Do you remember waiting in anticipation for the postman to arrive? Let me clarify that which you are anxiously awaiting. . .it is a letter from someone much different from yourself and living in a far away land. That’s right. . .a hand-written letter, not typed nor texted, but actually penned in the best cursive one could produce. It could have even been debated whether the letter itself was the most important or that wonderful foreign stamp.
Needless to say, should I mention this to one of my daughters, now an adult, or perhaps I should say granddaughters, she would more than likely react in complete astonishment. “Mother, you have got to be kidding! Write a letter? That would take way too much time! I can contact anyone in the world with a click of a button.”
So true today, but not in the days long, long ago and not anywhere near as personal.
The memory that someone, somewhere once took the time and trouble, I might add, to pen their thoughts ever so carefully, fold the paper and crease it gently with his/her own hands, then, post it with a well-chosen stamp lay embedded in the knowledge that days or weeks had to pass with hopes of receiving an equally personal response. Those days or weeks of anticipation were filled hour upon hour with thoughts of excitement and imagination!
Did you have a pen pal? What do you remember?
“Dear Pen Pal, you are a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. Please write back.” ~catnipoflife
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
Sharla Lee Shults
To: all Mothers near and far
Roadsides 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.
That 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 – Echoes
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
“The butterfly counts not months, but moments, and has time enough.”
Visit Awakenings and Share your thoughts: What events of late have you encountered that made you react with the question, “What’s happened to common sense?” Post comments for all to see and enjoy, perhaps even begging “YIPES, that really happened?”
“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)
Authors 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.
Periodically 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 Believer – Do you believe?
The Beauty of Nature – Do you see what I see?
Good Vibrations – Do you feel the spirit?
Whispers of Yesterday – Do 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?
Sister’s in the kitchen
Flour from head to toe
Helping make biscuits
Kneadin’ the dough
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’!
Sharla Lee Shults
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. . .
“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.”
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
“But he who dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose.”
~ Anne Brontë
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. . .
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
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. . .
“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.”
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.
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.
Of course, this post cannot end without my own personal atonement to. . .
The Lily. . .
Sounding of trumpets
Extol the most high
Rallying a crowd
No one should deny
Calls to drill and battle
Resound a time nigh
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
Surge with praises toward the sky
Spiritual essence of Easter
Extols the most high
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!
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
Sharla Lee Shults
“Just as pieces stitched together in a quilt warm our bodies,
scrapbooks bind together memories to warm our hearts. “