Category Archives: Making a Difference

I wish I could….

My dear blog readers…today’s post is written for those of you who call yourselves Christians. So, if you are not someone who claims to believe in and follow the teachings of Christ I invite you to “listen in” on the conversation but know that I am directing this post towards believers.

Ok…let’s get right down to it.

As Christians we are commanded and compelled to help orphans and unwanted children. Period. End of story.

I could give you all the scriptures that point to this non negotiable commandment. (for those who may need “proof”Exodus 22:22-23, Psalm 68:5-6, Deuteronomy 14:28-29, Deuteronomy 24:19, Psalm 82:3-4, Isaiah 1:17, Proverbs 14:31, Proverbs 31:8-9, Matthew 18:5, Matthew 25:40, James 1:27, James 2:14-17)  

I could tell you about the long history of church tradition of helping orphans & unwanted babies. (Did you know that unwanted infants in ancient Rome were often disposed of via the practice of “exposing.” Whether undesirable because it was malformed, female or simply inconvenient, the child would be left alone, outside the city walls, without defense before glaring sun, icy winds or roving animals. For centuries, a marginalized group gained a reputation for rescuing these children: Christians. The early church was known, even among many who despised it, as a people who defended the orphan. Believers went outside the city to find infants abandoned there, taking them in, and raising them as their own.) 

I could share with you my own story of adopting one of God’s precious children (if you are interested you can read about it here along with several other amazing adoption stories in the comment section – Chosen to Love and Be Loved)

But really I do not think most of you need any of that to convince you that God has a heart for orphans and unwanted babies or that His desire is that we be like Him and have a heart for them as well.   No, I think you are all well aware of these truths. 

What I really want to have you think about is the part you will play in orphan care and adoption.  What are you being asked to do? (and don’t tell me you are not “called” to help orphans…it is NOT a calling it is a commandment – go back and read the scriptures above) Now a few of you may take in a child and raise them as your own….the beautiful miracle of adoption. Others may become foster parents or legal guardians. Some may start local adoption ministries in your church or community. Many will sponsor a child through organizations like World Vision or Compassion International. A handfull will go visit orphans in foreign countries or domestic children’s homes and bring joy and love to them for a bit.

The bottom line as Christians is that we are all asked to do something.  And I know something that we can ALL do!

I can’t begin to tell you how many people have said to me – “I would love to adopt but it is so expensive”. And that is true for all foreign adoptions as well as many domestic adoptions.(you can however adopt in most states through the foster system for little to nothing…if you can get approved, which can be problematic for those with larger than average families, smaller than average homes or a host of other issues…but for those that qualify it is a great option)  But yes, the cost for private adoptions usually starts at $15,000  and can be as high as $50,000 (yikes!) And it is true that most people simply can’t afford that amount of money. And yet I know many who even without the “money in the bank” have stepped out in faith and began the adoption process hoping that somehow the money would come through. In fact this is exactly our story and the money did come through in miraculous ways and mostly from a large network of people who gave “a little”…that added up to “a lot”.

And that is the something we can ALL do…we can all give a little bit to everyone we know who is in need of financial help to adopt a child. Every family who is willing to take in a child and raise them as their own should not be hindered by a financial need….at least not as long as there are Christians around.

The Hoyle family

If you have read this blog for any length of time you are quite aware that we are not well off in the material sense at this season in our lives. In fact our current financial state has reverted back to our 1998 status (and we have been blessed with four more children since then). We live pay check to pay check and often time the money runs out before the month.  I am in no way complaining, as I know who my provider is and He is always faithful. I only share that with you because I know that many of you are already thinking, as we ourselves could easily fall into – “I have nothing left to give….to help anyone with their adoption.”  In fact just recently some newly made friends, the Hoyles, have begun their adoption journey and are trying to raise funds to pay for this adoption.  The other day I was reading over some of the responses to their plea for help. (right away I know some of you are shuddering at the thought of ever having to ask for financial help for anything…and believe me as one who has had to do this to adopt a child…it is humbling and it is hard. It would be so much easier to just be blessed with wealth…or win the lottery…or have someone just walk up and say…”hey, here’s $20,000 to pay for your adoption expenses.” And yet how often do we get the “easy road” in this walk of faith?)

Back to my reading the comments on their fundraising plea – one of their friends said this: “Oh how I wish I could help”. This caused me to stop and give pause to really think about this comment…..

  • I wish I could help.
  • I wish I could help. 
  • I wish I could help. 

How many of us have said that or thought that? And maybe the better question is –> Why can’t we help? If we wish we could….then why “can’t” we? Possibly this friend is like us….living paycheck to paycheck with no readily apparent extra money to help out. Or maybe they don’t even have a paycheck and are a young college student living at home or off the generosity of others. Or perhaps they are on a very strict budget and have a spouse or financial advisor who will not “allow” any deviation. I do not know what this particular friend of the Hoyle’s situation is…however I am going to challenge all of us, who “wish we could help” those who are stepping out in faith to adopt a child…that the fact is every last one of us, no matter what our particular situation is, in reality…we CAN help!

We can ALL do something.  And that is all it takes for the funding of an adoption to happen –  for everyone to simply do something….anything…even if it is as small as a $10 or $20 contribution. (often times those who “wish they could help” think that a small donation won’t help and they could not be more mistaken. Our adoption of baby girl was almost completely financed by small gifts from many people)

But hey….maybe even $10 or $20 is a huge stretch for you right now. And perhaps you have recently given that “extra” money you have to another family needing help to adopt. Or maybe you are like us and receive several invitations to help with adoptions each month. We currently personally know of four families in the process of adoption who need funds…not too mention the many people we “run across” in life through emails, facebook or mutual friends who are looking towards adoption.

I still believe that if we “wish to help”  we can! (and not to be redundant but we as followers of Jesus we should all “wish” to help every adoption that comes to our attention!)

And here is how. We can all pick merely one of the following ways to contribute to those needing help adopting:

1. Collect ALL the loose change around your house and use that to give a gift. I did a quick run around my house and came up with over $12 in loose change from the bottom of purses, in junk drawers, my husbands pants pocket and in a canning jar in the kitchen cabinet.(if I looked under the couch cushions I bet I would have even gotten more!)

These goodies would sell great!

2. Have a bake sale – just make a batch of cookies (say 5 dozen)….go out to a local youth sports league or park on a sunny day or maybe in your church foyer …set up a card table & sell two cookies for $1. Walk away with $30 ….even if you take out your expenses you’ll have $20 to give away. Or you could even not leave your home & sell them all on facebook….taking a few hours to deliver them door to door!

3. Get creative & find a way to work for a few hours & use that $$ to give (host a Moms day out for some of your friends who need a break, deep cleaning a house one time, doing yard work, taking a short term job doing inventory for a store…there are always people looking for very temporary help. My daughter right this minute is doing childcare for a wedding reception making money for her upcoming missions trip to Haiti) Most of us in just an extra 4-5 hours one time could easily make $50 to give away. I would do that to help a child who needs a home….wouldn’t you?

4. Have a yard sale and give away the proceeds. We have done this so many times…all it takes is cleaning out your “stuff”, asking your friends & family to bring their “junk” and setting up shop in your front yard for a day.  Most people make at least $100 in a yard sale and we have made as much as $1500. (you can sell baked goods too and increase your sales)  Wow! With this type of revenue you could help many families with a gift towards their adoption! All it takes is time and effort….we all have that.

5. Sell something that you are not using or no longer need on eBay, Amazon or Craig’s List. We collected all the books we were not interested in keeping that were taking up space in our house one year and put them on Amazon and within a week had made $50 on old books. Easy Peezy.

6. If you want to raise money and have fun at the same time – host a bunco or other game night…charge a small fee to join (example $10 per person to come x 8 friends = $80)…give away a cute “winner prize” ($20) and use the remaining money to give away ($60)

7. Cut off cable TV and you’ll have $40 -$60 EVERY month to give away to families adopting children. (ok Beth…now you’re getting pushy)

8. Have one night a week for a month where you either skip dinner entirely or have only rice and water…The “average” family will save $30-$40 in a month sacrificing this weekly meal. Give that away to those who are raising funds (we do this at Lent season every year). Bonus: you can lose a few pounds while helping a child be placed in a forever family!

9. Ask friends who do have the resources to give! We all have friends who do have extra money…perhaps we could step out of our comfort zone and ask them to consider donating towards that adoption we “wish we could help”. (actually even our friends without extra resources could all donate their loose change, we could collect it and I bet it would be a nice size donation.)

10. You tell me….I could  come up with even more ideas but I would love to hear yours. How could someone come up with just a mere $20 donation to help with an adoption of a precious child everytime they are asked? Please share in the comment section!

So the next time you hear of a family asking for financial help to adopt a child…don’t say “I wish I could….” but rather say “Sure I’d love to!” and pick a way to make it happen. (or you can always give up a coffee a week and donate that money you save…I know, I know don’t mess with my legal stimulant addiction Beth! I’m right there with you….Ouch!)

PS – For those who immediately need to put this into action because the Holy Spirit is doing His thing in your heart – the Hoyles still need $8,000. You can read their blog here –  Hoyles Promise  or donate here – Crowd Tilt

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Filed under Adoption, Economics, Faith, Making a Difference, My "take"

My Tebow, Palin, Duggar Connection

I can feel it in my bones…this is gonna be one of those posts.

You know the ones. Those posts that make people either

  • cheer wildly or scream unmentionables at their computer screen
  • shake their head in disgust or nod in wholehearted agreement
  • quickly find the “subscribe by email” button or hit unsubscribe with great personal satisfaction as if to say ..”I’ll show her!”
  • leave comments saying “you make me sick you _____________”  (fill in the blank with the descriptive adjective of your choice:[ ] right wing extremist, [] religious nut job, [ ] racist, [ ] homophobe, [ ] anti abortion zealot, [ ] bigot, [ ] moron)  or simply say with appreciation  “I love you Beth”

So be forewarned if you are easily offended by people who think differently than you or you “know” those same people are extremists and it makes your blood pressure rise, or you hate controversy, politics or perhaps simply are only interested in my family traditions, motivational speeches or funny family life posts…you may want to stop reading now….because here it comes.

Tim Tebow, Sarah Palin and the Duggar family are arguably the most hated and vilified people on the planet.  You would have to have your head in the sand or live on a deserted island to not know these names and to have heard some diatribe about their lives, beliefs or actions.

But just in case you actually do not know who I am referring to let me give you a very brief  “no commentary” introduction (ie: just the facts without any interpretation of those facts)

Sarah Palin is a 48 year old American politician, commentator and author from Alaska. As the Republican Party nominee for Vice President in the 2008 presidential election, she was the first Republican woman nominated for the vice-presidency. She has been married to her husband Todd for 23 years and have five children. 

Tim Tebow is a 24 year old football player who is currently the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos.  He played college football at the University of Florida where he won the Heisman Trophy, two national championships and was named the offensive MVP in his final championship game. He is single. (He was raised by parents who were missionaries to the Philippines and homeschooled their five children)

Jim & Michelle Duggar are a couple in their mid 40’s from Arkansas who are authors, real estate agents and television personalities who star in a reality show called – “19 kids and counting”. They have been married for 27 years and have nineteen children. Mr Duggar has also been involved on and off in Arkansas politics for over a decade.

As I learned about each of these individuals over the past several years and began to “follow them” I must say that I felt a strong and warm connection to each of them for various reasons. Despite the vitriol hatred and ugly comments that fly around the internet, social media and even when talking face to face with people…I will admit I like these people and in many ways I “am” Tebow, Palin and the Duggars.

Much like Sarah Palin(though without her good looks, nice figure and ability to shoot a gun), I am a strong-willed, opinionated woman, a political activist, a “working mommy” of more than the “average” number of children who has often toted them around the country as I do “my thing”,  and I had a child after the age of 40 to the disdain of some friends, family & the medical community. (I even am very comfortable “carrying on” with life in the midst of being in labor as I taught class, timing contractions on the white board all the way up to a couple hours before one of my children was born, much like Sarah who choose to fly home to Alaska from the lower 48 while in labor to give birth to her youngest child)  I am also against abortion even when the child in utero has been diagnosed with a disability, deformity or prediction of a hard life. I too believe in abstinence before marriage and teach that to my children. (even if they choose in the future not to follow my good advice) as well as believing in creation. Yes, in many ways I resonate with Sarah Palin. And had I not been called to full-time ministry I likely would have ended up in politics as a career!

Although I have never been more than a high school field hockey “star” and college athlete, like Tim, I am and have always been an outspoken Christian with a very public faith. As a college athlete I hung posters with scriptures proclaimed on them at various athletic events and throughout campus during my college years, led athletic bible studies for the many women who came to faith in Christ, prayed before games (and after) and boldly stood up to powerful coaches and intimidating professors who wanted to stop me from sharing my faith. I have lived my entire life as a very public Christian who could easily be accused, as Tebow is regularly, of being “too” vocal about my faith. Tebow and I are also both adamantly pro-life and like his mother I too would have ignored the advice of doctors to terminate my pregnancy to save my life.  So every time I read pages upon pages of comments criticizing Tebow for praying, (Tebowing), sharing his love for his Lord, or openly professing his faith….I think…”hey he is just like me!”

And then there are the much maligned Duggars – who I relate to as a mommy of many(and would joyfully welcome more!), I homeschool my children….and if you have read my blog you know that my husband and I actually have the exact same basic belief as the Duggars (if you are new to my blog you can read about that here), that God is in control of our family size through either birth or adoption whether that means we have 1 or 21 (which is highly unlikely for most of us “average” fertile couples…I have been letting God be in control for 25 years and I have only given birth to 7 children) And let me say right now that people who leave these “big decisions” to God are not mentally ill, nor are we “hoarding” children or damaging the planet or for those of you opinionated believers, we are also not being “unwise”. (I would challenge any Christian who believes that God has not given us every one of our children, and likewise the Duggars, to prove to me in scripture how giving God control over the size of your family is scripturally incorrect….come on now….show it to me in the Bible if you are going to spout your opinions so freely!) I also want to tell you that we know all our kids names, birthdates (and in our family born again birthdays and adoption days too!), personalities, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses as well as their dreams and goals. Our kids are not damaged, suffering or to be pitied. In fact I would venture to say that the children I know from “plus size” families are better adjusted, more independent, unselfish, mature, productive and happier than their peers  from the average “two child” home.  So while I only have 42% of the number of children that the Duggars do and I do not have a television show….I can so relate to the plus family hatred that is poured out to them by both Christians and non Christians alike.

So you see, I am in many ways the “spitting image” when it comes to beliefs, philosophies, values and faith as Sarah Palin, Tim Tebow and the Duggars. As far as I can tell the only thing that separates me from being attacked, ridiculed, criticized and hated in the same way as they each are is that I am not a “public figure” with the platform of politics, sports or television. And for that I suppose I can be glad and yet….I must say that this has led me to believe that there must be many within my circle of life, who if they really knew my great similarities to these polarizing figures, would have to admit that they had the same hatred for me.

And yet….even now they are likely shaking their heads and saying…”oh no Beth”….”we like you. You’re not like them.” Ummmmm…..actually the only difference is that you know me better and have a personal relationship with me and have decided that despite our differences we can be kind, respectful and caring. 

Wouldn’t it be great to live in a country where people could disagree with someone’s faith, values, philosophies and political ideology without the hatred, vitriol attacks, ridicule and just plain meanness that we watch happening on a regular basis. As we enter into this election year…could we find it in our hearts to stop spewing the hatred…calling people names (just perusing through facebook I found all sorts of ugliness posted about the upcoming political election from both sides of the aisle – words like idiot, moron, bigot, racist and more). Can we not just be polite despite our differences in opinions? Perhaps we could even “like” someone or be gracious and kind even if we disagree with their faith, philosophies or values?

I am an opinionated, strong-willed woman who is  pro-life, politically active, adoption advocate, non contraceptive using, abstinence teaching, courtship believing, homeschooling & working mommy of a plus size family who loves Jesus and posts scriptures daily on facebook as well as telling everyone who will listen about the Lord….I must be hated! And while this is the way it is in our world today….my question is should it be? I think not!

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Filed under Faith, Life Lessons, Making a Difference, My "take"

What will our children say?

I have so much to tell you about my recent 10 day trip to New York and Boston.  Hopefully I will have the chance to share some tidbits here and there over the upcoming weeks before it all fades into a distant memory without the life lessons I gleaned from this trip being etched deeper into my being through the process of writing about them.

Real quick though, before I share this first tidbit, I have to tell you about some of the Lord’s gracious provisions for us while we were traveling “by faith”. (For an explanation of what I mean to travel by faith and if you missed my post the day we left, you can read it here –> “How do you do what you do?”)

  1. A dear friend provided a gift to my girls of a Broadway show! What an amazing blessing to not only have provision for our needs but even some of our “wants”!
  2. While we were picking up one of my daughters, who arrived on day three of our trip, a lady at the airport tapped us on the shoulder and asked if we wanted her seven-day metro pass with four days left on it. We enthusiastically said “yes! we would love it!”.  A providential gift from God as we had exactly four more days in New York and were able to save the money we would have spent on the Subway.
  3. My name was picked from the lottery for tickets to see “Wicked”.  Me, who rarely ever gets picked from any random drawing was the third name drawn of just over a dozen people to receive front row tickets to the show.  We all squealed with delight at this blessing! God is so very good!
  4. As we were walking to church on Sunday night we spotted a resteraunt that I had received a gift card for two years ago to an establishment in our city that closed it’s doors just weeks after I had been given that card.  I had been carrying it around in my wallet ever since hoping to be able to “someday” use it!  Voila…the perfect timing arrived in New York as we were looking for the Lord to provide every step of the way…we got a free dinner out on the town!  Don’t you just love the way God works?

Ok so back to one of the thought provoking life lessons I gleaned on this adventure.  As we walked into the cemetery next to Park Church in Boston the first thing that caught our eye was a large monument in the center of the cemetery that read FRANKLIN.

Of course I immediately thought…”that must be Benjamin Franklin’s grave” (my apologies to you history buffs who of course know that he was buried in Philadelphia).  Upon closer inspection I saw that it was actually the grave of Ben Franklin’s parents – Josiah and Abiah Franklin – and that the monument had been erected  and inscription written by their youngest son, Ben Franklin.  As I got up close to the monument and read the words that Ben Franklin had written about his parents I was both touched and inspired by them. 

Josiah Franklin,
and
Abiah his wife,
lie here interred.
They lived lovingly together in wedlock
Fifty-five years.
Without an estate, or any gainful employment,
By constant labor and industry,
with God’s blessing,
They maintained a large family
comfortably,
and brought up thirteen children
and seven grandchildren
reputably.
From this instance, reader,
Be encouraged to diligence in thy calling,
And distrust not Providence.
He was a pious and prudent man;
She, a discreet and virtuous woman.
their youngest son,
In filial regard to their memory,
places this stone.
J.F. born 1655, died 1744, 89
A.F. born 1667, died 1752, 85

I read those words over and over again thinking about the things that Ben Franklin valued in his parents

  • That they had a loving and life long marriage
  • That they were not “privileged” (ie – no estate or profitable employment), they were simple hard workers
  • They knew that as they worked hard they could trust in God’s blessing to provide for their large family. (Ben Franklin was the youngest of 13 children)
  • They were committed to the bringing up and training of both their children and grandchildren to be highly esteemed and respected by others
  • Mr Franklin was a man of devotion to God (pious)and was wise and judicious (prudent).  Mrs Franklin had discernment in her action and speech (discreet) and was morally excellent and righteous (virtuous)

I was so impressed and struck by this 88 word description of his parents and the vast array of accolades that he gave them to be remembered by, not only he and his relatives but by those of us hundreds of years later who get to read that inscription. And to top it off he had the foresight to talk to all of us reading it today by saying:

From this instance, reader,
Be encouraged to diligence in thy calling,
And distrust not Providence.

He was inspiring and challenging each of us to be diligent in our calling – whether that is our calling to be faithful in our marriages, hard workers in our jobs, purposeful in our parenting, dedicated to our character or devoted to our faith. He also reminds us to trust the providential hand of God in our lives.

It got me thinking about what our children would say about my husband and my life after we are gone?  Would they admire our marriage?  Do they see us as hard workers who also trust God to bring the blessings?  Would they know from first hand experience that we were purposeful in raising our children and our grandchildren?  And what character qualities would they admire most in us? 

I am sure that we would all love to know that we are leaving a legacy like Mr & Mrs Franklin have accomplished.  And Ben Franklin has certainly inspired me through this monument inscription to be diligent in my calling as a wife, a mother, a “worker” and a Christian.  And while I know I have a long way to go to merit such an inscription and I hope that I will live long enough to gain some ground, I was blessed to receive a little glimpse of my legacy this last week in the form of a text message from my daughter after I spoke a message to her college peers:

“Mom, I didn’t have a chance to say it because everyone else was telling you…today was awesome! Thank you for taking the time to speak to us. I am so honored to have you as my mom, mentor and supporter.  I love you.”

Between that text and Ben Franklin’s inscription I am encouraged, inspired and have renewed my commitment to be diligent to my calling and to trust in God’s providence! Will you join me?

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Filed under Faith, Inspiration, Life Lessons, Making a Difference, Marriage, Parenting

Dan…the man!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tea Time Tuesday: A Word Aptly Spoken

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dearest Joy:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Now you know too

My feisty fearless fourteen year old daughter Rebekah came to me last fall and asked me if she could go on a trip to Africa to help the orphans.  She did not have a specific trip in mind she just knew that before she began high school she wanted to do something to help those children in Africa who are hungry, hurting and helpless.

I responded as I do with most “out of the box” things my kids ask of me. “Sure you can!  Here is what you need to do:

  1. Find a trustworthy Christian organization that is going to Africa to minister to orphans 
  2. You must travel with an “approved” adult and 
  3. Raise the funds”. 

I then went back to my daily grind.   A couple months later she came back with her plan of going to Uganda with Children’s Hope Chest, traveling with an “approved” adult (Megan, a friend of a very trusted friend) and could she begin earning & raising the money to go on that trip that was only 10 weeks away?

My answer: Yup! Go for it! (to the shock, dismay and disapproval of many well meaning friends and family members who thought her Dad and I were out of our minds to let our daughter travel to that part of the world…but that is a life lesson for another day)

And go for it she did! In those 10 weeks she worked hard babysitting and cleaning houses, she sent out letters asking for others to help her and she took care of all the details of getting a passport, participating in training conference calls, securing transportation and getting vaccinations and malaria pills. 

This past May she took off for a life changing experience in Uganda.  Here is one of the things she wrote after returning home –  

“So many times we feel bad because the African people miss so much of life, but maybe WE are the ones missing so much of life.  They have joy like no one else I know. They have such a heart of worship….they truly know how to freely worship God, with or without music. They dance like no one is watching and they love non-stop. They help others even when they need it more. They are like a mirror of Christ, showing it constantly through their work, their smiles, their words…it is really quite amazing! So many times while they were praying, whether it was over the food or just a morning prayer they would ask God to bless us. Us…you and I, who have everything we could possibly need. Us…who eat three meals a day and sometimes more. Us…who change our clothes every day and put on a completly new outfit. Us…who have SO much and yet still want more.”

I could (and probably should) write more about her trip but I need to get to the main reason for today’s post.

You see, the children Rebekah served were the lucky ones.  They actually got to eat one meal a day…most days.  And this is what that food looked like as Rebekah scooped out a very small portion to each child, having to turn away the ones at the end of the line when they ran out.

Would we eat this?  Yes, I guess we would…if we were starving.  Yes, these children are the lucky ones.

One of the greatest happenings on Rebekah’s African adventure was that she met an amazing and inspiring young woman named, Katie Davis.  I could not ask for a better role model and mentor for my daughter…or myself for that matter.  Katie has given it all to follow Jesus as a mother of fourteen adopted orphan girls living in Uganda.  One of the first things Rebekah asked us all was to read her blog post and get to know Katie.  I could tell this woman had greatly influenced and inspired Rebekah and I read her words with tears streaming down my face. We have been following her life in Uganda ever since that day.

Yesterday Rebekah looked up from her homework and said “Mom, did you see Katie’s newest post?” I shook my head and said “no, not yet.”  “Check out these pictures Mom” and she showed me images that stopped me in my tracks and shook me down to the core of my being.

These are the “unlucky ones”.  These are the destitute and severely malnourished.  These girls are in their twenties, older than my college daughter and they weigh only 37 pounds, just a bit more than my three year old son. They are dying without food or nourishment for their body or their soul.  If you can stomach it (and even if you can’t), you should read their stories here and here

And now you know.

But the question is what will you do?  Do you remember the parable Jesus told about the sheep and the goats?  If you need a refresher or have never read it…you can read the whole story here.  But let me post part of what Jesus said to those who saw the hungry, thirsty, hurting, naked and homeless and did nothing.

‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’  Go away into eternal punishment.

Today Katie posted again about a very specific need these beautiful young women who are feeding, clothing, cleaning, caring for and loving “the least of these”.  They need a good vehicle to get to these remote villages and try to rescue these people who are severely malnourished and dying, naked and alone.  They need $10,000 – $12,000.

When I look in her eyes I see Jesus waiting for my help.  I can do something to help or I can simply go on about my daily life.

But I can’t say… “Jesus, I never knew”

And now you know too.

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We are not your “average” Tea Party Patriots!

Another tax day come & gone.

Another Tax Day Tea Party that my family attended (despite it being at the worse possible time for me to not be working on the upcoming JECHS auction fundraiser…sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do)

So this morning I read a CBS article describing those who affiliate themselves with the Tea Party Movement…

They are white.  They are old. They are angry.

Since a picture paints a thousand words and I have no time for a thousand words this morning.  Here you go!

  • White

cutest and sweetest All American Tea Party Patriot ever!

  • Old

These “old” Tea Party Patriots will be voting for the first time  this fall in 2010 and in 2012 respectively. (can I tell you how happy that makes this Mom)

  • Angry

This was the angriest Tea Party Patriot at the event

Just in case you do not know what the Tea Party Patriots believe. Here it is in a “nutshell”

Core Values

  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Constitutionally Limited Government
  • Free Markets

Fiscal Responsibility: Fiscal Responsibility by government honors and respects the freedom of the individual to spend the money that is the fruit of their own labor. A constitutionally limited government, designed to protect the blessings of liberty, must be fiscally responsible or it must subject its citizenry to high levels of taxation that unjustly restrict the liberty our Constitution was designed to protect. Such runaway deficit spending as we now see in Washington D.C. compels us to take action as the increasing national debt is a grave threat to our national sovereignty and the personal and economic liberty of future generations.

Constitutionally Limited Government: We, the members of The Tea Party Patriots, are inspired by our founding documents and regard the Constitution of the United States to be the supreme law of the land. We believe that it is possible to know the original intent of the government our founders set forth, and stand in support of that intent. Like the founders, we support states’ rights for those powers not expressly stated in the Constitution. As the government is of the people, by the people and for the people, in all other matters we support the personal liberty of the individual, within the rule of law.

Free Markets: A free market is the economic consequence of personal liberty. The founders believed that personal and economic freedom were indivisible, as do we. Our current government’s interference distorts the free market and inhibits the pursuit of individual and economic liberty. Therefore, we support a return to the free market principles on which this nation was founded and oppose government intervention into the operations of private business.

I agree with these principles and I believe in being active in my community, state and national government. As a Mom I want to pass these beliefs, principles and passions on to my children. Therefore I attend every tea party I possibly can. It is that simple.

Ok I am off to:

  • A well baby doctor appointment for the cutest baby on the planet…my sweet 1 year old daughter
  • To get immunizations for my amazing 14 year old daughter who is going to Uganda in two weeks to serve the orphans (and am I ever so proud)
  • To work tirelessly the rest of the day on the Jim Elliot Christian High School Auction fundraiser that is happening two weeks from tonight and where I must, with the Lord’s help raise $50,000.
  • And then just the “normal” life of a mother of eight….running the home front, picking up & dropping off kids for various activities all over the city and on & on & on

All in the day of the life of one Tea Party Patriot…me!

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Filed under Life at the Lambdins, Making a Difference, Patriotism