Tuesday, December 30, 2008

IT'S ALMOST HERE!!!

Last night I had every intention of sharing my latest poem with all of you, but I just got on a roll with my musings about the new year to come. Anyway, I thought I'd better stay on point tonight since the subject matter of my latest poem is about the ever popular New Year's Resolutions. Even those of us who don't make resolutions, secretly do make them. They may not share them with anyone, however, for fear of having to "fess up" if they fall flat on their face. Resolutions do serve a purpose though, if only to force us to look at the areas in our lives that need improvement. So here it is. If nothing else this little ditty should make you smile.

RESOLUTIONS
By Patty Lynn

With New Year’s Day approaching,
You’d better take a tally…
Of all the things you didn’t do.
Come on, don’t dilly-dally.

The resolutions came and went
And never were fulfilled.
This year you’re gonna have to be…
A trifle more strong willed.

Now you can start by making lists,
Then counting each one off,
But if you make a great big deal,
Then others just might scoff…

At all the ones that don’t get done.
You’ll never hear the end.
So make your goals most quietly,
Besides, then you can bend…

The rules of resolutions.
They’re easier if you do,
But if you keep them to yourself,
They won’t come back to you…

To bite you in the derrière,
Remind you of your failings.
‘Cause no one wants to feel like that;
We’d rather have smooth sailing.

So if you must resolve at all,
Make sure it’s realistic,
And if you make allowances,
Adjusting may just fix it.

A small change here, a tweaking there,
Who cares if it gets done.
‘Cause then next year you’ll try again,
And, oh, won’t that be fun?

Monday, December 29, 2008

2009: A CHANGE FOR THE BETTER?

It blows my mind that 2008 is almost over and we're going to be turning another page to 2009. It promises to be a historical year complete with a new president, a new party in office and, of course, a horrendous mess that everyone's looking to Barack to remedy. We do, however, have to remind ourselves that he is not the only one making decisions and since he is not a king with absolute power, many in Washington will weigh in on how to solve our world of problems. I certainly do not envy Barack. The only one that has it made is Bush. He gets to walk away, smile and wave goodbye. I'm sure he'll get over his low popularity rating as he spends his considerable retirement wages.

But all of us, we're not so lucky. Many of us are jobless, have gone into foreclosure or are trying to sell our homes for less than we owe on our mortgages, just for cash to live on. Others have had to watch their retirement savings go down the tubes. We've just experienced pretty meager Christmas gift giving, couldn't afford to travel and are not looking forward to another year of the same struggles. But, look what we've gained. Did you hear that right? Gains in this bleak economy? Yes, folks, gains!

Out of this comes a concentration on home, family, loved ones and prayer. Not only is prayer in place for making requests of God, it's there to connect us to God. An invisible email, so to speak. His address always comes up in the send line and we don't need a computer to reach him. He is on speed dial, and we don't need a phone. I believe that prayer is the single most powerful way to affect a change in our lives, and not just in an outcome. By relying on prayer, making it a habit, we connect to God and in so doing, we feel his connection with us.

And don't forget little children. Whether they're ours or someone else's, these little ones are so innocent and removed from all this other stuff. Their smiles and outlook is so devoid of cynicism and worry and depression. They are our best guides through all of this. They're happy with a crayon and a piece of paper and if, as they get older, they are wrapped up in Playstation and Wii, it's because WE over did it. If they don't prize a fresh dollar bill from Grandma and Grandpa, it's because we haven't taught them the value of money.

Instead of concentrating on the negatives of our present difficulties, concentrate on all the blessings we do have. There is no greater place to start than with prayer and children.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A BRAND NEW YEAR

It's hard to believe but Christmas has past and soon we'll be making the change from 2008 to 2009. I don't know about you, but it takes me a good two weeks to write the new year on checks, on correspondence, whatever requires the new year's date. I could blame it on old brain cells but it's been that way since I can't remember when.

But a new year is really a wonderful thing, as much as the old seemed to pass quickly, we have a new one to, hopefully, make our mark (a good mark) on this world we live in. I guess like everyone, I want to take this new year and make a difference in someone's life, connect with friends, make some new ones, ponder all the incredible things my two year grandson are learning, say "I love you" more often,
share my faith, etc. My list goes on and on. The best we can do with this new year is make it better than the last. I know that typically we're suppose to start our resolution list with all our failings and generally that means, for many, losing weight and getting more exercise, and I'm not much different than other people. Those are admirable goals and, yes, I need to do a better job at that, too. It's just that the others I've mentioned are more important to me. You'll have to decide what tops your list and really try to accomplish it. I know I'm going to try to be successful with mine.

I offer the following as a nudge in the right direction, something to ponder and think about as the new year approaches. I found it so reading it again.


NEW YEAR’S SONG
by Patty Lynn

Silver bells and carolers and brightly flick’ring trees,
Packages all tied with bows, it seems hard to believe…
That all the preparations, the hustle-bustle game,
Is nothing but a memory, we go back to the same…
Old day-to-day monotony, awake and work and sleep,
Forgetting we’ve a brand new year and promises to keep.

The slate is clean, the year awaits, for us to write our song.
Will it be filled with harmonies or chords that sound all wrong?
Our song is what we make it, our melody’s our own,
From lullabies to symphonies our song is how we’re known.
So if your song’s a rockin’ tune, a rap or rhapsody,
Remember that someone might hum the song you choose to be.

Friday, December 26, 2008

MAKING FACES!

My sister and I have a unique bond and have had it since we were little. There's eight years between us, me being the older. But as the years have gone on, that difference has been almost obliterated, and never so much as when we're being silly. Case in point: yesterday, Christmas Day, when our families got together.

While her husband and mine joined forces with her children for a game of dominoes, we chose to sit on the couch, talk, and make faces at each other to convey our point, for emphasis, or just for fun. When the two of us get together like this, it's a raucously fun time! It's as if we revert to when we were children and the more funny faces that are made, the better. Sometimes we try to out do one another, trying a myriad of facial contortions, and cracking each other up. Sound silly? Well, it is and we love it. Talk about getting in touch with your inner child! We have no problem there.

Anyway, that was the inspiration for this "silly little ditty." Hope it makes you laugh. (If it doesn't, just stand in front of a mirror and make funny faces - works every time).



SILLY PANTS
By Patty Lynn

I love to be a “silly pants”
And laugh a lot with you,
We make such goofy faces,
I haven’t got a clue…

Why what you do’s so funny,
Or why I crack you up.
The mystery eludes me.
I guess it’s just my luck…

That there’s no one besides you,
Who makes me laugh this way…
I must confess, I’ve yucked at less…
What more it there to say…

But you’re a laugh a minute.
I just can’t help but grin.
And if my mood is sagging,
You change the mood I’m in.

‘Cause you can’t be a “sad sack”
When faced with silly faces.
A laugh’s the fix, to get your kicks,
It’ll put you through your paces!

No matter if we're older
And tempered we should be.
I’ll make a face at you and then…
You’ll make one back at me.

So we’ll keep making faces,
Who cares if some object,
‘Cause I ain’t made a face at you…
That you ain’t laughed at yet!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A CHRISTMAS EVE CELEBRATION

It's almost midnight and we're just about to turn in after a delightful Christmas Eve with our extended family. This is the first year after many, many years that I didn't host the festivities and it was really nice to be the guests this time. The biggest and most predictable revelation: No clean up!

My son and his lovely wife were our hosts this year and everything was perfect. Their home was done up with lovely decorations complete with a beautiful purple and silver tree with a velvet tree skirt. There was enough delicious food to feed an army and the songs of the season wafted through every room. This was the first year that my grandsons could communicate in words and one was particularly talkative through the first part of the Christmas Eve services and sung along to every hymn. By 8:30 these darlings were ready for Ni-nites and I'm sure were so over stimulated from all the gifts that it was obvious it was time for them to go home. I'm sure they didn't understand why these pretty wrapped packages were being shoved at them that they were instructed to rip apart. But when tomorrow comes they'll have plenty to do.

My husband and I left about 10PM and were not able to just come home and hit the hay, so we exchanged our gifts for each other. That is the most relaxed part of Christmas Eve and in many ways my favorite. But the gift exchange part, though pleasant, is not the reason for the celebration. We remembered the Christ Child once again, God's promise fulfilled and the reality of what that means to us today, December 24, 2008. Soon this year will be a thing of the past and we will again herald the coming of the New Year, a fresh start, a new beginning, maybe some new struggles but it'll be a new year, 2009. My hope is that we cherish each day and live it as though it were our last because we never know when "our last" will come. I pray we have many more years to show our love for one another, to appreciate the little things, to watch little ones grow & learn and to realize the importance of forgiveness. My final wish for all of you and your families is just that you LIVE WELL, LAUGH OFTEN, AND LOVE MUCH!!!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

SOMETIMES...

As I sit here at 11:15PM thinking to myself, "what are you staying up so late for?"
I have to admit this writing thing is an addiction. Even when I'm tired at the end of the day, I feel like I can't go to bed if I haven't made an entry for a couple of days. I just can't! It's certainly not that I believe the world needs to hear my thoughts because they are so profound. It's really that I NEED to put them down on paper (now that's a strange thought when, in this context, there is no paper involved). Anyway, I was thinking about the way my poetry comes to me and wrote this little poem to express that. Here it is.

SOMETIMES...
by Patty Lynn

Sometimes the words come easy,
Sometimes the words won't come.
Sometimes it takes forever.
Sometimes it's lots of fun!

Regardless, it's a challenge,
A mental calisthenic.
Some thoughts seem like molasses
Or sometimes they're frenetic.

Guess that's the nature of the beast,
No formula for rhyming.
Some think it's scientific,
I think it's just good timing.

I can't predict when juices flow
And poems will be created.
I only know that when they are,
I sometimes feel elated!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I've probably worn out my coverage of the weather but, are you kidding me with this cold! I don't remember a December with temps so low and winds so high it makes the windchill factor like 30 below. I was real glad that I had no place to go after we'd returned from church. On my agenda was to get all my presents wrapped and ready for transport and I fulfilled my goal, almost. Standing, sitting, standing, it took a toll on my back so I decided the best thing was to wrap everything and put a tag on the bottom with the recipient's name and then put the ribbons on, Monday or Tuesday. As it was, in the aftermath, I had to use a heating pad on my back between the shoulders as I reminisced about the days gone by, when all of this seemed so easy. There was a time like that, wasn't there?

But enough about the weather, the wind, the aches and the pains. It's not interesting to anybody else. Besides, everybody gets to this place sooner or later. What I really wanted to talk about tonight was story of the angel coming to Mary, telling her about what was coming. I can't help but try to put a story like that in contemporary terms and imagine that happening today. Can you imagine, a little (a young) girl from a small town, looking up and seeing an angel? I'd immediately think I had lost my mind and that I was seeing things. This couldn't be happening!
No one sees an actual angel, do they?

Well, here the angel is and begins telling this girl that she's going to give birth and she's probably thinking, hey, wait a minute, I'm a virgin and there is NO WAY I'm having a baby. Now that's screwy enough news, impossible news, impossible event. I am engaged to this guy, Joseph, but Joseph and I have never had...sex. What would people think if I was pregnant, what would they think of me... and, oh my goodness, what will Joseph think? I don't know if I would be as polite as Mary was. The story goes that she says she's perplexed at the things the angel says. I would be, "Are you kidding me?'

But Mary listens to the rest of this announcement and learns that she has found favor in God's eyes and this baby is going to be a miracle, the long awaited Savior. That was a lot to swallow. Being regarded as special, so special that God had chosen me to carry His Son. Now that I can't imagine. Mary on the other hand listens attentively and finally realizes a very important lesson. Granted, from the beginning, this whole thing is unimaginable but it does teach us an incredible lesson, 1) God keeps His promises and 2) there is nothing so impossible that God can't do it.

At this Christmas time, we reflect on the first Christmas in Bethlehem. We again visit the manger and see the baby Jesus and those of faith see God's miracle of becoming human, for us and for what was to come. It is said, "Faith is believing without seeing", and it is. But everyday there are events that prove God's ability to do the impossible. It's hard enough trying to put the myself in Mary's shoes much less having an angel be the messenger with this extraordinary story of God's plan. But I believe it happened. And what's more, impossible things happen everyday and that confirms for me that God is at work in the here and now.

May your here and now be blessed with faith and love and the revelation that with God, nothing is impossible!

Friday, December 19, 2008

A GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING

Today amid the house cleaning and box getting (each present needs the right box so that the next step, the wrapping, can get off to a good start), the doorbell rang and I was handed a beautiful Christmas centerpiece for my table. It was picture perfect even including gorgeous red roses that looked dew-kissed and a gold candle in the middle with a hurricane around it that said Peace. The card told me that my dear friends in the Milwaukee area were thinking of us and wishing us a Merry Christmas. Actually, I was brought to tears, first at the lovely gesture and then because with the recent job loss, I wasn't able to reciprocate. I immediately called her and we had a great visit, catching up on things and reiterating what we have said many times, "I love you and I'm blessed to have you in my life!"

This brought home what we both knew, it's not about presents, it's about love and the enrichment of friendship. What a gift! Many never experience the bond of true friendship and I feel so blessed to have the special friends that I have. My hope for all of you this holiday season is that you will reflect on the friendships in your life and if there are some you've lost contact with, that you rekindle the friendship you once had.

FRIENDSHIP
By Patty Lynn

There are friends who are friends for a moment
And some that, it’s true, you lose sight of,
There are friends from your past,
That you so thought would last,
With some effort, you know, that they might’ve.

But then there are friends who you know will…
Not fade for a lifetime no matter,
Who you see not as often,
But when you start talkin’,
It’s anything but useless chatter.

That’s the friend that is there for the good times,
And the bad and the lousy and crabby.
If a month should go by,
You needn’t ask why.
Settle in,‘cause it’s sure to be gabby!

I’ve a friend who’s like that, that I treasure,
Who I’m proud just to say that she’s mine.
For a friendship like this,
So many have missed.
For me, it’s a once in a lifetime!

Though we’re older, I’m sure that we’re wiser…
Than the day when met long ago.
Through THICK and through thin,
Our friendship has been…
What only a few ever know.

So remember that friendship is precious,
Must be tended and cared for by you.
Now it can last forever,
If you promise to never…
Take for granted its value so true.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

AS THE BIG DAY APPROACHES AND THE STORM IS ON ITS WAY

As I'm sure you can tell, I'm anticipating Christmas but not so much the big storm they're predicting. Our weather, in general, seems to be record breaking no matter what season we're talking about. Despite the warning (If you don't have to go out, stay in) the fact remains that some of us have to be out in it, snowstorm or not. I'm not looking forward to it, certainly, as it does seem that people's good judgement goes out the window in the winter weather. Tonite, on my way home from work with oncoming traffic as well as my lane facing a green lite, somebody decided to make a left hand turn right in front of my car. Had I not been watching, that would have ended up as just another accident.

Though the weather seems to always be a topic for conversation, what I'm really thinking about as we get out there and finish our Christmas shopping, is the impersonalness of it all. Do you wish everyone, a clerk, a smiling face approaching you, or whomever, a Merry Christmas? I do, but it is usually met with surprise and oft times a look of confusion. What ever happened to that? Well, on that topic I wrote the following. I hope it makes you think and maybe, just maybe, makes you think of sharing a little Christmas cheer.

OLD FASHIONED CHRISTMAS
By Patty Lynn

You know, I find it int’resting,
This festive time of year,
That Merry Christmas greetings are
So seldom what you hear.

Most folks are darting here and there,
Intent on bargain finds,
And clerks seem so disinterested.
Good cheer’s not on their minds.

I know that I recall a time
When it was automatic,
That people smiled and wished you well,
And days were not so frantic!

Our thoughts were more of hearth & home,
Not price tags so impressive,
That in the Christmas aftermath
Your thoughts became depressive…

Because your plastic was maxed out
And bills were mounting fast.
Instead we made some memories,
The kind that really last!

We sat around the Christmas tree
Recalling famly faces.
We laughed that “some assembly” meant…
We’d be put in our places.

Each cookie was the homemade kind,
Not ones you buy in stores.
We’d raise a cup of real eggnog,
I’d clink my cup to yours.

Then afterwards we’d sing some carols,
No matter if in tune.
We sang our hearts out anyway.
The end came way too soon.

Yes, Christmas time in days gone by
Was different from today.
If only we could all return…
To the Old Fashioned Way.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

LOOKING THROUGH A CHILD'S EYE

This past Monday I brought a nativity scene over to my daughter's to introduce my two year old grandsons to the Christmas Story. What makes these characters unique is that they're depicted as children. I brought them over to the twin's table where all the art activities happen and emphasized that this was something SPECIAL. As I took out each figure from the bag, I made sure that they understood how special the baby was and explained that the mama, Mary, and the daddy, Joseph, loved their little baby, Jesus, very much. The shepherd and the three kings knew that this baby was really special, too, and came to visit him. They're are very young and to go into more detail would have been confusing but they certainly could understand the terms,
mama, daddy and baby. One twin in particular loves playing with the figures and saying who they are and, for whatever reason, believes the black wise man looks like his Papa. Now Papa is blond and fair but that doesn't matter. He's Papa and he occasionally gets a kiss, too.

This got me to thinking about the Christmas Story from a little one's perspective and so I wrote the following poem. The child in the poem is older than 2 but I think hearing the story and a child's reaction to it, gives us a better insight into the impact this historical and miraculous story can have on a little one, as well as for ourselves.

THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL
By Patty Lynn

Baby Jesus, you’re so small
And yet I have been told
That you did really big, big things
When you were grown up old.

I ‘member Grandma told me that…
You didn’t have a bed,
And so your mama, carefully,
Laid down your little head…

Into a manger made for cows,
But it was soft and clean.
She said you were the cutest boy
Your Mom had ever seen!

And shepherds saw some angels white,
All singing in the sky.
At first they felt real scared inside,
Until they knew just why!

And fancy kings in golden coats
Came from so very far,
To visit you because they saw
A bright and shiny star!

I wish I could have been there,
To see you as a baby.
If Mary said it was alright
I’d come real close and maybe…

I’d pick you up so carefully
And whisper “I Love You.”
I may not understand it all
But I believe it’s true…

That you grew up, became a man,
And died for everyone,
And someday I’ll see you for real
We’ll both have lots of fun!

I’ll see my Grandma once again.
I loved her soft, soft face.
Mom says they’ll be no wrinkles there,
She says you can erase!

The same way you erase my sins,
I know sometimes I’m bad,
But I know you forgive me,
And that you don’t get mad.

Mom tells me that she loves me
And that you love me, too.
I wish I was in Bethlehem
And I could visit you.

I love to hear the story of
Your birthday, long ago,
I know that’s why there’s Christmas,
So everyone will know…

That, Baby Jesus, you were born,
So soft and pink and small,
To be our bestest present,
The greatest gift of all!

Monday, December 15, 2008

JUST AROUND THE CORNER

As we get closer and closer to Christmas it is happily stated to be "just around the corner!" Yes, the big day is coming soon and although my children are all grown up and my grandchildren too young to understand it all, it truly is an exciting time of year. Today was unbelievably cold with wind chill factors quoted as 30 degrees below zero. I'd much rather have a white Christmas than a cold one but complaining won't change it. So, as I thought about Christmas through the eyes of a child, this little ditty came to mind. Hope you all enjoy it and it brings back memories of your youth in days gone by.


T’WAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS…
By Patty Lynn

T’was the night before Christmas…
“You boys go to sleep!”
Mom said with a smile.
“Don’t anyone peek!”

It took all we had
Just to stay in our beds,
As visions of presents
Danced in our heads.

“Tomorrow’s the day,”
I said to my brother,
Who whispered to me,
“I think I hear mother!”

So we laid very still
Pretending to sleep,
Neither one of us stirring,
Our secret to keep.

Then fin’lly we thought
The coast was all clear,
As I whispered again,
“Christmas day’s almost here!”

We did try to sleep
But we just couldn’t do it,
And a couple of times
We both almost blew it!

My brother’d dose off
And then I would wake him.
When closer to morning,
I’d grab and I’d shake him…

‘Till the day had arrived
Must have been before sun up.
We ran down the stairs
To find everything done up…

In garland and tinsel
And bright twinkling lights.
Mom & Dad put the tree up!
Must’ve done it last night.

And then we began
To examine the tags,
On all of the presents,
The boxes and bags.

Our Mom & Dad followed.
They sure looked worn out,
Both yawning and stretching,
But excited, no doubt.

‘Cause this was the moment
We’d all waited for,
Tearing open the presents,
Wrappings covered the floor.

You know, I think something
Became very clear.
This Christmas was different,
That even last year.

Seemed that I had discovered
Something crazy, but true,
Hmmm… it’s more fun to give
Than receive things from you.

Christmas time is just great
For my brother and me.
But the best part of all
Is the family, the tree…

And a day spent together.
There’s so much to do,
Boy, I sure am tired,
How about you???

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My dad passed away in January of 1991 after a myriad of medical problems, problems that plagued him for many years. When he was gone, we never expected my mom to live for very long, primarily since they had been married for so many years and like so many, didn't really have an identity separate from one another.

Surprisingly, mom lived another ten years and not pleasant years, for the most part, having had a long battle with manic depression. All the drugs and therapies were ineffective and she would suffer long years, sometimes, with the depressive lows of this insidious illness. This was the pattern of her depression, short highs and long lows. I'm convinced that the only way we, as a family, could deal with this, was with the strength of our faith and the fact that my sister and I were there every day, caring for her and leaning on each other.

Our constant prayer was that when it was time for her to leave us it would be during one of her highs, when she was, by her description, "feeling good!" Without going into any detail, suffice it to say, our prayers were answered. She died in her sleep, at home, and with all of us able to say our final goodbyes. We couldn't have asked for more.

This, by the way, is not a sad accounting of events, though it is sad to lose a parent at any time in our lives, but rather a memory of a loving family and the matriarch who will always be remembered for the wonderful person, mother and grandmother she was. The first Christmas that we spent without her I wrote a poem written as if penned by her hand.

CHRISTMAS TIME IN HEAVEN
By Patty Lynn


It’s Christmas time in Heaven, your dad and I are fine,
No, that’s an understatement, we’d have to say, Divine!
Please don’t be sad this Christmas, because I can’t be there.
I live within your hearts, you see, that bond we’ll always share.

I wish I had the words to tell the wonder of this place,
But words are insufficient when I look into God's face.
The ravages of age are gone, I feel so Heavenly,
And thank you all for making life the best that it could be.

I’m fin’lly here with daddy, I missed him so, you know,
And now I have Eternity and daddy’s hand to hold.
Yes, we’ll be watching each of you as day to day you strive…
To live your lives in Jesus name. In Him may you abide.

And when it’s time for you to come, we’ll both be waiting here...
To greet you as you reach the gate, so please, don’t shed a tear.
Remember all the moments when we laughed and sometimes cried.
You made my earthly life complete, despite a bumpy ride.

I know the last few years were rough; I took a lot from you,
But love like yours was Heaven sent; now I send mine to you.
So when you hear the church bells chime proclaiming Jesus’ birth,
Remember me but fleetingly; I’m no more of the earth.

I’m here in raiment sparkling white with daddy by my side.
I live a most Eternal life, in Him I’m glorified!
I send you all my wishes for health and happiness.
You are my precious children, how could I wish for less.

It’s Christmas time in Heaven, God bless you evryone.
My journey there is over, a heavely home I've won.
Live evry day as if your last, stay confident and strong…
Until at last we meet again to sing a Christmas Song.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Brrrrrrrr!!!!

Today was particularly cold, considering it's not officially Winter yet. Oh, it'll get much colder but right now, this is cold enough, thank you! At least, we didn't get more snow and I'm thankful for that. But the piles of shoveled snow is reaching a level we didn't reach last year till winter was almost over. I'll never forget the snow piles of last year! Or should I say, the ice piles. I remember my car coming in contact with an ice pile masquerading as a snow pile. I believe that was a $750 repair job!!

Oh, well, that's sour grapes and it's not last year, it's this year and there's no point in grousing about the weather. It's Wisconsin, after all, and it's to be expected. And while we're on the subject of Winter and the cold and the snow, here's a little offering that puts a positive spin on the whole thing.


OL’ WINTER’S KISS
By Patty Lynn

When cold winds blow and children play
In snowsuits red and hats of grey,
It seems a wonderland to me
As snowflakes cling to yonder tree!

And all the world is draped in white,
God’s blanket is for my delight.
And up above the night sky shines
As critters romp among the pines.

‘Twas not so long ago, I paused,
With rosy skin the sunshine caused.
Can summer’s warmth compete with this?
Tis nothing like ol’ Winter’s kiss.

Monday, December 8, 2008

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD!

I chose this title since, like so many others, we face tomorrow without a job. My husband came home this morning just an hour after he had left for work with a piece of paper in his hand. I could tell by the look on his face that whatever it was, it wasn't good...and it wasn't. Laid off! How many times in the last year have we heard those dreaded words, from friends, at church, from family members, or on the news? Countless!! And every time we do, we think, "Oh, I'm sure glad it's not us!" In fact, secretly, we're hoping that it never will be. We whisper to ourselves ever so quietly, " Will we be next?" Well, we are next, it seems, and the real question isn't "Why, us" but rather, "Why not us?"

The prospect of looking for a job after 50 is certainly nothing one would choose and with so many out of work, it becomes almost impossible to find something. But, we'll get through it and, perhaps, we'll be fortunate and my husband will find something that he suits him and that he enjoys. That's how we have to think. No use in being pessimistic. It's pretty lousy timing, though, right before Christmas, but, when is it good timing? We can't lose sight of what we really have going for us. Faith and...PRAYER!

I truly believe in the power of prayer, not as a magic potion but as a direct line to our Heavenly Father. And He's really going to hear an awfully lot from us. I firmly believe that God has things occur in our lives for a reason and there is a REASON that this happened to us. I also know that we're going to be alright in the end. That belief, that conviction, can so easily wane. It's much easier to throw in the towel and think, "why me?". But we have to remember that God will take care of us and bring us through whatever trial we're dealing with. He asks us to stop flailing about wondering what to do and asking how will we make it. He simply says, "Be still and know that I am God!"

Dear Father,

Help us to be "still" and take comfort in your words. Help us to trust and know that You are God and you are in control, not us. When our conviction waivers, bolster it up. When we get discouraged, infuse your courage into us. Remind us that you've got it all figured out. AMEN

Sunday, December 7, 2008

THE ANTICIPATION OF CHRISTMAS

For me, the anticipation began early this year. Maybe it's because my two grandchildren are now two years old and will really "get" Christmas. I have purchased a pre-Christmas gift for them with the nativity figures as little children. I hope I can tell them the story of the first Christmas simple enough so that they can understand it to a degree and exciting enough to hold their interest. I really hope that Christmas may be the anticipation of the birth of the baby Jesus and the songs of Christmas and not only Santa Claus and presents. It's hard for children to keep from focusing in on the present part but my hope is that nobody overdoes it with the present part.

Today we got the tree decorated, the garland on the fireplace and the Christmas cards labeled and stamped, all ready for the post office. So now the momentum has begun. I have a few more gifts to purchase and, of course, there's the wrapping. I love that part. My kids think it's really funny the way I spend so much time making each gift special with just the right paper and the hand made bow. " People just tear it apart!" Well, that's true. But, as I like to say, "it's all in the presentation." So as Christmas time is near, I'll offer this little Christmas poem called:

BORN FOR THIS
By Patty Lynn

Merry Christmas, Praise the King,
Who came to all the earth.
A child, a babe, at Christmastime,
Let’s celebrate His birth.

No matter how the years may pass,
When Christmas time comes near,
We see the star, the angels sing
And loved ones gather near.

It’s new again, God’s gift to us,
Salvation in a child,
The chosen one, of Mary born,
So tender, meek and mild.

Within that manger we still find
The meaning of the season.
Through all the chaos, gifts and trees
Remember, He’s the reason…

For giving gifts to all we love
As He our gift would be
Without the pomp and circumstance,
But humble born that we…

May Heaven have when life is done,
He gave unselfishly…
The gift of grace, we never earned
And yet, that gift was free!

And so as Christmas time draws near,
Don’t find yourself remiss,
Keep Jesus in your Christmas heart.
God’s Son was born for this.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

AND THE SNOW KEEPS A COMIN'

After two days this week with a substantial snowfall, it looks like another repeat performance is on its way. Yay!!! Guess it doesn't matter if your muscles are sore from shoveling or achy because "thars a storm a comin'." Take your pick. But if it wasn't that, there'd be something else to complain about. We're just a complainin' people. Anyway, that gives me a perfect opportunity to share a little children's poem I wrote a number of years ago when my now grown children were little ones.

But before I do that, I have to tell you about the cutest darn thing that occured this afternoon. As I've mentioned before, I have two grandchildren, twin boys, who were two at the end of September. This Christmas is the first Christmas that they have experienced. They're old enough now and when the tree went up today they were enraptured. This tree that looked like it belonged outside was somehow inside and it had lights and colorful garland on it with a silver star at the top. My daughter went out and bought some very colorful PLASTIC ornaments and, for them, each one was more beautiful than the next! As each took an ornament to hang on the tree we oohed and ahhed and said how beautiful they were and how PRETTY they looked.
They picked up the enthusiasm they heard and responded with "pri-ee, pri-ee!!! Then they removed the one they just hung and decided to put it somewhere else on the tree and repeated the same excitement all over again. One of the twins, Gavin, put all the ornaments he had in a pile on top of one another till the branch sagged under the weight. With each addition, he clapped for himself and we followed suit.

All I can say about that is, that it was the cutest and most adorable thing I had ever seen. You do have to realize, though, that not a day goes by that they don't do something so cute and adorable that I can hardly stand it. But those are the moments I just with I could record and go back and play again. I can't wait till they learn all about the Child child and his birthday that we celebrate. Our family's Christmas will be so wonderful this year with these little ones reminding us of the Child of Bethlehem.

So now that I've covered that, here's the poem I promised:

OUR SNOWMAN
By Patty Lynn

Blistery, blustery, blizzardy day,
Snowing and blowing our snowman away.
Oh how I wish, really wish he could stay,
But it’s such a blistery, blustery, day.

We made him last Sunday, my sister and me.
Set him to stand ‘neath our sycamore tree,
An old hat of daddy’s, a scarf from Aunt Fay,
Oh, stop, you ol’ blistery, blustery day!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

THE SNOWY DAYS BEGIN

Here it is, December, barely, and we're expecting our second winter storm and lots and lots of SNOW. Nothing unusual, just winter in Wisconsin, but as we all get older, we tend to wish that it would be over soon. And, of course, it'll take till mid-April, no matter how much we complain.

In truth, I don't think it's the snow or ice that we mind; it's the COLD, brrrrrrr! Those stereotypes of the old grandpa, half bent over with his hand on his hip uttering, "Oh, my achin' back or hip or knee or....!" is not so far from reality. The high pressure or the low pressure of the weather leaves us, well, ACHIN'! Guess that's where the whole snowbird thing came from, leave the cold and head for sunny California or Florida for the winter months. Then, return in the Spring. A great plan, wouldn't you agree? I'm sure there are many, myself included, that thought about doing just that and then that ol' word, RECESSION, reared its ugly head and made any plans like that disappear.

But it is what it is and we certainly can't change it by wishing it were so. Better to think of this time as precursor to Christmas. During this time, this Advent time, it's best for us to prepare for the birth of the Child and you know how much fun it is getting ready for a baby. Remember, as wonderful as babies are, this babe was the most wonderful, most awesome baby of all!

I've decided to have a little fun, the poetic kind, and share this silly little poem I wrote about winter and its woes. Hope it puts a little smile on your lips (though perhaps a bit blue from the cold) and a little warmth in your heart.


Winter Blues
By Patty Lynn

Is Springtime approaching?
Please say that it’s so.
I’m tired of this ice,
And abominable snow!

I realize pleading
Dramatic it be,
But my old bones are aching.
The cold gets to me.

And all I can think of
Is changing my clothes…
To ones that are comfy,
Right down to my toes.

And wrapping myself,
In a blanket that’s warm.
T’would comfort, envelop,
Til after the storm…

Of chilly Ol’ Winter,
Who’ll never relent
Until evry ounce
Of my energy’s spent…

Complaining and grousing
About Winter’s climate.
At least when a phrase comes,
I feel I must rhyme it!!!!!!