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.

Friday, March 28, 2014

What's wrong with weeds?

[While on vacation, I decided this one would bring on a smile or two!]
Today is...

National Weed Appreciation Day

Some sources name March 28, while others name March 29 as National Weed Appreciation Day.
Take your choice or celebrate both days!
Weed Appreciation Day? You've got to be kidding, right? I try my darnedest to keep those pesky little fellows OUT of my garden! Why on earth would I want to celebrate an appreciation for something so annoying? They always grow where they are unwanted in competition with other plants, often winning out and becoming totally out of control. It is no problem to name what we all know is wrong with weeds. That is common knowledge. Perhaps we should examine the question in a different perspective that just might shed new light on this weedy matter. Maybe, maybe not!

Weeds for Sale © 2011 Mufidah Kassalias
Natural environments, gardens, parks and public places are home to huge varieties of plants and flowers, and weeds are an important part of that ecosystem. A number of plants, actually categorized as weeds, are often intentionally grown in gardens because of their natural beauty. Think about how many of these weeds are in fact edible and unsurprisingly very easy to grow! Some weeds in fact attract insects, not just any insects, but those considered beneficial insects. This in turn can actually protect crops from many harmful pests. 

Top View of a Dandelion
A dandelion is a common plant all over the world, especially in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. It is a well-known example of a plant that is considered a weed in some contexts (such as lawns) but not a weed in others (such as when it is used as a leaf vegetable or herbal medicine).
Source: en.wikipedia.org
Have you ever had dandelion coffee, aka dandelion tea, or dandelion wine? Even enjoyed young dandelion greens in a garden salad? There are, of course, those times with the dandelions you may have enjoyed as a child. Did you ever rub the dandelion flower on your skin to extract the yellow color? Maybe you made a dandelion necklace? Perhaps you twirled the stems around watching the dandelion seeds swirl through the air. On National Weed Appreciation Day, consider how much fun you once had with dandelions!

Fuzzy Willow


Simple things of life, warm smiles and hugs
All make the day seem brighter
Butterflies, honeybees, & creepy-crawly bugs
Bring joy and tears amid a child’s laughter

Dandelions, daisies and daffodils
Burst open with a sunbeam radiance
A tiny wren on the windowsill
Enjoys its own ambiance

A brilliantly white cotton-like fluff
Emerges like springtime snow
Light and airy, and strangely enough
Born of the Fuzzy Willow

Running, giggling, having loads of fun
Willow catkins floating in the breeze
A child tries to catch one
Oops! There goes another sneeze

Scurrying to obey a mother’s call
“I love you, Fuzzy Willow”
The soft and fuzzy lint ball
That sets the heart aglow

Sharla Lee Shults

Related Article:

March 28: Weed Appreciation Day. Have you hugged a weed today?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Li'l Woofer Day

Studies show that 62% of U.S. households have a pet...some kind of pet, whether fish, gerbils, hamsters, snakes, ferrets, turtles, they are all considered pets (discluding the pet rock!). Dogs rank at the top of the list boasting 39% of all U.S. households owning at least one canine, while cats are a close second at 33% of all U.S. households having at least one cat. Whatever the choice, we love and take care of our pets often spoiling allow them rotten! Do you walk the dog or does the dog walk you? Do you have a favorite chair or does the cat sometimes allow you a turn? Such is life with a pet! Let's celebrate one special pet since...
Today is...
National Puppy Day

 Just Look at That Face!
National Puppy Day celebrates the joy that puppies can bring to our homes and lives, but also is a great chance to adopt an orphan or needy dog and to give them home, a loving parent, and a chance at a happy life. National Puppy Day was founded by Colleen Paige in 2006 in an effort to educate about puppy mills and to save homeless puppies around the world.
National Puppy Day is a special day to celebrate the magic and unconditional love that puppies bring to our lives. But more importantly, it's a day to help save orphaned puppies across the globe and educate the public about the horrors of puppy mills, as well as further our mission for a nation of puppy-free pet stores. Normally celebrated on March 23rd, this year the date has changed to March 21st. Click HERE or the photo below to visit the National Puppy Day site.
Source: Colleen Paige
 Who could not love me!

A Puppy's Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep,
The king-size bed is soft and deep...
I sleep right in the center groove
My human being can hardly move!

I’ve trapped her legs,
she’s tucked in tight
And here is where I pass the night
No one disturbs me or dares intrude
Till morning comes and “I want food!”

I sneak up slowly to begin
  my nibbles on my human’s chin.
She wakes up quickly,
I have sharp teeth-
I’m a puppy, don’t you see?

For the morning’s here
and it’s time to play
I always seem to get my way.
So thank you Lord for giving me
This human person that I see.

The one who hugs and holds me tight
And shares her bed with me at night!

Author Unknown
Now give all those puppies, whether teeny, tiny or great big overgrown sweeties, a big hug and let them know just how loved and precious they are to you today and every day!


 And if you have any cute puppy stories or memories, please share, 
love to hear them!! :) 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Uncle Tom's Cabin

This Day in History: March 20, 1852

Uncle Tom's Cabin, Boston edition
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org
Growing up in the 19th & 20th centuries provides reflections into multiple changes that swept across America. Everyday life, work and play, institutions and values were all affected. During these times, one of the South's mainstays was slaverybrutal and harsh conditions where a person was looked upon as nothing more than a piece of property that could be sold on a moment's notice. It was on March 20, 1852 when Uncle Tom's Cabin written by Harriet Beecher Stowe changed forever the way Americans viewed slavery.

For Northerners, the story made them acutely aware of the horrors of slavery far more personally than ever before. Southerners met the book with outrage even to the point of claiming distortions and overstatements. Regardless of the number of likes vs. dislikes, debates and discussions, Uncle Tom's Cabin was a runaway best seller.

At the start of the American Civil War, it has been recorded that Abraham Lincoln upon meeting Harriet Beecher Stowe commented, "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war."

In response to the criticisms, in 1853 Stowe published A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin, an attempt to document the veracity of the novel's depiction of slavery. In the book, Stowe discusses each of the major characters in Uncle Tom's Cabin and cites "real life equivalents" to them while also mounting a more "aggressive attack on slavery in the South than the novel itself had."

"When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you until it seems that you cannot hold on for a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time when the tide will turn."
 ~Harriet Beecher Stowe

Synopsis of Uncle Tom's Cabin

"I would write something that would make this whole nation feel what an accursed thing slavery is."
Uncle Tom's Cabin opens on the Shelby plantation in Kentucky as two enslaved people, Tom and 4-year old Harry, are sold to pay Shelby family debts. Developing two plot lines, the story focuses on Tom, a strong, religious man living with his wife and 3 young children, and Eliza, Harry's mother.
When the novel begins, Eliza's husband George Harris, unaware of Harry's danger, has already escaped, planning to later purchase his family's freedom. To protect her son, Eliza runs away, making a dramatic escape over the frozen Ohio River with Harry in her arms. Eventually the Harris family is reunited and journeys north to Canada.
Tom protects his family by choosing not to run away so the others may stay together. Sold south, he meets Topsy, a young, black girl whose mischievous behavior hides her pain; Eva, the angelic, young, white girl whose death moved Victorians to tears; charming, elegant but passive St. Clare; and finally, cruel, violent Simon Legree. Tom's deep faith gives him an inner strength that frustrates his enemies as he moves toward his fate in Louisiana.
The novel ends when both Tom and Eliza escape slavery: Eliza and her family reach Canada; but Tom's freedom comes with death. Simon Legree, Tom's third and final master, has Tom whipped to death for refusing to deny his faith or betray the hiding place of two fugitive women.
Click HERE for the text of Uncle Tom’s Cabin as originally released in The National Era. You will find each chapter, followed by scholarly commentary, and links to Stowe’s A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin and related materials.

Full-page illustration by Hammatt Billings for Uncle Tom's Cabin
depicts Eliza telling Uncle Tom that he has been sold and
she is running away to save her child.
(First Edition: Boston: John P. Jewett and Company, 1852).
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org
Full page illustration by Hammatt Billings for Uncle Tom's Cabin
(First Edition: Boston: John P. Jewett and Company, 1852).
Cassy, another of Legree's slaves, is shown
ministering to Uncle Tom after his whipping.
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org
"The fugitives are safe in a free land."
Illustration by Hammatt Billings for Uncle Tom's Cabin, First Edition.
The image shows George Harris, Eliza, Harry, and
Mrs. Smyth after they escape to freedom.
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org

The Little White Schoolhouse

This Day in History: March 20, 1854

The Little White Schoolhouse of Ripon,
listed on the List of Registered Historic Places
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org
On March 20, 1854, the Republican Party held its first meeting in a little white schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin. A small group of dedicated abolitionists, former members of the Whig Party, met to establish the Republican Party. They gathered to fight the expansion of slavery, and they gave birth to a Party dedicated to freedom and equal opportunity.

This first meeting was prompted by the introduction of the Kansas-Nebraska Act designed by Senator Stephen Douglas in January 1854.The act permitted the extension of slavery beyond the limits established in the Missouri Compromise. When the act passed in the Senate, Alvin Earle Bovay of Ripon, Wisconsin called a meeting of 53 voters in the little white schoolhouse to organize a new party. 
Years later Bovay recalled: “We went into the little meeting, Whigs, Free Soilers, and Democrats. We came out Republicans, and we were the first Republicans in the Union.
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org
The first national meeting of Republicans took place February 22, 1856 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the name “Republican” was adopted. The traditional mascot, the elephant, was published in Harper's Weekly on November 7, 1874 as a political cartoon by Thomas Nast. This is considered the first important use of the symbol.


Today is...

International Earth Day, aka
The First Day of ...

Winter is officially over! O.V.E.R. OVER! However, we all know there are parts of the country still experiencing chilly winds, snow and icy mornings. But, for all of us, better weather days are finally in site! 

What is the connection of International Earth Day to the first day of Spring?

America's story of Earth Day will be celebrated on April 22, 2014. Today, we will look globally at International Earth Day. Its celebration falls on Mar. 20, 2014, which is the day of the vernal equinox, more popularly known as the first day of spring. 
"International Mother Earth Day is a chance to reaffirm our collective responsibility to promote harmony with nature at a time when our planet is under threat from climate change, unsustainable exploitation of natural resources and other man-made problems," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last year for Earth Day. "When we threaten the planet, we undermine our only home – and our future survival. On this International Day, let us renew our pledges to honor and respect Mother Earth."

From the tiniest hint of green
To the red tip of a blackbird's wing
Aromatic scents of clover
Announce winter's finally over

Related Articles:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It's Fowl Day!

Today is...

 National Poultry Day

Let's Talk Chicken!
This can definitely also be called "Fowl Day" but not because of any bad mood! Let's Talk Chicken! But then also add turkey, duck, goose or pheasant to the conversation. What about dove or quail?

There is a whole range of domestic feathered friends to celebrate today that are raised for their meat and eggs. Can you imagine a Thanksgiving, Christmas or other special holiday dinner table without the addition of such fine fowls?  How naked would your fancy salad be without a quail’s egg quivering at the top? How incomplete would that Chicken Pot Pie be without…well…the chicken?

It is for all these reasons and more that we pause and say thank you to poultry for enhancing our diets and giving us opportunities to fight over the wishbone, draw lots over who gets the last drumstick, and encourage sibling rivalry by letting them fight out whose turn it is to crack the egg into the cake batter. Whether it’s a honk honk, gobble gobble, or a cluck cluck, it all sounds the same to me – DELICIOUS!
What about you? 

Not much is known about when or why this holiday came about, but we do know that for thousands of years chickens have been enjoyed for their eggs, meat and free live entertainment!

Recipe of the Day: Pan-Roasted Chicken

yum, yum, yum. . .yummy!
Do I have you hungry for chicken for dinner?  Try this one on for size! Hardy, hearty, and healthy! Whew? That's a mouthful.

Pan-Roasted Chicken With Lemon-Garlic Green Beans

A GR-r-r-r-REAT Combo!


Today is...

Chocolate Caramel Day

The union of chocolate and caramel is arguably one of the greatest flavor combinations ever conceived by man. These two ingredients appear in countless candy bars, ice cream flavors, confections, and desserts. Of course, to top it off even more, just add nuts! O-o-o-o-oH! What a mouth watering delight - the salty with the sweet!
Milton Snavely Hershey (September 13, 1857 – October 13, 1945) was an American confectioner, philanthropist, and founder of The Hershey Chocolate Company and the "company town" of Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Did you know that Milton Hershey began his career at a caramel company? In the late 1800s he began experimenting with ways to improve caramel candy and found some German-built machines for manufacturing chocolate. His attention would eventually shift completely to chocolate, but Hershey’s first product was a chocolate-covered caramel!
  Returning to Lancaster, PA in 1887, Hershey established the Lancaster Caramel Company, which quickly became an outstanding success. Utilizing a caramel recipe he had obtained during his previous travels, his company soared to the top. It was this business that established him as a candy maker, and set the stage for future accomplishments.
Source: en.wikiipedia.org

What better way to celebrate Chocolate Caramel Day than with a favorite chocolate bar, or a piece of millionaire's shortbread? Suck it in and ENJOY!!

Recipe of the Day: Millionaire's Shortbread

The Grace of Graceland

Today in Music History: March 19, 1957

From then...
Elvis and a female friend outside his home Graceland in 1957.
Image Source: flickr.com
1957, with a $1,000 cash deposit, Elvis Presley agreed to purchase the Graceland southern Colonial mansion from Mrs. Ruth Brown-Moore for $102,500. (£60,295) a 23 room, 10,000 square foot home, on 13.8 acres of land in Memphis, TN. Vernon and Gladys Presley (Elvis' parents), along with Elvis' grandmother Minnie Mae Presley, moved in on May 16, 1957 while Elvis was still in Holly wood filming Jailhouse Rock.
Vernon and Gladys, along with Elvis' grandmother Minnie Mae Presley, moved in on May 16, 1957 while Elvis was still in Hollywood filming Jailhouse Rock. - See more at: http://www.elvis.com.au/presley/the_moores_and_presleys_at_graceland.shtml#sthash.4T3BTPKU.dpuf
Vernon and Gladys, along with Elvis' grandmother Minnie Mae Presley, moved in on May 16, 1957 while Elvis was still in Hollywood filming Jailhouse Rock. - See more at: http://www.elvis.com.au/presley/the_moores_and_presleys_at_graceland.shtml#sthash.4T3BTPKU.dpuf

Who was the Grace of Graceland?

The Graceland property was originally established as a 500-acre farm during the American Civil War (1861-1865) by Stephen C. Toof (Publisher of the Memphis Daily Appeal). Toof named the property after his daughter, Grace. Mary Moore, the granddaughter of Stephen Toof, inherited the farm. In 1939, Mary and her husband, Dr. Thomas Moore, built the two-story Colonial mansion on the land that had been in her family for almost 100 years. There was also a church, Graceland Christian Church, that adjoined the property.
Toof named the property after his daughter, Grace Toof. Ruth Moore, the granddaughter of Stephen C. Toof, inherited Toof's farm from his daughter, her aunt Grace. In 1939, Mrs. Ruth Brown Moore and her husband, Dr. Thomas D. Moore, built a two-story Classical Revival residence and outbuildings on the land that had been in her family for almost 100 years.

Back of Graceland 1957
Image Source: flickr.com
Renovations began almost immediately after the purchase of Graceland, including a stone wall around the property. The living space to date expands the area under the roof to 17,552 square feet, not including any out buildings.

ElvisPresley : New Music Gates at Graceland in 1957 The musical gates were not part of the property when Elvis Presley purchased Graceland in 1957. Abe Saucer and John Dillars, Jr. (Memphis Doors, Inc.) custom designed the gates. They were delivered and installed on April 22, 1957. 

'Til now...

Graceland 2012
As rock star mansions go, Graceland is shockingly understated.
As tourist attractions go, it is amazingly impressive.
Photo: Elvis Presley Enterprises
And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wells Fargo Six-Horse Stagecoach

This Day in History: March 18, 1852

This was the West. The era when California's economy boomed with the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in 1849. All that gold - where to keep it and how to transport it became the topic of the hour. Prosperous New York businessmen Henry Wells and William Fargo recognized the need and seized the opportunity to begin a transport company. The two men had already helped with the founding of American Express. They ventured forth again and officially created Wells Fargo & Co. on March 18, 1852 with two primary objectives in mind at its inception: transportation and banking.

One must stop and think about the time and location in which all this was taking place. In California, transportation was in its infancy with the railroads not yet being in existence. This turned heads and eyes toward stagecoaches and wagons to provide services to miners, transport gold and deliver freight to businesses. The six-horse stagecoach rattled over rutted roads with their handlers squeamish only at thoughts of outlaws hiding in the brush awaiting its arrival at a designated point of ambush. Sounds exciting but very dangerous!

Wells Fargo rushed customers’ business from the urban centers of New York and New Jersey, through the rail hub of Chicago and farming regions of the Midwest, to ranching and mining centers in Texas and Arizona, and to lumber mill towns in the Pacific Northwest. Wells Fargo agents in towns large and small offered basic financial services like money orders, travelers checks, and transfer of funds by telegraph. Always, though, wherever there was mining, from Alaska to Arizona, Wells Fargo guarded the gold.
Source: Wells Fargo Since 1852

This day in history marks the beginning of what would provide essential local transportation for decades, and the company still exists today as a major banking institution.

 A lot has changed from then 'til now...

Related Article:

Wells Fargo History: Stagecoach History

Awkward Moments

Have you ever found yourself in a totally awkward, meaning AWKWARD!, moment—that moment when 'you wished you could wish' yourself back in time?  Wiggle your nose and vanish to a new location, new place in time? Blink your eyes and the entire event simply disappear in a flash? Such moments happen all the time usually when completely unexpected to some folks, of course, more than others. 

Today you get to celebrate all of those moments you once wished at the time the ground would simply open up and swallow them to oblivion. Why? Because...

Today is...

National Awkward Moments Day

For anyone and everyone who’s ever wished they could turn back the hands of time, Awkward Moments Day is a celebration of all those crazy, weird moments that made you feel clumsy, bungling, butterfingered, to sum it up in one word, completely maladroit! Those moments that delegated the response "Nice going, grace!

From walking out of a public toilet realizing you entered the men's room (you are a female) to dragging loose toilet paper attached to the bottom of your shoe as you amble along to realizing you’ve been speaking to someone everyday for a year when you suddenly have no clue of that person's name, life is full of awkward moments. They happen. Without warning, A.W.K.W.A.R.D. strikes! Ouch!

Although there isn’t much information regarding the origins of Awkward Moments Day, many people have commented on how interesting it is that it is the day after St Patrick’s day! Awkward Moments Day can boast a mascot though, the awkward turtle.

So, if anything awkward happens on Awkward Moments Day, be sure to see the humor of the situation and have a good laugh about itbefore moving on to the next one!

Dare to share? There IS a comment section! What is your most awkward moment?

For me, it has to be when I was still a classroom teacher. It was on a day, of course, when the Assistant Principal entered my room for an unannounced observation. He quietly took a seat and almost fell out of the chair when I calmly instructed the students to take out their 'workshits!' OOPS! I meant to say worksheets! AW-w-w-wKWARD! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

How low can you go?

Today is...

Submarine Day
 [And I am NOT talking about the sandwich! Of course, keep reading in case there happens to be a connection:-)]

How low… can you go? How lo-o-o-ow… can you go? Sounds like we are getting ready for the Limbo, the traditional popular dance contest that originated on the island of Trinidad, but that is not the direction we are going. Think down, deep down underneath the water for when it comes to Submarine Day, we Dive! Dive! Dive! and the depths can get mighty low!

Embrace the Past...

Believe it or not, the concept of an underwater vessel has roots deep in antiquity. Think back to about 413 BC. That's right...BC! Divers were used to clear obstructions according to the History of the Peloponnesian War. Later legends from Alexandria, Egypt, in the 12th century AD suggested use of a primitive submersible for reconnaissance missions. This seems to have been a form of diving bell
Although there were various plans for submersibles or submarines made during the Middle Ages, the Englishman William Bourne designed one of the first workable prototype submarine in 1578. His idea ultimately never got beyond the planning stage. The first submersible to be actually built in modern times was constructed in 1605 by Magnus Pegelius. It's fate was to become buried in mud.
Source: en.wikipedia.org
Submarine of Cornelius Jacobszoon Drebbel,
1620 and 1624.
That brings us to the first recorded successful submarine. It was built by Cornelius Drebbel in 1620 for James I of England. It was propelled by oars and is thought to have incorporated floats with tubes to allow air down to the rowers. Why would anyone want to plunge beneath the surface of the17th century River Thames? Perhaps the mystery of what lies beneath the water was reason enough!

USS Plunger, launched in 1902
Today’s submarines are of course far more sophisticated than that particular oar-powered contraption or the one from 1902 pictured at the right. It is interesting to note submarine roles in military operations have been major for over a century. The amount of expertise that goes into their design, construction, maintenance and operation has become quite staggering. One must take into account the inclusion of navigation and communication networks; sensors, armaments and weaponry; powerful propulsion systems; and of course, a large number of rigorously trained and highly skilled men and women, often putting their lives on the line for their countries.

So today's celebration can take on many forms: Thoughts can center upon the ingenuity and majesty of the mighty submarine itself, circumnavigate its place throughout the modern world, or be filled with imagination as to what they’ll be like in a hundred years’ time. But most importantly, those thoughts should at least momentarily reflect back upon those lost at sea over the years, especially during war time. Tribute should be paid to the courage of those who souls are beneath the ocean waves at this exact moment in time.

Echoes of the Sea


US Navy Submarine
 The sea, which soars, soothes, threatens and shifts
Emanates life as an unanswered question
If it had lips, it would speak effortlessly
Sharing untold stories from every nation

Oh, sea, mighty warrior of all times
Let loose your triumphant vessels
Relinquish the esteemed memories
Once washed away like sandcastles

The sea, whose entrails reflect radial symmetry
Imitates the snow-capped peak of Fujiyama
If it were a stage, its ghosts would be the stars
In an infinite unpredictable melodrama

Oh, sea, unforgiving and yet calm
Lay to rest those who died in your wake
Relinquish troubling tales of mystery and wo
That haunt those souls we'd never forsake 

The sea, in all its fierceness and serenity
Sustains any argument with the bravest of the brave
It changes its mood with the plunging tide
Whispering of the past as echoes resound in each wave

©2004 Echoes
Sharla Lee Shults

Recipes for Many Decadent Sandwiches, Heroes & Subs!
Yum! Yum! Yummy!