Friday, December 30, 2016

Let it Snow Dec 2016 #FunnyFriday

Today’s post is this 2016’s final Funny Friday. Funny Friday is a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then all participating bloggers write five captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.

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Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by Candice of Measurements of Merriment

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1. All these clothes... Snow better be worth it!

2. Go outside in the snow, they said. It will be fun, they said.

3. I envision her bundling up every day, and waiting by the window for the first snowfall, and being sad about the unusually warm weather.

4. Getting bundled up was so tiring. Just a quick nap, and then I will be ready for all things fun in the snow!!

5. If I get told we will go out in the snow in five more minutes, one more time, I will scream! Why am I the only one who appreciates the wonderfulness of snow!?!

My first thought was A Christmas Story!! Anyone else?!

This will most likely be my last blog post of 2016. I highly doubt I will be able to write another before Sunday. That being said, please know... We are once again teaming up with Karen of Baking in a Tornado, for another Progressive Story project!! Which I am excited about, and will be writing my part this weekend!! 

Now, 2016... What a tough year. I think for so many people, not just myself, this was a year of struggles and loss. It also had some happy moments, and for those I am grateful. Unfortunately, I feel like I watched huge chunks of my childhood die. People who helped entertain and teach and inspire me, during my youth, have all moved on to Heaven/the afterlife. I have even suffered some personal losses. It was just a hard year.

It was a year that has rocked my very foundation, and shattered some of the things I believed about this world and country. I am determined to go into 2017 with a positive outlook, and a positive hope for the future. I refuse to let the negativity of 2016 taint 2017. With any luck, 2017 will be a much better year for us all.

I want to thank each and every one of you for your support over this past year. For reading my blogs and interacting with me on my Facebook page. My hope is to make my blog better in 2017. I had started the process months ago, but 2016 got in the way. I hope to finish what I started in 2017, and create a better blog, with better content for your reading enjoyment. I want to put more of myself into this blog, and just make it better overall. 

I hope to continue interacting with y'all in 2017, and hopefully you will enjoy my posts throughout the upcoming year!! May you all have a blessed, prosperous, and joyful 2017!! May we all travel unscathed through the months of 2017, and enter into the following year better and wiser, for having lived through 2017!! 

Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile:

Friday, December 16, 2016

Stable Layne Pt 4 Dec 2016 #UseYourWords

Today’s post is this month's Use Your Words writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked four to six words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That is the challenge, here is a fun twist; no one who is participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:
Spirit ~ Holly ~ Friends ~ Artificial ~ Parties ~ Niece
They were submitted by: http://www.southernbellecharm. com (Thank you for the fabulous words, Minette!!)

Today's post is an installment of an ongoing story I have been writing. In case you have not read the first three parts, or you want to refresh your memory, the previous parts can be found using these links:

Layne was busy trying to get her house in pristine condition. Somehow, her sister Blayne had talked her into hosting this big shindig at her house. It did make some sense. Her house was actually slightly larger than Blayne's. Plus, at her house, there weren't toys everywhere. Though, her niece did have some toys at her house, definitely not as many as she had at her own home. Speaking of her niece, she needed to remember to ask her sister what she should get Marlee for Christmas. She was sure there was some super awesome toy that Marlee was really wanting. 

Layne finished draping the holly garland across the mantle, and turned back to the storage bin to retrieve the stocking hooks. She was really beginning to feel the Christmas Spirit. She had been worried that it would pass her by this year, but by some miracle it seemed to have decided to make itself at home in her heart. She was sure that it wasn't exactly a miracle, and more of a matter of Damon. Her second physical therapy session had been even better than the first, even though it had been hard, and definitely a workout as he had promised. 

Blayne had driven her to her appointment today, and they had made lots of plans for this weekend's shindig. So many plans, including using Layne's house, and ordering a bunch of holiday treats from Jules' bakery. Zayne was going to man the grill, Rayne and their mom were going to make a bunch of side dishes, Blayne was going to handle the appetizers, and they were going to have their friends bring the beverages. They were lucky, because even though it was December, the weather was still good enough here in California, to have a barbecue. Plus, and this was probably her favorite thing about living in California, she could wear flip flops all year long. Of course, she spent a lot of time in boots, but whenever she wasn't wearing boots, she was wearing flip flops.

Having finished decorating the mantle, she sat down in her recliner, and curled herself into a ball. She looked over at her Christmas tree, and a smile lit up her face. She had decorated, with her mom's help, last week. Much to her mom's dismay, she had decided to buy an artificial tree. They had always had real trees growing up, and after moving into her own home, she had continued the real tree tradition, but this year, she had decided to buy this gorgeous one she had seen on sale at K-Mart. It was seven feet tall, had both color lights and white lights, and it had various different settings for the lights. It was full and beautiful, and she thought it was perfect. Even her mom admitted it was really nice. She would have finished all the decorating that day, but somehow, Zayne had forgotten a few boxes of Christmas stuff up in the attic. She couldn't climb up the ladder herself, and she definitely wasn't going to have her sixty year old mom climb up. Thankfully, Blayne had gone up and gotten the boxes for her, after she brought her home from her therapy appointment earlier.

Therapy. She was going to like therapy, she could tell, and not just because the most gorgeous man ever was her therapist. Maybe it was because she had been immobile for so long, or maybe it was because of the fun exercises Damon had given her, but she really loved it. Her body felt good. She could feel her muscles gaining back strength. It was difficult, it was a huge challenge, and it hurt, but her body loved it. Of course, getting to look at a really good looking man the entire time was a nice bonus. 

Layne couldn't believe herself. She had literally never been this gaga over a guy before, not even Matt Damon. That is probably why she was nearly thirty-four years old, and still single. She had dated a few guys over the years, but she had never truly been in love with any of them. They had all been good looking, but none captivated her quite like Damon did. She really needed to get her thoughts sorted out, and her head screwed back on straight. She barely knew this guy, and he was her physical therapist. She needed to stop these thoughts before they even started. 

She began creating a to-do list in her head. She still needed to give her house a thorough cleaning. She needed to clean out her fridge and freezer, making room for food and drinks for the party. She had her second fridge delivered and put in her garage, but she hadn't actually plugged it in yet. She would need to do that later, and get Zayne to come over and hook up the ice maker. Her house was located about three quarters of a mile behind her parent's house. She had designed it herself. Zayne's construction company had built it, and Rayne had helped with the decor. She was happy she had added a mini kitchenette into the garage. The patio that was built off the side of the garage, that wrapped around to the back of the house, was perfect for parties, and the extra kitchen space was helpful for barbecues. 

Her family was always hosting parties. Many of them were held at her parent's house, here on their ranch, or at Blayne's home, which was on the neighboring ranch, her sister and her husband owned. Occasionally, Rayne or Zayne would host them, but not too often. Before having this house built, Layne had lived in a small rental house in town, so she had never hosted parties. So, really, this weekend's shindig would be her first official party. She was actually excited to have her family and friends over, and of course her siblings friends. The fact that it was Christmastime only added to the excitement.

The sound of her cell ringing broke through her thoughts. She picked it up and looked at the screen. A number she did not know was displayed on the screen. It was a local Oakdale number. She slid her finger across the screen, and held it to her ear. "Hello?!"

"Hello, Layne, I am sorry to bother you so late," came Damon's smooth voice, "but I was actually hoping to catch you before bed. This is Damon." 

"Oh, I am a night owl," Layne squeaked out, barely hiding her shock at this unexpected call. "What can I do for you?!"

"Good. I am glad I didn't wake you." Damon said, his voice sounding strong and sultry. "I know I had you schedule your next appointment for Monday, but I was actually hoping to work with you sooner than that. I am worried about letting your muscles have too long of a break, after just starting to get back into being actively used again."

"Oh," Layne replied, her voice barely hiding her excitement at the prospect of seeing him sooner than 10 am on Monday. "That would be fine. I am free all day tomorrow. Do you want me to call Melissa in the morning and set something up?"

"Well, I am actually working my full-time job tomorrow, so I am not seeing any patients. I was actually hoping to work with you on Saturday. I am free all day. It would be off the books, and I wouldn't charge you." Damon replied.

"Oh, I can't do it on Saturday," Layne replied, disappointment dampening her happy tone. "My sister actually talked me into hosting a barbecue at my house, and I will be setting up all morning, and the party will probably go until the evening. I am so sorry. Could we possibly do it on Sunday?"

"Oh," replied Damon, disappointment showing in his tone. "I work on Sunday as well. Saturday was my free day, and I had hoped you could fit a session in. Well, at least you will be getting some activity in preparing for the party. Just be careful. No lifting anything too heavy, and make sure you listen to your muscles and don't overdo it."

Layne couldn't help but laugh at his fatherly tone. "No worries there. I have been obeying Doc W's weight restrictions, and I haven't pushed myself, except for during our appointment earlier."

"I am happy to hear that," Damon replied, his voice still sounding slightly sad. "I know you want to get back on Stable as soon as possible, but it is best to take time, so that you are ready when that time comes. You don't want any more injuries to set you back further."

"That is very true. The last thing I want is to be banned from riding any longer than I need to be. Since you aren't working on Saturday, do you want to come over?" Layne said, her thoughts coming out of her mouth, before really thinking about what she was saying. "I mean, if you come earlier in the day, I am sure we can get some therapy in, and you could help me with the lifting that needs to be done for the party, and then you could just stay for the party."

Damon couldn't stop himself from smiling. Not only would he get to give her a few pointers he had wanted to give her, for some simple strengthening exercises she could do throughout the day, but he would get to see her in her own element, outside of the therapy room. "That sounds great! I have a few simple exercises I want to show you. I can easily show them to you, while we set up for the party. As for staying for the party, I never turn down some good barbecue. Do you need me to bring anything?"

Layne was slightly in panic mode. She could not believe she had just invited Mr. Gorgeous to her house, plus she was truly doomed. Her sisters and brother would take one look at her and how she acted around Damon, and they would know she was attracted to him. She would literally never hear the end of it. There was nothing she could do now. The invite had been issued and accepted. Plus, whether she wanted to admit it or not, she was actually excited at the prospect of seeing him outside of physical therapy. 

"Well, we have the bases covered," she replied. "You are welcome to bring anything you want to drink. If you want to bring some two liters or a twelve pack of soda, that would be awesome. I do have a decently stocked bar, but if you wanted to bring any special liquor or beer that you like, that would be cool as well. Of course, you are also welcome to bring your girlfriend or a friend."

"Well," Damon replied, the sultry tone having returned to his voice. "I am single, so no girlfriend to bring. I may bring my roommate. He could use a night out. If that is cool, of course. I am not a big drinker, but I will definitely bring some sodas! What time should I come over?"

Layne could barely hide her excitement. He was single. He was available. "Well, the party starts at one, but I need to get the patio set up. I have everything in the garage right now, because of all the rain we have been having. So, if you could get here around ten, that would be awesome. We would have plenty of time to set up and get some therapy done."

"That sounds perfect." Damon said, his tone barely hiding the excitement he was feeling. "My number should have come up on your phone. Think you could text me your address?"

"That is definitely something I can manage," Layne said, a smile bigger than her brother's head lighting up her face.

"Sounds good," Damon said. "I will see you then."

"See you then," Layne said. 

She ended the call and jumped up to do a happy dance, but quickly sat back down. Her leg wasn't quite ready for jumping and happy dances. She began rubbing her thigh and calf, her thoughts racing at all she needed to do to prepare for seeing Damon on Saturday.

(To be continued.....)

Here are the links to the other “Use Your Words” posts. I will meet you there!

Southern Belle Charm            

Friday, December 9, 2016

Pants on Fire Dec 2016 #SecretSubjectSwap

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week thirteen brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:
Do you ever lie?  If so, does it bother you or do you feel justified?
It was submitted by: (Thank you for the fabulous prompt!!)

I think I would be lying, if I said I never lie, but it wouldn't be the biggest lie ever told. The truth is, I hate lying and liars, and I do my very best to never lie. I have been lied to a lot over the years, mostly by the very people who should never lie to me, and it really taught me the consequences of lying. I hate it. So, I avoid it at all costs. People who know me well, often tell me I am too honest. I tend to agree. Sometimes the truth gets me into trouble and uncomfortable situations, but I would rather that than the consequences of lying.

Plus, let's be honest, my memory sucks. I cannot even imagine how hard it would be to keep track of lies. It sounds like a whole lot of work, and I am kinda lazy. I am currently lying to Gigi, and it is hard. I am teaching her about Santa. I was very on the fence. I wanted to tell her the truth, just like my father did, when I was little, but at the same time, I want her to enjoy the magic of Christmas. So, yes, I am lying to her. I am so nervous. I am a horrible liar, another reason I avoid it, and I keep thinking she is going to see right through me. Plus, since I never believed in Santa, and always knew the truth, I am struggling as to how to get to her believe. I am doing my best. It has been an adventure. 

I am so very honest, even with Gigi, and that is why at three years old, she already has an idea about death. Not the full-blown negativity of death, but the basic concept. She also knows about cancer. She knows Nana Rosemary has breast cancer, and is fighting a tough battle. She knows Nana Cici has Leukemia, and it also working hard to stay well. For a brief moment, I considered lying to her, but I just couldn't. So, I simplified the truth into words she could understand, and she handled it well. 

I am very much a fan of that belief that the truth sets you free. It allows you a freedom, that lies steal away. It enables you to maintain your integrity and to suffer for a shorter time, usually. Yes, sometimes the truth hurts, and its impact is felt for long periods. Even then, I think the truth is best.

I am so very honest, that I live my life hoping people never ask certain questions. I won't lie, and some truths I would rather most people not know. I am very careful with what information I let out into the world, and with whom I share it, but at the end of the day, if asked directly, anyone could get any information from me. I decided long ago, I would not be a liar like a few people in my life. Their lies have hurt me deeply, and I refuse to do the same to others. 

So, yes, I lie. Very rarely. Usually about silly things like Santa or the tooth fairy. The majority of the lies I tell, are actually other people's lies, that I am back into a corner, and for their protection, I have to continue on the lie. I hate it. I absolutely HATE it. I do not like to lie, not even about Santa. In recent months, I got caught up into some one's extreme web of lies. I backed up the lies they were telling... partially because I wanted to protect them, and partially because I had been lied to also, and did not realize it. This experience really changed something within me. Going forward, I will not be helping to maintain people's lies. I will be telling them upfront, I will not be part of their lies. It just isn't how I wish to live my life.

I guess what you can really take from this... If I tell you that you are beautiful, look fabulous, your food is delicious, or any other compliment... You can believe it. 

What about you? Are your pants on fire?

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Songs of Christmas #TopTenThursday

Welcome to this week's Top Ten Thursday. In case you are new around here,  this is a weekly post,  hosted by the fabulous Tamara of Confessions of a part-time working mom. We all get together and create a weekly top ten list,  based on a chosen topic. This week,  we are revealing our Top Ten Christmas Songs.

I have participated in quite a few of these Top Ten Thursday,  but if you follow my blog and Facebook page,  you know I have not been feeling my best lately,  and writing has not been happening much.  I actually have lists for all the weeks I missed,  and I may share them all in a post soon.  I am still not feeling my best,  so for now,  I just want to focus on this week's list.

Are you a fan of Christmas music? I feel like,  for the most part,  either you love it or you hate it.  I do not know too many people that tow the middle line.  I fall under those who love Christmas music.  In fact,  I often catch myself singing certain songs all year long.  What can I say?! Most Christmas songs are catchy,  and it is catchy songs that tend to pop into my mind,  when I am singing in the shower or car or while cleaning.

Okay, now let's get down to the task at hand...  My Top Ten Christmas Songs...

1. "The Little Drummer Boy".  This is hands down my favorite.  Ever.  I think it became my favorite when I was about four years old,  and no other song has ever dethroned it.  It reigns Supreme.  I love it.  I love the lyrics.  I love the music.  I love love love love it.  I think when I was four,  I was drawn to it for two main reasons....  1. I dreamed of being a drummer.  2. I felt like I really did not have much to offer God or Jesus,  but knowing that they will appreciate anything I can give,  and want to give,  always filled me with an overwhelming sense of love and hope.  So,  yeah,  if you don't like it,  I strongly recommend listening to it again. It is the best.

2. "The Chipmunk Song".  Oh how I love this song.  I still get excited when it comes on,  and I am nearly 35 years old.  I get giddy,  and love singing along.  As a young kid,  I was kinda obsessed with the Chipmunks,  so I think it was just a given that I would love this song.  Plus,  overall, it is just a really fun song,  and I love fun songs.

3. "Silent Night".  Oh how I love thee.  This song soothes me.  It fills my heart with love and my mind with peace. I am pretty sure this song will remain a favorite for my entire life.  End of story.  It has wonderful lyrics and the music is lovely.

4. "Away in a Manger".  I think the reason I fell in love with this one,  is because I love the story of Jesus and his humble beginning.  He was quite honestly,  one of the most important humans ever,  and he was born in a barn,  and did not have a "real"  bed. This song has just always been a symbol of the true meaning of Christmas, and I just love it.

5. "Mary Did You Know".  What can I say?  I just love it.  The lyrics.  The music.  It is all lovely.  I have always wondered about Mary.  What it would have been like to be her.  What she felt.  What she thought.  What she endured. How she felt about it all.  So,  the very first time I heard this song,  I fell in love.

6. "Pretty Paper",  specifically when sung my Willie Nelson.  Oh my gosh.  Love love love love.  This song is fabulous,  and Willie is fabulous,  and together it is a winning combination. Christmas is not Christmas,  unless I have listened to this song at least ten times.

7. "O Holy Night". Another lovely song,  full of peace and hope.  I just love it. This is one of the ones I tend to see all throughout the year.  Never know when it will just pop into my head,  and I will start singing it.

8. "Carol of the Bells". I think this one goes without saying eh? It is just one of those songs that helps make Christmas feel like Christmas. I absolutely love it.  This is one that I pretty much love every single version of it.  Some others,  I definitely have preferences of the artists I like to hear sing them.  This one is just one that I love,  no matter the version.  I am sure it is possible that a version I don't like exists, I just haven't heard it yet.

9. "Happy Xmas (War is Over)". This is the latest edition to my list.  Most of my songs,  I have loved since childhood.  This song, I feel in love with it the first time I heard it,  but that was not until I was a teenager in high school.  One of my dormmates sang it for me.  I instantly loved it,  and requested for her to sing it,  as often as possible.  To this day,  it is still one of my favorite ones.

10. "Christmas Shoes". Have you heard this one? Did you listen to it without crying? Probably not.  I know it makes me cry,  and I have heard it so many times.  There are songs I probably enjoy more, but this one made the cut,  because it is always a reminder to me of the important things in life.  It always reminds to be genuinely grateful,  and to know that no matter how bad it is,  it could be worse,  and it will be better.

Now,  I have a few songs I need to mention.  The first two are not technically Christmas songs, so I felt I probably should not put them on the list,  even though they are most definitely FAVORITE songs of mine,  especially during the Christmas season...  1. "Silver and Gold"  by Dolly Parton.  Please,  do not confuse this with her song about ribbons and bells,  that is obviously a Christmas song.  This is a lesser known song of hers, that is actually one of my most favorite songs EVER. This song fills me all the love and hope and compassion needed during the Christmas season.  In fact,  if I am shopping or just out this time of year,  and people's poor behavior begins to get me grumpy,  I hum this song internally.  2. "Angels Among Us"  by Alabama. This song.  All the feels. There truly are wonderful people in this world,  and this time of year tends to bring them out into plain sight.  I seek this song out,  whenever I am listening to Christmas songs.  It has become a tradition for me.  3. "Do They Know It's Christmas". Have you heard this?  Listen to it.  I think you will thank me later.

So,  there you have it.  My Top Ten Christmas Songs,  with a few extras. Did any of your favorites make my list?  Any songs you think I am crazy for not including?

Don't forget to check out the other top ten lists featuring their Top Ten Christmas Songs!

Tamara of Confessions of a part-time working mom


Welcome to June's Blog with Friends!! Each month a theme is chosen and then participating bloggers use the theme, to create their own un...