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, May 26, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

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

In memoriam, that is what Memorial Day is all about! Remembering those who died in active military service...DIED! Gave their all! Lost their lives! Succumbed to an overpowering force! Family, friends, loved ones grieve over their losses but all, as well as strangers, wave the American flag in honor and respect of fallen heroes.

While this may be a time for beach blasts, barbeque cookouts with hot dogs, hamburgers and apple pie, it is more importantly a time of remembering. . .

The Fallen Soldiers

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

Honoring America's Heroes

Jeannette Anderson, writer/blogger, posted a marvelous video today on Google+. Upon watching the video there was no doubt it should be aired on Awakenings. Tomorrow is Memorial Day but first, it is important to understand Memorial Day vs. Veterans' Day.
Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered on Veterans Day, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty. A complete history of Veterans Day, and why it is observed on November 11, can be found on the Veterans Day History Web page.

As you prepare in celebration for a fun day with family and friends, don't forget to include a special time for reverence in honor of and respect for the men and women who gave their all, their lives, for America. We would not be where we are today, enjoying the freedoms America has to offer, were it not for those who sacrificed to make and keep this country free. After all, they are the epitome of the human spirit called freedom!

Col. Allen West catches up with actor Gary Sinise during rehearsals the day before the National Memorial Day Concert in D.C. takes place. Sinise will co-host the event along with actor Joe Mantegna, and the line-up will feature performances by The National Symphony Orchestra, U.S. Army Chorus, the U.S. Navy Band Sea Changers, as well as appearances by Gen. Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.), Candice Glover, Ed Harris, Alfie Boe, and many others.

Col. West had a more in-depth interview with Gary Sinise and they spoke about the Gary Sinise Foundation and the actor's commitment to helping our veterans. That interview will be available to see on our website, NextGeneration.tv.

Display the American flag proudly for our fallen heroes! That is the least one can do on Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend

A prelude to. . .
Airplanes, trains, buses, cars, yachts and RVs will be reelin', rockin' and rollin' toward sunny beaches, campgrounds and other getaway destinations this coming weekend. But, WHY? The fact is the very mention of Memorial Day brings to mind Memorial Day weekend: the celebratory weekend marking the beginning of the busy summer season. For some, it is better representative of the ending of yet another school year. For many, it is a long weekend with an extra day off from daily work routines.

For too many Americans, Sale! Sale! Sale! will be the focus of attention and advertisement in preparation for the Monday holiday. Entertainment groups will gather in parks and arenas around the nation. Barbeque and camping will be the words of the day accompanied by cases upon cases of sodas, wine and beer. 

Whoa! STOP! What is wrong with this picture? Hello! This is MEMORIAL Day weekend!

That's right...MEMORIAL! That means this weekend, especially Monday, is a celebration of remembrance: remembering the men and women who have died in wars or in the service of their country. These are the persons who pledged allegiance, gave their all to ensure America's freedoms remain intact. 

These are the true pictures of Memorial Day...


It isn't a bad thing to take advantage of the sales, especially taking into consideration our nation's economy. However, should you take that advantage at any time during this weekend or on Monday be sure to notice whether an American flag is flying or if a sign is displayed in the window in honor and respect of our fallen soldiers. If one is not visible, I challenge you to ask WHY not?

 Remember our fallen heroes. They are the reason we are free!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Photograph In My Mind


Awakenings welcomes Terry Shepherd into the spotlight. My communication with Terry is through her blog featuring, in her own words, "inspirational stories that touch your heart and soul." I totally agree with her having visited her blogsite many, many times.

Upon reading a very special poem of Terry's, I asked her to tell us a little about herself and share the poignant poem that is so reflective of the nature of Awakenings.

Terry, as with most writers, there is usually some form of inspiration. Tell us what inspires you to write?

What inspires me to write is knowing people's hearts. I don't think it is a talent. I just think I am compassionate. I actually started writing because it is God's will. I have one book that is about to be published. I am writing two more. Next Sunday if all goes well I have been invited to be a guest on a radio talk show through Skype to talk about Parkinson's Disease. Since I have been a caregiver for 23 years I have seen a lot of pain, a traumatic sense of loss and too much death. On the other hand, I have seen families come closer together due to illness and/or severe pain.

Are you working on a book outside of the blogosphere? If so, tell us a little about it and perhaps other projects you have on the writing board.

Dahlia is finished! What a terrific feeling! It is about a young girl with disabilities. She is blind. It is about how life can still be achieved, dreams can still be realized if we only want it bad enough. Two more books are on the writing board. One is the story and life history of my brother from birth to date, My Brother's Parkinson's Journey. It reflects many sad things, such as abuse and kidnapping. It speaks of truths behind closed doors. The other, My View Backwards, depicts my life story surrounding my birth and my life as a young child.

Do you have any special feelings you would like to share on America?

I always feel like we, as Americans, are eager to send our men and women to protect us, but we don't offer them protection when they return home. I have worked in a VA hospital and spent many hours with Veterans. They are lonely and love to talk about their past lives, lost loves, children and of course, comrades in arms. The fear in their eyes is very keen when they speak of war. There were many times I witnessed tears as they returned to civilian life to only feel lost within the system.

Do you have a special dedication for the poetry you want to share today?

A lot of what I write about is real people living real lives. Life is not a fairy tale and all too often there isn't a happily ever after. So, I dedicate this poem to the wonderful old Vets sitting in the VA hospitals, looking forward to very little and waiting, not always patiently, to die.

Soldiers Gather for Twilight Vigil at Fort Hood

Photograph In My Mind

by Terry Shepherd

Please don’t cry

When I turn a way

For I must go

And this you know

I have to do

What is right for me

I must serve

In the  military

Please dry your eyes

And smile for me

Let me savor

It in memory.

Terry Shepherd

With Memorial Day to be celebrated this weekend, the timing for this introduction to Terry Shepherd has been perfect. As you move closer to the weekend and become involved in celebration planning, remain mindful of what this holiday truly represents. It is not just picnics and soda pops, cake and ice cream, beach ball and surf boards! It is a day of remembrance: the last Monday in May on which those who died in active military service are remembered. 

Thank you, Terry, for sharing your poignant poem and insight into your upcoming books. I encourage all to pay Terry a visit at her blog terry1954 and be sure to leave a comment to let her know you stopped by for a visit.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Madison Rising: The Star-Spangled Banner

At the heart of Awakenings are many American icons: George Washington, The Declaration of Independence, the American Flag, the American Eagle, the Statue of Liberty just to name a few. Among those most highly recognized is our National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner.

While our nation is considered relatively young in comparison to European countries, i.e., the European Bronze Age circa 3200 BC in Greece, America is rich in beliefs and values. She was founded on principles of faith, honor and courage. The bravest of the brave fought and paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms Americans enjoy today.

From their own website, "Madison Rising brings great rock music back to the forefront of popular culture. With songs ranging from the guitar heavy opening track "Right To Bear," to the hauntingly epic sounds of "Honk If You Want Peace," to the beautiful violins of "Hallowed Ground," it is clear that this band is on a mission to not only make great music, but also send a message that American culture is alive and well."

Thank you, Madison Rising, not only for your great music but for your love of America, your land, my land!

God Bless America!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day Military Moms!

Mother's Day is not chocolate and roses for all mothers. For our military sons, daughters and mothers, the miles of separation are great indeed. The sons and daughters have mothers back home celebrating without their presence. Mothers have children left behind that will be celebrating with family and friends. Time away from home can be hard emotionally and psychologically and especially so on Mother's Day.


In celebration of Mother's Day, let us remember all sons, daughters and mothers near and far. 



For moms serving the red, white and blue
This vase of roses is especially for you

And for mothers of soldier sons and daughters
Blessings to you across vast ocean waters


©2013 Awakenings
Sharla Lee Shults