Category Archives: Family Traditions

Advent Devotionals

I finally did it!

After years of promising to recreate, edit and post the two Advent devotionals I wrote back in 1997…today I got it done! (well ok it took almost two full days)  Someday perhaps I will officially publish these books so they will be easy to use and have copies on hand for the entire family but for now at least you have access to these devotionals that can be used during your weekly Advent devotional service with your friends or family.

The first one is for any age and includes prayers, scripture readings, the candlelighting, great discussion questions, Christmas worship and an Advent blessing.  We have primarily used this one in our family for years and it never gets “old”.  Make sure you involve the whole family in the readings and participating in the service You can click on the title below which will take you to a PDF of the devotional along with the Advent Primer information I posted in the previous blog.

Jesus Came – An Advent Devotional

When I was first inspired to write an Advent devotional it was because I couldn’t find a “child friendly” one to use with my girls who at the time were 7, 4, 2 and 1 years old.  I needed something simple with some good “hands on” activities or “visual aids” to keep them focused.  So I decided to write my own advent devotional for families with small children.  It is written for children seven and under but all ages can benefit from the devotions. Again be sure to let the children be involved in lighting the candles, praying and reading. You can click on the link below to get a PDF version of “The Gift of Jesus”

The Gift of Jesus – An Advent Adventure for Families with Small Children

I am not charging for these resources….they are my gift to you.  However if you would like to give a donation to my new non profit organization – Inspire Ministries – that would be a huge blessing as we are launching our website and first magazine in the next month and are in much need of funding for these projects as well as other start up expenses.  We currently have a facebook page that you can check out and see what our  plans are for this ministry.  You can click on this link to be taken to that page and if you hit the “Like” button you will become one of our fans!

If  you would like to make a donation for these Advent Devotionals – you can do so on our secure paypal site here.

If you would consider becoming a monthly partner with Inspire Ministries to help us encourage and inspire people to live a life of passion, purpose and praise please email us at inspire@bethlambdin.net and we will give you information on supporting us.  We are looking for 100 partners at $25 a month during this start up year. Thank you for your consideration of these needs!

I hope that you all enjoy a meaningful and joyful Advent season.

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Filed under Christmas Season, Church Calendar Traditions, Family Traditions, Inspire Ministries

An Advent Primer

 

For many of us this time from November to the beginning of January is considered the “holiday season” and it truly can be the “most wonderful time of the year”.  And yet today with so many competing & conflicting messages surrounding these holidays – we often let the TRUE meaning slip away from us and we miss this wonderful opportunity to build up our faith and teach our children.

It is sad to think that the day set aside to celebrate the birth of our Lord & Savior has become vastly commercialized – fully exploited for profit.  The sales seem to start earlier and earlier each year enticing us to buy, buy, buy!  The pressure to give gifts is relentless and fills many with a dreaded sense of obligation or “guilt gifting”.  How many of us have lamented this commercialization & yet we let year after year go by without being purposeful about making sure Jesus is at the very heart & center of our celebrations.

In today’s culture there is also a full on assault on the Christian faith that is being being attacked relentlessly from many avenues – everywhere from court decisions, to politics, to the marketplace, to education as well as atheists who take offense at the fact that Christmas truly is about Jesus (whether they like that or not). Billboards like this are popping up everywhere during the holiday season.

When children were recently asked at a shopping mall what the true meaning of Christmas was….they responded with —

• Santa Claus
• Presents! Presents! Presents!
• Christmas Trees & Lights
• and even one said…something to do with the Discovery of America

Children learn about Christmas like they learn about most things in life – from their families. Even in our own very purpose driven family when I ask my five year old, at the beginning of the Christmas season, what it is all about  he responds with….“Presents!”  I then explain to him that it is not really about getting  presents at all but rather a celebration of the birth of Jesus. It takes him several weeks to instantly answer…“Jesus!” …after being quizzed as to the true meaning of Christmas. (Yes, repetition IS the key to learning!)

I don’t know about you but I want my children to grow up and reject the commercialization of Christmas, to not “cave in” to the pressure to spend and make the season all about gifts and to stand strong against the anti Christian culture that is gaining strength and momentum.

I believe that as purposeful Christians we should have three main goals during the Christmas season –

  1. To teach the true meaning of “Christmas” to our children – (after all the word “Christ – mas” – means Christ worship)
  2. To emphasize the spiritual & NOT the secular – let’s have everything point to Jesus!
  3. To use the holiday season to share the love of Jesus Christ with others!

One of the best ways that our family has been able to keep the Christmas season focused on the gift of the Savior (rather than the gifts under the tree!) is by celebrating Advent.  This is one of those rare years that Thanksgiving fell so early in November that Advent did not begin the Sunday after Thanksgiving…but rather has its start next Sunday December 2nd. This morning as I contemplated the calendar…it struck me how many of my blog readers would actually have a chance to implement the observance of Advent this year as they would have the entire week to prepare if I could quickly get a blog post out to inspire them to begin this awesome family tradition!  So my dear friends…lets begin an Advent “primer” to get you all fully up to speed and ready to begin this coming Sunday!

What is Advent?

The word Advent means “coming” – celebrating Advent means celebrating the coming of Jesus. This is three fold for our family:

  1. His historical coming – as in His physical birth over 2000 years ago.
  2. His coming into our hearts – the moment in time that we commit our hearts and lives to Jesus (as the Christmas hymn O Little Town of Bethlehem so eloquently describes: “O holy child of Bethlehem! Descend to us, we pray; Cast out our sin, and enter in; Be born in us today”)
  3. His prophetic final coming in the last days – the ultimate return of Jesus Christ for which we wait expectantly!

 When is Advent?

The season of Advent begins four weeks before Christmas. This year it is Sunday December 2, 2012

  • Advent 2013 begins on the First Sunday in Advent, December 1, 2013
  • Advent 2014 begins on the First Sunday in Advent, November 30, 2014
  • Advent 2015 begins on the First Sunday in Advent, November 29, 2015
  • Advent 2016 begins on the First Sunday in Advent, November 27, 2016

 Celebrating Advent

Celebrating Advent helps you to set aside time every day or at least once a week to concentrate on the true meaning of Christmas. We have celebrated advent in our family several ways over the years but our main annual tradition that we have always done is having an advent wreath and weekly family devotional service.

The Wreath

The Advent wreath is in a circle which represents eternity and is  surrounded by evergreens which represent life….eternal life. The wreath is decorated with five candles….one for each of the four Sundays before Christmas and one for Christmas Eve.

The first candle (purple) symbolizes hope – the hope that the Messiah would come

The second candle (purple) symbolizes love – Gods love towards us for sending His Son Jesus to save us from our sins

The third candle (pink) symbolizes joy – the joy we find in Christ and His coming

The fourth candle (purple) symbolizes peace – the peace that comes in knowing Christ as Lord and Savior

The fifth candle is the Christ candle (white in center) which symbolizes purity

The wreath is always in the center of our table so everyday we are reminded of the Advent season.

The Family Advent Service or Devotional

We have our weekly advent service every Sunday evening during dessert. We always dim the lights and set the table with some festive china….we want to make it a special time that the kids look forward to! We use a simple advent devotional book that is not too cumbersome so we don’t lose the attention of the younger children. Our service includes – scripture reading, lighting of the advent candle, a short story, singing some Christmas hymns & prayer. Different family members take part in each aspect of the service so everyone is involved. (they love that!)

After our service we enjoy yummy desserts & egg nog, hot apple cider or cocoa while we savor family time together.  Having a weekly Advent family service I believe has been one of the key components of keeping Jesus the focus of our Christmas season.

There are multiple resources out there for good devotional books or head on over to the Christian bookstore and pick one up.  I have two that I have written which I hope to have up for you before Sunday!  (UPDATE: got’er done!  You can access the devotionals here)

Other Advent Adventures

There are many other things that you can do daily for Advent and if you search the Internet I am sure there are a plethora of great ideas.  Don’t get overwhelmed just pick one or several and just do it!

We have had an Advent Prayer banner in our home where we list people who are lost, hurting, in need of a healing or a Christmas miracle. Everyday we pray for these people and add new names to the list. It helps us keep our focus on others and not ourselves.

This year we will be adding a new Advent activity to our family traditions.  We have heard of these wonderful Advent storybooks – Jothams Journey, Bartholomews Passage and Tabitha’s Travels – from our friends for years and I finally purchased them.  They are fifteen minute readings that are simple, short and spiritual.  A wonderful way to keep shopping, traffic, rehearsals, concerts, parties and all the other preparations of Christmas in balance with the reality of God in our lives. We will begin the first book this Advent season…reading a selection everyday. I can’t wait!

I pray that today you will be inspired to begin your own celebration of Advent this year…setting aside time to really focus on the true meaning of this wonderful time of the year.  Whether you are a college student in the dorm with your fellow co-eds, a single young adult, a newly married or childless couple, a young family, small family, big family, crazy family, empty nesters or elderly grandparents….I encourage you to do prepare your heart for Christmas by observing Advent this year in a very special way!

I would love to hear what you plan to do this year for Advent! Leave a comment below so that we may all enjoy.

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Filed under Christmas Season, Church Calendar Traditions, Faith, Family Traditions, Inspiration

I want a personal Epiphany!

I have a celebration to get ready for tonight!

Today, January 6, is Epiphany, meaning “vision of God”. It is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. Western Christians commemorate principally (but not solely) the visitation of the Biblical Magi to the Baby Jesus, and thus Jesus’ physical manifestation to the Gentiles. Eastern Christian celebrations commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God. Christians fixed the date of the feast on January 6 quite early in their history (The earliest reference to Epiphany as a Christian feast was in A.D. 361) and it is the culmination of the Advent and Christmas season. It is celebrated by believers in many countries and cultures around the world….

….but not so much in the good ole USA.

When I tell friends that we are celebrating Epiphany I usually receive puzzled looks or blank stares indicating that they have simply no earthly idea what I am talking about.  Every year we invite families to join us in our celebration in hopes of inspiring others to begin to celebrate this important spiritual day. And many of those families have gone on to have their own Epiphany celebrations making it a part of their family traditions (which blesses me beyond measure! I have explained how we celebrate, complete with our menu, devotional and pictures here & here)  And if you are thinking…”Why would I want to celebrate Epiphany?”  I want to challenge you to instead think…”Why not?”

  • It’s a Christian observance that dates back 1,700 years…if it was important to the early church, perhaps it should be important to us!
  • It is a phenomenal way to instill biblical accounts of Jesus and build a firm faith foundation in your children through a fun celebration (and if you make it a tradition…you will create memories that will last a lifetime and are centered around their faith)
  • We should all take every opportunity possible to remember and celebrate Jesus…the one who changed our life!

As I woke up early this morning I had Epiphany on my mind.  Yes swirling through my head were logistical aspects of our celebration like….the seating arrangements for 22 friends & family, the mental shopping list of things I need to pick up, the job assignments for my kids to carry out today…but even beyond that I kept saying the word…Epiphany…over and over in my mind.  You see just the word alone is really interesting….and different….and smooth as it floats out of your mouth with a puff of air. “Ehhhh…Pifffff…aneeee” And as I often do I pondered the definition of the word and it’s implications in my life taking those thoughts with me as I began my morning routine.

Epiphany: e·piph·a·ny  [ i píffənee ]

1. an appearance or manifestation, especially of a deity.
2. a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, especially through an ordinary but striking occurrence
 
I don’t know about you but I want a personal Epiphany!
 
I want God to appearto manifestto show up in my life!
 
I want His amazing grace
 
I want His perfect peace
 
I want His healing touch
 
I want His abundant provision
 
I want His unlimited wisdom
 
I want His creative touch
 
I want His inspiring revelation
 
I want His boundless love
 
I want His unspeakable joy
 
Yes I want an “Epiphany”…a personal appearance of God in my life…everyday!  And then it hit me.  I have just that!  I have been given by God….the Holy Spirit, who lives in me and desires to manifest in my life everyday!
 
“And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God.” 1 John 4:13-14
 
I have the very spirit of the living God living in me and I can allow Him to manifest grace, peace, healing, provision, creativity, wisdom, inspiration, love and joy every day of my life.  And yet….all too often I don’t.  I have moments throughout my day where I give Him the chance to manifest, but sadly all too often I let me, myself and I be in the driver’s seat of my life. Why? I guess I could say because it is easier (than having God show up…not!), because I want to be in control and must think I am better at it (ha! how ridiculous is that?), or because I spend much more time taking care of my body, soul and mind than I do my spirit (ouch! truth hurts sometimes)
 
So today on this Epiphany I will once again renew my commitment to let the God of the universe rule and reign in my heart and life…allowing the Holy Spirit to manifest through me and give Him control of my life.  I know, I know…easier said than done…but yet I will continue to press on to this goal!
 
If you are a believer, I hope that perhaps you and your family will begin today to celebrate Epiphany in some way, be it big or small.  But my prayer is that all of you reading this might have your own personal Epiphany today, where the Lord appears to you, right where you are, and takes what you thought was an ordinary day…and makes it divine!
 
 

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Filed under Christmas Season, Faith, Family Traditions, Inspiration, Life at the Lambdins

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?

Blogging Blitz

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

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or (gasp) Xmas!

Sometimes I just get a little weary of all the “fuss” about terminology at Christmas time. 

Egads!  Boycott this store for using the term holiday instead of Christmas…but it’s time to go back to this store for switching their policy to use Christmas once again.  Give the clerk an annoying look if they say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Making an emphatic statement on Facebook that your tree is NOT a holiday tree. And don’t even get me started on those who take great offense and wax eloquent at the word “Xmas”.

As if doing or saying these things somehow make us more spiritual or prove that we are keeping Christ at the center of the celebration when in reality the things many of us do (myself included) during this season…like shopping for presents, putting up trees, hanging tinsel, baking cookies or sipping holiday drinks at Starbucks have precious little to do with  Christ.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not interested in downgrading the Christmas season, taking Christ out of Christmas or making it even more secular than it already has become.  In fact I am just the opposite.  I want to make my personal observation and family traditions during this season even more significant, more about Christ and more spiritual.

But let’s get to the bottom of all this terminology mish mash.

Christmas after all is really a shortened version of “Christ Mass”….with Mass being a term used for holy communion (the Lord’s supper).  So we as Christians, who observe Christmas and perhaps on occasion have taken offense at the switch from Christmas to Holiday, have in reality ourselves already replaced “Christ Mass” with a more shall we say “watered down” version – Christmas.

Speaking of “Holiday” and of shortening or abbreviating words….

Did you know that the word “Holiday” is really the shortened version of  “Holy Day”? In ancient times these days were given to workers so they could go to church and worship.  With Christmas being one of the only days left on the calendar where nearly everyone gets the day off of work thus giving us all the opportunity to worship and attend services, it is actually a very appropriate word to use at Christmas…don’t ya think? A true Holy Day!  (side note: since Christmas falls on Sunday this year everyone really can attend a worship service and yet how many believers will choose not to do so because it is inconvenient or cuts into the present opening or dinner plans…isn’t that ironic? Just sayin’)

Then there is the dreaded “Xmas” – A common misconception among Christians is that using an X is replacing Christ in Christmas.  When in actuality the “X” comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Χριστός, translated as “Christ”.  So Xmas is really just another shortened version of Christ Mass just like Christmas.  Having been very involved in Chi Alpha (XA – Christ First) campus ministries in college I have no problem seeing the X as it’s true meaning  – Christ.

So now that we have that all settled let’s spend some time this month really making Jesus the center of our celebration instead of quibbling about terminology.

Merry Christ Mass!

Happy Holy Day!

And here’s to a blessed Xmas 2011!

I will be posting over the next several weeks ways we here in the Lambdin house are trying to truly keep Christ at the center of our Christmas. I would love to hear from you how you are keeping Christ first in your celebration. (Please share in the comment section so we can all benefit)

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Filed under Christmas Season, Family Traditions, My "take"

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"

Thankfulness…for that, God?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 



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