Ten Things of Thankful 10/02/20

1) There are so many blessings in my life these days, despite how crazy our world is. It’s impossible to stay sad or worried when God presents me with endless opportunities to brighten someone’s day.

2) One of the biggest blessings in my life is the many friends and acquaintances I have made in the past few years, mostly through the magic of the Internet. At many times in my life I really didn’t have any friends, and even 15 years ago I could’ve counted my friends on one hand. It wasn’t uncommon for me to go home to my apartment on Friday and not talk to anyone again until Monday. Now, I post an anniversary picture or a cute photo of one of my kitties, and so many sweet people drop by to like it. I tell Papa Bear who they are and how I know them, and it amazes him that I know people from all over.

3) I am thankful that Papa Bear has so many skills when it comes to building or repairing things. He has saved us countless dollars over the years. We recently purchased a small used camper, now named The Bear Cave, and he has put those skills to work upgrading it. He has replaced the refrigerator, installed a big pantry cabinet, removed the old built-in booth and replaced it with a nice table and chairs, replaced the brakes on all the wheels, caulked the exterior seams, and so much more! I’ve been busy stocking it with the necessary supplies, sewing window toppers, and decorating it, which is truly fun. We are making it our own!

4) We took The Bear Cave to a State Park on its maiden voyage last week as sort of a shakedown trip to determine what we needed to add, do differently, or fix before we head to Galveston Island later this month. I am so thankful we did that because we discovered the regulator on the propane tanks needed to be replaced, and we were able to find one at the RV store in a nearby town.

5) I am thankful that Papa Bear and I get along so well. We problem solve together, and when he is home from work we spend our time together. Not everyone can share a week or more with their spouse in very close quarters and have fun doing it! 😊

6) I’m thankful for our time at Lake Brownwood State Park. We were in a lovely spot at the edge of the camp, and I enjoyed the beautiful trees, grass, and lake so much. We even had a cat visit us! We were lucky to have some cooler, overcast days. It was medicine for my soul after so many searing triple-digit days here in West Texas.

7) I am thankful that about eighteen years ago I had the opportunity to meet and become friends with a class of first-graders at Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. I have been blessed to stay in touch with many of them as they have grown to be adults, pursue their dreams, and begin families of their own. The Rez is not an easy place to grow up, the struggles and hazards are many. I’ve been privileged to watch many of these adopted grandchildren persevere, rise and shine. My relationships with them are my greatest treasure! ♥️

8) I was blessed to experience a healing exchange of words with a former close friend this week. There is a spirit connection between us that always seems to draw us back together, and I am grateful for that.

9) I am thankful my son and daughter have grown up to be not only kind, caring and compassionate, but also independent, resilient and responsible; capable of making good lives for themselves. I couldn’t be prouder of them!

10) I am happy that I decided to take up a new hobby. I am teaching myself the art of quilting. I love working with fabrics, colors, and patterns to create something beautiful! We are never too old to learn something new!

I’ve rambled on way too long here, but as it often happens, when I start thinking of the reasons I have to be thankful it unlocks my heart and more and more come tumbling out!

Blessings to you in the coming week, and remember to be a blessing to each other!

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!

Jam Session

JAM SESSION

Turn up the volume; crank up the noise.
Make the floors vibrate; cats run and hide.
Beer flows like water; weed fills the air.
House filled with people; pull out my hair.
We’re Party Central; it lasts all night long.
Every damn weekend; no peace to be found.

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 “volume.” 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!

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

Blessed Are the Fathers…

Blessed Are The Fathers Who Love

Blessed are the fathers… who bring a new life into the world because they love the mother and want to raise a family together;

Blessed are the fathers… who believe in commitment, who raise their children in the security of a home that withstands the tests and trials of life;

Blessed are the fathers… who have their priorities straight, and work hard to provide for their families, who place their children’s needs before their own;

Blessed are the fathers… who spend time with their children, who work with them and play with them, and are involved in their lives;

Blessed are the fathers… who teach their children to be giving and compassionate, and to be tolerant of others who are different from themselves;

Blessed are the fathers… who never raise a hand in anger against their child or their child’s mother, and who never use hurtful words that continue to hurt for a lifetime;

Blessed are the fathers… who abstain from abusing alcohol and drugs, and who don’t waste precious money on expensive vices like cigarettes, who shoulder their responsibilities with clear minds and healthy bodies;

Blessed are the fathers… who guide their children with patience and understanding, who discipline with firmness but also with tenderness and love;

Blessed are the fathers… who teach their children the value of laughter, and of tears, and that both are essential to healing;

Blessed are the fathers… who know that praise is as important as punishment, and that building a child’s self-esteem is one of the greatest gifts you can give them;

Blessed are the fathers… who teach their children to be active, to turn off the tv and computer and video games, to get in the fresh air and do something;

Blessed are the fathers… who encourage their children’s dreams, whatever they may be, and ensure they have the education they will need to fulfill them;

Blessed are the fathers… who remember that they also made mistakes growing up, who know that choosing wrong is how we learn to make wiser choices;

Blessed are the fathers… who teach their children the value of money and the difference between wants and needs;

Blessed are the fathers… who teach their children to conduct themselves with respect and integrity, and to treat others the way they would like to be treated;

Blessed are the fathers… who raise their children with spiritual understanding and truth, who teach them to pray, and to be seekers all of their lives;

Blessed are the fathers… who teach their children to persevere, to know that whatever happens in life, there is always tomorrow – we can always pick ourselves up, get back on the path and start again;

Blessed are the fathers… who show their children what it means to be a good person not only by their words, but also by their example;

Blessed are the fathers… who never miss an opportunity to say “I love you” and “I am proud of you” words their children will hold in their hearts forever;

Blessed are the fathers… whose children will treasure the memories they made together all the days of their lives.

– By Wendy Jo Harris ( Reposted from 6/16/2012)

A Christmas Long Ago

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(This is a repost of a story about Papa Bear that I originally posted on my blog on Christmas Eve 2014.)

Christmas is a magical time in the eyes of children, and although Johnny Mac was old now, with children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren of his own, he could still remember Christmas as a little boy back on his Grandfather’s farm in Missouri.

How excited he had been when his grandfather told him to get his heavy coat and gloves so that he could go along with him to cut down a Christmas tree. Together they had scoured the woods looking for the perfect cedar tree to bring home for the big living room of the old farm house.

At last Johnny’s grandfather had pointed out one that he thought was just right, and he told little Johnny to look underneath the branches at the base of the tree to see if he would be able to reach it with the chainsaw.

Just as Johnny got down on his hands and knees to examine the tree trunk, all the snow from the branches above came falling down on top of him, covering him in a thick blanket of white.

Johnny squealed as the cold snow slid down the collar of his jacket. From up above he heard his grandfather’s deep voice booming with laughter as he shook the branches. Johnny laughed too, as he scrambled to his feet and brushed off the snow; and in no time at all the tall cedar tree had been cut down and loaded in the back of the old pickup truck, and they were headed for home.

Fifty-five years later, Johnny Mac still remembered that trip to the woods, the sound of his grandfather’s laughter, and the twinkle in his grandfather’s eyes on Christmas Eve when Johnny unwrapped the big box with his name on it to find the electric train set that his grandfather had gotten from the owner of a local grocery store in exchange for fresh butter and eggs from the farm.

Times were hard back then and there wasn’t extra cash for presents, and while the train wasn’t brand new – having belonged to the store owner’s son until he tired of it, it was still bright and shiny in it’s original box, and to Johnny it was the very best Christmas present ever.

Thinking back on those days of long ago, Johnny Mac sighed, realizing that Christmas back then was all about the love behind the gifts, and not about their price, and he wished things were still like that now.

Sister Update 12/11/18

Just wanted you all to know that my sister Wanda got through chemo round one okay today. It took about six hours, and she is now home snuggled up with Taffy, weary and resting. She thoroughly enjoyed two visits from therapy dogs during her session, a Rottweiler and a St. Bernard. 😊

She learned that she will actually be doing three monthly cycles of chemo, once a week for three weeks and then a week off, so she won’t be finished with that until the end of February, and then the surgery can be scheduled for bladder removal. We are taking it day by day, and she wanted me to express her appreciation for the outpouring of love and prayers! ♥️

Christmas Stockings

My father sent these Christmas Stockings to me years ago as he was sorting through his possessions when preparing to move from his house to a small apartment. These are the stockings that my mom made for my two sisters and me when we were small, and we hung them with great excitement every Christmas while we were growing up. When I got them from Dad I packed them away with my other Christmas things, and they have remained In the box since then.

This year when Papa Bear and I began sorting through the many boxes that we have had in storage for the past 10 years, I pulled out the Christmas boxes and found the stockings where I had placed them. I got them out to take this picture to share with my sisters, and I immediately realized that this was the perfect time for them to hang together once again on my wall. You see, this Christmas our relationship as sisters has become more important than ever before…

Last September it came as a shock to all of us when my sister Wanda, who is two years older than me, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bladder cancer. Since then she has undergone two surgical procedures, one in which a tumor the size of a lime was removed from her bladder.

Thus began a series of doctor appointments, tests, and consultations leading up to this week where the reality of life with cancer comes to the forefront. As I write this she is attending a chemo education class at the cancer center just a few miles from her home in Minnesota, and tomorrow morning she will return there for the first of four weekly chemo sessions. Once these have been completed she is to to be scheduled for surgery to remove her bladder in hopes of eliminating the cancer.

My sister lives alone but she has a few good friends who will be there to support her, and her daughter Kari who lives nearby will be there for her too. My younger sister Connie and I will be cheering her on by phone call and text, and we will be praying extra hard for God to banish the cancer from her body.

We all know someone who has died of cancer, friends or family. Papa Bear’s late wife died from breast cancer. He knows the struggle all too well. But we also know those who have fought the battle, survived, and have gone on to live cancer free lives.

Wanda’s faith is strong, as is that of our family who surround her. Although Christmas is a hard time to be going through chemo her house is decorated for the holidays as are ours, and we are trusting in God and praying for miracles.

Three Christmas stockings hang on my wall, and across the miles three sisters in their 60’s are holding tightly to each other’s hands and hearts as we walk this scary road together. I will post updates in the weeks ahead. Your prayers for my sister Wanda (and her daughter) will be much appreciated. ♥️♥️♥️

Thinking Out Loud 10/25/18

I know a few people who always seem to be angry about something, their conversations and/or their Facebook posts are an endless stream of rants about one thing or another, and some days I find myself wondering if there is anything in life they are happy about.

While I believe that it is important to take a stand for or against things you feel strongly about, it seems like some folks are just out there looking for yet another issue to take on. Being around them can be very draining, and I have learned to limit my exposure.

This reminds me of a girl I used to know who was always angry. She was angry at God, she was angry at life; she was angry at people she considered to be her enemies, and often angry with her family and friends. Deep down, she was probably more angry with herself than with anyone or anything else.

From her perspective, her often-expressed anger seemed like righteous indignation, but thinking back, it was more of an excuse to complain about everything because she felt so miserable. Very rarely did she follow up on her rants with positive actions to change things for the better. It was a lot of talk with very little walk.

Then one day she took stock of her life and realized that instead of making things better she had made them worse by adding her ever-present negativity to everything. She wasn’t part of the solution, she was part of the problem.

And just like that, she made up her mind to be happy. Happy isn’t about what you are experiencing, it’s the way you decide to approach things. It starts with your attitude. Is everything an obstacle, or is it an opportunity? Is everyone wrong but you, or is it possible that you might be looking at people through dirty glasses?

When this girl started to look for more reasons to feel positive in her own life she began to see more good things in the world around her because she had changed her focus. She began to look for the good in other people too, and she began to look for ways she could make things better.

The world is full of armchair critics, what we need is more encouragers. I gave up being the angry girl several years ago, and my life is so much better because of it. Most of the time I feel hopeful and at peace, and that’s an awesome place to be.

If you find yourself angry at everyone and everything, maybe it’s time to ask yourself what’s really going on inside your head and heart. Maybe it’s time to choose a new attitude.

– JTS –

Thinking Out Loud 10/24/18

Today my favorite dog rescue, Mac’s Mission in Missouri, posted a series of before, during, and after photos of the grooming session a little female schnauzer received after being rescued from a deplorable situation with a thick coat of dirty and badly matted fur.

I can’t help but think how heavy it must’ve been and how hard for her to move around, how miserable she must’ve felt! And this occurred while living in the care of someone and producing unwanted litters of puppies that were also neglected.

I am trying hard not to pass judgment on the owner that relinquished these dogs, because I really don’t know her situation and I’m sure there are bigger issues involved.

But for the life of me what I don’t understand is how anyone who knew this person could look at her poor little dog and all the nearly-feral puppies and do nothing to help, no kind of assistance or intervention at all.

Recently Mac’s Mission shared another rescue story with us about a dog that was found laying in a ditch along side the road and people drove by for several days and tossed food to it, yet no one bothered to stop and find out why it was still there, if it was sick or injured.

Clearly something was wrong or it would have run off at some point. How did the people tossing food go home and live with their conscience, did they try to convince themselves they were alleviating it’s suffering?

What is wrong with people? Have we become so afraid of offending someone that we can’t find the courage to be a voice for those who have none? Have we become so hard-hearted that we can turn away from a suffering animal and do nothing? It makes me cry!

Thank God, in both of these cases, and in many others like it, once Rochelle at Mac’s Mission was alerted to the situation she initiated plans for rescue and care.

If you encounter a situation like this and don’t know what to do or how to help, PLEASE contact someone who does… don’t just turn away. The survival and well being of these animals depends on YOU!

And if you find yourself with a few of spare dollars now and then, please donate to Mac’s Mission (Mac the Pitbull on Facebook) or to your local rescue group. They do amazing work and they can’t do it without your support!

If you are an Amazon shopper like I am, you can also participate in the Amazon Smile program in which Amazon donates a portion of your purchase money to the charity of your choice. Mac’s Mission is on that list, along with many other good causes. It costs you nothing, and every little bit helps!

-JTS-