Does getting older change you?

Today I read an article entitled “Things you should stop doing by the time you’re 30”. I overall thought it was a great list. It got me thinking. Not only do I believe there are certain habits you should have worked out by age 30, there are also mentalities and certain insecurities (for lack of better term). One assumption I made when I was younger is that the older I get the less I would care about what others think of me. It would seem very peculiar to me when I heard older people (women especially) talk about their need to look a certain way in public when “people” can see them. What? I’ve heard grown women talk about how bothered they were by someone who disagreed with them… as if they were ashamed to think what they think or are afraid to appear stupid. Are you not allowed to have an opinion? I’m over here thinking “who cares what they think?”

I guess I have to admit, from the start I’ve been blessed to have grown up with a mom who always encouraged my self-confidence. My sister and I have no problem being who we are and never make apologies for it. I guess our mom wanted us to have the confidence she felt she lacked especially in her younger days. Kendra and I always thought that was strange to hear because my mother is extremely brave and shares what is on her mind. We think she is #fierce! I am grateful for whatever it is that my parents did that availed me to growing up without [an over abundance of] insecurities, self-doubt, or thinking we couldn’t do something we put our mind to. I am not afraid to make desicions that are best for me even if that means doing something a friend of mine or colleague won’t like or understand.

Having that background, I know what you as a reader are likely thinking. How can I judge someone else then if they ARE 30 but still struggle with some things. Well, I didn’t exactly say I was judging people! I said it was strange to me! I’m sometimes confused by it. I believe certain things should be dealt with and conquered 12 years after you have graduated high school – or at least valid continuing attempts. Here was the list I read today of “8 things you should stop doing by the time you turn 30″…

1- depending financially on others

2- staying in a bad relationship

3- not de-stressing enough

4- not prioritizing sleep

5- crash dieting and eating too much junk food

6- binge drinking

7- hanging with toxic friends

8- not doing what you say you’re going to do

Even if this list was assembled by Cosmopolitan and shared on their snapchat story I still find myself emphatically agreeing! Where is the lie? Then again, there are certain things I could still be doing better (ahem, number 4). Still, tonight I find myself wondering. I recently had someone cancel lunch plans with me about an hour or two before we were supposed to meet. This person is an early 20’s girl. I had made time in my very busy schedule for this person and rearranged to make it work. Yet, I remember making similar desicions at that age and being super late to meetings with friends and others. I didn’t realize at the time how rude and inconsiderate it was. However, now I’m understanding things better. I have a better grip on life. I’m not perfect and still make mistakes, but overall I’ve learned some valuable lessons that I don’t think I’ll need to learn again soon (knock on wood). I made a LOT of progress each year of my 20’s. I feel like I’m a very different person now than I was even when I got married [at age 22]. Maybe I am being a little judgmental, everyone is different and has their own strengths. However, I just really don’t see how binge drinking or still hanging with toxic friends or especially staying in bad relationships can be excusable at 30. I know a lot of people carry heavy baggage from their childhood or past that they are still working out. I get that. Many people have gone through serious trials that have prevented them from being their best self in the past. I think of a friend of mine who is 30 and is struggling with PTSD after serving in Iraq. Can I blame them? Of course not. Everyone is different.

I think the people that bother me are those I know really don’t have any “valid excuse”. You know these people? This is why I could never work with college kids or young career age. Send me all the teens! Teenagers have an excuse, they’re still learning! When you are 26 and wondering if you should date a guy everyone knows is bad news… what is your problem? It’s a struggle for me to show certain people grace with that! Does getting older change you? Shouldn’t it? A better way to put this might be the following. It is not only the sole factor of time passing in your life (aging) that gives you a better grip, mindset, or habits… it is how you allow your experiences to shape and teach you. You can be your own teacher.

I was… okay, I am a stubborn person. One thing I did to help myself become a better learner is get a few older women to mentor me. When I’m having trouble learning my lessons (or even completely unaware I’m not learning my lesson), talking it out with my mentors help beyond words can describe. I have three women who are older and wiser with whom I share all with. One is in her 40’s, one is in her 50’s, and one is in her 60’s. Their feedback and advice is so helpful even when sharing a scary truth or something I hate to be wrong about I still covet their opinions. Each have proven to really hear me, listen to me, and know me. Each look out for me and have nothing but my best interest at heart. So, their advice is always spot on. Because there are three of them whenever I hear something from one that I’m still unsure about I can always share it with two other trusted sources. Each of them share my core values and beliefs and when all three are singing the same song to me – I know I gotta listen and follow through!

The other obvious answer is my faith. If you know me than you know I believe in God, love Jesus, and experience a relationship with Him that is life changing. If you’re a skeptic or have never heard from God yourself before and don’t believe – we can still be friends I hope. For me, God is the surest and realest part of my life. The wisdom and knowledge I receive from Him – the LOVE and acceptance that I receive – is better than any human wisdom or support. Jesus is the most consistent person in my life. The love, peace, understanding, and wisdom I receive from Him is beyond anything I could have hoped for. If you’re wondering about God email me today at Learnin2breathe.blog@gmail.com – I’m willing to talk to anyone in a judgement-free and safe context. I can try by best to answer any questions you might have.

Overall, hey you – yeah you in your 20’s. Be your best self. Work towards your goals. Don’t be that lazy and immature human at 30. You can make it. You can heal. You can progress. I promise! And I’ll try to have more patience and understanding as well 🙂 Maybe I can even help you like my mentors have helped me.

“Youth is a gift of nature, but age is a work of art” Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5

“A man who views the world the same way at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life” Muhammed Ali

“…suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:3-8 

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Let’s start over!

Life update: I am blogging. Yes. Okay, doing one thing right! Anyone else get the feeling that adulthood is absolutely NOT something that is possible to “master”… like… ever?! What does “successful” even MEAN? As a kid you imagine yourself a successful adult looking a very specific way. Well, I’m here now! What’s the deal?

Let’s be clear. I love my life, love my husband, and I consider myself very blessed. I’m also sick, overwhelmed, and sometimes in some ways I feel as though I have less direction than I ever did. Very contrasting! There’s so much about my life that I enjoy. A moment where my husband and I lock eyes and communicate through a smile. A moment when I sit down in a comfy chair at a coffee shop with a good friend and sip a delicious latte over conversation. A moment when one of my students makes a good and Godly decision for their life. A moment when I hear the perfect harmony to a beautiful song. There is so much to love, appreciate, and look forward to.

There’s also so much that I could not have imagined. I never thought I’d live my entire adulthood with a life altering illness. I never thought I’d be a bi-vocational minister. I always assumed I’d just do ministry forever and solely, it’s that simple. Come to find out, it’s definitely NOT that simple. Very few things are simple now. In retrospect high school and certainly college were simpler times. I think in college my main thoughts might have revolved around going to the beach, sleeping, and hanging out with my boyfriend. Now, there’s real like, life altering decisions to be made! When should we have a kid? When should buy a house? Can my body actually handle the stresses of having two jobs? Should I finally listen to my doctor and slow down?

I know I’ve only been an official adult for 8 years, but wow. This is it huh? Those of you who are further along and have already had your biological kids are probably laughing. Ha. Yeah, I know. I’m ridiculous. I’ve always thought that because of my profession, my adolescence, and my training [or something?!] that I was warped forward into a rather “mature” [for my age] adulthood and that’s why I’m able to function as such. Now I’m feeling a bit juvenile. My husband recently brought this to my attention in a very loving and concerned fashion. He is my biggest fan and is always looking out for me. So yesterday he took me to Panera and said “will you let me tell you something as your spiritual leader?”… and that’s very exciting when my husband talks like that. Any other Christian women out there feelin me? That’s hot. Anyways… he let me know that it’s time to focus! It’s time to realign our goals. It’s time to stop talking about how overwhelmed I am. It’s time to trust in the Lord. It’s time to listen to Him. I am excited for this new chapter of NOT self-reliance, but of God reliance! My favorite book in the entire world is “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. Absolutely life changing. It just so happens [and this happens often] that yesterday’s devo was SPOT on what we were talking about. I highly recommend this book/devo… whoever is reading this blog post you MUST buy this!

After talking to Clark and reading my devo, spending some quality time with the Lord… I’m realizing more and more how my life is not what I thought. I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am SO GLAD my life is NOT what I imagined! It’s farrrrrrrrr greater! My husband is…. WOW…. hott!… out of the this world amazing. We do something truly amazing with our lives. We are youth pastors. It’s a call I never imagined I would answer and serve alongside my husband. I have kids! Lots of them. They are SO annoying most of the time. Haha! But they are also so special. I love them beyond words can say. I think sometimes I might need them more than they need me. Maybe you other youth pastors or youth pastors wives can relate? When people ask me “Do you have kids?” I always respond without hesitation, “yes! I have about 200 of them”. They are my joy. Our ministry and our calling is my joy. I’m ready to focus on the Giver of Joy. The Creator of Life. The Father of Light. The One to whom I owe my life and more. What’s more, I can trust Him. When I trust Him, everything falls together in line. Life is hard and unexpected, but that is part of the beauty. Just wait for it. Trust Him and He will guide you and show you. I promise. I’m waiting too.

 

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 

Aside

Deciding not to be stuck…

Hello people of the internet. I’ve finally succumbed to taking the time and energy in writing another entry despite how exhausted I am. That’s always one of my excuses to not write. I’m so tired and I have no spare time, how do I justify spending anything on getting a blog post together? I also just don’t feel like anything I have to say is worth typing out for my blog, or… at least my thoughts are organized enough to make a successful entry to be scrutinized by the general blog-reading population. I feel like once I had a good thought I immediately start to think about all the supposed “rules” of blogging… don’t make it too long, have a point, have at least one line someone could tweet, etc, etc…. all that jazz. People’s blogs are so profesh these days. Yes, profesh as is professional.  It certainly takes a lot more smarts and energy to write a great entry than one would think, however, I think that’s the reason I often hide behind in order to protect myself from the scrutiny of seriously God knows who actually reads this. Still – it’s someone! Or maybe some day it will be someone! In fact, I have a few blog drafts sitting in my posts dock that I have yet to even finish probably with the same fear. Truthfully, it’s probably a perfect balance between that fear and my inability to produce any type of creative energy at this time period of my life.

So, here it is! A whiny and complaining blog post that was almost useless to post and not to mention actually reading. Plus my Nyquil is kicking in and I’m very sleepy. But, alas I’m placing my trust in an old adage that motivates me to believe that when you’re stuck… you just start again! It’s a decision you make. I’m deciding to not be stuck. So, here’s to hoping that this gets the creative juices flowing. Here’s to hoping that one blog post will lead to another. Lastly, here’s to hoping that I can figure out the true balance of my life and try and follow my dreams in all the right ways.

Clervois Christmas & New Years Greetings!

Hello friends and family! You’re likely reading this because you got a holiday card in the mail from Clark & I! We loved putting it together and sending it to as many loved ones as we wanted we could afford! So, here’s a digital copy for those who haven’t yet seen it – this goes out to all of you LTB readers and friends!

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It reads “Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year! From Clark & Kimberly Clervois, Our Greetings at Learning to Breathe!”

These six photos we chose because each represents something that we either care about or want to share with you here. We will work from the first photo on the upper left hand corner (working counter-clockwise) to the last photo where I’m wearing the red plaid shirt!

Photo 1 Happy New Years 2012! This photo was taken on the very first day of the year! We began 2012 with Clark’s immediate family at his parent’s house located in the gorgeous Port Saint Lucie, Florida! Not a bad start to the year, right? Clark’s wonderful sister Jovi took this photo of us. I love how every year at midnight she makes a big deal when the ball drops – we have a lot of fun! We always take pictures and light sparklers in the back yard. Clark and I only get to see his parents (Bob & Carole) once a year for about a week at New Years so you can imagine how precious those days are for Clark especially. It’s good to have a relaxing “chill” time down in Florida to rest up before the next year hits. We sure are ready for our upcoming annual trip to Florida leaving next week! This will be the fifth year I’ve joined the Clervois family New Years holiday =)

Photo 2 Happy Easter! This photo was taken on (Greek) Easter Sunday at my Aunt Nancy’s house. My immediate family are all pastor’s (as you know if you are a regular LTB reader) so we are working on the real Easter! A week later when things have died down, we love to celebrate with my mom’s best friend and her daughter – my cousin – Deanna and her husband Matt. I’m very grateful for my Aunt Nancy and Deanna in our lives… they are family to us even if it’s not through bloog! I especially love my Aunt Nancy because she is by far one of the wisest women I’ve ever been in contact with and I’m glad she is my mom‘s best friend. My cousin Deanna also became a Youth Worker in our The Counter Influence youth group Clark and I lead. I was so happy when DD joined our team because she can bring a lot to the table and I know she will make a difference in the lives of our young people. You can also maybe tell by the photo it’s the last time you will see our “former selves” before diet season came and weight loss happened!

Photo 3Summer is coming! This photo was taken in our hometown of Salem, Massachusetts. Clark and I moved here when we got married and have absolutely loved being apart of the Salem community. The lighthouse in the background you see is the historic Fort Pickering Lighthouse on Winter Island. This “hidden treasure” quickly became one of our favorites places to be in this city. Winter Island has a fascinating history that you can read about it online if you are History nerds like me and Clark! This location of Fort Pickering was the ONLY New England port NOT to be captured during the Revolutionary War! So cool. It’s a beautiful place to tour, walk, and take pictures now! We love adventuring to different historical landmarks on our day off every week. Another reason we love Salem – so much history! Salem has also become near and dear to our hearts because this past September Calvary launched our third daughter church called Remix Church where my sister and soon to be brother-in-law are both pastoring in the great city of Salem! Clark and I are so proud of Kendra and Sterling! Plus it’s nice to live only a mile from Sterling… which is also where he and Kendra will continue to live when they get married in June! Us sisters are happy about that =)

Photo 4, 5, 6 Fall has arrived and Happy Thanksgiving! The summer flew by. Being full time Youth Pastors keeps us extraordinarily busy during the summer months with camps, outreaches, missions trip, and more. I’ll mention more on that in a minute! These last three pictures were taken in Bridgton, Maine (right near Naples). If you are a regular on my blog you’ve seen the posts from our family’s Thanksgiving get-away to Maine! Being there was a huge blessing. A church family member loaned us the use of their condo on the lake knowing how much we all needed rest and relaxation! Clark and I first visited this lovely place for our TWO YEAR Anniversary in September… Can you believe we’ve been married two years?! It has really flown by and we’ve loved being married more each day. We really are enjoying each other’s company and hilarity. We again visited the lakeside condo with our family for Thanksgiving and had a wonderful time, especially enjoying my sister Kendra being home from Biola University for a week. Thank God for his provision and putting wonderful friends and church family members in our lives. God always meets our needs and takes care of us. Can you also tell in this last three pictures Clark is down 50lbs and I’m down 15lbs?! We worked hard to get there. Marriage makes you eat a lot of cookies… we finally picked up on that and are trying to eat and live healthier  We are getting there!

A few ministry (“Professional” if you will) highlights from 2012…

Our “kids” at the Ci Youth: Our students were once again named the top giving youth group to Speed the Light! We started a new small group system called “Crews” that has revolutionized our ministry and fostered much discipleship and growth. We saw many students come to know Jesus for the first time, get water baptized, join a ministry like worship or drama team, and receive a calling into ministry themselves. We feel incredibly blessed to Pastor the amazing, hilarious, and talented students of The Counter Influence. We also are extraordinarily grateful to work with an amazing volunteer youth staff who back us up in every way! We are proud to say 80% of our student body are in Sunday School on Sunday mornings! Our kids rocked out summer camp, a missions trip to Nicaragua, outreaches to places like Revere Beach, and our latest “Next Level” Fall Retreat. Our students continue to blow us away every chance they get… and they keep us VERY busy!

For Kim: In March I was able to fly to L.A. and attend Biola University’s “Missions Conference” week and was truly inspired by all they are doing for the Kingdom (you’ll see some of that come to fruition at Calvary for the Missions Convention in October 2013). I was able to

Clark and I this past July on Lake Nicaragua in front of a live volcano while on our SNEMN AIM Missions trip!

Clark and I this past July on Lake Nicaragua in front of a live volcano while on our SNEMN AIM Missions trip!

really settle into my role as AIM Coordinator in our Student Ministry department of Southern New England (Assemblies of God) Ministry Network – otherwise known as SNEMN. The end of last year into the beginning of this year I traveled to many different youth groups all over our district (MA, CT, RI) taking to students about missions and promoting our 2012 AIM Trip. In July, I lead a week long missions trip to Managua, Nicaragua (with Missionaries Ken and Kendra Doutt) with 27 SNEMN AIMer’s who were the light of the world! It was honestly one of the best missions trip of my life – God moved in INCREDIBLE ways! This year I got the opportunity to teach a Youth Ministry class at Zion Bible College and was a great first try! I would love to do more of that. I attended a Youth Ministry Symposium at Gordon College in the fall with three of our Crew Pastor’s – loved it. I got the opportunity to be a guest contributor on Question Your Doubts a blog by Dr. & Rev. Christina Powell (check out my post). Coming up for me in February 2013 I’ll be speaking a bit about our Crews and my experience with Youth Ministry in New England at the OPEN BOSTON Youth Ministry conference. Looking forward to the next year in ministry!

For Clark: Every week Pastor Clark continues to blow me away with his preaching and communciating God’s Word to our students. He is literally one of the best preachers in the world – not biased or anything ;-). Biola University seemed to agree and flew him out to speak in a chapel service this past November! He delivered the message God had put on his heart with passion challenging these college students to dig deeper in their faith and love for the Lord! This year Clark took an important role in the planning of our district summer camps this year as well, and he continues to serve as the Northeast Mass REP for our SNEMN Student Ministries department! He also continues to lead our youth group with wisdom and grace while leaning on the Lord and following His direction! Our Youth Ministry at Calvary Christian Church continues to grow and develop under Clark’s keen leadership. He’s now leading worship and training up a new generation of lead worshippers with our CI Youth Band! Clark is not only a gifted preacher, but a extremely talented musician  Our students love and respect him so much and I know they appreciate our leadership and role in their lives. Check out some of Pastor Clark’s video blogs to our students here or o straight to his first, second, third most recent video.

Hope you enjoyed learning about our year! The End =)

Check out my Guest Post on “Question Your Doubts”!

Hello friends! Hope you’re doing well this Christmas season – it’s really here! I have a few posts in the works for Learning to Breathe… but in the mean time please check out my guest blog post on www.questionyourdoubts.com! I was so honored that Dr. Christina Powell of QYD asked me to be a guest contributor.

Dr Powell is a brilliant scientist, writer, minister, and well known teacher. If you haven’t checked out her blog before I’m glad you’ll get the opportunity to do so now (you might even see some familiar faces in her site photos). Dr Powell, her husband, and two adorable girls have been a part of our church for many years. Her and her husband were – believe it or not! – my Sunday School teachers when I was probably 10 or 11 years old! I absolutely adored her class as a kid because it was so fun and educational at the same time! Out of all the Sunday School classes I was in through my childhood it was hers that I retained the most knowledge about the Bible to this day!

I honestly felt a little unworthy considering the company I hold with the other contributors to QYD. I am so thankful to Dr Powell for thinking of me and very grateful for this opportunity!

Tell me what you think of my post entitled “Fork in the Road” on Question Your Doubts.

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!