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There's Nothing I Can Do

~Image Source~
We read about it everyday on Facebook and the news... the hatemongers spreading their message that anything other than what they believe or do is wrong.  It makes my blood boil.  I believe in tolerance, an appreciation for diversity, and that none of us holds the only right answer for everything. 

There is more than one way... more than one way to believe, more than one way to dress, more than one way to look, more than one way to act, more than one way to choose.  When I protest that these judgments of hate are unfair and untrue, I am told more often than not, "I know, but there's nothing I can do."

It is that mentality that allows the evils of prejudice to continue and to grow.  It is that lack of taking responsibility for change that keeps us at the level of intolerance we experience in this country... "Land of the Free"- as long as you're just like me. 

What about "Home of the Brave?"  What if each one of us pledged to take a stand against prejudice, to speak up where we see it being voiced, to respond when we see someone writing it,  to take a stand in opposition when we see it happening?  It's a scary thought isn't it, to stand up for what is right when you might well be the only one standing or speaking out?  But if you don't, and I don't, who will? 

Mahatma Gandhi said "Be the change you wish to see in the world." That is where we start, making our words, our actions, and our lives an example of tolerance, understanding, and compassion. That's the first step, the second step is to take a stand - to find the courage to say "No, that's wrong"! 

It is always so much easier to maintain our convictions quietly, rarely are we called upon in this day and age to defend them.  But what does it say about the strength of our convictions if we are willing to shake our heads and turn away, and dismiss prejudice and hate by saying to ourselves "there's nothing I can do."   I assure you, there is always, ALWAYS something we can do! 

Promise yourself that the next time you are hearing or reading a message of hate, or witnessing it in action, that you will find the courage to let change begin with you.  Let's pledge together to STOP THE HATE!
 
~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Patricia's blog hop In Other Words
 where the creative writing prompt this week is the following quotation:
 
"There's nothing I can do about it."
- Jeralean Talley

 

Thankful Thoughts - May 30, 2015

Although I probably should have gone into the office to play catch up, I got enough done yesterday to feel reasonably okay about facing Monday morning, so I decided to stay home and enjoy the blissful quiet of Saturday morning.  A perfect opportunity to reflect on my reasons to be thankful this week...

1) I am thankful that I have been given the ability to wake up each morning ready to have another go at life.  I may grumble about getting out of bed for work, but once my feet hit the floor and I am moving, I am always hopeful that it's going to be a good day.  I generally don't stay upset with people or events, I get over it and move on.  Today is a new day, a new page, new possibilities - always!

2) I am thankful for Saturday mornings!  As I've noted in the past, they are my favorite time of the week, all is quiet, the furkids are gathered around me, a glass of iced tea is at hand,  and I have the time and energy to think clearly enough to write.  In my fantasy life every day would start this way!

3) I am so thankful that it was only a four day work week... it felt like seven!  I was more than ready to call it done yesterday at 5 PM.  We have a new coworker and she was training with me all of Thursday and on Friday morning.  I like her and I think she'll do a good job, but it is difficult for me to work side-by-side with someone non-stop for hours.  Too much light conversation required, I find it exhausting.  I realize how much I like the quiet of working in my own spot at my own pace, with only the phones to annoy me. :-)

4) I am delighted with how well Mojo is settling in to our family.  He and Toby chase each other up and down the halls and around the rooms, wrestling and playing until they are exhausted.  It's so good for both of them, and gives the older girls a nice break.  Mojo did get put in time-out for ten minutes one night though by Papa Bear, for pouncing on Sophie, which didn't please her very much!  He was a very contrite boy once he discovered that he couldn't chew his way out of the kennel jail. :-)

5) I am thankful for the awesome turn out for the re-start of Six Sentence Stories, now at Ivy Walker's blog.  There was all kinds of great writing being share there, and I look forward to it growing bigger in the weeks ahead.  If you've never tried to write a six sentence story, do it, and share it next week, it's easy and it's fun!  It can be fiction or non-fiction, but I've discovered that making up a mini-story is not all that hard!

6) I am thankful for a husband that loves me so much that he will come to pick me up after work just so I won't have to walk across our large parking lot in the pouring rain and get soaked, or drive through deep-water intersections.  As usual, I brilliantly left my umbrella in my Escape, which didn't do me much good when the rains came... yet again.  How blessed I am to have my Papa Bear!

7) I am thankful that our new coworker is only about ten years younger than me.  Now we have me at 61, her about to turn 50, our case manager in her early 40's, and our attorney who just turned 31 (younger than both of my children).  It can sometimes be lonely having such an age spread between myself and the others,  I come from a different generation, a different time, and a different way of thinking about so many things in life.  Keeping my fingers crossed that she stays longer than her predecessors, and that we can continue to work together well.

8) I am thankful that, to date, despite many rainstorms and more to come this Spring, we have not sustained any hail damage thus far.  Friends in towns not far from us haven't been that lucky, and the other half of the state was hit with horrendous flooding resulting in loss of lives. Praying for them.

9) Just as I reached this point in writing my post my phone rang, and I was so very blessed to have a thirty minute conversation with my son.  How I love that "kid" (now 35), he never fails to make me smile!  He just closed on selling his house in Clarksville yesterday, and is moving into an 11th floor apartment in a very nice place in downtown Nashville where there is far more for a single guy to do.  I am happy for him!

10) I am excited beyond words that the next week will also be four-day work weeks for me.  We are leaving next Thursday after work to head to the mini-mountains of Ruidoso, New Mexico to spend a long weekend celebrating Papa Bear's 62nd birthday!  Since we aren't returning home until Monday, that will make the next week, a short one too.  I love short work weeks, and I love the beauty and cooler temperatures of the mountains even more!  There's a casino there too, so we will most likely come home with lighter pockets, but there's always that tiny chance... :-).  Life is better when we have things to look forward to!
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
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

Two Shoes Tuesday Prompts for June 2nd

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 next Monday. 

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 June 2nd writing themes to choose from are:

JUMBLE or JUNK

Please remember that the THEME of your post must be based on the prompt
 you choose, rather than it just appearing as a word somewhere in your post!

Rushing Waters

~Photo Credit~
Soaking wet and shivering, despite being wrapped in a blanket provided by his rescuers, Zeke could hardly believe his eyes.  He and his friend George has grown up in Independence and had been fishing on the Maquoketa River since they were kids.  But torrential rains had caused the dam to burst that Saturday afternoon in July, sending a torrent of water rushing through the historic river district and destroying every building in it's path.  George and Zeke had been sitting at a table in the brewery located on the second floor of the old mill talking about all the rain when a wall of water came crashing in with tremendous force, sweeping everyone and everything away.  Zeke had managed to fight his way to the surface and grab hold of the top branches of a tree where he was picked up by a rescue helicopter, but George had never been a strong swimmer and was nowhere to be seen.  In a state of near shock, Zeke stood watching the rescue efforts as tears streamed down his face, in an outburst of fury Mother Nature had stolen his friend of  fifty-eight years.

Note: Written in tribute to the lives lost and the lives that have been forever changed by the storms that ravaged our beloved state of Texas and elsewhere across the country this week.  This story is based on a true event that occurred in Iowa in 2010, the photo is of Independence Mill.
 
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I'm linking up with Six Sentence Stories
now at its new home on Ivy Walker's blog "Uncharted"
where the cue this week is "RUSH"
Please come and join us with a six-sentence fiction or non-fiction tale of your own!

Under The Bed

~Photo Credit~

 Selina hadn't been sleeping well lately.  She hadn't really felt right since she and Ricardo broke up.  She hated living alone, the house was too quiet.  To make matters worse, there was something going on that she couldn't figure out.   Red roses kept appearing out of nowhere. 
 
The first one showed up on her desk at work, laying across the stack of files she'd been working on before lunch.  Ok she thought, maybe someone there was being sweet, but she asked around their small office and no one knew anything about it, they seemed as puzzled as she was. 
 
Next there was one on the windshield of her car when she came out of the grocery store a couple days later.  A third rose appeared the next evening in the entrance to her apartment building, leaned up against her mailbox.  Her first thought was that she had a secret admirer, but it was beginning to feel a little creepy.
 
The following night Selina woke up suddenly with the feeling that she wasn't alone... or had she been dreaming?  Instantly alert, she laid there a few minutes barely breathing, heart pounding, but she heard nothing and didn't sense any movement in the room.  
 
"Good grief," she thought to herself, "this rose thing is messing with my mind." She got up, made herself a cup of chamomile tea, and then went back to sleep. 
 
The next morning as Selina was getting dressed for work, she bent over to retrieve one of her shoes that she had accidentally kicked under the edge of the bed.  Reaching for the shoe, she let out a shriek.  There beside it laid a perfect red rose.
 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This story was written for Two Shoes Tuesday here at my blog
where the prompts this week are Umbrella and Under
 
at Senior Adventures
Tomorrowlady

Two Shoes Tuesday #132 - Umbrella or Under

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 next Monday. 

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 May 26th writing themes to choose from are:

UMBRELLA or UNDER

Please remember that the THEME of your post must be based on the prompt
 you choose, rather than it just appearing as a word somewhere in your post!

A Star

She was, by all accounts a star, a smashing success... a world-renowned actress wealthy beyond her wildest dreams.  But it didn't come easy.  Everyone wanted to be near her now, but she wondered where they'd been when she was young and struggling, dealing with rejection after rejection, living in a one room apartment with rats in the walls.  She hadn't given up though, she knew she had a gift, a talent for taking on roles - climbing into the mindset of someone else and becoming that person before the camera. 

She smiled, thinking of all the times someone had told her that she'd never make it. It hurt.  Sometimes the cruelty of her profession had taken her breath away, but in the end she had proven them wrong.  She had a plan... now that she was rich and famous she was going to reach down, pick a handful of young people who showed the same promise and determination she started out with and mentor them so just maybe the path wouldn't be quite as rocky for them as it had been for her.

 I like to think that, for that reason alone, her star shined just a little brighter than the others.

~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Patricia's blog hop In Other Words
 where the creative writing prompt this week is the following quotation:
 
"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill

 

The Return of Six Sentence Stories!

 I am delighted to announce that my awesome friend Ivy Walker has offered to pick up the torch for Six Sentence Stories and run with it on her blog, Uncharted, beginning this week!  I've had several requests for it's return and I couldn't be happier that she is eager and willing to make it happen. 

Read Ivy's announcement post below, then get busy working on your six-sentence story to share with us at Uncharted this coming Thursday!

unnamed (19)
WHEN?:  Thursday 

WHERE?: Here of course!

HOW DOES IT WORK?: Take the cue for the week (below), and write a piece of literary genius six sentences long (no more, no less). The piece does not have to include the actual cue, just refer to it in some way.

Come back here on Thursday and link it up!

WILL THE BADGE BE GRABABLE?: I’m counting on it!

THE CUE:  for May 28, 2015 is  RUSH

CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU THURSDAY!

Thankful Thoughts - May 23, 2015

Father forgive me, for I have sinned... it's been nine months since I last wrote a post for Ten Things of Thankful.  I confess that I haven't been feeling or living in grateful mode very much lately, despite my brain knowing how important that is for the nurturing of my soul.   Despite the fact that I have been majoring in grumbly/grumpy/whiney behaviors as of late, and perhaps some of that is justified, there are a lot of good things going on in my life too.  Why do I always seem to lose sight of that?  This is as good a time as any to rectify that situation and get my butt back in gear, so here goes...
 
1)  I am so thankful for the newest edition to our family... little Mojo who's photo you'll find on the sidebar at the bottom of the furkids photo roster.  He's a six month old black n' white bundle of affection and energy, that has been an endless source of entertainment this week following his adoption last Saturday.  He is settling in well with the other furkids, and Toby and he have become great playmates, which is what we had hoped for.  Yes, we do now have FIVE cats which surely qualifies me as a "crazy cat lady," and I wear the title with pride!  It is only thru the more sensible oversight of Papa Bear that their numbers won't increase to a dozen!

2) Rain, blessed rain here in West Texas... more of it this Spring than we typically see in two years time!  Despite the muddy driveway and navigating the lakes that form at intersections in town, we are so very grateful for the moisture and the greening up of weeds, and especially for the reduced risk of wildfires as we move into storm season.

3) I am actually spending all three days of this long weekend away from the office!  I've been going in most Saturdays to play catch up on the paperwork mountain that has accumulated in the absence of having a 3rd and 4th staff person to assist the case manager and me.  Saturdays are quiet with no phones ringing, so much can be accomplished, but it also leaves me feeling like I never got away from it.  So I decided to just let it stack this week and say to heck with it! And I'm glad I did, I feel better already, as I sit here in my kaftan sipping a glass of iced tea, surrounded by cats. :-)

4) A sorry sack of child-molesting shit that didn't stay away from his target even after being charged for the first offense and warned by the judge, was sentenced to 25 years in prison this week.  I'm sorry that I am unable to find compassion for him.  I might feel differently if he had made an attempt to change, and I can't help but think about all the other girls he had access to as a girls ball team coach, not to mention his own two daughters.  Once in a very great while I support the legal system in our country, though personally I support castration in such cases, it is a permanent solution to the problem with no worries about repeat offenders.

5) My son has secured a buyer for his house in Clarksville and is scheduled to close this coming week.  He plans to move into the downtown Nashville area, life was kind of lonely for a single guy out there in the family-oriented suburbs.  I am proud of him for deciding several months ago that he needed a change of scenery, and then taking the steps to make it happen!

6) I realize time and time again how blessed I am to have Papa Bear in my life!  Yesterday morning I headed out to my Escape for the drive to work to discover a back tire flat to the rim, in the rain.  Papa Bear got up and ready for work early (this was his late week) and took me to work, stopping for me to pick up Friday donuts on the way, then came home after work and removed the flat tire, replacing it with the spare just in case I had to go somewhere today.  He took the flat to town and dropped it off early this AM on his way to work, and will be bringing home a new one after work, since it was damaged beyond repair.  If I lived on my own, or with a less supportive spouse as in the past, this would all have been my problem to deal with.  Joy is having someone who takes care of me! <3

7) Little text and photo exchanges, and some delightful video clips, along with perpetual games of Words With Friends  and Dice Buddies that add so much to my tiring workdays!  The sharing brings so many reasons to smile. Just having friends to connect with who ask "how was your day" can make all the difference.

8) Hearing my daughter defend someone with whom she more often has reason to grumble. It was nice to hear her see the other side of the picture and acknowledge that we all have our shortcomings. We don't need other people in our lives to be perfect, we just need them to be caring and real!

9) For all the lovely wildflowers, dandelions included, that the rains have brought to our usually brown landscape.  The cottontail rabbits are having a feast, and that means the coyotes are eating a bit better too. I love coyotes, they've gotten an bad rap in life! :-).

10) I'm thankful that I've been able to do a bit better in crawling out of my turtle shell and connecting with others this week in meaningful conversations.  When life is a struggle I tend to withdraw, and then I feel alone in the world (duh)! It's been a really good week of sharing with friends and family, while still managing to retain some downtime for myself each evening, which is just essential to me.

There's I've done it, Ten Things of Thankful - and it wasn't even hard, and as has always proved true for me, when I've finished up one of these posts I feel so much better.  Just as I complete my list the ceiling light came on of it's own accord, I'm taking that as a good sign that someone is pleased. :-)  Now to go get showered and dressed before Papa Bear gets home from work so we can head out for an early dinner.  Saturday is date night at our house... it's so important for all couples to make time for date nights!
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

Two Shoes Tuesday Prompts for May 26th

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 next Monday. 

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 May26th writing themes to choose from are:

UMBRELLA or UNDER

Please remember that the THEME of your post must be based on the prompt
 you choose, rather than it just appearing as a word somewhere in your post!

Banned

~photo source~
The door of Hannah's upstairs bedroom slammed open, and there stood her father, filling the doorway with his large frame.  Glowering, he stormed over to the bed where Hannah had been reading by candlelight, and grabbed the book from her hand before she had time to react.

"What do you think you are doing?" he roared.  Hannah shrank down into the covers, not in fear, but in shame for having been caught red handed with a book that she knew she was wasn't supposed to have.

"I've told you clearly, daughter, there is only one book I want you to be reading, and that's The Good Book", he said, handing her the well-worn Bible from atop her dresser.  "It isn't right or proper for you to be filling your mind with the evils of the world, you fill it with the good things of the Lord."

With that, he turned and left the room, taking the banned book with him.  Hannah knew that he would toss it in the fireplace downstairs, and she felt sad that she would have to explain it's loss to the friend who had loaned it to her.  She didn't see where it was such a bad book, just an adventure story involving a girl who was on a journey to visit every state in the country.  Hannah was fascinated by travel stories and tales of other places far away from the small rural religious community where she was growing up.  She also didn't think it fair that only girls were banned from reading anything other than the Bible, the thinking being that they didn't need more education or worldly awareness, since their roles would be to become future wives and mothers in the community.  There would be no formal schooling or outside jobs for them.

Without a doubt Hannah loved the Lord, and she wanted to live her life in a manner that would be honorable and pleasing to Him and her parents too, but she also loved learning and had a strong desire to experience more of life than was available to her at the present. 

That night was to mark a turning point in Hannah's life, it was the night she vowed that when she reached the age of adulthood and the time came to confirm her membership in the church in which she'd been raised, she was going to make the hard choice to take the other road - to gather her belongings and leave the community and family that she loved.   She would head out into the world to make her own way, where she could read all the books she wanted and experience all wonders life might hold.  Hannah knew that doing so would result in her being banned from returning home forever and she wept at the thought of leaving everything behind, but she had to follow her heart.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This story was written for Two Shoes Tuesday here at my blog
where the prompts this week are Beautiful and Ban
 
and for Wednesday Wit and Wisdom 
Tomorrowlady
Drop by and share one of your stories with us!

Two Shoes Tuesday #131 - Beautiful or Ban

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 next Monday. 

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 May 19th writing themes to choose from are:

BEAUTIFUL or BAN

Please remember that the THEME of your post must be based on the prompt
 you choose, rather than it just appearing as a word somewhere in your post!

A Little Cat Therapy Please


I suppose some would think it strange, but when I am at work or away for the day, I am always eager to return home and settle in to the loveseat with our furkids.  This evening as I write, all five are gathered around us - Toby on the end table beside me, Tiggy on the small table that is between our two reclining seats, Sophie on her window seat behind me, Gracie up on the back of the recliner, and our newest addition, little Mojo, stretched out snoozing on Papa Bear's lap.  I can reach out and pet each one of them from where I sit... we're family, and it feels good! 

I am always amazed that cats prefer to be close to their humans. They will follow us around the house from room to room, climb to high spots to observe what we are doing, vie for lap space, watch for our return from the windows.  They stand ready to greet us when we enter the room or come thru the door at night, eager for a kind word and a gentle hand.  While their greetings may not be the exuberant displays of emotion one might garner from a dog, cats offer sweet meows and head bumps. They wind themselves around your legs and, and turn belly up for rubbing.  It's clear that we are important to them, and most certainly they are to us.

For me, cats are a model of relaxation and tranquility.  The rumbling of a purring cat as it rests against my shoulder, or drapes itself across my body while it naps, is incredibly soothing.  I am envious of their extreme flexibility and their ability to fall asleep any time, any place, in an endless variety of contorted positions.  Cats are masters at taking life on their own terms, and doing as they darn well please. They understand that mini-breaks from life are healthy and watching birds out the window is a great way to spend the day.  In my next life, I really want to be a much-loved and spoiled cat!

~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Patricia's blog hop In Other Words
 where the creative writing prompt this week is the following quotation:
 
"You cannot look at a sleeping cat and feel tense"
- Jane Pauley

 

It's A Boy!

There's a new kid in town! 
We adopted six-month old Mojo from the Midland Humane Coalition at the PETsMART Adoption  Event today as a play pal for Toby.  Mojo's mother was pregnant when she was rescued from an ally. 
He's been hand-raised and is very social.  He knew just how to play his cards when we first saw him, licking Papa Bear's finger when he put it in the cage, and then rolling over belly-up so he could have his tummy rubbed.  Great job at reeling in Papa Bear, little Mojo! :-)
  He's already settling in amazingly well, interacting and playing chase with Toby, which is quite a switch for Toby, since he's used to chasing his sisters, who will be delighted with some peace and quiet, once they get over warily eyeing the new kid.
 Mojo isn't the least bit nervous or afraid, and is so darn cute!  His chin is actually half white and half black. He is long and lean and will likely grow to be a big kitty.  And yes, he is of course neutered.
 
Nothing like a new furkid in the house to liven things up and give us lots of reasons to smile!

Two Shoes Tuesday Prompts for May 19th


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 next Monday. 

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 May19th writing themes to choose from are:

BEAUTIFUL or BAN

Please remember that the THEME of your post must be based on the prompt
 you choose, rather than it just appearing as a word somewhere in your post!

Allie's Angels

 
Scared, cold and hungry, and narrowly escaping the mean boys who had been chasing her, Allie cowered underneath the car , her tiny heart pounding, not sure what to do next. 
 
Just then the meeting in the nearby building adjourned and the members of the board of directors headed out to the parking lot and their cars. The little cat was quickly spotted and the group quickly sprang into action, collecting a cat trap, a blanket, a pair of gloves, and food to use as a lure. 
 
 One board member lowered himself to the ground and slowly offered a bit of the food on his gloved fingers, then quickly grabbed Allie when she approached, holding her terrified and squirming body tightly as he extricated himself and her from under the car and gently securing her in the trap. Others helped him load the cat trap into the backseat of a car and cover it with a blanket to help ease her anxiety, and Allie was soon on her way to a life far better than anything she had ever known before. 
 
What Allie didn't know, but surely her guardian angel did, was that the car she had taken refuge under belonged to a member of the board of directors of the local animal rescue center that had adjourned their meeting at just the right time.
 
Note - Based on a post by a Midwest rescue group... what a happy ending for one little stray kitty!
 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post was written for Two Shoes Tuesday here at my blog
where the prompts this week are Intent and Action
 
and for Wednesday Wit and Wisdom 
Tomorrowlady
Drop by and share one of your stories with us!

Two Shoes Tuesday #130 - Intent or Action

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 next Monday. 

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 May 12th writing themes to choose from are:

INTENT or ACTION

Please remember that the THEME of your post must be based on the prompt
 you choose, rather than it just appearing as a word somewhere in your post!

Two Shoes Tuesday Prompts for May 12th


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 next Monday. 

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 May12th writing themes to choose from are:

INTENT or ACTION

Please remember that the THEME of your post must be related to the prompt
 you choose, rather than it just appearing as a word somewhere in your post!

My Mother's Hands

~Photo Credit~
I know that as the years went by my Mother's hands at one time or another resembled all of those above, yet the image that remains with me are the aged ones on right - fingers stiff and knuckles swollen from years of battling rheumatoid arthritis, varicose veins mapping their way under paper thin skin mottled with bruises courtesy of a blood thinner regime, and I remember how sad they made her, how she hated the way they looked - one more indignity in twenty-some years of battling illness and pain, depression, and addiction to prescribed medications.  My heart weeps for the ravages of old age and disease. 
 
Growing up I remember those hands so differently...
 
My Mother's hands held babies and bottles, changed diapers, and cleaned up sticky messes that toddlers made.  My Mother's hands prepared meals for us three times a day, seven days a week without fail, even when she was weak with sickness or pain. 
 
 My Mother's hands washed piles of laundry for a whole day on Mondays and ironed it piece by piece on Tuesdays. Those hands scrubbed floors and bathrooms, dusted and polished, and painted walls when they needed a change.  My Mother's hands planted and weeded and harvested gardens and canned what was grown, they fed cats and dogs and cleaned up the messes they made. 
 
My Mother's hands baked wonderful desserts and cookies on Saturdays and holidays, and decorated Christmas trees and hung Christmas lights.  Her hands wrapped packages with bright paper and ribbon, hung balloons and streamers, and decorated cakes for for birthdays, and wrote personal notes on three hundred Christmas cards. 
 
My Mother's hands washed faces and hair, wrapped curlers, checked for fevers and made toast and tea when we were sick. They buttoned our coats and helped us tug on boots and mittens, and shoveled the sidewalk and warmed up the car.  They pulled the sled and toboggan up the hill so we could slide back down.  They sewed doll blankets and doll clothes and mended our own.
 
My Mother's hands took photographs, wiped away tears, and occasionally smacked us when we got out of line.   They helped us make Valentines and May Day baskets, and popcorn balls to pass out on Halloween.  They held us tight when we were grown and ready to leave home, and wrote us letters in beautiful manuscript even when it hurt so much to do.  My Mother's hands packed cookies and candy and mailed us care packages when we lived far from home.  God bless my mother, how I miss those hands. 
 
Now at past sixty I look down at my hands, and I see my Mother's hands once again.  
 
~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Patricia's blog hop In Other Words
 where the creative writing prompt this week is the following quotation:
 
"If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?"
- Milton Berle

 

About Mother's Day

~Photo Credit~
It was May and Mother's Day was fast approaching, sales promotions were everywhere.  Zara walked through the store trying not to think about it, but the many gift displays made that next to impossible.  This was a hard time of year for Zara, there were too many unresolved issues from her past.

It was no secret that Zara's relationship with her mother hadn't been the best.  While she was still alive, Zara had struggled to find a Mother's Day card for her that sounded sincere, but wasn't mushy sweet and sentimental.  Now that her mom had been gone for several years, it made Zara even sadder to walk past the card aisle and realize there was no reason to buy one.

Zara and her mother had clashed all the way thru Zara's adolescence, despite the fact that Zara had behaved far better than most of her friends and classmates.  They problem was that she was different... she thought different, she dressed different, and said things that weren't quite in sync with main-stream thinking.  As middle-class members of  the small town they lived in it was important to fit in, and Zara's mother didn't quite know how to deal with a child who often stood out.  It didn't matter that she got good grades and stayed out of trouble, people talked, and that was an embarrassment to them. 

"Why can't you act like your sisters," Zara's parents often asked her, and when she tried to explain that she was just being true to herself they couldn't comprehend what she was saying.  When Zara tried to share things that were important to her with her mother, the response would inevitably be anger or derision, or just being totally ignored.  For Zara being ignored was even worse that her mother being angry, to be ignored meant you that had no value at all.  Over time she learned to keep everything that meant anything to her at buried deep inside and she built a thick wall around her.
 
Zara left home one night the summer after high school and didn't return, derailing the plan for her to begin college.  She joined a religious cult and moved into a commune.  She got married at nineteen to someone her parents didn't approve of, and a year and a half later became a mother herself.  Then came a divorce and another marriage, and a second baby, and though Zara's life became more routine, working at an office by day and taking on the tasks of homemaker and mother by night, the hurt that had divided her and her mother never fully healed. 
 
Zara's life path led her a thousand miles from home, and she saw her parents only rarely, they didn't understand that she needed that much space to avoid their interference and feeling judged.  She kept the details of her life from them - it was better, it felt safer - even if it felt lonely never being a part of family gatherings on holidays.  They had no idea how hard her life really was.
 
Eventually the children grew up and went off on their own.  By then Zara had divorced for the second time, and was planning to marry for the third.  Her choice of a partner was totally opposite of what her parents would deem appropriate although he made her happy.  Shortly before the wedding she received a long letter from her mother detailing every bad choice and mistake Zara had ever made in her life, and warning her that this marriage was yet going to be another.  It was the final straw for Zara.  She tore the letter into tiny pieces and drowned it in tears... and she stopped talking to her mother except for the bare minimum of conversation required.

A year later as her mother lay dying in the hospital a thousand miles away they shared a brief telephone conversation. There were no tender words of apology or forgiveness, no acknowledgement that this was their last chance to make things right.  Just a few words before the phone was passed back to Zara's father.  Zara realized too late that she never got to say goodbye.  She flew home to attend the funeral, mourning not so much what had been lost as what had never been.

More than a decade later as another Mother's Day approaches Zara feels the same heartache all over again, missing the sweet memories of childhood, yet saddened by the relationship that never reached the point of understanding.  She wishes that her mother was still living so that she could go and tell her that at long last she understood more about what came between them, and although their view of life was very different, they also shared many things that were the same. She realized there were physical and emotional issues her mother had to deal with that didn't register with her as a child. 
 
Zara remembered how much her mother liked to write - just as she does, and she thought about how much her mother would have loved blogging and sharing texts and photos by phone.  She noted that people often mentioned how kind her mother was, and it gave her a new perspective.  She understood that being a mother is the hardest job in the world, but the love for your child is immeasurable, even if you don't always fully understand.  Eventually she came to realize that that final letter pointing out her mistakes had been her Mother's somewhat misguided attempt at pleading with her not to choose an unhappy future, which was ultimately what it turned out to be.

On impulse, Zara chose a Mother's Day card from the store rack, took it home and began to write her heart out, saying all the things that she'd never gotten to say.  She sealed it and took it to the cemetery, and buried it near her mother's headstone, then placed a bouquet of Spring flowers over the freshly smoothed dirt.  Just as she finished, a red cardinal swooped across the bouquet of flowers and landed briefly on the headstone, cocking it's eye as Zara as if it knew her.  Zara smiled at the brightly colored visitor, and saw it as a sign that maybe her mother understood now too.

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
here at my blog
 
and for Wednesday Wit and Wisdom 
Tomorrowlady
Drop by and share one of your stories with us!

Two Shoes Tuesday #129 - Mother or Memory

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 next Monday. 

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 May 5th writing themes to choose from are:

MOTHER or MEMORY

Please remember that the THEME of your post must be related to the prompt
 you choose, rather than it just appearing as a word somewhere in your post!

In The Past

Yesterday is in the past, it's done and over.  Good or bad, it cannot be undone or redone.  It's time is no more, and yet we sometimes find it hard to put it in it's proper place and focus on living in the present. 
 
If the past was bad, it can haunt us, and overshadow our ability see what is good in the present or hope for future good.  If the past was good, but that good came to an end, we can find it difficult to have faith that there will be good again, and sometimes we subconsciously do things to sabotage the potential for good occurring, or we block life's initiatives from our awareness.
 
I don't think we can or should forget the past, those experiences are what formed us into the person we are today, and hopefully we've come away from them a bit wiser in either case.  But we need to be able to detach ourselves from an obsession with the people or events of the past, to not let it become baggage that we drag along with us, weighing us down so that are spirits are never able to fly free. 
 
I keep my past neatly packed in boxes in the attic storage space of heart and mind, and every now and then I will take a box out to sort through it with older, wiser eyes, and then I store it away again.  Also, every now and then one will fall open of it's own accord, and shake the contents about to rattle and upset me, but with a bit of soul-searching I am able to wrangle it back in the box and get the lid secured again.  I remind myself that no matter what demons may lurk in my past, I did the best I could with my life at that time, the best I knew how to do and had the strength to do.  I forgive myself for what I didn't do well enough, and I forgive others for what they didn't do well enough either.
 
Today, I will live for today, and no matter happened yesterday or what today brings, I will always, always retain hope for tomorrow.  I know that God is good and new joys and miracles await us.  
~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Patricia's blog hop In Other Words
 where the creative writing prompt this week is the following quotation:
 
"You can't have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time."
- Charles F. Kettering

 

A to Z - Wrap Up


internet-marketing-muscle.com
~photo credit~
It's a wrap.  Another year of the A-Z Blogging Challenge is over and done.  I feel good about finishing it and finding enough alphabetical reasons to smile to meet my self-imposed quota each day.  Papa Bear enjoyed offering suggestions (liver for L?? :-) and serving as proof-reader. 

My biggest frustration once again, and always these days, is the lack of time to read and comment on very many posts or respond to comments on my own posts.  I never seem to be able to cover all the bases in blogging or in life in view of work days that take up ten hours a day including travel, and leave me mentally and physically worn down.  I long to do more writing, and reading and commenting, and to have the energy to follow thru with the creative writing ideas that float around in my head.  I keep telling myself maybe someday, maybe someday.

 For now, I do what I can and will make another attempt to find some balance, so that I can do a bit more of the things I want to do and enjoy.  I suspect that in the end we all die wishing we would have done more.

I find myself wondering if it would be more fun to take a writing sabbatical during the A to Z next year,  and instead spend my time enjoying and responding to the contributions of others. I might do that. :-)

Two Shoes Tuesday Prompts for May 5th

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 next Monday. 

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 May 5th writing themes to choose from are:

MOTHER or MEMORY

Please remember that the THEME of your post must be related to the prompt
 you choose, rather than it just appearing as a word somewhere in your post!