Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's here... Halloween. Then Thanksgiving. Then Christmas!

My lil Transformers...

Well can you believe that it is already Halloween?  Next Thanksgiving then Christmas.  We will be into a New Year before you know it!  As I sit here watching the news - hearing the "germ warnings" in regard to Halloween Candy I am just amazed at how life gets more and more complicated by each passing day!  When I was a kid I could set off in my handcrafted costume with my little brothers and a handful of neighborhood kids and we could trick or treat without fear.  We got things like homemade caramel apples, bags of cookies or fruit mixed in with the sugary treats.  Now they are telling us to wipe down each piece of our kids candy with an antibacterial wipe to disinfect each piece in the event that the handler may have swine flu!  We can't let them go alone and in this day in age if you get anything handmade you toss it out for fear it is poisoned!  The world we live in - aint it grand?!

We don't have much news here on the Lindner front.  Stace still has not found a new job.  We got a notice from unemployment that he can collect $171 a week with a max of $2000.  This is due to the fact that his crooked employer does not report his earnings correctly.  SO now we have the laborious task of going to the Labor Board to file a report and try to see that justice is done.  

We are still $450 short on our rent - due tomorrow.  We have until the 4th before it is late.  Bills are due and our spirits are neutral.  We try to remain hopeful.  Stace is bidding a side job this morning on the recommendation from my friend Irene.  My brother's friend from High School who reconnected with us via Facebook has work he needs done up north.  Each of these blessings are a step closer to closing the rent deficit gap!  For that we are thankful!  

My heart is saddened to know that many other people are in our same situation.  My brother who is a single dad to my four nieces and nephews stands to lose his job.  He is already struggling to make ends meet and feels such defeat.  I want to help him so badly and do not know how.  He made $50 too much to get food from his local food pantry.  He makes "just a little too much" to qualify for a discount on his utilities and to qualify for food stamps.  Amazing.  We have programs in place to help but people can't qualify.  If you have no job - the maximum benefit you get for a family of 6 is $900 a month in cash aid.  Not bad...BUT how do you LIVE on $900 a month with 6 people?  Rental assistance agencies have a 72 month wait list!  Our rent is one of the lowest at $1550 in Orange County.  Yes, I know we could move to an impoverished area.  But our safety and the education for our kids is something we don't want to compromise on.  It's easy for people to "tell us" where to move...but ask yourself - "WOULD YOU?"  We want to be near our church, our friends and family.  After losing so much - It is all we have left.

Turner decided today that it would be great if he could call the NEWS and ask them to declare a "FREE DAY" where everyone in the world could get something FREE.  He would get a FREE PIZZA and a FREE VIDEO GAME SYSTEM.  Gotta love the little mind of a six year old!  

I have been fighting off getting sick.  I will undoubtedly get the "ick" at some point but I will fight it each step of the way!

Off to feed my kids - and find out where my "adult child" is.  He went to Kamille's yesterday and never called, or came home last night.  Not like him.  We are worried.  BUT I will remain hopeful and chalk it up to mindless teenage actions.  Kamille's cell phone is off - and I left a message at her house.  As a mom we can't help but's our job!

Have a SAFE Halloween and be sure to DISINFECT your candy wrappers!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I have arrived...

Well, I have arrived.

After an exchange last night with someone I realized that here I am in my 40's and I have arrived.

I really do not care or care to let the opinions of others dictate my actions or use it as a barometer of self worth.

As a kid growing up I wanted the approval of my parents and family.

In my teens I was searching for me and wanted the approval of my peers.

When I got married I hung my hat on the rack of "being a wife" and was searching for approval from my husband.

Now I am here.  I have been down many paths on my journey.

I have searched to find things that I found I never wanted in the first place.  I have faced rejection, heartbreak and negativity.
I have received rich blessings.  I have experienced wonderful friendships.  I have met amazing human beings.

I have been flat on my face before God and have been humbled.  I know what it is like to have loved and lost.  I know what it is like to be lost in love.  I know what it is to love and get nothing in return.  I know what it is to be loved unconditionally.

I know who I am.  I know what I like.  I know what personalities drain me and which energize me.  I have carefully weeded my friendship garden, plucking weeds that choke the life out of me.
I cultivate my crops and fertilize with the Spirit.  I am okay with who I am because Jesus is.  I am carefully and wonderfully made.  I am who He created me to be.

I am happy that I am finally here.  I am free.  Free to be ME.
Others may not like who I am or like what I do or what I say.  People are people.  We do not always agree.  That is what makes the world go round.

As long as my actions are pleasing to God that is all that matters.  I am far from perfect.  I stumble.  I fall.  But He is there to pick me up, forgive me and help me go on.

I am ready for my next journey.  I may not look the way I had hoped.  I may not weigh the amount I want.  I may not have a snappy wardrobe or jewels to adorn myself.  But my heart is decorated with love.  Love for God. Love for people.  Love for Missions.  Love for Nature.   Love for the Lost.  Love for the hurting.  I can see the world through clear lenses now.  

I can dismiss those who attempt to hurt me.
I can cast weeds from my garden and be okay with that. 

I know what my heart needs and I am the one to protect it, with His guidance and help every step of the way.

Don't let people dictate who you should be.  Don't conform to this world.  Transform your heart, mind and soul with Jesus.  It is simply the only way!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Joyful Resting?

Taken at Whittier Christian Church built in 1923

It is Tuesday and I worked in Trevan's Kindergarten Class as I do each week.  The kids are starting to recognize me and wave their small hands at me and say "Hi Trevan's Mommy!" some with toothless grins.  

I love working in the class and watching as the different personalities try to absorb the lessons at hand.  Some get right down to business forming each letter with precision.  Others try unconventional ways of holding the pencil and stroke with reckless abandon in an attempt to make the letters "their way".  Some rush to get the work done while others use each minute wisely to do the best job they can.  Children.  They are such wonderful little beings!

I walked home, the air just the perfect temperature.  A slight crispness, cool but not cold.  As the sun played peek-a-boo behind clouds that dotted the sky it kissed my face with it's warmth.  Feeling relaxed I breathed in the Fall air smelling the leaves that crunched beneath my feet.  I know the unpredictability of California weather and we are expecting cooler temps, high winds then back to the heat.  So, I will enjoy this moment while it is here.  I walk in the door as Stace is preparing to leave to go to where I had just been, to pick up Trevan.  

Trevan and Turner love having Daddy pick them up.  A small thing that is a big deal in their world.  My stomach growling I realize I headed out this morning with nothing to eat.  I peruse the fridge trying to decide on what to eat for lunch.  Deciding to wait until Trevan got home I grabbed a handful of Cheez Its - knowing I should not, but unable to resist the temptation. 

I plopped into my bed with my laptop to quickly check email before the little dude gets home.  Anxious to see if any fruit had come from the many job applications that we have put in, I scanned the inbox.  Nothing.  As the surge of anticipation waned I poked one Cheez It after another into my mouth.  My stomach gnawing away as each bite goes down. 

Stace arrives home and inquires as to the status of the applications.  I tell him no news.  He loads up laundry baskets to take to my mom and dad's.  The weather is going to get cooler and the kids do not have long sleeve shirts.  We made a trip to the Goodwill Store a few weeks ago and I found 2 long sleeve shirts for the boys.  Ones that they can layer over short sleeve tees.  They need to be laundered.  He bid us farewell and set out to do the laundry and gather the mail.  

He needs to have a purpose in his day.  Not working is eating him up inside and the stress builds.  It swells inside him until he can no longer contain it.  He lashes out at every one around and things become unruly and sad.  So, off he goes.  I hope the time away, being alone with his thoughts will help. 

I will spend the rest of my day nursing my back as I have strained it somehow.  I will search for more jobs and submit more applications and resumes. 

Facebook alerted me that my "In God We Trust" message for today is:
Janean got a message that on this day, God wants her to know...
... that you've been driving yourself too hard lately.

Sure, there is time to invest yourself fully into work, but there is equally important time for joyful resting. And for you, this time is now. What is the absolutely most wonderful little treat you can give yourself? Do it today.

So perhaps I will rest.  Rest in Him and know that He has it all under control.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday already?


Wow - one of the things that perplexes me most is how fast time goes.  The weekend was much too short.  It was filled with excitement - not of the fun kind.  I cooked all day Saturday and froze yummy meals like Vodka Sauce with fresh veggies, meatloaf, white chili, veggie stew and bagged fresh veggies to pop into the microwave in the steamer bags.  Sunday we did laundry all day.  Taylor accidentally singed his hair, eyebrow and eyelashes trying to light the gas grill.  Moments later the ceiling fan in the kids room shorted out and rained little fireballs and sparks down on top of all who were in the room.  
Exciting.  Now it is Monday.

I spent most of the "free time" this weekend applying for jobs online.

My little guys are hooked on playing "Cafe World" on Facebook.  We went without the internet for months and I called to see what kind of "deal" I could get if we got it hooked up again.  I am actually getting it free for 3 months and then $24.95 after that!  Huge discount from the $49.99 they were charging!  I feel "connected" once again to the world!

This verse keeps ringing in my head... with rent almost due and bills to be paid...

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today." Matthew 6:34 

I will try to keep my focus on the here and now.  Let tomorrow's troubles wait until tomorrow.  Friday the boys have Halloween Parties at school and I have yet to figure out the costume situation.  I had better get on that!

While taking Turner to school today he stopped 30 feet from his classmates.  He told me he could no longer wear his jacket with Buzz Lightyear on it.  He said he needed a plain one.  He then went on to request that Daddy bring him to school.  He told me that he did not like my hair.  He said he liked it when it was beautiful.  He then went on to tell me that my toenails needed some nice polish!  

My heart sank.  Could it be?  Could I be standing here being rejected by my 6 year old?  Tell me it isn't so! 

I knew this day would come...I just did not expect it now at age 6.  I then could not stop thinking of Trevan.  He is 5 and the first time I volunteered in his class he announced to everyone that I was not his mom, but rather his cousin visiting from China.

Are my kids embarrassed of me?  I know I have not been able to get my hair done in ages, have not visited a nail salon in forever, don't really have many clothes to speak of, have put on
So much for the "Journey to the new Me" that I set out on at the beginning of the year!  

Oh is what it is and I am what I am.  At least Jesus loves me no matter what!

Sometimes I dream.  I dream about what things would have been, what could have been if I had made other choices long ago.  But in the end - we never really know how things would have turned out.  I could have been worse off - who knows!?  God does not allow us to travel back in time - only forward.  This is by His divine design.  He has a purpose.  I try not to focus on what could have been but rather on what can be.

No one knows what tomorrow holds.  I just need to hold on to that and pray that tomorrow, when it comes will be filled with happiness, less stress and blessings.

I have dreams.  I have hope.  I have a relationship with Christ.  I can't ask for a whole lot more.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

One day at a time...

It is said that you should not focus on the problems of tomorrow because there are plenty for today!

I have been trying to take things day by day.  This is a saying that people have thrown about for centuries.  "Just take it day by day".
But this is so much easier said than done.  When you have rent due on the first of the month and bills to be paid it is hard not to focus on the impending due dates.

Bills and commitments hang in the future like tangled vines.  Impending doom and dread when you do not see how you are going to meet these needs creeps in.

I have tried to focus on the solution.  Stace and Taylor need jobs.  Each day we have applied online again for employment.  We spend hours pouring over classified ads and filling out lengthy applications.
I have just scheduled this in as part of the daily routine.  

In our recent study the verse from Isaiah 43:2 says "When you walk through rivers of difficulty you will not drown!  When you walk through the fire of oppression you will not be burned up!"  Jesus is the higher power that I must plug into.  Believe and receive.  I am not in control, He is.  I know this.  I must rest in it.

So, this is Saturday.  Glorious Saturday!  Trevan woke up and wanted to go to school!  He said he hates the weekends because he loves school SO much!  Awesome!  The weather looks beautiful.  I will make coffee and we will see what this day holds.  We have the usual mountains of laundry that need to be attended to for the next week.  I have items to throw in the crock pot to make white chili for dinner.  I hear the birds chirping outside and a cool breeze washes over me as I sit here writing to you.  I will pray that today will be a peaceful one.  A productive one.  One that is filled with hope, not stress. 

One day at a time.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Can we just rewind?

10:00 am 

Here I sit - for a 3-4 hour "process" applying for help for my family.  Don't get me wrong.  I am happy that there IS help available.  What is sad is that my husband and I have to be here in the first place.  I know we are not alone.

It is not personal.  We are intelligent individuals who possess talents and we are employable.  Finding employment is the mountain that we must try to climb once again.  Perhaps God accidentally hit rewind on the DVR of our lives.

"Hello God?  I know you are really busy.  Perhaps by mistake, you hit the rewind button on accident.  You see, Stace has lost his job and we have no income like a year ago.  Trevan who is 5 has started throwing temper tantrums and having crying jags like a 2 year old.   Turner can't sleep at night because he is afraid we will lose our home again. Trenton who once had all good grades is now failing again in school.  Taylor who was clean and sober is now backsliding and using again.  Then there is me.  I am feeling sad and depressed like I did a while ago.  I am sure you did it by accident, so if you could just hit fast forward and return things to the way they were...we'd really appreciate it."

If only.  If only it was that easy.  I know God loves us and would accommodate my request.  For some reason there is something He is trying to tell us.  I just wish it would be revealed!  Life, is so perplexing. 

Halloween is just a week away.  A "holiday" I could do without.  I have always hated the "day of the dead" and have not really seen the benefit of dressing in costume to go get loads of sugar to rot one's teeth.  BUT, my kids are looking forward to this night.  The problem is, they want costumes that I can't buy.  They want to look cool at school and dress the part.  I tried to explain that the costumes they want cost a lot of money.  It is not practical to spend that kind of money for one night.  Little Trevan said - "Well then, what can we be that does not cost money?"  Turner replied, "I know!  A GHOST.  We can cut 2 holes in a blanket, but NOT MY BLANKET!  Then wa-lah!  We will be Spooky Ghosts!"  Kids are so awesome!  Now finding 2 white blankets or sheets to make into GHOSTS will be my challenge!  In years past I would have spent hours crafting and sewing costumes.  Not this year.  Times are different.

All we really want is to be able to provide stable, happy homes for our kids.  Why is life so tough?  I can't imagine how things will be when our boys are our age.  I pray that this world changes for the better so that they will not find themselves in this upward battle to seek stability and happiness.

Still line to apply for "benefits".  Benefits I never thought I would have to rely on to provide medical coverage and food for my kids. 

I'll keep you posted on the hour and 7 minutes wait so far...


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What do you do?

Taken on my trip to the Sequoias...

So, the question of the day is..."What do you do when you don't know what to do? "  
My little Turner asked me today "What are we going to do now that daddy does not have a job?"  I told him I did not know.  He pondered a moment and said "Well mom, WHAT do you do when you don't know WHAT to do?"

I had to sit quietly a moment and tell him that the only thing I know to do is to PRAY.  I explained that only God knows the answers.  He then asked me why we had to PRAY and why God did not have a telephone.  He said that he thought it would be SO much easier to just call God.  I had to laugh.  He is so right!  I quickly explained as I dressed him for school that God does not work that way.  He is all knowing and is everywhere.  He then said - "If he is everywhere then he needs a CELL PHONE!"  After giving a quick lesson on how God is God and very different from people, we finished getting ready for school.  Not an easy concept to understand at age 6. 

Seemingly satisfied Turner gave me a big hug and told me he "loved me SO much".  This is what I live for.  The squeeziest hugs and sweet kisses from my boys.  Sadly my older two do not do this anymore.

It seems that the stress of all things falling apart again has made Taylor and Trenton both act out.  Taylor stole Stace's debit card and took money from our bank to buy drugs.  We discovered this last night as I was trying to leave to go to Small Group.  A fury of phone calls, trying to get a hold of Taylor who was with Kamille, the bank and checking the account online.  It was a mess.  We did not know whether to call the police or find him and ring his neck.  He has been good for so long and now this.  He told us that he was not thinking and that he spent the money to buy Xanax.  He feels stressed and wants to get high by taking these pills.  My heart sank so low.  I feel hurt, angry and violated.  

Living in your home and not being able to trust your own child is a terrible feeling.  Dealing with someone who suffers from addiction, mental illness and a brain injury - is like being in prison.  We have to watch his moods.  We have to administer his meds, as he can't be trusted to be responsible to take them or take the right amount.  I do not need this right now.  I wanted to scream and shake him.  I did not.  I remained calm and told him sternly how violated we felt.  I told him he has broken all trust.  We explained that he will need to find a new home if this behavior is not stopped.  PERIOD.  End of story.

Trenton is lashing out at the lil guys and is failing 2 core classes.  We tried to talk to him but he shuts down.  He finally shared that kids at school tease him because of his clothes.  He needs new clothes as he only has one pair of pants.  He wears only black and kids have called him "goth".  He wants new things but knows we can't afford them.  He needs new shoes.  I wanted so badly to just cry.  I tried to apologize and that is not what he wanted to hear.  He just wanted to BE heard.  So, I listened.  He knows I can't fix it.  But I can listen.  So that is what I did.

One day at a time.  I know.  It is just so hard.

Today we are looking for jobs for Stace and Taylor.  We discussed whether or not I should return to work or if Stace should be the wage earner.  We will apply for jobs for him, Taylor then myself in that order.  We will see what God has in store.  I just wish this economy was not so terrible.  Making an already tough situation even tougher, I don't know if I have the stamina.  

I started this day with a prayer.  I will continue to pray throughout the day.  I will pray tonight.  It is all I know to do - when I don't know WHAT to do...

Until later...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Always a mom...No Matter What!

Photo from my Photo Session with the Lopez Family this morning...

I sit here now on the small leather love seat with my feet propped too high on the cedar chest in front of me.  My back muscles are screaming out for me to change my position to relieve the strain of this uncomfortable manner in which I am sitting.  My world yesterday was peaceful and serene.  Today it is falling down in pieces all around.  My husband is not handling his unemployment.  He has no hope.  He is beaten down.  He has given up.  He is angry.  He is stressed.  He is not controlling his temper.  He is lashing out at everyone around.  We are the ones who care.  Yet he can not see that. 

Tension hangs in the air so thick you can cut it with a knife.  While I was gone this weekend nothing got done.  Laundry sat in piles.  The fuel tank in the van still empty.  In trying to prepare for the upcoming week I discovered that no one has clean clothes.  Cupboards are bare.  My usually OCD husband did not do much it appears in my absence.  I need to do loads of laundry and must go to the store to get breakfast food and snacks for the kids to take to school. It is nearly 7:00pm and I am tired.

I just retrieved the mail to see if the grocery store circular was there only to find a letter from Lakeside Middle School informing me that Trenton who is at the Skate Park at the moment, is failing 2 of his core classes.  I am so mad that steam is coming out of my ears. Trying to reach him on his friend's cell phone - I get a voicemail.  I am not happy.  No not happy at all.  He has failed to call and check in.  He is gonna get an earful from me when we pick him up tonight.

When the people around you are down and out their dark mood tends to taint even the brightest spots.  I try very hard to keep the momentum going.  To keep on keeping on.  I try to remain calm.  I try to speak in low tones.  I want to yell and scream but I struggle to maintain some semblance of order.  I feel weary.  I feel strained. 

As I write I look down to see a set of chubby little feet wiggling next to me.  My little Trevan wearing nothing but lounge pants sits pressed up against me doing his "homework".  His smooth warm skin radiating into mine and the smell of his clean hair fills my nose.  I watch as his little fingers struggle to trace a rectangle.  He looks to me for approval and grins.  My world for a moment returns to peaceful bliss as I admire this sweet little boy.

No matter the stress, the strain, the chores to be heart is filled with love for my kids.  They are all that matters.  They are what I live for.

So I will go now.  I will perform acts of service that they may not appreciate now or ever.  But they will have clean clothes and food to eat, and I will have fulfilled my role as their mother.


Calm before the storm...

Well - my weekend away was the calm before the storm.  I returned from a glorious weekend and found out this morning that my husband lost his job.  

I ask for your prayers.

We have been here before.  I thank the Lord for the relaxing time I got to spend closer to him in his beautiful forest.  I feel a peace.  I know the Lord will not leave us or forsake us.  We will weather this storm again.

I will reflect on my favorite scripture...

Jer 29:11 (NIV) "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

I thank you in advance for your prayers...

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Yesterday was filled with Adventure!  I went in the morning on a Walking Field Trip to the Pumpkin Patch with my lil Kindergartener, Trevan.  The kids had a great time feeding the animals, running through the Spooky House and picking a pumpkin.  THEN we walked back.  The kids thought their legs and feet were going to fall off!  It was quite the adventure!

Then I was picked up by my friend Trudi and her daughters to set off on our Photo Expedition.  We drove for four or five hours to Fresno.  It really did not seem very long to me at all!  Sure beats the trips to Havasu with four bickering boys in the backseat!  No one had to stop to potty, no one fought over the DVD to watch or what music was to be played.  Not one person yelled and screamed because someone was "touching" them!  It was bliss!

We ended our evening with a lovely meal at Mimi's Cafe and then - hold on to your seat...I slept in a room all ALONE in a bed ALL TO MYSELF!  Ahhhh - a whole night of sleep!  Wow!  I woke up at 6:30 am feeling refreshed!  I am showered and dressed watching T.V. waiting for them to wake up and call.  We will then eat breakfast and head out for out Photo Expedition to the Sequoias!  I am very Adventurous and can't wait to see new things!

Until tonight!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What inspires you?


What a great thing.  To be inspired.  I was told recently that I was inspiring.  It was such a wonderful compliment.  I started to ponder who and what inspires me.

As I sat under a sky blanketed in a thick white mass of clouds that appeared seamless like a snowfall in the sky, I thought about this.  God.  

God inspires me.  Just looking at all that He created inspires me to appreciate the beauty around me.  I have looked at people differently the past couple years.  Learning to appreciate their differences in appearance and in personality, nature has inspired me to grow.  I am also inspired by many people. 

My Grandmother inspired me as a child.  She was a devout God fearing Christian.  I witnessed her faithful prayer life.  She was a tiny woman.  Barely 5 feet tall and under 90 pounds.  I would watch her gracefully get on her knees, kneeling beside her perfectly made bed and pray every day.  Her dedication to the Lord was unshakeable and her faithfulness was like a rock.  It was always there, never wavering for a moment.  Her ability to quote scripture, her daily rituals of bible reading and singing praises to the Lord inspired me to also be a Christ follower.  She took me to church each Sunday dressed in my "Sunday Best",  hair neatly curled looking neat as a pin.  She was dedicated in raising me to know the Lord.  Whether it was raining, or snowing out, windy or hot, we would make it to Church - no matter what.

My friend and former small group leader Amy has been an inspiration to me for many years.  She is strong, energetic, intense, intelligent, wise, funny, beautiful and has an innate ability to love people.  I have seen her handle situations with a cool head, a diplomatic compass and deep sense of fairness.  She has poured love onto people who are not so lovable.  She has been a fearless leader in both women's small groups and kids small groups.  She inspires me.  She has a way of taking you out of your comfort zone and pushing you to be more.  She is an inspiration to many and I am not sure that she knows this. She has blessed me and for her friendship I am thankful.

Last year a little girl named Alyssa Clark inspired me.  She made my heart swell.  She was in a Kids Small Group at church and she was instrumental in a fundraising effort to help our family.  We were so touched and blessed by this little girl and her pure heart.  The innocence of a child, the purest of motives to help someone in need spoke to my soul.  I can't tell you how much I took away from the meeting with these kids that night.  They were all 8-9 years of age and were asking me deep questions that adults had not even asked of me.  One girl asked me "How has this experience tested your faith in God?"  One asked, "Were you mad at God, just a little when you had to leave your home?"  she then went on to say "If you were, that is okay.  He understands.  We are not perfect.  He made us this way."  Inspiring.  Truly inspiring.  

I was so touched by these kids that I was moved to become a Kids Small Group Leader this year.  I did not do this for what I can offer them, but rather what I can take away from their innocent and pure hearts.  I only hope that I can inspire them to get to know Christ and desire a personal relationship with Him.

I am inspired by another little girl named Haley and her family.  I met Haley when I owned a Boutique in Foothill Ranch.  Her family came in and it was like a fresh spring breeze followed them.  They were funny, energetic, delightful and fresh.  There was something different about them.  They were all so happy.  So lively.  They made you want to be with them, near them.  Haley is a talented young artist.  Her smile lights up a room.  Her eyes hold a magical gleam - that of sunshine.  With the help of her mom Aimee she started a Tee Shirt Line called Haley Bop Tees.  A portion of the proceeds she donates to an organization called "Art With A Heart".  She reminded me so much of me at that age.  She has her own sense of style.  She is poised and so intelligent, yet a little girl at the same time.  I know Haley will do great things.  I am blessed to be able to watch her as she grows.  Her mom and dad are the most positive individuals I have ever met.  Her dad is witty and amazing - his ability to view life with lenses that will not become clouded with negativity is admirable.   Her mom is soft, beautiful and chic, kind and energetic.  I only hope that I can encourage my boys the way that Aimee and Eric do Haley and Gage.  I wish they lived closer by...but we will make it to see them one day in beautiful South Carolina!  Inspiring.  I will move there one day.  It is my dream.  They inspire me to follow my dreams.

My mom has always been an inspiration to me as well.  My mom is very organized.  She is sharp, stylish, loving, compassionate and kind.  My mom taught me at an early age that you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.  She taught me the fine art of arguing one's point in a composed and dignified manner.  She taught me to operate with a cool head and not to get "fired up" from the heart.  I have learned an insurmountable amount of skills from her and she continues to inspire me.  I strive to be as organized as she is, but know that I will never achieve her level of expertise!  I am just wired differently!  I know what I want things to look like - I just have a hard time getting them there!  I lack the ability to INSPIRE those who live with me to keep things in their little bins with the cute labels on them!

I am inspired by a lot of people and things as I am sure you are too.  It does your heart good to take a moment to reflect on who and what gives you inspiration each day.  I encourage you to take a moment out of your busy life and reflect on this.  It is nice.  It helps you to feel motivated and for me cleared my vision a bit.  Like wiping the smudges off of my glasses.  It helps you to strive to be an inspiration to those around you.  I think that being inspirational is a wonderful gift, one that you can give as well as receive. 

Does someone inspire you?  Do they know?  Take a minute to tell them!
Now go and be an inspiration to someone - who knows you may already be and not know it!
Smile and the world smiles back!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Only in California!

Gotta love Southern California!  This is one place that is so unpredictable!  The weatherman called for buckets of rain yesterday and we got a few sprinkles.  Today the same.  My husbands employer called off work due to the impending precipitation and we did not get any - yet.  Sprinkled among moments of cloudy skies and then sunny - my kids are SWIMMING in October.  Only in California!  The 4 of them are roughing it up being loud and rowdy in the pool as I bake Sour Cream Green Chili Enchiladas.  MMMMMM!  

I have Small Group Bible Study tonight and my family is looking forward to the season premiere of HELL'S KITCHEN.  Life for right now - this moment is good.  It makes me happy to see my kids playing and actually getting along - for right now - this moment!  I sit here at the pool in the comfortable breeze under cloudy skies.  I am enjoying the moment.  It has been said that TONIGHT we will be poured down upon by the rainstorm that is coming.  I love the rain.  I just hate having to get out in it!  Getting kids to school and keeping them dry will be a challenge.  Wish me luck!

I just looked up to see the light gray clouds sailing across they sky like little boats.  My view lined with palm trees and pines swaying in the gentle breeze.  I love nature.  I am looking forward to my trip out of town this weekend.  I am going on a photo expedition to witness the great Sequoia Trees.  I have never had the chance to see these up close and personal.  It will be nice to get away with "the girls" and teach and learn.  Photography is a love of mine.  I think I was born with a camera in hand!  LOL!

Stace is still perusing the job openings as is Taylor.  Pray that something comes available or that we can find something!

Well - as all good things come to an end - this moment of peace is over.  Taylor, Trenton and Turner were playing around and Turner tripped over Trenton and just crashed into the pavement.  Cheekbone hitting the ground, shrieks erupt.  Now arguing over who will use which towel has now set the scene for a grotesque verbal bantering session.  A large red mark has now formed on Turner's fair face.  Will it be a black eye?  We will wait and see.  Now dad is reprimanding the foursome and it is time to go make dinner.

Here's wishing you a nicer evening than this is turning out to be!  LOL!


Monday, October 12, 2009

Nothin like a Newborn Baby!

Nothing like spending the morning with a Newborn Baby!  Just what the Doctor ordered for a gloomy fall day!  I had a great time taking portraits of this sweet little man!  Somehow just holding a precious little life in your arms makes the world just fade away!  I love it!  I had to come home though and face "my world" again!  Thanks for the escape Tanya and baby Blake!

Our budget for the week is going to be shot as Stace made a bee line back home this morning.  It seems the boss had no work on the books if rain was in the forecast.  This means no work tomorrow or Wednesday either.  HUGE hit.  If he does not work he does not get paid.  I do not know what we will do other than pray and leave it up to God!

I tried not to stress about it all day - but that is hard.  I put some chicken in the crock pot and we have been smelling Hawaiian bbq all day long.  Can't wait to go make some white rice and eat it tonight!  Gotta find the bright spots where you can!

I had a parent teacher conference today with Turner's teacher and he is doing fantastic!  What a blessing!  I am so pleased that he is thriving and is happy!  Tomorrow the kids do not have school and it seems rain is on the horizon.  Not sure what we will do all 6 of us inside all day - that ought to be a fun one!

Taylor's air mattress that he sleeps on somehow got a hole in it and I need to run tonight to find a replacement.  I just can stand seeing one of my kids sleeping on the floor.  It breaks my heart.  He does not mind - he is happy to.  I just feel so bad!  So - wish me luck in finding a cheap one - or one on clearance - that would be ideal!

So - that is just about it for the Lindner's today.  I am gonna head back home before the rain comes.  I do not know what I will do for internet access when it rains!  Sitting here at the pool will not be an option!  Oh well...we'll see what happens!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lazy days are gone...

The lazy days of Summer are gone and Fall is finally here.  

I love my days at the beach - lazing in the sun.  Now it is time to bundle yourself up and enjoy the misty mornings at the shore.  I think this week I will head down to Treasure Island for a little "me" time.

This weekend was filled with family fun and chores.  When my life seems a bit crazy I try to do as much as humanly possible to get things under control.

We spent time with my brother at my mom and dad's last night.  We enjoyed laughing and eating and just lazing about.  Today after coffee - we got busy organizing closets and doing 100 loads of laundry.  Not really - but close to it.  I try to get 10 outfits together on Sunday complete with socks and undies organized in ziplock baggies so that the week can go smoothly in the way of dressing Turner and Trev to get them out the door and to school on time.

I planned the menu for the week - as we have exactly $190 for this weeks food.  I am trying to stick to a budget - $50 a week for car gas for each car and putting away $388 a week for rent.  I'll let you know how this works out!

I got the meals planned - and thanks to Erika we are now proud owners of a CROCK POT!  I am so excited!  Tomorrow will be sweet and tangy BBQ Chicken and rice in the slow cooker!  I am baking chicken and stuffing as we speak.  I got the Target run done and now am looking forward to a hearty dinner and relaxing with the kids before the new week begins.

Tomorrow I have the pleasure of photographing a new little life!  I will post photos tomorrow when I am done.

Make it a great week!

Friday, October 9, 2009


Being Stuck

Have you ever felt stuck?  You know the feeling - like being stuck in the muck and mud.  Unable to move or if you are able you don't get too far. 
I feel that way now.  Stuck.

My husband is stuck in a job that is going nowhere but downhill.  He is a talented individual, meticulous in his craft.  He is one of the hardest workers I have ever seen.

People who have seen his work say "Oh!  He is SO talented - he should have no trouble finding a job!"  Yes.  I know.  Easier said than done in this economy where the unemployment rate here in California is nearing 11%.

So if you know of anyone hiring in the area of remodeling - or know of someone in need of work - here is Stace's Website:

I have scaled back everything I can think of.  

No internet.  (if you know of a service that is affordable - let me know!!)  Bare bones cable and phone service.  Drive back roads to avoid toll road fees.  Scaling our car insurance down to the bare minimum.  Coupon clipping.  No eating out.  No entertainment.  No manicures, pedicures or brow waxing.  No salon services.  No car washes.  No shopping.

If anyone has any other ideas on how to save - please shoot me an email!  I am stuck.  I do not know any other ways to save what little money we seem to have.

RENT.  It is our biggest expenditure.  Going from $2250 to $1550 we thought was great.  Now just trying to maintain $1550 a month is hard.  I do not think we could all live in a one bedroom.  The law does not allow it.  We are currently six people in a 900 sq foot space.  Two bedrooms, one with 3 beds.  One of my sons sleeps on an air mattress in the living room.  I have been looking for something less expensive and have found nothing.  I hate to get the kids established in new schools only to move them again.  Stuck. 

During the year after my husband's accident we got help financially from the State.  Now with California going broke those benefits are no longer.  We do not have health insurance and do not get help with food.  I have been looking for a job and the amount I would need to pay in after school childcare for my 2 youngest is astronomical.  It makes it a no win situation.  Stuck.

I have to be able to figure something out.  It keeps me awake at night.  I think about it all day.  HOW can I improve our quality of life?  I want my kids to be healthy and happy.  I want to be emotionally here for them.  I can not afford to be consumed with stress and wonder.  I do have hope.  I am just STUCK.

I know the Lord's timing is at times - slow.  We want it and we want it now.  I want answers.  They do not come.  I know - have patience.  Have hope.  I am trying.  I promise.

I do give God praise.  I praise that we live in a beautiful town.  I praise that my kids love their new schools.  I praise that we live in southern california and are not so far from our church.  I just do not want to lose this.
I am trying to be proactive and stay one step ahead. 

We have fallen.  We got up.  We don't want to fall again.  I do not want to be STUCK.

So if you have any resources you can share, any ideas - I am all ears.  We are better together!

Maybe you can get us out of the MUD!



Some helpful links...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Gotta have friends...

I love nothing more in life than having friends!  The fact that my kids are discovering the fine art of making friends makes my heart swell.  I am happy to report that all 3 of my kids are making friends in their new schools and are happy!  The other day we were afforded the opportunity to go on our first "play date" of the year at Turner's classmate's house.  His name is Andrew and he has a new baby sister named Aprilia.  On the way we stopped at a Farm.  The kids had a great time scampering from the big pumpkins to the small and petting the goats and sheep in the little petting zoo.  We then played at Andrew's house and ended the day with pizza out on their patio.

My kids thought this was the most fun ever!  They talk daily about it and want to do it again.  Isn't this great?  In life we are made to be relational.  We were made to be friends to people and to experience relationships.  I am so enlightened by watching my boys do just this!

It isn't until they get older that they will realize sometimes these relationship can be a bit heavy.  Some friends tend to "drag you down" or at times their burdens are "too much to bear".  This is where God comes in.  We need to cast our burdens and those of our friends to God and let him handle the heavy stuff!  I am a fixer.  I love to fix things.  I admit over the years I have become consumed when someone I care about has had problems and I wanted to fix them.  It has been through trial and error that I have learned that I am NOT God.  I can not fix my life let alone other peoples.

We CAN help, however.  Having a listening ear, offering encouraging words and being a shoulder to cry on sometimes is just the right prescription to ail a friend in need.  I am good at helping.  I have learned not to beat myself up if I can't fix it.  

I thank God for all the friends who have helped us along the way.  I cherish you all - and you know who you are.  The nice emails, cards, gifts that you give.  Timing is always perfect.  You seem to know when we need it most and are here for us.  Knowing I have people around who simply CARE is a comfort.  I have a handful of people that I know I can count on.  I do not know all of my "friends" well.  Some are new.  I look forward to getting to know them all much better!

I want this for my kids too.  I hope that I am a living example of how to be a friend and how to have friends.  We teach by example and I try hard to show my kids that giving when you have nothing to give - even a small amount of time is valuable.  Taking the time to smile, call or send an email sometimes means the world to someone.  It's the little things that count!

"Sometimes you pick your friends, sometimes they pick you." 

Thanks for picking me!
Let me know if you are up for a "play date"... :o)


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Give yourself a "time out"!

Kids.  They say the darndest things.  

Today I worked in Trevan's class.  He kept telling his friends that I was NOT his mother.  He announced to his peers that I was his "cousin visiting from Japan"!  Now THAT made me laugh!

Where did he come up with this?  I'll never know.  He does not have any cousins that live in Japan!

I am blessed that my kids pepper my day with laughs mixed in with the mini-heart attacks.  

Just now - as I am sitting here at the pool writing you Turner took a bad spill on the wet cement.  I constantly yell "Do not RUN" while at the pool.  Now he knows why.  I saw him in slow motion...his feet coming out from under him...him sliding on his back and forearms then WHACK!  He hit his head on the concrete as I ran to him.  Being a sensitive mom I asked if he was okay and checked him up and down before I gave him the "SEE I TOLD YOU SO" speech.

"Sheesh!"  I exclaimed.  "You gave me a heart attack!"  I told him.  "Well, mom...  YOU need to give yourself a TIME OUT." he replied.  "In Time Out - you can RELAX."  

Oh, that would be so nice!  I may just do that.  Give myself a "time out".  


Are you over worked, over stressed, over scheduled, over burdened?  Give yourself a "time out"!  

Sometimes kids have some great advice.  I think I am going to take my son up on this one.

If you do not hear from me for a few days - it is because I am in "TIME OUT" and I may never come out!



Sunday, October 4, 2009

Happy Fall...

To NEED help is hard.  To RECEIVE help is HUMBLING.

I thank the Rentrops and the Crookshanks for helping us today with some necessary items.  You have blessed us tremendously.

Today is the first day we have had a brisk chill in the air.  I LOVE FALL!  In years past when times were more blissful, I would have the hay bail on the front porch all decked out with a scarecrow, Indian corn and a host of beautiful pumpkins that would be carved into dazzling jack-o-lanterns.  We would together decorate the porch and entry to welcome our guests.  It was an all weekend affair.  I would relish in purchasing the Yankee Candle I love in Pumpkin Pie scent and would be burning it to fill the house with the smell of fall.  We lived in the Midwest and the glorious trees would be changing from green to reds, bronze, golds and oranges.  I LOVED this more than anything!  Little Squirrels would scamper about collecting acorns to store for the winter. People would begin cutting wood for their fireplaces and you would catch a scent of an early fire burning on a chilly night.  We would rake leaves into huge piles and take turns jumping in them.

We would be planning what Halloween Costumes the kids would be wearing and if mommy would be sewing them or if they would be items purchased to make the costume.  We would go shopping for flannel shirts and long sleeve tees to wear with jeans and the new boots that we bought before school started.  We would be making delicious pot roast and veggies in the crock-pot all day long to enjoy with homemade bread that I crafted in our bread machine.  Those were days filled with after dinner walks, watching daddy in the front yard doing fall planting, and going to the pumpkin farm to buy giant pumpkins and tag our Christmas tree.  

Our front door would be cheery with a fall wreath that I handmade and the windows would sport tissue paper jack-o-lanterns made by the boys at school.  I was the room mom and would be planning a lavish Fall Feast.  I would decorate mini gourds with the kids names on them and enlisted the help of Taylor and Trenton in making little ghosts out of tootsie pops and tissue.  Life was simple back then. 

I miss those days.  Here I sit in beautiful California surrounded with blue sky decorated with the fluffiest white clouds.  Palm Trees sway in the crisp breeze and there is no tree in sight with changing leaves.  I watch as people pass by on bicycles in shorts and tees.  Kids still frolic in the swimming pool and run to the jacuzzi.  

I am blessed to live in such a beautiful place only a short drive to the shore, which is my favorite place to be.  We do not have a lawn to keep or a place to tend beautiful fall mums.  I don't have room for the scarecrow or pumpkins and doubt if we will be able to get pumpkins to carve this year.  I do not have my pumpkin pie candle to burn and there are no little squirrels scampering and collecting nuts for the long winter.  I no longer have a fireplace to sit next to and relax by.  I will not be making costumes this year and do not think we will be able to afford buying some.  There is no money for flannel shirts and long sleeve tees, no boots purchased before school started.  I do not have a crock pot any longer as we had to give it away when we lost our home.  No bread machine for home made bread either.  We have no room for a Christmas Tree - so going to a farm and tagging one is out.  My little guys will miss out on some of the wonderful traditions that we had with their older brothers.  But that is okay.  They will survive.

I will be sad.  But we are together and we have our health.  I will not focus on what we do not have but instead help them to see what we do have.  We DO have a home.  It is not lavish or big.  I don't know for how much longer we will be able to afford this apartment, but today we have a HOME.  We are all one on top of the other and no one has their own room, but it is a home none the less. 

My kids do not have a lot of toys, but they do have some and the ones they have, they cherish.  They went without for a time and know what it is like not to have.  For this I am thankful.  I will do what I can to make this time magical for them.  We will find new traditions to do with these boys.  I may not have a lot, but I have THEM.  

Each day I go in to wake them all, I pause and watch as they sleep.  Three of them in one room asleep.  Taylor sleeps in the living room on an air mattress.  I watch him too.  They all look so peaceful and I say a little prayer of thanks.  God blessed me with these boys and he will help me raise them up.  He will see that we have all we NEED.   

Nothing more - nothing less - that is all I pray for.  Just keep them healthy Lord.  Keep them safe.  They may not always be happy - but we try our hardest to help them move through this life.  I try to instill that there is HOPE in each new day and for that YOU need to be thankful.  I pray we raise Godly men with integrity. 

When they are grown they will not care if they had Halloween pumpkins or costumes.  They will not remember my pot roast and homemade bread (or lack there of).  They will not care about my pumpkin pie scented candle.  They will care that we loved them just the same and we were here for them.  They will be better for knowing what it is like to do without and not having everything that everyone else has.  They will have appreciation for what they are able to give their kids.  I believe this with all my heart. 

So, where ever you are...cherish your traditions with your kids.  Be thankful for your pumpkins and your flannel shirts.  Make homemade pot roast in your crock pot.  Burn a pumpkin pie scented candle and think of me!

Happy Fall Ya'all~

Anyone in need of REMODELING?

Saturday, October 3, 2009


I never knew until a couple years ago what it meant to be "stretched" by God.

I feel like God has stretched me so much that I have nothing left - I am gonna "snap"!

Doesn't God know this?  Doesn't He know my limits?  He fearfully and wonderfully made me - so I think he should.

I cried out to him today.  "Enough God!  I can't take any more!"  I know he heard my cries. 
He watched me as I walked to the swimming pool and peered into the blue water.
He saw the tears I cried as they fell into the calm water and rippled one then another.

He knows my heart feels like it has been torn.  

He knows that I know in the deepest recesses of my heart that 
He will hold me.  I am weak but He is strong.

Right now I am just weary, tired and burdened.

Without the help from two caring souls - we would be short on rent this month.  We have exactly $1560.00 in the bank and need to pay $1550.00 for rent.

TEN DOLLARS.  We will have $10 left to get us through a week.  What will we do for GAS?  God knows.  What will we do for any need that arises?  God knows.

I guess it is not my business to know.  It is His.  I guess it is not my business to be burdened.  It is His. 

Is this easier said than done - yes - it is.

When you have kids it is your JOB to care for them.  

I am a CHILD of GOD - it is his job to care for me.  I know this in theory.  Applying this to my life during times of trouble is hard.

I know - LIFE is HARD.  Believe me - we get this.  When is LIFE easy?  Maybe when I was little kid life was easier.  I don't know... I can't remember.

I am open for suggestions God.  I have prayed - you have heard my prayers. 

I will wait for your answers, Lord.

Until they come - I pray that you will hold us all in the palm of your hand. 

Trying to keep the faith, hope and strength...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Mr. Bossman: It's NOT OKAY~

Vote For My Boys in the GAP CASTING CALL Contest!
you can vote once a day!

Well Happy Friday!  My kiddos are ready for the weekend and so am I.  Turner thinks that the work/school week should be 2 days and the weekend 5!  I kind of agree!  It gets hard come Thursday to give them that PUSH to make it through Friday!

I found out that I LOVE the internet more than I thought!  I did not realize how much I used it until we canceled our service!  It was $60 a month on top of Cable and we just could not afford a nearly $200 bill each month.  I called the cable company and told them what we COULD afford.  So cutting the internet and asking that they help me they cut my bill from $200 a month down to $75!  Amazing what happens when you ASK!

With that I am going to ASK you to pray for our financial situation.  As some of you know we fell prey to a scam artist who promised to help our son with a Christian Re-Hab and she took our savings - $2500.  Our pleas to return the money has fallen on deaf ears.  It feels really bad to not have any money saved at all.  We are struggling to make ends meet with Stace's job.  

I am sad to tell you that the company that he works for does not value their employees.  Instead of being thankful that they have hard working, dedicated, ethical individuals employed in their company they are more concerned with power and control.  His boss read about our situation in the L.A. Times and offered him a job knowing that we were without a home and had 4 kids to support.  He has taken advantage of my husband and refuses to pay him for the full amount of hours that he puts in.  They make demands, have deadlines and when Stace is gone from the home nearly 12 hours a day he only gets paid for 8 hours.  They do not care if he is making them a lot of money.  They pay for 8 hours and that is it.  They approve overtime then re-nig claiming they did not say such a thing.  When he refuses to pay my husband a lousy $50 here or $75 there - does he not care that he is robbing my children of food and much needed clothing and shoes.  He does not.  As long as he can maintain his indulgent lifestyle he thinks of no one but himself.  To me this is offensive and disgusting!

At what point do you stand up for the principle of the matter - knowing that your family will suffer as a result?  Case in point:  A couple months ago they had an OSHA Meeting where it was stated that an employer has the legal obligation to provide their workers with drinking water.  Stace was reprimanded for purchasing $4 worth of water a day for his crew.  He was banned from doing so and told to drink from a hose.  Stace is talked to in a rude fashion and is yelled at for simply trying to provide water to himself and his workers to keep them hydrated in this deadly heat!  Not only is this against the law it is just deplorable.  This man does not value his employees as HUMAN beings let alone as his employees.  He is grossly taking advantage of the declining economy and the fact that all these workers NEED their jobs to barely scrape by and keep a roof over head.  SHAME on him!  

I refuse to allow my husband to be treated in a sub-standard fashion and be taken advantage of simply because his boss feels he CAN.  I am going to stand up for what is right.  If that means my husband quits his job and I return to the workplace then so be it!

As I said before I am asking for your prayers in this matter.  We can not come this far in our journey only to be set back by an individual who is more concerned about the almighty dollar to put into HIS pocket rather than appreciating the dedicated individuals that he has MAKING the money for him.

You may try to hold us back - but you will not hold us down!  We are determined to rise above, go forth and prevail!

I pray for you - Mr. Bossman.  I pray that your heart be opened up to the huge injustice that you are reigning down on your valuable employees.  You will NOT get ahead or be a success when you treat people in this way!  You call yourself a follower of Christ??

So with that - I will give it over to God.  I ask that you intercede on the behalf of myself, my husband and kids.  Lift this situation up in prayer and give the trust to God.

I have HOPE and FAITH that the Lord has a mighty plan...

Until then.