Thursday, December 27, 2012

WHAT HAPPENED TO CHRISTMAS?

My intention was to post this yesterday at it concerns itself with the day after Christmas, but I didn't finish this until a few minutes ago so you'll have to excuse me.

I'm a bit melancholy tonight dealing with the fact that Christmas day is over. I don't know about you but it seems as though it's been many more days post-Christmas than it really is. It's only been two days!  How can all the prep and anticipation be over? It seems like only yesterday that people were caught off guard when I said, "Merry Christmas." What's happened to our society? That used to be on everyone's lips during the holidays. Now I feel like an oddball when I say it, but I say it anyway. I refuse to let that simple greeting fall by the wayside.

As many before me have said, wouldn't it be great if the spirit of Christmas could stick around all year?  Well, I have some reservations about that.   At the risk of sounding like a cynic, the spirit or should I say the Spirit of Christmas even at Christmas, seems to be waning. I'd even go so far as to say, if this current holiday climate or spirit would hang around all year, count me out.

People feel pressured to get their Christmas shopping done wondering how they're going to fit it all in with work and family. It starts being a chore. No joy there. Clerks are get disgusted with unpleasant customers and working overtime checking their watches longing for quitting time. Merry Christmas, indeed. No joy there. Packages have to be wrapped and some have to be mailed. So now I've got to hike down to the Post Office.  Where will that extra time come from?

At least this is my take on it, but doesn't it seem this way? The commercializing of the holiday doesn't help either. There's such an emphasis on presents not about the Christmas Story and the meaning of that for all of us. Put Christ back in Christmas is a much quoted adage but He does seem to be missing, doesn't He? Anyway, it was these thoughts that prompted my latest poem.


THE BEST GIFT OF CHRISTMAS
by Patty Lynn

T'was the day after Christmas
When all through the land
There was pushing and shoving
With an elbow or hand.

The crowds before Christmas
Sought out bargains galore,
Now, too, on a mission
They knocked things to the floor.

They were thinking of next year
Buying paper and bows
And cards for the sending
With love, I suppose.

It wasn't Black Friday
But resembled the chaos.
The shoppers were yelling,
"We were first, c'mon take us!"

The more that they waited
The louder their chatter.
Disregarding all others
As if only they mattered.

Seeing all this first-hand
I thought about Christmas
Found my spirits start sagging
From this out-of-whack business.

Had no one remembered
What the season had meant?
The love of the Christ-child
Had it come and then went?

Or worse had their Christmas
Lacked love from the start
A mere get-together
Not been from the heart?

Was it all about presents
Most expensive, most prized?
What a sad commentary,
This Christmas of lies.

"Dear Father in heaven,
Look down from above.
Your children are straying.
Please bring back the love...

Of Bethlehem's Jesus
So tender and mild,
Who came to this earth
As a baby, your child.

They've forgotten what happened
On that first Christmas day.
They've forgotten your Son, Lord,
Whose the Truth and the Way."

On this day after Christmas
Let's remember the reason,
That it's not about bargains,
Or your gifts for next season.

Hold sacred the birthday
Of Jesus our King,
The BEST gift of Christmas,
Above everything!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

THE SEARCH WAS ON

As you know, Christmas can be crazy but each year I try not to let that happen. This has actually been a pretty calm one as I chose to do most of my purchasing online. I hate the whole shopping experience (yes, I am a woman and no, I haven't lost my marbles and yes, I strongly dislike the shopping thing.) I guess it's because after you retire there's no need for new clothes, the perfect jewelry piece or matching bag so I really have no interest. That being said, one has to get an early start as you do run in to things running out and you have to allow enough time for things to be shippec.

Everything was going well until dun, dun, dun...I received an item that I just couldn't accept. It wasn't broken, the wrong color or the wrong size, it just was such poor quality I couldn't keep it. So, as directed, I phoned the company, explained thr situation and made another selection. Now that would have worked fine save the fact that they were out of my chosen item. You'd think, well, I'll make another choice, but I was sure that this item, a walkie talkie with a 2 mile range, was perfect. You see, I have twin grandsons and this would actually be something they would HAVE to share, it required two players. So I shipped back the less than stellar item and proceeded to try to find the same item elsewhere. Not just a walkie talkie but the same ones with the same features.

My daughter's

Saturday, November 17, 2012

WILL IT EVER BE?

Tonight's title refers to the book that I have yet to write, Words of Witness. I still am hoping that it will get written but as the only time I get to the computer is after 10 pm or later, my back will NOT cooperate. So why am I writing this blog at 10:05 pm?

Well, tonight things are a little less painful and I know I will not need to sit here long. The book I am referring to, the not yet written book, is one of poems that are designed to be poems of love, encouragement and comfort. The following poem also entitled Words of Witness was one of those rare ones that almost write themselves. I offer:

WORDS OF WITNESS
by Patty Lynn

Words of witness, words of truth,
Words I've known and said since youth.
These I memorized for years
Words that now oft times bring tears.

From these words I've learned so much
Words from which I felt His touch.
When in need, in want I'd cleave
Comfort from these words received.

Close I felt my Savior's hand
Helped me face my fears, I'd stand
There with strength from Him it came
In my heart I'd say His Name.

Learning always something new
Meaning more when shared with you.
Witness gives a joy complete
Like sitting at the Savior's feet.

Words not mine but His through me
Hoping that His face you see.
For He comes in many ways
Songs of sorrow, songs of praise.

Words for little ones so new
Bible stories tried and true.
Wonder in each face I see
Knowing you by knowing me.

This my treasured time with them
Listening, singing, prayer, amen.
Teaching these your children sweet
Tables turned through them you teach.

Words of witness, words from you
Lord, may I your word pursue.
Never tire of learning more,
That you may my soul restore.

May my song forever be
Words of witness, words from thee

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

BULLYING TOUCHES US ALL

Last week I spoke to a friend of mine from college and learned that she is in working with the YMCA in her community to inform and offer guidance to kids who have or who are being bullied.  I wrote the following and sent it to her in hopes that my story could serve as an example of just how the effects of bullying are something that never really leave those of us who have experienced it.

FOREVER SCARS

When I was a young child I wasn't obese but I was chubbier than the neighborhood children and, on occasion, was made fun of for that reason. I still don't "get it," what the payoff is for saying cruel things with the express purpose of hurting someone's feelings. Is there some feeling of success or triumph knowing that you've made another human being feel they are inferior?

I've got to say I thought it was a cruel joke that my name was Patty and it rhymed with fatty. I can still hear: "Fatty Patty two by four, can't get through the kitchen door" ringing in my much older ears even now.

My life at home was very nurturing and loving, but as it concerned the buying clothes ritual was...suffice it to say, not helpful to my already painful neighborhood experience. I was never big enough to fit into a Chubby size dress but too big to fit into a "normal" size. Disheartened and disappointed, mom would counteract my sorrow with a trip to the dime store counter to get a hot fudge sundae.

The ridicule didn't just stop with just the neighborhood children, I felt it every time there was a choosing of teammates for a competitive PE activity as well. At school there were whispers and I was well aware that I was less than. Through all of my grade school years I was a shy child, soft spoken and quiet, feeling inferior to others except a few close friends.

When I got to high school I hid my inferiority complex and decided that this was a brand new start and that I wasn't going to let my weight define me. I made it my business to be friends with a variety of people from the most popular to the nerds. This I did with the express objective to enjoy high school and not it ruin what I knew was a time in my life to become my own person, not like everybody else, genuinely interested in everything and everyone.

I discovered boys and wished like every girl in high school that they would take an interest in me but accepted that I was their good friend, not girl friend material. I threw myself into my two strengths, art and music. I designed posters for special events and was cast in a couple of the school musicals. I was even cast in a lead role. Buttercup, in the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta HMS Pinafore. I was thrilled to get the part but had to again struggle with the fact that this character was...chubby, round and fun loving.




In my freshman and sophomore year, dances came and went, and I did the special hairdos for all of my friends who were invited and waved from the window as they went and I didn't. I started singing with the dance band at school. That led to the senior prom committee inviting me to sing with the band at the senior prom. I got to attend and could invite a date. I had one fixed up date with a boy from the pre-seminary high school and invited him and was surprised when...he actually accepted.

My senior year was really a fun year. I decided that I was never going to be one of the skinny girls and got involved in as many activities that a good grade point would allow.
The senior prom was coming and all my friends were asked but not me. I remember having a conversation with one of the religion teachers I had grown close to and he said the sweetest thing to me, something I didn't believe for one minute but he said so sincerely: " You're so well-liked by everybody and such a fun person, the boys don't ask because they're sure you've been asked already. They just expect you'll be there".

About a week before the Senior Prom, convinced that I wouldn't be asked, someone from my home room, a guy I loved to laugh and talk with asked me to go with him. He wasn't anybody that I was attracted to but such a great guy that I said to myself, " It's my senior year. I sure don't want to miss the Senior Prom so I'm going to accept." Since mine was a parochial school and dancing was not allowed on the school premises, the seniors had to plan their own dance, arrange the place, the band, the theme and the refreshments. We didn't have a voting at school for Prom Queen and King and their court. This was done the night of the dance by passing pieces of paper and pencils so everyone could write down their choice. You can imagine my shock when they told me that when all the votes were counted, I had been chosen Prom Queen. I was beyond speechless. I couldn't believe it. The little girl who was bullied on the street corner, Patty Fatty, the girl referred to as pleasingly plump had actually been chosen.

Now you'd think that that was the beginning of a new life, a life of confidence and self-assuredness, but you'd be wrong. Those memories are still there. I'm sixty-seven years old and I still feel like that chubby girl on the street corner listening to those cruel childhood taunts, who had to have her mom make her clothes because nothing store-bought fit, the one who was picked last for teams because she was inferior. For a long time I believed that no matter what I accomplished people would says, "She's done a wonderful job on this. It's too bad she's fat." It's as if everything is less of an accomplishment because I don't look thin enough.

My inequities were primarily body image issues, but many years later my son, at the time a boy of seven came home in tears because he said day after day he was made fun of because instead of being interested in playing baseball at recess he wanted to put on a puppet show. There's nothing worse than seeing your child with his feelings hurt and feeling unwanted. What I told him then was that kids are cruel because they experienced that same cruelty themselves and they relieve some of their own hurt by inflicting it on
someone else. Maybe that's true, I don't know, but it helped him to wipe away his tears and look at the next day with a new level of understanding.

In closing let me say, I can't blame bullying by other kids as the complete source of all my insecurities, but for me it was a big part. Yes, we can blame the media for constantly bombarding us with images that perpetuate the idea that we all have to look emaciated to be accepted, even loved. And I'm not saying that bullying ruined my life. What I am saying is that cruel thoughtless words spoken to or about another person are never forgotten. All the hurt and sadness that those words inflict are "Forever Scars."


Sunday, October 14, 2012

I ALMOST FORGOT...

In my haste to share with you all about the 45 year reunion, I neglected to post the poem I wrote in anticipation.  It was a labor of love? comedy? delusion?reality?  Well, whatever it was the "girls" got a kick out of it and so did I.  After all, if you can't laugh at yourself...  Here it is:

DELUSION/REALITY
by Patty Lynn

(As I anticipate meeting my old friends, I'm lost in thought recalling some college memories. My thoughts are fragmented and erratic, as they usually are these days... I wonder why? O, well. I say to myself:)

I can't believe how long it's been
Since we girls were together?
Time passes and it leaves its mark.
So what if I look...weathered.

(I come upon a table of "older" women
and being lost in my own scattered thoughts and not remembering if they've told me their names, I say:)

You gals are so dressed up tonight.
Did you tell me your names?
And, by the way, where did I park?
Did someone hear a train?

So tell me, who are you again?
You're all such cute old ladies.
I'm here to meet some college friends.
What are you, in your eighties?

I haven't seen my college friends,
Don't know how long it's been.
So tell me, is it hot in here?
I really need a fan.

Do you have this, it's something else?
First hot then cold again.
I know I've seen you all someplace,
But gosh, I don't know when.

Wait...wait...it's coming back to me.
Can you gals be my friends?
You say it's been some forty years?
DELUSION...now it ends.

(I say to myself:)
C'mon, Pat, face REALITY,
We're all a trifle older.
But we're still sexy, we're still hot;
Our fire's not out, it smolders.

Despite our wrinkles, gray hair, too,
It's great to be together.
The emails have been good 'til now,
But face to face is better.

At last the time to play catch-up
On forty years...and then some.
Wish I could make our time stand still
And hold you all for ransom!

My jokes aside, I'm thrilled we've come
Our memories to surrender...
Of by-gone days, of college girls,
Blest friendships we remember.

(45 years? Yikes!!! Are you kidding me?)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

THE BEST MINI-REUNION EVER!!

As I shared with you in my last blog, I was going to Chicago this past weekend for a Homecoming of sorts.  It actually was Homecoming Weekend at the college I attended, Concordia Teachers College, but this mini-reunion was a small bunch of gals getting together after many, many years, 45 to be exact.  I still have a hard time saying those words because it seems so incomprehensible that that many years have gone by.  But it is what it is and when you graduate in 1967, the year 2012 is exactly 45 years.
Yikes!!

A couple of the gals and I have seen each other since graduation but most I truly hadn't seen in all this time. That's why this was so special.  I celebrated my 67th birthday on the day of our reunion so that made it even more of an excuse for a celebration  The amazing thing about getting together in our mid-sixties was that we all found that we still liked each other though our stories (marriages, divorces, children and grandchildren) were different.  After the fact I pondered that we had come almost full circle, first college girls with career aspirations, the hope of meeting "the one," and children, now found that was all behind us.  We shared our health issues, creaky bones and stiff bodies, caring or having cared for elderly parents, the death of a parent or parents, grownup children and in some cases grandchildren. Though our lives had been different, they were similar too.

We hope to get together again after a few more years have passed.  I think it's a good idea that we do, sooner than later, as I secretly hope that we do before some of us have completed the full circle, if you know what I mean.
Funerals are not the best circumstance to see old friends.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING!

You'll never guess what I'm doing this weekend.  I know, I know, livin' the dream, livin' the dream.  Of course, that's true of most weekends.  That's right.  Frank and I live an exciting life.  But, you know what?  This week it's true.  Well, at least for me, anyway.

A group of my old college friends, women, most of which I haven't seen in 45 years (you heard me,) are getting together Saturday night to attempt to catch up on all the things that have occurred since we all graduated from Concordia Teachers College in 1967.  Incidentally, this is Homecoming weekend at Concordia but I'm only able to meet up with them for happy hour and dinner afterward on Saturday. 

For a long time I wasn't sure I could make it, the last back surgery having taken place so recently and not knowing how I'd fair.  But all went well there and, just between you and me, I'm beside myself with anticipation.  The passage of time and aging in general are great equalizers. No one is trying to impress anyone, just being ourselves with no pretense.

This group was never one for pretense anyway.  Their a wonderful bunch of girls, ahh, women...I mean...ladies.  But it really does boggle the mind that that much time has gone by, most of us have married, have children and in most cases grandchildren.  At 21 this was not on our radar, just the anxiety of our first teaching job, how we'd do and maybe hope we'd meet someone
down the line, maybe get married and have a couple of kids someday. Now we've all lived those somedays and all that is behind us.  It's a lot for me to wrap my mind around. 

What I've got to remember is not whether I can wrap my mind around all this or not, but rather what a blessing it is to connect up again, reminisce, share and just enjoy each other's company.  What a privilege it will be to see these good christian women, again.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

HAPPY TO REPORT...

Tonight's blog will be a short one but I wanted to let you know that I believe my operation was, indeed, successful.  It's been a week and four days and although I wouldn't have given you a plug nickel (boy, I'm really dating myself with that term) for my back, my leg and my doctor, things have really turned around.  Last thursday my husband and I were back doing our mall walk and by friday I was doing much better, going much longer without having to sit.  I had the staples out on friday and though it wasn't as bad as the removal of staples after my two C-sections, it was...well, let's just say I was glad when it was over.  There's a lot to be said about eliminating the sensation of leaning against a cyclone fence (too dramatic?)  Hopefully, that'll be it for a while.

Friday, August 31, 2012

THE OPERATION...DUN...DUN...DUN

As some of you may know, I recently committed a mortal sin.  I told myself that I would never again have back surgery because, in my opinion, my back surgery in 2004 was anything but a howling success.  Well, I finally realized that my most asked question by my doctor (and those of us who have bad backs will attest) was,"Does the pain go down the leg?"  After about a year of suffering, my answer was unfortunately,"yes."

Truth is, I had been experiencing some significant leg pain and it was getting really unbearable.  I finally figured out that the reason I was asked that question was because the nerve that runs from the spine and down the leg would behave like I described and there were solutions. 

I knew from the surgeon that a screw had broken off of the "cage" that fused all the bad vertebrae together from the 2004 back surgery, but, of course, he said that it would be "no problem."  Be wary of anyone who says, "no problem."  It usually means "I don't really know if it's a problem but I'll say it's no problem until I know it's a problem and I don't want to have anything to do with you when it becomes a problem. 

So, I did commit the aforementioned mortal sin.  I was insured that another
back surgery would remove the broken screw and whatever else, and I would be rid of the leg pain FOREVER.  Well, the surgery was done on this past Wednesday, as an outpatient no less, and right now I'm not sure what to report.  The doctor said that the broken screw had, indeed, worked itself up against the nerve and a broken piece of bone was also compromising the nerve.  I have a big incision and though I was told it would be held together with steri-strips, is held together with staples.  My leg pain before surgery would come and go, now it's constant and I have to use a cane.  But, I'm only 2 days post-op and it's too soon to tell anything.  I do know that routing around in there has surely caused aggravated inflammation to the area. I still remain optimistic and hope and pray that the promised outcome will be a promise kept. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

CONTEMPLATIVE

Wow! That's a big word to start out tonight's blog.  Well, it seemed more sophisticated than, JUST THINKING ABOUT SOME STUFF.   I'm sure you agree.  What I was contemplating is a subject that crosses my mind all too often, aging.  Now lest you get the impression that this is because of some bouts of mild depression, let me assure you that I find I am merely more aware of the physical and mental changes that I am going through and now retired, have more time to think about it.  Furthermore, as perhaps I've mentioned before, at this juncture of life, namely the late 60s, I am more aware of there actually being an end to this life.

In your adolescent years all you can think about is being a teenager and all the grown-up things you'll get to do.  When your in your teens all you can think about is getting to twenty-one and all the privileges that go with it.  Your twenties seem to last forever and then, there you are filling out a new form for a new doctor and you're asked how old you are and all you can say is, "th-th-th---thirty!" Yikes! When did that happen?

Once you're nearing the end of your thirties you don't know how you ever became OLD.  You were still young enough to remember that when you were little, someone who was 40 was...old.  And then you looked forward to retiring.  All the travelling you'd do, all the exciting places you'd visit, finally you'd go to Europe (at least that's where I wanted to go,) oh, and the thought of being a snowbird, leaving Wisconsin every winter for Florida or Arizona and then returning home every Spring.  Ah, the things you'd do but...when you were retirement age, all you got in the mail were brochures on Medicare, courted by every insurance company know to man to please, please let them be your supplemental insurance carrier. And certain "things" happened to you physically that made it difficult to travel or for that matter sleep somewhere other than home, and the economy tanked and...I don't need to continue that thought.

And, of course, you had to have all your "arrangements" in order in case of your...DEATH.  You had to be sure your Will was up to date and your advance directive was at every hospital and doctor's office within a 200 mile radius.  Had to make sure your family members know what's what and...well, let's just say once again, you found yourself thinking about this life...ending.  I'm not morose about all this, just realistic.  Not concerned about the lines and wrinkles (although age spots really suck!) but, though I'm not a vain person, occasionally I catch my reflection in the mirror and it surprises me (and not in a good way.)

So as I said, I've been a bit contemplative.  Here's the latest realistic but comic result. 

AGING IS A GRAVITY GAME
by Patty Lynn

Aging is a gravity game,
In other words, sag-osis.
Avoiding mirrors and scales a must,
As that fuels our ol' neurosis.

'Cause if you catch a glimpse you'll say,
"I can't believe my eyes!"
"That face, those wrinkles, can't be me.
That mirror is telling lies!"

C'mon, get real, that face, it's yours.
Yes, time's an awful thief.
And you can't make the clock slow down
By your blatant unbelief.

The facts don't lie but, still and all,
You long for a reversal.
You wish the years could simply be
No more than a rehearsal.

Don't stare at ancient photographs
Of how you looked "back then."
Change happens, so get used to it.
Time marches on, my friend.

Instead be thankful you're alive.
And lines, each on, you've earned them.
In twenty years with many more,
You'll regret you ever spurned them.

Besides we don't have any choice
We're subject to time's toll.
The choice we have is just to live
A life that's rich and full.

So live each day as if your last.
Be mindful how you live it.
Forget the superficial things,
And kindness, always give it.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A NEW CHILDREN'S STORY

Writing poetry for me is nothing short of complete joy.  As you know, it doesn't come easy sometimes, finding rhyming words confounds me and there are times when I can't be inspired to write anything. But recently, I've simply found a word, a name, a thought and I'm off and running.  Tonight's blog should more aptly be called this week's blog, as it has taken the better part of a week to develop this little children's story into something finished, something worthy of sharing with you.

The inspiration this time came from nothing more than a silly name.   The name was Zelda Zackly and much like Penelope Pickle it took on a life of it's own.  I have thoroughly enjoyed creating this story first, because I'm happy with the end result and second, I love the process of the writing trying new ideas, new rhyming patterns.   It also serves to remind me that I can still do this, not as quickly as I think I should be, but I've still got it (whatever "it" is.)

Well, I've rambled on enough.  It's time to introduce you to:

ZELDA ZACKLY
by Patty Lynn

Zelda Zackly loved to read.
She'd sit and read for hours,
Imagining she was a queen
Or a witch with mystic powers.

Sometimes she'd read when it was dark
'Neath sheets upon her bed.
She'd use a flashlight propped just right,
This "tent" made with her head.

Her favorite place on summer days
Was 'neath her maple tree.
There with some shade and lemonade
She felt a bit less lonely.

But though her books allowed escape
To lovely far off places,
The world she knew made her feel blue,
Not like her world in pages.

You see her Dad had been deployed.
She didn't understand.
He said he had to fight a war
Out in Afghanistan.

She knew that place was faraway
But unlike books, was real,
And dangerous and scary, too.
In short, a lousy deal.

She didn't know when he'd return,
But even if she did,
It seemed like an eternity,
At least, to this sad kid.

Her Dad was Zelda's bestest friend.
How much she missed his hug.
He'd hug her when he tucked her in,
Called her his "little bug."

So Zelda read and dreamed her dreams,
Imagined he was home...
To play their games and hug her tight.
She felt so all alone.

The months went by and Winter came,
Then Spring and Summer, too.
Though she still liked to read a lot,
Sweet Zelda still felt blue.

She waited, waited, then some more.
"Be patient," Zelda heard.
"It will be soon," her mother said.
"You've got to take my word."

The next day and the next day, too
Seemed like the one before.
Poor Zelda wondered, "Would he come?
My life is such a bore!"

She went to school, then she went home.
Each day was just the same.
She sat there by her big front door,
But Daddy never came.

Then one day when the doorbell rang
Mom answered it and found...
A box just sitting by the door.
Inside a scratching sound.

"What can this be, and what's that sound?
Let's open it and see."
"My goodness!" Zelda's mom cried out.
"This box is not for me."

"It's not, then tell me, tell me please.
Who is the package for?"
"Why it's for you, my Zelda girl.
Go in and shut the door."

Now Zelda was beside herself,
Said, "Mom, please open it.
There's something in it, it's alive.
I just might have a fit!"

Her level of excitement grew
As high, as high could be.
Mom cut the tape along the top.
As Zelda squealed with glee.

For there within the box she found
A darling, little puppy.
She'd wanted one for oh, so long.
The name she chose was Puffy.

Then suddenly she looked at Mom.
"Hey, Mom, who sent the pup?"
"Why look," said Mom, "there is a note.
Reach down and pick it up."

So Zelda reached down in the box
And read the note inside.
With every word that Zelda read,
This happy girl just cried.

Yes, tears of joy came streaming down.
The words made Zelda happy.
"This pup is yours, from me to you.
I love you," from your Daddy.

The note went on "Now Zelda, girl,
There's more to your surprise.
Walk out the door and then turn right,
Be sure to close your eyes."

So Zelda gave the pup to Mom,
Then closed her eyes real tight,
Held onto Mom, walked 15 steps,
And then turned to her right.

Her Mom said, "Zelda, stop right there.
And open up your eyes.
Now look right there in front of you.
Your biggest, best surprise!"

But Zelda had to rub her eyes.
She knew that she saw someone.
"Oh, Daddy, is that really you?
You're home, Dad, this is awesome!"

This moment was for Zelda Z.
Her every dream come true.
And as she felt her Daddy's hug,
She whispered, "I love you!"

Sunday, July 15, 2012

AHH, AIN'T AGING FUN????

Recently I've had to fill out preliminary paper work for what may be some new doctors in my world and, of course, that comes with the lengthy medical history, prescription list and, dare I say, MRIs and exrays from the beginning to the present so the doctor can see the changes and progression of your "condition."  As a result, I had to think about what I'd rather NOT think about as I documented my Medical History, as chronologically, as I could.  A daunting task for someone with my medical past and, as I said, a real pain (pun intended) having to remember everything that's transpired in the last eight years.  So I ask you all to humor me with the following poem.  After all, a person has to have a sense of humor about life, don't they?

THE LAUNDRY LIST
by Patty Lynn

My laundry list of maladies
Are such a pleasant thought.
I do try not to think of them;
I just makes me distraught.

It seems that in the past eight years
The scalpels keep on coming.
If someone mentions surgery
I know that I'll be running.

I understand that cataracts
Develop when you're older,
And chances are arthritis strikes
First subtle then gets bolder.

Don't get me wrong, I know that there
Are others, too, who suffer.
But when it's you, well, you're convinced
That you must have it rougher.

First were the feet, I thought it wise,
To do a "slight" correction,
But over time I wish with that
I had no real connection.

And then the back, wow, that was cute.
But "desperate times," you know,
"Breed desperate measures" and I wish
That I had just said, "NO!"

So what was next, it's hard to keep
These surgeries all straight.
I guess the knees, yeah, they were next,
Two thousand six and eight.

To some replacing both your knees
It doesn't seem so bad,
But I can tell you I can't kneel
And that...it makes me mad.

You see, it's just when I fall down,
Which I am prone to do,
I can't stand up all by myself
And that gets me so blue.

Enough of this, no, I don't ask
For any sympathy.
It's just the way it is, that's all,
And God takes care of me.

My laundry list may be for me
A pain...and literally.
Though difficult it is sometimes,
I won't let it define me.

Besides I'm blessed in many ways,
Good friends and family.
Restrictions, yes, but, all in all,
Life has been good to me.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

AHH, MEMORIES

My Saturday Recollection

          This past weekend my husband and I and our friends from Milwaukee took a little trip down memory lane.  For some time now I've wanted to get back to see a few places in Milwaukee that had many childhood memories for me and everyone was glad to go along for the ride. 

            I was born and raised in Milwaukee and moved away for one year ('67 - '68) while I taught second grade in Lancaster, California.  After that year I moved back "home" where I lived until 1976 when our young family moved to Appleton, WI.  I baulked at the idea of moving anywhere as I was "sold" on big city life and staying close to me Mom and Dad and sister Jill.  But a job opportunity presented itself to my husband and, as a result, we pulled up stakes and made our way north.

            I'd been back to Milwaukee a few times over the years, usually for one purpose or another but just didn't have sufficient time to visit the locations that held such vivid memories for me so we made it part of visit with my dear friend, Cindy and her husband, Tom.

            Our first stop was my old high school, Milwaukee Lutheran.  I wasn't surprised to much of it changed with building additions and expanded athletic fields but I was glad to see that the front of the school hadn't changed at all.  I remembered the long cement sidewalk along the driveway where all the school buses would line up before and after school and I was immediately transported to this same place one cold and icy day when "it" happened.  As I was walking to my bus, I slipped and fell under one of the buses that was idling as it loaded the kids, all anxious to go home.  I look back on it now and laugh but at the time I was really scared.  I couldn't get any traction to get myself literally "out from under" and I was panicking.  Fortunately, an upper classman was able to get under the bus enough to grab me under the arms and pull me out.  On the one hand I was relieved, on the other I was soooo embarrassed hoping no one saw what had happened.  Well, you know how word travels.  The next time the school newspaper came out it was there in black and white, names and everything.  Now the whole world knew what happened. Yikes!

            Our next stop was the house I remember most, the one I spent the most amount of years in, growing and growing up.  It looked about the same and so did the neighborhood.

The thing that hit me was how close the houses were to one another, sometimes no more than 5-10 feet...and nobody minded!  Neighbors were friendly and close, very few fences, too.  I have a vivid memory of the ceiling in my room in that house, my fond memory in contrast to my mom's cover-up job.  Mom, in an effort to mask a terrible cracked ceiling, wallpapered it, but not with just any wallpaper.  This one had a background in deep navy blue and thousands of white stars.  Every night I pretended to be sleeping under a starry umbrella.  Lucky me!

            From there we went a few blocks east to the house we probably didn't live in for more than a couple of years, a house I called my Mother's Goose house.  It had a "pointy roof" with a strong pitch to it and I just remember the entry way, the front room and the kitchen.  Most of all I had fond memories of the big window seat in the entry next to the front window.  I sat there often and read my books.  My mother made every place we lived so special, impeccably decorated even on a shoestring but always warm and welcoming.  I remembered, too, the day the older sister of one of my friends talked me into going to the zoo a few blocks away.  I never thought of what that would do to my mother, not knowing that I'd gone, so frantic thinking I was missing.  How hard she hugged me when she found me there all the while admonishing me for having gone.  I think that was the beginning of my empathy, understanding how someone else felt.  When I became a mother myself I understood even better.

            The last leg of our excursion was a drive down Vliet Street where I pointed out where the bakery had been, the corner grocery store and Koepke's drugstore where we'd stop after the bus dropped us off.  There I had my first phosphate, lime was my favorite.

The last place we passed was the Times Movie theatre where they played art films.  Mom had good time trying to explain that one.  Remarkably it was still a theatre but there was where the similarity ended. 
             We drove through town and I immersed myself in the days I remembered, days so long ago yet the memories were so vivid.  I'm so glad we made that trip, certainly a trip to remember.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

IMAGINING GOD

This blog came as a result of my long time image of God and me.  It has been a long time since I created this image of Him but not a lifetime.  It started some twenty years ago when I was attending a christian music competition.  At the time I was managing a young christian artist, someone I had met through community theater.  He had aspirations of "making it big" and this contest seemed to be a hopeful taking off point for him as the grand prize was creating an album.  As luck would have it, or better put, as God would have it, he won the competition and that made it easy for me in seeking bookings for him.  Our association was short-lived as there were things in his background and some questionable events that caused me to re-evaluate this endeavor as his manager.  But it was during that competition that my mind fashioned this particular image of God, an image I think of often, even now.  Funny how the mind works and how we sometimes need to create something to help us envision God.

PICTURES
by Patty Lynn

When I lay down and pray to God
Or Jesus Christ, His Son,
I imagine He's a giant tall
Compared to this small one.

And as I look into His face
His tenderness is there.
His eyes are clear and sparkling.
He listens with such care.

But sometimes I imagine this:
Just how He looks at me
When I am doing something wrong.
His scowling face I see.

Yes, I imagine that He looks
So disappointed, sad,
Like I looked when my kids were small
And they did something bad.

But I know when I come to Him
With a heart that is sincere,
There's a look that shows His mercy
As my "giant" God comes near...

It's then He gently scoops me up
And says to me, "My child,
I'll love you always, ever."
In a voice so soft and mild.

What comfort my God gives me.
His forgiveness is complete.
Then carefully He sets me down
Again right at His feet.

These earthly pictures help me here
To feel my Savior close,
But someday I will be with Him
And all the heavenly hosts.

It's there I won't need pictures
Imagined in my mind.
For I will see Him face to face,
My Father, sweet and kind.

No greater moment will there be
As hand in hand with Him,
I realize with my own eyes
My images were dim.

They can't compare to "actual,"
For now I'm ever blest.
Imagination there on earth
Was limited at best.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Father's Day

This Sunday is Father's Day and since I am blessed by my son, a new father, and my son-in-law, father of twins, I thought I'd do special poems to ring in this "holiday." It really is a privilege to see these new fathers morph into a role in which they never had any training.  It also is a reminder of our first foray into parenting, how scared we were, how ill-prepared, how long ago. That part leaves me a bit saddened.  I've mentioned this before but this, like so many reminders, forces us to see that there is an end in sight.  Boy, realizing how long it's been since I was a new parent, well, lets just say, yikes I'm getting old!  And so, I've included the two poems I wrote for my son and my son-in-law

MY HOPE(For my son)
by Mom

It's so exciting, so brand new,
This Father's Day, your first.
Though trying to become a Dad
It seemed attempts were cursed.

But God was planning, He'd devised
A way for you to be one.
He joined your life, you and your wife,
With a child who needed someone.

And with this child came challenges
For she had never known
Two people that would give her this,
Love and an always home.

This tiny child has truly bloomed,
A testament to you.
Your love for her has changed her world.
Your world is changing, too.

For now you're needed every day
Now two has grown to three.
You're not a couple, that's for sure.
You're now a family.

And so my hope is, as it's been,
To have a happy life.
And I'm content it will be so
For you, your child, your wife.


NO GREATER DAD
by Mom-in-law

This Father's Day, I've got to say,
As Daddy, you're the best.
No matter what life dishes out,
You always pass the test!

Though you work hard from 8-5
You come home with a smile.
Whatever's needed, you comply.
You go the extra mile.

Those little ones demand so much,
Times two, it always seems.
You jump right in when you arrive.
You know what "tag team" means.

The two of you are quite a pair.
You handle it in stride.
Some day your boys will understand
The phase: "Oh, boy, we're fried!!!!"

So on this "holiday" of sorts
Take time to just unwind.
We could search the whole world over,
No greater Dad we'd find.



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

LOVE DOES CONQUER ALL

A couple of week's ago my son and daughter-in-law officially adopted their daughter, Bella, age 3. The change in her from the time they first had her, initially only weekends, has been incredible. She was so shy and intoverted it's had to imagine how she was then. She is the picture of happy and well-adjusted. In fact, go to my son, Tim's facebook page and see for yourself. The following poem is how I expressed my feelings commemorating her permanent adoption.

ADAPTION/ADOPTION
by Patty Lynn

A little girl so delicate
Neglected and alone,
No one to care, no one was there,
No home to call her own.

A foster child, she spent her days
Adjusting to her fate.
Withdrawn and shy, her time passed by,
All she could do was wait...

For someone she could really trust,
To be as they appeared,
Someone whose heart, right from the start,
Could wipe away her tears.

One wish, one dream would fill the thoughts
Of this sweet, darling girl.
She wished she had a mom and dad
Like others in this world.

So much had been denied her
In her short and stress-filled life.
Adjustments here, some changes there,
Would someone put it right?

And while she wished and waited
Two people hoped they'd be
Blessed with a tiny baby
No matter he, or she.

But God had different plans for them
A baby not to be.
It was with time and circumstance
His plan they both would see.

The two spent countless hours with her,
Hoped they could be just right,
The best two parents in the world
To love her day and night.

The cautious child was scared to love,
To open up and trust.
A life of constant changes,
Needing always to adjust.

But with each day their love grew strong,
They learned and loved together,
One tiny girl, a mom and dad
All three forever tethered.

On the occasion of the adoption of
Little Bella April 23, 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Dreaded Meltdown!!

The other day when I was spending the afternoon with my grandsons, I experienced, first hand, the dreaded meltdown.  It was relatively unexpected as I had just picked them up from school.  I was sitting on the couch with Ian who was sooooo excited to see that his first pair of tie shoes had arrived in the mail.  Ian is the most independent of the twins, always wanting to master something new and reiterating his own personal mantra, "I want to do it myself!"  I get a kick out of this as his mom was the same way, never wanting any help either.  So I suppose we can conclude that independence begets independence.

This darling little cuss informed me from the beginning of this episode that he didn't need any help from me and that he knew how to tie his shoes himself.
As he struggled to make the two loops, his method not mine, I offered to take the other shoe and step by step walk him through the process.  I was told in no uncertain terms that my help was NOT needed but as he attempted to put one loop through the wrong little hole, well, all you know what ensued.  He pulled and the bow he expected fell apart and...so did he.

After inconsolable crying and flailing about saying that he should just know how to do it, no practicing required and so on and so on and so on, I told him he would have to calm down if he was going to make any progress and to let me know when he was done. I then suggested having a snack and watching a program and forgetting about tying his shoes for now and sure enough, he got into Grandma's applesauce and the storm was successfully quieted.  The following is a poetic attempt at telling Ian's story.

NO MORE VELCRO!
by Patty Lynn

"It takes some time to learn new things."
That's what his Grandma said.
But wanting so to tie his shoes,
Her grandson cried instead.

The boy was inconsolable.
He couldn't catch his breath.
His Grandma couldn't calm him down,
His sadness had such depth.

The instant skill of tying shoes,
He thought he just should know.
To try and fail, no option this,
And practicing, NO GO.

So Grandma said, "Let's have a snack,
Forget the shoes for now.
I'll sit with you while you calm down.
Then I will teach you how."

Reluctantly, the boy agreed
And in a little while,
He ate his snack and calmed right down,
And then said with a smile,

"I'll watch you, Gram, and do the same.
"I'll watch you, yes, I will.
I understand I have to LEARN
To tie my shoes with skill.

"I'll practice 'til I get it down
And someday soon I'll be
An expert who can tie my shoes.
That Velcro's not for me!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

RETIREMENT

Wow!! I knew it had been awhile since I post a new blog entry, but not since January?  I better get on the stick.  I actually have been doing some new poems but just didn't post them when they were completed.  Shame on me!

Recently, the husband of one of my dear friends joined the ranks of the retired, just like Frank and I, so I had to commemorate the occasion with a poem.  All joking aside, there's much anxiousness about when to do it, have I socked away enough so that I can do it, and, of course, what am I going to do with all that free time.  One very important question (maybe the most important,) is can I really stand my husband or wife 24/7? In my case I do and this time is really be fun.  From our perspective we'd have to say: "retirement is great!"

IT'S THE BEGINNING...
by Pat Severin

You work, you slave, you pay your dues
And can't wait 'til it's done.
Retirement's the ultimate,
A time reserved for fun.

No more that darned alarm clock
That heralds time to rise.
The dangling carrot's in your grasp.
Your leisure is the prize.

Now every day is Boss' Day
And you're, indeed, the Boss.
The company will have to cope.
Not yours but theirs the loss.

Remember how you often felt
There wasn't time enough?
You'll still feel that you need more time
For... sitting on your duff.

There's not a thing that you must do.
Each day is yours to make.
A project here, an errand there,
Or not, for heaven's sake.

How will it feel, well, maybe this:
The feeling you once had
When school was out for summertime
And you felt, oh, so glad.

So think of this like summertime...
That goes on for...forever.
You'll never punch that ol' time clock,
And you can do...whatever.

No more the rigid work day blues
That took so much of you.
But don't forget the list of things
That's known as Honey Do.

Remember that Retirement is
Your time just as you like it.
You've made it to the big End Zone,
So take that ball and spike it.        

It's the beginning, not the end.
Enjoy this time like crazy.
You've earned the right to make the choice...
To do or just be lazy.        

Sunday, January 29, 2012

REALITY SHOW...OR MAYBE JUST REALITY

I was in a poetic frame of mine yesterday. I had written a poem for my son's birthday and I had been ruminating for sometime about our plight, places we could travel to and whether there were any places that could offer us comfort, for sitting and sleeping. It really does come down to that when it's all said and done.

You look forward to retirement and all the things you've now got the time to do, places you'd like to see, friends you'd like to visit and then practicality rears it's ugly head. When comfort is the first concern, where you can sit comfortably after a day of walking and then what kind of sleeping arrangements will suit your special needs... A few years ago I was given an adjustable bed. 5 years previous to that, I slept in a recliner. I know I could probably do alright with a night or two but beyond that... So you see the problem: how do we leave home and take home and its comforts with us.

With that in mind this little poem came to light.

WE'RE A PAIR
by Patty Lynn

Ten years ago when we were just a newly married pair
We dreamt about retirement and all the time we'd share.

We talked about vacationing, would like to take a cruise,
Or maybe we'd be snowbirds-our plans just couldn't lose.

Just what to pick, what place to go. We'd eenee-minee-mo it.
It didn't matter what we'd choose. We knew we couldn't blow it.

But then it happened to us both. The old arthritis struck
Along with lots of surgeries and since then we've been stuck.

We need our chairs, out lazyboys and I can only sleep...
When my bed is adjustable. A standard makes me weep.

Our aches and pains are always there. There's no way to escape 'em.
And since we haven't got a choice, I guess we have to face 'em.

We have each other, that's for sure. Who cares if it's not fair.
It doesn't matter where we are as long as we're a pair.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

TURNING 40

For those of you who have been there, turning 40 for some, was pretty traumatic, even if we don't want to admit it. I, for one, found turning 30 more difficult because it seemed that I was in my 20's forever. The first time I said it, it got stuck in my mouth, thii...ii..irty. Yikes. I couldn't believe I was actually thirty, so I emphathize with my son who will turn 40 on January 31st. The family is getting together today for cake and ice cream and, though it's a few days off, for all intents and purposes, we're celebrating his birthday today.

All the trauma aside, those 40 years were incredible. As a parent I can say that I am so proud of my son and what he has achieved and it's really special to have him, his wife and his daughter living in the same town. I can see first hand what a fine husband and father he's become while still creating opportunities to continue developing his exceptional artistic talents.

This little poem is what I hope will give him a laugh and a moment's reflection of those 40 years.

YOU KNOW IT'LL HAPPEN...
by Mom

I know that you're 40,
But how can that be?
I guess that I had you
When I was just three!

They say that age 40's
The new 30, dear,
Though we wish it were true,
It's just not so, I fear.

Age is simply a number
And, yes, it marks years,
But if any were lost,
It'd bring you to tears.

'Cause then you'd have missed
All the good with the bad.
You'd never have experienced
All the joys that you've had.

Years do make a difference,
Make you who you are,
A husband, a father,
A provider, a star.

So cherish the years
And embrace those to come,
For you know it'll happen...
Next years 41!