A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: Z



This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

Wow, today is “Z” day for the April A-Z Challenge, this month has gone by really fast!  I haven’t even began to read and comment on the blogs of all the nice folks that have visited me, so I have plenty of work to do in the coming days and weeks, and I’m looking forward to that!

Most of us grew up learning the alphabet with picture books, and Z always stood for zebra; it’s still the first word that comes to mind when I think about the letter Z. In fact I included this photo of our close up encounter with a zebra in my 2015 A-Z post.


It was taken when we visited the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center near Glen Rose, Texas. Feeding the animals from our hands was such a fun experience! Papa Bear and I have shared so many wonderful times together; sweet memories like this are the best!

When we think of our lives as a journey, a pathway which begins with our arrival on this earth and ends with our departure, I’d have to say my path has followed more of a zig zag pattern than a winding road or a direct route.  There have been lots of stops and starts and changes in direction. But it really doesn’t matter so much what path you’ve taken to get where you are now, what matters is what you’ve learned from the journey. The point is that I am here now, and you are here, and what’s important is what we do from this point on.

There may still be a few zig zags in my future that I haven’t planned on and can’t foresee, but I am ready for whatever life brings. I think of all the wonderful experiences and people I would have missed out on if I wouldn’t have hung on for the ride. Thank you for being part of my journey!

I tend to rattle on when I talk, and I tend to ramble on when I write… you’ve probably noticed that this month, if you hadn’t before! 🙂  Sometimes I get so excited when I have something to share that I forget to zip it and listen to what the other person is saying. I don’t mean to be rude, I just get carried away!

When Papa Bear and I first met we visited on the phone for hours each night, and he sometimes used a bell to signal that it was time for me to zip it and come up for air so that he could talk for awhile! 🙂 He still thinks that is funny and so do I, it also shows how much patience he has had and continues to have with me as his wife.

I’ve shared a lot about me and my life in my A-Z posts this year. I hope I haven’t put you to sleep or scared you away. For the most part I am harmless. 🙂 I’ve enjoyed doing stream of consciousness writing about whatever my brain associated with the letter of the day, and I may do more of this kind of posting in the future (sorry)! But today marks then end of April and this is my final post for the A-Z, so I think I’ll just end with a big thank you for your visits and kind comments, and then I’ll zip it for a bit!

Have you ever fed a zebra? What comes to mind when you hear or read the word zig-zag? Do folks ever tell you to zip it?


Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: Y


This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

I sit writing these last few posts today in my yellow writing room with it’s East facing window. Yellow is my other favorite color in addition to purple; yellow is the color of happiness and sunshine. Yellow roses are my favorite flowers. Bright yellow reminds me of smiley faces. 🙂

Yarn is another y-word I like.  I taught myself to knit and crochet at a young age with needles, hooks, yarn, and instructions bought from our small town variety store. Back then only a couple kinds of yarn were widely available, but I loved working with colors to create useful objects. I also learned that the rhythm of knitting or crocheting is a great form of relaxation.

While I am not good at completing large projects, I have made a few afghans and many smaller things. I have a lap afghan in progress for Papa Bear per his request, and I’m using the most beautiful variegated yarn of blue and brown shades. It’s one of the new super-soft yarns and they are so fun to work with. My five furry “helpers” think yarn is great stuff too, and all my projects have a but of cat fur stitched in with love. 🙂

Papa Bear turns sixty-five in June, and I do the same eight months later. Wow, where did the years go?  It seems like you wait so long as a child to become a grown-up, and then find that life is taken up with earning money and raising families and cleaning the house.  Then one day the kids are gone, off on lives of their own, and you look around and the house is quiet and dusty and you realize that you’ve already lived 3/4 of your life!

Physically, I think forties are the best years, that’s when you began to come into your own identity and still have enough energy to do anything you want.  At forty you feel like taking on things.  At sixty you find yourself desiring more and more to sit back and let go.  It really doesn’t seem possible that I’ve lived sixty years, the last ten of them with my beloved Papa Bear! I would like us both to live sixteen more… long enough to celebrate our 25th Anniversary together.  It’s possible! I do not really want to live to be very old though, my grandma lived to be 97 years old, and Papa Bear has a great aunt who is now 99, but our parents died much younger, and perhaps we will too.

The years have a way of sneaking up on you, and one day you realize that according to the numbers you are “old”, but in your heart you still feel young and very much alive. I am so very thankful for these past ten years that God has given me, they have been filled with love and laughter, and if there were no more years to come it would still be enough.

A lot of people seem to get stuck on “yesterday“… what happened in the past, be it good or bad. They either can’t make peace with the not so good things that happened or they mourn what they had then but don’t have now.

It seems to me that time filters our memories, we remember the really bad or the really good and the rest tends to fade. Memory is important because it keeps us mindful of what we’ve learned and what we have to be thankful for, but it’s important to live in the present, not wrapped up in the memories or wounds of yesterday, and also not fearing what tomorrow may bring. I try hard to keep both the past and the future in perspective, since there is nothing I can do about either one.

Today I have power over… I can choose to make it a good day, and I can choose to do small things that might make it a good day for someone else too! While everything in my life may not be just perfect (and really, it never is) today is a good day and I am grateful for the opportunity to experience it. Forgive the hurts of yesterday and have faith that you will get through tomorrow just fine; after all, you’ve made it this far!

When you think of the years that have passed, does it make you happy or sad?  Do you have some good memories to savor?  Is it possible that you haven’t yet lived the very best day of your life?


Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: X


This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

Here we are at that troublesome letter X.  I’m cheating a little bit and going with “ex” words, because it seemed like a great place to talk a little bit about my exes.

I’ve been married three times previously, starting when I was 19 and thought I was so very grown up. Each one was relatively long term, and they were difficult marriages with much struggle and pain.

I met my first husband very shortly after I returned to South Dakota from Minnesota where I had been staying with a friend.  He was a college student, and a member of the religious group I was a part of at that time, and also an “outsider” like I’ve always felt I was. He was very intelligent… had a genius IQ. But as it is said, “there is a fine line between genius and insanity” and he was more on the other side of the line than I realized at the time.  I was so incredibly naïve when it came to men, never having been in a relationship before.

He, along with his sister, was the adopted child of a kind and good farm couple who were a bit older.  Sadly, he took advantage of their love, and they catered to his every need and desire. In fact they had to sign permission for him to marry me because he was underage. He had graduated from a small town high school and started college early. There was much I didn’t know about him.

As I mentioned in a previous post, he was a practicing Satanist. In addition, I was to find out that he was bisexual with a preference for male relationships, and no concept of fidelity.  While I was liberal in my thinking way back then, this wasn’t an easy thing to come to terms with, and over the years of our relationship I saw too many young men drawn in by his charms; I saw too much damage being done.

He also had a “gift” for charismatic intimidation, and while at times I was in awe of him, I was also in fear of him.  I remember him telling me when I was pregnant with our daughter, my first child, that she would die if she wasn’t his.  I knew she was, but was terrified he wouldn’t think so and would do something to harm her.

As I wrote about earlier, our daughter and I followed him from South Dakota to Denver to military service in Germany, and that is when I finally reached the point where I had to say enough.  I won’t go into the details now, that would be a whole book in itself, let’s just say it was a horribly difficult time for a girl far away from home and no where to go (that I was aware of back then).

He moved out and we began divorce proceedings. In the years to come our daughter would spend summers with him and this was a whole other nightmare, one I will probably never fully come to terms with. May God forgive him for what he put her through.

He died in his thirties, a few years after surrendering his parental rights to his daughter. Supposedly he died from medical issues, though I have reason to question that. He is the one and only person you will ever hear me say that I am thankful he is no longer alive.

I met my second husband while living in Germany. He was also a member of the US Army stationed there. I was lonely, he saw an opportunity to get out of the barracks. He was from a large city on the East Coast and we really had very little in common.

Although we were together for more than ten years, I honestly don’t think real love was ever present, though I tried hard to make it work, as I did in all my marriages. Once again, being faithful was not in his vocabulary. He also struggled with addiction issues and had a vile temper. He treated me much as I saw his father treat his mother, heaping on verbal abuse and intimidation.

I followed him for more than ten years from Germany to Augusta, Georgia, then to New Mexico and Texas, and back to New Mexico again, where we finally both agreed that a divorce was the only answer.

I thank husband number one for the gift of my wonderful daughter, and husband number two for the gift of my amazing son, they were truly the only good things that came out of those relationships.

I met husband number three after my son had gone to live with his father in Jr. High, (which I hated but believed at that time that a boy needs his father). My daughter was in college and had moved out on her own. I had moved to a small house and soon met a friend of the couple who lived next door… the drummer in a rock n’ roll garage band.

He was fun and charming, and once again the “outsider” that that I always seemed drawn to. I often think back that my mothering instinct was much too strong when it came to choosing partners, as that is the role I most often ended up in. He was Hispanic and alienated from his family in the beginning. With my encouragement and insistence he resolved those issues, but I never felt like I fit in or belonged.

He was Mr. Mellow, which was of course due to his addiction to weed. That didn’t bother me at the time. The drug issues that followed in later years were a much bigger problem. I can honestly say that we cared for each other, it was simply not a good match in any sense, and I often ended up carrying the financial burden as well, since he lost or quit jobs with regularity.

There were good times and happy memories, but as the years went on they were few and far between. It became a situation where I walked on eggshells in fear of upsetting him and risking yet another drug-fueled scene. I dreaded weekends and I dreaded being at home when he was there.

He told me in the beginning that music was number one in his life, marijuana was number two, and I was number three. I believed I could change that… I was wrong.

I wrote and posted a Six Sentence Story a couple weeks ago that details the final breakdown of our marriage, when I knew that leaving was a matter of survival. I thank God every day for providing me with the courage and a way to leave.

I have forgiven all three of my exes for their part in our failed marriages and for the ways they hurt and betrayed me. It is in the past, it is over and done. What might surprise you is that I have retained a friendship with ex number three. We keep in contact and he is one of my Facebook friends.

He has gone thru several relationships, but fails to see how his behavior pattern always causes them to fall apart. I am glad that he has cleaned up his act somewhat and manages to hold jobs longer now, though music and playing in the band is still number one in his life, and he drinks way too much. Although he is several years younger than me, he looks older due to hard living.

I think that God intended us to be friends, not marriage partners, and it would have been far better had I kept it that way. All I can say is that it was a learning experience and I eventually grew much stronger and wiser because of it, but I had to be completely broken first. I do not love him romantically, that died long before we ended it; and as I watch his life choices I am ever grateful he is no longer mine, but I will always care about him and his wellbeing. We spent a lot of years together. He feels the same way.

There is so much more to each of the stories of my exes, but what I want to make clear is that I take full responsibility for the choices I made to marry them.  I don’t make excuses for my life… I had a choice in each case and I chose wrong. My life has often been about making poor choices and the resulting struggles I have experienced because of that. But it is through our mistakes that we learn; I have paid the price and I have learned. When people ask me what I was thinking when I agreed to these marriages I always plead temporary insanity, it’s the only plausible explanation I can come up with! 🙂

Before I met Papa Bear I took a good look at what those three failed marriages had in common and then I decided to stop choosing bad boys and misfits, substance abusers, and those that couldn’t handle responsibility.  I set might sights on something higher, I decided it was time to place a greater value on my own life too.

A year after I left husband number three, God brought Papa Bear into my life.  He is more than I every could have dreamed of or hoped for, and as you’ve heard me say many times, in  my case God saved His very best for last!  I am thankful for all that I learned along the way that has enabled me to appreciate Papa Bear and ensure that our marriage is a tale of living happily forever after.

Have you been married more than once?  What things have you learned from past relationships? 


Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: W


This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

So my last A-Z post was written for “V” four days ago. I’ve left my tablet off since then to spend time relaxing with Papa Bear, since his vacation ends today and he has to return to work tomorrow. It was good to just go with the flow each day and ignore clocks and schedules. Of course this means that I have the final four A-Z posts to write with the next twenty four hours, but that shouldn’t be hard… once I get started it is easy to ramble on. 🙂

My first word for “W” is writing, or rather my love for it; that should be obvious. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who can string two sentences together is a writer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are a good one. While I’ve done a lot of writing over the years, I can’t claim to have perfected my skills.  I tend to focus more on content than the craft of writing itself, which is fine unless I should someday decide follow through with the idea of writing and publishing my memoirs.

I’ve always been fascinated by words, and especially the written word. Written communication fits with  my personality. While I enjoy conversations I also often find them exhausting. Writing can be shared over a period of time that the writer/reader find comfortable, there is no demand to “do it now” or for an hour or two. Of course if you write something good, it is always your hope that readers will find it interesting enough to want to read it through; we’ve all devoured books that grabbed our attention, coming up only for air and the occasional potty break! 🙂

Years ago, before the advent of home computers, most things were written in longhand, or typed out on typewriters if you were lucky enough to have access to one. I can recall penning letters to friends that ran on for twenty or more pages, and I can’t even guess how many pages some of my emails might turn out to be if they were printed.

Even if I don’t have a concrete idea or plan in place when I sit down to write, once I begin the words flow freely, and I could go on, and on, and on… as you’ve probably noted during the A-Z.  Perhaps it equates to much said about nothing, but it does reflect what transpires within my brain… and often the path is a bit convoluted and branches off in unexpected directions. If you’ve ever had a conversation with me, you’ll know that my train of thought tends to derail with regularity, so it an be an “interesting” ride. Most often when I am writing or conversing about something, several other things are playing in my head! I apologize for the times that I am hard to follow, but this is who I am.

And on that note, I want to add that what I am is a work in progress. Although I am aging, I will never achieve perfection; that is not my goal or purpose. If I have gained any wisdom it in life it is through trial and error… lots of error, but I have learned a little bit about life along the way, and I think I’ve made some progress in becoming who I was intended to be.  I tend to go with the theory that we don’t add things to become, but rather we take away what no longer serves us to become what we were created to be. While God clearly isn’t finished with me yet, He hasn’t given up on me either, and I will remain a work in progress until I breathe my final breath.

On the topic of aging, I have another “w-word” to share… wrinkles.  The truth is that at sixty-four I really don’t have all that many wrinkles, maybe because I haven’t smoked, and haven’t been a sun worshipper since I was in my twenties, or maybe because of genetics and a little extra cushioning to pad my skin. 🙂 While my skin is now a bit creepy crepey as collogen diminishes, I don’t have crows feet or creases around my mouth yet, so I can still look in the mirror and feel like I’m holding my own, even if my eyelids droop a little in the corners, gravity has taken a toll,  and my upper arms have developed batwings. The truth is that I am ok with aging as far as appearance goes, it is the natural order of our life cycle. The only thing I sometimes struggle with is when it comes to things I can no longer do physically that I could when I was younger. I miss never thinking about how much something might hurt, or how sore I will be tomorrow if I attempt it.

One more thought for “W” before I close… Wishes! I suppose we all have a few things we wish for in life, some possible and some unlikely to happen, but wishes are tied up in hope and hope is good! It gives us a reason to go on when life is difficult.

While vacationing on Galveston Island this past week I found myself wishing so hard that we could live there; I love it so much, and it is where my heart feels most at home. Yet I know this is unlikely. I was also wishing that Papa Bear could soon be free from working, at least full time, and just maybe there will be a way to make this happen financially in the next year or two if God so wills.

Then my heart asked me which one was more important, if I could have of those two wishes, but not the other, which one would I choose… and I realized that setting Papa Bear free is far more important than where we live, whenever he is with me I am at home. So that is what I wish for… but more importantly, that is what I pray for.

Have you always enjoyed writing?  Do you have wrinkles?  What is your biggest wish? 


Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: V


This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

I love vibrant colors and bold prints, they energize me!  My mother preferred more subdued shades and I was disappointed when she overruled my clothing choices in stores as “not practical”.  My son and daughter are also more conservative in their clothing choices, and it could probably be said they have better taste and style than I do. While I don’t mean gaudy, as in circus attire, vibrant clothing makes me smile, and when I see other people wearing them that makes me smile too! 🙂 The only color I don’t often wear is red, it just doesn’t appeal to me.

I can remember looking at my mother’s hands as she aged.  He skin became more transparent and was mapped with veins.  Now I look down at my own hands I see my mother’s hands, and I wonder when I became old. I also see my father’s eyelids, drooping down in the corners when I look in the mirror, and it’s interesting how your perception of age changes when you are on the other side of sixty and looking back.  Both Papa Bear and I are ever so aware of elders in our midst now, their struggles and their strategies for negotiating life challenges. We realize that in this years not too far down the road we will be as they are, and people will be looking at us.  One thing we intend to carry with us is our sense of humor. I don’t want to become one of those grumpy, complaining old folks!

I love vacations! I think that is obvious from the pictures I’ve been sharing on Facebook of our vacation this week. (If you are not friends with me on Facebook, but would like to be, drop me an email with your Facebook ID.)

Papa Bear works hard, six days a week, and we try to plan a vacation once or twice a year as finances make possible.  Since we don’t have a great deal of money this usually means a road trip and we limit that to not more than a couple days distance or the whole week is taken up with driving; but I love road trip vacations and so does he!

I love the ocean best, he loves the mountains best (I like them but not the winding mountain roads). We both love to experience new places and if we could afford it in retirement, we would crisscross the country to see what there is to see.  I haven’t been to the Northwest yet, nor New England, and we want to see the giant redwoods before we die too!

We try to balance our vacation time with sightseeing and relaxing, not a whole lot of go.. go… go, which leaves you coming home tired instead of recharged.  This week we’ve been staying on Galveston Island on the Texas Gulf Coast, my favorite place within driving range.

Tonight is our last night here, and tomorrow we must begin to head back; we’ve taken our last ferry ride and said goodbye to the ocean. We’ve tried to make leaving a little less sad by deciding to spend a couple nights at a hideaway near Kerrville, northwest of San Antonio, about halfway home.  We found it on the Internet and it looked like a fun place to stay. We like green surroundings, rustic cabins and such, a switch up from the very nice hotel suite we’ve been staying in these past four nights, compliments of my son-in-law.

By the time we end our vacation on Saturday morning and start on that last stretch of road, we’ll be ready to go home again, with lots of great memories made together, and a five furkids eager to greet us at the door. 🙂  Vacations are good for the soul!

Do you like to wear vibrant colors or do you prefer more subdued clothing?  What is your favorite vacation destination or vacation memory? 


Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: U



This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

I was and still am physically uncoordinated. I had trouble learning to ride a bicycle, and gym class was a nightmare for me.  I do well to walk upright on two feet, much less stand on my hands or do cartwheels! 🙂 As I get older I find that I also have balance issues that require me to be extra careful on uneven surfaces, or when negotiating curbs, etc. My greatest fear is falling.  I feel  of the steps of a vacation cabin once years ago and I really don’t want to experience that, or worse, again!

We moved from the town where we were living in the middle of my first grade school year. I learned quickly that groups of friends had already formed in kindergarten and I felt the initial sting of being unwanted and unaccepted as part of the group. That feeling has followed me through life.

I have always felt ugly and uncomfortable in my own skin; it took many years to realize that I am different from most  people, and to learn to love myself as I am, as God created me to be.

One of the benefits of going through lots of struggles in life, both internally and in terms of actual experiences, is that you develop an understanding of and an empathy for other people.  You learn that not all struggles show, you learn acceptance in spite of differences, you learn compassion.

I have also learned that we are given lessons in life to teach us where are thinking and choices are wrong, and those lessons will continue to be presented to us in various forms until we finally learn them.  I was a slow learner for many years when it came to lessons… stubborn and rebellious, and often angry about the unfairness of life.

I am happy to say that my heart is finally more open to accepting the truth of our existence here, the meaning and the purpose, and that when we live in accord with our spiritual nature we end up being far more happy and at peace than we ever could be of our own devise.  When we understand that lessons can be a blessing, we no longer feel the sting of emotions that were originally connected to them.

One more bit of trivia about my life that you might find interesting has to deal with the concept of utopia. Threre was a lot of talk about this word in the late 1960s and early ’70s when I was growing up. The idea was to create a place of existence where every thing was “perfect” or as close to just right as possible.

Many communes sprang up in response to the desire to experiment with new ways of coexisting.  I lived for a time in two communal situations, one before I was married, and one during my first marriage.  Sadly, it is easy for such groups to become corrupted by those who would seek to manipulate things for their own intention or gain; there are always power struggles, and situations where the weak are taken advantage of by the strong.

The first situation was like one large family, and I felt very much at home there, I was valued and belonged. Although I didn’t remain there very long, for reasons beyond my control, I still feel a strong affection for the people I shared that time with and for the ideals they represented.  The second situation evolved from a group of boarding house residents. We were young, and it was fun, and in some ways I miss that large group that felt like family.

When I think about it now, communes were in many ways, an attempt to create families that felt like a better fit than the one you grew up in, to devise new rules and roles for interacting and mutual support.  I can honestly say that I believe in the utopian concept of trying to create a more perfect world, a better way to live, and a closer way to connect, and given the opportunity I would definitely try communal living again.

Obviously though, the years have brought a better understanding of why some of that interaction needs limitation.  We are creatures of emotion, and relationships require caution and caring so that no one feels used or excluded, or gets hurt. The more people that are involved, the more care and common sense is required. “Anything goes” is not the anthem of a true utopia.

When growing up did you feel like you belonged or did you feel like an outsider? Have you ever lived or considered living in a communal situation? 


Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: T


This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

As those of you who are friends with me on Facebook know, I am on vacation this week. Papa Bear and I are relaxing at Galveston Island on the Texas Gulf Coast.  I love it here, and could happily stay here forever.  On the beach is where I am most at peace, and feel a lightness that I do not anywhere else.

I knew I’d be away on vacation for the fourth week of the A-Z Challenge, but I really wanted to do this series, so I intend to take a little time each night to continue with my posts.  If I haven’t or don’t get around to reading your posts or commenting, please forgive me. I am limiting computer time this week to concentrate on making good memories with Papa Bear, but I assure you in the weeks ahead I will get around to catch up! Since my last post was rather heavy stuff, I thought I’d lighten it up a bit for the letter T.

When it comes to my life, T is for Tattoos.  I have eight of them ranging in size from a couple inches to a spray of flowers that runs down my spine from my shoulder to my hip. I love them, and each one is meaningful to me.

I got my first tattoo when I was near forty years of age.  My husband prior to that had an issue with women getting tattoos; after we divorced I had my first pieces done – wolf eyes on my back shoulder, and a weeping heart over my own.  Other pieces followed in the next several years.

Then, for my 60th birthday I added a bracelet on my left wrist that says “Papa Bear” in script.  The band for this bracelet has a heart, a bear paw, and a feather. The heart and the bear paw are symbolic of my connection to Papa Bear, and the feather is for my Rez Kids. (See my R-post regarding them.)  While I have always followed the rule that one doesn’t put names on their body other than that of their mother or their children, I broke that rule in Papa Bear’s case because he is my soul mate, and will always be. If something should happen to him there will never be another.  No one could begin to take his place, he truly is that awesome. He is my forever after. The tattooed bracelet is a tribute to him and his unconditional love.

I still have one or two more tattoos in mind, maybe the next one will be for my 65th birthday. 🙂  While I realize that many people do not care for tattoos, it is a personal choice, and it is my choice for my body.  It is also a fun thing to have done, an adrenalin rush like no other.  Is it painful?  Sure… at the moment, but that’s part of the rush. And the result can be a beautiful piece of body art that makes a personal statement.

Before you judge someone with body art, please remember once again, it is what is on the inside of the person that matters most of all.  Look deeper!

In the past ten years or so my thoughts on wants and needs have changed considerably.  I am finding that the older I get the less I want in the way of “things“… material possessions, and I find that I am needing a lot less things for my personal comfort and contentment.

Papa Bear and I are in the process of slowly paring down our things with the thought of someday living in a space even smaller than the home we live in now.  We have storage rooms full of things we rarely if ever use, or have even looked at in the past eight years since we moved out to the country!  I realize that this stage of my life is more about the memories connected to these accumulated things than it is about the things themselves, and it’s time to pass them on to someone who can use them, or dispose of them if they are no longer usable.

I am not saying that one needs to get rid of every sentimental item they have in their possession, I’m just saying that for me it’s time to reevaluate what the actual meaning and attachment is, and in some cases even a photo of some thing might suffice. The amazing thing I am discovering is that the more things we let go, and the more space we clear, the lighter and more free I feel!

One more T topic for today… the “Thought for the Day” quotations that I post on both my personal and Josie Two Shoes Facebook pages each morning.  I share these quotes of encouragement because they speak to me, and others seem to find them meaningful at times too.

I by no means consider myself to be a motivational guru, or to have all the right answers as a couple people have opined.  I am so far from living up to the ideals I’d like to reflect in my life, but I find that posting reminders for me to see each day helps me stay focused on what matters.  You are more than welcome to join me at Josie Two Shoes on Facebook if you’d like to see what I’m sharing for the Thought for the Day.

Do you have any tattoos? If you don’t, have you ever considered getting one? Have you acquired a lot of things in your life? Do you believe that less is more? 


Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: S


This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

Note: My A-Z post may be showing up in the evenings for the next week or so, as we are officially on vacation beginning today.  We drove 300 miles today, and have another  200 miles to go tomorrow, to reach Galveston Island on the Gulf Coast, my most favorite place in all of Texas!  I can’t wait to have my toes in the ocean!

Now on to my post for the letter S…

I was born and raised in small towns the Northeast corner of South Dakota, and I remained in that area until I was twenty two years old. At that point my then husband graduated from college and we moved to Denver, Colorado.  From that point on I was never to reside in South Dakota again, other than for a couple brief stays with my parents while waiting to join him at his next Army assignment.

When I was eighteen I couldn’t wait to get away from South Dakota, and from small town life.  It seemed like, growing up in a small town, everybody new your business.  My father was a business owner, a City Commissioner, and a prominent member of his church, and he had a reputation to maintain.  Although I was incredibly well-behaved as a teenager, I didn’t exactly fit in the box, and that caused a lot of friction between us. If I said something in school that was considered “radical thinking” my parents were likely to know about it before I ever got home.  I couldn’t wait to escape.

But forty years later I find myself nostalgic for that small town way of life, and the simple way we grew up in a relatively safe environment in a rural farming community. I miss the seasons (but not six month winters), I miss the trees, grass, and lakes (but not mosquitoes), I miss the beauty of rolling fields as we drove along two-lane highways.

When I graduated from High School I was certain that I would be perfectly happy to never see most of my classmates again.  High School wasn’t a fun experience for me. Yet just last year I found myself agreeing to help locate some of those former classmates to let them know about 45th class reunion plans, and last Fall I began a private Facebook page for our class.  Not surprisingly, most of us have mellowed a bit, and rounded out a bit too, in the last 45 years, and it is interesting to exchange life stories.  I’ve reconnected with a couple friends from back then and find that I like them as much today, if not even more, than I did back then.

On the few occasions I’ve returned to South Dakota in the past twenty years, I found my eyes flooding with tears as I crossed the border from Nebraska into Dakota, and if you ask me where my home is, I would answer South Dakota.  Apparently life has come full circle for the girl who once wanted so badly to get away.

While living in South Dakota I was introduced to the man who was to become my first husband.  He was a member of the religious sect I had joined.  I will talk a little more about him when we get to “Ex” (X), but I wanted to share here that I discovered shortly after we got together that he was a practicing Satanist.  I was young, though he was even younger than me,  and I was naïve.  I also had no idea, initially, just what being a Satanist involved.

I was to learn as time when on how terrifying the reality of Satanic belief and practice is.  Anyone who thinks playing with the Devil is a game or a joke is in far more danger than they realize.  I witnessed people’s lives being destroyed, and I saw things I never want to see again.

There is power in Darkness just as there is power in Light, and it is the love of that power that draws followers.  The reality is that Satanic power comes with a price, a physical price, an emotional price, and most importantly a spiritual price. One could accurately say that he sold his soul to the devil.  It destroyed him, it destroyed our life together, and it nearly destroyed me.

He is no longer living, he died while he was still in his thirties, years after we had been divorced.  And although I have at last forgiven him for the destruction he caused in my life and others, he is the one and only person I can say without hesitation that I am thankful is dead, because he is no longer able to harm anyone, and especially another child.

That story in some ways leads into my final S-word for today… I am a SURVIVOR, and I say that with courage and with pride.  From a young age I have had to come to terms with many difficult issues and situations in my life, and even though at times I wondered if I would be able to survive, and at times I really wanted to die, I have come through those fires so much stronger than I ever would have been otherwise.

I also think about how many wonderful people and experiences I would have missed out on if I had ended my life early.  That is how I know that God has wonderful surprises in store for our lives just around the corner and out of sight… never, ever give up hope!

Today I take my life one step further.  I have come to realize that it is not enough to merely survive, we must do more than that…  we must choose to embrace life and to thrive!  Then, and only then, have we truly won the battle.

I know that I was kept alive for a reason and for a purpose, and I will spend the rest of my days trying to support and encourage other survivors so that they can find peace and joy in their lives too.  God is merciful and good, and I am so grateful to be here.

Where do you consider to be “home”?  Do you believe in the existence of evil?  Has there ever been a time in your life that you weren’t sure if you were going to survive? 


Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: R


This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

One of the most amazing things in my life is a group of kids (now young adults) that I refer to as my “Rez Kids“.  The story of our friendship is one of those God things that begins by planting a seed and grows into something strong and beautiful that remains with you forever.

About seventeen years ago I became friends with a delightful group of first graders and their teacher at Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. I was able to spend a week with them a couple times, and those visits remain among my happiest memories.

When you live in a difficult environment such as the reservation, life can be a struggle.  Poverty, hunger, violence, abuse, addiction and suicide are all too common. It can be hard to believe you can have a better life.   I am grateful that I can be a witness to the way many of these young people have risen above their circumstances, the wonderful things they are doing, and the awesome adults they are becoming. Over the years I have been able to stay in touch with many of them through letters, phone calls, and now Facebook, and they have been such an incredible blessing in my life!

My “Rez Kids” have scattered about the rez and across the country now, and I am so thankful that I am privileged to know them and their families; each of them is a precious gift to me. I cheer for the ones who are doing well, pray for the ones who are struggling, and mourn the ones who have been lost. I love them as if they were my own children, and now as I watch them mature and begin careers and families of their own, my heart is filled with pride. I have never seen a more resilient group of kids, and it is an honor to be counted as their friend.

Another r-word that is important to me is being real.  As is obvious from what I’ve shared in the A-Z so far, I am an open book kind of person, and what you see is what you get.  Although I am not proud of all the choices I’ve made or things I’ve done, I am content with the lessons I’ve learned and the person I’ve grown to be. Mistakes are learning opportunities, and although I tend to learn things the hard way, I do eventually learn! 🙂  I say what I think (sometimes without filters), and I mean what I say. I am not good at playing games; I don’t want to live my life that way, and I no longer associate with people who do.

I don’t enjoy fake people, pretentious people, or people who try to be something they are not… like twenty years younger. 🙂 I embrace my age, and my journey, and I have long since given up trying to impress anyone, or be what others think I should be. What other people think of me isn’t that important, what matters is how I feel about myself and if I am doing my best to follow the footsteps of Jesus.

The people I cherish most in my life are the ones who are also real, open and honest, and who enjoy deep conversations. Fame and displays of wealth don’t impress me, those can be very fleeting things, and it’s what you do with what you have that matters. If you have more… do more!

Along with trying to be real, I would have to say that I have a “realist” mindset. I can’t abide “gloom and doom people”, or people who feel sorry for themselves. For the most part, I see the cup of my life as more than half-full, and sometimes full to overflowing… I am thankful that I have a cup! 🙂 I can deal with just about anything, given the facts.  I tend to be pragmatic, and while I realize that life is neither fair nor a “rose garden”, I still believe that we are blessed, and there is so much good to be found!  Attitude is everything, I’ve worked hard to get to the place I am, and I believe we can all find our own inner peace if we are willing to let go of what no longer suits us.

One more r-word today.  Regrets... I have a few.  Certainly there are things I wish I would not have done, or would have done differently; I made my life much harder than it had to be.  We are all responsible for our choices and for the consequences they bring, that is why I preach so often about making good choices.

Yet what I regret most is not the things I’ve done, but the things I failed to do. I regret the opportunities I let slip away,  I regret that I didn’t say “I love you” enough, or “I’m sorry” enough; and I regret that I said and thought unkind things about people. Karma has a way of bringing that lesson back around to you.

I could make a list of a hundred times when there was something I could have done for someone else, even thought about it, but somehow failed to follow through.  As I’ve noted in an earlier post, if the road to hell is paved with good intentions, I’ve paved many a mile, and I regret that.

I also regret that I haven’t had nearly enough time to get around to read and comment on the many wonderful participants and posts in the A-Z, especially for those of you who are visiting here.  I intend to catch up gradually in the days and weeks ahead, so don’t be surprised if your blog is suddenly hit with twenty likes and comments! :-))

I don’t carry my regrets around as baggage though, I have forgiven myself and I have given it up to God. I am trying harder to live my life these days with the “just do it” philosophy… don’t wait, make it happen! One simple act of kindness could make all the difference in someone else’s life. You and I can make a difference.

Are there special young people you respect and admire, in addition to your own children/grandchildren?  Do you see yourself as a pessimist, an optimist, or a realist?  Do you have any regrets? 


Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: Q


This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

Quiet is one of my favorite things. While I am home alone during the day and Papa Bear is at work, I almost never have the tv on or music playing; the only sounds to be heard are cats talking to me (a couple of mine like to talk, and Smokey thinks we understand his chirpy language) or purring while they nap, and my fingers clicking the keyboard of my notebook as a write.  Maybe the clothes washer or dryer rumbling in the background.  That’s it, and I love it that way!

I talked about my sensitivity to noise in an earlier post, but I think that much of my appreciation for quiet stems from more than thirty years of office work answering multiple phone lines, with phones ringing off the hook all day long.  By 5 PM I was usually lucky if I could remember my own name, and had to work hard at being friendly and polite instead of grumbling. 🙂  If I never heard another phone ring, it would be too soon!

For me, quiet equates with peace, when it’s quiet I can stay in tune with my thoughts and listen to the spirit voice within me.  No disruptions, no frustration, no one always needing something. No need to interact outside of written words. I think I could easily become a recluse, as long as I could keep Papa Bear, my cats, and my computer!

Another q-word I love is question; curious should be my middle name. I question everything, I want to find out, I want to know… Google is my best friend.  🙂

Not only do I tend to question what people tell me, (I like to make up my own mind regardless of the facts presented), I love to question people about their lives!  Nothing fascinates me more than finding out what other people have experienced and what they’ve learned from it, how it has shaped them and affected their life.

At one time on my other blog I ran a series of interviews involving fellow bloggers, asking them five questions. It was great fun, and the answers were really interesting too.  No easy questions like what is your favorite color, but in depth things to find out more about who and what they were.  It was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done while blogging, and I’m thinking at some point I might pick it up again, if my fellow bloggers are willing to humor me.  🙂  I think I might have made a great investigative reporter, I like to get down to the nitty-gritty of stuff!

I can think of one last q-word that might well relate to me, and that would be quirky… meaning good in a weird way (of course)! Anyone who knows me fairly well, knows that I have a few weird ways about me, or at least different from the norm.  I wear the same pair of shoes every single day, even though I have a few others.  I’ve had the same pair of earrings in my ears for eight years now, even though I have a box of other lovely ones.  I don’t wear makeup at all anymore, and I don’t cut, color or curl my hair.  My clothing style is “comfort” and I could care less what the current rage is.  I very seldom listen to music because it has too many emotional triggers, and I will put down a book or walk out of a movie if the content is too disturbing. Life is disturbing enough without seeking it out for entertainment! I don’t talk to friends on the phone unless I just have to; but I talk to tree spirits, and to rocks and wind. I could go on and on, but that’s enough to give you an example of ways that I am a little quirky. In short, I am just me, unique and unapologetic for it, and I hope you are the same. Who is to say what is “weird” or “normal”, anyway?

Do you prefer to watch tv or listen to music when you are alone?  Would you be willing to participate in a blog post interview? What are some of your quirks? 


Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts: