Category Archives: Attitude

Accolades for Amy

Here I am on the eve of my second sweet daughter’s graduation from high school.

In many ways that is not remarkable as millions of families will watch their children and grandchildren march across a stage, field or platform in the upcoming days and weeks to receive that coveted diploma. Yes, she is just one of millions in the global class of 2011.

And it is quite unlike the first born graduate who accomplished this same milestone four years ago. There will be no valedictorian speeches, no honor cords or scholarships awarded her at the ceremony tomorrow. She will be just another one of the graduates in the JECHS class of 2011.

  • Unremarkable?
  • Average?
  • One of many?

NOT!

Amy, while not an academic achiever according to the standard of this world, is an amazing young lady with unique gifts and talents, influential leadership, godly character and a heart for the Lord!  She is remarkable! She is uncommon! She is stellar!

And yet she is in the season of life that I call the “academic” years.  Those years where it seems like most of life is centered around your academic achievements.  You are judged and evaluated by your ability to take tests, your grade point average, your SAT scores, your AP & honors courses, your college acceptance letters and your scholarship awards.  You are continually being asked questions about your academic achievements by relatives, adult mentors, teachers & peers.

Personally, I sailed through this season of life with relative ease. (and it truly is just a season…no one has asked my GPA in the last three decades!)  While I was the least “academically inclined” of my parents four children, I still had giftings in the area of academics and along with my brother & sisters acquired the appropriate amount of academic accolades, achievements & awards.  I was also an “academic snob”.  While I realized that people had various degrees of intellectual ability, I figured that most everyone (with the exception of the most severe disabilities) had the ability to achieve academically if they “put their mind to it”.  This carried into my early years as a teacher as I was appalled by students who came into my classroom as junior highers not being able to spell simple words like paper (papper) or having acquired basic reading skills or understanding of math.  Not that I expected everyone to be “straight A” students, I actually thought most had just not “worked hard enough” or were lazy.

My first born fell right into my line of academic thinking.In addition to being a classic first born overachiever, she spoke in full sentences by year one, began to read at age four and could spell “beautiful” in kindergarten. I am sure in my mind I was “patting myself on the back” for creating such an academic acheiver (which in reality I had precious little to do with it)  Then along came Amy….

She was the sweetest baby ever.  She was calm, good-natured, smiled & slept a lot. (in shocking comparison to her extremely colicky…crying for 9 months straight… elder sister).  We nicknamed her “Sleeping Beauty”.  It didn’t concern us that she was not speaking as early as her sister as we figured this was typical for a second child.  But….when she still was not speaking more than 10-15 coherent words by age four we knew there was some “issues”.  She was diagnosed with serious speech delay and began four years of therapy. Then she was only able to read very short kindergarten readers by age ten. After trying every program known to man to teach her to read we finally found the program (Powerline) and the teacher (the amazing Miss Pam) that worked for her dyslexia. We rejoiced that she was able to read and comprehend novels before going to high school (and went from “I HATE reading” to “Mom, can I read all day?”).

While I was raising Amy (or perhaps she was raising me) I began to change my mindset.  I began to “re-think” the way society sees academics. I began to be very purposeful about teaching Amy that her value did not come from her ability to excel academically (or for that matter athletically, musically, artistically or in outward beauty or wealth…all things the world puts a high value on) but that her value was to be found as a child of God. I also ingrained in her heart & mind that the God who created her had also endowed her with unique gifts and talents to be used for His glory. (“Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well.” 1 Peter 4:10)  For her those gifts did not happen to be in the area of academics and yet she would still be required to perform at a certain level to get through this academic season of life.  It is just the way we have set up our society.  (on a side note I find this interesting…what if we required someone to play sports for years and “pass” athletic milestones even if they had no athletic propensity?  Or if we required musical accomplishments from people who were tone-deaf or can’t clap & sing at the same time?) Of course since she was homeschooled, the normal academic pressures of traditional school were not something she had to face.  She had a happy, carefree childhood free from thoughts of – “I’m in the slow group” or “I am dumb” or “What is wrong with me?”.  She learned at her own pace. She discovered her unique gifts and talents and excelled at them. She learned to love the Lord. She developed godly character.  She actually blissfully unaware of any disabilities she had.  As she began to prepare to go to a traditional high school, I spent time reinforcing these values and ideas so that she would be able to get through school without losing her sense of value and purpose. I warned her:

  • She would have to work harder and likely not get as good results as many of those around her
  • That she may stay up half the night studying and still fail the test.
  • That some teachers would be “academic snobs” just as I had once been or think she was lazy or had not studied…just smile and pray for them.
  • This is just a academic season of life and that it has no reflection on her future success and plans
  • That her accolades would need to come from the Lord and the voice in her own head (she spent much of her childhood listening to motivational speakers and memorizing their quotes! It paid off!)

I encouraged her:

  • That God has uniquely gifted her and that she needed to develop those gifts and use them for His glory
  • That she needed to work hard (and thus develop godly character) no matter what the results
  • That it was much smarter to take the areas you are good at and make them great than to take things you are poor at and make them average. (Why spend time trying to take a two to a five when you could take a seven to a ten?)
  • God is in control of your life.  You seek Him, commit your way to Him and live upright, He will accomplish what concerns you and He will lead you in the right path.
  • Never forget your value lies in being a child of God!

And she did just that! It was hard at times. She had moments of disappointment and discouragement…but she pressed on!  As she walks across the stage tomorrow and receives her diploma, this former “academic snob” momma will be

  • rejoicing with her as she celebrates her success!
  • beaming with pride (just as I did with my first grad in ’07) that she is pursuing her God-given gifts and talents, developing godly character and loving the Lord
  • shedding a few bittersweet tears as she ends this season of life

PS – For those Moms of “youngins” who struggle with academic achievement and are concerned (translate worried) about their education and future let me encourage you.  Amy will graduate from high school with a 3.18. She was accepted to five colleges (two on academic probation) even with below average SAT scores and received financial aid & academic scholarships from the colleges (we did giggle with delight when these offers arrived). She will be attending Bethany University in the fall and continue to seek the Lord’s plan  & purpose for her life.  Who would have ever guessed that 10 years ago?  But God…..

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Filed under Attitude, College & Career, Determination, Homeschool, Jim Elliot Christian High School, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, My "take"

It’s gonna be a BIG day!

I rolled out of bed this morning ready to get back to the “normal routine” of life after a wonderful Holy Week full of celebrations, traditions and meaningful moments as we remembered Jesus’s life, death & resurrection.  I was mentally making a checklist of everything that I needed to accomplish:

  • Get the house back in order
  • Finish up on a pile of pressing paperwork & bills
  • Prepare for several upcoming speaking engagements
  • Gather up homeschool assignments to turn in to the charter school
  • Recruit mentors for Rebekah’s Rite of Passage year
  • Send out Amy’s graduation invitations <yikes! she is really graduating from high school already…how did that happen?>

The list was becoming daunting and I heard myself sigh as I walked past the dining room table full of candy wrappers and stray Easter grass spilling over onto the floor.  I was then greeted by my four year old son Daniel with a look of awe and wonder on his face.

He sat up from his perch on the couch and exclaimed with gusto –  “Mommy, It’s gonna be a BIG day!”… then he stopped and asked inquisitively…“Is Jesus still alive?”

I love how the Lord uses children to stop me in my tracks and change my perspective at any given moment. Here I was the day after a glorious celebration of  Jesus resurrection already “bogged” down in the details of life instead of waking up with hopeful anticipation of the great things my risen Lord would do in my life today.  I imagine that the day after the resurrection of Jesus that the women who went to the tomb and were told – “He is Alive!  He has Risen from the dead!” –  did not wake up on Monday morning with a “back to the old routine” attitude.  In fact I am sure much like Daniel they were filled with excitement, wonder and awe and  were exclaiming – “It’s gonna be a BIG day!”   They were forever changed from that moment on…never to be the same again! They along with the disciples and followers of Christ lived the rest of their lives committed to the spread of the good news even to the point of dying for their faith.

I grabbed up my little boy in my arms with my heart full of love and gratitude and said – “Yes Daniel, Jesus is still alive…and He lives in our hearts and yes it’s gonna be a BIG day!”

That is how I want to live my life!  Each & everyday exclaiming – “It’s gonna be a BIG day!”  – because Jesus is alive in my life and I am going to live for Him!

 

 (If you want to see some photos of our families Holy Week & Easter celebration – you can see them at this link –

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Filed under Attitude, Easter Season, Faith, Life Lessons

Thankfulness…for that, God?

“Always be joyful.  Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Most everyone is being outwardly thankful at this time of the year…and rightly so as we, especially here in the United States, have a lot to be thankful for.  You read positive uplifting comments on facebook, listen to messages on thankfulness at church, hear radio disc jockeys reminding you to be thankful. And it is not hard to look around and be thankful for all that we have in our family & friends, material possessions, positive circumstances and provisions of sustenance. We truly are blessed in so many ways. 

And yet if we belong to Jesus Christ we are told that our thankfulness needs to go beyond the “good” things in life that should be easy to lift up praise and thanksgiving for…but we are to be thankful in ALL of our circumstances. (and no I do not believe we are to be thankful  for evil but we are to be thankful in the midst of evil) Without getting caught up in the semantics of the difference between being thankful “in” something instead of thankful “for” it, I challenged my children last night to write on our annual Thankfulness Banner (what is that you ask? click here to read about this great family tradition) something that is hard to truly be thankful for.  They balked a bit at that suggestion and several still have not given it serious thought. (although rest assured this “committed to purposeful parenting” Mommy will see to it that they do!) My seven year old was really having a hard time wrapping her mind around this concept when I suggested she be thankful for having to do chores. “But I am not thankful for chores at all Mommy!”,  she emphatically exclaimed while wrinkling up her nose in disgust.

You see it is really hard to actually say out of your mouth  “Thank you God for and in the midst of…”

  • the life long challenges of diabetes in one and dyslexia in another faced by two of my precious daughters
  • the painful loss of my father 15 years ago (he was only 59!) and him not being here for all of us, especially my Mom
  • my battle with high blood pressure
  • the loss of 40% of our monthly income this year
  • the serious deterioration of parts of our 55 year old home
  • those who despise or ridicule me because of my faith that directs my principles, values & actions
  • the lack of personal funds to pursue adoption (having to rely on  and ask others to help…if I had it “my way” we would have all the money we need in the bank)
  • those who speak ill of my husband as a teacher and complain about his methods, abilities, opinions and weaknesses
  • dealing with disobedient, lazy, argumentative, ungrateful attitudes and actions found at times in my children
  • the never-ending chores and care taking that needs to be accomplished in my life (some of which is very distasteful & disgusting)
  • our government and society that seems to be headed in a direction that is opposite of my desires, values and worldview
  • my slow metabolism (ok so that is shallow…but I often covet being one of “those” who can eat anything & never gain a pound!…just being transparent here)

And yet even though it is hard for me to be thankful for and in these challenges, hurts and far from perfect circumstances, I am told to offer up my thanksgiving in everything (not just the good things). So this morning I did just that.  I thanked God for each and everything on my list. I don’t have any idea why God would even ask us to do such a thing but I suspect it has more to do with changing our hearts, our perspective and drawing us closer to God. As I gave thanks for each of these things my burdens began to lift and dissipate and I found my heart filling with joy, love and peace.  I felt free!  But even if I had not had any feelings, I do not have to understand, agree with or even benefit from God’s directions for my life as found in His word….I am simply required to do it!

We all have circumstances in our lives that we cannot begin to imagine being thankful for or in. In fact some of you have lists of horrifying situations that makes my list look like a “cake walk” (the life threatening illness, accident or death of a child or spouse, serious abuse or betrayal at the hands of others, financial devastation, violent assault on you or a loved one, life altering injury, being disowned or rejected by those dearest to you….).  I know this because many of you are my friends.  And yet….

…..for those of us who belong to Christ, we have no option than to be thankful in the midst of it all.

Take some time today to get with God and thank Him for your life challenges, hardships, painful and heart wrenching circumstances. Write them down. Speak your words of thanksgiving out loud to the Lord. Let the tears come if they need to. Share them here with others as a comment on my blog. (yup! be vulnerable!) Tell them to your family or friends around the dinner table. (and be ready for the odd stares)  Let this Thanksgiving be a new season for us of living out this command…. 

….“Always be joyful.  Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

 



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Filed under Attitude, Blessings, Family Traditions, My "take"

Nothing Easy About It

Last week I received an email with this title…

Character-building Made Easy!

I actually laughed out loud.  Now I am sure that this character building curriculum for home school families is an excellent resource and it may be “easy” to read or “easy”to teach but there is simply nothing easy about building character in life.  In fact don’t you think that true character is built and developed through hardships, struggles, pain and times of sacrifice?

And yet….

….we as parents who say out of our mouths that we want to raise children with outstanding character spend much of or time trying to shelter them from hardship, struggles, pain and sacrifice. Yes, it is true.  Think about it. 

We want our kids to “have it all”.  Whether it is the “stuff” of material possessions or every type of experience from trips and vacations to music lessons, art classes or sports training, we want our kids to have a “better life” than we had. We buy them things, give them all the resources and sign them up for every opportunity instead of allowing them to live without something they desire thus building character qualities of self-discipline, sacrifice, perseverance and gratitude.

We will never accept a less than perfect classroom, teacher or coach.  And if things are not exactly how we think they should be, we are the first to march right down to that school office and demand a change.  We simply will not consider the possibility that our child will actually learn more important lessons in life from an imperfect teacher, coach or classroom situation.  What a great opportunity to develop patience, kindness, acceptance, diligence, respect, self-sufficiency, forgiveness, humility, taking initiative and personal responsibility not to mention they will probably learn much about being a great leader, teacher or coach from watching a poor example and learning what not to do.

We even look for ways to make their lives “easier” by doing chores, work or assignments for them or “lightening their load” during finals week or other stressful seasons of life.  We never allow them to fail or as my parents use to say – “make their bed and then lie in it”. If we did they would develop amazing character qualities of hard work, perseverance, diligence and determination.

We make excuses for them instead of forcing them to be responsible for their attitudes and actions thus delaying that all important character qualities of  diligence, a good work ethic, honesty and personal responsibility.

And as they get older we do not require them to make their own appointments, meet their own deadlines, work out their own transportation and confront unacceptable situations thus robbing them of the opportunities to build character qualities of courage, responsibility, initiative and maturity.

Perhaps our goal as parents should not be to give our child a “perfect” life free from stress, difficulties, obstacles, pain, hurt or needs. Perhaps it should be to welcome these situations and  allow them to teach and train our children (as well as ourselves) to develop godly character qualities that will be of great gain in our lives.

Wouldn’t you love to say about your children and yourself – we are patient, responsible, ethical, grateful, self disciplined, hard-working, diligent, determined, mature, courageous, content, loving, kind, compassionate and forgiving?

If you never go without or are never in need….how do you develop gratitude?

If you are never hurt or wronged…how do you learn true forgiveness?

If you never have to wait or be put off…how do you become patient?

If you never fail….how do you learn to be diligent and an overcomer?

If you are never forced to step out of your comfort zone…how do you become courageous?

If you never experience any pain or suffering….how will you learn compassion?

Character building made easy?  Nope….there ain’t nothing easy about it!

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Filed under Attitude, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Parenting

Throwing a Tantrum

Temper Tantrums are something I know more than a little about.  In fact, between being the Mom to eight children and parenting for the last two decades perhaps I could say that I have earned a Master’s Degree in temper tantrums.  I have seen and experienced them all:

  • The scream in your face looking like you are going to kill someone tantrum
  • The dash down the hall yelling hysterically tantrum
  • The turn your back on Mommy and fold your arms while stomping your feet tantrum
  • The hold your breath until you pass out tantrum
  • The jumping up and down whining & crying tantrum
  • The pulling on Mommy’s arms or a leg or piece of clothing while verbally assaulting her tantrum
  • The hitting of your fists on anything or anyone close by tantrum
  • The “I may be sitting on the outside but I am standing on the inside” tantrum
  • The slam your door and turn up the music loud enough to raise the roof tantrum
  • The “whatever” said under your  breath while rolling your eyes tantrum

And my personal favorite

  • The lay on the floor in the middle of the grocery store kicking and screaming tantrum (it really is my favorite because it makes me laugh hysterically)

Whew! Just thinking about all those temper tantrums makes me weary.  Yes, tantrums are, among many other unpleasant things…exhausting.  And they all boil down to the same root cause whether the child having the tantrum is two or twelve,  it all comes down to not getting their own way.   It may be something they want to have (or not have like vegetables or vitamins), something they want to do (or not do like take a bath or go to bed) or a place they want to go (or not).  Sometimes those desires are ridiculous, unacceptable, dangerous, selfish, inappropriate, unhealthy or unaffordable. And other times they are perfectly ok but the timing, situation or circumstance is not ideal.  

Today I realized I was having a little bit of an adult tantrum as I wandered from room to room thinking about several areas of my life that I needed to get under control.  (definition of an adult temper tantrum is the same as for our kids:  I am not getting my way and I am not happy about it so I react inappropriately, inwardly or outwardly, it is just that we are usually more dignified and refined in our tantrum throwing.) As I listened to myself, talk to myself (whoa…are there three people living inside my head…I promise I am not crazy!) it was all too clear that yes, I was throwing a tantrum because I wasn’t getting my way.  True confessions – it went something like this:

 Self: You really need to get back on that exercise routine and start eating healthy again!

 Self throwing an adult tantrum (said with really whiny voice): W-h-y? But….I don’t…. w-a-n-t  to!  Do I have to?  That’s no fun. It’s too hard.  Isn’t there an easier way?  It’s not fair…why can’t I just be like _________ who doesn’t have to deal with things like this?  I would rather lay around drinking an ice coffee and eating dark chocolate mints while reading a good book, watching a movie or bouncing around the Internet from emails or facebook to news or blogs with no responsibility and not a care in the world.

Self: Ok Beth, you are supposed to be starting a ministry here. It is time to set up regular working hours and begin actively pursuing your goals and dreams. Time to get going girl!

Self throwing an adult tantrum (said with really whiny voice): W-h-y? But….I don’t…. w-a-n-t  to!  Do I have to?  That’s no fun. It’s too hard.  Isn’t there an easier way?  It’s not fair…why can’t I just be like _________ who doesn’t have to deal with things like this?  I would rather lay around drinking an ice coffee and eating dark chocolate mints while reading a good book, watching a movie or bouncing around the Internet from emails or facebook to news or blogs with no responsibility and not a care in the world.

Self:  The home school kids need to be put on a daily schedule. The free for all is not working on any level for this group of students (and maybe it didn’t work for the older girls but if not they sure “faked it” well) So sit down and set up their routine and then hold their feet to the fire to be sure they stick with it.

Self throwing an adult tantrum (said with really whiny voice): W-h-y? But….I don’t….w-a-n-t  to!  Do I have to?  That’s no fun. It’s too hard.  Isn’t there an easier way?  It’s not fair…why can’t I just be like _________ who doesn’t have to deal with things like this?  I would rather lay around drinking an ice coffee and eating dark chocolate mints while reading a good book, watching a movie or bouncing around the Internet from emails or facebook to news or blogs with no responsibility and not a care in the world.

Not very pretty, eh?  I tell ya, I wouldn’t take that type of talk from my kids in a “New York minute”!

As I saw the pattern repeating it almost became amusing, even to me, that I was actually throwing a tantrum in my head.  But a few minutes later when Christiana began to throw her own screaming tantrum over not getting to play with my cell phone I did not find it amusing whatsoever. (yes,  it has already begun at 18 months)

Here is how I attempt to handle any and all temper tantrums from my kids no matter what age they are:

  1. They do not ever, under any circumstance, get their way! (did I say Never do they ever get their way? Good because that is what I meant…never, ever do they get their way…nope…never)
  2. I ignore the tantrum (unless they are harming themselves or others then I physically restrain them..since they usually only do this at fairly young ages car seats in the living room worked great)
  3. If it continues I smile and say (with sass & a bit of a drawl!) – “Is that working for you babycakes?” cause it is sure not going to work with me so you go on and have fun with that little fit you are having  (in our house the saying goes like this – “ya get what ya get and ya don’t throw a fit”)
  4. And if they are really going at it full force (and not harming anyone) I full on laugh at them in the midst of the tirade. (for some reason this is really easy for me to do because I do find kids on the floor throwing fits pretty amusing or maybe it is amusing to me that they actually think that they will win with that strategy)

So folks….I am putting my little bratty tantrum self on notice –

You are not going to get your way!   You will get up and get going in all these areas that need attention in your life. They are important and valuable and you will do what needs to be done! Let’s have at it!

Is that working for you?  That little fit you are throwing in your heart and mind? (answer…ummmm NOT!)

“Ya get what ya get (your metabolism, your body, your financial & life situation, your calling, the current ages & temperaments of your kids at home during this season of life)….and ya don’t throw a fit!”  Get over it and get on with it!

And then I am going to laugh that little tantrum thrower right out of my mind!

Anyone else out there dealing with a little tantrum today?

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Filed under Attitude, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Motherhood, Parenting

21 gifts of guidance for my 21 year old

How is it that I have a 21 year old daughter? I can remember so clearly my own 21st birthday – I went to my senior classes at the University of the Pacific during the day and then was joined by several college friends for a small backyard birthday barbecue at Pastor John Butrin’s home that was also the culmination of my summer internship at Lincoln Neighborhood Church. I was loving my Lord and my life, surrounded by dear friends and excited about my future plans! I can still remember that day with joy in my heart.

Today my own daughter is turning 21. She too is a young, energetic and enthusiastic student attending The King’s College in New York City. She has many good friends and will likely be celebrating her birthday tonight surrounded by those who love her. She has a bright future ahead of her and I could not be more thrilled with her character, her life choices and her commitment to her faith.

For her 21st birthday instead of a gift of “things” I want to give her my gift of guidance as she reaches this new milestone in life that here in the USA signifies a “coming of age” or adulthood. (although being the counter-culture family that we are…we have raised our children to enter adulthood much younger so in some ways this is just another birthday)

Michelle…here are 21 “gifts of guidance” from your Mom who knows that you desire to have a life that is lived to its fullness, a life that is lived well and a life that makes an impact on the world! May these 21 gifts encourage you, challenge you and inspire you to live that life!

1.  Never leave your first love – Jesus. He is the most faithful friend, the best big brother, a passionate intimate beloved and warm, loving father.

2. Never stop believing in and meditating on the inspired inerrant Word of God…even with all the facts on your side…it still takes faith.

3. Be thankful every day for the firm foundation you received growing up in a committed Christian home – it is truly an amazing blessing.

4. Let God be God…because we are not. The sooner you relinquish to Christ complete control of your life and your future the better off you will be.

5. Flee temptation…never was there a better word from God…and yet we often ignore it because sin feels good, tastes good and looks good. It never turns out to be good. Run!

6. Remember it is not the hard things that happen to you along the way that matter…it is how you respond. God is more interested in your response.

7. You will truly look back at the tough times in life and be so thankful for what they brought you…so why not just be thankful in the midst of them?

8. God wants to meet all of your needs – physical, emotional, spiritual, mental – so just let Him.

9. Do not believe it when people say “it can’t be done” or “that will never happen”  – with God all things are possible!

10. Everyday God puts divine appointments right in front of you – don’t get distracted and miss them – it is one of the greatest delights of life.

11. Give, give, and give some more….you will simply be given even more to turn around and give more! Give to everyone who asks of you – your time, your talent or your treasure!

12. Wait for a man who is passionately committed to our God and who will be a life partner and together you will do more for the kingdom of God than you could have ever accomplished alone – there is nothing better than being married to a man who shares your love for the Lord and your life purpose.

13. Worship with full abandon…sing loudly, turn up the music, dance, clap, shout, raise your hands, bow before him, pour out your heart in praise, let His creation awe and inspire you. This is what you were created for!

14. Adopt!

15. Don’t buy into Christian “worldy wisdom” on children, safety, dating & relationships, retirement, material possessions, sharing your stuff or “praying about things” that are clearly commanded to do in His word.

16. Don’t waste time in trivial pursuits – if it is not about God, relationships, people, service or ministry – do not give much of your life to it.

17. Pursue friendships with those who will encourage you, challenge your faith and take you to a deeper level. (skip the shallowness of talking to your girlfriends about where to get your nails done, how much those jeans cost, why they are mad at their husbands, shopping or the latest “void of value” TV show).

18. Be faithful and true to your word, to the body of Christ, to your marriage, to your family & friends.

19. If you see a need…meet it! (you don’t have to be “called”)

20. If you are continually looking for ways to love and serve others…you will never have time to be depressed, bored or critical.

21. Compared to eternity…life here is so very, very short. Invest your life in eternity!

To my amazing, awesome, beautiful, strong, tenacious, determined, creative, passionate, purposeful, lovely, gracious, compassionate, enthusiastic, helpful, influential, Christlike first-born daughter….Happy 21st Birthday! I love you so much Michelle-my-belle! I know that God has great plans for your life and I will be cheering you on!

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Filed under Attitude, Blessings, Faith, Inspiration, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, My "take"

To life! To life! L’chaim!

This week I celebrated my 48th birthday!

L’chaim is a Hebrew word meaning – “to life”  and is used as a toast for many occasions but often celebrating the Jewish New Year and at weddings or times of new beginnings.

This birthday was unique because on September 1, 2010 I not only celebrated another year of my life but it was the first day of a new season and a new beginning of life for me.  For the past three years I have faithfully served in the position of Director of Development for Jim Elliot Christian High School…

  • a school that we founded through God’s divine direction
  • a ministry that I am passionate about
  • a position where I could effectively use my God-given gifts and talents while helping to put food on the table and still be a Mom and the number one influencer to my children

In the spring I was informed by our school board that JECHS would be taking a new direction for development thus eliminating my current position.  It was greatly emphasized that this was in no way a commentary on my job performance or effectiveness which was highly successful and appreciated, just simply a change of direction.

While this took me by surprise, I know that the Lord has a plan for the school as well as for my family and me and that His plan is ALWAYS good!  I trust that the Lord uses leadership to move ministries in the direction He desires. Although, I will greatly miss being involved in the daily life of the school, communicating regularly with the Jim Elliot family and sharing my passion for the school in a public forum, my heart and commitment to this ministry is solid & unwavering! (plus with three girls currently attending, four more kiddos coming up through the ranks, with the youngest graduating in 2027 & a husband who “lives” and breathes this amazing school…I will likely be ever-present.)

So all summer long I knew that the special day that God chose to bring me into this world…September 1…was also the day that I would wake up facing a new season of life.  Dan and I have spent much time in prayer and conversation both together and with a small group of trusted friends & family members seeking wisdom and direction for our future.  

We have been here before – early in our marriage when we chose to both leave full-time youth ministry to have Dan pursue his college degree and then again when he graduated  and we decided to work in Christian education instead of the church ministry that we thought would be our direction. In 1997 we took a major leap of faith when we set out to start a Christian high school from scratch with no personal income and no major financial investors or donors. Then three years ago when we felt led to redirect the use of my gifts and talents away from business pursuits to bring our school to a new level of excellence.

And now we are here…another crossroads in life, another time of change and challenges, another opportunity to step out in faith and see our BIG God – do BIG things!

Here are our Financial Facts

  1. On paper Dan’s Christian school salary along with a small income from my CM business pays for all of our financial obligations (what we have committed funds to – not food & daily living) with a shortfall of $111.
  2. We live a very simple life with little extra’s – no fancy phones, no cable, no new clothes, camping vacation, old vehicles, small home, few home repairs completed, lots of beans & rice – etc…
  3. Of all of our financial obligations the only extra’s we could cut are Netflix(done!), school fees by pulling the girls out of school which we do not feel is God’s will and do not plan to do(while we do not pay tuition as a benefit of Dan’s employment we do pay the fees which with 3 enrolled this year it is a monthly bill that could save us money) and we could re-negotiate with our orthodontist for a lower monthly payment which we will pursue. These things would help alleviate the shortfall. 
  4. Some would argue that we could cut out our extra giving (World Vision, Compassion International, Missionary support) but this does not sit well with our spirit so unless God spoke directly for us to do that we will not.
  5. Our mortgage is less than almost anywhere we would rent so “downsizing” is not really an option to save money (We live in a 1400 square foot home)
  6. What we “on paper” do not have money for and what my compensation took care of is – food, household & personal supplies, gas, saving for yearly bills like car registrations, property taxes, homeowners fees, and all the “little” things that come up, when essential things break down or homeschool expenses.
  7. My income also paid for our “extras” of  life – sports fees, field trips, birthday parties, christmas, senior year extra expenses, baby portraits, gas to visit friends or family, postage, make up, hair cuts, special events, coffee & ice cream – all things that are a bonus but we can live without!

Please do not think that I am complaining because I am not. I have an amazing & blessed life that I love! 

Please do not think that we are disturbed, distressed or distraught because we are not! I simply share these “facts” to give you an idea of one of the areas that we are believing for God to take care of during this next season of life. (not to mention many of you are facing the same challenges and I hope it encourages you to know that you are not alone and increase your faith that God is in control)

Here is our Foundation of Faith

  1. God will provide for all of our needs – “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  Phillipans 4:19
  2. God has a perfect plan – “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
  3. God will give us wisdom – “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
  4. God will use our trials to help others (so if you are troubled about the “wisdom” of our openness this is why – we hope it encourages others) – “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4
  5. God is doing a new work in us that will result in great growth & results and we are thrilled!  – “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
  6. God has uniquely and purposefully given us gifts to be used for His purpose in the body. I need to continue to use those gifts for God  – “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13  (also 1  Corinthians 12 & Matthew 25:14-30)

Now about that Future

We believe that God is opening new doors for me to use the gifts and talents He gave me in the areas of speaking and writing to inspire others to live a life of purpose, passion and praise.

I have been speaking and writing for over 25 years as a youth pastor, teacher, businesswoman, blogger and development director. I have been used by God to inspire those around me in many facets of life through interpersonal relationships that I have developed along the way. I know God has also given me the experience and opportunities to grow these gifts.  I take no credit for what God has done. It is all Him! I want to follow His voice and His lead.

So after wrapping up a few details for our school this coming week, I will begin to step out in faith looking to and leaning on the Lord for wisdom, guidance, strength and His divine favor as we start a new work…

Inspire Ministries

living a life of purpose, passion & praise

I hope that through this new ministry that I will be able to speak and write to people of all ages and all walks of life and inspire them to be purposeful & passionate about their:

  • life
  • future
  • relationships
  • calling (vocation or ministry)
  • marriage
  • parenting
  • faith

while also inspiring us all to live a life of praise which includes – a life of gratitude, glorifying to God, a life worthy of praise and commendation.

I hope to use the avenues of conferences, retreats, special events, meetings, conference calls, webinars and church services to speak about these things that God has placed on my heart.  I hope to also write articles, books and increase my blogging to also accomplish this purpose. I hope to be available to continue helping others through my everyday life as well…those “divine” appointments God puts in all of our paths.

I am ready & willing to put my whole heart into this ministry…investing my time and talent.  Dan too will be involved, as he is able, in addition to his awesome ministry to young people at Jim Elliot. (He is a great speaker with many insights on the Word of God, ministering to teens, marriage & parenting) 

We are believing and praying that the Lord will bring us others to partner with us through both their prayers and financial support.  We want those who believe in

  • our message
  • our example
  • our love for others
  • our integrity
  • our ability to communicate effectively

to help us get this ministry going and then keep it growing strong and giving us the freedom to speak wherever God leads us (not only to churches or organizations with large budgets or resources). 

To start up this ministry (paperwork, filing non-profit status, creating a website, mailings, promotional & home office expenses) will take approximately $10,000.  To keep it running we will need to initially raise $4,000 a month. (for example perhaps 200 supporters at $20 per month or  100 at $40 a month)  We know that if this is truly the Lord’s will….that He will provide the resources for us to go out and inspire others through speaking and writing.

As I begin a new year of life and a new season of ministry I am filled with excitement to see what God will do in us and through us. My prayer is that we will –

  • Live a life on the cutting edge!
  • Live a life of extraordinary faith!
  • Live a life surrendered to God!
  • Live a life that inspires others to live a life of purpose, passion & praise!

To Life! To Life! L’Chaim!

P.S.  If you are…

  • interested in partnering with us through prayer and financial support of this new ministry
  • would like to be on the Inspire Ministries mailing list
  • have words of encouragement or wisdom for us in this endevour
  • are interested in having me (or Dan or both of us) coming to speak at your church, group, ministry, conference, retreat or organization and want to start exploring that opportunity

…please leave a comment on this blog or email me at inspire@bethlambdin.net

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Filed under Attitude, Blessings, Economics, Faith, Jim Elliot Christian High School, Life at the Lambdins