Category Archives: Attitude

Here’s to the good times! (and even the bad)

My fourth daughter began high school today <sigh> and as is my tradition I wrote her a letter for her first day of school. Having just returned from my own 30th high school class reunion and also entering a new season of life myself, I had many thoughts rolling around in my head about high school and life’s journey that made there way into this letter.  

Dear Rebekah (Bop!)

Today is the big day…your first day of high school (and your first day of actually going to a school building with “real” teachers, schedules and tardy bells)  I know you are excited and full of anticipation and perhaps even apprehension for what these four years may hold for you… 

  • new friendships to be made
  • life lessons to be learned
  • exciting new experiences
  • school camps & chapel services
  • athletic competition & team sports
  • social events in abundance
  • clubs, community service & extra curricular activities
  • drivers license procured
  • leadership opportunities
  • making memories that will last a lifetime
  • good times!

I pray that these four years are filled with all of these things and more. I hope that you will take advantage of every opportunity available to you…that you will hold nothing back and jump in to high school life without fear or apprehension.  It will go by so fast and before you know it, you will be graduating and beginning another new season of life. Do not waste even a minute of your high school years! Savor each & every moment.

On the other side, life is also full of unexpected and often unwanted experiences, twists and turns.  As we stand at the threshold of this new season of life it is good to stop and think of what the four years may hold that could possibly bring hurt, anger or even great sorrow to our lives…

  • rejection, isolation or being hurt by others
  • being the subject of ridicule, gossip or slander
  • unfair or unjust treatment by those in authority
  • persecution for your faith
  • financial constraints that prevent you from doing or having something you want
  • being uprooted from your home and having to begin again in a new place
  • a life altering injury or accident
  • dealing with sickness or disease yourself or with a friend or family member
  • losing a loved one – perhaps a dear friend or family member

Yes, it is sobering to think of all the hardships, (and you may be thinking sarcastically….”Wow, Mom what an encouraging letter…not!”) but these are realities of life that you may be faced with during high school.  Certainly however, you will face many of them in your lifetime and I want you to take sometime to consider how we should live our lives both during the good times and the bad.

In the Good Times

While in general during the good seasons of life we are happy and content, it is easy during these seasons to get complacent, ungrateful and even critical.  We get complacent with our relationships with God, our family and even in our friendships.  We can become ungrateful for all that we have been given and even come to expect to be given life on a “silver platter”.  We often are critical of others as we become more and more self centered during seasons of smooth sailing.

I want to encourage you during this current “good season” of life to develop a deeper relationship with God than you ever have before, don’t wait until the storms of life come to draw near to Him.  Cling closely to your family.  You have been blessed with an “intact” loving Christ centered home and have many sisters and a brother who love you as well as parents who would lay down their lives for you.  Do not take that for granted. In four short years (and yes they will be short) you will potentially be out of the house and perhaps never again have the day to day interaction and opportunities you have now to enjoy the family you have been blessed with.  Develop friendships that will last a lifetime by centering them on the only thing that lasts – Jesus Christ!  Have Bible studies together, talk about the deep things of life, pray together, encourage one another to do well and enjoy the fruit of love & joy (and lots of laughter) as you make meaningful memories during your high school experience.

Always be grateful for all that you have been given – and you my dear daughter have been given much!  You have been blessed with intelligence, creativity, communication & organization skills, leadership, influence, athletic ability, tenacity, strength, drive and beauty.  You have also been given life, health, family, friends and most importantly – God the Father, God the Son & God the Holy Spirit.  Do not become ungrateful for the many gifts you have been given.  Thank the Lord for each new day and use your gifts and talents for His glory!

Do not be critical. You can’t help what you might feel or think when dealing with other people – your parents, sisters, brother, friends, teachers, youth pastors, and school administrators but you can decide how you will react and what you will speak out of your mouth. A critical spirit is so ugly and will ultimately only destroy you.  Speak positively. Offer positive alternatives. Talk with those (not about those) who you are feeling critical towards “behind closed doors” about your complaints (NOT to others…unless you want to get advice from Mom & Dad). Pray for them.

And lastly during the good times…enjoy life. Don’t whine or stress over the little things. 

In the Bad Times

You have heard me say so often…”It is not what happens to you in life that matters, it is how you respond”   God is looking for a proper response to the trials, tribulations, sorrows & hardships of this life.

Do not be surprised if some of the hardships I listed above come your way over the course of your high school experience.  You can actually count on it! (joyful thought, I know!)  The Bible does not say “If “ you experience trials & tribulations but “when”.  Yes, you will have trials, rejection, humiliation, sorrow and hardships.  So be ready!

How will you respond Rebekah?

  • Will you run to God to be your “everything” when you are rejected, set apart or isolated from others?
  • Will you respond with love & forgiveness when you are hurt or treated unkindly?
  • Will you trust God to be your “lawyer” when you are treated unfairly or when things are unjust?
  • Will you believe that God will provide all of your needs according to His riches in glory when financial stresses come your way?
  • Will you love those who do not love you & pray for those who persecute you?
  • Will you trust & believe that God has a perfect plan for your life and that He will lead, guide & instruct you even when the road is hard or it is a path you did not want to take?
  • Will you believe He is able to do abundantly more than you could ever ask or think and that He is the great Physician & Healer for those who may be injured or sick in body?
  • Will you trust that the Lord is good and sovereign even if you lose a loved one?
  • Will you say “Blessed be the Name of the Lord” even if He takes away from you the most precious things in your life?
  • Will you run to God and not away from Him in the midst of the trials that come your way?
  • Will you serve the Lord….no matter what happens in your life?

These are good questions for us all to consider and decide in advance of the “bad times” in life how we will respond.

Rebekah, here’s to both the “good times” & the “bad times” that are ahead of you during these high school years. Cherish, appreciate and take advantage of the good times and respond in a Christ like way to the bad times so that He can “turn your mourning into dancing”, “make beauty from ashes” & use those experiences to mold you, shape you and change your life in such a way that you will look back at both the good & the bad with great joy!

I love you Rebekah more than I can express in words.  You are so very much like me in many, many ways (I know you hate hearing that!) and yet so far beyond what I ever was as a freshman in high school.  I am proud of you and honored to be chosen to be your Mom.  I can’t wait to see the big things that God has for you in this life.

As you begin high school today… “May the Lord bless you, keep you, make His face to shine upon you, be gracious unto you and give you peace”

Zoot! Zoot! Zoot!

Mom

PS – I will miss having you here at home “running the show” although I won’t miss you trying to boss me around! 🙂

2 Comments

Filed under Attitude, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Motherhood

Where is your treasure?

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

Ok the bad news first:  It appears that we may soon hit another downturn in our personal financial situation.  With an anticipated upcoming job change our  income will be reduced by 40% in the coming months. (yes, you read that correctly 40%…and no it has nothing to do with the economy)  Since we already live pay check to pay check, needless to say this is a pretty big deal for our family financial situation.

The good news?: I am not stressed. I am not worried. I am not fearful. (and no, I am not lying!)  While a very occasional twinge of  “oh my…what are we going to do” pops up in my heart (and I know that is not God’s voice), I have a complete peace & trust in the Lord who was and is and always will be in control of my life. 

I have not always had this type of peace about finances. In fact over half my adult life was spent worrying, fretting and continually stressing about money…primarily the lack of it.  Instead of trusting the Lord to provide (as He always did), I was in a constant state of trying to “figure out” how our family could continue to be in the full-time ministry of Christian education and survive. (where the pay is often at or just above the federal poverty guidelines…now while I personally think this is unacceptable and a sad commentary on the value placed on those who serve our children and the Lord as Christian school teachers, mentors & administrators,  the weight of that responsibility will fall onto those board members & leaders who have been entrusted these institutions and I have chosen to leave that in their hands instead of whining, complaining or walking away in frustration  from the ministry God has called us to).

It actually took a major financial fallout for me to even begin to surrender this area of finances to the Lord.  Thirteen years ago we lost 100% of our income and I was completely overwhelmed with stress, worry and fear. I knew in my head what God’s word said about His provision but when it came right down to it, my heart did not truly believe.  It was during these very rough years (and there were several of them) that I  began to really believe that God alone was my provider…no matter who wrote the check! I experienced His provision in miraculous ways. I also learned many lessons & principles:

  • the difference between needs and wants (God promises to provide our needs)
  • humility, perseverance & patience
  • making memories & showing love is more lasting than any birthday or Christmas gift you give
  • children are better served & more appreciative when they pay their own way
  • don’t try to always figure it all out!

Since that time we have had years of prosperity (at least by our definition…we got to go out to a restaurant on date night instead of walking the Costco aisles & enjoying the samples!) thanks to the Lord blessing my home business venture for a season.  We have also had several cycles of  financial strain but each time my faith and trust grew stronger.  I now no longer just say out of my mouth  I trust in God to provide….I truly believe it in my heart.

In the past month since we became aware of this potential financial challenge looming ahead, we have had an unusual amount of opportunities to give money – to students going on short term missions this summer, to our pastor as a retirement gift, to JECHS for student scholarships, to a family who is in dire need of formula & diapers, to helping with adoption expenses for others.  In the past during financial struggles, while we have never completely stopped giving, we did seriously limit what we gave.  However this month I have just decided to “carry on” in our giving as if nothing had changed.  In fact I decided to go farther than that and give something to every need I was presented. Wow!  God was once again bringing me to an even new level of trusting Him (just when ya think you have arrived!)

Yesterday I had an experience that touched my heart deeply & caused me to come to an even greater understanding of how God wants me to view finances.  I jumped onto facebook for a quick update on my friends and read about a young South African gal who herself has come from a life of poverty and through the generosity of others was attending a discipleship training school with YWAM and yet was in need of several thousand dollars to attend the outreach part of the program in Haiti. I purposed in my heart to give to this young lady and decided to ask the “big” girls if any of them wanted to chip in….only Kristen was home at the time and she had just minutes prior finished a baby sitting job. After hearing the need she handed me the entire amount she received for 2 hours of childcare. It touched my heart that she without any hesitation would be willing to bless someone that she did not even know.  I gratefully thanked the Lord for all of our financial hardships along the way because they caused us to often be the ones in need of help or at times raise support for family missions trips and to adopt our sweet baby girl.  The result of us often being in need surely has developed a heart of giving to those in need in my own children. I can’t even put a value on that benefit of our financial struggles.  As the rest of the girls arrived home, not surprisingly  they each choose to chip in to help this girl get to Haiti. My joy overflowed! And yet there is more….several hours later my seven year old daughter, Joy came up to me with her fists clinched full of change and said, “Mommy, I want to help too…here is everything I have.”  Be still my heart!  At that moment I had a revelation from God.

Joy gave all that she had because:

1. She completely trusts her Mom & Dad to provide for all her needs now & in the future (just as I need to completely trust God, my Father to provide for all my needs)

2. She knows that her family (ie: big sisters) will bless her with “extra’s” if she is wanting an icee at the swim meet or to go to the movies with the sisters (just as we all should count on one another in the church, the body of Christ to share our things , give to those in need and bless one another)

3. She did not think about what she was giving up but rather about who she was helping & giving too. She was so happy to be a “giver”. (Lord, help me to always be generous  & joyful in my giving to those in need)

4. She gave it all! (and we have a hard time giving 10%, 20%, 30%…yes I was convicted)

I was reminded of this verse in Matthew 6:19

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Her sweet heart is full of God, her family & others…so that is where she put her treasure. Today as I send off a check, each of my daughters will have sent a portion of their treasure to further God’s kingdom in Haiti through a young poor (in riches but not in spirit) South African girl.

Where is your treasure going today?

5 Comments

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

Overwhelm them with love & appreciation

“And now, friends, we ask you to honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!”  1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

Tonight we will attend a very special service for the pastor who has served our home church, Lakeview Assembly of God, for over 22 years! (from 1975-1983 and then again from 1993 – 2009)  We do not attend Sunday evening service on a regular basis (this has been a purposeful decision on our part not just a haphazard “we don’t feel like going” thing – that is another blog post) but tonight we will be there to honor this very special man and his wife who committed over two decades to pastoring, teaching, counseling and ministering to our church and our family. Pastor Kraft is one of  four men who have been my pastor since I have made Lakeview my home over 27 years ago.

I was not a member during his first term at Lakeview. I began attending shortly after he moved to Washington to pastor a church there, yet I benefited from the countless people whose lives he touched during that era – men like Dr. Cliff Kelly, Donnie Moore, Tim Ditmore & Tom Cudd who each had a profound influence at different seasons of my life.  He also laid the foundation for a season of prosperity and growth for that small church he left behind.  During those years I became a member of this church, was a youth intern, the youth pastor for 4 years, got married, had two children and was a part of seeing the church move from a small run down building on Porter Way to the property we now reside in on Quail Lakes Drive and then expand the building to double its size in cooperation with my then employer, Brookside Christian High School.  Pastor John Butrin took over the baton from Pastor Kraft and then passed it on to Pastor Chan Keith. It was a season of great growth & excitement for the church.

When he returned to pastor our church in 1993 he got to “ride the wave” of growth and blessings  for awhile and then things got tough…moral failures of staff, poor financial decisions, conflict between members, anger, law suits, negative press and more seemed to plague the church and its members over the years and took its toll on many causing them to leave the church.  However despite it all great things happened as well…many people were saved during his tenure as pastor, the spirit of worship always prevailed over the services, his openness and encouragement of the gifts of the Spirit allowed many to experience the miraculous and others to step out in faith and begin ministries of their own. 

Personally he has added value to my life in many many ways.

  • He always had a kind word and a smile for me
  • His life of godly living & purity was a fine example to me and my family
  • He was always there to listen to problems and pray you through, never claiming to have all the answers or a solution
  • He was humble (a character quality sadly lacking in many leaders today) & always approachable
  • He loved the Lord and His church and that is contagious
  • He dedicated 6 of my children to the Lord!

 There are hundreds of believers throughout this area and beyond whose lives were touched while attending Lakeview Assembly under Pastor Kraft’s leadership who should be there tonight to honor him and yet….. chances are they won’t be in attendance.  They will either not be aware of this service or perhaps be busy elsewhere or even ministering at other churches and unable to attend.  Some will be too busy or others just plain not interested in honoring this man. (as anyone who has been in ministry for any length of time knows there are always those who just do not like the pastor or leader and let their feelings lead them instead of obeying God’s word to honor them…ouch…sorry if I stepped on your toes!)  Many will think kind thoughts or say a prayer of thanksgiving but will not actually take the time or energy to “overwhelm them with love & appreciation”.   Unfortunately this seems to be the case at most churches across the country, a lack of love and appreciation for those in the ministry.  More often we are quicker with our criticism and complaints than we are with our love & appreciation.  And sadly we often wait until someone is gone before we share our words of  thankfulness and love.

My hope & prayer is that everyone reading this blog will take the time to share their appreciation & love in an overwhelming way to their current pastor as well as previous pastors or leaders of ministries that have served them.  And not just the “perfect pastors” or the ones you particularly liked or “clicked with”  or always agreed with, but each one who has led or served you in ministry. They have all helped in different ways to move you closer to the Lord. Overwhelm them today!

2 Comments

Filed under Attitude, Life Lessons, My "take"

Longing for My Home

Well I have been home from my annual beach holiday for over a week now and I can’t stop wishing I was still there!  It doesn’t help that every time we pulled up into our driveway last week, my 2-year-old boy would yell out – “Not this house Mama…our beach house!”  I feel your pain lil’ guy!

Now don’t get me wrong I love my home.  I really do.  It is cozy & comfortable. I specifically love:

  • the big (by California standards) back yard
  • the 15 foot wide sliding glass door that lets in so much light
  • the location of the dining area that allows us to add extra tables and seat 16-18 people together for a meal
  • our remodeled (thanks to State Farm “being there” for us) kitchen
  • our extended family/school/office room (that has a very special place in my heart as it was expanded through the efforts of many friends & family giving of their time, talent & treasure, every time I walk in that room I feel loved & cherished)  

I love the location of our home right in the middle of town close to everything and I love Stockton (yes, that is right I do love this city….if you missed that post you can read it here) Not too mention, we have a lifetime of precious memories, hundreds of treasured friends and a school ministry here that bring us all great joy. I really do love my home and where I live!

And yet….I long to be at the beach!

The beach is amazing, miraculous & wonderous! 

The beach sunsets are divine!

The beach house is spectacular!

 My bed where I get to fall asleep listening to the ocean waves, watch the sun rise over Monterey Bay, sleep in whenever I wish and at times even stay in bed on a rainy day

 The beautiful view from my bed

 the view from the living room..it is almost like you are on the shore

 the porch where I enjoy my morning coffee, many a lunch and watch the sunsets each evening

 even cleaning the kitchen is a joy when you can look out at the ocean while you are doing it!

I love everything about being at the beach – the rhythm and roar of the ocean waves, the smell of the salt air, the soft sand between my toes,  the vast expanse of blue skies during the day & brilliant stars at night, Capitola Village, the Boardwalk, Bloomsbury Tea House, the many fine resteraunts especially The Crows Nest & Bittersweet Bistro and the salt water taffy.  I love it all!  But even more than the actual location.  I love who I am and what I do when I am at the beach for what I affectionately call my…”Beach Holiday” (for the past 8 years I have been able to have an extensive amount of time at a beach house rental on the California coast….and lest anyone think that we are wealthy or own a beach house let me share that this “holiday” rental has been 100% financed through my home based scrapbooking venture)

For a month I am away from it all….the daily grind of appointments, car pools, athletic events, school activities, classes, work, phone calls, messages, junk mail and more. I even take time away from making dinner (although I do cook for pleasure at the beach) and doing chores.  I rarely get in the car and some days I stay in my jammies all day long. There is no schedule, no agenda and no pressure.  It is my personal “heaven on earth”.

  • I take long walks on the seashore most every day

  • I whisper my love to my children & soak in their physical presence

  • I play games – Hearts, Mexican Train Dominos and Nerts (and I win! Had to say that girls)

  • I pray and worship the Lord
  • I enjoy relaxing with a cup of tea while reading for pleasure

  • I drink in the nightly sunsets and marvel at God’s glory

  • I hang out on the beach…digging holes, making sand castles, laying in the sun, playing ball with my kids

  • I watch good movies, read interesting articles on the computer, check out magazines and I scrapbook
  • I dance and sing loudly and act silly with my kids!

  • I savor my coffee and enjoy fabulous foods. I eat lots of ice cream!

  • I take bubble baths, get foot massages and put on facial treatments
  • I write love letters to my darling husband and count the days down until he arrives for our romantic weekends together

  • I stay up as late as I want, sleep in & take naps
  • I celebrate! Valentines Day, Birthdays & the anniversary of our engagement

  • I nurture relationships with family & friends
  • I reflect, think, dream & write
  • I stop doing and just “be”. I breathe. I relax. I enjoy.

Even as I write this blog entry and look over the hundreds of photos, that barely capture the essence of this beach holiday, I begin to wish I was back there. I feel such a longing in my heart to return to my personal paradise.

This weekend as I was running into friends that I have not seen in a month they each asked me how the beach had been and several wondered if I was glad to be back home.  I thought about that question and answered honestly that while I love being home….life here cannot compare to the beach holiday . As I spoke those words that still small voice of the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear…”That, Beth,  is how you should feel about heaven”. 

Wow!  What a revelation to me. I have always said that when it is my time to go, I am ready to meet the Lord and spend eternity in heaven, but I have never really longed for it. (ok maybe on some particularly hard days of sickness, troubles or excessive financial stress I have longed for it but not regularly) I have been quite content with my life here on earth. It is a good life and I do love it. If I am completely honest I thought of heaven as simply a “bonus” after living & loving here on earth. I believed that it would be awesome and wonderful but I didn’t long for it, hope for it and look forward to it the way I do with the Beach Holiday. Until now…

If God can make a creation like the one we live in that is “fallen” and scarred by sin…how much more will heaven be amazing, miraculous, beautiful,wonderous, spectacular & divine. 

  •  The beach I love so dearly will have nothing on the new heaven & new earth that God has prepared for us (“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not even entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him” 1 Corinthians 2:9)
  • The multi million dollar beach home that is so much more spacious & luxurious than anything I may ever live in is nothing compared to the mansions that God has awaiting us.  (“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John14:2 )
  • The glorious, fulfilling, joyful and fun season I have at the beach each year will not light a candle to what I can look forward to forever in eternity.  (“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 64:11)
  • The rest, peace and freedom from stress I experience is just a small minute fraction of the true everlasting rest and peace I get to look forward to with the Lord.   (“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” John 14:27)
  • And if you read the description of heaven in the Bible besides the promise of no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying and no more pain, it describes precious stones, pearls, cities of pure transparent gold, pure water clear as crystal, a tree of life that bears a different fruit each month and a banquet table to feast upon….and that is just the beginning.

Now that is exciting to me. That is something to look forward to and long for!

Longing for my beach holiday each year does not mean that I do not enjoy my life here with all its relationships, good times and memorable moments because I do live life to its fullest the 11 months that I am not at the beach.  However, throughout the year I do think about it, look ahead for it, get excited about it, tell others about it and get ready for it which all bring me happiness as well. Longing for heaven should be the same.

 And the greatest thing about heaven is not only will it be my “forever” Beach Holiday it will also be my home! 

If you are unsure that you have this amazing, beautiful, miraculous, wonderous, spectacuular and divine eternal life to look forward to I would love to share with you my hope of salvation through Jesus Christ.

9 Comments

Filed under Attitude, Faith, Inspiration, Life Lessons

Living life at both ends of the spectrum

As I type this I am watching a pretty wild and rambunctious pillow fight taking place on my bed.  The toddler and the six year old are going at it with gusto, as I protect the baby girl from their flailing arms. The computer is bouncing up and down, I just got a foot in my face and I am about to ban them from my bedroom…

….but I stop myself because this morning I have a fresh awareness that these moments are fleeting and will all too soon give way to the solitude that comes with grown up children and an “empty nest”.  I decide to stop wishing for some peace and quiet and just take it all in.  Perhaps I have an advantage that other moms with hyped up, super energetic young ones don’t have – after all how many mothers of wee ones just drove their eldest child to the airport to wave goodbye as she went off to her second year of college?  How many have a baby wrapping her fingers tightly around their thumb while not wanting to let go of the hand of  their  adult child? How many mommy’s are living both ends of the spectrum at once? Yes, that is one of the advantages of having children over a span of two decades…perspective.

ml baby

I know many of my friends are at the tail end of their parenting years. They have two or perhaps three children all close in age who one by one are headed out the door leaving an emptiness, strange quietness and hole in their hearts along with the question…”Where did the time go?”  They long to go back in time to the days when their children were young and all under their roof.

I also have several friends with many little ones clinging to their knees who would love a moment of peace and quiet or would pay big money just to have time alone.  They think that this season will never end where they often cannnot even get in a shower, rarely hold an adult conversation and are always exhausted from the never ending job of being a Mom.

What I want to say to those about to have a completely empty nest – embrace this new season of life.  Be the best parent to your adult children that you can be.  Spend time praying for them.  Finish that scrapbook you started when they were babies (or that you thought about starting).  Be encouraging & uplifting – supporting their decisions and giving wisdom and advice when you are asked (they likely won’t listen to you anyway if you give it before they ask). Use your new free time to make a positive difference in the world and impact those around you.  Remember all those things you wished you could do when the kids were little?  Do them! (hmmm or here is an option – you could always adopt a child and begin again!)

And to those stressed out, overworked, about to go crazy mommy’s of little ones, I want to say –  Don’t wish it away.  Enjoy this season.  Relax. Let things go and don’t be so uptight.  So what if your house is a mess, you have days where you never get dressed, your to do list never gets completely done, your children are not perfectly “coiffed” or you just can’t seem to keep it all together.  It is ok. Make memories with your children. Love them and enjoy them at every stage –

  • Snuggle that newborn in your neck, rock them to sleep, smell their amazing aroma, stare in wonder at their fingers & toes
  • Watch your infant sleep peacefully – breathe in & out in their rythm, tickle their tummies and take in that unbridled laughter, spend hours looking into their pure eyes and trying to make them smile
  • Play with your toddler, get on the floor and crawl around in the dirt with them, explore with them all the things that catch their attention
  • Laugh at the temper tantrums, sing “Fits are the pits”, “I’m allergic to griping” or some other song when inappropriate behavior pops up (discipline can be fun too…for you anyway – I could actually put on make up or eat a cookie with my coffee during time outs!)
  • fits
  • Read with your children – even if it is the same book over & over. Teach them to read. Tell them stories. Lay in bed with them & let them come in bed with you
  • Let them have pillow fights, horse play and jump on the bed . Squirt whip cream right into their mouths, be spontaneous and fun – it is ok….no it is great to let them run in the rain, get muddy,  jump in puddles, climb trees, go swimming in the winter, skip school for a day, eat pie for breakfast. (my list goes on & on – as long as it is legal & moral)
  • rain
  • Blow bubbles with them, swing together, have tea parties, play games, turn up the music loud & sing together, dance with them , laugh with them and cry with them.
  • Go to their games, school events, productions, activities and concerts.  Cheer wildly. Take pictures.
  • Let your teenagers sleep in, be respectfully opinionated and even occasionally roll their eyes (in fact have an eye rolling competition! I win every time!) Walk away and do not engage when they are “having one of those days”.
  • Open your home and heart to their friends, take an interest in their passions and pursuits.
  • Kiss them good morning, good bye & goodnight. Be generous with your affection and tell them you love them at every opportunity
  • kiss

Whatever season of parenting you are in – make the most of every moment, celebrate everything and enjoy the precious gifts of life you have been blessed with – your children.

7 Comments

Filed under Attitude, Blessings, Life Lessons, Parenting

Dedications, Commitments & Forever Church Families

This past Sunday was a very special day.

DSC_7440

 We dedicated our dear Christiana to the Lord during the Sunday morning service at our church. As our entire family stood along with our pastor and his wife before our church family and dedicated this newest blessing back to the God who gave her to us I was overcome with emotion on many levels.

DSC_8561

 I was filled with joy that God has chosen to bless us with this precious life.

DSC_8564

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was filled with love for Christiana, my amazing husband, my beautiful children, my extended family, my pastors and my church family.

DSC_8544

 I was filled with peace knowing that this child belongs to the Lord and that He is in control of her life.

DSC_8569

 I was filled with hope, awe & wonder at the knowledge that God has a very special and unique plan for her life and that she will certainly be called by God to do great & mighty things for His kingdom.

DSC_8530

 As I stood there and looked out on the congregation, it hit me that 20 years ago in 1989 we had brought our first born daughter, Michelle to that very same altar, at that very same church and dedicated her to the Lord. Over the past two decades, everyone of our eight children has been dedicated to the Lord at this same altar.

dedication

 It also hit me that this is a rarity in our modern day mobile society where for one reason or another folks seem to switch churches every few years.

 I officially joined this church 26 years ago as a single young college student who after spending the summer as their youth intern decided that I wanted to become a part of this church family. My now husband, Dan became an official member after he decided to commit to being a part of the volunteer youth staff almost 25 years ago.

 One of the benefits of staying put over all these years is that many of our important spiritual milestones have taken place within those church walls and with our church family.

  •  Dan proposed to me at the altar at the conclusion of our youth service on March 18, 1986 (and I said yes!)
  • We were given counseling and married by the staff of this church and held our wedding reception in that very same sanctuary.
  • We served on staff as youth pastors of our church for four years.
  • Besides all of our children being dedicated to the Lord at that altar – one was saved during a children’s puppet crusade there (all the others prayed to receive Christ at home other than one who happened to be at a local gas station), three have been baptized in water at the church, four have been crowned an honor star through the outstanding girls ministry of Missionettes and two have held their Rite of Passage ceremony in the chapel.
  • We have sat in the same section in the front left hand side faithfully every Sunday and worshipped together, prayed together, given offerings together, been convicted, inspired, amused and yes even sometimes put to sleep, by the messages, gone to the altar for prayer and ministered to others all in that sanctuary.
  • We have taught Sunday School, worked in the nursery, volunteered in children’s ministry, attended special events, rejoiced along with dozens of young couples as they were wed, watched multitudes of baby dedications, baptisms and celebrated the lives of precious saints who went home to be with the Lord…all in that very same building.

 Now perhaps you might be thinking, that we found the perfect church since we have stayed and remained faithful all these years.   The messages must always be compelling, funny and interesting. The programs must be comprehensive and state of the art with something for everyone from infants to senior citizens. The music must be perfect and pleasing to everyone. The pastor and staff must be kind, compassionate, forgiving, wise, moral, charismatic, friendly, organized, effective communicators, dynamic leaders, ready to drop everything when you need them and willing to go the extra mile. The people there must be wonderful, supporting, encouraging, loving, serving one another – never gossiping, backbiting, complaining, grumbling  or…..

 …..oh wait – are you laughing yet?

 No, my home church is just like every church I know – full of imperfections, flaws, problems and frustrations.

 We have had some very amazing and awesome times at our church and we have had some very troubling and terrible times as well.  There has even been the “in between” rather dull and boring years with not much happening at all. We have seen hundreds if not thousands of lives dramatically impacted and we have seen people hurt and become bitter and angry.  We have gone through three pastors, five children’s pastors, six worship leaders and seven youth pastors. We have experienced an abundance of resources as well as times where we did not know if we would be able to turn on the lights the next Sunday.  We have had seasons of favor in the community and years marked with scandal.  We have seen people come and people go (and even come back again several times)  We have seen them trickle out because they were unhappy with this or that or because they were searching for better preaching or programs and we have seen them leave in droves because of some controversy, offense, disagreement or because of the latest and greatest new church starting up across town.

 And yet through it all….we have stayed.

 Why??? I am glad you asked.

We have stayed because we see commitment to our local church family the same way we see our commitment to our marriage and family.  We have made the commitment for the “long haul” – in good times and bad, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health and hopefully until death do us part.

Now of course their could be legitimate reasons to leave a church – like moving miles away, being called to minister to another congregation, if the church was to start heretical preaching (I’ll call this church adultery since they are forsaking the true Jesus – I might not leave for this but rather stay and fight but I do understand those that do leave for heresy)  or if their is abuse going on from leadership (one of the reasons I have chosen to stay in a church denomination that has a governing body over the local church that can intervene when leadership goes awry – non denominational churches lack such accountability) – but unfortunately the vast majority of people who leave a church do so, not for the reasons stated above, but because they:

  • are unhappy, frustrated or bored with the services, teaching or music
  • are not “getting fed” (ie – want the preaching to be dynamic, motivating and challenging)
  • want a better nursery, children’s or youth services, Sunday school or other program they deem vital
  • are angry at some church decision, the leadership or policies
  • things are not new & exciting enough
  • someone has ticked them off, offended, hurt or sinned against them

Now, I don’t know about you but I would not leave my marriage or trade in my family for any of those reasons.  Yes, there are times I am unhappy, bored, angry, hurt, frustrated and not very content with both my marriage and my family. Yes, there are times I want change or feel the need to have something new & exciting but that does not cause me to run off with a new guy or leave my children. And of course on occasion I long for a bigger house equipped with the all the” bells & whistles” and yet that is not what makes a house a home it is my family and our years of memories together that are the most important.

Since the Bible compares Christ and His commitment and love for His church to marriage and how it should operate – I think that we should all more seriously consider our commitment to the church as well.

Maybe it is time to stop church hopping. Maybe it’s time to make a commitment to a body of believers and stick with it.  Maybe it’s time to:

  • pray during service if your unhappy or frustrated (or look for someone to minister to)
  • feed yourself! (one of my biggest pet peeves is when adult Christians say “ I am not getting fed”. Really? Grow up & feed yourself)
  • volunteer to make your church programs better or realize that perfect programs are really not that vital compared to what you are teaching your children about commitment & faithfulness by sticking it out through the good, bad & the ugly
  • graciously and humbly communicate with your church leadership when you are concerned or have problems and at the same time let them know that you will not leave if things don’t change or go your way
  • trust God that He is using the leadership of your church in your life for good even if they make wrong decisions or policies
  • forgive those church members who sin against you (definition of forgiveness here – throw it in the sea of forgetfulness and remember it no more – you know – like what Jesus has promised to do for you…whew!)
  • remember that “new & exciting” is fun while it lasts….but it always, always, always ends up being old & routine. (so start seeing that as solid, secure, consistent and faithful)
  • “get over it” and realize that there is no perfect church – expect that you will at times be unhappy, frustrated, hurt and offended and enjoy the other times when you are thrilled, excited, amazed, touched, loved and blessed. Just like it is at home. 🙂

I believe that we have been blessed beyond measure by making such a unshakable commitment to our local church.  I also believe that the Lord is pleased that we have chosen faithfulness, commitment, forgiveness, long suffering and love over taking the easy way and “jumping ship” when we were unhappy, offended or discontent.

My one regret is that there are only a handful of others in our church who also chose to have that same type of commitment.  Oh how I would have loved to look out at that congregation on Sunday and seen the hundreds of church family members who were there when I became a member in September of 1983, who celebrated with us as we were married in 1986, who were there to commit to helping us raise our children up in the Lord as we brought each one of them to the altar and who played with them in the nursery, taught their Sunday School classes and led their Missionette clubs . Instead most of those folks are scattered throughout churches in our county, yes serving the Lord and yes still part of the greater body of Christ and while we have done our best to stay connected it is just not the same. We have all missed out on the joy, love and blessings of being an intimate “forever church family” while here on earth.

I hope and pray that my children as they grow up and settle down wherever the Lord leads them that they will find a church family that they will commit to and that they will be blessed to have members with that same commitment.  Does that exist anymore? I believe it can if we each just start today with our own decision to commit to our church family…..forever.

7 Comments

Filed under Adoption, Attitude, Blessings, Consistency, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, My "take"

My “dream” bathroom

Just home from our annual camping trip in Lake Tahoe and thought the timing was perfect to publish a previously written post  as it applies as much today as it did two years ago when I wrote it.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

You see, the “master” bathroom in our 50+ year old home is not usually my favorite place to be.  While I dream of having a large beautiful bathroom complete with a jacuzzi tub, a huge waterfall type shower with a place to sit down to shave, “his & her” sinks and a self enclosed tiolet (so I can still get to my stuff when dear darling hubby has taken the sports page into his favorite reading place)….what I actually have in reality is:

  • a teeny tiny bathroom (I can touch all four walls when I stand in the middle of the room!)
  • with a door that hits my knees when the 4 year old barges in to ask Mommy something vitally important
  •  what I call an “ugly gas station” sink (with a hole the size of my fist in the porcelin)
  • and then a shower that if you bend down and attempt to wash your feet you bang both your head and your tail end on the tile wall. 
  • To top it off it was built with poor ventilation resulting in a regular battle against mold and the water damage beneath the linoleum is so scary that I joke with my girls that someday they will awake in the morning to find that Mommy has fallen thru the floor of the shower and is screaming as she fights off all the vermin that live below our foundation. 🙂

Yet even with all its complexities and problems, when I returned home last night covered with layers & layers of “magnetic Camp Richardson dirt” 207(if you have ever camped in South Lake Tahoe…you know exactly what I am talking about if not – see photo to the left of Daniel’s dirty face while camping this past week!), my bathroom turned into the most desired room in our house!  As we unpacked the car, began the mountain of laundry, cleaned all the camping gear, restocked & put it away for the next adventure all I could think about was getting into that bathroom.  It became the center of my focus and I wasn’t thinking about all its flaws…I was only thinking that it was my bathroom(complete with my germs & mold…which somehow seem cleaner than in public bathrooms).  I looked forward with joy to getting into that small shower and just standing there letting the steaming hot water pour over my entire body.  I relished the thought of every part of my bathroom experience!  It became my oasis!

What changed?  Not my bathroom….it was exactly the same as it has always been.  No, what changed was me and my perspective!  Isn’t it amazing how if we simply adjust our perspective and choose to change the way we see things we can go from disgruntled and unhappy with something….to satisfied, content and even possibly excited about it? 

Perhaps you are not particularly thrilled with a piece of your life right now.  What can you do to change your perspective?  How can you begin to look at the situation, circumstance or person through a different lens?

If you are unhappy in a relationship with a family member, spouse, child or friend….how can you begin to look at that person in a new way?  Can you overlook their faults and flaws and choose to concentrate on and look at the good things they add to your life?

If you are a stressed out Mommy of many little ones and feeling overwhelmed & exhausted….what can you do to look at this short time of your life and savor the moments instead of wishing them away? (they will be gone sooner than you want!) Can you forget the “to do list” or the desire for perfection and just play with and enjoy your children in the midst of all the undone things?

If you are struggling with the work load at home or in the office (even if your office is just steps from your kitchen!)….what can you do to change your perspective? Can you appreciate the fact that you have a home that requires lots of hard work and that you have a job that pays the bills…think of what life would be like without your home or work. Can you begin to “whistle while you work” or remember Mary Poppins advice..”In every job that must be done there is an element of fun”?

If everything you own seems to be old, falling apart, breaking down or in need of major repair….can you begin to look at your many blessings (even if they are “tattered & torn”) through the eyes of those who have nothing? (if that’s hard for you…perhaps a missions trip to the slums of Mexico may help you..it certainly has worked for us!)

If you are heavy laden & burdened by financial strain….can you take one day at a time and trust that the God who feeds the creatures of the earth & dresses the flowers in the fields will certainly provide for your needs? Can you choose to be content in all circumstances?

If you are facing major health issues or other overwhelming circumstances in your life that are causing you to be sad, scared or depressed….can you think on the positive purpose these things will perhaps potentially add to your life.  Can you focus on the little joys in life (like the laughter of a new baby, smell of a fresh pot of coffee brewing, beauty in a flower, hug from a dear friend, a breathtaking sunset, clean smelling bed sheets…the list goes on & on) even when it is compromised by crisis?

Changing your perspective will not necessarily change the “facts” of your life!   Many of us will still have problems in our relationships, stresses in our lives, overwhelming circumstances and things we wish would change even if we choose to look at them differently. I still have a tiny, moldy, flawed bathroom….yet today I see it differently and I am a happier, more contented person because of it. 

Changing your perspective will change you!

3 Comments

Filed under Attitude, Monday Motivations

No regrets….really??

Lately I have been coming in contact with more and more people who seem to have a common philosophy on life – the general theme is that they have “no regrets”  in life about anything.  It often seems to come across with a bit of pomp and arrogance that says even though they have not lived a “perfect”  life  or that they have made some mistakes, none of it matters as long as they see it as an “experience”. They also follow it up with abundant clarity that no one better even suggest that they think any differently.

Another common characteristic I have found in many with this philosophy, is that they are typically in the younger “under 30”  (which is quickly becoming the new “under 40”) crowd. Perhaps they just have not yet had enough life experience to realize that it is ok and actually even helpful  to regret something you did or didn’t do in life, even if it, in the end, worked out or caused you to grow or gave you an unexpected blessing. Or perhaps it has nothing to do with age, wisdom or experience.

Many of these “no regreters” rely on and relish in quotes like these from authors and celebrities who have made more than there fair share of detrimental mistakes.

“Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.”
 
“I have no regrets in my life. I think that everything happens to you for a reason. The hard times that you go through build character, making you a much stronger person.”
 
“I never regret anything. Because every little detail of your life is what made you into who you are in the end.” 
 
Now don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate seeing life’s struggles, problems and even mistakes as working out for good and even helping you to grow, mature and become a better person. I can also understand not wallowing in your past mistakes. I can even embrace a “no regrets” philosophy if it has its roots in taking worthwhile risks and living life outside of the norm or when looking to the future and saying – “I want to live a life of no regret”.

But really…no regrets about the past?? ever?? 

 I certainly have regrets – some of which I will share here –

  • I regret the relationship I had with a boy for three years during high school… for a myriad of reasons.
  • I regret that I didn’t apply myself to learning more while I was in college.  I wasted my time and my parents money by not being more diligent
  • I regret that I did not live more frugally and be wiser with my money.
  • I regret that I went back to work after the birth of my first child. I cannot get that time back no matter what.
  • I deeply regret that I did not do something more pro active to help a dear former student who ended up taking her life. 
  • I regret allowing myself to gain weight after each child was born. Losing 1o lbs would have been much easier than losing 50lbs.
  • I regret losing control and screaming at my kids.
  • I regret things that I have said flippantly that have hurt others.
  • I regret the times I have not walked in integrity – by embellishing reality or omitting details or using words to mask the complete truth

Those are just a few of regrets I have in my life and even though yes, each of them has helped mold and make me into the person I am today – it is actually because I have regretted them that they have impacted me, impacted those around me and made a positive difference in who I am today.  If I had not regretted them – then why would I need to change or grow?  Why not just keep on making the same mistakes or even greater ones and chalking it up to – simple life experience – because good or bad it will be part of who I become?

The regret over things done or not done, mistakes made, sins committed should be what changes us and makes us into a better person!  

Besides that, there simply are things in life everyone should regret  –

  • like hurting other people through your words or actions,
  • like stealing, cheating or lieing,
  • like being responsible for the injury or death of another life,
  • like neglecting, abusing or abandoning your children,
  • like being unfaithful to your marriage vows,
  • or how about not making time for your loved ones  (unfortunatly this regret often comes after they are taken from you)

– to name just a few things that one should have regret about.

Isn’t having a life philosophy of  “no regrets”  really just a mask for saying that there is nothing you do that is right or wrong? No absolute truth? You have no personal responsibility for your actions? It is all just about how you decide to see life? You can do anything and the consequences will all work out in the end?

I think a better life philosophy would be – redeeming my regrets!

That we should all take a long hard look at our regrets in life and look for ways to redeem those things.  Perhaps we should redeem our regrets by  –

  • helping others avoid doing the same thing by being transparent and honest about the true damage we have caused through or action or inaction. 
  • or we could go back and fix things through apologies, restitution’s and repairs (although unfortunately some things just can’t be fixed).  
  • why not use the pain of past regrets to catapult us into a present course of action that we will be pleased and proud of and that will give us a future of satisfaction and fulfillment of a life well lived.

Redeeming your regrets….now there is a life philosophy I can get behind!

10 Comments

Filed under Attitude, Life Lessons, My "take"

The day after

It’s the day after.

Today could have been so very different for us all.  Instead of waking up this morning with the good news warming our hearts of the “Miracle on the Hudson” – the incredible crash landing of a US Air commercial plane into the Hudson River in New York – in which everyone survived, we could have been watching horrific videos and looking at photos of a fatal air crash.  We could, today have been grieving along with the thousands of friends and family members who had lost loved ones instead of rejoicing as we watched the joyous reunions and grateful passengers who were saved from an untimely death.  Instead of having a new national hero in “Sully” the US Air pilot as well as the New York  Ferry workers and first responders to admire, appreciate and be in awe & amazement of , we could have had to listen to commentators and experts talk about what went wrong and how the pilot could have possibly avoided a disaster.

hudson_467622a

Yes truly….today could have been a much different day. 

As I enjoyed the heartwarming stories, positive reports, words of gratitude to God and heartfelt appreciation that overflowed on the Internet and in the news media today, my thoughts turned towards those 155 people who for a moment yesterday thought that this just might be their last day on this earth.  I wondered if today they had a new outlook on life?  If they felt like they had been given extra time here for a reason? If their lives from this moment on would change?  If they would begin to seize the day?

Yes, I am sure that they will hug their loved ones a little tighter and hold them a bit closer in the upcoming weeks. But will their daily lives change?  Will they begin to actually do those things that they have always wanted to do or pursue their passions with new fervor?  Will they begin to look for their purpose in life – using their unique God given gifts to do great things? Will they begin to see their life from this point on as a gift from God, a bonus round or exciting tie breaking overtime?  Having come so obviously close to death and been spared will they have a new drive to fulfillthier greatest dreams?

Then I thought about my life? 

  • Am I living my life on purpose, using my God given gifts to do great things? Yes, I believe I am.  Are you living your life “on purpose” or just wandering through this life without direction? Are you using your unique gifts and talents to do great things?
  • As far as my seeing each day as a gift from God, bonus round or overtime?  No, I don’t think I really do.  And yet I should. I have actually been in a “crash landing” of a twin engine 3 passenger Cessna airplane in 1981 – so the past 27 years have been a “bonus” and yet I have not lived them all like that. (I’ll dig up a photo I have of me standing in front of that plane on that fateful day and post it here tomorrow)  Perhaps you’ve been spared from cancer, or survived a car accident or lived through a natural disaster and have been given a “bonus round” or second chance at life.  But even if we haven’t had a life or death experience we should never take for granted our life or assume we are “owed” 75 years here on this earth. Each day is a gift.
  • Am I working towards fulfilling my greatest dreams –  well, yes…but lately I have been “stalled”.  As a believer in setting goals & having dreams I have always written out my dreams and in recent years, since I began my Creative Memories career, I transferred that list into a dream album.  My thoughts today on this “Miracle on the Hudson” and the 155 people whose lives were spared caused me to get that dream album off the shelf and do some evaluating as to where I am at in pursuing and fulfilling those dreams.  While I can tell you I have accomplished quite a few, yet there are still dozens left to accomplish….and for some…time is running out. What about you?  Do you have your dreams and goals written down and are you working regularly to accomplish these things?

So with a renewed vision, fresh perspective and energized drive, I will be getting up in the morning and living my life with purpose while working to pursue my dreams and enjoy the day as my gift from God!

4 Comments

Filed under Attitude, Goals & Dreams, Inspiration, Life Lessons

My foggy day

Sometimes the weather just fits the day.

dscn64651

Living in the valley, we get a few too many winter mornings like these where we are “socked in” with pea soup fog. On a rare day, I do enjoy the white blanket that covers the entire area but  the majority of the winter I look for ways to find the sun by heading to the foothills or the beach.

Today however the fog fit the occasion as it hung over the valley on our way to the airport to take Michelle back to college for her second semester. A fog was hanging over my heart as I realized that our three weeks together as a family were coming to an end.  Mist welled up in our eyes as we said our goodbyes.

dscn6484

As I looked out the window at the encroaching fog I thought that with all the things I dislike about our winter fog, it does have some lessons that I could apply to my life.  dscn6479 

  • Fog forces you to concentrate on what is directly in front of you…since you can’t see much else. Sometimes I get so distracted by the future that it hinders me from doing what I need to do today.
  • Fog slows you down.  Not only does the fog seriously slow down the driving speed of even the most risky drivers it seems to slow down all activity.  I for one need to on occasion seriously slow down.
  • Fog creates a quiet over everything.  We all live with constant noise – how can we ever hear that still small voice of the Lord trying to whisper in our hearts.  I could use more quiet times in my life.
  • Fog brings a cold dampness and mist that turns our brown and yellow land bright green for a short season.  A reminder that the tears of sadness often provide fertile soil in our hearts for beautiful green growth.

I will embrace the fog of life and see it has an opportunity to slow down, concentrate on today, seek quiet moments as well as allowing the melancholy moments of life to bring growth.

Yes, today the fog fit the occasion and it as it burned off later it was a welcome reminder that behind the melancholy fog is the joy and bright outlook of sunshine. In fact the sunshine seems even brighter after the fog.

6 Comments

Filed under Attitude, Blessings, Life Lessons

The Irony of Life

It’s the first Monday of January and from what I can surmise from the facebook statuses I have been looking over – many mothers are rejoicing that their children are back in school today after a two week break for the Christmas holiday.  The comments are filled with smiley faces and interjections like – yay! yippee! whew! hallelujah!

Oh….the irony of life.

Just minutes after reading some of those statuses, up popped a new comment from a mom lamenting the fact that her two college age kids were heading back to school today.  Later, I noticed several more unhappy faces and sad comments from others about helping kids pack to go back to school, driving to airports and saying goodbye.

Perhaps these comments struck me as funny as I just seem to be at every stage of life all at the same time – with my eldest headed back to college in NYC, two high schoolers who are back to the daily grind this morning and several more home with me easing back into the homeschool routine (very slowly) and an up and coming toddler running all over the house with energy galore! I can completely relate to the melancholiness of having children return for another semester in college. And while I am not at all excited about my kids going back to school today (or my dear darling husband!) – I can see how one might be looking forward to an empty house and time completely to oneself. And for those of you with just pre-schoolers, I know the dichotomy of complete overwhelming exhaustion and joyfulness this age brings us.

Being the analytical and introspective person that I often am, it has all made me stop and think.  What is it about human nature that we are never quite content with where we are and what we have right at the moment? When we have wee ones at home – we can’t wait for them to grow up and go to Kindergarten. (ahhhh….the end to the exhausting 24/7 job)  We look forward with glee to summer vacation only to wish it away in the last few weeks.  We are thrilled to see our kids leave for school after Christmas break only to, on the same occasion a few years later, be saddened to see them head back to school for college.  And though I am not anywhere close to being an empty nester – my guess is that many would trade all their free time & complete independence for more time with children & grandchildren any day!

So today I will choose to be content with what I have right now. 

  • Content that my college girl is soon off to New York and that we will stay connected through email, facebook and cell phones.
  • Content that my high schoolers are back at school learning, growing, playing and enjoying this fun season of life
  • Content that my husband will once again dissapear into  – doing lesson plans, grading papers, counseling young people and loving his life as high school teacher & chaplain
  • Content that I have three children here at home to teach and train
  • Content that I have a wee one to chase and change… catch and cuddle!
  • And yes, even content that my vacation is over too, as I start back to work  from home today at two jobs to make ends meet!

How are you doing at being content today?

“for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am”  Phillipians 4:11

3 Comments

Filed under Attitude, Blessings, Motherhood, My "take"

What was I thinking?

UPDATE:  Today is Amy’s 20th birthday! I wrote this blog post four years ago when she turned 16. As I awoke early this morning just as I did 20 years ago I thought, as I always do on this day, of all the amazing details of her birth and decided to repost this article. Enjoy!

My second daughter – Amy Girl – is turning sweet sixteen today.  I remember the day of her birth vividly.  In fact, of all my seven deliveries (2 c-sections & 5 vbacs)….Amy’s was one of the easiest.

But as I remember the events surrounding her birth I have to laugh at myself. I have certainly mellowed out a bit in my “old age” because when I look back to my decisions as a 30 year old “driven”, type A , intense young woman, I often find myself saying….What was I thinking?

After a 24+ hour pitocin induced, mind numbing, horrific labor that ended in a c-section, three years prior with my #1 child, Michelle….I had no idea what to expect with #2.  Well it was “textbook”.  I woke up at 6am with contractions about 20 minutes apart.  Since I wanted to be off work with this baby as long as possible, I did not want to stay home from my half day teaching position in case this was a false alarm….so I took a shower and went to work.

What was I thinking?  Going to work in labor….pleeeeease!  

The contractions got closer & closer with each class period – going from twenty, to fifteen, to ten and then to five minutes apart.  I had my students time them on the white board and just went about my day lecturing on leadership, helping students with yearbook & journalism deadlines and planning student activities with the student council.  By noon with just a few minutes left in my teaching day, word had gotten down to my principal that I was having contractions. He called down to my room and ordered me to the hospital.

What was I thinking? Having contractions five minutes apart…stopping to time them and having students record them. Oh my!  What if my water would have broken in class?  Now that would have been a memory not too soon forgotten and filed under the most embarrassing moments category.

On the way to the hospital my water did break and the contractions took on a new intensity.  By 1pm we were in the delivery room and dear sweet baby Amy was born after just a couple of pushes at 3:24pm…a few minutes after school ended for the day.  Before I knew it, I was surrounded by students coming in to welcome the newest Lambdin baby into the world.

What was I thinking having nine teenagers in my room just hours after giving birth?  Oh wait – I’m still doing that – it’s just that most of those teens are my own. 🙂

48 hours later I was at home cooking and serving a four course dinner to my husbands entire Varsity Volleyball team the night before their championship game of the season.

What was I thinking?  This still makes me wonder if I had lost my sanity?  I mean really!  I should have been kicking back on the couch being served dinner by someone else…but this special night was on the calendar and the doctor had recently informed me that I would not be delivering for two more weeks (shows you what doctors know)….so when Amy arrived a couple days prior to the volleyball dinner,  I just decided to carry on with our plans. (You see girls – if it is on the calendar – it does happen!)

During the next few weeks, I attended several volleyball games, chaperoned student activities, met with the yearbook staff and even was the speaker at a leadership retreat…all with baby in tow.

What was I thinking?

I guess I was thinking that life just goes on.  You just do what you have to do!  And I suppose that even though the years, my life experiences and my many children have mellowed me in many ways, I still strive to live my life with a paradigm of  –“Why not?”  and “Yes…I can!” – when faced with doing things that might seem crazy, out of the ordinary or overwhelming.  And I always want to hear myself saying – “Sure, I’d love to!”  – when asked to help someone in need despite my own personal problems, “to do list” or excuses that may be miles long.

We could probably all use a bit more  –

  • Why not?
  • Yes…I can!

and

  • Sure I’d love to!

in our lives.  So, in honor of Amy Girls birthday, I will stay up far too late preparing for her special day, get up at crack of dawn to take her to bagels with the sisters in our PJ’s, go to the high school and bring cupcakes & ballooons to her (and embarrass her fully by singing – “You’re 16” to her during a class) and then cook her a “made to order” dinner…… despite having several pending deadlines for my work, participating in an important dedication service for my friends baby and trying to pack and plan for an out of town trip to NYC later this week! Why not? Yes…I can! Sure, I’d love to!

And today….Happy 20th Birthday Amy-girl! May you always live your life with this same paradigm:

Why not?

Yes…I can!

Sure, I’d love to!

3 Comments

Filed under Attitude, My "take"

How to survive an economic crisis – part 2

Ok….so I have to do a follow up to my blog earlier this week – with several suggestions on ways to cut back to survive the looming economic crisis. (which by the way if you haven’t been following the comments – there are some great additional suggestions posted  – read them here)

While all these cost cutting measures may be effective – you could still find yourself stressed out by financial concerns and worries as well as having those months, seasons or even years where the ends simply don’t meet. Despite our “bare bones” living, we still have many times where the money runs out before the month does.  We have also experienced things seemingly outside our control like –  unemployment, loss of income, business going bust, unexpected medical expenses, housing depreciation (we bought at the top of the market in 1990 and our home lost value for seven years!) and other financial hardships that no amount of cutting back would solve.  I mean really, when you go from two incomes to none…you have nothing to work with.

So how do you survive an economic crisis at that point?

You trust God…

….not yourself, any man or woman, your employer, your company or the government!

 

Many Christians are quick to say, out of their mouths, that they trust God…but then continue on with their “laundry list” of fears, worries and concerns about how they are not going to make it.  I try to bite my tongue and just listen sympathetically but sometimes I just can’t help myself and I have to point out that they are really not trusting God. (ok, so sometimes I can be a bit forthright)

If we truly trust God with our finances then we should have complete peace, assurance and confidence not anxiety, fear and insecurity.  Now don’t start thinking that I have it all together or am judging you in any way if you voice your financial fears.  I struggle with trust as much as anyone….it is just that I have personally seen the Lord provide for my family over & over & over again when we have been in desperate and unimaginable circumstances and each time my faith is strengthened and I am stronger and more faithful with each hardship that comes my way. When friends say to me – “I wish I had your faith or I wish I had that peace”, I am quick to point out that the faith and peace are a result of the life I have lived, they are not just a personality trait, gift, talent or the “way God made me”. Actually I am no different than anyone else. Faith and peace have been cultivated and grown through our Biblical responses to the hardships in our lives. I guess you can say – “practice makes perfect”.  (Ie: If you want strong faith and a life of peace – ask God to bring on the hardships! LOL)

God has “proved” Himself faithful to us time and again. (not that He needs to prove anything – but nonetheless He has)   Over the years the Lord has provided in so many different ways  –

  • being surprised with an incredibly low gas & electric bill
  • getting an unexpected end of the year car insurance rebate
  • a parent at the high school blessing us with a gas and grocery store gift card just in the nick of time and for no apparent reason other than to say, thank you
  • a surprise Christmas bonus
  • the neighbors who run a catering business asking us to “please” take their extras off their hands
  • bags of groceries left on the front porch during very hard times
  • dear friends who have seen a practical need in our home and decided to provide it for us (we were just recently blessed with new windows in our entire home, extra insulation & ceiling fans by someone who saw our problem and decided that they wanted to solve it)
  • an opportunity for a “side job” like coaching, supervising Saturday School, doing handyman work or someone coming by and makes a large purchase from my CM business right when it is most needed
  • someone giving us their used car when they no longer need it – apologizing that it probably will last just a couple more years (and then on faith & fumes it continues to drive for seven years – amazing!)

I could go on and on sharing both the little and big ways that God has met our needs (and even many of our wants) – but I really just want to encourage you that yes, He does provide.  It may not always be in the way you expect or look the way you think it should look – but He does come through every time.  And He always will.

He is worthy of our trust!  You can count on Him.  Here is His promises to us from the His word (Matthew 6:25-34) .

 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink ; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing ? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?

You of little faith! (Ok so the Lord is a bit forthright too!)

Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Amen! We could all use a little dose of this advice, heh?)

Coming soon – part 3, part 4 and perhaps even a part 5 to surviving the economic crisis….but for today let’s all simply….

Trust God!

 

3 Comments

Filed under Attitude, Economics, My "take", Overcoming

How to survive an economic crisis

Finally something in the news that I have expertise in.

I am an expert on the subject of economic crisis….no really, I am!  I mean after all I have lived most of my adult life (except for a few short “glory years” of phenomenal success with my home based business) in a state of economic crisis. (which perhaps is why I am not stressed out by the constant news reports – it is life as normal for us!)

Every time my dear darling hubby and I get his social security report showing his earnings since he was 16,  I look to see if he has yet to make the income level he made the year before we were married (1985) when he was in management for a wine cooler company. (not to diminish the love of my life’s leadership skills but he has said himself that all you had to do to be in management was to not come to work high.)

Don’t get me wrong…“I am NOT complaining!”.  This is the life we have chosen and honestly we would not have it any other way. 

  • When we got married we committed our lives to the service of others in full time ministry to teenagers.  We spent the first four years of our life together as youthpastors before moving on to becoming teachers & counselors in Christian high school education.  After 10 years in one school just when we were beginning to “get ahead” financially we both left our jobs (Ok, I got fired….another story for another day) and lived by faith for the next 18 months as we forged ahead to start a new Christian high school in our area which emphasized discipleship and Biblical world view training.  We chose to work for a lower salary in Christian education because we are passionate about the lives that it touches!
  • We have also chosen to give the Lord control of the size of our family and have been blessed with seven children to love and provide food, shelter and clothing for.  According to the national poverty level guidelines – we have lived at or just slightly above poverty level for much of the past two decades.  (although I will argue with anyone that what we consider “poverty” in the USA is nothing close to poverty at all)
  • We have also chosen to live in the Central Valley of California, which despite it being one of the least expensive places in this state to live…it is still has at least a 15% – 20% higher cost of living than most places that we could live in this country.

So yes, I am an expert at surviving economic crisis.  Here are my timely tips for those who might be wondering how they are going to survive the trying times being predicted ahead of us.

How to survive an economic crisis 

1.Learn to live with inconveniences or without what some may consider necessities. (but really they might be luxuries) Currently, we have a big hole in our bathroom sink

our shower faucets have to be turned on with a vice grip

 and we do not have a working air conditioner or dishwasher.  In the past we have had a myriad of things that others might see as necessities that we just have lived without or postponed fixing or purchasing.

What we are saving this year 

  • not purchasing a new bathroom sink – $150
  • not replacing the shower fixtures – $300
  • not purchasing a new dishwasher & washing dishes by hand – $400
  • not using the air conditioner this summer (since it does not work anyway!) – $600
  • not purchasing a new air conditioner $5,000 – $7,000
  • not using a pest control company to get rid of the varmints in the attic & under the house (we did have to take care of the termites!) – $600

 

2. Drive older used cars(even if they are “beat up” and unattractive) or if possible drive only one car. 

 We actually have had only one vehicle several different times in our lives and we survived just fine. (fond memories – I use to walk home from work when I was pregnant with number one and Dan was in bible college with our only car.  Another time we could not even fit our entire family in our one car to go to church together so a friend came and picked up some of us. For six months one year, I got up and drove Dan to school each day and he got a ride home with a student – anyone want extra credit?  Were these times inconvenient? Yes…but we survived then and could survive again)

What we are saving this year 

  • driving an old/beat up car with no payments, cheap insurance (yes it costs much less to only have liability insurance on a 12 year old car) & low registration – $5,000

And this photo is 8 months old – the trunk is now tied down with bungee cords – looking quite amusing.  Every time you hit a bump in the road, it bangs so hard it makes you jump (not that I am often found driving Dan’s car) But still it gets Dan, our two high schoolers and three other teenage gals to and from school everyday!

3. Get rid of cable TV– yes that is right – just cut it out.  We have never had cable television and have lived quite happily without it. (although that is not to say I wouldn’t enjoy the history, hallmark and cooking channels)  Other extras you could consider cutting out – extra telephones, extra services on those cell phones etc….

What we are saving this year

  • not having cable TV – $500 to $900

 4. Take a “vanity” inventory.  Do you and or your children really need those new/stylish clothes, manicures, pedicures or regular hair cuts, color and styles?

What we are saving this year 

  • on never getting a manicure or pedicure and only getting my hair cut/colored every 8 months (as opposed to every 4 months which it needs!) – $250 to $500
  • the kids wearing hand-me-downs and never buying anything new but shoes & underwear – $1,000 – $2,000

5. Eat at home and pack lunches for school/work. Be prepared and find inexpensive meals that still fill up the family. (and do not eat out – probably one of the single greatest expenses for many families – this adds up faster than you realize!)

What we are saving this year 

  • for eating very “inexpensive” meals like beans & rice several times a week – $1,000

 6. Nix the nice vacations! Go on camping vacations or be creative and swap homes with someone if you live in a vacation destination (which we do not!). Kids do not need fancy hotels, resorts, cruises or even Disneyland to have a good time – in fact I am willing to bet that the best memories are made on simple “back to nature” vacations. Of course many years we saved even more by camping in our back yard!

What we are saving this year 

  • for taking a week long camping vacation instead of a hotel/cabin rental vacation – $1,200+ (of course we are saving $5,000+ by never going to Disneyland with our family of nine)

7. Live in a house smaller than what you “need”.  And you do not need a bedroom for every child and most families could survive quite well on 1,500 square feet or less.  In the towns we build homes for in Mexico – a family of 6 to 9 live in a 320 square foot home with no indoor bathroom or kitchen. (and they are quite happy I might add!) I could live in a tent if I had to! 🙂

What we are saving this year 

  • living in a 1400 square foot/ 3 bedroom home – the 6 girls in one bedroom, 1 boy (but hopefully soon a few more) in the other room  and Dan the Man & myself in the 3rd bedroom as opposed to living in a 4 or 5 bedroom home – $12,000 – $15,000 (includes extra mortgage, taxes, insurance & homeowners association fees and utility expenses)

8. Skip the fancy birthday parties, professional photos, gifts for extended family– this always seems “harsh” or sad to people but really these are all negotiable expenses.  A backyard birthday party with homemade cake (costs $2.50 to make), free games & no goodie bags sent home (when did this tradition begin? – not in my youth!) is perfectly ok!

You do not need to order those school photos, sports or prom pictures. Get out your camera and take a few photos (if you need photo tips – they are out there everywhere!) – more formal & fun ones.  The only professional ones we splurge on are the 1 year old & senior pics!

We have more than three dozen extended family members alone – although we would really LOVE to purchase gifts for them all at every birthday, Christmas and special occassion we just don’t have the funds –  a phone call, email greeting or simple card sharing your heartfelt love – is a blessing! We do try to save up a little money for the “milestone” events (25th, 50th anniversary’s, the big decade birthdays & weddings)  Now..please don’t think we are “stingy” – we do sponsor every short term missions trip that people ask us to support, give to World Vision and a couple missionaries as well as blessing others as the Lord touches our hearts (which is often).

What we are saving this year 

  • on only purchasing birthday and Christmas gifts for our children but not extended family members –  $700
  • on birthday parties (if this looks skewed – remember we have 7 kids) – $700
  • on not purchasing professional photos around every corner – $200 – $500 

9.  Stop the Starbucks habit or at least cut back.  For years this was about the only “luxury” we gave ourselves several times a week since we live fairly “bare bones”.  But since doing the fat flush, we are down to just a couple times a month. (for those not coffee drinkers – perhaps it is Jamba Juice or fast food french fries or your daily soda addiction that you could cut out or reduce)

What we are saving this year 

  • not drinking Starbucks 3x a week (x Dan & Myself) – $800 (we drink the “cheap” stuff – $2.55 a cup)

    10.  Since 10 tips sound better than 9 this is my personal favorite (and please do not hate me – I am just not an animal person) Do not get a new pet! (sorry girls, I just found another reason in my long list of not getting a puppy for Daniel)

What we are saving this year 

  • on not having a dog (food/vaccinations/vet bills/paying for him to be cared for while we are on vacation/grooming) – $500-$800

 Ok so how much have I saved just this year by living in a state of personal economic crisis??

anywhere from $30,000 – $33,000

(with at least $22,000 of that being annual expenses not one time purchases/replacements that just might be a once a decade expense, like replacing an air conditioner or dish washer)  

Wow…that is an amazing amount of money – another whole salary.  Of course it is a good thing that we “save” these expenses since we do not have this money to spend in the first place.   And honestly….even though we live a pretty “bare bones”existence, I know there is still much, much more we could cut back on and still survive. (yes, if I had to I could eat beans & rice 5x a week, live without cell phones, drive less & walk more, not get my hair done at all, decrease electrical/water expenses….and on & on & on)  

If you are fretting over the future or being stressed out that your financial future is in peril – be encouraged – there are probably multitudes of things you could cut out/sell/change about your current life that would help you weather the storm quite easily. (I would love to hear about them – do share!)

So take a big breath and relax – we can all survive an economic crisis!

9 Comments

Filed under Attitude, Blessings, Determination, Economics, Life at the Lambdins, Lifes Challenges, My "take"

Making Yourself Miserable

One of the daily devotionals that I read is from Elisabeth Elliot – it is always refreshing, often challenging and very inspiring.  This mornings entry was simple, yet profound and true.  Are you making yourself miserable today?

Several Ways to Make Yourself Miserable

  1. Count your troubles, name them one by one–at the breakfast table, if anybody will listen, or as soon as possible thereafter.
  2. Worry every day about something. Don’t let yourself get out of practice. It won’t add a cubit to your stature but it might burn a few calories.
  3. Pity yourself. If you do enough of this, nobody else will have to do it for you.
  4. Devise clever but decent ways to serve God and mammon. After all, a man’s gotta live.
  5. Make it your business to find out what the Joneses are buying this year and where they’re going. Try to do them at least one better even if you have to take out another loan to do it.
  6. Stay away from absolutes. It’s what’s right for you that matters. Be your own person and don’t allow yourself to get hung up on what others expect of you.
  7. Make sure you get your rights. Never mind other people’s. You have your life to live, they have theirs.
  8. Don’t fall into any compassion traps–the sort of situation where people can walk all over you. If you get too involved in other people’s troubles, you may neglect your own.
  9. Don’t let Bible reading and prayer get in the way of what’s really relevant–things like TV and newspapers. Invisible things are eternal. You want to stick with the visible ones–they’re where it’s at now.

If you would like to receive Elisabeth Elliots daily devotions in your email inbox (or even to your handheld device) you can find hers and many others here.

2 Comments

Filed under Attitude, Uncategorized, Word for Wednesday