Fright Night at the Movies

~Image Credit~
Horror movies had always been Cedric's favorite genre.  He couldn't get enough of them, and loved playing the fearless protector for whatever shrieking girl he had clinging to his arm.  It was all fun and games to Cedric, nothing was too scary or too gory. 3-D glasses and Surround Sound just made it all the better; that is until he went to the midnight thriller on Halloween.  There were very few moviegoers in attendance, and the warm air outside had given way to an icy chill in the  theater. Cedric's usual laughter and bravado were quickly replaced by terror when, in the midst of the zombie scene, he suddenly felt a large bony hand grip him firmly on the shoulder and turned to find nothing behind him but an empty seat.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Written for the  Halloween Edition of Six Sentence Stories
where the writing prompt this week is "scare(d)"

Six Sentence Stories - Halloween Edition - Scare(d)

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 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 Six Sentence Stories, a weekly writing prompt that will motivate me to work on some flash fiction (and non-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 special 6SS theme for the Week of Oct. 31st - Nov. 6th is: "scare(d)"

I Believe

Some of you may remember this sweet photo of Cali, one of my daughter's three furkids. She's had her for several years.  Having no children of her own, her cats are her babies and they've been with her thru good times and bad.  This past summer she bought a beautiful home in Nashville and weighing heavily in her choice, after looking at many, many houses, was that this one had a great back yard with a wooded area for her cats to roam and enjoy.  Her cats have always been indoor/outdoor cats and have fared amazingly well through the moves from house to apartment after apartment, and finally now to a home of their own.  
 
On Saturday, October 4th, my daughter sent me a text saying that Cali had not returned home the previous evening as she normally did. They called her and looked for her, and didn't find her.  They were concerned, but hoped she would show up the following day.  She didn't.  They continued to search the entire area for her, but when she hadn't returned in another couple days they feared the worst.  Needless to say, she was heartbroken. 
 
Four days later she called me totally distraught, and said she could hear Cali meowing outside from time to time, but when they went out to look for her they couldn't find her anywhere and she didn't respond to their calls.  Deeply concerned that she was out there hurt, they got spotlights and a night cam and searched the entire area and woods.  Occasionally they would hear her, but could never locate her.  Then, stumbling thru the dark woods in the early hours of the morning with the spotlight, unable to sleep and sobbing for the kitty she couldn't find, by the grace of God she happened to spot two tiny glowing eyes 30 ft. up in a tree, and yes, there was Cali! 
 
Guessing that she was unable to figure out how to get down, my daughter called a tree trimming service to rescue her.  Sadly, that only scared the kitty more and she ran high up into the tree, like 60 feet high, and out on a limb, making it impossible to reach her.  Believing that her cat was unable to  make her way back down the straight tree, she and her partner opted for what they thought was the only viable solution, and they cut down the tree, enabling the kitty to jump safely to the ground as it slowly fell.  Tragically, the kitty was by then so terrified that it took off at a dead run in the opposite direction, and they were unable to find her. 
 
They returned to the wooded area several times, leaving food and water and searching everywhere, but never finding Cali.  They put  up signs around the neighborhood, praying that someone would find her and call the phone number on her collar ID tag. No one did.
 
The first weekend that I found out Cali was missing I was so heartbroken for my daughter.  I had a very vivid dream one night in which I saw my daughter finding Cali walking in the kitchen and so excited that she was home.  I held that vision in my heart like a promise.  I didn't understand why God would help her find Cali up in the tree, only to lose her again.  But I also know that God works in ways I don't always understand I and was prepared to accept His will as being what was best. 
 
I don't have to tell you how many tears have been shed since the first night of Cali's disappearance.  I've been praying mightily for her ever since, knowing that cats have an incredible survival instinct and that if God wanted her to find her way safely home, she would. In my mind I had this feeling that one day my daughter would send me a text with Cali's picture saying "She's home." I so wanted that to be a promise and not a fantasy created by my desire for my daughter's heart to be healed.
 
More than three weeks have passed since Cali last was home.  My daughter worried that she would be unable to find food and water and was suffering out there, if she was even still alive.  I never gave up hoping and praying.  Then, this morning as I was up and getting ready for work a photo popped up on my phone, then another.  I looked once, then twice... Cali??  Cali was home??  In a flurry of excited texts exchanged I learned that my daughter's partner had heard something scratching at the back door this morning and was amazed to find Cali there, begging to be let in.  He quickly opened the door and began calling to awaken my daughter.  She stumbled out to the kitchen to find Cali walking around looking for food, just exactly as I had envisioned it in my dream!!  She was hungry and thin, having lost a great deal of weight. Thankfully she was a chubby kitty before her disappearance, and this probably helped to save her life.  An avid hunter, she no doubt also was able to capture some small prey in the woods to survive on.  Somehow, by the pure grace of God, she found her way safely home! 
 
My daughter reported that Cali nearly inhaled a dish of cat food, and "talked" non-stop to them for about fifteen minutes, no doubt telling them of her experience, and how much she missed them, and chewing them out for bringing her down by felling the tree!  She greeted her curious, sniffing siblings with a few warning slaps and hisses, then climbed into bed, snuggled up with my daughter, and promptly settled into what was undoubtedly the best, most peaceful sleep she'd had in weeks.
 
I had told my daughter initially that I had dreamed Cali came home, but hadn't shared the details or my hopes to one day receive a photo announcing her return.  When I told her about it this morning we both cried.  No one will ever convince me that God doesn't answer our prayers.  I know that He cares about each of us, and about each and every one of His creatures too.  I didn't know if He would bring Cali home, but I knew that He could if it was His will.  Many prayers were said, and many tears were shed, and once again, God heard the pleadings of a mother's heart and returned a loved one safely home.   This is just one of the many reasons I believe in the God of miracles.  I believe that faith brought Cali home.
Cali this morning - thinner, a little more world-wise, and so very happy to be home!

Danger At The Door

Six years ago when I left my ex, I moved into a duplex in a not-so-great part of town. With another oil-boom in progress, the city was growing by leaps and bounds and there were long waiting lists for housing - any apartment, anywhere. When this one came open I jumped at the chance, a cute little place where I could begin to sort out the broken pieces of my life. 

Not having lived alone for many years, I had a hard time sleeping at night and felt exhausted most of the time.  One night I collapsed into a deep sleep, only to be awakened a few hours later by someone ringing my doorbell.  Startled, I slipped out of bed, tiptoed to the door, and looked warily through the peephole.  In the shadows cast by the small porch light that I left on at night I could see two dark-skinned men, maybe in their thirties. 

"What do you want?" I called out through the door, trying to sound calm, although my hands were shaking so hard that I could barely hold onto my cellphone.  While the door was secured by a solid deadbolt, large windows and a sliding glass patio door ran down the three exterior walls of my duplex, and I knew that anyone with evil intent could easily smash their way in. 

"Our car ran out of gas, and we need some money," one of the men answered, looking down. "Can you loan us twenty bucks?"  Seriously?  Did they really think I was crazy enough to open up my door to them in the middle of the night? 

Using my boldest voice I said "I'm sorry, we (heavy on the "we" and hoping they would buy my bluff) don't have any cash."

"Not even five dollars?" the one wearing the hoodie asked.

"No, I'm sorry." 

"Yeah, ok," he said. 

 I held my breath as they turned and walked slowly across the apartment complex and disappeared into the shadows across the street. 

Needless to say, I didn't sleep at all that night, fearing that they might return at any time and try to break into my apartment.  I didn't even bother to call the police, knowing that in our town they would show up just in time to do a body count, and by then the two guys would be long gone.

I don't know why they chose to knock on my door, one of several duplexes in the complex. Maybe it was because my porch light on, though it wasn't the only one.  I don't know if they meant me any harm or were just a couple late-night partiers hoping to come up with some money for gas or beer.  I'm just glad that I listened to the voice inside my head that said "Don't open that door!"

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This story was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the prompt choices this week are night or noise.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
~Join us on Thursday for a special  Halloween Edition of Six Sentence Stories!!~

Two Shoes Tuesday #51 - Night or Noise

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 link 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 October 29th writing prompts to choose from are Night and Noise.
 

That's Just Rude!

When you were young, you were hopefully taught "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all!"  Recently I've been seeing a rash of snide, tacky, and often downright rude comments showing up on blog posts and Facebook statuses.  What's up with that?  As far as I'm concerned, paying a visit to someone's blog or Facebook page is the same thing as paying a visit to their home.  You wouldn't walk into someone's house and insult them, would you?  Hopefully not! 
 
 If you don't care for the point of view being expressed, or the person expressing it, you are free to move on.  There is no need to leave comments implying that you are somehow better than or above the author of that page, or that you see them as a total idiot (said in cleverly crafted words to make it appear less insulting).  I'm not saying that it's always wrong to disagree, but it can ALWAYS be done respectfully! 
 
The person who writes a blog post or a Facebook status is putting their thoughts out there for everyone to see and consider, not for you to use as a personal soapbox or attention draw.  If you have some grievous issue with the post, you can always send an email or a private message to relay your concerns.  If you find it necessary to be uppity or insulting, don't be surprised if the blog or Facebook author decides to delete your remarks and remove you from their blog roll!
 
I do not apologize for what I write, or how I write it; the opinions expressed are clearly my own and I don't expect everyone to agree with them.  However, I do expect that if you come visiting at my place you will show me the same courtesy I would show you.  If  you can't say something nice, don't bother to say anything at all... move on! 
 
If you find yourself having the urge to add sharp commentary on several blogs or Facebook pages, maybe it's time for a little soul searching to discover what the underlying issue is and why you are choosing to bring people down rather than uplift them.  Additionally, saying something negative, and then adding a smiley face or a sweet greeting doesn't fool anyone.  If you said it, you probably meant it, and maybe the problem isn't with them at all, it's with you. 
 
Be a messenger of encouragement, seek to brighten lives and generate smiles!  If you write it, reread it, and ask yourself how you would feel if someone left that comment for you!  It isn't your place to instruct, contest, or correct the author, you are a guest!  When you travel about in the Blogsphere and Facebook, please remember to MIND YOUR MANNERS!  It will make the experience so much nicer for everyone.  (Stepping off my soapbox now :-)

Sharpen Your Axe

Photo: Once upon a time, a very strong woodcutter asked for a job in a timber merchant and he got it. The pay was really good and so was the work condition. For those reasons, the woodcutter was determined to do his best.

His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he supposed to work.

The first day, the woodcutter brought 18 trees.

“Congratulations,” the boss said. “Go on that way!”

Very motivated by the boss words, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but he could only bring 15 trees. The third day he tried even harder, but he could only bring 10 trees. Day after day he was bringing less and less trees.

“I must be losing my strength”, the woodcutter thought. He went to the boss and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on.

“When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” the boss asked.

“Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut trees…”
Reflection:

Our lives are like that. We sometimes get so busy that we don’t take time to sharpen the “axe”. In today’s world, it seems that everyone is busier than ever, but less happy that ever.

Why is that? Could it be that we have forgotten how to stay “sharp”? There’s nothing wrong with activity and hard work. But we should not get so busy that we neglect the truly important things in life, like our personal life, taking time to get close to our Creator, giving more time for our family, taking time to read etc.

We all need time to relax, to think and meditate, to learn and grow. If we don’t take the time to sharpen the “axe”, we will become dull and lose our effectiveness.

I found this story on Facebook today, and felt that it had a message worth repeating...

Once upon a time, a very strong woodcutter asked for a job in a timber merchant and he got it. The pay was really good and so was the work condition. For those reasons, the woodcutter was determined to do his best.

His boss gave him an axe... and showed him the area where he supposed to work.

The first day, the woodcutter brought 18 trees.

“Congratulations,” the boss said. “Go on that way!”

Very motivated by the boss words, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but he could only bring 15 trees. The third day he tried even harder, but he could only bring 10 trees. Day after day he was bringing less and less trees.

“I must be losing my strength”, the woodcutter thought. He went to the boss and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on.

“When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” the boss asked.

“Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut trees…”

Reflection:
Our lives are like that. We sometimes get so busy that we don’t take time to sharpen the “axe”. In today’s world, it seems that everyone is busier than ever, but less happy that ever.

Why is that? Could it be that we have forgotten how to stay “sharp”? There’s nothing wrong with activity and hard work. But we should not get so busy that we neglect the truly important things in life, like our personal life, taking time to get close to our Creator, giving more time for our family, taking time to read etc.

We all need time to relax, to think and meditate, to learn and grow. If we don’t take the time to sharpen the “axe”, we will become dull and lose our effectiveness.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Six Sentence Stories - Halloween Edition - Join Us!

I've been talking with a friend about how much we enjoy writing 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 host Six Sentence Stories, a weekly writing prompt that will motivate me to work on some flash fiction (and non-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 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 words 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.

Feel free to email me at jts.2000@yahoo.com if you have any questions, comments or suggestions. 

Our special 6SS Halloween theme for the Week of Oct. 31st - Nov. 6th is: "scare(d)"
 
We'd love to have you join us... put your thinking cap on and have some fun! 
 

Two Shoes Tuesday Prompts for Oct. 29th

 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 link 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 link list 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, October 29th are: 
 night or  noise
I hope you'll join us!

Feline Friday - Oct. 25th

Sir Stuffington - A One-Eyed Rescue Kitty
 
Read his amazing story here by clicking through the photos and accompanying text!
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Steve at Burnt Food Dude for Feline Friday

Crushed

When I was young, soda "pop" wasn't something most folks had in the fridge at home. Going to visit the John Deere dealership my Dad owned always meant that he would give us each a dime to buy ice cold bottles of Orange Crush from the pop machine. Yes, they were only ten cents a bottle way back then, and one of the sweet memories of times gone by.
 
Four years ago this week, Papa Bear and I travelled to San Antonio where we met up with my Dad, his girlfriend, and my own two children to share a wonderful few days enjoying the sights of the city. I knew as we parted that I wouldn't likely see him again, but we were crushed when he passed over into the spirit world just two months later.  
 
Tonight I'm thinking about my dad and toasting his memory with an ice cold Orange Crush as I look at this picture of him enjoying himself so much in San Antonio, knowing that his remaining time on earth was very short. 
 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post was written for Six Sentence Stories
where the prompt this week is crush...
Join us and give it a try!

Six Sentence Stories #11 - Crush

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 Oct. 24th - 30th is: "crush"

Sunshine

Sammi was having the saddest summer ever.  Her mother was in the Army and had been sent overseas.  She had no choice but to leave Sammi in the care of her grandparents at their farm.  Sammi loved her Grandma and Grandpa; they took good care of her and did their best to make her feel at home.  But she missed her own house in the city and her friends, and most of all she missed her Mama.  They got to visit often on the computer, blowing kisses at each other's faces on the screen, but it wasn't the same as having her there to snuggle up with at night. 

It broke her grandparents heart to see their beloved Sammi so sad.  She willingly helped Grandma with washing the dishes and baking, and Grandpa with feeding the chickens and gathering eggs, but more often than not, when the chores were done they would find her sitting out in the yard looking so very forlorn.

Grandpa had an idea that he thought  just might help.  He whispered his secret to Sammi's Grandma, then headed off on a special errand in his truck.  He returned about an hour later and headed out to the backyard with a wiggling bundle of pure energy in his arms.  One tiny yip was enough to turn Sammi's head in their direction. Within seconds she was up and running across the yard toward the little pup she would name Sunshine, who was destined to become the best friend she ever had.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the prompt choices this week are sorrow and surprise...
Come and join us there!

Two Shoes Tuesday #50 - Sorrow or Surprise

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 link 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 October 22nd writing prompts to choose from are Sorrow and Surprise.

Love Is All You Need

Recently Lotta Joy at Witness Relocation Program left the following comment on my blog. I decided to write a post in response...
 
 "It sounds as if your life is one of peace and a laid back atmosphere of relaxation. Is it? I want to know. The both of you look SO serene. "What is your secret?" 
 
When I first read this comment on one of my blog posts I had to chuckle, thinking to myself "If only she could see me after a harried day at work!"  The truth is that both Papa Bear and I have demanding, labor intensive jobs... him on he feet all day, and me at the desk dealing with clients through countless phone calls and office appointments, in addition to staying on top of many deadlines and coordinating with a handful of great, but also over-worked and weary coworkers.  Most days I am doing well to remember my own name by quitting time, and my old worn-out knees are complaining loudly about the one hundred times I had to leave my chair to scan, or fax, or go down the hallway to one of the other offices, or get the mail, or make a bank deposit downstairs... you get the idea.   Thus, at the surface level serenity looks more like exhaustion, and the minor (and major) irritations of the day can lead to grumbling.  In view of that, I can't say that our lives are laid-back, though we certainly wish they were, and most definitely when on vacation we take advantage of the downtime to relax and unwind.  I should also note that a nightly soak in our hot tub underneath the stars does wonders to relax achy bodies and soothe weary souls.  It is one of the few luxuries we have, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
 
So that's what my life looks like on a daily basis... run, run, run, work, work, work, and try to beat the clock with enough time and energy left at night to do a bit of reading, writing, and commenting.  Emails fall behind, folks wonder if I've forgotten all about them, and dust bunnies grow into dust buffaloes!  However, beneath the never-ending hustle and bustle, there is something far better that I think Lotta Joy and hopefully more of my readers have picked up on, a strong sense of self-awareness, and inner peace. 
 
If  you have known me for more than six years, you will also smile in remembering how my life used to be, before I left my ex, and in the stressful year that followed.  It had been a hellish ride of thirteen years and I was a mess.  It wasn't  easy to pick up the pieces and put my life back together, I really didn't even know who I was, what I liked or didn't like, or what I wanted out of life anymore.  I just wanted serenity...  more than anything I craved peace and quiet  in my home, in my heart and in my life.  It didn't happen overnight, but purely by the grace of God, I am there now.
 
What I've learned in the last five years is that love makes all the difference... knowing that God loves me beyond all measure and has a path laid out for my life journey, knowing that Papa Bear loves me truly and unconditionally, and learning to love myself without measuring me constantly against some unattainable standard of perfection.  I have learned that life isn't about what you have, but who you have.  Serenity is not about never having any struggles (does anyone really have a life like that?). It is about knowing deep down, that no matter what live brings you can find your way through it -- maybe not gracefully, maybe stumbling along the way, but you will survive.  I am a survivor, and I am proud of that! 
 
Despite all that I have experienced, much of which is the result of poor choices along the way, I remain a believer in the goodness of life.  I believe that our one and only true purpose here is to help each other on the journey, to lighten their load in any way we can.  If you have done one small act of kindness for someone else, you will know that nothing feels better, even if it was just helping them find their smile or a tiny reason to hope.  Hope is essential to life, faith is essential to hope.
 
What I have with Papa Bear that I did not have in the first 54 years of my life is something very hard to put into words... it's a sense of complete trust, deep understanding, shared values, a love of laughter and play, strong faith, and a deep sense of love and commitment that says I am safe here, I am cared for, and I am of value. I truly believe that we are soulmates and were destined to spend this chapter of our lives together.  He believes that too. Our meeting was no coincidence, it was always meant to be. 
 
As I have gotten older I have learned many truths about life, sometimes I may come off as preachy because of it, but that is not my intent.  I know that everyone has to find their own truth and their own way.  Many people encouraged me to make positive changes in my life long before I did.  Some of us really do have to hit the wall (sometimes more than once) before we realize that it's painful and not very smart, and it's time to do something different.  My purpose, my goal, is to be as kind as I can, as compassionate as I can, and as honest as I can with each person I meet, to encourage and uplift them in any way possible.  Everyone has a story, and I believe that everyone has a spark of spirit just waiting to be ignited into a flame.  We all crave love and understanding, and those are gifts we can give each other; it starts with something as simple as a smile. 
 
Papa Bear and I do not fuss and fight, we choose not to live that way.  We've done that in past relationships, and it didn't feel good then.  If we have cross words, we are quick to apologize and set things straight.  Being right is never as important as is being kind.  We never go to bed angry, we don't hold grudges, we don't point out each other's faults or bring up past mistakes.  We realize that in loving each other we have such an amazing gift  that it is foolish to waste even one day being unhappy.  We aren't young anymore, Papa Bear is sixty and I will be too in just a few more months.  Life is short and love is precious.  We realize that at any moment one of us could be gone. That is true of anyone at any time. So we choose to spend our time together, and we spend it making good memories - we laugh, we tease, we talk, we listen, we share; we say "I love you" often and show it every day.
 
The last five years of my life have been blessed beyond measure, though I do not regret all that came before, because it has made me who I am.  I work hard to focus on what is positive - I believe in the laws of attraction, and I am so very thankful for all that I have. I take time to count my blessings - if you think you don't have any in your life, you aren't looking very hard!  I do not live my life to please others, I do not allow other people's drama to overrun my life.  I am able to draw lines and set limits in order to maintain a sense of inner peace in line with what I believe is right and comfortable for me.  
 
I am not perfect, far from it!  I am a work in progress and will always be, but I truly love my life now...  I love my life as one of God's servants, I love my life as the mother of two amazing children and three furry felines, I love my life as Papa Bear's wife, and most importantly, I have learned to love myself.  If we feel love and live our lives in the spirit of love, it cannot help but show.  That's the "secret" pure and simple... open your heart and allow yourself to be loved, and give love in return. If you live your life in love, peace is always within reach, and happiness takes on a depth of meaning that you've never known before.

Love In Action

There is no post I could write that would compare to this one posted by fellow blogger EireKitten at Up on the Kat-Talk today.  Go and read it, enjoy the pictures; it will do your heart good to see this kind of caring in action!  Way to go EireKitten, the world needs more folks like you and the others at Have a Snack for Humanity!

Two Shoes Tuesday Prompts for Oct. 22nd

 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 link 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 link list 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, October 22nd are: 
 sorrow or  surprise
I hope you'll join us!

Feline Friday - Oct. 18th

"Mama said there'd be days like this..."
 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Steve at Burnt Food Dude for Feline Friday

Reassuring Words

 
Myra fell asleep exhausted after waiting for hours to hear from her son Seth who had headed to South Carolina to meet up with his friends for a weekend at the beach;  he should have been there by now. Seth was the best of her three children at staying in touch and keeping her up to date on his life at college; it wasn't like him not to check in.  Shortly after midnight she woke to the sound of her phone beeping, signaling that a text message had arrived.  She opened her eyes long enough to read "Mom, it's amazing here, I'm fine", then she fell peacefully back to sleep. A couple hours later she was awakened by two policeman standing at her door with sober faces. They had come to notify her that her son had been killed in an auto accident around 11 PM as he swerved in an attempt to avoid a head-on collision with a truck coming toward him in the wrong lane.

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

Six Sentence Stories #10 - Message

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 Oct. 17th - 23rd is: "message"

Play It Loud

~Photo Source~
Tuesday night found Susan in bed with a throbbing headache.  Her cat Dancer was tunneled under the blankets next to her, doing his best to hide from the strangers in his house and escape the sound blasting from the next room.  Susan's husband was a drummer in a rock band, and they were conducting a practice session, to be followed by another on Friday night.  The floor and walls vibrated from music blaring thru stacks of amplifiers, and Susan knew it would continue until well after midnight, just as it did twice a week every week. 
 
There was a time when she used to love to watch him play, when life was good and love was new, but the fun wore off as she came to realize that although she was the drummer's wife, the band was his mistress and making music was his first priority.  She didn't begrudge him playing, she knew it was good therapy for him, the only time he escaped from the demons of childhood that still haunted him.  Her problem was with them never having any time alone together, and with the ever increasing drug use that was changing him entirely.  Although he told her that he only smoked weed she knew better, and she was well aware of the large amounts of money slipping through his hands. It had reached the point of her feeling like she was walking on eggshells, never knowing when he was going to flip out over the tiniest thing.  Love and laughter seemed like memories from a long time ago.  In fact the only time they really spent together anymore was when sleeping or eating, and even then if the conversation wasn't about him it didn't happen. 
 
Susan typically made plans to be away from the house on Tuesday and Friday evenings for at least a couple hours, shopping, taking in a movie, or eating dinner out by herself.  She dreamed of a place where she could live in peaceful surroundings, watch tv or read without the walls shaking, and without a never-ending stream of band mates and groupies overtaking her home, filling the counters and trashcans with empty beer cans and bottles, and turning the bathroom into a disgusting disaster that she'd be left to clean again the following day.
 
The straw that finally broke the proverbial camel's back came when Susan's often unemployed husband finally worked at a job long enough to earn a week of vacation.  Excited about the thought of them going away together, Susan eagerly asked him where he would like to go.  Her spirits sank when he replied that he wouldn't be going anywhere during the upcoming week, he would be spending it in studio, recording a demo with the band.  Susan realized at that point that she would never have her husband back, never have a friend and partner, and would always be alone on holidays and birthdays, and even their anniversary, unless of course she wanted to go and watch him play... watch him high and having a good time as she sat there alone.
 
Susan realized that she didn't even have a life anymore, she couldn't remember the last time she'd done anything fun, and she was tired of it.  She had prayed and she had waited, and she'd tried hard to be a perfect wife... all to no avail.  The music blasting thru the house was nothing compared to sound of her heart breaking and the screams echoing in her head.  It had to end, she knew that she had to escape from the madness or die trying.  That night an idea began to form in Susan's mind, and she started to make a plan.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the prompt choices this week are late and loud...
Come and join us there!

Two Shoes Tuesday #49 - Late or Loud

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 link 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. 

If you like, grab the InLinkz code below and add it to the html at the bottom of your post to share the link list on your blog, and to make it easy for you to visit other participants. Also, 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 October 15th writing prompts to choose from are Late and Loud.

Two Shoes Tuesday Prompts for Oct. 15th

 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 link 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 link list 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, October 15th are: 
 late or  loud
I hope you'll join us!

Feline Friday - Oct. 11th

GOT MILK?
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Steve at Burnt Food Dude for Feline Friday

Truth Be Told

People told him that it was a gift, but Quincy wasn't so sure.  From the time he was very small, Quincy had demonstrated the uncanny ability to accurately determine if someone was lying or telling the truth.  While at times this came in very handy, to the extent of always scoring 100% on True or False tests in school; at other times it caused him great sadness, like when classmates pretended to be his friends and he knew without a doubt that they were making fun of him behind his back. Quincy felt like an oddity and an outcast;  people were wary of being close to him, fearing that he could too easily read their minds.  His turn for fifteen minutes of fame came one day though, when someone mysteriously started a fire in the school that destroyed one whole wing before they got it extinguished. When the school principal stood up in an assembly and decried the foul person who would do such a thing, Quincy shocked everyone in attendance by standing and asking in a clear, steady voice, "Then why did you do it, Sir?"
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post was written for Six Sentence Stories
where the prompt this week is gift...
Join us and give it a try!

Six Sentence Stories #9 - Gift

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 Oct. 10 - 16th is: "gift"

While She Was Away

 
"Ten... nine... eight..." intoned the voice slowly; she was gone before he reached seven.
 
Sylvie found herself walking across a field of the brightest emerald green, her bare feet caressed by soft blades of grass. She looked down to see that she was wearing a dress she didn't remember owning, a long gown of pale lavender floaty gauze. The warm breeze played in her long hair, creating a mess of gentle tangles, and Sylvie laughed in pure joy, though she had no idea where she was.
 
Seeing a sparkling stream nearby, she followed it through the hillside 'til she came to a small cottage that appeared to be quite old.  As she walked down the path the door creaked open and an old woman stepped out and called to her by name.  "Sylvie, come here child, I've made a lunch for us to share."
 
Surprised that the old lady knew her, but pleased none the less and sensing no danger, Sylvie followed her around to the back of the cottage where a small wooden table and two chairs sat in the midst of a beautiful garden of wildflowers, purple and blue, pink and orange, a rainbow of  blossoms.
 
Seating herself in the chair across from the old woman, Sylvie surveyed her plate which held delicate cucumber sandwiches, a salad of nuts, greens and berries, and tiny teacakes sprinkled with colored sugar. She watched as the old lady poured her a glass of tea.  "Go ahead child, eat!" said the old lady who introduced herself as Fiori, "I've been waiting for you to come, we've much to talk about!" 
 
Realizing at that moment how hungry and thirsty she was, Sylvie tasted the food and drink, and found it to be wonderful.  She looked up curiously to find Fiori smiling, and waited for her to begin speaking while she ate.
 
"Do  you remember when you were small and you used to come and visit me?" Fiori said.
 
Sylvie had to admit that she didn't, but still, there was something that seemed very familiar about the old woman. 
 
"We used to share cookies and tea and have long talks about life and what it would be like when you grew older.  We talked about the happy times to come, and the hard things you would have to go through on your way to growing up."  "But as you got older you stopped believing" Fiori said wistfully, as her voice trailed off.   "It's been so long since I've seen you," she continued, her eyes sparkling.  "You look so happy now, just as I used to tell you that someday you would be.  See... in the end everything works out just right, doesn't it?"
 
Sylvie grew quiet, and then responded, "For a long time I didn't think so, it seemed that my life just kept getting worse and worse.  Every time I believed in someone it turned out to be a mistake.  Then finally, one day not too many years ago, I realized that I was going about life all wrong.  I was trying to make things happen then way I wanted, trying to force my life to fit me, instead of letting God change me and give me what was best.  Once I stopped trying to control things and handed it over to God amazing things began to happen.  And yes, look at me now; in just a few years my life has changed completely!  I am happy in ways I never thought were possible!  That doesn't mean that every day is good and everything that happens is fun, but I have learned that if I hold tight and keep believing, it will work itself out and I will be ok."
 
"That's the secret, Sylvie, that's what I tried to tell you but you had to find out on your own... most folks do.  We have to believe;  it really is that simple.  When we believe we learn to trust, and we have reason to hope.  When we believe good things begin to happen, faith attracts light and love!" 
 
"Wake up, Sylvie, wake up now! Open your eyes!"  Sylvie heard the voice from some far away place and groaned at the intrusion.  Moving through the fog, she opened her eyes as commanded, squinting at the glaring light overhead. Ah yes, now she remembered... the operating room... the mask over her face... the surgery... it must be over.  Her eyelids were still feeling much too heavy to hold open, so she drifted gently back to sleep, smiling as she waved goodbye to Fiori who smiled back and faded softly away."
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the prompt choices this week are think and sleep...
Come and join us there!

Two Shoes Tuesday #48 - Think or Sleep

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 link 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. 

If you like, grab the InLinkz code below and add it to the html at the bottom of your post to share the link list on your blog, and to make it easy for you to visit other participants. Also, 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 October 8th writing prompts to choose from are Think and Sleep.

Get the InLinkz Code