Category Archives: Life Lessons

And after you have suffered….

“I have never felt better in my life!”

“You are simply glowing!”

“You’re eating for two now…enjoy!”

“You look so cute!”

These are words said and heard by the majority of pregnant women during their season of childbirth. And so they should.  After all pregnancy is a normal & natural condition that women’s bodies are built for….right? Right! But not so much for me.  (I felt worse than ever, I never glowed, I could barely eat a thing and I looked more like “death warmed over”)

When I first became pregnant back in 1989, I fully expected to breeze right through pregnancy with energy and enthusiasm, never “missing a beat”.  After all, I was a high energy, “type A”, driven young woman who could run circles around many including the teenagers I taught in my job as a PE teacher and student council advisor…why would something as simple as a pregnancy slow me down? Despite my own mother sharing stories about her difficult pregnancies, I never anticipated being anything like her.  Was I ever in for the shock of my life!

Just a few weeks after announcing our good news to the world, I woke up one morning and found myself feeling very nauseous and immediately began heaving over the toilet.  Still I thought…”Oh just a little morning sickness, I can handle that”. Wrong! From that moment on I was nauseated 24/7, feeling like I was on a very bad roller coaster ride with no option of getting off.  I got sick morning, noon and night (why do they call it morning sickness anyway?) I tried every cure known to man and implemented advice from everyone I knew – eating small meals, crackers before rising, sucking on ginger, sea bands, lemons, Vitamin B6 shots and more…nothing worked.  To top it off I also had a rare and unpleasant symptom of pregnancy called Ptyalism – producing an incredible amount of excess saliva – and I had to carry around a cup or napkin that I spit into every few minutes (I know my Brookside students from that era are thinking…”ewwww, I remember that!).  It was simply….awful!  As the weeks turned into months I sunk deeper and deeper into sickness and despair.  I was weak and tired, losing over 20 pounds before finally being admitted into the hospital where I was on IV’s for five days and then being released to go home with my IV pole in tow and have home health care for another week.

The doctor kept saying that most women begin to feel better after 12 to 16 weeks so just — “hang in there” and it would soon be over. I had high hopes but after the 16th week came and went he simply said to me…”Well, a very few number of women continue to experience sickness until half way through their pregnancy.”  When I continued to be sick all day long after my appointment during my 22nd week he sighed and said with compassion…”Beth, unfortunately a very small rare group of women continue to be sick the entire 9 months of pregnancy” (less than 1%…lucky me).  At that point I quite expected to be sick the rest of my life and could even picture him saying after I gave birth..”Oh I am sorry, did I not tell you? Some women never get better until they die”.

Questions and depressing thoughts screamed in my head:

  • What had I gotten myself into?
  • Was this really worth it?
  • I do not know if I can actually do this for several more months?
  • I can’t do this another minute!
  • Why me God?
  • I would like to curl up and just die.

I was truly suffering everyday and every night for the entire pregnancy. Despite serious doubts to the contrary, I did survive and gave birth to my precious first-born daughter, Michelle Jennae (a day before her due date….and was I ever thankful for God’s grace in that circumstance as I was sure I would deliver a month late and have to suffer even longer).  When I held that beautiful baby girl in my arms and looked into her pure loving blue eyes the horror of the past nine months melted away and I whispered in her ear…”You are so00000 worth it!”

In fact she was so worth it that I have endured the same suffering six more times since that day (although I did experience some mild relief during my 7th pregnancy…thanks to newly approved pharmaceuticals for pregnancy sickness or maybe it was because I was pregnant with a boy that time, I will never know).  Besides being a great self-esteem builder in my children (who would not believe that they were deeply desired, loved and “soooo worth it” when they know the great suffering their momma endured to give them life), these awful pregnancies have truly molded and shaped me into who I am today.  I have learned great life lessons through those 63 months including:

  • Perseverance “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character and character produces hope and hope DOES NOT disappoint us because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”  Romans 5:3  I have truly learned patience and to persevere despite hardships, trials and tribulations. This has given me the strength and fortitude to persevere in my personal life, family trials, ministry and business hardships. I have in a sense developed very strong perseverance muscles. 🙂
  • Dependance on God  The apostle Paul was inflicted with a “thorn in his flesh” that he asked the Lord to take from him multiple times and He did not.  We too prayed and prayed and asked others to pray but the Lord did not choose to remove this sickness. Paul’s response was “God’s grace is sufficient for you for His power is perfected in weakness” 1 Corinthians 12:7-9.  I have always been an independent strong-willed person – relying greatly on my own strengths and talents.  God used my pregnancies to bring me to my knees and become more dependant on Him alone to be my strength.  I shudder to think who I may have become without being forced to rely on the sufficiency of Christ.
  • Compassion for others  Unless you have experienced a long-term illness, treatment, pain or disability that consumes your every waking moment you cannot truly relate to those who have suffered through it.  Having walked that road for a total of over 5 years of my life (nine months at a time) has given me a true compassion for those who are going through health and physical hardships as well as for their loved ones.  I pray for them with deep conviction.  I offer them practical help and service.  I simply let them know…I truly understand (and sometimes that is really what someone needs to hear from someone else who has “been there, done that” and lived to see another day).  2 Corinthians 1:4-6 says “God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”
  • Life is…Hard! <get over it>  Somehow I thought I deserved a “pass” on the hardships of life, that bad things shouldn’t happen to good people. Wrong!   “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:44  If I am going to ask  “Why me?” during the hardships of life…I need to ask “Why me?” in the midst of my many amazing blessings.  Hmmmmmm…there’s a thought.  Life at times is just plan hard….end of story.
  • Children are sooooo worth it! While I am confident that we all have our moments and sometimes even seasons when we would seriously question this statement and yet…..it is truth.  Our children are the single greatest blessing in Dan and my life. The love that I have for them is like none other…the closest thing that I can experience to God’s unconditional love.  I would sacrifice my own life for my children. Yes, they are worth every hardship, every pain, every disappointment, every challenge…they are my precious children.
  • Suffering will come to an end  No matter what I am going through, no matter how hard it is or how much I do not think I can take another minute…the fact is that it will come to an end.  With pregnancy sickness I knew more accurately when that end would arrive but in many other situations we do not have that comforting knowledge.  And in the midst of suffering we often can not imagine that there will ever be an end to it all.  But rest assured, it will end.  We will wake up one day whether here or on the other side with no more pain,  no more tears, no more disability, no more depression….no more suffering!

 “But after you have suffered for a while, the God of all grace who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you”  1 Peter 5:10

And so in hindsight it is easier to be thankful for my years of sickness. It is easier to see the fabulous end results.  It is easier to look back and appreciate all the good things in my life because of the suffering.  I wish I could say that in the midst of the suffering I was thankful, appreciative and could see “the big picture” or that I was filled with faith and hope.  While with each pregnancy I did a little better at being thankful, seeing the purpose in it all and being filled with faith…I still limped along trying my best to be a godly example and mostly failing and falling into the loving arms of the Lord who indeed carried me through.

If you are suffering today…fall into those same loving arms and let Him carry you!

3 Comments

Filed under Determination, Endurance, Faith, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Motherhood, Overcoming

Times of Refreshing (Part 2)

Life….is hard.

When I look over my current prayer list and think about the many different circumstances that my friends, family and I are dealing with it can become overwhelming:

  • Horrendous, ongoing  and painful health issues
  • Loss of income, jobs  and financial worries
  • Broken and deeply damaged relationships
  • Challenges and changes in life and both unrest & fear about the future
  • Dealing with the gut wrenching pain of death & dying
  • Overall  exhaustion, weariness and stress

Can you relate to any of this happening in or around your life today?  Yes, life is hard.

Even as I sit in the comfort of a lounge couch on a cruise ship smoothly sailing over the open seas I am well aware of the depth of despair all around me as well as my personal current life challenges.  And yet I have peace in my mind, joy in my heart and satisfaction in my soul as I enjoy this amazing time of refreshment that is like a tall ice cold glass of fresh lemonade on a searing hot summer day.

It is because life is hard and often full of overwhelming exhaustion, worry and stress that we need to be refreshed regularly and the harder life is at any given moment the greater relief that refreshment brings.  This cruise however will all too soon come to an end and while the extended time away has been a blessing (see Times of Refreshing Part 1), I know that we all need regular times of refreshment in the midst of the craziness and often hardness of life.

What brings you regular refreshment?  Have you ever made a list of those things that refresh your spirit, nourish your soul and bring relief from the struggles of
life?  It would likely look different for each of us as we each have individual tastes, personalities and bents as well as different cultures and backgrounds.  As you think about what brings you refreshment, let me share with you my personal list:

  • Prayer – for me there is nothing better to bring peace than simply talking to God and listening to him speak to me through His still small comforting voice.  Now I can pray at anytime but if I truly get time alone to commune with the Lord….it refreshes my soul & lifts my spirit like no other. (Acts 3:19 – “times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord”)
  • Praise – I get completely lost in a perfect heavenly place when I sing praises to my Lord – it might be in church on Sunday, in the shower, on a walk or in my car driving with the volume turned all the way up in my CD player – but praise and worship always does an amazingly divine thing in my heart and life!
  • My morning coffee – especially if I get to actually sit down and enjoy it while reading my daily devotions.  For me coffee is a relaxing experience not a “buzz” (really! I can drink Espresso at 11pm at night and go right to bed…in fact I actually think it puts me to sleep…strange I know)
  • Afternoon Tea – a beautiful china tea cup along with delicious Paris tea and some mouth-watering cookies or scones listening to classical music nourishes my body and my soul. Whether I am alone with a good book or enjoying the conversation of my girls it is a perfect respite in daily life.

  • Walking in a beautiful place – now for some of you daily exercise brings you refreshment and that is great!  I however am not one of those people…but taking a walk in beauty does do that for me.  Just this morning I walked over a mile on the deck of the ship looking out at the massive ocean, rocky shoreline and occasionally seeing a porpoise splash through the waves. Now that was refreshing! (and yesterday we went on an amazing hike in Ketchikan)

  • Sleep –  yes just simply sleeping  in comfort and without interruption (quite an accomplishment if you are a mommy) for seven or eight hours straight is often all that is needed to be refreshed. Sounds easy and yet….
  • Touching  – one of my “love languages” is physical touch so snuggling in bed with my toddlers, walking hand in hand with my daughters, cuddling & kissing on the couch with my love and warm loving  hugs from dear friends and family all refresh my heart & soul

  • Massages – my all time favorite way to check out for an hour…if only I had more money (trying to convince one of my girls to become a massage therapist)  Of course I must tell you that my amazing husband does give me a foot massage almost every night of my life…I am blessed!
  • Hot Showers & Hot Tubs – for me there is something about hot water that clears my mind.  Since we don’t have a hot tub (on my dream list) the showers work on occasion (it is a rare thing where I can actually take an entire shower without someone needing something…but that day will come all too quickly when I will no longer be interrupted so I try not to let it bother me)
  • Candlelight & Fire Glow – If you have ever been to our house for dinner, you know that low lights and candles are a “staple”.  It is because candlelight for me brings everything down a notch.  All the craziness or loud noise of the day seems to settle down under the glow of the candles.  If I ever need to relax I find that of I turn off the lamps and light a few candles I feel the tension releasing.  Of course a glowing fire in the winter, soft music, a warm blanket and a good book is almost instant refreshment(especially if I am sitting next to Dan)

  • Lunch with a Friend – I am blessed with a dozen friends who I regularly enjoy a lunch or coffee date with.  They are uplifting, encouraging, passionate people who both renew & refresh me. I always come away from these times with great joy and fulfillment. (and so yes, I schedule them regularly)

  • Date Night – When I wake up & look at the calendar that says – “Date Night”, I instantly feel excited and look forward to a night of perfect relaxation & refreshment.  There is nothing better for me than a night out with the man who is not only my love and my partner for life but truly my best friend.  The deep conversations, the connection and the love shared fills me to overflowing. Falling asleep at night after praying with this man is also one of the most satisfying  & refreshing moments in my day.

  • The Beach – this is my place of pure delight and refreshment.  Of course if you know me at all, you already are well aware of this! The sand in my toes, the crashing of the waves, the breathtaking sunsets, the exhilarating walks, the gentle breezes…I love it all.  The sights, the sounds & the smells of the sea! Thankfully I can be there in a 2 hour drive from my front door as well as finding a true “refreshment & renewal” beach retreat where I actually get to live there for a month each year. (Lord willing)

Wow!  What a list….even as I was writing it all down I was amazed at the number of ways (and I even forgot to include dark chocolate, writing, flowers and album making on my list of things that bring me refreshment!) that I have on a regular basis to be refreshed and renewed even in the midst of “normal” life (ie: not on an amazing refreshing Alaskan Cruise with my love that included just about everything on the above list). And I am sure that your list is or will soon be just as plentiful.

If you are in the midst of life being hard or you are feeling overwhelmed with worry, exhaustion or stress…take some time out today or tomorrow or this weekend to do something to refresh your mind, your soul and your spirit.  Let the Lord touch your life and His perfect peace fill you to overflowing in the midst of your challenging circumstances.

Some scriptures that may encourage & inspire you as you seek to be refreshed –

  • “Do not worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God your needs & do not forget to thank Him for His answers. And  the peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your heart & mind in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 4:6-7
  • “You will keep him in perfect peace,Whose mind is stayed on You,Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3
  • “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You;  My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You  In a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary to see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.” Psalm 63:1-5
  • Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired.  His understanding is inscrutable.  He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power.  Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly,  Yet those who wait for the LORD  Will gain new strength;  They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired,  They will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:28-31

May you be richly blessed with  “times of refreshing that come from the presence of the Lord”.

If you want to post a comment and share some of the things that refresh you…we would all love to hear!

2 Comments

Filed under Endurance, Faith, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Overcoming

Accolades for Amy

Here I am on the eve of my second sweet daughter’s graduation from high school.

In many ways that is not remarkable as millions of families will watch their children and grandchildren march across a stage, field or platform in the upcoming days and weeks to receive that coveted diploma. Yes, she is just one of millions in the global class of 2011.

And it is quite unlike the first born graduate who accomplished this same milestone four years ago. There will be no valedictorian speeches, no honor cords or scholarships awarded her at the ceremony tomorrow. She will be just another one of the graduates in the JECHS class of 2011.

  • Unremarkable?
  • Average?
  • One of many?

NOT!

Amy, while not an academic achiever according to the standard of this world, is an amazing young lady with unique gifts and talents, influential leadership, godly character and a heart for the Lord!  She is remarkable! She is uncommon! She is stellar!

And yet she is in the season of life that I call the “academic” years.  Those years where it seems like most of life is centered around your academic achievements.  You are judged and evaluated by your ability to take tests, your grade point average, your SAT scores, your AP & honors courses, your college acceptance letters and your scholarship awards.  You are continually being asked questions about your academic achievements by relatives, adult mentors, teachers & peers.

Personally, I sailed through this season of life with relative ease. (and it truly is just a season…no one has asked my GPA in the last three decades!)  While I was the least “academically inclined” of my parents four children, I still had giftings in the area of academics and along with my brother & sisters acquired the appropriate amount of academic accolades, achievements & awards.  I was also an “academic snob”.  While I realized that people had various degrees of intellectual ability, I figured that most everyone (with the exception of the most severe disabilities) had the ability to achieve academically if they “put their mind to it”.  This carried into my early years as a teacher as I was appalled by students who came into my classroom as junior highers not being able to spell simple words like paper (papper) or having acquired basic reading skills or understanding of math.  Not that I expected everyone to be “straight A” students, I actually thought most had just not “worked hard enough” or were lazy.

My first born fell right into my line of academic thinking.In addition to being a classic first born overachiever, she spoke in full sentences by year one, began to read at age four and could spell “beautiful” in kindergarten. I am sure in my mind I was “patting myself on the back” for creating such an academic acheiver (which in reality I had precious little to do with it)  Then along came Amy….

She was the sweetest baby ever.  She was calm, good-natured, smiled & slept a lot. (in shocking comparison to her extremely colicky…crying for 9 months straight… elder sister).  We nicknamed her “Sleeping Beauty”.  It didn’t concern us that she was not speaking as early as her sister as we figured this was typical for a second child.  But….when she still was not speaking more than 10-15 coherent words by age four we knew there was some “issues”.  She was diagnosed with serious speech delay and began four years of therapy. Then she was only able to read very short kindergarten readers by age ten. After trying every program known to man to teach her to read we finally found the program (Powerline) and the teacher (the amazing Miss Pam) that worked for her dyslexia. We rejoiced that she was able to read and comprehend novels before going to high school (and went from “I HATE reading” to “Mom, can I read all day?”).

While I was raising Amy (or perhaps she was raising me) I began to change my mindset.  I began to “re-think” the way society sees academics. I began to be very purposeful about teaching Amy that her value did not come from her ability to excel academically (or for that matter athletically, musically, artistically or in outward beauty or wealth…all things the world puts a high value on) but that her value was to be found as a child of God. I also ingrained in her heart & mind that the God who created her had also endowed her with unique gifts and talents to be used for His glory. (“Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well.” 1 Peter 4:10)  For her those gifts did not happen to be in the area of academics and yet she would still be required to perform at a certain level to get through this academic season of life.  It is just the way we have set up our society.  (on a side note I find this interesting…what if we required someone to play sports for years and “pass” athletic milestones even if they had no athletic propensity?  Or if we required musical accomplishments from people who were tone-deaf or can’t clap & sing at the same time?) Of course since she was homeschooled, the normal academic pressures of traditional school were not something she had to face.  She had a happy, carefree childhood free from thoughts of – “I’m in the slow group” or “I am dumb” or “What is wrong with me?”.  She learned at her own pace. She discovered her unique gifts and talents and excelled at them. She learned to love the Lord. She developed godly character.  She actually blissfully unaware of any disabilities she had.  As she began to prepare to go to a traditional high school, I spent time reinforcing these values and ideas so that she would be able to get through school without losing her sense of value and purpose. I warned her:

  • She would have to work harder and likely not get as good results as many of those around her
  • That she may stay up half the night studying and still fail the test.
  • That some teachers would be “academic snobs” just as I had once been or think she was lazy or had not studied…just smile and pray for them.
  • This is just a academic season of life and that it has no reflection on her future success and plans
  • That her accolades would need to come from the Lord and the voice in her own head (she spent much of her childhood listening to motivational speakers and memorizing their quotes! It paid off!)

I encouraged her:

  • That God has uniquely gifted her and that she needed to develop those gifts and use them for His glory
  • That she needed to work hard (and thus develop godly character) no matter what the results
  • That it was much smarter to take the areas you are good at and make them great than to take things you are poor at and make them average. (Why spend time trying to take a two to a five when you could take a seven to a ten?)
  • God is in control of your life.  You seek Him, commit your way to Him and live upright, He will accomplish what concerns you and He will lead you in the right path.
  • Never forget your value lies in being a child of God!

And she did just that! It was hard at times. She had moments of disappointment and discouragement…but she pressed on!  As she walks across the stage tomorrow and receives her diploma, this former “academic snob” momma will be

  • rejoicing with her as she celebrates her success!
  • beaming with pride (just as I did with my first grad in ’07) that she is pursuing her God-given gifts and talents, developing godly character and loving the Lord
  • shedding a few bittersweet tears as she ends this season of life

PS – For those Moms of “youngins” who struggle with academic achievement and are concerned (translate worried) about their education and future let me encourage you.  Amy will graduate from high school with a 3.18. She was accepted to five colleges (two on academic probation) even with below average SAT scores and received financial aid & academic scholarships from the colleges (we did giggle with delight when these offers arrived). She will be attending Bethany University in the fall and continue to seek the Lord’s plan  & purpose for her life.  Who would have ever guessed that 10 years ago?  But God…..

9 Comments

Filed under Attitude, College & Career, Determination, Homeschool, Jim Elliot Christian High School, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, My "take"

It’s gonna be a BIG day!

I rolled out of bed this morning ready to get back to the “normal routine” of life after a wonderful Holy Week full of celebrations, traditions and meaningful moments as we remembered Jesus’s life, death & resurrection.  I was mentally making a checklist of everything that I needed to accomplish:

  • Get the house back in order
  • Finish up on a pile of pressing paperwork & bills
  • Prepare for several upcoming speaking engagements
  • Gather up homeschool assignments to turn in to the charter school
  • Recruit mentors for Rebekah’s Rite of Passage year
  • Send out Amy’s graduation invitations <yikes! she is really graduating from high school already…how did that happen?>

The list was becoming daunting and I heard myself sigh as I walked past the dining room table full of candy wrappers and stray Easter grass spilling over onto the floor.  I was then greeted by my four year old son Daniel with a look of awe and wonder on his face.

He sat up from his perch on the couch and exclaimed with gusto –  “Mommy, It’s gonna be a BIG day!”… then he stopped and asked inquisitively…“Is Jesus still alive?”

I love how the Lord uses children to stop me in my tracks and change my perspective at any given moment. Here I was the day after a glorious celebration of  Jesus resurrection already “bogged” down in the details of life instead of waking up with hopeful anticipation of the great things my risen Lord would do in my life today.  I imagine that the day after the resurrection of Jesus that the women who went to the tomb and were told – “He is Alive!  He has Risen from the dead!” –  did not wake up on Monday morning with a “back to the old routine” attitude.  In fact I am sure much like Daniel they were filled with excitement, wonder and awe and  were exclaiming – “It’s gonna be a BIG day!”   They were forever changed from that moment on…never to be the same again! They along with the disciples and followers of Christ lived the rest of their lives committed to the spread of the good news even to the point of dying for their faith.

I grabbed up my little boy in my arms with my heart full of love and gratitude and said – “Yes Daniel, Jesus is still alive…and He lives in our hearts and yes it’s gonna be a BIG day!”

That is how I want to live my life!  Each & everyday exclaiming – “It’s gonna be a BIG day!”  – because Jesus is alive in my life and I am going to live for Him!

 

 (If you want to see some photos of our families Holy Week & Easter celebration – you can see them at this link –

1 Comment

Filed under Attitude, Easter Season, Faith, Life Lessons

“Faint heart never won fair lady” or “Jumping through a few hoops”

Not only did he have to ask me but…

  • he had to ask my Lord…
  • and he had to ask my Daddy…
  • and he had to ask “my kids” (also known as my youth group at Lakeview Assembly)…

Yes, the young man who decided to ask for my hand in marriage on March 18, 1986…25 years ago today…had more than a few “hoops to jump through” before slipping that ring on my finger. And isn’t that just how it should be?

You can read our whole love story and engagement here – My God Inspired Love Story 

Now that we are the parents of seven daughters we definitely think that any young man worthy enough of our precious daughters ought to be willing and able to “jump through a few hoops” to win the prize of her hand in marriage. In fact,  in many ways I believe our current culture has made it much too easy on guys to “get the girl”  (in another era it would be  – the gentlemen to win the heart of a fair lady)  Often young men no longer have to:

  • pursue a woman (since there are an abundance of women ready & willing to pursue them!)
  • courageously win a woman’s heart & hand in marriage (remember the English proverb – “faint heart never won fair lady”)
  • pay a price for their bride (hmmm perhaps there was some wisdom in this  after all the bible says – “where your money is so will your heart be also”)
  • wait for loving sexual intimacy until they are married (many enjoy the pleasure of sex, a clean house, home cooked meals & even a second income without ever having to pursue a womans heart, jump through any hoops or  make the commitment of marriage)

While some may think these cultural changes are good for both men and women, I would beg to differ.

Women want to be pursued.  It is how God made them.  They desire to be wanted, loved and greatly desired. In our culture women no longer need to wait to be pursued as they have society’s “permission” to be the pursuer.  And pursue they do.  The biggest problem in this shows up long after they are married when they still desire to be pursued (wooed, admired, desired, wanted & loved) and men who never have had to pursue a woman’s heart are woefully inadequate in meeting these needs. 

Women want a “Knight in Shining Armor”. A man who is  brave and courageous and who can save and protect them.  Requiring men to “jump through a few hoops” – is certainly great exercise for them to build their courage and strength. By requiring the young men who may be interested in our daughters to ask their father for permission and to declare their intentions and commit to high relationship standards should be happening in every home that values their daughters.  Women no longer under their parents roof would do well to require potential suitors to do the same. I often tell my girls…if a young man is not willing to simply call and get your dads permission to pursue your heart…then he has no courage and it is obvious that his desire for you is anemic.  Do you really want that kind of man? (and on a side note if your Dad says “no” or “not now” and the young man perseveres in his desire for you, not giving up, even if it means “winning over” your dad first….would that not just melt your heart and prove his love, strength & fortitude?)

Women want to feel valuable…while we will not require a “bride price” (well…maybe not), there is something to say for the way this would make a woman feel. In Jewish culture the groom had to pay a price…no modest token…the price was set so that the new bride would be a costly item – that was the idea. The young man had no delusions that he was getting something for nothing. He would pay dearly to marry the girl of his choice.  We want our daughters to feel “priceless” and valuable (because they are are our greatest riches and the most valuable part of our lives) so therefore we will not let them go to just any ole’ guy. Yes, they will have to “pay a price”…though it may not be monetary…it will require sacrifice.

Women want commitment with their sexual intimacy.  Alas our society denies this and even many girls would probably say they do not care about commitment (at least of the marriage kind), and yet I still believe that women truly do not want to give their bodies in an intimate way to someone they are not also connected with spiritually, emotionally and mentally as well as with someone who will “be there” for them through all of life’s ups & downs.  Men who are willing to wait for that commitment before becoming one with a woman have proven themselves to be self-controlled, faithful, godly, patient, persevering, wise and hold women in great high esteem, honor and respect.  That is a man who has “jumped through the hoops” and is worthy of my daughter’s hand.

Today as I celebrate the anniversary of our engagement I am thankful for my husband…a man of God…who was willing to jump through some hoops to ask for my hand in marriage –

  • by pursuing my heart and taking a leap of faith without doing it the “normal” culturally accepted  and percieved “safe” way of dating before engagement
  • by praying, seeking and hearing from the Lord that I was the woman he should marry
  • by asking my Dad for my hand in marriage (even after listening to my brother drone on & on about what a hard time he was going to get)
  • by asking my youth group kids for their permission to marry their youth pastor (it takes courage to propose in front of 100 teens)
  • by paying a price to marry a gal called to full time ministry (he left a very lucrative management position in alcoholic beverages to join me in full time youth ministry – in fact his income has never reached the annual level he made in 1985 – I know this thanks to the yearly social security report I receive)
  • by practicing self control, patience, godliness and wisdom by saving intimacy for the commitment of marriage

He is still my knight in shining armor and I would say yes all over again…as these 25 years together have been amazing and wonderful! 

I pray that my precious & very valuable daughters will find godly men that will “jump through some hoops” to win their hearts and ask for their hand in marriage. I pray as well for you my dear readers who are parents…for your daughters & granddaughters. And for my single young lady friends & relatives who read my blog (I know there are a few of you out there – Hi Kate, Beth, Janessa, Chrisann, Tiffana, Rachael, Marlene, Cait – to name a few – along with all my high school girls at JECHS )…I pray that you would patiently wait to be pursued by a godly courageous, brave young man who is willing to pay the price and jump through the hoops to win your heart….because you are so worth it!

7 Comments

Filed under Courtship, Life Lessons, Marriage, Parenting, Raising Girls

Random, Abstract & Off the Wall

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

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

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

“Mother of the Year” Award….Not!

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

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

Loving Life Coaching  

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

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

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

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

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

The Good News & The Bad News

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

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

Boys & Bunk beds

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

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

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

What’s in your pocket?

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

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

Give and it shall be given unto you

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

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

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

Beach Holiday Countdown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6 Comments

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

Christmas Grace

We called her our “Christmas baby” as she was born in December of the year 1998, the first of our children to arrive during “this most wonderful time of the year”….the magical, bright, joyful, holy and divine Christmas season! 

We called her our “sweet baby” because of her gentle disposition and the heavenly scent that emanated from her tiny little body.  You could hold this precious bundle for hours watching her lips curl up in an uncontrollable smile, be enveloped by the sweet aroma and lulled to sleep by her deep rhythmic breathing. It brought us such perfect peace in our hearts despite the difficult outward circumstances surrounding our family at the time.

….And we called her Grace. 

Yes, we purposely named this child Grace because that particular year we had experienced an abundant outpouring of God’s grace in our lives.  Grace is often defined as….

  • God’s unmerited favor
  •  Loving kindness from God that is not deserved.
  •  A free gift from God.  

We may have a “working knowledge” of grace and understand its basic premise but not until we have personally experienced the ultimate grace that God has freely given  – loving us even at our very worst, pardoning us and paying the price for all our wrongs  and giving divine strength and help through the circumstances of life without us doing anything to deserve or earn that help – can we be filled with amazement and awe that brings us to our knees in humble adoration and gratitude.

While both my husband and I had experienced the saving grace of God decades prior, that year we were shown an amazing amount of grace.

  • His grace was evident in blessing us with this sweet baby and He even extended that grace in the circumstances surrounding her birth. (an undesired scheduled c-section that turned into a flawless natural birth) Despite the prevalent thought in our society today that we have a God given “right” to our desired number of children at exactly the time and season in life that we want to have them…the reality is that none of us deserve or have earned the “right” to the blessings of children.  Truly it is by the abundant grace of God that we were given the gift of another child to love.
  • His grace was miraculous that year in allowing one of our greatest dreams to become a reality.  After working tirelessly  ‘round the clock on starting a Christian high school that reflected our personal philosophy and desire to have a lasting impact on students, the doors to that school opened in the fall.  We did not earn this favor from God, nor did we deserve such a blessing.  It was His grace poured out on all those involved in its inception and in every detail that the gift of Jim Elliot Christian High School was given to everyone who has been, who currently is,  as well as all who will be touched by its ministry.
  • His grace was poured out to us daily as a temporary poverty had settled over our household and He graciously met our every need. We saw God not only provide for our personal needs but also for the financial needs of the school, that almost every month of that first year in operation, faced the reality of closing the doors and yet God came through just in time often through strange, unexpected and unbelievable sources. (in fact the day after we had given birth to “sweet baby Grace” a college friend whom we had not seen or spoken to in over a decade walked into the hospital room and handed us a check for $16,000 that literally saved the school and kept it going in to the new year) Neither us personally or the school as an organization deserved such kindness and yet God graciously and freely gave it to us all.
  • His grace also was working through us at that time to give us the desire to completely forgive those who we felt had greatly betrayed us, turned their back on us, treated us with contempt and left us in a state of despair.  As difficult as it was, we chose to not only forgive but to extend grace, though perhaps not deserved, earned, asked for or even desired, to all those who had wronged us.  Having received such grace from God we could hardly justify not freely giving grace to others.

 Yes, that Christmas season as we rocked our sweet new baby, in the quietness of the night beside the twinkling lights of our tree, we reflected on how God’s amazing grace had truly filled and overwhelmed our hearts and lives.  Realizing how much God had done for us and knowing full well we did not deserve or earn any of it, made us both humble and extremely grateful.

In many ways our life this year is parallel to the year of 1998 – without the blessing of a new baby.  (although we have hopes of God’s favor on us as we pursue another adoption)

  • We are once again embarking on a journey to make one of our lifelong dreams become a reality
  • We are once again in a temporary state of poverty (and yes, we had some prosperous years in between which we affectionately refer to as the “glory days”)
  • We are once again being asked to extend grace to those who carry animosity towards us and others who we fear may be making poor leadership decisions

We pray that these things will once again cause us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and that we will experience God’s amazing grace poured out on us in abundance.

At Christmas time we often hear and sing words about – joy, peace, hope and love –  yet the greatest gift that was given to us upon the birth of Jesus was the outpouring of undeserved favor and loving kindness….called grace.   

As we all reflect upon our lives this past year… both the challenging circumstances and the beautiful blessings may the amazing grace of God overwhelm our hearts with humble gratitude and may we extend that same grace to all those who cross our path.

Here’s to experiencing, sharing and spreading some Christmas grace this season and throughout the year!

1 Comment

Filed under Blessings, Christmas Season, Faith, Life Lessons

Who knew?

Thirty years ago today I was invited to be the “special guest” at the 18th birthday dinner of a new friend who I had known for just a couple of months as a freshman at the University of the Pacific.  We had met in August of 1980 where we lived a few doors down from each other in Grace Covell Dormitory on campus.  We didn’t really have much in common other than our living situation. She was a “local” having arrived at UOP from the nearby city of Lodi and I had come from San Diego which was almost 500 miles away (and my parents had moved 3000 miles away to the state of Virginia shortly after I began college!)  She grew up in a large, loud, “beer on tap” in the basement, Catholic family and I was raised with a “prim and proper”, teetotaling, Protestant heritage. She was a talented, intense and competitive athlete who was attending college on a softball scholarship, I was an average field hockey player who simply enjoyed the game and thought it would be a “fun” to play in college. She was labeled a “wild” girl and I had a “good” girl reputation. She wore athletic sweats 24/7 and I was often found dressed in Izod shirts and penny loafers.

But despite our differences I enjoyed her company and she appeared to find me amusing.  Still I was surprised to be the only “non” family member asked to  join her very special birthday dinner at The Big Yellow House here in Stockton.  After all she had many life long friends in the area and an entire UOP softball team to choose from….why me?  I accepted her sweet invitation seeing it as an opportunity to build our friendship and be a blessing to her on her special day (as well as my commitment to never pass up a chance to not eat a meal in the dorm cafeteria!).

It seems that God, in His providence, was setting the stage for not only a lifelong friendship but for us to eventually become bound together as forever family.  You see, my freshman friend was none other than, Jennae Lambdin who two years later became my sister in Christ and six years later became my sister-in-law!  Who knew that as I sat around that dinner table listening to all the simultaneous lively conversations, the abundant laughter, course jesting and birthday toasts that this family would one day be mine? (I certainly would have never entertained such a concept) I felt oddly out of place and vastly different from the Lambdin clan and yet at the same time accepted and loved simply because I was Jennae’s friend.  That day – November 15, 1980 was the beginning of my “adoption” into this family, who even years before it was evident that I would officially become a “Lambdin” (marrying Dan was not something I ever considered for the first five years I knew him…but you can read that story here – My God Inspired Love Story), they were my home away from home.

Who knew?

Certainly not me!  

Jennae? Not likely since I was not even her first choice to invite to her birthday dinner. 🙂

Dan? hmmmm…I think not (He had his mind on other things than his sister’s strange “religious” friend)

The Lambdin’s? They probably do not even remember that I was there that night.

No, none of us were even the slightest bit aware of the great beginnings that were set into motion that special evening.  

Yet God knew!

I am thankful today that both Jennae and I were open to a friendship of complete opposites.  I am thankful that the Lambdin family had (and still has) a warm “welcome sign” to anyone who wants to be a part of their lives.  I am thankful that I chose to join in a celebration only knowing one person at the party. (how often in our insecurity do we say “no, thank you” to new or potentially uncomfortable situations where we won’t know anyone?) But mostly I am thankful for God’s leading, guidance and providential hand in my life.

Each and everyday there are the possibilities of new beginnings, potential life changing relationships, experiences (both good & bad) and inspirations that may set things in motion that will change the course of our lives.  Often you never know, until much further down the road, how the things that happen today will greatly impact your life. 

Follow God. Listen to His whispers in your heart. Embrace new opportunities, new experiences and new friendships. Life truly is a God inspired adventure!

Happy birthday to my dear friend of 30 years, my sweet sister in Christ and my amazing sister-in-law…Jennae Marie Lambdin!

2 Comments

Filed under Blessings, Faith, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons

Nothing Easy About It

Last week I received an email with this title…

Character-building Made Easy!

I actually laughed out loud.  Now I am sure that this character building curriculum for home school families is an excellent resource and it may be “easy” to read or “easy”to teach but there is simply nothing easy about building character in life.  In fact don’t you think that true character is built and developed through hardships, struggles, pain and times of sacrifice?

And yet….

….we as parents who say out of our mouths that we want to raise children with outstanding character spend much of or time trying to shelter them from hardship, struggles, pain and sacrifice. Yes, it is true.  Think about it. 

We want our kids to “have it all”.  Whether it is the “stuff” of material possessions or every type of experience from trips and vacations to music lessons, art classes or sports training, we want our kids to have a “better life” than we had. We buy them things, give them all the resources and sign them up for every opportunity instead of allowing them to live without something they desire thus building character qualities of self-discipline, sacrifice, perseverance and gratitude.

We will never accept a less than perfect classroom, teacher or coach.  And if things are not exactly how we think they should be, we are the first to march right down to that school office and demand a change.  We simply will not consider the possibility that our child will actually learn more important lessons in life from an imperfect teacher, coach or classroom situation.  What a great opportunity to develop patience, kindness, acceptance, diligence, respect, self-sufficiency, forgiveness, humility, taking initiative and personal responsibility not to mention they will probably learn much about being a great leader, teacher or coach from watching a poor example and learning what not to do.

We even look for ways to make their lives “easier” by doing chores, work or assignments for them or “lightening their load” during finals week or other stressful seasons of life.  We never allow them to fail or as my parents use to say – “make their bed and then lie in it”. If we did they would develop amazing character qualities of hard work, perseverance, diligence and determination.

We make excuses for them instead of forcing them to be responsible for their attitudes and actions thus delaying that all important character qualities of  diligence, a good work ethic, honesty and personal responsibility.

And as they get older we do not require them to make their own appointments, meet their own deadlines, work out their own transportation and confront unacceptable situations thus robbing them of the opportunities to build character qualities of courage, responsibility, initiative and maturity.

Perhaps our goal as parents should not be to give our child a “perfect” life free from stress, difficulties, obstacles, pain, hurt or needs. Perhaps it should be to welcome these situations and  allow them to teach and train our children (as well as ourselves) to develop godly character qualities that will be of great gain in our lives.

Wouldn’t you love to say about your children and yourself – we are patient, responsible, ethical, grateful, self disciplined, hard-working, diligent, determined, mature, courageous, content, loving, kind, compassionate and forgiving?

If you never go without or are never in need….how do you develop gratitude?

If you are never hurt or wronged…how do you learn true forgiveness?

If you never have to wait or be put off…how do you become patient?

If you never fail….how do you learn to be diligent and an overcomer?

If you are never forced to step out of your comfort zone…how do you become courageous?

If you never experience any pain or suffering….how will you learn compassion?

Character building made easy?  Nope….there ain’t nothing easy about it!

2 Comments

Filed under Attitude, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Parenting

Throwing a Tantrum

Temper Tantrums are something I know more than a little about.  In fact, between being the Mom to eight children and parenting for the last two decades perhaps I could say that I have earned a Master’s Degree in temper tantrums.  I have seen and experienced them all:

  • The scream in your face looking like you are going to kill someone tantrum
  • The dash down the hall yelling hysterically tantrum
  • The turn your back on Mommy and fold your arms while stomping your feet tantrum
  • The hold your breath until you pass out tantrum
  • The jumping up and down whining & crying tantrum
  • The pulling on Mommy’s arms or a leg or piece of clothing while verbally assaulting her tantrum
  • The hitting of your fists on anything or anyone close by tantrum
  • The “I may be sitting on the outside but I am standing on the inside” tantrum
  • The slam your door and turn up the music loud enough to raise the roof tantrum
  • The “whatever” said under your  breath while rolling your eyes tantrum

And my personal favorite

  • The lay on the floor in the middle of the grocery store kicking and screaming tantrum (it really is my favorite because it makes me laugh hysterically)

Whew! Just thinking about all those temper tantrums makes me weary.  Yes, tantrums are, among many other unpleasant things…exhausting.  And they all boil down to the same root cause whether the child having the tantrum is two or twelve,  it all comes down to not getting their own way.   It may be something they want to have (or not have like vegetables or vitamins), something they want to do (or not do like take a bath or go to bed) or a place they want to go (or not).  Sometimes those desires are ridiculous, unacceptable, dangerous, selfish, inappropriate, unhealthy or unaffordable. And other times they are perfectly ok but the timing, situation or circumstance is not ideal.  

Today I realized I was having a little bit of an adult tantrum as I wandered from room to room thinking about several areas of my life that I needed to get under control.  (definition of an adult temper tantrum is the same as for our kids:  I am not getting my way and I am not happy about it so I react inappropriately, inwardly or outwardly, it is just that we are usually more dignified and refined in our tantrum throwing.) As I listened to myself, talk to myself (whoa…are there three people living inside my head…I promise I am not crazy!) it was all too clear that yes, I was throwing a tantrum because I wasn’t getting my way.  True confessions – it went something like this:

 Self: You really need to get back on that exercise routine and start eating healthy again!

 Self throwing an adult tantrum (said with really whiny voice): W-h-y? But….I don’t…. w-a-n-t  to!  Do I have to?  That’s no fun. It’s too hard.  Isn’t there an easier way?  It’s not fair…why can’t I just be like _________ who doesn’t have to deal with things like this?  I would rather lay around drinking an ice coffee and eating dark chocolate mints while reading a good book, watching a movie or bouncing around the Internet from emails or facebook to news or blogs with no responsibility and not a care in the world.

Self: Ok Beth, you are supposed to be starting a ministry here. It is time to set up regular working hours and begin actively pursuing your goals and dreams. Time to get going girl!

Self throwing an adult tantrum (said with really whiny voice): W-h-y? But….I don’t…. w-a-n-t  to!  Do I have to?  That’s no fun. It’s too hard.  Isn’t there an easier way?  It’s not fair…why can’t I just be like _________ who doesn’t have to deal with things like this?  I would rather lay around drinking an ice coffee and eating dark chocolate mints while reading a good book, watching a movie or bouncing around the Internet from emails or facebook to news or blogs with no responsibility and not a care in the world.

Self:  The home school kids need to be put on a daily schedule. The free for all is not working on any level for this group of students (and maybe it didn’t work for the older girls but if not they sure “faked it” well) So sit down and set up their routine and then hold their feet to the fire to be sure they stick with it.

Self throwing an adult tantrum (said with really whiny voice): W-h-y? But….I don’t….w-a-n-t  to!  Do I have to?  That’s no fun. It’s too hard.  Isn’t there an easier way?  It’s not fair…why can’t I just be like _________ who doesn’t have to deal with things like this?  I would rather lay around drinking an ice coffee and eating dark chocolate mints while reading a good book, watching a movie or bouncing around the Internet from emails or facebook to news or blogs with no responsibility and not a care in the world.

Not very pretty, eh?  I tell ya, I wouldn’t take that type of talk from my kids in a “New York minute”!

As I saw the pattern repeating it almost became amusing, even to me, that I was actually throwing a tantrum in my head.  But a few minutes later when Christiana began to throw her own screaming tantrum over not getting to play with my cell phone I did not find it amusing whatsoever. (yes,  it has already begun at 18 months)

Here is how I attempt to handle any and all temper tantrums from my kids no matter what age they are:

  1. They do not ever, under any circumstance, get their way! (did I say Never do they ever get their way? Good because that is what I meant…never, ever do they get their way…nope…never)
  2. I ignore the tantrum (unless they are harming themselves or others then I physically restrain them..since they usually only do this at fairly young ages car seats in the living room worked great)
  3. If it continues I smile and say (with sass & a bit of a drawl!) – “Is that working for you babycakes?” cause it is sure not going to work with me so you go on and have fun with that little fit you are having  (in our house the saying goes like this – “ya get what ya get and ya don’t throw a fit”)
  4. And if they are really going at it full force (and not harming anyone) I full on laugh at them in the midst of the tirade. (for some reason this is really easy for me to do because I do find kids on the floor throwing fits pretty amusing or maybe it is amusing to me that they actually think that they will win with that strategy)

So folks….I am putting my little bratty tantrum self on notice –

You are not going to get your way!   You will get up and get going in all these areas that need attention in your life. They are important and valuable and you will do what needs to be done! Let’s have at it!

Is that working for you?  That little fit you are throwing in your heart and mind? (answer…ummmm NOT!)

“Ya get what ya get (your metabolism, your body, your financial & life situation, your calling, the current ages & temperaments of your kids at home during this season of life)….and ya don’t throw a fit!”  Get over it and get on with it!

And then I am going to laugh that little tantrum thrower right out of my mind!

Anyone else out there dealing with a little tantrum today?

7 Comments

Filed under Attitude, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Motherhood, 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.

 

2 Comments

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

“Cousin Kate”: Welcoming Orphans

I am blessed to be called “Aunt Beth” by fourteen nieces and two nephews (yes the “girl thing” must be genetic on both sides!).  On my branch of the family tree the first babies to make their entrance in this world  were my now 23-year-old twin nieces Kate and Beth.  When I saw them for the first time at six months old, they stole my heart with their cute smiles and precious giggles. They have always been sweet, loving,  “good girls” – wonderful and perfect daughters, grandgirls, nieces, cousins and big sisters. It has been a joy to watch them grow into mature, faithful, smart, talented, giving, beautiful, pure and godly young ladies. They are amazing role models for each cousin that came after them.  They bring life, love and joy to everywhere they go and to everyone who knows them.  I love these girls!

Kate recently sent me an essay she wrote about her summer missions trip to Uganda (not her first missions trip but one of many).  I put it in under the comments from my recent post on adoption –  Chosen to Love & be Loved – but then I decided that it needed to be shared with you all as it is such a beautiful, well written and inspiring look at adoption.  

Her tiny arm was deeply scarred. I held out the bubble wand and she tried to lick the soap as I giggled and tried to show her how to blow. This wisp of girl had more spunk and attitude than I had ever seen in a 2 year-old package, but then she’d always been a fighter. She was birthed into a pit latrine – a hole in ground filled with human excrement over 20 feet below. She was found lying there amid the stench, alone and abandoned. It took hours for a slip-knot in a rope to finally catch around her wrist. She was pulled out, but not without profound damage to her wrist. They thought Zoe would never have use of her arm again.

It is estimated there are between 143 million and 210 million orphans worldwide (recent UNICEF report.) Is that just a statistic? Not to me. I’ve held children in Uganda burning up with fever from Malaria who have no mommy to comfort them. I’ve listened to kids in Romania try without success to play the recorder because they had no daddy who ever taught them to count to 3. I’ve seen the look of belonging on the face of an adopted cousin as she reached for her mommy. She will never know the fear of being alone.

James 1:27 says “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Every human heart is an orphaned heart. We are all in that boat together until we are adopted by God the Father into his family. We never have to feel alone again because God care’s deeply about orphans. He has a father’s heart. A heart that is willing to take someone who may look different and have a completely different background then they do, into their family and love them like their own flesh and blood – this is the heart of Christ. This is the heart that is also ready to love people whose souls are in a different place. This is the heart that is willing to love others and bring them to a face-to-face relationship with Jesus Christ. I care about orphans and adoption because I too was a spiritual orphan who was adopted into the family of God.

Nicholas is a precious baby that was discarded into the bush of Africa when he was only hours old. He spent his first months at a baby house at New Hope Uganda. He learned to eat his porridge from a normal cup, not a bottle, because there was nobody to feed him several times a day. I met him when he was 6-months-old. I hugged him and kissed him and tried desperately to somehow convey to him that he was loved and things were going to be okay. When he was 1-year-old, he was adopted by a missionary family in Uganda. I saw him again two years later. He ran into the room in his train pajamas with a big smile and put his little hand out for me to shake. He will never remember what it was like not to have a mommy and a daddy. He knows that he is unconditionally loved and it has made all the difference.

“Mommy?” Zoe said as I walked into that same baby house. It broke my heart. I wanted to say yes. I wanted this little girl to have someone that she knew she belonged to. One day I want to welcome orphans into my home and family. I want to hear little voices say “Mommy?” and I can respond with a nod and a hug of welcome and belonging. One day all of us will stand before God and say “Daddy?” and he will welcome in his adopted children to spend forever with him. Zoe’s arm is completely healed now and one day her heart will be too.

May this essay challenge us all to consider what we may do to be a part of someone’s adoption story…whether that adoption is physical into a family here on this earth or spiritual into the family of God.

4 Comments

Filed under Adoption, Blessings, Faith, Life Lessons

Seasons of Change

This past week my calendar read….First day of Autumn!

Ahhhh Fall…one of my favorite seasons of the year.   This month we finally experienced some relief from our HOT, HOT summer temperatures but in typical fashion the thermometer started inching upward on Thursday just as I was ready for soup on the dinner table, a fire in the fireplace and crisp cool sweater weather.

Living in Northern California we get a few more “signs” that it is truly fall than do my So Cal friends but nothing near the cool weather or brilliant colors on the landscape of those living in the northeast.  But despite the 90+ temperatures and air conditioning running full blast this week I “created” our personal change of season.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies made in honor of the beginning of fall…delicious!

The newest chore chart gets a fall makeover!

Colorful fall flowers always make you feel in the season

Pumpkin Spice Latte’s at Starbucks – fall must be here!

Our annual trip to Apple Hill the last Friday of September ushers in the fall season for the Lambdins

and one of my favorite fall activities – Friday night football games!

Yes, I love the fall!  I actually love each change of season with all its fresh new weather, landscapes, decor, colors, food and activities.  Isn’t God good? Just as the current season begins to lose some of its luster and appeal  He ushers in a brand new season that seems to bring with it a new energy and outlook on life.  I am sure many of you are nodding your head in agreement as you are beginning to enjoy the delights of this new fall season.

And yet….

I also am aware of how many people seem to resist change in general.  Of course no one welcomes change that brings sorrow, pain or hardship to life and we all eagerly embrace change that involves love, happiness or our well being. But I hear folks of all ages and all walks of life gripe, complain and whine when a simple change seems to be heading their way. We easily become “creatures of habit” comfortable in the “sameness” of our lives.  We get use to doing things a certain way and often do not think “outside the box” to investigate new or different ways of thinking or getting things done.  We also often try to live our lives according to the cultural “norm” we find all around us and even look down upon anyone who does things in a different way.  Or we simply just get into a rut of living…carrying on in the same mundane fashion day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year.

Then on the other side of the coin…there are those who say they want change in their life but are not willing to do anything differently to bring about that change.  Whether it is a change needed in a relationship, job situation, physical health habits or social situation we often simply carrying on in a difficult situation or unhealthy pattern rather than instituting necessary changes in our lives

Albert Einstein once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.  How many of us if we were honest would be, by this definition, considered insane at times?

Do you need to make a change in your life? (I know a few areas in my life that are in need of a change!)

Take a moment to evaluate areas of your life that may need a change

  • Do you need to make a change in a relationship to make it better or bring it to an end?
  • Do you need to make a job or career change?
  • Do you need to change your financial status or spending patterns?
  • Do you need to become more purposeful in your parenting or change your discipline methods for your children?
  • Do you need to make a change in your eating habits or physical exercise routine (or non routine)?
  • Do you need to make changes in your character or spiritual life? 
  • What other areas of your life may need a change?

Why not sit down with a piece of fresh apple pie along with a hot cup of coffee and take the time to write down the change you desire in your life at this time along with a few ideas of ways to make it happen.

Secondly maybe you are in a season of change in your life as we currently are in. (if you missed our newest adventure – you can read about it here – https://bethlambdin.net/2010/09/04/to-life-to-life-lchaim/)  Maybe you have recently moved to a new city, taken a new job or become unemployed.  Some are experiencing an empty nest for the first time. Others lives have been turned upside down by the arrival of a new baby. Perhaps you are newly single through death or divorce.  I know of many who have recently lost a loved one and will be walking through their first fall and upcoming holiday season with a piece of their heart missing.

Is it the time to embrace this season of change that is upon you?  Do you need to take a deep breath and look around at the new opportunities on the horizon that change inevitably brings to us?  Do you need to hear a fresh word from the Lord and to rest in His trusted arms during this season of change?

In these upcoming weeks as we watch the spectacular season of summer fade away and change into the delights of the fall let it remind us to both make the changes we need to move forward in our lives and as many of us are doing at this time – embrace a new season of life and look for its own unique beauty and special blessings.

Off to make some yummy apple dump cake with the delicious apples we got at the hill yesterday!

3 Comments

Filed under Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons

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”?

11 Comments

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

Chores “It’s a Hard Knock Life” – Part 2

Isn’t it just the way it goes?

I write a post on chores and training your children to be good workers and what happens? You guessed it…we had one of the worst weeks of chore conflict in years! Yes, complete with angry kids, an angry mom, screaming, accusations, defensiveness, crying and punishments. Not fun! (Calgon..take me away…far away)

I guess I should have anticipated that happening. Immediately after posting Chores – “It’s a Hard Knock Life” last Monday the “hits” on that blog entry sky rocketed, the comments came in one after another and the requests for my list of chores for each room were too numerous to count. It obviously is an area of struggle and desire for improvement for many of us Moms (and Dads too – Hi Tim!). I have learned during my 25 years of preaching, motivational speaking, sharing and writing that when you truly have something to say that adds value to others in any area of life you can count on being “attacked” in that very area. We had a full force war going on over here last week!

The end results were good as we identified several problem areas, realized that I needed to be a bit more “hands on” in my training during this particular season in our family and we dealt head on with some character flaws in a few of the children (the “L” word – L.A.Z.Y.). 

For all who asked for the list of chore details per room here is a PDF of this document  – Chore List (HT: my sister Caroline)

And for those inquiring minds that want more information…here is a list of FAQ’s

What if the kids do not do their chores?

Ummmmm…I am the boss, the dictator, the Mom! Obedience is not optional. 🙂

That said, with 8 children I have had my share of strong-willed, defiant children (and a couple “perfect” ones too!). Some take longer to get under control than others. (working on 15 years with one…love that “apple who didn’t fall far from the tree” girl!) Some take more supervision. Some need effective consequences. But everyone knows that they must comply. It is truly as simple as this – You do not get to do anything fun, go anywhere or have any thing that resembles a “good time” until the chores are completed to my satisfaction. (and yes, there have been times that they have missed a meal or stayed up past their bedtime and suffered the early morning wake up call….but you do not go to sleep until it is done!)

 What if they are not done like you would do them? 

 It depends!  I do not expect the younger ones to be able to do the same level of cleaning that I can do…so I “get over it”. (nope I do not “re-do” or complain)  However by the time they reach about 12 – 14 years old I expect them to clean as well as any competent adult. (and if they can’t then I need to do some re-education)

What age did you start different chores? 

When they are 2-4 they are expected to throw away trash, pick up toys, get dressed, brush their teeth and follow Mommy around watching and learning.  I let them help with lots of things. These are great ages because they usually want to help out!

At 4-6 they are “in training” – which means they get put on the chore chart as an “assistant” to one of the older children. I realize if you have only 2 or 3 children close together or when you are beginning with your eldest this will not work thus you will have to be the “trainer” with an assistant.  During these two to three years they learn how to do all the various chore jobs. (apparently all trainers are not equal since while I was writing this my 7-year-old did not sweep the crumbs from under the dining room table and then blamed her trainers – aka – the “big sisters” for not teaching her correctly…hmmmm….girls?)

At 7 they are put officially on the chore chart fully responsible for their list of chores for that week. Each year after that they should get more accurate and efficient with their given responsibilities. By 12 they should be able to clean for any cleaning service in town! 🙂

How did you keep the little ones on task the whole time without them running away to play? 

Since they have a “trainer” (you or your older children) they do not have the option of running away or getting distracted. 

Is it too late to start at 13?

It is never too late!  However you will need to have a little “pow wow” and share your reasoning for the changes that are ahead.  I would come up with a plan for chores and then sit down with the older child or children, tell them that you have been remiss in teaching them some basic responsibilities in life and that you need to make up for lost time.  The first month I would “roll up my sleeves” and teach them (by doing it with them) to do every chore in your home.  Then I would put up a chore chart and let them take on the household responsibilities. Since they are older I would also have a clear list of consequences for not completing the chores. (and they need to be “painful” if they are going to work – ie: no cell phone privileges, no Xbox, no Internet, no weekend social activities…whatever is their “button”.)

As the kids get older and their schedules & academic pursuits get more intense how do you handle household chores?

First let me say….there are many reasons and seasons that you will need to adjust your chore plan during the years your children are home. We went along with the same schedule for years with only occasional adjustments (like during each of my pregnancies where I was sick and sometimes bed ridden and my husband got to take over the Upper Management position) but when the eldest child started a rigorous academic high school program and also joined athletics and student council we realized we needed to change things up.  That was seven years ago and we have consistently made changes since then – having a unique school year plan, weekend plan and summer plan. 

That is not to say that anyone “gets off” easy just that we move things around to make the system work better.  High School with all its additional demands and responsibilities is a great time to learn effective time management, how to handle stress, priorities, occasional sleep deprivation and that sometimes there is more to accomplish than there are hours in a day. Sounds like a typical adult life to me…and don’t we want them to be prepared and ready to handle being an adult?

Is your house clean all the time? 

Ha! Not at all….but it is usually picked up and presentable. Occasionally it is pristine.  Occassionally it looks like a tornado hit it! (and we let people come over anytime regardless of the state of our home because people are our priority)

You mentioned cooking – is that on the chore chart?

We actually have a monthly dinner calendar posted on the fridge.  It lists everything we will be having for dinner that month. Above each meal is usually listed one of the older children’s names who will be in charge of making that meal.  We spent much of the early years of parenting doing “Once a Month Cooking” and having home-made ready cooked meals in the freezer. On the cooking days the kids helped out and learned many cooking skills.  

I do believe that our children need to know basic cooking skills and how to prepare a healthy meal before they leave our home.

And what about that allowance?

Ok…so lots of you are interested in the how’s, why’s or why not’s of allowance. I promise a post on that soon!

Also, be sure to check out the comments on the first chore post for lots of other good ideas from my readers.

Lastly….I thought I would share with you one of my many “Memo from Mom” an occasional email exchange I have with the family when I have decided not to become a screaming maniac but rather calmly (albeit sarcastically) share my grievances about the household. Although I will confess sometimes I am that screaming maniac…God forgive me!

My dear darling daughters…

Seriously…..
 
Do we really spill spaghetti sauce in the fridge & then leave it there to harden & be disgusting? (of course the other amazing thing is how many other people have opened the fridge & just ignored it)
 
Can no one tell the laundry garbage can needs to be emptied even when it is overflowing & spilling out on the floor?
 
Why is the tortilla bag NEVER….and I mean NEVER zip locked shut?
 
How many times do I have to tell you that cheese must be sealed completely with foil or a tightly secured zip lock?
 
Can someone please explain to me how one can not see a dark red shirt in the middle of the whites as you are putting them in the washer?? (try to blame it on Joy cuz that will show competence)
 
Why would someone put 9 month old clothing in Daniel’s drawer (he is 3 now!)…or how bout his PJ’s in the drawer with his bathing suits…or pants in the drawer with shirts or everything just thrown in the drawer not folded…or his nice church vest in the play closet…seriously??? seriously??? seriously??? Oh wait…his tie behind the toaster…come on ladies! <sigh of exasparation>
 
Ok….that’s it, just had to vent a bit.
 
I love you all!  Zoot! Zoot! Zoot!
 
Mommy
 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, Motherhood, My "take", Parenting