Friday, July 31, 2009

I am just ME!

I ran into a a "former friend's" 5 year old at Summer Spectacular...he embraced me and said..."My mommy hates you but I still LOVE you Miss Janean!" . . .

Out of the mouths of babes.

I have found that through this unfortunate journey we have traveled - either people stand BESIDE you or they feel they are ABOVE me - this is a sad reality.

I am okay. It does not bother me.
I am better for living the life God has had for me!

I am a child of divorce. I am no less than you.
I grew up with an alcoholic parent. I am no less than you.
I do not hold a college degree. I am no less than you.
I have witnessed death. I am no less than you.
I have miscarried 11 babies. I am no less than you.
I have an 18 year old son who is brain injured and an addict. I am no less than you.
I have a 6 year old son who has special needs. I am no less than you.
I have been broke. I am no less than you.
I have been homeless and hungry. I am no less than you.
I have been sick. I am no less than you.
I have gone without. I am no less than you.

My once divorced parents are now remarried. I am blessed.
I learned about alcohol abuse and did not chose this road for myself. I am blessed.
I have a degree from the University of Hard Knocks - "free tuition" - I am blessed.
I watched loved ones die and became stronger. I am blessed.
Although I had many losses I have FOUR boys. I am blessed.
Taylor has challenges, we can help others who walk this road. I am blessed.
Turner is "special" and we overcome challenges together. I am blessed.
I may not have money but I am rich in life's experiences. I am blessed.
I know what it is like to be without a home and food - appreciation now comes tenfold for the small things. I am blessed.
I am not dying. I can deal with my health. I am blessed.
I have an appreciation for the small stuff in life - a love for things like friendships - not material objects. I am blessed.

I am Janean, no less than you - no better than you.

We are different and for that we need to admire, appreciate and treasure our contributions to each others lives.

Harbor no resentment, hold no guilt, foster love and cultivate the richness of each person God brings into your life.

You will only become better for doing so.


The JAWBREAKER of the Law...

I have never been a fan or Jaw Breakers. C'mon really? Who wants to eat something that claims it can "break your jaw?"
Going to court yesterday reminded me a lot of a Jaw Breaker.

When you pop a jaw breaker into your mouth - it is usually ridiculously large, not fitting comfortably on your tongue, and way too big to pop into your cheek.
Well, court was a lot like that. We got there - and it was a vast space chocked with anxious people looking well, confused.

We saw the huge screens overhead flashing names. We waited for page 6 to roll around and no LINDNER. Just like the let down of the first layer of a jaw breaker.
With confusion and frustration stinging us like the uncomfortable feeling the jaw breaker offers until it shrinks in size we stumbled our way here then there looking for help.

Finally a layer down. We found the right place to go. We sat and waited, just as you wait on the jaw breaker.
The court room opened, people pushed and shoved to get in as though there was some great prize awaiting.

Another layer gone.

We took our seats and the waiting began. Waited for another layer of that dreaded jawbreaker to melt away to something different.

We waited...and waited...I see now where the saying "The wheels of justice turn slowly" came into existence.

We nursed our jawbreaker - not pleased that it was taking, well hours to melt from one layer to another.

We listened to other people go before the judge, hearing much to their dismay the act that brought them there that day. Perhaps a bit of public humiliation is part of the legal process.
Our jawbreaker was still at an uncomfortable size as the judge decided to "take a short recess". We were told not to read anything, listen to anything, chew gum, eat, drink or talk.

Dunt, Dunt, Dunt, Dunt....the minutes clicked away on the clock. Nothing but the sounds of people breathing, sneezing or an occasional cough.

Melt jawbreaker - melt! NOOOOO the jawbreaker of court took forever to change from one layer to the next.

One and a half hours later, the honorable judge returned from "recess". RECESS? When I think of recess I think of running willy nilly on a playground being chased by boys while my ponytails flew in the wind.
What a dumb thing to have a judge take...a recess.

We continued to milk the jawbreaker of the law in hopes that TAYLOR LINDNER would be the next name called. With each impending over sized blue filed handed to the judge - you could hear people suck in their breath in anticipation. "EMILIO RODRIQUEZ" she shouted. Darn! Time slowly clicked away as we heard what he did to bring him to court.

The 20 year old got behind the wheel of a car with a blood alcohol level of .28 more than 3 times the legal limit. He was taking a "D.A. BARGAIN" to plead GUILTY and be sentenced here and now. He would take 4 months in jail, 3 years formal probation AND be deported back to Mexico instead of pleading "not guilty" and being held over for trial. A reward of sorts for not taking up more of the court's time.

One person after the other until finally nearly 5 hours later, "TAYLOR LINDNER" was called. He went before the judge and she informed him that he had the right to legal representation and given that we had been proactive and filled out the application for a Public Defender - he would be assigned one and bound over for trial on August 28th.

"Please be seated, wait for your paperwork then leave the court room quietly."

AT LAST - the jawbreaker had become a manageable size. I had grown irritated with the taste and could not wait to spit it into the trash.

I will do my very best to not ever be in the position where I have to eat the jawbreaker of the law. Not fun. Nothing but a ball of stress.

So, Taylor will meet with the assigned Public Defender for the 3 misdemeanor counts a week before his hearing. He will then go before the judge and hopefully receive a sentence.
I pray this is so, because I can not stand yet another jawbreaker!


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Only God Knows...

Tension so thick you can cut it with a knife. Preparations. Haircut, borrowed shirt. New pants and new shoes. Reliving the past year and documenting 6 hospitalizations, attempts to get into rehab and medical records. Preparation for tomorrow's court hearing for Taylor.

He is unsure - walking a road never traveled. I too am anxious. I have never been in trouble with the law - never gone to court. We do not know what to expect, but are prepared.

Lil guys and Trenton are tucked into bed at Grandma and Grandpa's. Grandma will get them to Church for day 4 of Summer Spectacular. Lil Trevan pines away looking for his "love" Kelly every day. He just can't seem to find her in the sea of thousands.

Trenton is nervous for Taylor. Hopefully serving tomorrow will keep his mind occupied and being at church will facilitate hope and faith, not to mention reminding him to say a prayer!

It is almost midnight and I may turn into a pumpkin - so I better try to get a wink in. I will do my best to hand this all to the Lord and will update you tomorrow when we return.

Thanks for your emails, calls and support.

Whatever will be...will be.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Prickly Parenting

Having God as your best friend definitely has great advantages! I have noticed lately that for every "ugly" "nasty" individual that I am forced to deal with, the Lord in turn brings "good people" into my life tenfold.

I must say that this blessing is not only refreshing but renewing. I feel a stirring an awaking of my soul when I am afforded the blessings of this kind.
I do not know if it because I am a relational being, have a great love for people, appreciate the differences that makes each of us unique or if I am just maturing. Whatever the reason, I am helping to find me again.

I am leaning more on God and know that I am no longer in the drivers seat - that whatever will be - will be.

In the past I think that I relished in the challenges that life brought more so than I do now. I am finding the peace and harmony rather than drama and dissension "floats my boat" these days. I do not like to to at odds with others and feel bothered when I feel that that has occurred. I have had to resign, step back and be reminded that it is not in my control. I am having to apply this to my teenage son. No, not Taylor - but Trenton. He is exercising his teen wings and testing the waters of disrespect and boundary pushing. I find it irritating, blood boiling and do not like the flushed feeling in my face when he chooses to challenge each and everything that I ask of him or say.

I go back to when I was his age and remember that I use to roll my eyes or say "sheesh" to my mom. I would spin on the ball of my foot in a quick turn flipping my long hair and storm off. I did that once. She did not like it. When I went to do it the second time she grabbed a fist full of my long locks and jerked me back around. Standing nose to nose looking at the extreme displeasure in her olive green eyes and watching them as they jumped from one of my eyes to the other - I knew that time would be the last. I do not care how much I despised listening to her drive a point of discipline home, how weary I grew as she went over and over things so that I would get the point, I would have NEVER dreamed of saying "Are you kidding?" or "Are you serious right now?" with a smart ass tone in my voice. I listened with respect and answered appropriately. Now even at 42 years old I would not dream of speaking to my mom with disdain and disrespect.

Why? What is so different? Where are we going wrong with this generation? My teens think nothing of disrespecting us, questioning us and telling us that they do not have to do this or that. I am at the point where I am not above giving them a smack in the chops. If Trenton does not stop arguing with me - and "poking holes in my logic" as he says - I will not be above showing him who is boss. I had a cute, sweet, dear little boy. Once the word "teen" was placed after his age in chronological years - all hell broke lose. I refuse to lose my son to the wicked, wayward ways of today. He has taken on a negative attitude. This person annoys him, that person acts retarded. He has nothing good to say - but rather spends most of his time blowing hot air about how things are just plain crappy. Perhaps a bar of soap is in order to break this "trash talk" habit. I hear Irish Spring Soap tastes nasty...putting that on my shopping list.

Take kids in school. They smart off to their teachers, attempt to break any and all rules for sport. No regard for the consequences. Did the genes become mutated between generations? Mind boggling. I for one - can not take another 13 years of this. That seems like forever. 13 years before Trevan will be an "adult". As though 18 the golden age miraculously brings on wisdom and knowledge. Ha! Taylor is no more of an adult than Trevan is and he is almost 5. Parenting - aint it fun?!

Had I know all of these things before longing for and dreaming of becoming a mommy - would I have changed my mind? Probably not. All the years of sweetness, cuddling, experiencing all the "firsts" are just priceless. I will cope and find my way through this dark, dank tunnel of "the teen years". I will just need a lot of prayer! I have had a lot of challenges in my life - but being a mom is by far the most challenging experience I have ever had.

I know that in just a wink - they will all be grown and I will long for time with them. I am trying to make the time we have now a pleasant and positive journey. It is just so hard to be warm and fuzzy to a huge cactus!

To think...I have FOUR boys - they are such little creatures. Wiggly worms, lizards, sweaty feet, gross jokes, laughing at bodily functions, the list goes on. I sometimes wonder why the Lord chose to give me all boys when he knows how I love the girly girl things in life. Oh...I may never know. But you can believe me - it will be one of the first questions I ask when we finally meet!

Off to feed my little army of starving little termites. Set a pizza on the table and watch it disappear in less than 7.5 minutes flat! At least boys keep things interesting!


Monday, July 27, 2009

To be...or not to be...IN CONTROL!


Control is a funny thing. Some of us need it more than others. Some have to try very hard to gain it. For others, it comes naturally. I was raised in a family of controlling women. My Great-Grandmother exhibited great control. She had such control over things even down to being able to see when her drapery pleats were as much as a quarter of an inch out of place. She would sit on her divan (she was so in control that you did not dare call it a "sofa") and direct my grandmother, my auntie or my mother in the fine art of pleat straightening. She could eye which pleat needed a slight nudging with a yard stick to insure it was in it's proper place.

As you can imagine, my Grandmother in turn ran a household that was very much within HER control. My mother being raised as an only child, in a very controlling environment then carried on the tradition. She was a very "in control" mother. Her house was as neat as a pin. Her children were bathed, smartly dressed and did not act - well "out of control". We did not yell, holler or raise our voices in the house. We played outside - a LOT, and did not bring friends in to mess up the house. My mother has always handled herself with dignity, and taught us to take the high road. We were brought up not to stoop to the level of those who get satisfaction in causing unrest. We were raised in a God fearing, God trusting home. My mother still today wishes she could control all of our adult lives. Not in a bad way, but in a loving, compassionate way. She desires nothing more than happiness and peace for her kids and grand kids. Not being able to control the circumstances that life throws our way can be debilitating to her. She pulls away the more out of control she feels. She draws inward and feels like she is a failure.

I too know these feelings well. I am more of a free spirit than the women before me. I have never been one to micromanage my time, or my environment. I love things neat and tidy and can organize like an expert. I possess Martha Stewart qualities in a bohemian chic sort of way. I can get discouraged when things seem to be spinning out of control. MY control. I can quickly bury myself in the darkness that the loss of control can bring. Failure, despair, worry, stress. All very unkind emotions. Through the experiences that the Lord has brought me through I think I have learned how to "let go" of the control and "let God". I am human and this is a hard thing for us creatures of habit to do.

I like to know HOW my bills will be paid. HOW we will keep a roof overhead. I like to know WHEN I will be able to fill the tummies of my children with foods they like and desire. I have given up on entertainment, going out to eat and longing for a vacation. Basics. I will stick to those and be "in CONTROL" of these things. But how - when you run out of answers as to HOW the money will come, HOW the bills will be paid, HOW the food will fill the pantry - do you manage to keep "IN CONTROL?" You can't. I know this. It is ingrained in me. God lets me get to a point where I am so frazzled - so crazy - so "out of control" - that I have no other choice than to RELINQUISH the CONTROL and give it all to HIM.

I get there - one way or another. I finally give it up. I just plain stop worrying, stop stewing, and just say - "Okay God. You will provide. You always do." Just like a child -who has to trust that you, their parent, will hold them up when learning to ride a bike. They trust that you will keep a hand on the seat and when they start to wobble - you will right them. When they start to fall you will catch them. We are God's children. He will steady us, he will catch us when we fall.

I have been all too human lately. Wanting CONTROL. I have no answers. I just gave it up.

As soon as I did, I got an email. A woman I do not know has food for us. She has also gotten school supplies for my boys. WOW. I am sure God is just grinning ear to ear as his child learns yet another lesson.
Today I went to check the mail, in with the bills I can not pay was an envelope. No return address. Inside was a gift card to Ralph's for groceries - signed "With Love, Your Family in Christ." A chuckle - from God. I am a work in progress - His work in progress. I am being refined, and sharpened. In each of His lessons he humbles me. I am learning that to be confident in yourself you have to let go of the control. Sometimes being confident means being out of control, out of the drivers seat and letting go. You have to learn when to enjoy the ride. Pleasure is gained in this life's lesson.

In more ways than I can express I have gotten greater satisfaction when I have "let go" and given up the control. I thought when I was younger that the more control I exhibited the more confident I appeared. Not so. Control can be a good thing in the right application. As a 40 something year old woman, the light bulb has clicked on! I now know when to let go. What a freeing feeling!

I hope that you too can learn that you need to let go and let God. Not just words on a page - but a real application for life.

Go lose control and see what happens! (I mean this in a good way)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

iWonder - Summer Spectacular is Here!

I am so excited that my boys will be going to Summer Spectacular this week at Saddleback Church! Thanks to some lovely people who have donated to the scholarship fund - my 2 boys will be attending! Trenton is going to be a Crew Leader for the 1st Graders - and will be in with Turner. This will be their first experience and I am excited for them!

People have been working for months and 3000 kids will attend. We are so blessed to belong to such a wonderful church! I remember still - going when I was a kid, to Vacation Bible School. Now it is my lil sprouts turn! I can't wait to hear of their adventures.

It was such a pleasure to be on campus tonight and see all the people working and putting all the finishing touches on this AWESOME Event!

Thanks to Scott Santos - who spent time tonight chatting with Trenton and I. Scott figured out recently that he and I graduated from Uni in '85 and we both knew a ton of the same people! Here we have know each other in a church setting for a couple years and we actually knew of each other over 20 years ago! I love the Santos Family - they are all just filled with the love of God. We will be seeing you all - on Saturday nights - 6:30pm - Overdrive - I promise!! Lil Trevan is in love with lil Kelly - just think if he can figure out a way to "make her fall in love with him" we could become in-laws one day!!

Trenton came home from his l o n g stay in Salinas with my brother and my nephew, Brenton. He has L O N G hair, a deep voice and has grown inches and inches. He left a 13 year old and came back acting like he is 20 now! I will have to jerk a knot in his tail - as my mama says. Hopefully being at Church all week and serving - will knock him back on track. We can only hope!

I am not tired - but need to go to bed so I can wake early and get the kids ready for their big week. I am doing as Scott said - "throwing my hands in the air" and giving it all to God. Taylor has court on Thursday and worrying what the outcome will be will not help any of us. Tonight Scott gave me the visual...he threw his hands in the air and said to me - "What can you do? It is all in God's Hands..." - he is so right. I know it. Having him TELL me - wow. We do need a lil nudging from time to time - God is amazing. So, Scott - if you are reading this - thanks for "being Jesus with skin on" to us tonight. We look forward to spending more time with you all.

Off to the land of nod - I pray that I will be in peaceful slumber tonight. I will pray first for all the fearless leaders who will entertain and take care of all the young hearts and souls this week at Church. Bless you all! What an incredible week this will be!


New Site Launch

Giggle Moon Photography has launched Chalk Talk - a site dedicated to helping you become a better photographer!

Check it out!

Giggle Moon Photography's Chalk Talk

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Summer Saturday

Being a mom to 4 boys I have learned a lot. One of the best things I have learned is how to relax. I pick my battles and keep remembering at all times - boys...will be boys.

I guess having 2 younger brothers growing up helped a lot. Sadly, Stace has not learned how to relax. He is uptight it seems all the time. Always stewing and fretting over every move the boys make. Shouting a them to stop this, and not touch that, to slow down, to be more quiet. He tends to be overly cautious and "freak out" over the smallest things. This was just the case yesterday. He had been working near the "wedge" in the morning and saw the 25+ foot waves. He decided to take us on a drive in the afternoon when he returned home early from work.

We ended up at Crystal Cove. We hiked down the trail to a clearing where we could see the surfers from a perch on the side of a cliff. The kids were excited and Stace a nervous wreck fearing that they would move too close to the edge and fall to their death. "Daddy, we are JUST looking!" said Trevan. "Yeah Dad! I am not going to be so dumb and fall!" said Turner. Even they know. I was excited to see the huge waves and the brave, thrill seeking surfers enjoying a rare moment here. We snapped some photos and then hiked down the trail to the water.

It was overcast and a bit muggy - not at all like the beach days I am use to. I was breaking a sweat and longing for the familiar ocean breeze that I love to cool me down. The kids ran this way and that scouting for seashells and picking up seaweed. Stace right on their heels scolding them to "PUT THAT DOWN" or "GET BACK HERE!". I realized that I am far more at ease at the beach than he. He complained about getting his sandals sandy. He kept saying to me "Let's Go..." I had a moderately nice time but know now that the next beach expedition I embark on will be without him!

Differences in personality. Opposites. That is what we are. He being the uptight man, me being the laid back woman. I wonder who my boys will take after? We will wait and see!

Today is Saturday. Stace was remanded to participate in the dreaded California Traffic School by the courts following his accident. Today is that day. He is bored I am sure and probably hating every minute of it. I on the other hand am here at home in the company of two chattering and argumentative little boys Turner and Trevan, Taylor who is very mellow and Kamille the sweet lovely girl that was Taylor's first love. She and he are still friends and she has been gracing us with her company lately. I t is nice to actually have a girl in the house!

I am enjoying each moment of the coolness of the morning. We have a fan blowing and every 15 seconds it pushes a coolness over me that is as comforting as a crisp cool blanket. I know that in a matter of hours the apartment will heat up like an oven. It is almost like a competition. One between the heat of the day and how long I can stand it. I close up the blinds to keep the bright sunlight out, I turn on the fans. I try to battle it and see how long I can hold off without turning on the A/C. Some days I win. I go all day without. Others I can not take it and I break down and bask in the cool air that pumps out of the tiny wall mounted unit, wondering what it will cost me each minute it runs. Bittersweet.

I am not physically feeling well still. I am exhausted. No matter how much sleep I try to get - I still arise tired. It seems the medication that the doctor wishes to have me take is in a class that I am allergic to. I am going to have to try vitamins and supplements to see if we can find the right combo to kick my under active thyroid into gear. I will start taking B-12 orally as well as iron for the anemia - and hope that this works. I do not wish to go have daily injections!

Today I am sore from biopsies that were done yesterday. I also woke with a case of the unsightly hives. It is covering my legs, and mid section. My hands and feet are swollen and I have bumps on my tongue and on the inside of my mouth. Just lovely. I put a call in to the doctor - as I do not know what could have caused this. Perhaps the numbing agent they used yesterday at the doctor - who knows. We won't focus on the negative, but rather on what I can do with this day.

So on that note - I am going to take a warm bath to try to soothe these hives, drink my coffee and edit some photos.

Below are some photos I took at Crystal Cove...enjoy!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Photography Workshops

In an effort to tailor my photography workshops to meet the needs of those interested, I would like to hear from you on the following:

1. Would a week night or weekend day work best for you?
2. What workshop fee would you be willing to pay?
3. What would you like to learn?
4. Would you be willing to go on "photo expeditions" or do you wish to have a class like setting?
5. Would you like a larger class or a smaller one?

Please email me with your thoughts so I can put the finishing touches on my Workshop Line Up!
Please send to: or

Look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pluot Season!

MMMMMM! Pluot's are ripe and ready to tantalize your taste buds!

What a heavenly treat! I had NEVER heard of or seen this funky looking fruit. I was in the store with the boys and we saw these ugly "dinosaur egg" like things next to the plums.
"Hummm...I wonder if these taste good?" I said to the boys. "Get one!" said Trevan.

So, I did. I purchased 3 to be exact.

Today, after a long day in the sun, watching the kids frolic and swim with friends from Turner's class, I came home and cut one of these open.

I had no idea WHAT it was, it was kind of ugly. I took a bite and ...OH MY! Delicious!
I was eating a DAPPLE FIRE PLUOT. A cross between a plum and an apricot. Simply wonderful. If you see these at your farmers market or grocery store - pick them up! They are only in season until the end of August. A delight of the summer!

I needed a bit of delight today. I find that life gives you waves. Waves of delight and waves of ugliness. I have had my share of ugliness this week - dealing with unreasonable people who find their delight in being negative and well...just plain UGLY.

It has always irritated me that people can waste precious time being mean. If people would take half of the time spent being ugly, and did something or said something nice...this world would be such a better place.

Test. I know. It is just a test. God is testing me to see how I handle UGLY. Well I am trying, Lord...really I am. Feelings, especially mine are easily hurt. I do not like to be at odds with people. I do not like conflict or dissension. I hate even more allowing myself to feel disappointment and hurt.

Walls. I have gotten use to building walls. I need to do just that again. I need to build a white brick wall around my heart and not let the actions of others tear down the wall and penetrate my heart. I learned as a child to do this. I would envision myself building a fortress brick by brick around my deeply feeling heart. That way when my friends or family would let me down I could imagine that the actions would just "bounce" off the bricks. Ha! I did not allow THAT to hurt me!

Accomplishment. Satisfaction. Did it work? Not really...well maybe a little. I am a big girl now. I have to "deal" with things differently. So now, I imagine the hurt, action, or person being put into a box. I close the box and tie it with a ribbon. I then envision myself laying the boxes at the feet of the Lord as he sits high on a mighty throne. He is so big, so lovely, so grand. He can handle any "box" I lay at his feet.

Then I attempt to move on. I am human, and I admit my flaws. I react when I should not. I cry when I can't help it. I harbor resentment and hurt. But not for long. I can't. Not only can I not afford to do so, I just do not have it in me any more. I have traveled a long road, had my share of brokenness and do not like to be in that place. Me and only me, with the help of God can "fix" it and make it better. No person, no action, no amount of money can heal a broken heart. You have to forgive. You have to move on. You do not have to forget. You can remember so that you will not travel there again. Learn lessons from your experiences.

People. They will always let you down. That is just the way it is. Put your sights on Him, the only one who can bring you through and out the other side. Jesus. I am thankful that I have Him, and feel SO sad for those who do not know Him.

When I feel I can't go on, when I look inside and there is nothing, I still have Him. I feel alone, lonely and misunderstood at times, but I am completely KNOWN to Him. For that reason alone I can get up each day and move through my life, no matter how badly I do not want to go on.

So, I will put the UGLY aside for this week.

I will hit delete when another ugly email comes.

I will be sad I am sure, when people go and do things that I had wanted to do without me, but I will live. I will go on. There will be other things to do and I am sure that the one who hurt me so does not even realize what she has done. I will forgive. I will move on.

I am a big girl...and big girls don't cry. (only sometimes)

Off to indulge in another PLUOT...that will put a smile on my face...if only for a moment!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Photography Class

I am going to be offering a series of Photography Classes!
I have been overwhelmed with emails asking me to do a workshop and
I have decided to oblige!
Watch for the Class Sign Up and Schedule - coming soon!
Thanks for all who are interested! I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The HEAT is on!

My boys experienced POP ROCKS for the first time!

Before I knew it the cool morning had become steamy afternoon. In an effort to save money on energy and not run the air conditioning I decided to brave the heat and take the boys to Chuck E Cheese's with Taylor's urging. Neither Taylor or Turner usually like going to loud crowded places, so if they were game then I needed to be also. We headed to Foothill Ranch and much to my surprise the place was not crowded at all!

We had a gift card and were able to get pizza, 4 drinks and 40 tokens. I settled in and read the newest issue of Martha Stewart Living that someone had left behind. Taylor very patiently took the boys to play this game then that. I daydreamed of making the delicious recipes I found in the magazine with sun drenched peaches and blueberries. I marveled at the beautiful photos taken on the east coast - a place that I long to visit again. I got lost in the pages and decided that I needed a good summer read. I decided we would take a trip to the library when we were finished here.

Before I knew it, a piping hot pizza complete with melting cheese and crisp crust had made it's way to our table. We ate our pizza then off they went to play once more. Watching Turner and Trevan engage in an intense game of air hockey brought me joy. The look of determination and brotherly competition on their faces was priceless. What was sweeter, was that each time Trevan would score a point, Turner would smile and cheer for him rather than getting angry! They had a blast playing again and again as Taylor stood ready to help with a wayward puck, when their short little arms could not reach.

Nearly 3 hours later we were able to trade our 80 tickets in for 2 tiny packets of watermelon POP ROCKS. I remember my brothers and myself discovering these wonders in K-Mart in the late 70's. We decided to head to the Foothill Ranch library to check out some books. I loaded the kids into their car seats and opened the Pop Rocks. I was not prepared for the gut wrenching giggles that this mysterious candy would produce. Turner laughed so hard that tears streamed down his face!! Trevan squealed so loudly with excitement even a piglet would be jealous! Taylor and I were laughing at them laughing!! Needless to say the drive to the library was one we will not soon forget!

As we exited the van to go into the library, the heat hung in the air like molasses. I could not help but feel pity for those out working in this dreadful scorching oven, especially my husband. I knew he would come home very tired and exhausted. On our short walk into the library, I started feeling overcome by the temperature. As we headed to the checkout desk after retrieving some books, my heart pounded in my chest. My eyes grew blurry. My eyelids felt like leaded weights. I needed to get home and just relax. I told Taylor I was not feeling well and he went and started the van as to cool it off a bit. I was feeling so exhausted. I grew irritated with my health, or lack there of.

As we drove home I was disappointed that my thoughts are energetic and sharp. My body does not cooperate. I find myself daydreaming of curling up in a bed with crisp, cool, cotton percale sheets. My head resting on plump but soft down pillows. The room dreamy sweet with the scent of jasmine and gardenia. I curl my body around a large body pillow with a ceiling fan purring above like a baby kitten. The room is cool and I am snuggled beneath a cloudy lightweight down comforter. I slip into a dreamy state where I am swinging on a porch swing in the blissfully cool morning air. I sip freshly brewed coffee and admire the blooms I have worked hard to plant. The sun dances off the dewy wet kisses from the night. I drink in the fragrant blooms together with my coffee and I feel as though I am in heaven. The gentle blue sky is a peaceful backdrop to the sharp fluffy white clouds...

I snap myself back to the reality of the hot day.
I know that in a few minutes I will enter my hot apartment and break down and turn on the small wall mounted air conditioning unit. Worried that this 220 volt unit will cost a fortune to run, we reluctantly use it. We strategically place fans to push the cool air out into the room and hope that it finds it's way into the bedrooms. My dream of a fantasy nap is not possible in the heat of this summer day. One day, I will have my dream bedroom and my dreamy nap.

Just as I predicted Stace comes in dirty, hot and tired. His skin is painted red from the scorching sun. Although he applies sunscreen at 5:00 am I am sure that the sweat and hours in the sun without reapplying are to blame. He takes a shower and collapses in his chair. Taylor is kind enough to make us his famous Tuna Salad Sandwiches and serves them to us. As I get the kids fed, teeth brushed and into bed, I notice Stace is not in his chair. I look into the bedroom and he is fast asleep and it is only 8:00 pm!

I now sit here with Taylor writing to you and thanking the Lord that Taylor seems to be doing better. I take it minute by minute with him, as I never know what can trigger his downward spiral. For now I will enjoy sitting in his company and being his mom. I am blessed.


Medical Test Results

Well, some of my results are in. I have Pernicious anemia and Hashimoto's Autoimmune Thyroid Disease. My blood sugar was elevated and I have to go and have a fasting blood glucose test for diabetes. Today I learned that the biopsy of the 2 moles revealed that they are Dysplastic Nevi; pre-cancerous moles. I will need to have them removed and undergo frequent screening. Just a few more things to add to my plate. I will cope with them and move forward.

At least I now know why I have gained weight, have been extremely tired, have had skin rashes and a host of other things! It is nice to have an answer. I will start medication for these things and pray that I will start feeling good again. Extreme fatigue is no fun at all. I hate not having energy to enjoy the things in life that I wish to do!

Life is short - we need to enjoy each and every moment while we can! Today I will try to see what we can do to beat the heat and not spend any money. We are short this month as Stace worked more than 40 hours in the past weeks and his employer decided that they do not wish to pay overtime unless it is approved. This is hard for Stace as he is accustomed to working until the job is done - and not watching a clock. It has been difficult to adjust to working for someone and doing things differently than he has been use to for the past 15 years. Being self employed has it's advantages and disadvantages as with any job. He is still trying to learn that when you work for someone else, you are not always compensated in a way that is fair. Thats...Life.

We are still pinching each penny and are owed the $2500 from the Christian Sober Living Home plus $500 from a client of mine. Neither party will correspond with us. We will have to resort to going to small claims court, I am afraid. It is time that we stand for what is fair and just. We have to keep a roof overhead, as becoming homeless again would be so detrimental to the emotional state of all of us.

Going without trash bags and toilet paper - challenges of the Lindner Family. We resort to using small grocery bags and take the trash out frequently. We use baby wipes instead of TP. We can deal with this...not having a home - well that is another story!

Please pray that people will do the right thing and send us the monies owed to us. We owe friends and family money that was loaned, and we desire to pay them. We want to do what is right.

Taylor is home from the hospital and is on an anti-depressant as well and an anti-anxiety medication. He has been quiet and tired as he adjusts to these new meds. He is nervous and worried about his court date approaching on the 30th of the month. Pray for his mental state as this ordeal draws near.

I am off to shower and make the most of this hot summer day. I have 3 boys here to share my time with and intend on making it a great day for us all.

Blessings to you!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Making Memories

Making memories has got to be my most favorite thing to do.

I got the joy of making an unforgettable memory with my nephew Blaine and my 2 nieces,
Bailee and Brynnie. My mom treated us to a whale watching cruise off of Dana point.

We went down to the Harbor and explored the world around. Blaine caught 2 crabs,
Bailee took some wonderful photos and Brynnie flitted here and there perfectly content to just be at the beach. The beach is my favorite spot on the planet. The wind blew our hair about our faces as we drank in the sweet smell of the salt air. We squished the sand between our toes and spotted all sorts of magnificent birds, sea creatures and people. We ate a wonderful meal while taking in the scenery of the harbor.

We then boarded the catamaran at 5pm and out to sea we went. The swells and waves were like an amusement park ride and the excitement and apprehension paired together was a rush for all of us. Exploring the open sea for the first time was an experience I am sure they will not soon forget. We spotted pelicans, sea lions and gulls. We were rocked by the boat gliding over this wave then that. I could have fallen asleep if it were not for the innate desire to spot a whale or dolphins.

We watched carefully and scanned the endless ocean blue looking for any signs of sea life. Just as our time at sea was to come to an end our captain spotted a Minke Whale. Much smaller in size than other whales - but still big to us at 25-30 feet long, we spotted this elusive little guy among a sea of dolphins and seagulls. Minke Whales are rarely seen as they are a bit shy. We were all running on pure
adrenaline when we saw him and the huge pod of dolphins that chose to play with our boat. Racing, diving and talking to one another just feet below us - we were all so amazed by the wonderful up close and personal glimpse of sea life in their natural habitat.

We shouted and cheered in excitement with the other passengers. Salty sea spray gently sprinkled us as the wind whipped our hair about. The sun danced on the water as it prepared to set for the night. We got a rare look at the Minke, danced with the dolphins and made a memory I know I will never forget.

I could do that every day! I feel so at peace on the ocean - I think I am a mermaid down deep inside!

I know the kids had a blast and I hope to do it again with my kids and my nephew Brenton who stayed at home this summer to go to football camp and Summer School.

If anyone ever wants to join me on another whale watch - just let me know - I will grab my camera and off we will go - to make a memory!


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Happy Birthday to my Turner

I can't believe this shot!
- - I took this in Dana Point on July 17th - -

A picture IS worth 1000 WORDS!

Love is all you need.

No expensive gifts.

No fancy party.

Today . . . Love was all we needed to make Turner's Day a Special one.

Being with his cousins - having fun - making memories - was the best present he could have had.

L o v e .

What a GIFT!

Happy Birthday to my sweetheart - Turner Reese Lindner! You are now a "whole hand plus a finger!"


Thursday, July 16, 2009


Taylor checked himself into UCI Psych Hospital last night. He has been sober almost a month and his overwhelming desire to use and take his life prompted him to come to us and tell us he wanted to go to the hospital. We are thankful he did not act on his impulse to take his life, but rather to come and ask for help.

Please pray the doctors can help him.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Hot Spot

I have been the "Queen of Free this Summer". Wracking my brain to find free and fun entertaining ways to keep my kids busy has been quite the challenge here in Orange County.

Drum roll please.........I think I have found my favorite spot!

Today I took the kids 5 minutes down the road to the new "DISTRICT" in Tustin. We found the pop up water fountain that is situated right in front of a huge screen that plays music videos. There are lovely Adirondack chairs and sun umbrellas for those of us who choose to stay dry and observe the fountain dwellers. I propped my feet up under a shady umbrella and whipped out my friend Mac. Mac Book that is. I like to take him where ever I can. I am writing this entry as the wind gently blows the wisps of hair that will not fit into my tiny ponytail around my face. I can't afford to get my hair done so it goes back when I can't figure out what to do with it.

I watch as they kids are mesmerized by the water popping randomly out of the holes in the ground. They can't figure out the timing and are surprised each time a stream shoots into the air. Oh, to be entertained by such simple things. It has literally been ages since I was able to shop and peeking in the windows as I walked to the fountain was a joy. I looked at the cute sundresses and outfits longing to possess one. I remember the days when I worked just so I could shop. Days long ago before marriage and kids. Now it is trying just to keep the lights and water bills paid. No TIME or MONEY to shop. Maybe one day again...

My thought is broken by Turner running over to dry his eyes and yell "This is FUN MOM!! SO FUN!"

I am glad. I know it will be just a wink and they will no longer be appeased by such simple things in life. I see a guy coming my way with an instrument in a bag. It seems that he is part of a band that will be providing live entertainment on the stage below the large screen. What fun! Free entertainment for me!

I love music and was so excited to have won Daughtry tickets for August 22nd. They are at the PURE Nightclub in Vegas. Now - we just have to save and find our way to Vegas. Hopefully I can get Grandma and Grandpa to watch the kids and Stace and I can steal away. It has been ages - literally years I think since we went anywhere with out them. Being so close in age - it has been hard finding anyone who wants to keep them. They can be quite the handful. I do it everyday and I can't say as that I would want to volunteer. Well see what pans out. I have learned not to make plans - try as I may - my plans get rearranged. Oh well...that is life. If we can't get to Vegas there is always eBay. I am sure someone would buy them!

I planned on making dinner tonight - but feel perfectly content sitting here and not worrying about it. Contentment - what a nice feeling. Trevan is content. He is laying in the middle of the fountain flat on his back staring up at the clouds. His eyes blink then slowly open. He looks so relaxed and content just being...still. He is NEVER still. He is busy, busy. Well there went that. In the time it took me to write about his contentment - it was over. He is now running about chasing his brother reeking havoc. Oh well - peace is just a fleeting dream to a mom of four boys.

Speaking of boys...Taylor is here too. He is walking about trying to find a place to purchase his one vice at the moment - cigarettes. He smokes a pack a day now that he is sober. Such a bad habit. Oh well, he is the "adult" now at a wise age of 18. Oh to be 18 again. I would do so many things different. But we can't go back in time - only forward. God made it this way for a reason. A reason only He knows. Not for us to question - but to accept, like many other things in life.

So with that I will leave you with the acceptance that my fun is over as I have to dry off one of my lil monsters and find a bathroom. WHY is it they ALWAYS have to go in public!?? Is that some kind of disorder? GottaUseTheBathroomEverywhereWeGo Syndrome. I think it is. Leave it to my unexpected gift from Heaven.

Till tomorrow...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Things Change...

Things change so fast.

Just yesterday I was young, beautiful and in love. I had my life ahead of me and I thought I knew it all.

THEN - my heart was broken, I grew up, got older and...Life happened.

Time...where did you go?
I seem to ask this question a lot. Today was one of those days. I had the dreaded appointment with the doctor. It seems I had some blood work that was
questionable along with some other symptoms that I felt were brought on by stress, but concerning enough to the doctor to investigate thoroughly.

As my luck would have it a few days ago I was showering and I felt a terrible pain in my back. When I got out and toweled off - I felt something. It hurt and was bleeding. I had Stace check it out and lo and behold I had a huge MOLE. I had no idea where it came from - never noticed it before. It was bleeding and painful. It is on my lower back where it does not even get sun exposure.

Today the doctor scanned my entire body and she said that I had 2 moles that needed to be biopsied. I underwent the procedure gritting my teeth and just being as womanly as I could. She then ordered a huge series of blood tests. When she started asking me what kind of CANCER history my family had - my world changed.

Things...they can change so fast.

CANCER? Not me! I use sunscreen, I do not smoke, rarely drink, have never done drugs.
None of that matters. Cancer she told me is not choosy. It has no rhyme or reason and does not care who it invades. It is just like Satan - evil and terrible.

My mind whirled. Thinking of all my strange changes that my body has been undergoing. I had been attributing them to stress and getting old, no big deal. Now worry, doubt and fear rushed into my mind like a flood.

I thought to myself - "Well . . . here is just another hill to climb that could lead to a mountain that I may have to overcome."

I had better make each day count as we never - ever - know what the next minute holds. I looked at my kids with more patient eyes today, more love that I already have for them. My tiredness is earned by mothering each of them.

It will be a few days until my tests come back. I will use that time to prepare my mind and soul for whatever journey that the Lord now has in store for me. Good or bad, I will be ready to face it.

Time. It passes so fast. I am missing so many people. Summer is here and people are going here and there. I miss my Trenton. He is visiting my brother and has been gone all month. Chloe our trusted babysitter is in Hawaii. Megan her sidekick, has had summer school. My mom and dad are gone too. They went to
Havasu to have a reprieve from all the stress that life has brought to us. They are the keepers of my dog Romeo. When I am sad, he brings me joy. He as no idea about life. He just loves me unconditionally. I miss him.

I think of all the friends I had in high school and have reconnected with, but have yet to see. I wish there was just more TIME.

I hate feeling rushed. Panic sets in. I start to shake, sweat and my heart beats very fast. I need time. I pray that the Lord will not decide that my "time" here is done. I have kids to raise, nieces and nephews to love. Weddings to attend, births to celebrate. Friendships to cultivate.

I will keep my fork, as I pray that the best is yet to come.

I will pray that the Lord's plan is one I can trust and not live in fear and doubt. I have places to see, things to do and people to love.

Just pray for my strength...I need it now. Somehow the facts that I do not have the money to pay this bill and that, my van needs new tires, and it has been super hot outside does not matter as much.

Life. That matters. We need to make the most of each moment.

Bleu Jasmine Studios Launch!

In an effort to survive, help keep a roof overhead and help my son
- I have launched
Bleu Jasmine Studios.
We will feature handmade items on ETSY and press printed items via Cafe Press.
I have joined with other artists to bring you a line of creative, unique gift items!

I am busy adding things today - stop by and watch my progress!

If you would like to be a featured artist - email me!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Got My Book Done!

I was busy finishing my first "Photo Book" today -

"Sweet Whispers...through my lens."
Check it out and let me know what you think!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Being a MOM..

My "Lil Sprouts"
Turner (his last week of being 5) and Trevan almost 5

I do not know who wears me out more - the TEENS or the LIL SPROUTS!

Watching your child struggle is one of the hardest things in the world. As a parent you wish that you could do everything and anything to make the world of your child the best it can be.

Taylor is struggling with depression and thoughts of wanting to take his life. He can not understand why God keeps him here. He is doubting the plan of our Almighty Lord. I can only pray for him, hug him and try to make him understand.
The rest is up to God.

Being a mom of of two boys who need "special" care is not suppose to be easy... I know that it is my job to keep on. It is just so hard to do sometimes.

We had a busy weekend - with ups and downs.

We took the boys to see Ice Age in 3D and had a blast! It was a GREAT movie and to see them enjoying their first 3D flick was priceless! They kept reaching out to touch the characters. Priceless!

We saw Kamille, Taylor's first love. She came and spent some time with us and it was so nice to see her again.

Now off to start a new week. I get to see my nieces and nephews again! We are excited that they can come again before going back to Salinas.

Here are some photos we took when they spent time with us a week ago...

"Cousins - they are one of God's BEST Gifts!" says Turner

Blaine age 13

Bailee age 11
Brynne age 9
Make it a great week!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Although this photo is old - Taylor is beginning to resemble his old self again. He is 25 days sober and is doing well. It is a minute by minute - day by day process. Yesterday he went grocery shopping for me and planned dinner. He prepared lasagne, salad, bread and dessert last night for us. He had his former girlfriend and still good friend Kamille over and we all had a nice evening.

Today we will take the boys to see ICE AGE - as Turner's Birthday is in a week and he is so excited! We hope to see the cousins again and celebrate his day with them and Grandma and Grandpa.

I am sitting on my little front porch surrounded by flowers, covered by a big shady umbrella. I am watching the hummingbirds drink nectar from the feeder above my head and enjoying coffee. What a beautiful day!

Off to make some memories with my boys! Thanks for the prayer and support - I will keep you updated~

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Bucket List

Life is short - we must make the most of the time we have left - as we can't go back and redo the past... So when the world hands you life - LIVE IT!

(random order)

Spend as much time cuddling and loving my boys as I can
Spend a night away with some friends, be able to let loose and be free to be silly ME
Watch Nights In Rodanthe - again...
Go paddle boating with the kids
Have a Beach BBQ
Take my boys on a Grunion Run
Take my boys fishing
Build a giant sandcastle
Play in a fountain and laugh like no one is watching
Go Camping at the Beach
Fly a kite
Mission Trip to Africa to see Dorothy and Rosine - my adopted little girl
New England in the Fall
Experience the Mediterranean
See my boys enjoying the magic of Hawaii again
Montana to photograph wild horses


Go whale watching with my boys

Go horseback riding on the beach

Ride down the coast on the back of a Harley
Watch snow fall from inside of a log cabin in front of a fire with no entertainment other than music and a good book
Splash barefoot in the rain giggling and laughing with my boys
Grow a huge Garden with exotic fragrant flowers

Hold and drink in the aroma of newborn baby (not mine) - there is something so miraculous in this...
Publish a book
Swim with or get really close to sea turtles
Be photographed in a field of flowers surrounded by my boys
(I have no photos of them and me together)
Spend a day at the Spa (I have never done this)
Awake to the sound of the ocean and go to sleep by it too...
(the real ocean - not my sound machine)


A hammock under 2 shady trees somewhere with an ocean breeze

Another Coton De Tulear Puppy since my Romeo is gone away (he is living with Grandma and Grandpa and they all love each other so!) We'll get JULIET!

The $500 Tiffany Somerset Ring with 4 Diamonds - one stone for each of my sons
this would
replace my Wedding Ring
The Tiffany XOXO Charm Bracelet that Turner saw on a teacher when he was 4. He said "I want this for my mama, she knows how to draw XOXO's SHE is a BIG girl!"

An MP3 Player - I LOVE MUSIC!

Beach Cottage in South Carolina

It's not about what you want - it's about loving what you've got!
It is fun to dream a little dream!

I may add to this as I think of more - and I will let you know if I accomplish any of these too!