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The weekend before Thanksgiving

 

 

 

The last day of school was Friday and now the kids have a week long break. This makes them happy and also brings me great joy as well. A menu has been posted, clean up jobs listed and the traditional family photo is scheduled.

Everyone will trickle into town over the next few days and guests will be divided between the newlyweds home and my house.

A competition over who has the best white elephant gift will inevitably continue from last year and a trophy that was fashioned for only one winner will be held in the highest regard! Meanwhile I will fawn over grandbabies, take the family picture and try to keep things on track in a loose but firm fashion. In other words, I am ready!

This weekend I made chocolate zucchini bread/cake and it was delicious! Moist, rich and decadent are the words I would use to best describe this cake. I am thinking of ways to change it so it is healthier and when I do, you will be the first to know!

Fattima and Ben popped over to share our special  Cougar gold cheese from Ferdinands on the W.S.U. campus. She made cheesies and I made chicken strips. https://lynzrealcooking.com/recipes-2/appetizers/cheesies/

After getting a few groceries I had the pleasure of being waited on by my gorgeous daughter. What could be better? She also made peppermint bark which turned out well.

More decorations were placed around the house and finally I just threw up my hands and announced that is was time for Christmas!img_0998-1

 

Book giveaway and Happy Saturday!

This is the second week of my poetry book giveaway! I stopped by the local post office on Tuesday and sent my first book winner his autographed copy and now this week we have a new winner! Last week the winner was Clive from  Take It Easy.

 

After rummaging around in my hat for a few seconds, I picked out the second name and the winner of my new poetry book. Congratulations to dear friend, Annika from

Annika Perry’s Writing Blog 

Please message me with your mailing address and I will get the book off next week! All of the names that have been put in the hat will remain there for the next two drawings. If you have interest in entering, please let me know in the comments section!

My book is available on AmazonIMG_0510 (1)

My book can be purchased here

 

First year back home 2009-our story

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I edged closer to the tiny parking spot that stood above Frat row. It was a cement slab just big enough to accomodate a large vehicle but still unnerved me each time I navigated onto the platform.  Plastic bags were grabbed in batches and hauled over the rugged path and into the door of the old brick building. It was grocery day and that meant unloading and preparing a “fast food” meal including plenty of variety for those with dietary restrictions. I stuffed bags inside of each other forming a large ball of sacks that would be used for trash bags at a later time. Several packs of ground beef were placed into a large skillet and stirred, smashing them into smaller bits. The familiar sound of sizzling and the smell of taco meat would soon bring girls into the kitchen. Soos, Heme and Deeja made themselves busy with coloring books and crayons, cards and stickers. They placed themselves at a wooden table just outside the kitchen where residents would soon sit after dishing up their last meal for the day. Sullen faces stared blankly at my workstation and I knew that our discussion regarding school had still left them confused and fearful.

That day we had walked through the rickety wooden gate and into the school yard that lead to a side door. I kissed each one goodbye and delivered them to their respective classrooms, leaving my youngest for last. We had been to see the teacher days before and although she was inexperienced, she was also bubbly, kind and understanding. I was sure that everything would go as planned and so I walked with an air of confidence and pride.  We reached a brightly colored door that said Welcome to first grade. Other students sat at standard desks and tables, hanging hoodies and jackets on a coat rack, backpacks were shoved into cubbies and parents waved their goodbyes. The teacher nodded her head as if to tell me that it would be fine and it was time to leave. I gave a quick wave and returned the same way I had entered, leaving the wooden gate and parking lot behind.

From the upstairs window I scanned the school playground hoping to catch a glimpse of at least one of my four children. The recess bell rang and with it a massive exit from the side door of the one story school. Children carried balls and toys and quickly started in with their mid day break from books and lessons. A tiny figure stood alone in the large grass area, a hood tightly wrapped around the shiny hair of what appeared to be a small child. A stark contrast became unsettling as he crouched near the brightly colored playground equipment looking from side to side and finally giving in to tears. Classmates ran, laughing and giving chase, engaging in childish games that only youngsters play. Their smiles and shrieks of glee only heightened as activities progressed into throwing, catching and eventually climbing onto a metal structure. I watched him cover his face, firmly placing it into the school yard grass until a familiar figure with dark brown hair placed herself next to him and gave him the company he longed for.

Stand on the mountain

Can I be me

Am I that free

Answer to no one

Live in the moment

Smile while you’re laughing

Stand running forward

Chair near the wall

Rug in a corner

Walk through a puddle

Not get in trouble

Joy now reflected

Cook undetected

Talk at the table

Mentally able

Say words that matter

No mindless clatter

Frozen unlabeled

Dust covered shelf

Volumes of life

Marked with a pen

Climb to the top

Stand on the mountain

Is it Christmas yet?

 

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Having a large family means keeping busy at all times. There are very few moments when the phone isn’t ringing or someone isn’t asking for food, socks or just advice. I love being a mom, it has been the best career ever and lasts a life time.  Five of my kids still live near me or with me in the house, three live several hours away and of course Osama, Jacki and babies are near enough to pop over easily.

This weekend was spent putting up decorations, taking walks and cooking. I tried a couple of new recipes and unfortunately forgot to take pictures. I have slowly set out little Holiday bits and pieces over the past few weeks. The kids know how I feel about Christmas and notice these small changes. They grin, possibly mutter or maybe even humm a bit of seasonal music, knowing that there is much more to come. It is clear that once the leaves start their annual turn, holiday season is upon us.

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This weekend I saw via snapchat that Jacki had already put up an artificial tree soon to be followed by a second real one.img_0966 (1) (1) Therefore, I felt that permission was given for me to also bring out my first little tree from three years ago or that was my justification to the kids!

 

Mom and Dad’s village houses went up.56348612827__0EA27CD5-37D6-4C80-A8A3-D3C195956F25

As well as my Christmas angel

And other decorations from years gone by

A walk in 23 degree weather was definitely brisk and although no snow has fallen it is in our forecast! Meanwhile the lavender that I cut back two months ago, is once again blooming! It is always amazing to me that plants show such resilience.

Fattima and Ben came over for a visit Saturday evening and joined us for dinner, cards and the usual loud antics. Fattima went to the bathroom and her brother pushed everyone on the couch, into the hall, blocking her exit. She climbed over and placed herself directly over her younger siblings! This is quite typical of our household.

Four youngest kids sitting nicely before they were pushed down the hall!

I sat in the comfy recliner that my middle child purchased for me on his last visit! I decided I was much too settled and relaxed to remove myself to take a picture! Yes it is that soft and comfortable!

It was a nice, calm weekend spent around our little University town. Frost covered fields and our deck railing, sunsets melded into a frigid sky and thoughts of this year’s festivities surely danced in our heads!

My prayers and thoughts go out to those affected by recent tragedies. I pray for peace!

Book giveaway and the winner!

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Last week I started a four week book giveaway. I put the names of those who entered into a hat and drew one name. Those who entered and have not been chosen will be in the drawing for the remaining weeks of the contest. If you have interest in this giveaway just let me know in the comments section.

The first winner of my new book is, Clive from Take It Easy

Congratulations Clive, please contact me with your mailing address!

Any review of my book on amazon would be greatly appreciated!

Lynn

First year-2009

DSC05486Several of my friends as well as acquaintances in Riyadh had departed without their children in tow, returning to various locations around the globe. While the choice to leave appeared to be voluntary none of us knew the circumstances that had lead to their decision. Marriages that had fallen apart, abuse and the inability to legally remove youngsters from the country resulted in little ones who were left behind. Memories of dear friends separated from their toddlers as well as teenagers were still fresh in my mind and so the tiny window that gave a view from the walkway into our apartment had been spray painted and covered by a piece of printer paper. Although we had made it back home, the idea of losing my children kept anxiety out of control for years to come.

Summer faded into Fall and a routine that was oddly familiar took shape. The tiny townhouse had come together with furniture that had been procured from the Union Gospel mission as well as odds and ends from mom and dad’s wood house. An alarm buzzed and prodded until we climbed out of bed and readied ourselves for the first day of school. There were no more long trips with a driver and the past few years of homeschooling had been exchanged for a public school that could be seen from the upstairs apartment window. We were together and no one had been left behind in Saudi, making it seem as if somehow all would be well.

Documents and papers were shuffled and stacked until everything was finally in order. A quick trip to the school meant walking out of the apartment door, into the parking lot and through a rickety wooden fence. Vaccination records were not available and birth certificates had taken weeks to arrive, being classified as a Birth abroad report from the consulate. I had met with the principal, teachers and office personnel but still felt that this was somehow wrong and I was at the center of upheaval and a leap into uncertainty. Mother reminded me that it was for the better good and school was part of a new freedom.

Second time around is bliss

Many of you already know that I am a mom to nine fantastic children. But maybe you don’t know that I have five sons and four daughters. Recently Foof got married and a month before the ceremony my eldest daughter Saleeha, got engaged! As I have written in many of my true life stories, it was hard to ever imagine this joy and the idea that my girls would be able to pick their own careers, daily habits and most importantly their love interest. But here we are, two of my girls have found amazing partners and now for the second time I am overjoyed to witness them blossom, find love and build a future.img_0917

Saleeha met her intended through a friend and they share many similarities including their love for literature and writing. It has been a long road for my girl, building that trust and learning to relax and accept love and a warm and endearing heart but she is there and I couldn’t be happier.

Edison is a soft spoken Phd in Chemistry, a poet and he loves to cook! The ring he picked has a vintage look and is just what Saleeha wanted.

They have not picked a wedding date and both of them are not really into having a big bash so they will find what suits them. I am all about being yourself and doing what works for you, so whatever they chose will make me happy for them.

Edison proposed at their special place, deception pass. I posted pictures last year after they shared a romantic day there.

Recently wedding dress shopping commenced and she found the perfect fit for her! It is gorgeous. I will only show a bit of the dress so that Edison isn’t disappointed!

There is hope after the storm, there is peace and you can make it, whatever your struggle might be it can be part of your life and can make you stronger, not break you. Never would I have imagined that we would be here, back home, together and thriving. Don’t ever give up and stay true to being the best you!

Lynn

 

Indigo

And if I sing
It is for Springtime
Flowers envy deep in soil

Absolute firm roots
They hold me
Toes dig into brown and gold

And when I walk
It is in freedom
Permeation skin and soul

Remember when
A faded portrait
Stride of warrior uncontrolled

Now dance with me
In cloak of purple
Stardust moonlight indigo

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Fall

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Babysitting, birthdays and family

This past weekend was spent traveling to Spokane, celebrating my youngest daughter’s birthday and babysitting. Osama and Jacki took a little trip that had been planned months before and then forgotten. With their busy life I can see where it would easily be brushed aside! Foof decided she would babysit and I agreed to help her for part of the time. My younger children went with their oldest sister out shopping, to dinner for the birthday girl and in the end they stayed in a comfy hotel. Meanwhile we did crafts, made a fort and watched the usual movies.

Later that night Ben arrived to help and I retired to my room where the boys both tucked me in and Aiden showed me his Halloween costume.

The next morning the kids came from the hotel, bringing coffee and some breakfast sweets. We decided to leave soon after so that the kids could get home at nap time. We drove in to see Great Grama and Grampa who had purchased a cake for the birthday girl. img_0792Both of my parents and my sister, were excited that the kids made a surprise visit.

Gifts were opened and then cake was served, all of which the kids enjoyed taking part in.

We discovered that Alayna does like carrot cake and insists on feeding herself! She has also become a strong little girl even at this age. Watching her deal with her brothers gives me insight into my own daughters. None of them will let their brothers, from the oldest to the youngest, get away with anything!

I wondered where this sweet little baby would fit in among identical twins, but it is easy to see she truly is the boss!

I hope you had a fun and relaxing weekend as well.  Here’s to a great week ahead!

Super hero

 

One of my real life super heroes! Tucks me in at night, turns off the lamp and kisses my cheek. Nigh nigh and the door gently shuts. Life doesn’t get any better than this!

Book Giveaway- I want a book!

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As many of you know I published my first book two weeks ago! I am hoping to help support my family, but know at best this will be a tiny supplement for our household if even that.  I am just grateful that I got the book out. It is poetry from my blog and pictures of the area where we live as well as other peaceful places. The title, Epic love Epiphany, was one of the most viewed and liked poems on my blog.  It is basically my life in poetry, my feelings and struggles with abuse and anxiety and the realization that true love is found from within. There are a few poems none of you have read and are only found in my new book.

Each week for a month I will be giving one book away. If you want to be entered in my giveaway just tell me “I want a book” in the comments section and I will draw a name next week at this time. I will mail the book as a gift to the winner and hope they will enjoy their copy.

There is also an e-book version available as well.

Thanks to everyone for your love, caring and support through our journey out of the abuse cycle. This blog was started after his last visit three years ago in June and has helped me to express things I never knew I would be able to let out and oftentimes things I didn’t even know I felt!  Thanks again!

Any reviews, shares and purchases of my book on Amazon would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Love, Lynn

Books can be purchased here

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Leaves are falling

 

 

Saturday morning we took a walk through campus. IMG_0210Leaves had turned the usual red, brown and yellow and a slight breeze that picked up intermittently showered the landscape with a variety of shades, adding to the colorful display.IMG_0399

I crunched and kicked leaves all the while taking in the smell of autumn air, a crisp and familiar sensation.

Trees stood tall and proud offering up their vibrant and best show.IMG_0368 (1)

 

At that moment I felt there could be nothing more beautiful than the turn of leaves, fluttering at times in flurries and then calming to a trickle. Each time I tried to capture trees shedding what was left of their Autumnal attire I was quickly disappointed as everything came to a stop! Finally Soos jokingly offered to throw a leaf up in the air, but I declined.

She wandered nearby while I stared at trees, hoping to see just one more leaf fall.IMG_0274 (1)

 

One single leaf and then two until I had three photos. The blue sky white clouds and Fall trees had me mesmerized until I heard footsteps rustling behind me and realized it was time to go.

A child once more if only for a moment in time and enough to remind me that we need to live in the here and now, especially if it’s spent waiting for leaves to fall.IMG_0409.JPG

Big size family life

I grew up in a family of four, in the valley of a mid sized city. My sister was two and a half years older than me. We had one small dog and one cat. We sat at the family table at 5 p.m and politely asked to be excused before removing our supper dish. We were not a rambunctious group but a quiet, happy little family. We camped in the summer, went clothes shopping at the turn of each new season and we celebrated holidays in a joyful but calm manner. It was a nice, idyllic childhood that prepared me for whatever the future would bring.thumbnail_IMG_2987

 

 

 

 

 

 

We did not argue over card/ game tournaments nor did we prank, carry or wrestle each other through the house.

 

We never pulled our mom into the kitchen on her exercise bike insisting that she instruct us on cooking meals! And we most certainly did not carry the recliner upstairs hauling it through the kitchen and into the living room, plopping it down in just the right spot for mom! The boat was never full and there was plenty of room at the table.

 

Large family life is fun, unexpected and warm. I loved growing up in our little family unit but I adore being part of this big crazy family. Homemade cards and gifts, possibly a song production or two are thrown in there for birthdays and graduations.

 

 

Personal projects often end up being group efforts

And most certainly the younger kids never forget that they are definitely not the oldest!

 

Even in the quietest of times, there is never really a dull moment. There is no shortage of opinions, love, noise and support.

We have learned through the years to stand together, catching each other if we fall.

Big family life

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