Exceed the Numbers

One of the amazing bloggers I follow, Penny Wilson Writes, hosted a blogging challenge for January. She asked anyone who wanted to join to choose the number of posts they wanted to do for the month, and at the end of each week, she did a recap of all the contributions for that week.

My normal goal for this blog is to write one post per week, mainly because I work full time, have a bunch of different projects in the air all the time, and I want it to continue to remain fun. I will post more if my muse starts to nag, as long as I get at least one, usually on Saturday. I randomly chose to commit to 10 posts for January. More than a typical month, but not an outlandish amount either. I was afraid if I aimed too high I’d never reach it since I also adding a class starting January 10th to an already full schedule.

Surprisingly enough, this is my 23rd blog for the month! It’s been a fun ride with a wide variety of styles and subjects, thanks to some amazingly fun daily prompts from Linda G. Hill, Ragtag Daily Prompt, as well as Sadje’s What Do You See weekly prompt, in addition to my own muse throwing whatever randomness she wants into the mix. If you don’t already follow these fantastic blogs too, click the links to check them out! As for me, thanks for following and reading, I treasure your comments and enjoy the daily interactions with some of you at ‘your place or mine’. Who knows what February brings, or what the cold winter wind will blow my muse’s way…but I’ll enjoy the adventure, and I hope you will too! 💞

Written to wrap up January with Linda G. Hill’s Daily Prompt JusJoJan the 31st, 2023 – Write, and Penny Wilson Writes Name Your Number Writing Challenge.

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Whispered Warning

Weather changes 
Storm is nigh 
I stop to watch 
The birds fly by 

See them gather 
Hear them sing 
Flit here and there 
On agile wings 

How is it that 
They always know 
To eat their fill 
‘Fore rain or snow? 

Does wind whisper 
In their ear 
Warnings only 
Birds can hear? 
This is blog #21 for Penny Wilson Writes Name Your Number Writing Challenge

Tilt!

I’ve had it. I’ve hit “TILT”. If one more person needs another piece of me, I’m going to throw in the towel, dive under the covers, and bury my head under the pillow. Have you ever been pulled in so many different directions, you feel like your head is going to burst? I’ve hit the tipping point. Thank God it’s Saturday, critters are all fed, and I can turn off notifications, mute the phone, soak up the silence of my home, and curl up around a pot of coffee and just be. How do you reset and recharge when you hit TILT?

Written for Ragtag Daily Prompt’s RDP Saturday: Burst, Linda G. Hill’s #SoCS & #JusJoJan 2023 Daily Prompt – Jan. 28th “Throw in the towel”, is blog #20 for Penny Wilson Writes Name Your Number Writing Challenge, and simply to let out a little steam before I DO burst!

Plant A Dream

For ten years George and Irma had been covering their land with apple trees. Thank goodness these were the last, they weren’t as spry as they used to be.

“When are Jacob and Lisa coming?” George asked.

“Next week.” Irma replied. “You doing okay?”

“We knew when we started planting we’d never see the full harvest. At least we have this summer to teach them the secrets of the orchard, and they can help us pack up the house. I hadn’t planned on this cancer spreading so fast, but at least we were able to give them their dream.”

Written for the Carrot Hill Ranch’s January 23 Story Challenge in 99 Words (Prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that is optimistic) and is blog #19 for Penny Wilson Writes Name Your Number Writing Challenge.

New Addition

If you read my last post, Step Out, the pictures above are the result of me stepping out of my comfort zone today. Meet the newest furry member of my family, Phoenix! At least that’s the name the rescue gave him, time will tell if we stick with that or not. I don’t think he cares much, since he can’t hear very well.

This is not my first experience with adopting a senior pet. All of my animals except Angel have been rescues and I inherited her instead. So bringing in adult furkids and integrating them into the house isn’t anything new. However, after my last dog passed, it has just been the cats, Daisy, and I. We’d settled into a routine we all know and rely on. When I got the word that Phoenix was needing a home I had to consider how much things would change. My first concern was my existing pets, especially since some dogs are not cat friendly. Phoenix did fine with the ones in rescue, so we cleared that hurdle. He already was tugging at my heartstrings, so next up was to meet him in person, to see if he was okay with me, and if he and Daisy got along.

In order to meet and adopt him, I had to step even further out of my comfort zone. I am ill at ease in crowds of people, uncomfortable in the city and dislike driving in them even more. The place I had to go was in a neighboring state that I visit very rarely, two hours away. There were a few routes I could take to get there, the quickest and most direct involved freeway interchanges on the outskirts of a large city and international airport. I am very grateful for the disembodied GPS voice that took me straight to my destination, and then home by a different route to avoid an accident that had occurred.

After two days of worry and stressing to make sure I had everything I needed for the trip, it went off without a hitch. The city didn’t eat me alive and I didn’t end up anywhere scary, nor did I get lost. I was ever so grateful to get back to familiar roads and my small town but things aren’t back to normal yet,

Phoenix is quite stressed and has no idea what is going on. A thirteen year old dog should not have to adjust to a new home and new way of life, but it happens too often for many different reasons. So, we are learning each other. What our signals are for each other, what is allowed (and what is not), which of the cats will tolerate being sniffed (and which ones won’t), and just how ‘friendly’ a frisky male can get with Daisy before she threatens to eat their face. It will take time, but we will find our new normal and settle back into the comfort of the familiar.

As the saying by Neale Donald Walsch says, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. My life may not have begun today by stepping out of my comfort zone, but a new chapter was opened in all of our lives, especially for Phoenix. Where are you being called to step out of yours?

This is blog #18 for Penny Wilson Writes Name Your Number Writing Challenge

Step Out

Stepping out of your comfort zone can be as hard at times as scaling a mountain. Traveling, learning something new, changing jobs, forming relationships…whatever it is that makes you want to crawl back into the comfort of the familiar and stay there is what I’m talking about.

I’m preparing to step out of mine tomorrow and I hope to be able to share the tale this weekend. But for now, I’m stuck in preparation mode. All the ‘what ifs’ have haunted my every thought like a nervous ghost for the last few days. It would be so much easier to stay in my comfort zone where the unknowns are few. I know what to expect, I have most things I need close at hand, and my support system is nearby as well. But at what cost? When does the comfort zone become a prison, keeping you from reaching what is meant for you?

Today I’ll help keep that phantom companion quiet by making lists and gathering everything I might need “just in case”. Early tomorrow morning my canine co-pilot and I will load an unfamiliar address into the GPS and head out for a 4-5 hour road trip that includes the city driving which I dread. I pray the trip goes smoothly and that my next post will be a success story regaling our adventure.

Written for Linda G. Hill’s Daily Prompt JusJoJan the 20th, 2023 – Phantom, Ragtag Daily Prompt Friday – Mountain, and is blog #17 for Penny Wilson Writes Name Your Number Writing Challenge

Not Disposable

If you listen to The Minimalists’ Podcast, you’ve heard, “Love people and use things because the opposite never works,” which they use to sign off every episode. This catch-phrase evolved from a quote from Fulton J. Sheen, circa 1925, who first said, “You must remember to love people and use things, rather than to love things and use people.”

How many people in this world today live this in reverse? They step all over others, use their friends and family, and fight so hard for the almighty dollar just to chase the latest ‘shiny thing’. All too soon there is something else they just must have, so they drop everything to run after that too. After scrolling through social media this morning, one of my biggest complaints is how disposable our society has become, not only with possessions but people as well.

Its one thing to discard a perfectly good car, computer, or device simply because a new version is now available. People are NOT disposable. (Neither are animals, but that’s a topic for another day)
Through life you will have friendships that will fade. Some people are placed in your life for a season or a reason. There are times when you discover your new relationship is toxic. It is healthy and necessary to walk (or RUN) away from these people. What I’m referring to is dropping friends who have stuck with you through the hard times simply to pursue a new relationship. Turning your back on the family who has supported you through your struggles once you’ve gotten successful. Walking out of a marriage because you find it needs work. The grass is not always greener…if you don’t water it on the other side of the fence, it will die there as well.

Treasure the people in life that care for what comes their way. They work hard for what they have and value it. When a rough patch arises in a relationship, they work together on a solution. If more people subscribed to this school of thought, how much better would the world be for all of us?

Written for Linda G. Hill’s Daily Prompt JusJoJan the 19th, 2023 – Complaint, Ragtag Daily Prompt Thursday – Disposable, and is blog #16 for Penny Wilson Writes Name Your Number Writing Challenge

Monkey Business

“Hey Mom! Guess what?” Tina yelled.
“I’m in the kitchen honey, what’s up?”
Tina skipped to the table and flopped into her chair. “I got hyphenated today!”
“Hyphenated? Like your name?” Mom set a peanut butter sandwich on the table and sat across from her. “How, Tina-Marina?”
Tina eagerly took a bite and continued. “No, don’t be silly.” She laughed. “We had a hippie at school, and he asked for volunteers to be hyphenated. I got picked!” She slurped her milk. “I was sad because he picked David first, but after he was done acting like a dog, I raised my hand and thought optivly like you’ve taught me, and I got to go!
Mom stared at her for a moment to decipher the flow of words. “I’m glad you are practicing positive thinking honey, and admire your optimism, but I’m not sure I understand. You had a visitor at school today?”
“Yup! A hippie! He picked two volunteers to be hyphenated. David got to be a dog and guess what? I got to be a monkey!” Another slurp of milk to wash down the peanut butter and she rushed on. “I wasn’t sleeping, but it felt like I was dreaming. I ran around the front of the class making monkey sounds, but the hippie woke me up before I jumped off the teachers desk. I just wanted to swing from the flag like a real monkey does from vines, but he didn’t let me.” She pouted. “Anyway, it was fun! Have you ever been hyphenated?”
Understanding dawned, “Do you mean you had a hypnotist visit your class today?”
“Yeah, a hippie!” Tina chirped. “Have you?”
“No, honey, I’ve never been hypnotized. Sounds like you had a fun day.” Mom smiled and stood. “Finish your snack and then start your homework. I’m going to step in the other room and make a phone call.” She muttered as she dialed, “I need to have a little chat with your teacher.”

Written for Linda G. Hill’s JusJoJan the 16th, 2023 – Optimism and JusJoJan the 17th, 2023 – Hyphenated, Lady Jabberwocky’s Prompt of the Week – Dream, and is blog #15 for Penny Wilson Writes Name Your Number Writing Challenge

Attitude of Gratitude

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Practice an attitude of gratitude”. Besides being a catchy rhyme, it truly is sound advice. I’ve noticed the more I give thanks for even the smallest things in life, the more I find to be grateful for.

One morning over the holidays, I woke with my thanks overflowing. I started singing the Doxology hymn and discovered a wonderful way to start the day. A different morning, I dragged my self out of bed. Dreary weather, dreary mood, and couldn’t find ‘a wanna’ for the life of me. I made a choice to sing the Doxology anyway and find one thing to be grateful for. I just happened to give thanks that the cat puke was on the tile and not the carpet…but that’s life with pets.

I can’t say that it was a miraculous turn around in my mood, but what I can tell you is that small shift did make a difference. Instead of wallowing in my ‘don’t wannas’, I was able to see more things to be grateful for. A reliable vehicle, a good job, the sun coming up even if it was hiding behind heavy clouds, plows that kept the roads passable, a smile from a stranger, a message from a friend. The more you give thanks, the more reasons you can find to give it…even if it is just where the mess you get to clean up is located.

What small thing can you be grateful for today?

Written for Linda G. Hill’s JusJoJan the 15th, 2023 – Gratitude and is blog #14 for Penny Wilson Writes Name Your Number Writing Challenge