Friday, December 27, 2013

THE LAST ONE FOR 2013

As this blog's title suggests, this is my final offering for 2013.  Can't quite wrap my head around the fact that this year is nearly over.  It has gone by amazingly fast at a time in my life that I wish time would move slower.  It's that old, "How much time do I have left on this sphere?  Will time and health have their way with me?"  The answer to question number one is, who knows. And the answer to question number two is a resounding, "Yes!"  But I'm not dwelling on that.  It doesn't do any good anyway.  My hope is that the upcoming years will be full (including a continued rich walk with God) healthy and filled with the joy of family and friends.

Tonight's blog, that is poem, was started about a week before Christmas and then with all the hubbub of the holidays,it got put on hold until today.  It has no real purpose other than it's a light-hearted look at something childish.  I do love writing from a child's perspective, or an adult being taught to be free and happy by a child.  Hopefully, children will enjoy reading this one and I'd have to say it's one more possible children's book to add to my collection.  I hope you enjoy it.


FAVORITE COLOR
by Patty

A little girl that I once knew
Would only wear the color blue.

And whether she was dressed for play
Or off to church on Christmas Day...

Her clothes were always shades of blue.
A change to this would never do.

I asked her why, she told me this:
"Another shade would make me flip!

I know it's crazy but for me...
The color blue fills me with glee!

For shades of blue, why, that's my thing.
It makes me want to dance and sing!"

Right then and there she sang a song,
A ditty short, not very long.

And as she sang made up a dance.
She said, "Come on now, take a chance."

So timidly I tried my best,
To dance like her, at her request,

But it was hard for me to be
Like her so happy and so free.

She saw that I was timid, shy
Said, "Come on,give the dance a try."

I closed my eyes and 'round I flew
And as I did I felt brand new.

The dancing made me feel so free.
I understood what she called glee.

Then something happened, don't know why,
Behind the lid there in my eye.

Instead of black, why I saw green.
The prettiest green I'd ever seen.

That color made my spirit soar.
I never felt like that before.

And now when I'm a wee bit low,
I close my eyes and take it slow...

I think of green, my favorite hue,
And soon I know just what to do:

I sing a little song and then
I dance around just like my friend.

She taught me how to sing and dance.
Come on now, won't you take a chance?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

COMFORTING WORDS

As some of you know, my older sister passed away this past February.  Hard to believe it's been almost a year and yet, isn't that the way life is sometimes, we blink and time flies so fast.  She had been ailing for a long time reduced to an electric scooter, completely unable to walk.  She was crippled in many other arthritic ways and lost the joy she found from crafting and designing.  However, she could still write poetry and this became the one thing we had in common. 

Her devoted husband had been entirely responsible for her care, an exhausting undertaking for a trained nurse aide but certainly a daunting task for a elderly man.  He is now 83 or 84 years old.  As demanding as it was caring for her as he did, it was what defined him, what gave his life meaning. And now...he's living alone in an apartment still loving, still missing her and I thought if I could write a poem for him, written in the "voice" of my sister, it might serve as some degree of comfort.  When he received it he was fighting back tears, telling me that I "had hit the nail on the head."

My Greatest Christmas Present
by Patty Lynn

Dear sweetheart, wanted you to know
I'm happy, feeling good,
With not a care, no aches or pains
I never thought I could...

Be walking tall, and skipping, too.
Each day is perfect here.
God's face is simply glorious.
The children are so dear.

I guess I never realized
That babies here would be.
You know how I love children
And babies, they're for me!

This place, this heaven, I call home
Is much more than I thought.
It's light and bright, perfection this.
It's worth the fight I fought.

But never think that I forgot
My life on earth with you.
As you loved me I loved right back.
With every year it grew.

Our years were filled with happiness
As we both raised "our baby."
With plain days and the special ones.
We loved that girl like crazy!

And then our bonus, her three boys!
What joy a grandson brings.
We helped Valynn but what we got
Was love returned and dreams.

As each boy grew we fed those dreams
With our encouragement.
You taught them to be honorable,
Respectful, decent men.

And as my health began to take
A toll on me and you,
No matter what I needed, dear
My darling, you came through.

And so this Christmas, the first one
When we are not together,
Don't miss me, dear, for I'm right here
And will be for forever.

You'll feel me in the morning sun
Each day, though warm or cold,
Within the stars as day is done
And so you must be told...

That I'll be waiting here for you
When your time comes like mine.
I won't need any help at all.
I'll run to you just fine...

And there I'll take your hand as we
Together share this life,
This place of sheer perfection,
A heavenly man and wife.

This Christmas I'll be there with you
My heart with yours forever.
Each memory of the past will be
A joy that we'll both treasure.

Please don't be sad this Christmas, dear,
I'm watching you from heaven.
My life with you will always be...
My greatest Christmas present.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I COULD HAVE DIED A HAPPY WOMAN (From 2013)

Tonight as I was deciding which poems to choose for my next book, I realized that this post was never published to my blog.  I have no idea why but it wasn't and as read through it once again well, the tears kept coming.  It truly shows how precious grandchildren are to all of us lucky to be grandparents.  So, as a trip down Memory Lane, here is the post from 2013.


This title may seem a bit extreme but I've never been so serious in my life and I just had to share this with you.  I've been sick for about 10 days and consequently I missed my usual time with my grandchildren.  I only hoped they missed me as much as I missed them so you can imagine how surprised I was to hear how much one of the twins really did.

I picked both boys up from school on Monday and they looked genuinely glad to see me.  Although they both said, "I missed you, Grandma" I was in store for some musical evidence that my absence was truly felt.  Shortly before 5:30 when I had decided it was time for me to go home (I still don't feel a hundred percent,) Ian asked if I wanted to hear the song he wrote for me.  Of course I answered with a resounding "yes" and we proceeded to the office where he sat down at the piano.  Both boys have started piano lessons this year but are at a truly beginner level.  But Ian is certainly not at a beginner level in creativity or confidence.

This little tender-heartedseven-year-old began by telling me he had written a song for me but then corrected himself and said, no, it was five songs.  Regardless of the exact number, this Grandma was regaled with a series of the darlingest, composed on the spot, love songs expressing how he truly missed me.  Here is a sampling of some of the lyrics:  "Where is she, where is she.  I don't know where she is, I miss her, I miss her.  Guess I will only see her in my dreams.  My Grandma, I miss her, I wish that I could kiss her.  Oh, where is she, where did she go."  Can you even believe how sweet?  And now you understand my title for this blog.  I said to my husband when I called him on the way home, "After that song, if I had died that night I would have died a happy woman."  Grandchildren are such a joy and moments like these so far surpass joy that it's hard to give a descriptive word that could express it.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A GENUINELY GREAT GUY!

This past Thursday my son-in-law had one of those milestone birthdays.  He turned the big four O.  (Ah, I wish I shared his milestone but that ship has sailed.)  Anyway, my daughter pulled out all the stops and took on the task of planning a surprise party for him.  He knew the two of them were going out with a couple of their friends.  What he didn't expect was that another 25 of their friends were at the restaurant, hiding behind the bar all poised to shout, "Surprise" when he walked in.  He was truly surprised which made the evening even sweeter.  And, as they say, a good time was had by all.

Today we celebrated with cake and ice cream at my daughter and son-in-laws house, a perfect ending to all the birthday festivities.  Cake and pie and ice cream were delish and two of the three children played while the grown-ups yacked.  Ian was so exhausted from having a sleep-over at Papa John's where bed time for the twins ended up being a little before midnight.  Come to think of it, Papa looked pretty exhausted, too.

The poem below I wrote for my son-in-law.  I try to compose one every year and I usually stick it in with his card:

Will's Turning 40, Yay!
by Patty Lynn

You may be turning 40,
But you're not halfway home.
You've got a lot of life to live,
So there's no need to groan.

The future's bright and with it brings
More memories and adventures,
Like watching your two boys grow up
Until you get your dentures.

There're concerts with your besties
And TV soccer, too.
There's drinks with friends &
when that ends,
Those friends will all be new.

For you'll forget just where you parked,
Walk in a room and say,
"I know I came in here to get...
What was it anyway?"

But you've got many, many years
Before you'll see your failings.
Denial is your greatest friend
And speaking of your ailings...

You'll find that when you sit and rest
All comfy and all cozy,
It won't take long until you find
You'll feel a little dozy...

And pretty soon you'll start to snore.
Your better half will wake you.
You'll get up just to get something
And find your bod forsakes you...

Because each joint will ache, you'll see.
Your body will complain.
You'll notice that it gets much worse
If we're expecting rain.

Forgive me if I spread the wealth
The aging game is FUN!
Just ask someone who's old, you'll see.
It's loved by everyone!

I guess that 40's what is called
A milestone, a marker.
You aren't young, you aren't old,
I know I've made it darker...

Than what it is, because, you see,
We who are older still,
Are envious and wish that we
Were 40 like you, Will.

All jokes aside, we wish the best
On this your marker birthday.
We'll celebrate, our voices raise,
Commemorate this Thursday...

November 14th, of the year
Two thousand and thirteen,
Until you're 41, next year,
And we again convene.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

WAITING

I'm not writing with prejudice, I just know that women with children can relate better than you guys out there.  My niece is in the late stages of her pregnancy and to say she's a bit uncomfortable would be a gross understatement.  I guess we should look on the bright side as, at least, it's not August.  She's still uncomfortable but she's not dying from the heat.  How's that for the bright side?

I've been having her on my mind, praying for her and wanted her to know that so I, as they say, put pen to paper, or more accurately say, put fingers to keyboard and sent her this poem last night.  If you know someone who's experiencing something similar, you might want to share this with her:


LOVE'S CREATION
by Patty Lynn

I know you're having quite a time
With baby number two.
The days, they're feeling more like weeks,
The weeks, a month or two.

But pretty soon that miracle,
Your baby will be born.
Who knows, he may come late at night,
Or, maybe, early morn.

But he WILL come, now that's for sure,
To bless your family
With tiny toes and button nose.
Now that I guarantee.

For babies are just glorious
And nothing can compare
To every first, hard to describe...
These blessings of your care.

I may be no spring chicken,
But I can still recall
How my heart leapt, that essence kept
Deep in my soul...enthralled...

With all those memories I hold dear,
Of being this, a mother.
The joy of that, still knocks me flat,
A feeling like none other.

I envy you, this time of life,
So much ahead of you;
Another child to nurture, love,
With God to see you through.

So please accept these simple words.
They come right from my heart.
I pray God bless and keep you both
As you your love impart.

May all your days of waiting be
A great anticipation
As deep within your baby grows,
This child of love's creation.




Thursday, October 31, 2013

THOUGHT MAYBE I'D LOST MY TOUCH

Perhaps, that seems like a strange title for tonight's blog but I was beginning to think I had.  I hadn't written a new poem since I finished my book and I had many attempts.  It could have been that I hadn't had anything peak my interest, or no poetic phrase came to mind that I could go with or, behind door number three...I had lost my touch.  As you age things go like that.  They don't just sneak up on you either.  One day you have 'em and the next you don't. 

But all that aside, something did strike me as poem worthy, namely the commercial readying for the holidays.  When it's barely October and they've got lit Christmas trees laden with ornaments sitting next to the Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations, you've got to say, "Are you kidding me?"  I love the holidays, don't get me wrong, but every year it seems like the retail prep starts earlier and earlier and I'm, frankly, sick of it.

There's too much concentration on the buying of gifts anyway, in my opinion, but starting so early it feels like the wishing and the having of something is being stuffed down our throats.  And the constant timetable, "Only 7 weeks until Christmas, last sale before Christmas, Better get a move on, Time is a-wastin'!"  Nothing leisurely about it, no time to ponder the meaning, just get going.   

And so much is geared to the kids.   Of course, that's just what the manufacturers have in mind, what I call "The More, More, More Syndrome."  What's happened to the giving of a present, not two or three?  Is it any wonder that children feel entitled and are looking for the next gift before they've even finished opening the one in their lap?  We've created self-centered children who expect there will be MORE.  And we can't understand why they're ungrateful brats.  We've played into it all and have created these little monsters.  Shame on us! (Sorry about the soap box tirade.  That wasn't my intent.  Read on. What follows is a much softer perspective.)

WHAT'S THE HURRY?
by Patty Lynn

Say, what's the hurry, it's too soon
It's barely Halloween.
The stores decked out with Christmas fare
With trees and grass still green?

So, c'mon can't we take our time,
Enjoy these days of Fall,
Watch Winter slowly usher in
Our senses to enthrall...

Anticipate the time when we
As family come together,
To take the opportunity
To snuggle in cold weather...

To bundle up in comfy clothes,
All cozy by the fire,
The sipping of hot chocolate is
What freezing hands desire.

Then as the day comes closer still
For thankfulness and praise,
Share blessings, often undeserved,
Not just one, but for days,

To contemplate Thanksgiving Day
And what it really means,
It's much more than too much to eat
And tighter fitting jeans.

But rather taking stock of all
The Good Lord gives each day.
For whether much or just enough
A thankful heart repays...

By giving back, by sharing too,
And in so doing, lives...
A life that's full of untold wealth
That freely loves, forgives.

And from this holiday begins
Our memories of Christ's birth,
A birth much more significant
Than any here on earth.

So often Christmas time is marred
By selfishness and having,
When value's measured by the price,
And bargains by the grabbing?

Why can't our Christmas truly be
A birthday for our Savior,
Who came to give eternity
From heaven to a manger.

Don't you get gifts on your birthday?
Why can't we do the same
By giving presents to the poor,
Ones given in His name?

It seems to me the holidays
The sped up celebrating,
Lack time to ponder everything.
To me it's devastating.

And if the holidays become
Meshed into one another,
We'll lose the meaning, lose the joy.
Can't we go back, uncover...

The hidden jewel of family
Who love to be together,
Who come as one, who come in love,
No matter Winter weather,

Who worship Christ then pause to say
God Bless you on this Christmas day.
We wouldn't rush to buy, to wrap
And not fall prey to retail's trap.

This year I pledge to slow things down,
And savor every minute,
From Halloween to Christmas time,
Find joy and love within it.


Friday, October 25, 2013

THE PUPPET'S POEM

Tonight's blog is my latest poem.  It may seem a strange choice of subject but if you know the reason for it's writing it'll make more sense.  This year for my 3 & 4 year old Sunday School class I've decided to let the puppets take a more active role.  Last Sunday the puppet known as Sprout donned his Moses costume and told the story as Moses complete with a little boy voice trying to sound like a grown up man.  The boys and girls loved it.  Of course, I told them that Sprout was very serious about his role as Moses and they shouldn't laugh but the moment they took one look at him in his brown beard, they all cracked up.  "Moses" did a great job of telling the story and I was thrilled that they really listened with rapt attention to the whole story.

This Sunday Sprout's counterpart, Lilly, will take center stage.  She will share a poem "she wrote" to review the story and add some more details about the trip from Egypt to the Promised Land.  Then the boys and girls will pretend they're God's people on that long journey with empty, growling tummies.  They'll hold their tummies and close their eyes and when they open them they will see what they felt falling from heaven, the manna that God sent. (Really it's a half slice of bread and a few banana chips in a snack bag for them to eat.)  Boy, will they be surprised!  Who do you think is getting a bigger kick out of all of this, the children or me?

Here's the poem that Lilly will read to the class:

MOSES AND GOD'S PEOPLE
by Patty Lynn

Many, many years ago a baby boy was born
His Mom was oh, so very scared because her heart was torn
Because she loved him very much but knew he would be killed
The Pharaoh was the meanest man her heart with sadness filled.

She made a basket for her son, no water could come in,
Then placed it in the River Nile and kissed his precious skin.
But God was taking care of him, that baby that she loved
And sent that basket to someone as He watched from above.

The Pharaoh's daughter picked him up and loved him like her own,
But Moses' real mom cared for him until he was more grown.
Then Moses lived within the walls of Pharaoh's palace grand.
He didn't know he'd be the one to do the work God planned.

One day when Moses took a walk a bush he saw a burning.
This special bush would not burn up but from it he was learning.
For as he walked up to that bush he heard the voice of God
Who told him to take off his shoes, which seemed a little odd.

And God said, "Moses, where you stand is very holy ground.
Come closer, I have news for you, a job for you I've found.
I've chosen you to lead the slaves, my people here in Egypt.
This job's important, I've picked you and you had best believe it."

Now, Moses he was scared because the Pharaoh, he was feared,
But God said, "Moses, I'll help you, the way for you I've cleared."
The Pharaoh didn't want to let God's people leave the land.
"They cannot go, the slaves MUST stay. Now that is my command!

"You cannot keep God's people here!" was just what Moses said.
The stubborn Pharaoh finally said, "OK, now, go ahead."
God's people left to find the place God promised they could go.
That land was big, that land was rich, where all their crops would grow.

The way long and they grew tired complaining all day long.
"We're hot, we're hungry, sweaty, too, perhaps to leave was wrong.
At least in Egypt we had food, we weren't thirsty either.
Moses, you better go tell God that we don't want to be here."

But God was listening to their prayers and fixed the situation.
He said, "I love you and I've got an end to your frustration."
God sent a special kind of bread from heaven every morning.
This MANNA came for everyone just as each day was dawning.

Their tummies now were finally full but still their throats were dry,
And they complained, and whined some more, "This really makes us cry!"
Then God told Moses, "Take your stick and hit the rock I show you.
Now make it count and make it loud, the sound should go right through you."

So Moses took his stick to strike and God said, "Hit it there."
God's people saw a miracle with water everywhere.
They cheered and ate and drank and thanked the Lord for all He'd done.
God kept His promise everyday, took care of everyone.


Monday, October 21, 2013

THE THEATRE COMMUNITY HAS SUSTAINED A GREAT LOSS

This past Tuesday, Ken Anderson, passed away.  I first met Ken in 1978 when I was chosen to play Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, my first production at UW-Fox.  Our relationship continued through the years with musicals and appearances that Ken directed.  Most recently when my son, Tim Marsh, starred in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at the beautiful new theatre at UW-Fox, I called Ken to see if perhaps he's like to come as my date to see one of the performances.  I was unable to reach him and left a message.  Sadly, I never heard from him. 

Before that our contact was sporadic.  He had started converting VHS tapes of his many theatre productions at UW-Fox to a DVD format and had sent me copies of some of the shows in which I had performed.  There was never a note, not a word, just the DVD.  After the first one arrived I called to thank him and found that things had changed with Ken.  No more the usual effusive conversation laden with details, it was just...off.  Then I received a letter from Ken and when I opened the envelope it was empty.  I didn't know if it was meant for something important so when he called to ask for the address of someone from the past he just laughed about the omission and the short conversation regarding the address was brief.  The Ken I knew was articulate, humorous, on top of it and suddenly I knew that time and the losses of the past few years had taken their toll. 

As a professor at the university there was something going on all the time, people in and out of his office, plays to choose, productions to cast, rehearsals and his famous grief sheets to write. Oh how we loved the grief sheets! The griefs were his notes, notes he made as he watched you rehearse.    He'd tear off each little comment and hand it to you after the rehearsal.  They were his signature.  I still have some of mine.  In fact, after retirement he authored two books on the subject, Good Grief Volume One and Two. 

Ken's style of direction was truly unique and for some, the new ones, frustrating.  Ken left the digging for the character and his relationship to the storytelling up to the actor.  And when you're starting out you're looking for guidance but...it forced you to think, to try, to lament with your fellow actors, to determine who you were to the story.  What you didn't realize at the beginning was that this was Ken's style, his method to get you to live in the character, feel how he felt, move as he would move.  To quote Ken, "To tell the story better than it's ever been told."  Yes, Ken was one of a kind but he was so much more than "the theatre guy" at UW-Fox.

Ken was an athlete, loved sports of many kinds and when I knew him he was in excellent shape from playing handball almost daily.  As with everything, he committed to it.  Furthermore, Ken played an active part in his community and as with everything else, he was a participator, a leader.  He'd often direct little shows providing entertainment for special events and many of us who he'd worked with at the Center were part of that as well. For a while he did a radio show on Saturday mornings featuring performers and interviews, a local show with a little Ken pizazz.

Above all Ken was a proud father and dedicated husband.  He and his wife, Ruth, were always an exquisite team, as far as their family was concerned and their working together as Ken launched yet another show.  Ruth opened their home for rehearsals and helped with costuming.  Ken would probably describe her as "a real trouper."  I don't know for sure but I think when Ken retired, Ruth was a little glad, finally having him all to herself, not sharing him with all those actors and singers.  Though he continued his community involvements it was nothing like the long evenings at the Center.

But then came the health issues.  Ken sustained some sight loss and that took its toll.  Then Ruth fell and broke a hip and while she was in surgery for the hip repair, she had a stroke.  She was confined to a nursing home for 3 years.  Ken spent his days there until she died recently and my thought is that was the final straw.

After I read Ken's obituary in Sunday's paper I realized I knew only part of what made Ken Anderson tick. His accomplishments were far more extensive that I even knew but what I did know was that he was an exceptional person, a man of many talents and someone I felt privileged to know.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

WHO ARE ALL THESE OLD PEOPLE?

I'm a little late on the uptake but I just had to write about my 50th Reunion.   I did decide to go at the last minute partially due to some prompting by the reunion committee and partially due to my desire to connect one last time.  I don't expect to go to another reunion but 50 is such a milestone.  Although there was an informal night on Friday evening with strolls down the old halls I did decide that I (we) would go to the formal dinner and program on Saturday night. 

It was held at a lovely Country Club and the decorations committee did a bang-up job decking out the dining tables as well as a nostalgia table of high school yearbooks, the graduation program and a display dedicated to the photos of all the classmates who had passed away.  There were quite a few and I've got to say that was humbling.  Let's put it this way, I was glad that I wasn't part of that group!

Prior to the dinner there was an opportunity to reconnect with past friends and acquaintances and even Frank found a few husbands that were like he was, along for the ride.  It was a bit unnerving when I was reminded about how many weddings I sang for especially since I had no recollection of it at all.  Similarly I was quizzed about a couple of musicals I was in and had no memory of the other cast members.  I guess the old grey matter ain't what it used to be. 

In all honesty there were about five people who bore a resemblance to their teenage selves, people I could recognize but many I didn't recognize at all.  Thank goodness for name tags!  It really was eye opening.  Here was a room full of high school graduates that were all the same age and yet some looked so much older than others.  It was a real education in how unpredictable aging is.  And it wasn't the usual guidelines we're told, watch your weight, get enough exercise, don't smoke and drink in moderation.  That's not to say these things don't have some merit and looks can be deceiving, but it was really seems like a crap shoot. 

It was interesting to see a few of the guys I had had a crush on, to see just how they'd look at the tender age of 67.  It's amazing how someone could be so cute and seem so clever in their teens and, well, you finish the sentence.  But enough of this levity.  All this is so superficial and such a side light to this wonderful evening of nostalgia and reminiscing.  I did read the poem I posted and it got the laughs I was hoping for.  I was coaxed into singing a couple of numbers with the band and although I was extremely apprehensive since it's been so long since I've done anything like that, I didn't embarass myself too much. I definitely was meant to go and I'm so glad I did.

Friday, September 6, 2013

IT'S FINALLY DONE!

Tonight I have attached the URL for you to see a preview of my newly finished book, Words of Witness.  I hope you enjoy your sneak peek.

http://www.blurb.com/b/4561376-words-of-witness?ce=blurb_ew&utm_source=widget

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I KNOW IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE...

Yes, my honest and truthful friends, it does seem unbelievable that this year marks the 50th one since I graduated from high school.  I know you all are reading these words with a wide-eyed face and dropped jaw, but, it is true that my youthful looks belie the fact that I did graduate in 1963.  I know, I know, you refuse to accept it but I am almost 68.

Now that you've composed yourself and your heart is just starting to go back to it's normal rhythm, I again reassure you that it is true.  I have a hard time accepting it, too, especially when I look in the mirror and see this gorgeous visage staring back at me with a complexion that is free from the wrinkles that other women my age have to deal with.  Have you had enough?  It's getting pretty deep in here, wouldn't you say?

Anyway, I had to write a poem about this (so what else is new?).  I submit the following.  Hope you get a kick out of it.  I sure did.

Fifty Years!!!!
by Pat (Thompson) Severin

It's just so hard to comprehend that it's been 50 years
Since graduating high school, in fact, I'm brought to tears.
It's not because of wrinkles long or lines upon my face.
It's that it's hard to grasp a time, when we felt so misplaced.

For that's the way it felt back then when freshmen we embarked...
On 'grown up school,' so serious, (t'was certainly no lark,)
Where, we were told, we would prepare for life and a career.
Were we suppose to know that stuff, when we were filled with fear?

We were the newbies, picked on, laughed at, even called some names.
Compared to upper-classman we were dirt, could make no claims.
We'd have to learn the ropes, for sure, we got what we deserved.
And special, cool, to be revered, for seniors was reserved.

But that aside we made great friends, some friends that still we have,
From Algebra, from gym class, perhaps, from science lab.
We managed to survive the likes of broken hearts, first dates,
Embarrassment, a flunking grade, the 'rules', for heaven's sake.

Yes, Lutheran High had many rules, who could forget No Dancing,
Which 'they' believed would lead to things much worse than just romancing!
For, after all, when bodies touch with stimulating music,
The thought of what would come from that, let's change the subject real quick!

We solved all that and planned the proms off-campus, not at school,
And by that means we worked around that antiquated rule.
I can't recall a person who got pregnant at the prom,
At least not on the dance floor, that would be frowned upon.

And here we are at 50 years post graduation day.
We've stood the test of time but bare the remnants of life's fray.
Now we could lie and say we look just like we looked back then,
But then there is reality, the signs of where we've been.

We're older, grayer, wiser, too, that is our hope, at least,
Although with time it's safe to say our faculties decrease.
Hope you agree the years flew by and sometimes memories fade.
It's times like these we'd best enjoy before much more decay.

I guess we are that smaller class of oldsters reminiscing,
You know, when we were young, they looked so old with classmates missing?
The ones with hair as white as snow, the dowdy and the paunchy,
The ones you'd swear, "we won't be there," you vowed that you would not be.

Oh, yes, we're there and glad to be, it means we're still around
And it's just great so many came, that some of you were found...
Despite the years, the moves, our lives that brought so many changes.
How great that we're together here, so glad you could arrange this.

And so we'll relish, once again, our friends from times now past,
Connect again, as way back when, these memories will last.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

GETTING IN UNDER THE WIRE

I know I've been noticeably absent this August but as I shared with you, I'm working on my next book of poems, Words of Witness.  Well, tonight I can finally say, "I am finished!"  The only thing left is the proof reading, that is, the proof reading after the proof reading. 

You see when you're so close to something, it's often hard to find mistakes as you sometimes see things that aren't there and don't see things that are.  My sister is the best of the best at proof reading.  As she puts it, "those errors just jump out at me."  And she's right.  She probably will get at it in the next few days so soon it'll be off to the publishing company.  In the meantime, I will try NOT to keep tweaking and tweaking. 

When a  15 page preview of the book is available online, I'll let you know.  There will be information on how to order a copy of the book as well, if you're interested.  Anyway, I thought I needed another poem in one of the sections in the book, but as it turned out I didn't.  So this the one that never saw the light of day.

PRAYER FOR CHANGE

Dear Lord above, I come to you;
My challenges are great.
This situation's leaving me
In such an awful state.

It takes a toll and I believe
I can't survive without you.
I pray and pray but maybe, Lord,
There's something else I must do.

But I don't know what that could be,
I need you just to guide me.
I need your strength, I need your help,
I can't feel you beside me...

Now, wait a minute, Lord, that's it.
You're always, ever with me.
But often life gets in the way.
I think that I'm too busy.

Forgive me, Father, for this prayer
To change my situation.
I know now I must first find you,
Make that my destination.

So now I pray your Spirit come,
Help me to seek your face.
My problems get the best of me,
What's worse, they cloud my way.

The best of me I promise, Lord,
I pledge this very day.
I won't allow the 'other' things
To sabotage my way.

I know that often I expect
A prayer 'to do the trick.'
When what I need is to be close.
Dear Lord, I recommit.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

A NEW ONE AT LAST

It's been awhile since the last post, that's obvious, but I've been working on my new book of poems called Words of Witness.  I would have been further along with it but we had our first (and hopefully our last) tornado this week.  We were a bit more fortunate than some of our neighbors in that we didn't have too much damage, just the garage door, a few branches from trees and my swing set for my grandchildren that sustained a turned over top and some cracked boards.  Our insurance adjuster will be coming on Monday and we do have a small deductible so not too devastating.

The hardest thing was losing power for a day and a half.  A person doesn't realize how much we depend on our utilities.  I can't tell you the number of times I flicked a switch when I knew there was no power.  Each occurrence, and there were many, was followed with saying under my breath, "Are you kidding me? How dumb can you be?  You know there's no lights!"  But we survived.

Anyway, as I needed one more poem for the first part of the book, it necessitated that I write a new one.  This is what followed:

ONE THING NEEDFUL
by Patty Lynn

We all think of heaven as a place far away,
Way up in the clouds where we'll hopefully stay
For all of eternity, in those mansions prepared
By God and His Son whose love they both shared...

With all the believers, dressed in pure white,
A choir of angels who sing through the night.
Perhaps we'll have halos for perfect we'll be.
We know we'll have wings and we'll sit at His knee...

As He tells us the answers to all of our questions.
We'll listen intently to all of His lessons.
And often, we hope, we can push back the clouds,
Observing the earthlings, those frustrated crowds

Who hustle and bustle, so busy they be
With things unimportant, if only they'd see
That one thing is needful, belief in God's Son
Who died and arose and eternity won.

But heaven could be much more than a place.
It could be defined by the Savior's sweet face.
It could be just having Him tangibly there,
Forever and always His touch and His care.

For that would be heaven, more perfectly lived
With Jesus the Christ who died to forgive.
And with His perfection our lives so divine
Eternally lived with Him intertwined.

No pain and no sorrow, no hurt and no tears,
No time to be measured in days, months or years.
Wherever, that place would be heaven to me,
Perfection with Jesus is all that I'd need.

So whether you think that heaven is found
Way up in the sky above all the clouds
Or envision a place that's defined by God's presence,
What matters is this for this is my message:

Just one thing is needful to experience His grace:
A heart that believes with God as the base.
For believing that Jesus has died for your sins
And rose then at Easter, eternity wins.

Commit to the Lord, living life like His child,
Never giving the devil the chance to beguile.
And then when you falter knowing God with forgive.
Then that is a life that is fittingly lived.

It matters not where we eternally dwell
For, indeed, where God lives is enough to compel
The sinner repentant, who believes in His grace
To leave earthly strife for God's own perfect place.


Monday, July 22, 2013

RENEW AND REVAMP

Those of you who follow my blog know that I'm desperately trying to do another poem book, and I am...but this is a lot of work!  Anyway, I'm assembling the poems I'd like to include and I ran across one of my favorites.  I thought I'd posted it before but in doing a search this title never came up.  Soooo, I found the poem in one of my folders and there was so much there that I thought I'd take a second look.  To put it tactfully I thought it could use a re-write.  So I've been working on it for a couple of days now and this is what I've come up with.  It really sums up what I feel about witnessing.  I hope you like it.

SOUL-ER POWERED BY THE SON

I had a visit from a friend
And we began to talk.
He voiced some doubts within his heart,
As leisurely we walked.

He said his mind was weary
From the nights he tossed and turned.
He found it hard remembering
The things that once he learned.

He said he felt alone and lost;
God didn't feel as near.
He found himself unsure about
Beliefs he once held dear.

We talked about so many things,
His life, his faith, his heart.
Here's what I said and what I meant;
God guided every part...I told him:

From every flower's petal,
To every drop of dew,
From every fluffy cloud of white,
The sky so bright and blue,

Every rainbow's vibrant bands
To every plant that grows,
Everything that's beautiful
From our children to a rose,

Was created by the Hand of God that guides us every day;
The One who watches over us but lets us choose our way.
Though sometimes disappointed, at the choices that we make,
He always loves, always forgives, all this for Jesus' sake.

Each baby ushered in that gives a loud and lusty cry,
Is greeted by his parents there who give a happy sigh.
But they were picked by Jesus to love and tend with care,
That he might know the ways of God and talk to Him in prayer.

So if you have a doubt of mind about the Lord's existence,
Take these examples to your heart to serve as a 'for instance.'
Just take a look around, my friend, at all the earthly wonders.
So much is there and everywhere, exceptional their numbers!

And blest are we to see all this, these miracles each day,
The awesome things that make life good, what else is there to say?
From animals to human beings so perfect His creation.
To doubt this all would be a crime, to God, a violation.

So if you say you must see God, just see what He has done.
At night the moon and stars above, in day the brilliant sun.
Just know the blessings you receive are from the Lord above,
And when your heart finally believes, you'll feel the Father's love.

My friend walked out the door and waived, and then he said goodbye,
He turned to me with tearful eyes, as if about to cry,
He said, "I've learned so much today and I'll be more aware."
And I said, "Friend, I'll pray for you to feel the Father's care."

I think that day my friend became a little more convinced,
His faith a little stronger and has become more ever since.
I'm happy when I tell someone the things of God I know,
It makes me feel a stronger bond with God and truly grow.

It's not just a coincidence I ran into my friend,
God sends the ones who need to hear that God's love never ends.
His purpose was to cross our paths; they weren't just stumbled on.
And so my words were God's alone, soul-er powered by the Son.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

HERE'S MY EXCUSE

Just wanted to quickly blog and let everyone know that I've been hard at work.  Last week I finished a special project, a book of photographs and a poem, of course, chronicling my sister's 60th birthday party.  Like the party, it was a complete surprise and the book arrived yesterday, so I was able to give it to my sister right away.  She was overjoyed.  I've attached the poem from the book for all of you to read.  In addition, I've also included the URL so that, if you're interested, you may view the first 15 pages of the book online.

Also, I had promised myself that I would write a poetry book that was strictly Christian-based poems, not as long as my book in the past so as to give myself the incentive to do additional volumes with different themes.   This initial part, gathering and organizing the poems for the book is the hardest and I'm almost three quarters of the way finished with that.  When that's complete it's on to the fun part, creating the book, designing each page and possibly adding some new poems as well.   Anyway, that's why you haven't heard much from me.  Over the next few months I'll be busy with that but I will try to check in with you periodically just to let you know that I'm still breathing.

Here's the URL: http://www.blurb.com/b/4434620-surprise-a-birthday-party-for-jill

SURPRISE!

Your life is going pretty well.
You haven't a complaint.
And then one day you realize
Age 30, you just ain't.

Your body aches, you've got some pains,
You know you're getting older.
A backache here and sore feet there,
Then, "ouch, I wrenched my shoulder!"

"But that's the way it is," you say.
"I realize I'm aging."
(But to yourself you whisper this:
"The aging thing's enraging.")

And then it happens, you awake
To realize so quickly
That something happened, you're surprised.
"I can't be turning SIXTY!!!"

So, as you take some time to think,
To rap your mind around it,
Your husband has this bright idea
Which really just compounds it...

Because he throws a birthday bash
To celebrate your trauma
With relatives and friends and this
Accelerates the drama!

Oh, did I mention that he did
This all as a surprise.
He pulled it off, yes, I was shocked.
For months he spun some lies...

Just so I'd never, ever guess
What he was really up to.
I can't believe how devious.
The hoops he had to jump through...

To first create an email name,
Was called partyforjill.
And all of this because his wife
Was well over the hill.

He then arranged for catering,
Invited all my friends,
My gals from work, my friends from church.
Now that list never ends.

And, O, my gosh, some traveled far,
Australia to Chicago.
I hugged each one so hard they knew
I didn't want to let go.

And Jim had slides of days gone by
When all of us were...young,
Projected some and shared old pics
And everyone had fun.

He even got his group to come,
A real command performance.
They played and sang, for the whole gang.
We watched as all the kids danced.

I can't forget my birthday cake,
The birthday song, the candles.
And even now recalling this,
It's more than I can handle.

You see, it's not the birthday things
That made this day so grand.
It's not the cake, the meal, the drinks,
The tunes played by the band.

It's Jim's desire to fill a room
With people that I love.
I couldn't want much more in life
These friendships I'm so proud of...

For I can say, it's who I am,
A friendship cultivator.
To keep in touch with all my 'peeps,'
For me there's nothing greater.

Good friendships, like a warming fire,
Require a tending hand.
And even friendship's embers must
Sometimes with love be fanned.

So as I reminisce and save
These memories so sweet,
I'll thank the Lord for those I love.
They make my life complete.

I have so much I'm thankful for
And Jim's one of the best!
He made this birthday memorable
What can I say, "I'm blessed."

Thursday, July 4, 2013

WE'RE IN THIS TOGETHER

I shared with you the unexpected and major diagnosis that one of my close friends received lately.  And when something like that happens, it doesn't just effect the person it effects everyone in the family, especially the spouse.
With that in mind I wrote the following:

I SIT HERE WISHING...

I sit here wishing I could do
Some thing to make it better.
A word, a thought to change somehow
What you both face together.

This is so hard to understand
Accept it...that's too much.
Your poor minds reel, your poor hearts feel,
Long for the Savior's touch.

And I assure you, He is there
To give you strength to bear
This hideous reality.
Accept His comfort, care.

But that means you will have to give
Yourselves in sweet surrender.
To give yourselves to Him is how
He'll show His mercy tender.

That sounds so hard, this giving up,
Give all of this to Him.
Especially when your taking charge
Is all there's ever been.

For that's the only way you know.
It means you're in control.
A problem comes and you take charge.
Solution is the goal.

But this is unlike anything
You've dealt with in the past.
Controlling, it's not possible.
And, yes, the dye is cast.

And so, dear friends, I send you love
And prayers for all you need.
May God extend His helping hand,
His love your souls to feed.

This simple poem I offer you.
It's all that I can do.
I feel so helpless, love you so
And want the best for you.

LIFE IS SO UNPREDICTABLE

Tonight's blog title may sound like a statement of the obvious.  The older we get the more we understand that there's so little in this life that's within our control.  I know I've said more than once that at this stage (late 60's) we no longer think of life going on and on but see that there's an end in sight and that can be scary.   In reality none of us has any idea how long we have but our hope is that whatever time we have we'll be afforded a good quality of life rather than years in which our health is failing.  Boy, this is beginning to sound morbid.  I guess these thoughts do surface once in a while especially when someone you know is suddenly diagnosed with a major health issue.

Recently a dear friend found himself in such a position and there I was thinking those thoughts again.  It's hard to know what to say at a time like that except, "I'm here for you, I'll keep you in my prayers, if you need anything please let me know," etc. etc. etc.  In addition, I turn to God for the right things to say and ability to put those thoughts into poetry form.

WHY
by Patty Lynn

I have you on my heart tonight
For all you're going through,
And wish that I could just erase
All that's effecting you...

And taking your control away.
O, how I wish I could...
Remove this blight, make it alright,
Yes, if I could, I would.

And still, dear, there is something,
That I do every night.
I send a prayer, I know God's there.
His power and His might...

Can do what is impossible
For you or me to do.
He loves, forgives, and comfort gives.
His promises are true.

This burden is unfair we say.
Why now, why this, why me?
But we were never promised that
Our lives would easy be.

When struggles come we must rely
On God, for only He...
Can give us strength, He goes great lengths
To answer every plea.

So when you're scared and worried, too,
Please turn your eyes to Him.
He is the Source; He knows the course.
God's there; He's always been.

Just know that we are praying, too
And love you, our dear friend.
We pray you feel the Spirit's touch
When you can't comprehend...

The reasons for your trial and pain,
And yet the light will come.
God has a plan, a purpose, dear.
All this you'll come back from...

And you'll emerge much stronger still.
There's much for you to do,
Accomplish in the Father's name.
His strength He's given you.

So with His help you're on your way
To keeping your perspective.
Remember God is there for you.
Your comfort His objective.

And all of us who love you so
Are right there, too, to pray:
God's blessings send, at each day's end,
Today and every day.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

SURPRISE, NO DOUBT!

Tonight's blog is one of great joy.  A grand feat was executed perfectly yesterday and something that incredible, I can't but blog about it.  My brother-in-law decided a few months ago that he would throw a surprise party for my sister to commemorate her recent milestone birthday and, I've got to say, I was doubtful as to whether he could really pull it off.  Initially he knew he wanted it to be a catered affair in a hall in their community so immediately contacted a number of caterers and got copies of their menus and rates.  He then sent out emails with this information to some of to me some of my sister's friends and asked their opinions and suggestions on particular menu selections, made a decision on which one to choose and the ball was rolling.

Once that was decided, he secured the hall, then turned over room and table decorations to my niece with a few other helpers.  He kept on top of the invitations (about 120 people were invited) and the responses and then arranged for the band he often plays with to come and add music to the latter part of the evening.  I mention all this because I was so impressed with how he handled all these details, more than many husbands would ever attempt or even think of doing.

Then the day, yesterday, arrived and as I had agreed to lend a hand with the decorations, we began getting the place ready.  When I arrived I found that there was a room chart showing the table arrangements, band area, gift table, and, O yes, an area where the screen would hang for the power point presentation of so many past photos of children, family, friends, past get-togethers, vacations, etc..  Are you impressed yet?

Bottom line to all of this is the surprise.  I've got to say I had my doubts as to whether this could really yield us that moment we live for with any surprise party, could it really be a complete and utter surprise for the guest of honor?  As each attendee filed in they asked, "how is he going to get her here?  What's the story?" And it did change a few times as the family wanted to pick just the right reason why she should come there but...it doesn't matter.  She walked through the door, we all shouted, "SURPRISE!!!!" and from the look on her face, there was no doubting whether he pulled it off or not.

The food was fabulous, the decorations lovely, the band was terrific, there were friends from as far away as Australia, and, as they say, "a good time was had by all."  It sure was and, without a doubt, I know that this will always be a very special memory for both my brother-in-law and...the guest of honor.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A COMMENTARY

My hope is that when you read my latest poem you won't feel a negative vibe.  (Wow, I don't think I've ever used the word 'vibe' before.  Who knows what I'm capable of in the future.  The word choices are apparently unpredictable.)  Anyway, after this horrific week, month, year, I had so much on my heart that it literally spewed out as if it had a life all it's own.  So, when I took all of that on, this poem was result.  Please don't get the impression that I've created it with a defeatist attitude, the old, we're doomed philosophy or I'm depressed about how bad things are; quite the contrary.

Rather, these are my observations.  Maybe yours are different.  Hopefully we share a recognition that our world is changing and not necessarily changing in a good way.  My intention is to make you think as you read it and perhaps, if you believe it's warranted, decide that you can improve things in your world and the world of your family.  Maybe you'll vow to pay closer attention to politics, recycle your garbage or quit using your cellphone when you drive.  Maybe you'll be aware of your conversations or disagreements when your children are in the room or maybe, just maybe you'll see the need to get back to God, to attend church again or just to practice The Golden Rule.  As far as the world is concerned, if we're going to make it a better place, these are the kind of changes you can make.  One person or one family, we can make a difference.

IS THERE AN EMBER?
by Patty Lynn

It seems so inconceivable,
The News, day in, day out.
The heinous and the violent,
Is that what we're about?

I find it hard, although I try,
To think back and remember
A time when being human held
Some pride to be a member.

When caring for your fellow man,
The rule not the exception.
When someone's word was good as gold
And wasn't a deception.

But now it seems it's hard to trust
The common man, your neighbor.
Be wary, don't you go next door,
Or ask him for a favor...

He may be plotting, making bombs
Or hatching terror plots.
What's happened to our world, I ask?
A dollar for your thoughts.

A dollar, that's inflation.
The cost of living's rising.
The gas, the cars, the houses, too,
It isn't that surprising.

Stock market's up, stock market's down.
A roller-coaster ride.
Computer scams and mail fraud.
Can you take them in stride?

Life's easier, convenient.
Man's wastefulness, immense.
Supposedly we're better off
But really, where's the sense?

Turn on the tube, what do we hear?
It seems, it's always BAD.
Man's inhumanity to man.
Each motive, iron-clad.

"He wronged me," "I hear voices,"
"His politics," "His snoring."
"I'll shoot to show my point of view,
I don't believe in warring."

And all this tension isn't helped
By weather unpredictable.
There's such extremes in hot and cold,
Tornados, quakes despicable.

And why, because we've tampered with
Our world and our environment.
Advances, progress, at what cost?
"That's rubbish," says our government.

But what's the truth, the real low-down?
We're duped by advertising
That's tells us it will be 'OK.'
You feel the water rising?

We're all effected by the "flood,"
Disasterous consequences.
It's not just infrastructure, folks.
We must come to our senses!

We've strayed so far, our values lost,
But is it irretrievable?
It's up to you, there's much to do.
It isn't inconceivable.

Together we can make a choice
To end a world complacent.
Go back to basics and instill
The Golden Rule replacement...

"Do unto others as you'd have
Those others do to you."
This sounds so simple but in fact
It's powerful and true.

So if you recognize you've been
Deceived and so betrayed,
Take this to heart and make a start.
There's changes to be made

This world needs to get fired-up.
This world is You, remember...
That every roaring fire's blaze
First started with an ember.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

MOTHER'S DAY

Today was Mother's Day and it started out like my Sunday Mornings do, Fall to Spring, with my Sunday School class hearing the Bible Story that I hopefully bring to life for these adorable 3 & 4 year olds.  Three years ago I saw a need in the storytelling department and, with my extensive theatrical experience, volunteered to be the storyteller.  Since I wanted this part of the Sunday School experience to be 'special,' I invented a character known as Grandma Goodstory, made a colorful kind of crazy costume, clipped a flower in the middle of some boa feathers to my head and I was off.
In addition I took it upon myself to draw a minimum of 4 large illustrations to help me keep the children's attention and it works like a charm.  Most Sundays it's so quiet you could hear a pin drop and when I review the previous Sunday's story, the children's answers confirm that they're truly engaged. 

This has become one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.  Just last Sunday one of my sweet little ones looked up at me and said, "I love you, Grandma Goodstory."  Talk about heart melting.  The surprising bonus is that every Sunday without fail at least one member of the congregation tells me that when they see me in my goofy outfit it just brightens their day! Go figure, or should I say, God figures...out all kinds of ways we'd never think of, He provides opportunities to show His love to others.  The others in this case are these sweet little ones who love each story about God's power and Jesus' dying for us on the cross.  They also know about what the children and I call the Easter announcement, "Hallelujah!  Jesus is alive again!"  We all love saying that.

But this particular Sunday is Mother's Day and I was able to share every aspect of it with my children, 38 & 40, their children, my grandchildren, and my wonderful sister, Jill and her children and her granddaughter.  The whole "gang" was there including my sister's neighbors.  Successfully coordinated, I might add, by my brother-in-law.  There were ham sandwiches, potato salad, a green salad, a huge fruit salad, beverages, and a birthday cake for my sister's 60th birthday which was this past Tuesday.  Even though it was cold and windy we all had a ball.  We always do. 

The lives of our grown children and their families is just as hectic and demanding as it was when we were their age, so these get-togethers give us a chance to catch up with them.  I am so blessed, my kids married great spouses and their children are happy and healthy. Having them all living in close proximity is the frosting on the cake.  What a fabulous day!  I couldn't have asked for more.



Sunday, May 5, 2013

ALL TOO COMMON A STORY

Retirement. We all look forward to that time, it's a goal, a plan, a time when we can finally do all the things that we couldn't when we had to get up and go to work everyday.  We had to cram so many things on the weekends, errands, grocery shopping, maybe a movie, trips with the kids, all our obligations to church, the kid's school stuff.  And then it finally arrives.  Retirement.

The grass seems greener, the sun seems brighter, we think we can finally sleep in, everyday (only to find out that our aches and pains don't let us sleep past seven anyway).  All the t-i-m-e we'll have.  Yay, FINALLY!!  But...the time we thought we'd have so much of, well, as you approach your 70's, it takes you twice as long to do things so you're still wishing the days were longer.  What a rip-off!

And then there's the matter of your health.  Whoever said, "if you have your health, you have everything" was really wise.  Even if you've been a proponent of healthy choices, exercise, supplements, and so on, there's no guarantees that you will really be like those folks on the retirement brochures walking along the beach or playing golf or sitting on the veranda of their glamorous summer home.  Who are those people, anyway?

Yes, your health in your post-retirement years can easily go down hill, like I said, even if you've done everything right. And there you are, looking down the barrel of an announcement from your doctor that, well, you have something serious that will require involved therapies, pills, and treatments to even have a chance of beating the odds, if you're lucky.  And sometimes what the doctor says takes your breath away.  He tells you that your condition is such that you may not have 10 or 15 years left, substancially less and you best make sure everything is in order.  Not what you thought those wondrous retirement years would be, now is it?

I know, this is hardly a light-hearted poem or fluff piece.  I also know all this sounds maudlin and morose but this just happened to one of my dearest friends...and a college classmate...and a wife of my brother-in-law...etc. etc. etc.  I probably shouldn't have written about this tonight but, gosh darn it, I'm mad.  Really mad!  I don't have anyone to blame (though I wish I did.)  It's just that every time I here about a situation like this and then compare it to the whole retirement myth, again I get mad and I just had to vent.  If I've shattered your dream of retirement, I'm sorry.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

WHAT'S GOING ON?????

I wasn't going to do a blog today, had no poem in mind, nothing to inspire one and...the world went crazy again.  Again?  The events of yesterday afternoon are still weighing on my mind, keeping me in a state of fear, disbelief, and total bewilderment. This world is spiraling out of control and week after week we're bombarded with one more disaster, one more heinous crime committed by some lunatic with a gun, one more horrible weather event after another and, for me, it's becoming harder and harder to process all of it.

I tend to react from a personal place, wondering how one human being can be so hell-bent on hurting others that they are capable of  horrific things, things I can't even fathom.  This person or persons has no regard or compassion for his fellow man and obviously lacks no moral compass.   I find myself wishing that they glowed in the dark, had some distinguishing mark or were surrounded by neon signs so that finding and stopping them would be easy.  But that, of course, isn't realistic but the state that we're in, is that our new reality?

Has this post-September 11th world we live in become one in which we have to watch for oddities in the people around us, look over our shoulder constantly, and shy away from large public gatherings because someone may have left a bomb in a trash can?  Are there no safe places?  Has the world just plain gone crazy so much so that we can't even feel safe sending our kids to school? 

And for those of you who query, "Why does God let these things happen?"
remember that it's not God that's responsible, He's given us free will after all.  I think it's a lack a regard or respect for another human being, it's so many who don't feel that God is relevant, that religion is unnecessary, that the Bible is just a book, and the list goes on.  And so do these unthinkable acts.  When will we learn.

THIS WORLD
by Patty Lynn

Life changes in a moment;
The course is thrown askew
And what was meant for triumph
Shocks and bewilders you.

How can there be a person
Who chooses such a path
To harm and mame, brings chaos,
This tragic aftermath?

We're looking for some answers,
The WHY of cruelty,
But they are not forthcoming
And sorrow's all we see.

Our God is not the culprit.
The blame's on all of us
When evil's all around us
And we don't make a fuss.

But rather we're complacent,
Possess no real worldview,
Don't see our place in all of this
It's time I look at you...

And you in turn look here to me.
We're all in this together.
Our values need to be the same
Not, "yeah, yeah, yeah... whatever."

Our values, mores, have been lost.
Our discipline's been weak.
We treat our children with kid gloves
Which makes their future bleak.

They were not born to be our friends
But gifts that we've been given
To love, prepare, to teach, improve
This very world we live in.

I'll close now as my poem became
Much more than I intended.
So moved was I by these events.
I hope I've not offended.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Age Thing Again

It's been quite a while since I've written a blog entry so I wanted it to be good.  Actually it's been a while since I've written a poem, too many things on the old plate and...too tired.  I tend to post in the evening and by the time I get to the computer I'm beat.  So all those excuses aside I give you this.

It's a new format for me, one I've never used.  The first three and the last two verses follow the typical iambic pentameter, the second and fourth line rhyme.  All the verses in the middle follow the format where the first and second line rhyme with each other and the third and fourth line rhyme with each other, as well.  Haven't decided if I like this form yet.  Let me know what you think.

Old Age Reflections
by Patty Lynn

It isn't fair, not good at all
Old age is so maligned,
That it's regarded as the worst!
The bane of all mankind.

When young we think that we'll be spared
And age won't take it's toll,
But everyone succumbs to it.
It's out of our control.

It's scary, though, to lose your youth
Life gets a little harder.
You're not as quick, your brain feels thick,
You wish you could walk farther...

And so it goes, the crow's feet come
You ask, Why did I love the sun?
You can't turn back the hands of time.
Besides t'would be an awful crime...

To nip, or tuck, this point of view
Will not preserve a younger you.
For that, too, backfires in the end.
There in the mirror, it's just pretend...

To think that you can beat the clock.
It only leads to plastic shock
As gravity continues on.
You won't look like your Senior Prom!

But most of us will choose to be
What Father Time gives us for free,
The gradual that's what is best.
We weren't intended to regress.

The mind, of course, may go that way
We hope and hope it won't someday
But like the telltale wrinkled face
Old Age can rob and then replace...

The quick response with foggy thoughts
Articulate with, at a loss.
For what was keen, a sharpened wit,
Is now fragmented, thinking split...

And you can't think of what you said.
Convinced your brain cells all are dead.
But really it's a slowing down
And that's okay, don't wear a frown.

Just live each day as if your last.
Don't dwell on memories from the past...
Of youthful you, sweetness and light.
'Twill only bring frustration's blight.

Don't question time's cosmetic toll.
God made you body, mind and soul
To, yes, grow old, learn from the past
Not try to make your beauty last.

The only thing that truly lasts
Is God's forgiveness, grace and love,
And these three things will never change,
So concentrate on things above.

Time's moving fast, don't waste it on
The mirror's aging reflection.
For with each line your closer to
Your heavenly perfection.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

LOSS

Like many of you I, too, have experienced loss.  It just seems it's touched my life directly or indirectly lately and it occurred to me that perhaps this is something we needed to talk about. This blog is specifically concerned with loss in the form of death.

I suppose there are differing degrees of loss and grief based on one's relationship and also, I believe, your particular emotional makeup. But it is loss nonetheless and as someone once said, "death is a part of life."  At the tender age of 67 it really hits me hard when someone equally as 'young' is suddenly taken from the landscape, someone that I have known and it
causes me to think, 'there but for the grace of God go I.' 

A month ago I found out that a relative had just ceased to exist at least that's how it seemed, one minute you were talking to that person and the next they were gone.  Last Sunday someone who had been part of a Bible Study my husband and I had been involved in was mentioned in the Sunday prayers, or rather her family was to comfort them in the loss of her. She was a few years older than I but she might have been the same age, I don't know.  The point is I knew nothing about the cancer she had been fighting for the last year.

More and more I hear about what seems like so many, suddenly being diagnosed with cancer or Alzheimer's or what have you.  These instances are far too frequent and it does give a person pause, to say the least.  Nobody knows when their number is up. It could be ten years from now or NOW.  You just never know.  That's why we must live each day as if it were our last, relishing every moment, every loved one, every sunrise. 

And let's not forget the pets in our lives.  If you've never owned a pet you can't possibly know how deep a bond develops between an owner and his pet.  Consequently, when they become ill and are beyond the scope of veterinary influence and need to be humanely euthanized, it is a painful decision that ultimately becomes a longtime loss.  They are 'members of your family' and that relationship is indescribable.

Loss is a horrible reality of life but, unfortunately, is part of life.  My intention with this blog was not to be morose, quite the contrary.  Rather it was it was a subject I have recently dealt with and I just wanted to share my thoughts.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

IF WE COULD JUST FIND A CURE FOR CANCER

Tonight I wanted to share the following poem with you as it was all I could think of to do when I learned of a couple in our extended relation, both of whom are dealing with this disgusting, cruel, heartless, horrible,( I could go on and on) disease of cancer. It's true that many strides have been made in its treatment but I'm sure nobody would argue that what we really need is a cure.

Cancer comes out of nowhere oft times, catches us unaware and certainly unprepared at its arrival. It's a very personal struggle for all of us as people we know or people in our families are stricken with cancer. I can't imagine anyone who doesn't know of someone who is dealing or has dealt with some aspect of cancer, some friend, some relative, someone that has had or does have cancer. The couple I referred to have differing types of cancer but cancer none the less and when one partner is stricken it'd be nice if the other was able to be cancerless, strong, supportive. These two are extremely strong and exceptionally committed to another and come what may they are truly there for each other. Their strength comes not only from their love for each other but from the source of all strength, Jesus Christ. I often wonder what people who have no relationship with God do at a time like this, when this devastating disease permeates their lives. How blessed are we who do.

HEARTFELT PRAYER
by Patty Lynn

How is it that we have so much
To deal with, Lord, today?
We know you never promised us
You'd keep the worst at bay

But we're so overwhelmed right now,
We're turning, Lord, to you.
Please give us strength to face it all.
We don't know what to do.

We know it's true that life's not fair,
And both of us concur.
This latest blow's not fair at all,
What's normal's just a blur.

We're thankful that you've given us
Each other for this fight.
We're not alone and with your help,
You'll help us find the light.

The tunnel's dark, we'll lose our way
If you're not by our side.
We've got to feel your presence, Lord.
In you we must abide.

Now hand in hand we come to you
And lay this at your feet.
With you beside,
To guard and guide,
Our strength will be complete.
Amen.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I'VE LEARNED MY LESSON

It's been a little while since I 'blogged' so I thought I'd better contribute something.  And as I thought I was remembering my recent chaperoning of my grandson's field trip to the Children's Museum.  It's been quite a while since I've done it, probably since my children were in grade school and I thought it would be fun.  It was and I was so surprised that one of the twins, the one who told me not to kiss him at school, actually grabbed my hand going into the bus and the walks from and to the bus.  I guess that was still acceptable.  I hadn't been to the Children's Museum since the boys were three or four so I didn't think about how it's laid out, how big it was, and...
the stairs.
When you have limitations you don't want to admit it and certainly don't want to be the only adult that has to take the elevator so the first time I had to make the three flights of stairs, I did pretty well.  Then came the second time and I thought, no problem...but I thought I was having a heart attack by the time I did those stairs.  At the top was my daughter who chewed me out for having done it once much less twice and I know she was right.  Then she told the teacher (such a tattletale) and insisted that I only use the elevator.  I did make it back in one piece but I think I've learned my lesson.

A TRIP TO THE CHILDREN'S MUSEUM
by Patty Lynn

My grandsons took a field trip
On Monday, with their class.
My daughter went and so did I...
But O, those stairs, I'll pass.

I didn't pass, to tell the truth,
I did my very best
To do what everyone could do,
For me a kind of test.

But it turned out to be too much
I couldn't make the grade.
And by the time I climbed two times,
I knew it hadn't paid.

All out of breath, so much it hurt,
I knew the jig was up.
My daughter really bawled me out
And offered me a cup...

Of water, then she told on me.
She called me on the carpet.
"The elevator's what you use.
My gosh, the stairs forget it!"

So when we needed to change floors
We took the elevator.
The kids thought that was really cool,
Not that they had to cater...

To this ol' Gram who couldn't do
The steps, no, she could not.
My grandson offered his two cents,
"My grandma's back is shot!"


Friday, February 8, 2013

TOO TRUSTING

It was totally unexpected.  I consider myself pretty retail savvy.  By the time you get to be my age you've had so much in the way of life experience you think you know the score.  You fancy yourself as someone who can spot a fake a mile away and you certainly figure you know who you can trust, what merchants are honest and definitely which products are on the up and up.  Well, I found out the hard way that I wasn't above being bamboozled.

DUPED
by Patty Lynn

While shopping at a local store,
A 'big-box' store renowned,
I stopped to hear about a DEAL.
My jaw dropped to the ground!

The demonstrator told a tale
Of knives that were spectacular.
"No need to sharpen, guaranteed,
The bomb, in the vernacular.

"Besides," the guy went on to say,
"The cutting board is free.
A cheese knife, too, it's just for you,
At a price you won't believe!"

"These lifetime knives should really be
Two hundred fifty bucks.
They come inside this wooden box.
They truly are deluxe."

I fell for it, I really did,
Hook, line and sinker, too.
I didn't buy a single set.
I said, "Why, I'll take two!"

"I'll buy one for a special gift.
My daughter needs a set.
They'll make a perfect Christmas gift.
One down, a few to get."

I left there feeling confident
My Christmas shopping started.
How could I know that this would lead
To feeling broken-hearted?

Now, I confess I never used
The knives until morning.
I grabbed one from my new knife block.
(I wish I had fair warning.)

Put knife to fruit, to my surprise
It wouldn't cut...at all!
My fancy knife set was a bust.
All I could do was bawl.

Yes, I was duped, smart little me
Was fooled, completely fooled,
Succumbed to flowery promises.
In this life-lesson schooled.

My story could have ended there,
That I was out of luck,
But I persisted, saw it through,
I couldn't handle, stuck.

Thank goodness that the 'big-box' store
Came through and stood behind
Both product and it's customer,
My happiness in mind.

Returned both sets of knives today.
They issued me a credit.
I had been duped but persevered
And did it pay...You said it!




Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A SISTERLY CUE

Tonight's blog comes as a homage to my sister.  She is enviably the most people oriented person I know, someone who is in love with people and engages with them wherever she is.  Consequently, the family joke is that she knows 'everybody,' can't go anywhere without running into someone she knows.  Now I used the phrase "running into someone," a common expression usually meaning seeing someone you know and exchanging a few pleasantries.  But my sister connects with them and people recognize it.  For her the world is truly small and she likes it that way.

I do envy this in her and wish I were more consistently this way.  But I tend to forget a face, a name and find it difficult when someone knows me and my name to confess I've forgotten theirs.  For my sister connecting with people is her calling, never too busy to talk and chat, never preoccupied with other things.  When you bump into her she is genuinely glad to see you and to pick up where you left off.  We all could take a lesson from her.  She is so exceptional at this.

But we tend to be in a hurry, not in the mood, thinking of other things, places we're going or things we should be doing.  Now retired I try to be more engaged with people and it's fascinating how people's demeanor changes when you open yourself up, even to start a conversation.  I remember seeing this older woman (I mean older than I am 75 - 80ish) stopped with her cart at the grocery store perhaps thinking if she'd forgotten to put something down on her list.  She had a lovely sweater on and I stopped and remarked about how pretty it was.  She, of course, said she'd had it for a long time and then told me that no one had ever just stopped and talked to her like that. We parted both saying it was nice talking to each other.

It really is important, you know.  Putting yourself out there, showing an interest in another human being.  Try it.  I think you'll be surprised at how good it feels and how it can brighten your day.

PERSON TO PERSON
By Patty Lynn

"Don't you dare judge a book
By it's cover," they say,
I would have to agree;
That would be a mistake.

First impressions can be,
Though they may come on strong,
So often deceiving,
Can be terribly wrong.

You have to dig deeper.
Invest kindness and time.
For not making the effort
Surely would be a crime.

I've noticed that people
By a simple expression
Give a message that's hardly
Their intended intention.

That person behind you
Who seems unapproachable,
If you give them a chance
They might be, well, sociable.

Sure, they are a stranger
And you might be shy...
But take a deep breath;
Just give it a try.

Think, almost in passing,
Of a comment, I mean,
It might be the weather
'Bout a storm unforeseen.

Then say it out loud
And I bet you will find
That the stranger, that person
May be of like mind.

So often from this comes
Some real conversation.
That face that was sour
Shows real animation.

With women I comment
On her shoes or her hair,
Her groceries, her children,
In that moment right there.

You'll see her face brighten
Engaged, ice's broken.
It's amazing how simple,
If those words are just spoken.

We all know that we live
In a world that's impersonal.
So just take a chance
And become conversational.

It's a step that can bring
Person-ality back.
More person to person
Is what this world lacks.

So put yourself out there
And here's what you'll learn:
Your faith in humanity?
Why...that faith can return!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

CAUGHT MYSELF DAYDREAMING

The strangest thing happened yesterday.  I was completing the illustrations, (I create pictures that go with the Bible story for Sunday School,) and for whatever reason, I found myself remembering one of my favorite hymns, Heaven is my Home.  Don't know why, didn't hear anything that bought it to mind.  It was just there. And talk about multi-tasking,  I wrote this poem while I was illustrating.  It's somewhat different from the process I usually use to write, a rather stream of consciousness form I guess.  At least that's what I would call it since it hops around a bit.  So if that kind of poem doesn't appeal to you just read it anyway and see what you think.  Poems like life aren't always predictable.

CLARITY

When I was just a little girl
There was a hymn I loved.
I didn't understand it then;
It spoke of things above.

The title really said it all,
That 'Heaven is my Home'
But as a youngster it was just,
A song set to a poem.

The words, 'I'm but a stranger here,'
Confused my little mind.
How could I be a stranger here?
No greater life I'd find.

Now passed the middle age of life
That song, it rings so true.
My time on earth is limited.
Dear Father, I see you...

If only now in my mind's eye.
Each day brings focus clear.
I realize a stranger, I
And heaven isn't here.

My grandsons ask me what it's like,
Inquisitive they wonder,
If heaven has a trampoline.
(If not, 'twould be a blunder...)

And swings and bikes, balloons and gum
For them that would be heaven.
In heaven would you be a child?
How would we know you then?

Such innocents, yet 'in the world,'
Wish my love would protect them,
Keep them from being 'of the world'
That evil not effect them.

And then my mind goes back again
To what I sang in youth,
The 'earth is but a desert drear.'
Age clarifies the truth...

Of how God loved this world so flawed,
Yet gave His Son to be...
The Resurrection and the Life.
Believing this I'm free...

To claim as mine that heavenly home.
I am a stranger here.
I know that when my journey ends
His face I'll see...so clear!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I'VE GODDA CODE IN BY NOZ

Well, here's another 'Poor Me' sob story about winter, the flu, the cold, the...whatever. Chances are you're suffering just like me or will be soon. I'm trying to make light of it but it's no laughing matter especially with all the reports of 47 states all getting an early dose of flu. These seasonal yucks, as I call them, are reportedly coming with a particular vengeance and long durations. They're even rationing the flu vaccines.

Foolish as is may seem, I thought I was immune. I can't remember the last time I had a cold or the flu or been generally 'under the weather.' Of course, I do know there's no such thing as immunity and sooner of later we're all gonna get it.

Tomorrow I'll be celebrating (I use the term loosely) my 1 week anniversary. I came down with this latest bug last Sunday night. Chills, a temperature and generally felling like...you know, crap. Although I really don't know how crap feels or even if it has feelings. Although I felt tired, I had a perfectly normal day on Wednesday and come Thursday, it's a full-blown cold. So I'm sitting here drinking my herbal tea, wrapped in a blanket and hoping I'll have a voice to tell my Bible story for my Sunday School class tomorrow. Is that enough of a sad story to make you glad it's not you? I would certainly think so.

AFFLICTED
by Patty Lynn

I'm sittin' in my rockin' chair
All wrapped up good and tight,
To keep the cold from seepin' in
This damp ol' Winter's night.

My cold it crept upon me;
T'was when I wasn't lookin'.
O, woe is me, ol' ailin' me.
It's chicken soup I'm cookin'.

The wind is whistlin' through the pines.
The snow a fallin' fast.
Sure hope this cold will leave me soon.
I hate the 'sick' that lasts.

I'm feelin' rotten, tired and down.
The outlook sure is bleak.
No matter medicine or soup,
It'll last at least a week.

These 'bugs' are somethin', somethin' fierce,
Just like the news predicted.
No matter what you try to do,
You're bound to be afflicted.

So wash your hands, and wash your hands
Until they're chapped and dry.
There's still a chance it won't get you.
All you can do is try.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

HAPPY NEW YOU!!!

Why that title?  Isn't that what we all envision at the beginning of every new year?  We want to make changes, improve ourselves, be a better person, do what we weren't able to do the previous year, etc.  But, at the risk of being a New Year cliche, many of us want to shed a few pounds. We want to rededicate ourselves to making better food choices, getting more exercise on a consistent basis, and stop making excuses about why there's MORE of us when what we really want is a little less of us. And that's the subject of my New Year's blog.

I, too, have dreamed of being a few sizes smaller.  In fact, I shed a whole 14 pounds last year having devised a plan that I could stick with and making it a point to drink at least 4 glasses of water each day.  Yes, fourteen pounds is nothing to sneeze at (and please don't sneeze; they say the flu is passed on that way and I don't want to get it.)  But I like the quick fix, don't we all?  The point is, it took me 7 months to lose it and by the time Thanksgiving came and I decided to stop the routine and enjoy the holidays, seven of the fourteen have crept back on.  I know I'm lucky that they didn't all come back plus a little more.

So, I have vowed today, January 5th, 2013, that I will tweak the previous plan and hopefully lose those seven plus a little more.  And the method to my madness is that I've told all of you so it's out there and I have to stick with it.  Oh, by the way, this is my New Year's poem.  I hope you enjoy it and more importantly identify with it.

ROUGH ROAD
by Patty Lynn

A brand new year has just begun
Filled with a lot of thought
About the things I didn't do.
Last year with guilt was fraught.

Now is the time to start anew,
With dedication, drive,
To lose unwanted pounds and then
Feel glad to be alive!

For, as they say, it's attitude
That must precede a diet,
Not 'just for now' or 'til I fail'
Or simply, 'guess I'll try it.'

I was so sure I'd found, last year,
The path to reach my goal.
I wouldn't hurry, no quick fix.
That was the way to go.

And slow it was for seven months.
I lost some fourteen pounds.
But honestly, I thought I'd lose
Much more, by leaps and bounds.

I kept the same routine I'd kept
Hit a plateau 'round Christmas.
But then I let discouragement
Make me into a nit-wit.

So here I sit, I'm sure I've gained
Some of the weight departed.
I know I should begin again,
Get going, just get started.

Should I go back to the routine
That gave a SLOW success?
Or should I go to Weight Watchers?
A horse apiece, I guess.

It's just the thought of meetings leaves...
Me cold and full of dread.
Would I do well with it online?
"It's easy," some have said.

I know I've got to make a choice
And one's not, "I won't diet!"
The task's at hand, I must, I must.
The need, I can't deny it.

My New Year's prayer is one sincere:
Dear Lord, show me the way.
Bless this my quest, make it my best,
Grant me your strength each day.

I can't do this all by myself.
Willpower's not enough.
But with my hand inside of yours,
The road won't feel as rough.


Friday, January 4, 2013

FORGETFULNESS

Tonight's blog is about something near and dear to my heart, forgetfulness (said very sarcastically.)  This is a normal thing as one gets a bit older, forgetting where you left your keys, parked the car or what you are looking for.  Well, as I mentioned recently, I could not find an item that I purchased while grocery shopping.  It was hard to believe that neither me nor my husband was able to locate it and I was growing more and more frustrated in our desire to find it.  I won't keep the suspense going any longer, I did find it.  How, you ask?  That was as ridiculous as losing the item in the first place. Yesterday as I was getting my makeup on I happened to think of something else I bought, not from the grocery store but from Hobby Lobby.  I had finally found these little plastic baskets I love to use.  Unlike the deodorant, I had no recollection of seeing it after I left the store.  On a lark, I went to the place the baskets should be and surprise, surprise, they were there.  And, as you probably have figured out, the deodorant was in one of the baskets.  I suppose I put the deodorant in the basket when I was putting them away with the intent to put the deodorant in the back bathroom.  Another mystery solved.  But how to avoid this from happening again, I have no idea.

I decided to write this little short one to put a poetic twist on forgetfullness.

THE DUNCE
by Patty Lynn

I've lost 'em, yes, I've lost'em,
My marble's what I mean.
I put them down, I know I did.
They've simply left the scene.

Each day I realize it more.
My marbles I have lost.
Old age is trudging forward.
It moves at such a cost.

Things could be worse, I know they could.
I'm thankful for my blessings.
My brain sustained a blow, of sorts.
Could you supply a dressing...

For me to wrap around my head
Until my brain gets well,
And I could go back years ago
When I was bright as hell...

Could hold my own in things discussed,
Remember what I heard,
Could utter things articulate
Not stop...to say a word...

That I forgot as I would speak
And lose my train of thought?
It seems that now I've missed the train.
The schedule I've forgot.

And speaking of what I've misplaced,
Those marbles are illusive.
One day I think I've got them all
The next, I'm a reclusive...

Because I cannot stand the thought
That I'm not as I was once.
It makes me blue, I've got no clue,
Just feel like such a dunce.