Nothing like pressure from your college kid to – “get going on that Christmas letter, Mom!” Alright already Amy, I was a bit busy getting invitations out for our 25th wedding anniversary service. “No excuses Mom”.
So here it is…finally. Our annual Christmas letter complete with photos and an invitation to our Christmas Open House. We decided to take a little trip down memory lane and give a short highlight of one significant event from each of our 25 years of marriage. Feel free to read every word, skim through or even just look at the photos if you’d like. The choice is yours! If you do decide to read the whole missive may I suggest grabbing a cup of holiday coffee or tea and just pretend that I am there just chatting with you!
25 year highlights of Life at the Lambdins
1986 – Getting engaged on March 18 (at youth group in front of 100 teenagers), Our first date on March 20(at the Hatchcover in Stockton), Wedding Ceremony & Reception on December 20 (at the Cathedral of Annunciation & Lakeview Assembly), Our first kiss (and second too!) on that same day (yes..you read that right our first kiss was on our wedding day at the altar.) And here 25 years later we still :
- faithfully celebrate our engagement anniversary
- never miss a date night
- get away for a few days each December to celebrate our marriage
- enjoy kissing as much as the first time!
1987 – Simply being newlyweds…and best friends and beginning to learn how to be an effective ministry team. Our first year of marriage was not hard as many warned it might be. Besides having a solid friendship to build on we had a common passion for youth ministry and enjoyed working alongside each other. Being married was the “icing on the cake” and we loved it!
After four years of ministering to the youth at Lakeview Assembly and loving, discipling, teaching, training, challenging, influencing and inspiring young people to follow Jesus we stepped down from our position as youth pastors so Dan could attend Bible College. We loved our “kids” at Lakeview and to this day are in contact with many of them including some who have become our very closest friends and who we are blessed to fellowship with regularly!
1989 – Michelle was born!
The years each of our precious children were born, they were truly the highlight of that year and our lives. Since this is our annual family Christmas letter I want to give you at least a little update on each of our kiddos. Michelle is in her final year at The King’s College in New York and will be graduating with a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics in May. She went to China this summer with the college and had a great experience. She is the president of her house at King’s putting her polished leadership skills to work. We are so very proud of Michelle and the godly young woman she has chosen to become. We are excited to see what the Lord has for her next!
1990 – Dan graduates from Capital Bible College and Moving into our home on Robinhood.
Dan received his Bachelors degree in Bible and Ministry in June of that year. It was a great accomplishment especially with a brand new baby, only one car, a working wife and a part-time job! We are currently prayerfully considering him continuing his education and pursuing a Master’s Degree in Theology in the near future. (of course along side teaching at JECHS) Pray for wisdom, clear direction and finances if this is the Lord’s will. We also moved into the same house we live in today in April of 1990. It is full of warm wonderful memories for us all (and I am sure many of you too!) and has been such a blessing to our family. There’s no place like home!
1991 – Cross Country Road Trip
In the summer of 1991 our little family along with our brother & sister-in-law, Cliff & Lynda jumped in our Mercury Marquis and headed on a month long cross country tour through the upper half of the United States all the way back to Virginia to see family and spend a week at the beach, down to Florida and then back across the country through the Southwest. It was amazing and we REALLY need to do it again with our big kids. I guess I need to put that on the “dream” list and make it happen! Perhaps we can make it a “speaking tour” and criss-cross the states sharing our experience and passion for marriage, ministry, parenting and living a life of purpose. Any one out there want to book an event for your church, retreat or group…say summer of 2012? Let’s chat!
1992 – Amy was born!
Amy graduated from JECHS this past May and then spent three weeks in Japan along with Kristen and Rebekah doing earthquake relief and helping missionary friends of ours – The Boeks. It was a great experience for all three girls! Amy found out during her time in Japan that the college she had planned to attend – Bethany University in Santa Cruz – was closing their doors. While this threw her for a loop…she began investigating other options and seeking the Lord as to where she should go. She ultimately ended up at Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas. She will be home for the first time in four months this weekend and we are all excited to see her. So how does she like SAGU? Hmmmm…I tell everyone she has a “love/hate” relationship with college. She loves playing soccer for the university and she loves her teammates and her coach, her roommate her new friends, her dorm and her classes and she hates being 1400 miles away from home and family and dear friends. That said I think the homesickness is beginning to get better and that by vacations end she’ll be ready to get back to Texas and all that God has for her there!
1993 – A Borden Family Christmas
Although we did not know it at the time, Christmas ’93 would be the last time that the entire Borden family would be together at my parents home on Log Cabin Ct in Virginia for a traditional “Borden Family Christmas”. (My Daddy passed away two years later in 1995) It was an amazing time together and we are so thankful for the love we all share, our common faith, as well as the meaningful traditions that have been passed down to us from this side of our family. We have continued most of them with our own children as well as creating new Lambdin family traditions to help solidify our children’s faith, strengthen family ties and leave a lasting legacy.
1994 – Kristen is born!
Kristen is enjoying her senior year, having her driver’s license, taking fabulous photos, playing sports and being an amazing cook and domestic diva. (I am telling you all this young lady is going to be one fine “catch” someday for some blessed man…can’t you just see her turning white as a ghost reading what her Mom just wrote but it’s simply the truth honey) Her latest addiction is Pinterest where she gets lots of creative ideas of things she can create or cook. She, along with her sisters are loving that there are now four Borden girl cousins living next door (yes, if you haven’t heard my brother Cliff and his family have moved back to Stockton and are living next door and we are all lovin’ it! It is just so great to have the kids constantly back and forth between houses, to share meals together and to be enjoying daily fellowship…we are blessed, blessed, blessed!)She finally got to go to New York for her much belated 16th birthday trip this last month…it was a wonderful week of making memories. Kristen is busy applying to colleges for next year…only in California as of now, so it looks like the next college student just might be within driving distance from home. That’ll be different. 🙂
1995 – Rebekah is born!
Besides playing competitive soccer which is her first love…Rebekah spends her time studying for classes, learning to drive, refereeing soccer, going to church youth group, captain of the JV volleyball team, on yearbook staff as well as planning her life and everyone else’s. She is in the middle of her mentoring year for her Rite of Passage and we look forward to her ceremony in June. Rebekah joined Kristen in NYC for her 16th birthday celebration and got see both Phantom & Wicked on Broadway. We also visited a potential college – Gordon – near Boston, Massachusetts while we were on the East Coast. Yes, she is already looking at colleges…oh my! It’s hard to swallow that in just over two years half my kids will be out of the house. (sigh) She continues to seek opportunities to serve in missions and is currently looking to go to Haiti this summer with an orphan ministry through Steve Curtis Chapman’s organization – Show Hope. We love her heart for orphans and her desire to serve the Lord in other countries.
1996 – Began Creative Memories Business
Who knew that when I signed that contract to get my scrapbooking products at cost what an impact it would make in my life – the skills acquired, the places traveled, the friendships made, the success achieved, the doors opened. It is almost overwhelming how many amazing life changing blessings stemmed from that one decision. While my business is currently more like a hobby as it was when I began I still enjoy both my fall Croptoberfest Retreat and my Aptos Beach Retreats each year as well as my relationships with both my customers and consultants. I have also joined the digital scrapbooking crowd and love teaching classes to those wanting to jump in and learn!
1997 – Jim Elliot Christian High School is founded.
We will forever be grateful that the Lord chose to use us to start this amazing ministry. We continue to joyfully be a part of its mission of discipling high school students to go out and make a difference in the world. We love JECHS…the staff, the students, the families and the way that the Lord uses this ministry for His purpose.
1998 – Grace is born!
Grace is now taller than two of her big sisters and is still growing! She turned 13 this week and is still our sweet Grace even though the term “baby” no longer applies. (although they will all always be momma’s babies!) She is taking on more and more responsibility at home and growing in her leadership skills. She is a 7th grade homeschooled student who enjoys playing soccer and swimming.
What started in ’99 as a small group of our three oldest girls close friends and their Moms getting together to celebrate the season at a fancy tea party, has grown into quite an elegant and grand affair. We now have six daughters inviting their friends and we have learned to be very creative in somehow squeezing over 60 ladies into our home for this treasured tradition each year. You just never know what you begin on a whim will blossom into down the road. It has truly become one our favorite Christmas experiences. (If only we had a larger home so I didn’t have to move all the furniture outside on tea day…but I guess a girl can’t have it all!)
2000 – Camping in Lake Tahoe
What is now a much-anticipated annual camping trip to Camp Richardson in Lake Tahoe began the summer of 2000. After taking up camping as our primary mode of vacationing several years prior, we settled in that Lake Tahoe was our favorite place to go. We are almost always joined throughout the week by different friends and family for a week of hiking, biking, trips to the ice cream shop, singing around the campfire, s’mores, staying up late to look for bears, delicious camping breakfasts and relaxing and reading by the lake. After a dozen years now of enjoying this delightful vacation none of us can imagine a summer without camping in Lake Tahoe. I can picture us all in another dozen years surrounded by a growing Lambdin family including some of my kids future spouses and many grandchildren with Camp Richardson dirt clinging to their faces as we continue this family vacation. (Yes, I am already thinking ahead as to how we can create family get togethers during non holiday times thus eliminating the pressure and stress on my kids that will inevitably come as extended families “fight” for that holiday time. I will be perfectly content to have a yearly summer get together camping in Lake Tahoe…hey we could even start a “Christmas in July” party)
2001 – A Dream Come True
I have a dream album in which I have written out dozens of dreams that I hope to see come to fruition in my lifetime. (It is a recognized fact that you stand a far better chance of achieving your goals and dreams if you write them down. You too may want to start a “dream album”) One of those dreams was to someday meet Dr Dobson face to face as he had been instrumental in my life through his daily radio broadcast giving wisdom, advise and inspiration to families. That dream became an awesome reality during this year when our entire family took a 10 day trip to Colorado where not only did we get to meet with Dr Dobson and spend a significant amount of time talking with him but we also met a family…the Weidmans, who inspired us to take our children through a Rite of Passage during their teen years. This has become a cornerstone in raising our children up in the faith and we will always be grateful for the Lord bringing us to Colorado.
2002 – The Fantastic Voyage
We were blessed with an all expense paid CM incentive trip on a Caribbean cruise along with my sister Caroline and her husband Mike and hundreds of our dear CM friends. It was spectacular in every way and we have so many great memories of this and the many incentive trips I earned with Creative Memories throughout the years to amazing places like New Orleans, Hawaii, Austria, Santa Barbara and St John’s.
2003 – Joy is born!
Joy is the life of the party! Always smiling, always happy, always excited and always moving. Growing up doesn’t really appeal to her and if I could “freeze her” just as she is today I may be tempted to do just that. She is in the 3rd grade and has never met a stranger. She played soccer this year and swam on the swim team but I am sure it was more for the social life than the actual sport. She continues to love singing and plans to try out for the Stockton Youth Chorale next year when she turns nine. She is a constant reminder to this “driven and intense” Momma to stop and enjoy the journey!
After several years of spending a week at the beach sandwiched between a couple of scrapbooking retreats to pay for it, we decided to take it to a new level and offer several weekend retreats in order to pay for an entire month at the beach for myself and the homeschoolers (with Dan and the high schoolers joining us for long weekends & Spring break) It has truly been one of the greatest blessings in our lives…to take time out from the craziness of our big family life with all the schedules, routines, appointments, ministries and business activities to just shut away with the Lord in the beauty of His creation and with each other as a family. Just thinking about this sacred time away, a peace washes over my soul and I am refreshed.
After many years of “wishing” that a group of like-minded homeschool families would come together weekly to teach classes and provide opportunities for friendships and learning, it became a reality in 2005. That group continues to operate today and Lord willing, will be a part of our homeschool experience for many years to come (at least until Christiana starts high school in 2023!) My kids have learned so much from this group of Moms, have made great friendships and experienced fabulous opportunities. We love co-op!
2006 – Mom & Dad Lambdin 50th Anniversary
Dan’s parents celebrated their 50th anniversary with a big party in Red Bluff. What a joy it was to be there along with the entire Lambdin clan to honor this milestone. We are so very thankful for the legacy of committed lifelong marriage that both our parents have modeled for us. Marriage can be challenging, difficult and at times heartbreaking but with the love and grace of the Lord, steadfast unwavering commitment and walking in forgiveness it can not only go the distance but be fulfilling and meaningful. (of course it helps to be married to your best friend!) We pray that this legacy will continue with our own children and that they will find spouses who love the Lord and are committed to marriage for life! (BTW, I’m taking applications for eligible future spouses…you think she’s kidding….not! The girls have now all gasped in horror and the head shaking and eye rolling is in full motion!)
2007 – Daniel is born!
Daniel provides great humor to all my facebook posts as I am constantly quoting his comments for all to read. Some of his sister’s college friends actually regularly stalk my profile just to see if there are any new Daniel quotes. He is simply a darling four-year old who can charm every one of us ladies in the house. He is “all boy” – climbing, jumping, running, shooting, boxing and kicking – except for when he says things like “The colors of my wedding are going to be blue and green” and we realize that the sister influence is quite profound. At Thanksgiving he was most thankful for the fact that there were two college age boys sitting at our table this year. And yes he still prays for and asks Mom for a couple of brothers daily! Lord, hear his prayer!
2008 – Becoming a Facebooker & Blogger
I know, I know…you’re thinking facebook and blogging was the highlight of your year? Really Beth? Well….yes actually but not the mere activity of being on facebook or blogging but the many ways that this technology has added value to my life and to others. Blogging has given me a way to use my God given talents to motivate, inspire and bless others on a much wider scale than I have ever been able to accomplish. And facebook has re-connected me with countless dear friends from my past, allowed me to get to know acquaintances better and given me the wonderful window into the daily life of my college kids, their friends, my family and loved ones throughout the country. Not to mention that I have been able to help others with problems, pray specifically for friends struggling with a multitude of challenges and network and meet needs for many different worthwhile organizations and people. Yes the arrival of these technologies into our lives has truly added value to life.
2009 – Christiana was born! Christiana was adopted!
Ahhhhhhhhhhh…if I could somehow capture for you the essence of this adorable two-year old I would. She is just the most wonderful part of all of our lives. She is sweet & spicy, articulate, a little bit bossy and a whole lot of sassy. She is smart, talented, beautiful and just so much fun! She is the light of our lives and we thank the Lord everyday for giving her to us. If you don’t come to our Christmas Open House for any other reason…come to see her “live & in person”! Oh and she loves her daddy almost as much as she loves her mommy….almost.
Hundreds of our former students and the staff came together for a weekend of remembering, celebrating and re-connecting with one another in June of 2010. It was a wonderful time together as we re-lived the “glory days” of BCHS. We were so blessed by this reunion. Those students and staff will forever hold a special place in our hearts and lives. Of course we are now teaching many of their kids (how did they get old enough to have high schoolers?) and so the ministry continues.
And that brings us to this year – 2011 – in which I am confident that this year’s highlight will be our upcoming 25th wedding anniversary celebration where we will glorify God for all that He has done in us and through us and all of His many blessings that have been poured out to us over the years!
“O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us.
Your plans for us are too numerous to list.
You have no equal.
If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds,
I would never come to the end of them.” Psalm 40:5
You have all been a part of those 25 years in some way and we are thankful that our paths have crossed in this life. We pray that you all are especially blessed this Christmas season and that your lives will be filled with love, peace, joy and hope throughout the coming year. We once again invite all of you who live in the area or may be visiting over the holidays to stop by for our annual Christmas Open House on Thursday December 22 between 6pm -10pm. We would love to see you and give you a great big holiday hug!