Fool Me Twice

Nissa sat on the edge of bed, too stunned to move after walking in to find Frank packing his things.  He said that he was leaving because he hated his current job and couldn't find a decent one in the entire city. He had been at this job for less than six weeks, after sitting home unemployed for several months while she struggled to keep their bills paid on her salary alone.

Frank had left Nissa once before, same story, couldn't find a job to suit him - had to be the place and time, and never him.  Nissa choked back the tears as she hugged him one more time and told him not to bother returning.  In time she would come to realize that he didn't value her enough to find a way to make it work, and she was going to be better off with him gone.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post was written for Six Sentence Stories
where the theme this week is twice.  Join us!

Six Sentence Stories #24 - Twice

Six Sentence Stories
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 Jan. 30th - Feb. 5th is: "twice"

What Is Gained

 
Today's affirmation at Soul Inspiring.com was "I am open to loving relationships." I had to smile at the above photo that was with it, it kind of reminded me of Papa Bear and me. :-)
 
I started thinking about the many relationships I've been in in forty years of adulthood and nearly sixty years of life. The older we get the more relationships we've experienced - some by choice, some that seem to be by chance encounter, and a very rare few because they seem destined.  Or is it that all of our encounters are not by happenstance at all, but part of the master plan for our lives?  I tend to believe that is true. 
 
It is said that we learn something from everyone we encounter in life, either what to do or what not to do.  Along with that, we gradually learn to chose our relationships more wisely.  Young people often tend to place value on having a large number of friends, both on Facebook and in life.  Eventually they learn that there is so much more to be gained by having a one, or two, or a few trusted people in their lives with whom they can share anything and be certain of confidentiality and honest input.
 
Sometimes we find ourselves in relationships that showed a great deal of promise at first, be it friendships or romantic relationships.  Many hearts have been broken by discovering the person we thought we knew, either couldn't be trusted, or didn't really have our best interests at heart. Sometimes people change too, in ways we don't expect or aren't comfortable living with.
 
When I look back on my previous marriages, and other relationships I've experienced along the way, I have to admit that often they didn't really fall into the category of "loving", some were one-sided with me doing most of the giving and them doing most of the taking, some were straight out abusive.  What happens in relationships like that, especially if they last for awhile, is that your own self esteem gets worn down, and you begin to question who you are, if that's the best you deserve.  You forget to let your own light shine, and to believe in your own wonderful expression of God's love.
 
Shortly after turning fifty years old I made the decision that I would no longer sell myself short, not waste my time and energy on relationships that weren't mutually caring, giving, and loving.  I would rather have one wonderful relationship, or even no close ones at all, than be part of a relationship that causes pain, confusion, stress, and tears.  I welcome people into my life with open arms, I tend to trust, and sometimes trust and share too much.  I want to believe the best of them. But if the time comes when I see that it isn't working out to be what I had hoped for, I am wise enough and strong enough to say enough! 
 
It's taken me a long, long time to get there, but I what I've gained in choosing to participate in only loving relationships is the freedom and joy that come with true understanding, encouragement and caring.  How awesome it is to know that when your friend or partner says "I love you" they truly mean it, and their actions are going to reflect it.  Those kinds of relationships are worth waiting for!
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This story was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the theme choices this week are pain and gain

 

Two Shoes Tuesday #63 - Pain or Gain

Two Shoes Tuesdsay
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 January 28th writing themes to choose from are pain and gain

How to Write Real Good :-)

This was going around on Facebook today, and it was just too funny not to share  :-)

Thankful Thoughts - January 25th

Today 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..." 

1)  This hasn't been an easy week, it was one of those that left me really tempted to skip doing TToT, not sure I could adjust my attitude into one of being truly thankful.  But as is always the case with this blog hop, once I've read a few of the others, and really looked at my own life, I am able to put things in better perspective and the gratitude starts flowing.  I have a good life, I know that I am blessed!  At the top of my list of things I am thankful for this week then would be those who uplift and encourage me, who tell me that I'm not such a miserable failure at life when I really need that reassurance. Papa Bear is always among these, quick to express his appreciation for my presence in his life, and I am thankful for that too!

2) I am thankful that, just as it states in the picture above, no matter how many times the winds of life blow me off balance, I have always been able to get back on my feet and moving forward again. I am determined to be a survivor rather than a victim, and to be useful rather than used.

3) I am thankful that my days at work are extremely busy because this makes the time go by very quickly.  Before I know  it lunchtime has arrived and we are counting down the afternoon hours 'til going home time.  Although I am very tired by the end of day, I have had jobs where we watched the clock move slowly, longing to be anywhere else, and feeling like eight hours was an eternity. Busy days is one of those thankful thoughts where one takes something not so good and finds a blessing within it! :-)

4) I am thankful that, although the hoped for miracle changes at work fell thru this week, leaving us all feeling very sad and defeated, another possibility has since opened up, and I sense that maybe God has something even better in mind for all of us than we had originally hoped for.  Life works that way sometimes, you don't get what you want, but you end up with something much better in the long run. It is a time of waiting and watching, but hope is restored, and I am so very thankful for that because it's hard to focus on work when one feels the ship sinking!

5) I am thankful that I can report progress in rebuilding my relationship with my younger sister this week.  It didn't come easy, but rather with some cross words, some unnerving revelations, and a  night of little sleep, but I think we are on the way to having things better between us, and that feels good.  One of my goals for this year is to work harder on my family relationships, and for that to happen I have to move off my square of stubbornness and do the reaching out and repairing. I am willing to do that, believing that God will honor my intentions with positive results.

6) I am thankful for the Pay It Forward thing going around on Facebook at the moment, and I'm thinking it would be fun to start it here in the blogsphere too. It goes like this..
I have decided to participate in the 'Pay it forward' initiative because I think it is a great idea. The first 5 people who comment on this status with 'I'm in' will receive a surprise from me at some point in this calendar year-anything from a book, a ticket, a visit, something homegrown or made, it could be a post card, absolutely any surprise! There will be no warning and it will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy. These 5 people must make the same offer on their FB status and distribute their own joy. Simply COPY this text onto your profile...don't share...so we can form a web of connection and kindness. Let's do more nice and loving things for each other in 2014, without any reason other than to make each other smile and show that we think of each other. Here's to a more enjoyable, more friendly and love filled year!
So, if you are one of the first five people to comment on my post here today with "I'm In" I will send you a surprise at some point this year.  Then you need to add it to your blog and do the same. Let's spread a little love, and brighten lives with some surprises when least expected!
 
6) I am thankful for conversations with both of my kids this week, and some fun plans in the formative stage that I will know more about next month - something to look forward to, and I am excited!

8) I am thankful that when I have issues or concerns with someone that I am able to initiate conversation to resolve them.  I saw again this week how much confusion and hurt comes from people who hold things in, or carry around grudges that are sometimes based on misunderstandings. I can appreciate being cautious and considerate of other people's feelings, but I am a firm believer that it is always better to clear the air. Open communication strengthens relationships.

9) I am thankful that my husband started a rotating work schedule this week in which he will work 8-5 every third week, matching my work hours, so that we have longer evenings together.  He has always worked 9-6 and this means a late dinner and me leaving the house with him sleeping each morning.  This way we have a few minutes to share at the start of day and can go out for a bite to eat after work if we don't feel like cooking.  I will look forward to this week each time it comes around!

10) I am thankful that I have developed a belief in me over the years, and the strength to rely on myself and what I believe to be true.  Sometimes those who have been in our corner move in another direction and leave us feeling a bit stunned and disappointed, and while it is unsettling and sad, I know that life moves on, and I am thankful to have the opportunity to reassess my relationships and what I get from them.  I found the quote below, and it speaks well of my belief that life is always a choice... choose wisely!
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Ten Things of Thankful

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

Underneath the Stars

 Liam spread a blanket on the soft and mossy ground and sprinkled it with petals pulled from roses. Anise stood spellbound, watching as he slid a bottle of Burgundy wine from a velvet bag, and produced two silver goblets from his pockets. Beckoning her to join him, Liam presented her with a tiny heart-shaped candy box.  Kneeling down, he bid Anise to open it; and when she did she found a silver band of sparkling diamonds nestled in between the chocolates.  Thus began a night of magic underneath the canopy of stars. 
 
Fifty years of life flew by and found them once again beneath the stars with chocolates and wine, where Anise leaned into Liam and whispered softly, "I find it so amazing that our love feels just as magical as it did on that night so long ago." 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post was written for Six Sentence Stories
where the theme this week is amazing.  Join us!

Six Sentence Stories #23 - Amazing

Six Sentence Stories
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 Jan. 23rd - 29th is: "amazing"

Three Little Sisters

 A little over a year ago Papa Bear and I were returning  from a weekend in South Central Texas when we came across the fire-gutted remains of a large two-story granite building out on the prairie in the middle of nowhere.  We were so intrigued by this strange sight that we had to drive over and inspect it. It turned out to be a former county courthouse that once marked the center of a little town called Stiles, which has vanished entirely. I wrote about it in The Town That Disappeared
 
Two weekends ago we once again found ourselves travelling up the lonely rural highway near the ghost town of Stiles. We both wanted to stop once again, something draws us there. This time we followed signs to the small cemetery about a half-mile from the courthouse which was in use when the town of Stiles was thriving many years ago, and continues to serve as a final resting place for area ranchers and their families today.

It was a very cold January day, and getting close to sunset when we arrived. We didn't have warm jackets or much time to walk among the scattered headstones, but we quickly spotted the row of the three narrow grave markers pictured above, off to the right and very close together.  As we read the inscriptions the reality of  the story they told began to set in. 
 
The first marker says... Sallie A. Moody - Dau. of Jas. & M.E. Moody - Born Oct. 5, 1897 -  Died Aug. 12, 1904 - Beloved one, farewell.  Sallie was close to being seven years old. County death records state that she died of "Illio Colitis."
 
The second reads... Ruth L. Moody -  Dau. of Jas. & M.E. Moody - Born Sep. 4, 1903 - Died Aug. 16, 1904 - Gone, but not forgotten.  Ruth was just three weeks short of being a year old. Death records state that she also died of "Illio Colitis".
 
The third is inscribed... Eunice B. Moody - Dau. of Jas. & M.E. Moody - Born Jan. 2, 1901 -  Died Aug. 20, 1904 - Budded on earth to bloom in Heaven.  Eunice was three and a half years old.  It is recorded that she died of an "abscess in throat."
 
Doing a bit of online research I learned that Ileocolitis is a mixed bacterial infection characterized by diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal distress. Streptococcus is typically present.  It usually occurs in infants and young children and is most often attributed to a contaminated milk supply.  The disease occurs more frequently in hot weather.  It I quite possible that Eunice died of a strep infection also related to Ileocolitis.
 
While the cause of these deaths is indeed tragic, the horror of the story sets in when one realizes that these little girls were sisters ranging in age from one to seven. Ruth died just four days after Sallie, and Eunice just four days after Ruth. James and M.E. Moody lost their three daughters in succession, over a period of just eight days. As a mother, I cannot imagine watching your children grow sick and die one by one; I cannot imagine surviving such a terrible loss.
 
At present I have not been able to find any information or records for the girls' parents, James or M.E. Moody.  Death records for the children list their place of residence as Irion County, Texas, which is approximately fifty miles distant from the little town of Stiles, and the cemetery where their remains are interred.  Many unanswered questions remain.  Did their parents have other children? Did they remain in Irion County following the deaths, or did they move on to some place further away from such painful memories?  Most of all I wonder about their mother, did she die of a broken heart?
 
If possible, I hope to return to Stiles Cemetery in the middle of August this year and place some flowers on the graves of Sallie, Ruth and Eunice. Perhaps their mother's spirit will be lingering near, and it might comfort her to know that someone knows her story and weeps for the three little lives that ended all too soon.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This story was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the theme choices this week are row and round

Two Shoes Tuesday #62 - Row or Round

Two Shoes Tuesdsay
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 January 21st writing themes to choose from are row and round

The New Kid

While you can see from her expression that Sophie isn't totally thrilled, she is accepting her role as matriarch/grandma with grace, and is allowing Toby to snuggle up to her when he naps.  They look so much alike, except that her eyes are green and his are more amber.  He keeps Tiggy and Gracie on their toes with games of pounce and tag, and they still aren't too sure what to make of him, but they are all getting along nicely; we are past the hissing stage, and he is making himself right at home. He loves to snuggle up with us too, such a friendly little guy! :-)

Thankful Thoughts - January 18th

Today 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..." 
 
1) High on the list of things I'm thankful for this week is Toby, the tiny new furkid in our family that we adopted last week. He has been the source of ongoing entertainment and laughter all week long, and will continue to be as he grows through his kitten stage into the handsome boy he is sure to become. His three big sisters have gotten past the hissing and glaring stage, and now patiently endure his lack of proper kitty manners and endless games of chase and pounce. He is fearless and affectionate and gives me another reason to look forward to coming home at the end of each day. Look at the size of those paws... going to be a big guy I think! :-)
 
2) I am thankful for big changes in the works at the law firm where I am employed, which could eventually lead to improvements that we all would welcome.  I never cease to be amazed with the way God takes situations that seem unchanging and turns them in a new direction when we least expect it.  Even though we are currently struggling and I often feel overwhelmed and exhausted, I am hopeful for a brighter future. Hope is a great thing to have!

3) I was reminded this week of how thankful I am for situations and people who are no longer in my life, that weren't a healthy influence. I learned from them what not to do and what not to be!
4) I am thankful for the beautiful photos of animals, flowers, and scenery that friends post on Facebook; those glimpse of beautiful faces, bright colors and wonderful places remind us of all that is good in this world on days that are stressful, or gray and gloomy!  Sharing enables us all to experience a bit more of the big world than we can see from our own front door!

5) I am thankful for my husband's calm, rational manner when it comes to dealing with challenges, like an electric bill that is three times higher than normal!  It is so nice to now be married to someone who does not become emotionally unglued or leave it to me to resolve things on my own. Our ability to talk about everything in our lives and work through the challenges life presents us together is what keeps our relationship and love strong. I respect men who handle their role as head of the household with dignity and honor.

6) I am thankful for friends who help me to see my own foibles and laugh at myself! One posted the following quote to Facebook and I just had to share it on my page. Anyone who knows me well, knows that it is so clearly me. :-) I am thankful for those who love me in spite of myself.
7) I am thankful that God motivated me to reach out to my older sister this week.  We have had very limited communication for the last few years but it's been gnawing at my heart, so I called her on her birthday and we had a nice, long phone conversation.  I know it meant a lot to her, so I'm glad I did it.  Sometimes we have to give people new chances and hope for the best, while maintaining a cautious approach. :-)

 I am still working on my relationship with my younger sister. I called her on her last birthday, but she told me she was busy and would call me back to visit the next time her husband went golfing.  That was in July and she still hasn't called... I suspect that perhaps he is not a golfer. ;-)  In fairness to both sisters, it is I who put some distance between us for the sake of sanity and self-preservation, but we are all getting older and I realize that I want us to have better relationships.  I'm praying on it.
8) I am thankful for the Mountain Man vendor who comes around to our offices twice a month with his pushcart packed with bags of snacks, nuts, and candies, and allows us to sort through his cart to find what is most appealing that day... like wonderful chocolates!  He is a retired banker and great conversationalist, and his visits always make us smile... as do the free samples he shares. :-)

9)  I am thankful for cellphone cameras and the magic of instant picture sharing. I think often of how much my mother would have loved it!  My daughter often sends me photos of beautiful Nashville scenery, the antics of her cats, some shopping bargain she's discovered, or her latest cooking or house decorating endeavor. Papa Bear and I fire photos back and forth every day while we are apart. It's fun, it generates smiles, it keeps us connected! These are two of my daughter's cats watching a squirrel at the feeder outside her window.
10) A conversation with a friend this week started me thinking about how often we thank God for the good things that happen in our lives, but don't always stop to thank Him for the things that didn't happen, the problems we had or were headed for that He prevented, stopped, or guided us in another direction.  I look back on how many times God has saved me from myself, and realized that I could easily do another list every week of just those alone. This coming week, remember to be thankful for all the times God says "No!" He knows what's best for us, I'm sure of that!
Ten Things of Thankful
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 If you enjoy creative writing and want a place to share your efforts,
 join us for Two Shoes Tuesday and Six Sentence Stories this week!

Tricky Business


"Sam, this is Alex, you've gotta come help me man." 

Hearing the tone of Alex's voice, Sam quickly hit the mute button on his tv remote and asked "Help you what?"

"Dispose of the body," whispered Alex.

"What," Sam fired back, now fully alert, "what body?"

"You've gotta help me get rid of that body in the garage, Sam," Alex replied in hushed tones...

"I bought Lisa a new car for her birthday and I want to put it in the garage to surprise her, but first I need to get that old rusty car body out of there."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post was written for Six Sentence Stories
where the theme this week is trick.  Join us!

Six Sentence Stories #22 - Trick

Six Sentence Stories
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 Jan. 16th - 22nd is: "trick"

Winter Fairies


Sasha believed that the lacy patterns on her frozen window pane were made by fairies as they danced outside her bedroom window on frosty winter nights. Her grandfather had told her long ago that this was so.  She imagined them dressed in flowing gowns of soft white fur with wreaths of starlit greenery on their heads.  

When arctic winds blew strong, sending tiny beads of ice to tap against the glass and wake her from her dreams, Sasha would slip from her bed, wrap herself up in her quilt, and tiptoe to the window, hoping she would see the fairies dance.

One time her mother found her in the wee hours of morning, standing with her face pressed to the window pane, and scolded her for being out of bed, warning that she surely would catch cold and soon be sick with fever.  Dutifully Sasha climbed back beneath her covers, knowing that her mother was a non-believer who summarily dismissed her grandfather's tales as utter nonsense.

Sasha's grandfather told her that she was a child of the moonlight, able to see and hear things that others could not.  He said it wasn't that her mother didn't want to believe in fairies, but that she had forgotten how, being busy as she was with caring for her children with seven hungry mouths to feed . Sasha had vowed then and there that she would never grow too old to watch for fairies, and the old man had smiled, remembering a time when he too had believed that life was magical and good.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This story was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the theme choices this week are frost and call

Two Shoes Tuesday #61 - Frost or Call

Two Shoes Tuesdsay
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 January 14th writing themes to choose from are frost and call  

Baby Pix :-)

Who could resist this sweet little face?  Toby is a tiny purr machine!

 

Meet Toby!

Meet Toby!! He's my 60th birthday present from Papa Bear - a few weeks early! He is a long haired tabby with some Maine Coon in the mix, about three months old and neutered.  We adopted him at the Midland Humane Coalition's Pet Adoption Day at Petsmart today. He is adorable, very social, and affectionate.
Toby's new big sisters Sophie, Tiggy, and Gracie are watching his playful antics carefully and are not quite sure what to make of him yet. He isn't the least bit intimidated by them and they will be friends in no time. 
It took him all of about five seconds to win Papa Bear's heart when he put is fingers thru the cage wires and Toby started to play with them. Smart kitty! We are in love with him already, may he live long and grow old with me!  :-)

Thankful Thoughts - January 11th

Today 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..." 

1) I am thankful for peaceful feelings!  There have been many times in my life when I have longed for just one day of peace with no drama, no overwhelming problems, and no fires to put out. I am finding that as I get older and my life has settled down I often have days when life feels ok, good, and sometimes even great... despite whatever is going on around me.  That's the secret... learning to hang on to that corner of peace despite the issues of the day.  I can't honestly say that I'm in that place all the time -  I'm often a frazzled mess by the end of day - but I'm working on it, and I am so very thankful for the days when I am able to  keep my smile on!

2) I am thankful for the visit we had last weekend with John's daughter, her husband, and our awesome granddaughter Noa who will become a teenager in just a few more months.  It was a long drive for a three-day weekend (seven hours each way), but so worth it. We hadn't seen them since before they moved last Summer.  Noa is as beautiful inside as she is out; how I wish she lived closer so we could spend more time together!
3) I am thankful for this past year with our office co-worker Liz. Yesterday was her last day, she is moving to Dallas to be with her fiancĂ© and continue her college education.  She is one of the most level-headed young people I know. Liz has lived through some very difficult experiences, and has come out stronger and wiser because of it.  Her positive attitude, ever present sense of humor and can-do attitude make her a joy to work with and she will be greatly missed.  She plans to become a doctor and I can see her being an amazing one!

4) I am thankful for the silly antics of our three furkids who, being cats, will choose cardboard boxes over soft cat beds and cushions every time.  They love to curl up in small stationary boxes. Whenever I bring one home from the office they continually vie for possession.  One day recently I saw little Gracie actually sitting on top of Sophie in the box, trying to get her to vacate it! So I brought home more boxes... now we have three, and most evenings and nap times they can each be found snuggled up in a soft blanket in their chosen box.  Just for fun I added a forth one, and of course they each had to try out the new one to see if they liked it better! Our furkids are a never-ending source of amusement.  It is sad that people can't find as much pleasure in something as simple as a new box!
5) I am thankful for the delicious Christmas and New Year's dinners that Papa Bear and I prepared and shared together, roasted Cornish hens for Christmas, and ham with black-eyed peas and boiled cabbage for New Year's Day.  While it is hard to spend holidays apart from our families which are all distant, we are so very blessed to have each other and the close relationship which makes my life wonderful. Papa Bear is the greatest gift I have ever been given or will ever receive, he is amazing!

6) I am so very thankful for the backlit keyboard on the  new HP laptop that Papa Bear gave me for Christmas.  Backlit keys make blogging so much easier on old, tired eyes, and mean that I can write in low-light instead of enduring the glare of a lamp just so I can find the right keys.  This also means that I won't be wearing the painted letters off the keys (as I have on my old one and my keyboard at work), since they are cut right into the keys so that the light can shine thru. What a wonderful design idea!
7) I am thankful that we are past January 9th for another year.  This year marked the 19th year since my mother died,  and I miss her.  Like my mother's funeral, my father's funeral four years ago at the beginning of January was another bitter cold and snowy event, which only added to the feelings of sadness and desolation.  I love snow in all it's softness and beauty, but I don't plan to ever visit South Dakota in January again. The days from December 30th when my father died through January 9th are always hard for me, combined with the post-Christmas season blahs, so I am glad when the page flips over to January 10th and I can gear myself up for  all the good things the new year is sure to bring.

8) I am thankful for the woman that has come into the life of one of  Papa Bear's friends who was widowed a few years back.  He has met and become engaged to a wonderful lady that truly lights up his life, proving once again that God has a plan for everyone at every age, we just have to watch and wait for it to unfold!

9) I am thankful for the amazing shoulder bag that Noa and her family gave me for Christmas.  It is a Fair Trade product made in Nepal, and I absolutely love the fabric, design, and bright colors! It is so very 60's, and so very me! :-)
10) I am thankful for the people in my life who are able to see the real me and appreciate me despite my outer appearance, rough edges and sometimes confusing behavior. I do not always represent myself well, or as I intend to, so I am grateful for those that see beyond my imperfections and love me for the person I am trying to be. They encourage me and give me hope that I'll get there some day!

11- One more :-) I am thankful once again, and always, for this blog hop and other opportunities to focus on the positives in my life. As the quote up at the top says, our focus affects the way we feel, and the way we feel affects the way we live and interact with others.  What things do you love about your life today?  Hopefully you can name several.  If you can't think of even one thing, it's time to make some changes!
Ten Things of Thankful
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 If you enjoy creative writing and want a place to share your efforts,
 join us for Two Shoes Tuesday and Six Sentence Stories this week!
 

Remember When

Remember when we played for hours with our families of baby dolls, and then Barbie dolls?

Remember when we rode our bicycles all over town, meeting up with friends, running errands for mom, or heading to the park to sail on giant swings?

Remember when our slumber parties filled the room with giggling girls staying up all night, telling ghost stories, playing Twister, and holding Monopoly marathons?

Remember when we spent summer afternoons at the cabin, tanning on the dock until our skin grew pink, then floating in tire tubes on the lake to cool off?

Remember when we couldn't wait to be  grownup? 

If only we would have known.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post was written for Six Sentence Stories
where the prompt this week is remember.  Join us!

Six Sentence Stories #21 - Remember

Six Sentence Stories
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 Jan. 9th - 15th is: "remember"

Learning to Trust

Six years ago, on the night of January 5th, I had my first phone conversation with Papa Bear, the man who was destined to be my soulmate.  As those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile know, I met Papa Bear on a personals website.  We shared hours and hours of phone calls and it didn't take long for me to discover that I'd been led to a  man who was far different than any man I had ever known and clearly the opposite of my three ex's, which I had finally figured out was a much needed change of direction in my life... "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten."  We met for the first time a couple weeks later, and by my birthday in February, he had purchased a home that was to become ours when I moved to Texas to join him at the end of May.  We were married that following September.  If anyone was to tell me that they had not only decided to marry someone less than a month after meeting them, but planned to change jobs, move to a new state, and start a new life together in short order, I would tell them that they were crazy, and yet I did just that! 

Yesterday, as we were on the long seven-hour drive home after a weekend visit with Papa Bear's daughter and family, I was having fun reading aloud some of our email exchanges from the first month our relationship.  We were laughing at the clever conversation and witty remarks, and both of us agreed that never for one moment did either of us doubt we were meant to be together or felt we were rushing things by moving quickly in that direction.  Sometimes you just know, and this was one of those times.  (This was hard to explain to my two grown children, since I'd promised them I would wait a least five years before even considering another marriage venture.  Thankfully, Papa Bear soon made believers out of them!)  For reasons I can't explain, I felt that this was the direction my life was meant to take.

Knowing that I wanted to spend my life with Papa Bear did not mean that putting our two lives together came easily at first.  We were two middle-aged folks, both very set in our ways, and carrying our own history and baggage.  Papa Bear had lost his two previous wives to death, one suddenly due to an aneurysm and one after a prolonged battle with cancer, and he was still grieving.  Trust was never an issue for him in these relationships, but it was with his first wife when he was very young, who had proven to be unfaithful.

For me, trust was a foreign concept.  I had learned through hard experience not to trust anyone, especially men, and especially when it came to matters of the heart.  Yet in May of 2008 I found myself living with a man who wanted and deserved my trust.  It came in baby steps over a year or more, with me always watching and waiting for "the other shoe to fall" and for this amazing, caring, man to prove to be less than he seemed. 

Almost six years later, I have long since stopped fearing something I know now will never happen.  Papa Bear is genuine, "the real deal" as one of his friends put it.  I trust him with my heart, I trust him with my past, my present, and my future.  I trust him with my life.  He is a caretaker and always has my and our best interest at heart. 

It is true that trust is a very fragile thing, and once broken it is hard to restore.  My message is that even if your trust has been smashed to smithereens, the right person can come along and help you heal.  You just have to open your heart and mind to the possibility that there are still a few truly awesome guys out there... I know there are!  I also need to note that it is equally important for you to lead your life and conduct your relationship in a trustworthy manner, it has to be a reciprocal thing.  No matter how many times you've had your trust betrayed, give someone new a chance... you might find your Prince Charming, just as I did!   
Papa Bear and me on Jan. 5, 2014 - Six years and going strong!
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This essay was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the theme choices this week are trust and trade

Two Shoes Tuesday #60 - Trust or Trade

Two Shoes Tuesdsay
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 January 7th writing themes to choose from are trust and trade  

New On The Job

 
Catherine had only been a legal aid at a small law firm for a short time and already the pressure was building. Try as she might to get along with her coworkers, she could tell they'd been talking about her every time she entered the room; lowered voices and guilty glances game them away.  Once she overheard two of them whispering about how standoffish she seemed to be, and that she didn't have anything to say about her last job or her family. 
 
Catherine knew her time with the firm would be short when she overheard her supervisor telling the boss "I just have this feeling that something's not right about her; I think there's something she's hiding from us." 
 
How could she possibly explain to them that she'd just completed parole after serving seventeen years in prison for killing her husband?  She knew it had been justified, but if the judge and the jury didn't believe her surely no one here would either.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post was written for Six Sentence Stories
where the prompt this week is new.  Join us!

Six Sentence Stories #20 - New

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 Jan. 2nd - 8th is: "new"

We Begin Again

It is 2014 and we begin again, a new year, new possibilities, a clean page to write on.  I did a little cleaning up around here too, adding a great new pair of shoes and redoing the other buttons as well. Feel free to copy the code and add/replace them on page!
 
I'm not one for making resolutions, so I leave it simply as to get up each day and try to be a little more of the person I want to be, both inwardly and outwardly, to take better care of myself and others, and to live in the moment without fear.  The great thing about life is that we can always begin again.  No matter how many times we get to the end of the day and think "I blew it," we can wake up in a new morning and start again.  There is no such thing as being a failure at life until you breathe your final breath.  In between now and then we have infinite possibilities to improve ourselves and to make a difference in the world.
 
If I had words of wisdom to bestow as we start this year,  I would say to be kind, to care for all others without judgment, and to make good choices for yourself and your own life. Close the doors on things and people that no longer give you what you need to thrive, and open yourself to new possibilities.  Believe that God will be with you and bring you safely to where you need to be.
 
Wishing each of you a wonderful new year, filled with love and good memories in the making.  It is my privilege to share my thoughts and words with you here, and to read yours.  Blog on my friends, it is truly one of the sweetest things in life!
 
I will leave you with a reminder that today, and the first day of every month, it's a really good idea to download a copy of your blog to your hard-drive.  It's an easy thing to do, and then if the worst should ever happen and your blog disappears, you will have what you need to restore it!  I'm also going to work on printing out a hard copy of all my blog posts from my very first blog until the present, and keep a copy in our safe for my kids to read someday after I leave this world.
 
Happy New Year everyone... believe in possibilities, live life to the fullest, and love to the max! :)