From Awakenings. . .
To our soldiers. . .
From Awakenings. . .
To our soldiers. . .
Every once in awhile I compile a post to that is befitting to both Awakenings and catnipoflife. Today was such a day. As I worked on the posting Looking Ahead: National Teddy Bear Day for Awakenings, it occurred to me while I feature Echoes on catnipoflife, perhaps I should start featuring Remembering on her sister site. The genre of both books is poetry. While the first presents echoes of love, life and the past, the second connects the past to the present through remembrances and personal reflection.
Looking ahead to American Teddy Bear Day, which occurs on November 14, 2012, the poem Teddy Bear Hugs immediately came to mind. Below is an adapted version of the poem that was published in my book Remembering, My Hand in Yours, Your Hand in Mine. The premise behind this book is to allow you (the reader) to peer into the past and make personal connections. Journal pages are introduced intermittently throughout the book affording the opportunity for reflecting on your life, recalling special moments and recording thoughts to direct your energies toward tomorrow.
What a great keepsake to pass down to a son, daughter, nephew, neice, cousin – not only for reading the words of the author but for reading in a loved one’s own handwriting that personal connection as he or she peers into the past.
in times of just not feeling good
moods can suddenly be shifted
bear hugs somehow understand
so spirits are quickly lifted
darkness acquires a new light
when tucked in bed all cozy and snug
dreams and memories are awakened
as sleep begins with a teddy bear hug
cuddled in secure arms, soft and warm
evocative tranquil moments occur
the teddy bear hug is never forsaken
even amidst worn-out spots or frazzled fur
loved by everyone, child and adult
the teddy bear travels anywhere wanted
the more hugs given, the more received
with comfort never ever being daunted
Sharla Lee Shults
I lived in New York City from 1994 to 1999. It is a city unlike any other because everything is larger than life. The buildings there are so tall that most streets remain in shadow much of the day because the sun simply can’t reach them. Looking up and down the avenues you see nothing but a thin strip of blue sky between two rows of dark skyscrapers lined up on both sides of the street, one after another, until they disappear into the horizon.
Well said: "It seemed everybody knew someone who knew someone there. It affected the world. We all became New Yorkers on that day."
“The attacks of September 11 were intended to break our spirit. Instead we have emerged stronger and more unified… We are more determined than ever to live our lives in freedom.”
August 31, 1997
Tragedy struck at the heartstrings of young and old as news of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales spread around the world. What a tragic end to such a gracious lady who will always be remembered for her charitable spirit.
Click HERE to read more and leave comments. . .
Inspiration can reveal itself so unexpectedly! It comes in many shapes, sizes, packages, in the form of simple or complex messages, and sometimes totally surprises us with random thoughts and complete spontaneity. Yesterday I was touched by Rosemary Adkins @ Extraordinary Dreams of an Ireland Traveler. Within her posting was a bonus story, actually a prayer, about her dog, Sandy, who is very ill.
Throughout the formative years of our children, Jim and I have encountered, helped, saved, fostered, and laid to rest many pets. Some have been more memorable that others each leaving behind his/her own tales of antics that brought on the tears, either from sheer aggrevation or pure happiness. They ranged from pet snakes to gerbils to the adoring puppy to the dog who dug into our yard to the fiesty and last, but not least, the cuddly kitten.
Let’s begin with the gerbils. Cute with all the accessories that go along with keeping gerbils active and happy, cage with bedding and nest fluff, exercise wheel and chewing toys (household items worked best). Of course, there were two since the two youngest daughters (Nicole and Wendy) expressed the most desire for the gerbil as their pet(s). Oh, dear, one would not do so we ’adopted’ two, that is two of everything for the gerbils ended up being one male and one female. (Don’t really recall if that was intentional or totally by accident. LOL!) The kids would watch them as they performed their stunts and the laugther and giggles could be heard throughout the house. All was well and each girl took responsibility for caring for her gerbil, until. . .
One afternoon while Wendy was visiting a friend, Niki felt like her gerbil was sad being all alone in its cage. Oh, I know what you are thinking and you are on the right path alright! Yep, she opened the tiny door to Minnie’s cage, carefully reached inside and gently lifted the little socialite onto her hand. Then, cautiously opened the tiny door to Micky’s cage releasing Minnie quickly as she closed and relatched the cage door. Well, rightly to say that was not the end of the story but only the beginning for the loving couple! I will add that all in all it was not a bad experience for with the birth of the baby gerbils came excitement that could never be replicated! May they rest in peace:>)
OOPS! A little of track. . .
Since this reflection began with Rosemary and her dog, Sandy, it cannot conclude without reference to Chief, the black labrador and Prince, the dalmation. Chief was the one mentioned earlier that dug under the fence into the yard. It did not matter how many times we let him out the back gate or how many times we filled in the holes under the fence, we would wake up the next morning with his having returned via a new entrance into the backyard. It was early one morning as Jim let Chief out the back gate AGAIN that he was approached by one of our neighbors who proceeded to make a comment insinuating the dog liked our yard better than his own. Needless to say, by the end of the conversation, we had acquired the dog! To this day, I do believe Chief was abused and that is why he kept coming into our yard.
As for Prince, he strayed onto the front porch one day so skinny his ribs resembled a bony rack and what little skin that was there oozed profusely from sores. So pitiful were those eyes that just bored right through you pleading for love! Our son, Scott, actually knew the owner of the dog (I really think the dog followed him home with a little help.) After contacting Prince’s owner, we found out he was unable to take care of the dog mainly because of the expense to get him to a vet. So, he became Prince Shults! [I searched for a picture of Prince but there was none to be found in the family albums. Probably still in one of the envelops that never made it to any of the album pages.]
Well, Chief Shults and Prince Shults were buddies from day one! Both loved to run and play (inside and outside the house mind you)! Understand that Chief was the water hound and Prince, the instigator. The yard was fenced in but Prince being slender and quite agile quickly learned he could leap off the deck. Chief being the much heavier of the two struggled but eventually made it not wanting Prince to have all the fun alone. That is how the escapade began but it definitely did not end with just a simple romp around the neighborhood. It resulted in several nights of missed sleep because the dogs could not be found.
The kids were frantic. Jim and I were worried. The weather turned nasty. Then, we played the waiting game. We contacted everyone in the neighborhood, called the rescue center, the Pound, animal control, etc., etc., etc. You know the routine. No luck. For days we waited, hoped and prayed they were alright. Then came the phone call. . .
Control Center Operator: “Bay County Animal Control. May I help you?”
Jim: “This is Jim Shults and I live in the cove. We have two dogs that have been missing for several days.”
Control Center Operator: “Hold on, Mr. Shults. Hey, Glenda, do you still have that boat owner on the line calling about the two dogs? I think I have their owner on this line.”
Bottom line, the dogs had crossed town to the bay. Prince was leading Chief to water! When the weather turned nasty, they seeked refuge aboard a doctor’s boat (You can use you imagination about the boat!). As soon as the weather cleared, the owner went down to the dock to check on his boat. Here is the last part of the telephone conversation.
Glenda: “Yes, I still have Dr. McCormick on the line. I told him we may have the owner of the dogs on another line. He says a dalmation is on the boat and a black lab is in the water. He wants to get on his boat but the guarddog won’t let him come anywhere near the boat or the water!”
Control Center Operator: “Mr. Shults will one of your dogs guard a boat while the other swims? If so, they are at Dr. McCormick’s.”
We knew the doctor so when we arrived at his house the atmosphere was frantic but cordial. The minute those two dogs saw Jim they bolted toward him, both wet, scared, hungry and totally exhausted. They slept for two days.
Oh, my, I did get a bit long-winded, didn’t I?
When you start writing stories about your children and/or pets, it is sometime hard to just stop. Must though or the message behind this story might be lost. Since catnipoflife is inspired by the feline she will end with a prayer, but it is a prayer to all the loving, adorable pets who grace our homes and lives.
Be sure to stop by and visit Rosemary. Leave a prayer for Sandy.
A Pet’s Prayer
Thank you, Lord, each day
For the victuals I am fed
Petting and brushing
And my soft, billowy bed
Thank you for the extra treats
Persistently when I’m good
Especially the catnip
Dusted along the faux wood
Thank you for safe keeping
As I scamper and play
Climbing trees, chasing bugs
During the night and day
Thank you for my parents
So loving and kind
Who clean up my messes
And don’t even mind
After all the thanks
I must surely add
I’m truly feline
For this I am glad
If I should die
And it seem unfair
Please let them know
I’m in Heaven’s care
To them you see
I am their child
They need to know
For me you smiled
But before I close
My prayer, you see
Is for more than one
Not simply me
“If we treated everyone we meet with the same affection we bestow upon our favorite cat, they, too, would purr.”
—Martin Buxbaum (Author, photographer, artist and humorist, 1912–1991)
At Heaven’s Door
The doors of Heaven opened
The day you came into my life
At our eyes’ first meeting
Divine intervention touched my soul
What once were dreams and aspirations
Transpired into fearless reality
Conscious reasoning gave way to inner feelings
Our encounter ensured destiny unfold
Love initiated in Heaven
Unconditional, without envy or self-pity
Free from illusion, secure in faith
Lays eternal in the mist
Two hands merged as one
One heart, one body, one spirit
Truly blessed to share life’s daily happenings
Until only memories exist
Our love spans the sands of time
Through the years, happiness and tears,
’Til one day we’re hand-in-hand
Standing quietly at Heaven’s door
Precious Moments: That is the challenge for this week!
Each of us is rewarded at some point in time with moments we deem simply precious. These moments stay with us stored away in our mental scrapbooks to be revisited as necessary through smiles, giggles, and sometimes even tears. Sweet memories!
Like the times the kids fought over whose cookie had the most chocolate chips. What a sight as they picked out the chips one by one just to prove a point! The next batch of cookies I dared anyone to start picking it apart threatening to bake non-chocolate, chocolate chip cookies. [ha-ha] I did decorate each one with a smiley face from then on, which brought on even more smiles and giggles, each delicate cookie equally branded!
What warm, fuzzy stories do you have stored in your mental diary? Think about it: Recollections of such precious moments might just trigger a poem, a story, a personal reflection. After all, it is such accounts of life that keep us going, always on the alert for that next precious moment.
“Cherish those precious moments because they did not happen by plan or design
but by feelings, hunch, chance, fate, destiny or just the need to say hello
to a particular person at that point in time.”
Oh, I can just hear you now! WORMS! UGH! You shiver and squimishly shy away! But, WAIT! Don't be in such a rush; there is actually a good reflection going on here. I do believe the reason this hit me last night is because throughout the entire day yesterday, my dad was heavy on my mind.
What a great man! He loved the out of doors and was his happiest either fishing on Lake Seminole or playing golf. He was also an avid hunter but that seemed to be put aside as he approached his senior senior years. How I loved the times he would take me fishing! The day before we would go digging for worms and set out early the next morning for the lake with his fishing boat in tow. No fancy rods and reels, just simple cane poles and the red wigglers for bait. He let me know right away he would not be baiting the hook for me. No, sir! He said he would have enough to do to keep his own pole baited and in the water.
Once on the water we road around and in a short while stopped at one of Daddy’s favorite fishing ‘holes’. With poles in hand, the first task at hand was baiting the hooks. I would shut my eyes and hesitantly dip my hand in the bucket coming out with a handful of squishy, wiggly worms. I would just look at them twisting and turning trying to crawl out of my hand in search of good ol’ Mother Earth. I would look over at Daddy silently hoping he would say, “OK, little girl, let me take care of that for you.” But, silence prevailed as he carefully tended to his own hook. I knew he was watching me out of the corner of his eye. Even his pipe could not hide the sly grin.
I carefully selected the prize worm and put the others back in the bucket to await their fate at a later time. Mother had already taught me how to sew so I decided I would just pretend I was threading a needle. [Not a very good analogy, I know.] Anyway, with the wiggly, swiggly worm between my fingers, I held my breath and voila managed to get it hooked without losing my breakfast. Whew!
Alas, with that done, I took a deep breath, sighed, smiled at my dad, and said, “At least the worst is over.” Oh, was I in for a surprise! With a flip of the line, the little worm hit the water, “Splash!” Dad and I sat in his fishing boat what seemed like forever but was probably no more than ten, maybe fifteen minutes. He glanced my way, asked if I was hungry and I said I would pass for the time being. After handling the worms, thoughts of eating just did not seem very appealing. Another ten, maybe fifteen minutes passed.
I squirmed, shifted in my seat, yawned (we hit the lake at dawn) and tried not to seem too bored or impatient. After all, I was nine years old and a girl for heaven’s sake. I should be home with Mother in the kitchen or playing with my baby dolls. Right? No way! I was like my dad and absolutely loved the outdoors. We both had looked forward to this day.
Then, it happened! It started with a slight tug on the end of the line. The tiny cork began to bobble up and down in the water, disappear and reappear within a matter of seconds. Daddy laid his pole aside and gently put his arm across my shoulder. The pole began to bend and I just knew it was going to break as it curved into a half moon. With a quick jerk, Daddy set the hook and helped me bring in the grandest catfish I had ever seen! I squealed with smiles and giggles as most girls do and wanted to jump up and down but remembered we were in the boat. That would have to wait until we were ashore. I was so excited but all I could do was simply stare at this huge fish with a half-eaten worm dangling from its mouth who appeared to be staring right back at me.
Oh, do you remember a little while ago my mentioning I was in for a surprise when I thought the worse was over? Have you figured that out yet? Yep, the next step was getting the fish OFF the hook. Of course, Daddy would not let me do that by myself since I was a novice and he did not want me to get finned. But I was required to watch diligently so I could learn the perfect technique for later fishing trips. With that task out of the way, we continued fishing for awhile, catching a few more catfish, and decided to end the trip with a ride around the lake.
After a few hours, we returned to shore, Daddy loaded the boat on the trailer and we headed for home. We talked about the fishing trip and how there would be more times like this one. I could not wait to get home and tell Mama about MY fish. That would come later, much later, for little did I know at the time that first the fish had to be CLEANED!