The Cloven Heart

It has long been a tradition for a gentleman to give his lady chocolates on Valentine's Day as a token of his affection, but many gentlemen including Papa Bear also enjoy chocolates, so this year I changed things up a bit. 

I spotted this wonderful heart-shaped candy tin at our local Cracker Barrel store, made as two separate tins that lock together in a heart-shaped base.  I fell in love with it and bought it for us to share on Valentine's Day. 

The left side filled with milk-chocolate turtles was designated as mine, and the right side with dark-chocolate turtles as Papa Bear's, though we traded the candy half for half so that we each could enjoy some of both.  

While the turtles didn't last long, the beautiful tin has become a keepsake and we've discovered that it "magically" refills itself from time to time, once with peanut M&M's, another time with Dove caramel-filled chocolates, and one night I even discovered a candy bar in my side!

No matter what your age, love should be filled with fun and magic, and hold you close together just like this cloven heart.
I'm linking up with my friend Ivy Walker at "Uncharted"
for Six Sentence Stories where the cue this week is "CLEAVE"
Come and read what others have written and share a story of your own! 

Jumbled Thoughts

As you no doubt noticed, I changed my blog background today.  I'm not totally pleased with this one, but I don't have more time to search for better options at the moment, and  I was tired of the seeing the snowflakes. I think we're all tired of snowflakes for this year!  Thankfully, we're enjoying some gorgeous 70 and 80 degree days here in Texas this week, hard to believe it's winter.  Before long I'll be grumbling because the heat is miserable.  Yup, it's hard to keep me happy for long. :-)
Speaking of Texas, you might have noticed that I've also changed the title of my blog. My blog has gone through several incarnations in the years I've been writing.  When I left my last husband nine years ago it appropriately became "Picking Up Pieces."  Then I moved to Texas to marry Papa Bear and begin a whole new life here, so it obviously became "Two Shoes In Texas."  But that can be a bit misleading at times, since most of what I write isn't directly related to Texas though it is a pretty awesome state, so I decided it was about time to call it something new and more befitting of the content.  I suspect you'll agree with me that I've got it right with "Josie's Jumbled Thoughts!"
Here's to infusing new life into the look, and into the content in the weeks and months ahead. I hope you'll continue to join me here. Blogging has proved to be one of the greatest blessings of my life!
It's now 78 degrees in the house and I think I just might go switch the AC on for a bit to cool things down.  AC in February, I never would have believed that would be a reality in my life, but then I never would have believed I'd end up living in Texas either.  What an adventure the past sixty-two years have been!

The Connection

Just as she'd requested, they placed the faded baby blanket in her hands, it's edges frayed from three sweet years of being dragged around and snuggled with at night. 

For over thirty years she'd kept that tattered blanket in a basket right beside her rocking chair.  With eyes closed shut, she lovingly caressed it every night before she went to bed. Once again the tears would stain her pillow, her mind recalling memories so hard to bear.  She didn't see the little angel standing there beside her, his small hand resting gently on her hair.

Finally now the wait was over and she was headed home; at long last she could once again embrace the son she'd longed for all these years.
I'm linking up with my friend Ivy Walker at "Uncharted"
for Six Sentence Stories where the cue this week is "FRAY"
Come and read what others have written and share a story of your own!

Lost and Found

Today I'm participating in In Other Words at Patricia's Place where the writing prompt was the following quotation by Gina Lake -  "Unhappiness is caused by believing that something is missing that we need to be happy." 

Not only do I believe that this statement is true, but I think that this perspective is common to most of us.  We tend to go through life thinking that maybe we'll be happy when we reach this goal, or when this happens, or when we make so much money, or find Mr. Perfect, or retire, or whatever. 

I know that I certainly fantasize about what life could be like if we are able at some point to retire or even semi-retire.  I dream about "the good life" of no alarm clocks, no work clothes, no endless stream of file work, no ringing phones.  And there is nothing wrong with dreams like that.

The problem comes when we are in a chronic state of feeling lost and dissatisfied with the life we have now because we are so focused on what we wish we had instead.  We spend our days grudgingly plodding through the routines, not investing much energy in the relationships that present themselves in our lives, not partaking in the vast array of opportunities and that exist to make our lives happy now.

As I pondered this way of living, I found myself wondering what would happen if in addition to recounting "things I'm thankful for today" I added "things that made me happy today."  What things enhanced my life today, made me smile, and gave my life as it is right now meaning? 

 I am a firm believer that there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for even at the darkest, toughest times in our life, and I'm going to expand that to say that I believe we can also find bright spots and happy moments each day if we remain open to them.  Even a shared smile can generate a wonderful warm feeling and start a ripple effect!

I am not lost, I have not lost everything good in my life, though not too many years ago I would have sung you the refrain about freedom being "just another word for nothing else to lose."  Now I know that we can't go seeking happiness and find it, it's not a state of being that we find or purchase or barter pieces of our life in exchange for.  Happiness comes upon us unaware when we are at peace with where we are in life at the moment.

Happiness is realizing that we always have a choice... the choice in how we will respond to what life brings us, and the choice to be happy regardless of what we are dealing with.  I am not going to wait to be happy, I am going to be happy with the life God is giving me and see what I can make of it that might bring a little happiness to others too!

The Draw

~Image Credit~
What was the draw? she asked herself.   How was it possible that she had been so na├»ve as to not see the warning signs of imminent danger?   He was so charismatic, and she was fascinated by the hint of darkness cloaked in a shroud of mystery and complex philosophy.  She didn't know that in joining with him she would be in for the ride of her life. 

It wasn't long before she learned that his mind was twisted, that he was consumed with power, and that he worshipped evil. She had never taken satanic practices seriously, but now there was no denying that it was real; and the reality was more terrifying than anything she could have imagined. 
I'm linking up with the ever awesome Ivy Walker 
at "Uncharted" for Six Sentence Stories
The cue this week is "DRAW"
Come and read what others have written and share a story of your own!

More Than We Believe

Today I'm participating in In Other Words at Patricia's Place where the writing prompt was the following quotation by Henry Ford -  "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.While I understand what he was saying, I think I am going to disagree with him! 

It is true that if we have so little confidence in our ability to do something that we won't even try, or give up without trying very hard, that we are destined to fail, so in that sense he is right.  It is also true that if we believe we can achieve something and we believe it strongly enough, we will stop at nothing to attain that goal, so he's right there too.

But there's another situation that occurs in many people's lives at some point - the belief that we can't possibly endure something or make it through another day.  It might be a financial disaster, a job that is a nightmare, the loss of home or property, a major medical problem, the loss of a loved one through death or divorce, or any other emotionally devastating situation.  What we discover is that whether we want to or believe we can, more often than not we do survive such situations, and come through on the other side to life stabilizing again. 

When we encounter times like this we have to remind ourselves of all the other hardships we've endured in the past that seemed insurmountable, and that we've managed to survive every single day up to the present one.  Odds are we can survive one more day... and then the next one... and then the next.  It's that old concept of  "tie a knot and hang on".  That doesn't mean that it won't  hurt, that it won't be confusing and painful and frustrating and all the emotions that come with intensely difficult things to deal with.  What is means is that if we remember to breathe and keep putting one foot in front of the other, and just get through the next hour and the next day, we will eventually find our way out of the maze and we will be ok again.

Never believe yourself to be a failure, look at all the times you've succeeded just to get to this point in life! We can do far more than we believe is possible, we can overcome far more than we believe is possible, we can achieve far more than we ever thought we could.  Don't give up on life, and even more importantly, don't give up on yourself.  You have the amazing ability to survive... and thrive! 


Guilty As Charged

She stood before Him sad and silent on the appointed day, head bowed, shoulders slumped in defeat. 

"You stand before me charged with a most heinous crime," the Judge intoned in a booming voice that rattled those present and awaiting their turns.

"How do you respond to the charge of not caring, of scorning those you considered beneath you and of turning away from those in need?" he demanded with a fierceness that shook her to her core.

She choked out the words "Guilty, Father," as tears streamed down her cheeks that burned with shame.

Then the Judge's voice softened, and the crowd gasped as He handed down his sentence. "I forgive you," he said, "Go in peace, be of service to others, and sin no more."

I'm linking up with the ever awesome Ivy Walker 
at "Uncharted" for Six Sentence Stories
The cue this week is "CHARGE"
Come and read what others have written and share a story of your own!