Thankful Thoughts 9/22/18

9/22/18

Today I am thankful for safe travel and everything going smoothly. It’s been over thirty years since either Papa Bear or I visited California, and we’ve been planning this trip for several months now. Needless to say, we were both awake long before the alarm went off this morning, and we arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare.

Our plane departed from Midland forty minutes behind schedule, leaving us with very limited time to make our way from one end of the terminal in Las Vegas to the other for our connecting flight, but in the ten minutes we had to play the slot machines there before boarding Papa Bear managed to win almost thirty dollars… a good omen for our trip and a good start on paying for tonight’s supper! 😊

The planes on both of our flights were completely full, and I am thankful that I was seated next to Papa Bear. Large people and ridiculously narrow seats make for very close and personal encounters with seatmates. 😊

I am thankful for our GPS which makes navigating new cities and highways so easy! I remember the days of struggling with maps in traffic. We have a roomy Ford Explorer rental for the week, and I wish I could take it home with me. Except it’s black, always a bad idea in Texas heat.

Our amazing kitty care friend sent photos of the furkids this evening, all doing well and happy to see her. She is such a blessing and I am so thankful God brought her into our lives!

Tonite as we settle into our hotel room, i think back to this night ten years ago as we prepared to be married the following day. What an adventure it’s been, the happiest years of my life by far!

Now the “old folks” are calling it a night because it may be only 9 PM here in California, but it’s been a long day and it’s bedtime in Texas. 😊 I am thankful beyond words for the amazing man I share my life with! ♥️♥️

– JTS-

Thankful Thoughts 9/21/18

9/21/18

Today I am thankful for the wonderful memories Papa Bear and I make together.

When we got married we agreed that rather than spend money on buying big anniversary gifts for each other, we would try to celebrate our anniversary by going somewhere and making fun memories to keep a lifetime. Most years we’ve been blessed to be able to do that, sometimes for a weekend getaway and sometimes for a longer vacation. We’ve gone to Port Aransas, Galveston, Nashville, Memphis, Savannah, Colorado, and Louisiana.

Sometimes we’ve just gone down the road a short way or a few hundred miles, to places like Abilene, Lubbock, Ruidoso, Fredericksburg, Kerrville, San Angelo, Fort Davis, Alpine, San Antonio or Dallas.

It really doesn’t matter how far we go or how fancy the surroundings, it’s all about being together and experiencing something new. It’s about getting away from the pressures and routine of everyday life, relaxing, enjoying good food and laughter, and seeing beautiful places. It’s about visiting local shops for fun things like a new piece of amethyst for my collection, or fudge for a treat! Sometimes it’s about returning to a favorite place, like Galveston, to enjoy the things we love about being there… like our ferry ride each evening to watch for dolphins playing in the waves.

Tomorrow we fly to Northern California for what is sure to be our most fun adventure to date – visiting the Giant Redwoods and the Pacific ocean! We talk about maybe going to the Black Hills of South Dakota next year. It is so beautiful there in the autumn, and It’s been too many years since I’ve been home.

As you get older you realize how tenuous life is, someone you love can be gone in a moment. That’s why it’s so important to treasure the moments you have and make everyday count. Don’t wait to make special memories together, make time for them now… someday they will be what remains of the life you were blessed to share. ♥️

-JTS-

Thankful Thoughts 9/20/18

9/20/18

Today I am thankful for the all positive feedback I’ve received in response to moving my blog to Facebook and inviting all my Facebook friends to read it.

In the past I kept the Josie Two Shoes side of my life as separate from my “everyday identity” as I could due to snoopy stalkers, coworkers, etc. It felt safer, but I didn’t get very many readers or much feedback on Blogger or WordPress.

Most of my blog friends knew my legal name/identity as well, but a lot of friends and family on Facebook were not aware of my blog. Then one day I just decided that it was time to “out” myself. Those who liked me would probably still like me, and those who find reasons not to will just find a few more reasons. That’s their problem, not mine.

Josie Two Shoes is the real, unfiltered, unapologetic me. I can’t tell you how freeing it has been to be able to share myself so openly! I’ve always been an up front person, not one to shy away from sharing my thoughts, so a public Facebook blog is more in keeping with that philosophy.

I am surprised and delighted at the number of people who are now following Josie Two Shoes on Facebook and take the time to read my rambling posts which are very much off the cuff. Facebook makes it easy to hit “Like” to let someone know you’ve visited even if you don’t have the inclination to leave a comment, although I love feedback too. (At the request of a few blog friends who don’t do Facebook I am duplicating these posts on WordPress because I value their input.)

I just wanted each of you reading here to know how thankful I am for your interest and your friendship! If you ever have any questions or something you’d like me to write about, don’t hesitate to ask; my life is pretty much an open book. 😊

While there are both pros and cons to social media, I think that blogging is yet another way that it can be used in positive manner. If the spirit moves you, give it a try!

-JTS-

Thankful Thoughts 9/19/18

9/19/18

Today I am thankful for being thankful! I’ve lived through enough that I don’t take anything for granted. Things can change in a minute, so you have to learn to find and appreciate the good in each day.

Some people go through life grumbling and complaining about anything and everything. They wallow in misery and self-pity. The day is just beginning and they’re already tossing negativity around! I can tell you from experience that it comes back to you, the more you keep that “my life sucks” attitude, the more it likely will. Attitude is everything, and it’s contagious too. It just takes one “Debby Downer” to drag everyone down.

The world doesn’t owe you or me anything, that entitlement attitude is pretty common these days. You want it, work for it, find a way! Don’t expect someone to hand it to you or bail you out all the time. Be thankful for what you do have!

I am not lucky, I am grateful and I’m blessed! There’s a difference. I don’t believe that luck had anything to do with it… or fate either. I know that God, My Father, loves me, and wants the best for me. He wants me to give my best effort too, to help others in whatever ways I can.

There is not a day that I don’t begin and end with prayers and a grateful heart for all that I’ve been given, for all that I’ve been forgiven; for all the prayers answered, and for all that I’ve overcome.

I am thankful for the lessons I’ve learned, thankful for the wonderful people who have played a role in my life, and thankful for the love that surrounds me. I am thankful for the beauty of this world, and for the many good things there are. Most of all, I am thankful to be here and to be able to witness to God’s power and love!

Try adopting an attitude of gratitude, you’ll be amazed at how it can change your life!

-JTS-

Thankful Thoughts 9/18/18

9/18/18

Today I am thankful that I have learned to choose my own path.

I was thinking about how often in the past I allowed others to manipulate me into doing something I didn’t really want to do, or being somebody I really wasn’t. Whether it was spouses, coworkers, friends or family, I used to be a people pleaser, and I didn’t the enough inner strength or self-confidence to to ignore them or just say no. The thing is that it never made me very happy, the little voice inside always reminded me that I wasn’t being true to myself. Sadly, people who are good at manipulating others, rarely have their best interests at heart.

I am older now, and stronger. I realize that I don’t have to put up with harassment, and I don’t have to sacrifice myself to please others; what I am is good enough. If it’s not good enough for them, they don’t have a purpose or a place in my life.

Each of us is a unique creation, with a unique path to follow, and unique purpose. We can’t be who we were intended to be If we listen to everyone else and let them direct our course. I may be a little different than most people, I like things that others don’t, and I don’t enjoy some things that others do. I no longer make apologies for that. I am who I am and I am OK with that.

I have found that being true to myself is very freeing. I do listen to advice from people I respect, and I do learn from watching others; but ultimately, I will decide what is right for me. I am the only one that really knows who I am meant to be, and what my journey is about. Most importantly, I have learned at last to love me, imperfections and all. I am not inferior or superior to anyone else, and I don’t want to ever be made to feel that way again.

Think your own thoughts, listen to your own heart, speak with your own voice… the world needs you!

-JTS-

Thankful Thoughts 9/17/18

9/17/18

Today I am thankful for Papa Bear’s planning and organizational skills.

In my past marriages, any major project or event was solely my responsibility to organize and facilitate, and any problem was mine to resolve.

If we went on a vacation the planning, packing, and unpacking were mine alone to do, along with the arrangements and figuring out how to fit it in the budget.

In other words, the worries, the burdens, and the responsibilities fell on me rather than being shared. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t fair.

Being married to Papa Bear came as a whole new way of life. His mind is always thinking, planning, and organizing… figuring out how to make something happen or get something done, and he does it very well. If there’s a problem or an issue he’ll find a way to resolve it, and it will be handled with intelligence and integrity.

When I was initially preparing to move to Texas one of his daughters laughingly told me that if you don’t have your things packed and ready to go, he’ll take charge and it will be done. And I’ve learned that this is true. Not only did he help me with the packing, loading and move, but he’s also been known to pack both his suitcase and mine in preparation for trips when I was working, and he didn’t miss a thing! (Well there was that fishing trip where he forgot to pack his extra jeans, and the pair he wore the whole time almost walked themselves to the washer when he got home. 😊)

We’ll be gone eight days on our upcoming trip. When we do a road trip we can fill the truck with extra clothes and stuff just in case we might need them, but this time we’re travelling by plane so more thought and planning is required. Papa Bear has what we need to take all figured out, and has even purchased some really nice luggage for the trip… ruby red so it will stand out ln the luggage conveyor! It was a fun surprise! 😊 He has all the resrvations made, and the finances figured out too. My part is simply to have our clothes clean and ready to pack, make care arrangements for the furkids, and to notify the bank and post office. I can handle that!

Each day as we get closer to departure we grow more excited as we talk and plan and look at things online. It’s fun when you do things as partners, as a team! Papa Bear makes my life so much easier; he takes care of me and I take care of him, and I am so thankful for that! ♥️

-JTS-

Thankful Thoughts 9/16/18

9/16/18

Today I am thankful for special times to look forward to. Next week on Sunday we will be overlooking this beautiful view of Trinidad Harbor in Northern California (pictured below) as we share dinner on our 10th Wedding Anniversary!

For some months now we’ve been planning a bucket list trip to see the Giant Redwoods, and we’ll finally be on the plane and headed that direction next Saturday morning. To say we are excited is an understatement. It’s been several decades since either one of us visited California, and then it was at the other end of the state, totally different.

We’ll be spending the week staying at the romantic little cabin pictured below, literally in the midst of giant trees. Both the Pacific Ocean and the Redwoods so near to one another, how cool is that?!

We’ll be driving north from Sacramento, so we spent this afternoon putting the addresses into our GPS for where we’ll be staying, a bunch of things we want to see and do, places to eat, shops to visit, etc. Makes it so easy.

We plan on making amazing memories, although truthfully, the best part is just being together in such a beautiful place. I feel so blessed to be spending this chapter of my life with my beloved Papa Bear! ♥️

-JTS-

Thankful Thoughts 9/15/18

9/15/18

Today I am thankful when my fears prove to be unfounded.

Late this afternoon Papa Bear was outside mowing the weeds and I was in the process of emptying a big bag of bird seed into the storage bin in our laundry room. While doing so I heard something rattling underneath the washer and dryer. It would rattle and then stop, rattle and then stop, and in view of our recent rattlesnake encounters I was wondering if a snake had managed to work its way up through the hole where the dryer vent goes out. It was totally freaking me out!

Papa bear came in shortly thereafter and I told him that I knew he was going to think I was crazy but I heard something rattling under the washer. He went to check it out and I followed him.

At that point it was making a different noise like something tapping rapidly, almost like water was dripping or something like that. He got out the step-stool we have stored beside the washer so that he could climb up on top the washer and see what was going on behind it.

As he pulled out the stool he could see something wiggling under the edge of the washer on the floor, and he was worried for a moment that it might be the rattles of a snake.

Just then I looked down and realized that there amidst the dust bunnies was a little inch and a half long plastic toy bug that my daughter had given the cats! It has a small battery cell and an on off switch. They had been playing with it earlier in the day and must’ve sent it sailing under the washer at some point. So as it moved around under there it rattled against the side of the washer making strange noises as it vibrated. What a relief! We had a good laugh. 😊

It just goes to show how we have a tendency to create the worst case scenario in our minds. Most often it doesn’t turn out to be as bad as we anticipate, and in this case I am mighty relieved that it didn’t!

-JTS-

Thankful Thoughts 9/14/18

9/14/18

Today I am thankful for furkids, and that I have a husband who loves cats as much as I do. In fact, he had one indoor/outdoor cat that lived to be 20 years old!

When I left my ex eleven years ago, I wasnt able to find an apartment that allowed pets. I was heartbroken and so lonely without them. A year later I met Papa Bear and just as I was ready to move to Texas to be with him a cat named Emily became available for adoption, so she came with me.

We thought that Emily might be lonely while we were away at work, so we adopted Sophie from the Humane Society. Sophie is the sweetest, mellowest little kitty I’ve ever known, she was so happy to have a home.

We soon found out that the Emily really didn’t want a friend after all! She was very jealous of Sophie, and very unhappy because of her presence. We decided to keep Sophie and found Emily a good home with two kids were she would get lots of love and attention but not have other pets to compete with.

Then my ex-husband lost our former house that he had been living in and he gave me custody of Stormy, who came to live out his senior years with us as the king of the house. Stormy had been through all the bad years with me, and he loved it here.

Around that time we also took in a stray female kitty that a friend found by a dumpster, and Daisy eventually gave birth to a litter of kittens here. We decided to keep Tiggy and Gracie from the litter, finding good homes for the others. They are seven years old now.

Then, for a while we kept one of my daughters cats, Chloe, for her until she moved to a home of her own in Nashville and we were able to return Chloe to her.

For my 60th birthday I told Papa Bear that all I wanted was a kitten, and thus we got Toby from the Midland Humane Coalition.

Papa Bear actually picked him out, or I should say he picked out Papa Bear. 😻 It was agreed there would be no more.

Then, last year, three starving, flea and worm infested kitties showed up on our deck out here in the country. They appeared to be littermates and I will always believe that someone dumped them off, because they were timid but not really feral. I treated them for worms and fleas and begin to feed them well, and they thrived. One eventually disappeared. That left Andy, who was very social, an alpha kitty and very assertive, and Smokey who was so timid that it took me six months to be able to touch him. Smokey and I had a heart connection from day one.

When winter time came I felt sorry for them being out in the miserable cold and begin to bring them inside at night to stay in the spare bedroom. I took them both to the vet and got them neutered. Little by little I got them accustomed to the other kitties in the house, and Papa Bear begin to see the writing on the wall, LOL.

Andy decided that he would take over as head of the kitty clan here, much to the chagrin of Sophie the reigning queen, and the other kitties who weren’t used to being bossed about. We decided it would be better to find him a home of his own and with the help of a wonderful rescue group in Odessa we were able to make that happen.

Smoky, on the other hand, from the day he first set foot inside the house, decided that this was the good life, and has been the best behaved, and sweetest kitty one could imagine. He gets along great with the other kitties, and makes sure that every food bowl is clean at the end of feeding sessions! 🙂 He is super affectionate and turned out to be the best brother Toby could’ve hoped for. They wrestle and play together all the time.

Sophie turns 15 next month. She is old and frail, but still gets around well and eats well, and has light in her eyes. She relishes her position as head of the house, and takes full advantage of the privleges thereof. Although she sleeps a lot, she is not beyond giving one of the younger furkids a piece of her mind if they get out of line! We know she won’t be with us for for a long time, so we cherish each day that we have her.

So that is how we went from having one kitty to five, and a house full of kitty fur and kitty toys to trip over. Papa Bear loves them as much as I do, and just rolls his eyes when I ask him to carry in another bag of cat litter or cat food. Being empty-nesters, the furkids keep our days entertained with their antics, and our hearts warmed by their love. 😻😻😻😻😻

While Papa Bear is the more sane of the two of us and says all of our kitty slots are filled, he fills my heart with gratitude for agreeing to let our house be a place where kitties needing homes can be safe and loved, just another one of the many reasons that I love him. ♥️

– JTS –

Thankful Thoughts 9/13/18

9/13/18

Today I am thankful for the peace that comes with quiet. Monday through Friday, and most of Saturday, I am home alone with the furkids while Papa Bear is at work, and they don’t talk much. (Well Smokey does, but that’s another story.)

After spending much of my adult life answering multiple ringing phones in various work settings, and listening to the continual jabber of superficial conversation, I can happily say I don’t miss that, or the gossip and drama, one bit.

I am extra-sensitive to noise, along with bright lights, heat and cold, and strong smells. I guess you could say I have sensory aversion issues. A sound like whistling, for instance, might be slightly annoying for most people, but it can push me right over the edge of civility. Noise and disruption trigger anxiety issues from my past. Spending time in the quiet has the reverse effect and is very calming to me.

When I am home alone I very rarely have the TV on. Honestly, I could live without it and I’ve done so before. The only sounds that can be heard here are the air conditioning and ceiling fans blowing softly, the dishwasher or clothes dryer, one of the quail outside calling for his covey, the clicking of computer keys, or the rumble of Toby’s purr while napping on my lap. Weekends tend to be a little noisier with the Papa Bear home and ball games to be watched on TV. 🙂 I enjoy conversation but even that can tire me out after awhile.

If I am not going to town, I will often leave my hearing aids out until it’s time for Papa Bear to return home. I’ve grown to like the muffled sound of my diminished hearing, although I am grateful for the high dollar hearing aids which make it possible for me to have conversations and hear the TV without maxing the volume.

There are some sounds that I cannot hear even with my hearing aids, like noises outside at night, but I’ve come to terms with that. As long as I can hear Papa Bear’s deep voice, and ocean waves I am fine.

For me, quiet is like being wrapped up in a soft, warm blanket… so much nicer than ever-present noise!

-JTS-