Observe life at its best, Listen to life’s songs, Embrace life’s bounties, Breathe the breath of life, Savor life to its fullest!

Awakenings: Life = Risk

Today catnipoflife’s sister site, Awakenings, received inspiration from Don in Massachusetts. He posts quotes for daily inspiration with spashes of humor embedded within great photography. Sometimes he gets pretty risqué but even then presents a great message.

Click HERE for Life = Risk!

Click HERE for book info!

Awakenings from Then ’til Now
Tate Publishing
Coming Soon!

Free Write Friday #4: The Road Less Traveled…

FreeWriteFridayBadgeHere we are at the end of another week and the beginning of the weekend! The story below is my contribution to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday. As a writer of poetry, Kellie’s writing prompts have afforded me the opportunity to write outside the poetic box. Thank you, Kellie! The writing prompt for this Friday . . ..


Talk about a time you took the road less traveled and the differences it made…road less traveled

I was born to teach. I knew that from the time it was even possible to know life carried with it a special purpose.  Even my baby dolls were my ‘students’ and when in school, I always volunteered to teach a lesson whenever the opportunity arose. Never minded getting in front of the class and welcomed the challenges when questions were asked.  Sometimes my classmates would come to me to explain a math concept because they simply did not understand the teacher.  Math – that was my favorite, just like my granddaddy!

Upon graduation from college, of course, I got my first ‘real’ job as a classroom teacher. Oh, dear, the position entailed teaching physics, chemistry, physical science, geometry and general math. Did I ever get my feel wet in a hurry! Here I was barely 21 years old and some of my students were approaching 18! At the end of that first year, of course, I looked for a different position, one which did not require five preparations!

I taught for four years undergoing quite a number of changes in my life that led me to make a move to another state. Requirements were different, certification was different and the pay was definitely different, much less than I needed (Notice the word need, perhaps a better word would be wanted.) Anyway, a position was found that kept me struggling just to keep up with rent/utilities on an apartment and a car payment. At least it wasn’t too far from ‘home’ and I could make a quick trip for food and staples. Nothing like Mama’s cooking and Daddy would always slip me a five dollar bill to help with gas. That five dollars went a LONG way back in the late 60s and early 70s!

Anyway, to the crossroads. . .Teaching was going great and my classes were relatively good. There were always war stories and the classes from hell but that goes with the territory. I was living alone and barely getting by with nothing, absolutely nothing, to carry over from month to month. New clothes were a thing of the past and thrift stores were looking more and more promising. Then, entered the possibility of a roommate. . .

With this roommate came the beginning of a new career that would have never, ever crossed my mind. I was a teacher. That’s all I knew, teaching. My education prepared me to teach. The ubiquitous they say that money is the root of all evil but when I found out she made in one week what I brought home in one month that looked pretty good to me. Evil thoughts went out the window; survival was at the top of the list.

So began the career with the Bayline Railroad in Dothan, AL. Diesel engines, wood racks, box cars, open hoppers, consists and waybills were the tools of the trade now, no more daily lesson plans, in-service meetings, state standards, books, compasses, rulers, and protractors. Instead of walking those hallowed halls, I would now be walking the railroad tracks, climbing on and off railroad cars that needed to be waybilled to their next destination. The sad part was that this job did not require a college education where with teaching the minimum was a four-year degree.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, this was just the beginning of a new teaching era that lay a decade ahead.

I could have chosen to stay in teaching for that was the field in which I felt prepared or I could take the road less traveled and take a chance on something different. The Lord works in mysterious ways and had it not been for the decision to leave education for the railroad industry, I would not have gained the real-world experience so necessary for effective mathematics teaching in the future nor would I have met my soul mate. Had I stayed on the narrow path I started I would have probably ended up back home living with my parents, making lesson plans, grading papers and feeling secure in my teaching abilities but never fulfilling my potential or walking through windows of opportunity that I did not know awaited but He did.

Be sure to read the poem, An Echo from Yester Year.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever taken that road less travelled?


Tears Cleanse the Heart

Life can be described as an avalanche of unexpected tears. These may arrive as soft teardrops or unyielding sobbing. There is simply no way around tearful emotions for they constantly simmer within the heart. From the most passionate of lovers to the coldest of cold hearts, tears can be the tie that binds or become the final straw. They may appear within a fleeting moment or build up over a period of time.

From a surprise reaction, a past recollection, a new beginning or an anticipated, as well as unintended, ending, tears can swell so emotively they become hotter than a smoldering cauldron. These are the times when we feel life has thrown a curve that we simply don’t understand. Because of the lack of understanding, emotions can quickly turn to anger. As a result, anger becomes the knife that severs.

Sometimes there is just a need to cry. Let the tears flow for they are the dewdrops of an early morn or the pouring summer rain that cleanse, nourish and refurbish the human soul.

What is life as you see it…

Is it a loving embrace
Or a solitary place?

Does it reflect a sense of devotion
Or is it filled with senseless emotion?

Are there moments of unchangeable dread
Or have you solidified your life’s thread?

How do you greet the morning…

Is it with a gentle smile upon a happy face
Or a frown wishing you were in a different place?

Do you bring sunshine to a rainy day
Or does the rain take the sunshine away?

Are there thoughtful images of someone dear
Or do remembrances of sadness appear?

What awaits you at the close of day…

Is it time with caring family
Or just another anomaly?

Does sunset bring an admiring, restful glow
Or do thoughts detail more than you need to know?

Are you with friends ready to make merry
Or are you alone and solitary?

Life IS as you see it…

As life’s proceedings command a new-found way
Greet each morning as the dawn of a new day

If you are dangling on the edge
Come back with a fresh, new life’s pledge

Be a sister, brother, lover or friend
Cherish each moment to the bitter end

Make the most of it!

Life is filled with countless challenges to endure
Times of uncertainty, times when you are sure

While tears may flow like falling rain
Let them cleanse easing any pain

Within the shadows learn to cope
Keep faith alive as well as hope



What better way to express ‘heart’ than through the talents of Louis Armstrong, aka Satchmo and Pops!

Inspiration Import

What a Wonderful World it is when people find a way to share their Heart … music, words, a smile, a touch a caring gesture, a reminder of love and peace.

View original post


A Touch of Catnip


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[This is the original poem published in Remembering, 2009. An adaptation is presented in slideshow video format at the end.]

Foxie, The Cat

Independent, full of curiosity
Agile, former creature of the wild
Foxie shares our home taking over the place
Demanding attention like a child

Curious by nature, held in awe
Cuddlesome, yet loving all the while
She expectantly meows for ‘tasty’ treats
At times leaving her prizes behind in style

Behind the settee, under the bed
Foxie scampers constantly without a care
Mysterious, perplexing, aggravating
Preferring to curl up in Daddy’s chair

Going from indoor to outdoor
Never looking for a new home
She emits confidence, strong will
Unhappy only when left alone

Distant and aloof, yet cherished
Quiet as though in simple meditation
Foxie resonates a soothing purr-r-r
Inviting soft cuddles and loving adoration

Finicky, picky about her food
Moody and sometimes remote
She prissily swishs her fluffy fox tail
Like a tiny, little woman in a fine fur coat!

©2009 RememberingSharla Lee Shults

©2009 Remembering
Sharla Lee Shults

Do you have a favorite pet?
(Click HERE!)


American Classics

Awakenings from Then ’til Now
Click HERE!


Catnipoflife invites you to visit her sister site, Awakenings. Ah-h-h-h! The American classics – where would we be without them? Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet, all have their place among America’s iconic figures. From books to poetry to songs to movies and videos, each has its place among America’s favorites.

It was while I was visiting various blogsites that I was prompted to revisit the posting at Awakenings. Dicy McCullough’s post for the day was Braves’ Game: Favorite Thing #4. It brought back so many memories, especially of my late sister-in-law. She dearly loved the Braves. If a game was on and she had to go to the bathroom, the radio was right there with her! I have never known anyone as devoted as she. The sad part is she never did get to see a game live but she dutifully listened to their games.

With or without the baseball game, there is no better treat, at the table or on a picnic, than the all American hot dog. Whether grilled, broiled, boiled or fried, Chicago style, coney dog or your own home style, the feeling of biting into that ‘dog’ is all American!

Don’t know what to prepare for dinner tonight? Grab a hot dog! Give and receive a smile!

Added bit of Trivia: The hog dog is no longer just a ‘dog in a bun’. Numerous hot dog variations can be found state to state, across the nation, country to country and around the globe. Enjoy to their fullest!

What is your favorite ‘dog’?


One Lovely Blog Award #2 and #3

WOW! Not one,but two! When I entered the blogosphere, I never dreamed of acquiring so many wonderful relationships, true friendships, through my writing. What is so amazing is the inspiration I receive on a daily basis through visiting other blogsites, as well as comments left on catnip. Not only do I love to write, I LOVE to read!


Jen Davies, A Writer’s Journey, who has graciously bestowed One Lovely Blog Award to catnipoflife. Jen has an awesome blog and shares about her journey in writing, plus she has some great photos on her site.

Jen Owenby, Jen’s Thoughts, who expresses her thoughts on writing, reading and life. Visits to her site never have me leave without inspiration.

Thank you to both Jens, for this honor which now allows catnip to pay the award forward to other bloggers who offer inspiration on a regular basis.

SECOND, before announcing the nominees, the ‘rules’ begin with my posting seven random facts about myself.

1. My favorite foods: bacon, grits and toast with honey (The honey is NOT store bought!)

2. I love to travel, just don’t get to go as much as I would like.

3. Our children: Scott, April, Nicole, Wendy, Foxie and Boots [Guess which two are the cats. LOL:>)]

4. I enjoy painting as well as writing.

5. My favorite poet: Wendell Brown, aka the One Brown Poet

6. While working at the computer, you can find Boots in my lap on a regular basis!

7. I am a photographer for Voyage en éphémère [Visit my homepage and The Murals of Colquit, GA and The Murals of Colquit, GA #2]

THIRD, as I ponder the list for my nominess, I find some are totally inspiring through the written word while others are solely visual. The world of photography is indeed an art within itself providing insight into the marvelous world around us. Thus, the nominees are


Marbles in my Pocket

Inspiration Import

My Own Heart

Women Making Strides

The London Flower Lover

Marla Martenson

The Why About This

Valerie Davis

Books That Sow


Extraordinary Dreams of an Ireland Traveler


Free Tag Zone

Don in Massachusetts

AMS Daily

Please leave a comment so I will know you have received notification of the award.


Free Write Friday #3: After Midnight…

FreeWriteFridayBadgeDoesn’t seem like it has been a week since I participated in Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday. Time seems to get away with not enough hours from one day to the next. Of course, if a day were 48 hours, I would probably still claim not enough time. C’est la vie!

While I may not participate every week in Kellie’s writing prompt, I will surely check out each week’s scenario. This week it is a Time & Place Scenario. Here is how it goes:

It’s after midnight. You find yourself in an eerie yet, magical swamp. You hear whispering and see flashes of light… What happens?

Goodnight on Fairie Swamp Garden (Photo credit: echoroo)

Photo credit: echoroo

On the edge of silence, soft whispers of the night penetrate the darkness. I stand alone wondering what happened to the others. How did we get separated? Lights flash in the distance. . .but we forgot the flashlights. My knees are knocking, my heart is pounding, chills are running up and down my spine, my palms are sweaty and ringing in my ears are my father’s last words, “Nothing good ever happens after midnight!”  DADDY!

Of course, being the poetess that I am, I could not stop there.


Midnight in the Swamp – Dream or Reality?

Alone in the darkness
Thoughts eerily sway
When was the last time
I ventured this way?

Once in my dreams
Within a magical land
Flashes across the sky
Fuse as if hand in hand

Shattering the sky
A mosaic in black
Announces its fury
As though under attack

Moss-laden trees
Cast shadows of ghosts
Purple-black silhouettes
Make the perfect hosts

How can I be there?
This can’t be real
Only moments ago
We kissed
love’s seal

I twist and turn
Toward whispers I hear
Hoping and praying
It is you who are near

A clash of thunder
Jolts me awake
I reach across the bed
Your hand I take

Eerie, yet magical
Real it may seem
Feeling your warmth
Reflects but a dream

© 2012


Stormy Times

Throughout life we encounter experiences that bring on tears of happiness but all too often those tears are tears of sorrow. While catnipoflife strives to share thoughts of inspiration on life’s beautiful reflections, it is also necessary to sometimes pause in refection of the stormy times in life. Like the firey nature of a storm, the atmosphere may suddenly appear bleak and often dark but never without the shining rays of hope.

Recently there have been several bloggers who have shared ‘stormy’ times within environments of either family members, friends or both. Prayerful thoughts are sent to each of them.


May you always find the light within and
have the courage
. . .
the courage to accept, the courage to bear the sorrow, the courage to show strength to others, the courage to carry on but most of all, the courage to believe. For though the world may at times appear dark, you have the light of the gospel, let it be a beacon to guide your way throughout the long hours of each day.

To each person who reads this message, take a few moments of silent prayer for those who seek and need your support during dire times in their lives. I just did!


Inspiration: Tranquility

[At the end of this posting is a slideshow you do not want to miss!]

With the unrelenting rain still in our midst, thoughts today shift to moments of tranquility. While the rain can definitely be soothing within melodic tunes, its rhythm can be somewhat unsettling as echoes of thunder break the silence and flashes of lightning zigzag across an already bleak sky. Let’s close our eyes and let our minds become absorbed in a less stressful atmosphere.

Picture this. . .

Cathy Marshall Two Sun Morning

A soft haze engulfs the scene as early morning fog slowly begins to lift. Everything in sight begins to shimmer with the earliest rays of sunlight casting reflections in droplets of dew. You are alone. With coffee cup in hand, you gaze out the window as eyes shift across the lake and begin to pan the horizon. Thoughts drift to the day before and events that now set the stage for all the tomorrows to come. What a great morning for a walk along the rocky shore of the lake! Coffee will have to wait.

Old Hickory Lake, Tennessee, USA

In the distance, you spy the old dock built by your grandfather when he was a young man, stout and strong. The visions of fishing with cane poles, laughing at his worn-out jokes, and hopes of catching ol’ granddaddy catfish bring on a soft laugh and a smile. You walk on. You stop at the dock peering down the long stretch of planks as it juts outward as if reaching for the other side of the lake but never making it. You pause.

Ol’ Granddaddy Catfish

As you stroll the dock, sunbeams engulf your whole being like a warm cloak being draped across your shoulders. You peer down at the water just in time to see tiny tadpoles dancing in the morning light. A splash a few yards away gets your attention knowing it is that ol’ granddaddy catfish teasing and tempting you to drop a freshly baited hook in the water. He will just have to be content on playing about in the water and enjoying one more day in the lake for on this day you do not have your fishing pole. His lucky day.

The panoramic view from the end of the dock is green with envy as the tree-line shore masks long forgotten cabins in the background. They had been abandoned many years earlier for the owner had died leaving no one as heir. Broken windows and battered boards shield only the ghosts that linger in the shadowy stillness of both the daylight and the darkness. You wonder about the stories that could be told if any of those old cabins could talk. But, perhaps, it is a good thing the remaining walls could not speak for you have far too many secrets of your own whose stories best not be aired.

Taking off your shoes, you lay them aside and take a seat on the end of the dock. Dangling your legs over the edge, your toes begin to swish back and forth across the top of the cool water disturbing the stillness of the lake with ripple after ripple. In the next few moments, you are completely surrounded by only the scenes of tranquility.

“Tranquil moments are treasured moments: moments where time seems to stand still, thoughts drift away to a magical place and worry becomes a thing of the past.” ~catnipoflife


Don’t leave without sharing your thoughts.
What do you ponder in your tranquil moments?


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