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 ūüôā 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‚ÄĒthough perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die‚ÄĒ but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”¬†Romans 5:3-8¬†

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¬†

THE TV ATE MY BLOG POST

Anybody else foolishly think to yourself “Oh, I’ll turn on the tv or watch Netflix while I write this blog post”… and then 30 minutes later you’re trying to remember what the heck your awesome blog post idea was?! Terrible. Since my husband and I got Netflix we’ve gone through different series together, and recently I decided to start Gossip Girl for my own entertainment. Bah. Bye-bye eloquently clever blog post filled with my signature wit, charm, and… BAHAHA – okay so my blog post wouldn’t have been THAT good! It’s still frustrating though…

So, in efforts to fight off my inclination to now post about shopping or my love for The Cheesecake Factory… I’m going to post about things that inspire me to post! Maybe in reading this you’ll remember all the things – or better yet, PEOPLE – who inspire you! Each week over the month of January I’ll post a inspiration post, first up is this week’s!

Before I’m really ready to start writing a blog post I need a delicious late night snack. Things to know about Kim… I eat cheese, like, every day. All cheeses pretty much. And I like it.

photo (6)

Alright… back to business. Today I made a wallpaper for my desktop and it’s a great first piece to what inspires me!

kims comp wallpaper

The people I love inspire me!

My new wallpaper is complete with family, friends, and friends who are family. I couldn’t possibly leave out my babies, our youth group kids and staff. Then of course my favorite human in the world, Clark Clervois, the most incredible husband-man! I spent the majority of the day today with my brother and his wife, they are absolutely wonderful. You can see Fabricio¬†in the upper left hand corner pic front and center in navy sweatshirt and again¬†in the bottom left hand corner pic with olive green shirt & glasses to the left of me and his wife Kemberli right behind him! Fab became family to me and my immediate family when he and his brother started coming to our church and stole our hearts. My sister and I grew up with no real brother’s and Fab and Felipe grew up without any real sisters, so we adopted each other. Today Fab and Kem and I spent the vast majority of our time together looking at old photo’s and video’s remembering our brother and my friend and laughing at how ridiculous we used to look. On Christmas Fab texted me and my husband asking if we could FaceTime… my sister had a sixth sense that Kem is pregnant! She was RIGHT! The thought of my future¬†niece¬†or¬†nephew has not left my mind since I first heard. AHHH! I’m beyond excited, ELATED! This baby already means the world to me. And so, I find inspiration in the love of a family that I’m bonded together with not because we share genetics but because we chose each other. We’ve gone through so much together. Watching those video’s today reminded me of how much we really and truly love each other. ¬†I am so grateful for them, thank you Lord for giving me these amazing humans to share life with. Hopefully in 2014, a little MORE life adding more chapters to our story. I am very much looking forward to the baby Paes chapter!¬†

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So, until next week’s inspiration post I’ll leave you with this verse.

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” 1 Corinthians 13:7-8

A few rambling thoughts and one meaningful one…

It’s unbelievable how long it’s been since my last post! Can you believe how irresponsible I’m being as a blogger? Let me tell you, friends… it’s been a really crazy 2013. Clark and I have been kept irregularly busy at work and life is speeding by a little too quickly. Our students are keeping us more occupied than they ever have before… mostly in a good way.

To quickly sum up… Since January during the winter months we’ve had SEVERAL huge snow storms and for some reason the crazy weather¬†effects¬†life here in New England. Shouldn’t we ¬†really be used to it by now?! My parents took a trip to India.¬†Can you believe they didn’t bring me with them to India? How. Rude. We did house-sit for them though, which proved a little more involved than we thought. Being home owners is time consuming!¬†My family has also been preparing for my little sister’s wedding. My family as in – me and my mom mostly. In March Clark and I are spent his birthday in NYC for a couple days then I jetted off to California for 9 days to attend a great Missions Conference at Biola University, see my sister, see my baby on American Idol, and have a good ‘ol time.

Since then I’ve been spending all of my time trying to learn from the Biola Missions experience and turn our own church’s missions experience into something really great! We are going to the next level! Then I have the youth department… we are going on five straight weeks of trips this summer…. five SEPARATE trips! I am¬†exhausted¬†just preparing for them. Two weeks of camps. Then a missions trip to Oakland, California. Then we are going to Orlando, Florida for National Fine Arts competition with our wicked talented teenagers. Then there’s days of outreaches to get prepared for on top of normal youth group duties, Crews, Sunday Schools, Drama and Worship Team. Did I mention my intern just got a job and had to turn in her two weeks notice? Wow… all of a sudden I’m feeling overwhelmed. Can’t imagine why!¬†If this seems like a lot – it’s the tip of the ice burg! Tonight, I’ll just blog a quick thought.

How I Met Your Mother... one of my top 10 shows of all time!

How I Met Your Mother… one of my top 10 shows of all time!

“Kids, sometimes you think you think you’re living out one story, ut the truth turns out to be something else entirely.” – Ted Mosby, How I Met Your Mother

Lately, I’ve become extremely aware of the differences between myself and the upcoming generation. It’s like all of a sudden everything is different and my eyes have been opened. I’m as old as I’ve ever been right now!!!! Don’t get me wrong… in no way do I ever want to return to my teenage years! My life has never been better than it is right now, I feel very blessed. However, I never thought I’d be considered an “adult” by teenagers. They don’t consider me apart of their generation, which… is true I’m not. Weird. I’m considered “old” or at least “older” than them and not in a good way like “oh em gee, you can drive us around past midnight”… I mean old as in “well, you’re older so that doesn’t count”. As if I’m allowed be cool anymore?? As if I can’t even understand what they’re going through?!?! These kids¬†literarily¬†see me as an old married woman. Disclaimer: I really do understand that I’m NOT an old woman, but in this context I totally am. Some of my students go to concerts of bands that I cannot imagine a sane person ever listening to on purpose. I am not even kidding, their band names sound a string of words pushed together from the middle of a¬†schizophrenic¬†uncle’s holiday outburst.¬†There are bands – a seemingly endless amonts of bands – whom I have never heard of and have no intention of learning about. Why don’t teenagers ever want to go to sleep… they have to get up SO early for school?!?! How did I ever do school???

If I had to turn 25... I felt awfully lucky to have this handsome man start the party of right at midnight with this delicious display!

If I had to turn 25… I felt awfully lucky to have this handsome man start the party off right! He showed up on my side of the bed at midnight with this delicious display!

Welp, here I am at the quarter century mark and I’m feeling verrrrrry different than I even did three years ago. I can’t imagine how different I’ll feel in another three years. Right now one of my “life problems” is figuring out when I’m going to have a baby. No, seriously. People won’t leave me alone about it. Remember when you’re life problem was figuring out how to purposefully “accidentally” run into your crush in the hallway? Or what a so called friend said about you in third period? I even remember in college thinking how life was hard at times… THAT WAS NOTHING!!! Being an adult is such a strange new chapter. But I wouldn’t trade it in a million years.

Recently the husb and I came to the realization that I need to get a part time job on the side. It’s a struggle and challenge to think I could do this. In the¬†beginning¬†of this blog post I just went over how insanely busy my life is. I can’t make time for another minute of work. Somehow I have to sacrifice SOMETHING – I guess even if it’s things at church or with youth – to get a another job so we can stay afloat. Getting another job is also scary because of my health. Right now my schedule is flexible and I am in charge of my own hours and projects. If I’m not feeling 100% I can work from home or¬†maneuver¬†things to work out the way I need them to. Most of the time I can get rest when I need it. Getting another job does not give me this benefit.

All this to say… I must trust in the Lord. I wish I knew what exactly He was doing. It’s strange because I feel a little conflicted… I feel like my life is so put together for the first time in history yet at the same time I don’t what the crap is going on! God has always provided and showed up just when I needed Him too. I am under the impression I’m¬†operating¬†under His will for my life. I am just following His instruction! So… why doesn’t everything work out? Why do I have to get another job? What do I give up in order to attain said job? I’m confused but I just have to trust that He has everything under control.

I guess what I’m trying to say out of all of this is… “problems” aren’t exclusive with a certain age group or life chapter. There isn’t a place you reach in life where you can sit back and say “no worries now!”. It is interesting how problems manifest during each chapter though… issues look different now and come in different packages as an adult. However, as an adult I’m able to¬†maneuver¬†problems at least slightly better. This is¬†because¬†my foundation in Christ is set… I’ve been working on our relationship for twenty years! My foundation in my marriage is also set… I can rely on my husband. I have God to lean on and because I’m older I’ve already been through many situations where God has proven Himself. So, I’ve “lived and learned” as they say and I’m a little wiser (supposedly) when it comes to handling new problems. Maybe what I should say instead is that… I can trust God a little easier. I know He will take care of me. I know He will meet all my needs.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” Romans ¬†8:28

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that 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” Romans 5:3-5¬†

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 =)

Quite the Scandalous Thought

Here’s a¬†scandalous¬†thought for you… Do something for YOU! Do something for yourself. I will now describe what I do for myself and why. Be prepared!

Lately I’ve become extremely aware of how I have been living my life for the past two or three years. I’ve come into two important realizations. One – as an unpaid “volunteer” status worker [which a lot of people don’t realize] I am spending¬†upwards¬†of 55 hours a week working and over 70 hours a week during the summer. Two – every year around the fall, specifically November, I begin to feel extremely run down, exhausted, and a little burnt out. These are two things that have happened for a couple years – consistently – and I’m just now figuring out this pattern! I’m not quite sure what made me really understand and figure these things out… it’s only my own life! How did I not figure this out sooner?

Well, I see the importance of balance and maintaining a sense of control in your day to activities as to avoid going crazy! I’ve always [at least for the last five years or so] been very faithful to take a Biblically commanded sabbath day. I do not work, talk about work, or discuss ministry/work related topics on my day off. This is something that I must do in oder to keep my sabbath and honor the Lord with that time. I honor the Lord by keeping His command and by taking care of myself, my husband, and my family. This keeps me sane! Especially considering the history I come from with an “overly busy” ministry family [remember my definition of ‘overly busy’?], it’s therefore very important for me to make my day off a day of rest and true separation from work! It’s so funny to think that most non-vocational ministry adults usually get the weekend off – two and half days off! The vast majority of my friends get out of work friday evening and don’t have to go back to work until monday morning. Wow, imagine?! Pastors and ministry workers get one day, and sometimes when emergency happens not even one day a week is sacred. [Disclaimer here: Emergencies are granted, it’s a part of the job. I still love what I do, don’t worry! And don’t judge!]

I realized that even after Clark and I have been faithful in our day off’s for the last two years of marriage and two years of dating life… I still end up feeling burnt out and overwhelmed by the time the fall season hits. September and October are so busy and by November I’m totally pooped. I’m feeling absolutely no¬†motivation¬†to get back into the office. That’s where the “doing something for me” plan comes in.

Ever felt like you’re running late to something but you can’t figure out what? This is how busy I feel sometimes, can you relate?

Next year I¬†definitely¬†plan on taking some serious time off in fall, however, I don’t want to be feeling even more overwhelmed than this¬†year if I can help it. Even if I take the stress down 10% that should be helpful, right?! In the past I had some sort of “head knowledge” of the importance of doing something for yourself, but¬†historically¬†in my line of work anything other than selfless dedication at any cost really doesn’t¬†appear acceptable to anyone. Busyness is seen as accomplishment. Rest is seen as laziness. Many of you may see the¬†correlation¬†to modern society’s thoughts of¬†busyness –¬†Pastor’s have been doing it for years! I guess we’re ahead of the times. Yet sadly, this is why the rate of Pastor’s burning out and leaving the ministry every year is so high. The average youth pastorate is about nine months. I’m committed to not becoming a statistic. So let’s see… statistics [and experience] say that Pastor’s typically are overworked, underpaid, live high stress lives, and still have families and marriages to take care of. Statistics say that five years after Bible College graduation only 20% of those students are still in ministry. Twenty years after Bible College graduation only 5% of those students are still in ministry. Wow!

Basically, I use “blogging” as my outlet! This is what I do for myself. I enjoy blogging – it’s fun! I even believe I can help other people through the topics I discuss when blogging. Blogging is a great way to keep far away family members updated on your life. Blogging can become a bit time consuming [by some standards], but I don’t feel guilty about that because this is my “thing for myself”. Everyone needs something that they enjoy and do for their own¬†appreciation¬†and sanity! Enjoying this “fun” part of my life enables me to be better in my other areas of life. Blogging also requires me to think and write about my life including the things and people that matter to me… which never denies me a very self-aware¬†existence. Self awareness [if you have nay soul at all] challenges you to become a better person, which for me means a better Christ follower, better wife, better friend, better mentor. So, all in all, doing this “thing for you” can even be seen as a thing you do for your loved ones, your children, your husband, your coworkers, etc. Think of this: wouldn’t they all want you to be the best you can be? The healthiest? The happiest? The bravest? Then, take care of yourself. I promise your life will become at worst slightly more¬†manageable.

So, I blog. I take my day off extremely serious. I put the utmost importance on my weekly Thursday night date with my husband. I recognize family time on Monday night’s. I try to plan times for my friends to be together. I celebrate important life events like birthdays and anniversaries and I try to make holiday’s special [like my grandmother did for my mother]. Shouldn’t these be the basics? I put my trust in the Lord that He will give me rest and take care of the rest of my life. Did you¬†know¬†– it’s the Lord that takes care of your family? Not YOU?

‚ÄúAre you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you‚Äôll recover your life. I‚Äôll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me‚ÄĒwatch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won‚Äôt lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you‚Äôll learn to live freely and lightly.‚ÄĚ Matthew 11:28-30 The Message

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 ūüėČ