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.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Creamy, Tangy & Sweet


Okay, all you foodies, time to celebrate...


...not chocolate but probably the next best thing - CHEESECAKE! Not just any cheesecake but cherry cheesecake because today is...

Pure decadence!
 …and if you really want to be creative, add a brownie crust! That way you have your cheesecake and chocolate, too! (See Recipe of the Day below.)

Where did the idea of cheesecake originate?
Cheesecake is a beloved dessert around the world. While many assume that it has its origins in New York, it actually dates back much further. Let's go back over 4,000 years to ancient Greece! Sit back, grab a creamy slice of cheesecake and learn all about this dessert’s rich history.
Source: History of Cheesecake

Cheesecake in the buff!
A bit of cherry American history...
The United States has historically been the largest exporter of cherries worldwide. In the United States, most sweet cherries are grown in Washington, California, Oregon, and Northern Michigan. Sweet cherry cultivars include "Bing", "Brooks", "Tulare", "King" and "Rainier". In addition, the Lambert variety is grown on the eastern side of Flathead Lake in northwestern Montana. Both Oregon and Michigan provide light-colored "Royal Ann" ('Napoleon'; alternately "Queen Anne") cherries for the maraschino cherry process. Most sour (also called tart) cherries are grown in Michigan, followed by Utah, New York, and Washington. Native and non-native cherries grow well in Canada (Ontario and British Columbia). Sour cherries include Nanking and Evans Cherry. Traverse City, Michigan claims to be the "Cherry Capital of the World", hosting a National Cherry Festival and making the world's largest cherry pie.
Source: American as Cherry Cheesecake
We all know there is an art to baking a 'from scratch' cheesecake. It is not the easiest food task to accomplish and certainly known to be time consuming. So, for all the foodies who love the cheesecake but do not have, or simply do not want to take the time, try the no-bake cheesecake. Recipe included!

Recipe of the Day

 Of course, it is the Brownie Cherry Cheesecake! Did you expect anything different?

Going, going...

Is your mouth watering yet? Click Recipe of the Day, name of the recipe, or the image above OR simply click HERE for the recipe! 
No way you can miss it! Get to work and get it made...ENJOY!

yum, yum, yum . . . yummy!


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Water the Mind: READ!

April 23rd is...

World Book Night

Travel anywhere you like through the world of reading. Visit places you have often dreamed about, fall in love with Prince Charming, solve a mystery! Whether you prefer a historical fiction, flash fiction, romance, horror, mystery, suspense, fantasy, magical legend, poetry, Christian, creative non-fiction, autobiography, biography, realistic fiction, science fiction, humor, classic, children's books, education, the genre really doesn't matter just grab that book, give one to a friend or total stranger with encouragement to Water the Mind: READ!

For the love of reading...
World Book Night is about celebrating the love of reading. Nothing quite matches the enjoyment that comes from losing oneself in a good book. But, with so many people having lost the habit of reading for pleasure, this event provides an opportunity for book lovers to SHARE WITH OTHERS the enjoyment literature provides.

World Book Night is celebrated with community events promoting reading and literacy. But it is at a personal level that this day really comes into its own; people who like books are encouraged to try to involve those around them.

Taking part couldn’t be simpler: think of a friend, family member or work colleague that you know does not read regularly and then give them the gift of a book. Visit your local library with a book donation. It doesn’t matter whether the book is new or second-hand, it just needs to be a book you have enjoyed or one you think someone else will like.

Looking for something to read yourself? Visit The Write Room Blog! Read 'em, weep and pass 'em on!

Learn how to be a World Book Night giver and plan for 2015!

Beauty of Earth

Today is...


They say a picture is worth a thousand words so what better way to celebrate Earth Day than to appreciate the beauty of Earth!


  My Beautiful Earth

Earth Day: The History of A Movement

It's 1970...the height of the hippie movement and flower-child culture in the United States. This was the beginning of Groovy Times: an era of mads, glads and fads. Jimi Hendrix became a member of the "27 Club" dying at the age of 27, the Beatles released their last album (Abbey Road) before dissolution, Simon & Garfunkel produced the song of the times "Bridge Over Troubled Water", just to name a few monumental events. Of course, the word of the decade was 'protest' but saving the planet was not the cause. War raged in Vietnam with opposition against the war being nationwide, especially among students.
At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. “Environment” was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news.  Although mainstream America remained oblivious to environmental concerns, the stage had been set for change by the publication of Rachel Carson's New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962.  The book represented a watershed moment for the modern environmental movement, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries and, up until that moment, more than any other person, Ms. Carson raised public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and public health.
Earth Day 1970 capitalized on the emerging consciousness, channeling the energy of the anti-war protest movement and putting environmental concerns front and center. Read MORE...

April 22, 2008: On Earth Day 2008, NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw recounts the history of Earth Day - its proposal by Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson in 1970, the legislation enacted and progress made since. 
Celebrate Earth Day by inspiring awareness of and appreciation for earth's environment. Take care of our planet and encourage others to do the same. After all, it is our life source!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Oldies but Goodies & Then Some

Today in Music History: April 21

Music of today, as well as tomorrow, reaches deep into the heart and soul of all yesterdays. Events of the past beget memories that set the stage for the tomorrows to come. Life void of those memories leaves nothing but emptiness, thereby a world without music. There is always a story behind the musicHarmony in life is wielded through various genres of music from rap to contemporary to classic to rock to gospel and everything in between, before and after.

Embrace the Past...
1951, "How High the Moon" by Les Paul & Mary Ford topped the charts and stayed there for 9 weeks. Les Paul made some of the most innovative records of the 20th Century, but he had to invent multitrack tape recording first. 

Elvis making his first appearances on
the Milton Berle Show, April 3, 1956,
on the deck of the USS Hancock in San Diego.
Cheered from an audience of sailors.

1956, "Heartbreak Hotel" by Elvis Presley topped the charts and stayed there for 8 weeks.
Songfacts: The lyrics were written by a steel guitar player from Nashville named Tommy Durden, who was once a dishwasher repairman. He was inspired by a newspaper story about a man who killed himself and left behind a note saying only, "I walk a lonely street." Another Nashville songwriter named Mae Boren Axton wrote the music, and Elvis' manager Tom Parker arranged for Elvis to receive a songwriting credit in exchange for singing it. This meant that royalties were split between Durden, Axton, and Elvis. In a 1982 interview, Durden said this song "has paid the rent for more than 20 years."

1958, "Twilight Time" by Platters topped the charts and stayed there for a week.
Songfacts: This song was mainly a hit the first time for its timing; in the thick of World War II, it became an anthem for soldiers returning home and starting the American Baby Boom. The Platters' version pushed on to even greater fame.

1962, "Good Luck Charm" by Elvis Presley topped the charts and stayed there for 2 weeks. This was his fifth US No. 1 of the 60s. It was also a UK No. 1 hit staying in that position for 4 weeks.
Wikifacts:"Good Luck Charm" is a song recorded by Elvis Presley and published by Gladys Music, Elvis Presley's publishing company. The song was written by Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold and recorded by Elvis in 1961. Good Luck Charm was covered by Travis & Shook on Cape Cod Covers, Vol. 1 "The King". Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song for "Luck O' The Chipmunks", a 1988 episode of Alvin and the Chipmunks.

1973, "Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree" by Tony Orlando and Dawn hits #1 and becomes a cultural phenomenon.
Songfacts: The yellow ribbon became a National symbol in 1980 when Americans put them on trees to remember the hostages being held in Iran. Ten years later, a group called Visual AIDS convinced people attending the Tony Awards to wear small red ribbons as a symbol of AIDS awareness. Soon, many causes produced ribbons with different colors to raise money and awareness. In 2004, the trend extended to rubber bracelets when cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong worked with Nike to promote yellow bracelets labeled "Livestrong" that raised money for cancer research.

1976, "All By Myself" by Eric Carmen enters the charts.
Songfacts: "The song started with the solo. It started 4 bars at a time. Eventually, over a period of 2 months, that entire interlude had been written. Then my quest was to put this in the middle of an actual song. Then it was a matter of trying to figure out what kind of song and how could I do it. I was listening to Rachmaninoff's 2nd piano concerto (written in 1901) and I heard the melody which I used for the verse. Then I needed a chorus. I went back and listened to a song that I had written in 1973 called 'Let's Pretend' for the Raspberries. I just took those notes and took it from there. I thought, ''Let's Pretend' was a nice melody.' The song didn't go quite as far as I thought it should have. I'll go back and steal from myself for this." 
1979, "Knock on Wood" by Amii Stewart topped the charts and stayed there for a week.
Wikifacts: "Knock on Wood" is a 1966 hit song written by Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper and originally performed by Eddie Floyd. Amii Stewart recorded a disco version of the song, serving as her debut single which reached number one in the U.S. charts in April 1979, as well as charting on the soul singles and disco charts, becoming the best-known version of the song. Source: en.wikipedia.org

1984, "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" by Phil Collins topped the charts and stayed there for 3 weeks.
Songfacts: Director Taylor Hackford asked Collins to write a song for the film Against All Odds, so Collins went back to a song that didn't make it onto his Face Value album called "How Can You Sit There" and adapted it to fit the movie.

1990, "Nothing Compares 2U" by Sinead O'Connor topped the charts and stayed there for 4 weeks.
Wikifacts: "Nothing Compares 2 U" is a song originally written and composed by Prince for one of his side projects, The Family. This version, which O'Connor co-produced with Nellee Hooper, became a worldwide hit in 1990. A music video, which has been described as iconic, was shot and received heavy rotation on MTV. Its lyrics explore feelings of longing from an abandoned lover's point of view.

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

Tie a Yellow Ribbon: A Cultural Phenomenon

Today in Music History: April 21, 1973

The song "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" by Tony Orlando & Dawn topped the charts and stayed there for 4 weeks. (1973) It was the top-selling single in 1973 in both the US and UK.
It is not just the fact that "Tie a Yellow Ribbon..." became a #1 hit but more importantly it became a cultural phenomenon. The song was written by Irwin Levine and L. Russell Brown based on the true story of a convict returning home after time in jail. The story appeared in an article in the New York Post (1971). The article quoted a white handkerchief around the tree, but Levine and Brown changed the wording to a yellow ribbon. "Tie a white handkerchief around the old oak tree" did not fit the melody they had in mind for the song. In addition, yellow ribbons had appeared in various forms for centuries likely to have come out of Puritan heritage.

This was not the first time a yellow ribbon had appeared in a song. The song/poem, "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" dates back at least four centuries having been brought to America from Europe by English settlers. During the English Civil War, the Puritan Army of English Parliament wore yellow ribbons and yellow sashes onto the battlefield. The song was later epitomized in a 1949 movie by the same name starring John Wayne. Perhaps this movie was the inspiration for the idea of the yellow ribbon in the song written by Levine and Brown. 

This was only the beginning...
During the Iran hostage crisis, the yellow ribbon was used a symbol of support for the hostages held at the United States embassy in Tehran. This symbolism continued and gained further notoriety in December 1979, when Penelope Laingen, wife of Bruce Laingen who was the most senior foreign service officer being held hostage, tied a yellow ribbon around a tree on the lawn of her Maryland home.

The yellow ribbon saw renewed popularity in the United States during the Gulf War in the early 1990s. It appeared along with the slogan "support our troops", in the form of yellow ribbons tied to trees, and countless other contexts. It often had the implied meaning of "bring our troops home" from the Desert Shield and Desert Storm troop deployments. It appeared again during the 2003 invasion of Iraq with similar meanings, most prominently in the form of a yellow ribbon printed on magnetized material and displayed on the outside of automobiles.

The yellow ribbon is also an emblem for suicide awareness and additionally, the yellow ribbon is the emblem color for endometriosis.
Source: en.wikipedia.org
The yellow ribbon has since become symbolic of various purposes and utilized in many countries worldwide.

Yellow Ribbon Program