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.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Live Fast, Die Young

 James Dean (February 8, 1931 - September 30, 1955)

"Dream as if you'll live forever, and live as if you'll die today."
– James Dean

Dean in Giant (1956)
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
James Dean is a legend: a hero with a motto "live fast, die young." His style - casual, his look - unflinching, his attitude - rebel. He reflects the essence and epitome of cool even to this day. When he was killed in a car crash at the age of 24, James Dean immediately became an enduring film icon. His film credits include East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Bonnie Elizabeth Parker (October 1, 1910 – May 23, 1934) &
Clyde Chestnut Barrow (March 24, 1909 – May 23, 1934)

Step back to an earlier point in time to Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow who also lived fast and died young but violently. Their final moments are legendary indeed as they faced a "hail of lead" which brought to an end a twisted tale of love, family and violence.

Related Article
Bonnie & Clyde History Notes http://bonnieandclydehistory.blogspot.com/ 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Die-Young Life
Legends are often times etched in the lives of the young and restless.
Outlaws, robbers, and criminals date back to eras known for showing no mercy
but nevertheless chose paths of the unrighteous. 

“Live fast, die young”
Soon became their legendary motto
Terror in five states
Left bullets ricocheting like staccato

Scorching over-heated radiators
And smell of burning rubber
Echoed down never-ending highways
Beneath the hot southwest sun

A wearying cat and mouse chase
Churned along winding country roads
Kicking up miles and miles of dust
With Bonnie and Clyde on the run

Stifled, clammy, often cramped
In one car right after another
Deputies rolled down their windows
Channeling a hot, stagnant breeze

Atop a stumpy, rolling hill
A posse of six determined men
Set a quick but deadly ambush
Out of sight among moss-covered trees

Last words to family and close friends
Led folks to sincerely believe
Bonnie and Clyde knew what was to come
Right to the very bitter end

When the order came, “Shoot!”
Shells riveted the body of the car
Glass shattered, bodies slumped
Leaving Bonnie and Clyde a true legend

Connecting the past to the present…
“So wise so young, they say do never live long.”
—Shakespeare (1564–1616)

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Teepee

Awakenings opens many windows and doors of awareness: awareness of the past, present and future. Are you aware of the enduring beauty of the Great Plains, home to the native American Indian? Somewhere back in your ancestral chain is the possibility of Indian heritage.

What is your knowledge of the teepee? Are authentic Indian tepees any different from modern tepees sold in retail stores? Is its design any different from an ordinary tent? Are all teepees the same size?

Then, of course, there is the question "Have you ever built or tried to build your own teepee?" More than likely there has been a playhouse, treehouse, backyard tent, makeshift shed but what about a teepee? Do you know or have you ever known someone who built a teepee? Last month I was enlightened by the undertaking of just such a person. In fact, her episode became a book. Let me introduce you to The 12-Foot Teepee by Marilyn Armstrong.

Marilyn started writing as soon as she could form letters and has never heard a single good reason why she should stop. She and her husband, as well their son, daughter-in-law, granddaugher and various intrepid canines, live in a setting of rare natural beauty and gigantic rocks in rural Massachusetts. Visit Marilyn at her blogsite Serendipity where there is never a dull moment!

The 12-Foot Teepee

Once upon a time, I built a teepee. I painted the door and filled it with things I loved. I made the poles, sanded each by hand, peeling the bark from each 16-foot sapling we had cut in our own woods.

Then I wrote a book about building it, and about life, transformation, and other things, some funny, some sad, some just whatever.

The manuscript for The 12-Foot Teepee took me about 7 months to write, almost as much time to edit, then a few more months to design the cover and the book. Getting it published, well … that’s a whole other story.

This was my teepee.

It stood, through all seasons for five years. This summer, the poles could no longer support the canvas, and the canvas itself was mildewed. Its time was over and it came down.

I don’t think there will ever be another. Building it was a rebirth. A physical teepee is nothing but a bit of canvas and sticks, the rest is spirit, love, and hope. I knew it could not last forever, and it lasted as long as any teepee could in this climate … especially since I left it up through the winter … but I miss it and always will. I had some of my best hours in my teepee … the only place in my world where I could always sleep.

My favorite time in the teepee was when the snow was falling and I was cozy by my fire. It was the most peaceful place in my world.

You can find Marilyn's book on Amazon, both as a paperback and in Kindle format. It is “The 12-Foot Teepee,” by Marilyn Armstrong.  Here is her book description:

Fighting the of demons of an abusive childhood and having given up on traditional paths to personal salvation, Maggie decides to find her own path ... by building a teepee in her back yard. It's a peculiar route, but her goal is simple: offload the cargo of her past and move into a future, sans luggage. Armed with a draw knife and a sense of humor, she peels poles and paints canvas until winter passes and she is free.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fight for Freedom

The fight for freedom has many heroes. . .
There is an awakening across the country, and the fight is on to return power to individuals and localities, empower individuals and unleash America’s entrepreneurial spirit.
As Ronald Reagan said,
we’re not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline.”

Do you support America?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Unity for Peace

Reblogged from

Inspiration Import ~ Lesley Fletcher Art & Words - Spirit & Soul - Create & Creations

Wear White! to demonstrate our Unity on September 21st.

"Peace Day should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples…This day will serve as a reminder to all peoples that our organization, with all its limitations, is a living instrument in the service of peace and should serve all of us here within the organization as a constantly pealing bell reminding us that our permanent commitment, above all interests or differences of any kind, is to peace."
Peace, everyone. . .in a world gone mad!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Bit of Cookie History

Colossal Cookies
Cookies ~ a treat for any age but how did they get started, how did the 'cookie' get its name? Did you know the 'cookie' actually goes back to the 7th century? Now, that's a long way back, folks! I doubt very seriously it was the same as the cookie we know today. But, what did it look like? Was it really tasty? How was it sweetened? Is a 'cookie' called a 'cookie' all over the world? Do cookies look and taste the same the world over?

Whoa? Slow down! Let's take it easy on the questions and look for some of the answers. Because of the extent of the history behind the cookie, you will need to investigate some of the links to find the answers.

7th century Persia ~ "The earliest cookie-style cakes are thought to date back to 7th century Persia A.D. (now Iran), one of the first countries to cultivate sugar. . ." Lavish cakes were well-known in the Persian Empire. Read MORE. . . 
14th century Europe ~ The history of cookies documents cookbooks filled with recipes beginning in Italy and spreading throughout Europe. By the end of the 14th century, tiny little wafers could be bought along the streets of Paris: thin crisp cookies, plain sweetened versions, or flavored with a variety of ingredients, baked in the manner of waffles. In England, the 'biscuit' was popular, literally meaning "twice baked."

17th & 18th centuries ~ In the 1600s, the amazing history of cookies marks its migration to America during English and Dutch settlement. Endless numbers of recipes fill the cookbooks of America with not one cookbook holding all the different varieties.
The word 'cookie' is Americanism first recorded in American English in 1703. The word came from the Dutch word 'koekie' meaning 'cupcake or little cake'. After Americanization, the 'cookie' became a child's best friend. It found its place as the sole proprietor of the 'cookie jar' and heaven forbid if the jar ever became empty. One last cookie must remain to be shared.

Cookie Time

Mama, Mama, time for a treat
I've been good, done my chores
Didn't run through the house
Left playing for outdoors

What's that I smell
All sugary and sweet
Oh, Mama, oh, Mama
Your cookies can't be beat

Peanut butter, oatmeal
Which one is it this time?
Maybe chocolate chip
A favorite of mine

I'd better get the milk
Maybe some cocoa too
Cookies are made for dunkin'
Soakin' all the way through

What's that you say?
 You made all three
Ready for the takin'
For Daddy and me

What is your all-time favorite cookie and 'cookie time memory?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fighting the Devil

Ever feel like you are 'fighting the devil' - nowhere to turn, no end in sight?
An Awakenings connection and interview with Jeannie Walker,
award-winning author of Fighting the Devil
As you ponder this question, think back to generations past when the first settlers set foot on the shores of America. Think about the hardships endured before the journey, during the journey and after the journey. What about sacrifices - family, friends, loved ones - left behind or lost along the way? 'Twas not an easy task, the founding of a nation, the break from tyranny, revolution, liberation, adaptation. . .So, would you say 'fighting the devil' was a daily part of life?

Throughout history lies evidence of instances reflective of 'fighting the devil'. They exist within homes, on the streets, in the daylight and under the murkiness of darkness. Story after story has been told and/or written of encounters that endanger lives and destroy families. Some live to tell their story while others do not. Those that do survive never truly live without fear for too many hauntings shroud their very being.
As far back as recorded history, tales cast foreboding shadows, some fact, others fiction. Then, there are those limitless unrecorded messages ingrained within hearts, minds, and souls that scream to be let out but fear or lack of courage forbids the story to be told. Some perhaps find friends or relatives willing to listen while others fall on a deaf ear. Even those that listen are not ardent believers.

While you may not have been a victim or personally known someone who has endured torment, mentally or physically, there may be someone in your ancestral chain that endured the unimaginable. Someone somewhere knows! Perhaps it is a story lying dormant awaiting a moment of rebirth for a restless soul to finally find peace.

Jeannie Walker
With this background in mind, Awakenings has invited a visitor to her site today - Jeannie Walker, author of  Fighting the Devil,  True Story of Consuming Passion, Deadly Poison, and Murder.

Thank you for talking with us today, Jeannie. For people who aren't familiar with who you are, please tell us about yourself.

Jeannie: I grew up in rural Oklahoma and later Texas. Most of the reading and writing I did was in school. Growing up on a farm didn't leave a lot of time for anything else except tending to farm animals, feeding and watering the chickens, gathering the eggs, milking the cows, and feeding the pigs. Then, there was harvest time when the entire family had to pull cotton, combine wheat, and bale hay. Any spare time I got, I spent outside sitting under a big oak tree enjoying nature and reading a good book. My English teacher at Lone Wolf, Oklahoma was a big influence in my life. Mrs. Schreiner encouraged all her students to excel in reading and writing. I worked hard to achieve excellence and make straight A's because of the respect I had for Mrs. Schreiner and my other teachers in school.  
I have a lot of hobbies. I like to golf, play tennis, take walks and ride my bike. I also like to sing, read and write. I believe being in tune with nature helps me to understand how to be happy. My main love is God. My best friend is Jesus Christ. He leads me, talks with me and walks with me. When I get too weak to carry on, He carries me. That's why there is only one footprint in the sand.

Jeannie, as we share this time together, hopefully all who read will gain a better understanding of how one can 'fight the devil' and ultimately come out the winner. Is this perhaps the premise behind your writing?

Jeannie: I write because I love it. I write because I believe in truth and justice. I write because I want to reach out and tell people to keep trying, to do all they can because in the end, it is worth it and to let them know they are not alone in their struggle(s).

Would you give us a little insight into your story? I understand it is a true account of your ex-husband's murder. Is that right?

Jeannie: Yes, that's correct. I lived in Long Island, New York. On June 12th, my daughter called and informed me that her dad (my former ex-husband Jerry Sternadel) had died from arsenic poison. The very next morning I was on an airplane flying from Long Island, New York to Texas to comfort my children.  I knew my ex-husband had been murdered and I was pretty sure who murdered him. I began writing down my memories and recollections about my relationship with my ex-husband and the woman he married after we divorced. I wanted to document the past events and current events for my children and grandchildren. I also wanted to give the authorities any information I could on my ex-husband, his business dealings and his widow. 

It is sorrowful enough when any of us goes through the loss of a loved one, but to experience a murder is not Please tell us more about the murder.

Jeannie: Jerry Sternadel, was a self-made Texas millionaire. He was poisoned to death in 1990. While hospitalized, he told nurses and doctors alike that two women, his wife and bookkeeper, were poisoning him. The hospital staff did not believe his accusations and continued to let the murder suspects have access to him as he lay dying in his hospital bed.

He eventually died in the hospital while strapped down to his hospital bed with restraints on his hands and feet and tubes in every orifice. Upon his death, an anonymous caller tipped off the police.

The authorities quickly determined that millionaire Jerry Sternadel had died from arsenic poisoning.  The widow was the sole beneficiary of the million-dollar estate and a $350,000 life insurance policy. It was later learned that just before Jerry's death a teenager had visited the Sternadel ranch and became deathly ill after he drank juice that was in the refrigerator. Two years after the death of Jerry Sternadel, a bottle of arsenic was found in a storage locker rented by a woman under an assumed name.

The sheriff asked me to help with the investigation because the small county could not afford and did not have the time or resources to do extensive research. I quickly decided to become a sleuth to help solve the murder and the Sheriff deputized me over the phone. I began my research by reading everything I could about arsenic poison and its effect on a human being. I read books about people who use poison as a weapon to kill. I started contacting toxicologists, medical examiners, detectives who had solved arsenic murder cases, District Attorneys who had handed arsenic murder cases, the EPA and even the FBI in Quantico, Virginia.

It is very remarkable, Jeannie, how you managed such an undertaking. The murder alone and its effect on your children were stresses enough without taking on more. Now that you have brought the entire story to the surface and completed your book, is there any thing special you learned that you would like to share?

Jeannie: I learned a person must never give up looking for truth and justice.  Most importantly, I learned we all have to 'fight the devil' every minute of every day. 

What is your hope for readers of your story?

Jeannie: It is my hope that anyone who reads my book will come to the realization that they are not alone in their struggles, no matter how big or small. And that they have the ability to overcome and the right to become their loved one's advocate ... if necessary, to become their own, real-life Sherlock Holmes. I hope readers will realize God will walk beside them every step of the way in their trials and tribulations.

Jeannie, it has indeed been a pleasure having you spend time on Awakenings sharing such a horrific event of your life. To all my readers and followers, thank you for stopping by for a visit. I encourage you to seek more information about Jeannie's book. Yes, I have read the book and click HERE for my review, as well as others. I highly recommend it!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Happy Constitution Day

This Day in History: September 17, 1787

Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Happy Constitution Day, everyone!
Agreed to at the Constitutional Convention, Philadelphia, PA, September 17, 1787. Still mostly working 225 years later.

Celebrating the 225th Anniversary of Constitution Day

September 17 is designated as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day
to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution
in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787.
Source: http://todaysdocument.tumblr.com/

We the People. . .

of the United States,
in Order to form a more perfect Union,
establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility,
provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare,
and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,
do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Read MORE. . .

Show you LOVE America,
scroll up, click the Facebook LIKE button,
send to your friends, share on Facebook and Tweet!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

2nd Liebster Blog Award

WOW! Back-to-back awards for Awakenings!
Thank You to Deirdre Tolhurst @ Thoughts and Prayers
This award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. "Liebster" is German for 'favorite'. So it is the favorite blog award. There are 'rules' which the nominee is expected to follow but before going that route. . . 
. . .let me introduce you to Deidre. You need to know more about her so you will become inspired to visit her blog. Deidre is a Christian woman in love with Jesus. In believing He has a plan for all of us, hers is to reach into the hearts of the weary and encourage them through her writing. She has lived in New York, New Jersey, Stuttgart, Germany, and Texas.

Click to find out more about Deirdre. . .

Deirdre published her first book in November, 2011, A Christmas I Remember. Be sure to visit Deirdre's book page to learn more about the book and listen to an audio excerpt.

The rules state that I must answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated me. That's Deirdre!

Here are her questions. . .

1. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas

2. What is your most favorite memory? Fishing with my dad

3. If you could go anywhere, where would it be? Ireland

4. If you were your mother, what would you teach you? Same things she taught me

5. What is your favorite flavor ice cream? Pralines 'n' Cream

6. What is your all time favorite movie and why? Somewhere in Time - I love time travel.

7. What do you look best in, casual or dressy? Now that I am retired, I would have to say casual for dressy is out
8. Which do you prefer, dinner and a movie or sitting under a tree picnicking, and why? Sitting under a tree picnicking enjoying nature.

9. Mountains or lakes? Mountains - I have not seen enough of their beauty!

10. Favorite person in the Bible and why? Jesus Christ for He is our savior!

11. What time do you get to sleep on most nights? 10:30 That is my limit!


Peggy Strack @ Kick Back Moments
Debbie Hope @ The Thoughtful Life
Terry Palardy @ Terry's Thoughts and Threads
Susie Swanson @ Country Side Poet
Linda Rondeau @ Geezer Guys and Gals
Micki Peluso @ A Writer's Journey
Lori Foroozandeh @ Lori's Song
Janice N. Richards @ cjannasdreams

Pass the award along to those you feel deserving. There is really no number limit. I have seen from 5 to 11 on various sites.


1. What is your favorite season? Why?
2. If you could have dinner with a celebrity, who would you choose? Why?
3. What is your favorite state in the United States?
4. What country would you like to visit overseas?
5. If you won a cruise, where would you like to go?
6. What city have you never visited that you would like to see?
7. What is your most memorabe birthday celebration?
8. What do you like to do most in your spare time?
9. What is the best Halloween costume you ever wore?
10. Which pet do you prefer, dog or cat? Why? 
11. What book do you have right now on your wish list?

Be sure to leave a comment to let me know you received notification and are accepting the award. BTW Since this is Awakenings 2nd Liebster Blog Award be sure to click HERE in case you missed an earlier nomination!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Beautiful Blogger Award

A couple of days ago, I awoke to a beautiful day! That awakening led to singing by more than just the birds in the backyard. Of course, all the tunes of celebration went on totally in my head! I will not go down in history as a vocal singer. . .only as a singer from the heart.

The joy of the day was from Susan Ekins who honored Awakenings with the Beautiful Blogger Award. Here is the theme of Susan's blog, Women Making Strides:

A woman who makes strides appreciates being alive and takes active steps to care for her body, mind, and spirit. She accepts challenges along her path and uses her God-given talents to better the world.
You will be inspired from a visit to Susan's blog. I encourage you to visit her often and be sure to leave her a comment so she knows you stopped by for a visit.
Awakenings proudly nominates. . .
Please leave a comment so I know you received notification of the award. If you’d like to accept the Beautiful Blogger Award, the requirements are:
Copy the Beautiful Blogger Award logo and place it in your post.
Thank the person who nominated you and create a link back to their blog.
Nominate 7 other bloggers for their own Beautiful Blogger Award.
Since it is virtually impossible to keep up with who receives which award it is very possible someone may be nominated more than one time. That, of course, means you are doubly inspiring!

Friday, September 14, 2012

American Teddy Bear Day

Looking ahead: November 14 has been designated American Teddy Bear Day.
Do you know the story behind how the 'teddy' bear got its name?
 [Click the link underneath the picture.]
 SCROLL down. . .
Click for Origin of the Teddy Bear
Most (notice not all) children have had the experience of having their own special teddy bear. . .a source of love and comfort, a companion and friend, a symbol of caring and sharing. Teddy bears come in various sizes and colors but usually share the same semblance. The teddy bear is a source of calmness and warmth to a child allowing a sense of security into a fairytale, magical world.
This post is not for the purpose of solicitation but it does hold a place for awakening and awareness. While MOST children know the cuddliness of the teddy bear, there are those who have not had the opportunity to sniff, snuggle and enjoy the tickles of the fuzziness of its fur, nor have loved ones witnessed the joy of their child holding one for the first time.  In times of sickness, the teddy bear provides cuddles and softness to help ease moments of discomfort, yet there are so many children who are left to feel lost, alone and afraid.

Connecting the past to the present. . .

Click HERE for insight into how the 'teddy' bear's name connects the past to the present through the Teddy Bears for Kids Program.

SCROLL on. . .

Below is an adapted version of the poem, Teddy Bear Hugs, that was published in my book Remembering, My Hand in Yours, Your Hand in Mine. The premise behind this book is to allow you (the reader) to peer into the past and make personal connections. Journal pages are introduced intermittently throughout the book affording the opportunity for reflecting on your life, recalling special moments and recording thoughts to direct your energies toward tomorrow.

In this book, the reader also becomes a writer!

What a great keepsake to pass down to a son, daughter, nephew, niece, cousin - not only for reading the words of the author but for reading in a loved one's own handwriting that personal connection as he or she peers into the past.
Don't stop now - KEEP SCROLLING. . .

Discount/Autograph copies:
Contact poetrybysharla@gmail.com

Teddy Bear Hugs

there is something magical
in the hugs of a teddy bear
hugging and getting hugged
have a special place anywhere
in times of just not feeling good
moods can suddenly be shifted
bear hugs somehow understand
so spirits are quickly lifted
darkness acquires a new light
when tucked in bed all cozy and snug
dreams and memories are awakened
as sleep begins with a teddy bear hug
cuddled in secure arms, soft and warm
evocative tranquil moments occur
the teddy bear hug is never forsaken
even amidst worn-out spots or frazzled fur
loved by everyone, child and adult
the teddy bear travels anywhere wanted
the more hugs given, the more received
with comfort never ever being daunted
Sharla Lee Shults
“When a hug comes your way, cherish the moment and then give it away.” ~SLS
That's all, folks, 'til next time. . .
Don't forget to leave a comment so I know you stopped by!