Category Archives: Faithbooking

Always “Daddy’s Girl”

Early on a Sunday morning, October 22, 1995, my life was forever changed.  Dan and I were in bed when the ringing of the phone jolted us out of our deep slumber just before dawn.  I could hear my mothers quivering voice on the answering machine pleading with us to pick up the phone.  As I jumped out of bed and lunged to get the phone my heart began to pound and my mind raced wildly with thoughts of what could be wrong. She slowly and painfully told me that my Dad had died of a heart attack in the middle of the night.  I felt the tears well up in my eyes and begin to fall uncontrollably onto my dresser as I struggled to catch my breath.  I simply could not believe that I was actually hearing those words.  My dear father was gone and I would never see him, hear him or touch him again this side of heaven.  As I fell back into bed, Dan held me close and the tears flowed as he tried to comfort me.  I knew in that moment that my life would be altered forever.

You never really “get over” the death of a parent. (and I can imagine it would be even more so if you lose a child).  You learn to live with it but you do not get over it.  They are a part of your very being.  You grieve many times over – holidays, anniversaries, birthdays and even in the “everyday” routines, habits and life happenings that bring back memories of that beloved parent.  I find myself often wondering – “what would Dad think about this or that”?  Just in the past month alone I have pondered what his thoughts would be about:

  • this years election and all it’s historic  happenings (Obama – the first Black man to run for the Presidency, Sarah Palin as the first woman on the Republican ticket)
  • John McCain (they were classmates at the United States Naval Academy both in the Class of 1958)
  • the war in Iraq (he was a career Navy man who worked many years in Naval Intelligence during the Cold War)
  • terrorism
  • the signs of socialism in our country (ok, so I don’t have to wonder about this – he would be having a fit!)
  • Michelle attending college in NYC
  • the girls and their high school sports achievements (he rarely missed one of my high school field hockey games)
  • the new baby boy in our family (oh how he loved babies!)

I also would have called him for advice on

  • how to get my “ancient” car to pass its smog inspection?
  • every aspect of the the new addition in our home (he was the handiest of handy men)
  • computer challenges (he was an expert computer whiz long, long long before everyone had several in their homes – alas I did not take advantage of this expertise)
  • how to get my kids to learn math?

 My Dad was an awesome man and an exceptional husband and father. He loved the Lord, was a faithful church member (read here – we never missed a Sunday church service and always sat together as a family) and his knowledge of the Bible was impressive (I often wondered if he had the entire thing memorized).  He lived a life of integrity, hard work and commitment.  He loved my Mom and was faithful and committed to his marriage for 35 years – “until death do us part”.  The word divorce was never heard or spoken in our home – that security had an indelible effect on all of our lives. (The four of us children are in committed marriages with a grand total of 74 years between us all! We are believing for that legacy & blessing to be passed down to the next generation of 15 grandchildren.)

 

 He was the most wonderful father and I was the beneficiary of his love and admiration.  He made me feel special.  I was the “middle” child (is there really a middle of four?) –  my older sister was the first born, the other middle child was my brother – the only boy, and my younger sister who came along a bit later than the three of us was the “baby”.  This gave me a reason in my mind to feel different, left out, inferior etc… Of course when I hit adolescence these feelings, no matter how unfounded, were magnified.  My Dad always had a way of reminding me that he too was a middle child and that I had a very special place in his heart.  He would smile with his eyes, give me a wink and a bear hug and all those feelings would melt away.  No matter what I did or how I acted – my Daddy loved me.  He disciplined me strictly when I  was disobedient, defiant or disrespectful but it was always followed up with love and forgiveness. He showed me my first glimpse of how God the Father loved & adored me.  I know that my incredible ease in loving and trusting the Lord is because my Dad was such a stellar example of God’s unconditional love, trustworthiness and strength.

My Dad believed in me, supported me, challenged me to do beyond my best and had high expectations of me.  He also treated me like a princess – he would pick me up and twirl me around in the living room to the songs of Ed Aames and Andy Williams, he opened doors for me always treating me like a lady and he would admire and tell me often how beautiful I was.

 He filled my need for love and affection with his kind words (often found in his greeting cards that he personally picked out & signed), his bear hugs and sweet goodnight kisses.  He showed me how I should be treated by a man – that I should expect to be cherished, loved, protected and admired. 

As I grew into an adult he continued to be a source of wisdom, strength and love for not only me but my husband and my children.  He was an awesome father-in-law and the most amazing “Papa” (the name my eldest daughter Michelle gave him – although he was “Grandad” to the older cousins) in the world.  He would rock my babies for hours on end and when they got older he would take them to the park to play and out to ice cream. 

 

 I so regret that only Michelle really got to know him and has memories to cherish (she was 6 when he died) ….the rest thankfully do get to experience him through our photo albums, stories and in the lives of their Granny, their aunts & uncle and myself who carry on his presence in our hearts, attitudes and actions.

Today on the 13th anniversary of his passing, I wanted to share just a bit of my Dad with the world, as not only a tribute to him, but hopefully as an inspiration to everyone who reads this blog – especially the fathers out there. Dads,  please know that you are so very vital in your children’s lives and it is so important that you become a faithful man of God. Spend time with your children – play with them, talk to them, hug them, tell them how much you love, cherish and believe in them. Be a role model for them to look up to and set a standard of excellence.   You will have a lasting impact on your children and your children’s children – be diligent to make sure it is a positive legacy.

I was, am and always will be…”Daddy’s Girl”

Daddy,

I love you and miss you each and everyday of my life. I look forward to seeing you again and feeling your warm loving arms wrap around me as we rejoice together for eternity in heaven!

Always your girl – Beth (although my Dad was the only one who called me Virginia – my real name – and it wasn’t because he was mad at me – then it was – Virginia Elizabeth!)

This is our last family photo together – Summer 1995 (and yes I am “great with child” -my 13 year old Rebekah).  I just have to add as we are coming into a holiday season – don’t pass up an opportunity to have a family photo taken while you are all together – we never know when it might be our last time together here in this life.

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Filed under Blessings, Faithbooking, Fatherhood, Inspiration

Family & Friends Friday – “taste & see that the Lord is good!”

It began two years ago after I was asked to speak at a women’s retreat for a local church.  After a wonderful weekend, the retreat ended with a time of communion.  One of the retreat leaders, Sharon Souza read an essay written by a professor at Biola University about communion bread. (Essay found at the end of this post) It was one of those life changing moments.  I felt overwhelmed with emotion and love for the Lord as she read the vivid description of a childhood memory of communion. I also realized that we in the church have often made communion a dry, tasteless and stiff experience and that has all too often been the way we live our Christian lives as well.

I came home from that retreat determined to have a divine communion experience on a regular basis with my family and create meaningful memories for my children to look back on.  I simply got out my calendar and wrote “Family Communion” on the last Sunday of each month in a bold pen. I shared my passion with my dear darling husband and he agreed that having family communion once a month was a great idea.  As the first date on the calendar approached, I got on the Internet and searched for communion bread recipees that fit the description of the essay I had heard…something mouthwatering, tasty and delicious.

Thus began our tradition of having family communion on the last Sunday of every month. 

We have tried several communion bread recipes and have varied the content of the evening – sometimes reading the traditional communion scriptures, other times taking the time to “right” relationships among family members, and often times just sharing the goodness of God, praise reports and prayer concerns.It is always such a meaningful evening and the girls look forward to it with great anticipation! We even have friends who make an effort to join us for this time of communion because it is so special.  This last Sunday was our communion time and we think we have finally found our family’s communion bread recipe! (I’ll include that after the essay)  It was GREAT!  This time, during communion we shared the many answers to prayer that the Lord has recently shown us   –

  • Dan Howen’s cancerous tumors shrinking! Praise the Lord!
  • Michelle’s insulin arriving safely and on time into Australia.
  • Diane Harper being surrounded by the body of Christ during her time of loss.
  • Little baby Ali Jones great MRI report & stabilized in the hospital.
  • Gods protection & provision for our family. 

God is good…..all the time! We ended our time with worship…singing several of the great hymns of our faith that I have recently become more determined that my children know. (we attend a church with more contemporary worship that I love, but many hymns have awesome theology & doctrine that I want burned into our hearts and minds) I decided to order 2nd Chapter of Acts hymns CD so that they can learn some of these wonderful hymns!

I am so glad we began this family communion tradition, even though when we began my eldest child was already 16 and only got to be a part for two years, it is never too late to be purposeful about training them in the ways of the Lord. (and since I have children whose ages are 18, 14, 13, 12, 8, 4 & 5 months…what I may have missed with the older ones, I can still incorporate with the rest.  As I am always telling them – “I just keep getting better at this Mom thing!”)  🙂 I encourage you to start this practice whether you are at the tale end of your parenting job, just in the beginning stages or somewhere in the middle.  All it takes is writing it on the calendar with a bold pen & then doing it!

Here is the Essay that inspired me in the first place along with our favorite communion bread recipe.

Communion Bread 

by Rosalie De Rosset:
(Professor at Biola University)

“When I was young, communion bread in certain Baptist churches was made from a special recipe. Either the pastor’s wife or the deacon’s wife did the baking. In my case, coming from a family of pastors…my grandmother, mother or aunts made communion bread regularly. Communion bread was sensual. As a child I waited for it eagerly, not so intent then on what it symbolized as on its sensuality… The confection, for it was more than bread, was a cross between the finest sweet pie crust you’ve ever eaten, and baked filo, crusty, flaky and layered golden brown, like baklava without honey.

Not as heavy as short bread or as plain as pie crust, it melted in your mouth. You savored it, sucking out the sweetness, swallowing the lightness, a delight that lasted ‘til the cup came around. The rich grape juice never quite undid its lingering epiphany…

I sat motionless, anticipating the first sight of the sacrament as the deacons came around with the plate of bread, with what held the promise of a taste like nothing else I’d ever eaten. The preacher reminded us that this was the symbol of the body of Jesus Christ broken for us. As the deacon reached my pew I raised my head, peering past the adults, to the server’s extended arm. The silver platter shone, mirroring the hands, passing it along. The slightly raised squares lay tawny and seductive. My mouth watered. I could taste the light richness in my memory. Then the plate was held out to my small hands. I always studied the dish, measuring the squares, and picking the biggest one I could find. Sometimes my mother had to hurry me along.

I took the bread and put it on my palm, softly folding my fingers over it, restless for the moment when we would all be allowed to place it in our mouths. When everyone had been served, my grandfather or father said, now take and eat this in memory of Christ who died for us. I lifted the bread to my mouth and put it on my tongue, circling the fragrance, sucking out the buttery sweetness, finally chewing it slowly, and swallowing it reluctantly. I then licked the buttery crumbs from my fingers.

In Peru, my mother followed the tradition, refusing to surrender to crackers. Perhaps believing that the sensuality of that bread, both in its making and its consumption, was a fitting metaphor for a faith experience too often rendered dry, yeastless and tasteless. As the baking bread oozed into the air on the Saturday night before Communion Sunday, my mouth watered with expectancy. For some reason my siblings and I were allowed to wash up the tiny cups and pack away what was left of the bread and juice. That meant consuming it. We raced to the back room. There we ate those golden wafers, relishing the taste again, never rushing, sucking out the essence, letting it soak into our tongues until the dough had disintegrated, a second ritual.

The tradition of baking communion bread is long gone. No one has time for such things. Religion has become efficient. Deacons retreat to church kitchens on the appointed Sunday…and open a package of tiny, dried up squares that look like Chicklets, and dump them into a dish. There’s no color, no fragrance, no texture and no taste. The symbol for the Christ the children are to learn to love and know will be tasteless, almost intangible, certainly uninviting, all materiality thinned, leaving his humanity untouched, while demanding respect for divinity.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good, the Psalmist says, inviting his readers to know Christ. His mother, I’m sure, baked communion bread.”

 Communion Bread Recipe

 This communion bread was taken from a recipe that was first made in 1847

3 cups flour

1 c sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3 eggs

3/4 cup whipping cream

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

orange rind (optional)

Roll or pat out in pan 1/4 inch thick.  Use 11×17 inch pan. Score with knife dipped with flour clear through.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.  After it cools cut along scored lines.

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Tea Time Tuesday – God is my matchmaker

The weather in Stockton has finally begun to cool down so we decided to have our Tuesday tea on the back porch today.  It was lovely and we all enjoyed the fresh air.  dscn3590.jpgIn celebration of Rebekah’s birthday we had one of her favorites – blueberry scones – yummy! We continued on with our courtship classes this afternoon and as promised I shared the “rest of the story” about when my commitment to a season of singleness came to an end. (see Tea Time Tuesday from September 4)

This is the wonderful love story that God orchestrated just for me!  It was in the fall of 1985 when God began to move in my heart and do a new thing in my life.  Little did I know however that the man He would ultimately lead me to commit my heart & life to was a part of my life during the entire time I was in that season of singleness.

I had met Dan Lambdin as a freshman at the University of the Pacific.  His sister, Jennae was one of my dorm mates and since my own family had moved 3000 miles away from California to Virginia, she invited me to join with her family for many occasions.  Dan was not a Christian at that time and if someone had told me that one day he would be my husband I would have laughed.  He was certainly nice enough but his morals and lifestyle were starkly different than my own and spiritually we were miles apart. He was simply…my good friend’s brother.  He came to know the Lord Jesus the following Spring and over the next few years we developed a casual friendship.

After college I became the youth pastor at a local church and very quickly realized that as a single young woman,  I needed HELP from a few good men!  I asked several of my brothers in Christ, including Dan, to volunteer with the youth & disciple the teen boys.  During that next year Dan & I became close friends as we ministered together.  I grew to admire and respect his strong faith as well as his incredible ability to influence the teens in the youth group. We, along with the entire youth staff spent much time together praying, ministering & fellowshiping. During this time there were several men of God all around me and many friends who desired to play matchmaker, yet I was determined to keep my eyes fixed on the Lord & do His work until He showed me the man I would marry.

One weekend Dan’s mother called & asked me to come listen to her share at a Bible study at her church. Over the years we had become close so of course I agreed to come & listen along with a close friend.  At the end of the meeting, Dan stood up & closed in prayer.  I can not explain to you in the natural the feeling that came over me.  It was as if a veil had been lifted from my eyes & I was seeing this man for the first time.  I felt the Lord impressing on me that his would be the man I would someday marry.

I left the meeting a bit shaken and wondering if I really had heard the Lord correctly.  I asked that God would confirm it through His written Word & in prayer.  I also knew that if this was really God that He would speak to Dan heart &that I was not to say a word.  For the next several months I prayed consistently for Gods will to be done.  Unbeknownst to me at the time Dan was seriously seeking the Lord for direction in his life.  He spent a week up at Springs of Living Water Christian Conference Center praying & seeking God.  During that time he decided to quit his full time job and pursue full time ministry.  During that week the Lord also began to impress upon his heart that he may pursue a relationship with me.  He too took that to prayer.

Several months later in February of 1986 after we had driven together to the Springs of Living Water to pick up some of the youth group from counseling at winter camp, Dan decided to open the door to pursuing a relationship.  As I was getting ready to go home that evening he took my hand looked intently into my eyes and said with a twinkle in his eyes – “Perhaps you need to pray about if the Lord really wants you to marry someone with blonde hair & blue eyes”.  (Let me explain….over the years I had shared often with the youth group the list of  godly characteristics I would look for in a husband…ok so really 99% of them were NOT physical attributes but I did often throw in – “and I’d love it if he had blonde hair & blue eyes”) I knew when Dan said that he was opening up the way for conversation to begin about where this friendship may be headed.  With my heart pounding, I blushed profusely, told him I had already been praying & quickly left….a bit amazed a the events taking place before my very eyes. 

We did spend the next month in prayer seeking Gods will & confirmation.  Believing that the Lord often uses parents wisdom to lead & direct our lives, Dan called my father during that time to ask his blessing to marry me. My Dad said yes.

On March 18, 1986 at the end of our weekly youth service at church Dan stood up, took the microphone & said he had something to say.  At that moment one of the girls walked out & handed him a bouquet of red roses as I began to turn white realizing what he was about to do.  He told the youth group that he had a question to ask them – “I would like permission to marry your youth pastor”.  The room erupted in cheers, screams, clapping & jumping over chairs as he turned to me, got on his knees, opened a box with a beautiful diamond ring and asked – “Beth, will you marry me?”  I was a bit stunned but managed to say yes throughout all the chaos going on around me.  After the evening came to an end and Dan left to drive some students home, I sat alone in he darkened sanctuary singing songs of praise & worship to the Lord and thanking Him for His awesome plan for my life and for answering my prayers.

We went on our first official date two days later and thus began a nine month courtship where our six years of friendship and our new found passion would grow & develop into a deep and committed love.  We have now been married almost 21 years and Dan is truly the love of my life, my best friend and partner in everything! God is the perfect matchmaker!

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I pray that each of my daughters and my son will seek the Lord and let Him be the ultimate matchmaker in their lives!

 

  

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Family & Friends Friday – Rite of Passage

This week marked the beginning of a year long ritual for our second daughter Amy, called a Christian Rite of Passage.   This is one of our most significant family traditions.  Let me share with you some details about this awesome experience.

What is a Christian Rite of Passage?

It comes from Jewish roots – the Bat Mitzvah – meaning “daughter of the Commandment”. (the Bar Mitzvah means “son of the Commandment”) In the Jewish community, the Bat Mitzvah is a period of instructing the child in her faith and traditions, culminating in a ceremony that recognizes entrance into adulthood.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man I put away childish things.” The Jewish Bat Mitzvah is a strong connecting point for the young woman between faith, traditions, family & the community.

There are four main goals of the Christian Rite of Passage for a young woman:

  • To provide instruction on what it means to be a godly woman.
  •  To create a point in time for the child to accept responsibility for her own spiritual growth. The child will enter into spiritual adulthood and we, as parents, move from being teachers to coaches. 
  • To establish mentoring relationships with adult women. These mentors will teach, encourage and guide the young lady in her walk with Christ. They are the her accountability team. 
  • To extend a formal parental blessing upon the child

It is the culmination of teaching many Biblical life principles to Amy and having her choose to follow them for herself. It is a time of commitment for all of us – to renew our commitment to Christ. To choose to be consistent in Bible study, prayer, church attendance, listening to God & being led by His Spirit. To let the world know we are serious about following Jesus – no turning back!

We officially began Amy’s Rite of Passage year with a Tea Luncheon this past Sunday.  It was a wonderful afternoon of warm fellowship & sharing.  Amy picked out her favorite teas (peach and cinnamon apple), tea sandwhiches (almond chicken, shrimp crescents, cucumber cream cheese & egg salad) and the dessert (banana cream pie).  We began a new tradition of purchasing a special tea pot to commerate this occassion. (don’t worry Michelle we will let you retroactively get a tea pot too!)  Amy picked out a perfect “Amy” teapot….with a yellow butterfly on the lid.

We shared with her mentors the importance of this Rite of Passage and told them the specific areas they would be mentoring & teaching Amy in over the next year.  The topics included the following:

The Word of God
Prayer
Purity & Holiness
Lessons from Women of the Word
Ministry/Service/Outreach
Evangelism & Missions
Friendship – Developing & nurturing Godly relationships
Defending your Faith/Biblical world view
Christian Marriage
Christian Family Life & Children
Christian Leadership & Influence

We closed our time together gathering around & praying for Amy. 

It is really an incredible & meaningful event for the child going thru this experience as well as the mentors & the entire family. It truly is being purposeful about your job of raising up your children in the faith.  Perhaps my eldest daughter, Michelle who completed her Rite of Passage four years ago, as well as possibly her mentors or even those who attended the ceremony will comment here as to their thoughts on this ritual and its significance & impact on them.  I hope it inspires you to consider doing something like this for your children.

If you want information on this ritual as well as celebrating other spiritual milestones with your family….let me recommend Spiritual Milestones: A Guide to Celebrating Your Child’s Spiritual Passages A Guide to Celebrating Your Child's Spiritual Passages (Heritage Builders) by our friends from Colorado, Jim & Janet Weidmann.  It has been a fabulous resource for our family.

I will occassionally keep you updated on Amy’s progress and of course next fall you’ll get the full story of her Rite of Passage ceremoy & celebration!

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Tea Time Tuesday – 9/11 Remembrance

 It is Patriot Day! 

A day to remember the events, heros and victims of September 11, 2001. We decided to have a patriotic tea party and special remembrance of 911 for our weekly Tuesday Tea Time.(for those of you anxiously awaiting the next part of my courtship classes…it will be coming next week!)

We set up our tea with a patriotic theme – festive red, white & blue table settings and flags as a centerpiece. (for those of you who think this was planned out in advance and that I am super organized…think again! I simply realized this morning that it was tea day & that it was September 11 so I “threw it all together” on a whim!)  The girls (including cousin Ashley dscn3511.jpgdscn3517.jpgwho is here visiting from Redding) got into the spirit & dressed for the occassion. We even found an instrumental CD called “Stars & Stripes Forever” to play as background music. As we served our tea & cookies we talked about September 11, 2001.  Each of the older girls shared what they remember from that day. Most could remember the television showing the planes hitting the towers, the feelings of fear and sadness as well as the American pride & patriotism that prevailed.  Aunt Jennae showed up unexpectedly and joined our tea time. (What a blessing! I knew I should have listened to that still small voice that said I should always have an extra tea setting on the table.)  She shared her remembrances of that day and touched our hearts with her passion.dscn3522.jpg

After they each shared I got out my 2001 photo albums.  I was actually in the Washington DC area on a business trip on that fateful day in American history, along with my then 7 year old daughter, Kristen. (she is now 13!) We were getting ready to fly home on that very same morning those planes were flown into the twin towers. dscn3523.jpgI read to them my reflections & remembrances of that time. (I am so thankful that I took the time to write this down!)  Here is an excerpt from my album –

From the moment I turned on the television at my mothers home in Springfield, Virginia…everything began to become surreal.  I sat frozen alone on the couch as I realized the atrocity and severity of what was happening.  All I could think was that I wanted to be home with my family. I was 3000 miles away and with all air traffic being suspended indefinately, there was no certainity of when I could get home.  I called Dan who was still unaware of what was happening on the East Coast (It was still very early in California).  He prayed for me & told me how much he loved me.  He also shared how relieved he was that I was at home at my Moms and not on an airplane at that moment.

As I sat back down to watch the unfolding drama I learned that another plane had crashed just down the freeway from where I was into the Pentagon.  I was stunned! What was happening…and what would be next?  It was at that point I looked down at my confirmed airline itinerary dated September 11. 2001 from Washington DC to California.  The full impact hit me.  I easily could have been a passanger on one of those airplanes heading to California. I began to cry & praise the Lord that it was not my time to die and that I was not on an airplane right then being divereted to another city somewhere in the U.S.  I was at my mothers home with my sweet daughter. I had a lot to be thankful for that day.    We finally did get home four days later. (but not without several delays including getting stuck in Minneapolis for a night and being graciously taken in by a business associate Leanne Anderson) I was so happy to be home with my precious family.

In the aftermath of 911, it was inspiring to see patriotism come to life in America. Everywhere you looked people were wearing red, white & blue, flying flags, putting up signs & showing their love for their country & fellow citizens.  Flags were everywhere – on every home, hanging from bridges, on cars, on buildings, on clothing…it was overwhelming & emotional.  I found myself with eyes filled with tears and getting choked up several times a day as I witnessed the love of others and the patriotism that had been sorely missing in the daily life of most Americans.  People also began to give of their time, talent & treasure in abundance.  On every street corner money  was being collected & people gave freely.  Many volunteered their time and stood in line for hours to give blood.  It was an incredible moment in history to witness this outpouring of love & generosity.

This tragedy of 911 also turned many peoples hearts back to the Lord and to faith.  Everyone was in desperate search of answers and in great need of peace, hope & security.  People were coming together in droves to pray and seek God. Our common faith in God became evident to all.  The cross rose up out of the ashes of the towers and became a symbol of hope for those at Ground Zero in New York.  We all knew that we desperatley needed God.  No one was offended by people praying or evoking the name of Jesus. There was a National Memorial Service broadcast worldwide where Billy Graham boldly proclaimed the gospel.

September 11, 2001 was truly a day that changed everything. 

We ended the tea by watching this video.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did as you remember where you were on September 11.  We here at the Lambdin home…will NEVER forget!

 God Bless You & God Bless America!

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