Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween...if there is such a thing!

Turner's "Bumpkin" {on left} Mr. Munki {in the middle} Trev's "Plumpkin" {on right}

Well...well...well.  Here we are.  It is Great Hallow's Eve; {not my idea of a Holiday} and not my favorite night.  Don't get me wrong, I don't want to rain on any one's parade.  If you like creepy, spooky, goblins, ghouls, smashed pumpkins, spending money on costumes and candy, kids gone wild and collecting more candy than any one human should consume in an entire year - then hey...knock yourself out!

I loved Halloween when I was a kid.  My mom use to make our costumes.  We would make hot apple cider and caramel apples.  We attended safe and sane neighborhood Halloween Parties and dawned the doorsteps of Grandparent's dressed in our costumes.  

Then, I had kids of my own.  Taylor was my first and I made him an adorable lil Devil costume {much to the dismay of my Grandmother}.  We took him out with friends in our neighborhood and all was fine and dandy.  That was 20 years ago.  Things then were still pretty harmless.  

As the years passed and Trenton came along, Taylor got older and was VERY afraid of the displays at the grocery store.  He hated going out in public before Halloween and did not really even want to trick-or-treat.  We did the fun night at our church and had a ball.  

The Halloween before he turned 8 years old he came to me and told me he wanted to dress up as "Pastor Dan" our Church's Pastor.  He knelt in our basement, which was converted to my in-home daycare and asked me to pray with him.  He told me he wanted to ask Jesus into his heart to live there FOREVER!  He had his Veggie Tales Tie, his Bible and his nice "church clothes".  We prayed together and then called up Pastor Dan to share the news!

Dressed like a little man, he went from door to door, ever so reluctantly as we came to homes that were all "spooooky".  He knocked on the door and then asked the person with the candy bowl "Do YOU have the love of Jesus in YOUR heart?"  When they looked at him stunned holding their bowl they stopped to think and then answer.  Most said "Why yes!"  He would then shake their hand, smile and say "Great!  God Bless You!  I just asked Jesus into my heart! Have a Great Halloween!"  Spinning on his heel, anxious to get to the next home...he didn't even take the candy!  He was on fire for the Lord and he was gonna tell the whole neighborhood!

We thought that one day, he would grow up to be a Pastor.  He has such a caring heart, so feeling, so loving.  He was baptized a month later at our church's Thanksgiving Feast.  

Fast forward 11 years.  He has battled drug and alcohol addiction for 5 agonizing years.  Left with no answers as to "why" or "where we went wrong".  The pain and heartache is indescribable.  I pray we are on the other side now...but you never know.

He has been sober now 90 days today!  Praise God.  I am not sure how my life would have changed if on that night I could have seen into the future and had known what a painful road we would have to travel down to reach his 20th birthday.  One never knows.  That is the irony of this "life".

So, tonight in an effort to allow my last 2 boys to "make a memory" I will drag my sick self {been battling sinus problems and allergies for a month} out to collect the candy with my kids.  We will have one Skeleton and one Darth Vader.  We will go to our church where they have planned a super evening of fun for the kids and families.  

Tomorrow I will sort the candy, hide the candy and battle with my already very high spirited boys over why candy is not an appropriate breakfast food.  Everyone has their favorites - Daddy loves 3 Musketeers and Snickers, mine is peanut M&M's, Reese's and Almond Joy.  Trenton loves Reese's and SOUR stuff.  Turner loves suckers and skittles.  Trevan loves push pops.  Taylor...well he loves it all.  He has never been picky. 

The boys will make a bag for their big brother.  They love him so.  Stace and Trenton are there visiting him now in his rehab.  He will complete that program on November 3rd and then go to a transitional home.  He wants to come home, but I don't feel we are all ready - yet.  

One day at a time.  That is all we can handle.


 Taylor on Halloween 10 year ago.  
He ironically dressed as a skateboarder.  
Little did we know that 7 years later he would be involved in a skateboarding accident that would change our lives forever...leaving him with a brain injury.

Cherish each day...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hold my hand...

If you think about it, all we really want in life is a little direction and guidance.  Someone to come along and pour into us some hope, zest and motivation when we are lacking.  People do not want to be made to feel like they are stupid, clueless or unworthy of knowledge.  If each person would just take the time to slow down and help guide others in their quest for the "things unknown" to him...would our world not be a much nicer place?  Inspire.  Encourage.  Educate.

I do not understand the mentality of "knowledge hoarding". 

Seriously.  Think about how many times you have asked someone for advice about something that you do not possess full knowledge of, only to have them "play dumb" {when you know they are fully in the know} or flat out ignore you?  Better yet, have that person throw you under the bus by giving you bogus info all together?

Does this come from the dog eat dog mentality so common in our world today?  Perhaps.  I am not sure. I started to ponder this when I realized my freshman son was failing all his classes.  What did he need?  Does he have an impairment?  A Learning Disability gone unnoticed?  Not in this case.  He was lacking direction, motivation, organization.  

Take Taylor my 19 year old currently in Rehab.  He is being sent out from 8am to 5pm each day on "JOB SEARCH".  Oh, wow.  They make it sound so "glamorous".  He has no car, no bus money, no high school diploma and has no clue where he is.  Don't you think a little guidance would be helpful?  

All he wants is direction, encouragement, motivation.  Knowledge.  He just needs the knowledge on how to accomplish the task at hand.  Yet, where are the people who can help him?  They are right in front of him, hoarding their knowledge.  He asks and is told to "figure it out".  Granted this can be useful in some situations, but not all.  Giving someone a hand up - could it really hurt?

So often we as adults think we have all the answers and find it easy to "preach" to others.  Not stopping to think that this may have a tendency to make others feel "less than".  There is a fine art to "teaching" someone something and having them walk away feeling like they just gained useful information.  

I have asked people in my field questions about their craft.  I figure if I want to know I had better ask.  I have not been met with great enthusiasm.  Some ignore my inquiry.  Others tell me they charge money to divulge such information.  Baffling.  The way I see it, I am blessed to know what I know and it is my obligation to share my knowledge with anyone who asks.  I feel if I share then perhaps it will come around and I may gain at some point some useful information that I do not know now.  

Sometimes our minds grow quiet.  Like lemonade made from good old powder.  It tastes fine but fresh squeezed is so much better.  When I have someone come to me who is thirsting for some fresh squeezed I am happy to roll up my sleeves and deliver...are you?

I challenge you to look for the opportunity to "hold someone's hand".  Guide them.  Give them a hand up.  After all - knowledge is free.  

Roll up your sleeves and deliver some fresh squeezed inspiration to someone who is thirsty!


Monday, October 11, 2010

Simplify. Period.

Simplify.  Period.

I am in my simple phase.  I want to simplify my life.  I have been on a cleaning bender while my husband has been out of town.  I have been cleaning closets, filing papers, throwing out junk and donating.  I want simplicity.  Streamlined Organization is my dream.  I keep thinking of the people in Africa and how they live so...simply.  Not us Americans!  We have SO much junk.  Overabundance is commonplace here.  Well...not for this family.  I am no Martha Stewart {wish I was} but I do indulge in the fantasy of a perfectly tidy home.  I envision neat color coordinated bins with all our stuff living perfectly inside.  I want to wake up to my home looking like one of those cute little cottages you only find in a magazine.  You know the ones that have no humans under the age of 40 occupying them!

I am a simple girl.  I live in my rainbow sandals and love comfortable soft fabrics.  My dress is casual, as is our home.  Beachy Keen is our theme.  Soft blues and greens and shades of sand, comfy fluffy pillows and dreamy soft blankets.  I am all about comfort.  Lately my kids "junk" has been swallowing up our lil 900 sq ft of space that we now call home.  Try as I might to file things in their little bins, things keep finding their way out and littering my space.  I am reaching the point of no return and have threatened to just pitch things.  Our new rule is:  If I find it on the floor - it's gone forever!{well not forever ever...but don't tell them that}

My goal is to be all "simplified" before Thanksgiving hits.  Wish me luck.  My kids {and hubby} like to hold on to some of the most random stuff.  My hubby is a box keeper.  He keeps the boxes to everything {as if we will EVER put them back in the box they came in}.  Well, while he has been away - I have done gone crazy clearing out all the unwanted cardboard.  WOW!  I have reclaimed some much needed closet shelving!  Yipeee!  Wonder if he will even notice?  Perhaps not.

Maybe my paranoia has developed from laying in bed alone into the wee hours and watching "Hoarders".  What a trip!  I just can not bear the thought of massive amounts of stuff taking over my living space.  Ewwww.  More creepy than the show "Sister Wives"...don't even get me started on THAT.  Anyway, back to the topic.  I found this great site called Zen Habits.  Their motto is "smile, breathe, go slowly."  Works for me.  Check out the25 Ways To Simplify Your Life With Kids.

I love a bunch of them but especially love #25.  

Focus on doing, not on spending. Too often we send messages to our kids about how to live life, based on what we do: we like to go shopping, and eat out, and go to the movies, and so our kids learn that having fun means spending money. We focus on material things, and therefore so do they. Instead, teach them (by talking but also by your actions) that what’s important is doing stuff, not buying stuff. Go for walks in the park, play outdoors, play board games, read, tell stories, play charades, cook and clean, go to the beach or lake, build stuff, wash the car. Spend quality time together, doing stuff that doesn’t cost money.

AMEN!  Tomorrow we are doing just that.  Taylor is coming for a home visit and given the nature of his last visit - I told him he had to be of assistance to me.  SO, he is helping me tackle the mountain of laundry and cleaning the bathrooms tomorrow!  Yea!  Turner and Trevan enjoy their chores {surprise} so we will kick off the day with cleaning and scrubbing everything that I have not gotten to.  I have a new love, the Clorox Handi Wipes.  Can't clean enough with my reusable cloth heavy wipes.  Bye Bye dish rags and sponges!  See, I am easy to please!  At a buck sixty nine, you can't go wrong.  Simple pleasures... gotta love them.
Well, it has been a long day and I have bored you enough with my ranting...I have cleaning to do tomorrow.  Off to bed now {I will forgo "Hoarders"} don't want to have nightmares!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Forever Sunshine

Taylor October 2010

My hubby has been in Big Bear for the better part of 2 weeks.  I now know what it is like to be a "single" parent - going it alone!  {not really - but kinda}
We have been chugging along with Soccer, Groceries, School, Laundry, Errands and the like.  We are no worse for the wear.  We have had some laughs - as my boys continue to crack me up day after day.
Yesterday Turner says  "How much money does your wallet hold?" I said, "Well, as much as I have to put in it." He replies "Well Mom, you NEVER have ANY cash, so I guess you just have a wallet so that OTHER people think you have some!"

We go from having fruity pebbles spilled all over the kitchen to mommy rolling on the floor laughing!  Before bed the other night Turner said " You are the most beautiful mom in the whole "white" galaxy." "I love you more than anything in the whole world".  I want to cherish these precious moments and burn them into my memory forever. ♥

I wish I could have "forever sunshine."  I use to sing "you are my sunshine" to my Taylor when he was little.  He use to say "sing to me mama...sing me "forever sunshine".  I remember it like it was yesterday.  I am glad to report that he is doing well at the Cooper Fellowship.  Today Trenton, Turner, Trevan and I went to see him and take him lunch.

I came home to get ready to go do a photo session for The Lopez Family.  It has been fun watching the girls grow up the past several years.  Here is a shot of Alexa...only 9 years old!!  Boy...they grow fast!

I am happy that the boys have one more week on school break.  We have plans to go Whale Watching this week and then Kids Small Groups start up on Wednesday.  The boys and I are excited for that to begin!

Stace should be home tomorrow or Tuesday then my Jeep will get new tires!!  I SO need them.  I nearly spun out on the freeway in the rain the other day!  I like excitement - but not that kind!

Until later...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Long time . . . no blog.

Whew!  Finally some cooler weather!  I hope FALL is finally here to stay!  I love California but have grown tired of sweating in our lil apartment!  Being closer to the ocean our units are not equipped with central air or heat.  So, we roast like little piggies at night!

It has been weeks since I have had a moment to update my blog.  Each time I sit down to do so, the phone rings, someone comes to the door, or one of my boys has decided to "accidentally tie his brother to his bedpost and needs help freeing him".  

In the past weeks, Taylor was granted another try at Rehab and has been in the Cooper Fellowship since September 24th.  He is being let out tomorrow on "job search".  He is expected to find a job {without a car} within a reasonable distance to the rehab. We'll see how this goes... most businesses around there are commercial or require that you speak another language besides English.  Last I checked Taylor was not fluent in Vietnamese.

He was able to come home today for a "home visit".  Needless to say it was a bit stressful on me and the little guys.  After being in jail for nearly 2 months Taylor was glad to be home and jumped in like he had never been away.  He was anxious to get a hold of his CD player, raid the fridge and rifle thru the closet looking for his favorite old Tee Shirt.  I did not expect anything different, as this is still his "home".  Always will be.  He chose however to call a "friend" and virtually disappear most of the day.  My anxiety level went thru the roof.  You can't blame me.  We have had years of unpredictable behavior and my mind just ... "goes there".  

Lil Trevan was also a nervous wreck.  He went to the window and watched to see when and if his big brother was coming back, and in what state of mind.  He came back about an hour before I needed to take him back to his rehab.  I could not tell what if anything he had been doing.  As he came in the door he slipped on the wood floor as it was raining.  He went sailing and Trevan fearing he was drunk started to cry and got very upset.  

He disappeared into the bathroom and then I discovered that he helped himself to something that did not belong to him.  I confronted him and he was not happy.

We had words and his anger boiled over like old times.  I could tell we were not getting anywhere so I pointed to the door and told him it was time to go.  We drove to the rehab in silence, my stomach in knots.  Stace left to work in Big Bear again this week so I was thankful that my mom had dropped over and went with me.  Upon his departure I told him I was sad and that he would not be allowed home again for a visit.  We would instead go someplace or do something.  He was angry and expressed his displeasure by slamming my car door - VERY hard.  

I cried most of the way home.  This is not the progress that I had hoped for.

"Let go.  Let God handle it."  I had to keep telling myself.  "You are not in charge here..."  

So, tomorrow is another day.  One day at a time.  This is all I can handle.  Can't change the past nor control the future.

The little guys are still on break, so we may venture out to the pumpkin farm tomorrow.  Since I have written last I have had several photo shoots, gone to Santa Barbara, had a friend in from out of town, been to the wedding of our nephew, and driven back and forth to Taylor's rehab many times.

With Stace gone this week I will need to get Trenton to and from school, find a way to get some food to feed these boys with $34.87 in the bank, clean the house, figure out a way to do some laundry without money on the laundry card, pray my car does not decide to go ker-plunk this week, take Trevan to Soccer, get Taylor to the doctor, make goodie bags and have a Birthday Party for the boys all before Friday!  Whew!  At least tomorrow is just Tuesday!  I still have a few days to get it all done!

Just thinking of all I have ahead of me, makes me tired.  I think I will turn in now.  Hey!  At least I get the bed all to myself tonight {sorry Stace}!  It is SO nice to spread out and hog the WHOLE bed!  No fighting for the covers or covering my ears while he saws logs!  Gotta find the simple pleasures in each day {or night}!  LOL!

Until next time...