Category Archives: Blessings

Fabulous 50: Let the Celebrations Begin!

cel·e·brate

verb \ˈse-lə-ˌbrāt\

transitive verb
: to perform (a sacrament or solemn ceremony) publicly and with appropriate rites
: to honor (as a holiday) especially by solemn ceremonies or by refraining from ordinary business
: to mark (as an anniversary) by festivities or other deviation from routine
4: to hold up or play up for public notice <her poetry celebrates the glory of nature>
I love to celebrate! In this family we have been known to celebrate almost everything – New Years Eve, New Years Day, Epiphany, MLK Day (Dream Day!), Valentines Day, Ash Wednesday, Lent, St Patrick’s Day, Holy Week, Passover, Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Resurrection Sunday, Cinco Day Mayo (an excuse to have Mexican food), National Day of Prayer,  National Scrapbook Day, Mother’s Day, School’s Out for the Summer, Graduations, Rites of Passage,  Back to School, Anniversaries of all types (engagement, first date, wedding), Family Communion, Baby Dedications, Baptisms, Fall arrival, Reformation Day, Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas (like for 6 weeks!) and of course Birthdays – including born again birthdays, half birthdays, decade days,  adoption days & “Gotcha” days!
For the last month leading up to my milestone birthday of 50 years, my sweet daughters were trying to pull together a party for me to celebrate this event! (not a surprise mind you….I love surprise visits, surprise gifts, surprise good news & surprise trips…but I am not a fan of surprise parties) They were talking to my friends, researching venues and trying to get me to pick a date…but it just wasn’t coming together. One by one the big girls were heading out to new jobs, back to college and new adventures out of town and the plans began to crumble.   Knowing how very much they wanted to celebrate my big day on top of many friends asking when I was having a party combined with my desire to commemorate this milestone… (I generallywant to celebrate my birthdays without much fanfare just an annual lunch with a few friends and a family birthday dinner. There have been two  exceptions  – my 17th and my 40th birthdays where I had grand celebrations!)…I began to really contemplate what, when and how I should honor my 50th birthday which led to a deeper introspection about why I wanted to celebrate in a bigger way this year.  Here is the answer:
First let me say…that while it is my particular day birth on September 1, 1962...it IS NOT about me! (as strange as that sounds)  I do not want to celebrate this day to honor me, to receive cards, gifts or accolades or to be the center of attention.   My true desire in reaching this milestone is to –>

Celebrate Life!

Life is a priceless and precious gift.  We were created by the God of the universe…we are His masterpiece!

” You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
    They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
    they outnumber the grains of sand!” Psalm 139:13-18

We all have this same creator and creation story! We should celebrate every moment of life that we have been blessed to live!

As a believer in Jesus Christ my life is also no longer my own to live.  When I committed my life to Him…I choose to die to my self and let Him live through me!

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the lifewhich I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”  Galations 2:20

I truly want to celebrate and thank the Lord for my 50 years of life that He has blessed me with! I also want to stop and make a new commitment of the remainder of my days to live for Him!

Let’s celebrate life together!

Celebrate Love!

The single greatest gift I have been given beside life and Jesus is the gift of love from family and friends in the hundreds of people that I have been blessed to be in relationship with over the past half a century.
 ♥ From my childhood friends who I played with, laughed with and sat beside in school to my dynamic full of life high school classmates who I served as president and who in turn enriched my life with love and memorable moments that I have treasured in my heart for decades.
♥ From my college friend who challenged, inspired and touched my life in remarkable ways and caused me to grow leaps and bounds in my relationship with the Lord to my precious youth group members and students who hold the most special place in my life, who I love as my very own children and who have supported and encouraged me throughout my life.
♥ From my co-workers at Lakeview, BCHS, and JECHS who we shared success & fulfillment as well as failures & frustrations that have bound us together for life to some of the most amazing, impressive, quality, inspiring women (and a few men too) that I was privileged to share over a decade of my life with in Creative Memories!
♥ From my church family at Lakeview, the ones who still share the pew with me as well as those who have ventured out to other congregations, cities, states and througout the world to my homeschooling community who I share common core values with and who fill my life with warmth and love.
♥ From my extended family who are my rock and shelter to the many amazing people who have come into my life in a variety of ways from scrapbooking, to watching our kids play sports together, carpooling and even those who I have come to know through correspondence on my blog… that have all made my life richer and more complete.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ And it goes without saying that the love I have with my godly husband, love of my  life and best friend along with our precious children is divine!
Yes…I want to celebrate love with you all on this 50th birthday!

Celebrate the Lord!

Giving glory to God is the goal of my life!  In everything I say, in everything I do I want my Lord to be honored and glorified! (and yes I fall woefully short of this goal on a daily basis…thanks be to God for His amazing grace!)
I want to celebrate all that the Lord has done in and through me these past 50 years!  Any accomplishment, success or achievement is only because of the Lord. He has blessed me to be born into the country I live in with all its amazing opportunities and freedoms. He has blessed me to be born into a family with a mother and father that taught me that both live and the Lord are good! A family that while not rich in material wealth was rich in love and faith. He has blessed me with strengths, gifts and talents to follow my passions! He has blessed me with family and friends who encourage, support and love me unconditionally. He has blessed me with drive, ambition and compassion to do great things for Him.  Truly all that I am, all that I have and all that I ever hope to be is because of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
I want to celebrate the Lord and glorify His name in honor of my 50th birthday!
_____________________________________________________
In order to properly celebrate life, celebrate love and celebrate the Lord…I decided that it would have to be more than a day or a single event but rather more fittingly several experiences throughout the entire month! 🙂
Yes…we will have a specific “party” — come one come all more than likely towards the end of the month long celebration — where you can stop by a local park and let me share in celebrating our lives, our love for one another and the Lord!  But I will be celebrating all along with special breakfast, lunch and coffee dates along the way, a trip or two to my most favorite place in the world…the beach and a night out with my love! The celebration is sure to include some of my favorite things as well – tea party, dark chocolate, blogging, sleeping in, a few foot massages, a hair appointment, worship, reading, ministry  and scrapbooking to mention a few! If you want to jump into any of my celebrating…just come on by!
And the celebration already began yesterday with a traditional birthday lunch that has its origins years ago with my dear friends Kelly & Nina!  A beautiful time together celebrating our life long friendship.
Yesterday I also received an early gift from the Lord …an invitation to speak at a Women’s Brunch in October!
_______________________
Join me this month in celebrating life, love and the Lord!

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Filed under Blessings, Life at the Lambdins

Fabulous 50: My List for Loving & Living Life

I am one of “those” people.

Those odd people who love their lists

…who live by lists

…who make lists for everything (and even keep files on the computer of “to do lists” for recurring events in my life)

…who start many conversations by saying “Let’s make a list

…who torture their family with their never ending “to do” lists, chore lists, packing lists and “honey do” lists

…who have been known to add things to their list that they have already done just to have the satisfaction of crossing it off the list <it is a sickness, isn’t it?>

So it shouldn’t shock or surprise you that in honor of my 50th birthday I created a list. It began a week or so ago as I was pondering having lived 50 years of my life and what I would like to share with others who are still in the first half of life! (although they are great reminders for whatever season of life you may be in!)

So….here is my 5oth birthday list (complete with many “Bethisms”) for loving and living life…and of course there are 50 points!

1. Life is short and quickly passing by (was I not just 30 and in a twinkling of an eye be 70?)
2. Life is even shorter when compared to eternity (wisdom & logic would say to invest your self in eternity)
3. Life is an amazing gift – enjoy it!
4. Life is a precious gift – celebrate it!

5. Life is a
beautiful gift – love it!

6. Life is a priceless gift – don’t abuse it
7. Life is a unique gift – don’t waste it
8. Life is a glorious giftSTOP worrying and stressing about it
9. Life is NOT a dress rehearsal! (this is the real performance people!)
10. Life is to be lived on purpose (and the occasional accidents are an exciting and sometimes course changing part of the ride)
11. Life – it’s not what happens to you in life that matters, it’s how you respond!
12. Life is not fair – “you get what you get & you don’t throw a fit!”
13. Life is not fair – if it were fair we would all be headed to hell (for all have sinned and fallen short and the price for sin is eternal death…but thanks be to God for sending us Jesus to pay that price for us! It was not “fair” that he had to pay the price…but I’ll take it!)
14. Life is not fair – it is not a matter of holding good cards in life…but of playing a poor hand well!
15. Life is hard…at times really hard. 
16. Life is not a respector of persons – the sun shines and the rain falls on the good and bad alike (Yes, bad things happen to good people. If you still can’t accept that refer to “Life is not fair”)
17. Life ends in death for everyone: statistics say 10 out of 10 people die  Live like you believe this fact!
18. Life’s ultimate goal and chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever!
19. Life without love is nothing
20. Love is the answer ♥
21. Love covers a multitude of sins 
22. Love is not a feeling but an act of our will (we can always act lovingly without feeling the love)
23. Love is patient…enduring long 
24. Love is kind  (so simple yet so very difficult…)
25. Love is unselfish and self sacrificing 
26. Love is life giving 
27. Love bears & endures all things, hopes & believes all things 
28. Love NEVER fails…it never gives up 
29. Love the Lord with ALL your heart, soul, mind & strength 
30. Love your parents and honor them 
31. Love your husband or wife (if you are single love your future bride or groom by waiting just for them and keeping yourself pure and unstained by this world) 
32. Love your children…hug and kiss them often, speak powerful words of life to them & discipline them (yes that is a part of love) 
33. Love your friends through the good, the bad & the ugly 
34Love your neighbors (who is your neighbor? The one in need) 
35. Love your fellow believers – brothers and sisters is what they are called in the Word (even those from different denominations or those who have hurt you or that you vehemently disagree with) 
36. Love your enemies & pray for those who persecute you (this goes against our very nature and yet….)
37. Love and do good to those who hate you  (yes that is oh so very hard)
38. Love your self for you are skillfully & wonderfully made by the Creator 
39. Give generously…even to a fault!
40. Be faithful to your commitments…don’t quit!
41. Discover your passions in life and pursue them whether or not they are practical, financially profitable or held in high esteem by society
42 Build on your strengths…don’t pay too much attention to your weaknesses (not as in weaknesses of sin…but in gifts, talents & abilities)…you can’t put in what God left out!
43. Think outside the box…you don’t have to do it the way it has always been done or the way everyone else does it 
44. Decide how many children you want or that you can handle…and then have one more! (even better yet ask God to give you what He wants)
45. Take full responsibility for your life…don’t blame God, the government or others for your lack of opportunities or failures
46. Regular consistent personal disciplines – prayer, bible reading, exercise, weekly church attendance will pay off in the long run…both in this life and the one to come!
47. “Adoption” (of any type – a baby, foster child, an international orphan, a family in need, a floundering young person, senior citizen, single mom, widow, fatherless/motherless child, foreign exchange student…for any amount of time – short term, long term, permanent or for life) is something everyone should experience!
48. Make memories and take lots of photos (if you are blessed to live to a ripe old age…they will be such a treasure)
49. Done is better than perfect!
50. Give up your control issues as young as possible and let God be in control of everything… (so says this wise recovered control freak)

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Filed under Adoption, Blessings, Faith, Inspiration, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Marriage, My "take"

Fabulous 50: A New Decade is Dawning

This week…Saturday September 1st to be exact…I am turning 50. <deep breath> Yes, one of those milestone birthdays.

I clearly remember my first “decade day”…my 1oth birthday… as we had just recently moved from San Pedro, California to Springfield, Virginia and I had zero friends. After spending the weeks prior to my big day living in a hotel while my parents searched for a house to buy, I only had my family to celebrate with. It was fairly uneventful but I had an awesome sense of hope and excitement for the future as just a few days later I would begin my life in Virginia with a new school, new friends and a fresh new start.  One of the greatest things, as a kid from a military family moving every few years,  is that you could “re-make” yourself with every move. Literally the slate was wiped clean and you could start all over and be whomever you wanted to be!  My childhood and youth were spent in that decade and life was good.  It was during that season that I met Jesus, at almost 17, in a very real and personal way and I have never been the same!

I turned 20 at the start of my junior year at UOP…such an awesome time of my life as we were seeing God move mightily across our campus and the Lord was using me, despite my youth, my many flaws and personal struggles to reach others for Christ! It was an amazing season of  life….and when I think back on it I am still in awe at the powerful happenings all around me.  I loved being in my 20’s…I felt youthful, confident, independent and strong…in fact in my heart and mind I still often feel like I am in my mid 20’s.  I graduated from college in my 20’s, started in ministry in my 20’s, got married in my 20’s, had my first baby in my 20’s but more than anything else during that era I learned that Jesus is all I need, my everything…truly a life changing decade!

One of my favorite photos from my 20’s (and it’s not because I am a cat lover) but because at this point I was in full time youth ministry…passionately following the Lord and wanting to please Him and do His will. In that way I am still the same!


Turning 30 was not something I looked forward to….30…it sounded so “old” and  besides I wanted to be in my 20’s forever!  I was seven months pregnant with my second child and I was sick, tired and blah. I remember being so ambivalent about turning 30 that I told Dan that I did NOT want a birthday party of any kind and yet he put together a small shindig anyway at Mallards Restaurant with a few friends…I was not very happy about it at all (that poor guy!) If the Lord had opened up a window to let me peek at the simply miraculous things that were to take place in that new decade, I would have been thrilled to watch it arrive.  In my 30’s I had four of my children. I was a teacher,activity adviser and guidance counselor to students who would become life long friends. I helped found a Christian High School that many said could never happen. I started my Creative Memories career that to this day continues to bless my life in spectacular ways. I also began homeschooling, something I never considered attempting and yet I truly believe it is one of the biggest factors in my children becoming who they are today. My 30’s also included some life changing, course altering tragedies as I lost my dear father (much too young) and I was betrayed and fired from a ministry that I poured my heart and soul into for over a decade. It was definitely a decade of great growth, faith building and new beginnings!

Then 40 came along and I was “loud and proud” about reaching this milestone! I threw myself a big fancy birthday party, despite being three months pregnant with my sixth sweet baby and as always sicker than ever , I was thrilled to get together with my friends and family to celebrate! I felt in some way that I had “arrived” in life…that I had finally made it! This past decade since turning 40 has been filled with both the very good and the very bad:

  • I was blessed with three more precious babies…one through adoption, the most miraculous thing I have ever experienced in life!
  • I began to have health problems that sent me to the hospital on several occasions
  • I had the unfortunate gut wrenching experience of a couple of my children in serious life and death situations  where I was forced to deal squarely in the face with my control issues and truly give God complete control of my life.
  • I experienced both the best of financial times in our married life and the worst  of times(and not because of the economy’s ups & downs)
  • I started writing and speaking…two things that I have become passionate about and are sure to shape my future.
  • I experienced stellar personal achievements, awards and accolades running my own business, to then be led to scale way back on my efforts there and use those same God given gifts & talents at the high school we had started years earlier, to then be cut loose after three years of great success and momentum because of pride and power struggles in leadership (pride & power…a double edged sword with the ability to do so much good or so much harm depending on whose hands it is in).
  • I have had the thrill of launching my first three daughters out into the world and watching them soar!
  • I had learned in the previous decade, in my 30’s, to put all my trust in the Lord  and had seen the Lord take the worst thing I thought could ever happen and turn it into the greatest thing in my life! This decade I was able to sail much easier through the “bad” knowing that in the end it would be for my greatest good. I enjoyed the peace that comes in knowing that the Lord uses authority, even unwise or misguided authority to lead me in the direction He wants me to go….it felt like I had passed the “Truly Trusting God Test”.

Now here I am turning 50 this week…and ready to celebrate the amazing life I have been blessed with and the great things that God has allowed me to experience and be a part of these past 50 years ( a half a century…doesn’t that sound impressive?!) I am at the beginning of a another new decade of life…a decade that is sure to include many life changing and monumental events (the launching of three more children, college graduations and major life choices for those children in the areas of careers, ministry, marriages and children,  helping my mother and inlaws walk through health and other challenges that come with aging while rejoicing in their milestones of 80th birthdays and Lord willing a 60th wedding anniversary as well as celebrating our own 30th & 35th wedding anniversaries, to name a few of the very real possibilities this decade). And yes this decade is sure to have it’s share of hardships, pain and sorrows  that I pray I can walk through with grace, peace and strength in my Lord….a living testimony to the greatness of God and an encouragement to others!

As I stand at the edge of this new beginning, the dawn of a new decade of life…I am also filled with excitement, anticipation and hope:

  • Hope for even greater things to be done in and through my life than ever before!
  • Hope that my dreams of speaking and writing to inspire others to live a life of passion, purpose and praise would come to fruition through Inspire Ministries and perhaps even by joining hands with others to run a Camp and Retreat Center in the Santa Cruz Mountains or wherever the Lord opens doors (I have so many retreats I want to host – Engaged Retreats, Marriage Weekends, Family Camps, Mentoring Moms, Treasured Traditions, Purposeful Parenting, Passionate Living…and more!)
  • Hope for a season of provision & prosperity…to not always be the one in need but to generously meet the needs of others!
  • Hope for the Lord to use our children to do abundantly above and beyond all that we could ever imagine!
  • Hope for the Lord’s return in all His glory! To see Him and to be like Him!

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Filed under Blessings, Goals & Dreams, Inspiration, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges

New Year Nuances

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

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

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

Our New Years Eve Traditions

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

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

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

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

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

By the Way…It’s STILL Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

A Photo a Day in 2012

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

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

The Gift of a Memory

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

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

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

   

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

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

Word for the Year

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

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

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

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

Love

Adventure

Challenge

Intentional

Equip

My word for 2012 is MOMENTUM

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

Do you have a word for 2012?

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

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

Here’s to 2012!

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

Our 25th Wedding Anniversary Celebration Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Dan & Beth,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings to you all,  Dan & Beth

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Filed under Blessings, Life at the Lambdins, Marriage

hos·pi·tal·i·ty [ hòspi tállətee ]

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

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

And their hospitality was abundant!

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

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

I was blown away and blessed!

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

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

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

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

2. We are to show hospitality to strangers

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

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

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

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

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

How are you doing in this area of hospitality?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Silence…….

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

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

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

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

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Filed under Attitude, Blessings, Faith

How do you do what you do?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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