Category Archives: Life Lessons

How do you do what you do?

 Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today….

I want to be a part of it…New York New York!

The last time I was in New York in November of 2008 to celebrate Amy's 16th birthday

Yes, I am flying out today to New York City! If I couldn’t live my dream life by the sea…this is where I would live.  I am more of a “big city” kinda gal than a suburban or country one any day.  I love all the action, the culture, the lights, the buildings and the history. The rhythm of the city matches the rhythm of my life – lots of people, lots of activity and lots of late nights (the city that never sleeps!) 

I am heading out today along with my 16-year-old daughter Rebekah for a trip that will be a combination of:

  • celebrating two of my daughter’s 16th birthdays…with one being very long “overdue” (my 17-year-old Kristen will join us on Saturday morning after her high school senior year homecoming festivities…her original 16th birthday trip was canceled when I lost my job in 2010.)
  • seeing my daughter Michelle who is a senior at The King’s College in NYC (in the Empire State Building! How fun is that?)
  • a college visitation trip for my two high school girls – attending preview days at The King’s College & Gordon College in Boston
  • speaking to the college women at King’s on the complexities of relationships

I am looking forward to a fabulous, fun and memorable 10 days with three of my girls! Life is good!

Recently, as I was preparing for this upcoming adventure someone inquired – “How do you do what you do?”  

Let’s see…hmmmm….I looked at when the colleges were having their preview days for high school seniors, I put it on the calendar and then I made the airline reservations.  “No, no” they responded…”I mean how do you afford it?  I know you guys are in financial straits and yet here you are going to New York?  How do you do it?”

Oh that! Well first of all let me remind you of all the things we DON’T do that are “staples” for most families.  Some of these are for financial reasons but some are for philosophical reasons. We don’t:

  • pay for cable TV
  • buy any clothes for our kiddos (yup everything they wear is hand-me-downs and birthday/christmas gifts with the exception of under garments)
  • ever go to Disneyland or other typical family resort vacations (really, it is true!  we have never taken our family to Disneyland)
  • get manicures, pedicures or massages (and I try to push out my hair appointments to 9 months apart)
  • purchase birthday or Christmas gifts for extended family except on a rare occasion (in fact we don’t purchase Christmas gifts for our kids either just stocking stuffers)
  • go out to eat as a family (and 90% of our date nights out to dinner are with gift cards received…one of the benefits of having families at JECHS who love Mr Lambdin)
  • pay for our kids “extras” or give them an allowance (they take care of birthday gifts for their friends, any special clothes they want, movies, school events, sports registrations, camps…pretty much everything they “want” they pay for)
  • buy our kids a car of any kind (not even a beat up used one)
  • we don’t even purchase their plane tickets back & forth from college (which I will admit makes me cringe a bit as this is something I wish we could do)

So of course that still doesn’t really answer the question – How do you, on a very limited income, afford a trip to New York with your daughters?  Well, let me share with you how we do it. The key is to be creative, flexible and to ask the Lord for both wisdom and provision. Here they are:

Be willing to sleep anywhere – on bunk beds, couches or even air mattresses. We will be staying with Michelle and her roommate in her college housing. (a huge savings if you have ever priced out hotels in the city) If I did not have Michelle as an option (as well as a few other connections that I have in New York whom I could have asked to house us) I would have looked for the inexpensive youth hostel option.  I know many of my friends would “freak” at the thought of staying in a place that is a little run down, not in the best part of town and with a shared communal bathroom but I am telling you it can be done and even enjoyed if that is what it takes to make the trip happen.  Don’t get me wrong I love staying at Hiltons, Westins and Hyatts – and I have at many times during the “glory years” of my Creative Memories success – but I can just as easily stay in a two-bit motel if it means I get to go on the adventure!

Be open to the generosity of others – we are staying with a family in Boston who we do not know (they are the parents of one of my daughters college friends) who have generously offered us a place to stay for three nights. We have also been blessed with others who have generously given extra money to the girls (by paying them above and beyond for recent jobs they have had) so that they can enjoy their trip. We are also grateful for a handful of friends who know our needs as a family and always seem to generously bless us just at the perfect time.  Yes, it is humbling to be the receiver of the “It is more blessed to give than to receive” equation…and yet perhaps the Lord knows that pride is my besetting sin and is looking for ways for me to practice humility?? Gulp!

Be ok with public transportation – buses and subways are very affordable and though it may take longer to get somewhere it is worth it and for us it is the only option.  We got bus tickets from New York to Boston for $6 each! (yes you read that correctly – $6 – that’s the price of a Venti pumpkin spice latte with some change) And of course there will be no taxi’s for us in New York, just the subway and our trusty feet.

Ask the Lord for wisdom to find great deals!  Knowing that I had still not taken Kristen on her 16th birthday trip and that Rebekah was just a few months shy of turning 16 herself I began to ask the Lord to make a way for this special trip to happen for them.  I asked them if they would mind taking the trip together with me (and thus saving money with only one trip instead of two) and they enthusiastically agreed! (I love the unselfishness of my girls!)  Then I began praying that the Lord would find me the greatest deal!  Lo & behold my sister-in-law sent me info on the great anniversary sale that Southwest was having this summer for flights between August 15th and November 15th. (I did not even realize Southwest flew to New York…did you?)  I quickly got online to find out when the college preview days were happening…since one of my daughters is interested in these East Coast colleges it would also be the perfect opportunity for her to visit without adding more expense at a later date.  Then I logged onto Southwest airline and scored the deal of a lifetime!  I got three round trip tickets to NYC for less than the cost of two! Yes…always ask God to bring you a “steal of a deal”!

Eating isn’t the most important thing! While my husband will not agree with me on this point (and thankfully he is not traveling with us during this particular season of life)…you really can save a lot of money by not spending a lot on eating out.  Because we are staying in Michelle’s apartment we will be able to use her kitchen which will save a bundle, add to that two college preview events where we will be fed by the college (my brother-in-laws favorite way to get “free food” is going on college tours!) and we will be able to keep our eating expenses down to about the same as if we had stayed home. Can’t argue with that!  And for those of you who want to lose weight, traveling without extra money to spend on food is a great diet plan!  I am living proof as my life as of late has included several trips where I have not been able to spend money on meals out at restaraunts…resulting in much weight loss! Gotta think of a catchy name for this diet…maybe I could market it! Hmmmm…”Winning at Weight Loss Without Spending a Dime” 🙂

Count on the Lord’s Provision! The Lord provides in a multitude of ways.  For this trip He provided for our plane tickets through a speaking engagement where I had been blessed to be given an honorarium. He often uses our regular paychecks, or extra overtime hours at work or a surprise job opportunity to provide for us.  Sometimes He uses other people who are led to be a blessing. Other times He provides through an unexpected rebate, lowered bill payment or free opportunity. I have learned that no matter who signs the check or where the money comes from it is the Lord who is the provider and He is trustworthy. And so off we go to New York and Boston with a bit of money in our pockets, joy in our hearts and faith and trust that the Lord is going with us and will meet every need along the way (and maybe, just maybe even a few of the girls “wants”)

How do I do what I do?  That’s it my friend…and you can too!

 

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Filed under Attitude, Blessings, Determination, Economics, Faith, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges

The last time…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This just might be the last time…..

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

I am the 1%

You would have to be living under a rock to not have heard of all of the hullabaloo down on Wall Street with people protesting….oh wait….what are they protesting anyway?  It’s hard to say exactly but it appears, by all the personal signs I have read, to have something to do with being in the 99% and I guess this makes them mad because they want to be in the 1%? (you’ve lost something on me there folks…if we are all in the top 1% then ummmmm…there is no bottom 99% right??? We would all be the exactly the same…which I suppose is what true socialists want…but I digress)

 

Anyhoo….all these signs have got me thinking a lot about what percent I am in?  And darn it, being the driven, overachiever, competitive gal that I am…I want to be in the TOP 1%  Oh wait….but I am!

It’s true!  I am a part of the 1% in each of those categories.  As I began to look up statistics in different areas that I thought, just perhaps, I earned the right to be in the 1%, I wondered if I would be able to come up with more than just a couple.  I was pleasantly surprised (because I like to be #1) and at the same time a little disappointed as well, to find myself easily being in the top 1% in several areas.  Disappointed especially that more people do not adopt children, abandon TV or give away at least 10% of their income to those in need.  Wouldn’t our world be such a better place if even 10, 20 or 30% of our society did some of these things? Of course even if the world did not become a better place, we would become better people:

  • less concerned about the rich on Wall Street and more concerned about the King of Kings
  • less concerned about “getting our fair share” and more concerned about giving away some of our blessings
  • less concerned about our “things” here on this earth and more concerned with storing up treasures in heaven

What about you? What are you the 1% of?  Something to think about….

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Filed under Adoption, Attitude, Blessings, Economics, Life Lessons

What was, What is and What might have been…

Friday night high school football…there’s nothing quite like it!

Last night I attended an exciting game where two of my worlds collided. The high school where we joyfully invested over a decade of our early years of ministry was playing against the high school that Dan and I were given a vision for starting and have passionately served for the past 14 years!  It is in moments like these that are filled with memories, emotions and reflections on what was, what is and what might have been.

In 1986 as a single young woman, serving as a youth pastor and just months away from becoming “Mrs” Dan Lambdin, the high school that rented our church building was in need of a part-time girls PE teacher.  They had just completed their very first year and were getting an influx of students from another local high school that was merging with them.  I eagerly took the position as it would provide me another opportunity to minister to youth (my passion and calling), it was flexible and convenient to my current position as a youth pastor and it didn’t hurt that I could use the extra cash to pay for my upcoming wedding. Little did I know how much that one decision would dramatically change and shape my life.

It was during that year that I fell in love with the ministry of Christian education!  It was like having youth group everyday.  I could pour into the lives of young people, mentor and disciple them in such a greater and often more effective way than I was able to as a youth pastor, where I often only got to see the kids two times a week for a couple of hours at the most. (and a bonus: the students couldn’t just leave if they got mad at you for something you did or said or if they decided that they were “done” with being a believer….so you actually had the opportunity to walk them through the hard things instead of them disappearing, never to be seen again like what often happened in youth ministry) I soon realized that it was not only the students who I was able to minister to but their entire families as well.  I was excited about the unlimited opportunities to impact others for the Lord through this avenue of Christian education. 

After we were married, Dan decided to go back to school and get his Bachelor Degree in Bible & Theology.  Besides renting out a room in our tiny apartment to pay for his tuition, he became the school janitor to help pay for college.  Before long he was coaching, became the athletic director and was even teaching a class. He too became passionate about the ministry of Christian education and after graduating became a full-time Bible teacher at the school. 

For over a decade we faithfully served the school, giving wholeheartedly of our time, our talent and our treasure.  In fact the positions we held were vast and various (little did we know that God was preparing us to have the experience and tools to actually start a school years later!) Believe it or not we did all of the following jobs during our years at this school:

  • Teachers – Physical Education (we both taught this!), Bible, Typing (yup…those who can’t “do”…teach!), Government(no laughing Class of ’91), Leadership, Journalism & Yearbook
  • Support Staff – Janitor, Secretary, Bus Driver
  • Coaches – Volleyball, Softball, Soccer
  • Advisors – Student Council, Yearbook, School Newspaper, Christian Club, Class Advisors
  • Administration – Athletic Director, Vice Principal, Principal, Dean of Students, Director of Admissions, Director of Student Affairs, Guidance Counselor, Director of Development

Yes, we pretty much did everything. We basically lived at the school. Our children even had a small room off my classroom to play in while we spent many after school hours working. It was our heart, our soul and our passion! And the results were phenomenal!  We saw the school triple in size during that time and the programs, athletics, activities and academics flourished.  We had a very close and united staff who were our dearest friends.  We developed life long relationships with students and families that continue to be strong and steadfast today. (In fact we are now teaching & ministering to many of our former students children!) We saw God move in amazing, miraculous and life changing ways during that season that we affectionately refer to as “the glory years” at BCHS….some of the best times of our lives.

And then the unthinkable happened. On March 6, 1997 I was fired. Dan (along with many other long time staff members) subsequently submitted his resignation.

Without getting into all the murky details that led to that fateful day (suffice to say I had done nothing immoral, illegal or wrong that would be deserving of this termination), it was shocking, heart wrenching and simply unbelievable.  We felt as if everything we held dear was being ripped away from us. We felt betrayed, attacked and abandoned. We grieved deeply and questioned God’s will in it all. We also found ourselves in a desperate situation – instantly going from two incomes to none (with no opportunity for unemployment benefits) with four young children to care for and a home that was partially owned by our former employer, unsure of  God’s will and direction for our lives and dealing with heartache and depression.  It was truly a moment in time that left its indelible mark upon our hearts and lives.

However, this seemingly horrific – trial by fire – in our lives was used by the Lord to burn several principles into our hearts that will not only “stand the test of time” but reap amazing benefits to us, our children and our children’s children as we walk through this life.

God Alone is our Provider

I have written a lot about this paradigm over the years (you can read several posts here) so I am not going to say too much as this could be an entire book.  This one experience was the beginning of a true change in what we really believed about God and His provision. Of course, like most Christians, we said out of our mouths that we trusted the Lord to provide for our needs….but in reality we mostly trusted in our own abilities and actions as well as in others to provide a paycheck. When that was ripped out of our hands and we were left standing with nothing…..but God….we came to the harsh reality of how truly small our faith and trust really was (and I don’t say that proudly).  We worried about losing our home, feeding our kids and having to declare bankruptcy.  We fretted. We stressed.  We cried. We prayed.  And slowly the Lord began to use His Word (see Matthew 6:25-34, Philippians 4:19, Philippians 4:6) to penetrate our unbelieving hearts and change the way we see things and the way we live. 

And we have remained changed!  We have had seasons of prosperity since that day and seasons of poverty and yet we know, that we know, that we know that God IS OUR PROVIDER!  He will meet every need.  He will not forsake us.  Even now as I am looking at the realities of an empty gas tank, an upcoming property tax bill and an unpaid gas & electric statement…I have simply not an ounce of anxiety in my heart or mind because I know who pays my bills and meets my needs.  If simply learning this lesson and having this type of peace was the only lesson we learned from that experience…it would have been well worth it all.

It’s not what happens to you in life…but how you respond that really counts!

I read a quote on facebook the other day that said“Everyone wants to be an overcomer but no one wants anything to overcome”  Ain’t that the truth?  We all admire people who face trials and adversity and come out victorious.  We hear stories about them and our eyes well up with tears. We watch movies about them and wildly cheer them on. We read books about their lives and are inspired to be the same.  And yet when we are faced with challenges, obstacles and trials we shake our fist and look up to heaven and shout (or whine depending on your personality)…”Why me?” Or we get mad, bitter and angry allowing our lives to be ruined by our challenging circumstances.  We admire and aspire to be the overcomer and yet when the very trial that comes our way giving us that opportunity we let it bury us.

It was very easy for us to get angry and to allow bitterness into our hearts.  After all we had been faithful and loyal.  We had served and sacrificed.  We had given up the better part of our youth and helped build a dynamic and successful school only to be cast aside, wronged and betrayed by those we loved and trusted.  Didn’t we have the right to be angry? And there were plenty of people ready to feed that anger.  It was a recipe for disaster. Thankfully we both had a pretty good handle on the scriptures that are very bold at pointing out that there is no place in God’s kingdom for bitterness and unforgiveness. And since we wanted a place in the kingdom both here on earth as well as for eternity we knew we better quickly get it right. 

During this season the Lord taught us that when bad things happen in your life (and they will….you can count on it!), He is not caught by surprise (nope God was not shocked when I was fired) and that He is wanting us to have a right response for His glory!  After spending some much needed time away a few weeks after my termination (I am so grateful for a godly husband who saw me spiraling downward and knew that I needed some alone time with God to “get it together”), the Lord showed me how I was to respond as an overcomer to the trials of life.

  • Give thanks!    Really God?  You want me to thank you for this?  No, Beth I want you to give thanks in this and for that matter in everything!  “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Simple yes…but very hard. He doesn’t tell me I have to “feel” thankful just “be” thankful.  So I began to thank the Lord in the midst of my circumstances.  (and guess what after just a few days of thanking Him…I felt better! hopeful! encouraged!)
  • Forgive fast and often   If you want to be forgiven then you have no option but to forgive. period. end of story.  It’s basic Christianity (you all know the prayer..forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us) Forgiveness is simply releasing someone else from your judgement. You don’t have to “feel” like forgiving them. It is an act of your will.  I release them from my judgement.  One of the things I found with forgiving though is that I can choose to forgive and then I find myself remembering & taking back my forgiveness (I am sooooo not like God)…so the Lord told me to keep forgiving over & over & over.  And you know what?  I have not one ounce of unforgiveness in my heart for those who hurt & betrayed me all those years ago.  Somewhere along the line of forgiving daily it stuck and I truly was able to walk freely in forgiveness!  Since that trial – forgive fast & forgive often has been my goal whenever the Lord gives me the opportunity to be wronged, hurt or betrayed (yup! It is an opportunity to be an overcomer and I seem to get them often)
  • Pray for those who mistreat you   If we all prayed for those who are a “thorn in our side” we would be amazed at the change in our hearts. “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” Matthew 5:44-45 “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:28  Even as I type this I am being reminded of those I should be praying for right now. I hear you Lord! 🙂
  • Sow seeds of kindness & love into their lives  Ok so I forgive them, I am praying for them and now you want me to do something nice for them?  What???  “Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them…Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable…“If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads. Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” Romans 12:14, 17, 20-21  It was pretty clear to me that if I really wanted to overcome I needed to do acts of kindness to bless those who had hurt me.  I gulped hard and I began to brainstorm what I could do and then despite how hard it was I did them!  I am sure that those simple acts did something profound in my heart as well as opening up avenues for the Lord to bless my life.

It’s True…God really does work everything out for good! 

The scripture often quoted in Romans 8:28 – “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” is not just a “nice” thought…it is truth.   When I think about the end of that era of my life, like I did last night at the football game, with a “what might have been” perspective I actually shudder at the thought of NOT being fired on that day in 1997!

Out of the ashes of that trial by fire came some of the most amazing perfect blessings of my life!

  • The creation of Jim Elliot Christian High School that stands out as a beacon of light for God’s glory.  A place where lives are being impacted for eternity.  A school that two of my daughters have graduated from and two currently attending who have benefited from the amazing staff who have taught, cared for and mentored them as well as given them lifelong Christ honoring friendships.  A place that has provided my husband with his “dream job”…teaching Bible all day and speaking into the lives of young people as the school chaplain.
  • Homeschooling my children!  I can not even begin to imagine how different my life would be if I had not begun to homeschool my children after my termination (my eldest at the time attended the school’s private Christian elementary as a result of the tuition benefit which of course we lost).  My relationship with my kids would be vastly different. My impact and influence on their lives would be vastly different. My children’s relationship with each other would be vastly different. I might even still be a “control freak” and not in recovery!  In short everything would be dramatically different and since I LOVE the way it has played out I shudder to think what we would have all missed out on.
  • Running a successful home business.  I never ever considered working from home. I never knew the freedom and joy of being my own boss.  One of the blessings of my life being turned upside down was running a successful profitable business from my home for over a decade. It was amazing! It was fun! It was fabulous! I did something I loved, got treated to unbelievable incentive trips all over the world with my husband, made friends who will forever be a part of my life and was able to perfect the gift of speaking, writing & motivating others as a result of my business.   I simply cannot imagine my life without this business.

And those are just the really “BIG” life altering things.  There are countless other blessings that our greatest trial has brought into our lives.  I can honestly now say that getting fired was one of the single best moments of my life!  Of course hind sight is 20/20…right?  Now I strive to actually stand on that promise in the midst of the trial knowing that God has a plan and that I will one day be able to look back and see the blessing that it has brought into my life!

If you are currently “walking through the fire” in life may these words encourage you today, build your faith as well as giving you practical and scriptural ways to overcome! One day you too will be on the other side looking at what was, what is and what might have been….and rejoicing in it all!

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Filed under Blessings, Endurance, Jim Elliot Christian High School, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Overcoming

So much to say….so little time to say it!

So many things I want to write about and yet life continues to be a whirlwind of activity.  So this is just a random crazy rambling that contains many of my “all over the place” things I want to share with each of you. So grab a pumpkin spice latte my friend and let’s share some time together.

Life is often just a matter of perspective

Have you ever noticed that when you are gaining unwanted weight…the number on the scale in the morning makes you crazy, mad or depressed! And yet when you are losing weight …that exact same number is a cause for rejoicing?

Thinking we should realize that through all life’s twists and turns (or ups and downs like the scale) we should keep it all in perspective…just down the road a piece what we see now as maddening or depressing could look pretty darn good!

“Danielism’s”

My four year old son gives me enough “material” to write about daily as well as saying the “darndest” & cutest things on a regular basis!

There was a major chemical plant fire in my #2 daughter, Amy’s college town of Waxahachie, Texas. Daniel while watching the live feed of the fire says: “I hope Amy doesn’t get fired!”  Then looking quite stressed out he continues with intensity…”I need to tell Daddy about this!” (I respond – “Daniel…Daddy is in Texas  with Amy!”) Daniel jumps off the bed and says “Oh good then Amy won’t get blown up”…and he runs off to play without giving it another thought.

Don’t you just love it that he thinks his Daddy can take care of it all just like any superhero?! (hmmmm…perhaps we should become like a kid with our heavenly Daddy and rest in the fact that He’s got it covered!)

Communication Breakdown

In this day and age where we have multiple amazing avenues of communication….why did I have to call my daughter in Texas to have her send a facebook message to my next door neighbor to ask her to knock on my back door and tell my family to please call me because I was stranded on the side of the highway in the pouring down rain an hour away from home?

Why? Because after calling the house phone (which apparently they could not find…curse those cordless phones that are not attached to the wall…some technology really has not helped us) and my husband’s cell phone (which he apparently left in the car…why even  have a cell phone if it is not with you?) multiple times (read here 20 times each phone) I finally got creative and figured out a way to personally deliver a message to my family when it really was an actual emergency!

Next time I am traveling with a carrier pigeon…

Movies – When it Rains it Pours

Typically before the monthly “date night” with my love….I do a “once over” on the movie review page and decide there is nothing playing worth wasting my valuable time or my limited resources.  But lately there as been an abundance of really GREAT movies! (and not enough date nights!)

The Help — ummmmmm loved this movie! Funny, Moving, Passionate, Angering, Endearing, Inspiring…. So many “take aways” that could be life changing for you.  While most of us who saw the movie shared our outrage over the treatment of those of a different race or ethnicity I wonder if we realize how many of us think of others who are not of a certain “class” (be it educational, social, financial, religious or even racial) as lower than we are.  Even if we are not overtly treating them as “second class” citizens…our thinking is probably coming out in some of our actions no matter how small.  What would happen if we got as disgusted with ourselves as we did with the racist characters in this movie and changed even our thinking about those who somehow we view as “below” us?  Something to think about….

Courageous  – If you are a Dad….if you have had a Dad….if you have ever wanted a Dad – that is right everyone of us needs to see this inspirational  action packed movie about failure, fear, faith and fathering.  Bring a pack of kleenex because you will cry! You will also be convicted!  And hopefully you will be challenged and changed. It is currently #6 in the box office after two weekends running…GO SEE IT!

Seven Days In Utopia  – first it is rated G….love that! Although it is about golf (not my favorite subject) this movie is more about forgiveness and mercy and grace.  Love it when I can go to a movie and leave with great life lessons learned and positive messages. (reminds me of The Ultimate Gift…another GREAT movie!)  It has been out over a month so if you don’t catch it at the theater be sure to look for it when it comes out on DVD.

 

Machine Gun Preacher – so I haven’t seen it yet and there are probably many things that will irritate & greatly offend me about this movie (mostly the excessive foul language)…I am pretty sure I will go see it!  Why?  Because I love the fact that it is exposing the atrocities of how children are being horrifically treated in Sudan and perhaps it will ignite some “righteous justice” in those of us who are content to sip our lattes in Starbucks while simply talking about the injustices in the world but never getting off our fannies to actually do anything about it.  My college age daughters have both already seen it because they live in our near BIG cities where it has already opened. Besides it’s a great couple movie as it has lots of guns & violence for the guys and the emotional tug of precious children being rescued for the gals. (PS – No I won’t let my children see this one)

 

Marital Bliss

Speaking of date nights…lately I have found myself sharing tidbits of advice to couples who are committed to their marriages but find themselves struggling with different challenges. (not too mention the fact that the all time number one blog post visited on my blog deals with overcoming marital problems…it must be something we all need help with)

One of the things we often do on our date nights when we are having fun, at peace and enjoying our relationship (in other words not in the middle of a disagreement or intense conversation) is to ask each other this – “What is one thing I can change or do better that would really be a blessing to you?”   The rules are –> it can only be ONE thing (we can all handle tackling one issue at a time), that I won’t argue about it and that I will make an honest attempt to change or do what is asked.

You need an example? Ok….so usually my sweet husband answers with…”hmmmm (then a pause to think), no I’m good Beth, I can’t think of anything. (HA!  I know all too well how hard I am to live with…he is just a wee bit easy going. And of course I always have something that he can do or change that would bless me)  But a few years ago he did come up with something.  He shared with me that it would really bless him if I would be on time for church. (according to his idea of “on time” – 10 minutes early…not my idea of “on time” – right at the starting time and up to 10 minutes late)  So even though I was comfortable in “my way” of doing things and I didn’t really see the big deal…I agreed to do this because it was a big deal to him.  And because I love him I am willing to change and I want to bless him!

That is just one small example of something that can really help you on your road to marital bliss! So next time you are out on a date night (you are going on date nights right?)…make this one sentence a part of your wonderful evening.

Oh where in the world is Virginia Elizabeth?

In case you missed the reference to “Oh where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?” (and you would if you were not a kid or raising kids in the 90’s or early ‘oos) OR you have no idea who Virginia Elizabeth is…the comment is from an educational video game & television series exploring geography & history.  And since “Oh where in the world is Beth“….doesn’t have the same ring or pizzaz as Carmen Sandiego…I used my given name…Virginia Elizabeth (fancy huh?)  Did you know that my real name is Virginia and I actually go by a nickname of my middle name. Strange huh?  Even my own dear mother can not explain why they did this…and it has definitely been a challenge in a day and age where identity is so crucial. As a result I have named my children exactly what I have called them, without even nicknames.  It has also been humourous at times having several “real” names….but I digress. What I really wanted to tell you is that I have been traveling or going on out of town excursions A LOT in the last six weeks!

  • from the beach in Santa Cruz, CA with dear friends
  • to Waxahachie, Texas where my second daughter has begun her freshman year of college at SAGU
  • to Lorton, Virginia to spend time with and help my mother out while she has been experiencing some challenging health issues (bonus: my Micehelle took the bus down from NYC to see me and celebrate her 22nd birthday!)
  • to our annual Apple Hill fall family day trip…love this! (you can read about this tradition here)
  • and finally I just returned yesterday from my 16th Croptoberfest Retreat weekend in Toulomne, CA with close to 100 women who were happily relaxing, scrapbooking, eating & enjoying time away from it all with dear friends.
  • Oh wait….I also have driven to the Oakland airport & back six times in the past month as my family has been doing their fair share of traveling as well  (and last week the car I was driving lost its transmission on the way home and I got a lift back home from the tow truck driver…that was a first)

If you love pictures & want to see more of my last six weeks in full living color…click here! I am officially home for the next three weeks until I fly off again for a combo 16th birthday/college visitation/time with Michelle trip to NYC & Boston in November.

Inspire Ministries….am I speaking & writing?

Hmmmmm….a year ago I announced that the Lord was moving me in a direction of beginning a ministry that would involve using my gifts and talents in speaking & writing to inspire people to live a life of purpose, passion & praise.

Soooooooo….have I been doing that? 

Well the writing is sporadic with a constant nagging in my mind that I need to “get on it”.  And yet here I am not even consistently blogging, let alone actually working on a manuscript. Yes I am “busy” (HATE that word).  Yes, I have 8 children to care for. Yes, there are a dozen legitimate excuses.  And yet excuses are just that excuses for not doing what you say you want to do.  If we really want to do something, we will do it. Period. End of story.  Which means what I need to say is that it is just not my priority (not important enough to me at this time).  Admitting the truth is often the first step to change…we will see if I change.

Speaking…I have “officially” had 6 speaking engagements this past year. (and 2 additional invitations that I had to pass on due to conflicts)   They have ranged from women’s luncheons to retreats to conferences.  They have all gone well with the Lord using me to speak His words of life through sharing my life stories and insights.  I love it!  My goal was 6 this past year and 12 this coming year.  The problem with speaking (unlike writing) is that you have to be invited to do it.  So after a good first year start I am staring at an empty calendar except for a lone Moms Fellowship Group in January.  Now I do a lot of “one on one” speaking assignments and I simply love these too! (could these be called counseling or life coaching?  Funny, I find myself often saying the same things I say in a group setting with just a bit more personalization)

Perhaps you or someone you know is looking for a speaker for their event, conference, luncheon, meeting or retreat.  I would love to come!  And while I do not have a website up & running yet.  Let me share some of the many topics I feel confident to speak on (I am sure there are more…this is a quickly drawn up list):

  • Marriage Topics – Nurturing a healthy, happy & holy marriage, Becoming the best wife you can be, Preparing for a life long marriage, Overcoming challenges on the road to marital bliss, Love languages & personality teaching
  • Parenting Topics – Raising children of faith, Purposeful parenting, Family traditions, Bringing up good girls in an X-rated world, Mommy lessons from having 8 kids, Building your child’s confidence
  • Personal Growth Topics – Knowing who you really are to God, Trusting God, Help for the control freak, Living a balanced life, Letting the Lord be enough, Living a life of purity, Goals, dreams & visions, Discovering & using your gifts & talents, Married & wishing your were single OR Single & wishing you were married, Taming the tongue
  • Working at Home Mom Topics –  Running a successful home based business, Balancing Family & Business, Building a God honoring business

I have often tailored a message to a groups theme or purpose as well.  If you have an idea and I feel like I can meet your need, I am willing to do it! I appreciate your help in spreading the word for me, as well as your prayers or words of advise are always welcome!  I am trusting God to open the doors He wants me to walk through.

Ok, my latte is all gone…would love to hear what you have to say!

Until next time…..

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Filed under Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, My "take"

911: Remembering & Recommitting

September 11, 2001…where were you?

911 002I was actually in the Washington DC area on a business trip on that fateful day in American history, along with my then seven-year old daughter, Kristen. (she is now 17 and a senior in high school!) We were getting ready to fly home on that very morning the planes were flown into the twin towers in New York City.

And ironically I am in Virginia again on this 10th anniversary of 911.  This time I am here by myself without my precious Kristen.  I am here to help my mother who has recently had some intense health issues that require her to need assistance.  When I first made my reservations to come to the East coast it did not dawn on me that I would once again be in the nation’s capitol on September 11.  I believe this anniversary is an appropriate time to remember, to reflect, to honor those whose lives were lost and who gave sacrificially and to renew our commitments to our faith, our family & friends and our country. How significant then that the Lord would orchestrate the circumstances of my life to be in the same place I was on that fateful life changing day.

Here is an excerpt from my photo album written shortly after September 11, 2001. (I am so thankful that I took the time to write this down back then, one of the many bonuses of being a scrapbooker & journaler!)  –

911 003From the moment I turned on the television at my mother’s home in Springfield, Virginia…everything began to become surreal. I sat frozen alone on the couch as I realized the atrocity and severity of what was happening. Terrorists hijacked  two airplanes and crashed them into the twin towers in New York City. As the events unfolded I watched with horror, along with millions of Americans who were glued to their television sets.  It was like we were watching a nightmare and wondering what might happen next and if we would ever feel safe again.

All I could think was that I wanted to be home with my family. I was 3,000 miles away and with all air traffic being suspended indefinitely, there was no certainty of when I could get home. I called Dan who was still unaware of what was happening on the East Coast (It was still very early in California). He prayed for me & told me how much he loved me. He also shared how relieved he was that I was at home at my Mom’s and not on an airplane at that moment. As I sat back down to watch the unfolding drama I learned that another plane had crashed just down the freeway from where I currently was staying — into the Pentagon. I was stunned! 911 005What was happening…and what would be next? It was at that point I looked down at my confirmed airline itinerary dated September 11. 2001 from Washington DC to California. The full impact hit me. My daughter and I could have easily been  passengers on one of those airplanes heading to California. I began to cry & praise the Lord that it was not my time to die and that I was not on an airplane right then being diverted to another city somewhere in the United States.  Instead, I was safe at my mother’s home with my sweet daughter. I had a lot to be thankful for that day. We finally did get home five days later. (but not without several delays and obstacles including getting stuck in Minneapolis for a night and being graciously taken in by a business associate, Leanne Anderson, who rescued us from having to sleep in the airport) When we finally touched down in San Francisco, I cried. I had never been happier than to simply be home with my precious family.

911 001In the aftermath of 911, it was inspiring to see patriotism come to life in America. Everywhere you looked people were wearing red, white & blue, flying flags, putting up signs & showing their love for their country & fellow citizens. Flags were everywhere – on every home, hanging from bridges, on cars, on buildings, on clothing…it was overwhelming & emotional. I found myself with eyes filled with tears and getting choked up several times a day as I witnessed the love of others and the patriotism that had been sorely missing in the daily life of most Americans. People also began to give of their time, talent & treasure in abundance. On every street corner money was being collected & people gave freely. Many volunteered their time and stood in line for hours to give blood. It was an incredible moment in history to witness this outpouring of love & generosity.

911 004This tragedy of 911 also turned many hearts back to the Lord and to faith. Everyone was in desperate search of answers and in great need of peace, hope & security. People were coming together in droves to pray and seek God. Our common faith in God became evident to all. The cross rose up out of the ashes of the towers and became a symbol of hope for those at Ground Zero in New York. We all knew that we desperately needed God. No one was offended by people praying or evoking the name of Jesus. There was a National Memorial Service broadcast worldwide where Billy Graham boldly proclaimed the gospel.

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

911Were you changed by the events of September 11?

Did you stop everything & order your priorities aright?

Did you have a renewed sense of patriotism & love for the USA?

Did you weep with those who lost loved ones and hold your precious family closer?

Did you give blood, donate your time or money in the aftermath?

Did it draw you to the Lord?

Perhaps on this anniversary of 911 it would do us all some good to recommit to these same things today.  In this ever-changing and turbulent times we are living…none of us knows what tomorrow will bring.

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  I Peter 5:8

It is so easy in the years following a disaster or life changing event to lose your resolve, be lulled into apathy or even forget the things that you thought would stay with you forever.  Take the time today to remember and recommit yourself to loving God, loving others, loving life and loving our country with the intensity we did after 911.

I will be re-committing my life to these values as I attend a memorial service in Washington DC on Sunday. I want to live my life as if each day could be my last –

  • ready to meet my Lord by humbly living a life pleasing to Him
  • loving my dear family & friends and spending time enjoying each other
  • reaching out with kindness and compassion to strangers, those in need and even those that I find challenging
  • not stressing about the small inconsequential things that try to irritate or distract me from the truly important things in life
  • joyfully serving my church, my community, my country and my world using my God-given gifts & talents to benefit others

What do you remember about the way your life changed after September 11? What values will you recommit to on this anniversary of that horrific day? Don’t let this moment pass you by without some reflection on the past and commitments for your future…in just a blink of an eye we will be another decade away from this fateful day…let’s be changed for the better!

God Bless America!

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Filed under Blessings, Endurance, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, My "take", Priorities

Don’t you know what causes that?

“Don’t you know what causes that?”

It started with my third pregnancy…as we began to share with those around us the news of the anticipated birth of our baby…the smirking and joking from a few friends who assumed that we could not have possibly planned to have a…<gulp>….third child!  I suppose several gave us a “pass” on their comments since we had already birthed two girls and they assumed we were “trying for a boy”.  But when the fourth pregnancy was revealed less than a year later friends, family and even strangers jumped on the band wagon to ask us silly and/or personal questions or make shocking and/or rude statements:

  • Were you trying?  (nope, we were doing and succeeding mind you!)
  • How many more are you going to have? (you’ll have to ask God)
  • Was this an accident?  (Really? Like getting pregnant is being in a car wreck or breaking your leg)
  • Are you going to get fixed after this one? (hmmm…didn’t know I was broken)
  • I am glad it’s you and not me! (I am sure the baby is too and my husband is definitely glad it’s not you)
  • How are you ever gonna pay for college? (I don’t know…how are you?)
  • You’re crazy! (if that was said to my face I can’t imagine what was said behind my back)
  • You’re having another one?  (yes, at least one this time)
  • When are you going to stop? (stop?….stop what?)

And my personal favorite from all the people who think they are “oh so funny”…

  • Don’t you know what causes that? (I have so many great answers in my head for this one that would make most people turn beat red or greatly embarrass my teenage girls…but I was raised to be a dignified lady so I try oh so hard to keep my mouth shut)

Assuming that the readers of this blog have all taken a junior high sex ed class, have been through a “secret weekend” (as they are called in our family) or have had “the talk” with their parents where they learned all about “the facts of life” (otherwise known as human anatomy, sexual relations and how life is conceived)…I do not think that you need a biological play by play on what caused us to conceive seven children during our almost 25 years of marriage.  But perhaps you are curious about what might cause a couple to have such a large family in a society that teaches and embraces a two child…or three at the most…standard philosophy? (and laughs at, sneers or condemns anyone who dares to do otherwise)

What caused us to have so many children?  Well let me tell you it all began 25 years ago this very month and if you are interested or curious, I have finally decided to write out and publish our story. (WARNING: If you have a tendency to feel “judged” simply by the lifestyle and choices others make that are different than yours, you might want to just stop reading now and save yourself the grief.  DISCLAIMER: I am in no way judging anyone for their choices regarding children, reproduction or family size nor am I telling anyone else how they should decide these things.  I am simply sharing our God inspired story for those who are curious, interested or questioning. It may challenge your theology or thinking and… it may not)

I was 24 years old and just a few months away from getting married when the Lord began to work in my heart concerning my ideas about birth control, family planning and being truly open to every life that He wanted to
give to me.

I was a very committed & passionate young woman who was serving as the youth pastor to hundreds of “on fire” teenagers. I had what were called “radical” views on dating and relationships as well as very intensive discipleship programs for our youth.  I considered myself extremely pro-life and wanted to do everything within my power to stop the atrocity of abortion in our country.  In many ways I was  quite different than the average church going evangelical yet I found myself among the norm when it came to buying into the “planned parenthood” mentality of our day.

I was engaged to be married to an awesome godly young man and we both agreed that the plan would be for me to begin taking the birth control pill and then we would wait several years, go off the pill and have perhaps two children, a boy & a girl, and then be done. Perfect, right?

As part of our marriage preparation we attended an Engaged Encounter Weekend Retreat where we were encouraged to take an opportunity to dialogue honestly and intensively about our prospective lives together– our strengths and weaknesses, desires, ambitions, goals, our attitudes about money, sex, children, family, our role in the church and society–in a very comprehensive way. (I highly recommend this type of purposeful marriage preparation and am always shocked when couples have not taken the time to explore these areas and come to an agreement prior to saying “I do”!)   After each topic was introduced, we were given a list of questions to answer privately in a journal and then come together to share our answers with one another. (a great way to have honest communication)

About half way through the weekend the session on family planning, birth control and children was introduced.  As Dan and I each found a private place to write in our journals I began to feel a strong stirring in my heart. I was challenged in my spirit to completely rethink my beliefs in this area.  As I sat on some rocks in the foothills of Copperopolis and tried to write down my well thought out answers (you see I knew exactly what I wanted in this area of life and marriage), the Lord literally threw out questions one after another in my mind, fast and furious –

  • Have you ever considered asking Me what the plan for your family should be? (hadn’t really thought about that, Lord)
  • How about inquiring of Me how many children I want to give you? (Well, I just thought we would just decide what we wanted and you would be fine with it)
  •  Is it birth control or God control that you desire? (ouch…this one stung!)
  • Who is in control of your life anyway? (ummmmm….You are God?? I love you & want your will for my life)
  • Do you believe that children are a blessing from Me?  (of course….I think so)
  • Why do you want to limit my blessings? (well…..I don’t know?)
  • Do you believe that I know you and will give you the very best for your life?  (Yes!)
  • Do you trust me? (I thought I did)

I felt like I was in some type of wrestling match with the Lord as He tried to get me to release control of my life and give my plans over to become His plans. (Thy will be done)  But when I was finally ready to stop arguing with Him and listen He gently reminded me to just relax and trust Him…for He truly had an abundant life for me to live. Better than I could ever ask or think! After that hour with the Lord, and a subsequent long conversation with my soon to be husband (when we got together later to share our journals…and I had written not a thing down), together we gave our plans for family to the Lord and ditched the “planned parenthood” philosophy.

We did not decide to have a “boatload” (or 15 passenger van load) of children.

We did not decide to have one, two or three children for that matter either.

We did not decide to be married for three years and then start our family and we did not decide to get pregnant right away.

We simply decided to give God control of our family dynamics and to ask Him to lead and guide us every step of the way. (not really a complicated decision to merely ask the Lord what He wants and yet so few do ask Him when it comes to this area of life)

A month later I learned quite by happenstance that the birth control pill was an abortifacient. (well documented and researched so no need to argue with me on this point…even if your doctor told you it wasn’t they were using some type of semantics and faulty reasoning…all you have to do is read the insert that is in the pill container) I was appalled that no believer had shared this with me and I got down on my knees and thanked the Lord that I had never “accidentally” aborted a baby by making my womb hostile to implantation of a conceived child.  With my heart & passion for the unborn that would have been difficult for me to live with. During that time I had gotten even more confident in my conviction that we should simply put the control of our family in God’s hands.  After all He was the creator of life (albeit He lets us be a part of that as co-creators) and since His view on children as being a gift from Him and a blessing, we could certainly trust Him. I also realized that the Lord might not bless us with any children by birth and I committed that into His care as well. (something that in this current world of rampant infertility issues one would be best to realize early on — the truth that no one is guaranteed to give birth to a child) We had also already experienced the miracle of adoption through our newly adopted niece who joined our family the same week we got engaged…we knew that adopting a child was not “second best” to having a bio child and we considered that adoption would someday be a part of the plan for our family as well.

On our wedding day we publicly affirmed & committed to raising children to glorify God (to the actual laughter of many of our Christian friends…you can hear it on the video) and throughout our 24+ years of marriage we have continued to trust God in this area.  We have prayed at times asking for the Lord to give us a “breather” (after we had four children in six years and extremely difficult pregnancies) and we along with our daughters have pleaded with the Lord for over three years to bless us with yet another sweet baby to love (#7) and we spent countless hours and persisted through many roadblocks and closed doors as we asked God to let us adopt.  Children came at what others considered “bad times” (one during my husband’s last year in Bible school, several back to back, another when we had taken on a challenge of starting a Christian school, and of course the health risks for myself and baby that many gravely warned us about when I had two babies post 40 years old) but as always in hindsight we see that Gods timing was perfect with each and every child. Through it all we chose God control and ultimately said… “Thy will be done”.

The results….we have been blessed with seven awesome children by birth (six girls – 21, 18, 17, 15, 12, 8 and a boy 4 years old) and so far one girl (age 2) through the miracle of adoption. They have brought more love, joy & peace into our lives than we could have ever imagined. (as well producing other fruit of the spirit – patience & self control – we didn’t start off with these qualities but you better believe we have given ample opportunity to grow!) It would take another long blog entry to tell you about all the blessings and benefits that we have been given through each of our children as well as by having a plus size family. Things we could have never imagined those 25 years ago and yet God knew.  And we are ready, willing & wanting to take any more that the Lord sends our way through birth or adoption. (to the utter shock, amazement & sometimes dismay of most of the people around us.)

So……do I know what causes this?

Yes I do, thank you!

What causes a young soon to be married couple to decide to chuck the current popular world view on birth control, pregnancy, child spacing, family size and children out the window?

It was caused by:

  • the joining together of two hearts that wanted nothing more than to listen to the Lord and follow His plan for their lives.
  • a desire to give Him complete control over their lives and their destinies
  • a hope to come together in marriage to glorify God and be an example of Christ and His unconditional love for His church
  • a belief that all life is a gift to be cherished and that babies are a blessing from God
  • gaining an understanding of how much God loves the orphans, the fatherless and children without forever families that His heart beats for adoption
  • trusting God and saying…Not our will but….Thy will be done!

How about you….Do you know what causes that in your life?

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Filed under Adoption, Attitude, Blessings, Faith, Fatherhood, Life Lessons, Marriage, Motherhood, My "take", Pro-life