Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Finding Joy when Joy does not find you...

Can JOY be bought?

Sadly I received a message from an old friend who shared with me that she has a hard time "keeping up" with me.  She shared that she is irritated that I am able to "find" joy in life.  She told me that she has no clue how to find joy in her life and is rather jealous that I can.

I called her and talked at great length.  She has a beautiful home, but does not find joy in that.  She has 3 wonderful cars, but does not find joy in them.  She has 2 great kids, but they wear her out.  Her husband earns six figures and she does not work, no joy there.  She lives in a warm climate in a great small town.  No joy.

It made me really ponder what joy is and how you find it when it does not find you.

So here is my take on JOY.

In this world that we live in there are plenty of "joy busters".  The economic downturn, the H1N1 scare, people becoming jobless and homeless - so on and so on.  If you spend any amount of time pondering these things - yes, your joy can be depleted.  When you are hurt through one experience and then another you close your heart and want to protect it.  

I know.  I have been there. 

After being hurt you are fearful that it will happen again.  When you let your guard down and allow JOY to seep in, you are caught off guard and want to close up in an effort to protect yourself.  You see JOY can only enter an open heart.  If you go though life with the door to your heart slammed shut - JOY will never be allowed in.

We often get caught in the trap of what we THINK brings us joy.  Most often we attach a price tag to these things.  If I only had a bigger home, a nicer car, more money my bank account, these things would bring me less stress and then I could "find" joy. 

Not so.

Joy is a fruit of the SPIRIT. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

So, back to the question - "How do you find joy if it does not find you?"

Joy is a RESULT of opening your heart, taking care of your inner self and allowing your heart to seek JOY.

Knowing that I am loved by God and that each new day I am afforded HIS Grace brings me joy.  I am joyful when my kids tell me they love me.  I feel joy when I hear birds singing outside.  I feel joy when the sun shines on my face.  Joy is what makes me feel like living.

JOY does not come from things that money can buy.  JOY is a feeling. 

It is amazing once you feel it.  Once you allow JOY in you can't get enough of it!

Music can bring you joy.  Nature can bring you joy.  Loving people can bring you joy.  Simply smiling can bring you joy.  Millions of things that are right in front of you can bring you JOY!  You just have to let it in!

It is simple.

JOY is all around.  OPEN your heart and let some JOY in this Holiday Season!
I wish you all the JOY your heart can hold!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Ahhh! First Day of Christmas Break!

My lil guys!

Ahhh the first day of our Christmas Vacation!  We slept in, are still in our jammies, are listening to Christmas Music while eating pancakes!  Life is good!

My kids are very excited that Christmas is almost here, but even more excited that their Uncles and Cousins are coming!  

Being together - that is the best gift of all!  A true gift that money can not buy!  

We plan on making cookies, playing games and spending time just being together.  It has been a few years since all the cousins were together at the Holidays!  

I still have some shopping to do and some "real life issues" that are putting a damper on my festivities.
It seems that bills are due, car insurance is up for renewal, etc. etc.  

I just wish I could make those things GO AWAY so we could just concentrate on the celebration of Christ's Birth and the love that this Holiday brings!

Perhaps I will knuckle down and try to tackle these "dampers" today and get them out of the way!

We are so blessed to have BEAUTIFUL warm weather for the Holidays and I am loving every minute of it!  It is neat to see the snow on T.V. and not have to get out in it!  We are so ill equipped for cold weather!  I do not even own a pair of closed toed shoes - just my UGG Boots!

It seems that the illness has returned to our house - both lil guys have bad coughs and Grandma came home from her cruise with a cough too.  We will not let it get us down!  We will push through and make this a fun filled holiday!

Here is wishing you get all your last minute preparations completed and that you can relax and enjoy your family!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Today is a day I actually wish it was a Rainy Day!  I feel like staying in all day and just editing the photos from the session above.  I get in my "creative moods" and want to do nothing except sit in my jammies and create storyboards and montages!

But it is not raining today.  Today is suppose to be clear, and warm.  A beautiful day in Southern California.  It is on days like these that I feel bad for staying in to edit.  I long to be out in the warm sun letting my boys enjoy the nice weather.

Perhaps I can do a little of both today!  The best of both worlds.

The weatherman is calling for temps in the 80's by Friday!  Wow!  Not too much like Christmas time when you are in shorts and flip flops!  But I am not going to complain!

Perhaps we can have an afternoon at the beach!

Sounds good.  Tomorrow Trevan sings at school and Friday Turner goes Caroling at a Senior Center while Trevan has a Holiday Party.  I want to clone myself to be in both places!

The life of a mother.

But Today is - Today.

I will focus on the here and now and go forth and be productive!
Have a great day today and I'll check in with you TOMORROW~

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Family Dynamics, Oh So FUN!

Kids...will be kids!

Have you ever felt like you were sinking in quick sand?  Have you ever felt like no matter how hard you tried - it wasn't good enough?

I tell you - kids can make you question your sanity!  I think that kids are just not made like they use to be!  When I was young I had a huge level of respect for my parents that is sorely lacking in my household today.  I don't know what I have done as a parent to warrant the disrespect that my now 19 and 14 year old sons display.  They see nothing wrong with copping attitude, talking back to us and using "trucker" language in our home.  

I use to think of my family like a quilt.  Neatly pieced together with lovely pieces - each different, but when all put together they were a stunning piece of work.  

Now my quilt is old and worn.  Pieces are torn, tattered and unraveling.

Can this "Family Quilt" be repaired?  

I am not sure.  Some of the pieces are so tattered and torn that piecing them back together will never work.  Some pieces are newer and can be carefully taken care of so that they will not suffer the wear and tear that the others have.

I feel that no matter how hard I have tried to take great care of my quilt, it has suffered the test of time and has come apart despite my efforts.

All I can do is pray that God can bring healing to the tattered pieces of our family's quilt and put some hope into it so that it will last for generations to come.

I am feeling very worn out as the Holidays approach.  I have not shopped for the kids, no decorations deck our halls.  My little guys both have Celebrations at the same time on the same day and I can't split myself in two.  They both want me to be with them.  But how?

Trenton got his report card today and he is doing worse.  He is now failing not two but three classes.  I am just at my wits end.  This is the age and stage where we "lost" Taylor.  He slipped from being our innocent little boy into a wayward, rebellious teenager.

I want to save Trenton from traveling this road, but don't know how.  I can't "get in his head" and know what is making him tick.  

Family dynamics, Oh So FUN!

I pray that we can settle down and have a nice peaceful Holiday with the Family.  Extended family is coming to town, both my brothers and their kids.  The cousins share a strong bond and for that I am thankful.  This brings me so much joy.

This is all I need.  Watching the love exchanged in my "quilt" will bring me all the joy I need this Holiday Season!

I hope your "family quilt" is not tattered or torn, but crisp, vibrant and a lovely site to behold!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Birthday to my Taylor!

From the Najjar Photo Shoot

Busy - Busy Weekend!  

We had our Road To Rwanda Silent Auction which was pretty rained out!  We still had a great time and did not do too bad - as our fellow team members did some bidding!

Yesterday, Maria and I did a photo shoot for the Najjar Family.  We had a great time with Tiffany, Maya and Tony.  I was up late creating their Holiday Card and placing their order so they can send out their Custom Cards ASAP!

Today I will be editing photos and tonight we will celebrate my "Baby" turning 19!  Taylor is 19 today!  He shares his Birthday with my nephew Brenton - who is 15 today and my friend of many years gave birth to her daughter Caroline on this date too!  Happy Birthday Caroline!!

I can't believe that Christmas is almost here!  Only a couple weeks and we will be sipping coffee by the fire at my mom and dad's.  After Christmas my brothers both come with the newphews and nieces and I can hardly wait!  I love those kiddos so much I could just burst!

We did not do much shopping and are not too prepared for Christmas.  But that is okay!  Being together is what it is all about!  Our place is too small for a tree - but perhaps one day in the near future we will be able to move to a larger place.

We have been enjoying our puppy Romeo.  We are pup sitting while my parents are in Hawaii.  My boys have missed their doggie!  

I was listening to the radio on my way home last night and heard someone speaking about the impact our words have on others.

It is so true.  Our words pack so much punch for the good and for the bad.  I am really going to make an effort to compliment my kids more and watch the things that I say.  I had a friend call me this weekend to thank me for being their friend.  It meant so much to me and made me feel so great.  We need to do this more!  It is so easy for the complaints to come flying out...we need to make more of an effort to tell those we care about how special they really are!

So, I challenge you to tell at least 2 people each day how much they mean to you - or shower them with compliments!  We all need this - and want it.  Spread a little joy with your words!  Simple enough!
Just think - it won't even cost you a penny!

Off to edit some photos!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Silent Auction


Please Join Us!

Saturday, December 12, 2009
11:00am - 2:00pm

6 Fresian
Coto De Caza, CA

Come to the Road To Rwanda Silent Auction. All proceeds will go towards missions efforts in Rwanda. There will be many great items up for bid such as jewelry, designer bags, photography session, hotel stay, handicrafts, and so much more.

Admission is $10 and includes a light lunch.

Silent Auction will take place from 11am-1pm

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Help us spread some love!

Spreading some LOVE!

Our Kids Small Group is making Holiday Cards and doing a Toy Drive for our local Ronald MacDonald House.  If you want to help us make this a really special Holiday you can donate GIFT CARDS for us to include in our Drive!  

Send Gift Cards for Restaurants, Movies, Target, Wal-Mart, etc. to me by December 21st at:

Janean Lindner
28715 Los Alisos Blvd Ste 7-348
Mission Viejo, CA  92692

Thanks for helping us in this effort!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ahhh - a HOME.

Photos of my parents remodeled bath and fireplace that my husband built...

My mom and dad have a lovely home.  They left yesterday for a wonderful cruise to Hawaii.  I am so blessed to be able to enjoy their home while they are away, taking care of our dog Romeo.

Romeo is a VERY loved dog.  He was our "baby" and when we had to move and could not have him my parents took him in.  He is now a "prince"!  

Last night I stayed here with the boys as Trevan's asthma was acting up with the rainy, cool weather.  He still has the cough from being sick with the flu.  We got into our jammies and curled up by the fireplace.  We all curled up in my parents bed and attempted to sleep.

At 1:00 am Trevan was coughing so hard we came downstairs.  We lit the fireplace and I propped him up, gave him medicine and rubbed his chest with Vicks.  Soon he was back to sleep and I got to watch T.V. shows that my mom had on her DVR.

I watched Private Practice and Grey's Anatomy while listening to the pitter patter of the rain.  So peaceful!

Today I have slumbered on and off on the sofa with the boys.  They are having so much fun getting into the "toy closet" and running about.  There is a lot more room here than in our lil apartment and they think they are Kings of the Castle!

Soon I will shower in my parents luxurious bathroom that my husband designed and built.  We will all set out in the rain with Romeo in tow to drive to Irvine and get Trenton from school.  We need to pick up Taylor and bring him back out this way to the doctor.

I am so relaxed here and wishing we could hunker down all day buttoned inside by the fire.  I love the rain but hate getting out in it and getting wet!  There was a time when I may not have had the appreciation for my parents home like I do now.  I love it and am enjoying it while they are gone - a mini-vacation for us too!

The Holidays are coming and we are so excited to see our family.  My brothers will be coming with my nieces and nephews and time spent here in this home is precious.  I love this time of year.

I pray you are safe, warm and happy on this very wet day here in California.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday Boutique Time!

We are still in need of more Baked Goods/Candy and Gift Items to Sell at our Event this Saturday - let me know if you can help!

You are specially invited:

“Road to Rwanda” Holiday Boutique

Saturday, December 5th, 2009
Open House: 10 am to 4 pm
Hosted by Nani Plaza & friends (at Caicedo Residence)
26531 Kari Brook, Lake Forest, off El Toro & Creekside

· Come and find a unique holiday decoration or gift for someone on your list 

(and know the proceeds will go to Rwanda for the 2010 mission and for the women 
who are living with HIV/Aids)

· Come and purchase home baked holiday goods

· Take time out to buy a cookie or two, and then enjoy decorating

· Have the gifts you purchase wrapped for a minimal fee

· Come and hear about our ministry: where we have been & where we are going, “Road to Rwanda 2010”

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Attitude is everything...

I know I have touched on this before - but lately it has really come to my attention that attitude is everything.  Have you ever noticed that if someone in your family is having a bad day and approaching life with a bad attitude that is it spills over onto everyone?  I struggle with this in our household.

One person gets all cranky and "off" and then everyone else starts in with the negative attitude.

I try really hard to see the glass as "half full" as much as I can.  Seriously - if you stop and look at it - doesn't God provide all we "need"?  The key word here is NEED.  Sure we have all these earthly desires but do we really need all that we want?  Heck no!

I need a roof overhead.  I have that.  I need food.  I have that.  I need to be able to seek medical care when needed.  I have that.  Basics.  

If we learn to appreciate the fact that our basic needs are being met the rest is easy!  Anything else is a "bonus" and your glass is half full!

This year, this Holiday, we have our needs.  We have a place to live and food to eat.  My kids know that there may not be the "end all be all" gifts under the tree and they are okay with that.  They are not "expecting" much at all so anything they get they will be grateful for.  I am thankful for this.  Perhaps if we had not gone down the road that God led us down they would not be grounded in this way.

I, myself have a greater appreciation for the simple things in life.  I expect nothing and get everything in return!  I am blessed more richly by my friendships and cherish things more deeply than I ever have.

This Holiday is not about what we "get" - but rather what we can "give".  We can lend an ear to a friend in need.  We can give our time doing something worth while.  We can share a talent we possess.  We can give a hug, bake some cookies and share a smile.  You don't have to be rich in a monetary sense to be able to richly bless others.

I just pray and ask that God uses me to richly bless others.  I pray that you too will not get caught up in the "commercialization" of the Holiday Season and forget that YOU have a lot to offer.  

Don't let it go to waste.  Pray and ask God to use you.  Be open to His leading and let him show you how blessed it is to be a blessing to others!

Smile even when you don't feel like it - it does wonders for your attitude!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Beautiful YOU!

Celebrate your Beauty!

Maria Alvarado and I are
Now Booking XoXo Valentine's Day Portrait Session

When: January 16th at a Newport Beach, Luxury Hotel

You will receive a Personalized Photo Session capturing the true essence of your personality. Dress fancy, sexy, boudoir - your choice.  Champagne, Wine, Fruit and Chocolates will be served.

Indulge! Enjoy! Let loose! Come have a ball and be a lady!

Fee Includes Session, Portraits Artistically Edited and Re-Touched, Personalized Photo Gallery with Password Protection, Complimentary 8x10 Portrait of your choice, 
Special Valentine's Day Pricing 
and a TON of FUN!

You owe it to yourself!

Just - $125...

To book your session send your non-refundable deposit of $125 to janeanlindner@mac.com
via PayPal or email me to mail a check.

Space is LIMITED so book now.
Gift Certificates Available!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving - a couple days late!

Trevan age 5

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  The "sickness" infiltrated our Holiday Celebrations.  Everyone was dragging and sluggish on Thanksgiving and then lil Trevan announced at Grandma and Grandpa's that he really did not feel good.

We got him home and into bed - only to have him wake a few hours later with a high fever and a croupy cough.  He ended up in the ER the next day on his brother's birthday - sorry Trenton.

Seems the H1N1 has hit the Lindner home.  Trevan got a dose of the Tamiflu at the ER but our insurance did not cover the prescription which was $80.  The anti-nausea med was also a no-go.  Just our luck.  Taylor and Trenton also fell prey to the "sickness" - the only one semi-well is Stace.

So, we have all been sleep deprived and friends of the bathroom.  Not having a washer and dryer in my home any longer is really hard when the FLU hits.  Yuck is all I can say to that!

I had a couple photo shoots yesterday and after sleeping till almost noon today - I have been editing photos all day.  Not sleeping for 3 straight nights up with sick kids takes a toll on you!

I am pretty wiped out and wish we had another 5 day vacation.  Hopefully Turner is going to go back to school as he missed the past 2 weeks.  I hope Trenton does not have to miss school as he is already behind.

So - to back it up - We were very Thankful this Thanksgiving.  We were blessed by a family we do not even know and given a "peace of mind" for the Holidays.  This means more to us than anything!

I thank the Lord for all the Blessings He has bestowed upon us and pray that Trenton and I are able to get all the donation money we need to go to Rwanda.  I want the opportunity to do the work that God has for us and to "give back" for all that we have been given.

Off to edit more photos - here are a few from yesterday...


Wednesday, November 25, 2009



I just love when kids are excited about something!  Pure joy to my heart.  Trevan is so excited today about his Thanksgiving Feast at school.  I pray that I feel well enough to get ready and go up to the school to snap a few photos of this special time for him.

The excitement of the Christmas Season has put a little sparkle in their eye too.  They tell me of the things that they want Santa to bring them.  Not having the comprehension of how much things cost and not knowing that "Santa" uses mom and dad's checking account to "make their wishes come true"; I tried to explain a little bit about Christmas to them.  I told them that it was not so much about WHAT Santa could bring.  It was more about the celebration of Jesus' Birth.  That we were celebrating Jesus' Birthday.

Trevan grew very excited and said matter of fact..."Well FINALLY!  We get to meet Jesus at His Birthday Party!  We are going to have it at Grandma's!"  He then added "You better call Uncle Tony and tell him to make a VERY SPECIAL Cake!"

Kids - gotta love em!

Trenton turns 14 on Black Friday.  He has been wearing tattered tennies for months.  He did not get new clothes prior to starting school and we could not afford new shoes.  A friend sent money and asked me to get him a birthday present.  So, last night I took him to get a new pair of shoes.  

He was worse than a girl!  He could not make up his mind.  He tried on 4 pairs at one store, 2 pairs at another then 3 at the last one.  He finally decided on a pair.  They were on sale so I told him he could buy a T-Shirt to go with his new shoes.  

We came home and he laced up the shoes, tried on the shirt and then marched all around the apartment before bed.  Stopping many times to admire his new look in the mirror - he had a smile from ear to ear.
Interesting.  New shoes.  A T-Shirt.  Exciting.

When we use to have a nice income and new shoes and new clothes were a regular thing - no one got too excited.  Now that money is a rare commodity in this household the "simple necessities" of life bring joy.  

You should see how excited they get about a bottle of "AXE Body Wash" made just for men you know!  I was able to always keep them in their AXE Body Wash, Deodorant and Body Spray - back in the day.  Since finances are so tight - these things are not purchased any longer.  Recently I had a coupon and it was on sale so I got them a bottle.  You should have seen how happy they were!  
You don't know how good you have it - till you 'aint got it any more!!

So, today my son was excited to go to school wearing his new kicks and his new tee.  I was happy to see the smile on his face and the spring in his step.  He is now dreaming of a new belt and a new hat to complete his look.  Perhaps I will be able to make his dream come true...perhaps.

So, on this day, the day before Thanksgiving...I am thankful for good friends.  Friends who care enough about my family to see that my kids can get excited about the basics in life.  Thank you, Lord for Blessing us so richly with so many good people in our lives!


 Matthew 5:5 
 Blessed are the meek,
      for they will inherit the earth.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Getting into the Holiday Spirit

Christmas Garland Made with Fresh Cranberries and Limes

String fresh cranberries and lime slices on dental floss to create a colorful garland for the Christmas tree.

What You Need:
  • Fresh cranberries
  • Fresh limes
  • Sharp knife
  • Large needle
  • Waxed dental floss

How to Make It:
  1. Wash the cranberries and the limes. Slice the limes into thin slices. Set aside.
  2. Thread the needle with the floss.
  3. Secure the first cranberry on the floss by putting the needle through the cranberry twice, then making a knot in the floss. Continue threading the cranberries and limes until desired length is achieved.
  4. Tie a knot at the end, leaving at least 12 inches of floss for tying to the tree.

Note: Cranberries and limes will stay fresh looking for days and then will dry nicely on the tree for up to three weeks.

I really want to make a memory for my kids and share some LOVE this Holiday Season.  It has been a couple of years since we did not have major drama at the Holidays.  Hopefully this year we will have a mellow Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year.

When we lost our home, we lost all our holiday decorations and our little lit tree.  This year my mom is loaning us a 4 foot table top tree.  We have a nice little nook with a mirrored background that we can place the tree into.  We have no decorations so I decided the kids and I will make them.  I found this Cranberry and Lime Garland and I think we will make this on Thanksgiving.  I will post pics and you can see the progress of our Holiday Decor in the making!

I have been down with the sickness the past few days and I have NO energy.  I feel like I have been steamrolled and can hardly move.  My eyes are blurry and my head is pounding which does not make make for a very good photo editing experience.  I have a couple photo shoots to edit and need to get back to feeling myself!

I took a 3 hour rest today and had to get up only because the noise level in our tiny apartment home was growing louder and louder.  I was curious as to why everyone in the house was making SO much NOISE.  So, I got up to find out that my some kind of wicked force has taken over my children and has made them all bicker and fight.  Just when I need them to be lovely well behaved kids - they choose to lose their ever loving minds!  Nice.

Thankfully my husband is making a meatloaf that my friend Trudi gave us.  He is making baked potatoes and biscuits to go along with it.  Thank goodness!  I have no energy to cook for this always hungry troop of guys!

I pray that I will be well by Wednesday as that is the day the little guys have their Thanksgiving Feasts at school.  I would love to go and take photos.  I'll keep you posted!

If you have any cute ideas for homemade Christmas Ornaments send them to me at:

I am still taking nominations for my CONTEST - hit the CONTEST button at the top of my BLOG for details.


Sunday, November 22, 2009


Image from yesterday's photo session with the Julian and Sprague Families

To sum it up it one word - UGG!
I have fallen prey to "the sickness".  Turner still has it - it has been a week.  Now my head feels like it is in a vice and my body feels as though I have run a marathon.  I have a cough that rocks my whole world and makes my head feel as if it will explode.


I hope to escape the sickness by the Thanksgiving Holiday.  I pray that it does not choose to "hang around" like an unwanted house guest.  I have things to do, people to photograph and a life to live!  Does "the sickness" not know I am a busy mom to four boys?  For goodness sake - move on sickness!

That being said - life still goes on.  When a mom is sick not much changes.  Kids still need food, they still need baths and help with homework.  They do not understand your lack of energy and they want to just keep on going full speed ahead.

Crankiness ensues and when the wheels of motherhood turn slowly people get cranky.  Kids get cranky and mama gets cranky.  This does not make for a very smooth running household!  Dad gets annoyed that mom is sick and the kids are cranky so then he too jumps on the band wagon.  Madness...sheer madness.  

Why is it when you are the MOM the Matriarch and you get sick - no one REALLY cares?  Yet when they fall ill it is expected that you wait on them hand and foot, cuddle and coddle and make the world all better?  No respect!  

Okay - I am done complaining now.  I am thankful that I am not in the hospital.  I am thankful for the bright sunny day and the fresh air coming in the windows!  I am thankful for great friends!  I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving and eating yummy delicious foods.  

Say a little prayer for me...I am gonna need it at the rate I am going.  I think my kids have all lost their minds.  In the few minutes that it took to write this Trevan and Trenton got into a fight and all heck broke loose.  Why an almost 14 year old chooses to banter with a 5 year old - I will never understand!

Oh, how I long for the days when I use to go to work!  I need more photo shoots to get me out of the house!


Friday, November 20, 2009

I need your help!


I am looking for 100 Caring People to DONATE $10 each!

As some of you know it has been my dream to go to Africa for a long time now.  Trenton and I are on a Missions Team scheduled to go to Kigali, Rwanda in June of next year.

We need to raise $8000 for both of us to go.  Our first trip installment is due in January.  I would love to enjoy the Holiday Season knowing that we have met our goal.

I am looking for 100 people to donate $10 so that we can make our goal of $1000 by January 10th.

If you could please find it in your heart to donate just $10 and help spread the word it would mean the world to me!  Help be a part of our trip!

You can send donations to me via PayPal- janeanlindner@mac.com
You can donate by clicking the box to the right - OR -

Mail a Check to me made out to

c/o Janean Lindner
28715 Los Alisos Blvd Ste 7-348
Mission Viejo, CA  92692

THANKS so much - we need all the support we can get!

Janean and Trenton

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Spirit of Giving...

This is a candid I got from my photo shoot the other day.  

These are my favorite kind of photos.  People "living life"!

The Spirit Of Giving Contest

Do you know someone in Orange County who would 
love to receive a 
Complimentary Photo Session 
complete with a set of prints?
(session date good for after the Holiday Season)

In the Spirit Of Giving I am going to award someone special 
with this Gift!

It is my way of "giving back".  
I have been blessed by so many and wish to spread some love!

Feel free to email me at:

Include the details of the person or family you wish 
to nominate and why.

I will present the winner with a Gift Certificate for an 
Photo Shoot and 

set of prints in a gift box.
($350 value)

Please tell me a little about this person or family 
and why they deserve to win.  Have they been ill?
Are they suffering a hardship?  Do they tirelessly help others?
Are they the best friend one could ever have?
Be creative!

I will announce the winner December 1st.

Send me your nominees!  I can't wait to choose a recipient!

Many Blessings!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tis the Season!

Isabella turns 4!! 
(this is my "Niece-in-law")
my brother's now ex-wife's brother's daughter - LOL!
We don't get technical - we just love everyone!

Tis the Season.  This is a busy time of year.  We have Trenton turning 14 on the 27th and Taylor turns 19 on December 14th.  We have other family members celebrating birthdays this time of year as well.  Celebrations.  Holidays.  Family.  A time to reflect and be thankful for what we have.  We may not have much - but we have each other!

Christmas is right around the corner and days are spent listening to the little ones getting excited at the promise that Santa may bring them a new toy.  Wishes...dreams.  I remember when I was a kid how exciting this time of the year was.

I do not really have many wishes or dreams these days.  Trying to make ends meet and the daily grind of groceries, laundry, homework and the like consumes me at times.  I am thankful that I have been able to do some portrait sessions and have photos to edit.  

I spent the day being productive and cuddling with my little Turner who was home sick today.  What more can I ask for?  His sweet little nose dotted with freckles.  His head covered with soft red hair.  I remember when he was just a baby.  Now he is so big.  One day before long he will not want to "cuddle" with mom.  He will not think I hung the moon.  For today I will enjoy the fact he still does!

It is wild how cold it has gotten the past couple of nights and then we are graced with the beautiful days in the high 70's.  Isn't California weather just great?!

I have the high hopes that I will get to start on my handmade Christmas Gifts for a few friends and family.  I pray that I can get a moment to work on them!  I also need to send out the letters for our Missions Trip.  Trenton and I have until January 10th to each get our 1st installment in of $500 each.  We will need lots of prayers on this!

I have been burning the pumpkin pie candle that I received as a gift all day and have been craving pumpkin pie!  Stace stopped at the store on the way home and he brought me pumpkin pie.  He was proud that he got a "Claim Jumper" pie - he just did not realize it was FROZEN and it needs to bake for 70 minutes!!  He even got whipped cream!  No instant gratification tonight - I will have to bake it tomorrow!  It was the thought that counts!

Tomorrow if Turner feels better he will return to school and I will work in Trevan's class.  He is really doing well in Kindergarten and he wants to write all the time.  He sounds out words and writes notes and puts them all over the apartment.  It is really cute!

He wrote today:
"Snta we ned a bigr hows.  It is to krowdd in her for a Kristms Tre."
(Santa we need a bigger house.  It is too crowded in here for a Christmas Tree.)

Adorable!  What more can I say!??

So, off to bed.  Tomorrow is another day!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Weekend over.

Booo Hoo!  Weekend is over!

Back to the school/work week.  Weekend over.  

We had a busy weekend.  I had a photoshoot on Saturday and today I photographed Bella's 4th Birthday Party.  The kids are tucked into bed now - but Turner is not feeling well.  He started with a headache and now his nose is stuffy and he says he is hot.  So far, no fever.  We will see what tomorrow holds.  I was thinking that it was SO great that we have not gotten the sickness as of yet.  I think that I spoke too soon!

Luckily not too much on the agenda for this week so if I need to cuddle and coddle my lil guy I will be able to do so.  Stace and Taylor are still looking for work.  I pray something comes along before the year ends!  I can't believe that Thanksgiving is almost here - then Christmas.  Before you know it, it will be 2010!  Wow - time flies!

Here are a couple of photos from my photo shoot on Saturday...


Had a great time.  I have a bunch of editing to do, but I love every minute of it!  Here are some from a shoot last week...

I just love this time of the year.  So "family" oriented.  I hope to see my brothers and their kids soon.  I miss my nieces and nephews!  

Well - sorry for the short update - I am wiped out.  Off to bed for me, this could be a long night with a sick one in the house!


PS - here are some photos I took of the boys...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Knowledge is power.

Today I had the pleasure of going on a field trip with my son Turner.  Turner is in First Grade and we went to Centennial Farm.  We learned how chicks are born.  We learned how our food is grown.  It was so much fun being with the kids.  When Turner got home he told he that he LOVES to learn because it makes him feel powerful.  I thought this was an interesting statement coming from a six year old!

He is wise at times beyond his years.  Yes.  Knowledge is power.  We have control over how much we take in and what we choose to learn.  The more we know the more we gain.  

I have always loved teaching people things that I know about.  We all have different gifts and who are we to hoard our knowledge?  God blesses us with our abilities and it is our job to bless others by teaching them what we know.  I want to share this with my kids in hopes that they too, will have a love to help others.

There are so many things that I desire to learn and pray that people who know more than I will share with me, their knowledge.  If we all adopt the pay it forward mentality our world can only become a better place for us all!

So, I ask you...what are you good at?  What can you share with someone else?  You don't have to be an expert.  There will always be someone who knows more than you and someone who knows less!  Embrace who you are and what you know and share it with others!  We can only be who God created us to be, no one else.  I have had to really dig deep and give myself this pep talk recently.

I do what I do because it is what I do.  Can I be better?  Sure I can, and I strive to be.  If someone comes along and chooses to help me out - then I will be better for it.  If I choose to pay it forward and share what I know with someone else - then we will all benefit.  

Don't beat yourself up for what you think you should be - or could be.  You CAN be.  Just ask for help and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you receive in return!

Be open if someone asks you to share the knowledge you have in a particular area.  It may seem like nothing to you but it could be the world to someone else!

Just remember the words of a little red headed boy, who learned today how baby chickens are born.

"Knowledge is power!"  No go forth and empower someone!


Monday, November 9, 2009

What do YOU do for your mental health?

Here are some photos from my photo adventure that I had with my friend Trudi and her girls yesterday.

Sometimes you need a "mental health" outing.  What do you do for your sanity?

I love to get out and explore.  I love looking at things from a creative perspective and just appreciating the beauty around.  This is one of my most favorite things to do - it's even better when I can capture it on film.

The nice thing about photography is that you can tell a story.  Your story.  Taking the images that mean something to you, you have something that is all yours.  No right.  No wrong.  Just YOUR interpretation of the world around.  

Cooking is something else I love to do.  I love to take recipes and make them my own.  Fortunately so far, my family has loved every dish.  With cooking you CAN go wrong.  It is not as forgiving as photography!  I plan to try my hand at some candy making for the holidays.  This year we will be making all our gifts.  Gifts from the heart.  They may not cost a lot but they will be rich in character and filled with love.

Going to the movies is another thing I use to escape my reality.  I have always loved going to the movies.  Being in the dark, the smell of popcorn, the giant screen.  I enjoy romantic movies or comedy.  It affords me the ability to escape into another world, another story, for just a little bit of time.  I feel mentally refreshed when I come out.  Fortunately Irvine has a $2.00 movie theater and on Tuesdays it is only $1.00!  Now this I can afford!  (well sometimes I can't - but it is easier to find a buck in change than a ten spot to go to the other theaters!)  The movies are ones that have been out a while - but that is fine by me!

Our Fall so far has been mild.  This morning I was in UGG boots and by noon I am in my flip flops.  If you know me you know that I am usually barefoot or in sandals.  My style is relaxed and not very fussy.  I love leggins and a swing top with flip flops.  Sadly - I think my favorite shoes have bitten the dust.  They don't look too bad - they are just worn out.  When I first got them, they were on clearance at the end of the season one Fall.  I was thrilled to find them for 50% off.  

Paying $26 for a pair of flip flops is kind of silly.  

BUT when they were hanging proudly on that rack with a bright red slash through the price I could not pass them up.  Slipping them on I was in heaven!  They were spongy and bouncy.  So, so comfortable.  Now they have lost their bounce and their sponginess is all compressed.  At the end of the day my legs and back hurt - so I think it is time to bid them a fond farewell.  

So, if you are a shopper and happen to find these flip flops - made by SANUK...Style Yoga Mat, on Clearance - LET ME KNOW!  They have lasted me 2 years - so I guess $6.50 a year is not bad for a comfy pair of shoes!

Off to check my Crock Pot Mac-And-Cheese.  Man!  I love my crockpot!  Easy meals in a flash!  I always double the recipe and freeze a batch.  Makes my life so much easier!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

God's Timing...

"God's Timing".  I have heard that all things happen in "God's Timing".  I have been frustrated over the years as to grasp that concept.  I know that all things happen for a reason.  I am learning that God's Timing really has nothing to do with our timing.  I think God has an entirely different clock than we do.

I have learned to wait and be more patient.  In this "I want it all and want it now" society that we live in today it can be a really difficult task to "wait on the Lord".

Recently I have not been feeling so strong.  I have had moments of weakness where I have let my mind take over and get the best of me.  Our minds are a wonderful thing, but can also cause us a great deal of distress.  I find myself questioning decisions I have made.  Dreaming of what could have been, what is not and what may never be.  This as you know is not the most productive mindset.

I am living in Irvine in the neighborhood that I lived in when I was in high school.  I pass by places that hold wonderful memories for me of times spent with my family and friends of days gone by.  I miss those times when my life was so simple.  All I had to worry about was me.  No husband, no kids.  It is easy to daydream and wish for just a moment that I could run back in time.  Oh, the things I would do differently.  Things I would not say, things I would be sure to do.  Things then that were so important would not be now.  Priorities would be so different.  There is a reason that time moves ahead and not back. 


All three are wonderful in their own right.  All three we wish we had more of.

I am thankful that I have been richly blessed with people who care about me and my family.  I am blessed to have been able to reconnect with friends from my past.  I have had people placed in my life at just the right time to offer support and love just when we need it most.  I have had "old friends" who have not cared and complete strangers who have shown us love.

There are people who come into your life and then go and you wonder what the purpose was.  I know that God knows what he is doing and all things work together for good.  Man, He is complex.  You can't figure God out!  I can't wait to ask Him a question or two when it is my time to meet my wonderful maker! 

People are hard to figure out too.  You have people in your life that you wished cared more.  You have people who care too deeply.  You have people you long to spend time with, but never get to.  There are relationships that blossom and those that are like a thorn in your side.  All put into your life for a reason.  God's reasons.  We are not in control.  Never have been, never will be.

I give all the glory to God and continue to ask for His favor and His blessings upon our family.  I know he is in the driver's seat.  I just need to learn how to sit down, hang on and enjoy the ride!