Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Summer Salsa

This is a perfect salsa to make in the summer to just keep on hand to eat at anytime. It is fast and easy to make and is even good for you.

2 cans of black beans
2 cans Rotel tomatoes (Mild or Hot depending on your taste)
2 cans Corn
1 bunch of fresh green onions
1 red onion chopped
1 ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing
1 finely chopped JalapeƱo (Optional)
1 small green and red pepper chopped

Put all the ingredients into a large bowl, chopping up the vegetables as needed. Cover with Italian dressing and stir to coat entirely. Cover with lid and place in refrigerator overnight. Before serving drain in colander to remove excess liquid and place in serving dish. Great with tortilla chips or just by itself. This can be altered to fit your taste in regards to spiciness. I have found also that squeezing a lime over the top adds a nice little kick. Enjoy.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lazy Monday Morning

I woke this morning to find a cloudy day. Rain came down lightly on the roof drumming softly urging me to just stay in bed a bit longer. The covers felt good snuggled up tight around my neck and I could hear my little voice telling me to just stay in bed a little bit more. Yet I knew it was time to rise and to once more start my day.

Slowly I scooted around the house in silence, as I was the only one here. Vincent had left much earlier to begin his work week. I greeted the kittens (Willow, Emma, & Turd) good morning as I entered the utility room. I opened the back door to let them escape to the cool dampness of the morning. They scampered out quickly as they do each day; stopping to greet the other cats that had already began to occupy the back porch. Ah the life of a cat. Eat, sleep, play… then start it all over again. I leaned down to pet each one a bit before I returned to the house to further continue my daily routine.

I picked up a few things in the kitchen and started a load of laundry. Ate my breakfast and took my vitamins. So many things that I can see that I need to do. It is another week and another day. I begin to work on the things that need tended to. My chores take me outdoors once more to feed the cats. They jump and run about my feet, speaking as if urging me to play with them. Seeing some stray weeds in my flower garden I kneel to pull them.

Such a peaceful day it is. The frogs are lined up along side the pond, enjoying the gentle rain as it falls. Birds congregating around the bird feeders to eat their morning snack. A beautiful flicker lands on a nearby willow, displaying all its colors. A lone hummingbird takes turns between the 3 feeders enjoying the fact that he has it all to himself. Even the flowers seem to be enjoying the slowness of this morning. The rain drips off each petal slowly, falling onto another to follow the same sequence again. I find it hard to motivate myself today. I would enjoy to just sit on my back porch and experience the quiet summer rain. And perhaps later, after “some” of my chores are finished… I will do just that.

Enjoy your day

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fairy Honey Cakes

Cooking has always been dear to my heart. It seems that when I prepare something for others to eat, it is like giving them a little piece of me. I have always enjoyed eating, especially something that is delicious, and therefore I strive to give my company that same experience when they partake of my creations. They are not grand or exotic, mainly just home-made and tasty. Simple home cook food is what I am most fond of. I am blessed to have local growers who supply me with a variety of garden vegetables and fruits. Farm fresh eggs are also available. I like the natural taste of putting it all together yourself. Yes I know it takes a bit longer to prepare but it tastes so good…

Beginning today and continuing each Wednesday hereafter, a new and creative recipe and/or kitchen tip will be introduced. And requests, feel free to ask. I may not know yet I am willing to try and find out. Today’s recipe is my Fairy Honey Cakes. This is a recipe I only recently found, yet loved it the first time I made them. They are a spice cupcake that is simply wonderful with a cup of hot tea or coffee. The honey lends itself to create a sweet crunchy top that is simply to die for. I usually make these in cooler weather, yet recently I found some of the most delicious local honey that I just had to make a batch. Enjoy.

1 ½ cup honey (fresh local honey is best)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup brown sugar packed
½ cup butter (real butter is best)
1 egg
2 cups flour (I prefer the unbleached)
½ teaspoon baking soda
Approximately 2 Tablespoons milk

Sift flour, cinnamon, and soda together in small bowl. In large bowl cream butter and sugar. Separate egg. Add yolk to butter and sugar mix and set white aside for later. Add honey gradually to butter mix. Stirring until blended. Fold in flour mix slowly. Add milk as needed so that the batter is stirable but thick. Whisk the remaining egg white to a stiff froth and fold gently into the batter. Fill muffin tins ½ full. Sprinkle a little sugar on the tops. Natural brown sugar works wonderful. Bake at 425 for 15 -20 minutes.

Peace & Blessings

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Secret Garden

There is that place for all of us where we go and escape when the stress of everyday life seems to become too much. It is a place that helps us to drift away and find the solace that we so desperately need at that moment. For some it is a good book that takes them away to some other world other than their own. Some lose themselves by closing their eyes and allowing their ears to do the traveling while their favorite music plays softly for some and loudly for others. Each one of us feels that our secret place is the best. And for each individual this fact is true. As we each have our perfect fit.

For myself, I feel that I am truly blessed. On an early morning, just as the sun begins to peek over the horizon, or at the end of a busy day, I can go to my special place and it always seems that all the worries just pass and life is just pleasant. I am speaking of my yard, yet to me it is my secret garden. From the moment we laid eyes on our property I knew that it was special and that it would hold a dear place in my heart.

It is a large yard of about 3 acres with a small pond just off to the side. Willow trees circle the pond while large and small bullfrogs line its bank. A variety of birds have called it home and frequent the bird feeders that are scattered through out. Our many cats and kittens can be seen running and playing in the coolness of the morning or lounging in the heat of the afternoon. The sounds are simply that of peace. Although we have a few neighbors near, we are off the beaten track of the noisiness of a city or the road of a busy highway.

As the years have passed we have worked hard on tending it. Many of the willows that circled the pond initially were damaged in an earlier ice storm. However this clearing made room for other things. Smaller flowering shrubs and scads of wildflowers now grow in their place. A tree house has been built in the large elm and a small wild flower bed is tended beneath her. The squirrels frequent the woodpile nearby as well as the feeder that is consistently filled with their favorite morsels. Large fairy rings fill the yard near the time of the full moon and gifts left under the small oak, which I tended from a sapling, are welcomed by the bunnies that also enjoy the lavender and rosemary that grow along side. We have had an abundance of wild animals visit throughout our time here. Deer, geese, turkey, roadrunners, coyotes, turtles, armadillos, to just name a few lend their presence on occasion. It is a refuge. Not only for us yet for anyone or anything that comes to visit.

It will change even more as time passes and become even dearer to my heart. For it is my place of peace. Where I know I can go and all my troubles for that time will be gone, or at least made lighter. It is a place where my head is cleared and my thoughts once again run freely and uncluttered. Yes, I do love nature and all her glory. For she is where we all first came from. Our sweet dear mother earth. How in her simplicity she shows us her wonder. And just like a mothers soft words, her beauty calms us once again.


Content Copyright 2009 – Mother Moon’s Message – All rights Reserved

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cleaning the Closet

It is funny sometimes how we try so hard to what we feel to be the "right" thing. Sometimes our efforts lead us to do exactly the opposite. Either that or the end product does not come out in a manner that is exactly pleasing to us or what we wanted to show to those around us.

It seems at times all of us have wavered from what we felt to be led to do because it did not seem to fall exactly into the guidelines of what we thought to be proper. We can blame this on so many things. Wishing to fit into the crowd, our knowledge of the situation was skewed in some way. There are many ways to skin a cat as they would say. None of them exactly being the only way you should or could do it.

I am sure that there are times when my reaction of choice of dealing with a situation is not what some or possibly even many may think to be the wisest of choices. Yet it is my choice to make. Any consequences, good or bad, that may come of it are mine to shoulder. And believe me I have had my share of bad choices and messes to clean up. Haven't we all?

My acceptance of this fact and the realization that I don't have to please everyone around me has cleared out much of the clutter that had been in my mind before. It is much like cleaning out an old closet. Getting rid of the things that you "truly" don't need. Holding on to those things that are precious or may be of some use at a later time. I have learned that trusting my own intuition is of the utmost importance. I listen and seek out wise counsel. In fact I would say I crave it. I know the value of the wise and aged and also the simple truth of the young. I know the nuggets of gold that each of them possess within them to share if we only will listen. These moments I cherish and only wish for more.

So.. I urge you, to trust yourself. Trust the gifts that have been given to you to hold... to share... Do not hide yourself away or think yourself more important than others. Seek the path that you are called to follow and begin your journey.

Wishing you a blessed day


Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Cane & the Rolled up Magazine

A friend of mine is the proud owner of 3 large dogs, a German short hair, a 9 month old malamute, and a black mutt. She insists that the dogs have to stay indoors. As anyone with animals knows the more of them you have, the more you have to control them. This is very much the issue here. My friend lives with her elderly mother, who if it weren't for a bum leg, is one feisty woman. There are times when my friend is out of the house and her mother is left with the chore of managing the 3 large canines. This can be somewhat of a task for her as they are large and boisterous and she is not as agile on her legs as in earlier days. Yet each time when I see her with the animals they are calmly sitting at her feet.

This is far from the case if I experience the dogs in the presence of my friends. They are jumping, barking, and doing anything but behaving in a mannerly way. She yells at them to come to which they give little if any attention. They are consistently on all fours running circles around her or jumping to gain her attention. I often wondered what it was that made the dogs differ so in there behavior between the two. One would think that since the dogs belonged to my friend, that their obedience would be first and foremost to her. The lack of movement on the movement , one would think would lead the dogs to think that they had run of the house when she was home alone. All the things that were forbidden could be done at this time as she would never be able to catch them in time to do any harm to them.

I asked the mother recently how she managed to get the dogs to behave in such an orderly manner. She smiled at me and looked to her right and patted the cane that lay beside her on the sofa. It is because they know that I will knocked them over the head with my cane if they do anything that they are not suppose to she said boldly. She continued to say, I may not be the alpha male but they respect me as the bad ass old lady of the house. It was near this time that the daughter came into the room hearing the tail end of our conversation. Her mother than stated, she refuses to use the cane. If she disciplines them this is what she uses. She lifted a rolled up magazine off the table. And sometimes she thinks that is too cruel.

Never had I ever seen the mother hit the dogs with her cane, however they were well aware of the fact that she would if it needed to be done. Many times I had seen the daughter yell and swing the magazine at the dogs. Yet even if she struck them they continued their ruckus. Why because they knew there was little if no consequence to their action. They could do almost anything and the worst thing that could happen was a little spake with the magazine.

This comparison soon helped me to realize the difference in the personality of the mother and the daughter. Whereas the mother is brash and ballsy and has no problem saying what she feels or thinks, the daughter is timid and quiet and afraid of hurting others feelings, therefore forfeiting her own in most times. The mother is willing to do what need be to get what she wants or to get done what needs be, whereas the daughter walks softly being careful to not disrupt things around her and at times giving up things done the way she would like as to not make a fuss.

So, which one are you. Are you the cane or the rolled up magazine. At times a happy medium needs to be established. However, I think I prefer the cane. It need only be used once or twice and then only its presence is necessary. Something to think about at least... Until next time


Comment Copyright 2009 - Janie Sheik - All rights reserved

Picture of the Day

Copyright 2009 - Janie Sheik - All rights reserved

Update to P3

Wanted to take a moment and let you all know about a great idea. As in the previous blog, I spoke of the perfect peach pie. Well it may have just been perfected a bit more. And the best thing is, that the credit goes all to my daughter. In her execution of her version of the pie, she realized she had no rolling pin. Therefore instead of a full size pie she opted for petite pies made in a cupcake pan, pressing the dough into place with her fingers. Needless to say they came out wonderful. She compared them to a fruit torte. I am so eager to attempt them myself as many times making a full size pie for just Vince and I is not a good thing. The pie sits on the cupboard just tempting me to eat more and more. In this case, an individual size pie would be perfect.

The only adjustment to the recipe is to bake them for apx 20 minutes or until they are golden brown... The perfect peach pie just got better.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Picture of the Day

My 3 Babies
Content Copyright 2009 - Janie Sheik - All Rights Reserved


It seems that a mother always trys her best to teach her daughter the things that she feels will best help her in life later on. From cooking secrets, to cleaning tips, to just about anything. The tips could cover almost anything and sometimes nothing at all. Each mother has her own special secrets that her children feel she is quite good at. It is usually these areas that the children want to know all about. My area of expertise is cooking. Or so this seems to be it, if I go by the definition that I just stated. Cooking has always been something that I have loved to do. I remember as a child wanting nothing more for Christmas than an Easy Bake Oven. My mother was one of those moms that doesn't let you do anything in the kitchen because for it to be done right, she has to do it. I hope that I have not become like that. You know they say that you do become your mother.. but that is another story for another day.

My daughter wanted to know how to make a Peach Pie. The easiest of pies to make I think. Thus the recipe is on my blog. One way for a mother to bribe her daughter into reading her blog.

The pie crust of course is first. In the beginning, when I would make individual pies, I perfected a pie crust that had no recipe to it. It was the feel or consistency of the dough that let me know that it was right. Yet when you make a whole pie that changes. Because of kids and other time restraints, I yielded and used the pie dough you just roll out and lay in your pan. I was amazed at how people thought it was so good.. It was pretty, but it did not taste that good. At least I did not think so. Yet I used it, because it did the trick and it impressed. Tossed a little flour on my face and I was a great cook.

Yet as I have gotten older I take more pride in my creations and wanted to go back to the tried and true homemade pie crust. I attempted it a few times but just could not get it right. Then one day in the grocery store, I saw a box of Betty Crocker pie crust mix. Couldn't hurt, I thought. So I purchased one. It was the easiest crust ever and when baked it looked and tasted just like granny's. I had finally found the perfect pie crust.

Following is my recipe for P3 - or Perfect Peach Pie. I hope you try it out and enjoy every bite of it.

1 box of Betty Crocker Pie Crust
2-3 cups of sliced fresh peaches
lemon juice
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
2 Tablespoons Butter
Dash of Cinnamon and/or Nutmeg

Prepare the pie crust according to box. Divide in half. Roll the first half with a rolling pin until it is approximately 10 inches in diameter. Fold Crust in half and lay in 8 inch pie pan. Gently press the crust to lie the pan evenly. Trim off any excess crust around edges. Place remaining dough to the side for later use.

Peel and slice peaches. Cling free are best as they will pull away from the seed best. Be careful to choose firm yet ripened peaches. Not too hard and not too mushy. Once peaches are sliced, sprinkle lightly with lemon juice and toss. This keeps the peaches from turning brown. Frozen peaches can also be used. Thaw part way before using. Do not thaw completely as this will cause the peaches to become mushy and may turn them dark. In a separate bowl mix the flour, sugar, and spices together. Gently pour over the peaches, folding the mixture so that the peaches are completely covered. This will make a gummy paste like mixture. Pour peaches into the pie pan lined with crust. Filling should make a slight mound. Filling will cook down slightly. Cut butter into small pieces and lay over the pie filling randomly.

Take the left over pie crust and roll into a 10 in circle. Fold crust and lay over the filled pie shell. Crimp the edges of the pie together so that it is sealed. Everyone has their own way of doing this . Any excess pie crust can be cut off and used later to make cinnamon crisps. Be sure and cut a center hole in the pie crust and several others. Brush lightly with milk and sprinkle sugar on top.

Place in a 350 degree oven for approximately 30-40 minutes or until the crust is lightly brown and the mixture can be seen bubbling in the center hole. Let cool and enjoy... Could not be easier.

Peace & Love
Content copyright 2009 - Janie Sheik - All rights reserved

Monday, July 13, 2009

Picture of the Day

Content Copyright 2009 - Janie Sheik - All rights reserved

Would you like some Whine with that Cheese

I tend to be a black and white person... What I mean by that is that when given a situation there is this solution or that solution. Well maybe not entirely... There are some matters where there are grey tones that may need to be considered. Yet when it comes to one's situation that they tend to cry too much over, I sometimes tend to get a bit harsh. It is not that I am not compassionate I consider myself to be greatly compassionate... sometimes too compassionate. I know... how can I be both.. Let me explain.

When a person is truly struggling... they are going thru a time in their lives when things are totally upside down. At times it seems like they are using every ounce of strength they have to just get out of bed. I am compassionate... Why? Because they are trying. They may not be doing a very good job to some, but they are trying.

When a person is in a situation that is really of their own doing.... They seem to enjoy too just sit in their muck and cry to anyone who will walk by them, about how terrible their lives are. Even if someone comes with a crane to lift them freely from their despair, (figuratively speaking)... they still decline the offer, as it is just something that they can't do at the moment. Then continuing with their whining to others who will listen, they go on as if nothing is different. With these people I tend to get a little annoyed.

I understand that each person has their own limit to the trials that ail them. That what I may see and consider nothing to some is downright terrible to some and even less important to others. It is all a perspective from ones own view. However I also think that there are many out there who enjoy to just sit in their despair. They enjoy the attention it gives them for others to come and coo over them and say nice things to them. To some it may be the only positive attention they receive, healthy or not. Many believe that no one can come close to understanding the ordeal that they are undergoing, even those who have had similar situations or worse.

There are many out there who could sit down with these people and compare stories. In doing so they could show them what true tragedy and true turmoil is. There is ALWAYS someone out there who has it worse than you. Anyone who refuses to believe that is doomed to live a miserable life of unnecessary unresolved conflicts. Or they just enjoy being a sour puss, cry baby, or whatever you want to call it.

I have never been one who enjoys someone who comes up to me and says "I know "just" how you feel." When I know damn well that they have no idea how I feel. Saying this, I don't want to sound like I am saying that I understand every one's issues and that I have the authority to say whose is creditable and whose is not. It is just that as of late I have had a little of the Whine & Cheese take on things. Not only from others yet even a little from myself.

It is hard sometimes accepting things. Especially when it is something that we don't necessarily want to accept or would like to change just a little to better fit us. Yet sometimes we come to that point where we have to say to ourselves.... It is what it is. Ask yourself what can "you" do to change or help the issue? Then do what you can and the rest, well it will be what it will be.... Good or bad. It makes little sense to me that someone would want to continually be in a situation that is nothing but a struggle for them when they have the power within themselves to possibly change it and they have taken no steps to do so.

In closing... I leave you with some words from a wise man I know....

Since our problems have been our own creation
They also can be overcome
When we use the power provided
free to everyone.
Peace & Love
Content Copyright 2009 - Janie Sheik - All rights reserved

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Picture of the Day


At any given moment the moon is shining down on half of the world. It is our closest celestial neighbor and many believe that when the moon is full it can influence many aspects of our everyday life. Such as an increase in the number of women who go into labor and give birth. Yet some believe that the moon can have a great influence on us at all times, through all of its phases.

There are five phases of the moon. The first phase is the New moon which is also at times called the Crescent moon. We know it best as that little sliver of silver that hangs in the sky. Many believe that this is the best time for making any changes that we wish to be positive, such as new career opportunities, or the planting of gardens that will be harvested at a later time. This phase of the moon is thought to encourage new beginnings, new relationships and/or new goals.

Next is the Waxing phase of the moon. The moon is growing and between the the size of the new and the full moon. It is understood then that this phase is a good time to focus on increasing things for yourself. Examples would be your knowledge, relationships, and/or financial situation. It is said to be a good time to consider conceiving a child if that is something you wish in you future. This phase is also said to promote healing.

The full moon is the most common to most of us. It is also considered to be the most powerful phase of the moon. This is when the entire moon shows herself to us. It is a time of fulfillment, for getting ones act together. There is said to be heightened psychic ability at this time. Many believe also that the veil between life and death is thinnest at this time and if you are one who believes in spirits and wish to see or speak to them that this is when it should be done to reach your best results. Many cultures gave the full moon of each month a special name to express what the moon meant to them at this time. Examples: March - Storm Moon - signifying the thawing of the earth bringing renewal of life. August - Corn Moon - signifying the earth giving of its harvest, full bellies and hope for continuance. Once each calendar year there will be a month in which 2 full moons will occur. This is known as a blue moon. The Blue moon for 2009 will occur on December 31, 2009, New Years Eve.

The Waning moon is as the moon has past the stage of fullness and is once again decreasing in size and illumination. This is said to be a time of release, letting go, or completion. It is said to be an very good time to start a diet, if there is a good time. Also the breaking of any bad habits or bad relationships should be dealt with during this period.

The last phase is the Dark Moon. This is when the moons' face is covered completely and is not visible to mans eye. This phase lasts anywhere from two to three days. Many consider the dark moon and the new moon the same phase. This is said to be a good time to get rid of anything in your life that you do not want. It is also considered a good time to find time for oneself or a time for self reflection.

Regardless of your belief, one thing I am sure we can all agree on is the enjoyment we get gazing at the moon. It has long brought ideals of romanticism, mysticism, and simple delight. Currently we are in the Waning phase of the moon. The full moon, or the Hay moon named for July, past us a couple days ago. If you decide to go out this evening and gaze upon her, she will still shine down a warm glow of nightly illumination. Enjoy



Content Copyright 2009 - Janie Sheik - All rights reserved

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Willow, Turd & Emma

I am sure that as you looked at the title of this entry you wondered what in the world.... These are the names of the 3 kittens you see in the picture above. Before I go any further I think that I need to give some background or one will be completely lost.

I am an eternal sucker when it comes to strays. I honestly think that there are people out there who know this and at times have told others (or done it themselves) to drop any strays they may have at my doorstep, as I can not turn them away and will surely care for them and see that no harm befalls them. That being said.... I currently have 9 cats that I am feeding. Two of them I got from my son and did it knowingly. At the time I did not have any cats and I have always been a cat lover. Sweetie and Sunny came into our home last fall. Sunny, a large orange tabby tom who is just a prince. Sweetie, a smaller brown and black female tabby whose real name should be bitchy. She has a look that could kill. Needless to say they have been spayed & neutered.

There has always been a stray momma cat around that seems to keep me supplied with little ones. Her litter from last year produced a black tom that comes and goes and a long hair gray calico who is a bit mental. Momma kitty had kittens in March and from her we received 4 kittens. Two of these kittens we were able to give away when air conditioner repair man came in early summer. Another was tragically killed on the road in front of our house. Leaving one still here. A long haired black kitten. It starts to get a bit confusing here. The gray calico had kittens later. This is where Willow, Turd, & Emma come in. This was the grey cats first litter so she was not too good with them. I brought them in because I did not want them to be wild and crazy like their mother.

As time has passed and the kittens have grown I have realized that I need to lower my number of cats. I attempted to take them to a second chance shelter yet they are full and are not accepting any at this time. I attempted to take them to the shelter in the closest town that has one, yet was advised that they can not take any animals from towns other than theirs. I have considered getting all these cats fixed via a group of vets that will do it at a low and reasonable price. However I did do this once before only to have all the cats suddenly disappear.
Thus I am left with my delima of what to do. More than likely I will take them all in once again and have them spayed and neutered and wait once again for the air conditioner repair man or whoever to come so that I can coax him into taking more. Oh yea, and by the way, the momma cat .... She is once again pregnant. I guess there is a sucker born every minute...
Peace & Love
Content Copyright 2009 - Janie Sheik - All rights Reserved

Tips on making a comment

Many have written me in regards to inability to leave comments. After checking this out, as far as I can see it is in working order. Click on comments below the article and/or picture you would like to comment on. A small box will come up to enter your comment into. There will also be a small box below the comment box giving you an opportunity to add your name, URL, etc. When this has been completed simply click the post comment box and after review via myself I will publish the comment. Please allow up to 24 hours for your comment to appear as there may be times when I do not get to the review immediately.

As before I will stress again. Comments are greatly appreciated and encouraged. Any criticism.. good or bad is helpful. Thanks again..


Monday, July 6, 2009

Picture of the Day

Content copyright 2009 - Janie Sheik - Alll rights reserved


When I was a little girl,
Before me tall he stood.
How I did look up to him,
How I wish he would.

From afar I cared for him,
Loved him as my own.
Even though his thoughts & love,
Were to another shown.

Yet a special part of me,
Of my heart I gave.
Forever he would be with me,
Further than the grave.

Yet happiness returned to me,
One grief filled August day.
Back to me he hastened,
And beckoned me to play.

My heart and soul are full again,
Thanks to my true love.
My Vincent, my eternal,
My gift from up above.
Content copyright 2009 - Janie Sheik - All rights reserved

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Picture of the Day

Content copyright 2009 - Janie Sheik - All rights reserved

Friday, July 3, 2009

Picture of the Day

Content Copyright 2009 -All Rights reserved

4th of July

The Fourth of July has forever been a holiday that has remained special. In earlier years much of this was due to the fact that it meant fireworks, picnics, and pure summer fun. Running around the streets of the small town of Carmen, Oklahoma where I grew up, chasing one another with bottle rockets and roman candles. Never realizing the harm that we could possibly do to ourselves. Nursing burnt feet from still hot metal sparklers that we were unable to see in the dark as we danced around the yard in delight. It was so simple then.

A couple years ago, I started something that was somewhat of a tradition. I was writing an entry for a blog other than mine. I wanted to make it more meaningful and not forget the men and women who were giving so much for us at the time. In research for information on the fallen of the current war in Iraq I was struck by the number of causalities and loss. Not only was the number shocking to me, but the pictures also made the reality of it all the more real. I decided then that each year I would return to pay homage to those who have given so much for the right of our freedom.

As I navigated to The Washington Post Site: Faces of the Fallen, I was struck by the total number of fatalities. 4304 soldiers in Iraq and 710 soldiers in Afghanistan making the total number 5014 as of 6-28-09. A staggering number considering the number of family and friends affected. I pulled up the latest to die and found Pvt. Steven Drees. A young man of Peshitgo, Wisconsin, who joined the Army straight out of High School and was deployed to Afghanistan last month on his 19th birthday.

Steven died when he was shot in the head during an ambush in Konar Province when insurgents attacked his unit with small-fire and a rocket propelled grenade launcher, this told per the Department of Defense.

The list and pictures are endless. Fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, friends, lovers, and so forth. So much given... so much lost. It is important to remember these men and women on this coming 4th of July. To remember that the Independence that we celebrate is much more than just the parades and firework shows. The family gatherings that will take place, yet there will be those who will not be able to attend as they are "busy". Take a moment this weekend as you gather with friends and family to remember those whose fireworks will be the grenades and rocket launchers they see not only on the 4th, but on a common daily basis.

Take the time to go to and quietly pay homage to those who have given us the right to celebrate this weekend as we do. Keeping in mind that their sacrifice is a daily event. The number does not stop when July 4th passes.

Although it will remain my tradition for the 4th, a more frequent visitation I think is needed.
Wishing you all a safe holiday weekend.

Content Copyright 2009 - Janie Sheik - All rights reserved

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Picture of the Day

Content Copyright 2009 - Janie Sheik - All rights Reserved


Lowly in the quiet moments
at the ending of a day
When the sunshine slowly falters
and the day is on its way

I sit back and softly ponder
all the things that I have done
All the pain that I am feeling
All the passion, all the fun

There are lessons, each one special
for to me they sure have shown.
Things that make me search much deeper
to myself, I know I've grown

Some are hard and are quite painful
piercing deep within my heart
Taking some dark hidden corner
tearing...ripping... it apart

Others warm and oh so soothing
makes me smile just to think
Of the laughter and the closeness
And the memories that they make

I will hold each memory dearly
I will cherish each one true
For when I look back and find them
I look back and I find you
Content Copyright 2009 - Janie Sheik - All rights reserved

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Turning to the Left

Once again I find myself at a fork in the road. Looking at two paths in front of me and trying to make the right decision as to which one I should follow.

To my right is a path that is rather easy to follow. It is well lit and clear of any major obstacles that might hinder me along the way. I do not anticipate anything that would make this journey overly difficult. I have to admit that it does not have the best scenery, as it is kept from the edge of the mountain as to keep its journeyer safe and away from any harm that could befall him. There are moments on the journey where there are resting spots where I might relax for a time of my choosing. Never will I be required to continue on necessarily. I could stay in that resting spot as long as I would desire. Definitely this would be the easier of the two paths.

To my left is another path. It is not as lit by the sunlight as the prior. Dark trees can be seen from its entrance folding over the pathway to keep most of the days light from sight. Traveling this path would not be as easily done as the other. I would need to keep focused as to where I was going and maintain a steady course to my final destination. There are not as many stops along the way that would lend me the ability to rest, even though rest would be needed much more in this journey as in the other. Stopping for too long of a time could bring all kinds of mishaps to my journey. Sudden storms that arise with the ability to through one completely off course. Other things that may hide in the darkness of the shadows that if given the ability could leap out and catch one off guard. These are all possibilities that could arise from too long of rest time. however I know that the sites that are along the way are beyond imagination. As the path is said to pass on the outside of the mountains edge and overlook the area, the view is beyond breathtaking. It is those sites that I have so longed to see. Few have had the courage to attempt to view them. Some who have tried, have turned back and others lost attempting to do so. The path is said to be most treacherous at these points, and are the most difficult times along the journey.

So as said before, I find myself at this point of decision. Which to choose. My rationality tells me that it would be best to stick to the safe trail. This choice will assure me that I have a safe travel and that no dyer events overtake me. Standing at the age I am now, most say that this would be the wise decision. There is no reason to put myself into harms way unnecessarily if I do not truly need to.

However, my heart and so much more of my being... my very soul... wants to leap forward and run down the dark hidden path. For I know that it truly holds all that I have ever wanted when I do eventually reach its end. And even if I do not reach the final destination the sites that I would behold merely by attempting its travel are more than I could ever hope to see along the other. It is much like jumping off into the darkness. Now really knowing what lies beneath you as you fall through its cool breeze. Yet if the stories are true, if you reach that which you are aiming to reach it is well worth the effort. Many have made the attempt only to fall short. Yet still they turn around and try again until they have mastered its course. I want to be like those travelers. I want to follow my dream that sits deep inside of me. To eventually find it at the end of my trip. And likewise if unable at first, to try try again until at last I complete it or pass on to the next phase of that which we call life.

Thus I begin... My first steps towards my left. Some will think me daft and quite crazed. Some will call me mad yet secretly wish they too were along the path with me or on their very own path to the left. Others will cheer me on. Fondly remembering when they made the decision to step to the left. I do not know what exactly lies before me... The anticipation is refreshing and in a fearful kind of way, I look forward to its challenges. Knowing that whatever the outcome I have made the right choice.