What Love Can Do

At seventy-one, Martha, a widow for almost nine years, lived alone in the small cabin she and her husband built long ago in the shadow of Deer Mountain.

Times were hard for everyone, and Martha subsisted mostly on chicken, eggs, and what she could grow in her small garden, along with the occasional donation of a rabbit or a sack of flour from caring neighbors.

Martha believed what the Good Book said about it being better to give than to receive, so when she hung a kettle of soup over the fire out front to simmer she was sure to make plenty extra and set a few wooden bowls and spoons on the small bench next to it, knowing that folks walking down the road were likely hungry.

Word soon got around about Martha’s kettle, and one evening when she walked out to fetch a bowl of soup for her supper she was surprised to find big chunks of deer meat simmering in the kettle, much to her delight; not long after, some kind soul left two loaves of warm crusty bread wrapped in a dishtowel on her porch, and another day there stood a heaping roaster of fried catfish, both of which she was happy to share with people passing by.

One morning a second rough-hewed bench appeared beside her fire, and before long it became a gathering place for friends and neighbors who brought along whatever they had to share and spent the evenings visiting, laughing, sharing stories and Gospel songs.

When Martha finally passed from this world to the next, they found her in her bed with a beautiful smile spread across her face, and the neighbors who filled the little church the following day recalled what she began with a simple kettle of soup, noting that’s what love can do.

This has been a Six Sentence Story, written for Denise’s blog hop at GirlieOnTheEdge. The prompt word we were assigned to use this week was “kettle.” Click on the link to read more great stories, and maybe add one of your own!

Silent Witness

Image source: ncapb.foxrothschild.com

Harry played his role well, sitting cool, calm and collected as the prosecuting attorney grilled him about his actions.

He had been through this before, and knew exactly what to say, and how to say it, to gain the jury’s trust and sympathy.

After all, he was a master at this, wasn’t he, getting women to fall for his charm and every line until he had them under his spell.

He was certain that no one was going to believe his now ex-girlifriend’s claims about the terror she’d experienced while being held hostage as he drained her emotionally and then financially; he had been very careful not to leave any paper trails or bruises.

Early on in their relationship he had separated her from her friends and family, cleverly convincing them that she was unstable and prone to lying, a real basket case; just as he had done in a dozen or more previous relationships while building up sizable accounts in foreign banks that were going to finance his dream life in Belize as soon as he could free himself from the minor inconvenience of this trial.

What Harry hadn’t counted on was a ghost from the past, Sabrina, one of his early conquests from time spent in California, sitting there in the front row of the courtroom gallery, silently staring him down as she passed a note to the bailiff.

This has been a Six Sentence Story, written for Denise’s blog hop at GirlieOnTheEdge. The prompt word we were assigned to use this week was “gallery.” Click on the link to read more great stories, and maybe add one of your own!

Turning

Image source: womansday.com

Just one day after Labor Day, Autumn is clearly making her presence known. The Black Hills in my home state of South Dakota have received several inches of snow after temperatures in the nineties there over the weekend!

Here is West Texas, Fall’s arrival is much more subtle. There are no brilliantly colored leaves to tumble and dance in my yard, and sweater weather is typically still a month or more away. However this is 2020, so I keep in mind that pretty much anything is possible.

I am enjoying the cooler early mornings in the seventies, but note with some sadness that the sun sets much earlier with the Autumnal Equinox just two weeks away. My sisters in the Midwest talk of making soups and stews for supper, while here I’m trying to decide what to make that won’t heat up the house by turning on the oven, since it’s now 95 degrees out!

The weather people are forecasting rain for the coming days, and since we’ve had almost no rain this summer, it would be such a blessing if that was to happen; everything is very dry and the risk of wildfires is high. I don’t think I’ll hold my breath though, because we’ve been promised rain before. That being said, I am thankful that we have had no really bad storms here this summer, and I pray that our winter is mild like it usually is.

A few months ago we eagerly started making arrangements for an autumn vacation to Florida, but with Covid status being what it is, we felt it was wiser to postpone that idea. Instead, Papa Bear came up with the wonderful plan to purchase a small camper that we could take on trips in the area.

I’m excited to say that we now have said camper, aptly named “The Bear Cave”, and God willing, in a couple weeks we will be headed to the state park at Lake Brownwood for a week of camping and fishing, and then in late October to Galveston Island on the Gulf Coast for a week of camping at the beach. Anyone who knows me, knows how excited I am about that! Camper life is going to be a wonderful new adventure for us!

This is been an unusual summer, and certainly a difficult year for most people, there has been so much sadness, struggle, upheaval, and frustration; but I’ve learned that the secret to surviving life and maintaining inner peace is to take it as it comes… to ride the waves and place less emphasis on plans or dreams that might be changing.

I have no idea what the rest of this year might hold, or even tomorrow for certain; but I am content to place my future in God’s hands and live life one day at a time, knowing beyond a doubt that the universe has good things in store for me.

I hope you’ll join me in being thankful for the blessings we have experienced this year amidst the confusion and chaos, and in looking forward to the new season as a time of hope and promise.

Sending you love and light,

Josie

Ten Things of Thankful 9/4/20

1) Being thankful has, for me, become a way of life. I am grateful for the opportunity to return here and share some of my thankful thoughts with you!

2) I’m thankful for the friends who have been urging me to return to blogging. I lack self discipline but the desire is always there, and it’s long since time to get back in the routine!

3) I am delighted and thankful to discover that WordPress has a new much simpler to use format that makes creating and editing a post so quick and easy!

4) I’m thankful to see that the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop is still going strong after all this time! 😊

5) I’m thankful for the blogging friends that showed up on my first two posts this week to say hi and welcome back. It made me feel right at home again!

6) I’m so very thankful for a week with temperatures that have finally dipped below the triple digit mark after months of searing heat in West Texas this summer. It’s funny, but even 85 feels good after 107!

7) I’m thankful for the people who inspire me and encourage me to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. At sixty-six I’m learning the basics of quilting and having so much fun with it! Old dogs can learn new tricks! 🙂

8) I’m very thankful that, so far, none of my extended family have been hit with the Covid virus, and no one has been laid off or lost their jobs due to the pandemic. My heart goes out to everyone who is experiencing these nightmares.

9) I am thankful that, being retired now, I have the amazing freedom to plan my days as I see fit and choose the people I want to share my time and energy with.

10) Last, but not least, I am most thankful for the growing spiritual awakening that has been occurring in my life. I can see more clearly!

And there we have it, just ten of the many big and little blessings in my life… assignment done in under thirty minutes! 😊

– Josie

I encourage you to check out the Ten Things of Thankful weekly blog hop. Read about what others are feeling grateful for this week and maybe it will inspire you to add a post of your own. It doesn’t have to be ten things, any expression of gratitude is welcome!

A Twist of Fate

It was more or less expected that as a girl from small town South Dakota I would grow up, attend college, become a nurse or maybe a teacher, and end up living out my life somewhere in the state, but it seems that fate had other plans.

When my first husband graduated from college I followed him to Denver, and from there to the life of a military wife in Germany, where I met my second husband who I accompanied to Georgia and then the Southwest.

My second marriage finally ended in Hobbs, New Mexico, where I met my third husband, a nightmare marriage that I finally escaped in 2006, and in 2008 I met and married Papa Bear, a true knight in shining armor, the man of my dreams.

While many of you are familiar with this story, my life journey has been a long and winding one, beginning with my first marriage when I was nineteen, and eventually leading me all the way to Papa Bear at the age of fifty-three.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that one day I would end up living in Texas, or for that matter experiencing the kind of love I now know is possible and real.

Although I made the choices that eventually led me here, I don’t think any of it was by accident, but rather a twist of fate that was destined to teach me what I needed to know in order to live the life I’m living now and become the person I was always intended to be, and for that I am so very thankful.

– Josie

This has been a Six Sentence Story, written for Denise’s blog hop at GirlieOnTheEdge. The prompt word we were assigned to use this week was “twist.” Click on the link to read some other great stories, and maybe add one of your own!

Returning to the Fold

It looks like it’s been a little over a year since I last blogged here, although I’ve thought about doing so many times. Recently several friends have encouraged me to return, and it just seemed like the beginning of this month was a good time to do so.

I’ve spent a good part of the past year doing a major declutter of the house, working in streaks as I could summon up the motivation to continue the project. Several trips were made to the Mission Thrift Store with donations, other items were given away, and trash was hauled out… and the house began to feel good again. With Papa Bear’s blessing, I decided to turn a room we’d been using for storage into my personal writing/sewing/meditation room.

I have long wanted to learn how to make quilts, so I purchased a new sewing machine with the promise to myself that I wouldn’t unbox it until I finished the decluttering. Finally, near the end of July that became a reality and I was at last ready to set up my space. I’m really happy with the way it’s a reflection of the inner me. Here’s a few pictures of what it looks like…

I’ve been staying pretty much at home, other than the weekly grocery run or the occasional trip to the fabric store. I could say that’s due to the Covid pandemic, but the truth is that I’ve been happy at home since I retired four years ago, preferring to leave all the noise off and enjoy the quiet while I work or relax until Papa Bear returns from work.

For the past month I’ve been busy working on some beginner quilting projects and loving it. I will share photos of my efforts with you as they progress. And now it’s time to sit down at my desk and do some writing, so at long last, here I am.

We’ve had to cancel two planned vacations this year, but I am ever so thankful for the wonderful trip we made to Cocoa Beach, Florida for my birthday in February before the world went crazy. We met up with fellow blogger and dear friend Ivy Walker there, and had such a wonderful time. Great memories were made and I cherished the ocean time I so crave. We have something new planned for our 12th Anniversary later this month, and something for late October. I’ll tell you more about that in another post soon. I think it’s going to be really fun, and relatively safe too.

My determination to live life one day at a time is stronger than ever. Life as we knew it yesterday is gone, and who knows what will happen tomorrow, but I put my trust and faith in God and know beyond a doubt that the universe is working things out for my life in the very best way. I have a new sense of peace that keeps a reign on anxiety and fear, and I’m excited to see how some of my dreams will unfold.

I thank you for stopping by to read my words after such a long absence. Although I’ve managed to stay in touch with some of you on Facebook, there are others that I’ve missed by not showing up here, and I’m looking forward to seeing what you’ve been up to since we last connected. I wish each of you peace, health, hope, and love beyond measure as we head into the final four months of this most challenging year.

– Josie

Fly Away


Unnoticed by those around her, Julie escaped quietly out the window and soared high above the trees to a place where time and space mean nothing, and everything that can be imagined becomes real.

“Julie!” The shrill voice of Mrs. Thompson startled Julie in her reverie and commanded that she return to occupancy of her body sitting in the Fourth Grade classroom.

She really didn’t mean to be inattentive, but it was all so dull and repetitious compared to the wonders that awaited her in that other realm. If only she could fly away and never return; but Julie knew that she would have to endure captivity in her physical form until it was at last her appointed time to be set free.

“I just don’t know what we are going to do with your daughter, Mrs. Brown, Julie is always daydreaming in class; it doesn’t seem like she hears anything I say, and yet somehow she always manages to know the answers.”

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This has been a Six Sentence Story, written for Denise’s blog hop at GirlieOnTheEdge. The prompt word we needed to use this week was “escape.” Click on the link to read some other great stories, and maybe add one of your own!

Proper Procedures


“I’m sorry Ma’am, but you can’t just come in here and demand that we remove your husband from your home; there is a process for filing complaints, and we have to follow the proper procedures.”

Exasperated and near tears, the disheveled woman stared at the officer in disbelief and shouted “You’re telling me that I can’t have him thrown out if I don’t want to live with him anymore?”

“There has to be just cause, Ma’am; he owns the house too, and he has the right to reside there unless he’s causing some kind of unlawful disturbance.”

“But he is causing a disturbance, Officer, he’s fussing and fuming and says that either our cats have to go or he goes… and I’m not getting rid of my cats!!!”

“How many cats do you have, Ma’am?”

“Only a dozen, thirteen would be unlucky you know; never-mind, I’ll take care of him myself!”

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This has been a Six Sentence Story, written for Denise’s blog hop at GirlieOnTheEdge. The prompt word we needed to use this week was “process.” Click on the link to read some other great stories, and maybe add one of your own!

Thankful Thoughts – 6/28/19


(Click here to go to the TToT blog)

Here we are in the final days of June, that means the year is already half over! I wonder why time feels like it goes so fast when you are older. More than ever it makes me aware of how I spend my time, what is really valuable and important to me. I know without a doubt that maintaining a focus on gratitude is not just important, it’s critical to my faith and future.  So without further ado, here’s ten of the many reasons I am grateful this week…

I am thankful for:

1) The wonderful assistance of Akismet tech support. (Akismet is the program that monitors WordPress blogs for spam.) Early in the week I experienced a few days when I could not get my comments to post on anyone’s blog, and even when it said they posted, I could not see them on my end. After much frustration and searching,  it turned out to be a combined issue of Akismet filtering settings and the browser cache on both my iPhone and netbook. Once they determined what the problem was, it was an easy fix, and I am so happy to be up and running smoothly again!

2) That my sister is healing so well from her surgery and has such a positive attitude about life. She was able to attend a small party with friends this week, and finally being allowed to go out did her a world of good.

3) Having a bit more patience than I once did. My first impulse with the commenting issues this week was to give up and stop blogging once again. If you can’t comment it’s not much fun. Thankfully, perseverance took over, and I kept working on finding out the answers until the problem was resolved. A good lesson for many of the little frustrations in life… don’t give up so easily!

4) All the times that I’ve survived the bad choices I’ve made in life. Now that I am older I have forgiven myself for them and can chalk them up to learning experiences. I tend to learn things the hard way, and often have to repeat lessons until the light finally dawns on me! 🙂

5) The beautiful month of green yards and range land we got to experience here due to the unusual amount of rainfall we had this Spring. That has pretty much come to an end now, and high temperatures are quickly returning our world to the familiar dry brown, but it was lovely while it lasted, and I appreciated the temporary reprieve, as did all the animals trying to survive.

6) The opportunity to provide bowls of water and supplemental food to some of the critters that make their homes around us. While I know most of them would probably survive without this, when you watch those little ground squirrels happily drinking water at the bowls and munching on black oil sunflower seeds, you know it’s making their lives easier. It also provide free “reality tv” for my furkids who love to watch them from the cat trees in the windows. 🙂

7) The blessing of having a dear friend that just “gets me” without the need for long explanations or justifications of my point of view. It is so freeing to be able to share anything and everything with someone who doesn’t view you as totally weird (or least not any more weird than she is).

8) The wonderful convenience of having an automatic clothes washer and dryer. It is so easy to pop a load in and go about other things while it is running thru it’s cycle. I recall my mother spending all day every Monday in the basement washing laundry for our family (initially with an old ringer washing machine) and then hanging it on clotheslines to dry. She then spent all day Tuesday standing at the ironing board and ironing everything, including bedsheets and pillow cases. And yet I don’t ever recall her complaining about spending her days this way, even when she wasn’t feeling good. I realize now how us kids took those clean, neatly pressed clothes for granted. I know I wouldn’t be as patient if I had to spend my days that way.

9) The opportunity to share some positive words of encouragement with a young man who doing his best on his first day as a new cashier, with a surly supervisor that wasn’t really cut out for teaching (and probably wasn’t happy with that assignment). He was so nervous about making mistakes, but was actually very polite and friendly, and I was glad I could leave him smiling even for a little while.  I remember how stressful it is to learn new jobs.

10) A husband that takes an interest in the things I do, and encourages me to be myself. I had a wonderful large purse that I love because it has several outside pockets that make it easy to keep frequently used items like my car keys and cellphone sorted and accessible. After years of daily use it finally wore out, and I was happy to find that I could order another one online. The old one was gray, so this time I was going to choose black to have something different. Papa Bear looked at the options and noted that there was a pretty purple one.  He knows how much I love purple.  I nodded and  said “yes, but it probably won’t look great with anything I wear.”  “Who cares,” he said, knowing that it was going to make me happy regardless. I followed his advice and we both agree that it is lovely; bright colors are so much more fun than subdued ones! Never underestimate the joys of small things! 🙂

As always, I am so very thankful for the life I’ve been given, for all that I have learned and continue to learn, and for all the amazing people I have come to know and love! Blessings to each of you in the days ahead… Look for reasons to be thankful, and remember to be a blessing to someone else!

-JTS-

If you’ve never participated in the weekly Ten Things of Thankful blog hop, I encourage you to check it out. Read what others are feeling grateful for this week, and maybe add a post of your own (it doesn’t have to be ten things, any expression of gratitude is welcome)!

One Simple Thing


“I asked you to do one thing, just one simple thing, and you screwed it up,” Jamie’s mother scolded her, standing with her hands on her hips and glowering. “All you had to do was take the loaf of warm banana bread over to Mr. Brown across the street.  But no, missy, you couldn’t ring the doorbell and wait for him; you just set it on the porch and ran, and his dog found it before he did.”

Nine-year-old Jamie looked sadly at her feet, trembling and holding back tears.  She mumbled a feeble apology, but couldn’t explain to her angry mother why it was that she didn’t want to see Mr. Brown or be asked to come inside his house.  Mr. Brown had made it very clear that she was never to tell anyone.

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This has been a Six Sentence Story, written for Denise’s blog hop at GirlieOnTheEdge. The prompt word we needed to use this week was “simple.” Click on the link to read some other great stories, and maybe add one of your own!