30 Days of Thankful - Day 30

Today is the final day of 30 Days of Thankful and I have saved the most important, the very best, for last...  I am thankful for faith.  It is the essence of who I am, the core of all I believe, the basis for all gratitude, and without doubt the reason that I am here.  The times in my life when I turned away from God were very dark times indeed, yet He was always there waiting for my return, and welcomed me home with immeasurable love.  I walk in the light now, always - His light. Beyond the shadow of a doubt, I believe. Faith... the most precious gift of all.

Thankful Thoughts - November 29th

I'm participating in Ten Things of Thankful, a weekly 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 have also been participating in "Thirty Days of Thankful" during the month of November, both here and on Facebook.  It's been a wonderful way to celebrate an entire month of Thanksgiving.

I am including my daily thankful notes from the week here, so feel free to skip over the items you've already read in individual posts on my blog and look for the new ones I've added to this list...

1) I am thankful that I was prepared for the blast of winter weather this past weekend, with enough food and jugs of water, so that I didn't have to skate across the ice-covered deck to venture out for supplies. I'm also thankful that the frozen water pipes I woke up to on Saturday thawed out by the end of the day.

2) I am thankful for my ATT portable Wi-Fi Hotspot! Our wireless Internet at home was down for a couple days, probably because the signal receiver outside was coated with a thick layer of ice, as was the signal tower just across the road from us. Once again, my handy little pocket-size Hotspot came to the rescue with reliable 4G LTE Internet access for our laptops, tablets, etc. because everyone knows how grumpy I get if I can't connect!

3) I am thankful for my beloved Papa Bear who got up early on his day off just to chop the thick layer of ice off my Escape and drive me to work... that's love!!  I really like that he is growing out his beard to look like Santa at my request too.

4) I am so very thankful for all the rescue workers, road crews, power line workers, furnace repairman, and plumbers who are called out all hours of the day and night in all kinds of weather to deal with problems and make repairs so that we can travel safely and live comfortably in our homes.  I returned home from work Tuesday night to find the electricity, and thus the heat, working again.   One night in the cold was enough to remind me of how blessed I am to live where I do, and to have a nice warm house to come home to!

5) I am thankful for lessons I learned from my parents... the difference between right and wrong... to treat others with respect... to take care of those we are responsible for...  to get the things we want by working for them... to spend less than you earn...  to take the cards life hands you and build with them... to help out where you can.

6) I am thankful for all the people in my past, some for what they gave me, some for what they taught me, some for the love they showed me. While I didn't always make the wisest choices, every single day of my past has formed me into the person I am, and has enabled me to be happy and at peace with the life I have now.

7) I am thankful for this four-day weekend!  Those are rare, and not all employers give their staff the day after Thanksgiving off.  I may actually get a few things accomplished around the house, and will at last have some time to catch up on reading and commenting! I've been behind on that for over a week now and it makes me feel bad when I don't have the time to return people's visits. Finding a balance between writing and reading with the time I have available is always hard, but I try!

8) I am thankful for the delicious spiral-cut ham that Papa Bear's boss gives his employees every year for Thanksgiving. We had some of it yesterday and the rest is packaged and in the freezer so that we can enjoy more of it in the weeks ahead!

9) I am thankful that my ex-husband seems to be finally getting some of his priorities straightened out in life.  I texted him yesterday on his birthday, and he said it was the best one ever, spent together with his family, daughter and grandchildren, celebrating Thanksgiving too.  He said he is looking forward to growing older.  Wow, that's a definite change of pace for an "I don't want to grow up"  party animal! I am thankful that he is happy, I wish him the best.  I am still very thankful that I left him when I did, I have a far better life with Papa Bear now, where I am truly loved and appreciated!

10) I am thankful for You... all the family and friends in my life who give it meaning, purpose, and joy! Life is not about what you have, but who you have... and in that I am blessed beyond measure!


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
 If you enjoy creative writing and want a place to share your efforts,
 join us here for Two Shoes Tuesday and Six Sentence Stories this week!

30 Days of Thankful - Day 29

I am thankful for all the people in my past, some for what they gave me, some for what they taught me, some for the love they showed me. While I didn't always make the wisest choices, every single day of my past has formed me into the person I am, and has enabled me to be happy and at peace with the life I have now.

Thank You

Joe's hands shook as he opened the envelope and removed the small thank you note inside. He recognized the handwriting on the envelope; how could he not after having been married to Eileen for twenty-six years?
 
Tears rolled down Joe's face as he read the message, recalling the bitter ending when she caught him cheating on her with someone she thought was her friend.  He had regretted his infidelity for the past fifteen years.
 
"Thank you for the good years we shared," Eileen wrote, "and for the two beautiful children you gave me.  Thank you for being my first love, and the only one I will love until I draw my last breath."
 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post was written for Six Sentence Stories
where the prompt this week is thank.  Join us!

30 Days of Thankful - Day 28

I am thankful for You... all the family and friends in my life who give it meaning, purpose, and joy! Life is not about what you have, but who you have... and in that I am blessed beyond measure!

Six Sentence Stories #16 - Thank

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 and non-fiction... 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 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 be posted on the 6SS tab at the top of my blog along with being announced in a special blog post on Saturday.

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 Thanksgiving theme - for the Week of Nov. 28th - Dec. 4th is: "thank"

30 Days of Thankful - Day 27

I am thankful for lessons I learned from my parents... the difference between right and wrong... to treat others with respect... to take care of those we are responsible for...  to get the things we want by working for them... to spend less than you earn...  to take the cards life hands you and build with them... to help out where you can.

30 Days of Thankful - Day 26

I am so very thankful for all the rescue workers, road crews, power line workers, furnace repairman, and plumbers who are called out all hours of the day and night in all kinds of weather to deal with problems and make repairs so that we can travel safely and live comfortably in our homes.  I returned home from work tonight to find the electricity, and thus the heat, working again.   One night in the cold was enough to remind me of how blessed I am to live where I do, and to have a nice warm house to come home to!

Two Shoes Tuesday #55 - Sit or Enough

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, but please use it as the theme for your post. 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 November 26th writing themes to choose from are Sit and Enough.

30 Days of Thankful - Day 25

 I am thankful for my beloved Papa Bear who got up early on his day off just to chop the thick layer of ice off my Escape and drive me to work... that's love!!  I really like that he is growing out his beard to look like Santa at my request too. <3

30 Days of Thankful - Day 24

I am thankful for my ATT portable Wi-Fi Hotspot! Our wireless Internet at home has been down since last evening, probably because the signal receiver outside is coated with a thick layer of ice, as is the signal tower just across the road from us. Once again, this handy little pocket-size Hotspot comes to the rescue with reliable 4G LTE Internet access for our laptops, tablets, etc. because everyone knows how grumpy I get if I can't connect!

30 Days of Thankful - Day 23

I am thankful that I was prepared for this wintery weather blast, with enough food and jugs of water, so that I didn't have to skate across the ice-covered deck to venture out for supplies. I'm also thankful that the frozen water pipes finally thawed out this evening. The faucets shall be left dripping tonight so that I can do laundry tomorrow.  I am also very thankful for my cozy warm house!

TST and 6SS Writing Prompts for the Coming Week

~TWO SHOES TUESDAY~
Stories, poems and essays - original fiction and non-fiction 
 Your choice of themes for Tuesday, Nov. 26th are: 
sit or  enough
Find out more about Two Shoes Tuesday here! 
 
~SIX SENTENCE STORIES~
 Very short stories - original fiction and non-fiction
Our theme for the Week of Nov. 28th - Dec. 4th is:
thank
Find out more about Six Sentence Stories here!
 
Put your thinking cap on and come and join us!

Thankful Thoughts - November 22nd

Ten Things of Thankful
Today I'm participating in the Twenty-fifth Edition of  Ten Things of Thankful... Wow! What an amazing blessing this weekly blog hop is proving to be! Congratulations to Lizzi at Considerings and her wonderful group of co-hosts for the effort they've put in to keep this going and growing!

I am also participating in "Thirty Days of Thankful" during the month of November, both here and on Facebook.  It's a wonderful way to celebrate an entire month of Thanksgiving... join me!

I will be including my daily thankful notes here each weekend, so feel free to skip over the items you've already read in individual posts on my blog and look for the new ones I've added just for this list...

1) I am thankful for being in a relationship with Papa Bear that has been based on total honesty and  openness since day one.  How freeing it is to know that we can and do share everything with each other.  Papa Bear is my refuge, my strength, my sounding board, and the one place I am free to be totally myself without fear of misunderstanding or rejection. I am blessed to know this kind of love!

2) I am thankful for moonlight and beautiful full moons!  Standing out on my deck at night and seeing everything illuminated in shades of gray, black and midnight blue, I become more aware of my connection to all who look upon the same moon, and to the vastness of creation in which we play but a tiny part.  Gazing at the full moon helps me regain perspective and fills me with a sense of awe.

3) I am thankful beyond words for the young people of the Pine Ridge Reservation, and their families, who have been my friends and family for over twelve years now, and who occupy a huge part of my heart.  I have learned so much from them about love, life, giving, and perseverance. I am so very proud of all of them!

4) I am thankful for crab legs... my most favorite food!  This week we went to Red Lobster for dinner and had the best food and service that we've had there in a long time.  It was fun, relaxing, and delicious... and some much needed downtime together at the end of an emotionally exhausting day.  It was also a really nice surprise to not have the usual long waiting line for a table.  I've been craving crab legs lately, and it proved to be the perfect choice, along with Red Lobster's yummy Cheddar Bay Biscuits and their new crispy red potatoes and roasted corn.  Mmmm! Sometimes a little indulgence is good for the soul. :-)

5) I am thankful that my life is relatively free from drama and "fires" to be put out.  It is exhausting to live in an environment of constant games and drama, whether it be in the workplace or at home. I have lived that way in the past, always holding my breath to see what issues and problems the next day would be sure to bring.  I don't allow people who like to create drama to have access to my life now, I live what some would call a "dull, boring life", and oh how I love it that way... another word for it would be peaceful. :-)

6) I am thankful for the incredibly beautiful day we had on Thursday! It reached 76 degrees that afternoon, sort of a last hurrah for warm fall weather... sandal toes, no jackets, toasty warm car after work. Then it dropped down to freezing that night and is supposed to stay there for the next three days, along with freezing rain.  It was  a very rude awakening in the morning, not to mention how much fun it is to drive on "frozen rain"!  Still, during this season I am thankful that I live in Texas, where our winter is short compared to that of friends living further north. I know that this is just a temporary cold blast, and we'll be back to some warm afternoons off and on until Spring comes. I don't think I could do those October-April snowstorms like I grew up with in Dakota!

7) I am thankful for the little warning light that appears on the dashboard of my Escape from time to time.  It's a low tire pressure warning.  It popped on as I was driving into town this morning, alerting me to the need to head to the nearest tire store for an inspection.  It turned out that my right front tire was low and needing air.  They had just been checked when I had the oil changed this week, so apparently that one was a little bit low and the overnight drop to below freezing temperatures decreased the pressure enough to set off the sensor.  Twice in the past this light has warned me of a nail in a tire which could have easily left me stranded out on the road somewhere with a flat. I readily admit that I am not the most observant person in the world, so I am very thankful for helpful gadgets like this!

8) I am so incredibly thankful for the gift of a second chance for those I love who have at some point in their lives strongly considered or attempted suicide and by the pure grace of God were prevented from dying.  Sometimes God intervenes and says no, not yet, I have more planned for your life. 

9) I am thankful for the very simple but necessary blessings of my eyeglasses and my hearing aids. Without them I would live in a fuzzy, muffled world where I could neither read books nor converse easily with others.  I most certainly could not do my job!  Eyeglasses, and contacts, are so common place that we take them for granted, but shouldn't.  A hundred years ago the glasses that did exist were of nowhere near the quality and accuracy of what we have now.  Hearing aids are common for older people, but also insanely expensive for good ones that function well in varying environments. In years gone by and often now, folks with hearing problems just go progressively deaf, which leads to a tremendous sense of isolation.  I am blessed to have both of these necessities that I know others have to go without because they do not have access or cannot afford them.

10) This being Thanksgiving week in America, I am thankful for all the families that will have the opportunity to come together on Thursday and be blessed by a time of sharing, laughter, feasting and love!  While our family is scattered, my love crosses the miles and I hold each one of them close in my heart.  I am blessed to have good memories of Thanksgivings past!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
 If you enjoy creative writing and want a place to share your efforts,
 join us here for Two Shoes Tuesday and Six Sentence Stories this week!

30 Days of Thankful - Day 22

I am thankful for this little warning light that appears on the dashboard of my Escape from time to time.  It's a low tire pressure warning.  It popped on as I was driving into town this morning, alerting me to the need to head to the nearest tire store for an inspection.  It turned out that my right front tire was low and needing air.  They had just been checked when I had the oil changed this week, so apparently the tech misread the gauge or the overnight drop to below freezing temperatures affected it. Twice in the past this light has warned me of a nail in a tire which could have easily left me stranded out on the road somewhere with a flat. I readily admit that I am not the most observant person in the world, so I am very thankful for helpful gadgets like this!
 

30 Days of Thankful - Day 21

I am thankful for the incredibly beautiful day we had today! It reached 76 degrees this afternoon, sort of a last hurrah for warm fall weather... sandal toes, no jackets, toasty warm car after work.  You can see from the WeatherBug report up there what's headed our way.  Supposed to drop down to freezing tonight and stay there for the next three days, with a 50% chance of freezing rain. It will be a very rude awakening in the morning, not to mention how much fun it is to drive on "frozen rain"!  Still, during this season I am thankful that I live in Texas, where our winter is short compared to that of friends living further north. I know that this is just a temporary cold blast, and we'll be back to some warm afternoons off and on until Spring comes. I don't think I could do those October-April snowstorms like I grew up with in Dakota!

Resolution

Mr. Bosworth was fed up with the chronic grumbling of his employees, so he did some thinking and devised a clever plan.  He announced a Complaint Contest in which employees were told to write their biggest work-related complaint on a notecard and post it on the bulletin board in the break room.  Eager participants filled the board with complaints ranging from frivolous to furious in response to Mr. Bosworth's promise to give the authors of the top four complaints a three day, all expense paid vacation at a nearby resort. 
 
The cards were then numbered, and employees were given the opportunity to vote for what they viewed as the biggest issue presented. Employee morale skyrocketed as co-workers bantered back and forth over the entries, and put forth their best campaign efforts to secure the most votes for their complaint. 
 
Mr. Bosworth smiled broadly as he congratulated the chosen winners, giving each them not only their promised resort reservations, but also an assignment to return to work following their vacation with a report detailing no less than three reasonable and well thought out options of ways to resolve their complaint.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post was written for Six Sentence Stories
where the prompt this week is complaint.  Join us!

Six Sentence Stories #15 - Complaint

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 and non-fiction... 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 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 be posted on the 6SS tab at the top of my blog along with being announced in a special blog post on Saturday.

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 Nov. 21st - 27th is: "complaint"

30 Days of Thankful - Day 20

I am thankful that my life is relatively free from drama and "fires" to be put out.  It is exhausting to live in an environment of constant games and drama, whether it be in the workplace or at home. I have lived that way in the past, always holding my breath to see what issues and problems the next day would be sure to bring.  I don't allow people who like to create drama to have access to my life now, I live what some would call a "dull, boring life", and oh how I love it that way... another word for it would be peaceful. :-)

30 Days of Thankful - Day 19

I am thankful for crab legs... my most favorite food!  Last night we went to Red Lobster for dinner and had the best food and service that we've had there in a long time.  It was fun, relaxing, and delicious... and some much needed downtime together at the end of an emotionally exhausting day.  It was also a really nice surprise to not have the usual long waiting line for a table.  I've been craving crab legs lately, and it proved to be the perfect choice, along with Red Lobster's yummy Cheddar Bay Biscuits and their new crunchy red potatoes and roasted corn.  Mmmm! Sometimes a little indulgence is good for the soul. :-)

Hurry!


"Hurry up Brady, finish your cereal!  Mama has to get to work, and I need to drop you off at daycare first."   Mornings were not three-year-old Brady's favorite time; he barely had his eyes open and wasn't inclined to gobble up his cereal.

"Brady! Please finish brushing your teeth and get your clothes on, we have to be out the door in five minutes!" Brady headed off to his bedroom and began pulling on his t-shirt and jeans. 

He was sitting on the floor slowly tugging on his socks when his mother walked in.  "Come on Brady, grab your shoes and bring them with you!  I'll put them on in the car." 

Brady picked up his shoes and headed down the hallway, his tussled hair still uncombed. On impulse he reached out and grabbed his stuffed kitty, dropping one shoe in the process.

"Good Lord Brady! I swear you would forget your own head if it wasn't sewed on," his mother said as she reached to pick up the shoe with one hand while trying to smooth his hair down with her other.  "Leave Kitty Cat here, we don't have time to drag along extra things today!"

Tears formed at the corners of Brady's eyes and began to roll down his cheeks. "Ok then, take the cat and get in the car... hurry!  You have to move faster or I'm going to be late!"

Brady's mom buckled him quickly into his car seat, tugged on his shoes and tied them, jumped into the driver's seat and took off.  Brady held on to his beloved Kitty Cat while they sped around corners and slipped thru yellow lights as they were turning red.  As she came up to the final intersection before they reached Brady's daycare, another car ran a red light and came flying across in front of them.   Brady's mom slammed on her brakes, missing a collision with inches to spare.

Shaken, she looked around to see Brady staring at her wide-eyed with fear, and clutching Kitty Cat tightly to his chest. "It's ok, Baby, you're ok. We are almost there."  She took a deep breath, said a grateful prayer, and moved ahead slowly through the intersection. When she arrived at the daycare, she lifted Brady from his car seat and held him and his Kitty Cat in a close embrace. Whispering to him how much she loved him, Brady's mom promised him that from now on they would start getting ready a little earlier in the morning so they wouldn't have to hurry.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This story was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the prompt choices this week are fast or smile.

~Come back and join us for  Six Sentence Stories on Thursday!~

Two Shoes Tuesday #54 - Fast or Smile

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 November 19th writing prompts to choose from are Fast and Smile.

30 Days of Thankful - Day 18

In Loving Memory of Mariah LeeAnn Montileaux
January 3, 1995 ~ November 18, 2009

I am thankful beyond words for the young people of the Pine Ridge Reservation (and their families) who have been my friends and family for over twelve years now, and who occupy a huge part of my heart.  I have learned so much from them about love, life, giving, and perseverance. I am so very proud of all of them!

On this day four years ago one of these children chose to take her life.  She is greatly missed by all of us that loved her dearly. I hold precious the photos of her radiant smiles, and the letters she sent me signed "Mariah the Cat Lover." She knew that I loved cats as much as she did.

I am thankful for the courage of Mariah's mother, who has chosen to turn her pain into something  positive in Mariah's memory, and to use this day as an opportunity to celebrate Mariah's life by giving Rez youth an opportunity to speak out against suicide and encourage each other to embrace life. 

While I cannot attend the Poetry Event being held in Mariah's memory on the Rez tonight, my heart will be there.  I know that Mariah will be there in spirit too, and she will be smiling.  I am thankful for the opportunity to help support this event.

30 Days of Thankful - Day 17

I am thankful for moonlight and beautiful full moons!  Standing out on my deck at night and seeing everything illuminated in shades of gray, black and midnight blue, I become more aware of my connection to all who look upon the same moon, and to the vastness of creation in which we play but a tiny part.  Gazing at the full moon helps me regain perspective and fills me with a sense of awe.



30 Days of Thankful - Day 16

I am thankful for being in a relationship with Papa Bear that has been based on total honesty and  openness since day one.  How freeing it is to know that we can and do share everything with each other.  Papa Bear is my refuge, my strength, my sounding board, and the one place I am free to be totally myself without fear of misunderstanding or rejection. I am blessed to know this kind of love!

Thankful Thoughts - November 15th

Today 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 also participating in "Thirty Days of Thankful" during the month of November, both here and on Facebook.  It's a wonderful way to celebrate an entire month of Thanksgiving... join me!

I will be including my daily thankful notes here each weekend, so feel free to skip over the items you've already read in individual posts on my blog and look for the new ones I've added to this list...

1)  I am sincerely thankful for the mornings that I do not have to rise to the demands of my phone alarm clock.  How sweet it is to wake up when my mind and body feel rested and ready to begin the day!

2) I am thankful for all the precious memories I hold in my heart.  Often someone will write a note or post a picture that reminds me of sweet things from the past... like the quilts my grandmother used to make, or reading to my children when they were small!  Places, people, special events... so many good things that make the darker memories pale in comparison. I could write a book on good memories alone, and I know that I am very blessed!

3) I am thankful for my father, my uncles, my son, and for all those who've ever served our country; for every man, woman and animal who have made the sacrifice to protect us and the freedoms we hold dear.

4) I am thankful for clean water, I drink a lot of water each day. It is another of the many things we tend to take for granted, that we will have pure, safe water to drink and cook with, and as much of it as we want. There are many places in the world where drinking water is scarce or  must be transported long distances,  and the likelihood of it being truly safe is slim.  The next  time you refill your glass or bottle, stop for a moment and realize how blessed you are!

5)  I am thankful that on days and weeks when work and life in general are extremely stressful, I have learned these things tend to cycle and what seems unbearable at the moment will calm down if we give it time and apply liberal doses of prayer and chamomile tea. :-)

6) I am thankful for soft flannel sheets!  I grew up with flannel sheets on the bed during those long South Dakota winters, and nothing feels warmer and nicer on cold winter nights! A few years ago my son gave us a set of really good flannel sheets, the kind that never pill-up when they are washed. They are so soft and cuddly that I really hate to get out of bed in the mornings, and I'm sad when Spring comes and it's time to exchange them for cotton sheets.  It's funny how things that make us smile are often tied up with childhood memories.

7) I am thankful for Facebook... I truly am!  Despite the addictive nature of it and the drama that sometimes occurs there, it is also a wonderful opportunity to stay in touch with people we care about that don't live nearby, to find out what is happening in their lives, to exchange laughter and encouragement and prayers when needed.  How fun it is to reconnect with someone you haven't talked to in a few years or even longer!  I get a lot of teasing about my "cats and quotes" posts, a repeating theme on my page, but it makes me smile to share those things, and there is always that handy "don't show in newsfeed" option for the people that grow weary of it! :-) Facebook is a blessing in my life, I hope it is in yours!

8) I am thankful for people who spay and neuter their pets in a world where there are already so many dogs and cats desperately needing forever homes, and I am thankful for those who those who rescue/foster/adopt animals who need their love and care.  This is surely doing God's work!

9) I am thankful for my heart, not just the figurative one, but the physical one that God created within me. Stop for a moment to think what an amazing "machine" a heart is - it starts beating just six weeks after conception and continues on without stopping many times every minute of every hour of every day for years and years, until the final moment of our lives. That's some incredible design work!

10) I am thankful for the mistakes I've made in my life.  Not only have I learned from them, eventually, but they also show that I am doing something - if you do nothing you never make a mistake!  Additionally, being aware of my mistakes helps to keep me humble and gives me something to strive for,  i.e.  "That wasn't very  well thought out/smart/kind, I don't really want to do that again!"  We need to embrace our mistakes, love ourselves enough to be forgiving, reflect on the lessons learned, and then use that awareness to make better choices in the future. Mistakes aren't a means of keeping score, they are stepping stones to a better, brighter, happier you! :-)

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 If you enjoy creative writing and want a place to share your efforts,
 join us here for Two Shoes Tuesday and Six Sentence Stories this week!

30 Days of Thankful -- Day 15

I am thankful for Facebook... I truly am!  Despite the addictive nature of it and the drama that sometimes occurs there, it is also a wonderful opportunity to stay in touch with people we care about that don't live nearby, to find out what is happening in their lives, to exchange laughter and encouragement and prayers when needed.  How fun it is to reconnect with someone you haven't talked to in a few years or even longer!  I get a lot of teasing about my "cats and quotes" posts, a repeating theme on my page, but it makes me smile to share those things, and there is always that handy "don't show in newsfeed" option for the people that grow weary of it! :-) Facebook is a blessing in my life, I hope it is in yours!

30 Days of Thankful - Day 14

I am thankful that on days and weeks when work and life in general are extremely stressful, I have learned these things tend to cycle and what seems unbearable at the moment will calm down if we give it time and apply liberal doses of prayer and chamomile tea. :-)

Missing Pieces


I began my first blog, A Piece of My Mind, in the Fall of 2006.  Blogging, and the bloggers I met, helped me retain what was left of my sanity as my marriage crumbled.  When I set out on my own I archived that blog and began a new one, Picking up Pieces, under the pen name Josie Two Shoes.  A year later I moved to Texas to begin my new life with John and Two Shoes in Texas was born. 

As I pondered what to write for 6SS this week, Picking up Pieces came to mind, and something inspired me to check out an old email address that I hadn't accessed in over three years. You cannot begin to imagine how thrilled I was to find a file there containing the only existing back-up of my original blog from that difficult period seven years ago, a file I had searched for many times and thought was forever gone. The missing "piece of my mind" has been found! :-)
 
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This post was written for Six Sentence Stories
where the prompt this week is pieces.  Join us!

Six Sentence Stories #14 - Pieces

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 and non-fiction... 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 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 be posted on the 6SS tab at the top of my blog along with being announced in a special blog post on Saturday.

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 Nov. 14th - 20th is: "pieces"

30 Days of Thankful - Day 13

I am thankful for soft flannel sheets!  I grew up with flannel sheets on the bed during those long South Dakota winters, and nothing feels warmer and nicer on cold winter nights! A few years ago my son gave us a set of really good flannel sheets, the kind that never pill-up when they are washed. They are so soft and cuddly that I really hate to get out of bed in the mornings, and I'm sad when Spring comes and it's time to exchange them for cotton sheets.  It's funny how things that make us smile are often tied up with childhood memories. 

30 Days of Thankful - Day 12

I am thankful for clean water, I drink a lot of water each day. It is another of the many things we tend to take for granted, that we will have pure, safe water to drink and cook with, and as much of it as we want. There are many places in the world where drinking water is scarce or  must be transported long distances,  and the likelihood of it being truly safe is slim.  The next  time you refill your glass or bottle, stop for a moment and realize how blessed you are!

The Bridge

 Emmy Sue and Jimmy Wayne grew up in the hills of Tennessee, just across the creek from each other. Their families were poor but hardworking, doing their best to feed a passel of kids and make ends meet. They both attended the little one-room school on Emmy's side of the creek, and the country church on Jimmy's side on Sundays. In the summertime when school was out they could often be found swimming in the creek or fishing off the bridge, along with their brothers and sisters.  In the winters they slid together down snow-covered hills on old scraps of tin they found behind the barn. 
 
As they grew older, everyone could see that Jimmy Wayne had taken a shine to Emmy Sue; he would often cross the bridge to bring her a handful of wildflowers, or a second-hand copy of a book he'd bought for her by doing chores for the neighbors, knowing how much she loved to read. 
 
 It was clear that Emmy Sue had eyes for Jimmy too, and though she was shy and would blush madly when he'd show up on the doorstep, her mama and daddy noted that she started tying ribbons in her hair and saving him a piece of the pie or cake she'd baked if she thought he might be stopping by. 
 
As the years went on, they could often be seen walking hand and hand across the bridge from her house to his and back again, and no one in their little mountain community was a bit surprised then when Jimmy Wayne sought out Emmy's father for permission to ask for her hand in marriage.
 
On a beautiful day in early September, Emmy Sue crossed the little bridge once more, this time on the arm of her father, wearing a new pink calico dress that her mama made, with wildflowers woven into the now pinned up braids of her honey-blond hair.  She arrived at the little church filled with friends and neighbors, and took her place beside Jimmy Wayne to repeat their vows and pledge their love to one another. 
 
That love, which began long ago as they splashed in the water and fished from the bridge, was to bind them together and carry them through good times and bad for the next fifty-four years.  They raised eleven children, and lived to spend their old age sitting side by side on the front porch holding hands, surrounded by dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  When Emmy Sue was once asked what advice she gave her daughters and granddaughters about love and marriage, she said simply... "Real love grows, give it time."
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This story was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the prompt choices this week are over or always.

~Come back and join us for  Six Sentence Stories on Thursday!~

Two Shoes Tuesday #53 - Over or Always

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 November 12th writing prompts to choose from are Over and Always.

30 Days of Thankful - Day 11

On this Veteran's Day I am thankful for my father, my uncles, my son, and for all those who've ever served our country; for every man, woman and animal who have made the sacrifice to protect us and the freedoms we hold dear.

Tiny Dancer

Fiori was enchanted by the idea of being a ballerina, having attended a children's matinee of The Nutcracker ballet with her parents the previous Christmas. A pile of fluffy tutu's in a rainbow of colors were stacked in the corner of her room, and she was not dressed and ready for the day until she had tugged at least one on over her clothing.  Fiori's parents were more than happy to oblige this bit of fantasy, it being one of the few bright spots in the life of a little girl who spent more time in the cancer ward at the hospital than she did at home.  When the Make-A-Wish Foundation contacted her parents, there was no question what she would most love to do.  For one magic night Fiori stood on stage, eyes shining more brightly than the stage lights, as she danced on her tiptoes guided gently by the loving hands of the prima ballerina she adored.
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I'm linking up with Lillie McFerrin's Five Sentence Fiction
where the writing prompt this week is "dancing"
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 If you enjoy creative writing, come and join me here for
 Two Shoes Tuesday and Six Sentence Stories this week!

30 Days of Thankful - Day 10

I like to dream that life could be this way, but in reality I am sincerely thankful for the mornings that I do not have to rise to the demands of my phone alarm clock.  How sweet it is to wake up when my mind and body feel rested and ready to begin the day!

30 Days of Thankful - Day 9

I am thankful for all the precious memories I hold in my heart.  Often someone will write a note or post a picture that reminds me of sweet things from the past... like the quilts my grandmother used to make, or reading to my children when they were small!  Places, people, special events... so many good things that make the darker memories pale in comparison. I could write a book on good memories alone, and I know that I am very blessed!

TST and 6SS Writing Prompts for the Coming Week

~TWO SHOES TUESDAY~
Stories, poems and essays - original fiction and non-fiction 
 Your choice of themes for Tuesday, Nov. 12th are: 
over or  always
Find out more about Two Shoes Tuesday here! 
 
~SIX SENTENCE STORIES~
 Very short stories - original fiction and non-fiction
Our theme for the Week of Nov. 14th - 20th is:
pieces
Find out more about Six Sentence Stories here!
 
Put your thinking cap on and come and join us!

Thankful Thoughts - November 8th

Today 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 also participating in "Thirty Days of Thankful" during the month of November, both here and on Facebook.  It's a wonderful way to celebrate an entire month of Thanksgiving... join me!

I will be including my daily thankful notes here each weekend, so feel free to skip over the items you've already read in individual posts on my blog and look for the new ones I've added to this list...

1) I am thankful beyond measure for the amazing gift of being able to meet people from all over the world, share our thoughts through blogging, and develop friendships that will last a lifetime. What we discover is that we are all far more alike than we are different... peace begins with understanding!

2) I am thankful for our cozy little house out in the weed patch of West Texas. It isn't big, fancy, or shiny new, but it's ours and it's paid for, and most importantly, it is the only house I've ever lived in that truly feels like home - love abides here, along with peace, grace, and joy!

3) Despite the fact that I sometimes grumble about it, I am very thankful that I am able to work and have a job that meets my needs. Everyday I deal with people who would give anything to be healthy and well enough to find a job and keep one. I know that I am blessed. I can use my job position to make a difference in other people's lives, even if it is just to treat them with kindness and respect.

4) I am thankful for the understanding that attitude is everything!  Often we can't change what is happening in our lives, but we can always change how we decide to deal with it.  Maintaining a positive attitude makes a difference!  I am grateful that there are always blessings to be found in every situation if I look hard enough.

5) I am thankful for the twenty mile drive to and from work each day.  Most of it is outside of the city and gives me time to reflect.   On the way to work I can psych myself up for the day, and on the way home I can relax and unwind. In the summer I get to witness beautiful sunrises, and in the winter I see amazing sunsets. It's a great way to begin/end the day!

6) I am thankful for people who live their lives with integrity. It is so refreshing to know  people who won't compromise their beliefs of right and wrong, whether it's regarding large issues or a small ones. I love people who can be trusted to walk their talk and who don't make promises they have no serious intent to honor.

7) I am so very thankful for the kindness and compassion in my children's hearts. They are such a blessing to me!  I couldn't be more proud of the kind of people they have grown up to be.

8) I am thankful for the sweet face of my kitty Sophie in the window, watching and waiting for me every day when I come home, then running to the door with Tiggy and Gracie to greet me. It is nice to feel missed and loved!

9) I thankful for all of you!  October was the third highest view count in the entire history of my blog. I am humbled by the fact that people stop by to read my ramblings, sometimes leaving a comment, and occasionally are bored brave enough to return again another day! :-)

10) I am thankful that I can read!!! All the amazing books, blogs, emails and letters would mean nothing if I didn't know how to read them or wasn't permitted to do so.  This is a blessing most of us take for granted, and we forget that there were and still are times and places in the world where such privileges are forbidden. Perhaps the freedom to read and write whatever we choose is the greatest freedom of all!
 
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 If you enjoy creative writing and want a place to share your efforts,
 come and join us at Two Shoes Tuesday and Six Sentence Stories this week!

You Can Help Make A Difference!

On November 18th, 2009  one of my beloved rez kids, Mariah LeeAnn Montileaux, tragically chose to end her own life at the age of 14.  Since then, her mother Iva Lynn Black Elk has been working tirelessly to reach out to reservation youth in efforts to promote suicide prevention and awareness.

This year, on Monday, November 18th, Iva is hosting a Poetry Slam with Live Music on the Pine Ridge Reservation in Mariah's memory.  She wants it to be a positive event, celebrating Mariah's life and encouraging all those who attend to celebrate their own.  She could use some help with donations and prizes for this event. 

I am asking those among you who care about the children living in such difficult conditions on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota to consider sending a prize or donation for this event.  Time is very short, Iva must have these donations by the end of next week since the event is the following Monday. (The postal service is closed this Monday for Veteran's Day, so rapid mailing is essential.)
 
Gift cards, donations, or prizes can be sent directly to Iva Lynn Black Elk.  Please email me at jts.2000@yahoo.com for her PO address. I know Iva personally and can assure you than anything you send to her will be used to benefit the youth of Pine Ridge.  Some suggestions for gift cards are: VISA, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Kohl's, Pizza Hut and Subway.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart! ~ Josie

30 Days of Thankful - Day 8

I am thankful for people who live their lives with integrity. It is so refreshing to know  people who won't compromise their beliefs of right and wrong, whether it's regarding large issues or a small ones. I love people who can be trusted to walk their talk and who don't make promises they have no serious intent to honor.