Category Archives: Time Management

What will you do with your bonus day?

Today is a “bonus” day!

Yes, that’s right every four years we are given a “bonus” day on February 29th! Every four years instead of 365 days, we get 366! Every four years we get a full extra 24 hours! Today is that extra day.

In an “average” lifetime you only get 20 “bonus days”…that’s right just 20 days!  This is my 13th bonus day so I don’t want to “waste it a way”. As I lay here in bed watching the rain pound with vengeance against the windows I am pondering just what I want to do (or not to do) with my “bonus” day.

 How about you? What will you do today with your bonus day?

How about all those things that you have been putting off until you have “more” time?

  • Reading or finishing that book that you heard was so fabulous
  • Making that long overdue doctor or dentist appointment
  • Cleaning or organizing that “junk drawer”, spare bedroom or garage
  • Organizing those photos, making a dent in that scrapbooking project or completing some journaling
  • Sitting down and planning your yearly calendar to include meaningful family traditions that you keep wanting to do but never seem to get going on them

Or maybe you could use your bonus day to do something positive for other people and your community?

  • Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen
  • Grab a trash bag and go pick up all the trash on your street
  • Visit the elderly, sick or shut ins
  • Call a stressed out Mom of toddlers and take her kids to the park or mall playground for a couple hours
  • Help a single Mom or widow with the yard work, house or car maintenance

Or what about spending the day enriching your relationships?

  • Spend time really playing with your kids on their level (even if that means getting down on the floor and playing cards or dressing up as a pirate or Maid Marian)
  • Call your spouse just to say I love you & appreciate you (and husbands – bring home flowers for no special reason) – go out on a special date night
  • Ask your loved ones what would be their “perfect day” and then make it happen for them
  • Call that long lost friend from the past just to say hi and catch up
  • Invite that family you have been wanting to get to know over for dinner
  • Take your neighbors some yummy fresh baked cookies
  • Sit on the couch with your family and read a book together (and turn OFF the TV!)
  • Write notes of love, support and appreciation to all those important people in your life
  • Mend a broken relationship – say you are sorry, ask for forgiveness – forgive and forget

Or maybe you just need a complete day “off” to rest, relax and be renewed and refreshed so that you can continue to live a life all year of meaning and purpose.

Just some thoughts for you on this – February 29, 2012 – now you decide how you will spend your “bonus day”. Will it just be “the same ole, same ole” or will you make it truly a special bonus day?

P.S. – The photo above was taken 4 years ago on my “bonus day”…you can read about it here.

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Filed under Inspiration, Life at the Lambdins, Time Management

So what if you don’t have the time….just do it!

To say that I don’t have time right now is like saying that Bill Gates just has a little extra “walking around money”. Yes that would be an understatement.

Besides the regular routine of  mothering, homeschooling, household management, my home based business and my “part time” job (yada yada)… I am working ’round the clock on the annual Jim Elliot Christian High School Dinner Auction which is just over a week away (and I still need to sell 150 tickets..yikes, gather up last minute auction donations and work daily with my team of volunteers).  Add to that my homeschoolers have state testing this week, not having gone to bed before 2am in days and having kids going “down for the count” daily with the stomach flu…and yes extra time is just about non existent in my life right now.

Yet today despite all of this…I managed to throw on some red, white & blue, grab some flags out of the closet and drive downtown to City Hall for a 45 minute rally at our Stockton City Tea Party.

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Why did I stop in the midst of the craziness of my current life to attend a rally where no one was expecting me or perhaps it didn’t even matter if I was there?  Why did I overcome my own personal objections of weariness, busyness and other obligations?  WHY?  WHY? WHY?

  • Because I believe in the message!
  • Because I am role modeling for and training my children.  They are watching and listening to not just what I say….but what I do.
  • Because in the future when I am asked – “Why did you not try to do something to stop this mess?”  I will be able to with a clear conscience say – I did do something!

There is so much more that I could say about how sometimes we just need to throw out our excuses as to why we can’t do something….and just do it! (but I will just let me actions speak for me this time)

Life went on today….even though I spent 45 minutes at a rally letting my voice be heard and then another 45 minutes sharing that with you in this blog! And no one may ever remember that I let my voice be heard today, but I will lay my head on the pillow tonight with perfect peace that I have stood for what I believe in, have role modeled that to my children and have began the fight for our future generation who will have to bear the brunt of our current actions. 

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Is there something in your life that you say you believe in and that you just are not making the time to do? Or perhaps you really do not have the time? So what….just do it! (This is what I said to myself this morning as I contemplated “skipping out” on this event and listed all the reasons I just didn’t have the time)

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Filed under Determination, Economics, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, My "take", Priorities, Time Management

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

The thrill of opening my freezer

How many nights last week did your family sit down at the table and eat dinner together?

Ok, so we have all heard or read the studies – children who sit down and have dinner with their families, at least 5 times a week, are significantly less likely to get involved in drugs, drinking alcohol and smoking.  Studies have also shown that teens who ate with their families report:

  • higher grades in school
  • stronger friendships
  • better relationships with their parents

It has even been said that consistent family dinners are a greater predictor of future success than high SAT scores!

So with these studies screaming the importance of family dinners (not too mention our gut instinct as Moms telling us that daily sharing a meal together as a family is important), why would any of us not be diligent to be sure that we are making family meals happen regularly?  I think that for many it is simply the lack of organization, preparation or time it takes to put a good tasting nutricious meal on the table.  We seem to be all running ourselves at such warp speed that by the time dinner rolls around we are too exhausted or too caught up in the upcoming evening activities to make it happen, so we give into everyone just grabbing whatever they can find and eating on the run or in front of the TV or standing over the kitchen counter.

I solved this problem when I was a young Mom with two small children. I was working part time outside of my home and was involved full time with my husband in ministering to teenagers.  The girls and I would often arrive home right at dinnertime and I found myself  at a loss as to what to make for dinner.  It was at this time in my life that I came across the concept of “Once A Month Cooking”.  I heard a broadcast on Focus on the Family highlighting Mary-Beth Lagerborg and Mimi Wilson who were passionate about families sharing meals together.  The three things that hit me, besides already being sold on the value of sitting down together for a family dinner –

  1. I would save time and money (both of which I was short on)
  2. I would never again have to figure out what to have for dinner only to succumb to ordering pizza again or making macaroni and cheese
  3. I would be able to bless others by always being ready & able to have them join us for dinner or by pulling a meal out of the freezer to give to a family who just had a baby or was in need due to illness, death or financial crisis. 

That one radio broadcast ultimately changed my life!  From that point in the early 1990’s to this very day I have used the concept of “Once a Month Cooking” (with the exception of several years when we were beginning Jim Elliot Christian High School and relied on the generosity of others and the Lord’s provision for our meals), added my own tweaking and variations and we have enjoyed the benefits of having relatively stress free, no decision making dinners on our table each and every night.

I start by writing out what I want to eat that month – since October usually begins our cooler weather and after long hot summers we are ready for those cool crisp evenings – I always make this month’s menu full of our favorite soups, stews and other warm fall comfort foods. Several of these are in the “Once a Month Cooking” Cookbook  and others are our family fall favorites –

  • Split Pea Soup
  • Chili & Cornbread
  • French Stew
  • Colonial Cheddar Cheese Soup
  • Ravioli Soup
  • Taco Soup
  • Corn Chowder
  • White Chicken Chili
  • Potato Soup

 I add to that some Lambdin money saving staple meals – beans & rice, spaghetti, sloppy joes, chicken casseroles etc.. Then I make my shopping list and head out to purchase everything I need to make all these meals. My kitchen looks like this when I return from shopping –

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It usually takes me about 6 to 7 hours to prepare, cook and put the meals in freezer containers, if I have no help.  In the early years, we had a wonderful roommate (Hi Carleen!) who would help me power this out much faster and now when I can get my teenagers to take a study break they will assist me. (sometimes if life is really full, I may even split the preparation into two days)The dishes at the end are horrendous (especially since our dishwasher broke 6 months ago and we do it all by hand) but I remind whomever has kitchen duty chore that it is well worth it in the end! 🙂

 

Everything is labeled with directions taped on the front and put into the freezer – who would have ever thought that a freezer full of a months worth of meals could bring such fulfillment and joy? (and of course my girls do not get what the big thrill this picture brings me or why I would even take it – something years and becoming a mother will cure.)

I then tape up a calendar on the fridge listing what meal is to be served each day, along with any side dishes and who is “in charge” of getting it all on the table (All the girls ages 9 and older help out as well as Dan).  I always leave the last week empty as it is inevitable that plans change or we end up having a “left overs” night along the way – so we just move the unused meal from that day down to the last week.

After that all I have to do is check what meals we are having for the coming week on Monday morning – do a quick store run for perishables like bread, lettuce, fresh vegetables and milk  – and we are set!

Here is the book that inspired my life long habit of meal planning for a month and taught me how to plan, shop & cook for a month in a single day –

A Proven System for Spending Less Time in the Kitchen and Enjoying Delicious, Homemade Meals Every Day

But don’t be intimidated by the entire month part – if that sounds to overwhelming – how about two weeks or even one?  If it is all still too much or you do not want to think about masking a list, shopping and all that prep/clean up time – here is the perfect solution! Companies like “Dinners My Way”(my friend Cres Bruns owns the local franchise) and “Dream Dinners”.   are all set up to provide this service. You simply pay for the number of meals you want to make, sign up for a couple hour session and then they provide all the ingredients (already all chopped up, grated, cooked etc….). You make a mess of their kitchen and walk away with meals ready to put in your freezer. The prices are very reasonable and it is super easy. Plus you could go with a friend and even have more fun!

Of course I guess if money was not a consideration, you could hire a private chef to ensure meals served hot on your table every night….now wouldn’t that be awesome?

But whatever you do – begin today to come up with a plan to ensure that you get your family to sit down most days of the week to a wonderful dinner together.  I’m off to enjoy some Ravioli Soup around the candlelit dinner table surrounded by lively conversation and laughter.

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Filed under Life at the Lambdins, Motherhood, Time Management

Excuses, excuses – “I just don’t have time”

Yesterday…feedburner (the service that handles my blog subscriptions) mysteriously sent out an email saying that I had posted…which I hadn’t.  When it was brought to my attention my first thought was – Is someone “hacking” into my blog and getting ready to send out some evil or ugly post to my subscribers which now number close to 600?  I quickly logged into my wordpress account and could not find any evidence of foul play.  Then I thought perhaps one of my kids accidentally got on to my blog site and hit “publish” of a non existent post.  Of course this is a real possibility as I have posted from every computer that has ever been in this house and have saved my log in information on them all…even baby Daniel could probably randomly hit the right keys and pull off an empty post being sent. (after all he is brilliant!)  Or perhaps it was just some glitch in the feedburner system? Who knows.

Update– Just as I was about to post today, my feedburner account once again sent out an email today with one of the last posts I had wrote over two weeks ago – yikes! What is happening?? Does my awesome personal “IT” guy, Jeff have any thoughts – or any others out there who might be able to give me any ideas as to what is happening?

Either which way….it made me desperatly long to spend some long overdue time blogging.  You see, I love to write.  I love to inspire, encourage and bless others.  I love to challenge peoples thinking.  I love to share bits and pieces of my unique life (complete with photos). I love to make a positive difference in lives.  In fact, besides public speaking, writing is one of my greatest passions.  On top of that, without sounding presumptious – I believe it is my calling and that I have been gifted by God in this area.

Why then have I not written in over two weeks?  If I really truly love to do this and feel it is a calling and gift, then why am I not doing it?  I could throw out the time factor – after all I am the mother of seven (who are currently playing on five different sports teams, one is rehearsing several times a week for a major musical, three of them are being homeschooled and I have a 17 month old that is in himself a “full time job” – as are all toddlers!) , I am working from home at my Creative Memories home business and putting in over 20 hours a week for JECHS, leading a homeschoolco-op, managing our home, helping out friends in need  yada yada yada … (not trying to get into the boring  “I am so busy” wars)

But I have NEVER really bought into the “I don’t have time” excuse.  We all have time.  We all have the same 24 hours in a day.  We all choose what to do with that time and how we choose – is a dead give away as to what our true priorities are.  So I must say that writing, inspiring and motivating through this blog has simply not been a priotity as of late.

Well even as I write that, it doesn’t settle well with me. (as in I have to say – ouch!) This is a priority in my life and therefore I need to carve out the time to just do it. (Just as I do my other priorities – my relationships with the Lord, my dear darling husband, my children, friends & family and my personal passions and pursuits)

What about you? Are there things in your life today that you say are priorities but that you are not putting time into? Are you using the “I just don’t have the time” excuse?  Perhaps we should replace the often used excuse of  “I just don’t have time”, to the reality – “This is just not a priority”.  And if that statement stings a bit – then perhaps it is time to reevaluate where your are spending one of your most precious resources – your time!

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Filed under Priorities, Time Management

Living Life “Outside of the Box”

No I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth – we just arrived home from two weeks away. After running the program staff for a youth summer camp, we spent the following week enjoying our annual Lambdin family & friends camping trip to Lake Tahoe.  I have lots to share with you all about our summer adventures, our “barn raising”, adoption progress and my “fat face” update – but for today before tackling the mounds of mail & messages, loads of laundry and organization for the upcoming (far too fast for me!) school year – I wanted to write a quick post about….

Living Life Outside of the Box

The particular “box” I am talking about is the one that seems to command center stage in most of our homes – the television.  Last year I came across a website that challenged us to take the month of August and “Live Life Outside the Box” – in other words unplug your TV set for a month and spend that time doing other worthwhile pursuits.  We took the challenge and added our own ban on computer games and all other electronic entertainment, media and non essential computer time(ie: mindless web surfng). We – or perhaps I should say “I” – the Momma, have decided that this “fast” should become an annual tradition for our family.  It is a perfect time of year to do it as we are winding down the summer with a couple of weeks to enjoy family activities and as we need to focus on preparing and organizing for another academic year.

Now, I do need to tell you that unplugging the “boob tube” (as my mother called it) is not a huge sacrifice for our family.  We do not have cable (and never have had it – in fact the first five years of our married life we did not even own a TV) and therefore we only get fuzzy reception on three channels if we go through the hassle of hooking up an antennae.  This alone keeps us from watching hardly any television on a regular basis.  About the only time the actual television goes on is when we are watching a sporting event (mostly football games and March Madness College Basketball).  We also have chosen to never have our TV in the main living and dining area of our home.  This keeps it from being the focus of our attention and we NEVER (yes in capital letters & bold) watch the TV while we are eating meals. (I cannot emphasize enough how important meal time conversations are to all relationships – if you do nothing else turn off your TV during dinner & eat around the table)  We do however enjoy watching movies on DVD’s, probably more often than we should.  After our month of “Living Life Outside of the Box” in 2007, we decided to continue the “habit” throughout the school year on Monday through Friday.  It was a great discipline as well as keeping us focused on more productive activities.

Can you and your family take the month and unplug the TV, video games, movies and live life “outside the box”?  Or perhaps a month might put you “over the edge” – how about a week or 10 days?  I can gaurantee you that if you think you just “couldn’t do that” – you probably need to! 🙂

Check out this statistic:

The average American watches over 4 1/2 hours of television every single day!

 

Let’s add that up. That is 31½ hours every week (almost a second job!). That also adds up to 5½ solid days per month and more than two entire months every year. By age 70 that is over 13 years watching television! Aren’t there more important things you would rather be doing with this time? For those like me saying I don’t watch that much TV – do your own math – do you watch 2 hours a day? (thats 15 hours a week, one month out of the entire year, 6+ years of your lifetime) Or maybe you just watch an hour a day – what could you do with 7 extra hours this week?  Gives you something to think about.

Worse, according to the most recent figures from Nielsen, the average American household has a TV playing somewhere in their household for 8 hours 14 minutes per day.  How is there any time available to develop meaningful relationships, pursue worthwhile endevours or make a difference in the community or world? 

The number one queston/statement I get from others about my life is this –

“How do you do it all?” or “I don’t know how you do it all.”

Well, I don’t watch TV and maybe that is a large part of the answer. (although let me be the first to admit that I don’t do it all and I certainly don’t do it all very well!)

Here is a “short list” of some fun and relaxing things you could do with your extra time this month

  • Have a family game night
  • Read a book (or write one!)
  • Have coffee with a friend
  • Go on a walk (and take your spouse or child)
  • Plant a garden
  • Begin to learn to play an instrument or learn a language (easily done with 15 hours a week put in!)
  • Take a class (or teach one)
  • Host a dinner party
  • Volunteer or do community service
  • Call your Mom, Dad, sibling, long lost friend & chat
  • Bake or cook something new
  • Do something with your priceless photos 
  •  Journal
  • Soak your feet in warm water and give yourself a pedicure
  • Go out & throw a ball or play sports with your kids
  • Write a letter (yes with a paper, pen and a stamp)

Will you join us this month (or at least a part of it) in Living Life “Outside of the Box”?

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Filed under Family Traditions, Life at the Lambdins, Time Management

Making the most of the moment!

One of the things you become very aware of when living at the beach is that the weather changes swiftly and that it is never consistent from moment to moment or with what the weather reports say it will be.

You can wake up to a beautiful sunrise thinking “Oh it is going to be a beautiful sunny day”, only to have the clouds slowly drift in and cover up the warm sunshine.  The wind can be blowing strong one moment and then a great stillness will come upon the shore and you can barely feel the breeze upon your cheek, as you lay out baking in the sun while reading a book on the beach.  The day can begin with rain storms and a quick check on the Internet says you should stay inside and marvel at the rainstorm and roaring waves from the comfort of your living room and then in an instant the rain stops, the storm clouds part and blue skies poke through and before you know it – the makings of the most beautiful outdoor day ever!  You cannot even be guaranteed to have a “picture perfect” sunset on one of those bright, clear sunny days as just at the last moment a bank of fog may roll out to sea covering up any hope of the brilliant bright red, pink orange and golden hues that you were hoping to relish at the days end.

This phenomenon however helps me to develop a great habit of making the most of every moment because I cannot count on having another opportunity like that again.  So when I am woken up by the cries of my baby boy at an incredibly early hour and get a glimpse of the amazing sunrise over the Montery Bay peninsula, instead of rolling over and going back to sleep – I lay there awake and take it in or even get up and have my morning hot drink out on the veranda and just admire Gods handiwork. (I would love to say hot coffee – but alas for now as I fight the “fat face” and other health goals – it is hot lemon water) Or when I see the morning sun dancing down on the water forming sparkling diamonds all over the ocean, I eagerly put on my walking shoes and head out for the wonderful exhilarating walk along the seashore.  Likewise when it is rainy and cold, I take advantage of some enjoyable indoor activities like scrapbooking, writing or playing with the girls as I know as soon as the weather turns I will want to be outside (and sand, sun & scrapbooking do not mix!). On warm sunny days, I eat every meal possible out on the deck overlooking the ocean  and I enjoy every picture perfect sunset knowing that it may be the last one I have this year during my beach month hiatus.

If only I could live the rest of my life in the present just like this – making the most of every moment!  What if I stopped waiting until tomorrow to –

  • quit worrying about cleaning my house and stop to enjoy a leisurely conversation and cup of tea with a dear friend who I have been wanting to spend time with?
  • be spontaneous with my children and stop the mundane daily routine to take a walk to the park on a beautiful morning, jump in the pile of leaves on that fall afternoon, build a fire and cuddle on the couch reading books on a stormy day or one of my girls all time favorite memories of their mommy – going out in the rainstorm and stomping in every big puddle you can find or sliding down the kiddie slide into the mud puddle below until you are all completely soaked and muddy!
  • Begin those desired family traditions or put together those memory filled photo albums you have been wanting to complete and just jumped in and got going on it with even just that spare 15 or 30 minutes you occasionally have.
  • Call that friend or family member or even acquaintance that you just “happened” to think about today and tell them you love them, appreciate them or just had them on your heart or mind.
  • Kiss your spouse and tell them that you love, adore, cherish and appreciate them and get all decked out and go for a “night out on the town” or a romantic weekend get away!
  • Get up early and watch the sunrise, take a walk through a beautiful park or garden, lay on a hammock with the late afternoon sun warming your face, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with something sweet while listening to inspirational music, lay out in your backyard on a clear evening watching the stars sparkle.

What if we all made the most of each and every moment, each and everyday day, each and every season and each and every year to simply enjoy our lives, our loved ones and Gods creation?  As I head for home later this afternoon, my prayer is that I will continue to live in and make the most of each and every moment I have.  Won’t you join me?

One of our last beach sunsets (photo by my 13 year old daughter Kristen Lambdin – as were the starfish pictures – I think I have a budding photographer on my hands – and all with a “point & shoot digital”, can’t wait to see what she does with the SLR camera she is saving her pennies for!)

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Filed under Attitude, Inspiration, Time Management