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I hope you take some time today to honor those who have fallen. It’s the day to thank the soldiers, airmen, Marines, seamen, and those of the Coast Guard who have died in service to their country.

Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War. On May 1, 1865 freed slaves gathered to observe the POWs from one Union camp who had died and were buried in a mass grave. They consecrated the ground, sang hymns, and put down flowers.

In 1868, the holiday was organized by a veteran of the Union Army, General John A. Logan. He selected May 30th as a national day of commemoration for those killed in the Civil War. Named Decoration Day, it was the day to lay flowers on veterans’ graves.

The reason for the date is a mystery, but it is thought that May 30th was selected because flowers across the country would be in bloom.

It’s possible that General Logan took the idea from Southern women’s groups. They were already laying flowers on the graves of Confederate soldiers.

Decoration Day officially became Memorial Day in 1971, and expanded to include all wars, not just the Civil War. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act moved the holiday to the last Monday in May. Veterans groups were against the move, thinking it would make the holiday a celebration of the beginning of summer rather than a time to honor the dead. They have lobbied to have the holiday returned to May 30th to change the focus of the holiday back to its original purpose.

The red poppy is a symbol to remember the sacrifices made by the nation’s military. It began in 1915, when poppies grew in battlefields across northern France and current-day Belgium. Wearing a red poppy on Memorial Day began with a World War I poem. A Canadian Lieutenant wrote the poem ‘In Flanders Field’ after seeing clusters of the red flowers. He was a brigade surgeon in an Allied artillery unit and wrote of the soldiers who had been killed in battle.

A teacher in Georgia read the poem later in 1915 and wrote an accompanying poem, ‘We Shall Keep the Faith.’ Because of her efforts, the poppy is the symbol of rememberance.

To honor our nation’s dead, Americans are encouraged to fly their flags at half-staff until noon, and pause at 3 p.m. local time for the National Moment of Rememberance.

Information for this post was found at History.com.



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I don’t like them. I do pet the rainbow boa constrictor at the zoo, but it takes a lot of self-talk to get up the nerve.

I think it’s because they don’t have legs. I have a thing for legs. I like ’em on my animals. I also don’t like slimy things. Yes, I know that doesn’t apply to snakes, but there are legged things that are slimy that I don’t appreciate–slimy looking lizards, for example. We had a large hatching here at the house of slimy looking lizards and they kinda freak me out.

I do like frogs. They’re slimy, but also cute. Slimy lizards are not cute.

Anyway, the other day I saw just the tail of something go between the food bins of Guinness the Therapy Dog and Lucy the Wonder Dog (their bins are outside). It was a banded, pointed tail and I didn’t know if it was a snake or a lizard. Nope, not going out there. I got my courageous husband to look, but the pointy tailed thing had already gone its secretive way. We are pretty sure it was a lizard, not a Gila Monster (not the right tail shape) or a snake (we would have seen a snake that was that big and long).

Our lizards are big, like the Collared Lizards and the Common Brown Lizards. And boy, can they run fast when the dogs chase them!

Any close encounters of animals in your world? Sonja

What Are You Reading?

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I tend to read lots of books at the same time–in many different formats. I listen to audiobooks in the car and read paperbacks and ebooks at night.

I have about five ebooks going right now, because sometimes I can read the ‘heavy’ history books for only a short time and then I need to move to something a little less dense.

Right now, I’m reading: West of the Revolution by Claudio Saun; The Man Who Could Be King by John Ripan Miller; Filthy Rich by James Patterson (thank you for the recommendation @novelist_george_I_ Fleming); Cooper’s Charm by Lori Foster; The Priest of Santa Maria by Alexandra Kleanthous; and, on audiobook, The Night the Lights Went Out by Karen White.

My TBR pile is extensive and I keep adding to it!

What are you reading? Sonja

Weekly Quote

(c) 2020
Photo by Alessandro Bianchi on Unsplash

I completely subscribe to this idea. I think you need to push yourself to a level where failure is a huge possibility to really succeed.

Edison succeeded after a lot of failure.

So can you. So can I.

When I was on a ski team, my coach told me that if I didn’t fall sometimes, I was being too careful. I’ve had some spectacular falls! I’ve also found amazing success after those falls.

Don’t be afraid of the bruises! Sonja

Do You Follow Guinness the Therapy Dog?

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Did you know that Guinness the Therapy Dog has his own page on Instagram?

You can find him at @real_guinness_the_therapy_dog

Every day, I post a new photo of him doing his everyday dog things. Lucy the Wonder Dog also makes an occasional appearance.

Guinness the Therapy Dog loves to have his photo taken, and loves to send his photo to you. I hope you will follow him!

I also announce promotions on his books (and my other books) on his page, my author page (@author_sonja_danielson) and on this site. All the links for my books, paperback and ebook, can be found in the left margin of this website.

I hope you enjoy all of the books about the adventures of Guinness the Therapy Dog.

Leave a review on Amazon.com and Good Reads! Sonja

Find the Light

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Now that the states and countries are starting to open up–to varying degrees– it’s time to look back and assess.

I hope you took the time to care for yourself, deal with your anxieties, and accomplish some goals. It’s okay if you didn’t, too.

Do you see where I’m going? However you dealt with the stay-at-home orders, you did what was best for you. Don’t let anyone judge you differently. They don’t matter. The only judge you need to listen to is yourself.

I’m constantly battling a need to please others. It’s difficult to change. I figure it’s like any habit that’s been ingrained for decades–it will take a lot of time and effort to change it. It’s okay to make mistakes as long as you recover and continue to move forward.

Take the time for yourself. Sonja

Guinness Goes to Court

(c) 2020

Guinness the Therapy Dog is going to have his day in court! But he’s not in trouble.

Did you know that therapy dogs go to court to help kids? That’s right! It can be a scary place, and dogs are there to make it less scary. Frequently, kids are asked to go into a courtroom to tell what they’ve seen or experienced.

That can be tough to do with so many people watching and listening. Among those watching could be the person who hurt them. That can be intimidating. Dogs help kids feel brave enough to tell the stories they need to tell.

Next time you go to court, think of the therapy dogs who help the younger people as they face this huge new challenge.

And if you’re a younger person facing this challenge, and you think a therapy dog can help you, ASK FOR ONE! They are there for you!

Stay happy! Sonja

Caption Contest!

Photo by Simon Matzinger on Unsplash

There are so many stories that could describe this landscape.

What comes to mind for you?

Leave a comment, or email it to sonjadanielson@gmail.com!

It’s so intriguing, from the swan, to the buildings emerging from the mist, to the mystery of who lives there. Is it winter? Where is this, what country?

There’s no prize, except for the adoration of others who see your creativity.

I can’t wait to see your answers. Sonja