Baking, cooking and sugar plum fairies


Saturday afternoon a shiny, new stove arrived at my front door! The other stove was only nine years old but had seen much wear and tear, burners refused to turn off and heated up randomly and recently a buzzing noise from inside started catching the attention of my children. Still, I was so very grateful to have a stove as many people do not.


Stove from Osama and Jacki!

If you have followed my blog and life story then you already know that I cooked on a stove that was purchased from a flea market of sorts in downtown Riyadh. Two of the four burners functioned and both shocked me if I used any metal utensils. We lived with no beds, chairs, tables etc. for a couple of years and with the very bare necessities when we lived outside of compounds. My parents supplied any luxury items for our family (new towels, clothing, shoes, kitchen gadgets, toys)  and we fought to hang on to those. We have all learned to be grateful for the smallest of things and realize material items cannot bring happiness, but they can make life very difficult when you do not have even the basics.

I was raised in a beautiful home on six sprawling acres of pine trees and never imagined living without the basics and also the many extras that I had become accustomed to. I was unaware of the insidious cycle of abuse until it swallowed me whole and spit me back out.

But now things are different and my children are allowed to make their own choices and to be who they were meant to be.


My nine children

Meanwhile, I sit in my comfy recliner and sip coffee while visions of jelly roll, sugar cookies and fried rice dance in my head. Thoughts drift to concoctions that will be whipped up on a brand new stove!

Happy Holidays and remember that things can get better, there is always hope!

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!



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.


Love, Lynn

Books can be purchased here

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Top of the hill

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This is the view at the top of the hill
as I turn the corner each day to walk

Top of the hill

Just as I lose focus

And round the stand still bend

No reason for elation

Assigned and taken in

Majestic views of nature

Colors from the past

Remind me to be grateful

For I am free at last


Osama was scheduled to attend training in Vegas! It was a chance for Jacki to accompany him and get some much needed time away! When we went for the first birthday party last Saturday, we brought three special little ones back with us for the week. Yesterday, bags, bottles and toys were all stacked by the door and Mommy and Daddy arrived to take their babies home in the morning.

After goodbye waves, hugs and kisses, it was time to get back to real life and final touches on the book. I made a promise to myself a few months back that I would publish my poetry book and then get back to work on the big book about our life in Saudi and the struggle to be free! It has been a fun and challenging process to work on the book. This morning I received an email telling me that my book was now available!

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Any shares, likes, reviews and support are greatly appreciated!  Thanks for being on this journey with me! It’s time to get back to work on the other book.

Now that the babies are back home I will be visiting my friends here on wordpress and catching up with everyone.



Countdown love


The dress has been altered and picked up, flowers and cake are ordered and the happy couple await the big day. Family and friends are planning to come and gifts have been arriving for weeks. Everything spins as the day fast approaches and well wishes are showered, mixed with smiles and a variety of emotions.IMG_9720

Only one small detail remains, The person who will be holding this precious girl on their arm, walking her down the aisle and asking that Ben hold her tight, has no dress yet!


Summer love-8

Spokane 1982

She was a small town girl whose father and mother were first generation Americans. She was raised in a tiny town in Idaho where Daddy worked at the brickyard and Mama stayed home tending to children.  But now, she (my mother) was the “boss” and her firm yet impartial demeanor had gotten her far and proved to be an example of what was expected in our household.

Headlights cast a dim glow on the staircase that lead to the kitchen and mom’s heels could be heard as the car door shut. Excitement paired with nerves took hold as I braced myself to face her. She had been my mentor and best friend and never failed when advice and comfort were required. But this was somehow different and I knew that mother would be surveying him with a most forbidding inspection, leaving nothing undiscovered.

Keys jangled in the lock and a frozen stance was held in place upon her entry. He smiled and graciously stood before her, an unassuming and yet confident young man. She shook his hand and then excused herself to change into more suitable clothing for a relaxing evening at home. His level of respect drew me closer and it was clear he knew how important family life was to me and it seemed he shared the same values.

We situated ourselves in the living room on the top floor just outside her bedroom door. Large white couches, end tables and side chairs had been carefully placed throughout the oddly shaped room. The ceiling slanted until it reached a point that ended in a large skylight jutting out into a triangular shape. A fireplace was the focal point of this space and was finished in white lava rock and a marble ledge.

He crossed his legs and kept a fair distance between us, only acknowledging me when he was spoken to. A curious lack of physical affection was eventually chalked up to his culture and a desire to be considerate in front of my parents. It was as if he fit in to any and all situations and easily molded himself into the perfect and appropriate companion. This quality was especially admirable to an animated, gum chomping girl who felt she was somehow overly chatty, and at times inadvertently too flashy.



Countdown to love



IMG_8498As the days tick away the little workshop gets more and more crowded. The girls ask me if I am o.k. with “stuff” being everywhere as they know I am prone to picking up and discarding or storing little bits and pieces of things left lying around.

I reassure them that anything goes in the untidy department as they work daily on numerous bridal shower projects.

Their creativity amazes me as they carry on the family tradition of “making do”, bonding over projects and ultimately stepping up to help their sister while sharing in her joy!

Games are stacked near the work area and breaks are taken to challenge their brothers to tournaments and matches! Movies and shows play in the background and there is no shortage of laughter as the carefree days of summer pass by.

I am a planner so I check things off of my master list, add and take away until I feel everything is just so. Testing bridal shower food and planning activities is ongoing and much of the day is spent consumed with new ideas and more creativity.

Bridal shower games, food, tables and decorations are the topic of discussion for the next few weeks and bring joy and excitement.

The family unit is once again solid and any positive aspects of our past life and traditions are now evident in the younger kids as well. Working hard to help each other, respecting differing opinions and making sure everyone has a voice, these are all integral parts of our family structure. There is always hope and for us there are pieces of love, joy and undeniable happiness that we shared even in the darkest of times. IMG_E8491