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


Simplicity, clarity, singleness: these are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy.” — Richard Halloway

Simplicity: What does simplicity mean to you? Artless. Plain. Dull. Monotonous. Boring. Naivé. WHOA! Let’s change the words… Natural! Unfussy! Effortless! Genuine! Humble! Honest! Does such a difference add complexity to simpleness? Perhaps simple is not so simple after all. Then, it simply may be all in the manner in which it is perceived. That perception varies by which one might view something as being simple.

Let’s examine a word along with simplicity that has not been mentioned. Think about this question: Would you consider simplicity as powerful?

There IS power in simplicity. It allows the flow of creative juices to become less complex leaving out all the fussiness that often muddies the water. It allows us to examine the ideas that are truly important, those that really matter. We then toss aside the rocks within the river bed that break the flow making the way fluent, not choppy, thereby being creative within simplicity!

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Another question to think about: Does beauty exist in simplicity?

There is awesomeness in simplicity as so beautifully put in the photography by Alastair! The photos featured below are the winners in Alastair’s monthly photo contest. All are his photography as his readers vote on which is the best fit for each month. Visit Alastair being sure to return and cast your vote for the month of April @

A Mixed Bag

A poem … A story … A Photo … Something Else

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Time to go! I must stop now in order to keep the message simple.

Find simplicity in your day today and every day!


What simple things have guided your thoughts today?



Do you put pork on your fork?

Awakenings, catnipoflife‘s sister site, featured a post about New Year’s traditions related to meal time, Did you Put Pork on Your Fork?. It seems pork is the traditional meat for various reasons, outbidding chicken and turkey, on this first day of the New Year. I really have a problem with the pork-eating business. Sure it tastes good and what better flavor is there anywhere other than bacon? It’s not the taste. Not even the fact it is a fatty, extremely fatty, meat. Then, why? You might ask. It is simply that the little piggies are just so darn cute! See for yourself…

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For your added enjoyment…

Don’t leave yet. Here’s one more…

Is that not cute or what? For MORE little piggies, click HERE!

Don’t forget to visit Awakenings!


Weird New Year’s Traditions

Here in America, New Year’s Eve celebrations usually end with ringing in the new year amid songs, laughter, fireworks and the dropping of the ball in New York Times Square. There are exceptions as with any rule. In addition, this tradition does not hold true around the world. There are some weird traditions going on somewhere tonight, even in America!

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Happy New Year!



[The links provided within today’s post provide additional insight into the world of simplicity as they connect to previous catnipoflife postings. For Eskimo Kisses, the link directs you to catnipoflife poetry within which you will need to scroll for the new poem.]

SimplicityHave you ever given much thought to the word, simplicity, other than relating it to the little things, those being easy to understand or do? There is simplicity of the world around us, simplicity of the moment, simplicity of thoughts, simplicity of actions, simplicity of trust, simplicity of values, simplicity of character, simplicity of respect, simplicity of generosity, which all fall within the complexity of love. None of these are hard to achieve. All reign within the realm of beauty, simple beauty, beauty of heart, mind, soul.

The mindset of beauty, its purity & clarity, forms the simplicity of elegance. To be elegant does not necessarily demand gaudiness for beauty is found in the humblest of things – beauty of a smile, beauty of wiping a single tear, beauty of an Eskimo kiss, beauty in the taste of a wild berry, beauty within the aroma of a freshly cut rose, beauty within the embers of a campfire (Read catnipoflife poetry below).

Then, there is the power of words, those which are penned for posterity.The most powerful expressions can be written in the simplest form yet be truly austere, most humbling, undemanding, fully generated from the heart.

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Around the Campfire

Nothing like the burning smell
Of a cozy open fire
As amber-glowing embers
Displace any chilling ire

A cup of rich piping hot cocoa
Eases bitterness of the cold
As vapor rises to the nostrils
On downward deep into the soul

All bundled up in sweats
Cross-legged on a woolen rug
Wisps of newly burnt ash
Land softly in my coffee mug

Smell of toasting marshmallows
Tempts all senses, typically taste
When golden brown in color
Ready to be eaten post haste

Simple aromas of nature
Sentimental thoughts do aspire
As wintry pine needles and cones
Sizzle, snap and pop in the fire

Old favorite campfire songs
Snuggling, ghost stories and such
Echo with smiles and laughter
Of memories loved so much

In the magical hour of midnight
No stronger time doth inspire
Than the gripping taste of hot cocoa
Around the blazing campfire

Sharla Lee Shults

“One can enjoy a wood fire worthily only when he warms his thoughts by it as well as his hands and feet.”

—Odell Shepherd (American professor, poet & politician, 1884–1967)



Winter’s Berth

With winter comes days where chilling winds are felt right to the bone. In some areas, snow and ice  envelop the landscape leaving the only color in sight for miles being white. Unlike our furry friends, we don our heavy coats, boots, woolen socks, mittens and scarves to ward off the bite of the frigid air. Of course, we know the soft fur of our little friends keeps them warm without the need for all the extra ‘gear’ but that does not necessarily mean they do not feel the cold.

BUT… does the cold inevitably keep them indoors? See the slideshow ‘Come play with me!’ after the poem!


Winter’s Berth

A mound of silky white fur
Amid cushions of bottle green
Reflects hues of icy blue
Off crystal dewdrops barely seen

Teeny tiny silver moons
Draping from hairy stems
Tickle a pink little nose
Like frosty pearlized gems

Stretching and yawning
Rising above home turf
Tiny paws reach forth
Scratching in winter’s earth

Within a few steps
Visions begin to blur
Chilly winter winds
Softly lift the long fur

Delicate hints of sunlight
Peeping through bleak gray skies
Grant fleeting moments of warmth
Around wide-open eyes

Suddenly through the bitterness
A little hand reaches down
“Nosy Nettie, why are you here
Among plumage turned gray brown?”

With a special purr-r-r
Ever so thankful to be found
The snow white fur ball
Bids farewell to the cold, cold ground

©2012 catnipoflife
Sharla Lee Shults

The purr from cat to man says, ‘You bring me happiness; I am at peace with you.’
—Barbara L. Diamond (Writer, n.d.)

Touch of Catnip: Come play with me!

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Special Care After Play Time

After being outside, especially playing in the snow, little paw pads become very cold, often leading to numbness. Upon return to the indoors, cuddle time is first on the agenda. He or she will be happy to have a little bonding time with you. Once the furry little fellow (or gal) is cozy and warm in your lap next in the order of care is the purring pal’s paw massage. This stimulates the nerves making sure all feeling is restored to the toes. Speaking of toes, it is then time to inspect the space between each one, examining for possibility of debris or maybe a cut on the paw pad. Remember, there is a lot more to those cut little feet than just razor-sharp claws!

“Purr-r-r-r-r-r, purr-r-r-r-r-r, purr-r-r-r-r-r!” Gotta go. Someone’s calling…


A Bird’s Eye View

Have you ever thought what it would be like to view the earth as a bird? Ever dreamed you could fly (not in an airplane!) soaring about the treetops capable of touching the clouds (other than fog, of course)?

Here are 30 incredibly fantastic views you could see if you were a bird

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Ever wondered while you were that bird how you would manage getting food? Takes patience and a lot of perseverance…

A Bird’s Eye View

Wings expand with the gentle breeze
Soaring through the blue
Blade and bloom grace the meadowland
Nothing like a bird’s eye view

O’er rolling hills, down into valleys
Sleek, graceful, strong, light as a feather
Exploring recently harvested fields
Elegant in flight, no matter the weather

Seeking, searching, forward, backward
Circling what’s captured in sight
Watching for the right moment
To begin a natural fight

A chameleon crawls along the ground
Changing color, shifting from brown to green
Searching fervently for grasshoppers and worms
Camouflaged, barely visible, almost unseen

Swift, agile, virtually without a sound
Crawlapin sighted, playing hide ’n’ seek
A sharp dive, graceful swoop upward
Renders barely a snippet in the beak

Nature has a way of caring for her own
Ventures unconquered start anew
With a keen eye and unblemished spirit
Perseverance – from a bird’s eye view

Echoes©2004 Echoes
Sharla Lee Shults

If you were a bird, a different perspective…


Worst Christmas Gifts Ever

With the Christmas season comes shopping and hopes of selecting just the right gift, as well as receiving the right gift. The thoughts on behalf of the giver are not necessarily synonymous with the thoughts of the receiver. Of course, ’tis the season to be jolly, enjoying the humor, but foremost being thankful…even if the gift is not what you wanted or expected.

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The Regifter

Of course, not in the picture is the obvious regift. While one might initially be delighted to get an elegant Italian dress shirt, beware. There may be initials monogrammed on the cuff gone totally unnoticed since it had never been taken out of the box and unfolded. Priceless? I would use a different descriptor. Thoughtless.

The Statement Maker

In a bizarre twist on the regift, a husband gave his wife the same Gucci purse — literally the same exact purse — two years in a row.

Wife: “I loved that purse, it was the best gift I’d ever gotten. I loved it so much I didn’t want to use it because I had two small kids and you know, it would get dirty,”

Husband: “Sure I rewrapped the purse and gave it to her again. Since she hadn’t used it, heck I thought I might as well just give it to her again — now maybe this year she’ll use it.”

The Non-Gift

We have all seen the ads of the car with the big red bow. I suppose there are actually those who gift a car for Christmas. A bit of caution here: One husband did. More than likely the idea came from one of the eye-catching ads. That big red bow did look pretty cool. Turned out it wasn’t anywhere near a perfect GIFT. The wife is still making payments of the Christmas gift they BOTH drive. Is he always this dense? Maybe it was that darn bow!

What’s the worst gift you have ever received? Better yet, have you surprised someone with a ‘trick’ gift that was awful?


Eye Candy from God

There are times when something crosses your path or shows up unexpectedly in a message that screams to be shared. Here it is…ENJOY!

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“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

—Albert Einstein (Theoretical physicist, 1879–1955)


Crazy Food Art

Art comes in many forms but probably some of the craziest is food art. It is a great gimmick to entice kids to eat and makes for fantastic decorations. From the childish to the fruitiest to the most intricate to the absolute grotesque…Enjoy! See if you can name all of the foods!

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Don’t leave without checking out 25 Crazy Pieces of Food Art!


Touch of Catnip

Meet Shiva. His unusual name was bestowed upon him by our daughter, Nicole, when she was studying marketing and design at the University of Florida (GO GATORS!). It was during the summer in which she was completing an internship with the St. Petersburg Times in St. Petersburg, FL. We helped Niki move into her new apartment: One bedroom with a sectioned off kitchen area and a tiny, tiny bathroom. Jim and I were visiting over the 4th of July helping her with the move. It was hot, ohso HOT! Anyway, back to Shiva…

Jim and Shiva bonded immediately. They were like two-peas-in-a-pod around the apartment. When we went outside to grill, of course, Shiva had to stay inside and was not a happy cat. To make a long story short Shiva did not stay very long in Niki’s apartment. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Needless to say, he made the trip back with us to our home at the time in Panama City, FL.

Shiva was regal and we often called him Mr. Handsome. He was a great cat and loved chasing the Labrador across the street out of our yard. It was a big lab, too! Go, Shiva!

The series of photos being shared today comprise one of Shiva’s favorite pastimes: giving daddy human’s head a bath! As you look at the photos, you will notice the almost exact hair color. Each photo is numbered for sequencing and has a caption to carry you through the bathing process.

For your enjoyment, meet Shiva, aka Mr. Handsome:

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“I gave my cat a bath the other day…[cats] love it. He sat there, he enjoyed it, it was fun for me. The fur would stick to my tongue, but other than that…” Steve Martin


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