Thankful Thoughts – 6/22/19


(Click here to go to the TToT blog)

Happy Summer, now that it’s officially began and our West Texas weather decided to celebrate with triple-digit temperatures… a good reason to stay inside and do a little reading and writing! This week I worked harder at jotting down reasons to be thankful each day as they came to me, and before long I had more than enough to share. It’s funny how easy it becomes when you start looking for your blessings instead of grumbling your way through life. Thoughts are every bit as powerful as words, and I am slowly learning to choose them more wisely!

Some of the many ways I am blessed and thankful:

1) My sister’s cancer surgery went well, and she’s been released from the hospital to continue recovery at home.  Her pathology reports came back with no further evidence of cancer in her body, hallelujah! Her beloved senior dog Taffy was mighty glad to have her mama home again! 🙂

2) God giving me the strength and wisdom to stay out of personal conflicts that don’t involve me (most of the time), no matter how strong the urge is to add my two cents worth! I am not responsible for other people’s choices. (I have to keep reminding myself of that.)

3) Heart-warming communications with a couple of my beloved Rez kids (now grown-ups) who, much to my surprise, informed me that they still have the small stuffed animals I sent to them on their birthdays years ago. I am so thankful that we continue to be close after all these years, and I am able to watch them and pray for them as they navigate their adult lives. They are the grandchildren of my heart.

4) The amethyst pendant necklace Papa Bear bought for me when we went to a local farmers/vendors market last weekend. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love amethyst, it is not only my birthstone, it is the color my soul is drawn to.

5) That Papa Bear and I have very similar tastes and preferences in nearly everything (except politics 🙂 It makes it so easy to choose gifts for each other or items for the house, or even how we will spend our time together. Although our personalities are very different… he is social and outgoing and I am not, we both prefer a simple lifestyle and treasure our relationship. When I see couples that always seem to be unhappy with each other for one reason or another it makes me sad. Life is short, learn to respect each other and get along.

6) Finding a blank journal with a purple cover and a purple ink pen with purple ink that I had stashed away long ago. I am now able to bless the person who gave them to me and use them with pleasure instead of sadness over a friendship lost. Some people come into our lives for only a season, to teach us something important.

7) Positive interaction with a family member that has been absent in our lives for some time. It did all of our hearts good. Prayers being answered.

8) The Memories tab on Facebook that lets you look back at all the posts you’ve done on a specific day in years past. I’ve been sharing on Facebook for over ten years now, and it’s fun to go back and see what I was doing and what my thoughts were at the time. I love the vacation memories that pop up there too!

9) Books that speak to my heart and soul and lift me up to a higher level of understanding. I believe that books come into our lives and the right time much as people do, always a gift in some manner.

10) Returning to writing and the blogsphere, thanks to the TToT Anniversary Party. 🙂 It is easy to get out of the habit, but I always miss it when I am away. Now if someone could invent a streamlined process for commenting, I’d be delighted!

As always, I am so very thankful for the life I’ve been given, for all that I have learned along the way, 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 in your life, 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!

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Sweet Release


Seventy-five days of confinement didn’t seem that long in retrospect, but for her it had felt like an eternity of not knowing when, or if, release would come.

It hadn’t taken her long to learn how to play the game, spout the psychobabble required for freedom; the risks of rebellion were incredibly high. She’d seen what happened to those who dared to argue the course of their treatment plan, shock-therapy was still popular in those days.

Paste on a smile, say all is well, agree to every parental desire; nod in pretended understanding of the imported therapist whose command of English was barely enough for basic communication; and whatever you do, don’t be real, don’t tell them how you really think or feel. Bide your time.

Better at their game than they were, her strategy worked, and on the 75th day she won her freedom; at last the healing that would take a lifetime could begin.

~*~*~*~*~

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 “release.” Click on the link to read some other great stories, and maybe add one of your own!

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)

Time’s Up

“Time’s up, let’s go!” stated the shadowy figure matter-of-factly as he loomed over George, who lay in bed trembling, startled to be awakened in the middle of the night by this intruder.

“But I can’t go now, I’m not ready yet,” George stuttered. “I need an extension or something… there’s so much I have to do!”

“You’ve had sixty years George, plenty of time to get your affairs in order.”

“But I always thought I’d have more time, you know… to get my life straightened out and make amends, and… and tell people I love them.”

“Everyone always thinks they’ll have more time George; sorry, bud, game over.”

~*~*~*~*~

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 “extension“. Click on the link to read some other great stories, and maybe add one of your own!

Truly Thankful

TTOT 250
(Click here to go to the TToT blog)

Showing up to help celebrate this wonderful occasion… The Sixth Anniversary of the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop, is something I am excited to do! You see, learning to be thankful… to develop an attitude of gratitude, has changed my life entirely!

When I initially joined the TToT, I wrote a post each week as a mental exercise. I quickly discovered that making a list of ten things I was thankful for switched my focus from what had gone wrong to what had gone right.  I would start my list scratching my head and grumbling, but by the time I reached ten I was feeling much better about my life! The items I listed ranged from silly to serious, from struggles to celebrations. At the TToT we shared it all with our fellow bloggers and found comfort, encouragement, and lasting friendships!

Although I haven’t blogged much in the past year or so, that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped writing or being thankful.  I’ve been journaling my thoughts and going through a life transformation that finds me in a much better place than I was when my job ended three years ago.  What I have learned is that being thankful is much more than a mental exercise or a way to refocus.  It is more than an attitude… it is a way of life.  More importantly, being grateful for everything in our lives is essential to our spiritual wellbeing and growth.  It is realizing that everything that happens is a blessing and something we can learn from.

I begin each morning and end each day expressing my gratitude for all the ways that God has blessed me and those around me, and all day long day I whisper prayers of thank you as I learn to live more in the moment and become aware of the many things I used to overlook or take for granted. God is good, my life is good, and I am more thankful for each and every day than I ever was before!

That being said,  I believe that talking about our blessings encourages others to find hope and things to be thankful for in their own lives.  Since the TToT blog hop is all about sharing, let me tell you about just a few of the things I have to be thankful for at the moment…

1) My older sister has completed her chemo for bladder cancer and received a wonderful CT Scan report today. She is scheduled to undergo surgery next week. God is walking this journey with her and we believe that she is going to have many more years of life to share with us!

2) My husband, my beloved Papa Bear, will be celebrating his 66th Birthday tomorrow, June 7th!  There has been more than one occasion in those sixty-six years that his life could have ended prematurely, but God has seen fit to bless him, and to bless me by having him in my life!

3) Last month we spent a week in Nashville with my son, his partner Krista, and her nine-year old son. It has been a long time since I got to celebrate Mother’s Day with him, and it was such a joy to my heart to see how well they are doing in their lives, and how much they care for each other.

4) My daughter and her husband are doing great in Dallas. She has settled into a job as a psych nurse there, and they are busy decorating and landscaping their new home. We got to see them in March!

5) All five of our feline furkids ranging in age from three to fifteen are doing great, and we are blessed to have Jennifer, a wonderful lady to care for them when we go away. She loves them as much as we do, and they love her!

6) God has blessed us financially and continues to make it possible for us to keep the bills paid and have everything we need.  Papa Bear will start drawing Social Security in July, while continuing to work. That will help too, as the cost of everything continues to rise.

7) I went without health insurance for two and a half years  – until I turned 65 in February, due to the exorbitant cost of coverage.  I am so thankful that I encountered no major medical problems during that gap, and I’ve now been able to update all the various exams etc., that old folks should have.  Medicare is a blessing, and Medicare supplements are moreso, despite the clumsy aspect of multiple insurance policies required.

8) It has rained here often during May and June. This is unusual for us, where it is not uncommon to have just a few total inches of rain all year, if any.  While there have been  many places with disastrous flooding,  West Texas is not one of them, and we are always thankful for the moisture, and cooler temperatures.  Our weeds are green and thriving, pollen allergies are off the charts, and we don’t care! We haven’t hit those triple-digit temps yet, AC bills are reasonable, and the risk of grassfires is low. We are thankful!

9) I am thankful for our peaceful little home in the country filled with love and laughter, quiet time for myself, rest when my body requires it, heat and cooling as needed, lots of sunlight streaming in, plants growing in all the windows, easily cleaned floors, and yard visitors in the form of birds, rabbits, ground squirrels, feral cats, tiny lizards, fuzzy tarantulas, and the occasional roaming farm dog. They all make me smile.

10) I am thankful for the many personal freedoms we have in this country that we all too often take for granted.  We can express our opinions on anything and everything, associate with whoever we desire to, choose our own education and career paths, profess and practice whatever religion suits us, and defend ourselves if necessary.

I am thankful for the life I’ve been given, for all that I have learned along the way, and for all the amazing people I have come to know and love through the magic of the Internet!

Blessings to each of you in the days ahead… Look for reasons to be thankful in your life, 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, Kristi is doing a great job as administrator! Here’s to another six years and more, gratitude never goes out of style!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

 

TToT Throwback

TTOT 250
(Click here to go to the TToT blog)

Today friends and fellow bloggers are celebrating the Sixth Anniversary of the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop started by Lizzi Lewis back in June of 2013. I haven’t written a TToT post in some time, but this is one party I don’t want to miss! As I was looking back through my TToT posts of years past, I came across this post from my previous blog and felt like it was worth resharing. It all still rings true…

December 12, 2013

This year Lizzi over at Considerings started a wonderful little weekly blog hop called Ten Things of Thankful that asked us to “focus on the good things going on in your life by listing ten things you are thankful for.” It wasn’t long before the little group began to grow by leaps and bounds as the word spread and folks came to share, find encouragement, and meet some awesome new friends!

I soon discovered that the weeks I struggled with doubt and felt least like I would be able to come up with ten things I was grateful for, were the weeks that I most needed to make the list to remind myself of all the blessings I have. Once I got started on a list the thoughts came easily, and by the time I was finished my whole attitude had changed for the better; it proved to be a wonderful way to begin the weekend!

I admit that it can be hard to find the time to compile a list and write my post, and I don’t get it done every week, although that is my goal. Sometimes I feel guilty about participating when I can’t make it around to all the other blogs to read and comment, but I try to randomly visit as many as I possible. I’ve also had to do some thinking about comments made to me by someone who felt that such lists can be a form of bragging and may make others feel bad for what they don’t have. I’ve decided that for me at least, the difference between bragging and recounting blessings is remembering where the credit goes. Very few of the good things in my life happen out of my own doing, they come to me purely by the grace of God, and my lists are a testimony to the truth that God is Good!

If we compare ourselves to others we will always find a reason to feel slighted, but if we adopt the attitude of celebrating the good things that happen to others, it uplifts us too. It helps us to reach outside of ourselves and see beyond our own little world, and to appreciate that others struggle just as much as we do. We can cry with them when life is hard, and we can rejoice with them when things are good… and at Ten Things of Thankful, we do. Sometimes the biggest blessing of a really difficult week has been having caring friends at TTOT to share with!

I think I can safely speak for most of us there when I say that Ten Things of Thankful is one of the very best things that’s happened this year, and I can’t thank Lizzi and her fabulous team of co-hosts enough for all the work they do to bring this blessing to our lives – the proof is in the enthusiastic response… drop by Lizzi’s place sometime and see for yourself!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned this past year, it’s that there is ALWAYS something
in our lives to be thankful for; thru good times and bad the grace of God sustains us.

-JTS-

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

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.