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, December 21, 2014

Better Burger Battle

At what time would you consider eating a burger? Anytime? Of course, ANYTIME! The hour, the day, the week, the month really doesn't matter. Burgers have a way of creeping onto the menu morning, noon and night...and any time in between.

December 21 is...
National Hamburger Day
Actually, the 2nd National Hamburger Day!
Have it Your Way on National Hamburger Day has already been celebrated being spotlighted in National Hamburger Month! That was back in the spring and a few months after that you were invited to Just bite it... . Then, more burger delight followed with Burger! Burger!...this time with CHEESE! 

The Better Burger Battle...
Burger battles have been going on for eons with competitions for the biggest, baddest, most bountiful burger, as well as who made and named it first. Although hamburgers originated in Hamburg, Germany, eating the burger in a bun is actually an American innovation. The hamburger sandwich was most likely invented in Seymour, Wisconsin but others will stand their ground in contesting this origination. It is fact that each year Seymour hosts a hamburger festival called Burger Fest. That is where the world's largest hamburger made its debut in 2001. It weighed 8,266 pounds! Want a bite? Wonder how many people that one fed! Um-m-m? Or was it even eaten?

The ultimate burger is YOUR burger...what you want, how much you want, when you want it! There are no limits to what goes on a burger. The meat can be grilled, fried, broiled, even steamed! Well-done or medium rare. Option for the bun is open to plain, seeded, onion, white, wheat, rye, sourdough...you name it. With ketchup, mustard, mayo or without any one or none at all. Lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, mushrooms, pickles, bacon, onion rings...whatever, keep piling it on! Only one thing to remember...you must be able to bite it!

There are innumerable places, chain restaurants and individually owned, to find a good burger should you decide not to fix your own at home. You may even find some with terrific deals on this special hamburger day.The hamburger is the epitome of good eats, serious eats! Enjoy one today...your way!
Lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles...and maybe a squirt of mayo, mustard, or ketchup. The standard toppings will never cease to be tasty, but sometimes you want a burger with a bit more personality. For those occasions, here are a dozen creatively-topped burgers that really work. Click through the slideshow to see all of the unique burger toppings »



Is your mouth watering yet?

yum, yum, yum . . . yummy!

Next on the Calendar...Stay Tuned!

Word of the Day: Crossword

This Day in History: December 21, 1913

Crossword? Is that a word which starts an argument? Is it going against or insulting
someone? Is one word getting confused with another? No! No! No! Don't get cross trying to figure it out. It's the Crossword Puzzle!

Embrace the Past...
Do you know the name for a person who is a crossword puzzle creator? Hint: It is a 14-letter word. Of course, you can always Google it but to save time, here is the answer:

cru·ci·ver·bal·ist  (krs-vûrb-lst)
1. A constructor of crosswords.
2. An enthusiast of word games, especially of crosswords.

A crossword is a word puzzle that normally takes the form of a square or a rectangular grid of white and black shaded squares. The goal is to fill the white squares with letters, forming words or phrases, by solving clues which lead to the answers. [Source: wikipedia.org]

The first crossword puzzle published
in The New York World on Dec. 21, 1913
Crossword puzzles are said to be the most popular and widespread word game in the world, yet have a short history [Brief History of Crosswords]. Crosswords have evolved into the world's most perennial passing fad. A cruciverbalist from Liverpool by the name of Arthur Wynne is credited with creating the first crossword puzzle. December 21, 1913 was the date and it appeared in a Sunday newspaper, the New York World.
Wynne created the page of puzzles for the "Fun" section of the Sunday edition of the New York World. For the December 21, 1913, edition, he introduced a puzzle with a diamond shape and a hollow center, the letters F-U-N already being filled in. He called it a "Word-Cross Puzzle." ... A few weeks after the first "Word-Cross" appeared, the name of the puzzle was changed to "Cross-Word" as a result of a typesetting error. Wynne's puzzles have been known as "crosswords" ever since.
Empower the Present...

Need something to entertain your kids other than the TV, iPhone, iPad or computer? Put a crossword puzzle in their hands and challenge their minds! Test their vocabulary skills while adding to their vocabulary bank. Better still, challenge them to creating a crossword puzzle.

Enrich the Future...

There was a point in time when everyone agreed crossword puzzles were a ridiculous craze. Question for you: eight-letter word for wrong? "Mistaken!" The future of crosswords is set as long as there is a thirst for learning, a need for a challenge to be met, a source of entertainment, etc. 

Do you commute to work? Pick up a crossword magazine, book or a newspaper. Complete one of the crosswords while on the train, subway or riding in an automobile. Just don't try to work it if you are the driver!

Happy crosswording & Happy 101st Anniversary to the crossword puzzle!  

Anyone know a 7-letter word for mysterious? By the way, strange, curious, or bizarre does not fit.

Everyone agreed that crossword puzzles were a ridiculous craze, soon to be forgotten.
Anybody - eight-letter word for wrong? "Mistaken."
- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/arts_entertainment/news/236732391_Crossword_puzzles_celebrate_100th_anniversary_Saturday.html#sthash.pNU1z4Ih.dpuf

Remembering Our Soldiers at Christmas 2014

Not everyone will be home during the holiday season. Places at the dinner table, seats in a favorite chair, wine or water glasses will remain empty, especially on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Distance, obligation, estrangement, illness, money, various reasons will prevent family members from gathering together. Among those not home are our military men and women serving our country on foreign shores or a veteran without a home which should never be.  

Remember our soldiers
Whether here or far away
Keep them in your hearts
Throughout the night and day

Remember our soldiers
On land, in the air, or at sea
They sacrifice daily
 In the name of liberty

Remember our soldiers
Some won't make it home
Some are in the deserts
Some are all alone 

Remember our soldiers
Homeless on the streets
Feeling abandoned
Their only defeat

Remember our soldiers
Serving the Red, White and Blue
Honor their courage
In everything they do

Remember our soldiers
When one by chance you meet
Extend a hand in gratitude
For each heroic feat

Remember our soldiers
For they remember you
Caring, sharing, preparing
Before bidding adieu

Remember our soldiers
Amid joyousness and laughter
Remember our soldiers 
At Christmas time and thereafter

Sharla Lee Shults

While celebrating during the Christmas season
Always remember those away from home
Keep them in your hearts, cherish them in your soul
A day may come when you find yourself alone

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Gone, yet ne'er forgotten!

Amid all the festiveness of the holiday season come times of remembrance... Christmas past, family and friends gone but not forgotten. There is an overwhelming sense of sadness that at the same time brings on smiles of the heart. The joy, the laughter, the silliness within the seriousness of the time. With Christmas, there is always music, special music. Some of the melodies have been passed down from generation to generation while new ones hit the scene with the changing times.

Loving memories of those who have passed on are rekindled everyday in music that lives on and on and on...

Gone, yet ne'er forgotten
Music that calms & heals
Soothing the very soul
With each heart it steals
 Yesterday, today, tomorrow
Music starts the morning
Your songs live within us
Keeping our hearts yearning
With the Christmas season
You're missed more 'n' more
With melodies of the holidays
Drifting in and out the door

 Gone, yet ne'er forgotten
Music to relive the days
Happiness within sorrow
'Til the last memory fades

©2013 Sharla Lee Shults

To all who have loved ones in Heaven this Christmas, may you find joyful peace with family and friends.

Today in Music History: December 21, 1974

Welcome into the Spotlight...

 Mud in 1974

Mud: never a profoundly philosophical band, and never pretended to be. The group played music to have a good time, and merely asked that others join in, which millions of Brits did for a few years.

Mud were an English glam rock band, formed in February 1966. They were influenced by 1950s rock and roll, and are best remembered for their hit singles "Tiger Feet", which was the UK's best-selling single of 1974, and "Lonely This Christmas" which reached Christmas number 1 in December 1974. After years of unsuccessful singles, Mud finally had three Top 20 successes in 1973 with "Crazy" (No. 12), "Hypnosis" (No. 16) and "Dyna-mite" (No. 4). In 1975 they had seven singles in the UK Top 40 totaling over 45 weeks on the chart, the most by any artist in 1975.

1974 Mud were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with the Chinn & Chapman song 'Lonely This Christmas'. The group's second No.1 and third chart topper for Chinn & Chapman in 1974.

And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...

Up the chimney he rose!

Before ol' St. Nick rose up the chimney he had to have come down the same way. But, why the chimney at all...why not through the door or a window?  Could it be all doors and windows are suppose to be locked, especially at midnight and wee hours of the morning? When/where does the chimney really enter the picture? There are various stories why Santa comes down the chimney. The one most commonly known appears in the famous Christmas poem "An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas" even though Santa's connection with chimneys dates back several centuries before the poem.

 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;...

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof--
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound...

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And fill'd all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose...

The anticipation of Santa Claus is felt the day after Thanksgiving, maybe even before then, but his story stretches way, way, way back, all the way back to the third century. The legend of Santa Claus has roots connected to a monk named St. Nicolas. It has been said he gave away his wealth traveling the countryside helping the poor and sick. Thus, the introduction to St. Nick about whom there are actually many legends! One in particular is celebration of his feast day, which occurs on the anniversary of his death, December 6.


Where it all began: A Bit of 'Sinter Klaas' History...

The feast day mentioned above, of course, did not occur on the shores of America. So, the question becomes, "When did he appear on American soil?" St. Nickolas made his first appearance in American pop culture near the end of the eighteenth century in December, 1773 and again in 1774. Groups of Dutch families actually gathered in celebration of the anniversary of Sinter Klaas, aka Sinterklaas, Nick's Dutch nickname.
In 1804, John Pintard, a member of the New York Historical Society, distributed woodcuts of St. Nicholas at the society's annual meeting. The background of the engraving contains now-familiar Santa images including stockings filled with toys and fruit hung over a fireplace. In 1809, Washington Irving helped to popularize the Sinter Klaas stories when he referred to St. Nicholas as the patron saint of New York in his book, The History of New York. As his prominence grew, Sinter Klaas was described as everything from a "rascal" with a blue three-cornered hat, red waistcoat, and yellow stockings to a man wearing a broad-brimmed hat and a "huge pair of Flemish trunk hose."
There is a lot of tradition behind Sinter Klaas, aka Sinterklaas. Visit Mia's Musing for a true Dutch girl's eye view. While this may not be the same Santa we are accustomed to seeing in the shopping malls, he is of the same origin just a slightly different look. When stores begin advertising Christmas shopping in the 1820s, gift-giving centered around children. By the 1840s, newspapers specialized in creating special holiday advertisements, which often featured images of the newly-popular Santa Claus. Today, you can find Santa busily entertaining children as they sit on his lap burning his ears with Christmas wishes.

The final push for Santa came in 1897, when the New York Sun ran an editorial responding to a question from eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon, asking if there was a Santa Clause. The amazing, poetic and emotional response from Francis Pharcellus Church solidified our Santa. As Church said, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus.” [Source: Where did Santa Claus come from?]

Embrace the Past...

Significant influences of Santa Claus in America include:

1659 - Puritanical theocrats brought the hammer down on Christmas traditions. From 1659-1681, a fine of five shillings was imposed for feasting and celebrating Christmas in Boston. Wishing a fellow colonist a mere "Merry Christmas" brought on the hefty fine. Perhaps this is where Ebenezer Scrooge got his beginnings!

In contrast, the settlement of Jamestown actually openly celebrated the season. 

1820 - Advertising for Christmas shopping began in stores in America.

1822 - Clement Clarke Moore, an Episcopal minister, wrote a long Christmas poem for his three daughters titled "An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas," which begins with the famous line 'Twas the night before Christmas'. His imagery in the poem beget the jolly Santa Claus.

1840 - American newspapers began to creating separate sections for holiday advertisements, which often featured images of the newly-popular Santa Claus.

1841 - A life-size Santa Claus model lured thousands of children into a Philadelphia shop. This was only the beginning for the 'store Santas'.

Early 1890s - Salvation Army provided free Christmas meals to needy families. As the tradition grew, money was needed to fund the project. Unemployed men were dressed up in Santa suits who, in turn, hit the streets of New York ringing bells for donations, a tradition that is still live and well today. Also, in the 1890s, Christmas ornaments were arriving from Germany and Christmas tree popularity was on the rise around the U.S.

1914 - On and around Christmas Day 1914, roughly 100,000 British and German troops were involved in unofficial ceasefires on the battlefields of WWI. The artillery in the region fell silent being replaced by the sounds of Christmas carols in favor of holiday celebrations in the trenches and gestures of goodwill between enemies.

1931 - On Christmas Eve 1931, while the nation was mired in the Great Depression, a 20ft Christmas tree was erected by construction workers on a muddy site of what would become the Rockefeller Center in New York. Two years later, a Rockefeller Center Publicist organized the first official tree-lighting ceremony. Today, it is a multimillion-dollar extravaganza that attracts thousands of tourists each year.

1939 - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is the most famous reindeer of them all, yet he was 'born' over a hundred years AFTER his eight counterparts.  Robert L. May, a copywriter at the Montgomery Ward department store, is accredited with his creation.  He wrote a Christmas-themed story-poem to help bring holiday traffic into his store using a similar rhyme pattern to Clement Clark Moore's Christmas poem.

1949 - One of Robert May's friends, Johnny Marks, wrote a short song based on Rudolph's story. It was recorded by Gene Autry selling over two million copies. Since then, the story has been translated into 25 languages and been made into a television movie narrated by Burl Ives, which has charmed audiences every year since 1964.

Do you believe in Santa?