Category Archives: Life at the Lambdins

The Miracle in a Christmas Card List!

DSC_0782I am writing this letter as I sit in front of a crackling fire in my dimly lit living room with the glow of our Christmas tree lights sparkling as if they are singing along with the peaceful Christmas carols playing in the background….ahhhh yes the magic of the season that transforms a normal routine weeknight into a special evening.

And as I enjoy my coffee and Christmas cookies I am thinking of each of you…the beautiful dear people who receive our Christmas letter every year. Some we have known since our childhood (which at times seems so very long ago in this latter half of life), others who we have shared precious moments of living together for years as well as those who have just recently become a part of our life story and yes you whom we have blessed and become a part of our lives through the amazing technology of the Internet.  As I ponder these relationships…and yes there are many…I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the warm and wonderful friendships and family members that we have been given in this short season of life here on this earth.  We touch each others lives in special ways whether it is through daily, weekly or monthly interactions, planned or spontaneous visits, text, email or voice mail messages, facebook encounters, randomly running into each other, annual events, special occasions, milestone moments like graduations, weddings, babies, baptisms, anniversaries and funerals as well as this — > the awesome annual Christmas greetings through cards, pictures and letters that fill both my mailbox and inbox.

We love these Christmas greetings! As we sit around the dinner table and pass around the cards we receive each day…we are filled with joy and sometimes sorrow as we read your recent life stories, see pictures of your beautiful families and marvel at the changes from year to year (or for some of you who never age…the lack of any change!) and we smile as we reminisce about times we have shared together over the years.  We have not missed sending out a Christmas greeting for 30 years. What started as a young college girl sending out a couple dozen cards, grew to a young couple who were youth pastors sending out a couple hundred letters and photos of our ever changing family. And with each passing year our Christmas card list multiplied as the Lord blessed us with a larger circle of loved ones through the ministry of Christian education and a growing home business where our clients and consultants became our dear friends. Yes, Christmas cards keep us all connected in a special way.

And this year is no exception….as we once again send you each a heartfelt Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year from the entire Lambdin clan!

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With eight children it is always a challenge to give a brief update on each of them as their lives are very full of so many things but let me try to give you a glimpse of what 2012 brought to each of their lives:

Michelle is a recent graduate from The King’s College with a degree in Politics, Philosophy & Economics.  She landed a job shortly after graduation as a Resident Director at TKC living in the heart of New York City and is loving it!

Amy is a sophomore at Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas where she is studying Physical Education and tearing it up on the soccer field.

Kristen graduated from JECHS in May and is attending Cabrillo College in Capitola while she interns at Bloomsbury’s Tea House using  her gifts and talents in the areas of baking, hospitality and serving.

Rebekah is a junior in high school where she plays soccer, is on yearbook staff and is the founder of The Movement Club to help orphans, which is one of her passions in life.  She completed her Rite of Passage this fall and had a beautiful celebration ceremony.

Grace is a homeschooled 8th grader enjoying the “good life” of doing school in her jammies, going on lots of field trips, playing soccer and helping with her younger siblings. She got tall this year and now is competing for the second tallest sister!

Joy is also homeschooled and besides enthusiastically embracing everything and everyone in life she loves to sing and perform. She joined the Stockton Youth Chorale this year and is the star of the show!

Daniel is….the boy! (complete with a recent broken arm) He is in kindergarten but after a few short lessons he is ready to play “super heroes” or anything that includes a ball.  He is being actively trained by his six older sisters to be the ultimate gentleman and man of God.

Christiana is truly the greatest blessing of our lives.  She is now the cutest little three year old girl in the world and is adored by us all. She is sweet, sassy & spicy all rolled into one!

And then there is us – Dan and Beth

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….before we tell you about what 2012 looked like for us we want to take you back to 15 years ago when this same Christmas Card mailing list was used by the Lord to bring about what many saw as a miracle…something that couldn’t happen without divine intervention.  Many of you were on the receiving end of a letter we sent out to our Christmas Card mailing list in the summer of 1997 sharing our dream of starting a unique Christian High School in our community. We had no funding, no grants, no large donors and yet we were passionate about going forward with our vision of founding this school. And the miracle began with you! Well over half of our friends and family responded to our appeal and offered their prayers and financial support to build the foundation of what would become Jim Elliot Christian High School. A year later the school opened their doors to 42 students and today fifteen years later the school is a thriving Christian High School with over 200 students, dozens of staff members and over 500 alumni who are out making a difference in the world. And it all began with our Christmas Card list…yes that list of our dear friends and family had the power to start something really big.  If you were a part of that miracle those many years ago, we want you to know that we are still in awe of your love, generosity and faith in us and we hope that every time you think of JECHS or hear of one of its many accomplishments that you will feel blessed by the part you played in prayer and support. We thank you once again!

The Lord has been stirring in our hearts a new dream and vision over the past couple of years and in 2012 He nudged us to pull together the official beginnings of a ministry that we hope will be a blessing and a life changing resource for countless people during our remaining years in service and ministry! This year we officially incorporated our non profit organization called Inspire Ministries and once again we are in need of the foundation of prayer and financial support from our friends and family to see this new ministry prosper.  We have big plans and even bigger dreams for this ministry that will start primarily with Beth at the helm but that we hope to see grow to a full fledged staff and ministry team who are inspiring, motivating and equipping people of all ages, cultures, walks of life, economic status and situations to live a life of passion, purpose and praise!

The Lord has already brought us people to minister to in abundance and we have faithfully walked along side them ministering in multiple ways – everything from counseling young people who are looking for direction for their future, couples in marriage crisis, impoverished families with basic needs to survive, pregnant women under stress as well as teaching life skills to young men who were raised in the foster system to encouraging and providing resources and inspiration to young families who need parenting advice or are looking for effective ways to raise their kids in the faith and implement meaningful family traditions.  There have also been several speaking opportunities throughout the year. It has been exciting and exhausting, fulfilling and at times frustrating but the results have been amazing!  We truly believe that this ministry will be life changing to many.

We need three things from those who love and believe in us and in our ministry and we are starting once again with you…our Christmas Card List:

1. We need your faithful prayers! Truly without the Lord on our side building this ministry it will come to nothing. Please lift us up in prayers asking the Lord to use us and provide for us in His amazing ways.  We need the favor and blessing of our God.

2. We need monthly financial partners who will commit to supporting this non profit ministry faithfully. We know finances can be tight and that many are struggling with the economy (we are right there with you)…so we are not asking for a huge commitment. We are looking for families that can commit to $25 a month beginning in January 2013. (If you have the means to make a larger monthly donation, of course you can and it will be appreciated and used to fulfill our mission) We believe your investment in Inspire Ministries will have a huge return for you as you help us to make a profound difference in peoples lives.

3. We need some immediate one time donations.  There are  some larger start up expenses – website launching, our first quarterly publication, donor data base software, legal and accounting expertise – and we could use a few one time donations to get things rolling. We also have this compelling vision to purchase the house next door, that is currently up for a short sale, as a ministry house to those who need someone to literally walk beside them as they make changes in their lives. (and yes we realize that is a crazy God sized dream…the type we love just like starting a Christian High School from scratch!) Perhaps you are looking for a place to make a year end contribution…we would love for that to be us!  You can make a secure online donation through our paypal account and we will send you a tax deductible receipt. Click here if you’d like to donate.

If you could fill out this response form it would be such an encouragement to us as we step out in faith with this new adventure. Even if you can not contribute financially at this time…we would love to know we have your prayer covering or if you would like to receive our quarterly magazine. Every response and comment is like someone cheering us on as we run the race…it motivates and inspires us to continue to carry on with our dream!

We are expectantly hopeful that the Lord will once again do a miraculous thing for us in starting something big like Inspire Ministries through the prayers and support of our friends and family…those that make up our Christmas card list!  We look forward to sharing the miracles that you will have helped to make happen in our 2013 Christmas letter.  Below is a more extensive explanation of Inspire Ministries and our mission and vision for those who are interested in the details.

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We pray that you all experience blessings in abundance this Christmas season and a Christmas miracle as well! We hold you dear to our hearts and hope that our paths cross in the upcoming new year.

Always,

Dan, Beth, Michelle, Amy, Kristen, Rebekah, Grace, Joy, Daniel and baby girl (aka Christiana)

PS – If you are local and have the time don’t forget to stop by our annual Christmas Open House on Saturday December 22

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Filed under Christmas Season, Life at the Lambdins

Call me Crazy or a Fool….

There is a song by the Christian group Avalon that is one of several “theme” songs for my life.  It is called “I Don’t Want to Go” . Here are the lyrics (or you can listen to it here):

You changed my world
When You came to me.
You drove a passion,
In my soul down deep,
Lord, to follow You in everything.

I don’t want to go somewhere
If I know that You’re not there,
‘Cause I know that me without You is a lie.
And I don’t want to walk that road,
Be a million miles from home,
Cause my heart needs to be where You are.
So I don’t want to go.

So come whatever, (whatever may come)
I’ll stick with You (right by your side)
I’ll walk You’ll lead me,
Call me crazy or a fool,
For forever I promise You…

That I don’t want to go somewhere
If I know that You’re not there,
‘Cause I know that me without You is a lie.
And I don’t want to walk that road,
Be a million miles from home,
Cause my heart needs to be where You are.
So I don’t want to go…

I can’t even listen to this song without tears streaming down my face.  You see when the Lord reached down and touched my heart so deeply in the summer of 1979 as a 16 year old girl I was never the same.  He did exactly what this song says…He drove a passion deep down in my soul to follow Him in everything!

And yes that has led to many many times being called…

Crazy or a Fool 

I have a feeling that this blog is going to be another one of those times.  And that is really ok by me…I am simply trying to follow the Lord’s lead.. where ever that is and whatever may come.

You may or may not know that ever since we adopted baby girl in 2009….we have hoped to be able to officially adopt at least two more children. Most doors for that are closed to us for various reasons:

  • Foster adopt in California has strict unbendable rules as to the the number of children per bedroom and with our home we won’t qualify for that until 2021 (didn’t they ever read or watch Little House on the Prairie or The Walton’s who all raised fabulous families with limited bedrooms?)
  • Private Agency Adoption has roadblocks with our ages….hmmmph! 😉
  • International Adoption is not an option because our annual income does not meet the immigration guidelines of $75,000 a year for a family our size (somehow I think orphans living in poverty around the world just hoping for one meal a day and clean drinking water might not mind living at the Lambdin “poverty level”…yes it is true that with our income and family size we are considered poverty level..sheesh…talk about crazy!)

So we have just smiled, told the Lord our desires & prayed knowing that a private independent (not agency) adoption  was really our only option & the likelihood of having a pregnant mom just come to us “out of the blue” and ask us to adopt her baby was very slim.

But God……

Six weeks ago we became aware of a woman who was pregnant with twins at the age of 51 and was going to terminate her pregnancy.  It was one of those facebook posts friend of a friend of a friend type things.  I called her on the phone   We spoke on several occasions but she was hesitant to get together and a bit “cold”.  I just continued to call and text offering any support I could. Then three weeks after our initial contact she called and asked me to come to her house.  She shared with me that it seemed every time she thought about going to get that abortion, she would get a text from me and it would stop her.  She said that my persistence made an impact on her life and that she would like to consider placing her babies with our family.

She has a long complicated life story….with some real sadness, horror and tragedy….that has led her to consider this alternative.  A story that has in its chapters – abuse, abandonment, molestation, rape, murder, prison, drugs, alcohol, rehabilitation, marriages, divorces, many children, a few miscarriages, domestic violence, poverty, restraining orders, government assistance, church attendance, friends, family, mental illness and a measure of faith.  To be candid, the more I learn, the more my mind is overwhelmed by one person having lived and endured such a life.

We have spent the past several weeks getting to know her, assisting her, supporting her and loving on her.  It has been fulfilling, exhausting, energizing, frustrating, exciting, good and crazy!  We have all come to love and care for one another.

And that brings you to today.  The question asked me daily by friends and family:  “How’s the adoption plan coming?” or “What’s the latest on your adoption?” or “Is everything settled with the adoption?”

To which I answer with a combination look of confusion, happiness, sadness and questioning….silence.  I do not know how to answer those questions.  I am dealing with a pretty unstable situation in many ways.  I am walking a road with someone, who in my heart of hearts, I believe simply does not have what it will take to raise those children as their primary caretaker.  It’s not just the lack of resources, reasonable shelter or stable family support relationships that are almost non existent…it goes so much deeper.  There are many complications and there is no clear path to a simple adoption. Perhaps an open adoption will be the answer. Perhaps we will end up somehow with legal guardianship instead. Or perhaps we will be a second family — Auntie Beth and Uncle Dan to these precious twins that are due to be born in just eleven weeks.  I simply do not know how it will all play out….and yes for a recovering control freak….this is bringing me to an even great level of giving over my control and letting God be in complete control of every part of our lives.  I am reminded once again of this scripture in James:

” Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to do this or that  or we have great plans to have this happen”  How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.”

Yes…my friends (especially those with the same control issues as I) that is what it the Bible says!

So I will say Lord willing….we will be adopting twins into our family.

Or Lord willing….we will be taking them and their Mom into our extended family.

Or how about this Lord willing…we will purchase the house next door that is currently going up on a short sale for a “steal of a deal”.

Wait! What did she just say?!

Yup…I said Lord willing, we could somehow, someway own the house next door.

And what does that have to do with anything? Why do you want to own the house next door?

Oh I am glad you asked!  Call me crazy or a fool…but just in the past few days I had this thought about the house for sale next door. I thought how perfect it would be if we could move our new friend into that house. We could then look after her and help meet her needs from right next door.  And whether we end up adopting, having legal custody or just being an ever present family providing stability and helping to train up those babies with the life skills that are missing from previous generations, taking then to church and teaching them the ways of the Lord…we would be able to do that and be a life giving blessing to the mamma as well.

Yes…that is just how my big vision, big dreaming mind and heart works.  And Lord willing….it could happen!  All we need is $130,000 cash and we could do it. Someone out there may just need a big year end tax deduction, right?!  By the way, have I told you that Inspire Ministries…is now officially incorporated as a non profit with the State of California, IRS paperwork filed to be a 501(c)3, bank account opened and ready for donations, website in process and facebook site posting! Wouldn’t this be an exciting first BIG project…a ministry home to be used to help those in need with the ministers right “on site” to train and support?

Wouldn’t that be amazing?  It could happen…Lord willing!

You drove a passion,
In my soul down deep,
Lord, to follow You in everything.

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Filed under Adoption, Attitude, Callings, Faith, Goals & Dreams, Inspire Ministries, Life at the Lambdins, Lifes Challenges

Fabulous 50: Let the Celebrations Begin!

cel·e·brate

verb \ˈse-lə-ˌbrāt\

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

Celebrate Life!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s celebrate life together!

Celebrate Love!

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

Celebrate the Lord!

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

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Filed under Blessings, Life at the Lambdins

Fabulous 50: My List for Loving & Living Life

I am one of “those” people.

Those odd people who love their lists

…who live by lists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Life is a
beautiful gift – love it!

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

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Fabulous 50: A New Decade is Dawning

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What will you do with your bonus day?

Today is a “bonus” day!

Yes, that’s right every four years we are given a “bonus” day on February 29th! Every four years instead of 365 days, we get 366! Every four years we get a full extra 24 hours! Today is that extra day.

In an “average” lifetime you only get 20 “bonus days”…that’s right just 20 days!  This is my 13th bonus day so I don’t want to “waste it a way”. As I lay here in bed watching the rain pound with vengeance against the windows I am pondering just what I want to do (or not to do) with my “bonus” day.

 How about you? What will you do today with your bonus day?

How about all those things that you have been putting off until you have “more” time?

  • Reading or finishing that book that you heard was so fabulous
  • Making that long overdue doctor or dentist appointment
  • Cleaning or organizing that “junk drawer”, spare bedroom or garage
  • Organizing those photos, making a dent in that scrapbooking project or completing some journaling
  • Sitting down and planning your yearly calendar to include meaningful family traditions that you keep wanting to do but never seem to get going on them

Or maybe you could use your bonus day to do something positive for other people and your community?

  • Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen
  • Grab a trash bag and go pick up all the trash on your street
  • Visit the elderly, sick or shut ins
  • Call a stressed out Mom of toddlers and take her kids to the park or mall playground for a couple hours
  • Help a single Mom or widow with the yard work, house or car maintenance

Or what about spending the day enriching your relationships?

  • Spend time really playing with your kids on their level (even if that means getting down on the floor and playing cards or dressing up as a pirate or Maid Marian)
  • Call your spouse just to say I love you & appreciate you (and husbands – bring home flowers for no special reason) – go out on a special date night
  • Ask your loved ones what would be their “perfect day” and then make it happen for them
  • Call that long lost friend from the past just to say hi and catch up
  • Invite that family you have been wanting to get to know over for dinner
  • Take your neighbors some yummy fresh baked cookies
  • Sit on the couch with your family and read a book together (and turn OFF the TV!)
  • Write notes of love, support and appreciation to all those important people in your life
  • Mend a broken relationship – say you are sorry, ask for forgiveness – forgive and forget

Or maybe you just need a complete day “off” to rest, relax and be renewed and refreshed so that you can continue to live a life all year of meaning and purpose.

Just some thoughts for you on this – February 29, 2012 – now you decide how you will spend your “bonus day”. Will it just be “the same ole, same ole” or will you make it truly a special bonus day?

P.S. – The photo above was taken 4 years ago on my “bonus day”…you can read about it here.

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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