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!

Awakenings: And the music goes on…Country Time 1

See on Scoop.itAwakenings: America & Beyond

Before moving forward into the 80s, we must step back in time to the beginnings of Country Music, a genre all its own that has left an indelible mark on music history. Old time fiddle (a genre of American folk music) is the precursor to country that influenced bluegrass, country blues, variants of western swing and country rock.

Sharla Shults‘s insight:

This is part 1 for Country Music covering three generations, 1920s, 1930s-40s and 1950s-60s.

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Awakenings: And the music goes on…Stuck in the 70s

See on Scoop.itAwakenings: America & Beyond

Different from the numerous musical genres of past decades, only a handful can be considered of the most successful and most popular during the 70s. First to be mentioned is SOFT ROCK (which was the “pop music” of that generation). This genre was led by artists such as Elton John, Chicago, The Eagles, Paul McCartney and Wings, The Doobie Brothers, Fleetwood Mac and Bruce Springsteen.

Sharla Shults‘s insight:

Where would be be without the music…the sounds, the lyrics, the showmanship? Each song tells its own poignant story, it is life within the moment. You can take an inanimate object, write about it in a song and it comes to life. Each tune touches the heart, opens the mind, stirs the soul.

Who was THE Most Successful Group of the 70s? What is The Greatest Rock Song of All Time?

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Christmas Around the World

This post is published on Awakenings, catnip’s sister site, but decided to also include it here since I can post it as a slideshow. Enjoy! It is interesting and also amazing how many people are involved in decorating for Christmas all around the world. What about the number of lights? Astronomical!

Be sure to visit the link Christmas Traditions Around the World!

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After all the decorating and enjoyment, Santa definitely needs a rest. Do you think he will help with the clean up! WHEW!


We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

From our house to yours!

Jim & Sharla


Awakenings: Why the Poinsettia?

See on Scoop.itAwakenings: America & Beyond

During the Christmas season, it is not unusual to find thousands upon thousands of poinsettias displayed around the world. While the plants add significant beauty to the season, they are not limited just to the color red. Single poinsettias, double poinsettias, white poinsettias, pink poinsettias, variegated poinsettias, candy cane poinsettias and so many more don gardens, store shelves, greenhouses, churches and homes.

The symbolism of the poinsettia goes much deeper than simply adding color to Christmas time. Before delving into its history and spiritual meaning, let’s examine a bit of poinsettia trivia:

Did you know…

You must go to Awakenings to find out if you know!

Sharla Shults‘s insight:

As we look upon our decorations this year, may our visions serve as reminders of the real meaning why Christmas is declared a celebration.

Merry Christmas Eve!

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Awakenings: Remembering Our Soldiers at Christmas

See on Scoop.itAwakenings: America & Beyond

Remember our soldiers
Whether here or far away
Keep them in your hearts
Throughout the night and day

Remember our soldiers
On land, in the air, or at sea
They sacrifice daily
In the name of liberty

CONTINUED @awakenings

Sharla Shults‘s insight:

While celebrating during the Christmas season
Always remember those away from home
Keep them in your hearts, cherish them in your soul
A day may come when you find yourself alone

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Awakenings: And the music goes on…Merry Christmas from Heaven

See on Scoop.itAwakenings: America & Beyond

Awakenings: Loving memories of those who have passed on are rekindled everyday in music that lives on and on and on…

Sharla Shults‘s insight:

To all who have loved ones in Heaven this Christmas, may you find joyful peace with family and friends.

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A Bird’s Eye View

Have you ever thought what it would be like to view the earth as a bird? Ever dreamed you could fly (not in an airplane!) soaring about the treetops capable of touching the clouds (other than fog, of course)?

Here are 30 incredibly fantastic views you could see if you were a bird

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Ever wondered while you were that bird how you would manage getting food? Takes patience and a lot of perseverance…

A Bird’s Eye View

Wings expand with the gentle breeze
Soaring through the blue
Blade and bloom grace the meadowland
Nothing like a bird’s eye view

O’er rolling hills, down into valleys
Sleek, graceful, strong, light as a feather
Exploring recently harvested fields
Elegant in flight, no matter the weather

Seeking, searching, forward, backward
Circling what’s captured in sight
Watching for the right moment
To begin a natural fight

A chameleon crawls along the ground
Changing color, shifting from brown to green
Searching fervently for grasshoppers and worms
Camouflaged, barely visible, almost unseen

Swift, agile, virtually without a sound
Crawlapin sighted, playing hide ’n’ seek
A sharp dive, graceful swoop upward
Renders barely a snippet in the beak

Nature has a way of caring for her own
Ventures unconquered start anew
With a keen eye and unblemished spirit
Perseverance – from a bird’s eye view

Echoes©2004 Echoes
Sharla Lee Shults

If you were a bird, a different perspective…


Christmas Time

christmas-timeChristmas is a time of celebration. The reasons for this celebration differ from person to person, place to place. Everyone in the world is not of the same belief thus Christmas time holds personal meanings varying from culture to culture. A common thread, however, seems to be the festiveness of the season, which permeates the air with cheer, wonder and amazement.


Whether you are celebrating a secular or a religious Christmas, catnip wishes you a season of happiness, joyful times with family and friends. Sharing precious moments together is more important than any tangible Christmas present. Anything man-made can be destroyed by man. It is tangible. Love and good will from the heart moves with the spirit. It is intangible.

As you move about with the season, spread good cheer but also be mindful of those whose Christmas may not be reminiscent of joy. There are those who are less fortunate, homeless, down-trodden, depressed and suffering.  Be aware that some people can find Christmas a difficult time, especially in cases where a loved one is ill, there are family problems or a loved one has died. Do your best to comfort them while including them in your good wishes for better times in the future.


Christmas is indeed a time of giving. Unfortunately, commercialism has taken away some of the true joy of Christmas. We hustle and bustle, fight the crowds, stake out the best sales, still overspend and all for what reason? More presents? More, more, more…. Instead, do something generous in the spirit of spreading joy and kindness, beauty and love. Give to someone who has, better yet, expects nothing. Cook for those who barely have enough food for the family, visit someone in a nursing home, volunteer at a homeless shelter, help with a toy or food drive. The possibilities are endless. Give of your time from the heart!


For many, Christmas is filled with traditionChristmas caroling, watching Charlie Brown’s Christmas, reflecting on Christmases past, creating homemade gifts, baking Christmas cookies, decorating the tree, hanging Christmas stockings, wrapping presents, enjoying Dad’s special Egg Nog (or not!), waiting impatiently for Santa, and so much more.

Whatever your traditions may be, Embrace the Past…

Toys ‘n Things

When it came to holidays
Mama had everything under control
Baking cookies, wrapping presents
Even decorating the hall

Christmas Eve kept everyone busy
The house full of holiday cheer
Papa and Jimmy left at daybreak
On the hunt for the perfect deer

We’d wake up Christmas morning
Feeling the keen sense of surprise
Excitement in our hearts
The minute we opened our eyes

Still in our pajamas, hair all a muss
We stretched, yawned, still half asleep
Out of bed before Mama and Papa
We managed a sneaky little peek

Catching sunbeams through the open window
Were the branches of a scrawny little tree
Underneath were handmade toys ‘n’ things
The most thankful sight we ever did see

©2010 Remembering Sharla Lee Shults

©2010 Remembering
Sharla Lee Shults

“Christmas is for giving, being thankful and giving from the heart.” ~SLS


The Moments Before I Fall Asleep

NOTE: Not only before I fall asleep, but this post was actually written BEFORE hubby’s critical care hospital confinement and BEFORE the Farewell to Bootsie. [Be sure to revisit, or first time visit, the post to Bootsie, I added some new photos I found when searching for something else.]

sleeping_cat1Dreams…fantasies, awakenings of hidden memories, desires…occur only once REM is achieved. But, what do I do before falling asleep? Is there a key or magic dust, which allows me to fall asleep calmly, enhancing the dream, thus preventing a nightmare’s tale? Wish I could provide THE answer but of course, I can’t. What I can do is think about what I actually do perhaps finding the trigger to falling asleep without counting sheep. Um-m-m-m? Let’s see…

Do I have a glass of warm milk? NO! (I don’t even like milk, let alone warm.)
Do I have a nice warm bath? NO! (The bath has only a shower…no tub.)
Do I meditate for at least 15 minutes? NO! (My mind won’t rest for that long.)
Do I read a few chapters in a novel? NO! (If I pick up that novel, I will still be awake at 2am!)
Do I watch television? NO! (I hate TV these days. Same-o, same-o. Know what is going to happen before it happens. Get some NEW material, producers!)

What do I do? I work on my writing (sometimes just trying to get caught up on Typewriter-Catemail…UGH!) until my eyes are so tired I cannot focus any longer, take a sleeping pill and crash! OK, you may laugh but many of you reading this are writers and I know you know about the difficulty in shutting down the mind. Sometimes I am already in bed but before going to sleep I grab the ever ready pad and pencil on the nightstand quickly jotting down ‘words of wisdom’ fleeting in and out like a bee seeking pollen flitting from flower to flower. I do not want to awaken in the morning remembering I had some terrific ideas but not remembering what they were!

Counting_SheepOn a more serious note, before I fall asleep, I definitely count my blessings instead of counting sheep…like the ol’ Bing Crosby song! No way my mental sheep will cooperate. More stressful trying to count them anyway. I do read – my Bible and say my prayers for all who need the comfort of angels’ wings! Hubby is usually fast asleep well before I am along with Foxie, our calico cat. So Bootsie (the grey long hair kitty) jumps in bed as I lay my head upon my pillow. She kneads and kneads and kneads, then gives herself a bath and finally snuggles against my leg. I give her a usual love pat and she purr-r-r-r-rs softly while settling down for the night. Once final prayers are said I gently give hubby a good-night kiss and smile with thankfulness of our having another wonderful day together. After 29 years, he is still my last kiss goodnight! Then, I am ready to go to sleep. . . [Rest in peace my little Bootsie. I still miss you immensely!]

This is a story requested by, Raani York, some months ago when Storylane was THE place to hone in on writing skills. It was fun, it was challenging to respond to topics provided by fellow writers. Then, Storylane joined forces with Facebook and lost its unique identity.  For all visiting, be sure to stop by Raani’s blog ( She is a terrific writer and will have you laughing until your sides hurt with her letters to celebrities. Then, of course, there is Jake who writes in his diary, The Diary of a Cat Prince. You do not want to miss any of Jake’s entries!

Nighty-night! Sweet dreams…z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z…



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