Category Archives: Inspiration

Dan…the man!

I am sitting at Peets Coffee in Roseville with time to kill while my husband, Dan is enjoying a 90 minute massage next door!  Yesterday I picked up him from work and whisked him away for a special birthday celebration. I simply told him to pack an overnight bag with a “date night” outfit and casual clothes because he is going to get a day off for his birthday!

We do not really celebrate birthdays for Mom & Dad in our family.  Of course we usually have a special birthday dinner at home and top it of with cake and ice cream but other than the BIG birthdays (like 40 & 50, so far) where we have had parties with friends and family…Dan and my birthdays come and go with very little fanfare.  Which is really a-ok.  But for some reason this year I felt compelled to do something special for my best friend, partner in everything and love of my life…Dan!

And not just because he is those things to me, but because he is truly an amazing, selfless, godly man who continually gives and gives and gives to those around him without expecting anything in return.  So I decided to give him a day completely “off”….away from it all.  He is very unlike me who is always for looking for ways of getting away…whether it is lunch or coffee dates with dear friends, Mothers Fellowship Nights with our homeschool Moms, weekends way scrapbooking, day trips to fun places and we won’t even mention the beach holiday I take that keeps getting longer & longer each year!  No, he rarely thinks about himself and is always working, teaching, counseling, advising, coaching, parenting and the list goes on & on & on.  And he does it all with a smile on his face, joy in his heart, a kind word or bit of humor on his lips and he never…not ever complains.

As a Teacher & School Chaplain he composes and completes creative lesson plans; grades hundreds of papers & tests, records that same number into his computer; teaches five classes to students with different abilities, personalities, attitudes and interest levels trying his best to reach and inspire them all; researches new ideas and concepts by continually reading material, books, websites and watching videos; gives extra help during lunch, afterschool and even over his cell phone late at night; attends staff meeting & devotions, disciplinary council, accreditation and department meetings; encourages fellow staff members taking the time to listen to them and pray for them; serves as class advisor and Impact club advisor always getting fully involved in student activities; he attend athletic competitions, dramatic & musical performances and even outside of school events for students to show his support and love for them; he counsels, advises, loves, encourages, prays for & with his students as well as countless alumni; he sets up and tears down for chapel, plans services and secures chapel speakers from vast and varied backgrounds hoping to please everyone (ha!); he organizes & oversees the worship team; he facilitates school camp and spiritual emphasis week; he visits students who are sick, attends funerals and comforts hurting families; he communicates and meets with parents who are often disgruntled, distressed or unhappy (not too many set up a meetings or call, text or email to share what they are happy about); he stays after school events to stack chairs, vacuum and assist in clean up often waiting until the very last student gets a ride home; he coaches girls teams with the intensity of a man but the care & concern of a guy with 4 sisters and 7 daughters; he leaves the house each day at 6:30am…rarely arrives home before 5pm (and on game days it is 7, 8 or even 9pm)…and then spends most evenings on the couch grading, grading and doing more grading (in between daddy duties) finally heading to bed late at night (a tough task for a natural morning guy).  Yes, I think he needs a day off! (and thankfully he turned off his phone last night and didn’t get the 8am wake up call from the school needing to know where a cord for the chapel sound system was)

As a Daddy he gives baths, reads bedtime stories, fixes “owies”, does the girls hair (yes! he really does…even Christiana’s cute “do’s” are all his creations) and cuts the boys hair; he prays over and for the kids, teaches them the Bible, takes them to church every Sunday (and served in the nursery for 18 years!), leads in family communion and devotions, and is a role model of a man after God’s heart; he attends all their sporting events, coaches teams, gives pre and post game advice on how to play and compete, about injuries and exercise as well as cheering wildly from the side lines (and occasionally yells at the ref to the chagrin of the wife); he gives driving lessons, helps with school assignments and “lectures” appropriately at every turn; he loves them all completely and unconditionally and in a New York minute would give his life for each and everyone of his children!  He is also “like a Daddy” to countless young (and not so young anymore) people who he has more than willingly taken on the role of a father for. Yes, he deserves a day off! (and might I add that his five eldest daughters who have their own money generously gave so that their daddy could be blessed in this way!)

As a  House Handyman he mows the lawn (to perfection), plants, weeds, gardens, cleans inside the house, outside the house and the cars, kills bugs & rodents, repairs everything, unclogs toilets and sinks, changes lightbulbs, fills gas tanks, takes out the garbage, fixes the cars, goes up into the attic even when it is 120 degrees up there, packs the car like no one’s business for every trip anyone goes on; grills, cooks and even on occasion bakes and it always tastes amazing;  he does all the heavy lifting (good thing he’ll have Daniel when he gets older!) and takes care of everything classified as “gross”; he always has a “honey do” list staring at him and he simply smiles and chips away at knowing that it will never end.  Yes, he really should have a day off!

As a Friend to all he is always there for any needs that his friends have!  He counsels with, gives advice to, prays for and gives freely of his time, his talent and his treasure; he never says no to someone who asks for a favor; he drives people to airports, loans out his car, helps with moving in and moving out; assists with building projects, painting, roofing, yard work and more; he does pre-marital counseling (and post!), performs weddings and funerals, speaks at church ministries, teaches Sunday School, disciples, mentors, encourages, challenges and trains anyone who asks (and even some who don’t). He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother….faithful and true! Yes, I think he would love a day off!

As my ideal husband he is…well….there is no other way to say it…practically perfect in every way!  He opens the door for me, carries my things (and at times even my purse!), pulls out my chair when we sit down to eat out, makes me coffee in the morning, kisses me good morning, good bye, hello and goodnight; he cares for me when I am sick, pampering me and meeting my every need (if you only knew what that meant during each of my 7 awful pregnancies), he believes in me, cheers me on, encourages me, challenges me to be better, protects me, defends me and adores me; he serves me, leads me and he loves me just like Jesus Christ loves his bride, the church!  And let me tell you this is not all that easy to accomplish with a strong willed, intense, fussy, opinionated, stubborn, driven, “type A” wife like me!  Yes, I got a “sweet deal” on a husband and yes, he deserves a day off!

Well, my 90 minutes is over (I could say so much more about Dan…the man, but I am sure he won’t want to sit here and watch me write on his “day off”  although we all know he would do it with patience and a smile cuz that’s just the way he rolls!) Happy Birthday Dan…may you be blessed beyond measure today and throughout this new year of life that has been given to you!  May all of those who you have given your life to as a teacher, chaplain, coach, friend, counselor, minister and daddy pour out their love and bless you abundantly today and everyday of your life!

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Filed under Blessings, Inspiration, Life at the Lambdins, Making a Difference

The last time…

Tonight was senior night…the last time I will ever watch my #3 daughter play on her high school volleyball team. <sigh>

There are lots of “lasts” during a senior year in high school –  everything from the last “first” day of school, the last homecoming, the last powder-puff game, the last winter formal …to the last chapel, the last final, the last lunch on campus with friends and the last day of school. And then in our tradition laden family there are many other lasts that we not only commemorate but remind the soon to be graduate to enjoy and relish as it may be – the last family trip to the pumpkin patch, the last Thanksgiving at home, the last Christmas tree hunt, the last beach holiday, the last Walk for Life, the last Valentines Dinner with Daddy, the last family Passover meal, Good Friday hot cross buns and Easter Sunrise Service and the list goes on.

The nice part of this high school finale’ is that you know when each of these “lasts” are happening.  They are nicely calendared, organized and recognized as the momentous events that they are.  Ahhhhhh if only we had such knowledge of the many precious “last” times we experience with our children:

  • The last time we kissed an owie and wiped tears off that soft cheek
  • The last time we rocked our baby to sleep
  • The last time they were small enough to pick up and hold in our arms
  • The last time we buckled them in the car seat
  • The last time we helped them brush their teeth
  • The last time we tied their shoe
  • The last time we had to catch them when they jumped off the monkey bars
  • The last time they crawled into bed with us in the middle of the night 
  • The last time we woke up in the morning to watch their deep rhythmic breathing and peaceful face as they slept

These “lasts” are not calendared or commemorated.  They seem to just happen during our everyday lives and often, even upon looking back, we cannot remember when we experienced one of these last precious moments of childhood.  They just slowly fade away with no fanfare, no picture-taking, no holding on and breathing in of the last time we get to experience some of the greatest joys of being a parent.

There is also another season of “last times” that seem to slip through our fingers. After the tragic heartbreaking loss of a loved one we can instantly look back and remember –

  • our last conversation
  • the last time we were together
  • the last time we told them we loved them
  • the last laughter we shared
  • the last hug, kiss or tender affection

And just like those precious moments of childhood that slip away without notice, we never knew that this would be “the last time”…….

During seasons like my daughters senior year of high school I am very purposeful to live “fully in the moment”, cherishing and enjoying each special event, activity and “last time” that we have together.  Maybe there is something to be learned from this. Maybe I should more purposefully cherish each and everyday with my little children who will all too soon be grown up and having their own “last” year of high school.  Maybe I should cherish each and every moment I have with my friends, family and loved ones, always taking the time to stop and tell them I love them, share a laughter or an embrace and live fully in the moment! Life truly is short and quickly passing by….Lord help me make the most of each moment.

This just might be the last time…..

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Filed under Attitude, Blessings, Inspiration, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons

Words of Wisdom for the College Bound

Along the path of life we have “adopted” many young people into our family and home.  Some have had need of just an extra set of godly loving parents and some have suffered the absence of a parent or even both through the travesty of divorce, death or sometimes sad indifference and have needed everything from love, wisdom, help, encouragement and mentoring to often even meals, lodging and a place to call home.

One of these very special and dear to our heart daughters is Tiffana.  She came into our lives over 8 years ago when she was literally saved off the streets of Chico and ended up as a senior at our high school. (and that there is an amazing story that perhaps someday I will have her share with you all).  We loved her from the moment we met her and over the years we have had the joy of teaching, mentoring  and watching her grow into a beautiful young woman with a heart after God.  She is truly one of our family members. Dan and I love her as if she is one of our own. My children love her as a big sister and a friend. We are truly blessed to have her in our lives.

My second daughter, Amy is  leaving for college this week in Waxahachie Texas and for her college send off party Tiffana wrote out the following words of wisdom that I asked her if I could post on this blog as I thought they were so perfect, not only for Amy, but for any student about to leave home for college.  Tiffana speaks from experience as she has been at both a secular university as well as a Christian one, had a stint in the world of junior colleges and has lived both on campus in the dorms and off campus with friends.  She is currently in the last season of her collegiate life and gives great warnings and great advice to those about to begin this journey.

My sweetest Amy!

You are about to embark on one of the most incredible journeys of your life. A journey filled with new ideas, experimenting, application and simple fun. A journey filled with challenges and exciting new territories: a season of being on your own and far away from mom and dad. I call this phase of life the experimental, preparation phase of your life. I was thinking about college, and I was thinking about the many years and many universities that I have attended, and all the things I wish I knew going into it. I was thinking about all the wrong choices that face us on a daily basis. Even beyond sex, drugs and rock and roll, I was thinking about relationships and friendships in college, and all the things that will bombard you on a daily basis. You have such an established foundation (please thank your parents for this on a daily basis), and I love your heart after God and your desire to please Him. And I know, in general terms, that we both know how incredibly wrong all these negative choices are, and the poor decisions that you could make are not one’s that you want to do, but for most people, including Christians, overt opportunities to do these things challenge the simple desire of wanting to do good. Sometimes, the battle in our minds and heart to choose the right thing hit the back burner when the stresses of life are right in front of your face and the choice to do wrong seems so much more attractive and easier. When things get difficult and you don’t feel like you have the support of your parents and sisters, things can feel unbearable, and we are often not disciplined enough in our minds to make the right decision. If we don’t decide in our heart going into this season to make the correct decision, before you know it, we make decisions that both break the heart of God and the heart of the people we love the most. So why am I saying all this? Because everyday you will have a hundred of possibilities to make the wrong decision, to engage in things and to act in ways that in the end will hurt you, and I wanted to encourage you and give you all the more reasons why you should continue to make the right decisions.

1.Learn to love God with all of your heart! Everything you do and don’t do will flow out of your identity, and your identity will flow out of who you know God to be. As much as you can find time, meditate on his word daily. I’ve heard it said like this, “We each have two dogs in us; a bad dog and a good dog. In any given battle, the dog that wins is the one you feed.”

2. Learn to love others unconditionally! Love is not selfish and should be freely given unconditionally. Keep loving people in the right way. The reality is that this will draw people much closer to you and make you quite attractive, but remember, when you see the line getting crossed, love them enough to clarify the line. NEVER forget who you are in Christ, and remember who they are as children of the Most High God. Remember that if they (including guys for this matter) want to cross that line, that to unconditionally love them is to respect their domain: it’s theirs, not yours and even if they willingly want to give it up, remind them that there is something much better.

3. Don’t forget about your soul: Value it! Remember to value who you are and to love who you are. Remind yourself daily that you truly are part of the fellowship of the One who made the heavens and the earth. Your design is perfect. Cherish the value of yourself and cherish the value of others around you. Don’t sacrifice your values in the name of loving people, bring them up and remind them of how valuable they are.

4. Remember that you are not alone! These years can seem to be some of the loneliest years. At least that’s how I have felt. There are times where I crave intimacy so deep that I’d be willing to sacrifice my values to feel a moment of closeness. Instead, cherish these seasons of loneliness. These seasons where it’s just you and God. Because when it’s gone, its gone! And heck, when you are feeling the most lonely, just kick your shoes off, get a few girlfriends, buy a carton of ice cream, get a funny chick flick and just laugh.

5. Remember your Destiny! You have a future and a hope that will follow you for generations to come. Remember your children’s children. You will one day have a family, and that will be a beautiful and wonderful thing that needs to be cherished and protected. You will have a life that is full of meaning, purpose, love and hope. Cherish and protect this during these years by talking about it, planning for it, dreaming it, and loving every moment of it. Cherish your loneliness and embrace it. Don’t run from it! Oh…and don’t forget about your cowboy!

6. Have the Time of your Life! I’m sure you’ve heard it over and over, but time flies by. Remember when you first started High School, and now it’s over. College goes by so incredible fast (except me because I can’t seem to get out of college), and before you know it, it’s over. Cherish this time of growth and learning and discovering new things. Cherish the relationships and friendships you will build and the intimacy that you get to develop with the Lord.

I don’t assume these are things that you don’t know already, especially with your parents, and there’s a good chance you’ve practiced these things. I just tell you simply because we often forget when times get lonely, or tough. Remember, the world around us is needy, and lonely and often unloving. Friends around us fail and people hurt us. But remember who you are, remember why you love, and remember who first loved you. Stay fit in the Lord, stay strong, and fight the good fight because in the end, it will be worth it.

I love you SO much! HAVE A BLAST!!!

Tiffana LeMaster

A picture of Tiffana & Amy several years ago…time marches on!

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Filed under College & Career, Faith, Inspiration, Life Lessons

The Best Investment!

Fourteen years ago when Dan and I set out to start a Christian High School in our community one of the first orders of business for our founding board was to name the school. Most Christian schools are named after either the city or community where they reside, a church that sponsors them or after a Christian attribute or tenant  like Faith, Trinity, Grace, Hope, Calvary or Victory.  As we brainstormed these possibilities we decided that it would be fabulous to name the school after a Christian believer who had lived a stellar life of service and love for the Lord.  One of our compelling reasons for going in this direction was in hope that our students would be inspired by the dedicated life of a saint who had gone before them and that they would be challenged to a higher level of devotion to God through learning about their life.  We desired that this person would become a role model, mentor and example that they could follow.

After considering several great men and women of faith, the newly formed school board ultimately chose a missionary martyr named Jim Elliot and we were in wholehearted agreement with this decision!

Jim Elliot, born in 1927, was raised in a strong Christian home with parents who took him to church and read the Bible regularly.  Jim professed faith in Jesus at the age of six and grew up in a home where obedience and honesty were strictly enforced.   During high school he participated in numerous activities, including the school newspaper, the football team, school plays, and the public-speaking club.  His oratorical skills were  lauded—after preparing and delivering a speech in honor of President Franklin D. Roosevelt hours after his death, a faculty member called it one of the best speeches he had ever heard.

Jim used his speaking ability regularly, always ready at a moment’s notice to discuss Christianity or defend his moral beliefs.  He refused to compromise his convictions and was not afraid to launch into a mini-sermon explaining them.  He went on to Wheaton College, a private Christian college in Illinois, believing that God had led him there.  He saw his time there as an opportunity to grow spiritually, develop discipline, and prepare for future missions work. He did ultimately go to the mission field  in Ecuador along with his wife Elizabeth.  Not content with bringing the gospel to the civilized people of the country, he and his four companions flew into the lands of the savage Auca tribe.  Their first landing ended in a tragic massacre, but out of this seemingly senseless tragedy came the powerful testimony of the call of God on this man’s life that has inspired and challenged numerous people over the years to a closer walk with the Lord.

As our first school year drew to a close in 1999, we created the Jim Elliot Award.  This award was to be the pinnacle award that an Elliot student could achieve and would be given every year to the graduating senior who epitomized the life, character and commitment of Jim Elliot.  A student who like Jim Elliot was committed to their studies, involved in various student activities and community service, an influential leader and most importantly one whose commitment to the Lord was strong and unwavering.  Over the past 12 years this award has been presented to some very outstanding and stellar young people. The 2011 recipient is no exception.

During graduation ceremony on Saturday May 28 the school presented the Jim Elliot Award to….

Ana Martinez

Ana is a beautiful, dynamic, responsible, confident, impressive and simply amazing young lady!  Her accomplishments in high school are vast and include:

  • Four years in leadership on student council including doing an excellent job as Student Body President during this past year
  • Volleyball and Soccer team participation
  • Interact Service Club member throughout high school
  • Christian Character Award Winner for three years
  • Numerous Speech Contest & Oratory Awards
  • Church Volunteer
  • Community Volunteer
  • National Society of High School Scholars
  • Elliot Legacy Award
  • Harvest Christian League Scholar Athlete
  • National Association of Christian School Principals Leadership Award
  • ACSI Distinguished Christian High School Student Award

But most importantly, Ana loves the Lord Jesus with all her heart and has lived a life of faith and been a shining example for others  throughout all of her four years at Jim Elliot.  She will be attending Vanguard University and pursuing God’s will for her life.

In the beginning years of our school, we were  asked by the then guidance counselor, Candy Payne if we would be willing to give a scholarship to go along with this prestigious award since we were the founders of the school and she knew we would “go the distance” with JECHS far into the future, thus insuring that the scholarship would continue.  Although we lived on a very small salary  and had no idea where the money would come from we enthusiastically said…”YES! We would be honored!” And the Lord has provided us with the funds to give this scholarship each and every year since that time.  It is with great excitement, joy and gratitude to the Lord for giving us this opportunity that Dan and I will once again be presenting the award winner, Ana Martinez, with a personal $1,000 scholarship in honor of her becoming the 2011 Jim Elliot Award recipient.  We know that this investment in Ana and her future will pay great dividends in the kingdom of God!  What a blessing it will be to watch the great things that the Lord does in and through her as she follows him.

Could the Lord be nudging you through this post to make an investment in the life of a young person?  Maybe you are being asked to invest of your time in mentoring, teaching or encouraging a young man or woman? Or perhaps you need to consider investing your God-given talents into lives through coaching a youth sports team, tutoring a struggling student in an academic area, being an advisor to a class or club or using your musical, artistic or dramatic talents to inspire young performers?  Or are you be willing to invest of your finances to give a scholarship, help a child attend a camp or go on a missions trip? You may even be called to invest  your time, your talent and your treasure into the lives of young people who are our future leaders, teachers, entrepreneurs, inventors, heroes, public servants, ministers as well as future moms and dads.

I hope you will consider today what type of investment you can make and take the steps needed to make it happen. Believe me, investing in the life of a young person is truly one of the best investments you can ever make! I guarantee it!

Congratulations Ana and may the Lord bless you abundantly as you live for Him!

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Filed under Inspiration, Jim Elliot Christian High School

Cultivating Culture at Christmas

Last night I took a couple of the girls (the one’s who weren’t studying for finals…thumbs down to schools who are still in session even one day past December 15) and Granny to a local Christmas concert. It was a lovely evening listening to a youth chorale sing beautiful Christmas music in the majestic atmosphere of an old brick church complete with stained glass windows. As I sat there taking in the beauty all around me I realized how blessed I was to be raised in a home that appreciated culture and  I am truly grateful for this influence from both of my parents.

Experiencing and appreciating culture adds great value to our lives. I can’t begin to imagine my life without art, music, theater, literature and life long learning.

Art  is a work of creativity and God is the ultimate creator…all we need to do is look around at His creation to see the most amazing drawings, painting and sculptures. They have no rivals. When we see amazing art we are getting a glimpse of the creativity of God. When I see a thing of beauty it takes my breath away and causes my spirit to soar.

Music and poetry inspires us on so many levels…touching our heart and soul. It can cause us to rejoice and praise the Lord, dance, clap, shout, cry, laugh and sing.  I am often transformed to an amazing place of  complete joy, perfect love and glorious peace after listening  to inspiring music. It moves me in a way that nothing else does.

Literature and theater can instantly place us into someone elses story…giving us compassion, insight and even vision and motivation that can change the course of our lives.  Stories and plays can inspire and challenge me to do great things, take me on unbelievable adventures, touch my heart, teach me life lessons and bring me great joy and laughter along with tears.

Truly these things are a gift from God who is the creator of all things beautiful, awe-inspiring and good. I cannot imagine life without them.

It helped that growing up we often lived in large metropolitan cities where the cultural opportunities abounded. I,  however, have raised my family in a place not known for it’s cultural opportunities and yet because I believe that the arts add so much value to life I have chosen to actively pursue these experiences for my children.

Christmas provides the perfect time to cultivate culture in our lives and to influence and teach our children to appreciate the arts.  There are an abundance of cultural opportunities in even the smallest communities during this season. (and at this time of year there are many experiences that are free as well for those of us who have limited resources) 

Some of the ways you can take advantage of these opportunities

  • Find local Christmas concerts, ballets or church performances to attend…they are abundant
  • Check out your local museum…they often have special Christmas displays or exhibits
  • Call around to your civic theater, local high schools or colleges to see if there are any plays being performed (you can almost always find someone doing “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens)
  • Churches often have “living nativities” or special art displays (not to mention if you can find any older more traditional churches to visit the architecture, stained glass windows and sculptures are a cultural experience in themselves)
  • Christmas Home Tours are also prevalent at this time of year and are another great way to enjoy art, architecture and beauty

You can also create an atmosphere of cultivating culture in your own home.  We have been very purposeful with our children in bringing cultural experiences to them (it is also very helpful when your kids are small and may not be able to sit through a “live” performance or production)

  • Listening to classical Christmas music!  While contemporary seasonal music is the mainstay of our Christmas season we are sure to also include classics like The Boston Pops Orchestra.  Their rendition of a Christmas Festival is a staple in our home, in fact it is the first official Christmas song to be played after Thanksgiving.  I love it that my 3 year old son heard the opening strands in the car last week and enthusiastically shouted out – “Mommy! It’s Christmas!”
  • Reading Christmas Classics!  I don’t know why but it always seems so much easier to read books out loud at Christmastime.  I guess the combination of the cozy living room complete with a fire in the fireplace, twinkling Christmas lights, hot cocoa, cold weather that invites you to stay home and the extra family time without the pressure of school and work.  We have an entire box of Christmas books that we have collected over the years that only come out at Christmastime.

  • Watching Christmas Classic Movies!  Again the new Christmas movies are great for family movie night and we enjoy them immensely but there are a few “must watch” movies that are full of value and culture –  White Christmas, A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, The Nativity, Miracle on 34th Street and Little Women (ok so it’s not specifically a Christmas movie….but I have decided that it is for us). 
  • Watching Inspirational youtube videos!  Even if you can’t get out to a concert or live in a remote area without access to much culture, thanks to the Internet it can be brought right into your own home.  Every time I find an inspiring or excellent youtube I make my kids sit down and watch it. Here are some of my favorites this year:





  • Encouraging your children to put on a Christmas play of their own.  There are so many great Christmas stories to choose from or they could write their own.  Tell them that they can perform it as a Christmas gift to the family on Christmas day or other larger family get together.  Help them create costumes, gather props and any other support they need but let them create and perform. Besides adding culture and creativity to your life it will be some of the most memorable moments of their childhood.

  • Another easy way to add some art & creativity to your lives is through making homemade Christmas ornaments, Christmas cards and even decorating Christmas cookies.

  • Hosting our annual Mother Daughter Tea is one of our favorite Christmas traditions.  We have been hosting this tea for my girls friends and their mothers for 12 years.  Besides being a lot of fun for everyone it is a fabulous chance to add beauty and culture to our lives.  The fine Christmas china, setting a decorative table, dressing up, practicing etiquette and table manners are all great cultural experiences.  We also give the guests an opportunity to share their talents by singing, playing a musical instrument, reciting a poem or scripture, dramatic reading or signing to a musical selection. It is fabulous!

  • Memorizing the Christmas story from the Bible.  Most every year we take some time in the fall to memorize the story of Christ’s birth out of the book of Luke.  The younger school age children recite it on Christmas Eve.
  • Family Christmas Caroling Night, another family favorite tradition.  Each year we go out and sing Christmas carols at the doors of our friends & family members. It is a great chance to learn classic Christmas carols (and we sing all the verses…as my Mom would say…a song is like a poem and of you don’t sing all the verses you miss the entire meaning), learn to sing and a wonderful family bonding time.  If you did not want to trek all over the city singing you could simply sing around your fireplace, piano or Christmas tree or even go to a few rest homes, hospitals or children’s homes.

It’s not too late to add some culture to your Christmas this year. I would love to hear your ideas for cultivating culture both at Christmas as well as throughout the year.

PS – Tonight we will dress up and head out as a family (minus “the littles”) to a nice dinner and to see the Nutcracker Ballet compliments of my mother. (aka: Granny).  May I suggest that if you are a grandparent looking for a valuable gift to give your grandkids that will last a lifetime (rather than a few weeks or months)…give them a gift of a cultural experience!  And if you can go with them…even better yet!

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Filed under Christmas Season, Inspiration, Life at the Lambdins, Parenting

Tea Time Tuesday: A Word Aptly Spoken

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11

If you ever received a note, message or card where someone has taken the time to write out words of love, affirmation, encouragement, inspiration or wisdom to you personally then you know the powerful effect of the written word.  In fact I would be willing to bet that you have some of those meaningful notes, cards or messages stashed away in a special drawer, box or in the attic. 

Sometimes I wonder in this new age of facebook, twitter, text messages and email if the future generation will have the joy and pleasure of re-reading  and treasuring words of love and affirmation given to them by friends and family?  I hope not!

I have a box (actually I have three boxes!) of cards and notes that have been given to me over the years from my husband, children, parents, siblings, friends, business partners and former students.  If I ever need a good “pick me up” or am feeling unloved or unappreciated (any of you Moms out there ever have one of those days?) I can simply open up one of those boxes and read through those wonderful words once again.  They always lift my spirit and refresh my soul.

Today during Tea Time Tuesday we talked about the value of loving, affirming and encouraging others through our written words.  I pulled out one of the boxes and read some of  them to the girls.  We talked about the importance of not merely signing a card with your name but taking the time to write out something sincere, heartfelt and meaningful.  It does not have to be long but needs to be thought out.  We shared many things you could include:

  • adjectives that you could use to describe someone
  • stories you could tell to remember something special about them
  • prayers of blessing on their lives
  • words of wisdom that would add value to their life
  • giving encouragement or inspiration
  • adding relevant Bible scriptures or quotes

Let me share two different cards as examples.  The first is from Gloria Grupe, a dear family friend who always takes the time to not only remember my children’s birthdays but is also really gifted at making cards meaningful.

Dearest Joy:

God loves you dear one – so precious to the Lord.  I hope you are having a good birthday celebration. Always be a good thoughtful helper to Mom and the younger ones.  I saw you one day playing with Daniel when he could not even walk yet.  You were playing and entertaining him while your Mom and I were talking. You were on the kitchen floor. Now you have a brother and new sister.  You are the closest in age — a very special teacher you are.  They need to know all the very important things you know at 7 years old.  That is part of God’s plan for your life, that you be an example, helper and teacher to the younger ones. I know you will do a very good job!

Have a Happy Birthday,  Lots of love and blessings, Gloria

Isn’t that a great birthday card to my 7-year-old daughter?  What a blessing to have a wise older saint in her life that not only speaks words of love and blessing but also gives guidance and purpose for her life!  I could not ask for a greater birthday gift for my children. It challenged me to write with purpose to those who are following along behind me in years.

The next note is from a dear friend who is also gifted at using words to express love and appreciation. Here is a portion of her note:

The gift of your friendship spans more than words can say and is truly among the greatest gifts I count in my life. How blessed I am to have a friend who…

  • I can trust to never veer away from God’s eternal truth
  • has proven to always put God’s interests first
  • lives a life that does not shift as sand among the circumstances of life or the popular notions our culture offers
  • is not afraid to look me square in the eye, tell me the truth, then push me to be better
  • has a good & cheerful heart (Proverbs 15:5) Everything you do is a celebration. You lift life from the mundane, welcoming everyone you know to join in with you

Now about everything else…it would take a book and among the chapter titles would be: Motivation, Inspiration, Encouragement, Excellence. In your full & overflowing life you have always included me. I know you would do anything for me and I hope you know I would do anything for you and your family.  As Jacopo told the Count of Monte’ Cristo – “I am your man (friend)…for life!”

This letter not only blesses my heart but inspires me to greatness. What a gift to be able to use such a simple thing as a note, card or letter to bless and inspire others!  And better yet…it is free! 

We had a lovely tea time and each of us walked away motivated to write some notes of love, affirmation, encouragement and wisdom to our precious friends and family.  I hope to instill a lifelong desire in my children to use the power of the written word to make a difference in the lives of those who cross their paths.

 

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Filed under Inspiration, Life Lessons, Making a Difference, Positive Words, Tea Time Tuesday

What would you tell your “college age self”?

I just spent the past several days down in Southern California on a college visitation trip with two of my high school girls and their dear life long friend along with one of my closest friends and mentor to the girls.  We had a great road trip complete with long hours in the car, lots of fast food and  less sleep than we needed but lots of good times, learning and laughter too!

I found myself looking back to thirty years ago when I  was a high school senior choosing where I would attend college. I tried to remember my thought process and how I came to the decisions that I did.  I remembered  first stepping  foot on my college campus as a young and in many ways unprepared student and the many decisions I made both good and bad while I was there.  I also wondered if my decisions would have been different had I had older and wiser mentors in my life giving me advice along the way.

I do not remember much advice at all from my high school teachers or counselors other than – “go to college where you can get the best financial aide package” or “make sure they have your major”. (why? because your major will never change several times during college…ha!)  My church youth leaders gave no input.  My friends talked about having the most amount of fun (dorm  life, fraternity parties, football or basketball games, boys etc…)  and freedom (from any rules or restrictions) wherever you chose to attend college.

I am thankful for parents who gave me the following advice (aka: non negotiables):  You will go to college or you are on your own after high school.  You will go away to a four-year college and live on campus. You will not get married until you get your degree.  You will visit several colleges to find the right “fit” for you.  While these paradigms were quite valuable and more than many high school students receive, I often wish I had been given more from those older and wiser mentors around me.

In fact I began to think this weekend what exactly would I, now three decades later, tell my “college age self”?

  1. Choose carefully and wisely where you go to college.  No other time in life are you more immersed in a community and culture than during your college years.  You are living with people outside your family 24/7,  you are engaged in constant exchange of ideas both inside and outside the classroom, you are exposed to different and new ways of thinking, believing and living.  Is the college environment one that will increase your faith, solidify your values and produce growth and maturity in your life? You will likely make life choices regarding your calling and career that will affect the course of your life.  What type of college and professors do you want to influence those choices?  You will likely develop forever friendships with both students and faculty and you may even meet your spouse…look closely at the profile of students who desire to attend the college as well as why the faculty are teaching there.  Are these the people who you want to have influencing, mentoring, inspiring and challenging you throughout your life?
  2. Do what you love!  Choose a course of study in something you are passionate about regardless of anyone else’s opinion, regardless of whether it will make you rich (or even make you money at all), regardless of the job market, regardless of  if it is the “smartest” or most practical thing to do or even regardless of if you will ever do anything career related with your degree. (and if you have many passions…pursue them all!)
  3. Embrace this season of singleness. (ie: do not spend time the moment you step on campus looking for “the one”) You have spent 18+ years in your parents home and you dream of being happily married for 50+ years.  If you live an average life span that leaves less than a decade of being single.  Embrace it! Enjoy it! Don’t waste it away always looking to the future and missing the opportunities in the present.  Work on becoming the most godly, loving, giving, self-sacrificing, interesting, knowledgable and mature person you can be so that when you are married you will be the most amazing spouse and parent ever!
  4. Develop positive habits that will add value to your life.  Up to this point you have probably been “forced” to eat healthy (as much as your parents could make you), exercise regularly (thanks to PE classes & sports), balance your budget (mostly due to your lack of credit worthiness or available funds), go to class, attend church services regularly and plan ahead.  College should be a time that we build upon these positive habits not throw them out the window and live an undisciplined, out of control, “free for all”  life.  This is the time not only to learn and grow academically but to practice self-control and discipline in your life without being forced to do these things.  It is a true sign of growth and maturity and may even be a greater benefit to your life and happiness than your actual college degree.
  5. Go out of the country.  Whether you study abroad for a year, go on a summer missions trip to a third world country or participate in a “semester at _____” (you fill in the blank) you MUST take advantage of at least one opportunity for amazing growth, learning and a life changing experience.  After college you will have responsibilities to take care of, bills to pay, careers to pursue not to mention marriage and parenting that may arrive sooner than you think.  Do not say you will “do it later” because even if you are one of the rare adults who are able to pull that off – it will be harder, more complicated and you will wish you had gone during your college years. Let’s have no regrets here people!
  6. Seek out mentors.  I really wish that someone would have encouraged me to find older mentors in my life to learn from during my college years.  They could be upperclassmen, grad students, faculty members or even college pastors or adults from a local church.  I now realize that we can learn and grow so much more from other people “speaking into our lives” than we do through classes, lectures or textbooks.  While a few small private colleges encourage and promote these types of relationships, you need to decide to seek them out for yourself.  Find people of godly character, full of wisdom, passionate about their purpose and traveling in the direction that you want to go.  Then be bold and ask for their time to invest in your life. (You need not be demanding or draining to them…simply be willing to just hang out with them at their convenience or be a blessing by working alongside them) 
  7. Serve others.  The college years can often be very self-centered and self-serving. One of the best ways to grow and learn is to serve others and give of yourself.  Find ways to serve your college or community.  Become a resident or student advisor, start a prayer group or bible study, pick up trash around campus, volunteer to help in admissions or campus tours.  Get off campus and feed the homeless, volunteer at a crisis center, participate in a non-profit fund-raising campaign, serve in a church nursery.  A life lived only for your self and your own self interests is a shallow and unfulfilling existence.
  8. College is a valuable investment!  If you have to take out loans, do not stress about that.  It is a better investment of your money than your future home (that you will likely take out a very large loan to purchase) or a vehicle (that can cost you more than any loans you aquire in 4 years).  Your college education will not rust or break down or become worthless as it ages.  No one can take it from you, steal it or destroy it.  It will be one of the most valuable things you have in life (especially if you go to the right college and use the time wisely)  If you have to work several jobs to make it happen…do it!  Apply for every scholarship possible (and perhaps some that are impossible.) Ask others to invest in you. Leave no stone unturned!
  9. Appreciate every aspect of not living in the “real world”  — ok so I am sure many college student’s dislike hearing over and over that they are not living in the “real world”  but really…it is truth in many ways?  When, in your adult “real life” will most of you –
  • have someone available to cook for you at every meal (not to mention the wide variety and volume of food available in most college cafeterias – endless salad bars, soft serve ice cream, soda fountain etc..)?
  • put your  dirty dishes on a conveyor belt to watch them “magically” disappear and then reappear at the next meal clean and sparkly?
  • not have to ever clean your own toilet?
  • be able to work out at a fully equipped fitness center just steps from your living space?
  • wear whatever you want to work (aka: class) or for that matter decide when you want to attend and when you don’t want to attend work?
  • have access to social interaction and fun 24/7 (as well as 24/7 access to trouble & temptation)?
  • create your own personal hours according to your personal preference by only signing up for afternoon & evening classes (or the opposite if you are one of “those” morning people)or  not taking Friday classes and giving yourself a three-day weekend? (I can promise most of you that you will never again get to completely create your own hours)
  • and if you go to a Christian college…get to attend an inspirational worship service and listen to compelling, motivating  speakers three times a week? (my oh my what I would give to have that part of my “real” life almost every day)

   10. College is not for everyone.  While I believe that here in our culture in the United States that college may be the wisest way go for most young people, I do not think that everyone must attend college.  However, I do believe that the college age is a very important season of life for growth, education, maturity and experience.  It is not a time to be wasted or used in a frivolous way. Almost all of the things I would tell my “college self” can be applied to a young person who has decided not to attend college.  Be purposeful and productive.  Some other great options are trade school, an internship, the military or a missions trip.

What would you tell your “college age self”?

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Filed under College & Career, Goals & Dreams, Inspiration, Life Lessons, Parenting