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, May 28, 2012

What do you see on a starry, starry night?

What sights do you behold
On a starry, starry night
A dot-to-dot puzzle
With Pegasus taking flight?

Why not take the time
To research and uncover
How the stars and planets
Let to sights to discover?

As you look up toward the night sky, what do you see? On a clear night it might be innumerable twinkling lights that test the wildest imagination. What we know today was at one time totally unfathomable until the stars barely visible exploded into view with the invention and use of the telescope for astronomy purposes. In addition to observing the skies, potential for safer navigation was recognized on land and at sea.

Heavenly Lights

The moon with its changing appearance
Amid twinkling lights of night skies
Cast light and shadows over the earth
In wonderment before all eyes

A vast luminous galactic formation
The Milky Way, a spiral system of stars
Too faint to be seen individually
Emitted a spirited glow from afar

With a powerful allure and romance
Venus like a diamond in the sky
Enchanted mankind with fascination
Scarcely visible to the naked eye

Enshrouded in wispy ice-crystal clouds
Reflecting stellar light like a mirror
Mars showed phases similar to the moon
As the telescope made it much clearer

Of course there's Uranus
Whose name provokes a joke
Discovery unveiled rings
But not made up of smoke

Rings of Saturn, four moons of Jupiter
Oh, Galileo, thank you for your sights
Revealing secrets barely visible
That once lay hidden within the nights
—Florence, Italy 1609

Along with a starry, starry night is often found musical enjoyment, relaxation, love and romance.

Comments are appreciated!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Remembering our fallen HEROES. . .

. . .they are the reason we are free!

"Although no sculptured marble should rise to their memory, nor engraved stone bear record of their deeds, yet will their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored." ~Daniel Webster

All we have for freedom,
All we use or know,
This our Fathers bought for us,
Long, long ago.
~Rudyard Kipling

What greater sacrifice than to give one's life for God and country! We are indebted beyond measure for those who fought and died for America. On Monday, May 28, 2012, let us lift our voices for flags to be raised, salutes to be made, and testimonials given in honor of their memory.

History and Memory
Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly know as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union and Confederate soldiers following the American Civil War, it was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars.

Without our military forces, there would be NO United States of America!

The Fallen Soldier

Like the bald eagle
Guiding and protecting
The land of the free

'Twas our place
To be brave and strong
Ready and willing
All the day long

Our eyes were keen
Often focused on pain
The fields were bloody
Amid storms and rain

Bodies of comrades
Strewn there and about
Never for a moment
Left room for any doubt

On home or foreign shores
Know ardently that we
Who gave up our lives
'Twas for country and thee

©Awakenings 2012
Sharla Lee Shults

Friday, May 18, 2012



This was a time often described as s.h.r.i.l.l, colorful and simply cr-r-r-r-r-azy. When was it? If you guessed the super groovy 70s, also known as the Decade of the Disco, you nailed it! What do you remember best? Do you ever feel Stuck in the 70s? Do you have special 70s music tunes that you just can't seem to get out of your head? See if your favorite tunes are at And the music goes on...Stuck in the 70s!

Take a nostalgic trip back in time as you unpack the stored memories of your own childhood or explore what was popular when your parents were the kids.

And, that is only part of the story. Ah-h-h-h, remembering the 70s: the mads, glads and the fads. . .

Mads: Nixon Era, Vietnam War

Glads: Pop and Easy Listening, Dance & R&B, Rock 'n' Roll and Punk Rock

Fads: Micro, Mini or Maxi, Flared Trousers, Bell Bottoms and Trouser Suits, Platform Shoes. . .much, much more, Crazy Fads

Hope you enjoyed your trip!
Let me know what you remember best by leaving a comment.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Welcome Home Soldier

(After reading the posting below, be sure to watch the video, Welcome Home Soldier, that follows. It is a powerful military tribute. It is a story of a US soldier coming home from Iraq meeting a Vietnam Veteran on the plane.)

Today has been a very nostalgic day with thoughts awakening and weighing heavily on my dad. He survived the horrors of WWII to come home to a country that respected its soldiers. Ticker tape parades and shouts of joy surrounded those returning to their homeland. Cheering and waving from the decks of transports which brought our soldiers back to the United States could be seen and heard throughout the city streets and country roads around the nation. Thousands upon thousands touched the shores of America wounded or crippled with those who appeared whole physically being torn apart mentally.

What do we truly know of war if we have not stood in their shoes? Can we undeniably feel the pain, sense the emotion, understand war’s wrath from what is spoken through broken voices or spilled onto pages reflective of blood, guts and bone? For so many, the memories are too painful so they lie dormant within the shadows of the mind, blocked out of the mental scrapbook and diary.
Many wars have been fought on foreign shores since WWII and its predecessor, the Great War, WWI. In each war, soldiers returned home very different from those who had left months, perhaps several years, earlier. On occasion, wives, mothers, sisters and girlfriends didn’t even recognize their men for the injuries, disease, stress and living conditions had taken their toll.

So as we rise each morning, stretch and yawn, like the morning glories in full bloom, let’s take a few moments and pause in honor of those who have served, are presently serving or will serve in America’s military forces. Theirs is a day in which they rise each morning, stretch and yawn, but much different from the morning glory in that they must be watchful of the predator waiting and lurking within the shadows of the day for its next victim.  

Next time you see a person in uniform be sure to shake his or her hand and let each of them know how much you appreciate their service and their choice to fight for YOUR freedom. And, above all, welcome them home with warm smiles and open arms for they have sustained the horrendous burdens of war in America’s honor. Last, but not least, do not forget why they are protecting our shores. It was not America that began the battle but like our forefathers she will end it, as long as we honor, protect, and defend her with her enemies continuously recognizing, never forgetting, her strength.  

Thought of the Day:

As John Dickinson quoted in his revolutionary war song, The Liberty Song“Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!” (Boston Gazette , July 1768)

Monday, May 14, 2012

American Classics

Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet!
True American classics find their roots deeply grounded in the lives of immigrants that migrated to the New World in seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Early folk games in England display characteristics that can be seen in modern baseball. The hotdog has German origins stemming from the word frankfurter associated with Frankfurt, Germany. Apple pie can be traced back to the English and Dutch.

Throughout the verses below are links to guide you toward embracing the past, empowering the present and enriching the future. The formats vary from videos to definitions to historical facts. As you preview each outlying page, test your trivia knowledge base and add to your repertoire.

Now, let's get started on a journey to learn about the establishment of true American Classics. Don't forget to follow the links provided and click the pictures for groovy additional information! Be sure to watch the video in Full Screen view and go to bed tonight with baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet singing you to sleep (or keeping you awake)!

That's America, folks!


American Classics

The stuff that's all-American
On any given day
Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie
 And of course Chevrolet

On this you surely agree
One can't understandably deny
Know how it all got started?
Ever taken time to research why?
Stool-ball, trap-ball and baseball
All have a place in history books
From the 1700s onward
Balls were rarely altered in their looks

Colonial children loved trap-ball games
Excitement abounded without a doubt
A quick flip of the trap, a swift swing
Left hopes no one caught the ball for an out

Folk games, leisure times of the past
Led to baseball as we know it today
The claim of ‘Father of Baseball’

Names Alexander Cartwright its mainstay

Hotdogs started as a sausage in a roll
Coney Island’s claim to fame
Concessions and easy access from vendors
Made this ‘dog’ vital to the game

Many questions remain unanswered
About the launching of this ‘hot dog’ treat
Some say it was based on a cartoon
Others rumor origins from dog meat

Binding attachments found in life
Mac ’n’ cheese, campfires, picnics, Fourth of July
Boast connections to the hotdog
None as tantalizing as fresh apple pie

Life, hot dogs and baseball
Hot apple pie topped with ice cream
Ah-h-h-h! Those American classics
Sad day had their visions not been seen!

 ©2012 Awakenings
Sharla Lee Shults

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Tribute to Teachers

Teacher Appreciation Week

Monday, May 7, 2012 through Friday, May 11, 2012

"When you see a teacher today, or any day for that matter, thank them for everything they do."
                                                   ~Christy Carpenter, Mosley High School, Panama City, FL

Do you have a current or recall a former teacher that you will never forget? Is that remembrance comforting, filled with encouragement, or possibly totally humorous? Perhaps, even one that reflects a teacher who may not necessarily be classified a favorite but as you look back, realize what a great impact that person has, or had, on your life? Could there be more than just a single teacher who in one way or another left an everlasting impression? Have you taken the time to let them know how much they are truly appreciated?

As you ponder such questions, it must be taken into account that learning experiences transpire over a decade plus, across many disciplines, and under the helm of numerous educators and administrators. Like the molding of clay into a find piece of pottery, many persons in the education field has, or has had, his/her 'hand' in shaping who you are today. From kindergarten to elementary to middle to high school on to the workplace or college or university (which by the way could be more than one for the purpose of obtaining more than one degree), each had a unique part and the list could go on and on. . .

Being an educator has allowed me to reflect two-fold: On those who impacted my life and those whose lives I have impacted. And, of course, if you read my profile, you have learned my dad was also an educator and in addition, the school principal for my first seven years of school. However, my purpose for this posting is not about my experiences but something so graciously forwarded to me today that could not be set aside without sharing - sharing for all who read it to stop in reflection of our teachers with appreciation and gratitude.

 "I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teachers for living well."
                                                                          ~Alexander the Great
The Awakening for Today:

Christy Carpenter, Mosley High School, Panama City, FL

Take time to read Christy's Letter sent out to all the Mosely teachers. Then, pay it forward to as many as possible in appreciation for ALL that teachers do! As her mom put it, "After all the recent news reports of teachers who belittle students, mistreat them, and actally commit crimes with them, this seems like a breath of fresh air!"

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I thought I would attempt to capture my gratitude for our teachers in words and share my thoughts with those willing to take the time to read this and think about everything teachers do for our community.
I am who I am because of teachers. That’s not just a gross exaggeration or a trite phrase for me. My first teacher was my mother, who retired a few years ago from Bay District after 30 years teaching middle school students. My mother taught me to read and write, along with a myriad of other skills, while also caring for and teaching English to the other 150 or so children in her 6thgrade classes at A.D. Harris. Over the years, I saw how she balanced family and still took care of her students at school. I always admired her ability to love and care for so many children at one time. Maybe that’s why it was natural for me to enter the education profession myself. I can remember playing school and pretending to have my own classroom when I accompanied her to school on planning days. My friends, who were other teachers’ kids, would reluctantly indulge my desire that they serve as my attentive “students”if I promised to play outside after “class” was over. Many years later, I had my own real class and real students, where I learned about giving heart and soul so that I could reap the rewards that come along with a teacher’s dedication. I’ve also had the opportunity to help change the lives of some of my students who struggled with academics and personal issues. It was a long way from demanding that my pretend students beat erasers and use proper grammar in “class” when I was ten, -- this time, the challenges and rewards were real, and I loved every minute of my time in the classroom.
I have fond memories of fingerpainting and dressing like a Pilgrim at Thanksgiving in my kindergarten class with Mrs. Jones. I never once remember feeling afraid or insecure in her class. Her rousing rendition of “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” is a treasure I’ve held dear to my heart for the vast majority of my life. I hope I passed on the love of this story to my own children. I recently went to dinner a few months ago at Golden Corral, and as I hastily entered the lobby area (late as usual), I heard a voice that was an instant balm on my frazzled nerves. There stood Mrs. Jones! The lilt in her voice took me back to a day when I felt safe and secure in her Kindergarten classroom. I don’t know that I could have expressed the magnitude of my love and appreciation for her as a six year old. Did I tell her that I would miss her on my last day of Kindergarten? Did she understand how much I would appreciate her many years down the road? Thirty-five years later, I hope that she understands the impact she had on my life. I hope she knows how much I value the lessons I learned in Kindergarten that supplied a solid foundation for my success. Mostly, I hope she knows how much I appreciate feeling safe and encouraged to explore, think, and inquire under her tutelage.
Teachers work hard. I’ve witnessed and been the beneficiary of the product of teachers’ hard work, as a student, a fellow teacher, a parent and an administrator. Are there bad apples (pardon the pun!) in the bunch? Of course there are, as there are in any aspect of society and in any profession. I assure you, however, that good teachers want only good teachers in classrooms, just as parents, students and community members do. The vast majority of teachers are hard-working, and willing to sacrifice family time, money and effort to support our students and families, both in academics and in society. My son’s kindergarten teacher eagerly took him in when he transferred to a new school this past January. She made him feel at home, loved and safe, just like I did when I was in Kindergarten. She encourages his interests and invites him to explore, enriches his strengths and provides support to improve his weaknesses. He told me yesterday that he loves her. Love isn’t a word that is bandied about in our household—you have to earn it. I asked him why he loves her, and he told me “because she loves all of us in her class.” From a parent’s point of view, you can’t ask for a better teacher. If Kelly Lewis has earned my son’s love, she’s a star in my book. Another example is the math teacher who donates his personal time in the afternoons to tutor my daughter through Algebra II—not for money but because he knows how difficult math is for her and wants to see her succeed. He’s not even her teacher of record, but felt compelled to help when he saw her struggling. I witness his empathy and concern for all students, not just my own daughter, on a daily basis as an administrator at his school. Ironically enough, this is the same math teacher that supported me through Geometry and Business math when I was in high school twenty-five years ago. Paul Durden’s level of compassion and dedication hasn’t changed since I was in school, even though society’s view of teachers has.
Teachers often take a beating from the public these days. Recent news about teachers making bad choices can make us forget about the vast majority of the wonderful teachers in our system. Sometimes we forget that teaching is different than most other professions in that teachers hold a crucial responsibility. Teachers not only take responsibility for their students’ academic well-being, but for their self-esteem, emotional and physical security as well. Imagine the weight of knowing that you hold this responsibility for 18, 22, or even 120 students. Even though this thought would be daunting to many people, teachers readily and eagerly accept this challenge.
I thank my teachers who have supported me and made me who I am. My teachers and the lessons they taught me are the framework of my life; from Mrs. Hawks and Mrs. Pipkin who encouraged me and my fellow students to think beyond the expected, to Mrs. Leake who let me sing in the choir even though I can’t carry a note in a bucket, to Coach Jennings who somehow got me through Algebra, to Mrs. Deluzain who gave me the freedom to explore topics that moved me, and encouraged me to“write what you know.” (By the way, Mrs. D, my novel is coming soon!) There are hundreds of others that I could thank if I had the space and time. I would be willing to bet that each of you reading this can remember a positive experience with a teacher, whether it’s something a teacher said that encouraged you, or a teacher who made you feel loved and welcome in her classroom. I am honored to supervise some of the most caring, loving and committed teachers in the country. Every day that I go to work, I witness a teacher giving of himself or herself. I’ve witnessed teachers paying for students to attend their senior trip when the students otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford it, contribute to scholarship funds, buy shoes for needy students, talk students through personal problems and conflicts, stop a bully from ruining another student’s day, encourage a student to stay in school when they don’t see any other option than dropping out, and provide lunches, school supplies, and most importantly LOVE to students on a daily basis. Being a teacher means you’re a social worker, doctor, psychiatrist, coach, a host of other roles to multiple students. I thank God that there are loving and trustworthy people who are willing to take the burden, responsibility and glorious opportunity to teach. “THANK YOU” doesn’t convey the magnitude of my gratitude for everything teachers do, but it’s a start. When you see a teacher today, or any day for that matter, thank them for everything they do.
Teachers play a key role in every individual’s development and evolution. Showing appreciation to them is therefore the least one can do as an act of gratitude. Remember to express your appreciation this week, next week and every week to come!
"The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate "apparently ordinary" people into unusual effort. The tough problem is not in identifying winners: it is in making winners out of ordinary people."
                                                                                                 ~K. Patricia Cross

Sunday, May 6, 2012

COMMON SENSE - Historically Speaking

Today let us turn our eyes toward events of the past. Our forefathers fought and thousands upon thousands of lives were dutifully sacrificed in battle after battle that led to American independence ultimately being won. In 1776, colonists stood at the crossroads of freedom vs. tyrrany. Early in that year, Common Sense by Thomas Paine "challenged the authority of the British government and the royal monarchy. The plain language that Paine used spoke to the common people of America and was the first work to openly ask for independence from Great Britain."

The challenges of today are similar to those of yesterday, except today the fight is to maintain that freedom. Are America's freedoms, liberty and justice simply being taken for granted, totally expected, but not truly appreciated without consideration of the sacrifices made by our forefathers? Now, in the 21st century, shouldn't the words of Thomas Paine still ring true or has common sense been laid to rest amidst the bones and dust of our forefathers?

Think about it! As I rest the matter on the words of Thomas Paine, focus on who are the Whigs and Tories of today. . .

"On these grounds I rest the matter. . .WHEREFORE, instead of gazing at each other with suspicious or doubtful curiosity, let each of us hold out to his neighbor the hearty hand of friendship, and unite in drawing a line, which, like an act of oblivion, shall bury in forgetfulness every former dissension. Let the names of Whig and Tory be extinct; and let none other be heard among us, than those of a good citizen, an open and resolute friend, and a virtuous supporter of the RIGHTS of MANKIND, and of the FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES OF AMERICA."

Thursday, May 3, 2012

What's happened to COMMON SENSE?

A rude awakening in today's society is the seemingly lack of common sense. Are we simply becoming robots attuned to the surroundings of a non-believing world? You know...like the robotic voices on the telephone that are programmed beyond any deviation whatsoever! Are we being guided toward decisions of truth vs. perception, right vs. wrong, freedom vs. control, positive vs. negative, fact vs. opinion (and, the list goes on. . .) without real sensical thinking? You know...like our brains have become oblivious to self-thought!

Everyone tends to be in a rush these days without giving much thought to simple, common sense actions. Taking your time and being conscientious  in your actions can help make each day safer for yourself and others.

It seems a day does not go by without some happenstance that is totally beyond reason. Shouldn't one KNOW not to walk behind a car as it is backing out of a parking space? What about the shopper that leaves the shopping basket right in front of the cashier's counter? Is it there to step into and drag around as though it is part of your footwear? By the way, the road cones you sometimes see along the highway or blocking off an area, don't they actually mean DO NOT CROSS? Doesn't that also apply to railroad crossing gates? Invariably someone is going to squeeze their way by and when confronted act totally innocent. What are the consequences of such naivety? And, of course, let's not overlook the person who drives around with tires as 'bald as a coot' or the 'texter' that has this growth on his/her hand, aka the mobile phone, or the one who has the 'blue bug' attached to an ear! Has all sense of keeping your eyes on the road and mind on your driving gone right out the window???

Having supplied you with some frequent examples (only a few, I might add), all of the above beg a different question: Do intelligence and common sense necessarily go hand-in-hand? The intellect can continuously add to his/her repertoire of knowledge through advanced stages of learning. Common sense, on the other hand, may or may not be innate and definitely stems from a more practical side of intelligence. It has often been said that high IQ people are lacking in common sense. This is probably not true of all high IQ people, but the person with high IQ AND good common sense is definitely a rarer breed of genius!

Think about it: A person may KNOW what common sense is but then actively take on the attitude "it will never happen to ME" or "how will THAT hurt anyone?" What a difference it would make if everyone would look beyond the next few seconds to the consequences of their actions.

Share your thoughts: What events of late have you encountered that made you react with the What's happened to common sense?" Post your comments for all to see and enjoy, perhaps even begging a "YIPES, that really happened!"