catnipoflife

Observe life at its best, listen to life’s songs, embrace life’s bounties, breathe the breath of life and savor life to its fullest!

Versatile Blogger Award Thank You

VersatileBloggerWith personal issues taking precedence over the last few weeks, I have found myself a bit behind in email correspondence and blogging. What a surprise to receive a Versatile Blogger Award nomination from The London Flower Lover! Sorry I have not responded sooner but circumstances placed such attentions on the back burner. Many heartfelt thanks are extended for the nomination:) Just knowing the hearts and minds of fellow bloggers have been touched by catnip’s offerings is reward enough.

Now, on to the task at hand! It is my responsibility to enlighten the blogging world with

1) Seven (7) things about me that you did not know.

2.) Nominate 15 other bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award and tell them so they can pass the love on and on and on and on.

Seven things you did not know about me. . .

1. I am a many years past Weight Watchers makeover: an event that greatly changed my life. Having always been overweight I carried a lot of painful childhood memories well into adulthood. A shift in dress size 18 to size 4 truly made a difference both mentally and physically.

2. My husband (Jim) and I reared four children – one boy and three girls. We had each experienced a trumatic earlier marriage that eventually led us to taking on the responsibility of all four children. He had custody of his two daughters and I had a son and a daughter. None of the children had experienced a good family relationship until we were all brought together through God’s blessing.

3. Jim and I both worked for the railroad industry. He was trainmaster (Southern Railway and ASAB Railway) and I was Freight Agent (ASAB Railway). Our first ‘real’ kiss was in a railroad yard!

4. Prior to meeting Jim, I did my tour of duty in snow country, Oldstead Falls, Ohio. I enjoyed teaching in a middle school but found my students more mesmerized with my Southern accent than in learning. Glad for the experience but was happy to return to my southern roots!

5. At the age of 40, I was in the Top Ten for Mrs. Florida. Average age was 23! Having only been married two years at the time, I failed to answer the question what aggravated me the most about my husband. Oh! To be asked that question now! Just kidding:) Of course, what they wanted was something humorous and I took the question literally.

6. I love to cook. My husband loves to cook. We love to cook together:) Food fight!!!

7. Growing up I was very quiet and shy, truly introverted. Then, I met Jim. . .life was never the same and I would not trade it for the world!

My nominations for the Versatile Blogger Award. . .

Being a relatively new blogger (since November 2011), fifteen may be a difficult task, but here goes. These are the ones that have been my inspiration in one way or another. BTW Who on earth came up with the magic number of 15?!.

Specializing in the Impossible. . . Laura Johnson
Laura enlightens her readers with her love of tackling the impossible! She definitely will show you faith is a good thing!!

Goals, Dreams, and Aspirations. . . Claire Cappetta
Claire exposes her heart and soul in a manner than not only reflects her own real-life experiences but ways to help others through truly traumatic times.

A Taste of Bliss. . . Wendell A. Brown
Wendell, aka The Brown Poet, writes poetry from the heart with God’s blessing: True inspiration not only from the heart but the soul!

Fairycart. . . Jenny Park
Jenny presents an unusual blog about fashion and food from different parts of the globe.

Fighting the Devil. . . Jeannie Walker
Jeannie Walker is an award winning true crime author. Fighting the Devil is the true story of one woman’s determination to see justice done.

Magic in the Backyard. . . Kellie Elmore.
Kellie presents a different kind of poetic writing that takes you back to days when magic truly existed in the backyard. Perhaps, it still does.

Daily Spiritual Tools. . . Sherry Woodcock
Where would we be without daily uplifting to guide us through the events of a seemingly world gone mad? Sherry’s latest posting Sacred Longing focuses on that deep, persistent need to know the presence of God within us and in all things.

A Hairdresser’s Diaries. . .Christine Hannon
Christine’s, aka sassiecercie, story is one of survival yet interlaced with moments, as she puts it, that will tickle your funny bone while she shares stories, jokes, embarrassing moments, poems and friendship.PhotoBotos. . . Charlie and Tom
Travel the earth through the camera lens of featured photographers. Enjoy an amazing photo every day.

Christina Li Books. . . Christina Li
Christina introduces herself as an author in the trenches. Her posts offer writing tips, encouragement, and humor. May you NEVER have a jellyfish bad day – posted under Humor: A REALLY bad day at work!

GREATPOETRYMHF’S Weblog. . . MaryHelen Ferris
Ah-h-h! The beauty of music, poetry and photography all in one blog! As MaryHelen so graciously puts it, Opening of Soul in poetry.

Darby’s Story and More. . . Martha Steward
Are you a lover of animals? Then, this is the blog for you: Inspiring stories of an adopted dog and a tailless cat. Darby’s Story and Bangle Bear are A Mom’s Choice Awards Silver Recipient.

Potato Chip Cats. . . Megan Cronin
“Cats are like potato chips. You can’t have just one.” Megan’s blog is not just about cats. Her motto is changing the world one giveaway at a time!

Terry’s Thoughts and Threads. . . Terry Palardy
Terry offers a avenue for discussion of books you’ve read, books you’ve written and want to share.

KidsCanDoIt!. . . Sandra McLeod Humphrey
Dare to Dream Big! This multi-award-winning author’s books are not just for kids.

Aspire. Motivate. Succeed!. . . AMS Daily Contributors
Great place for your daily dose of inspiration! Stop by for a visit and feed your soul.

WHEW! That’s it! I invite and encourage you to visit these amazing blogs. Within each is a reward of its own, perhaps your inspiration for tomorrow:)

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Personal Reflection: The Teardrop

hospitalteddybearWhen a loved one is ‘out of sorts’ so to speak, all energies go toward making that one special person feel as comfortable as possible – spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally. While endeavoring to meet all of the daily demands and maintain sanity, thoughts of one’s self seem to somehow become insignificant yet that ability to sustain self does not go unnoticed.

This hit me right between the eyes during my stay in the hospital with my husband. He had already been in our small town hospital for almost a week. The chair that did pull out into a small cot offered little or no comfort other than providing me the time and place to be beside him during his most uncomfortable and painful moments. Then, he was transported to a different hospital and to both our surprise was placed in CCU. Of couse, that meant no cot for the night! Thus, the 80-mile round trip landed me home well after midnight. Fortunately, the next day he was transferred to a private room. Problem was it was a very small room and they had to bring in a recliner for him to sleep since he could not lie in the bed account of breathing issues. Therefore, another 80-mile round trip was in the making.

It was the following morning that weakened my knees and brought tears to my eyes. Upon arriving in his room, he commenced to tell me this story. Remember, he is very weak and his mental faculties are not in perfect order because of so much trauma.

dozenroses

“Sweetheart,” he said, ” I tried my best to have roses in the room for you. I wanted them here as soon as you arrived. The nurse just would not cooperate.”

“Roses? For me?” I said quizzically. “I should be sending you flowers. You are the one in the hospital. Don’t be silly,” I smiled.

“No, you don’t understand. I wanted YOU to have the roses for all you have done to take care of me. You are the deserving one, not me,” he replied in a very serious tone. “I asked the nurse to call a taxi and have the driver come up to the room. I was going to ask him to go to the florist and come back with a dozen roses. She laughed at me and said that was against hospital policy. I argued, she won and walked out,” he said poutingly.

I gently kissed him as a teardrop fell softly on his cheek.

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Keep the Change

Have you created a positive ripple effect of kindness lately? Here is a cue:

No matter the location – restaurant, convenience store, shopping mall, gas station, coffee shop, etc. – tell the clerk to keep the change for someone who comes in that might need it:>)

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Life IS a Bed of Roses

Roses and Thorns @amritham99@wordpress.com Click the rose. . .

We have all heard the expression “a rose is a rose…” Knowledge of this sentiment may be attributed to its reference in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (1564-1616), the poem Sacred Emily by Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) or The Rose Family by Robert Frost (1874-1963). Each of these famous poetic encounters focuses on the softness and loveliness of what we have come to know as the rose. Would a rose by any other name still be a rose? Of course, it would be the same flower only its name would be different. Now, that brings a strange thought to mind: If the rose had been named ‘dandelion’ from its inception, then a dozen dandelions would be the perfect affirmation of love!

Let’s get back to the rose as we know it: Showy clusters of big, cherry, ruffled petals emanating a slight spicy fragrance. Oh, but don’t stop there for with the rose’s flowery essence is its accompanying thorny stem. Um-m-m? With that, another thought enters the mind in the form of a question: Have you ever heard anyone exclaim, “Wow! Those are great thorns on that rose. I’ll take a dozen.”? Sounds silly, doesn’t it? Of course it does. Yet, the statement “life is NOT a bed of roses” falls into a similar category and has been around a long, long time. Its meaning is based solely upon the perception of the rose’s soft, velvety petals and sweet succulent aroma that can calm the most brutal of stormy encounters.Perhaps we should give this ‘rosy’ situation a little deeper thought. If we lie upon a bed of roses, will only its velvety touch prevail? Probably not unless we lie only upon the petals of the rose. Maybe we should say, “Life is NOT a bed of rose petals.” Seems more appropriate. Um-m-m-m? Let’s see. Remember, we have those prickly thorns to consider.

Let’s continue with thoughts as questions. Is life, in and out of love, always protected? Do we continuously experience love and compassion with only a mere thought or desire within a magic touch? Are all thoughts of hurt and sadness abandoned with blissful events filling the cracks and crevices of our mind? Does rain bring forth showers of refreshment without any possibility of a stormy outcome? If wishes were automatically granted, would life, love and happiness include extravagance without times of despair? Such thoughts shed a different light on whether life might indeed be a bed of roses! For me, life IS a bed of roses and I thank my mom and dad for preparing me for life’s many thorns and instilling in me the importance of perseverance.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree on this profound theory of life among the roses? After reading bed of roses, share your thoughts on this thorny matter. . .

Photo Credit: 123Greetings.com

“With the beauty of the rose comes its thorny stem.
Life captures the essence of the rose for it too is beautiful
but filled with many thorns.”

bed of roses

dewdrops glisten in the morning light
gently resting on the petals of a rose
a sunbeam reveals a dark shade of green
while a mild fragrance permeates the nose

swift movements,smooth clips with the blade
the perfect long stems are carefully sought
elated with the feeling of surprising a true love
a thorny prick awakens a dreamy thought

throbbing sensations snap the mind back to reality
for love is rare that does not inflict pain
enduring heartaches,harnessing desires
genuine and caring,until all is well again

red roses symbolize passionate love
those that are yellow keep hearts bright as day
talismans hold dreams of tomorrow
while the white embellish true love all the way

so, my love, keep these roses close to your heart
protected and secure with love’s seal
for life is a bed of roses,full of many thorns
sharp,cutting,but not without the power to heal

©2004 Echoes
Sharla Lee Shults

“But he who dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose.”
~ Anne Brontë

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Inspiration Beyond Measure

This time the inspiration follows Awakenings from Then ’til Now. I invite you to read Without Regret or view the video clip The Final Inspection. Let us never forget the sacrifices made by the armed forces of the United States. If it weren’t for the United States military, there would be NO United States of America.

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Free Write Friday #1: Inspiration continues. . .Magic!

A couple of weeks ago I published a post titled Inspiration. . . Of course, inspiration is not a one-time event but is ongoing on a daily, perhaps even hourly or minute-by-minute, basis. As a writer, I am constantly seeking avenues that say, “Hey, write about me! I can lift someone spirits today!” Often times deep concentration does not befall a smile. Then, a whisper may fall softly on my ear suddenly turning a frown upside down!

What or who touches your inner self? For me, of late it has been the writings of Kellie Elmore. Kellie is a very unique writer and draws her readers toward her Magic in the Backyard. When I first ‘met’ Kellie, her words were my thoughts! The more I read the more I could ‘see’ her, ‘hear’ her and ‘feel’ her emotion as she penned her thoughts to paper. When I read about her contest (Free Write Friday), needless to say, I knew I had to participate. Not so much for the winning (which I would be lying if I did not say I would love to win) but more for the opportunity to share with her what she has unbeknowingly shared with me: Inspiration. Therefore, I posted to her blogsite Summer Rain with memories of backyard experiences as a child. Then, I started thinking – Um-m-m-m? I did not completely follow her prompt.

Even though this is Sunday, not Friday, I am sure she won’t mind my sharing additional thoughts on her new book, Magic in the Backyard. Going back to the contest, its theme was to use her book cover to create a “Look Inside This Book” as part of her celebration toward its release. [I tried to upload a picture of the cover but finally gave up after multiple attempts:( However, I was able to provide a link to the words book cover :) that turned a frown upside down!]

Even though it is a couple of days later, this is to you, Kellie, My Magic in the Backyard. . .

KellieElmore’sMagic

The backyard is quiet
Now that we are alone
The kids are all grown up
Moved out, on their own

Days are lingering
Night much too long it seems
Laughter in the backyard
Only in our dreams

Memories are lasting
Childhood I reminisce
Barren trees silhouette
Times ne’er gone amiss

Twilight’s silver lining
Backdrop of the ol’ elm
Renders time motionless
Poised in a magical realm

Wispy, melancholy thoughts
Shift back and forth in my mind
Visions of that old spare tire
Swinging to the rhythm of time

©catnipoflife 2012
Sharla Lee Shults

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Thoughts on the Easter Lily

Sometimes we ponder and ponder in hopes of eventually mustering the right words to tender an emotion, offer inspiration or purpose newfound knowledge. That is exactly where I found myself today as thoughts were enveloped in the “spiritual essence of Easter.”

Ah-h-h-h! The wonders of the Internet directed my fingers toward exploring its limitless boundaries in search of something overpowering. Webcrawlers fetched page after page delivering data, information, pictures, videos, etc.  At the end of the day, a plethora of windows had opened stroking my heartstrings with sights and sounds of wonder and passion. For every time a window opened a new window was discovered that led to another window and . . . Oh, my! Sounds like something venomous caught in a silky web waiting to be a tasty appetizer while life begins to ebb! Doesn’t it?

Needless to say, my efforts were not in vain. The words of my heart had already been written and laid to rest upon the sands of time to be revisited and never forgotten. Now, I share with you, my readers and followers, what thoughts I discovered on the Easter Lily. . .

Thoughts on the Easter Lily

“Rightly the lily is the flower of Easter. It lies buried in the ooze of pond or stream. There is  the grave of the dead lily that appeals to nostril or eye. But silently the forces of life are  dark and the damp to prepare a glorious resurrection. A shaft of green shoots upward toward the sun. This is followed by a cluster of tiny buds. One day the sun smiles with special warmth upon the dank, black ooze, and there leaps into the light a creature of light and beauty; it is the lily, an angel of the earth, whose look is light.”

—Author Unknown

Blooming of Easter Lilies

Having become totally absorbed in the thoughts on the Easter lily, click the video clip to the right and witness a time lapse of the Blooming of Easter Lilies.

History of the Easter Lily

How did the lily come to grace the fields of America? The cultivation of lilies did not originate in the United States for the lily is a native of Japan. History reveals the account of a WW I soldier, Luis Houghton, bringing a suitcase full of hybrid lily bulbs to the South coast of Oregon in 1919. Houghton freely distributed bulbs to his friends and neighbors. Because of the events of WW II, the Japanese source of bulbs was abruptly cut off. Therefore, those growing lilies as a hobby noted the value of lily bulbs sky-rocketing and many decided to go into business on their own. At that time, Easter lily bulbs were known as “White Gold,” resulting in cultivators attempting to cash in on the crop. By 1945, there were about 1,200 growers producing bulbs up and down the Pacific coast, from Vancouver, Canada to Long Beach, California.

The Lily. . .

Of course, this post cannot end without my own personal atonement to. . .


T
he Lily. . .

Sounding of trumpets
Extol the most high
Rallying a crowd
No one should deny

Calls to drill and battle
Resound a time nigh
Echoing surrender
Or a battle cry

No white, just crimson
Adorn the fields
Beds of blood and bone
A battle yields

Within times’ passing
Ghastly signs disappear
Blades of bright green
Awaken thoughts held dear

Slender stalks emerge
Rising from earthy graves
Flaunting scaly bulbs
Pompous as ocean waves

Milky-white trumpets
Surge with praises toward the sky
Spiritual essence of Easter
Extols the most high

©2012 catnipoflife 
Sharla Lee Shults

“I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.”
Song of Solomon 2:1

Happy Easter to all and may your day be filled with blessings beyond words!

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Daily Reflection

We all write because we have a passion for sharing knowledge and understanding that will somehow embrace someone else’s life. Of course, with writing comes a lot of reading. Whether it is selected for research, entertainment or enrichment, each of us seek encouragement and reach out for visions in our own unique way.

A very important aspect of life is that of daily reflection, which comes in many forms, shapes and sizes. It is a means for sharing love, dreams and inspiration to send a heart racing, free a heart from grief, or perhaps offer a path for forgiveness.  Emotional journeys are the keystones for setting experiences or imaginations to paper. Poetry is a formidable mode of expression to soothe the heart and lift the spirit. Fiction explores a world seen through the mind’s eye and casts imaginations into depths often times seemingly unfathomable. Non-fiction offers a path to obtain information or to experience art and relive/revive history.

For whatever reason you write or desire to write, keep that passion alive! Let your fingers take their daily walks (across the keyboard or glide effortlessly with pen and paper in hand) as your mind expands all horizons working out the creativity stored in the scrapbook of your mind.

Everyone has a story to tell and every story has its time and place to be read among thousands upon thousands waiting to be discovered.

Reflect on your mental imagery and that which is stored in your Scrapbook of the Mind. . .

Scrapbook of the Mind

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Wild flowers adorn a country hillside
Emanating shades of purple and green
Intermingled poppies add accents of gold
And overshadow new buds in between

Pastel colors gleam within a rainbow
Creating a hand-painted watercolor sky
Honeybees swarm feasting on sweet nectar
As passers-by dreamily let out a sigh

Fields of green expand the horizon
Rich in chlorophyll from the warm sun
Ardent admirers decide to linger
Tempted to take off their shoes and run

Tall twin oaks appear majestic in the distance
Offering cool shade after the summer rain
Travelers venture outward stepping into a picture
Wanting to remain, never to leave again

Visions through a rear view mirror
Capture picture-perfect images of a rare find
Eyelids blink at shutter speed
Storing mental pictures in the scrapbook of the mind

©Echoes 2004
Sharla Lee Shults

“Just as pieces stitched together in a quilt warm our bodies,
scrapbooks bind together memories to warm our hearts. “

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