Category Archives: My “take”

Fabulous 50: My List for Loving & Living Life

I am one of “those” people.

Those odd people who love their lists

…who live by lists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Life is a
beautiful gift – love it!

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

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Filed under Adoption, Blessings, Faith, Inspiration, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Marriage, My "take"

I’m the Poster Mom for Homeschooling….NOT!

It’s that time of year again when I start getting lots of questions about homeschooling –

  • can I do it?
  • should I do it?
  • how do I do it?
  • how do you do it?

Every summer I get a dozen or so requests to get together with someone & talk about homeschooling.

But here is the “real deal” – I am NOT the poster Mom for homeschooling. Yes, I am beginning my 16th year of homeschooling (K-8…so far they have all gone to private high school) and you would think that I would have it all organized & together….but NO I am still “flying by the seat of my pants” and loving every minute of it!

♥ I LOVE my kids and I LOVE just being with them!

♥ I LOVE not being beholden to a school district & their schedule or a teacher and their assignments!

♥ I LOVE all the learning time I get as we hop around from subject to subject, book to book and project to project!

♥ I LOVE traveling & hands on everything!

I suppose because I have my first three children up & out and they are…

…academically successful –> the eldest a graduate from a highly academic college with an impressive first job in NYC, #2 , despite a learning disability, pulling out a solid academic performance in college while playing intercollegiate soccer & the most recent who just graduated from high school with honors & scored in the highest group for her college placement exams! (I am not bragging…as truly this is NOT because I am some amazing homeschool Mom)

….socially adroit (as opposed to socially awkward which is the common accusation from the anti homeschooling advocates)

….emotionally healthy with amazing self confidence (the daughter with the first job applied for a position that desired a Master’s Degree and she did a great job of marketing herself and her skills to them and got hired!)

….spiritually solid and growing

that this makes folks think I have the “homeschooling answers”. I certainly do not claim (nor ever have or ever will) to have the “homeschooling answers” but if you are interested in my homeschool philosophy…here it is in an article I wrote this past Spring (It originally published here at Hip Homeschool Moms.)

If you are one of the many who have asked for time to chat about homeschooling…please forgive me for not getting back to you. I hope this helps!

P.S. – How many of you had to look up the word adroit?

I’m the Poster Mom for Homeschooling….NOT!

“You’ve been homeschooling for how many years?” the young woman loudly exclaimed at the park where all the homeschooling moms were hanging out waiting for their children to finish state testing. “Mmmmm….15”, I mumble under my breath as I watch a crowd begin to gather around the park bench.

And then it happens, just like that I am standing in front of a crowd of ladies who are fussing over me like I am some type of homeschool celebrity Mom who has in her possession the coveted secrets to successful homeschooling.

I reluctantly admit that yes, I have been homeschooling for 15 years and with eight children ranging in age from 2 to 22, I have 15 more years to go. (and after a few gasps and stares of disbelief someone says under their breath…”Wow, she looks great for having eight kids” …leaving me: an overweight, out of shape, mascara smudged, slightly frazzled looking girl…wondering what exactly they think a Mom of eight is suppose to look like????….but I digress) For a split second though I picture myself as the “poster Mom” for homeschooling before I am quickly snapped back into reality by my two year old who has peed in her pants because I got distracted by a phone call from one of my college kids and forgot that baby girl had told me awhile back that she needed to go potty! Oy vey! Besides not being a celebrity homeschooler, I am more often than not, less than a stellar Mom.

And yet even after informing them of the “real homeschooling me”…

  • that I have been known to not order my curriculum until weeks after the start of the school year
  • that I often forget what grade my kids are currently in
  • that I can’t remember the last time I actually scored a test or assignment
  • that we never…and I mean never…finish our curriculum each year (and there may or may not have been years where we didn’t start it either)
  • that my all time favorite science lesson is for the kids to examine mold close up in the bathroom…with a sponge
  • that if I can’t explain a 6th grade math problem I shrug my shoulders and say…”Oh what the heck I’ve gotten along this many years without knowing that”
  • that we don’t have an official first day or last day of school (maybe that explains why I can’t remember what grade they are in or have curriculum ordered)
  • that there is a distinct possibility that I let my then 10 year old daughter teach her younger siblings for months on end as I lay in bed with morning sickness

…yes even after hearing all of these realities of my homeschooling life, it doesn’t scare them off or make them run away shaking their heads in disgust.  And so slowly I share my “secrets to successful homeschooling” with those inquiring minds.

1. If I do nothing more than have prayer & devotions…it’s been a good day!  

A very wise homeschooling Momma told me this nugget of truth when I was just starting my homeschooling journey (which by the way wasn’t ever my plan…but that is another story for another day). Her six kids were bright, extremely accomplished, athletic, musical and had outstanding character. It set me free of the stress of trying to accomplish, strive for perfection and look good to everyone around me. You simply can’t do better than having the favor of God!

2. Life is school!

Ok, sometimes you need to do lessons but really ALL of life is school – chores, running errands, phone calls, grocery shopping, being a spectator at a siblings athletic event – all involve learning.  Therefore we “do” school all the time and on occasion we also complete lessons!

3. Relationships are not just the most important thing…they are the only thing

The only reason I homeschool is to develop & strengthen my children’s relationship with God, with their Daddy, each other and me. At the end of the day, relationships are really the only thing that matter. And homeschooling is the perfect incubator for growing close relationships because of the sheer amount of time we are all together…making memories, solving conflicts, bearing one another’s burdens and loving through all of life’s ups & downs.

4. Learning is a personal responsibility

I can’t make anyone learn anything…and neither can you! Inspire your children to want to learn for themselves. Let them investigate, figure it out (even if it is hard), research and find the answers. When they can do this then they are truly educated and will be life long learners.

5. Begin with the end in mind

What do you want your children to “look” like when they are grown. I want mine to love the Lord, to have great relationships with their family, to have found and developed their passions combined with their unique gifts & talents and to be using them to have a positive influence in the world. I concentrate my homeschooling efforts around these outcomes….anything else we accomplish is a bonus!

++++++++++++

Beth Lambdin is a recovering “control freak” who is hopelessly addicted to coffee & dark chocolate and got a “sweet deal” on a husband who has been her best friend for 25 years. She is “Mommy” to eight blessings from God and has been faithfully following & failing Jesus for over three decades. She blogs at Monday Motivation & More 

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Filed under Homeschool, My "take"

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"

The Luxury of Staying Home?

To be a stay at home Mom or not to be a stay at home Mom….
….that is the controversy. (or at least it seems to always be controversial)

I grew up with a mother who graduated from college with a BA and teaching credential, got married, worked as a teacher for one year, began to have children and left the workforce for almost the entirety of her 27 year “active” mothering career. (being a mommy never ends but the day to day “job” of mothering does) Other than working a few hours, here and there, when we were all in school and occasionally substitute teaching, she was a “stay at home Mom” taking care of the business of managing a home and raising her children.  When the youngest began high school she re-entered the “away from home” workforce as a high school English teacher and enjoyed a 20 year career as a teacher, earning a Master’s Degree and excelling in her field before retiring with a pension. Personally I think that is awesome! She had the best of everything due to her and my Dad’s great choices, sacrifices and hard work….and my siblings and I were the beneficiaries!

A generation later, I earned my college degree and worked as a youth minister both prior to and after getting married. When my first child arrived I desperately wanted to stay home with her but couldn’t see a way to make it work with a husband in college at the time. So we figured out how he could work part-time, in addition to being a full-time student while I would work part-time as a teacher and school activity director. With this arrangement none of us stayed home…even the baby who was with one of us all day except for a three hour time period in the morning. As our family grew and my husband finished college and took a full-time job teaching I continued on in my part-time job. I still wanted to be at home with my little girls but did not see how we could make it work on my husband’s Christian school teacher salary. We just couldn’t afford it…or at least that is what I thought (and was often told by others).

In 1997 through a series of providential events I instantly and without planning became a “stay at home Mom”.  We made so little money that year that we were audited by the IRS who wanted to know how our income diminished so much in one year. (the agent even asked…how are you making it?) I did build a very successful home business in the years following that eventually replaced the income I had made teaching part-time and yet I was able to work from my home along side and with my children.  So…..I have been a “generating income outside the home mom” and a “stay at home income generating mom”.   (whew! those are long titles)

I hope we can agree that all moms are working moms, right?  Some generate income outside the home, some generate income inside the home and some do not generate income at all but as moms….we ALL work. Better yet, we all work very hard!

And yet the majority of women that I have talked with desire to spend much less time out of their homes working and more time with their children if they had a “choice”.  Yes, I realize that there are the few moms who even if they were independently wealthy millionaires would still want to work outside of their homes because they simply love their careers but I believe that most would rather stay home and raise their children if they felt they had that “luxury”.  Here is where my issue lies.

Is staying at home a luxury or is it a choice…that is the question?

Other than single Moms (by never marrying, being divorced or widowed) who most simply must work to pay the rent and put food on the table (unless they have an extremely lucrative child support payment or alimony…kudo’s to them!)…I personally believe that most married moms can make the choice to stay at home (some with  generating income at home and some without). 

No, I do not believe it is a “luxury” for those moms whose spouses makes a certain magical level of income. I believe it is a choice.  A choice to perhaps sacrifice personal fulfilment, career advancement, social interaction, achievement accolades and of course income.  A choice to “do without”, to let go of material possessions, goods and services and fun vacations that we have come to believe are essential. A choice to have 37,440 extra hours to pour into the life of our children, homes & families during their 18 years of childhood.

And yet many have bought into the paradigm that it is a “luxury that we can’t afford” to be a stay at home mom (income generating or not). That it is simply impossible for anyone other than the ultra rich to pull off.  We even get encouragement to think this way from our influential leaders.

Speaking at what the administration called “The White House Forum on Women and the Economy,” President Barack Obama said that after his two daughters were born, he and his wife—both Harvard Law School graduates—could not afford the “luxury” of having her stay home with the children.

In 2005, when Obama began serving in the U.S. Senate (and his daughters turned 4 and 7), he and his wife were earning a combined annual income of $479,062. Barack Obama as a senator was paid a salary of $162,100, and Michelle Obama was paid $316,962 to handle community affairs for the University of Chicago Medical Center.

So let me see if I’ve got this right…..

Then Senator Obama made $162,000 a year plus outstanding benefits and they could not afford the “luxury” of Michelle staying at home to raise their children? (he did not say she was working to advance her career or for personal fulfillment or for benefits….he said they could not live without her salary)

Things that make me go…”huh?….am I missing something here?”. Let’s see….if my husband currently made $162,000 a year that means, even after taxes, we would have about $9,000 a month for our family budget. (actually we would bring home even more than that knowing the charitable contributions we would be making and the number of kids we have would reduce our tax liability greatly) We live in California, said to be one of the more expensive states to live in and my husband brings home a third of that much money every month. If I had an extra $6,000 a month I could pay myself a salary for my hard work as a Mom of eight children and still have thousands of dollars extra each month to save, to spend and to give away. It would be a life of luxury for me as well as my family and my husband, who might actually enjoy a clean bathroom every once in a while! (yes I could pay someone to clean our bathroom or clean it myself with the extra time I would have from not having to work at my home business)

I do realize that most families who make this amount of money (equal to Obama’s $162,000 in 2005) do decide they can live on one income and one parent does stay home to take care of household business and raise the children. But there are many who make less than half of that salary who say they “can’t afford the luxury” when in reality they actually could. Yes, they might have to drive beat up cars, live in smaller houses, skip private school tuition, and forgo some “extra’s” in life (like eating out, cable TV, expensive cell phone bills, nicer vacations, manicures, gym memberships etc..) But in reality are not all those things actually  luxuries that the previous generation, who primarily did have stay at home Moms, did not have?

No, for the vast majority of couples having one parent stay at home is really not a luxury they can’t afford but a lifestyle choice that they have made. (just as it was for me during those early years when I bought the paradigm that we “couldn’t afford” to have me home) And as a culture we need to “call it what it is” instead of using rhetoric to justify our choices  or perceived lack thereof as well as making moms feel like they simply “have to work” to survive or by giving husbands the cultural confidence to tell wives they “need to work”. (I mean after all honey, Senator Obama needed his wife’s income, so you should work too) ** Husbands who pressure their wives to work is in itself is a whole other blog post that perhaps needs to be written about men who no longer feel pride and motivation to creatively provide for their families and demand their wives drop their precious babies off at daycare for nine hours a day for someone else to raise, when those mommys desperately want to stay home…..but back to the point.**  I believe that we need to influence our culture to encourage moms (or dads) to make the choice to stay home to raise their children. The more families that can have at least one parent investing a significant  amount of time (37,440 hours!) and energy into their home life and children the better off our society will be!  So let’s be honest:

It is a choice…not a luxury we can’t afford.

P.S. To my very special single, divorced & widowed Moms…let me say again I know that you do not have a choice as to whether you can work outside your home nor did most of you choose to be single Moms…I pray that the Lord will strengthen you, encourage you and wrap His loving arms around you all the while multiplying your time, energy & resources and surrounding you with great friends to support you!

And yes I do understand that there are special circumstances and situations (illness, loss of jobs, business going under, medical bills) that may at times “force” both parents to work).

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Filed under Economics, Home Business, Life Lessons, Motherhood, My "take", Priorities, Uncategorized

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"

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or (gasp) Xmas!

Sometimes I just get a little weary of all the “fuss” about terminology at Christmas time. 

Egads!  Boycott this store for using the term holiday instead of Christmas…but it’s time to go back to this store for switching their policy to use Christmas once again.  Give the clerk an annoying look if they say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Making an emphatic statement on Facebook that your tree is NOT a holiday tree. And don’t even get me started on those who take great offense and wax eloquent at the word “Xmas”.

As if doing or saying these things somehow make us more spiritual or prove that we are keeping Christ at the center of the celebration when in reality the things many of us do (myself included) during this season…like shopping for presents, putting up trees, hanging tinsel, baking cookies or sipping holiday drinks at Starbucks have precious little to do with  Christ.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not interested in downgrading the Christmas season, taking Christ out of Christmas or making it even more secular than it already has become.  In fact I am just the opposite.  I want to make my personal observation and family traditions during this season even more significant, more about Christ and more spiritual.

But let’s get to the bottom of all this terminology mish mash.

Christmas after all is really a shortened version of “Christ Mass”….with Mass being a term used for holy communion (the Lord’s supper).  So we as Christians, who observe Christmas and perhaps on occasion have taken offense at the switch from Christmas to Holiday, have in reality ourselves already replaced “Christ Mass” with a more shall we say “watered down” version – Christmas.

Speaking of “Holiday” and of shortening or abbreviating words….

Did you know that the word “Holiday” is really the shortened version of  “Holy Day”? In ancient times these days were given to workers so they could go to church and worship.  With Christmas being one of the only days left on the calendar where nearly everyone gets the day off of work thus giving us all the opportunity to worship and attend services, it is actually a very appropriate word to use at Christmas…don’t ya think? A true Holy Day!  (side note: since Christmas falls on Sunday this year everyone really can attend a worship service and yet how many believers will choose not to do so because it is inconvenient or cuts into the present opening or dinner plans…isn’t that ironic? Just sayin’)

Then there is the dreaded “Xmas” – A common misconception among Christians is that using an X is replacing Christ in Christmas.  When in actuality the “X” comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Χριστός, translated as “Christ”.  So Xmas is really just another shortened version of Christ Mass just like Christmas.  Having been very involved in Chi Alpha (XA – Christ First) campus ministries in college I have no problem seeing the X as it’s true meaning  – Christ.

So now that we have that all settled let’s spend some time this month really making Jesus the center of our celebration instead of quibbling about terminology.

Merry Christ Mass!

Happy Holy Day!

And here’s to a blessed Xmas 2011!

I will be posting over the next several weeks ways we here in the Lambdin house are trying to truly keep Christ at the center of our Christmas. I would love to hear from you how you are keeping Christ first in your celebration. (Please share in the comment section so we can all benefit)

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Filed under Christmas Season, Family Traditions, My "take"

Trip Top Ten (part 2)

This is the second installment on the Top Ten from our trip to New York and Boston to read part 1 click here.

5. Cheesecake at Juniors…mmmmmm

Best Cheesecake ever!  We went twice…we even had cheesecake as our main meal one time (hey cream cheese has protein!)  Besides their famous classic cheesecake we had the chocolate mousse cheesecake, strawberry shortcake cheesecake and pumpkin swirl cheesecake. They were all truly scrumptious!

Juniors Restaurant has been around for over 50 years and their tagline is…”you haven’t really lived until you’ve had a cheesecake from Juniors”  And guess what?  You can order online and have it delivered fresh to your house and have a taste of New York come to you! (and no I am getting a thing for that shameless plug – here is the link to Junior’s) I am so tempted to order a pumpkin swirl cheesecake for Thanksgiving!

4. Please don’t let this feeling end!

Ok….so I couldn’t help myself. I was a romantic teenager when the first version of the movie “Ice Castles” came out and while even at that time I thought it was pretty “sappy”…the song stuck with me and every single time I go ice skating (which isn’t all that often), I find myself singing that tune.

Bryant Park in New York was no exception!  Kristen and I laced up our skates and enjoyed almost an hour of ice skating under the stars while Michelle and Rebekah watched (and took photos).  It was fun! It was exhilarating!  It was great exercise and it will be a memorable moment that we take with us always.  We laughed and hung onto each other as we slowly remembered the feel of the ice and began to skate freely around the rink (although stopping to catch our breath quite often!)

The weather was lovely, the atmosphere festive, skating was fab and my partner was perfect! Good times!

 

3. A College “Do Over” …

…or is it living vicariously through my kids? 

We attended two college preview days while on our trip – The King’s College in New York City and Gordon College near Boston, Massachusetts.  I can honestly say that in the past several years as I have visited colleges with my daughters I have often wished I could have a “do over” of my college days.  As I sit through presentations on everything from campus life to academic advising, take campus tours and attend classes I catch myself thinking….if only I could do this over again.  I would likely choose very differently.  I would most definitely take advantage of more collegiate opportunities. I would not “wish away” this amazing time in life. (Isn’t hindsight 20/20?….I wrote a blog titled “What would you tell your college age self” that you may want to read if you are in the high school and college age season of life)

I am so very excited and pleased with my first two daughters choices for college and I often find myself living vicariously through their experiences.  My first born who is at a college in the Big Apple (I already shared that if I couldn’t live my dream life at the beach, I would live in a big city!) and she attends a college whose mission and purpose and vision would have fit me “to a tee”!  The students at her college are amazing….they are smart, articulate, critical thinkers and have depth. (quite different from the superficial shallowness I experienced in many of my college co-eds) And the professors there?  Wow…is all I can say!  They are invested greatly in the lives of the students, they are inspiring and influential and they “know their stuff”. What an opportunity to sit under their teaching and leadership. I would have not just “survived” college but thrived and flourished at King’s.  

My second daughter in Texas is having the athletic and team experience that I longed for as a college athlete.  She plays soccer for a Christian university that values the character development and moral living of their players while striving to achieve excellence in competition.  She has teammates who she has already bonded with and will likely be friends for life and a coach who is also a godly mentor, role model and friend. Oh what I would have given to have that in college!  She also has the amazing opportunity to take time out to be filled up and inspired by God’s word and worship at chapels that take place daily!  And the icing on the cake – she lives in a typical dorm style setting (well a brand new facility that looks like a sparkling hotel!) and her roommate and suite mates are young women with a heart for the Lord who encourage and build her up in her faith quite unlike my dorm experience in college of daily stepping over beer cans and vomit on the way to the shower, listening to the mindless drivel of the latest frat party or sorority rush conflict or hoping the wall pounding music would possibly stop before 4am so I could finally get some sleep. Yup! I would take her experience over mine any day!

The third daughter will take off next year after her high school graduation and is in the midst of filling out college applications and making decisions as to where she will attend and the fourth is not far behind. It was exciting to get to see and experience yet another college (Gordon) that is as impressive and has so many great things to offer:

  • a college that is centered on Jesus Christ and desires to glorify God in everything they do
  • a solid academic education with a small teacher to student ratio where it is obvious that the professors are involved as mentors in the lives of the students
  • a strong athletic program with high moral standards for their athletes and coaches who really care about their players personal growth.
  • students we met who are obviously flourishing and loving their experience in college
  • a beautiful and impressive campus (I must say that California colleges can not compete with the beauty and majesty of the ivy covered brick campuses on the East Coast…well with the exception of my alma mater…UOP)

We shall see where the next two land….but I know this….you bet I will be rejoicing in their opportunities and experiences along the way! (and yes living a bit vicariously through them)

2. Doing What I Love!

If I could do anything I wanted to do in this life, besides being a wife and mommy, it would be to inspire others through writing and speaking to live a life of passion, purpose and praise! In my adult life I have been paid to be a minister, teacher, coach, counselor, administrator, school founder, business owner, sales director and fund raiser. And I have loved them all!  But I have come to realize that the thing I am most passionate about is speaking into the lives of others and helping them to live the life they were created to live! My desire is to spend the second half of my life (or if I don’t live to be 98, maybe final third) doing just that!

I had the amazing opportunity to speak to dozens of young women at The King’s College about the complexities of relationships.  I shared my life story with them and challenged and encouraged them to be purposeful in their season of singleness and to seek the Lord and His wisdom in their relationships.  It was a great time together with these incredible young women and based on the enthusiastic response I think I accomplished my purpose successfully!  You know you are doing what you were meant to do when you leave feeling energized, refreshed and exhilarated. It was a highlight of my trip!

1. It’s the Little Things…

Call me crazy but one of my favorite things about our trip to New York and Boston was all the walking we did!  Albeit we had great weather (62-68 and sunny almost every day in New York and a rainy but not cold day in Boston) and we were on vacation so there was not the rushing around factor, but I have to say I really enjoy the simplicity of just walking everywhere you want to go. 

I kept thinking to myself…why don’t I walk more at home? I live in an area of town where I could feasibly walk to church, walk to the store, walk to our homeschool co-op and walk to Starbucks (which I do do that!)  Everyone of the places mentioned are an easy 15-25 minute walk from my house (ok Starbucks is only 5 minutes) There are lots of excuses I could give –>

  • It’s too hard to get all the kids together with their “stuff” and coax the middle ones to enjoy walking (the littles would be in strollers)
  • I’d have to carry all that stuff back from the grocery store
  • I’m not great at being on time for church even when I drive
  • I would be wasting valuable time

and on and on I could go!  And yet I wonder…would my quality of life be better if I began walking to more places?  Here are my random thoughts:

  •  It would actually slow down the pace of my life simply by the fact that I wouldn’t try to cram so much into so little time. 
  • It would solve both the diet and exercise dilemma as I would not have to worry about dieting because the walking everywhere would take care of the intake of calories (ie: I could pretty much eat anything as I did in New York & Boston – rich yummy pasta, mouth watering pastries, delicious cheesecake, fancy caloric coffee, lobster ravioli’s in cream sauce, bread with butter, cannoli’s, cream soups, carb laden snacks and pizza, pizza and more pizza – and I weighed in at 1lb less than when I left 10 days earlier, gotta love that!)

              and I would not feel guilty about not making it out to the gym or for that designated 30 minute walk because my life would be one of exercising in the midst of living. 

  • It would get both myself and my children out into the great outdoors and fresh air more often and would release endorphins (happy pills) into our system that would lead to a healthy and happier life.
  • It would simplify my life in many ways as I would be more focused on my home life, my kids and what I needed to walk to the store to get for dinner. 🙂
  • It would save money  (and for those of you that are concerned that this large family is destroying the environment…we would be doing our part to be “green”…although that would never make my personal list of reasons to start walking more places…sorry.)

So I have been home for almost a week and I have yet to walk anywhere so my ramblings are probably going to amount to nothing. And I realize that my husband & kids work and go to school 15 miles away and that there are several places that I have to drive to each week so I simply can’t walk everywhere. However, I really do want to incorporate walking as a daily part of my life (as opposed to walking for exercise)….because I really do love it!

I suppose what I really long for is not only a community set up in such a way that everything was in walking distance (which for me it pretty much is except school, sports practices and friends) but also a simpler life without all the crazy schedules, appointments, paperwork, to do lists, activities etc….  Oh wait!  I have created that for at least a tenth of my year — beach holiday hiatus come quickly!

So there is my Top Ten List from my trip…hope you enjoyed the tour and that perhaps you were touched, inspired, changed or challenged by one of my “take aways” from our adventure.  You will still hear a few more insights from this trip as I have time to write them up.

And I can’t end without just a few more photos of things that I loved!

Did you know that you use to be able to rent a pew at church! It was actually was an enclosed box…you could decorate, leave things in, be late for church and never have to worry about a seat.  I see all sorts of advantages to this practice….just sayin’

The fall colors were amazing…I ohhhed and ahhhed and breathed in the beauty. When we arrived in Boston the colors were mesmerizing! I kept wanting to stop and capture each colorful tree, stunning autumn sunset and amazing skyline. Fall is my very favorite season…it is warm and inviting and feels slower and softer than other times of year. I think perhaps it fits my coloring too? What do you think?

There is nothing quite like the top of the Empire State Building!  The girls and I enjoyed it at night….the lights were spectacular. I must admit though that while I loved being up there with my darling daughters, it is just one of those places with the wind blowing through your hair, the stars sparkling above and the lights glimmering below that you should have the love of your life by your side with is loving arms around you. Romantic!

Oh and I could not leave Massachusetts without seeing the Atlantic Ocean because….I love the beach!  The girls and I made a quick stop by the seashore near Gordon College to put our feet in the sand and see the beauty of the ocean.  I felt the grains of sand in my shoes for several days after arriving home which made me vastly contented.

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Filed under College & Career, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, My "take"

Trip Top Ten (part 1)

There are oh so many things that I loved about my recent trip to New York and Boston…but I thought I’d give you a Top Ten list of my favorites:

10. I Love History!

I love the rich history that is found around every corner in the eastern region of our United States.  History just comes alive when you see it in “living color” right before your eyes. Whether it is a visit to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty and imagining what it would be like to immigrate to this great country hundreds of years ago, walking through Paul Reveres house and picturing him riding through town yelling – “The British are coming! The British are coming!”, reading inspiring epitaphs on gravestones (see my earlier blog post here), or even more recent history that is a part of our own life story as we visited the Ground Zero Memorial that has just recently opened up and reflecting on the impact and influence that single event has had on all of our lives. There is a vast amount of things to be learned on a trip like this. I drank it all in…it never gets old for me and I never stop learning new things.

We also took time out to visit the occupy Wall Street protest in Zuccotti Park…history in the making!  As my girls questioned why we were taking time to do this, I explained to them that when their children sat in history class in a couple of decades that they would be studying the Occupy Wall Street Movement and they could share with them that they had “been there”. We walked right down into the middle of the encampment – reading signs, listening to debates and observing the people.  It was quite an education!  And I loved it when a few days after we returned home I got a text from my daughter one morning as she was beginning her school day – “Mom!  They are evicting the protestors….70 arrested this morning”   I can promise you that had she not just experienced first hand the OWS movement that she would have had no idea what that even meant or been the least bit interested. (and my other daughter just walked in the door exclaiming – “Mom! Guess what the extra credit question was today in Government?….What is the current protest in New York called?”  I am thinking she will get those bonus points!)

  

Note to all my friends who have school age children – whether you homeschool or they are in “traditional” school….get out of the house, take them out of school and go and “do” things.  It is one of the BEST ways to really learn (that and reading, reading, reading)  As Mark Twain said – “Don’t let education get in the way of your learning”

9. Tea Time at Alice’s

Actually….having tea anywhere and anytime is one of my very favorite things!  Michelle has found the cutest little tea house in the Upper West Side that is based on Alice in Wonderland.  It is a darling place with fabulous tea and delicious pastries!  We began our Sunday morning at Alice’s Tea Cup enjoying scones – pumpkin, strawberry lemon and savory ham along with tea selections of cinnamon apple and birthday tea (which was AMAZING!) Even now as I type this I find my self relaxing and warmly remembering this cozy tea shop.  

Nothing better than a cup of tea….except for a cup of coffee of course! 🙂

 8. The Magic of Musicals

I have always been a big fan of musicals!  As a “drama” girl in high school my all time favorite play that I performed in was the musical Godspell.  I also watched every musical that came out in the movie theater or on television and took advantage of many stage performances.  I love the music, the fanfare, the energy, the dancing and the magic of it all. Wouldn’t it be great if in “real life” people just burst out into song at every opportunity? Well, in my world it would be awesome! 🙂

We had the opportunity to see not one but two musicals!  First Rebekah and I were treated to the Broadway performance of “The Phantom of the Opera” as part of The King’s College Inviso weekend for students looking at the college.  It was awesome! 

Then we were all able to see “Wicked” through the generosity of a friend who “comped” us two tickets and then we were blessed to win the Broadway lottery for the other two tickets (front row seats!) So all four of us enjoyed an amazing matinée performance of Wicked.  I knew the music well as the soundtrack is one of my girls favorites to listen to while cleaning but I had never attended a performance.  It was spectacular and had a great message!  I enjoyed every minute.

Oh and speaking of musicals….I found myself often breaking out in song as we walked through Central Park (“That’s How You Know” from Enchanted), down the streets of New York (“N.Y.C.”  from Annie) or in Times Square (“Give My Regards to Broadway”)…cuz that’s how I roll!

7. Churches, Cathedrals & Sanctuaries

I am enraptured by large beautiful places of worship that are built of brick, slate or stone and have ornate designs, massive columns, long aisles, traditional pews, stained glass windows and cavernous acoustics. I also love simple yet traditional colonial style houses of worship with the beauty of altars, pulpits and windows looking out to God’s creation. I want to see, feel and be enveloped by the majesty, wonder and awesomeness of my Lord. I want both the sacred and serene as well as the stirring of the spirit I feel in these places of worship. Don’t get me wrong, I can worship anywhere….from the more modern multi purpose type church sanctuary that I have attended for 28 years, to under the overpass while ministering to the homeless, walking alone along the seashore or even in the shower but there is something in my soul that longs for a breathtaking cathedral, an ivy covered brick church with stained glass or a simple sanctuary with pews looking up to an altar while the sun streams through the colonial windows to meet with God.  I had a vast array of these opportunities while in New York and Boston. It renewed and refreshed my spirit.

         

6. Hungarian Coffee….who knew?

One of the best things about our trip to New York was having a real “New Yorker” with us!  While not being a born & bred New York gal, after three years of living in New York I think Michelle made an excellent tour guide.  One of the places she took us that we would have never experienced without her expertise was a little Hungarian Pastry Shop. It was one of our last stops before heading to Boston and it was well worth it!

The Hungarian coffee was smooth, delicious with a hint of almond and a dollop of whip cream laced with spices.  It touched all your senses with its pleasing smell, its amazing taste and its appealing presentation.  Who knew I could be won over from Starbucks so easily?  Can someone please open a Hungarian pastry shop in Stockton?

Oh and the baklava and cream puff we devoured….oh my!

 

To be continued in Trip Top Ten (part 2)…..

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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

Letter to the Bethany University Family

Dear Bethany University Students, Staff & Alumni…

I am not a BU alumni but I have been following the alumni facebook page for several months hoping & praying that Bethany University would overcome their current obstacles, hurdles and challenges and live to see another season of awesome ministry to students who will carry on to impact the world for Jesus Christ.

My heart was bolstered with confidence after the District Council Meeting in April when it appeared that Bethany would be given yet another opportunity to carry on in service to our Lord.  I rejoiced with you all as we heard the news of “Miracle  Monday” and began to pray about what way the Lord might use my family to help continue the amazing legacy at BU through giving of our time, talent and treasure. And this last week I have grieved deeply along with you all at the heart wrenching news of the impending closing of this amazing university.

You may wonder why, if having never been a student, staff member or alumni of this school, that my heart would be so connected to your beloved alma mater?  Let me explain….

You see, I should have been a college student at Bethany University in the early 80’s.  It would have been  the “perfect fit” for a passionate young lady who knew that she was called to minister to youth and wanted more than anything else to know God in a deeply intimate way. Unfortunately, I lacked the knowledge that a school like yours even existed and without any wisdom or counsel from the adults around me I ended up at a private secular university where I sat in disgust as the professor in “Intro to New Testament” spent the semester “proving” that the Bible was not the inspired word of God.  Yet God, in His amazing grace kept me secure in His hands and while I ultimately graduated with my faith in tact I missed out on truly what I desired from a college experience. Here is what I would have wanted:

  • solid Bible teaching as well as other classes that were motivating and inspiring, taught by faculty who truly wanted to mentor, invest and speak into my life
  • friendships that would encourage me, sharpen my faith and last for a lifetime through the bonds of Christ
  • a positive uplifting environment in every area from dorm life, to athletic events to chapel services
  • a place where I could seek unhindered the Lord’s will for my life & future along side students and staff who would care for me, pray for me, rejoice with me and cry with me

A college much like Bethany University!

I graduated from the University of Pacific with a degree in Recreational Leadership (that would work for youth ministry right?) and went on to be a youth pastor for four years at an Assembly of God Church in Stockton, California.  During those years I came to learn about Bethany University and was always so excited when the admissions teams would come share during our youth service or we would take students over to the campus for preview weekends.  Everytime I met a Bethany student or walked on campus I could sense the spirit of the Lord moving in hearts and lives. It was like a breath of fresh air. During my years as a youth pastor and subsequently a Christian high school teacher and guidance counselor, I encouraged many young people to attend BU and those that did had life changing experiences. Despite an often “older” run down campus, limited majors, a small community and even an uncertain future I have continued to promote the college to young people who are seeking to know the Lord and follow His path for their lives because there is simply something very unique and special that happens at Bethany.

Bethany University has also affected my life richly through the number of alumni who I have personally been ministered to, worked and  enjoyed fellowship with over the past 30 years. My husband and children have also been profoundly affected by many BU alumni.  In fact as I began to make a list of Bethany alumni who have been a part of our lives, it is vast and impressive.  Truly a university who has produced the number of exceptional men and women of God attributed to this school must have a special anointing upon it.

And finally I feel connected to BU because I was about to become a “Bethany Mom”.  My second daughter, Amy was to enter the college this fall as a freshman.  After applying and being accepted to six private Christian colleges in California and one in Texas there was just “something about Bethany” that drew her.  Because my husband, her father is a licensed minister with the Northern California/Nevada Assemblies of God (he is however not a pastor of an AG church but has committed his life to the ministry of Christian education as a high school chaplain & Bible teacher) we perhaps had more “inside” information than many incoming freshman and even with the knowledge of impending doom, Amy chose to attend Bethany.  Her response to those who questioned her wisdom? “I would love to be at a school where students held special prayer meetings to save their school.”  She had already been captivated by the heart and soul of Bethany. She is currently doing earthquake relief ministry in Japan where I had to convey to her last week via email, Bethany’s decision to close its doors.  Even though she is much less impacted by this decision than the current students are, she still feels a great sense of loss for what “might have been”.  As she takes another look at her other college options, many good solid Christian institutions,  there is a sense of unrest and dissatisfaction.  They just aren’t Bethany.

I decided to write this missive tonight for three reasons:

1. To let you the alumni, current students and staff know that there are many of us out here, who while not directly a part of the Bethany family, truly care about Bethany University.  We are standing with you in prayer.  We are grieving the current loss and we are ever hopeful to be rejoicing in what the Lord still may do in the future. (with God all things are possible!)

2. To encourage and challenge you to come together in unity to fight for the future of Bethany University! For all of the reasons I have shared above and many more this unique, special, one of a kind, anointed school needs to be saved. And while we often think it will take investors with the type of wealth that most of us can only dream of, I have found that much of the time God chooses the small unknown, yet full of faith and confidence in God… “Davids” in the kingdom to slay the “Goliaths”.  I have personally experienced this type of miraculous victory when well over a decade ago my husband and I set out to start a Christian school in our community, against all odds.  We were just a young couple, without money, power or influence and yet the Lord chose to use us to gather a group of passionate parents together in hopes of starting a unique, special, one of a kind, anointed Christian High School.  Using just our Christmas card mailing list we sent out a letter asking for support to start this massive undertaking and within a month had raised close to $30,000. That momentum was just what was needed to put together a school board, incorporate a non-profit and continue to raise the quarter million dollars that was needed to begin the school. When I look back I stand in amazement that people were willing to give to a school that did not even exist, a school that could have potentially never opened its doors, a school who even in its first year faced great financial struggles so much so, that even our board president predicted that it would close its doors after the first graduating class.  And yet God prevailed, not through multi million dollar investors but through average everyday people who monthly gave in faith what little they could afford.  Fourteen years later that school – Jim Elliot Christian High School in Lodi – is still impacting students lives! To God be the glory!

Perhaps God is speaking to one or several of you…to lead the charge, to step out in faith, to gather all those who are passionate about Bethany University and together make a difference.  There are thousands of alumni, hundreds of students and dozens of faculty and staff members who all have friends and family that they could invite to make an investment, a step of faith in a university that actually does exist, a university with an amazing legacy, a university with WASC accreditation, fabulous faculty and committed students, a university that will touch the lives of its students who will in turn go out and make a difference in the world. I can easily do the math…and it adds up to millions and millions of dollars that could be raised in a very short order (if my Christmas card mailing list raised $30,000 in 30 days from “average” folks who donated to a “potential” school….what could all of your mailing lists combined do?) But it takes vision and leadership to take on the Goliath (in this case massive debt and vital restructuring of business practices).  Maybe the Lord is piercing one or several of your hearts to lead the charge!

3. To use my God-given gifts as well as sphere of influence to share the Bethany experience and the impending closing with others in hopes that perhaps someone out there may feel led to make a difference in the future of this University.  Besides posting this on the Bethany alumni facebook page, I will also publish it on my blog where I know my thousands of readers will at the very least pray for the current students and staff as well as alumni and for the Lord’s will to prevail. (I do realize that it well may be the Lord’s will for BU to close…but I feel compelled to share the “impossible” possibilities)

This time it is not my place or purpose to lead the way but perhaps it is your turn! I am willing to offer my time and talent in the area of development to any of you involved with efforts to help a new day dawn for Bethany University.

Blessings to each of you,

Beth Lambdin

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Filed under Determination, Faith, Lifes Challenges, My "take"

Accolades for Amy

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

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

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

  • Unremarkable?
  • Average?
  • One of many?

NOT!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I encouraged her:

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

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

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

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

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

Random, Abstract & Off the Wall

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

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

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

“Mother of the Year” Award….Not!

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

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

Loving Life Coaching  

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

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

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

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

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

The Good News & The Bad News

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

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

Boys & Bunk beds

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

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

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

What’s in your pocket?

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

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

Give and it shall be given unto you

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

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

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

Beach Holiday Countdown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thankfulness…for that, God?

“Always be joyful.  Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Most everyone is being outwardly thankful at this time of the year…and rightly so as we, especially here in the United States, have a lot to be thankful for.  You read positive uplifting comments on facebook, listen to messages on thankfulness at church, hear radio disc jockeys reminding you to be thankful. And it is not hard to look around and be thankful for all that we have in our family & friends, material possessions, positive circumstances and provisions of sustenance. We truly are blessed in so many ways. 

And yet if we belong to Jesus Christ we are told that our thankfulness needs to go beyond the “good” things in life that should be easy to lift up praise and thanksgiving for…but we are to be thankful in ALL of our circumstances. (and no I do not believe we are to be thankful  for evil but we are to be thankful in the midst of evil) Without getting caught up in the semantics of the difference between being thankful “in” something instead of thankful “for” it, I challenged my children last night to write on our annual Thankfulness Banner (what is that you ask? click here to read about this great family tradition) something that is hard to truly be thankful for.  They balked a bit at that suggestion and several still have not given it serious thought. (although rest assured this “committed to purposeful parenting” Mommy will see to it that they do!) My seven year old was really having a hard time wrapping her mind around this concept when I suggested she be thankful for having to do chores. “But I am not thankful for chores at all Mommy!”,  she emphatically exclaimed while wrinkling up her nose in disgust.

You see it is really hard to actually say out of your mouth  “Thank you God for and in the midst of…”

  • the life long challenges of diabetes in one and dyslexia in another faced by two of my precious daughters
  • the painful loss of my father 15 years ago (he was only 59!) and him not being here for all of us, especially my Mom
  • my battle with high blood pressure
  • the loss of 40% of our monthly income this year
  • the serious deterioration of parts of our 55 year old home
  • those who despise or ridicule me because of my faith that directs my principles, values & actions
  • the lack of personal funds to pursue adoption (having to rely on  and ask others to help…if I had it “my way” we would have all the money we need in the bank)
  • those who speak ill of my husband as a teacher and complain about his methods, abilities, opinions and weaknesses
  • dealing with disobedient, lazy, argumentative, ungrateful attitudes and actions found at times in my children
  • the never-ending chores and care taking that needs to be accomplished in my life (some of which is very distasteful & disgusting)
  • our government and society that seems to be headed in a direction that is opposite of my desires, values and worldview
  • my slow metabolism (ok so that is shallow…but I often covet being one of “those” who can eat anything & never gain a pound!…just being transparent here)

And yet even though it is hard for me to be thankful for and in these challenges, hurts and far from perfect circumstances, I am told to offer up my thanksgiving in everything (not just the good things). So this morning I did just that.  I thanked God for each and everything on my list. I don’t have any idea why God would even ask us to do such a thing but I suspect it has more to do with changing our hearts, our perspective and drawing us closer to God. As I gave thanks for each of these things my burdens began to lift and dissipate and I found my heart filling with joy, love and peace.  I felt free!  But even if I had not had any feelings, I do not have to understand, agree with or even benefit from God’s directions for my life as found in His word….I am simply required to do it!

We all have circumstances in our lives that we cannot begin to imagine being thankful for or in. In fact some of you have lists of horrifying situations that makes my list look like a “cake walk” (the life threatening illness, accident or death of a child or spouse, serious abuse or betrayal at the hands of others, financial devastation, violent assault on you or a loved one, life altering injury, being disowned or rejected by those dearest to you….).  I know this because many of you are my friends.  And yet….

…..for those of us who belong to Christ, we have no option than to be thankful in the midst of it all.

Take some time today to get with God and thank Him for your life challenges, hardships, painful and heart wrenching circumstances. Write them down. Speak your words of thanksgiving out loud to the Lord. Let the tears come if they need to. Share them here with others as a comment on my blog. (yup! be vulnerable!) Tell them to your family or friends around the dinner table. (and be ready for the odd stares)  Let this Thanksgiving be a new season for us of living out this command…. 

….“Always be joyful.  Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

 



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Filed under Attitude, Blessings, Family Traditions, My "take"