Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley

Make a Memory

A few days ago I posted a poem titled Make a Memory and promised I would tell the story behind it. My sister-in-law, Tiz, asked me not to be too long about getting it up, especially after I told her that she and my brother, Mike are part of the story and Mike was a prime player in “the memory.”

Mike and Tiz live in Australia and last September, they visited us in Wisconsin for the very first time. I hadn’t seen my brother in far too many years and had never even met Tiz so this was a big occasion. A wonderful time was had by all but one incident stands out to me above all the others. It was a simple thing really but rich and very complex in meaning to me on several different levels.

We had gathered on the porch in the late afternoon just talking about this and that, enjoying each other’s company and my Gr-son Gabe was sort of lurking around the edges of the adults, listening to our conversation (I think we were discussing politics or something) and he had come up and leaned against me. I could see that he was trying to get closer but there was nowhere for him to sit so I invited him to sit on my lap.

Now Gabe had formed somewhat of a huge boy crush on my brother Mike and I had noticed he was trying to impress him so I wasn’t surprised when he informed me rather scornfully “I don’t sit on peoples’ laps anymore, Gramma.” To which I replied that I guessed he WAS getting a little too grown up for that but I sure wished I had known the last time he sat on my lap that it was going to be the last time. He asked me why and I said because I would have made a memory about it since I loved it so much when he sat on my lap when he was little.

At that point Mike chimed in with a comment about how important living in the present and being mindful of what is precious to you when you are with your loved ones is because you never know when the last time is going to be. We had a short discussion about that. That was probably the best–most meaningful–conversation Mike and I had that whole weekend. There was a whole lot that was left unspoken but was said nonetheless, in my opinion.

The conversation moved on and awhile later Gabe came up and nonchalantly sat on my lap. I didn’t say anything, just gave him a little hug but I knew what he was doing. After a few moments, he leaned in close and whispered in my ear “This is the last time, Gramma. Make a memory.” 

When they got home, Tiz sent me some pictures of their visit. One of them is the picture of Gabe and Daryn playing with some kangaroo boxer toys and there is Gabe, sitting on my lap. Occasionally I would look at that picture and think about sweet Gabe saying “This is the last time; make a memory” and think about writing a poem. Eventually that poem pretty much just wrote itself early one morning. I changed very little after the first draft. Mostly just line breaks and punctuation and one word.

So, Thanks Mike and Tiz.  You both helped make a special memory.

Barbara Gavin-Lewellyn


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I really liked the play of light on the curtains and plant in contrast to the near silhouettes of the children playing together  in this picture.



Barbara Gavin-lewellyn


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I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be
~written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed and sung by Whitney Houston

Who is Joseph Kony?

Joseph Kony is the world’s worst war criminal. In 1987 he took over leadership of an existing rebel group and renamed it the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

The LRA has earned a reputation for its cruel and brutal tactics. When Joseph Kony found himself running out of fighters, he started abducting children to be soldiers in his army or “wives” for his officers. The LRA is encouraged to rape, mutilate, and kill civilians–often with blunt weapons.

The LRA is no longer active in northern Uganda (where it originated) but it continues its campaign of violence in Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and South Sudan. In its 26-year history, the LRA has abducted more than 30,000 children and displaced at least 2.1 million people.

What is the goal of KONY 2012?

Invisible Children has been working for 9 years to end Africa’s longest-running armed conflict. U.S. military advisers are currently deployed in Central Africa on a “time-limited” mission to stop Kony and disarm the LRA. If Kony isn’t captured this year, the window will be gone.

We are taking action to ensure these two things:

1) That Joseph Kony is known as the World’s Worst War Criminal.

2) That the U.S. military advisers support the Ugandan Army until Kony has been captured and the LRA has been completely disarmed. They need to follow through all the way and finish what they have started.

Why are we making Joseph Kony “famous”?

Invisible Children’s KONY 2012 campaign aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice. In this case, notoriety translates to public support. If people know about the crimes that Kony has been committing for 26 years, they will unite to stop him.

Secondly, we want Kony to be famous so that when he is stopped, he will be a visible, concrete example of international justice. Then other war criminals will know that their mass atrocities will not go unnoticed or unpunished.


General questions:

info@invisiblechildren.com// 619.562.2799

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The information above is taken from the invisiblechildren.com website.  Children everywhere are the future.  Make the world a better place for OUR children by supporting the Kony 2012 initiative.  Get involved.   Write your congresspersons and senators, and tweet the 32 policy makers and celebrities Jason Russell has targeted on his website.  Make your voice heard in this urgent matter!


STOP Joseph Kony!



  Barbara Gavin-Lewellyn

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I always go to Edgerton to spend Halloween with my children. Halloween is my Daughter and Son-in-law’s favorite holiday and of course my seven year old Gr-son gets hugely excited by the festivities. The wife of their best friends who live next door was born on Halloween so they have a birthday party for her as well.  Generally they take friend’s young son trick or treating with them while friends go out to dinner.

Son-in-law really gets into Halloween and goes all out decorating his front yard and porch up as spookily as possible.  His theme is a graveyard and skeletons, of course.  I generally help him out by shopping the after Halloween clearance sales for his Christmas presents and getting  him skeletons to add to his collection.

I haven’t hit Walgreens yet to see what they have but I think I want to get him a t-shirt with a skeleton on it if I can find it.  He was wearing the one he has for part of his costume this year and it is terribly faded and ragged around the edges.  Not that that is necessarily bad from his point of view, I suspect but it might be nice to get a new one he can start wearing under his mailman uniform this winter so it will have that appropriate worn out look in a couple of years.  <heh>

He alternates between being a skeleton and Jack from “The Nightmare before Christmas.”   He has a wonderful Jack costume and my daughter has a great Patty costume.  If they could get the Gr-Son to do one of the other characters instead of a super hero it would be wonderful but of course Gr-son loves the super hero costumes.  This year he was a Transformer.

Funny, I never let my kids buy costumes.  Ever.  And it wasn’t because we couldn’t afford them.  It was because I wanted them to use their imaginations and come up with great costumes the way my brothers and I did way back when.  Now you hardly ever see home made costumes and I suppose if I was my daughter I would not make my Gr-Son use his imagination either even though between his Mom, Dad and himself they could surely put together something better than that ticky tacky stuff passing for costumes.

I bought the kids a better grade of chocolates and little toys for their goody bags although I wish I had gotten them here in Madison rather than waiting until I got to Edgerton.  Russel Stover’s are NOT GOOD chocolates in my opinion!  I made good choices for all of them.  Baby T really liked her little ladybug noise maker.  She was so cute with it.

I got pictures of everything but I’m having problems with my photo program.   It’s a real puzzler.  Stinking ‘Puters!


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Oh where, oh where has my little dog gone
Oh where, oh where can he be
With his ears cut short and his tail cut long
Oh where, oh where can he be?


I am in such an incredibly good mood. Every-thing’s going my way! The Isthmus is quoting me. My Blogs are cooking right along, I’m writing daily without a struggle, I am pretty sure I have found the Dog of my dreams and I am not in excruciating pain 24/7 just 12/3 and 1/2 <snort> Actually, I think I am just finding it easier to ignore the pain because I am engaged in the world and enjoying myself.

I’m this close >< to getting a dog. It’s a choice between a dachshund/beagle mix–a Dachsle and a Yorkshire Terrier/Chihuahua mix–Yorchi. I’m leaning heavily towards the Dachsle because he is cheaper, looks just like my dog when I was a teenager, is low maintenance, and is probably less spoiled than the Yorchi who sounds like a holy terror from the way his ‘Mom’ described him.

The Yorchi is cute as a button but he is four years old and has never been neutered so he’s full of piss and vinegar. It sounds as though he has been spoiled rotten and needs some serious obedience training. I could DO that but do I WANT to? ummm NOT if I don’t HAVE to. There is also the cost. He will cost twice as much as the Dachsle who comes with a kennel and all of his toys and stuff.

I really like the Yorchi’s ‘Mom’ who is my son’s co-worker. And I think I will feel bad if I say no because she really really wants me to take this dog because she has such a high opinion of my son that she thinks *I* would be a great ‘Mom’ for her baby sight unseen. That is so flattering and I am so proud of my son for being such a nice guy that people think *I* must have been a great mother. That is so cool but he deserves so much credit for making the right choices in life when he could have very easily taken the wrong path.

For all the care and heartache
Life has brought to me
One precious gift has made it all worthwhile
For heaven blessed and with great joy rewarded me
For I can look and see my own beloved son

My son, my son just do the best you can
Then in my heart I’m sure
You’ll face life like a man

My pride and joy
My life, my boy
My son, my son

Vera Lynn

The song quoted above is a little misleading since I have a daughter I am also immesely proud of. I have spoken of her before in this Blog. My children are indeed my pride and joy. I have trouble expressing that sometimes. Intellectually I know that what I am about to say is crazy thinking but it is always there in the back of my mind that if things are going too well for me and mine and I express my happiness and pride in my life it will somehow be destroyed.

I need to get over that fear big time because it is putting such a damper on my relationship with my children. I love them so much but showing that love has become so difficult, I am literally subconsciously afraid that *I* will destroy THEM. Maybe by saying these things out loud on this Blog I can dispel that fear. How much more public can I get?

Oh, BTW, Thanks Mom and Dad for installing this huge fear into my ego, id or super ego or WHATever. Lovely.


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Give me down to there hair
Shoulder length or longer hair
Here baby, there mama
Everywhere daddy daddy
Hair, hair, hair, hair
Grow it, show it
Long as I can grow it
My hair

The Cowsills

I have fairly long hair–long enough that when I sit down it catches against the back of the chair and annoys me. Unfortunately, I am beginning to experience the family curse. Alopecia Areata. In other words, I’m balding. I started out with incredibly thick hair so its taking awhile.

I’ll admit it. I’m vain about my hair. I think it has always been my best feature. It’s a medium auburn, it’s shiny, and it has a lot of natural body. If it wasn’t so thick and heavy it would be curly and was when I was a little girl. I love my hair. Yup, I’m pretty attached to it.

I’ve been wearing my hair parted(going north you might say) so last night, I was standing in front of the mirror brushing my teeth minding my own business when a wild hair (all puns intended) struck me. Bangs would look nice. Before I could stop myself, I had a pair of scissors in my hands and I was snipping away. Voi`la Bangs!

I hope I don’t regret this. My favorite way to wear my hair is up in a french twist and it would do this really cool swoopy thing before I cut the bangs. I’m guessing I won’t get the swoopy thing anymore. But I’m not cursed with a forehead you could land a 747 on anymore either. <heh>

I think I like them. I washed my hair this morning and fiddled with them a bit and it’s going to be a lot easier to keep my hair out of my face without using lots of product on it. That’s a good thing as Martha would say.

I wonder what my daughter will say. She’s the beautician of the family. She’ll probably be peeved I didn’t wait and let her do the honors. Ohhh well. I need the ends trimmed and I’ll let her chop a couple of inces off.  I quit “covering up the gray” so there’s some dyed stuff that doesn’t really match.  I’m going to be a lovely silver when it all turns.

My daughter wants me to get it cut short. She thinks I’m too old for long hair and she could give me a really cute cut that would be much more flattering. I tell her I’m doing the Tyne Daly thing and MYOB. My daughter wishes I was a more sterotypical suburban Grandma type Mom. She doesn’t appreciate my free spirit radical hippie style. Whatever.

Hopefully my hair loss will continue to be gradual and I won’t end up going whole hog with Areata Universalis which is complete and total hair loss over your total body. Yeah, even down there. The good news is you don’t have to shave your legs anymore. The bad news is that you have to paint on your eyebrows and use false eyelashes. Wigs are optional since Sinead O’Connor.

I hear through the family grapevine that my Aunt Kathy Jo who is the same age as I am woke up to find her beautiful blonde hair in bed with her one morning. It stayed there while she went to breakfast which is exactly what happened to her mother,, my Grandmother. I suspect she hit menopause and that was the triggering event.

I am still peri-menopause I think–I have had a hysterectomy so I don’t know. However, I haven’t had any of the typical symptoms until just recently, maybe. The last few days I have had what might be hot flashes and Iexperienced night sweats two nights in a row. Maybe I’m finally THERE. At 55 it’s about time.

Imagine, I could have conceived a child up to this point or that’s what they told me three years ago when they did a hormone study–USE BIRTH CONTROL. I think a hysterctomy that removes the cervix is a pretty good form of birth control don’t you?

My Grandmother and all of her brothers and sisters had Areata Universalis. It was pretty bizaare. They also had a mottling loss of skin pigmentation which I have but not nearly to that degree. I AM very fair skinned. It may have been this condition: Vitiligo.

All that to say I have a new ‘do. I like it.

If I go bald I’m getting a tattoo on my scalp. I’d love to get it tattooed all over with fake curls in multi-colors but that’s out of my budget. Dunno what yet. Maybe “Naturally Bald and Proud of It


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href=”“>Bless the beasts and the children
The Carpenters

There are so many ways we can abuse so much in this world. We can even abuse the planet itself as Al Gore has pointed out in his Academy Award winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth. I am not a Christian, I have made that very clear on several occasions in my Blogs but I believe the myths human beings tell to explain their occupation of this planet are powerful. The Christian creation story has a compelling message that I think that Christians and non-Christians alike can take a valuable lesson from regarding our role as stewards of this planet and its inhabitants.

I am going to use the King James 1611 Bible because I love the majesty of the Elizabethan Language. I don’t think it makes much difference which translation you use. This part of the story of “In the beginning…” is pretty clear.

1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 1:30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

This story is centuries old. It was almost certainly passed along as an oral tradition long before it was ever written down and there were many versions before it was recorded in this beautiful 16th century iambic pentameter. The main point that I want to dwell on here is that HUMANS have DOMINION over everything else in the world.

Dominion. That’s a strong word to use. We were to dominate or rule over all the animals and all of the fishes in the sea and the fowl that flies and all the creepy crawly things too.. We have complete charge of everything else in the world. The creator god gave it all to us. If you believe in this creator God I don’t see how you can fail to believe that you have been commanded by God to take care of his creation.

If you are a disbeliever perhaps you could take a moment to reflect that these supposedly primitive people back in the dark recesses of time recognized that it was OUR duty to take care of this planet. They believed that an almighty force, a supernatural being they believed to be the creator of everything around them, gave THEM the power to rule over everything. They recognized their status as the beasts highest on the food chain and understood the moral responsibility that that implied. Can we do any less?

Taking care of this planet and ALL OF ITS INHABITANTS, right down to the most seemingly insignificant species of fly in the muckiest marsh in the backwoods of nowhereville is essential to our own well being. This is it, folks, this is all we’ve got. This planet and its inhabitants depend on us to be good stewards. WE MUST STOP THE ABUSE!

Each of us can stop the abuse by choosing our own particular interest and taking a proactive part in being good stewards. Humananity has been thoughtless and cruel for far too long. There are many, many causes that need to be taken up and battles that need to be fought. You might find the destruction of our rain forests to be particularly reprehensible or you might have issues with substance abuse in your life or you might want to take up the cause of making sure that everyone spays and neuters their pets. There is something for everyone to do.

I have a particular interest in preventing child abuse. How do you prevent child abuse? You can make a determined heroic promise that you will never ever abuse a child and I will truly believe that you would never WANT to do that. But if you were abused as a child I would bet that the odds are better that 50/50 that you will abuse your own child in some way, shape, or form if you do not seek professional help.

Don’t believe me? Check the statistics on the ‘net.

I did. I hate the fact that I did. But I did.

I hit my children when I was angry. I said terrible things to them. Things that no mother should ever say to her babies. Eventually it got so bad I HAD to seek professional help because I was horrified by my behavior. I was horrified but I couldn’t stop. I was out of control.

I had to admit that I needed help if I was going to to end the cycle of abuse. If you are a parent who is in the position I was in, please, seek help. You can get help through your local Child Welfare Services, Domestic Abuse Crisis Lines or family doctor. The professionals you turn to will understand. You will not be punished and your children will not be taken away from you if you come forward. YOU are NOT a bad person but your behavior can and must change.

If you were abused as a child but don’t have children yet, PLEASE, seek professional help. Not only for your own sake, for the sake of your future children.

If you see a child being abused or know of a family where children are being abused DO SOMETHING. The child abuse hotline is 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4253) You can also help by getting involved in Child Abuse Prevention organizations

Make a decision to stop the abuse. Choose Hope.

Bless the beasts and the children
For in this world they have no voice
They have no choice

Bless the beasts and the children
For the world can never be
The world they see

Light their way
When the darkness surrounds them
Give them love
Let it shine all around them

Bless the beasts and the children
Give them shelter from a storm
Keep them safe
Keep them warm

Light their way
When the darkness surrounds them
Give them love
Let it shine all around them

Bless the beasts and the children
Give them shelter from a storm
Keep them safe
Keep them warm

The children
The children

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