Category Archives: Economics

I wish I could….

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

Ok…let’s get right down to it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hoyle family

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These goodies would sell great!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Filed under Adoption, Economics, Faith, Making a Difference, My "take"

The Luxury of Staying Home?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am the 1%

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

 

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

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

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

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

7 Comments

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

Random, Abstract & Off the Wall

A new experience for me in the blogosphere…today and Monday I am a “guest blogger” over at Tommy Mom for my dear friend Teri Helms. The subject is one of my favorites – being purposeful about creating a home full of meaningful family traditions. So head on over and check it out! 

In the midst of writing for Teri I thought I better post something new on my blog since it has been over a month since you have heard a peep from me (unless of course you are my facebook friend and then you’ve heard more than you ever wanted to know!)

The winter fog here in the central valley of California seems to cloud my mind as well…so here is the most random, abstract and off the wall post you may ever read here on my blog.

“Mother of the Year” Award….Not!

What do you do when your teenage daughter comes in from “experimenting” with skateboarding (which you recommended against) and is in pain complaining that she fell off and is sure she broke her foot?  You tell her to “toughen up” and take a Tylenol, of course!  I mean come on!  I’ve been a Mom for 21 years and certainly I could tell if your foot was really broken….besides we don’t break bones in our family.

Fast forward two weeks later and we are in the doctor’s office getting an xray.  Guess what?  Her foot is broken and she now has a pretty purple cast.  So much for “Mother knows best”.  Just bring your fingers to your forehead in the shape of an “L” and call me a loser, I can admit when I messed up!

Loving Life Coaching  

Just in the past two weeks I have met with, talked on the phone or answered questions via email with over a dozen people giving advice, opinions and hopefully wisdom in the following areas – adoption, dating & relationships, parenting, college & career counseling and callings, raising girls, fundraising and philosophy of Christian education.  I love it! Now if I could just figure out a way to get paid to do this without charging the people receiving the “coaching”. (I know that sounds insane…but I really would love to just help people for free! It brings me great joy and fulfillment) Trying to figure it all out.

Family Photos – better than therapy, depression and anxiety meds or stress relievers

I took the dive into digital album making this year.  I have been taking exclusively digital photos for the past 4 years and decided it was time to start really organizing those photos and transition to digital “scrapbooking”…although my style of album making has always been less “scrapbooky” (is that a word?) and more like a yearbook.  So in true Beth Lambdin “jump off the cliff” style…I took a “crash course” in digital photo “stuff”, scheduled weekly digital classes and an all day Saturday workshop, transferred & organized  9,475 photos (and that was just those taken in 2010…excessive!), and have completed 27 digital 12×12 page prints to put in my CM albums.  Here is a sample page:

If you want to see all 27 pages here is a link – My First Digital Album

And you know what the very best thing is about working with and looking at your photos?  It allows you to relive all of the good times in your life (because we don’t take pictures of the not so good times like the dirty dishes piled high to the ceiling, the mold in my shower, the screaming child with the runny nose). It let’s you celebrate life’s highlights again.  It reminds you how much you love the people in your life and what great moments you have had together.  It makes you laugh and smile over & over again.  It is better than any therapy, any meds to make you happy or anxiety free and it instantly brings you joy, peace and love in your life.  Try it!

The Good News & The Bad News

The good news…I weigh exactly the same as I did before the holiday feeding frenzy began at Thanksgiving and carried on through Epiphany. 

The bad news…it is a good 20 lbs (ok, ok 30) more than what I need to weigh for my health and wardrobe. And so the life long (or at least since beginning mommyhood) battle continues. To eat or not to eat? Picked up a copy of  the new book by Lysa Terkeurst – Made to Crave – this month. It looks good (and so do those delicious orange creamsicle scones that my dear friend Rachel made yesterday….oy vey!)

Boys & Bunk beds

As of this week we now have a bunk bed in the “boys” room. (aka: Daniel’s room but he has never slept in there one night because he does not want to sleep alone so he has squeezed himself into the girls room for the past year and a half).  He did actually sleep in this room last night after convincing his sister Joy to join him. 

So….we have a boy’s room complete with a bunk bed and room for another one. Daniel wants us to “buy him a brother”. We want to adopt two boys from Ethiopia.  We have the room. We have the desire. We have the heart.

We don’t have…the money. ($40,000)  But God…..

What’s in your pocket?

I know the phrase is supposed to be “what’s in your wallet? (Master Card…right!)  Well since nothing is in my wallet I thought I’d share with you the things I find in my pockets (all four of them)

  • a small hair bow (which made me smile & remember to live in the moment)
  • trash (do you collect your kids trash too? such an odd Mom thing)
  • a pain pill for my daughter with the broken foot (hey they still work with a bit of fuzz on them)
  • a half eaten sucker in its wrapper (really??!)
  • several cards – debit, costco, insurance, a starbucks card with 65 cents on it (getting bent cuz they are in my back pocket)
  • a pen
  • a memory card (that’s a great place to store your photos – sarcasm -)

Give and it shall be given unto you

I cannot begin to do justice to this category by a few random thoughts.  So I just have to say in the past several months

  • we have made less income than we have in 14 years
  • we have given away more money, time and talent
  • we have paid all our bills on time and fed our family
  • we have been given more than you could imagine in ways that are unbelievable!

It is just true (not that we ever doubted) that if you give it will be given unto you….give of your time, your talent and your treasure….and watch what is given back to you!

Beach Holiday Countdown

The countdown has begun….in less than 3 weeks I will pack the car, load the youngest four kiddos and head over for my annual beach holiday in Aptos.  I cannot even begin to tell you the overwhelming sense of joy and peace that come over me just thinking about this.

It is NOT a vacation, mind you.  It is a true holiday as defined in the dictionary —

  1. a time or period of exemption from any requirement, duty, assessment
  2.  a religious feast; holy days
  3. a period of cessation from work or one of recreation (read this: re–creation)

And everyone needs one of these.  When was the last time you just “lived” – no appointments, no rushing around, no work, no “to do” list, no phone calls, no plan – just truly a time of refreshment, relaxation and rejuvenation?  A time to think, to read, to commune with God, to enjoy His creation, to build relationships with loved ones and to live in the moment. I highly recommend it!

Is your family car a mobile trash can, library and closet? Just wondering….

Oh….and how many of you find random Christmas items in the oddest places weeks after you have diligently organized and put it all up in the attic? What’s a girl to do?

I warned you this would be random, abstract and a bit off the wall….hope it blessed, inspired or challenged someone out there! Hope to be back here again soon.

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Filed under Blessings, Economics, Family Traditions, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, My "take"

To life! To life! L’chaim!

This week I celebrated my 48th birthday!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are our Financial Facts

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

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

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

Here is our Foundation of Faith

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

Now about that Future

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

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

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

Inspire Ministries

living a life of purpose, passion & praise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To Life! To Life! L’Chaim!

P.S.  If you are…

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

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

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

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?

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