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!

Inspiration for the Soul

          REMEMBERING GRANDMA

“Nothing like walking in the door fresh milk in hand,
except the smell of bacon sizzling in the pan!” ~catnipoflife

Need nourishment? Visit Daily Soul Food at Pinterest!

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Mother’s Day

“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” ~Tenneva Jordan

 To my mother, Anita Louise Weston Lee (1919 – 2010):

You Don’t Seem So Far Away

 Sometimes you seem so far away
Memorable moments shorten the way

Moments you firmly held my hand
Guiding me along life’s hardened land

Distance spans an epic terrain
Visions of your smile block out any pain

Smiles of delight as well as tears
Carrying us through the roughest years

As tears fall with each passing day
Voice of memory keeps sadness astray

In other words. . .

Though you seem so far away
You are as close as my thoughts

Thoughts remaining ever so clear
Never to fade from year to year

Images implanted in my mind
Lift my spirits at any time

Spirits to refresh my soul
Keeping me toward life’s goal

 For you see. . .

 Thoughts of you eternally stay
You don’t seem so far away

Echoes ©2012
Sharla Lee Shults

From: catnipoflife
To: all Mothers near and far


May your sons and daughters
Know how special you are

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catnipoflife receives the Sunshine Blog Award

ImageIt is indeed an honor to receive this award from Claire Cappetta, who is in the process of completing her first novel, Ride to LibertyA truly compelling story is about to be shared! In her own words, “Claire is a creative writer and has recently retired from the financial world to concentrate on the dream of publishing a first novel, which follows a woman’s journey through relationships, domestic abuse and empowerment. Although a difficult topic to cover the story is heartwarming.” Be sure to visit Claire’s blog for her 10 nominations for this award. All are inspiring and who knows which one might tug at your heartstrings:>)

Now, it is I who get to GIVE the award by paying it forward again to bloggers who inspire me and bring Sunshine into my  blogging life:

Peggy

Carole 

Miss Kate

Wendell

Dena

Laura

Robin

Stuart

Sandra

Jen

May your week be blessed and filled with inspiration!

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Inspiration: Meeting the Challenge 2

Butterflies_DaisiesRoadsides are dotted with clusters of brightly colored daisies engulfed in rain-aided green grasses. The smiling face of each flower brightens the view of fields and ditches along nature’s highway. Butterflies flit and flutter from flower to flower beckoning “come dance with me.”  ~catnipoflife

Where do you seek/find inspiration? Perhaps you need only to simply stop, look and listen within your ordinary surroundings for its discovery may take little or no effort at all. Within our daily midst, sights, sounds and smells are waiting to be awakened, explored, enjoyed and shared.

Butterflies&Daisies1That which is seen with the naked eye is often interpreted differently from individual to individual. With each vision comes thoughts and emotions that may strike an emotional chord of harmony or cast shadows of discord. Through these visions comes the ability to put what is seen only once into words that can last for a lifetime. Of course, thoughts might instead shift to that of a camera with the old adage ‘a picture is better than a thousand words’ immediately coming to mind. But, oh-h-h, how many times has that miraculous once-in-a-lifetime Kodak moment been missed? How many times has it been said or heard, “If I only had my camera. . .” More times that can be counted for sure! Yet, the vision is still there, stored in the scrapbook of the mind. Each time a page is turned in the mind’s diary that vision reappears. The recourse: write about it!

Nature is overflowing in its natural awe-inspiring, breath-taking wonders, none of which more mystical, nor mysterious, than the butterfly. What is it about this delicate insect that unites the heart with the soul? Some might say it is its symetrical beauty, others feel it has sensory powers of healing, while many purely delight in its wispy nature. Its beauty is consuming, none of which more captivating than when feeding on sugary nectar. (View Beautiful Butterflies from around the world.)

One of the butterfly’s favorite sources of nectar is the flower, especially the daisy. Butterflies and daisies go hand-in-hand within the natural wonders of nature. Watching the butterfly feed is a wonder in itself as it perches atop the flower dipping deep with a strawlike tongue into the rich nectar, opening its wings wide, bringing them in again, all the while savoring each drop. Ah-h-h, but this sweet fluid is not the only treat these little insects enjoy. Did you know they also love fruit? Of course, that is totally understandable since the fruits of nature are filled with sweet, natural juices.

Book Connection – EchoesEchoes

Inside Echoes, Chapter Three reflects poetry surrounding the beauty of nature. The verses in this chapter reflect Echoes of Life. The poem Butterflies ‘n’ Daisies projects imagery in answer to the question Do you see what I see? Through its reading, you should be inspired as its words guide you toward meeting the challenge of your daily inspiraton!

Butterflies n’ Daisies

Come dance with me!

Mystical, magical butterfly
Holder of dreams, keeper of secrets
Touches so many lives
Bringing comfort without regrets

A simple message received
Or a challenge to be met
Inspires acceptance of life’s struggles
How to let go and accept

Fields of daisies, made of sunshine
Colors of splendor, a butterfly’s lair
Offer a place to linger and find solitude
Resting as though in thoughtful prayer

Butterflies and daisies, of rare beauty
Breath-taking in full summer sun
Reflect the colors of the soul
Instilling love and compassion as one

Kneel down in quiet repose
As though if part of someone’s plan
Let the daisies hug your knees
And the butterfly kiss your hand

Echoes©2004
Sharla Lee Shults

“The butterfly counts not months, but moments, and has time enough.”
~Rabindranath Tagore

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Inspiration: Meeting the Challenge

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
~Leo Buscaglia (1924 – 1998)

LittleThingsAuthors are challenged in their writing to reflect senses that can be captured by readers in the manner in which they intended. A paraphrase of a quote by Plato (born c. 428 BC), “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder,” can be rephrased for the writer into “perception is in the eyes of the reader.” In order for our readers to perceive through their eyes what is proposed by our writings is often a delicate task. Word choice initiates feelings and visions, which if not chosen wisely could totally shift meaning in the wrong direction or portray a completely different image from its intentions.

For most of us, ideas come from our own experiences or stories related to us by family or friends. Thus, it all begins with our perception. It is much easier to feel an emotion by listening to a story being told or read aloud because of the tone and intonation of a person’s voice. For example, if an event depicted a scream in a scene, the actual sound of that person screaming could send chills to the bone, whereas if you read “she screamed as the door opened” might not provoke the same chilling reaction. Our voice, therefore, must become just as powerful but through the medium of the written word.

EchoesPeriodically I will post verses from Echoes. Within this volume of poetry are five chapters intended to tap into your senses as you focus on the following:

Family and Friends Do you sense the emotion?
I’m a BelieverDo you believe?
The Beauty of NatureDo you see what I see?
Good VibrationsDo you feel the spirit?
Whispers of YesterdayDo you hear what I hear?

It is hoped you will be touched by words that will evoke personal thoughts and ideas. As these thoughts surface, write them down. Such thoughts could trigger a poem, a story, a personal reflection. Who knows when someone somewhere in time might read them and how a life might be touched in the process.

One Final Thought

“Everything that we presently feel and see moving and taking place in our hearts, our minds, and our lives is His gift to us. We know not what it is or where it is going but He does and He gifts it to you. . .drink in His goodness, savor, and cherish every drop. He gifts it to me. . .I drink it in, savoring and cherishing every drop. May the verses to follow be His instrument of joy to you.”

Below is a sampling. For this poem and more heartfelt echoes, visit/scroll through the page link Echoes from the Heart. Periodically a new poem will be added for your reading pleasure that will hopefully echo emotion of your heart.

Family and Friends – Do you sense the emotion?

***************************************

Mornin’ Bustle

Sister’s in the kitchen
Flour from head to toe
Helping make biscuits
Kneadin’ the dough

Window’s open
Curtains flappin’ in the breeze
Mama wipes her brow
”Pass the milk, please”

Potatoes peeled and washed
Are set aside to drain
Thunder in the background
Quickly turns thoughts to rain

A poor man’s gravy becomes
A true Southern surprise
Country ham sizzlin’
Forming perfect red-eyes

Fresh eggs swiftly broken
Crackling in the skillet
Aroma quickly commands
“Come and get it!”

The table’s all set
Coffee steaming in the pot
Biscuits from the oven
Sat down while pipin’ hot

Thank you, Lord, for daily bread
Country ham and bacon
Grandma’s jam and all the rest
Ready for the takin’!

AMEN!

Echoes ©2004
Sharla Lee Shults

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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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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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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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We Share the Same Dreams

There is a question that to this day still perplexes me: Why not make any day a Valentine’s Day? Is it just the cards, flowers and gifts on this one day that make the heart truly sing? I don’t think so!

Think about it. Each day begins with a sunrise and ends with a sunset. There are dawnings and there are twilights each flaunting spectacular colors equal to the challenge of any prism. From delicate to blazing, butterscotch to psychedelic hues, watercolor pallets emerge in a burst that fathoms beyond all imagination. Showers of gold outline sunsets of pink and echo angelic views across vast landscapes and open seas. As we rise each morning and retire each evening, the angels dance across both clear and cloudy skies leaving footprints of illusion. These are perfect times as nature’s paintbrush wisps through the clouds, over the horizon and across the seas. Can you see it?

Um-m-m-m? But what about the between hours? Are they not equally as poignant?

Vibrant blue morning glories gradually shifting to natural shades of purple enhance the splendors of the day— subtle, delicate, perfectly balanced. From the low, warm light of mornings and late afternoons to the mystics of the night time, all around us nature awakens, ever emerging, ever changing. Do you feel it?

Lights, sound, action! What a magnificent, anything but silent, motion picture right before our eyes—rumbles of distant thunder announcing a Springtime shower, the roaring of the ocean along the beach in Summer, the rustle of leaves in Autumn, the crunching of footfalls in the dry snow of Winter! Can you hear it?

The smell of rain along a dusty road, salty sea spray to raw ocean smells, smell of bayberry and cinnamon, and the burning smell of a cozy open fire invite all to lift their noses and take a deep breath. Do you smell it?

Delight comes with candlelit dinners for two, double straws in a single vanilla float, cuisines of festivals with every crumb taste tested, gripping taste of hot cocoa around a blazing campfire and so much more. Can you taste it?

Love is sharing whether by sight, feel, sound, smell or taste. Share with the one you love that in love, We Share the Same Dreams. . .

 

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