A Day to be Grateful For

A few Saturday’s ago I had work piling up on my desk (if you’ve seen my desk you know this is an expression, because there is always a crap load of crap on my desk at all times) and I had about a million things on my to do list. I have a huge, giant, enormously important event coming up in a few weeks that I should be better prepared for. It could go on…

Regardless, I decided to do the right thing – the healthy thing!- and spend the day with my soul friends (friends that are also your soul mates). If you ARE one of my few true friends you understand what it’s like to be me, or at least have an understanding. You know that I don’t just have a “job” but a life consumed with a higher calling, therefore we won’t necessarily see each other that often. Most friends hang out all the time. This is not the case with me and my friends because I don’t always have control over my time. It’s hard to live like that sometimes, but to do anything of great important or impact will almost always require a personal sacrifice. A comfortable life never makes much of a difference. However, there are times where I have to decide to be a real person and acknowledge that I have needs – I’m not superhuman. So, I dropped everything else and went apple picking with some of the most important people in my life. IT FELT SO GOOD!!!!! Even though none of my work got done that Saturday, I was fulfilled and fueled in a whole different way. My soul needed that. We need each other! God didn’t build us for relationships by accident.

Here we all are on the tractor ride headed towards those apple trees waiting to be picked!

These are my friends! Here we all are on the tractor ride headed towards those apple trees waiting to be picked!

My life long friend Nubbin (aka – Ryan, his “real” name) and his wonderful wife Ashlynn invited me on this outing to Nubbin’s favorite childhood apple picking spot up in New Hampshire. That’s one thing that New England can boast – all of our states are close together and each state can be easily traveled to for whatever seasonal adventure awaits! I could not believe I’d never heard of or been to Applecrest Farm & Orchards in Hampton Falls, NH. It was beautiful all the way up to New Hampshire, I felt like the old people who go on fall foliage tours. Once we got there and all my friends piled out of our cars in the grass parking lot and I was remind of all the other times I’d traveled with these friends. The last grassy parking lot we’d been in together was at Creation Festival for our annual trip that we all used to take. Good memories. Applecrest was like a mini-festival itself! There was so much to see, lots of farm stands, and food stands, and even a “make your own scarecrow” booth. Scarecrows…. scare the crap out of me. I guess that’s their purpose, but like, it’s not cool. You know the food is my favorite… my friends ordered delicious homemade apple pie and ice cream! I had the best cinnamon sugar cider donut EVER. It was still warm too, yummmmm!

Applecrest also had tons of fruits, veggies, and fall time food to purchase in their outdoor market. There was even different flavored honey sticks!! If you know me well you know that I LOVE HONEY STICKS! I had them growing up as a treat my mom would buy us at Topsfield Fair (see previous post) or during our own family time apple picking. Honey sticks make me feel young again. Applecrest had strawberry sticks, grape, cinnamon, apple…. MIND BLOWN!!!!! I was so pumped I had to buy nine new flavors! I also purchased their own coffee milk which was sold in a glass bottle I had to pay for as well. Of course I had to buy fresh nectarines for Clark, they are his OBSESSION. I got little pumpkins for myself as well, tis the season!

The delicious loot I left Applecrest with... all for just $20! Now you can see displayed in my kitchen at home.

The delicious loot I left Applecrest with… all for just $20! Now you can see displayed in my kitchen at home.

Applecrest was so quaint, so New England, so Fall time! Oh, and I didn’t even talk about the actual apple picking yet! It was so cool to get on the “hayride” as I called it (really just a tractor pulling us on a flatbed) and travel across the farm passing all the different crops they were growing on the way to the apple trees. Then they had what seemed like a zillion different types of apple trees to pick from. We also saw another one of our friends and their family while there, it was just a great experience all around.

apple picking collage

We had decided to bring our lunch and eat it together picnic style out in the field we parked our two cars in. I loved eating and talking together! I love picnics and we ended up actually having two this day! Ashlynn brought this Whole Foods curry chicken salad stuff… WOW! So good! There’s something about eating together that brings you closer. I felt like I was at the best family dinner table conversation ever.

It probably seems a little curious that such normal activities make me so incredibly happy. I describe almost a euphoric experience as if everything was perfect including my friends. I know this is not really the case… although it was a pretty amazing day! Lately my life has been so hectic and stressful, my soul friends were just what the doctor ordered. My only regret was that my husband was away on a business trip and didn’t get to come with us. He did fly back into Boston just in time to see out friends towards the end of the day though, so I was at least glad for that. Again, I know this type of Saturday may seem pretty regular to most, but to me it’s special. It was a day that I can look back on and be truly grateful. Thank you Lord for giving me this life, these friends, and a great support system in the midst of what has been a confusing and chaotic chapter in my life.

Sometimes you just need to let everything go and give yourself a bit of soul therapy. You have to take care of yourself. I’ve found that when I don’t do that… it’s like I’m a shell on the shore of the ocean that has been beaten down by the waves so much that it’s broken and withering away. It then becomes hard for me to be the best wife or the best mentor. Each person has different needs, this we know, but you cannot deny we all need to take care of ourselves. Self preservation is not a bad thing! For Kim… taking care of myself means being in God’s presence often, relaxing and being creative, and not overworking. It means taking time for myself and doing things that make me happy. It means being with people that make me happy. It’s the best feeling in the world to say “I can’t remember the last time I laughed this much!”.

It’s easy to become suffocated in my line of work because it’s so all consuming, it’s your whole life. You don’t even realize you’ve burnt out until you burn out. In my “field” we’ll call it… it’s even ”frowned upon” to take care of yourself. We are supposed to be taking care of others! The harder you work and the busier you are then the more effective or successful you’re being. False – and I learned the hard way. I have to be a bit of pioneer in my field and take that sabbath (funny how we easily overlook that commandment), take care of myself, and love Jesus more each day.¬†Because I have such a small amount of free time, or even unscheduled time, the “me time” gets thrown out the window. This is why it’s SO important for me to spend that precious little time with the people that are right for me. This is exactly what I talked about in my last entry. I just thank God for these friends! I’m so glad Ashlynn thought to invite me, because in the past I haven’t always been able to say “yes” as much as I’d like. I only hope the people I love keep on inviting me, despite their frustration that Clark and I can’t say yes most of the time. I’m glad I have friends that love me and love Clark. A day and a life to be grateful for. That is all.

 

Friends :)

Friends ūüôā

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Seasonal Festivities

Growing up one of my favorite places, the Topsfield Fair, was the highlight of this season. This place became even more special to me as an adult. This year I was able to go with my family (sans my sister’s husband) and my cousin and friend. We were a crew! We had a great time together at the fair, and since it was Columbus Day and a monday (our day off) we were able to also spend the evening together buying my dad a new car and ordering our favorite Lynnfield House of Pizza for dinner. I was just glad to get some decent photo’s in too… you know me! Need it!

My father is sadly missing from this photo because he was one who took this iphone 5 photo of us in front of the famous sand sculpture!

My father is sadly missing from this photo because he was one who took this iphone 5 photo of us in front of the famous sand sculpture! Here my cousin Jonathan, my husband (who always makes this ridiculous face in photos), my sister Kendra, my mom, me, and my good friend Becky! =)

In true New England style we took our Dunks coffee (personally, yuck!) with us to the fair and strolled around all day visiting the different animals, farm stands, shows, and trade house booths. Kendra and my cousin Jonathan were the only dare devils who ventured to get on a ride this year… a new ride! It was like a million feet high and cost $12 to ride… they just had to! My sister was infamously a little bit wild as as youngster and sometimes it’s good to see where it’s carried over into adulthood. This wasn’t nearly as crazy as teenage Ken, but her personality is definitely fun!

My cousin Jonathan and sister Kendra! His mom is my mom's sister... she's one of my favorite people also!

My cousin Jonathan and sister Kendra! His mom is my mom’s sister… she’s one of my favorite people also!

The weather has been unseasonably warm so I was able to wear a cute outfit rather than my usual layers including a big poofy brown goose-down jacket. Clark insisted on wearing his big poofy vest though. Mmhmm.

This gallery style photo of me and my hott black husband is my new favorite!

This gallery style photo of me and my hott black husband is my new favorite! And I love french braids!

One of the most important parts of the fair is the food! I admit this is where my family indulges the most… we have to have it all! Maybe this is something I have inherited from my dad, because he basically eats his way through the fair every year. Not a bad way to do it. We had fried dough (of course), lemonade, roasted cinnamon almonds, pulled pork sandwich, steak kabobs, hot chocolate, my dad had a big cheeseburger, and Becky had the traditional carmel apple! The only thing I missed was the baked potato loaded with cheese, broccoli, sour cream… mmm!!! Delicious!!! There’s only so much money set aside for these types of holidays though, and we spent our allotment on our entry ticket… and FOOD! Fair food is the bomb.

Me and Becky enjoy our delicious fair food!

Me and Becky enjoy our delicious fair food while we watched the Lumberjack show… yes…

I am a sucker for steak. I love steaks!!!! As a child I hated meat… like… all meat. Weird. Then I had a rarely cooked fillet mignon at a fancy restaurant (I was NOT paying…) and I was sold. Then when I married my husband he cooked this chicken that I’m absolutely in love with! I would marry this chicken dish if I could. It’s SO GOOD… my husband is Haitian and it’s a chicken his mom has cooked his whole life. I can’t believe there are people who have gone through life without ever eating this chicken dish. Anyways… I about to go down a rabbit trail… back to the fair!

My family! Sterling (sistah's husband) had to work and wasn't able to join us. Huge bummah =(

My family! Sterling (sistah’s husband) had to work and wasn’t able to join us. Huge bummah =( Also… I’m bringing flare leg back. Apparently designers already have, but no one in real life has – yet!

Me & my Mimzy! Are we twins?

Me & my Mimzy! Are we twins?

Meow!

Meow!

The fair is one of those places that has become a part of me and who I am. The Fair means Fall is really here and I absolutely adore the Fall weather and clothes and warm cider! Although, now I finally realize that it’s also been the people I go to the fair with that has made it what it is. The Fair also means family time and being with the few friends who are just as close. One of my favorite Fair memories was the year I was a freshman in college all the way down in Florida. I decided to fly home and surprise everyone – plus how could I miss the Fair?! Little did I know how important it was for me to take that trip. It was one of the last times I saw Felipe before he was taken from us. He was so happy to see me, a great feeling! It’s surely one of my favorite moments throughout my entire life! I surprised him right near the entrance inside the Fair grounds… at the Topsfield Fair.

There’s something about this season that reminds me how important it is to keep people around you that are right. People who mutually know, love, and understand you – real friends. Maybe it’s the poetic fall of the leaves off the summer trees that urges me to shake off what is already dead too. If that means having less leaves, I’m okay with that. Autumn means a beautiful stripping of what is no longer healthy to carry. You may appear barren to some, but you don’t FEEL barren. You feel a new lightness and it’s refreshing! This is a season of my life that may require some “weeds to be picked” as my husband says. I guess this is just another thing I’m learning to breathe…

The Topsfield Fair Topsfield, Mass

The Topsfield Fair
Topsfield, Mass

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 =)

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 РI 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 =)

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

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 ūüėČ

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 ūüėČ 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‚Äôs 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!