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"