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!

Messages in the Wind. . .

“Simple messages are potent. Stay tuned in. . .” ~catnipoflife

Gentle whispers of the wind
Echo of days gone by
Unveiling nostalgic thoughts
Within a windswept sigh

Walking along the seashore
Sunbeams radiate warmth
Soaking into the bare skin
Any day, any month

Strands of tousled hair
Crisscross about the face
Swirling, twirling wisps
Completely out of place

A sudden short burst of wind
Forces a swift brush of the hand
Providing view of a sea gull
Standing proudly upon the sand

First there’s only one in sight
Then, out of the blue more and more
Massing along the shoreline
As they’ve done many times before

Assembling in loose flocks
Together as companion and friend
Side-by-side they stand
Decoding messages in the wind

Gentle breezes, whirling gusts
Boast of a whisper-quiet hue
Don’t miss a single moment
What does the wind say to you?

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Inspiration for the Soul

pinterest-logo“Whatever you want in life, start today. Not tomorrow – today. Let it be a small beginning – a tiny beginning. Your happiness depends on starting today – every day.”

Need nourishment? Visit my new Pinterest board, Daily Soul Food!

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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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Inspiration: The Butterfly Effect

Yesterday I ‘happened upon’ a Tweet [literally stumbled upon it among hundreds of Tweets] from writer Claire Cappetta that led me to her posting of the day Love and Coffee. Before going any further, be sure you click the link and read Claire’s ‘top of the morning’ greeting! Then, think about what your reaction would be if this happened to you:>) Of course, I smiled to myself as all kinds of thoughts passed through my mind! Um-m-m? Now, where DID I put that old coffee pot I decided to keep for emergency?

murphys-law2As I pondered the situation, Murphy’s Law entered my mind: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. The coffee pot scenario seemed to fit since anything manmade will at some point in time ‘decide’ to just quit. It can and it will! Unfortunately, more often than not it doesn’t end there: one thing goes wrong that leads to another that leads to another to another to another. . . and the beat goes on. If it can, it will go wrong and there is nothing that can stop it!

Claire’s posting at least let me start the day with a smile and a laugh along with, of course, hubby’s risque nature:>) However, the day did not proceed so light-heartedly, not even a giggle was able to creep its way in ’til the latter part of the day. In fact, it was hectic from that point on and very mind-taxing with my writing geared toward a totally different direction than that of catnip.

In order for you to understand the discovery and the inspiration that actually led to this posting, you need a little background information. Being an educational consultant, better still an ‘online learning specialist’ (just a fancy title for this ol’ retired school teacher), a lot of writing is necessary in response to the daily evaluations required of teachers’ online submissions. Well, this one video arrived that totally took me by surprise. I watched, I listened, I took notes; I rewatched, I relistened, I retook notes; I watched again, I listened attentively, I took more notes. The phone rang and rang and rang. I picked it up along with every other phone I passed on my way out to the porch, I laid all the phones down on the table and said, ” You answer it!” Then, I slowly turned around and walked back to the computer. A few short minutes later, I heard footsteps and only a head hesitantly appeared in the doorway. “I love you, Babe. Are you all right?” I think the hesitation came about of fear I might snap his head off but he knew the “I love you” gets me every time! He smiled, I trembled, we kissed!

OOPS! Careful animated_computer_studenthere, I am getting off track. Anyway, with attention back to the computer and trying to decide how to formulate the feedback, I decided to set it aside for awhile and collect my thoughts. Sometimes writing too quickly in the wrong state of mind can lead to misconceptions and unsupportive comments. That’s when I thought once again about Claire’s morning and I began to smile and giggle to myself. Still at the computer but now with thoughts of coffee and coffee pots I began a Google search. I cannot tell you what keywords I used nor how many searches I made but the words ‘butterfly effect’ caught my eye. Now, what on earth could butterflies have to do with coffee? When I began reading, it was not long before I was laughing but this time outloud, for right in the second paragraph I read . . .”Imagine you wake up in a good mood but then the coffee maker is broken. . . !

The next morning I found myself chuckling at yesterday’s musings. After many chuckles, the mood was set, I was inspired, and ready to write (hence this posting). Since catnipoflife focuses on life outsite the confines of four walls and a door (maybe a window), I ventured onto the porch with steaming coffee in hand, sat down in the rocking chair and watched as the wonders of nature begin to awaken my senses. Then, I saw the butterflies. I had bookmarked the site I found yesterday so I immediately opened it and read it again.

Have you heard of the Butterfly Effect? There IS inspiration here, my friends. Just click the words and you will be directed to Inspiring Yourself at Work. Claire, hope the rest of your day yesterday did not follow the path of the ‘butterfly effect’.

Where will you get your inspiration today?

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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!

5 Comments »

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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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

9 Comments »

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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