Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Monday, December 31, 2012


This Day in History: December 31, 1997

Today marks the end of 2012. With its ending comes a new beginning: A new year filled with promise and hope. Promises and hopes come in the form of resolutions for some while others enter the year without resolve. 

Embrace the past. . .

Before looking ahead, let's step back in time to the year 1997. It was on this day, December 31, 1997, when an American Hall of Fame pianist made his last appearance on this earth thereby no longer performing before live audiences.
Do you remember Floyd Cramer?
(October 27, 1933 – December 31, 1997)

Floyd Cramer was an American Hall of Fame pianist who was one of the architects of the "Nashville sound". He was known for his "slip note" piano style, where an out-of-key note slides into the correct note. Wikipedia

Click on the caboose and enjoy the scenery!


Take the Train Along with Me! Awesome slideshow!

Empower the present. . .
Today is New Year's Eve and we are all still here...waiting in anticipation the arrival of 2013! With New Year's Eve comes immense celebration: partying well into the night and even beyond the bewitching, magical midnight hour. Families and friends gather to "ring out the old and ring in the new!" amid the socialization of dancing, singing, eating, drinking and watching or lighting fireworks. Many will attend a watchnight service, a late-night Christian church service

As the hands of the clock approach midnight, billions of pairs of eyes worldwide will be fixed upon the dazzling lights and bustling energy of New York City's Times Square. Whether physically present within the square itself or glued to the television screen, adrenalin runs rampant with anticipation. A global tradition awaits commencement. The world holds it breath as the famous New Year's Eve Ball descends slowly...10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, until the clock strikes twelve. Tall and short glasses are raised as voices in unison shout 
"Happy New Year!"

  History of New Year's Eve
Watch the History of New Year's Eve Times Square Video

Enrich the future. . .

As you move past midnight into the dawn of 2013, may your thoughts be affixed upon resolutions of joy, peace and happiness. Look to the future in ways of enrichment for America: recovery and renewal! Remain attuned to changes that are wanted, more importantly needed, for hope, faith and courage to remain in the forefront of our nation.

Let your hearts and minds focus upon the men and women who give of their time and energies to serve America in her military forces. THEY are the future of America for without them to protect and defend the principles upon which this country was founded, America would NOT be a free nation! There would be NO freedom of religion, NO freedom of speech, NO freedom of the press, NO freedom of assembly, NO freedom of petition, NO right to bear arms, NO right ti equal justice, NO right to own private property, NO right to enjoy many other freedoms among them being. . .
  1. Freedom to live or travel anywhere in our nation
  2. Freedom to work at any job for which we can qualify
  3. Freedom to marry and raise a family
  4. Freedom to receive a free education in good public schools
Food for Thought: Which of America's freedoms would you like to see vanish, obliterated, abandoned, blanked out, blotted out, erased, GONE? It could happen, it can happen, it will happen unless we the people stand united for one common cause: Saving AMERICA'S freedoms!

Auld Lang Syne : Lyrics

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

Chorus.-For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne. 



Saturday, December 29, 2012

Arrival of the "Ghost Dance"

This Day in History: December 29, 1890 -  

How did it begin, this hate for the Indian nation?  They were, after all, native to America well before the arrival of the "white man." It was many thousands of years way before the arrival of Christopher Columbus ships that a different group of people discovered America: the nomadic ancestors of modern Native Americans. This in fact occurred more than 12,000 years ago when a land bridge connected Asia to what is now called Alaska.

So, why the hatred? Did the so-called savages have no regard for human life? Was the "white man" solely a man of peace? While not all intentions may have been of a peaceful nature, did the savagery not hold true also for the whites? Were the buffalo not slaughtered simply to satisfy the greed of trappers and fur traders, whereas for the Indian, the buffalo was a necessary source for survival? Did Indian beliefs encompass rituals of devil worship and demons or something of a totally different spiritual nature connected to the land and totally misunderstood?

To the disbelief of many, not all American Indians were savages. A proud people humbled by their surroundings fought and died trying to preserve their unique heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs. One of the saddest episodes in our history had already occurred (1838) when the Cherokee Nation stripped of their land was herded like cattle and forced to march a thousand miles through the wilderness under horrible conditions. The route they traversed, as well as the journey itself, became known as "The Trail of Tears" or, as a direct translation from Cherokee, "The Trail Where They Cried" (Nunna daul Tsuny.").

Historical Documents: Trail of Tears

By 1890, the armed resistance was over with the last of the Sioux being forced into reservation life at gunpoint. Life for the Indian nation as they knew it was over. The only avenue left - spiritual guidance, not a conjuring up of spells and calling upon demonic souls but instead a spiritual awakening among the tribes of North America. Thus, entered the "Ghost Dance."  

Native Americans Online

The Native Americans believe we all have spirits, but while ghosts are generally considered evil spirits, the Ghost Dance Movement embodied hope with visions of the future without whites.

Within the Ghost Dance spiritual movement, thousands of Native Americans only longed to have their land restored and be rid of the white man. Unfortunately, the movement resulted in violence as many innocent Native Americans were slaughtered needlessly. On this day, December 29, 1890, in the final chapter of America's long Indian wars, the U.S. Cavalry kills 146 Sioux (men, women and children) at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. Read MORE. . . 

A Proud People
  unhealed wounds
were their desires
indeed so bad
for the government
to take all they had?

were their beliefs
indeed so wrong
for them to be stripped
of everything they owned?

how did it begin
this hatred so grave
of a life pure and simple
strong and brave? 

within these questions
lies few answers
as hated continues
spreading like cancers

while no longer limited
to a single race
the fires still burn
at a rapid pace

unhealed wounds
seethe beneath the skin
 suppressing real feelings
peace will never win

Sharla Lee Shults

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Next Big Thing

AwakeningsHR1The Next Big Thing is a series of blog posts where authors talk about their work using the same ten questions. At the end of the blog we tag other authors who will do the same thing a week later. So not only do you get to find out more about my book but you also will discover some other interesting writers. The wonderful Taylor Fulks tagged me. Taylor’s first book, My Prison Without Bars, was just released on December 17, 2012.

"Taylor Evan Fulks is a talented wordsmith, able to conjure up the hideous experiences with remarkable clarity and emotion. She writes from the heart, and the agony of real experience lends authenticity to her riveting descriptions." - Reviewed by Fiona I. for Readers Favorite. Awarded 5 stars.

Thank you, Taylor, for giving me the opportunity to introduce my latest book, which is currently available at Tate Publishing and will be officially released on January 22, 2013.

1. What is the working title of your next book? While there are actually two other books in progress, catnip of life (Visit her blog @http://catnipoflife.wordpress.com/) and Reminiscent of Chocolate, I would like to introduce Awakenings from Then ’til Now. It is in its final stages awaiting official release in January, 2013.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?: There is a need for everyone to make connections within whisperings of the past to the present day on into the future. Each of us is not an isolated individual but a thread binding together with countless other threads to create a rich and colorful tapestry of life. From the far reaches of America’s past, we can all, in some way or another, connect to someone who set foot upon America’s soil looking for a land of promise. It is through laughter and tears that the yesterdays of centuries past paved the way for today’s future.

There is also an important need for us to support our military. Since history is plagued with war after war after war it is only befitting that this book be dedicated to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Therefore, this book is dedicated to those who laid the foundation and established the platform for our American freedom: those who have served in the past, presently serve, or will serve our military forces in the future. A profound appreciation is extended for the sacrifice of these brave men and women who left or will leave their homes and family to ensure America’s freedom endures.

A contribution from each book sale goes to benefit the Wounded Warrior Program and/or Veterans of Foreign Wars. Its purpose is not for advertisement or to gain endorsement but solely in support of our military forces.

3. What genre does your book fall under? Historical poetry

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? This book is poetically written so the book itself would not lend itself to movie production. However, there are many parts of the book that have already been successfully produced as movies or television documentaries.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Embrace the past, Empower the present, Enrich the future (Not a sentence but definitely highlights the purpose for the writing)

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? My publisher is Tate Publishing. The book is due to be released in January, 2013.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? That is truly hard to pinpoint. The idea initially came when writing my first book, Echoes, in 2004. I actually outlined five books for the volume. After Echoes, Remembering was published in 2009. The third was to be Step Back in Time, which later became Awakenings. I would venture to say from the time the first outline was drafted for Awakenings to its final manuscript would be approximately a year and a half to two years. Don’t hold me to that explicitly! All writers know of the interruption after interruption that sometimes delays a project’s completion.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Janice Richards recently published A Tribute to Those Serving the Red, White and Blue. It is also a book written in poetic verse honoring our military.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? My love for America and the sadness in seeing her become less than she is meant to be, the lack of knowledge of her citizens concerning her establishment, the historical events that helped shape our nation

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
TinyFlagIf you want to know more about the hardships endured in the founding of America and establishing her freedom but do not want to resort to the informational text of a history book, then this is the book for you.
TinyFlagIf you want to learn more about ‘from whence you came’ with a better understanding of your ancestry, then this is definitely the book to read.
TinyFlagIf you want to experience the sacrifices, feel the emotion, relish in the joys and sorrows from the past in order for you to enjoy the freedoms America has to offer today, then do not miss reading this book.
TinyFlagIf you want to make a personal connection to past events, then not only read this book but engage in the opportunities within the text for personal journal reflections.

After all, America is YOUR country, this is her story!

So that’s it for me. Discover and reflect on some other great writers!

Carole McKee – Writing from the Heart that Cleanses the Tear Ducts

Christine Hannon –Trading Scissors for Other God-given Talents Just to Survive

Claire Cappetta – A Woman’s Journey from Abuse to Empowerment

Jeanette Andersen – Treasure Valley Mysteries: Dreams, Ghosts & Coffins

Rosemary Adkins – Life on its Own as Memories

Stuart Carruthers – Exploration of the Hidden Depths of Asia

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Little Ice Age: Wine-making, Beer & Stradivarius

Wine press from 16th Century
While a potpourri of information exists concerning the "Little Ice Age," interestingly enough are the effects this age had on wine-making, beer and the master violin, the Stradivarius. Out of this period of gloom and doom extending from the early 14th to the middle of the 19th centuries (approx. 1350 - 1850) came incredible benefits. Amid bone-chilling cold followed by few temperate years where the death rate was dramatic and astronomical due to starvation and disease emanated BEER

Wine Grapes

Before the Little Ice Age (LIA), Europe thrived on its wine-making. Vineyards were plush and grapes were plentiful. For the most part, the beverage of choice was wine, even over water. Wine was the nectar of the Gods! Not because of its effects but if you drank plain water, you got sick!  Little was known about the micro-organisms living in the rivers, lakes and streams. It was not even common knowledge that the fermentation process in making wine killed most of the germs in the water. What was known was very simple, "water bad, spirits good."

BUT, how did the Little Ice Age impact America into becoming primarily a beer drinking nation?

Visit The Word of the Day - Beer
As with any age, records were kept for the most important crops, grapes for wine-making being no exception. Vineyards were all over Europe, everywhere, everyone grew grapes and made wine. Men, women and even the children drank wine. Life was good! Then, enters this abrupt climate change - The Little Ice Age with its ravaging effects on the countryside inducing mortal death and famine.

The vineyards in Northern Europe die greatly impacting wine production. As a result of devastation being brought about in the northern hemisphere, grains were substituted to brew beer and distill hard alcohol. Grains were plentiful, survivors of bitter cold and would not wither on the vine. Yep, here comes the ingenuity of our ancestors: almost anything could be fermented.

The fermentation process led to the brewing of beer and the birth of exceptional Scotch whiskey. After all, something had to be done with all those empty wine barrels.[Surely within the experimental process were many failures, as well as successes. Wonder what resulted from the fermentation of acorns and chestnuts? Apparently nothing very palatable for quality was dependent entirely on taste.]

With the large immigration of Europeans to America in the 17th and 18th centuries came their beer drinking culture, as well as beer and alcohol making techniques. During this American culture forming period on the new continent most of the immigrants were from Northern Europe. A relative few came from the wine drinking Mediterranean Basin. Thus, beer and whiskey ruled and reigned!

Whisperings from the past. . .

Although not a few of the Founding Fathers (possibly even the Founding Mothers) enjoyed drinking imported wine, Thomas Jefferson brewed beer at Monticello and George Washington was the largest distiller of rye whiskey in the Colonies!
 Indeed more beer than water
Quenched the harshest of thirsts
With whiskey not far behind
Unbeknownst which came first
©2012 Awakenings
Sharla Lee Shults
Now, what about the Stradivarius? What possible connection could this master violin have with the Little Ice Age?

The Stradivarius violin is renown for its superb sound quality, pitch and tone exceptionale! But what could have possibly come out of the Little Ice Age as a contributing factor for this instrument to surpass any other during its day or ever since? The quality of sound provided via a Stradivarius has for the most part defied attempts to explain or equal it.
Grounded in folklore are many competing theories, even some questioning whether these instruments do indeed sound superior. Is it merely a preference of talented artists? Does this manner of preference allow artists to express themselves best? Are such instruments so well made they are easier to play? Does the quality stem from no more than the legendary skill of their crafters? OR Is it possible a dramatic European cold spell may have enhanced the quality of wood from which the instruments were crafted?
A sharp dip in temperatures between 1645 and 1715 coincided with a reduction in sunspots and the sun's overall activity known as the Maunder Minimum. Researchers say those factors may have slowed tree growth, thereby creating the ideal building material for violins later manufactured.
So, is it possible events of the Little Ice Age may have enhanced the quality of wood from which the Stradivarius instruments were crafted? The answer: yes, it is possible!

The quality, the tones
Reveal a sunset's rest
Rapture within its glow
Melody at its best

©2012 Sharla Lee Shults

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Joyous Wishes on a Blessed Day

From Awakenings and catnipoflife
The Soul of Christmas
Full-bodied aromas
Permeate the nose
Along busy sidewalks
Where everything glows
Joyous melodies
Vibrate all through the air
Amidst hustle ’n’ bustle
Of shoppers everywhere
Bundled from head to toe
Out despite the weather
Wassailing and caroling
Bring us all together
Balsam, spruce and fir
Boughs that glisten and gleam
Bells, balls and tinsel
Add magic to the scene
Sights, sounds, aromatic scents
Surround all the fuss
Bringing out the childish ways
In each and every one of us
A time of giving
Welcomes heartfelt returns
Tears, smiles and laughter
Just what the spirit yearns
Great joy, new beginnings
The soul of Christmas brings
Happy birthday, Jesus
The holy church bell rings
"When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things-not the great occasions-give off the greatest glow of happiness."
—Bob Hope (British-born American comedian & actor, 1903–2003)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Remembering our Soldiers at Christmas

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
Santa visits 2-69 AR C Co. Soldiers on Christmas Eve
Remember our soldiers
Some won't make it home
Some are in the deserts
Some are all alone
Remember our soldiers
Homeless on the streets
Feeling abandoned
Their only defeat
Remember our soldiers
Serving the Red, White and Blue
Honor their courage
In everything they do
Remember our soldiers
When one by chance you meet
Extend a hand in gratitude
For each heroic feat

Remember our soldiers
For they remember you
Caring, sharing, preparing
Before bidding adieu
Remember our soldiers
Amid joyousness and laughter

Remember our soldiers

At Christmas time and thereafter
Sharla Lee Shults

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

Kick Back Moments: Give Yourself a Santa Moment

Each of us relishes memories of our favorite Santa moment. One most cherished is perhaps the preparation and presentation of the ever popular plate of cookies and glass of milk. Carefully baked the best of the best are set aside delicately placed on a special Christmas plate. An ice cold glass of milk becomes the partner, the soul mate, of the cookie array. Not for a moment does the thought of the milk becoming tepid enter the mind even though it may remain untouched for many, many hours.

With this thought in mind, Awakenings would like to share a Santa moment from Peggy Strack @Kick Back Moments. In Peggy's own words, "If you're living on the busy continuum too and want to slow down a touch, you've come to the right place."

So, kick back, click the link and enjoy Kick Back Moments: Give Yourself a Santa Moment

Peggy Strack is the author of A Stop in the Park, a very poignant novel that hooks its readers from the onset of the story. It is life at its best or seemingly so with windows and doors opening and closing at a moment's notice. One minute its pages are filled with anxiety, even rage, as life dangles at the end of a rope that is getting tighter and tighter, while with the next comes the possibility of hope, even contentment. Every dream ever known (most of which have come true) seems to be fading as quickly as awakening from a night's sleep where one remembers dreaming but of what? There is a feeling of entrapment. Tempers flare. Family suffers. The only alternative...OUT! Out of a marriage? Out of a frustrating job? Out of life itself?

When the family is just about to implode enters Rufus.

What can an astute retired bus driver who is a whiz at blitz chess do for someone who feels it is too late to change, chase a new dream, or revive a tormented marriage? What is his prescription for fulfillment? The answers come with A Stop in the Park.

A Stop in the Park