A Christmas Tradition

Letter_Well, today is December 1st after all! A wonderful snowy first of December day to start of the “advent” countdown (did you know I didn’t know it was called advent until like last year?) and also a fine day for our annual Christmas Party for the staff at Calvary. Growing up my sister and I always looked forward to the Staff Christmas party. My mother used to cook dinner for everyone and host in her own home! What a hostess! And with two small kids? Let’s just say me and my sister were to put to WORK! Still, Kendra and I loved the party and the people coming through. Growing up there were only two other pastor’s [other than my dad] and everyone felt like such close family. My parent’s are truly one in a million because they’ve been pastoring at the same church (quite successfully) for 25 Christmas’ now! Many of my Christmas memories and traditions come from being apart of my church and church family.

Now there’s almost 25 of us staff members & spouses/significant others and we all couldn’t possibly all fit in the parsonage [my parent’s house] comfortably enough to eat dinner together. So, now it’s our tradition to go out to dinner and then retreat back to the parsonage for dessert, coffee, tea, and Yankee Swap! Woohoo! I’m sure to many this is just another Christmas party, but to me it’s especially enjoyable because it’s become a part of my Christmas traditions every year. Of course now I’m coming to the party as a “guest”, a Pastor’s wife! Strange.

Anyways… we took some lovely pictures which you’ll see I posted below. I absolutely LOVE my parent’s house at Christmas because it’s so beautifully decorated! It just feels like home. My mother makes our house look wonderful and is so creative with her decorating. My mom also gave me a wreath to take home for our apartment that her beloved Sally used to hang up in her home. Sally was like a second mom to my Mom, so a surrogate grandmother or great aunt type figure to me. Passing things down seems like a lovely Christmas tradition as well. I love taking out my own Christmas ornaments and decorations that used to belong to my mother, grandmother, and even great grandmother!

I’ll keep it short and end there. It just doesn’t feel as festive to me without this party every year! Loves it.

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What a blessing to have such a wonderful Mommy!

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Happy Christmas from the Clervois’!

Myself, Becky, and Andraya - two of my greatest friends and also fellow Pastor's wives [well, almost for Dray!]

Myself, Becky, and Andraya – two of my greatest friends and also fellow Pastor’s wives [well, almost for Dray!]

Some of the office ladies and Pastor's wives =) Lovely!

Some of the office ladies and Pastor’s wives =) Lovely!

Our Yankee Swap was fun and gave us laughs as usual... I'm actually pretty please with both Clark and my dad's findings!

Our Yankee Swap was fun and gave us laughs as usual… I’m actually pretty pleased with both Clark and my dad’s findings!

Dray serves up some of her delicious little desserts!

Dray serves up some of her delicious little desserts!

Didn't my mother roll out a gorgeous spread?

Didn’t my mother roll out a gorgeous spread? This photo just does not do it justice!

Katie (another staffer) said "no one has beautiful things anymore"... how right she is! My mom has beautiful pieces!

Katie (another staffer) said “no one has beautiful things anymore”… how right she is! My mother has these gorgeous vintage pieces!

Even Henry the Giraffe (from Kenya) is dressed up for Christmas!

Even Henry the Giraffe (from Kenya) is dressed up for Christmas!

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Even down to the light fixtures – a gorgeous Christmas sight! Those are my mom’s handmade ornaments hanging from this wreath!

One of my favorite things Mom puts up for Christmas is this little village that lights up! So festive!

One of my favorite things Mom puts up for Christmas is this little Christmas village that lights up! So festive!

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And what’s Christmas without a manger scene!

Another thing I love about my parent's house during Christmas is that each window in the house and a single candle light. Just breath-taking! I'll take a picture from the outside to post soon!

Another thing I love about my parent’s house during Christmas is that each window in the house has a single candle light. Just breath-taking! I’ll take a picture from the outside to post soon!

And finally the wreath given to me for my own home! Looks beautiful and festive!

And finally the wreath given to me for my own home! Looks beautiful and festive!

Tis the season!

Tis the season!

I only hope that someday my house is as gorgeously decorated as my mother makes hers for the holidays. Can you believe I’m a grown up decorating my own house? This is me and Clark’s third married Christmas – how time flies! I am blessed this holiday season with wonderful memories, traditions, family and friends, and of course my amazing husband.

Thank you dear for always understanding how important these Christmas traditions and family nuances are to me. Not only that but thank you for always participating in these activities and truly enjoying them with me and our family – I love you!

This was the first Christmas day that we spent together, 2009

This was the first Christmas day that we spent together, 2009

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This is from 2010 =) Our first married Christmas!

Last year 2011 in our Christmas jammies =)

Last year 2011 in our Christmas jammies =)

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20 Questions with Mimzy

was inspired to do this “20 Questions” post by Bethany Joy Lenz and her wonderful blog. I admire Joy and love her posts. Unlike Joy I don’t have a plethora of famous friends to question, however, I do know some pretty important and worthy people! My first example of such a person is my mom! We often fondly refer to her as ‘Mimzy’. I love my mom and think of her as an incredible example of a Godly woman have great fortitude, resourcefulness, love, whit, humor, and grace. Here is a small insight into my mom!

1.Do you remember your thoughts on your wedding day? If so, what were a few of them? 

Her exact response was “Uhh yeahhhh! I hope no one gets lost!”. For some reason she remembers being worried about people finding the location or the ceremony running late. She remembers being disappointed that it was raining because her hair would get wet! She said “I wanted to get married – get it over with and move on with my life!”. I remember thinking the exact same thing.

My parent’s wedding day – June 19th, 1982!

Now the rest of the questions will be answered in first person by my mom…

2. What’s one piece of advice you would give a newlywed?:

Listen more than you talk.

3. What’s one piece of advice you would give a single college aged person about finding love and a relationship? 

Don’t settle!

4. What’s your most prized possession? 

Hmm. I don’t think I have a prized possession. If the house was on fire I would grab my grandmother’s Bible… or my cat! Okay, my cat.

5. What’s your favorite childhood memory?

Christmas! Christmas’ were always pretty cool. Our family was always together and my mother made it very special. She could take nothing and make it into something glorious. [I also liked Christmas] because everyone was in a relatively good mood!

My mom (bottom right hand corner) with her three siblings and my grandparents posing for an Olan Mills family photo!

6. What’s your favorite memory with your own children?

Either our Nags Head, NC vacations when the girls were little or when we went to Disney World!

Our trip to Disney World in 1999 – my immediate family plus my paternal grandparents!

7. What’s your favorite quality about yourself that you imparted to your children? 

Sense of humor.

My mom and her two girls. Now… shouldn’t this be a funnier picture of the three of us then? Sarcasm and whit can look distinguished of course…

8. What’s your favorite quality about your husband?

He loves people. It’s my favorite because other than loving the Lord, what else really matters?

My parents this past July on my mother’s birthday the 17th! They’re still attractive!

9. What’s your least favorite job that you have to do?

These birthday cards I’m prepping! Maybe [I feel that way right now] just because I’m doing it. I know they’re important, but it’s pretty annoying.

10. What’s your favorite Christmas [or seasonal] food or drink? 

I like sweet rolls!

Here’s Mimzy making (molasses cookies and) sweet rolls on Thanksgiving with Jack! This is a famous recipe from my grandmother and a family favorite.

11. What’s the worst and best thing about seeing your parents grow old?

The worst thing is to see them sick… weak and struggling. The best thing is that they kind of get past ‘putting on airs’ and they can just be themselves. They don’t have to give a rip about what other people think and don’t have to put up any fronts.

My mom’s parents (my grandparents) in their old age. This is how I will always remember each of them!

Here are my grandparents with all of their grandchildren together! This is the hotel near their house in Hope, Maine that we all stay in when we visited (when we weren’t staying with them) and I have many wonderful memories there.

12. Is it weird seeing your children become adults and get married? 

No! They’re just going great. Why would that bother me?!

My wedding day September 18th, 2010! A happy day for all!

13. What’s something you never thought you’d enjoy in growing older? 

Probably having the kids out of the house! That’s okay by me. I miss my girls but it’s nice not having to worry about where they are or what they’re doing. Also, being a grandmother figure. I’m just more comfortable in my own skin.

14. Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts?

Dunks! Tastes better! Starbucks is bitter and it’s too expensive! Dunks is the people’s coffee! No stupid fancy pants coffee! Lattes… small-ades… tall-ades… stupid… whatever!

BONUS My Mom’s Starbucks rant: You tell yourself you like it… you don’t! You just think you’re cool. Why would you spend so much money on coffee that tastes bad? Get over yourself, please! People my age are drinking Starbucks because they think they’re young. You’re drinking Starbucks – what’s wrong with you? Coffee doesn’t even smell good without the smell of donuts in the air [like Dunks]. Starbucks coffee is so bitter you have to put a ton of cream and sugar in it. But seriously, no one takes their first sip of Starbucks coffee and enjoys it… they think “hmmm maybe it’ll grow on me” or “Hmm maybe I’m not cool enough to enjoy it” or “I’ll never be able to memorize this menu!”. If you want a small, then call it a small – not a whatever!

15. What is something you look forward to? 

Having grandkids! Being with Jack – I look forward to that!

My mom and her “grandson” Jack in 2008 at Creation Festival (Union, PA). We went there every year for our family vacation for many years. A lot of good memories here as well for all of us.

16. What is something you regret?

Not being a better wife. I just think I could have done better.

17. What’s one of your silly fears? 

Silly fears… that Kimberly is going to post this and it will come back to haunt me!

18. What’s something people would be surprised that you enjoy? 

The giraffe! I love that giraffe! I think it’s hilarious! Don’t you dare put that on the blog though… no one will understand what the “giraffe” means! I love twizzlers… just put twizzlers down! I do love them.

19. What’s your favorite outfit you own? 

I don’t think I have one. I do like my long black sweater! It usually means that it’s cold out [which I like] and it keeps me warm! It’s weird that I don’t have one.

20. What is one of the best places you’ve traveled to? 

The Caribbean! [That trip] was all vacation. It was warm and beautiful! And… yeah! I like snorkeling! I love the water. It was purely a trip for relaxation.

21. RANDOM BONUS QUESTION – Who’s your favorite actor? 

Tom Hanks! He plays all different kinds of roles, and he’s funny. He’s made some great movies. Back in the day – Jimmy Steward! Modern day – Tom Hanks!

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I love my mommy!

So, now you have a glimpse into what 25 minutes is like with my mom. She’s funny and sarcastic and speaks her mind. Sound familiar? Now if only I inherited her grace! It’s funny because her generation and especially her parent’s generation come from a private more closed type of existence; whereas today young people put all their business out there for the world to read on the internet. So, I’m glad my mom answered all my questions [and only made me delete some of her answers once she found out I’m blogging this, haha]. I’m very proud and very glad to share a piece of who my mom is on my blog. Another characteristic she got from her own mom is that she doesn’t ever toot her own horn. Even when talking about her marriage she says she wishes she would have been a better wife. Amazing to me because she was an INCREDIBLE example of amazing wife and partner [and I know my dad agrees]… but she still strives to be even better and continues this pattern in modesty. I wish you all could truly know my mother – some of you reading have the blessing of knowing her – because she is an extraordinary person. I am truly grateful for her! Thank you Lord for giving me the Mom that I have. I know Kendra and Clark and now Sterling agree… nevermind the dozen others who consider our Mom their Mimzy as well.

Mimzy and my brother Fab on his wedding day!

Mimzy and Granger (From Autumn Skye Photography)… she grew up one of my sister’s closest friends and later on became one of mine. She lived with us for a summer and is like another child to my parents.

My sister’s future husband Sterling & Mimzy!

Mimzy and her first son-in-love! My husband Clark & Mimzy!

Mom with her girls! My sister and I with our two best friends!

Mom and her Olivia!

ps- Notice how I didn’t really ask about being a Pastor’s wife or in ministry?? That “women in ministry” post is coming in the future! Stay tuned 😉

A Time Away

Maine is wonderful place! I was blessed to spend Thanksgiving week there. My mother was actually born in Maine and continued to live in Northern New England until she was a teenager and moved to Massachusetts. Like myself, she’s a true New Englander. Maine holds a lot of special memories for me of visiting my maternal grandparents in Hope (right outside of Camden) and other trips and retreats with my friends and my youth group when I was a teenager.

My mom sitting next to the Lake she grew up going to with her family every summer. This was a NNED AG campground on Long Lake in Maine. A full circle experience coming back with her own children I’m sure!

A gorgeous Maine night sky!

Me and my sister Kendra enjoying scenic Long Lake, ie- Moose Pond in Bridgton!

My sister Kendra and her soon-to-be husband Sterling enjoying God’s beautiful creation of nature! What else is Maine better for?

Clark and I with my parents on Long Lake! Goofy smiles! I love the vacation version of us! Haha 😉

This time around my family and I were able to stay in the lake house of a very gracious friend. There aren’t words to express how blessed we were to stay in this beautiful lake house. We are so grateful for this friend and all the wonderful people that God has put in our lives to take care of us. We were in Bridgton (near Naples) and enjoyed the lake, the town, and of course the house 😉 Especially that fireplace!

Clark and I enjoying that warm fire and enjoying each other!

Kendra and Sterling acting their usual – “a fool”! Drinking eggnog from shot glasses to see if they liked it! No alcohol necessary for these two to keep things interesting.

Mom making herself at home in the kitchen… are you sensing the theme of this lake house?

Dad enjoying the awaited local Book Store stop! “Bridgton Books” located on the main road downtown.

Coming from an overly busy ministry family we were very grateful to get away for almost an entire week to truly ‘retreat’. There was not even internet at the house we were staying at! At first I was looking forward to an internet free vacation… then day four hit and my inner Pinteresting monster roared it’s beastly head! I did end up wishing there was internet for fun purposes… like blogging! I know if my family had internet it wouldn’t be so much of a vacation though. When I said I come from an “overly busy” ministry family… that was code for “workaholics”. I was glad to spend a lot of time just relaxing around the house, coloring with my sister, watching the guys read by the fire, and enjoying my mom’s cooking. I am extremely thankful for the family God has given me [annoying as they can be at times], it’s always a poignant reminder that I am among few attached to a great family who all still love each other [and the Lord].

Us girls! The two dearest women in my life with whom I’m very close and very grateful for.

My parents over 30 years strong and still in love! And from whom I inherited the “tall” gene. Thanks guys!

We also watched the HBO mini-series John Adams…. soooooo incredibly phenomenal! I highly recommend this mini-series to all adults (and teenagers when watched on Clear Play) even if you don’t necessarily love history.  My sister had never seen it before and loved it. We all especially appreciate the relationship between John and Abigail Adams… a marriage built on the foundation of faith in God and country. Can you tell our family enjoys a little American History?! Especially my dad. He’s a true Presidential history buff and has literally every President memorized. We also got to go to the movies as a family and watched the new fillm “Lincoln“. What an incredible film and critics agree! Although, in my humble opinion, for this film you definitely have to have some understanding or love for history to enjoy. Author and historian John Hallwas said “for anyone with the slightest interest in American history, or mature enough to sense human complexity, Lincoln is a riveting movie, filled with superb performances and firmly focused on the socio-political struggle that accompanied our terrible Civil War. It’s well worth driving out of town to see. Indeed, all Americans need to see it”. The movie served to remind me of how lucky I am to be able to have the right and choice to marry a black man. A black man who has all the same rights as a white man in America. I’m not naive to overlook the issues still surrounding the races. Not to say racism and racial prejudices and profiling doesn’t exist still… but I was at least glad for a reminder that humanity is sometimes good and fights for what’s right! Men and women fought for the Emancipation and risked their very lives to make sure it happened in America.

I realize now that part of my love for History comes from my dad. As a kid whenever we went on road trips my dad would talk about history and pull out Presidential flashcards! At one point I had the first dozen or so Presidents & First Ladies memorized. I’ve probably visited more Presidential landmarks and homesteads than most. On our honeymoon, Clark and I even went to the “second” White House in the Florida Keys that was used as the second home of President Truman during his Presidency. How interesting! Now almost no one (especially our newer couple of generations) respects the rich history our country has or the brilliant men and women that sacrificed everything just so we can now experience ‘life as we know it’ in America 2012! John Adams [our second President] said “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography […] commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture…”

I could get on my soap box about this issue four hours (or pages in this case), but I’ll try to spare you readers! It’s just hard for me to understand why eligible American people choose not to vote. People today don’t even consider how many selfless souls were courageously sacrificed so that in 2012 you can simply walk up to your local voting center and check off a name on a ballet. How can you feel right about yourself when even today soliders [that I know, love, and miss dearly] are off in foreign lands fighting and protecting our shores night and day for YOUR life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. These soliders are sacrificing their lives and neglecting their own families so you can take care of yours without worry. Soliders are getting killed while you are taking advantage of your freedom as you sit on your high horse choosing not to vote. Ahem… I did say I WASN’T going to get on a soap though… so I digress [or I’ll try]…

All in all our much needed vacation was restful and proved to provide quality family time. It was great to have all of us in one time zone – let alone the dinner table together! The Booths were even able to join uf for Thanksgiving day… they are like blood to us! I was overall very thankful on my Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving from The Clervois’! Even though our vacation was the whole family, just the two of us really enjoyed each other and loved spending extra time together in such a relaxing setting!

A look around our family’s Thanksgiving table! Isn’t Clark’s smile just infectious? What a handsome man… I’m lucky!

Spy time with my nephew! Isn’t he just adorable?

My Dad decides to wrestle both of the boys… using his feet! Gross!

A fan favorite! My mom’s famous stuffed mushrooms… always a crowd pleaser! I can’t even describe their delicious-ness!

Working hard but enjoying the cooking and baking together! So thankful my Auntie Jan got me a kitchenaid when I got married! Kendra made this extraordinary Sweet Potato Soufflé! So good!

Becky joins us for some more secretive spy missions on the back porch while we wait for turkey! Salute!

The great outdoors! Appreciate!

I’m also VERY thankful to be back home in our apartment blogging while watching Friends as my husband fall asleep next to me! Home was calling me back! I missed my own bed and our normal nighttime routine. Plus, I left with a terrible head cold so it’s nice to be back in my own element to recover. Praying for a quick turn around!

Coming up for Learning To Breathe: The next couple blog posts I promise to cover how our Fall Retreat went! I also have some other practical blogs in the making on topics such as “Ten Products I Couldn’t Live Without”, home maker wife stuff sharing “Three Great Buys”, how we live our “Low Carb Lifestyle”, and maybe a few fashion blogs! Can’t wait to publish all the drafts I have! I’m also going to be guest blogging on a friend’s blog in early December, so I’ll post about that asap too!

Thanks for reading and I hope you’re enjoying!

My Recommendation for You!

One of my students who graduated this past year called me up the other day. She’s in college now and her professor gave an assignment to write a paper on someone who has influenced her life, made a difference, and set a Godly example. She called me. Wow, no words. Talk about emotional, humbling, unworthy, and joyous… I feel so honored! It’s also extremely refreshing and encouraging to see that what I do in youth ministry and with my life actually means something and is effective. I know it’s totally God using me 100% – so all the glory goes to Him – I really didn’t do much. I just stayed obedient and loved the Lord. That being said, they call youth ministry the “thankless ministry” because we often won’t see the entire results of our ministry until our students become adults years later. Us youth ministers don’t always get a “thank you” up front. I’ve been blessed to have experienced much appreciation, but that’s really not my point here at all.

When my [now former] student called, she asked me about my prayer life and how I keep in communication with the Lord. I told her a few things I do, but mainly talked about my constant awareness of God’s presence and how I speak to the Lord throughout my day as if He’s holding my hand every step of the way – because I know He is doing just that. Recently my husband choose this song to lead worship with, and it’s quickly become an anthem of sorts for me. Not only is this song powerful and dynamic, but the lyrics sound like they came straight out of my prayer life. This is now one of my favorite worship songs, and I was privileged enough to lead worship last night alongside my husband and sing this song with our teenagers to our God! Listen here…

Recently someone told me to just focus on one thing – being faithful to God… and everything else will happen exactly as it’s supposed to. He said “What would you lack if all you did was focus on being faithful?”. It’s a great thought… because our God is faithful and I know I would lack nothing! My Recommendation to you is this worship song to pray and worship to… and to remain faithful. That’s all! 

Life is Wonderful, Life is Full Circle

Acting my age isn’t half as hard as FINDING people to act my age WITH! This week I’m incredibly grateful and happy to have my friend Bonnie from Feeling Bloggy back in town =) Not only are we pretty much in the same place in life turning 25 soon and being married but she is absolutely wonderful person to be around! Here are some pictures of our time together Thursday at our friend’s coffeeshop (very highly recommended, try the turkey pesto panini and taste a bit of heaven on earth) in the great garden city of Beverly, Mass!

  

 

One of my student’s photography was displayed at Gusto Cafe! Very proud momma!

  

We were so glad to run into Muffin (Jon Miller) at Starbucks! The Miller’s are like a second family to both Bonnie and I. We’ll have to post about that another time because I could say sooo much about how much I love them! We’re glad Jon was working 😉

 

This week I am extremely grateful to God for friends.

Tomorrow morning (well, today!) some of the people in my life who have either known me the longest or loved me the most are all getting together to see our nephew Jack’s last soccer game of the season tomorrow. Jack is 5 and one of the great loves of all of our lives. We needed him so much! When we first heard that Jack was on the way I knew right away that he was a God send. At that time we had all faced one of the hardest things any of us would have to go through, and Jack was the light at the end of the dark tunnel. He was the light of our lives! He still brings a smile to all of our faces… so tomorrow we thank him! He’s 5 years old so he’ll probably be totally unaware of all of this – but I’ll probably cry! Haha.

Isn’t he like all grown up now?? Wahhh!!! :’-) I’m glad he still draws pictures of us and gives them to me!

 My Mom is like a grandma to Jack,  she’s known as GJ (Grandma Jacquie)

An epic photo of my dad (ie- PopTim) and Jack doing their normal routine of crazy shenanigans.

 

My husband and brother with Jack when he was younger and then MUCH younger!

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 6 years since we first learned that Jack was on the way! Speaking of the Booth’s… and speaking of being grateful for my friends… more pictures are now needed of my beloved booblie friends. I cherish each of them so much! Each picture I see of myself with them tells a story and reminds me of a wonderful memory =)

Our little family on vacation together (our annual trip) in 2008 at Penn’s Cave in Pennsylvannia

My mom and bridesmaids =) and of course flower girl Jenna ❤

 

  

THANK YOU GOD FOR THE LIFE & FRIENDS YOUVE GIVEN ME!