Category Archives: Attitude

Call me Crazy or a Fool….

There is a song by the Christian group Avalon that is one of several “theme” songs for my life.  It is called “I Don’t Want to Go” . Here are the lyrics (or you can listen to it here):

You changed my world
When You came to me.
You drove a passion,
In my soul down deep,
Lord, to follow You in everything.

I don’t want to go somewhere
If I know that You’re not there,
‘Cause I know that me without You is a lie.
And I don’t want to walk that road,
Be a million miles from home,
Cause my heart needs to be where You are.
So I don’t want to go.

So come whatever, (whatever may come)
I’ll stick with You (right by your side)
I’ll walk You’ll lead me,
Call me crazy or a fool,
For forever I promise You…

That I don’t want to go somewhere
If I know that You’re not there,
‘Cause I know that me without You is a lie.
And I don’t want to walk that road,
Be a million miles from home,
Cause my heart needs to be where You are.
So I don’t want to go…

I can’t even listen to this song without tears streaming down my face.  You see when the Lord reached down and touched my heart so deeply in the summer of 1979 as a 16 year old girl I was never the same.  He did exactly what this song says…He drove a passion deep down in my soul to follow Him in everything!

And yes that has led to many many times being called…

Crazy or a Fool 

I have a feeling that this blog is going to be another one of those times.  And that is really ok by me…I am simply trying to follow the Lord’s lead.. where ever that is and whatever may come.

You may or may not know that ever since we adopted baby girl in 2009….we have hoped to be able to officially adopt at least two more children. Most doors for that are closed to us for various reasons:

  • Foster adopt in California has strict unbendable rules as to the the number of children per bedroom and with our home we won’t qualify for that until 2021 (didn’t they ever read or watch Little House on the Prairie or The Walton’s who all raised fabulous families with limited bedrooms?)
  • Private Agency Adoption has roadblocks with our ages….hmmmph! 😉
  • International Adoption is not an option because our annual income does not meet the immigration guidelines of $75,000 a year for a family our size (somehow I think orphans living in poverty around the world just hoping for one meal a day and clean drinking water might not mind living at the Lambdin “poverty level”…yes it is true that with our income and family size we are considered poverty level..sheesh…talk about crazy!)

So we have just smiled, told the Lord our desires & prayed knowing that a private independent (not agency) adoption  was really our only option & the likelihood of having a pregnant mom just come to us “out of the blue” and ask us to adopt her baby was very slim.

But God……

Six weeks ago we became aware of a woman who was pregnant with twins at the age of 51 and was going to terminate her pregnancy.  It was one of those facebook posts friend of a friend of a friend type things.  I called her on the phone   We spoke on several occasions but she was hesitant to get together and a bit “cold”.  I just continued to call and text offering any support I could. Then three weeks after our initial contact she called and asked me to come to her house.  She shared with me that it seemed every time she thought about going to get that abortion, she would get a text from me and it would stop her.  She said that my persistence made an impact on her life and that she would like to consider placing her babies with our family.

She has a long complicated life story….with some real sadness, horror and tragedy….that has led her to consider this alternative.  A story that has in its chapters – abuse, abandonment, molestation, rape, murder, prison, drugs, alcohol, rehabilitation, marriages, divorces, many children, a few miscarriages, domestic violence, poverty, restraining orders, government assistance, church attendance, friends, family, mental illness and a measure of faith.  To be candid, the more I learn, the more my mind is overwhelmed by one person having lived and endured such a life.

We have spent the past several weeks getting to know her, assisting her, supporting her and loving on her.  It has been fulfilling, exhausting, energizing, frustrating, exciting, good and crazy!  We have all come to love and care for one another.

And that brings you to today.  The question asked me daily by friends and family:  “How’s the adoption plan coming?” or “What’s the latest on your adoption?” or “Is everything settled with the adoption?”

To which I answer with a combination look of confusion, happiness, sadness and questioning….silence.  I do not know how to answer those questions.  I am dealing with a pretty unstable situation in many ways.  I am walking a road with someone, who in my heart of hearts, I believe simply does not have what it will take to raise those children as their primary caretaker.  It’s not just the lack of resources, reasonable shelter or stable family support relationships that are almost non existent…it goes so much deeper.  There are many complications and there is no clear path to a simple adoption. Perhaps an open adoption will be the answer. Perhaps we will end up somehow with legal guardianship instead. Or perhaps we will be a second family — Auntie Beth and Uncle Dan to these precious twins that are due to be born in just eleven weeks.  I simply do not know how it will all play out….and yes for a recovering control freak….this is bringing me to an even great level of giving over my control and letting God be in complete control of every part of our lives.  I am reminded once again of this scripture in James:

” Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to do this or that  or we have great plans to have this happen”  How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.”

Yes…my friends (especially those with the same control issues as I) that is what it the Bible says!

So I will say Lord willing….we will be adopting twins into our family.

Or Lord willing….we will be taking them and their Mom into our extended family.

Or how about this Lord willing…we will purchase the house next door that is currently going up on a short sale for a “steal of a deal”.

Wait! What did she just say?!

Yup…I said Lord willing, we could somehow, someway own the house next door.

And what does that have to do with anything? Why do you want to own the house next door?

Oh I am glad you asked!  Call me crazy or a fool…but just in the past few days I had this thought about the house for sale next door. I thought how perfect it would be if we could move our new friend into that house. We could then look after her and help meet her needs from right next door.  And whether we end up adopting, having legal custody or just being an ever present family providing stability and helping to train up those babies with the life skills that are missing from previous generations, taking then to church and teaching them the ways of the Lord…we would be able to do that and be a life giving blessing to the mamma as well.

Yes…that is just how my big vision, big dreaming mind and heart works.  And Lord willing….it could happen!  All we need is $130,000 cash and we could do it. Someone out there may just need a big year end tax deduction, right?!  By the way, have I told you that Inspire Ministries…is now officially incorporated as a non profit with the State of California, IRS paperwork filed to be a 501(c)3, bank account opened and ready for donations, website in process and facebook site posting! Wouldn’t this be an exciting first BIG project…a ministry home to be used to help those in need with the ministers right “on site” to train and support?

Wouldn’t that be amazing?  It could happen…Lord willing!

You drove a passion,
In my soul down deep,
Lord, to follow You in everything.

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Filed under Adoption, Attitude, Callings, Faith, Goals & Dreams, Inspire Ministries, Life at the Lambdins, Lifes Challenges

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

hos·pi·tal·i·ty [ hòspi tállətee ]

One of things that impacted me greatly on our trip to Boston was seeing true generous and sincere hospitality in action…like I have never experienced before!

Don’t get me wrong I have experienced amazing hospitality in many ways and a multitude of times throughout my lifetime from friends, family, fellow parishioners, casual acquaintances and business associates…but this was different. The hospitality that was shown to me and my daughters was given freely to us by complete strangers.  This couple had never met us before we arrived at their home and the only connection they even had with us was through their daughter (who also had never met us) who has been a college student with my daughter for just over two months.

And their hospitality was abundant!

Besides the most obvious hospitality of simply opening their home to perfect strangers to stay for several days (which in itself is something sadly so few people would even consider doing) they made us feel so welcome and special:

  • by not allowing us to take public transportation from the bus station to their home and insisting on picking us up with enthusiasm & excitement.
  • by carrying our heavy bags
  • by welcoming us in their home with fresh out of the oven chocolate chip cookies and a cup of tea while we sat at their table enjoying delightful conversation while gleaning valuable information on what a visitor to Boston should do in one day
  • by insuring we had everything we needed — directions, towels, keys to the house, use of the computer and printer, an umbrella in case it rained….
  • by telling us to making ourselves comfortable and at home
  • by having a counter full of breakfast options for us the next morning before we head out the door for a day of sightseeing
  • by being sincerely interested in our lives, our thoughts, our interests and our ideas and engaging us in lively stimulating conversation
  • and ultimately by even allowing me to stay in their home the final night I was there without them even being home as they had a weekend retreat to attend. (I know of some family members who don’t “feel comfortable” having their own relatives in their home when they are not there!)

I was blown away and blessed!

They were a living, breathing example of how the Word of God instructs us to live….

1. We are to practice (defined in Websters as: “repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency”) hospitality to God’s people.

“When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” Romans 12:13

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:8-10

2. We are to show hospitality to strangers

“Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!” Hebrews 13:2

3. We are to invite strangers (even the least of these) into our homes.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’   Matthew 25:34-38

How are you doing in this area of hospitality?

Most of you likely have no problem being gracious and hospitable to your family, friends and loved ones. You may even do ok with some of your more casual acquaintances or those who sit down the aisle from you in church. 

But do you practice (“repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency”) hospitality to God’s people who you may not personally know?  Are you eager to show hospitality and give help to those in need?

I know from my personal experience of trying to find homes for missionaries to stay in or vehicles for them to use during their furloughs as well as trying to find short term housing for Christian youth groups, children’s choirs or students visiting from other countries that we believers often fall woefully short in this area of hospitality.

I’ve heard every excuse in the book (although mostly there is a deafening silence when calling on believers to open up their homes or share their things) as to why they can’t practice hospitality

  • I don’t feel comfortable having people I don’t know in my home (since when was living as a Christian comfortable….I thought there was a lot about service, sacrificing and suffering)
  • I don’t have room (almost laughable in America….if you have floor space, you have room)
  • I do not have time to clean my house (ugh! let it go people)
  • I just got back from vacation or I’m leaving for vacation next week (and……?)
  • It’s not a convenient time (heaven forbid if we should ever be inconvenienced by God’s word)
  • That is really not “my thing” (hmmmm…well perhaps it is God’s “thing)
  • I don’t let anyone use my car…I mean what if they get in an accident…I don’t think it is wise (don’t get me started on the “not being wise” excuse that Christians use for a multitude of things that just make them uncomfortable)

The laundry list of excuses, both spoken and unspoken is exhausting.

Now how about showing complete strangers hospitality or inviting them into your home?

Now this is a stretch even for those believers who  regularly practice hospitality to God’s people and to those who struggle with hospitality to believers like mentioned previuosly….inviting strangers into their home is likely considered insane.  

Really Lord….you want me to show hospitality to complete strangers?

Ok, I can be friendly and welcoming to strangers (perhaps they are angels)….but invite them into my home Lord?

Yes please invite me into your home…says the Lord…did I not tell you when you invite a stranger in you are really inviting me in?

Silence…….

Perhaps brothers and sisters it is time to evaluate our skills and proficiency in the area hospitality as well as our obedience to the Lord. (and believe me I am talking just as seriously to myself) Here are some ideas on how to begin:

  • The next time someone asks you to host a student, help a missionary, provide housing for a believer in need or share your “things”…don’t hesitate just say an eager & enthusiastic “yes!”
  • Invite others into your home on a regular basis to share a meal or a cup of coffee or afternoon tea and practice your hospitality skills
  • Open up your heart and your home to stangers…whether it is situations like my daughters and myself who needed a place to stay while visiting in the area and have no extra money for lodging, or perhaps a foreign exchange student for an extended stay or maybe the Lord will lead you to take in someone in dire straights in need of food and shelter.  Ask the Lord to bring you these opportunities!

Perhaps some of you have ideas for us on how we can perfect and sharpen and become hospitality “experts”…I would love to hear them!

Thank you to this warm and wonderful couple for giving us such a beautiful example of hospitality!

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Filed under Attitude, Blessings, Faith

How do you do what you do?

 Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today….

I want to be a part of it…New York New York!

The last time I was in New York in November of 2008 to celebrate Amy's 16th birthday

Yes, I am flying out today to New York City! If I couldn’t live my dream life by the sea…this is where I would live.  I am more of a “big city” kinda gal than a suburban or country one any day.  I love all the action, the culture, the lights, the buildings and the history. The rhythm of the city matches the rhythm of my life – lots of people, lots of activity and lots of late nights (the city that never sleeps!) 

I am heading out today along with my 16-year-old daughter Rebekah for a trip that will be a combination of:

  • celebrating two of my daughter’s 16th birthdays…with one being very long “overdue” (my 17-year-old Kristen will join us on Saturday morning after her high school senior year homecoming festivities…her original 16th birthday trip was canceled when I lost my job in 2010.)
  • seeing my daughter Michelle who is a senior at The King’s College in NYC (in the Empire State Building! How fun is that?)
  • a college visitation trip for my two high school girls – attending preview days at The King’s College & Gordon College in Boston
  • speaking to the college women at King’s on the complexities of relationships

I am looking forward to a fabulous, fun and memorable 10 days with three of my girls! Life is good!

Recently, as I was preparing for this upcoming adventure someone inquired – “How do you do what you do?”  

Let’s see…hmmmm….I looked at when the colleges were having their preview days for high school seniors, I put it on the calendar and then I made the airline reservations.  “No, no” they responded…”I mean how do you afford it?  I know you guys are in financial straits and yet here you are going to New York?  How do you do it?”

Oh that! Well first of all let me remind you of all the things we DON’T do that are “staples” for most families.  Some of these are for financial reasons but some are for philosophical reasons. We don’t:

  • pay for cable TV
  • buy any clothes for our kiddos (yup everything they wear is hand-me-downs and birthday/christmas gifts with the exception of under garments)
  • ever go to Disneyland or other typical family resort vacations (really, it is true!  we have never taken our family to Disneyland)
  • get manicures, pedicures or massages (and I try to push out my hair appointments to 9 months apart)
  • purchase birthday or Christmas gifts for extended family except on a rare occasion (in fact we don’t purchase Christmas gifts for our kids either just stocking stuffers)
  • go out to eat as a family (and 90% of our date nights out to dinner are with gift cards received…one of the benefits of having families at JECHS who love Mr Lambdin)
  • pay for our kids “extras” or give them an allowance (they take care of birthday gifts for their friends, any special clothes they want, movies, school events, sports registrations, camps…pretty much everything they “want” they pay for)
  • buy our kids a car of any kind (not even a beat up used one)
  • we don’t even purchase their plane tickets back & forth from college (which I will admit makes me cringe a bit as this is something I wish we could do)

So of course that still doesn’t really answer the question – How do you, on a very limited income, afford a trip to New York with your daughters?  Well, let me share with you how we do it. The key is to be creative, flexible and to ask the Lord for both wisdom and provision. Here they are:

Be willing to sleep anywhere – on bunk beds, couches or even air mattresses. We will be staying with Michelle and her roommate in her college housing. (a huge savings if you have ever priced out hotels in the city) If I did not have Michelle as an option (as well as a few other connections that I have in New York whom I could have asked to house us) I would have looked for the inexpensive youth hostel option.  I know many of my friends would “freak” at the thought of staying in a place that is a little run down, not in the best part of town and with a shared communal bathroom but I am telling you it can be done and even enjoyed if that is what it takes to make the trip happen.  Don’t get me wrong I love staying at Hiltons, Westins and Hyatts – and I have at many times during the “glory years” of my Creative Memories success – but I can just as easily stay in a two-bit motel if it means I get to go on the adventure!

Be open to the generosity of others – we are staying with a family in Boston who we do not know (they are the parents of one of my daughters college friends) who have generously offered us a place to stay for three nights. We have also been blessed with others who have generously given extra money to the girls (by paying them above and beyond for recent jobs they have had) so that they can enjoy their trip. We are also grateful for a handful of friends who know our needs as a family and always seem to generously bless us just at the perfect time.  Yes, it is humbling to be the receiver of the “It is more blessed to give than to receive” equation…and yet perhaps the Lord knows that pride is my besetting sin and is looking for ways for me to practice humility?? Gulp!

Be ok with public transportation – buses and subways are very affordable and though it may take longer to get somewhere it is worth it and for us it is the only option.  We got bus tickets from New York to Boston for $6 each! (yes you read that correctly – $6 – that’s the price of a Venti pumpkin spice latte with some change) And of course there will be no taxi’s for us in New York, just the subway and our trusty feet.

Ask the Lord for wisdom to find great deals!  Knowing that I had still not taken Kristen on her 16th birthday trip and that Rebekah was just a few months shy of turning 16 herself I began to ask the Lord to make a way for this special trip to happen for them.  I asked them if they would mind taking the trip together with me (and thus saving money with only one trip instead of two) and they enthusiastically agreed! (I love the unselfishness of my girls!)  Then I began praying that the Lord would find me the greatest deal!  Lo & behold my sister-in-law sent me info on the great anniversary sale that Southwest was having this summer for flights between August 15th and November 15th. (I did not even realize Southwest flew to New York…did you?)  I quickly got online to find out when the college preview days were happening…since one of my daughters is interested in these East Coast colleges it would also be the perfect opportunity for her to visit without adding more expense at a later date.  Then I logged onto Southwest airline and scored the deal of a lifetime!  I got three round trip tickets to NYC for less than the cost of two! Yes…always ask God to bring you a “steal of a deal”!

Eating isn’t the most important thing! While my husband will not agree with me on this point (and thankfully he is not traveling with us during this particular season of life)…you really can save a lot of money by not spending a lot on eating out.  Because we are staying in Michelle’s apartment we will be able to use her kitchen which will save a bundle, add to that two college preview events where we will be fed by the college (my brother-in-laws favorite way to get “free food” is going on college tours!) and we will be able to keep our eating expenses down to about the same as if we had stayed home. Can’t argue with that!  And for those of you who want to lose weight, traveling without extra money to spend on food is a great diet plan!  I am living proof as my life as of late has included several trips where I have not been able to spend money on meals out at restaraunts…resulting in much weight loss! Gotta think of a catchy name for this diet…maybe I could market it! Hmmmm…”Winning at Weight Loss Without Spending a Dime” 🙂

Count on the Lord’s Provision! The Lord provides in a multitude of ways.  For this trip He provided for our plane tickets through a speaking engagement where I had been blessed to be given an honorarium. He often uses our regular paychecks, or extra overtime hours at work or a surprise job opportunity to provide for us.  Sometimes He uses other people who are led to be a blessing. Other times He provides through an unexpected rebate, lowered bill payment or free opportunity. I have learned that no matter who signs the check or where the money comes from it is the Lord who is the provider and He is trustworthy. And so off we go to New York and Boston with a bit of money in our pockets, joy in our hearts and faith and trust that the Lord is going with us and will meet every need along the way (and maybe, just maybe even a few of the girls “wants”)

How do I do what I do?  That’s it my friend…and you can too!

 

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Filed under Attitude, Blessings, Determination, Economics, Faith, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges

The last time…

Tonight was senior night…the last time I will ever watch my #3 daughter play on her high school volleyball team. <sigh>

There are lots of “lasts” during a senior year in high school –  everything from the last “first” day of school, the last homecoming, the last powder-puff game, the last winter formal …to the last chapel, the last final, the last lunch on campus with friends and the last day of school. And then in our tradition laden family there are many other lasts that we not only commemorate but remind the soon to be graduate to enjoy and relish as it may be – the last family trip to the pumpkin patch, the last Thanksgiving at home, the last Christmas tree hunt, the last beach holiday, the last Walk for Life, the last Valentines Dinner with Daddy, the last family Passover meal, Good Friday hot cross buns and Easter Sunrise Service and the list goes on.

The nice part of this high school finale’ is that you know when each of these “lasts” are happening.  They are nicely calendared, organized and recognized as the momentous events that they are.  Ahhhhhh if only we had such knowledge of the many precious “last” times we experience with our children:

  • The last time we kissed an owie and wiped tears off that soft cheek
  • The last time we rocked our baby to sleep
  • The last time they were small enough to pick up and hold in our arms
  • The last time we buckled them in the car seat
  • The last time we helped them brush their teeth
  • The last time we tied their shoe
  • The last time we had to catch them when they jumped off the monkey bars
  • The last time they crawled into bed with us in the middle of the night 
  • The last time we woke up in the morning to watch their deep rhythmic breathing and peaceful face as they slept

These “lasts” are not calendared or commemorated.  They seem to just happen during our everyday lives and often, even upon looking back, we cannot remember when we experienced one of these last precious moments of childhood.  They just slowly fade away with no fanfare, no picture-taking, no holding on and breathing in of the last time we get to experience some of the greatest joys of being a parent.

There is also another season of “last times” that seem to slip through our fingers. After the tragic heartbreaking loss of a loved one we can instantly look back and remember –

  • our last conversation
  • the last time we were together
  • the last time we told them we loved them
  • the last laughter we shared
  • the last hug, kiss or tender affection

And just like those precious moments of childhood that slip away without notice, we never knew that this would be “the last time”…….

During seasons like my daughters senior year of high school I am very purposeful to live “fully in the moment”, cherishing and enjoying each special event, activity and “last time” that we have together.  Maybe there is something to be learned from this. Maybe I should more purposefully cherish each and everyday with my little children who will all too soon be grown up and having their own “last” year of high school.  Maybe I should cherish each and every moment I have with my friends, family and loved ones, always taking the time to stop and tell them I love them, share a laughter or an embrace and live fully in the moment! Life truly is short and quickly passing by….Lord help me make the most of each moment.

This just might be the last time…..

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Filed under Attitude, Blessings, Inspiration, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons

I am the 1%

You would have to be living under a rock to not have heard of all of the hullabaloo down on Wall Street with people protesting….oh wait….what are they protesting anyway?  It’s hard to say exactly but it appears, by all the personal signs I have read, to have something to do with being in the 99% and I guess this makes them mad because they want to be in the 1%? (you’ve lost something on me there folks…if we are all in the top 1% then ummmmm…there is no bottom 99% right??? We would all be the exactly the same…which I suppose is what true socialists want…but I digress)

 

Anyhoo….all these signs have got me thinking a lot about what percent I am in?  And darn it, being the driven, overachiever, competitive gal that I am…I want to be in the TOP 1%  Oh wait….but I am!

It’s true!  I am a part of the 1% in each of those categories.  As I began to look up statistics in different areas that I thought, just perhaps, I earned the right to be in the 1%, I wondered if I would be able to come up with more than just a couple.  I was pleasantly surprised (because I like to be #1) and at the same time a little disappointed as well, to find myself easily being in the top 1% in several areas.  Disappointed especially that more people do not adopt children, abandon TV or give away at least 10% of their income to those in need.  Wouldn’t our world be such a better place if even 10, 20 or 30% of our society did some of these things? Of course even if the world did not become a better place, we would become better people:

  • less concerned about the rich on Wall Street and more concerned about the King of Kings
  • less concerned about “getting our fair share” and more concerned about giving away some of our blessings
  • less concerned about our “things” here on this earth and more concerned with storing up treasures in heaven

What about you? What are you the 1% of?  Something to think about….

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Filed under Adoption, Attitude, Blessings, Economics, Life Lessons

Don’t you know what causes that?

“Don’t you know what causes that?”

It started with my third pregnancy…as we began to share with those around us the news of the anticipated birth of our baby…the smirking and joking from a few friends who assumed that we could not have possibly planned to have a…<gulp>….third child!  I suppose several gave us a “pass” on their comments since we had already birthed two girls and they assumed we were “trying for a boy”.  But when the fourth pregnancy was revealed less than a year later friends, family and even strangers jumped on the band wagon to ask us silly and/or personal questions or make shocking and/or rude statements:

  • Were you trying?  (nope, we were doing and succeeding mind you!)
  • How many more are you going to have? (you’ll have to ask God)
  • Was this an accident?  (Really? Like getting pregnant is being in a car wreck or breaking your leg)
  • Are you going to get fixed after this one? (hmmm…didn’t know I was broken)
  • I am glad it’s you and not me! (I am sure the baby is too and my husband is definitely glad it’s not you)
  • How are you ever gonna pay for college? (I don’t know…how are you?)
  • You’re crazy! (if that was said to my face I can’t imagine what was said behind my back)
  • You’re having another one?  (yes, at least one this time)
  • When are you going to stop? (stop?….stop what?)

And my personal favorite from all the people who think they are “oh so funny”…

  • Don’t you know what causes that? (I have so many great answers in my head for this one that would make most people turn beat red or greatly embarrass my teenage girls…but I was raised to be a dignified lady so I try oh so hard to keep my mouth shut)

Assuming that the readers of this blog have all taken a junior high sex ed class, have been through a “secret weekend” (as they are called in our family) or have had “the talk” with their parents where they learned all about “the facts of life” (otherwise known as human anatomy, sexual relations and how life is conceived)…I do not think that you need a biological play by play on what caused us to conceive seven children during our almost 25 years of marriage.  But perhaps you are curious about what might cause a couple to have such a large family in a society that teaches and embraces a two child…or three at the most…standard philosophy? (and laughs at, sneers or condemns anyone who dares to do otherwise)

What caused us to have so many children?  Well let me tell you it all began 25 years ago this very month and if you are interested or curious, I have finally decided to write out and publish our story. (WARNING: If you have a tendency to feel “judged” simply by the lifestyle and choices others make that are different than yours, you might want to just stop reading now and save yourself the grief.  DISCLAIMER: I am in no way judging anyone for their choices regarding children, reproduction or family size nor am I telling anyone else how they should decide these things.  I am simply sharing our God inspired story for those who are curious, interested or questioning. It may challenge your theology or thinking and… it may not)

I was 24 years old and just a few months away from getting married when the Lord began to work in my heart concerning my ideas about birth control, family planning and being truly open to every life that He wanted to
give to me.

I was a very committed & passionate young woman who was serving as the youth pastor to hundreds of “on fire” teenagers. I had what were called “radical” views on dating and relationships as well as very intensive discipleship programs for our youth.  I considered myself extremely pro-life and wanted to do everything within my power to stop the atrocity of abortion in our country.  In many ways I was  quite different than the average church going evangelical yet I found myself among the norm when it came to buying into the “planned parenthood” mentality of our day.

I was engaged to be married to an awesome godly young man and we both agreed that the plan would be for me to begin taking the birth control pill and then we would wait several years, go off the pill and have perhaps two children, a boy & a girl, and then be done. Perfect, right?

As part of our marriage preparation we attended an Engaged Encounter Weekend Retreat where we were encouraged to take an opportunity to dialogue honestly and intensively about our prospective lives together– our strengths and weaknesses, desires, ambitions, goals, our attitudes about money, sex, children, family, our role in the church and society–in a very comprehensive way. (I highly recommend this type of purposeful marriage preparation and am always shocked when couples have not taken the time to explore these areas and come to an agreement prior to saying “I do”!)   After each topic was introduced, we were given a list of questions to answer privately in a journal and then come together to share our answers with one another. (a great way to have honest communication)

About half way through the weekend the session on family planning, birth control and children was introduced.  As Dan and I each found a private place to write in our journals I began to feel a strong stirring in my heart. I was challenged in my spirit to completely rethink my beliefs in this area.  As I sat on some rocks in the foothills of Copperopolis and tried to write down my well thought out answers (you see I knew exactly what I wanted in this area of life and marriage), the Lord literally threw out questions one after another in my mind, fast and furious –

  • Have you ever considered asking Me what the plan for your family should be? (hadn’t really thought about that, Lord)
  • How about inquiring of Me how many children I want to give you? (Well, I just thought we would just decide what we wanted and you would be fine with it)
  •  Is it birth control or God control that you desire? (ouch…this one stung!)
  • Who is in control of your life anyway? (ummmmm….You are God?? I love you & want your will for my life)
  • Do you believe that children are a blessing from Me?  (of course….I think so)
  • Why do you want to limit my blessings? (well…..I don’t know?)
  • Do you believe that I know you and will give you the very best for your life?  (Yes!)
  • Do you trust me? (I thought I did)

I felt like I was in some type of wrestling match with the Lord as He tried to get me to release control of my life and give my plans over to become His plans. (Thy will be done)  But when I was finally ready to stop arguing with Him and listen He gently reminded me to just relax and trust Him…for He truly had an abundant life for me to live. Better than I could ever ask or think! After that hour with the Lord, and a subsequent long conversation with my soon to be husband (when we got together later to share our journals…and I had written not a thing down), together we gave our plans for family to the Lord and ditched the “planned parenthood” philosophy.

We did not decide to have a “boatload” (or 15 passenger van load) of children.

We did not decide to have one, two or three children for that matter either.

We did not decide to be married for three years and then start our family and we did not decide to get pregnant right away.

We simply decided to give God control of our family dynamics and to ask Him to lead and guide us every step of the way. (not really a complicated decision to merely ask the Lord what He wants and yet so few do ask Him when it comes to this area of life)

A month later I learned quite by happenstance that the birth control pill was an abortifacient. (well documented and researched so no need to argue with me on this point…even if your doctor told you it wasn’t they were using some type of semantics and faulty reasoning…all you have to do is read the insert that is in the pill container) I was appalled that no believer had shared this with me and I got down on my knees and thanked the Lord that I had never “accidentally” aborted a baby by making my womb hostile to implantation of a conceived child.  With my heart & passion for the unborn that would have been difficult for me to live with. During that time I had gotten even more confident in my conviction that we should simply put the control of our family in God’s hands.  After all He was the creator of life (albeit He lets us be a part of that as co-creators) and since His view on children as being a gift from Him and a blessing, we could certainly trust Him. I also realized that the Lord might not bless us with any children by birth and I committed that into His care as well. (something that in this current world of rampant infertility issues one would be best to realize early on — the truth that no one is guaranteed to give birth to a child) We had also already experienced the miracle of adoption through our newly adopted niece who joined our family the same week we got engaged…we knew that adopting a child was not “second best” to having a bio child and we considered that adoption would someday be a part of the plan for our family as well.

On our wedding day we publicly affirmed & committed to raising children to glorify God (to the actual laughter of many of our Christian friends…you can hear it on the video) and throughout our 24+ years of marriage we have continued to trust God in this area.  We have prayed at times asking for the Lord to give us a “breather” (after we had four children in six years and extremely difficult pregnancies) and we along with our daughters have pleaded with the Lord for over three years to bless us with yet another sweet baby to love (#7) and we spent countless hours and persisted through many roadblocks and closed doors as we asked God to let us adopt.  Children came at what others considered “bad times” (one during my husband’s last year in Bible school, several back to back, another when we had taken on a challenge of starting a Christian school, and of course the health risks for myself and baby that many gravely warned us about when I had two babies post 40 years old) but as always in hindsight we see that Gods timing was perfect with each and every child. Through it all we chose God control and ultimately said… “Thy will be done”.

The results….we have been blessed with seven awesome children by birth (six girls – 21, 18, 17, 15, 12, 8 and a boy 4 years old) and so far one girl (age 2) through the miracle of adoption. They have brought more love, joy & peace into our lives than we could have ever imagined. (as well producing other fruit of the spirit – patience & self control – we didn’t start off with these qualities but you better believe we have given ample opportunity to grow!) It would take another long blog entry to tell you about all the blessings and benefits that we have been given through each of our children as well as by having a plus size family. Things we could have never imagined those 25 years ago and yet God knew.  And we are ready, willing & wanting to take any more that the Lord sends our way through birth or adoption. (to the utter shock, amazement & sometimes dismay of most of the people around us.)

So……do I know what causes this?

Yes I do, thank you!

What causes a young soon to be married couple to decide to chuck the current popular world view on birth control, pregnancy, child spacing, family size and children out the window?

It was caused by:

  • the joining together of two hearts that wanted nothing more than to listen to the Lord and follow His plan for their lives.
  • a desire to give Him complete control over their lives and their destinies
  • a hope to come together in marriage to glorify God and be an example of Christ and His unconditional love for His church
  • a belief that all life is a gift to be cherished and that babies are a blessing from God
  • gaining an understanding of how much God loves the orphans, the fatherless and children without forever families that His heart beats for adoption
  • trusting God and saying…Not our will but….Thy will be done!

How about you….Do you know what causes that in your life?

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Filed under Adoption, Attitude, Blessings, Faith, Fatherhood, Life Lessons, Marriage, Motherhood, My "take", Pro-life