Friday, December 30, 2011


While in Utah my lil brother Bryan wanted me to take some pics of him with his niece & nephews.  

So I started scoping out different spots to shoot. I kept driving past this field directly behind my sister April's house. I made Anthony go over to take some test shots w/me before we made everyone meet us there. It was such a cool spot! Unfortunately, it took everyone soooo long to get there, I began to lose my daylight (I don't have a big flash for night shots.)

Doesn't the background look fake?
My lil bro and I were arguing about where to take the best shots (we're both bossy & thick headed~guess it's a family trait:) He went running so far out in the field that the pics weren't clear. Eventually he had to listen to me & come closer. Besides, I wasn't going to walk too far out there...who knows if there were snakes! yikes! They were a little nervous slickers!
So welcome to our "Field of Dreams"
Having fun @ the photo shoot!

My sister Amy & her two girls, Ava & Londyn (baby Liam not quite here yet)

My brother Bryan, Jullien, Elijah, Josh & nephew Jake 
My middle son Jullien & niece Ava
Bryan goofing off
My youngest son Elijah

My oldest son Josh
My niece Janae
Brother Bryan (he's only 2 years older than my son Josh)
Nephew Johnny
Josh, brother Bryan w/ his niece & nephews, Elijah, nephew Jason, niece Janae, nephew Johnny, Jullien, nephew Jake
Picture perfect spot...but it was FREEZING!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

No, Not the Sleeping Music!

Billie Holiday
On Christmas Eve we went to a special church musical service. They flew in an AMAZING female singer from Chicago. They all dressed in 1940's attire, with the same microphone's as pictured above and played old jazz style Christmas songs. It was as if you'd just stepped back in the cold streets, straight into a jazz club. That was the ambiance of the evening, very relaxed, layed back & COOL.

The music was incredibly soothing. I found myself finally unwinding from the stressful days of Christmas shopping. Slowly, my eyelids began to feel heavy...the beautiful, melodic sounds of the instruments & voices, lulling me. I fought to keep my eyes open. Finally at the end of the program, they had us stand up & join them in song...snapping me back into reality.

When we got in the car, the boys told me the music had made them sleepy. All of a sudden I flashed back to an earlier time, many years ago, six rambuctious kids in the back of our Astro Van (the only car big enough to cart around all 8 of us back then.)
The Boys When They Were Little-Trip to Virginia City, NV
I had a sure fire way of controlling them on our long family trips to Utah. I'd shout, over the arguing, yelling, crying & whatever else was going on back there, "That's it, I'm putting the SLEEPING MUSIC on!" They'd shout in unison, "NO, NOT THE SLEEPING MUSIC!"

The first time I did this, my husband thought I was crazy, "That's not going to work!" But mom's know. I'd taken a mental note on several occasions, the calming effect that (KOST 103.5) had on my kids. Which I initially put on as a punishment when they were misbehaving in the car. But every single time, they would nod off. So this became my weapon. No threats of pulling the car over & taking care of business needed...just the threat & follow through of the dreaded, "SLEEPING MUSIC."

To my husband's surprise, shortly after a station change, 6 little heads would nod over, leaning on shoulders or laps, followed by the wonderful sound of silence in the back of the car & soothing music to calm our nerves. Time & time again, KOST to the rescue.

I looked back at my now youngest, 16 & 17 year old boys, and asked them, "Do you remember the SLEEPING MUSIC?" They both smiled and said, "Yeah." Later that night when I asked the older kids the same question, they said, "Oh yeah," laughing, "we hated that!"

Those special memories are now words of wisdom to all of you parents who still have young children. There's no punishment quite like SLEEPING MUSIC!
Driving to Utah
Our Family in 2006

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas

Our Family (Missing Josh & Jullien)
As I've become older, I've realized that nothing is as special as family. Even with all it's is the most important thing we have in our lives.

This Christmas was my first time without Jullien, who wasn't able to come home from New York. Luckily, all our other children live close and we were surrounded by love, and laughter.

We celebrated Christmas Eve at my sister-in-laws house, we at tamales (Costa Rican & Mexican style.) We exchanged gifts & we tried something new this year to keep the costs down. Each of the older kids brought $20.00 gift cards, & did the 'white elephant' gift card exchange for the first time. It made it really fun for them, especially when they found out they could take each other's gifts...definitely a lot of laughing, yelling & trying to hide the most sought after gift cards from each other!
Adam & Elijah rough housing w/cousins

THE GIRLS (Nieces, Sister-in-laws, & step-daughter)
Christmas morning, we opened presents with our kids & headed off to church to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. After an amazing service, I was still wiped out from my 4 hour, non-sleep nights over the past we took a nap. Later that evening we headed out to Glendora for Christmas dinner with my sister, Stacy, Jay & family. I'm so grateful she's such an amazing cook, because, I'M NOT!
It was another joyous, wonderful year spent with the love of my family...I'm truly blessed! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!
Elijah posing w/his new Pierre Cardin
Joshy & gf Charmaine-joined us later @ my sister's house


Sunday, December 18, 2011


Nana Charlene, Megan & Baby Ariella

I awoke the day after my last blog post to a message from Megan telling me that during the early hours of the morning, an annonymous donor covered the entire cost of Ariella's 1st 40 treatments. I immediately felt the tears well up in my eyes, followed by crying. To see generosity, kindness, unselfishness and love showered down on Baby Ariella was too much for me. I lost it. I was moved. I was touched with the true meaning of Christmas. 

Megan was able to schedule an immediate appointment and Ariella had her first treatment the same day she received the donation. Absolutely AMAZING & an answer to Prayers. Someone was prompted and moved by God to help this little Angel. Several others continue to donate as she will require 40+ treatments. Stop by and read the heart felt message from Megan & Nana Charlene:

I am humbled and moved by the Love, Faith and Prayers of so many people. This Christmas I have witnessed the true Christ-Like Spirit of Love. I am moved beyond what my words can express! THANK YOU ALL AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Here is a few examples of the progress people are receiving from the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy which is what Ariella is receiving.

AFTER 10 TREATMENTS-Follow this baby's progress in the videos



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

BABY ARIELLA UPDATE: Be Part Of A Christmas Miracle

Baby Ari is a miracle. She's alive...she's a fighter who continues to defy the odds. It's no wonder~her name means: "Lion of God."  This little Angel has had the heart of a lion. It's been a long journey since the near accidental drowning, but with Faith, Hope and lot's of Prayer...another possible miracle may be in the making. It's been a while since I've posted an update. Ari's mom Megan asked me to share the latest information with you regarding her progress.

Please read her post below with the Spirit of Christmas in your heart.

Hello Family and Friends,

Ariella is doing well. She is starting to move her left arm and bring it up half way. We still have high hopes for her. She will soon receive physical and occupational therapy 4 times per week, starting next week. We are excited to hear from her therapists that they too believe she will just WAKE UP! I've heard it before, but 5 1/2 months later, I still love hearing it. It strengthens our hope and faith. Most, if not all of you, have showed your support in so many ways and we are grateful for your help and continued support.

In addition to therapy, we are excited to hear that the medical field has found something that is helping people like Ariella, (Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.)
People are literally coming out of coma's and walking out the door within a few weeks of treatment. Once we heard about this miracle therapy, we had such a good feeling about it. Will this be the remedy that we've been waiting for? We are very optimistic! Especially after we met with Dr. Underwood, MD & D.O.

When we were in the hospital after the accident, doctors told us, due to the damage, her brain cells (or brain matter), would die off and the body would eventually consume it. We repeated this to Dr. Underwood who said, "The brain doesn't die, it just goes dormant." With this treatment, the idea is to put the body under pressure while pumping 100% oxygen - stimulating growth in the brain and create new blood vessels, causing them to go into tissue they stopped "feeding". Once the "dormant" brain tissue is being fed, it comes back! They can literally help Ari's brain regenerate!!!

Also, once we left the office, my husband, Nathan, turns to me and says, "Megan, do you remember what I blessed her with? I blessed Ari saying her brain was not dead, it was dormant." A wave of chills came over me and I KNEW, this is it. Heavenly Father has lead us to this point for a reason.

Starting at a minimum of 40 treatments, we are looking to raise $3000. If you can help, we would be extremely grateful. Thank you for everything and I hope you all have a Merry Christmas!

- Megan Horne


~This Christmas make it more about giving than receiving. Be a part of this baby's healing and feel the true spirit and joy of the season. Merry Christmas and God Bless You!

Stop by Baby Ariella's CaringBridge Website to view more posts & pictures (CLICK HERE)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Who's The Real Gift? Happy Birthday Mom!

Me & My Mom (w/brother David)
Yesterday was my mom's birthday. It's a very special day because we share a birthday! She never fails to let me know, "You were my best Birthday present ever!" Now, I'm not so sure of that during the dreaded teen years, when I was known as, "The Mouth." I always had a mean comment or response to anything I didn't like or that she wanted me to do. This was quickly followed by a glare. Which my mom shot back, "If  looks could kill! Wipe that look off your face, Lisa Michelle, before I wipe it off for you! lol!

That's my mom! She's never taken crap from anyone. She's tiny but feisty. I'll never forget when we were younger and went to watch my dad, Dave, play hockey, (he was a goalie for the semi-pro hockey team, The Reno Aces.) Now back in the day, Hockey fans were a rowdy, foul mouthed group (probably not much different than today's fans.) During the game, this guy, who was sitting just a few rows away from us, began heckling, swearing and acting like a complete idiot.

Now as memories are...I don't remember exactly what transpired between my mom and this guy, I think she may have told him to watch his mouth (mama bear protecting her cubs.) But what I do remember with vivid clarity is the man saying, "F_ _ _ Y_  _" to my mom. Whoa...not something you EVER want to say to her. She scaled those bleachers like a track star jumping hurdles, reached the guy with lightening speed before he even knew what hit him. She had him by the collar of his shirt...all 5'3, 100 lbs of her lifting the 6' foot + guy up out of his seat, while he stammered apologies. Yep, she didn't take too kindly to someone swearing in front of her kids.

That's the kind of mom she's always been, loving & protective. Her kids and family are her life. She's always there, under any circumstances, no matter how difficult, challenging, painful...she's waiting to help, offer advice, encouragement or protection from unforeseen enemy's. Her feisty, never give up, keep looking and pushing ahead, things will work out, things will get better, YOU ARE LOVED attitude has helped each and every one of her 7 kids, their spouses, her husband and grandchildren. She is our rock, she is our family's strength. Her smile, energy & jokes, lifting us up...always showing us that Faith in Christ will see us through all things.

What my mom never realized is...SHE HAS BEEN THE GIFT TO ME! 

 My Family, Joshy, Me, (8 months pregnant w/Jullien) ~ (Stacy & John missing)
My mom, Aunt Lynn & Me
My Uncle Tim & Mom at my Wedding 
My Mom & Dad at Natashca's Wedding
Happy Birthday Mom! You are the best present Heavenly Father could've given me and our family! I love you!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Colors of Change

jacket: ambiance apparel, jeans: true religion (billy), scarf: gift from my step-daughter-natascha, sunglasses: gucci
boots: soda, t-shirts: american apparel
 There's something to be said for living somewhere where colors transform with the seasons. The first sight of changing leaves gives an old familiar place an entirely different look. On my recent visit to Utah, I decided to drive by my parents old home in Provo, Utah. It took me a few minutes to find the exact street, but once I headed up the hill, the memories of a time years ago came flooding back, joyful, full of life, laughter, unforeseen loss, sorrow...the colors of life. A home where we spent life changing moments together, loving, comforting, encouraging, and lifting up when we needed each other the most.

I only lived in Utah for two short years. Moving when my two boys, Josh & Jullien were babies. As a single mom I needed my family and there's no place like my parents loving home.


Family is like changing colors~nothing stays the same...learning to embrace each new season.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful In Utah

This Thanksgiving I have so much to be grateful for. We were able to travel to Utah to spend some time with my family. My dad was retiring from the police department after 35 years of service. 

All my family (parents, brothers & sisters/spouses & our kids  
(missing my brother John who passed away & his daughter Whitley who couldn't make it that day)
He made a special request to have his entire family here for it. He's been battling 4th stage lung cancer and 
now brain cancer, which hasn't crushed his spirit.
 Incredible gift he was presented

 The Mayor congratulating my dad (he also spoke)
 The line went out the door forever...people waiting to talk to my dad
 He received a much deserved standing ovation
 My dad with Present & former Police Chiefs
(he filled in as acting Chief before his retirement)
 He is such an inspiration, finding joy everyday even through the excruciating pain and struggles.

My dad, Dave (Marine Corp.) with his mom, Violet
I'm thankful for the gift of each and every day with loved one's. Life's too short. You never know what tomorrow holds...seize the day. Don't forget to tell loved one's you Love them, don't just assume they'll always be there.

I'm thankful to my mom, for her faithfulness in listening to the Lord and following His will for her life and the example she and my dad always show. I'm thankful for the knowledge that the Lord is watching over us each and everyday. 
 My cup runneth over! Happy Thanksgiving everyone.