the shore, followed by a trip to Las Vegas, and one to the Redwood Forrest.  Their fifth anniversary trip was going to be something special, an Alaskan cruise, and Jill had plans to make the last night one that Gary would always remember.  She paid a visit to the ship's gift store earlier that day, and as the full moon rose high into the sky, she handed a small box to Gary.  He opened it to find a pair of hand-carved whales just like the ones they had watched swimming off the bow. Nestled between them was a tiny whale calf with a small card tucked along side on which Jill had written, "Happy Anniversary Darling... You're going to be a Daddy!"

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This post was written for Six Sentence Stories
where the prompt this week is trip...
Join us and give it a try!

Six Sentence Stories - A New Writing Prompt!

Welcome to Six Sentence Stories...  a place for storytellers who enjoy the challenge of keeping it short and sweet!

I've been talking with a friend about how much we enjoy writing flash fiction - micro-fiction - call it what you want... short stories that tell a tale in just a few sentences.  There are a few blog hops like this, but I want a place that includes a sense of community, interaction, and encouragement - where everyone will feel welcome to join in and develop their storytelling skills. I'm also wanting to get away from stories written for purely for shock effect or sexually explicit content.  That being said, I've decided to initiate a weekly writing prompt that will motivate me to work on some flash fiction, and I'd be delighted to have you join me.  Even if you've never done it before, give it a try! :-)

Early each Thursday morning I'll put up a new Six Sentence Stories post with a theme for the week, and then you'll have a week to write a six sentence story to share.  The rules to this writing prompt are simple... 1) Your post must be in story form, either fiction or non-fiction.  2) It must relate to the theme, though you don't have to use the prompt word in your story.  3) It must be a new original piece, not something borrowed or from your archives.  4) It must be exactly six sentences long, using standard sentence structure. In other words, stringing one sentence on forever and ever is probably not in best form.  5) The link you add must go directly to your 6SS post.  6) Somewhere on your post you must provide a link to Six Sentence Stories.  It doesn't need to be big or fancy, just a text or logo link at the end of your story will be fine.  Posts that fail to adhere to these rules will be deleted from the link list out of fairness to those that do.

Please take time to visit as many of the other Six Sentence Stories participants as possible by the end of the week, we all love feedback on our efforts!  Feel free to email me at jts.2000@yahoo.com if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

Our first 6SS theme - for the Week of August 15 - 21 is: "trip" 
Put your thinking cap on and have some fun!


A Box Full of Love

Jacob sat in his grandmother's parlor, his chair pulled up to the large wooden box that had been sitting there in the corner all of his growing up years.  On the top, two small hearts hanging from long cords had been carved as decoration, and above them a horizontal slot had been cut into the lid.

As a child, Jacob had tried to lift the lid, and discovered that it was fastened down.  Curious, he asked his grandmother about it.  She told him that his grandfather had made it, and had given it to her on their wedding day.

"What's inside the box, Grandma?" Jacob had asked, pressing his small face to the lid and trying to peer through the slot into the inky darkness.

"God's Love," she replied smiling.  "Why child, that box is plum near full of God's love." 

That was mighty puzzling to a little boy.  "How did the love get in there, Grandma?"

"I put it there Jacob, I've been saving it up all these years.  Some day when you're grown we'll open up that box and I'll show you what love looks like."

Jacob thought that was a wonderful promise, and he often pondered what he was going to see.

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Jacob sat there now, having just come from his grandma's funeral, remembering the day they finally opened the box together.  It was the week before his wedding to Lynette, and his grandma had asked him to come over to share dinner with her.  After dinner, they went to the parlor, and she handed Jacob the small crowbar she had lying next to her chair on the floor. 

"Here, pry the lid off.  Be careful now, that box is mighty old and I don't want it breaking apart after all these years."

Slowly, bit by bit, Jacob eased out the old nails and finally the lid was free.  As she carefully lifted it from it's resting place, his Grandma smiled at him broadly and said, "Let's just see what we've got in here."

Much to Jacob's amazement, the box was crammed full of small pieces of paper, folded up to be about an inch square.  Most were white, but a few were an assortment of bright colors.  Puzzled, Jacob looked to his Grandmother for explanation.

She reached in and handed him a few of the folded squares.  Opening one, he read the note written in her script, "Just when we were running low on food to feed the young'uns our neighbor Paul showed up with a box of meat from the cow they just butchered. - July 27, 1954." Another said, "Little Eloise has been sickly all week, but today when she woke up the fever had broken, and she was asking for something to eat.  By afternoon she was out of bed and begging to go out to play. - May 5, 1963.  A third square, on paper that appeared to be not quite as old, read "Mary brought Jacob and Lisa by to spend the day with me, what a lovely time we shared! - October 13, 1974. " 

Jacob sat there dumbfounded.  Apparently every one of the hundreds, maybe thousands, of folded papers in this box held a note about something good that had transpired.  "Why are some of the papers colored, Grandma?" he asked.

"Those are the red-letter days when my children were born and married, and the days when each of you grandchildren were born." 

Spotting one square that appeared a bit larger than all the others, it's paper a pale shade of blue, he lifted it and opened it carefully. "Today God called home my beloved husband of 53 years, so that he wouldn't have to suffer anymore. - February 7, 2003."  Jacob notice that his grandma looked at that one tenderly and dabbed at her eyes a bit.

"You see, Jacob, I knew that God had blessed me when your grandfather asked me to marry him, and I wanted to make sure that I never forgot to be thankful for all the good things He sent my way. So I started writing something down on a little piece of paper every night before bed, and slipping it into the slot in this box. That's what I meant about it being a box full of blessings, Jacob, I filled that box  up with all this proof of God's love!"

Motioning toward a large gift wrapped shape on the other side of the room, Jacob's grandmother told him to open it.  Her face shined with love as he tore off the paper to reveal a new wooden box very similar to her own.  "You take this one home and you and Lynette start filling it up with God's love from the very first day of your lives together."

Almost too choked up for words, Jacob stood and embraced his grandmother, "We will, Grandma, we will!"
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Jacob's grandmother was buried on a beautiful Spring day in the small family cemetery on their farm.  After the service Jacob had come over to the old house by himself, telling Lynette that he had something he needed to do.  Pulling a square of pale blue paper from his pocket, he took out his pen and wrote, "Today God took Grandma home to be with Grandpa. - April 21, 2011."  Folding the square carefully, he sealed it with a kiss and pushed it gently through the slot into the old box that was filled with a lifetime of blessings, the proof of God's never failing love.

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

Two Shoes Tuesday #40 - Box or Dark

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 August 13th writing prompts to choose from are Box and Dark.  Have Fun!


Awww...Mondays - August 12th

A Baby Elephant's First Visit to the Sea
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I'm linking up with Sandee's Awww...Mondays

Ten Things of Thankful - August 10th

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 am thankful for the wonderful portable charger pictured above that my husband found for my iPhone on Amazon. My phone tends to run out of juice by the end of day, and also did so on my last airplane trip. While I have chargers that can be plugged into outlets or USB ports, this little beauty has the ability to charge my phone to 80% power in just a few minutes. Now it's always in my purse and I never have to worry about running out of power in an emergency.  Once depleted, it can be easily recharged by plugging it into an outlet with my phone's outlet jack. What a wonderful invention for folks who might over-indulge in data use on their smart phones just a wee bit! :-)

2) I am so thankful that Papa Bear is off work for the next three days.  He works Monday thru Saturday each week, and then gets one three-day weekend a month. He stands on his feet all day at work, so at 60 years old he is really tired by the end of the week. We both look forward to his long weekend as a time to relax together and to catch up on a few house projects, and then he has Monday all to himself while I'm at work, which is nice for him too.

3) I am thankful for my alone times on Saturdays when Papa Bear is at work, I cherish that quiet writing time. When he is home, we spend almost all of our time together, because we want to, that's what best friends do!  We also respect each other's need for a little down time of their own.

4) I am thankful that doctors were finally able to get the level of pain under control for my friend who has terminal cancer. He had a better week, some moments of smiles and laughter, visits with old friends, and even a few appearances online. This is what we want for him, and for his wife too... kinder, gentler days as they come to terms with the future.

5) I am thankful for the fun of texting with my son tonight when my daughter suddenly popped up in a text, and then a couple minutes later my husband (who is  at a lodge function) pops up too! Wow, I'm texting with all three of the people I love best in the whole world at one time... and feeling very blessed!

6) I am thankful that Papa Bear's youngest daughter checked in with him this week.  She tends to lose contact with us every now and then as she sorts out issues in her life, and as any parent knows, we worry about our kids!  I know it did his heart good to hear from her!

7) I am so thankful that my friend Carrie was able to have her laptop repaired and all her data saved after it took an unplanned bath in the rain.  We all know how scary it is when our electronics malfunction!  I could feel her relief when it was returned to her from the computer tech safe and sound.

8) I am thankful for the wonderful smell and feel of soft clean bed sheets. If I had maid service I would have the sheets changed every single day just for the luxury of sinking into them at night!

9) I am thankful for the ever increasing number of over-fifty bloggers I am meeting these days. When I started blogging I felt like the ancient one amidst a bunch of youngsters.  Now I blog with friends from eighteen years of age to seventy, and I love every one of you dearly! All those different perspectives and varied life experiences keeps it interesting and makes sharing here a wonderful experience! It's funny how age just doesn't seem to matter all that much in the blogsphere, we all share a passion for writing and communication!

10) To close on a sweet note, I am thankful that the donut shop added a new flavor of filling to their list of choices for filled donuts...  dulce de leche, which is in essence caramelized sweetened milk, and a traditional flavor of the Hispanic culture prevalent here.  We sampled them for the first time today, having designated Fridays as treat day, and pronounce them delicious!

Life IS sweet my friends, treasure the opportunities to make good memories and use those memories to boost your spirits during the hard times. Wishing all of you an awesome weekend and a week ahead with blessings too many to count!
~Share your blessings with us at Ten Things of Thankful~
 
And if you enjoy writing... join me at  Two Shoes Tuesday and Six Sentence Stories!

Two Shoes Tuesday Prompts for August 13th

 Two Shoes Tuesday is just a few days away!  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, August 13th are: 
 box  or  dark
I hope you'll join us!

Feline Friday - August 9th


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

Just Around The Bend

Just as Sandra headed around the curve on the narrow country road, her car sputtered and then coasted to a stop. Glancing down at the gauges in front of her, Sandra noted the needle sitting on empty and slapped her hand hard against the steering wheel.  "Darn it!" she muttered.  "How could I have forgotten to keep an eye on the gas?  I guess I was thinking there'd be enough to get me home."

Sandra had just been through a painful divorce that she hadn't seen coming, and had decided to come spend a few weeks with her mom and dad at the farm.  Driving through the hometown where she grew up, she noted that it seemed so much smaller and more run-down than it did when she lived there. Maybe now that she'd seen the big city lights her perspective had changed.  Still, the comforts of her old upstairs bedroom, the promise of Mom's home-cooked meals, and memories of sitting on the porch in the with her Dad in the evenings, had been strong enough to lure her home.

Now she was in a pickle though, she still had a good fifteen miles to go, and here she was, stalled on the side of a road which saw so little traffic that it didn't even rate a center stripe. There was still a few hours of daylight, but she was not at all sure she could walk that distance, and she quickly discovered that her high-dollar smart phone wasn't so smart out there in the boonies, where not one single bar of signal strength appeared.  "Great, just great" Sandra groaned, her tiredness from the long drive now compounded by her frustration at once again doing something dumb.  She could almost hear her ex's voice scolding, "You never pay attention to the details, your head is always somewhere else." She knew he was probably right.

Well, it wasn't going to do her any good to sit here hoping, so switching out her trendy sandals for sox and a pair of walking shoes, she grabbed her purse and a bottle of water, locked the car, and started hiking down the road.

An hour later she had walked about half way, and not a single car or truck had driven past.  She was hot and sweaty, and the sturdy leather of her shoes was gnawing at her heals.  She had slowed down to where she was more limping along than walking, and the time alone with her thoughts had brought back all the memories of recent months.  Before long tears welled at the corners of her eyes and soon streaked down her dusty face.

She must have been some sight to the driver of the battered old pickup truck that rumbled up behind her and then slowed down for the driver to take a look. Quickly swiping across her face with the backs of her hands, she looked up to see an older lady dressed in a t-shirt and overalls lean over and push the passenger door open.  "You look like you could use a lift there, missy, where are you heading?  There's not many folks living on this road, just a couple farms a ways farther down." 

Relief washed over Sandra as she climbed into the truck. "My name's Sandra," she said. "My parents live a few miles up ahead at the farm on the right.  I've been away awhile and was coming home for a visit, but I ran out of gas. Thank you so  much for stopping.  Where are you from? I thought I knew all the folks that lived out this way?"

"The lady looked at her and smiled kindly, her blue eyes sparkling in the sunshine.  "My name is Angelica, but most folks just call me Angie," she said.  I was heading out to the Anderson place to see about an insurance claim on one of their tractors that caught on fire.  Good thing I came along too, you look plum tuckered out."

"I sure am," said Sandra. "It's been a long time since I've gone walking down country roads, but in a way I've missed it, you know... the wheat fields, the scent of wildflowers, and the sounds of birds and such.  I used to think it was dull and boring, but right now it's looking pretty good!  You can drop me up there by the mailbox, Angie, I'd like to walk up the driveway.  I'm surprising Mom and Dad.  Thank you kindly for the ride, you were a lifesaver!"

Angie pulled the truck over and waited for Sandra to climb out and walk around to the driver's side to say goodbye. Then looking intently at Sandra's face, Angie said "You're likely going to find that there's a reason you've come home again, God always has a plan in mind.  You keep your eyes open for a handsome guy with red hair and two little ones in tow."  A bit surprised by Angie's comment, Sandra laughed lightly as she headed toward the driveway.  Then she stopped and turned back to ask Angie what made her say that, but much to her amazement both Angie and the old pickup truck had vanished without a sound.

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