I’m the Poster Mom for Homeschooling….NOT!

It’s that time of year again when I start getting lots of questions about homeschooling –

  • can I do it?
  • should I do it?
  • how do I do it?
  • how do you do it?

Every summer I get a dozen or so requests to get together with someone & talk about homeschooling.

But here is the “real deal” – I am NOT the poster Mom for homeschooling. Yes, I am beginning my 16th year of homeschooling (K-8…so far they have all gone to private high school) and you would think that I would have it all organized & together….but NO I am still “flying by the seat of my pants” and loving every minute of it!

♥ I LOVE my kids and I LOVE just being with them!

♥ I LOVE not being beholden to a school district & their schedule or a teacher and their assignments!

♥ I LOVE all the learning time I get as we hop around from subject to subject, book to book and project to project!

♥ I LOVE traveling & hands on everything!

I suppose because I have my first three children up & out and they are…

…academically successful –> the eldest a graduate from a highly academic college with an impressive first job in NYC, #2 , despite a learning disability, pulling out a solid academic performance in college while playing intercollegiate soccer & the most recent who just graduated from high school with honors & scored in the highest group for her college placement exams! (I am not bragging…as truly this is NOT because I am some amazing homeschool Mom)

….socially adroit (as opposed to socially awkward which is the common accusation from the anti homeschooling advocates)

….emotionally healthy with amazing self confidence (the daughter with the first job applied for a position that desired a Master’s Degree and she did a great job of marketing herself and her skills to them and got hired!)

….spiritually solid and growing

that this makes folks think I have the “homeschooling answers”. I certainly do not claim (nor ever have or ever will) to have the “homeschooling answers” but if you are interested in my homeschool philosophy…here it is in an article I wrote this past Spring (It originally published here at Hip Homeschool Moms.)

If you are one of the many who have asked for time to chat about homeschooling…please forgive me for not getting back to you. I hope this helps!

P.S. – How many of you had to look up the word adroit?

I’m the Poster Mom for Homeschooling….NOT!

“You’ve been homeschooling for how many years?” the young woman loudly exclaimed at the park where all the homeschooling moms were hanging out waiting for their children to finish state testing. “Mmmmm….15”, I mumble under my breath as I watch a crowd begin to gather around the park bench.

And then it happens, just like that I am standing in front of a crowd of ladies who are fussing over me like I am some type of homeschool celebrity Mom who has in her possession the coveted secrets to successful homeschooling.

I reluctantly admit that yes, I have been homeschooling for 15 years and with eight children ranging in age from 2 to 22, I have 15 more years to go. (and after a few gasps and stares of disbelief someone says under their breath…”Wow, she looks great for having eight kids” …leaving me: an overweight, out of shape, mascara smudged, slightly frazzled looking girl…wondering what exactly they think a Mom of eight is suppose to look like????….but I digress) For a split second though I picture myself as the “poster Mom” for homeschooling before I am quickly snapped back into reality by my two year old who has peed in her pants because I got distracted by a phone call from one of my college kids and forgot that baby girl had told me awhile back that she needed to go potty! Oy vey! Besides not being a celebrity homeschooler, I am more often than not, less than a stellar Mom.

And yet even after informing them of the “real homeschooling me”…

  • that I have been known to not order my curriculum until weeks after the start of the school year
  • that I often forget what grade my kids are currently in
  • that I can’t remember the last time I actually scored a test or assignment
  • that we never…and I mean never…finish our curriculum each year (and there may or may not have been years where we didn’t start it either)
  • that my all time favorite science lesson is for the kids to examine mold close up in the bathroom…with a sponge
  • that if I can’t explain a 6th grade math problem I shrug my shoulders and say…”Oh what the heck I’ve gotten along this many years without knowing that”
  • that we don’t have an official first day or last day of school (maybe that explains why I can’t remember what grade they are in or have curriculum ordered)
  • that there is a distinct possibility that I let my then 10 year old daughter teach her younger siblings for months on end as I lay in bed with morning sickness

…yes even after hearing all of these realities of my homeschooling life, it doesn’t scare them off or make them run away shaking their heads in disgust.  And so slowly I share my “secrets to successful homeschooling” with those inquiring minds.

1. If I do nothing more than have prayer & devotions…it’s been a good day!  

A very wise homeschooling Momma told me this nugget of truth when I was just starting my homeschooling journey (which by the way wasn’t ever my plan…but that is another story for another day). Her six kids were bright, extremely accomplished, athletic, musical and had outstanding character. It set me free of the stress of trying to accomplish, strive for perfection and look good to everyone around me. You simply can’t do better than having the favor of God!

2. Life is school!

Ok, sometimes you need to do lessons but really ALL of life is school – chores, running errands, phone calls, grocery shopping, being a spectator at a siblings athletic event – all involve learning.  Therefore we “do” school all the time and on occasion we also complete lessons!

3. Relationships are not just the most important thing…they are the only thing

The only reason I homeschool is to develop & strengthen my children’s relationship with God, with their Daddy, each other and me. At the end of the day, relationships are really the only thing that matter. And homeschooling is the perfect incubator for growing close relationships because of the sheer amount of time we are all together…making memories, solving conflicts, bearing one another’s burdens and loving through all of life’s ups & downs.

4. Learning is a personal responsibility

I can’t make anyone learn anything…and neither can you! Inspire your children to want to learn for themselves. Let them investigate, figure it out (even if it is hard), research and find the answers. When they can do this then they are truly educated and will be life long learners.

5. Begin with the end in mind

What do you want your children to “look” like when they are grown. I want mine to love the Lord, to have great relationships with their family, to have found and developed their passions combined with their unique gifts & talents and to be using them to have a positive influence in the world. I concentrate my homeschooling efforts around these outcomes….anything else we accomplish is a bonus!

++++++++++++

Beth Lambdin is a recovering “control freak” who is hopelessly addicted to coffee & dark chocolate and got a “sweet deal” on a husband who has been her best friend for 25 years. She is “Mommy” to eight blessings from God and has been faithfully following & failing Jesus for over three decades. She blogs at Monday Motivation & More 

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I wish I could….

My dear blog readers…today’s post is written for those of you who call yourselves Christians. So, if you are not someone who claims to believe in and follow the teachings of Christ I invite you to “listen in” on the conversation but know that I am directing this post towards believers.

Ok…let’s get right down to it.

As Christians we are commanded and compelled to help orphans and unwanted children. Period. End of story.

I could give you all the scriptures that point to this non negotiable commandment. (for those who may need “proof”Exodus 22:22-23, Psalm 68:5-6, Deuteronomy 14:28-29, Deuteronomy 24:19, Psalm 82:3-4, Isaiah 1:17, Proverbs 14:31, Proverbs 31:8-9, Matthew 18:5, Matthew 25:40, James 1:27, James 2:14-17)  

I could tell you about the long history of church tradition of helping orphans & unwanted babies. (Did you know that unwanted infants in ancient Rome were often disposed of via the practice of “exposing.” Whether undesirable because it was malformed, female or simply inconvenient, the child would be left alone, outside the city walls, without defense before glaring sun, icy winds or roving animals. For centuries, a marginalized group gained a reputation for rescuing these children: Christians. The early church was known, even among many who despised it, as a people who defended the orphan. Believers went outside the city to find infants abandoned there, taking them in, and raising them as their own.) 

I could share with you my own story of adopting one of God’s precious children (if you are interested you can read about it here along with several other amazing adoption stories in the comment section – Chosen to Love and Be Loved)

But really I do not think most of you need any of that to convince you that God has a heart for orphans and unwanted babies or that His desire is that we be like Him and have a heart for them as well.   No, I think you are all well aware of these truths. 

What I really want to have you think about is the part you will play in orphan care and adoption.  What are you being asked to do? (and don’t tell me you are not “called” to help orphans…it is NOT a calling it is a commandment – go back and read the scriptures above) Now a few of you may take in a child and raise them as your own….the beautiful miracle of adoption. Others may become foster parents or legal guardians. Some may start local adoption ministries in your church or community. Many will sponsor a child through organizations like World Vision or Compassion International. A handfull will go visit orphans in foreign countries or domestic children’s homes and bring joy and love to them for a bit.

The bottom line as Christians is that we are all asked to do something.  And I know something that we can ALL do!

I can’t begin to tell you how many people have said to me – “I would love to adopt but it is so expensive”. And that is true for all foreign adoptions as well as many domestic adoptions.(you can however adopt in most states through the foster system for little to nothing…if you can get approved, which can be problematic for those with larger than average families, smaller than average homes or a host of other issues…but for those that qualify it is a great option)  But yes, the cost for private adoptions usually starts at $15,000  and can be as high as $50,000 (yikes!) And it is true that most people simply can’t afford that amount of money. And yet I know many who even without the “money in the bank” have stepped out in faith and began the adoption process hoping that somehow the money would come through. In fact this is exactly our story and the money did come through in miraculous ways and mostly from a large network of people who gave “a little”…that added up to “a lot”.

And that is the something we can ALL do…we can all give a little bit to everyone we know who is in need of financial help to adopt a child. Every family who is willing to take in a child and raise them as their own should not be hindered by a financial need….at least not as long as there are Christians around.

The Hoyle family

If you have read this blog for any length of time you are quite aware that we are not well off in the material sense at this season in our lives. In fact our current financial state has reverted back to our 1998 status (and we have been blessed with four more children since then). We live pay check to pay check and often time the money runs out before the month.  I am in no way complaining, as I know who my provider is and He is always faithful. I only share that with you because I know that many of you are already thinking, as we ourselves could easily fall into – “I have nothing left to give….to help anyone with their adoption.”  In fact just recently some newly made friends, the Hoyles, have begun their adoption journey and are trying to raise funds to pay for this adoption.  The other day I was reading over some of the responses to their plea for help. (right away I know some of you are shuddering at the thought of ever having to ask for financial help for anything…and believe me as one who has had to do this to adopt a child…it is humbling and it is hard. It would be so much easier to just be blessed with wealth…or win the lottery…or have someone just walk up and say…”hey, here’s $20,000 to pay for your adoption expenses.” And yet how often do we get the “easy road” in this walk of faith?)

Back to my reading the comments on their fundraising plea – one of their friends said this: “Oh how I wish I could help”. This caused me to stop and give pause to really think about this comment…..

  • I wish I could help.
  • I wish I could help. 
  • I wish I could help. 

How many of us have said that or thought that? And maybe the better question is –> Why can’t we help? If we wish we could….then why “can’t” we? Possibly this friend is like us….living paycheck to paycheck with no readily apparent extra money to help out. Or maybe they don’t even have a paycheck and are a young college student living at home or off the generosity of others. Or perhaps they are on a very strict budget and have a spouse or financial advisor who will not “allow” any deviation. I do not know what this particular friend of the Hoyle’s situation is…however I am going to challenge all of us, who “wish we could help” those who are stepping out in faith to adopt a child…that the fact is every last one of us, no matter what our particular situation is, in reality…we CAN help!

We can ALL do something.  And that is all it takes for the funding of an adoption to happen –  for everyone to simply do something….anything…even if it is as small as a $10 or $20 contribution. (often times those who “wish they could help” think that a small donation won’t help and they could not be more mistaken. Our adoption of baby girl was almost completely financed by small gifts from many people)

But hey….maybe even $10 or $20 is a huge stretch for you right now. And perhaps you have recently given that “extra” money you have to another family needing help to adopt. Or maybe you are like us and receive several invitations to help with adoptions each month. We currently personally know of four families in the process of adoption who need funds…not too mention the many people we “run across” in life through emails, facebook or mutual friends who are looking towards adoption.

I still believe that if we “wish to help”  we can! (and not to be redundant but we as followers of Jesus we should all “wish” to help every adoption that comes to our attention!)

And here is how. We can all pick merely one of the following ways to contribute to those needing help adopting:

1. Collect ALL the loose change around your house and use that to give a gift. I did a quick run around my house and came up with over $12 in loose change from the bottom of purses, in junk drawers, my husbands pants pocket and in a canning jar in the kitchen cabinet.(if I looked under the couch cushions I bet I would have even gotten more!)

These goodies would sell great!

2. Have a bake sale – just make a batch of cookies (say 5 dozen)….go out to a local youth sports league or park on a sunny day or maybe in your church foyer …set up a card table & sell two cookies for $1. Walk away with $30 ….even if you take out your expenses you’ll have $20 to give away. Or you could even not leave your home & sell them all on facebook….taking a few hours to deliver them door to door!

3. Get creative & find a way to work for a few hours & use that $$ to give (host a Moms day out for some of your friends who need a break, deep cleaning a house one time, doing yard work, taking a short term job doing inventory for a store…there are always people looking for very temporary help. My daughter right this minute is doing childcare for a wedding reception making money for her upcoming missions trip to Haiti) Most of us in just an extra 4-5 hours one time could easily make $50 to give away. I would do that to help a child who needs a home….wouldn’t you?

4. Have a yard sale and give away the proceeds. We have done this so many times…all it takes is cleaning out your “stuff”, asking your friends & family to bring their “junk” and setting up shop in your front yard for a day.  Most people make at least $100 in a yard sale and we have made as much as $1500. (you can sell baked goods too and increase your sales)  Wow! With this type of revenue you could help many families with a gift towards their adoption! All it takes is time and effort….we all have that.

5. Sell something that you are not using or no longer need on eBay, Amazon or Craig’s List. We collected all the books we were not interested in keeping that were taking up space in our house one year and put them on Amazon and within a week had made $50 on old books. Easy Peezy.

6. If you want to raise money and have fun at the same time – host a bunco or other game night…charge a small fee to join (example $10 per person to come x 8 friends = $80)…give away a cute “winner prize” ($20) and use the remaining money to give away ($60)

7. Cut off cable TV and you’ll have $40 -$60 EVERY month to give away to families adopting children. (ok Beth…now you’re getting pushy)

8. Have one night a week for a month where you either skip dinner entirely or have only rice and water…The “average” family will save $30-$40 in a month sacrificing this weekly meal. Give that away to those who are raising funds (we do this at Lent season every year). Bonus: you can lose a few pounds while helping a child be placed in a forever family!

9. Ask friends who do have the resources to give! We all have friends who do have extra money…perhaps we could step out of our comfort zone and ask them to consider donating towards that adoption we “wish we could help”. (actually even our friends without extra resources could all donate their loose change, we could collect it and I bet it would be a nice size donation.)

10. You tell me….I could  come up with even more ideas but I would love to hear yours. How could someone come up with just a mere $20 donation to help with an adoption of a precious child everytime they are asked? Please share in the comment section!

So the next time you hear of a family asking for financial help to adopt a child…don’t say “I wish I could….” but rather say “Sure I’d love to!” and pick a way to make it happen. (or you can always give up a coffee a week and donate that money you save…I know, I know don’t mess with my legal stimulant addiction Beth! I’m right there with you….Ouch!)

PS – For those who immediately need to put this into action because the Holy Spirit is doing His thing in your heart – the Hoyles still need $8,000. You can read their blog here –  Hoyles Promise  or donate here – Crowd Tilt

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The Luxury of Staying Home?

To be a stay at home Mom or not to be a stay at home Mom….
….that is the controversy. (or at least it seems to always be controversial)

I grew up with a mother who graduated from college with a BA and teaching credential, got married, worked as a teacher for one year, began to have children and left the workforce for almost the entirety of her 27 year “active” mothering career. (being a mommy never ends but the day to day “job” of mothering does) Other than working a few hours, here and there, when we were all in school and occasionally substitute teaching, she was a “stay at home Mom” taking care of the business of managing a home and raising her children.  When the youngest began high school she re-entered the “away from home” workforce as a high school English teacher and enjoyed a 20 year career as a teacher, earning a Master’s Degree and excelling in her field before retiring with a pension. Personally I think that is awesome! She had the best of everything due to her and my Dad’s great choices, sacrifices and hard work….and my siblings and I were the beneficiaries!

A generation later, I earned my college degree and worked as a youth minister both prior to and after getting married. When my first child arrived I desperately wanted to stay home with her but couldn’t see a way to make it work with a husband in college at the time. So we figured out how he could work part-time, in addition to being a full-time student while I would work part-time as a teacher and school activity director. With this arrangement none of us stayed home…even the baby who was with one of us all day except for a three hour time period in the morning. As our family grew and my husband finished college and took a full-time job teaching I continued on in my part-time job. I still wanted to be at home with my little girls but did not see how we could make it work on my husband’s Christian school teacher salary. We just couldn’t afford it…or at least that is what I thought (and was often told by others).

In 1997 through a series of providential events I instantly and without planning became a “stay at home Mom”.  We made so little money that year that we were audited by the IRS who wanted to know how our income diminished so much in one year. (the agent even asked…how are you making it?) I did build a very successful home business in the years following that eventually replaced the income I had made teaching part-time and yet I was able to work from my home along side and with my children.  So…..I have been a “generating income outside the home mom” and a “stay at home income generating mom”.   (whew! those are long titles)

I hope we can agree that all moms are working moms, right?  Some generate income outside the home, some generate income inside the home and some do not generate income at all but as moms….we ALL work. Better yet, we all work very hard!

And yet the majority of women that I have talked with desire to spend much less time out of their homes working and more time with their children if they had a “choice”.  Yes, I realize that there are the few moms who even if they were independently wealthy millionaires would still want to work outside of their homes because they simply love their careers but I believe that most would rather stay home and raise their children if they felt they had that “luxury”.  Here is where my issue lies.

Is staying at home a luxury or is it a choice…that is the question?

Other than single Moms (by never marrying, being divorced or widowed) who most simply must work to pay the rent and put food on the table (unless they have an extremely lucrative child support payment or alimony…kudo’s to them!)…I personally believe that most married moms can make the choice to stay at home (some with  generating income at home and some without). 

No, I do not believe it is a “luxury” for those moms whose spouses makes a certain magical level of income. I believe it is a choice.  A choice to perhaps sacrifice personal fulfilment, career advancement, social interaction, achievement accolades and of course income.  A choice to “do without”, to let go of material possessions, goods and services and fun vacations that we have come to believe are essential. A choice to have 37,440 extra hours to pour into the life of our children, homes & families during their 18 years of childhood.

And yet many have bought into the paradigm that it is a “luxury that we can’t afford” to be a stay at home mom (income generating or not). That it is simply impossible for anyone other than the ultra rich to pull off.  We even get encouragement to think this way from our influential leaders.

Speaking at what the administration called “The White House Forum on Women and the Economy,” President Barack Obama said that after his two daughters were born, he and his wife—both Harvard Law School graduates—could not afford the “luxury” of having her stay home with the children.

In 2005, when Obama began serving in the U.S. Senate (and his daughters turned 4 and 7), he and his wife were earning a combined annual income of $479,062. Barack Obama as a senator was paid a salary of $162,100, and Michelle Obama was paid $316,962 to handle community affairs for the University of Chicago Medical Center.

So let me see if I’ve got this right…..

Then Senator Obama made $162,000 a year plus outstanding benefits and they could not afford the “luxury” of Michelle staying at home to raise their children? (he did not say she was working to advance her career or for personal fulfillment or for benefits….he said they could not live without her salary)

Things that make me go…”huh?….am I missing something here?”. Let’s see….if my husband currently made $162,000 a year that means, even after taxes, we would have about $9,000 a month for our family budget. (actually we would bring home even more than that knowing the charitable contributions we would be making and the number of kids we have would reduce our tax liability greatly) We live in California, said to be one of the more expensive states to live in and my husband brings home a third of that much money every month. If I had an extra $6,000 a month I could pay myself a salary for my hard work as a Mom of eight children and still have thousands of dollars extra each month to save, to spend and to give away. It would be a life of luxury for me as well as my family and my husband, who might actually enjoy a clean bathroom every once in a while! (yes I could pay someone to clean our bathroom or clean it myself with the extra time I would have from not having to work at my home business)

I do realize that most families who make this amount of money (equal to Obama’s $162,000 in 2005) do decide they can live on one income and one parent does stay home to take care of household business and raise the children. But there are many who make less than half of that salary who say they “can’t afford the luxury” when in reality they actually could. Yes, they might have to drive beat up cars, live in smaller houses, skip private school tuition, and forgo some “extra’s” in life (like eating out, cable TV, expensive cell phone bills, nicer vacations, manicures, gym memberships etc..) But in reality are not all those things actually  luxuries that the previous generation, who primarily did have stay at home Moms, did not have?

No, for the vast majority of couples having one parent stay at home is really not a luxury they can’t afford but a lifestyle choice that they have made. (just as it was for me during those early years when I bought the paradigm that we “couldn’t afford” to have me home) And as a culture we need to “call it what it is” instead of using rhetoric to justify our choices  or perceived lack thereof as well as making moms feel like they simply “have to work” to survive or by giving husbands the cultural confidence to tell wives they “need to work”. (I mean after all honey, Senator Obama needed his wife’s income, so you should work too) ** Husbands who pressure their wives to work is in itself is a whole other blog post that perhaps needs to be written about men who no longer feel pride and motivation to creatively provide for their families and demand their wives drop their precious babies off at daycare for nine hours a day for someone else to raise, when those mommys desperately want to stay home…..but back to the point.**  I believe that we need to influence our culture to encourage moms (or dads) to make the choice to stay home to raise their children. The more families that can have at least one parent investing a significant  amount of time (37,440 hours!) and energy into their home life and children the better off our society will be!  So let’s be honest:

It is a choice…not a luxury we can’t afford.

P.S. To my very special single, divorced & widowed Moms…let me say again I know that you do not have a choice as to whether you can work outside your home nor did most of you choose to be single Moms…I pray that the Lord will strengthen you, encourage you and wrap His loving arms around you all the while multiplying your time, energy & resources and surrounding you with great friends to support you!

And yes I do understand that there are special circumstances and situations (illness, loss of jobs, business going under, medical bills) that may at times “force” both parents to work).

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Filed under Economics, Home Business, Life Lessons, Motherhood, My "take", Priorities, Uncategorized

Inspire Ministries

It has been well over a decade since we decided as a family that we wanted to celebrate the Last Supper during Holy Week.  If you are familiar with the story then you know that the “Last Supper” was actually the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread or the Passover which is celebrated by the Jewish people.  It was the time they set aside to remember and praise God for delivering them from slavery in Egypt.  During the Passover Feast – Jesus had his final meal with his disciples and he instituted communion.  Communion is a very essential and meaningful part of the life of any believer. 

When we first began our celebration of the Last Supper the girls were young (10, 7, 6, 4 and 1) and we had a simple evening consisting of a meal (“feast”) and a time of communion.  We also incorporated a foot washing ceremony afterwards following in Christ’s…

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What will you do with your bonus day?

Today is a “bonus” day!

Yes, that’s right every four years we are given a “bonus” day on February 29th! Every four years instead of 365 days, we get 366! Every four years we get a full extra 24 hours! Today is that extra day.

In an “average” lifetime you only get 20 “bonus days”…that’s right just 20 days!  This is my 13th bonus day so I don’t want to “waste it a way”. As I lay here in bed watching the rain pound with vengeance against the windows I am pondering just what I want to do (or not to do) with my “bonus” day.

 How about you? What will you do today with your bonus day?

How about all those things that you have been putting off until you have “more” time?

  • Reading or finishing that book that you heard was so fabulous
  • Making that long overdue doctor or dentist appointment
  • Cleaning or organizing that “junk drawer”, spare bedroom or garage
  • Organizing those photos, making a dent in that scrapbooking project or completing some journaling
  • Sitting down and planning your yearly calendar to include meaningful family traditions that you keep wanting to do but never seem to get going on them

Or maybe you could use your bonus day to do something positive for other people and your community?

  • Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen
  • Grab a trash bag and go pick up all the trash on your street
  • Visit the elderly, sick or shut ins
  • Call a stressed out Mom of toddlers and take her kids to the park or mall playground for a couple hours
  • Help a single Mom or widow with the yard work, house or car maintenance

Or what about spending the day enriching your relationships?

  • Spend time really playing with your kids on their level (even if that means getting down on the floor and playing cards or dressing up as a pirate or Maid Marian)
  • Call your spouse just to say I love you & appreciate you (and husbands – bring home flowers for no special reason) – go out on a special date night
  • Ask your loved ones what would be their “perfect day” and then make it happen for them
  • Call that long lost friend from the past just to say hi and catch up
  • Invite that family you have been wanting to get to know over for dinner
  • Take your neighbors some yummy fresh baked cookies
  • Sit on the couch with your family and read a book together (and turn OFF the TV!)
  • Write notes of love, support and appreciation to all those important people in your life
  • Mend a broken relationship – say you are sorry, ask for forgiveness – forgive and forget

Or maybe you just need a complete day “off” to rest, relax and be renewed and refreshed so that you can continue to live a life all year of meaning and purpose.

Just some thoughts for you on this – February 29, 2012 – now you decide how you will spend your “bonus day”. Will it just be “the same ole, same ole” or will you make it truly a special bonus day?

P.S. – The photo above was taken 4 years ago on my “bonus day”…you can read about it here.

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2011 post picks & winners!

Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to my request for input (My 2011 Year in Blogging) on your favorite blog posts from 2011 and what you would like to hear more of in 2012. It was really helpful, insightful and very encouraging! I wish I had the ability to take you all out for coffee or tea to chat about life and enjoy some warm wonderful fellowship.

This morning my girls and I put your names in a drawing and picked a name from all the commenters !

The winner of the Starbucks card is:

 

Becky from Arvada, Colorado!

Oh wait….the baby girl decided that this little exercise looked like too much fun and she quickly grabbed and card out of the box and screamed for her winner! (love the spontaneity when I have the camera out) Sooooooo….thanks to Christiana I have another winner:

Linda from Eugene, Oregon

Congratulations Becky & Linda….your Starbucks cards are on their way!

My People’s Choice Awards

These are the top posts, not according to number of views, but according to my readers preference.  If you are new to my blog, this might be a great place to begin reading. If you are a “regular” these are great “re-reads” or posts perhaps you might want to send to your friends and family or post on facebook. Also let me point out that some of the reader comments on these post are really great and inspiring too….so check them out.  Speaking of commenting…I love your input, insights and ideas…so please comment away!  A special thanks to the top 5 commenters on my blog  in 2011: Jason Edwards, Ceci Sallee, Linda Hendrix, Gloria Borden (Hi Mom!) and Caroline Kirchner and I can’t not mention Patty Martin who sends me an encouraging and uplifting email after most every blog post! Love you guys…your encouragement keeps me going. Ok here they are: Drum roll please….your top 10 favorite posts for 2011 were:

  1. Don’t you know what causes that?  August 14, 2011
  2. Love for a Lifetime   December 21, 2011
  3. And after you have suffered….   June 22, 2011
  4. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or (gasp) Xmas!   December 7, 2011
  5. Always Daddy’s Girl  This was actually a post from 2008 but I re-posted it on facebook on Oct 22, 2011, the 16th anniversary of my Dad’s passing
  6. “Faint heart never won fair lady” or “Jumping through a few hoops”  March 18, 2011
  7. Accolades for Amy  May 27, 2011
  8. Random, Abstract & Off the Wall  January 21, 2011
  9. I am the 1%  October 19, 2011
  10. Times of Refreshing (part 1) (part 2) June 12 & 16, 2011

Runner Ups Include: What was, What is and What might have been… , Words of Wisdom for the College Bound, My New York/Boston trip Posts –here, here & here, and Lambdin Christmas Greetings 2011

Beth’s Top 5 Picks

And as promised, I want to share with you my favorite posts from 2011.  Do you know how hard that is? Almost like picking your favorite child…pretty much inconceivable not to mention impossible (side note: speaking of favorites – my kids will tell you that my standard answer when one of them is complaining as to why their sibling got to do or have something that they did not — “Well, I like them better than you” — pretty much ends the conversation right there)

Getting back to my “favorites”…I forced myself to really look back over all the 2011 posts and pick 5 that not only did I really enjoy writing but that I felt benefitted my readers the most…here they are (Incidentally three of them were the same as yours):

  1. Love for a Lifetime  This was your #2 choice in favorite blog posts and I must agree! Besides that this message was the heart of what I spoke at my 25th Wedding Anniversary service, which I really wanted to share with everyone who was not able to attend our special celebration, it is also I believe a “life line” for many a struggling marriage and I hope that you will be able to share it with others who may find themselves wanting to break their vows or walk away from their commitment to their spouse.  Since the number one thing people new to my blog are searching for is articles relating to marriage problems I am led to believe that this is a crucial subject and crisis in our culture today. The response to this post just in the last month has been amazing as people have shared with me the encouragement they have received to keep fighting for their marriage and to put God at the center of their lives.
  2. hos·pi·tal·i·ty [ hòspi tállətee ]  To be honest I was a bit disappointed by the silence that this post produced. I was passionate about this topic and really had hoped that my readers would be as convicted as I was about becoming serious in truly walking out biblical hospitality in our hearts, in our speech, in our homes, with our things and in every area of our lives.  I just figured that I either 1) missed the mark, 2) it wasn’t something that resonated with others or 3) it made folks uncomfortably convicted.  But regardless, several weeks after the post I got a message from a reader that made this post worth it all:  

Dear Beth,    I have written this note to you – in my mind – since your Monday Motivation just before Thanksgiving. I must tell you how it impacted my life.I was really “struggling” as to whether I wanted my step-mother to be at our home on Thanksgiving. She had been in a Nursing Home for the past six months recuperating from serious bowel surgery. The surgery left her with a “bag” – not even going to try and spell it – and she did not like the responsibility of it at all. To the point, where she would allow herself to be in situations that required more”clean-up” than was necessary. By the way, I apologize for being so blunt with all of this – there is a reason! Anyhow, I kept allowing my mind to go through several ways that things could go wrong before, during or after our Thanksgiving dinner and none of them were good. Then I read your Monday Motivation and realized how incredibly selfish I was being, especially to a woman who had endured so much over the past six months and who my father truly loves. All this to say, I invited her and she was thrilled. Dad pick her up at the nursing home and upon arriving at my house, she literally danced into my kitchen. She was so grateful to my family for allowing her to come – I was overcome with joy myself – you had prompted me to remember that my home does not belong to me, but rather it belongs to the Lord, and when He “nudges” us to do the right thing and open it to others – We are the ones that are blessed beyond measure!On December 8th my step-mother died. We were with her when she died. So, again Beth, thank you for your words that remind us/me to do the right thing so we will have no regrets – I just keep thinking what if I had not invited her for Thanksgiving?!?! Love can heal a lot of things if we only give it to others!

3. Don’t you know what causes that? Wow!  Your number one pick and definitely one of my favs!  To be honest I wrote this several years ago but never posted it because…well because I just get weary of all the snide remarks, jokes and negative (meant to be funny) comments (even from the pulpit) about large families (or really for any baby past number two or that comes too soon, too fast or too late in life), as well as folks who think I am “judging them” for not having a large family and of course I knew there would be people appalled that I do not believe in or use birth control and think that I am putting my convictions on them. After 25 years of walking this road I guess I was just weary of it all.  But then a young man in his early 20’s asked me for some input in this area as he is forming his thoughts, ideas and opinions. I quickly emailed him this post, not yet published, that I had written.  His  positive response, enthusiasm and encouragement led me to posting it soon after.  I was pleasantly surprised by the positive response that I continue to receive about this post (not that everyone agrees with my philosophy but they are willing to take a look at my opinion and perhaps be more accepting of those who like me have chosen to use “God control”.  Apparently many found my style humorous in this post as well….always a good day when you can make people laugh!)

4. Accolades for Amy  I really, really, really love this post.  Personally I think you should send it to every teacher, administrator, guidance counselor and principal you know.  Many could use this perspective.  I also think it would be a good thing to pass on to parents who have a child who may have a learning disability, academic struggles or to share Amy’s favorite quote…”You can’t put in them, what God left out”.  Think about passing this one on…you could really make a difference in the life of a child. As a follow up to this post, I am happy to report that Amy just completed a successful first semester at Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Texas (SAGU) where she started on the women’s soccer team. (Her original college choice, Bethany University, sadly closed their doors in June and she had to quickly make a new decision for college) She flew back to Texas yesterday to start the spring semester and is a strong, confident, poised young lady who is growing in her God given gifts and talents every year.  I can’t wait to see what He has planned for her!

5. It couldn’t get any better than that!  This post is near and dear to my heart because it includes my passionate heart for the unborn and adoption and all the fingerprints of God that are found through every aspect of my precious baby girl – Christiana’s adoption.  It will be one of those posts that ends up in her baby album. She continues to amaze us and be the light of our lives.  We are so blessed that God chose us to be her forever family…it doesn’t get any better than that! (PS – That reminds me – January is Sanctity of Human Life month – perhaps we could all do something to protect the life of the unborn, help a mom in a crisis pregnancy or take part in an adoption – through our finances, practical support or beginning the adoption  or foster care process ourselves)

6. “Faint heart never won fair lady” or “Jumping through a few hoops”  — Six???  You said five Beth!  Ok, I can’t help myself.  I have to include this one post in my top picks. You see speaking into the lives of single young women (and men) has been a part of my life for three decades and I will continue to share my heart in hopes of helping them to make good decisions when it comes to dating, courtship and relationships and to choose very wisely whom they will commit their lives to. Perhaps you have a young person in your life who needs to read this! (Shout out to all my blog fans that are in that season of singleness…thanks for being faithful readers of this “middle age” lady’s blog…you bless me more than you will ever know!)

I hope you have enjoyed this year in review and perhaps you were able to catch a few posts you missed throughout the last year. I would love it if you would pass any of them on to friends and family who you think would benefit from one of these vast and varied posts.  My life goal is to inspire, motivate, encourage and bless others through my writing. You can help me reach more people!

What’s next?

My readers have shared with me things that they would like to hear more about this year.  It is quite the eclectic list and I will most definitely be looking it over throughout the year for inspiration.  Here is what you said:

  • family life stories
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • singleness
  • how do you do it all (priorities, time management)
  • finances (personal testimonies to Gods provision)
  • family traditions
  • homeschooling
  • perseverance in trials
  • sibling rivalry/arguments (to which my daughter exclaimed – “You’re not going to tell them about our fighting are you?”)
  • faith
  • favorite movies & why
  • date night conversations
  • decorating a small house
  • challenge our way of thinking and responding.
  • Things that encourage us to not accept the cultural norm but to strive for a better way.
  • random acts of kindness
  • showing appreciation to hubby

If you want to add to my list…I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas (although I have no more budget for Starbucks “bribes”…but perhaps the reward of  me writing about your desired subject will be enough!) 🙂

Here’s to a great blogging year in 2012!

9 Comments

Filed under Blogroll, Reader Input

My Tebow, Palin, Duggar Connection

I can feel it in my bones…this is gonna be one of those posts.

You know the ones. Those posts that make people either

  • cheer wildly or scream unmentionables at their computer screen
  • shake their head in disgust or nod in wholehearted agreement
  • quickly find the “subscribe by email” button or hit unsubscribe with great personal satisfaction as if to say ..”I’ll show her!”
  • leave comments saying “you make me sick you _____________”  (fill in the blank with the descriptive adjective of your choice:[ ] right wing extremist, [] religious nut job, [ ] racist, [ ] homophobe, [ ] anti abortion zealot, [ ] bigot, [ ] moron)  or simply say with appreciation  “I love you Beth”

So be forewarned if you are easily offended by people who think differently than you or you “know” those same people are extremists and it makes your blood pressure rise, or you hate controversy, politics or perhaps simply are only interested in my family traditions, motivational speeches or funny family life posts…you may want to stop reading now….because here it comes.

Tim Tebow, Sarah Palin and the Duggar family are arguably the most hated and vilified people on the planet.  You would have to have your head in the sand or live on a deserted island to not know these names and to have heard some diatribe about their lives, beliefs or actions.

But just in case you actually do not know who I am referring to let me give you a very brief  “no commentary” introduction (ie: just the facts without any interpretation of those facts)

Sarah Palin is a 48 year old American politician, commentator and author from Alaska. As the Republican Party nominee for Vice President in the 2008 presidential election, she was the first Republican woman nominated for the vice-presidency. She has been married to her husband Todd for 23 years and have five children. 

Tim Tebow is a 24 year old football player who is currently the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos.  He played college football at the University of Florida where he won the Heisman Trophy, two national championships and was named the offensive MVP in his final championship game. He is single. (He was raised by parents who were missionaries to the Philippines and homeschooled their five children)

Jim & Michelle Duggar are a couple in their mid 40’s from Arkansas who are authors, real estate agents and television personalities who star in a reality show called – “19 kids and counting”. They have been married for 27 years and have nineteen children. Mr Duggar has also been involved on and off in Arkansas politics for over a decade.

As I learned about each of these individuals over the past several years and began to “follow them” I must say that I felt a strong and warm connection to each of them for various reasons. Despite the vitriol hatred and ugly comments that fly around the internet, social media and even when talking face to face with people…I will admit I like these people and in many ways I “am” Tebow, Palin and the Duggars.

Much like Sarah Palin(though without her good looks, nice figure and ability to shoot a gun), I am a strong-willed, opinionated woman, a political activist, a “working mommy” of more than the “average” number of children who has often toted them around the country as I do “my thing”,  and I had a child after the age of 40 to the disdain of some friends, family & the medical community. (I even am very comfortable “carrying on” with life in the midst of being in labor as I taught class, timing contractions on the white board all the way up to a couple hours before one of my children was born, much like Sarah who choose to fly home to Alaska from the lower 48 while in labor to give birth to her youngest child)  I am also against abortion even when the child in utero has been diagnosed with a disability, deformity or prediction of a hard life. I too believe in abstinence before marriage and teach that to my children. (even if they choose in the future not to follow my good advice) as well as believing in creation. Yes, in many ways I resonate with Sarah Palin. And had I not been called to full-time ministry I likely would have ended up in politics as a career!

Although I have never been more than a high school field hockey “star” and college athlete, like Tim, I am and have always been an outspoken Christian with a very public faith. As a college athlete I hung posters with scriptures proclaimed on them at various athletic events and throughout campus during my college years, led athletic bible studies for the many women who came to faith in Christ, prayed before games (and after) and boldly stood up to powerful coaches and intimidating professors who wanted to stop me from sharing my faith. I have lived my entire life as a very public Christian who could easily be accused, as Tebow is regularly, of being “too” vocal about my faith. Tebow and I are also both adamantly pro-life and like his mother I too would have ignored the advice of doctors to terminate my pregnancy to save my life.  So every time I read pages upon pages of comments criticizing Tebow for praying, (Tebowing), sharing his love for his Lord, or openly professing his faith….I think…”hey he is just like me!”

And then there are the much maligned Duggars – who I relate to as a mommy of many(and would joyfully welcome more!), I homeschool my children….and if you have read my blog you know that my husband and I actually have the exact same basic belief as the Duggars (if you are new to my blog you can read about that here), that God is in control of our family size through either birth or adoption whether that means we have 1 or 21 (which is highly unlikely for most of us “average” fertile couples…I have been letting God be in control for 25 years and I have only given birth to 7 children) And let me say right now that people who leave these “big decisions” to God are not mentally ill, nor are we “hoarding” children or damaging the planet or for those of you opinionated believers, we are also not being “unwise”. (I would challenge any Christian who believes that God has not given us every one of our children, and likewise the Duggars, to prove to me in scripture how giving God control over the size of your family is scripturally incorrect….come on now….show it to me in the Bible if you are going to spout your opinions so freely!) I also want to tell you that we know all our kids names, birthdates (and in our family born again birthdays and adoption days too!), personalities, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses as well as their dreams and goals. Our kids are not damaged, suffering or to be pitied. In fact I would venture to say that the children I know from “plus size” families are better adjusted, more independent, unselfish, mature, productive and happier than their peers  from the average “two child” home.  So while I only have 42% of the number of children that the Duggars do and I do not have a television show….I can so relate to the plus family hatred that is poured out to them by both Christians and non Christians alike.

So you see, I am in many ways the “spitting image” when it comes to beliefs, philosophies, values and faith as Sarah Palin, Tim Tebow and the Duggars. As far as I can tell the only thing that separates me from being attacked, ridiculed, criticized and hated in the same way as they each are is that I am not a “public figure” with the platform of politics, sports or television. And for that I suppose I can be glad and yet….I must say that this has led me to believe that there must be many within my circle of life, who if they really knew my great similarities to these polarizing figures, would have to admit that they had the same hatred for me.

And yet….even now they are likely shaking their heads and saying…”oh no Beth”….”we like you. You’re not like them.” Ummmmm…..actually the only difference is that you know me better and have a personal relationship with me and have decided that despite our differences we can be kind, respectful and caring. 

Wouldn’t it be great to live in a country where people could disagree with someone’s faith, values, philosophies and political ideology without the hatred, vitriol attacks, ridicule and just plain meanness that we watch happening on a regular basis. As we enter into this election year…could we find it in our hearts to stop spewing the hatred…calling people names (just perusing through facebook I found all sorts of ugliness posted about the upcoming political election from both sides of the aisle – words like idiot, moron, bigot, racist and more). Can we not just be polite despite our differences in opinions? Perhaps we could even “like” someone or be gracious and kind even if we disagree with their faith, philosophies or values?

I am an opinionated, strong-willed woman who is  pro-life, politically active, adoption advocate, non contraceptive using, abstinence teaching, courtship believing, homeschooling & working mommy of a plus size family who loves Jesus and posts scriptures daily on facebook as well as telling everyone who will listen about the Lord….I must be hated! And while this is the way it is in our world today….my question is should it be? I think not!

19 Comments

Filed under Faith, Life Lessons, Making a Difference, My "take"

I want a personal Epiphany!

I have a celebration to get ready for tonight!

Today, January 6, is Epiphany, meaning “vision of God”. It is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. Western Christians commemorate principally (but not solely) the visitation of the Biblical Magi to the Baby Jesus, and thus Jesus’ physical manifestation to the Gentiles. Eastern Christian celebrations commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God. Christians fixed the date of the feast on January 6 quite early in their history (The earliest reference to Epiphany as a Christian feast was in A.D. 361) and it is the culmination of the Advent and Christmas season. It is celebrated by believers in many countries and cultures around the world….

….but not so much in the good ole USA.

When I tell friends that we are celebrating Epiphany I usually receive puzzled looks or blank stares indicating that they have simply no earthly idea what I am talking about.  Every year we invite families to join us in our celebration in hopes of inspiring others to begin to celebrate this important spiritual day. And many of those families have gone on to have their own Epiphany celebrations making it a part of their family traditions (which blesses me beyond measure! I have explained how we celebrate, complete with our menu, devotional and pictures here & here)  And if you are thinking…”Why would I want to celebrate Epiphany?”  I want to challenge you to instead think…”Why not?”

  • It’s a Christian observance that dates back 1,700 years…if it was important to the early church, perhaps it should be important to us!
  • It is a phenomenal way to instill biblical accounts of Jesus and build a firm faith foundation in your children through a fun celebration (and if you make it a tradition…you will create memories that will last a lifetime and are centered around their faith)
  • We should all take every opportunity possible to remember and celebrate Jesus…the one who changed our life!

As I woke up early this morning I had Epiphany on my mind.  Yes swirling through my head were logistical aspects of our celebration like….the seating arrangements for 22 friends & family, the mental shopping list of things I need to pick up, the job assignments for my kids to carry out today…but even beyond that I kept saying the word…Epiphany…over and over in my mind.  You see just the word alone is really interesting….and different….and smooth as it floats out of your mouth with a puff of air. “Ehhhh…Pifffff…aneeee” And as I often do I pondered the definition of the word and it’s implications in my life taking those thoughts with me as I began my morning routine.

Epiphany: e·piph·a·ny  [ i píffənee ]

1. an appearance or manifestation, especially of a deity.
2. a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, especially through an ordinary but striking occurrence
 
I don’t know about you but I want a personal Epiphany!
 
I want God to appearto manifestto show up in my life!
 
I want His amazing grace
 
I want His perfect peace
 
I want His healing touch
 
I want His abundant provision
 
I want His unlimited wisdom
 
I want His creative touch
 
I want His inspiring revelation
 
I want His boundless love
 
I want His unspeakable joy
 
Yes I want an “Epiphany”…a personal appearance of God in my life…everyday!  And then it hit me.  I have just that!  I have been given by God….the Holy Spirit, who lives in me and desires to manifest in my life everyday!
 
“And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God.” 1 John 4:13-14
 
I have the very spirit of the living God living in me and I can allow Him to manifest grace, peace, healing, provision, creativity, wisdom, inspiration, love and joy every day of my life.  And yet….all too often I don’t.  I have moments throughout my day where I give Him the chance to manifest, but sadly all too often I let me, myself and I be in the driver’s seat of my life. Why? I guess I could say because it is easier (than having God show up…not!), because I want to be in control and must think I am better at it (ha! how ridiculous is that?), or because I spend much more time taking care of my body, soul and mind than I do my spirit (ouch! truth hurts sometimes)
 
So today on this Epiphany I will once again renew my commitment to let the God of the universe rule and reign in my heart and life…allowing the Holy Spirit to manifest through me and give Him control of my life.  I know, I know…easier said than done…but yet I will continue to press on to this goal!
 
If you are a believer, I hope that perhaps you and your family will begin today to celebrate Epiphany in some way, be it big or small.  But my prayer is that all of you reading this might have your own personal Epiphany today, where the Lord appears to you, right where you are, and takes what you thought was an ordinary day…and makes it divine!
 
 

2 Comments

Filed under Christmas Season, Faith, Family Traditions, Inspiration, Life at the Lambdins

My 2011 Blogging Year

WordPress has a really great annual report they send you every year in January giving you statistics on your blog.  I thought you might find it interesting (….or not, but read through to the end anyway because I want your input….pleeeeeeease!)

2011 Blog Stats for Monday Motivation & More

Number of Posts: 29 (that averages 2.5 posts a month…anemic if you want my opinion)

Number of photos posted: 207 (ok so I like pictures!)

Number of visitors: 30,000 (wow…that’s a small city)

Where the visitors are from:

  • North America (of course the vast majority are from the USA & Canada)
  • South America (Brazil, Argentina, Ecudor, Peru)
  • Europe (Germany, Spain, France)
  • Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa)
  • Asia (Phillipians, India, Japan, Pakistan)
  • Australia (New Zealand, Guam, Papa New Guinea)

(I am AMAZED and feeling very cross cultural right now!  I have folks visiting from every continent except Antarctica. Now if only I could go visit all of them!)

Number of Email Subscribers: 875  (if you want to receive my posts in your email box…you can subscribe here)

Top referrers to my blog (these are websites not people…I know many of my faithful fans give out my web address to friends & family and I thank you for your support)

  • facebook (because I link my posts to my facebook page!)
  • Thoughts about God
  • Mommylife (one of my favorite blogs to read)
  • WordPress
  • Yahoo mail

Top Posts: (by number of views)

  1. I am the 1%  (I guess using a title with a hot current event gets you hits. This blog post was not really a commentary on the Occupy Wall Street situation, but more of an encouragement to look at our lives and strive to be the best! I sure made a lot of folks mad however…oy vey!)
  2. Take the 40 Day Love Dare Challenge  (This has been a top post since I wrote it three years ago.  The thing is…it is really not even much of a post. Most people who come looking are either desperate to fix their marriage or are looking for the list of the 40 day challenge without having to buy the book. I guess this should tell me that there are lots of people looking for help with their marriages)
  3. Holy Week (A post about the importance of honoring and observing Holy Week as believers. There are several links to our Easter traditions. It makes me really happy that this post made the top five as I hope Christians are getting more serious about observing the important Holy Days of our faith)
  4. Our Passover Christian Seder  (I wrote this post 4 years ago and it stays in the top posts every year. It gives details at to why and how we celebrate Passover with a Christian Seder. Again I am thrilled with the interest this generates.  I hope many believers incorporate this feast into their Easter Week celebration)
  5. Rite of Passage (This post is about the Christian Rite of Passage we have our children go through as a young person who is ready to take responsibility for their faith. I wish all families did something like this for their children!)

So my dear blogosphere friends I would love to hear a few things from you?

Where are you from?  (city, state, country)

How did you come to my blog? (are you a subscriber, did you google something, from facebook, are you my friends, family, former students or business associates…tell me how you got here)

What were your favorite 2011 posts? (4 out of the 5 top posts were written well before 2011…I would love to know if my current posts are helpful and adding value to your life)

What would you like to hear about in 2012?

Ok, ok I’ll bribe you to comment in the comment section below.  If you will answer my four questions by Monday January 8, I’ll put your name in a drawing for a $10 gift card to Starbucks or your favorite coffee or tea hang out!

Thanks for reading my blog this past year and for all the encouragement to carry on! In a few days I’ll tell you my favorite blog posts from 2011.

 

“Tada!” Ya see I couldn’t post without a picture. 🙂

28 Comments

Filed under Blogroll

New Year Nuances

Happy New Year my dear friends and family all over the world! 

I pray that this new year will bring us all love, joy, hope, peace and blessings in abundance.  I pray that we would also have the strength, courage, fortitude and tenacity to face the trials and tribulations, that are sure to also be included in our new year, with amazing grace and mercy to those who wrong us, faith in God and trust in His purpose, upright character and self-discipline when it would be easier to drown our sorrows in a convenient vice and that we would choose joy and gratitude over negativity and criticism.

Here’s to 2012! From our family to yours…

Our New Years Eve Traditions

I had such great intentions of sharing more of our family faith traditions during this Christmas season…but once again the celebrating and carrying out those wonderful traditions took precedence over the writing about them.  I am sure every last one of you can relate to not getting around to doing the things that you hoped to do…well that’s me when it comes to all I would like to share on my blog with others but I just don’t fit it in my daily life…even as I type this out I have dozens of posts swirling about in my head hoping to someday be put down in writing. Someday….

However, since I am up early and writing this morning how about a glimpse into our New Years Eve traditions?   I love New Years Eve for a multitude of reasons…not the least being that I am a “late night” kinda gal and I love that everyone gets to experience what a magical moment after midnight can be! Yes, we always stay up well past the midnight hour to celebrate a new year of life!

Our New Years traditions do vary on occasion but there are a few things that are always included:

  • Cheese fondue with all the accompaniments…such a fun family meal and so yummy. And of course for dessert…chocolate fondue! mmmmmm good!
  • Fun festive decorations, party hats, noise makers and loud celebration music! This year I got a cute decorating idea from my friend Leigh Ann Wilkes at Homebased Mom and was able to throw together a last minute addition to the decor! Love it!
  • Some intense competitive card playing that may or may not include a bit of yelling, accusations, card throwing or hand injuries. And we have been known to play until the sun comes up the next morning! (our game of choice in the Lambdin family: Nerts)
  • Martinelli’s sparkling cider served in wine glasses to give a toast to the New Year, watching the ball drop in Times Square on TV and shouting at the top of our lungs “Happy New Year” from the front porch! (and a kiss from my love)
  • And of course some type of reflection, resolution, goal setting or prediction activity for the New Year…because you can take the teacher out of her classroom but you can’t take the lessons & lectures out of the teacher! (more on the activity we did this year below under “Word for the Year”)
  • Lastly our New Years Eve always includes friends and family members who join in for some or all of the celebration!

Let me take this opportunity to encourage those of you with young children still at home to seize the moment now to create fun family traditions for New Years Eve.  I know it’s tempting to get a babysitter and go out for some “adult” time to celebrate the new year but if you decide now while they are young to have a great celebration together as a family and establish some ongoing annual traditions you will reap the benefits of having your teenage and young adult children believing “there’s no place like home” for New Year’s Eve and never wanting to miss out on the fun and festivities you have created!

By the Way…It’s STILL Christmas

 It’s true!  Despite the fact that most folks have taken down their Christmas decorations and stored them away until next Thanksgiving, stopped playing Christmas music and are back to the “normal” routine of life… the Christmas season is not actually over.  For those of you like me who are interested in “eeking out” every last bit of the season and celebration as well as always looking for opportunities to instill spiritual truths in your children throughout the entire year, don’t put a wrap up Christmas quite yet!

Today is the eleventh day of Christmas. I bet many of you thought that the “12 days of Christmas” happened prior to Christmas or perhaps you were not even aware that there actually are 12 days of Christmas and it is not just a fun Christmas song.  The 12 days of Christmas begin on Christmas day and are followed by Epiphany (the celebration of when the wisemen came to visit Jesus and bring gifts.  And yes we have a grand Epiphany celebration around here too! You can read about it here.)

There is historical evidence that even the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was written as a way to teach children important tenets of their faith.  I learned about this several years ago and have since been using these 12 days to teach and remind us all of these important truths.  You can read about the meaning of each day and the tenet it teaches here – The Twelve Days of Christmas.

This year I also found this great activity book that my eight year old has been teaching us out of each night (because teaching is one of the BEST ways to learn!).  We learn a new lesson each day and then review the past days and end by singing the 12 days of Christmas song beginning with the day we are currently celebrating. You can order the book on Amazon here.

Enjoy your last few days of Christmas –> play that favorite Christmas CD or watch a holiday movie one last time, light a pine scented candle, drink a glass of egg nog or savor sipping on a final gingerbread latte, read the story of the visit of the wisemen (or maybe even decide to have an Epiphany celebration…it’s not too late), or bless someone with a gift that will enhance their spiritual lives this year and remind them of the greatest gift of the Christmas season…Jesus!

A Photo a Day in 2012

One of the things that I will be doing this year is posting on facebook a photo and a brief description  of meaningful, special, beautiful and divine things in my life from that day.  I love photos and I love writing and I believe that it is powerful to both look for and stop to ponder the important, meaningful and positive things in life each day to cultivate a life of purpose, gratitude, contentment and joy!

You can follow my album on facebook with this link – A Photo a Day in 2012

The Gift of a Memory

We do not give our children Christmas gifts (gasp!). Ok, so they get a few very practical things in their stocking on Christmas morning (hair accessories, lip saver, socks, toiletries and some candy) and they do get a new pair of pajama’s every Christmas Eve but other than that no gifts. (which for me means no shopping, no stress, no wrapping, no credit card bills…freedom!! Wheeeeeeee!!) We began this “tradition” in 1997 the year we had no jobs and no viable income and it has truly been one of the BEST decisions we have ever made (if I can be so bold as to call losing our jobs and being in a state of poverty our decision….but rather I guess deciding to keep things that way even after the economic circumstances of the time turned).

Instead of material gifts, we have chosen to give our children great memories during the Christmas season so we spend our limited resources on our family traditions and on doing things together as a family – special trips, outings and experiences.  We are also blessed that my Mother (aka: Granny) chooses to give us money each year for Christmas that we can use to make great memories as well.  When it is all said and done…the sweaters end up at Salvation Army, the technology “toys” end up in the recycle bin, the gifts and gadgets wear out, collect dust or end up in a yard sale down the road (or if we are a hoarder, our very own estate sale after we die) But the trips, outings, experiences and time together as a family stay with us forever!  We have done many things from meals out (a real treat for a family of 10!), a sleigh ride in the snow, attending a concert or play, a family day at the movie theater complete with ordering popcorn, trips to the snow, the beach, the mountains and beyond as well as bowling, skating and miniature golfing. We even rented a cabin one year for a family get away over several days!

This year the week following Christmas we had an amazing day in the Santa Cruz mountains taking a steam engine train through the redwoods and then heading down to the beach for some boardwalk rides, relaxing and taking in the beauty of the ocean and some clam chowder. It was a GREAT day filled with good times, laughter and crazy moments! (including the typical fussing and fighting that goes along with any family road trips…no we are not the “perfect family” who always gets along)

   

We also spent the final beautiful and sunny day of Christmas break ice skating as a family at an outdoor rink in Sacramento. My brother and his family joined in on the fun….Good times!

Maybe it’s time to re-think the gift giving for your family…something to think about!

Word for the Year

 Ok so back to our New Years Eve goal setting activity.  Yes we always do some type of reflection, resolution or vision casting activity and personally it is my favorite thing about the New Year (shocking I know for a type A, driven, mover/shaker, lion personality that I am).

This year I got a great idea from a blog called Thirty Handmade Days that included these great printable sheets for New Years Eve. I stumbled across them mid day on December 31st and “voila” I had the perfect plan for New Years Eve! (aint the Internet great?)  There was even a sheet for the younger kids to fill out so it was perfect.

One of my favorite parts of this worksheet was choosing a word for the year. Yes, just one word to sum up what you wanted your year to look like!  It took a lot of thought and the “non decision” makers and perfectionists of the family had to be convinced that they truly could pick just one word and it would all be good.

Here are some of the words my family chose for 2012:

Love

Adventure

Challenge

Intentional

Equip

My word for 2012 is MOMENTUM

There are several areas that this word applies to my life as far as what I want to see happen in 2012.  My bottom line is that I am wanting to get the ball rolling and keep it rolling and gaining momentum in personal discipline, in my household, with my children and in my ministry. There is power in momentum and I want it!

Do you have a word for 2012?

Blogging Blitz

Just wanted to warn you of what’s to come…there may be a larger number of blog posts coming your way.  For some that may be exciting…for others not so much.  Either way, you can always hit the delete button or unsubscribe to these blog posts…I will not be offended.  We all only have so much time in our lives and if I am not adding value to your life and helping to inspire, motivate an encourage you then move right along!

For those of you that stay with me….let’s do this thing called life with passion and purpose in this new year while giving praise to our Lord for His lovingkindness and faithfulness to us despite our failures along the way.

Here’s to 2012!

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Filed under Blessings, Christmas Season, Family Traditions, Life at the Lambdins

Love for a Lifetime

“I, Beth, take you Dan, to be my husband, to have and behold from this day on, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; until death do us part.”

Looking back, twenty-five years ago as I stood at the altar and declared my vows to my soon to be husband, I must admit I was a bit naive…

…for better or for worse

…for richer or poorer

…in sickness and health

Sure I meant every word but honestly I really did not think that much of the “worse, poorer or sickness” would come our way. I lived in youthful blissful ignorance that we would sail through life, with the Lord on our side, never really having to experience much in the way of hardship.  Call it positive thinking, denial or innocence of youth….any way you look at it we were certainly not prepared for a life that included sickness, poverty or “worse” case scenarios. And yet our 25 years have included many such hardships that could have rocked our world, damaged or even destroyed our relationship.

While we realize, by the grace of God, we have not had to walk through some of the truly tragic or extremely unbearable things that could have come or way (and now that we are older and wiser we are well aware still could be in our future, God forbid) — we have not experienced the devastating loss of a precious child, life controlling addictions, infertility, total financial destitution, loss of all our material possessions through fire or flood, physical or mental incapacitation, depression or mental health sinkholes, physical separation for years on end, infidelity or trouble with the law — but we have experienced many “worse, poorer and sicker” times over these past 25 years:

  • our closest and dearest friends who forsook their own wedding vows early in our marriage, leaving us shaken, uncertain and even fearful that a marriage, even between believers, could not go the distance
  • debilitating sickness for each and every pregnancy (yes I literally threw up…and subsequently Dan cleaned up for over 1,800 days or 5 years of our married life) which led to much dependence on others, bed rest and even depression
  • ultimate betrayal by people we trusted with everything who turned their backs on us and tried to destroy our lives
  • having a child be diagnosed with a life long disease that ultimately affects everything in her life and living daily with the knowledge that this could cut her time here short
  • the death of a beloved parent and the grief that grips and consumes you during a season of life
  • walking through the ugliness, shock, disbelief  and financial devastation of being fired from a job that you poured your heart and soul into for over a decade for refusing to mislead others through deception
  • sitting in the ER while the doctor tells you that you are “very lucky” that your child is alive after a forseeable avoidable accident
  • ridicule, unkind and hurtful words spoken to us often by others both friends and family members as well as strangers for our choices concerning our family size, our lack of financial resources and our decision to stay in full-time ministry to youth despite the lack of a livable wage, benefits or retirement
  • standing in a hospital while the doctor shakes their head and declares your baby girl a “treatment failure” and says that she may not pull through this massive staph infection…and a few years later walking through the same scenario yet again with another child.
  • and living much of our married lives in the “for poorer” column…with no financial security, where the money more often runs out before the month does and dealing with the daily stress that the lack of finances can put on a marriage

Yes, we have had our moments of major hardships as well as the daily disturbances that come when two people live together with opposite personalities, different strengths and weaknesses, opinions and of course the basic tendency towards selfishness that we all have living beneath our soul.

All of these things have put great strain on many a marriage leading to unhappiness, discouragement and discontent. These hardships have also been the primary cause for far too many divorces.  I think everyone would agree that the dissolution of a marriage that started out with so much hope and promises to love, honor and cherish “til death do us part” is sad, disconcerting and simply tragic for all who have to live with the consequences of divorce.  We would all like to see the fairytale ending of “they lived happily ever after” for ourselves and everyone around us. 

Having reached a major milestone in our marriage of 25 years (after some research I have discovered that over 43% of my peers who were married in the 80’s have since divorced), many people exclaim…”What an accomplishment!” or ask with great interest…”Wow, how did you do it?”

Well let me tell you that, while it has helped to have some really strong foundations that statistically predicted a life long marriage like these listed here, they were not enough:

  • We got married in our mid 20’s (I was 24, Dan was 26) and were college educated (both things that appear to contribute to a much lower chance of divorce)
  • We shared a common faith and were regular church attenders (it is true there is a lower divorce rate among couples who attend services weekly)
  • We both had parents who were in life long committed marriages (Dan’s parents just celebrated 55 years and my parents were married 35 years before my Dad’s untimely death)
  • We had a solid, non romantic friendship for many years prior to committing to an exclusive relationship. This friendship was based on common interests, enjoying conversation and companionship, shared friendships and similar goals
  • We did not live together (or for that matter be intimate) prior to marriage (it is a fact that couples who co-habitate prior to marriage have a higher probability of being divorced…makes you scratch your head and wonder why so many do this?)

And I would love to be able to say our commitment to a life long marriage and our ability to overcome the pitfalls that many succumb to is because we were so crazy in love with one another ’round the clock, day in and day out, year after year or that we somehow found a “mystical magical” soul mate that so many people believe is the key to a succesful marriage.  And wouldn’t it be great to be married to someone who met your every need (without you even asking), was never cross, angry, mean or tired and better yet was a physical specimen, a beauty who made your heart melt every time you laid eyes on them?

But in reality, while I am the first to admit that I got a really “sweet deal” on one amazing godly husband 25 years ago – who to this day is my very best friend, my beloved and still the one who makes heart melt – even that is not what has made our marriage go the distance nor is it what will make it last the next 25 years.

Here is the bottom line truth. It is because we both love Jesus, first and foremost in our lives!  We have both committed to love Him….no matter what. No matter what hardship we might experience in this life, no matter what tragedy, no matter if we lose everything or if the whole world falls apart around us…we will not forsake our Lord Jesus Christ who loves us with a perfect, unconditional, no strings attached love that manifested itself in giving up His very own life for our eternal salvation! And because of that promise to love and stay committed to the Lord…our marriage will last a lifetime and the love we have for Jesus will spill over to one another and bring us great joy and fulfillment in life.

If you are in a marriage that is struggling to make it right now…I would greatly encourage you to fall in love and commit to serving Jesus first and foremost while praying that your spouse would do the same.  Do not give up!  Do not quit!  You will reap amazing blessings if you stay the course. And while you are waiting for the miracle in your marriage allow Jesus to meet all of your needs for love and compionship. Jesus is enough!

If you are a single young person…make your relationship with the Lord the number one priority in your life, seek Him with all of your heart and develop a “no matter what” commitment to Him. Jesus is enough! And if He chooses to make you one in marriage with another believer you will be blessed beyond all you can imagine with the fulfillment of a Christlike marriage. And if He chooses to have you remain single for a season or a lifetime….He is enough!

If you are married and “making it”…be diligent to always keep Jesus at the center of your relationship…pray together often, encourage one another in the Word, be faithful to your local church. As my dear friend and minister Donnie Moore shared at our 25th anniversary celebration service…”Your spouse was made to compliment you, not complete you.  Only the Lord can complete you”.   Let Him be your completion in this life and in your marriage. Jesus is enough!

 As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, we would love to pray for any of you – those in a season of singleness who want Jesus to be everything, those in marriages that are in crisis and need a miracle, or those who perhaps have strong marriages but want Jesus to be a greater presence in their lives.  Drop us a note, message or comment and you can count on our prayers!

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Filed under Marriage

Lambdin Christmas Greetings 2011

December 2011

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

1986Getting 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!

1988 – Retiring as Youth Pastors.  

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.  

1999 – Mother Daughter Holiday Tea Tradition

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!

2004 – Beginnings of the Beach Holiday 

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.

2005 – Our Homeschool Co-op Begins

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.

2010 – Brookside Reunion

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!

We have reached the stage where getting a current photo of us all together is near impossible. Here we are minus the two college girls. Updated family picture will be added after our 25th anniversary celebration on December 18

 
 
Love from all the Lambdins: Dan (51), Beth (49…claiming it as the year of jubilee & the author of this letter), Michelle (22), Amy (19), Kristen (17), Rebekah (16), Grace (13), Joy (8), Daniel (4…and a half thank you), Christiana (aka: baby girl and sissyana 2) 

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Filed under Christmas Season, Life at the Lambdins

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or (gasp) Xmas!

Sometimes I just get a little weary of all the “fuss” about terminology at Christmas time. 

Egads!  Boycott this store for using the term holiday instead of Christmas…but it’s time to go back to this store for switching their policy to use Christmas once again.  Give the clerk an annoying look if they say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Making an emphatic statement on Facebook that your tree is NOT a holiday tree. And don’t even get me started on those who take great offense and wax eloquent at the word “Xmas”.

As if doing or saying these things somehow make us more spiritual or prove that we are keeping Christ at the center of the celebration when in reality the things many of us do (myself included) during this season…like shopping for presents, putting up trees, hanging tinsel, baking cookies or sipping holiday drinks at Starbucks have precious little to do with  Christ.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not interested in downgrading the Christmas season, taking Christ out of Christmas or making it even more secular than it already has become.  In fact I am just the opposite.  I want to make my personal observation and family traditions during this season even more significant, more about Christ and more spiritual.

But let’s get to the bottom of all this terminology mish mash.

Christmas after all is really a shortened version of “Christ Mass”….with Mass being a term used for holy communion (the Lord’s supper).  So we as Christians, who observe Christmas and perhaps on occasion have taken offense at the switch from Christmas to Holiday, have in reality ourselves already replaced “Christ Mass” with a more shall we say “watered down” version – Christmas.

Speaking of “Holiday” and of shortening or abbreviating words….

Did you know that the word “Holiday” is really the shortened version of  “Holy Day”? In ancient times these days were given to workers so they could go to church and worship.  With Christmas being one of the only days left on the calendar where nearly everyone gets the day off of work thus giving us all the opportunity to worship and attend services, it is actually a very appropriate word to use at Christmas…don’t ya think? A true Holy Day!  (side note: since Christmas falls on Sunday this year everyone really can attend a worship service and yet how many believers will choose not to do so because it is inconvenient or cuts into the present opening or dinner plans…isn’t that ironic? Just sayin’)

Then there is the dreaded “Xmas” – A common misconception among Christians is that using an X is replacing Christ in Christmas.  When in actuality the “X” comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Χριστός, translated as “Christ”.  So Xmas is really just another shortened version of Christ Mass just like Christmas.  Having been very involved in Chi Alpha (XA – Christ First) campus ministries in college I have no problem seeing the X as it’s true meaning  – Christ.

So now that we have that all settled let’s spend some time this month really making Jesus the center of our celebration instead of quibbling about terminology.

Merry Christ Mass!

Happy Holy Day!

And here’s to a blessed Xmas 2011!

I will be posting over the next several weeks ways we here in the Lambdin house are trying to truly keep Christ at the center of our Christmas. I would love to hear from you how you are keeping Christ first in your celebration. (Please share in the comment section so we can all benefit)

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Filed under Christmas Season, Family Traditions, My "take"

Our 25th Wedding Anniversary Celebration Service

Dearest family and friends both old and new….including all who have been a part of our lives through our childhood & youth, our years at UOP, Capital Bible College, Lakeview Assembly, Brookside Christian, Jim Elliot Christian, Creative Memories, Cornerstone Co-op, homeschool adventures, our kids sports teams as well as those we have come to know through speaking, traveling and blogging…

On December 20, 2011 we will reach a milestone in our marriage of 25 years!  When we began to talk about how we would like to commemorate this very special point in our lives we decided that we wanted to do more than:

  • A big party….which we enjoyed immensely for our 10th anniversary milestone (and I can’t help but remember all the Brookside students and alumni who helped us pull off the party and who blessed us with an amazing weekend away in San Diego)
  • Renewing our vows…which we cherished doing on our 15th anniversary with a small intimate ceremony where we signed a marriage covenant document that hangs in our home today! (We decided on a Sunday to have this ceremony…that Thursday night! You can read that story here – It’s a Wonderful Life)
  • Taking a special portrait, going on a “second honeymoon” or celebrating with a special family time…all of which we love and have done on several anniversaries (in fact we have made the commitment to ALWAYS celebrate our anniversary despite how close it falls to Christmas, no matter what is happening in our life, ignoring all obstacles and just “doing it” – I wrote a post about that here – Anniversary Get Away)

 Just as we desired our wedding to be much more than simply “our special day” but in addition a ceremony that would glorify the Lord and abundantly bless all those who attended with the presence of the Holy Spirit…we decided that this special milestone in our lives would best be commemorated and celebrated with an event that did the same.  Thus we are inviting you to come and glorify the Lord together with us at a special service in honor of all that the Lord has done in and through our lives as a married couple.

In 1986 a few months before the “big day” we prayed and asked the Lord for a double portion of His anointing on our lives as a wedding gift to us.  Those of you who attended our wedding ceremony 25 years ago may remember that one of the ministers, Donnie Moore, prophesied over us that day saying that the Lord had called us together for ministry and that he was going to give us a double portion of His anointing so that together we would accomplish great things for His kingdom. We will never forget that breathtaking moment as the warmth of the Holy Spirit enveloped us and the prophetic word confirmed God’s call, blessing and anointing on our lives! Jesus gave us the very thing we asked for…a double portion of His anointing.

Soon after our wedding we received a letter from the other minister officiating at our ceremony, Bill Brennan:

Dear Dan & Beth,

Words will never be able to describe the deep, deep sense of appreciation filling my heart because you granted me the privilege of being a part of your special day. The power of God’s love was there in abundance. The anointing of the Spirit was there and Jesus was there in all His splendor –

Lord of all, Lord of your love, Lord of your marriage. To have witnessed the two of you being such an evident sign of God’s love and presence – that is truly what the sacrament of marriage is all about. I know that God will bless your marriage even beyond your present expectations because as scripture reveals – “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, what God has in store for those that love Him.”

I am not sure in the excitement of it all, you remember what I shared with you in confirmation of the words of prophecy that were spoken over you, but the words that filled me heart are still with me, and I share them with you again.:

“Remember, it was not you who chose me, it was I who chose you to go forth and bear fruit – fruit that will endure so that all you ask the Father in my name, He will do. The fruit I shall cause to grow within you shall be abundant and all shall see, for I tell you that you are my choice garden”

May the love of God, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all your days. Thank you again. Love your brother in Christ,    Bill Brennan

We rejoice in all that the Lord has done in our lives as a couple these past 25 years.  We have invested in the kingdom of God by discipling and mentoring thousands of young people as their youth pastors, teachers, counselors, advisors and coaches. And it didn’t end upon their graduation from high school as we have been able to continue to mentor, counsel and provide biblical wisdom to many of those students God entrusted to us as they have gone on to college, careers, ministry, missions, marriage and parenting. We are so very thankful for the ministry to youth that the Lord has given us these past 25 years!

We have been given eight amazing children to train, disciple and raise up to serve the Lord who we believe will go forth and do even greater things for the kingdom than we have done!  The Bible says that “children are like arrows in the hand of a warrior”… arrows are meant to be launched out to help win the battle.  We look forward to releasing the bow over these next 25 years and lauching our children out to the world to make a profound difference in the lives of others.  The greatest blessing in our lives as well as “abundant fruit that will endure” as Bill Brennan prophesied.

On top of that we have also been entrusted to speak into countless others lives that the Lord has opened up the doors for us to inspire and influence to live for Him. Whether it is doing pre marital counseling (and often post marital as well), giving advice and offering help with parenting, counseling young people on college, career and relationship decisions or just being there with open hearts, an open home and being willing to stop what we are doing to pray for someone, cry with them or give that much needed hug…we have always purposed in our hearts to attempt to live a life of putting others first. The Lord has truly anointed our years of ministry and marriage.  Yes, we look back with great rejoicing!  We invite you to rejoice with us at our anniversary celebration.

As we take this moment of reflection and celebration, we are also looking forward to the next 25 years, Lord willing, of both marriage and ministry.  We want to “press on towards the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14), to “fight the good fight and keep the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7), to “run in such a way as to win” (1 Corinthians 9:24) and that “the latter glory of this house will be greater than the former” (Haggai 2:9)   We do not want to slow down, relax or retire in this second half of life.  We truly desire that this season of life, ministry and marriage would be even greater than we have ever experienced!  We invite you to come and pray over us at our anniversary service.

If you are unable to be with us on December 18th for our Anniversary Celebration Service, we would appreciate you being there in spirit by rejoicing with us and praying for us as we continue to love and serve each other and our Lord Jesus Christ!

Blessings to you all,  Dan & Beth

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Filed under Blessings, Life at the Lambdins, Marriage

Three Lions and a Golden Retriever

When it comes to personality profiles most are familiar with Galen’s Four temperaments (Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic and Melancholy) or the DISC assessment (Dominant, Influence, Steadiness, Compliant) but my personal favorite is the four personalities as presented by Dr. Gary Smalley with each have an animal characteristic.  They are entertaining, easy to remember and even able for children to grasp. The four animals are the Lion, the Otter, the Golden Retriever and the Beaver.

Without getting into the nitty-gritty details (believe me there are MANY) let me try to give you a quick example of each personality:

The Lion –> RRRROAAAAAR!!! 

Ok you likely got it.  This personality is strong, confident, decisive and in charge. They are the movers and shakers of the world who are running the show. If you want to get something done…give it to the Lion! They can also be cold, domineering, sarcastic and cruel.

The Lion bottom line is CONTROL

The Otter –> Wheeeeeeee!

Think of an otter playing, splashing around and carefree…having a good time and you have got this personality figured out.  These personality types are outgoing, friendly, talkative and enthusiastic.  They love a party! They’ll come! They’ll bring the popcorn! (but beware if you invite them they may or may not show up based on if something more exciting came along or if they even remembered that there is a party… as they are undisciplined, unstable and a bit flakey) They can also be whiney and easily angered.

The Otter bottom line is FUN

The Golden Retriever –> “pant, pant, pant” 

Just as you picture the faithful dog, man’s best friend…this is the golden retriever personality. They are calm, easy-going, diplomatic, loyal and humorous.  They do not like conflict or confrontation and really desire everyone to just “get along”. They also can’t make a decision for the life of them and are a bit on the lazy, non productive, unmotivated side.

The Golden Retriever bottom line is PEACE

The Beaver –>

hmmmm no sound works to give you an idea of this personality so just picture the industrious beaver analyzing and calculating each move as they build a dam

Beavers are the most complex of the personalities as they often have either an artistic/musical component or the mathematic/bookkeeper side of the equation. (and sometimes both!)  Either way they are self-disciplined, industrious, organized, aesthetic and sacrificing.  They also tend to be moody, self-centered, touchy, negative, unsociable, critical and revengeful.

The Beaver bottom line: JUSTICE

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Both my husband and I have taught about personalities for years to our high school students as well as using them in pre-marital counseling sessions and sharing them with our kids. We have quite the working knowledge of both the strengths and weaknesses of each personality and can often quickly identify someones primary and secondary personality often the first time we meet them.  Our kids have picked up the art of personality predicting as well and if you came to our home you should not be surprised to hear a lot of talk about lions, otters, golden retrievers and beavers. In fact we sometimes forget when guests are over that they have no idea what we are talking about, as they get this strange look on their faces as we start calling people animals!

Ok, so now that you have had a “crash course” in the personality animals….let me tell you who recently spent 10 days together on a trip to New York and Boston  —>

 

Three Lions and a Golden Retriever 

If you think that sounds a little intense…you would be right!

Imagine three dominant, strong, confident, opinionated and take charge female lions who all want to be in control (and don’t like to be told what to do).  Yeah….that’s gonna work!

Then add to the mix a sweet golden retriever who simply wants peace and doesn’t like conflict or confusion and does not thrive in unfamiliar territory.

And to put more fuel to the fire….all four have strong secondary characteristics of a beaver which means there was a fair share of moodiness (or was that hormones?), criticism, negativity and self centeredness.  Good times!

The best thing about knowing the personality characteristics as well as we all do….is when the dust settles we can see it for what it is, just a bunch of lions roaring at each other and a golden retriever withdrawing to the corner with her tail between her legs. We even end up laughing at ourselves and one another (as well as feeling a bit of compassion for the outmatched, out numbered golden retriever who at times probably wondered what she was thinking coming on a trip with three Lions. Daddy retriever would have balanced things out a bit). Knowing and understanding all the personality types and having the knowledge of what your primary personality is, as well as your loved ones goes a long way to helping relationships resolve conflict, accept the value in differences and live together in harmony whether that is a marriage, a family, a friend, a college roommate or a teammate. Realizing what weaknesses each temperament struggles with will also help you to work on developing good “learned behavior” to overcome these liabilities as well as giving you a little more patience in dealing with others. (although watch out you lions cuz you are always  trying to control everyone elses weaknesses!) I highly recommend becoming a student and life long learner of the personalities, it will serve you well!

Just so you know….the strengths not just the weaknesses of the Lions and the Retriever were evident as well which is why we did almost more than most could accomplish during our trip and still took time to smell the roses, soak up the sunshine and relax on a few park benches.  It’s all good!

 

PS: If you missed my previous posts about out trip you can read them here, here, here and here

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Filed under Attitude, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Parenting