Is it me against the world?

Anybody ever feel like you are the only person on the planet trying to do the right thing? Even though you know that’s not true you still wonder why you work so hard, so sacrificially even, while others continue to crap on you? Why even bother working that hard at doing the right thing…? A while ago I did a post on choices over at 47 Grove. When I was younger I had no problem with the concept of “thankless” good deeds. As an adult I’ve had more time and experience to see real messed up stuff happen. Maybe that’s why it is now sometimes harder to understand why you can do everything right and still get crapped on. Perseverance used to come a lot easier. I went so far as to look up the definition of the word “persevere”…. continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success. One synonym given was literarily to “struggle on”. I guess “the struggle is real” is an actual thing. Even if you have been around long enough to know doing the right thing means you’ll likely still get crapped on… it’s not until you’re actually IN the crap that things really get tough. You know it’s coming, and yet still when it hits you wonder why life is spinning.

I could be a beach bum. For the rest of my life! I love the sound of that career. I could sell art on the boardwalk. I could wear a bathing suit every day. I could even do a little ministry and pray for people along the beach, right? Doesn’t that sound a whole lot better right now? Costa Rica has nice beaches I’ve heard. Beach missions.

Hmmm… God doesn’t seem to have called me to a life of beach missions. Bummah. Instead I’m in the trenches of what many have called the “thankless ministry”. They call it youth ministry. In all actuality it’s more like babysitting, mentoring, coaching, life guarding, cleaning, driving, car pooling, feeding, reading, pick ups, nursing, juggling, praying, praying, and really praying that everyone turns out alright. Myself included. The beach sounds a lot easier though! Maybe someday. Possibly around retirement age. That’s okay.

I’m not the only one to have experienced an unwanted or seemingly undeserved ending to a really good / moral / or even evangelistic deed. I think of the many times in the Bible people who were in the middle of doing the right thing got crapped on. Paul and Silas were thrown in prison. Jesus’ disciples were arrested, tortured, murdered. Mary saw her miracle baby brutally killed in front of her own eyes. Let’s not even go Old Testament here. Daniel was thrown in a pit with vicious lions. Noah was mocked by his entire society. Let’s not even go there with Job or Jeremiah.

I guess I feel pretty stupid now. Many have experienced far harsher trials than my own. One thing I’m always telling my kids is that God always keeps His promises, and to remember that He promises this life will be hard and… the struggle is real. Dang, I knew saying that all the time would come back to bite me someday. Taking my own advice.

We aren’t supposed to feel good after every right decision. We are supposed to feel right about every good decision. Sometimes you’ll be thrown for a loop. The ending won’t be what you wanted, could have guessed or even deserved. So let’s examine again why we do the right thing. First reason, because I’m called by the God who I love. After sacrificing for me I know that I can sacrifice for Him. I can do what He’s asked because I love Him and He is God. Second reason, because others will benefit from my right decision even if I don’t. Third reason, because someday I will be rewarded. Oh, and it will be a great great reward in heaven. God will bless me on earth as well according to how He sees fit. Fourth and final reason, because I trust Him. God knows what He’s doing. and I don’t need to question why. I just need to serve. I just need to make right choices. I just need to be faithful. I trust God for the rest. He knows what I need better than I do.

Guess what… it still sucks to get crapped on. Ha! Yeah, I know. So there are things you can do during those times. As you can see, I tend to blog a bit! It releases tension for me and provides a safe place to get all my thoughts out in the open. I often figure out a lesson God’s been trying to teach me after I read my own thoughts that I’ve poured out while writing. I also make sure I am resting, taking a sabbath each week, and caring for my health properly. I escape to the beach when I need to. I get some fresh air and clear my head. I do something I really enjoy for an afternoon if it’s well deserved. I call someone who I know understands or cares and just have a conversation with them. Even if it’s not extraordinarily deep it means something to have someone you care about talk to you on the phone for a bit. I take a deep breathe. I take a sip of my coffee. Eventually I find my way back to my prayer closet. I read my Bible. I ask God for wisdom. I try and move forward. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary. There’s isn’t a better way. There isn’t a short cut. Believe me, I’ve learned the hard way.

It’s troubling sometimes the amount of hardship we can expect to come. Even still I reminded that God has given me all the means to make it through. If I’m filled with the Holy Spirit and my God is for me… who can be against me?

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 =)

A Christmas Tradition

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

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

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

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

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What a blessing to have such a wonderful Mommy!

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Happy Christmas from the Clervois’!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dray serves up some of her delicious little desserts!

Dray serves up some of her delicious little desserts!

Didn't my mother roll out a gorgeous spread?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And what’s Christmas without a manger scene!

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

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

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

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

Tis the season!

Tis the season!

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

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

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

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

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This is from 2010 =) Our first married Christmas!

Last year 2011 in our Christmas jammies =)

Last year 2011 in our Christmas jammies =)

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?

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 The Message

And the world goes madly on…

Things I’m Thankful For: 

1. Cuddling with my husband. And the fact we’ve never had to do the “long distance relationship” thing. It’s unnatural. Props to the military wives and others who do it with grace and elegance. Unlike myself. Clark has been in California speaking at Biola Univerity since Tuesday… amazing opportunity for him, they flew him out! Amazingly alone feeling for me. Boo.

Doesn’t Clark look super sexy? Here he is speaking in front of thousands of students!

2. My Youth Staff & Band Kids. CI family. Don’t honestly know what I’d do without my staff tonight. This week was so tough for me (emtionally speaking) running The Counter Influence by myself, but my staff had everything covered and really had my back. I’m beyond blessed that they even pray for me regularly! Thank God for them. Then, my kids were so brave and really became the lead worshippers tonight! They did a brilliant job leading worship – such talent – and I’m so proud!

My babies =) the student led worship team!

3. My new found love for beanies. Truth. They keep my head super warm whilst looking incredible stylish. Plus, it’s definitely hat season! Wicked freezing this week in New England! I’m so glad I live here… but it’s cold as the icicles hanging from Jack’s post-sunk Titanic nose. I’m surprised my hair hasn’t yet morphed into the white witch’s freezing dreads out here. Thanks beanie!

Hmm nice, right?

4. My new leggings. They have saved me this week. Check them out here and here. I know I talked about my beanie keeping me warm, but these leggings are magical. So maybe this is a bit over kill. But really. Pretty much at all times, my legs feel like they’re as close to the fire as FDR in a pre-war chat.

You jelly? You should be!

5. Chicken Piccata. Specifically the chicken piccata from Cheesecake factory. My cousin Deanna and I went to dinner on Thursday night ((She’s definitely another person I’m very thankful for!!)) and was able to soak in that delishhhh angel hair pasta… chicken… sauce… mmm!! If you haven’t had this dish yet, you’ve truly not been living. I’m very serious. I don’t care if I sound like the fat kid from Charlie’s Chocolate Factory. That was one smart kid… I feel SUPAH good after I eat it! Go. Now. Eat it now.

To. Freaking. Die. For.

 

Well, this concludes this episode of what Kim’s thankful for. From serious to epic to stupid to meaningful. I’m truly thankful for all these things!

A to Z… of me!

Age: 23 (ug, I don’t know what I’m gunna do when I turn 24 or even 25!!!!!)
Bed size: Queen, but really need to switch to King. They cost a lot!
Chore you hate:  Folding clean laundry. I just like to smell the clean laundry.
Dogs: no no no, CATS. CATS!! Kittens preferably.
Essential start of your day: Uh, coffeecakes. And Starbucks. Extra Shot. 
Favorite color: Nice deep purple, and forresty green. Like olive forest green.
Gold or silver: Used to be silver ALL the way, but gold has grown on me.
Height: 5’11
Instruments I play (or have played): Voice, but used to play piano. Should probably pick that back up some time when I have someone else’s schedule and life! haha.
Job title: So many jobs…. Wife, Sister, Daughter, Jesus Follower, Mentor, Surrogate Mom to Teens, House cleaner, Cookie Baker, ah… I should stop listing…
Kids: No soonah, no latah….
Live: Salem, Mass…. lovin it!
Mom’s name: Jacquelyn! Jacquie for short.
Nickname: Kim, Kimmy, Kimma, Kimba, or the every popular “hey, clark’s wife”
Overnight hospital stays: Thankfully, none of my own! Until I have kids that it
Pet peeve: Uh, bad drivers. Women who go to Bible College and choose Youth Min major just to marry a hot youth pastor guy.
Quote from a movie: “Where the Lord closes the door, somewhere he opens a window” -The Sound of Music
Right or left handed: Riiiiiight
Siblings: Kendra, Jovi, Fab, Booths, Sterling, Autumn, Theresa, Kyla, Jenna, Lindsay, oh boy… I’m running out of room here
Time you wake up: Depends on the day! Preferably… late
Underwear: Uh…. really? Okay… ARIE UNDIES ❀
Vegetables you dislike: I only like three veggies, legit. They’re gross.
What makes you run late: Ummm…. haha, me? Or maybe something related to Youth ministry….
X-rays you’ve had done: Hmm… def teeth, knee, foot, and…. MRI but that’s it
Yummy food you make: oh Yes! Well, I BAKE these awesome Graham Cracker Brownies…. your world WILL be rocked.
Zoo animal: Defffffffff GIRAFFE ❀ the TALLEST species at Zoo. Like me in life.
~
I stole this little “about me” quiz from my good friend Bonnie’s blog! Thank you Bonnie… here is the link to her blog, one of my favorite blog titles ever… http://feelingbloggy-read.blogspot.com/