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.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

INNOCENCE

No, you're not seeing things.  I am writing two blogs in one day but this is a short one and I couldn't have tacked it on to the previous blog.  Anyway, yesterday I was enjoying a day with my grandsons, O, I love them so much.
This was a longer time than usual which gave us a chance to do so many things together.  They love to do 'projects' at Grandma's house so Grandma had given them treasure boxes to make.  I set out all the supplies, paint, paintbrushes, adhesive jewels, stickers and the whole kitchen table was covered with newspapers. They couldn't wait to get started, had their aprons on and went to town.  Well, it got to be lunch time so once Grandma had all the lunches made I moved the kid's table in to the kitchen for them.  Ian suggested that this table (that I had got for them when they were about 2 1/2) was really too small for them since they were such big boys of 6 now.  He thought it would be better to sit at the big table and I agreed.  But when I explained that the only reason we were at the too small table was because the big table was full of all the projects and art supplies, he reluctantly accepted it.  The world has a different perspective when you're a BIG boy of six but sometimes you just have to compromise and accept it.

Having finished his lunch the other twin, Gavin, asked if I had any life savers.  I was all out but I did tell him that I had a homemade Christmas cookie in the shape of a star with his name on it.  You see stars are still his favorite shape.  It has been since he was two so I knew his disappointment about my lack of lifesavers would soon fade, and it did.  But what followed was so adorable I had to share it with you.  Remember when I told him that although I didn't have a lifesaver, I did have a star cookie with his name on it?  His eyes widened as I handed him the cookie, he examined it and said,
"But Grandma, where's my name?"

WHERE'S MY DEODORANT?

As I'm sure you've gathered from many of my previous blogs, I struggle with the whole aging thing, not from a vanity standpoint (although I have noticed a few more wrinkles under my eyes), but rather from the lack of mental acuity which at one time I felt I had (notice the verb 'had').  Never was this more obvious than yesterday when we returned from a grocery shopping trip.  There are jokes about not remembering where you parked the car, the lost glasses being on the top of your head, but this one is a bit more disconcerting.  Besides the grocery items there were a few personal care items like special beauty soap (if only it was that easy), toothpaste, and...deodorant.

It wasn't until later in the day and I don't know what made me think of it, but I couldn't remember where I put the deodorant.  So many things in the course of a day are done without conscious thought but this time I did remember taking it out of the grocery bag and setting next to the phone in the kitchen, so that was the first place I looked.  It wasn't there so I started looking in all the obvious places, the bathroom cabinet where I keep it, the other bathroom where I don't keep it and then I got crazy.  I looked in all the kitchen cupboards the up ones and the down ones, the drawers, the refrigerator, the front closet, my purse, the car, my bedroom and dresser drawers, the basement, nothing.  And then I enlisted my husband who is a wonderful finder and we kept looking and looking and looking.  I must admit I believe we've exhausted all the possibilities and for the first time in all the years of misplacing things we didn't find it.

Now you must understand that this is significant, a milestone of sorts, an instance where the illusive item was NOT found.  I'm asking myself,
"How can this be? There's never been a time when a lost item wasn't found in a matter of minutes or at least the same day."  This has driven me NUTS!  I can cope with the wrinkles, the expanding waistline, an inability to wear high heels, the back pain, but the brain things - not so much.  Please say a little prayer that I find the deodorant.  I'll feel so much better about myself if I do.