Simple beauty



Simple beauty summons me

From a state of dormancy

Scent of lilac, Starlings tweet

High Palouse and waving wheat

Fallow buds abundantly

Rise anew for all to see

Eyes for beauty gone too soon

Pine tree branches reach the moon

Child of wonder time to be

That raindrop from a fallen tree

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

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.



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



Seven days


Seven days in the life of a large household can be chaotic, stressful and of course joyful. This past week was no different and included last minute preparations for the bridal shower, a trip to the lake for the fourth of July and an extended visit from the middle child.

Soos with the fan wall she created that will hang above the check in area where I will greet guests and guide them to the photo booth.IMG_E8657

Games and decorations have been finalized and as always the kids are willing to test new ideas!

A break from planning meant big sister taking little brother out for cinnamon roll French toast. As you can see this was a highlight of his week!IMG_20180629_124344

Mid week it was time to head to the lake for the traditional fourth of July celebration. Things are much quieter these days with fewer guests and simple food. It is always a great time and as usual one of my favorite people was present, KK. When asked how long we had known each other she said it was 1975. She was hired by mom and they became best friends and have been ever since! She and her husband John are truly family.


Fattima decorated the brownie cake mom makes every year, the kids swam and played basketball and then we made our way back to town.


It is basically countdown week for the shower and I will be sharing more throughout the week. As always blessings are numerous along with the many freedoms that our family holds dear!


The birthday party


As many of you know this weekend our boys turned two! Of course time does fly but this was especially fast. To be honest I never imagined I would be feeling this overwhelming love again and it took me by surprise.

Friday after school we hopped in the car, picked Heme up from practice and left for Spokane. Osama made bbq chicken for dinner and Jacki started working on decorations after the boys went to bed.  The theme was luau/Moana and it was all done to perfection! The kids helped and an assembly line of sorts was made that evening in order to get the balloons ready and keep them from flying away!

The next morning Heme and I woke up early and took care of Aiden. He was surprised at the decorating his mom had done while he was sleeping! Bennett woke up later and poor little guy was feeling a bit under the weather!

We tried our best to help out and do what we could. Allot of fun times were spent with Aiden, Bennett and Alayna! Fun and precious moments were too many to count.

Guests started to arrive around noon and everything looked very festive!

Jacki’s dad has a large, close knit family like ours and so everyone felt at home! Osama made stacks of burgers that were amazing and Jacki made popcorn balls and delicious chicken sandwiches! A lovely array of fresh fruit and cookies were also on hand.

Gramas and Grampas, Great Gramas and Grampas, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors and friends all made their way inside, outside and wherever they felt comfortable.

The cake was served and our little ones were not sure what was going on as cameras snapped pictures and candles were lit.

A friend and cousin were also invited to celebrate their birthdays with our boys and so it added to the fun and chaos!


We watched the boys open gifts and then made our way back to our little town!

I cannot let an event like this go past and post these blessings without reminding anyone who is in a bad situation that things can get better. I never imagined this joy was possible and I am very proud of all of my children for making the most of their freedom. With every crib that has been assembled, each finishing touch on a child’s bedroom and care that is given for my sweet babies, I celebrate changes and freedom!


Grateful for the messy things

The past couple of months have been full of a busy and new excitement.  It started with the birth of my first granddaughter Alayna Lynn and ended with my children being together in our home this past week. There will be a lull in activity now and a much quieter Christmas as four of my kids spend time with friends and in-laws. I choose to find joy in both the chaos and in the upcoming silence.

I am awake as usual in the wee hours while the only noise to be heard is the back and forth tick tock of two clocks in opposing rooms. My Christmas lights are warmly glowing and a fresh cup of coffee sits on the table in front of me.

I think of the past few weeks, the clutter, jumble and blessings of an imperfect household.  Diapers, pacifiers, dog hair and fingerprints on the glass slider. Games, cardboard boxes, loud voices and sunflower seeds in plastic cups on my country table. Toddlers playing, aunts and uncles happily carting them around and never a dull moment.

This Thanksgiving as usual everyone helped, wiped, picked up, washed dishes and held tiny hands. I tried to capture the chaos in photos but like the colors of a remarkable sunset, pictures pale in comparison to reality.


Just a few shorts years ago, a crumb, hair or stain would have sent our household into a different kind of chaos as an unruly fury seethed just below the surface. A neat, orderly and spotless home became a shining example to neighbors, friends and family.  Visitors asked repeatedly where the toys, mess and disorder of a large family were hidden.  A tiny piece of fuzz on the floor left behind by a recent sweeping was sure to elicit that look of anger and disgust, warning of a possible eruption.

No pets were allowed and in particular dogs. I adhered to these rules even when we moved back to the United States. He was nowhere to be seen but the grip of compliance still reigned and was far reaching.  I scurried around on his visits looking for any evidence of rules that I had not followed and strived to keep what had been considered order.

During this holiday things felt different, a soft and lovely energy dotted with joy, love and acceptance rang throughout our home.IMG_4712

At one point I stood, taking in the random messiness of the moment, feeling proud and full of a delight that could not be contained. My grandson toddled past with a piece of muffin in his hand, he shoved bits of cake into his mouth leaving tiny bits behind. I watched the crumbs gently fall to the floor and with a childlike rebellion I brushed them aside and under the couch!

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I relished every spill and crumpled tidbits on floors and counters. I sat on the couch, dotted with tiny crumbs and dog hair. Pillows were haphazardly placed on one end and a piece of cereal crunched under my slippers. There would be plenty of time to sweep, dust and polish, but for now I enjoyed this new feeling of absolute imperfection.


Purple Blossom


You look longingly at the courtyard full of lush green grass, you can feel it tickle between your toes, the sunshine washes over your face warm and alive. You move back and forth to catch the light, like a cat sprawled out on the living room floor, it turns to catch the rays when they disappear beneath the shade of the sofa. Its pink padded paws playfully touch the fading sun.
You would not dare to actually run, even if you could, but just walking is enough for your weakened limbs. 20 years of not walking has made you weak and numb. But once you make your escape who knows what awaits you. You stand in the grass, a tiny weed blossoms with colors of purple and yellow. You fixate on its delicate purple blossom. So perfect and tiny, how can it hold such beauty and intricate details in its tiny being. You marvel and want to bring it nearer to smell it. It must be full of a fragrant fruity splendor. You do not pick it because you know it would soon wilt and die and everything deserves the chance to live and to grow. You could not bare to spoil its perfection. You look beyond the grass to see the hills and you prepare to don your boots. You will walk thru the fields of wildflowers making a yellow endless blanket before you. You will walk, climb and run getting muddy, wet and tired. You will be …….free.
When you reach the summit out of breathe, muscles aching, you will witness glory. When you look to the right no metal screws, only the vast horizon. You can see the colors you’ve seen so many times, although it was years ago, you remember. The orange, purple, yellow and even blue, all mixed but perfectly layered. You will smell the pine trees and maybe even spot a dear leaping and free. It will awaken your soul, you are free, just 3 small steps to freedom. You will call to the dear “Yes you are free and so am I”  you will warn it to never stray beyond the hills to be trapped forever. As you breathe the free, clean air, not stagnant like your box, you feel a sharp pain run through your lungs, you cough and choke. You cannot breathe the clean, crisp air, you gulp and sputter. Years of not breathing this pure air of freedom is too much to take. Maybe you are breathing too fast, too much. You take a slow deep breathe in, then out, but still you feel the sharp pain invade your body. Your legs seize up, you try to move but you cannot.

You envisioned this escape for hours, days and months….. you day dreamed about the sun, its sensations, the mountains,the mud! How can your legs fail you as you stand poised and ready, waiting. How can your lungs not allow this sweet strong air to replenish you and carry you away. You put one foot out to start your way to freedom, your arms and legs are limp, lifeless. You start to roll down the grass picking up speed as you go, your body bumps, rocks lodge in your forehead, the beautiful blossoms are far behind you, you grab at trees, gravel and dirt to stop this procession. If you could you would tear a thousand blossoms from their roots, their life seems worthless and small compared to the freedom you crave. You look up to a blazing sun and you cannot see anything but fury. You realize your shirt is torn and your body is exposed. Your hair a matted muddy wig stuck to your bleeding head. You wanted to run but now you cannot crawl. The only smell is dust and dirt swirling around you.
Then a hand soft and familiar gingerly touches your broken body. It pulls you up gently, it encloses you, somehow a feeling of safety. It leads you back bringing you to your comfortable, secure place. It covers your body with a warm soft blanket of familiarity. No longer exposed, You feel relief, even joy . You can’t believe you dared to leave the safety of your box. Your arm is bruised, your face sun burnt. The sting of rocks and gravel lodged in your soul, peeling skin exposing everything, as you pull the pieces from your face, you think….. maybe the majesty of mountains is over rated after all.