The Great Avoidance


Human nature is peculiar is so many ways.  One of the things that both amuses and confuses me is our unwillingness to do what we know to be the right thing, even when we acknowledge that it would be better for all concerned.

A good example would be the frequent consumption of sweets when we know that other foods are much healthier. The same is true of sitting in front of the television when we know that we would benefit from more exercise.  While avoidance of making the right choice may seem more fun at the time, in the long-run we will pay for those choices... and we know that.

In the same light, we avoid both routine and complicated tasks, thinking that by putting them off they will magically disappear, yet they hardly ever do.  Procrastination always comes back to haunt us at some point.

This problem also seems to occur frequently in decision making.  Again, we acknowledge there is a problem that needs to be dealt with, but we keep putting it on the back burner, causing ourselves far more stress and anxiety. 

Another place we see avoidance taking place is in relationship and communication issues.  Rather than addressing issues as they arise, we tend to avoid uncomfortable situations. Rather than being open and honest we remain quiet, or offer up cover stories or feeble excuses.  Yet we know that unaddressed relationship problems will grow and fester, and cause immeasurable harm. 

So why do we do it?  Why do we avoid doing things that need to be done?  Do we have some deep-seated need to sabotage our lives, our health and our happiness?  Sometimes I wonder.

Z is for Zeal


Six Sentences From Atop My Soapbox

 ~ZEAL~
Pursue your passion!

Are you happy with  how you spend your days, does your job feel right for you?  What is it that you wish you could be doing, what do you feel passionate about?  It isn't good enough to slog through your days in robot mode, never feeling excited or challenged by why you do.  Ask yourself what you could change or add to your life that would give you a sense of satisfaction.  Then, instead of listing all the reasons why you can't make it happen, make a list of things you can do - even small steps -that will keep you moving toward the fulfillment of  your dream.  Be zealous in following the direction of your heart, it knows what you were meant to do!
 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
This is the final post written for the amazing
involving over 2000 participants from around the world!
A to Z Challenge

Y is for Yield


Six Sentences From Atop My Soapbox

 ~Yield~
Yield to the direction of your heart!

It has been said that some solid, concrete people are mixed up and set in their ways.  It is easy to become rigid in our thinking over the course of time.  Sometimes we become so entrenched in what we believe that we are unwilling or unable to open our minds to another way of thinking.  It is our ignorance about those who are different from us that causes us to fear them; fear leads to hatred.  We have a choice though, we can yield to what our hearts are trying to tell us.  We can begin to believe that we are all one family... we can treat each other with love and compassion... we can surrender to the ways of peace.

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
This post was written for the amazing A to Z April Challenge
involving over 2000 participants from around the world!
A to Z Challenge
This post is also linked to Two Shoes Tuesday - a weekly creative writing prompt. 
If you enjoy writing, come and join us - You can share your A-Z "Y" post this week!
Two Shoes Tuesday

Two Shoes Tuesday #76 - Yesterday, Young or "Y"

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 April 29th writing themes to choose from are yesterday and young
You can also share your A-Z "Y" post this week!

X is for Xenia


Six Sentences From Atop My Soapbox

 ~XENIA~
 Hospitality is love in action
 
Xenia refers to the ancient Greek practice of showing hospitality toward strangers and foreigners.  I believe that the concept of  hospitality extends beyond welcoming visitors into your home.  If you think about it, we are all travelers on the journey of life, and most of us start out as strangers to each other.  Our encounters are not accidental, our paths were meant to cross for a reason.  We are here to teach each other and to help each other on the journey.  In the spirit of Xenia then, it is our obligation to reach out to each other with kindness, generosity and love.
 
 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
This post was written for the amazing
involving over 2000 participants from around the world!
A to Z Challenge

Thankful Thoughts - April 27th

I've been so busy writing away on A-Z posts this month that I haven't really taken any time out to share some of the things I'm thankful for.  Today seems like a good day to do that...

1) So many of my favorite bloggers have participated in A-Z this month that it's been a virtual smorgasbord of  good stuff to read!  I haven't began to get around to everyone or all their posts yet, but little by little, I will!  Sticking with a theme for a whole month is always challenging, and it feels good when you see the finish line closing in and can say "I did it!"

2) The work situation I was worried about earlier has resolved itself satisfactorily. One attorney left and won't be replaced, the other one opted to stay.  Another case manager has been hired.  It's worked out well for everyone concerned.  There will always be intrigue and issues no matter where you work, but if you can keep yourself on an even keel, you will usually weather the storm... or realize that it's time to find a new harbor.  For now, I am content to stay where I am.

3) I continue to play Words With Friends... a lot.  Not only has it worked wonders for my relationships with my sisters, but I find my ability improving which means that brain exercise pays off. :-)

4) I "mended fences" on a relationship that had broken. I never feel good about things that end in a bad way, so giving it another try and will see where it goes.  "Blessed are the peacemakers..."

5)  I am not a coffee drinker, but I live on iced-tea.  As I made yet another pitcher of tea this morning  I noted what a blessing it is to have an automatic icemaker in my fridge.  I remember well the old days of filling multiple ice cube trays and using them sparingly so that you would have enough until more could freeze. Then I had to laugh at myself - if filling ice cube trays is bothersome, my life is amazingly easy compared to what many in the world must endure!

6) I did better this week on not letting the stress get to me.  While my work days are busy, and I'm usually very tired by the time I get home, I worked harder on keeping my attitude in check and my blood pressure down.  It was a better week because of that, and I don't dread Monday as much.

7) Papa Bear has the patience of a saint!  I look around the dusty house (which will be more so by end of day due to the dirt storm blowing outside) and love him for not fussing as I sit here to write this post and enjoy a little tv time with him.  It will all get done in good time, but dusting is not my first priority in life, and I'm glad it's not his!

8) In less than four weeks we'll road-tripping - headed to Arkansas/Tennessee/Mississippi to celebrate our grandson Jacob's graduation, and then to spend three wonderful days with my own two kids!  I don't have to tell you how much I'm looking forward to the time away with him and all of them!

9) I have bean and ham soup simmering in the crockpot to have with cornbread for supper... perfect meal for a dusty/windy Spring day in West Texas.

10) I am so thankful for the many very real relationships that began here as blogging encounters. Not only do my Internet friends enrich my life, but the provide me with an opportunity to encourage them and enrich theirs.  This month a few friends that I blogged with in past years have returned to the blogsphere, I am delighted  about that!
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Lizzi at Considerings for Ten Things of Thankful ... 
drop by, check out the awesome posts, and add a list of your own!
Ten Things of Thankful
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If you enjoy creative writing and want a place to share your efforts,
 join me for Two Shoes Tuesday this week!

W is for Walk


Six Sentences From Atop My Soapbox

 ~WALK~
Walk your talk!

"Walk your talk" - easy to say, harder to do.  I'm sure to many of you it seems like I've spent the A-Z pontificating (I love that word), and giving the impression that I've got it all together and feel entitled to preach.  Far from it, my friends - these mini-sermons from atop my soapbox are as much a reminder for me as they are for you.  I am a work in progress and although this is who I aspire to be, I'm not fully there yet; some days I'm not even within range.  At the times when I am able to "walk the talk" and practice what I preach, I feel so good about life, and better about myself too.  It is important to me that what I say to others is not only what I truly believe, but what my actions reflect.  The people I want to be part of my life are the same way... they are not all just talk, they are what they claim to be - they are real!
 
 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
This post was written for the amazing
involving over 2000 participants from around the world!
A to Z Challenge

V is for Voice


Six Sentences From Atop My Soapbox

 ~VOICE~
What if everyone waits for someone else to speak up?

“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
― Martin Niemöller

When I was young, I saw the above quotation on a bulletin board at our church; it left a lasting impression. It clearly demonstrates what will happen if we choose to turn away from issues that don't directly affect us.

While I try hard to get along with all people, if I become aware of someone being treated in a way that I know is wrong, I feel compelled to speak up.  It isn't that I like confrontation or calling attention to myself, but rather than I believe we have an obligation  to use our voices to make others aware of the issue and to press for resolution. 

At times it is very uncomfortable to find that you are the only one willing to speak up while those you thought would stand with you cower in silence; but you can't let that fear hold you back.  Always speak the truth boldly; God will give you the courage you need when you take a stand for what is right.
 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
This post was written for the amazing
involving over 2000 participants from around the world!
A to Z Challenge

U is for Unshakable


Six Sentences From Atop My Soapbox

 ~UNSHAKABLE~
Stand strong in life's storms!
 
Today was one of those day when every little thing seemed to bring problems, and nothing went as smoothly as planned.  I'm sure you've had days like that, when no matter how hard you try, it feels like the universe is conspiring against you, and you begin to wonder if maybe you should have stayed home in bed.  It's easy to let life's little storms get to you; you find yourself getting frustrated, and then irritated as your patience wears thin and your smile starts to fade. 

Today I was determined not to let that happen; when things went wrong or took way too long, I inhaled slowly and told myself to remain calm in the moment - and it worked!  Instead of the day unraveling and me grumbling-  or worse, I decided to go with the flow, deal with what I could, and let go of what I couldn't.  I developed a "bring it on" attitude, laughed at the jumbled-up situations and communications, and came home with my peace of mind and smile still intact.
 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
This post was written for the amazing
involving over 2000 participants from around the world!
A to Z Challenge

Riveted

Today I'm taking a bit of time out from the A-Z to write a story for Brenda's "Pondering" at BYG Adventures, where the writing prompt for this week is "rivet"... 

It was a beautiful summer morning, and families were scattered about the park enjoying the fresh air.  Several had smiled at the adorable little girl in a pink jacket who squealed with delight as the ducks greedily consumed the bread crusts she fed them.  Bread gone, she happily commenced chasing them back and forth across the grass.  Her mother, sitting on a nearby bench and engrossed in text messaging, rarely glanced up to notice.

The sound of a trash truck emptying a dumpster startled the ducks and they headed back for the safety of the water with the little girl following close behind.  Suddenly all eyes were riveted on her as she headed straight for the pond.  The mother, still glued to her cellphone, didn't look up until the person sitting next to her screamed.

In a flash, a young man who had been playing Frisbee raced down the grassy hill and dove into the pond, snagging the little girl's jacket just as she fell face first into the water.  He lifted her up, sputtering and crying, and gently carried her out of the water and away from the pond. 

By then her mother had come running.  Embracing her shivering daughter tightly, she gratefully thanked the young man.  His reaction surprised her, but earned him a round of applause from the crowd that had gathered... he grabbed the cellphone still clenched in her fingers and flung it far out into the pond.
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Now hop on over to Brenda's place and see what others are Pondering today!

T is for Today


Six Sentences From Atop My Soapbox

 ~TODAY~
Carpe Diem (Seize the Day)!
 
So many people are stuck in the past, unwilling to let go of memories or hurts so that they can move on.  Others go though life pinning their hopes on the future... "when this happens or that happens, then I will...", always dreaming of that perfect time when everything will come together.  The problem with doing either one of those things is that you are totally missing out on today, and your life, my friend, is made up of todays.  If you don't make today count it's gone forever.  Leave the past in the past, and accept that the future seldom plays out according to plan.  Decide every day to make it a good day - learn something new, do something fun, do something kind for others; and at the end of the day be thankful.
 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
This post was written for the amazing
involving over 2000 participants from around the world!
A to Z Challenge

S is for Silence

Six Sentences From Atop My Soapbox

 ~SILENCE~
Silence is a gift to be cherished

I have worked in offices with phones ringing non-stop all day long that I have learned to love silence. My favorite time is Saturday morning without a sound in my house except the clicking of my keyboard and the purring of my cats.

I know several people who can't abide the quiet, and must have some kind of noise - tv or at least music going every waking minute, and I think that's sad.  Music can be wonderful company, and there are a few tv shows I like to watch, but how do we ever hear what our heart and soul are trying to tell us if we are never in a quiet place long enough to listen?

I challenge you to grow comfortable with silence... step away from technology and find a pretty place outside or a comfy place inside, and use the quiet to read, write, meditate, or pray.  There is a restfulness in chosen silence, our heart rate and breathing slow, our muscles relax; give yourself the gift of silence for at least a little while each day.
 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
This post was written for the amazing A to Z April Challenge
involving over 2000 participants from around the world!
A to Z Challenge
This post is also linked to Two Shoes Tuesday - a weekly creative writing prompt. 
If you enjoy writing, come and join us - You can share your A-Z "S" post this week!
Two Shoes Tuesday

Two Shoes Tuesday #75 - Spot, Save or "S"

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 April 22nd writing themes to choose from are spot and save
You can also share your A-Z "S" post this week!

R is for Real


Six Sentences From Atop My Soapbox

 ~REAL~
“Share your weaknesses. Share your hard moments. Share your real side." - Dan Pearce
 
It is very important to me that the people in my life are real - genuine, and that is what I also strive to be.  I am very much a "what you see is what you get" person, I am not into pretenses or playing games.  I shoot straight forward and most often speak what is on my mind; that gets me into trouble sometimes, people take my directness as arrogance.  It is not that, it is simply a desire to communicate openly, to let you know what I think and feel.  When we are real, we can reach out to other and share our journey for a while - being real helps us to connect without hidden agendas, and enables us to understand each other on more than a surface level.   I have made many poor choices in life, but I have nothing to hide; everything I've experienced has made me who I am...  it has helped me become real. 
 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
This post was written for the amazing
involving over 2000 participants from around the world!
A to Z Challenge

Q is for Question


Six Sentences From Atop My Soapbox

 ~QUESTION~
Use the mind God gave you!
 
"Don't ask so many questions, just do what you are told!"  How many times have you been told that or said it to someone else?  Children are born inquisitive, asking questions is how they learn; while at times their endless questioning can grow tiresome, if we encourage those questions we lead them to a lifetime love of learning.  I question everything, not so much to challenge as to understand, and to see if it rings true for me based on my own understanding of life.  If we don't question, if we blindly accept what we are told to think and do, the chances are great that we will be lead astray by someone eager to take advantage of our compliant nature.  Find the courage to ask questions!
 
 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
This post was written for the amazing
involving over 2000 participants from around the world!
A to Z Challenge

P is for Persevere


Six Sentences From Atop My Soapbox

 ~PERSEVERE~
"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial..." - James 1:12
 
Many years ago I was given two personal directives... one is to encourage, the other is to persevere.  Little did I know back then how much I would be putting those words to use in my life.  Persevering - standing strong in the face of difficulties, failure, or opposition - hasn't been easy.  We tend to have so little belief in our own inner strength and ability to cope with situations that we quickly flounder and give up.  It has taken me years to discover that with God's help I can get through anything.  I believe in the wisdom of prayer and perseverance, I know that with time and determination things will work out. 
 
 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
This post was written for the amazing
involving over 2000 participants from around the world!
A to Z Challenge

Doing the Bunny Hop

Today I'm taking a bit of time out from the A-Z to join Brenda's "Pondering" at BYG Adventures, where the writing prompt for this week is "hop"... 
 
When my two sisters and I were small, my mother instituted an Easter tradition that became a much anticipated annual event.  In the days before Easter we would bring the box of Easter decorations out of storage, and sort thru it to find our Easter baskets and that wonderfully messy green cellophane grass.  On Easter eve the baskets were lined up hopefully on the dining room table, while we went to bed filled with too much excitement to fall asleep easily. 
 
We woke up early on Easter morning and ran to the dining room to find the baskets missing and replaced by little notes of Easter greeting, one for each of us, bearing a clue to where the next clue in the "treasure hunt" for our Easter baskets might be found.  When we were young the clues were simple, as we grew older they became a bit more complex, but always Mom's The Easter Bunny's sense of humor came through.  One of my personal favorites that has stuck in my mind ever since, read "The bunny backed into the heater and there he burnt his little seater" - a clue prompting us to search first the furnace and then the water heater in our basement, on which could be found "Clue #2".  And so the hunt continued upstairs and downstairs, inside and out, as we located a handful of clues that ultimately led to our candy laden Easter baskets... hidden in such places as a closet, a toy chest, the oven, the clothes dryer, or under the bed.  You can imagine how much more fun this was than simply waking up to find a basket of goodies waiting. 
 
As we grew up and had families of our own we continued this wonderful tradition with our children, and to this day when they call to visit on Easter my son and daughter inevitably bring up the Easter basket hunts, and how they wish they were still small and could do it again!  My daughter even used to do an Easter hunt for her then husband, replacing the basket with clever things like a tackle box laden with cookies, gift cards, golf balls, and such. 
 
If there will be someone young or young-at-heart with you on Easter, and you have enough energy to stay up a little late on Easter eve,  prepare some clever clues of your own and hide them around the house and yard for your own "Bunny Hop" on Easter morning.  I promise you that the laughter and smiles generated as baskets are searched for and found will start your Easter off in a wonderful way that will be remembered and talked about for years to come!  
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Now hop on over to Brenda's place and see what others are Pondering today!

O is for One


Six Sentences From Atop My Soapbox

 ~ONE~
One can make a difference
 
Everything about life as you know it can change in one moment.  We can get through whatever life brings us if we learn to take things one day, one hour, and sometimes even one breath at a time.  One person reaching out to take our hand, one kind word, one smile can make all the difference, it can give us the courage to go on.  One negative person can poison an environment for others; one positive person can make it happy place to be.  One prayer sent on the wings of faith can move mountains. Realizing that we are all one family could bring peace to the world.
 
 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
This post was written for the amazing
involving over 2000 participants from around the world!
A to Z Challenge

N is for Need


Six Sentences From Atop My Soapbox

 ~NEED~
Do you want it or do you need it?
 
One of the most important lessons we can teach our children is the difference between wants and needs, but first we have to understand that difference ourselves.  Adequate food, clothing, and shelter are basic needs; everyone requires these three things to be healthy and have a decent quality of life. The problem many people have in our consumer-oriented society is defining "adequate".  Do you really need 20 pairs of shoes, rib-eye steaks for dinner, and the biggest house on the block? 

It isn't wrong to desire and work for special things above basic needs, as long as we are mindful that we are to love people and use things, and not the opposite.  We tend to weigh our lives down with so many material goods and the need to work endlessly to obtain them, that we fail to realize that the most precious things we have can't be obtained with money... faith, family, friends, love, joy, fulfillment, contentment, and peace of mind.
 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
This post was written for the amazing
involving over 2000 participants from around the world!
A to Z Challenge