One Life

1 standing alone

A woman stands alone.
A silent scream.
A world falls apart.
No one stops.
No one listens.
A lonely life –

Life goes on except for the one who is hurting.
For her, life stopped.
A heart beats yet a soul has died.
Dreams fade no longer within reach.
Life has no meaning.
A broken life –

A woman unnoticed.
People walk by.
No one hears or sees her pain.
She is strong to many.
She is weak to herself.
A weakened life –

A Hand reaches out to the one who is hurting.
Bringing Life and Hope.
A lonely heart beats.
Awakening a weary soul.
Bringing life to lost dreams.
A renewed life –

The Light of the One who reaches out
Removes the darkness.
Takes her hand.
Showing the way.
God’s Strength, God’s Hope.
A transformed life –

                              {Patty Beggs 2016}

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Happy Mothers Day Mom!

momThe past few months have been busy ones for me, but as I like to say, it has been a good busy.

So I am happy for my first day back writing to be about my mom.

I want to honor my mom for the remarkable woman she will always be.

My mom was a stay at home mom. She did have an outside job once when dad was unemployed and worked at a family run business, an Italian Bakery. They lovingly called her the token German since she was the only one not related to the owners.

For the most part like many women of her generation she stayed home to raise us children and to give her credit she never ran out of the house screaming! That alone makes her mother of the year.

When dad retired from the Army the recession of the 70’s hit and jobs were scarce so we lived off of his retirement often. But mom could stretch a meal and we always had plenty to eat. She kept house, kept us fed and clothed and kept the family together.

mom 1964 (2)She was a strong woman, stronger than I have had ever imagined. She was also a survivor. Although I was 22 when she died, she taught me how to persevere when all you want to do is give up. She gave to me the best gift I would ever need to get me through my own hurdles – her strength.

Life was not kind to mom, but she did not let it get her down. She kept a stiff upper lip and forged on ahead. I often wonder how she was in private, because if front of us kids she kept a brave front.

Mom was loving, kind and compassionate. She was often serious especially when life was difficult which was often, but she also knew how to laugh and sing. She had a lovely voice and when I hear her favorite songs I can still hear singing along.

Through the ups and downs of my parents marriage, mom taught me the value of being a supportive wife and a loving mother without me knowing it. I was going to be a career woman, marriage and children was not my plan. I am thankful God had other plans for me!

One memory of mom is from when we were living in New Jersey and I would go shopping with her. We would walk to the neighborhood Italian market (when you walked in the smell of all those Italian cheese’s would hit you with an a wonderful aroma!), then the butcher and maybe a few other errands before making a trip to the Jewish Bakery for either Kaiser Rolls or Bagels, eating them on the way home.

When  my son was just born I will never forget seeing my mom visit me at the hospital to see her second grandson. She never thought she would live long enough to see any grandchildren and my sister and I both gave her grandsons she adored. My biggest regret was that my children never had a chance to know her love.

I miss so many things about my mom, her German accent for one; although she swore she did not have one! When Tom passed away I missed her advice and her encouragement.

Mom like dad died way to early – she had heart disease and her big loving heart gave out when her kidneys failed at the age of 57. She once told me she injured her kidney in an accident when she was young and when I would ask her she never elaborated. When I think of the horrors she most likely went through at the hands of the Russians my imagination gets the best of me.  She would often tell me about her younger days, but very seldom talking about her life during the war.

On this Mother’s Day I want to celebrate a woman who lived, who loved, who raised a family and who survived many battles and trials and much heartache.

Happy Mothers Day Mom – I thank God you were my mom if even for a short time.

these lilacs are for you!

lilacs

Christmas Cookies Anyone?

386741_2668163541909_324005759_nThis is the first Christmas I will not be baking cookies. When my mother was ill my sister and I took over some of the baking and that is when I found my love of baking Christmas cookies.

The year my mother had her first heart attack dad bought the Tastykake Christmas cookies and they eventually became a part of our Christmas cookie tradition growing up, the box they came in right next to moms delicious cookies. My mothers favorite to bake were butter cut out cookies and peanut butter. We were no Martha Stewart or I guess in my day it was the Galloping Gourmet when it came to decorating. But we had fun. We never used icing, instead mom used a egg yolk mixture and then we topped it off with an assortment of sprinkles and candies. There were more types of cookies she would bake and we would always help – eating the broken ones or the ones that were burnt around the edges.

404543_2760139881260_50935956_nAs I got a home of my own I added Butter Drop Ins, Angel Pillows and Santa’s Whiskers to my cookie collection. I would store cookies for weeks until Christmas using all the proven techniques to keep them fresh.

As the children grew they ate them as fast as I could bake them. We would also give away containers full of cookies. One year I took them out to the ambulance company that came and helped me after I passed out. Then there were the years I shipped them to my  husband and son when they were deployed. Over the years my kitchen became a bakery filling my home with aroma of fresh baked cookies.

When our son moved out of the house and life got busy with jobs and other commitments I only baked the families favorites and started to buy German cookies and Scottish shortbread that are now easily available. What is Christmas without the traditional Lebkucken, Christmas Stollen, and Scottish Shortbread that melts in your mouth?

9693_4837674018315_186367325_nOur daughter loves to bake as much as I do, but we are both finding out bakery cookies are just as good! So now we go to Wegmans and stock up on German Lebkucken, buy our favorite cookie – Oreos with the red stuffing and choose a few Christmas cookies at our favorite bakery. We are also blessed with my sister who still loves to bake and will bring over our mothers Butter Cut Out Cookies and friends who will not have me go without cookies.

Although I have never met a cookie I did not like I am at that age where I have to watch what I eat. And with my biggest cookie fan no longer here to enjoy the delicacies I bake, I find it is time to lay aside my baking sheet and wooden spoon – for now. I am sure once grandchildren bless my home I will once again fill my home with the aroma of cookies baking.

405158_3610376136635_1392016750_nSo now what do I do since I am not baking? Glad you asked…now my life is filled with craft and sewing projects. Instead of a messy kitchen table I have a messy craft table. The aroma of baking cookies has been replaced by the aroma of my Scentsy Warmer that fills my home with Christmas Joy.

What is your favorite thing to do for Christmas, is it baking, cooking, or crafts?

Thanksgiving Traditions

Norman-Rockwell-Thanksgiving-thanksgiving-2927689-375-479Here I am getting ready for the second holiday season without Tom. In 35 years of marriage we have only missed two wedding anniversaries, two Christmas’s and one Thanksgiving and one New Year. Not bad for a military wife, but then he only served active duty for part of our marriage before serving the rest of his career in the PA National Guard. Lets face it, although I am proud of the National Guard and all the work they do in their states and across the sea, it is a lot easier being married to a weekend warrior then a full-time soldier.

In that 35 yrs we have made some new traditions while keeping some of the old traditions. When I was growing up we did not have many old family traditions.  Coming from a military family and a grandmother with “itchy” feet my father’s family was thrown to the four corners of the earth. My mother being from Germany never celebrated Thanksgiving so it was a new experience for her. My father was raised in the depression had a very difficult life so I always thought it was his dream to have the traditional Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving.

Dad would always buy the biggest turkey, no matter how tight the household budget. He would cook everything in that turkey including the bone for his turkey soup. To this day I cannot eat stuffing, turkey soup or homemade gravy after I helped him one Thanksgiving – he literally used all the “extra’s” that come with the turkey, for flavor he would say, but that did not encourage me.

Now mom on the other hand was not a turkey connoisseur , I can still hear her say why do we have to eat turkey? But always wanting to become American she adapted. I am sure dad taught her everything she needed to know to make the best roast turkey this side of the Atlantic Ocean. She never did understood the concept of eating turkey only once a year. I always assumed they compromised for Christmas by having ham instead of turkey or the Christmas goose.

There is a clip in a movie “Avalon” which is a movie about Polish Immigrants that reminds me of my mother. Change the accent to German and I can almost hear my mother say “I don’t understand this holiday…we don’t eat turkey all year why do I have it eat now”.

movie clip ~ I will never understand this holiday

So our Thanksgiving holiday was a table filled with all the traditional Thanksgiving Day foods and our family of 5 would eat leftovers it seemed for weeks, although I am sure it was only days afterward.  My sister and I would normally argue over who was to wash or dry the many dishes dad left for us.  Dad would say you can tell a good cook by how many dishes and pots he used…well if that is true, then my dad was a master chef!

Tom comes from a traditional American family, big dinner of turkey and ham, tables filled with food that everyone brought, family gathered around, cousins running all over the place, along with a kids table, I am sure. He was amazed when I told him I was not that fond of turkey. Poor guy did not realize he was not going to have turkey for Christmas, ham would become our  traditional Christmas dinner. He never complained as long as he had his homemade pumpkin pie, his favorite holiday pie. Being newly married and wanting to impress him since he said his mother never made homemade pies I made my Aunt Marty’s pumpkin pie from scratch…from then on I would bake all my pies from scratch using love as my secret ingredient. For 35 yrs, we would have pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and one year I surprised him and made him one for his birthday!

The only time we did not have turkey was for our first Thanksgiving, we had chicken. This was before you could buy turkey breasts or smaller turkeys. I would start baking my pies the day before and instead of homemade stuffing we had stove top. Although I do remember the first time I made homemade stuffing I burnt it…don’t ask me how, I followed the directions and sticking to my convictions I used store-bought broth instead of making my own.

It is time to make new traditions but keeping the many happy memories of the past Thanksgivings.  I remember my parents, my brother and Tom with tears, laughter, and smiles. My traditions are not like the Norman Rockwell pictures or from what is shown in holiday movies.  But like how all traditions are started, both my old and the new ones my children and I will make together, they all start from the love I have for them.

My children and I will still have turkey with all the trimmings and instead of pumpkin pie this year I am making a pumpkin roll. Instead of football it will be watching all the traditional Christmas movies, “It’s A Wonderful Life”, “White Christmas”, It Happened On Fifth Avenue”, “Christmas in Connecticut” and to keep things silly “A Christmas Story”. 

What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? I would enjoy hearing about all the different ways we celebrate, including my Canadian friends.  For my friends across the world, do you also celebrate a thanksgiving holiday?

Fresh Color ~ Fresh Start

house_paint_sI decided to have my living room and den painted and to rearrange those rooms into a different look.  It has been years since my house had a make over and I decided this would be the year.

I need a fresh start.  I am unable to  move nor do I want to at this time. This became the opportunity for me change my life, starting with my home.

“There is a time to grieve and a time to dance” {Ecclesiastes 3:4}  There is indeed a time under each season for us to grow.  A time to grieve, a time to heal and a time to begin again.

Now is the time for me to dance ~ to heal ~ to begin again as I take that giant leap, moving ahead with my memories kept lovingly tucked in my heart while I lay the past to rest ~ tearing the past down and building up a new life.  {“A time to tear down and a time to build up” Ecclesiastes 3:3}

The problem is I am no longer 3o and definitely not 20! What was I thinking??!!

It all started with the decision to plant a few shrubs, a new picture or two and the rearranging of the upstairs so my daughter can have a “living room”.

Tom and I did most of the work ourselves over the years but then we were younger and more energetic.  So I decided to hire someone to do the painting for me. 

Sounded like a good idea until I realized I still needed to pack everything up and move furniture and boxes to the kitchen, my bedroom and upstairs.  

Since I had plenty of time from when I made the arrangements I kept putting it off and as most will laugh as you know the time is here before we know it.  I had procrastinated long enough, P-day is near (Paint Day!)

p2So for the next week or two I may be AWOL.  The painter comes Monday and since I am going a bit lighter it may take up to three 3 days to get enough coats to cover my nice deep country colors, not to mention patching up 20 years of holes from new pictures, rearranging and dogs eating my walls – yes you read right! 

And of coarse I need to put everything back.  Thankfully I do have help, my good friend will be stopping by to  help today or tomorrow and as my daughter said, we will end up talking and laughing while she does all the work!

During all my “projects” from my honey do list I have had many people help me out either doing it for me or by teaching me how to become a Mrs. Fix It.  My sister and brother in law have really stepped in and words cannot express how much I appreciate their help during this past year.

With mixed emotions I look forward to the day when I am done and have rearranged not only my living room and den but my life to be fresh and new.

www.clipartbest.com
http://www.clipartbest.com

Remembering Dad

Dad and PattyFather’s Day ~ 2014

Before I was born my father had wanted to name me Patrick,  assuming I would be boy.  Since my brother and sister were already named for his father and closest sister, he wanted to give his next child a name he always liked.

After I was born there was a uproar about my name though. My father decided Patricia would be just as good a name as Patrick. Besides he had always liked the nick name Patsy. But my grandmother had wanted to name me Elizabeth Grace after her little girl who died in infancy.

We all know who won the argument and I was called Patricia. The story goes that my grandmother had come up to help my mother before and after I was born. After it was decided on what my name would be she got so mad at my mother and not only refusing to talk to her, she would not even hold me. Actually I have a picture somewhere of her holding me with a scowl on her face.

My mother told me that she was alright with the name Elizabeth, it was the middle name that had her in a tizzy. Grace…such a pretty name right?

My mother just in this country for a little over 1 year, was still learning the English language, thought my grandmother wanted to name me Elizabeth “Crazy”. She thought Grace was the word for crazy! Of coarse my father loved to tell the story and would add, “little did we know the name would have fit Patty perfectly”! Once my mother understood she told me she always regretted the misunderstanding of not realizing why the name meant so much to my grandmother.

My poor mother, although she was blamed for me not being Elizabeth Grace, it was in fact my dad who put his foot down and wanted his Patricia. I quickly became Patty, although I was never told why I was never called Patsy.  On occasion he would call me Patsy, and I might add he was the only one who was allowed to do so. He did not call me that often, but when he did it was always with a joke, a smile and a twinkle in his eyes.

He died suddenly when I was 14, four days after his birthday. I never had the chance to speak with him adult to adult, or ask him about his life as a young boy leaving home to help support his mother and sisters. When I started to learn about World War II in school he would fill in the gaps from the history books, teaching me “what the history books would not”. Those were some of the best talks I had with him.

Dad saw things during his tour in Europe in 1944-1945 that we will never be able to comprehend. Those things had haunted him all of his life. He never again found the peace in his life that was lost on the battlefields of Belgium and the Rhineland.

Growing up we had good times and bad times. Through it all we knew we were loved. I had the privilege of having him for my father, although I only knew him for such a short time.

He was far from perfect; he was a man who lived through many difficulties, being a young boy during the Depression, he had left home to support his family. He also witnessed the horrors of the brutality of what one man was capable of doing. Some of the problems and trials were of his own choosing, yet he was a gentle man, a caring man, and a man of courage. Dad was just a troubled soul – trying to find his place in this world.

Dad held many jobs one of his first jobs as a young boy was with the CCC.  After that he also worked a short time with the Ringling Brothers and Bailey Circus, if memory serves me right he told me his job was to help set up the tents.  He was a diesel mechanic and a draftsman. But his most memorable career would be his service to his country for 25 years, with the United States Army.

And that is how I like to think of him. As a soldier and a father who loved and cared for his family the best way he knew how.

Happy Father’s Day Dad ~ “Sarge”!

dad 1

Just when I thought it was safe to leave the house ~

 Just when I thought it was safe to leave the house I was hit again with another case of the shingles.  Thankfully this last episode was not as severe and I thank my doctor for “squeezing” me in-between his other appointments so I was able to start another round of medication before the rash even started.  I did miss more work and I felt as if a mack truck had hit me.  I was down and out again for a few days.  Face it, it has indeed been a long winter of sickness for me.  So much so that my daughter said next winter she is putting me in a bubble.  Sounds good to me!

But, this will soon behind me.  Spring has finally sprung and I have my windows opened letting in plenty of fresh air.  The past week the sweet music of the birds filled my house, so although I was home sick, I was able to enjoy the sounds of spring.

Now it is back to catching up.  Not only is my housework piling up but my desk is overflowing to the point I am using a tv tray to catch the overflow.

God is never one to waste a teaching moment and these past few months He taught me patience.  And it only took 50 + yrs for me to learn!  So although soon, I will no longer see my desk, as things are piling up on my kitchen table and my dust bunnies are having little bunnies I realized those things are not as important as I would want them to be.  Patience for me came in the form of allowing Gods timing to work and not to rush my recuperation because I did not think it is happening fast enough because I wanted my routine back.  Developing patience I found that if the dishes sit on the kitchen counter or my bed is not made, the world still goes on.  Imagine that!!

Not only does the world still turn and a new day dawns, but I found my life got simpler.  Its been a long time since I have stopped long enough to not only smell the roses but to drink in my surroundings, enjoying the beauty of living within the city limits.  The way the street lamp casts its golden glow through my windows. The sound of the train as it makes it way through our little city in the evening.  And like today the cool spring breeze winding its way through all my rooms with the sounds of the neighborhood filling my home – you know the sounds; children playing, dogs barking and the sound that cars make in the distance, to name a few.

 So another lesson learned from my Heavenly Father – When I learned to accept what is, and embrace life in each present moment, my impatience turned to blessings.  So although I can’t say I embraced having shingles, I did learn to accept it for what it was and to enjoy my time resting in my comfortable surroundings. A good attitude is indeed the best medicine.

“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude.” {unknown}

“Patience and perseverance, if we have them, overcome mountains of difficulties” {M G Gandhi}

“The keys to patience are acceptance and faith. Accept things as they are, and look realistically at the world around you. Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen.”

 

– Ralph Marston
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/Inspiration/2010/04/Quotes-on-Patience.aspx?p=9#lk5IuYM

“The keys to patience are acceptance and faith. Accept things as they are, and look realistically at the world around you. Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen.”

 

– Ralph Marston
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/Inspiration/2010/04/Quotes-on-Patience.aspx?p=9#lk5IuYMK2DfMKDM1.99

The Hurrier I Go The Behinder I Get

 I have always loved this saying, “The Hurrier I Go The Behinder I Get” and these past few weeks that is exactly what I felt my life was becoming.

Things were busy as usual but going rather well.  The weather we thought was getting better, so I started some spring cleaning, attended a workshop, continued with my bible study and even had things organized to finish my yearly report due the first of April. All was looking up for March.  Then I got sick with another cold followed by a case of shingles.  And of coarse it was on the left side of my head and in my scalp.  It affected my left eye, although thankfully I am not experiencing any lasting side effects in the eye.  But since it was near the eye not only did I have trouble focusing but I could not wear my glasses, so I could not read, write, or sew.  All I could do is watch tv and sleep.  I never realized not only is singles painful but it drains you of all energy.  In the midst of this we had to get the den ready to make over into my sewing room and my old sewing room into a sitting room of sorts for my daughter.  Add all of that to daylight savings time and losing an hour and you can understand why I am behind in everything.

Now here I sit on a Sunday night after being at work for one full week and the rooms in my house switched over looking over everything that did not get done while I was under the weather.  All my best laid plans to get caught up this weekend only made me realize that the more I hurried around getting things the more I was actually getting behind.  So I made myself a cup of tea and decided to get back to writing, my therapy when things go crazy.

I am on the mend and slowly getting my energy back and my house is once again organized and I do not have stacks of books all over my den and my sewing supplies are not in three different rooms.  Our dogs actually have their couch back!

To get us off to a bright and cheery start for the week I wanted to pick a favorite song that is indeed a toe tapping knee slapping song.  “A Place In The Choir” sung by Celtic Thunder, is also a tribute to George Donaldson one of the original singers who passed away March 12, 2014.  No one could roll their “r’s” like George in many of the songs he sings. 

Enjoy the song as you start off your week and I pray that all of you have a blessed week full of love, peace and joy!

Childhood Christmas Memories

Christmas Fort Bragg
I am the cute on in the middle! We are all wearing our new Christmas pj’s.

 This Christmas was full of memories. The memory of my first Christmas with Tom.  The Christmas’s when the children were small.  I can still see my son at age 6 months as he sat under the tree.  His eyes were as big as saucers and he giggled as the lights blinked. Our daughter had her first Christmas with palm trees while we were stationed in Florida.  The doll Tom purchased for her was bigger than she was!

But my first memory of Christmas was when I was 5 yrs old. Dad was stationed at Fort Bragg, NC   the first place I also remember living.  It is here I got my first bike although I think it was for my birthday and not Christmas.  Christmas was reserved for baby dolls for my sister and me, and a Texaco or Hess truck for my brother.  Along with games,puzzles, coloring books and crayons, doll houses and stuffed animals.  Dad loved to get us the musical ones from Radio Shack as we got older.  Although I loved my dolls I always remember playing with my brothers Lincoln Logs and playing with his GI Joe, my Barbie did not have a Ken doll, instead I took my brothers GI Joe (back when they were made the same size as Barbie) and married him off to my Barbie.  My Barbie was an Army wife! 

As we got older the gifts changed, coloring books for paint sets and dolls for perfume, make up and girly things.  But one thing never changed our Christmas pj’s.  That was the gift we could always count on.  The one thing we always received until well in adulthood were pajamas.  Picture me newly married and for our first Christmas we went to my mother’s house and presented our gifts and lo and behold I had my Christmas pj’s. After mom passed away I think getting my Christmas pj’s was one of the things  I missed the most from that first Christmas without her.   And as traditions go my children also received pj’s every Christmas until my son got too old cool for them and my daughter  prefers to choose her own.   Now I await grandchildren so I can continue the tradition of buying Christmas pj’s from them.

Now as I am older in years and mature in my faith there is another gift that I can always count on and not just at Christmas.  It is the gift of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Savior.  All those years ago a little baby was born that changed the world.  Today His gift of Salvation is a gift we can always count on.

May you carry the gift of Jesus in your heart all year-long.

A New Road To Travel

 The past few months I have found out just what I am made of.  I am made from the same strength and determination as that of my mother. Through my mother, God taught me how to take that step of faith into the unknown as I move ahead into a new life.

This past summer I decided to take time off from my busy schedule and let go of some of my commitments.  It gave me enough time to reflect in solitude as I learn to find my way in this new world I find myself in. It was a time spent remembering and thanking God for my life with Tom.  It was also a time for me to sit back and take inventory of my life and figure out the future. God has set me down a new road, and I will admit it is a road I never wanted to travel, nor is it a road any of us want to travel.  But travel it I will as I choose to follow God down this unfamiliar, rocky road.

My mother traveled down rocky roads most of her life.  Raised in Germany at a time when all she knew was war and destruction. It was through her strength and that of her parents that they would rebuild their lives.  It was my mother’s strength that saw her through my father’s alcoholism and through the death of my brother who died in an accident only 2 months after my father died suddenly of a heart attack.

The old saying “life goes on” is so true.  Life does go on along with our responsibilities. I feel as if I am ready to step out in faith in what the next chapter of my life holds.  And as I move forward I will always have God walking with me on this rocky road offering me hope for a future, the support of Tom to encourage me and a long line of courageous women to give me strength.
 
This next week I will gather the strength I inherited from my mother and step out in faith as I move ahead to what God has planned for me.  Last spring I was nominated to serve on the Presbyterian Women of the Synod of the Trinity board as their historian.  Tom as always was supportive and encouraged me to pray for God’s direction when I was first elected last spring.  It is with mixed feelings that I begin my term next week.  Honored to serve with such Godly and caring women but sad that I will start a new adventure in serving God without Tom.
 
Now that my path is set I will be spending the next few weeks getting organized and setting my priorities  as I find my way. I will face my new challenge with the grace of God as I put one foot in of the other and begin again.  Until I set my feet firmly on solid ground I may not be blogging much but I will be reading your articles which have become nightly visits from friends as I enjoy my evening cup of tea.