Get Your Thankful On!

Ten Things of Thankful
Things are rocking over at the Ten Things of Thankful blog today!  Folks are sharing the positives of their week, and reading about all the good stuff happening encourages us all.  Drop by and check out some of the posts, then get busy and write up a list of your own.  It doesn't have to be ten, it just has to reflect gratitude, whether it's for big things or small.  The link-up will remain open until Tuesday night so you've got plenty of time to join in.  We'd love to have you join us! 

The Gentle Giant - A Children's Tale - Part I

Maximus was a big white dog who lived a wonderful life with a family who loved him very much, but sometimes he still felt lonely when they were away at work and school.  One afternoon he went out his doggy door to roam around the backyard and he heard a soft voice coming from the bushes, crying "mew, mew."  Maximus stuck his big head under the bushes, and was surprised to find a tiny gray-striped kitten who took one look at Maximus and jumped straight up in the air, which made Maximus laugh.  "Wow, you are gigantic!" said the kitten, and she told him that her name was Mewsette.  Mewsette followed Maximus back into the house and they quickly became friends, so they were both very happy when his family said she could stay.
This was written for In Other Words where Patricia has asked us to  
write a story or poem of 5 Lines or Less using the word gigantic.
  Come and read more stories and share one of yours!

Secrets of the Old Farmhouse - Part XVI

(Click here to read Parts I - XV)
When Jill finished speaking, Hezekiah raised his head and looked at her intently, and then faded from view. 
Several people, Uncle Jake among them, felt that Hezekiah didn't deserve forgiveness for having been such a tyrant; but Jill believed in mercy and second chances, and she was hoping that her great-grandfather would realize he was no longer bound by the transgressions of his lifetime.
Hezekiah, however, knew that he had one thing left to make right before he departed, so he returned to his place of concealment in the attic and waited for the time when he would be needed.  He loved Jill as deeply as he had is wife Naomi and his daughter Catherine, and he wanted her to know that; he thought about a way to thank her for coming to take care of the farm, and for the respect she'd shown for those who came before her.  
When Jill awoke the following morning, she found an antique locket laying on a small bench in their bedroom.  She recognized it immediately as the one Naomi had worn in the portrait made of her and Hezekiah on their wedding day, and there was no doubt in her mind who had placed it there; smiling as she fastened it around her neck, Jill whispered "thank you".
(To be continued) 
 ~Image Source~
 I'm joining Zoe at "Uncharted"
where the cue this week is "second"

Come and read some great stories and poems and share one of your own!

Changes Coming to The A to Z Challenge

There are big changes afoot at the A to Z Challenge this year!  There will no longer be a sign-up list!  When you read the post about the reasoning behind it, it makes good sense.  Many of us found the long, long list cumbersome, and certainly it was a hassle for the A to Z administrators to maintain.  They've got a new plan in place for this year, you can read about it here

The 2017 A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal Blogfest Day is scheduled for March 20th, so get your thinking caps on and be ready!  Add the A to Z logo button to your sidebar so your readers know you're joining in.  I can't wait to find out what everyone is doing for a theme this year!

Gina's Last Show

Gina loved being a dancer at the Roaring Twenties Club; she adored the glamour of the period, and the carefree atmosphere that existed. Entering the club from a side door, she'd sashay across the floor, her beautiful form stepping lightly, the long fringes of her dress swaying with every move, knowing full well that she was capturing the attention of every gentleman in the place, including Mac, the bartender.  Twenty years older than her and married, Mac couldn't keep his eyes off Gina, or his thoughts on his wife at home.  One night Gina stayed after hours to help Mac clean up the place and one thing led to another.  Gina returned to work the following night as scheduled, her eyes flashing with excitement, and was shattered to find a job termination notice on her dressing room table with a single line penned by Mac across the bottom stating that it wasn't working out.  
This was written for In Other Words where Patricia has asked us to  
write a story or poem of 5 Lines or Less using the word sashay:
  verb - walk in a way to make people notice you, strut, flounce
a sequence of sideways steps in a circle in square dancing
a journey that is taken for pleasure


Secrets of the Old Farmhouse - Part XV

As Jill sat down it only took a moment for the intensity of this moment to sink in.  At last she had come face to face with spirit of Catherine's father, Hezekiah, the family patriarch, her great-grandfather, the man who had built the farmhouse she now called home.  She thought about how hard life had been for his family and about the losses he suffered, and as she witnessed him now sitting there sobbing and broken, tears flooded her own eyes and she longed to set him free. 
"Grandfather," she began, "Seth and I love this beautiful old house; we want to take care of it for you, and we want it to be a place where love grows again.  You are welcome to stay here with us as long as you like, but I don't want you to be sad anymore; what's done is done and it can't be undone, but Naomi and Catherine have long since forgiven you, and they have moved on to the light.  You can go and join them whenever you are ready; they are waiting for you on the other side,  and Jacob is too."
(To be continued) 
 ~Image Source~
 I'm joining Zoe at "Uncharted"
where the cue this week is "sink"
Come and read some great stories and poems and share one of your own!

Worth the Wait

The young woman sat by the window and waited; the neighbors said she waited in vain. Her kitty Jezebel had been missing for six weeks, and friends said she'd never see it again. Then one day a handsome young man rang her doorbell, in the carrier at his feet was none other than her Jezebel. Delighted, she invited him for coffee, but this was not the end of the story. It was instead the beginning of a love affair that would last for the rest of her life .
This was written for In Other Words where Patricia has asked us to  
write a story or poem of 5 Lines or Less using the word: vain.  


Join Us At Ten Things of Thankful

The Ten Things of Thankful blog hop was started by Lizzi Lewis at Considerings as a means of seeking out and sharing the good things in her life, changing her attitude in the process. She soon discovered that her sharing inspired others to look for the good things in their lives too, even at times when it is difficult to find those silver linings.
 TToT has been an ongoing weekly blog hop since June of 2013, and many people have taken up the challenge to join in and share their own reasons to be thankful. Lizzi has done an amazing job of hosting TToT for the past three-and-a-half years, with the support of an awesome group of co-hosts, and she is ready for a well-deserved break. She has graciously allowed me to take on the role of TToT administrator and move TToT to its very own blog address.  And so we begin again with this week's link-up!   
The reason behind asking you to list ten things you are thankful for is to challenge you to look hard at your life and discover both the big ways and small ways that you've been blessed in the past week. However, I don't want anyone to feel that they can't participate unless they list ten, so do the best you can, share as many as you've got, and don't feel the need to make excuses if you're short. We're just happy to have you sharing with us!

A new link-up will open early Friday morning each week and will remain open until the following Tuesday night, so you have plenty of time and don't need to rush or worry if your weekend is busy. Life trumps blogging, and it should!

My only requests are that you include a link back to our TToT link-up in your post, and that you take the time to read and comment on as many other posts as you can. The whole point of this blog hop is to share and to encourage each other... that's where the magic begins! I hope we'll see you there! :-)

Thankful Thoughts - February 9, 2017

I am thankful that my friend Lizzi of Considerings has given me the green light to pick up the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop where she left off and give it a new home on it's own blog!  It's a wonderful, uplifting thing and I am excited about hosting it each week!  Because I will be spending time on it, I am going to discontinue my daily Thankful Thoughts posts here, this will be the last one.

 I hope you will consider joining me at Ten Things of Thankful each weekend (anytime between Friday morning and Tuesday night) with a list of ways your life has been blessed this week!  I'll be posting mine there too!

Secrets of the Old Farmhouse - Part XIV

The presence of the ghost of Catherine's father was not a surprise to Jill.  Though she hadn't actually seen him until now, she had sensed him following her around the house as she did her daily chores, and sometimes saw a fleeting shadow out of the corner of her eye; he seemed to like being in the kitchen with her as she cooked meals and baked bread.  Although he was known to have been unyielding and sometimes cruel in his lifetime, especially in his relationship with his wife and daughter, Jill had never felt anything negative when he was present, but rather an almost protective shadowing. 
Uncle Jake had told her and Seth that Catherine's father was a broken man after the death of his grandson, that he never socialized and seldom spoke anything more than what was absolutely necessary, instead spending much of his time in the rocking chair on the back porch staring out across the fields or up in the attic standing next to Joseph's cradle as he peered out the small window facing the family cemetery where Catherine and his grandson had been interred.  
Jill often wondered if Catherine's father had felt any remorse for the actions that caused his wife and daughter, and ultimately himself, so much pain. Seeing the specter of him now, sitting there on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands, sobbing loudly, filled her heart with compassion and she felt drawn to sit down on the chair next to the bed.
(To be continued) 
 ~Image Source~
 I'm joining Zoe at "Uncharted"
where the cue this week is "bread"
Come and read some great stories and poems and share one of your own!

Thankful Thoughts - February 8, 2017

I am thankful for the flexibility of my time that I have now so that I can be available to people who need me.  Today I spent time helping my daughter choose dress accessories for her upcoming wedding, talked with a family member about someone they are concerned about, and shared recipe information with a friend.  It was a blessing to feel useful.

Thankful Thoughts - February 7, 2017

I am thankful for all the wonderful Facebook posts, texts, calls, and cards I received for my birthday today.  All that attention and love made it made it a very fun day!

Thankful Thoughts - February 6, 2017

I am thankful for little text conversations with friends and family each day which do so much to brighten my spirits and give me reasons to feel good about life.  I am reminded every day of how a few words of greeting or encouragement can make all the difference!

Justice for Zuzu

 Zuzu Verk, a college student at Alpine, Texas, was last seen on October 12, 2016, and was reported missing by her boyfriend two days later.  All evidence pointed to his involvement in her disappearance, but despite a wide ranging on-foot search of the mountainous area, her body was not found until early last Saturday morning when someone located a shallow grave in a nearby canyon with human remains scattered about, no doubt by animal scavengers.  All this time her boyfriend and his family have protested his innocence, but refused to aid in the search for her.  He has finally been arrested, and Zuzu's parents were called to the gravesite by the Texas Rangers; after a breather, they participated in an impromptu memorial gathering and thanked members of the Alpine community for their love and support, and untiring efforts to find Zuzu.  My heart has wept for this family these past months and I am grateful that they will at last have closure, but I cannot imagine being a mother or father trying to breathe when brought face to face with the horror of their child's demise.

(Note: You can read more about this story and follow updates by Googling Zuzu Verk. Please keep her family in your prayers.)
This was written for In Other Words where Patricia has asked us to  
write a story or poem of 5 Lines or Less using the word: breather.  


Thankful Thoughts - February 5, 2017

I am thankful for a happy surprise ending to the Super Bowl for my son's favorite team.  I am not much into sports competition nor insanely high-paid players, and I always feel sorry for the opposing team when they play well but lose out at the end.  Someone wins and someone loses and ultimately it's just a game, but as a Mom, I am happy tonight because I know my son will be smiling as he walks into work tomorrow morning.  As for me, I like the Puppy Bowl where all the players are winners! :-)

Thankful Thoughts - February 4, 2017

I am thankful for Papa Bear having one Saturday a month off work. We both look forward to having that extra day to spend together, and it gives him an opportunity to work on a project or two and still have Sunday to rest up before returning to work on Monday.  Today he took me to Olive Garden to eat, it was so good! :-)

Thankful Thoughts - February 3, 2017

I am thankful that my senior friend got the RV he lives in safely moved into the city to a decent location today.  He will be safer, happier, and have access to services like Meals on Wheels and handicapped transportation.  Prayers answered!

Thankful Thoughts - February 2, 2017

I am thankful for the exchange of fun and loving notes with both my kids today. Nothing warms a mother's heart like hearing from her children when they are happy.

Secrets of the Old Farmhouse - Part XIII

For the next few weeks after Uncle Jake's effort to eradicate Levi's dark spirit from the old farmhouse things felt lighter in the cellar, but Jill would soon have to share the news with Seth that there were stirrings elsewhere. 
The bedroom at the top of the stairs leading to the second floor had been Catherine's room while she was growing up, with the three bedrooms further down the hallway occupied by her brothers. 
Since the next generation saw no daughters born, which Catherine's father said was evidence of the family being cursed by God, that bedroom had retained it's feminine d├ęcor and was used as a guest bedroom.  Jill and Seth had seen no reason to change it; Jill's only alteration being the addition of framed portraits of Catherine and her mother Naomi to the antique furnishings in the room. 
One day as she was dusting the beautiful oak stairway, Jill was surprised to hear someone sobbing.  Following the sounds to Catherine's bedroom, she gasped to see the hazy image of a man sitting on the edge of the bed, bent over with his head in his hands; she recognized him immediately.
(To be continued) 
 ~Image Source~
 I'm joining Zoe at "Uncharted"
where the cue this week is "share"
Come and read some great stories and poems and share one of your own!

Thankful Thoughts - February 1, 2017

I am thankful, and relieved, that our tax accountant informed me today that we will not owe any additional incomes tax, and will in fact be getting a small refund despite the penalty for me not having health insurance the last four months of the year.  (Penalize taxpayers for what they couldn't afford to purchase while people who didn't earn income last year will receive tax rebates... that makes no sense whatsoever.)