Category Archives: Parenting

Three Lions and a Golden Retriever

When it comes to personality profiles most are familiar with Galen’s Four temperaments (Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic and Melancholy) or the DISC assessment (Dominant, Influence, Steadiness, Compliant) but my personal favorite is the four personalities as presented by Dr. Gary Smalley with each have an animal characteristic.  They are entertaining, easy to remember and even able for children to grasp. The four animals are the Lion, the Otter, the Golden Retriever and the Beaver.

Without getting into the nitty-gritty details (believe me there are MANY) let me try to give you a quick example of each personality:

The Lion –> RRRROAAAAAR!!! 

Ok you likely got it.  This personality is strong, confident, decisive and in charge. They are the movers and shakers of the world who are running the show. If you want to get something done…give it to the Lion! They can also be cold, domineering, sarcastic and cruel.

The Lion bottom line is CONTROL

The Otter –> Wheeeeeeee!

Think of an otter playing, splashing around and carefree…having a good time and you have got this personality figured out.  These personality types are outgoing, friendly, talkative and enthusiastic.  They love a party! They’ll come! They’ll bring the popcorn! (but beware if you invite them they may or may not show up based on if something more exciting came along or if they even remembered that there is a party… as they are undisciplined, unstable and a bit flakey) They can also be whiney and easily angered.

The Otter bottom line is FUN

The Golden Retriever –> “pant, pant, pant” 

Just as you picture the faithful dog, man’s best friend…this is the golden retriever personality. They are calm, easy-going, diplomatic, loyal and humorous.  They do not like conflict or confrontation and really desire everyone to just “get along”. They also can’t make a decision for the life of them and are a bit on the lazy, non productive, unmotivated side.

The Golden Retriever bottom line is PEACE

The Beaver –>

hmmmm no sound works to give you an idea of this personality so just picture the industrious beaver analyzing and calculating each move as they build a dam

Beavers are the most complex of the personalities as they often have either an artistic/musical component or the mathematic/bookkeeper side of the equation. (and sometimes both!)  Either way they are self-disciplined, industrious, organized, aesthetic and sacrificing.  They also tend to be moody, self-centered, touchy, negative, unsociable, critical and revengeful.

The Beaver bottom line: JUSTICE

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Both my husband and I have taught about personalities for years to our high school students as well as using them in pre-marital counseling sessions and sharing them with our kids. We have quite the working knowledge of both the strengths and weaknesses of each personality and can often quickly identify someones primary and secondary personality often the first time we meet them.  Our kids have picked up the art of personality predicting as well and if you came to our home you should not be surprised to hear a lot of talk about lions, otters, golden retrievers and beavers. In fact we sometimes forget when guests are over that they have no idea what we are talking about, as they get this strange look on their faces as we start calling people animals!

Ok, so now that you have had a “crash course” in the personality animals….let me tell you who recently spent 10 days together on a trip to New York and Boston  —>

 

Three Lions and a Golden Retriever 

If you think that sounds a little intense…you would be right!

Imagine three dominant, strong, confident, opinionated and take charge female lions who all want to be in control (and don’t like to be told what to do).  Yeah….that’s gonna work!

Then add to the mix a sweet golden retriever who simply wants peace and doesn’t like conflict or confusion and does not thrive in unfamiliar territory.

And to put more fuel to the fire….all four have strong secondary characteristics of a beaver which means there was a fair share of moodiness (or was that hormones?), criticism, negativity and self centeredness.  Good times!

The best thing about knowing the personality characteristics as well as we all do….is when the dust settles we can see it for what it is, just a bunch of lions roaring at each other and a golden retriever withdrawing to the corner with her tail between her legs. We even end up laughing at ourselves and one another (as well as feeling a bit of compassion for the outmatched, out numbered golden retriever who at times probably wondered what she was thinking coming on a trip with three Lions. Daddy retriever would have balanced things out a bit). Knowing and understanding all the personality types and having the knowledge of what your primary personality is, as well as your loved ones goes a long way to helping relationships resolve conflict, accept the value in differences and live together in harmony whether that is a marriage, a family, a friend, a college roommate or a teammate. Realizing what weaknesses each temperament struggles with will also help you to work on developing good “learned behavior” to overcome these liabilities as well as giving you a little more patience in dealing with others. (although watch out you lions cuz you are always  trying to control everyone elses weaknesses!) I highly recommend becoming a student and life long learner of the personalities, it will serve you well!

Just so you know….the strengths not just the weaknesses of the Lions and the Retriever were evident as well which is why we did almost more than most could accomplish during our trip and still took time to smell the roses, soak up the sunshine and relax on a few park benches.  It’s all good!

 

PS: If you missed my previous posts about out trip you can read them here, here, here and here

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Filed under Attitude, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Parenting

What will our children say?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not only did he have to ask me but…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cultivating Culture at Christmas

Last night I took a couple of the girls (the one’s who weren’t studying for finals…thumbs down to schools who are still in session even one day past December 15) and Granny to a local Christmas concert. It was a lovely evening listening to a youth chorale sing beautiful Christmas music in the majestic atmosphere of an old brick church complete with stained glass windows. As I sat there taking in the beauty all around me I realized how blessed I was to be raised in a home that appreciated culture and  I am truly grateful for this influence from both of my parents.

Experiencing and appreciating culture adds great value to our lives. I can’t begin to imagine my life without art, music, theater, literature and life long learning.

Art  is a work of creativity and God is the ultimate creator…all we need to do is look around at His creation to see the most amazing drawings, painting and sculptures. They have no rivals. When we see amazing art we are getting a glimpse of the creativity of God. When I see a thing of beauty it takes my breath away and causes my spirit to soar.

Music and poetry inspires us on so many levels…touching our heart and soul. It can cause us to rejoice and praise the Lord, dance, clap, shout, cry, laugh and sing.  I am often transformed to an amazing place of  complete joy, perfect love and glorious peace after listening  to inspiring music. It moves me in a way that nothing else does.

Literature and theater can instantly place us into someone elses story…giving us compassion, insight and even vision and motivation that can change the course of our lives.  Stories and plays can inspire and challenge me to do great things, take me on unbelievable adventures, touch my heart, teach me life lessons and bring me great joy and laughter along with tears.

Truly these things are a gift from God who is the creator of all things beautiful, awe-inspiring and good. I cannot imagine life without them.

It helped that growing up we often lived in large metropolitan cities where the cultural opportunities abounded. I,  however, have raised my family in a place not known for it’s cultural opportunities and yet because I believe that the arts add so much value to life I have chosen to actively pursue these experiences for my children.

Christmas provides the perfect time to cultivate culture in our lives and to influence and teach our children to appreciate the arts.  There are an abundance of cultural opportunities in even the smallest communities during this season. (and at this time of year there are many experiences that are free as well for those of us who have limited resources) 

Some of the ways you can take advantage of these opportunities

  • Find local Christmas concerts, ballets or church performances to attend…they are abundant
  • Check out your local museum…they often have special Christmas displays or exhibits
  • Call around to your civic theater, local high schools or colleges to see if there are any plays being performed (you can almost always find someone doing “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens)
  • Churches often have “living nativities” or special art displays (not to mention if you can find any older more traditional churches to visit the architecture, stained glass windows and sculptures are a cultural experience in themselves)
  • Christmas Home Tours are also prevalent at this time of year and are another great way to enjoy art, architecture and beauty

You can also create an atmosphere of cultivating culture in your own home.  We have been very purposeful with our children in bringing cultural experiences to them (it is also very helpful when your kids are small and may not be able to sit through a “live” performance or production)

  • Listening to classical Christmas music!  While contemporary seasonal music is the mainstay of our Christmas season we are sure to also include classics like The Boston Pops Orchestra.  Their rendition of a Christmas Festival is a staple in our home, in fact it is the first official Christmas song to be played after Thanksgiving.  I love it that my 3 year old son heard the opening strands in the car last week and enthusiastically shouted out – “Mommy! It’s Christmas!”
  • Reading Christmas Classics!  I don’t know why but it always seems so much easier to read books out loud at Christmastime.  I guess the combination of the cozy living room complete with a fire in the fireplace, twinkling Christmas lights, hot cocoa, cold weather that invites you to stay home and the extra family time without the pressure of school and work.  We have an entire box of Christmas books that we have collected over the years that only come out at Christmastime.

  • Watching Christmas Classic Movies!  Again the new Christmas movies are great for family movie night and we enjoy them immensely but there are a few “must watch” movies that are full of value and culture –  White Christmas, A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, The Nativity, Miracle on 34th Street and Little Women (ok so it’s not specifically a Christmas movie….but I have decided that it is for us). 
  • Watching Inspirational youtube videos!  Even if you can’t get out to a concert or live in a remote area without access to much culture, thanks to the Internet it can be brought right into your own home.  Every time I find an inspiring or excellent youtube I make my kids sit down and watch it. Here are some of my favorites this year:





  • Encouraging your children to put on a Christmas play of their own.  There are so many great Christmas stories to choose from or they could write their own.  Tell them that they can perform it as a Christmas gift to the family on Christmas day or other larger family get together.  Help them create costumes, gather props and any other support they need but let them create and perform. Besides adding culture and creativity to your life it will be some of the most memorable moments of their childhood.

  • Another easy way to add some art & creativity to your lives is through making homemade Christmas ornaments, Christmas cards and even decorating Christmas cookies.

  • Hosting our annual Mother Daughter Tea is one of our favorite Christmas traditions.  We have been hosting this tea for my girls friends and their mothers for 12 years.  Besides being a lot of fun for everyone it is a fabulous chance to add beauty and culture to our lives.  The fine Christmas china, setting a decorative table, dressing up, practicing etiquette and table manners are all great cultural experiences.  We also give the guests an opportunity to share their talents by singing, playing a musical instrument, reciting a poem or scripture, dramatic reading or signing to a musical selection. It is fabulous!

  • Memorizing the Christmas story from the Bible.  Most every year we take some time in the fall to memorize the story of Christ’s birth out of the book of Luke.  The younger school age children recite it on Christmas Eve.
  • Family Christmas Caroling Night, another family favorite tradition.  Each year we go out and sing Christmas carols at the doors of our friends & family members. It is a great chance to learn classic Christmas carols (and we sing all the verses…as my Mom would say…a song is like a poem and of you don’t sing all the verses you miss the entire meaning), learn to sing and a wonderful family bonding time.  If you did not want to trek all over the city singing you could simply sing around your fireplace, piano or Christmas tree or even go to a few rest homes, hospitals or children’s homes.

It’s not too late to add some culture to your Christmas this year. I would love to hear your ideas for cultivating culture both at Christmas as well as throughout the year.

PS – Tonight we will dress up and head out as a family (minus “the littles”) to a nice dinner and to see the Nutcracker Ballet compliments of my mother. (aka: Granny).  May I suggest that if you are a grandparent looking for a valuable gift to give your grandkids that will last a lifetime (rather than a few weeks or months)…give them a gift of a cultural experience!  And if you can go with them…even better yet!

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Filed under Christmas Season, Inspiration, Life at the Lambdins, Parenting

Nothing Easy About It

Last week I received an email with this title…

Character-building Made Easy!

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

And yet….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Filed under Attitude, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Parenting

Throwing a Tantrum

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

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

And my personal favorite

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyone else out there dealing with a little tantrum today?

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

What would you tell your “college age self”?

I just spent the past several days down in Southern California on a college visitation trip with two of my high school girls and their dear life long friend along with one of my closest friends and mentor to the girls.  We had a great road trip complete with long hours in the car, lots of fast food and  less sleep than we needed but lots of good times, learning and laughter too!

I found myself looking back to thirty years ago when I  was a high school senior choosing where I would attend college. I tried to remember my thought process and how I came to the decisions that I did.  I remembered  first stepping  foot on my college campus as a young and in many ways unprepared student and the many decisions I made both good and bad while I was there.  I also wondered if my decisions would have been different had I had older and wiser mentors in my life giving me advice along the way.

I do not remember much advice at all from my high school teachers or counselors other than – “go to college where you can get the best financial aide package” or “make sure they have your major”. (why? because your major will never change several times during college…ha!)  My church youth leaders gave no input.  My friends talked about having the most amount of fun (dorm  life, fraternity parties, football or basketball games, boys etc…)  and freedom (from any rules or restrictions) wherever you chose to attend college.

I am thankful for parents who gave me the following advice (aka: non negotiables):  You will go to college or you are on your own after high school.  You will go away to a four-year college and live on campus. You will not get married until you get your degree.  You will visit several colleges to find the right “fit” for you.  While these paradigms were quite valuable and more than many high school students receive, I often wish I had been given more from those older and wiser mentors around me.

In fact I began to think this weekend what exactly would I, now three decades later, tell my “college age self”?

  1. Choose carefully and wisely where you go to college.  No other time in life are you more immersed in a community and culture than during your college years.  You are living with people outside your family 24/7,  you are engaged in constant exchange of ideas both inside and outside the classroom, you are exposed to different and new ways of thinking, believing and living.  Is the college environment one that will increase your faith, solidify your values and produce growth and maturity in your life? You will likely make life choices regarding your calling and career that will affect the course of your life.  What type of college and professors do you want to influence those choices?  You will likely develop forever friendships with both students and faculty and you may even meet your spouse…look closely at the profile of students who desire to attend the college as well as why the faculty are teaching there.  Are these the people who you want to have influencing, mentoring, inspiring and challenging you throughout your life?
  2. Do what you love!  Choose a course of study in something you are passionate about regardless of anyone else’s opinion, regardless of whether it will make you rich (or even make you money at all), regardless of the job market, regardless of  if it is the “smartest” or most practical thing to do or even regardless of if you will ever do anything career related with your degree. (and if you have many passions…pursue them all!)
  3. Embrace this season of singleness. (ie: do not spend time the moment you step on campus looking for “the one”) You have spent 18+ years in your parents home and you dream of being happily married for 50+ years.  If you live an average life span that leaves less than a decade of being single.  Embrace it! Enjoy it! Don’t waste it away always looking to the future and missing the opportunities in the present.  Work on becoming the most godly, loving, giving, self-sacrificing, interesting, knowledgable and mature person you can be so that when you are married you will be the most amazing spouse and parent ever!
  4. Develop positive habits that will add value to your life.  Up to this point you have probably been “forced” to eat healthy (as much as your parents could make you), exercise regularly (thanks to PE classes & sports), balance your budget (mostly due to your lack of credit worthiness or available funds), go to class, attend church services regularly and plan ahead.  College should be a time that we build upon these positive habits not throw them out the window and live an undisciplined, out of control, “free for all”  life.  This is the time not only to learn and grow academically but to practice self-control and discipline in your life without being forced to do these things.  It is a true sign of growth and maturity and may even be a greater benefit to your life and happiness than your actual college degree.
  5. Go out of the country.  Whether you study abroad for a year, go on a summer missions trip to a third world country or participate in a “semester at _____” (you fill in the blank) you MUST take advantage of at least one opportunity for amazing growth, learning and a life changing experience.  After college you will have responsibilities to take care of, bills to pay, careers to pursue not to mention marriage and parenting that may arrive sooner than you think.  Do not say you will “do it later” because even if you are one of the rare adults who are able to pull that off – it will be harder, more complicated and you will wish you had gone during your college years. Let’s have no regrets here people!
  6. Seek out mentors.  I really wish that someone would have encouraged me to find older mentors in my life to learn from during my college years.  They could be upperclassmen, grad students, faculty members or even college pastors or adults from a local church.  I now realize that we can learn and grow so much more from other people “speaking into our lives” than we do through classes, lectures or textbooks.  While a few small private colleges encourage and promote these types of relationships, you need to decide to seek them out for yourself.  Find people of godly character, full of wisdom, passionate about their purpose and traveling in the direction that you want to go.  Then be bold and ask for their time to invest in your life. (You need not be demanding or draining to them…simply be willing to just hang out with them at their convenience or be a blessing by working alongside them) 
  7. Serve others.  The college years can often be very self-centered and self-serving. One of the best ways to grow and learn is to serve others and give of yourself.  Find ways to serve your college or community.  Become a resident or student advisor, start a prayer group or bible study, pick up trash around campus, volunteer to help in admissions or campus tours.  Get off campus and feed the homeless, volunteer at a crisis center, participate in a non-profit fund-raising campaign, serve in a church nursery.  A life lived only for your self and your own self interests is a shallow and unfulfilling existence.
  8. College is a valuable investment!  If you have to take out loans, do not stress about that.  It is a better investment of your money than your future home (that you will likely take out a very large loan to purchase) or a vehicle (that can cost you more than any loans you aquire in 4 years).  Your college education will not rust or break down or become worthless as it ages.  No one can take it from you, steal it or destroy it.  It will be one of the most valuable things you have in life (especially if you go to the right college and use the time wisely)  If you have to work several jobs to make it happen…do it!  Apply for every scholarship possible (and perhaps some that are impossible.) Ask others to invest in you. Leave no stone unturned!
  9. Appreciate every aspect of not living in the “real world”  — ok so I am sure many college student’s dislike hearing over and over that they are not living in the “real world”  but really…it is truth in many ways?  When, in your adult “real life” will most of you –
  • have someone available to cook for you at every meal (not to mention the wide variety and volume of food available in most college cafeterias – endless salad bars, soft serve ice cream, soda fountain etc..)?
  • put your  dirty dishes on a conveyor belt to watch them “magically” disappear and then reappear at the next meal clean and sparkly?
  • not have to ever clean your own toilet?
  • be able to work out at a fully equipped fitness center just steps from your living space?
  • wear whatever you want to work (aka: class) or for that matter decide when you want to attend and when you don’t want to attend work?
  • have access to social interaction and fun 24/7 (as well as 24/7 access to trouble & temptation)?
  • create your own personal hours according to your personal preference by only signing up for afternoon & evening classes (or the opposite if you are one of “those” morning people)or  not taking Friday classes and giving yourself a three-day weekend? (I can promise most of you that you will never again get to completely create your own hours)
  • and if you go to a Christian college…get to attend an inspirational worship service and listen to compelling, motivating  speakers three times a week? (my oh my what I would give to have that part of my “real” life almost every day)

   10. College is not for everyone.  While I believe that here in our culture in the United States that college may be the wisest way go for most young people, I do not think that everyone must attend college.  However, I do believe that the college age is a very important season of life for growth, education, maturity and experience.  It is not a time to be wasted or used in a frivolous way. Almost all of the things I would tell my “college self” can be applied to a young person who has decided not to attend college.  Be purposeful and productive.  Some other great options are trade school, an internship, the military or a missions trip.

What would you tell your “college age self”?

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

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

Isn’t it just the way it goes?

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

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

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

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

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

What if the kids do not do their chores?

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

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

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

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

What age did you start different chores? 

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

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

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

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

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

Is it too late to start at 13?

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

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

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

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

Is your house clean all the time? 

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

You mentioned cooking – is that on the chore chart?

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

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

And what about that allowance?

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

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

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

My dear darling daughters…

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

 

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

Chores – “It’s a Hard Knock Life!”

This is the song often heard blasting through the CD player as my kids were doing their chores.  I guess it makes them feel better as they “slave away” for hours (their perception) completing their individual list of chores for the day.  And as a gracious Mom/Boss who has achieved “upper management” status, I simply smile and let them play it as loud as they want….as long as the job gets done! (which by the way can mostly be accomplished in much less than 1 hour)

I have been asked by many recently to share my “take” on chores and how that area of life plays out for the Lambdin family.  So…here it goes:

I am sure there are as many philosophies, ideas and plans for chores as there are families.  Some families choose to have their kids do minimal chores or even none at all…either hiring help or having Mom do most of the work (after all no one does it as good as mom does, right?). Others  attempt to have their kids take on some chores but don’t follow-up or follow through and end up fighting constantly.  Many do not take the time to train their children how to do the chore properly and then get mad when they do not “do it right”.  Some wonder if they are requiring too much or too little. And I think I can safely say that everyone that has ever lived with more than just themselves has struggled in this area of chores.

My chore philosophy:

  1. Children need to do chores. As a matter of fact everyone living together in a household should have responsibilities in that home.
  2. Children can learn many things through chores – a good work ethic, responsibility, overcoming laziness, pride at a job well done, teamwork, leadership, initiative and appreciation.  Now there is a great list of character qualities that we should all be wanting to instill in our children! (and I bet some of you in business would love to hire people with these qualities to work for you)
  3. Children are capable of beginning simple chores at a very young age (by 2 they can throw away trash, pick up toys etc..) and before the end of their first decade of life they should be competent in most household duties.
  4. My job (at least one of them as it applies to chores & raising my children) is that by the time they leave my home they have mastered all household chores. (Define all: bathrooms from top to bottom, laundry – washing, drying, folding, floors, windows, dusting, vacuuming, dishes, kitchen from top to bottom, defrosting refrigerator, cleaning out cars, weeding, lawn mowing, trash, organizing, de-cluttering, ceiling fans, blinds, simple sewing, ironing and cooking) And this goes for boy & girls…they all need to know how to do these things even if they grow up and hire it out, simply do not do it or have their spouse do it. (I rarely iron because my love is so much better at it than I am…but I do know how)
  5. It is my responsibility (because I am in upper management) to train them on how to do the job, to give clear written expectations, to follow-up and then to recognize them for a job well done.

Now with that said…there are many different seasons in family life and that means we are continually adjusting our chore charts, responsibilities and schedules as our family grows and changes.  For example when I had 4 children ages 6, 3, 18 months and a newborn the chores were mainly done by myself, my husband and my eldest daughter.  As they grew older I spent a lot of time on training.  By the time the eldest reached the age of 10, she stepped into the training role followed quickly by the younger sisters.  During the “middle years” I can honestly say I did nothing…but supervise. It was fabulous! (a well oiled machine!) I am still in that supervisory role but when the older kids began high school (that we see as the serious academic training years) then we had to adjust their chores to weekends & summertime responsibilities putting me back in a more hands on training role with the “littles”.

Ok, ok so you want to see some “practical” ideas not just to hear my theory.

Here you go:

First of all we have always had a chore chart on the refrigerator or bulletin board.  For years I had many months mapped out at a time. (and sadly I never took a photo of those charts…complete with creativity and colorful stickers!  But I assure you I could have been hired as a personnel director for a major company.)  Now we only have one month mapped out at a time because of the multitudes of directions the high schoolers are going, a college student coming home for summer & holidays and thus being added to the chore chart and my new season of having more littles at home daily than big kids.

Here is what the current chore chart looks like:

This allows everyone to easily see at any given moment who has what chore.  We have always chosen to have our kids rotate chores weekly so that they do not get “stuck” too long with an undesirable chore and so that they learn how to do each chore well with years of practice (repetition is the key to learning!). 

Now along with the chore chart calendar….we have a written list of what needs to be done within each chore assignment (complete with check off boxes for those first-born obsessive compulsives who love to check things off a list, for those “beavers” who need accuracy and to do it “right” and it even provides something to color for the free-spirited kids who colored through the entire line with a different color crayon).   There is a check list of things that needed to be done daily as well as things that only needed to be done weekly (we pick one day a week that we call “big clean up” where everything is “spic & span” – deep cleaned – and mommy loves this day!) There were even things that only needed to be done monthly and so we picked one day a month to do those specific chores.

This is what those chore lists look like (and I have this on a computer document so I can adjust and change as needed. I make dozens of copies at a time and put them in a hanging pocket holder for easy access…thus eliminating the “I didn’t know I had to do that in the bathroom” excuse) –

Bathroom

Daily

  • [ ] Toilet, counters, sink – wiped off with Clorox wipes
  • [ ] Floor swept
  • [ ] Rugs vacuumed
  • [ ] Trash emptied (both bathrooms)
  • [ ] Picked up
  • [ ] Mirrors cleaned

1x a week – big clean up

  • [ ] Toilet, Tub, Counters & sink SCRUBBED
  • [ ] Floor scrubbed (hands & knees)
  • [ ] Walls washed
  • [ ] Organize Towels
  • [ ] Clean soap container
  • [ ] Fill up cabinet with toilet paper
  • [ ] clean vase/flowers
  • [ ] Remove Cob Webs

monthly

  • [ ] Organize drawers & hair accessories

I have similar lists for the bedroom, kitchen, living room, laundry, family/school room & backyard (if you would like a copy just leave a comment and I will send you my word document)

Here is where the lists are located and how they are organized:

As the kids get older they usually no longer need a check off list but they still come in handy when they are training the “littles” or of they start slacking off and need a reminder of what they are supposed to be doing.

One more thing – we do not give our kids an allowance for doing chores (actually we do not give allowances at all…but that is for another post) as we believe everyone has a responsibility to take care of our home. We do however have a few paid opportunities that are not on anyones chore list and yet still need to be done.  They change on occasion but until our recent finacial crunch they have been: Mom & Dad’s bathroom,  the china hutch (completely emptying & cleaning), weeding, cleaning the garage.

There it is in a “nutshell”…if you have more questions (What if the kids do not do their chores? What if they are not done like you would do them? What ages do they get added to the actual chore chart?  Is my house clean?  You mentioned cooking – is that on the chore chart? Or any other question) just leave them in the comment section and I’ll answer there so everyone can read them.

And I am sure other readers as well as myself would love to hear how you handle chores in your house, helpful hints or great solutions…leave those comments as well and we can all learn from each other.

Perfect post for Labor Day thinks this Upper Management Mom!

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

Oh Happy Day!

Today is a happy day!

Sixteen years ago today, my eldest daughter Michelle attended a children’s outreach service at our church and at the end she walked the aisle and gave her heart to the Lord Jesus as her Savior & Lord.  I can clearly remember sitting with her in the back of a dimly lit sanctuary along with Dan & her baby sister Amy as we watched a puppet show that shared the simple message of salvation –

  1. God loves you more than you can ever know (to the moon & back) & He wants to be your friend
  2. You are away from God because of  the  “bad” things you do
  3. God sent Jesus, His only son to the earth to die (take your “time out” or spankin’) for your sins
  4. If you believe in Him and speak out of your mouth that Jesus is your Lord….you will be His friend  & get to live forever!

When they asked the kids to raise their hands if they wanted Jesus…Michelle’s hand shot up with no hesitation and she and her daddy walked to the altar where she prayed.  I was bouncing Amy in the back of the sanctuary with tears of joy rolling down my face as I watched my child trust in my Savior.  Yes…..Oh happy day!

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Having myself been raised in a Christian home and never remembering a time that I did not believe in Jesus (although I clearly remember a life changing event as a teenager when I fully committed my life to Him), we wanted to be sure to memorialize this moment for each of our children…knowing that while there would be different levels of knowledge & faith as they grew and matured this would always be the foundational point of their spiritual lives…the moment they first believed.  So we celebrate each and every year the day that they trusted in Jesus for the  first time.  

5969_102477437661_633092661_2131007_1051612_nToday Michelle has a vibrant & strong faith in her Lord that she strives to “live out loud” each day of her life… and nothing brings me greater joy! Oh Happy Day!

 

 

 

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Filed under Faith, Family Traditions, Inspiration, Life at the Lambdins, Parenting

Where there is a will…there is a way!

I grew up in a family who ate dinner together….

at the table…

with the TV turned OFF…

every night…

at 6pm. 

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My Mom and Dad raised four children who were active, healthy, drug, alcohol & tobacco free, high academic achievers, student leaders with solid moral standards and a strong Christian faith.  Now while I don’t think that eating dinner together regularly guarantees you parenting success, the statistics are pretty convincing that this sacred ritual is something worth making a priority in our homes.

Research by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University consistently finds the more often children eat dinner with their families:

  • The less likely they are to smoke, drink or use illegal drugs  (100 – 191% less likely)
  • The less likely they are to have sex at young ages
  • They are at lower risk for thoughts of suicide and depression
  • They are more emotionally content and have fewer behavior problems
  • They have healthier eating habits
  • They do better in school  (academic performance went up 38%)
  • They are more likely to talk to their parents about a problem (40% more likely)

 And yet even with all these powerfully convincing statistics – I have found that many of my friends simply can’t seem to make it happen for their families.  We do live in a different world than the 60’s & 70’s when my parents were raising their family.  So many things have changed and there are so many challenges as well as activities “eating up” our time.

  • Many families have two working parents and are exhausted at the days end and trying to get a meal on the table and sit down together is overwhelming (I wrote a post last fall that might help this challenge – you can read it here)
  • Many families are split up – putting an amazing amount of pressure on the single parent as well as often times having the children going back & forth between two households
  • Many parents are working “odd” shifts” – swing shift or graveyard making it hard to share a meal together
  • Many children are involved in after school activities, clubs, sports, church youth groups etc… (and parents are transporting them to these activities, coaching or chaperoning) often making it a logistical nightmare trying to get everyone together
  • Even the parents have a long list of volunteer activities, book clubs, ladies & guys nights out, Bible studies and even home based businesses that take up night time hours

And yet…I believe if we really want to make it happen we can and we will!

This fall is especially challenging in the Lambdin household as we have three girls playing on soccer teams with varying practice schedules each weekday in the late afternoon/early evening, the high school girls are on the school volleyball team coached by their Daddy and that carload does not walk through the door before 6pm.  The first time we are actually all in the house consistently each evening is at 8pm.  Now that might work in a family without little ones….but my two year old is simply not going to wait to eat dinner that late (besides my metabolism won’t work as well eating a full meal at 8pm). 

As I began to work on our fall calendar this past weekend and realized our current dilemma I began to feel a bit frustrated that our schedules at this season of life are so complicated (you mommy’s of wee ones – be thankful for the less complicated season – hard, yes – but scheduling logistics, much simpler!).  I immediately began to brainstorm our options that would still give us time to sit down & take in a meal together –

  • 8pm dinners – NO,  for the reasons stated above
  • Give it up and just settle for dinner together on the weekends – NO, I am not the “settling” type of gal
  • Have a family breakfast together instead – NO, this would have to happen at 6:30am which means the high school girls & Dan would have to get up 30 minutes earlier than they already do, I would have to get up really early to prepare and mornings are not my best friend, not too mention dragging the 2 year old & 6 year olds out of bed would be a disaster

That is when I came up with this idea.   I will have dinner ready & out in the kitchen for the family to grab and eat from 4:30pm – 6:30pm.  Crock pot type meals that can stay warm and be ready to eat when needed.  (I welcome crock pot recipees – do share!) Paper plates or bowls for easy self clean up. They can eat at the table, at the desk doing homework, in the kitchen or while watching a DVD. They can eat by themselves or with whomever is around at their personal dinner time.  Then around 8pm every night we will all sit around the set table, candles lit, dinner music playing and have a light snack together with coffee or hot tea.  We will alternate between fruit & nuts, cheese/dips & crackers, light appetizers and desserts.  We will offer our prayers & blessing on the food, share stories of the day and enjoy sweet fellowship with the family.

We began last night as this is our first week of the craziness of our fall schedule and will continue this routine Monday through Thursdays (yay for weekend dinners together at 6pm!) until mid November when soccer and volleyball come to an end.  It was a perfect solution and everyone loved it!

Let me encourage you to make taking in a family meal together a real priority! (at the table, with the TV off  –> nice dishes, candles & music are a bonus!) If it helps even a little to keep your kids healthy, off drugs, not depressed, academic achievers with fewer behavior problems as well as more likely to talk to you – it is worth the effort…don’t you think?  Besides it is so enjoyable to spend time with those you love and the memories are priceless!

  Yes….where there is a will…there is a way!

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Filed under Consistency, Family Traditions, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, My "take", Parenting

Living life at both ends of the spectrum

As I type this I am watching a pretty wild and rambunctious pillow fight taking place on my bed.  The toddler and the six year old are going at it with gusto, as I protect the baby girl from their flailing arms. The computer is bouncing up and down, I just got a foot in my face and I am about to ban them from my bedroom…

….but I stop myself because this morning I have a fresh awareness that these moments are fleeting and will all too soon give way to the solitude that comes with grown up children and an “empty nest”.  I decide to stop wishing for some peace and quiet and just take it all in.  Perhaps I have an advantage that other moms with hyped up, super energetic young ones don’t have – after all how many mothers of wee ones just drove their eldest child to the airport to wave goodbye as she went off to her second year of college?  How many have a baby wrapping her fingers tightly around their thumb while not wanting to let go of the hand of  their  adult child? How many mommy’s are living both ends of the spectrum at once? Yes, that is one of the advantages of having children over a span of two decades…perspective.

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I know many of my friends are at the tail end of their parenting years. They have two or perhaps three children all close in age who one by one are headed out the door leaving an emptiness, strange quietness and hole in their hearts along with the question…”Where did the time go?”  They long to go back in time to the days when their children were young and all under their roof.

I also have several friends with many little ones clinging to their knees who would love a moment of peace and quiet or would pay big money just to have time alone.  They think that this season will never end where they often cannnot even get in a shower, rarely hold an adult conversation and are always exhausted from the never ending job of being a Mom.

What I want to say to those about to have a completely empty nest – embrace this new season of life.  Be the best parent to your adult children that you can be.  Spend time praying for them.  Finish that scrapbook you started when they were babies (or that you thought about starting).  Be encouraging & uplifting – supporting their decisions and giving wisdom and advice when you are asked (they likely won’t listen to you anyway if you give it before they ask). Use your new free time to make a positive difference in the world and impact those around you.  Remember all those things you wished you could do when the kids were little?  Do them! (hmmm or here is an option – you could always adopt a child and begin again!)

And to those stressed out, overworked, about to go crazy mommy’s of little ones, I want to say –  Don’t wish it away.  Enjoy this season.  Relax. Let things go and don’t be so uptight.  So what if your house is a mess, you have days where you never get dressed, your to do list never gets completely done, your children are not perfectly “coiffed” or you just can’t seem to keep it all together.  It is ok. Make memories with your children. Love them and enjoy them at every stage –

  • Snuggle that newborn in your neck, rock them to sleep, smell their amazing aroma, stare in wonder at their fingers & toes
  • Watch your infant sleep peacefully – breathe in & out in their rythm, tickle their tummies and take in that unbridled laughter, spend hours looking into their pure eyes and trying to make them smile
  • Play with your toddler, get on the floor and crawl around in the dirt with them, explore with them all the things that catch their attention
  • Laugh at the temper tantrums, sing “Fits are the pits”, “I’m allergic to griping” or some other song when inappropriate behavior pops up (discipline can be fun too…for you anyway – I could actually put on make up or eat a cookie with my coffee during time outs!)
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  • Read with your children – even if it is the same book over & over. Teach them to read. Tell them stories. Lay in bed with them & let them come in bed with you
  • Let them have pillow fights, horse play and jump on the bed . Squirt whip cream right into their mouths, be spontaneous and fun – it is ok….no it is great to let them run in the rain, get muddy,  jump in puddles, climb trees, go swimming in the winter, skip school for a day, eat pie for breakfast. (my list goes on & on – as long as it is legal & moral)
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  • Blow bubbles with them, swing together, have tea parties, play games, turn up the music loud & sing together, dance with them , laugh with them and cry with them.
  • Go to their games, school events, productions, activities and concerts.  Cheer wildly. Take pictures.
  • Let your teenagers sleep in, be respectfully opinionated and even occasionally roll their eyes (in fact have an eye rolling competition! I win every time!) Walk away and do not engage when they are “having one of those days”.
  • Open your home and heart to their friends, take an interest in their passions and pursuits.
  • Kiss them good morning, good bye & goodnight. Be generous with your affection and tell them you love them at every opportunity
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Whatever season of parenting you are in – make the most of every moment, celebrate everything and enjoy the precious gifts of life you have been blessed with – your children.

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Filed under Attitude, Blessings, Life Lessons, Parenting

Her children arise and call her blessed

mom 001Gloria Virginia Winslow Borden is a lovely Christian lady with a strong, independent, adventuresome spirit whose positive outlook, faithful heart, solid commitment, strength and encouragement have had an awesome impact on my entire life. She is my mother!

My mother gave me life, love, physical, emotional and spiritual nourishment, a solid family and a warm & wonderful home. mom 002She was and is always there for me. She instilled in me values, principles and paradigms that have positively impacted my life and that I hope as a mom to pass on to my own children.  Let me share a few:

  • Her Christian faith & values allowed me to see Jesus as my Friend and Savior.  She loved the Lord and along with my father faithfully took us to church every Sunday, had family devotions and centered our home on the Lord. She taught me to follow God’s commandments yet made serving the Lord a celebration of life! I will always remember a note on the refrigerator that said – “Is what you are doing pleasing to God?” My Mom role modeled a life that is seeking to please the Lord.
  • Her commitment to marriage and family was unshakable. Smomhe was married to my Dad for 35 years before his death. I grew up with the security and stability of knowing that she believed that marriage was forever and that she would never forsake her commitment to my father. She not only spoke these words often but she lived them out daily always being diligent to work at strengthening her marriage. She often told us that the best thing parents can do for their children is to love each other.
  • She was a “Stay at home Mom” with a commitment to being there to raise her children.  Even though she had a college degree and a teaching credential she gave up a career to stay at home and be there for her children. (she did go back to work after her children were grown and had a dynamic and succesful 20 year career as a teacher and also earned her Masters Degree along the way – the best of both worlds!) I was blessed to have my Mom at my side for every important moment of my growing up years.
  • Her positive attitude and her belief in me was amazing!  I know that my successes and accomplishments in life are a result of my mothers attitude and words.  She began each morning on a positive note saying…”This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it”. She truly looked at the positive side of life. mom 003She believed in me and told me on a regular basis that I was smart, talented, creative, beautiful, special, successful and good.  She always shared her belief that I could do anything in life that I set my heart and mind on and that God had created me for a special purpose.
  • Her adventuresome spirit is inspiring!  Because of my Mom, I have a zest for living.  She was never one to sit in front of the TV or lay around being “bored” (nor were we allowed to). Mom saw life as something to grab hold of and get the most out of and she taught me to do the same. Even into the 7th decade of her life she is zip lining through the rain forests of Costa Rica, teaching English in Thailand, walking the streets of New York City and cruising to Antarctica…to name a few!
  • My mother is classy, cultured and proper lady.  I have learned the importance of RSVPing (something sadly lacking in today’s society), writing thank you notes, dressy properly for the occasion, setting a proper table, speaking correctly, acting like a lady (and being treated like one from a true gentleman), having good manners and avoiding all appearances of evil.  She also brought culture into my life making sure I was exposed to concerts, symphonies, the theater, musicals and museums. My life is richer because of her influence.DSC_7058

Those are just a few ways that she influenced my life. On this special day set aside to honor our mothers I want to say thank you to my Mom.  I am truly thankful for all that she was, is and will continue to be in my life.  I love you Mom!

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Filed under Blessings, Inspiration, Motherhood, Parenting

Deep breathing

I finally figured it out!

Yes, after twenty years of motherhood it has finally hit me what the real purpose of the Lamaze classes were, that I took prior to the birth of my first child.  Just in case you have not yet experienced labor & delivery and you think that the purpose of these classes is to help you get through the pain of childbirth by implementing breathing & relaxation techniques, let me set the record straight.

Now, I am sure that there are a precious few who would “swear” by the effectiveness of  these breathing methods – but I am not one of them.  Just a few hours into labor after almost hyperventilating and after being given pitocin which effectively slams you into intense labor instantly, I screamed nastily at my sweet husband — “YOU BREATHE!” , as he was trying to coach me in these techniques. (a few minutes later I spit water in his face – nice, huh?)  I have never taken those classes again but have used various ways to get through my six following labors, including but not limited to – squeezing the living daylights out of my husbands hand, digging my fingernails into his arm, grabbing the nurses by the shirt (truly embarrassing), moaning, groaning, griting my teeeth, writhing and of course my personal favorite – EPIDURALS!

But just this past week it became perfectly clear to me why up & coming Mommies need to learn breathing techniques and it has nothing to do with the birthing process.

It is much more useful for the parenting process that will follow.

This last week I had an opportunity to put those breathing techniques into practice when, in the blink of an eye, our peaceful morning turned into a disaster.  After cooking the kids a delicious breakfast of french toast for a Friday morning treat – we were happily going about our morning routine of chores and school work when…..CRASH!  I looked up and saw that my beautiful 21 month old baby boy had pulled our 19 inch  TV & stand down onto his head. I jumped up from my seat just five feet from where he was lying and immediately began to panic as he started screaming with blood pouring out of his mouth.  My pulse shot through the roof (as I am sure my blood pressure did too), my mind began to race and I tried to make a quick decision as to the best course of action.  Do I call 911? Do I rush him to the ER? What do I do with the little ones here at home?  Do I take them with me? Should I call a friend or rush over to the neighbors and ask them to drive me to the hospital or watch the kids? As my robe became soaked with blood and the sobs of baby boy increased I began to panic and then…..breathe.  My clear minded 13 year old daughter called her Dad and in an instant he was headed home to take us to the hospital.  And during that eternal 15 minute wait….I breathed…. and breathed…. and breathed along with calling on the name of Jesus for help.

After it was all over (and we are praising the Lord that the worst of his injuries were five stitches, several bruises and a lost front tooth – no head injuries, concussion, facial fractures or permanent damage), my ten year old was recounting the story of the morning and sharing how Mommy was breathing really heavy during it all.  That is when it hit me – Lamaze!  That is really what those classes are for – all the crisis times you are sure to have for years after giving birth to a child!

And it is probably a good thing they don’t tell you at that time in life when you are anticipating the birth of your first child,  that you will truly need to learn to “breathe”  as a parent, because you just might have to –

  • wave goodbye as they wheel your child down the hall behind closed doors into surgery
  • listen to a life threatening or terminal diagnosis for your precious child
  • watch your child writhing in pain after an injury or accident
  • get a phone call from the hospital informing you that you need to come down right away
  • see your star athlete go down for the count and not get up
  • hold them in your arms as they cry after a heartbreaking disappointment or defeat
  • feel like you are going to go mad with all the bickering, stubbornness or bad behavior you deal with daily
  • sit by the clock that is slowly clicking, hours past their curfew and wondering if they are dead or alive
  • watch as rebellion, disobedience  or bad judgement bring them tragic  or life altering results
  • kiss them goodbye as they leave to fight for their country
  • endure being separated from them by distance, disappointment or disagreement
  • or God forbid if you lose them to death at any age (we as parents are suppose to go first!)

In fact, I never remember anyone sharing with me that children would bring into my life such intense heartache and pain.   Would I do it all again if I knew the pain and suffering I would have to endure?  Would I do it again even if it turned ugly or tragic?  Would I do it all again even if I lose my child to death?  

  • Absolutely!
  • Definitely!
  • Without a doubt! 
  • In a heartbeat!
  • No questions asked! 
  • Yes!  Yes! Yes!

Why? Because the love, joy and utter fulfillment my children have brought to my life is worth every bit of pain, heartache, dissapointment or suffering I have ,or will in the future , have to endure.  They are worth it all!

I will just have to remember my Lamaze training and my faith….breathe deeply and call on the name of Jesus! (and perhaps get a relaxing massage – I sure could use one after Friday – Whew!)

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Filed under Endurance, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Motherhood, Parenting

Inaugurations Happen….Every Four Years

Four years…will fly by!

How do I know?  Well after dragging my kids out of bed last Tuesday to watch the historic inauguration of our first black president (which we would have watched the inauguration events no matter who was being sworn in – to me it is patriotic!), I began to reminisce on past inaugurations.

  • Just four years ago in 2005 three of my girls – Michelle, Amy & Rebekah attended the inauguration of George W Bush for his second term
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  • Four years previous to that in 2001, Michelle, after working for months volunteering her time for the Republican Central Committee (as an 11 year old….mind you!) raised the funds and secured a ticket from our congressman to attend Bush’s first inauguration! 
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  • of course I can remember the 1997 inauguration of Bill Clinton because my four girls ages 7, 4, 3 and 18 months and I made & ate an entire batch of chocolate chip cookie dough to drown our sorrows. (ok, so the girls were happy even before the cookie dough except for perhaps Michelle who even at seven was already political)
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  • During the 1993 inauguration I only had two little girls…just a “starter kit” family 🙂
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  • If you go back to the 1989 innaguaration of George H Bush I was pregnant with Michelle just beginning my nine months of non stop “morning sickness”.
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  • And in 1985 I was single (not even considering matrimony or motherhood!) & a youth pastor for over 100 teens
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  • 1981, after voting for the first time the previous November for Ronald Reagan, I was an 18 year old freshman at the University of the Pacific
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That is only eight inaugurations since my being old enough to vote.  Then I began to do the math….our children will be at home with us for,  a mere four or at the most five inaugurations.  FOUR!!!???  Does that not seem like an incredibly small amount of time when you put it in perspective?  I know that when “your guy”  is not in office four years may seem like an eternity.  But it really does just fly by like all of life once you enter the “adult world”. (When I was a child everything seemed to take forever to get here…is that still the case today?) 

So wether you are lamenting or rejoicing in the next four years under our current administration

  • Take a moment to realize and let it sink in how very short four years is and how incredibly fast it will go by
  • Take a moment to count how many innaguarations your kids have left under your roof (Michelle is already up & out, this was the last innaguration for Amy & Kristen to be at home….<big sigh & gulp>, Rebekah has one left, Grace has two, Joy has three and Daniel has four)
  • Take a moment to decide what are you going to do with that time you have left, Lord willing, with your children?

Be purposeful in your parenting.  Have a plan and inact that plan! You have four short “terms of office” as their parents to

  • mold and shape them into people of character & conscience
  • teach and train them in the principles of the Word of God
  • disciple and mentor them to fear the Lord and glorify Him in all that they do
  • influence them to be life giving and show love to the “least of these” – the orphans, widows, elderly, disabled, depressed, outcasts, enslaved and the unborn
  • inspire them to live a life of service that will make a difference and have a lasting impact

Take an oath today that you will be purposeful in your parenting during the term of office you have left.  Don’t let these years just pass you by – all too soon your term will be up and your legacy will be carried on….for better or for worse by your children. What will history write about your parenting?

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Filed under Inspiration, Life Lessons, Making a Difference, My "take", Parenting, Service, Time Management