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.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

7 Writers Get To Strut Their Stuff (The Seven-Line Challenge)

This is a little different post for Awakenings but yet is representative of a form of awakening befitting of any culture: awakening of the senses. An excellent way to awaken emotional senses is through the written word. Writing is an art: An art enjoyed by those who are the writers but most importantly its readers for the written word is only as good as the message received when read. The online environment is totally dependent upon writing presented within varied avenues/genres. A question that often arises is, "Which ones are worth reading?"

A few weeks ago Raani York tagged Awakenings' sister site, catnipoflife, in the 7-line Challenge...a challenge indeed for both Awakenings and catnip reflect writing in poetic verse. Poetry? Why would one want to read poetry? Let's see...Its imagery can be captivating, its verses often flow with rhythm like music, its history is reflective of oral recitations and songs well before the age of literacy. So, it has been around for a long, long time.  

Awakenings, of course, is a challenge within itself. It is history written in poetic verse that spans five centuries from the 17th century to present day 21st century. This bids another question: History? That is in the past, we are in the present. Ah-h-h-h! But, it is the past that laid the foundation and the present that builds upon that foundation to ultimately define the future.

Let's get back to the 7-line Challenge...

The 7-line Challenge provided the opportunity to share 7 lines from page 77 of a published book. In this case, the chosen book was Awakenings from Then 'til Now, thus, the reason for including the 7-line Challenge here. Remember, this book is poetic verse so yet another challenge presented itself. Seven lines will break the rhythm but at the same time, will leave food for thought as to what comes next.

The except below is found within Whisperings of the Past at the end of the 17th century (1600-1699). The pureness of heart, the intellect of the mind, and the spirit of the soul were Puritan beliefs instrumental in forming the foundation for America. Basic principles focused on family, loyalty, and honor to the highest degree.

What poetic justice 
Do your words impart? 
Those self-inflicted 
War of mind and heart
 Are the ways of the world 
Really much different today? 
Mere diversions of thought...

Where do you go from here?
Now that I have whetted your appetite, it is my turn to tag 7 other writers, whose works are varied both in product and stage, to keep the challenge going. These are not necessarily poets but writers from various genres. It is very interesting, however, how one might find a bit of poetry interspersed within the most intriguing novel. 

Roxana Jones - http://roxanajones.com/ 

To those being tagged...

This is your mission: Go to line 7 on either page 7 or page 77 of your manuscript and do a post with the next 7 lines, then tag 7 people to keep the challenge going! This a short and savvy way to see what others out there in the blogosphere are writing.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Heart of America

There are love stories and there are love stories and then there are TRUE LOVE stories. Many have been passed down through the ages from generation to generation. Some begin and end in bliss, others begin and end with hardships. Often times it is those encompassing hardships that have the strongest bonds. This is one of those times. . .a TRUE LOVE story withstanding an extreme sacrifice!

You might immediately question, "Why is Awakenings featuring a love story?" The answer is clear: wounded warrior. This is not just about a warrior but about what happened when that warrior returned home a different man having lost ALL of his limbs. Can you imagine what that would be like...no hands, partial arms, no legs?

Here is part of the Taylor Morris story and the link to read more plus a heart-rending video.

Click for His Story and follow His Daily Thankfulness...

Injured Vet Returns To True Love

This story is about character. It is an untold story in many ways, because it is not just about the wounded warrior, the soldier’s sacrifice for the nation, it’s also about the character of those who our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines come home to.
This young sailor, Taylor Morris, lost all of his limbs to an IED in Afghanistan. This kind of injury is devastating enough for the individual wounded serviceman, or woman, but we often don’t consider what that means to the young girlfriends, or wives, boyfriends, or husbands those wounded warriors come home to so physically changed.
Read MORE...and believe me you need to read the entire story!

A Love Story in 22 Pictures


Awakenings is all about America...her land and her people. The posts and articles featured on this site Embrace the Past, Empower the Present, Enrich the Future. Were it not for the personal hardships and sacrifices of the past America would not be defined as we know her today nor would her future be bright. But, the sacrifice has not stopped with the founding of America's freedom. 

Each day somewhere, either in America or on foreign soil, one of our soldiers is defending America...fighting to preserve pride and honor. It takes a vast amount of courage to stand up for America on the battlefields often splattered with blood and bone. Loss of life is the ultimate tragedy and all sacrifices affect family and loved ones for years to come. It is not a one-time event to be quickly forgotten: It is for a lifetime. 
Next time you meet a soldier or a veteran extend a hand in gratitude for the service he or she is giving so YOU can enjoy all the freedoms offered on a daily basis in America.

Support Our Troops & Our Veterans, They Support You! 


Ready to hit the slopes?

Do you know when the first rope tow ski lift in the United States began operation? 

Daily featured documents from the holdings of the U.S. National Archives: 

Approaching top of hill by ski tow. 1940-1941.
Taken in the vicinity of the Huron-Manistee National Forests (Michigan). From the Historic Photographs file of the Forest Service’s Eastern Region
The first rope tow ski lift in the United States began operation on January 28, 1934 outside Woodstock, Vermont. Are you surprised it was back in the 30s? Are you an avid skiier? What is your most memorable ski lift

Before leaving, check out the Best new mountain resorts - CNN.com 
See on  Scoop.it - Road Tripping


Would love to hear about your experiences on the slopes. . .

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Kick Back Moments: Have an Alice Kind of a Day!

Kick Back Moments: Have an Alice Kind of a Day!

 Happy Birthday Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Didgson:  Jan. 27, 1832 - Jan. 14, 1898), master of literary nonsense. I love your creations, especially Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Jabberwocky. 

This Day in History

A walk down memory lane...

1968 - Otis Reddings "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay was released. The release came six weeks after he was killed in a plane crash.

2010 - Apple unveiled (announced) the "iPad." This became known as the first-generation iPad. 300,000 iPads were sold on their first day of availability. During the first 80 days, three million iPads were sold. This iPad was relatively short lived for on March 2, 2011, Apple announced the new iPad2 and the discontinuation of production of the original iPad. By the launch of the iPad2, Apple sold more than 15 million iPads.

Then, to go farther back in history...

1944 - The world was at war. World War II, which started in 1935, would not end until 1945. Men and women served their prospective countries but still found times for leisure and enjoyment. The bowling alleys of Fort McClellan, Alabama, were well patronized by the WAC Det #2 in their off-duty hours. 

Also in 1944...
  • Leningrad liberated from Germany in 880 days with 600,000 killed.
  • Casey Stengel, manager of the Boston Braves since 1938, resigns. Lou Perini, Guido Rugo, & Joseph Maney buy control of Boston Braves.

How about even farther back to the 19th century...

1880 - Thomas Edison patented the electric incandescent lamp.

1888 - The National Geographic Society was founded in Washington, DC.
This barely touches the surface. To learn more, click the image.

Thank you for visiting. I do hope you enjoyed your walk down memory lane. Do you have a favorite memory of this day?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Quick Post: Today's Document

Daily featured documents from the holdings of the U.S. National Archives:

This feature is actually from January 25th but definitely worth stepping back a day to mention. As you examine the picture below, notice the decor, the furnishings, the dress, the intensiveness by which the sewing tasks are being done. This is early 20th century and one account reports that in 1900 a dollar was worth about a dollar, much the same as today a dollar is still worth a dollar. In terms of inflation, however, a 1900s dollar would be comparable to about 100 dollars today.

Mrs. Battaglia, Tessie (age - 12 years), Tony (age - 7 years), 170 Mulberry St. Rear house, 5th floor. Garment workers. Husband crippled by a fall, tends to basement. Mrs. Battaglia works in shop except Saturdays, when the children sew with her at home. Get 2 or 3 cents a pair finishing men’s pants. Said they earn $1 to $1.50 on Saturday. Father disabled and can earn very little. New York. 01/25/1908
[From the series National Child Labor Committee Photographs taken by Lewis Hine
 American Economy in the Early Twentieth Century
The only way to earn a decent living was to migrate to the city, where food existed and the pay was somewhat adequate. Farmers suffered the most and became the "Third Estate" mule of sorts to the industrial juggernauts. Power, corruption, and greed abounded in the upper levels of society, as class division became a visible problem between the rich and poor. These new economic factors astonished the American public, and represented a change from Jefferson's old concept of the rural farmer to Hamilton's more modern vision of an urban factory workforce.

Food for thought...
“Inflation is when you pay fifteen dollars for the ten-dollar haircut you used to get for five dollars when you had hair.” Sam Ewing

What are your thoughts on this economical matter?

Barn Raisings and Leaky Faucets

Sometimes you wake up early, grab that cup of coffee, and immediately crank up the computer. No hesitation for you feel it in your bones that something enlightening is waiting to be read and shared. That is exactly what happened this morning. I opened email to a gigantuous list of messages but my eyes immediately fell upon Source of Inspiration and a posting titled Barn Raisings and Leaky Faucets. Barn raisings? I haven't heard that term in years...Now that is something from the past! Thus, lightbulb! and incentive to read what Pat Cegan might have written on the subject.

Let's look at a little history first. What is a barn raising? Does a helicopter with a huge hook simply swoop down out of the sky and lift a barn right off its foundation? Okay, okay, I know that sounds like something out of the movies and definitely is not the kind of 'barn raising' depicted here. (Look at the photograph.)

A barn raising north of Toronto, Canada in the 20th century. (en.wikipedia.org)
This is history, folks. This is people working together within a community. This is friends, family and sometimes strangers working side-by-side pitching in to help. This is gratitude. This is neighbor helping neighbor. This is a part of life...back in the day.

Hiring carpenters or other tradesmen to build a barn was not commonplace in the 18th and 19th centuries. Barn raising enlisted the help of members of the community, unpaid, to assist in the erection of a barn. Got your attention? That's right, "UNPAID!" Perhaps a feast of all feasts, picnic on the ground was payment enough as women went all out to prepare food, nourishment for everyone since the work often commenced at sunup and did not stop until sundown. 

Keep in mind this was a community effort so age did not restrict anyone from attending a barn raising. The youngest children played on the outskirts and often watched intently while the older boys fetched water, lumber, parts and tools. The young girls, of course, helped the women in preparation of the food.

Going back to the title, what about the leaky faucets? What connection could there possibly be to barn raisings and leaky faucets? While barn raisings may not be a familiar occurrence today, do we not encounter leaky faucets on a somewhat regular basis? Of course, we do! This, in turn, begs the question, "Do we call upon someone to repair a leaky faucet without them expecting payment?"

In Pat's words...

In the past, neighbors came
to “barn raisings” with an
eagerness to help. Working
together, a group of men
would build a barn for a
neighbor while the women
covered tables beneath the
trees with favorite recipes
of food from the harvest.
Today, it is a real challenge
to find someone who is willing
to fix a leaky faucet or other
small repair. If we do find
someone, we must pay an outrageous
amount of money.

How is it that few people know the
joy of helping, of giving? There
is great satisfaction in performing
an act of kindness without the
expectation of payment. Have we
failed to teach our children this
by demonstrating it in our own lives?

We live in isolation in cities, often
not knowing our neighbors’ names,
much less that they have a leaky faucet.
© Pat Cegan
Reflecting on Pat's words and the outrageous prices set upon getting a job done today, have you experienced any echoes of the past reminiscent of helping hands? 
Share your thoughts...I would love to hear what you have to say!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Are we there yet?

On the trail again. . .

Do you suppose the children of the early pioneers questioned along the way "Are we there yet?" Every five minutes a repeat of the refrain, "Are we there yet?" An ever nagging, whiny "Are we there yet?",  "Are we there yet?",
"Are we there yet?"

via Google Images
Needless to say, the mode of travel was not by air conditioned automobile, camper or RV. Instead, it was by crude wagon, horseback or on foot. A grueling 2000-mile journey across western plains and mountainous trails would last five months. Conditions were harsh plagued with accidents, illness, raging river crossings, mud, dust, monotony, and often terror. In spite of unimaginable, unforeseen circumstances, they trekked onward ... onward toward a dream, hope of better times in a land to the west. 

via Google Images
The shadow of fear loomed endlessly regarding the possibility of encountering native Indians who had been reported as being savages. Can you imagine traveling into a territory where it was known for men to be killed and scalped while women were taken prisoner? That, of course, would indicate the women witnessed the brutal slaying of their husbands. While many of the women were eventually saved, it was reported they went insane and lived only a short time after being rescued from captivity. They had nothing left, their husbands were dead, more than likely the children too, wagons were burned and all possessions taken from them. They were stripped of everything in life they had ever known or owned.

Pathways of Pioneers: Massacre Rocks

Had it not been for the determination and perseverance of these early pioneers the west would not have been won. Winning, however, came at a high price for both the white man and the Native American Indians who, by the way, were not all savages. But, that is another story. . .

So, back to our initial question: "Are we there yet?" I do fear had one asked that question he or she would not have been brave enough or in the condition to ask it again! What do you think?
Long dresses, trousers with jackets, hot sultry weather, & tumbleweed were commonalities along the trail.
Hardy Pioneers
After taming the eastern seaboard, crossing the Western Frontier
proved to be just as treacherous as crossing the Atlantic.
This, however, did not impede the push westward
as hope, faith, and courage continued to prevail.

By crude wagon they traveled
With limited communications
Across the Mississippi
Westward to the Appalachians

File:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gif

Walking beside the wagons
Eased the bumpy trails
But not the loudly clanging
Utensils and pails

File:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gif 
Fetching water from a stream
Collecting dried buffalo chips
Shaking out dusty blankets
Were never regarded as quips

File:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gif

Days were long and grueling
Under the sweltering sun
Dusk welcomed time to rest
Once chores were finally done

File:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gif

Gathering around the campfire
With smiles and laughter perchance
Lessened the pains of their labors
As they enjoyed song and dance
File:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gif

With new land in sight
After months on the trail
Labors did not end
For bodies thin and frail
File:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gif

Shelters needed building
Fields hoed then plowed
Candles dipped for lighting
To unveil the shroud

File:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gif 
Without modern tools
Hands aching to the bone
Time for rejoicing
In a place to call home

 File:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gif

Sod shanties, crude cabins
Canvas stretched across dirt floors
Muslin on the ceilings
Kept grime from falling indoors

File:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gifFile:Tiny Star.gif
But, in spite of it all
Smiles of joy would beam
It was a place called home

A part of their dream

©2013 Awakenings
Sharla Lee Shults