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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!


Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas! May you find peace this season in the Prince of Peace.

Spoiling the surprise...our Christmas card this year :) To be mailed after Christmas (but before New Year's!)

Soli Deo Gloria,
The Clarks

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cardboard Box

I love giving gifts. I get a little rush out of putting together the perfect combination of little things for someone that I know they will love and enjoy. Seeing the joy on their face and the excitement they get from that only builds my excitement in giving. There have been times when I sit there eagerly with camera in hand, waiting for the package to be opened so I can attempt to capture that joy. But the other day, my husband made an interesting comparison...

I've been asking Dan for awhile now what he REALLY wants for Christmas. And for just as long he has been telling me that it doesn't matter and he will like whatever I have decided to get him. I brushed off this answer a time or two and would repeat the question a week later...that is until my husband told me I was a cardboard box.

Here's what he meant: almost every parent knows that for a child the box is always much more fun and interesting than the actual toy. He explained that to him, I was the cardboard box, the means by which the gifts are delivered, and what he was really looking forward to was enjoying that time with me and the joy that I would get from giving him the gifts I had chosen.

So now that (almost) all the gifts are purchased and some of them are even wrapped, I look forward simply to enjoying the season and the time with family and friends. I'm excited to see what everyone's reaction is to the gifts we have for them, but I'm also learning that in the end, as long as my heart was in the gift, the time together is what really matters.

But, of course, the camera will still be on standby :)
I think I'm going to enjoy being a cardboard box ;)

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Thanksgiving-mas

It's hard to believe that Christmas is 2 weeks away! But I'm going to backtrack a minute and share some of our wonderful memories from Thanksgiving...

We traveled to Michigan to spend a week with my husband's family to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas together. It was really exciting since everyone was going to be able to come including our niece and newest little nephew! We traveled from 3 states (Florida, Kansas, and Maryland) to be with each other for the first time since Dan and I were married!

Hey there, Handsome! :)
Meeting Great-Grandpa

We had a fabulous Thanksgiving meal full of yummy food and lots of family :) There was so much to be passed around that there definitely wasn't enough room on the plate for everything I wanted to try on the first pass!

All around the table :)
Having fun with Uncle Dan
4 Generations
Thanksgiving was wonderful but since we were all there together it was also the perfect opportunity to celebrate Christmas together!

Girl after my own heart! Removing all the wrapping paper.
Steve loves his Purdue mat :)

 We had such a wonderful time and loved playing with our niece and getting to hold our new nephew and spend time with family. I snapped a couple of photos that I absolutely love while Baby Josh slept in Grandpa's arms :)




Isn't he precious?! :)

Us with our Niece and Nephew
We loved getting to see everyone and celebrate the holidays with them. Can't wait to do it all again with my side of the family at Christmas!

What a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas!
"May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white!"

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!
Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Can-Can

So I don't know if you've ever heard of Straight No Chaser but Dan and I love this a capella group out of Indiana University. Most recently they were on the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. While they perform some pretty amazing harmonies and traditional songs (see the last video), some of our favorites are their crazy, off-the-wall, funny songs :) So in the spirit of Christmas, I give you...Straight No Chaser!



The Christmas Can-Can


Who Spiked the Eggnog?


The Twelve Days of Christmas (from 1998)


And more classic...
Carol of the Bells :)


Enjoy and Merry Christmas!
Meghan


P.S. I claim no rights to any of this :) Just sharing some good a capella music with you, courtesy of YouTube. Most of the videos are from Straight No Chaser's YouTube channel directly.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Real Marriage...

It's time for another BookSneeze book! :D

I was super excited to see this book listed for release in the December newsletter. It's titled "Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together" by Mark and Grace Driscoll. Mark is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA. I have listened to several of Pastor Mark's sermon series online and shared them with others. You should seriously go check out the church's website, www.MarsHill.com. Some of my favorites are "The Peasant Princess" series on Song of Solomon and the series from Ruth. :)

Anyway, I digress...

Here is the description of the book from the BookSneeze website (just a word of caution...adult themes below):

Pastor Mark Driscoll and his wife, Grace, talk about sex and marriage in down-to-earth terms, hitting issues other Christian books won’t.

While a wonderful wedding day is important, it’s the last day of marriage that really counts. Will the last day of your marriage come prematurely through divorce? Will it be filled with regrets as you sit at the funeral of your spouse? Or, by God’s grace, will the last day be a day to rejoice in the life you lived together?

Pastor Mark Driscoll and his wife, Grace, want you to finish well on the last day. From the importance of date nights to answers to the most tricky “can we do that?” sex questions, they share practical help and hope with people just like them—who entered marriage a complete mess—or who are planning to be married someday and want to avoid some sticky pitfalls.

Together Pastor Mark and Grace tackle the tough issues, such as:
--Why being your spouse’s best friend changes everything and how to achieve it.
--Pornography and sexual sin inside and outside of marriage.
--Submission and respect – marriage’s most misunderstood tenets-and what they should really look like.
--Honoring your spouse emotionally, technologically, and financially.
--What the Bible says about masturbation and oral sex.
--The “Can we do that?” questions you’re too embarrassed to ask your pastor.
--How to deal with intimacy issues and create the joyful and fun sex life God intended you to have.
--What type of man or woman are you? What type of lover are you? And what type of marriage do you have?


I'm looking forward to seeing this book in my mailbox before Christmas! And if you're part of the BookSneeze program and want to read along with me, there are still copies available for review! Happy Reading, Friends!
Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Generosity

"You made my day!"

How much do we love hearing those words? Or, instead, how awesome does it feel when someone does that for you and you get to tell them that they made your day? But have you ever thought what might have gone on behind the scenes for them to be able to leave that impression?

It struck me this past weekend that often blessings in our lives come from sacrifices in the life of someone else.

I had the opportunity to offer a concert ticket to someone who had always wanted to hear the choir that was singing but had never had the chance. They were so excited and I loved hearing that I had made such an impact on their day. But a small bit of sadness settled in later when it occurred to me that the reason I was able to offer this opportunity was that my husband would be on travel and wouldn't be able to attend like we had originally planned.

In the end, his trip changed and we got an extra ticket so that we could all go to the concert but it still got me thinking...how often are there sacrifices I never know of in the lives of those around me that have benefited me in some way?

Something to think about...


"Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:7-8

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Adjusting to Domesticity: Paper and Paste

Let me just say that I love being married. :) A couple of weeks back, I wrote a post about one of the lessons I've learned in the first year of married life as I've "adjusted to domesticity" and I thought I would keep the ball rolling with another post along the same lines...

People will often warn you in advance of marriage that you will have some squabbles with your new spouse as you learn how to live together. They will also tell you that some of these will be over fairly petty stuff. Some of the most common warnings I've heard have been that little things will irritate you and set off a disagreement such as how you put a roll of toilet paper on the holder or where you squeeze the tube of toothpaste. For some people this can be a big deal.

I'm very grateful that this has not been the case for us. I may have a strong preference, but as long as the empty roll gets replaced I could care less which way it is hung. Pretty much the same with the toothpaste...as long as I can push it down to the bottom when we get low. :) I guess I just decided that it didn't really matter to me as much as learning to live with my husband did.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this...pick your battles very carefully and be flexible. "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all." (Romans 12:18) I decided that being "right" in my own mind was not worth it. It wasn't worth sacrificing unity with my husband over paper (toilet paper at that) or peace in our home over a tube of toothpaste. Yes, you will still have petty fights. Believe me...I'm still smacking myself for some of the minor things I've gotten mad about before...*facepalm*

Usually when that happens, there is something deeper at play that needs to be addressed. Whether I'm tired, hormonal, upset, or something else entirely, these kind of minor issues are what bring all of that to a head. Sometimes, I just need to acknowledge what's going on and ask forgiveness for letting it turn me against the ones I love. I'm learning to recognize this and my wonderful husband is a huge help in that regard. :) He wants me to grow as much as I want to grow and by God's grace I will press forward.

So the next time we feel we're getting worked up about something small, let's agree to all take a step back, a deep breath, and look inside ourselves first before pouncing on those who love us most. I'm sure our faces would thank us for cutting back on the "facepalms" :)

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful time with family and friends this Thanksgiving and get to spend some time giving thanks to our gracious Lord and Savior for all He has done for us in the past year. Dan and I are extremely grateful for His provision for us in the past year and look forward to what the year ahead holds. We're also looking forward to meeting this little guy (and giving thanks for him!) this Thanksgiving as we gather with family! :)
Our new nephew :)
Happy Thanksgiving, friends! God bless!

Soli Deo Gloria!
Meghan

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Where were you?

Last Friday was definitely a special day. In addition to celebrating our military veterans on Veteran's Day and honoring them for the sacrifices they have made, we also experienced the date with the most repetitions of a single digit possible (11/11/11). And, if you were quick, you also saw the time match the date, when it was 11:11:11 on 11/11/11.


Make a wish! ;)

Friday, November 11, 2011

On Commuting...

So recently, I started some new work with my employer after a gap in contracts. It's good and stretching me to learn new things. I like the team I'm working with and meeting new clients. But there's one thing that has been a major adjustment...

The Commute.


After a year of working from home, I'm now back on the road. No big deal for the most part. The only catch is that the office my team is based at is an hour from my home. And I live in the DC area. Needless to say it's been a bit of a transition for us. God has given me much strength and I've been able to get out early in the morning and avoid the worst of the morning rush hour. But in this town, there's no avoiding the afternoon/evening rush hour.

In fact, last night (11/10/11), it took me almost two and a half hours to get home. That's over two hours to go only 33 miles from the office to home. Ridiculous! I was able to talk to my husband for much of the drive which always helps but it was still frustrating to sit in a combination of rain-induced delays (people here seem to forget how to drive if it rains) and the Veterans' Day extended weekend holiday traffic.

One of the nice things of being in the car though is the chance to listen to CDs. I've listened to radio dramas and sermons and now I have several books on CD on reserve at the library. :) The radio is nice but the dramas, sermons, and books are a little more intellectually stimulating for me and make the commute at least a little more interesting instead of hearing the same songs play on the radio all the time.

So what do you like to do in the car when you have to drive? How do you pass the time?

Happy Driving!
Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

One Year

Our anniversary was in September so you might be thinking why am I writing about it two months later? Well we had decided to postpone getting our photos taken so that we could have some more fall colors in them. :) My goal is to have photos taken each year around our anniversary to commemorate the year and add them to an anniversary photo book that was given us at our wedding shower. The goal is to add a photo every anniversary to watch ourselves grow old together :)

So on October 30th, the day after we got snow in October, we packed up the car with extra clothes and props and went with our friend, Sarah, to Glen Echo Park in Maryland. If you are in the DC area and ever need a reasonable, fun photographer, Sarah is your gal! :) You can check out her website at http://www.wix.com/adamssarah/photosbysarahbeth or her blog at http://theworldsarahknows.blogspot.com/. She was a joy to work with and was super fast getting the photos edited and back to us! We spent about two hours wandering around Glen Echo getting some awesome shots that I can't wait to print and frame for our home! :)

Here's a sampling! Enjoy!!

Eskimo Kisses!
Don't mind if I do!

HB, this one's for you! Thanks for teaching me!
The frame was Sarah's awesome idea!

Yay fall colors!
LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Like I said, she does amazing work :) I can't wait to decorate our home with some of these! So much love and fun!

Have a wonderful day!
Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Book Review: Just in case...

"Just In Case You Ever Wonder" by Max Lucado (illustrated by Toni Goffe) is such a sweet children's book! I can't wait to read it to my own children. It's a great way to introduce and remind children why they are special (God created them) and that they are loved immensely by God and their parents no matter what.

Lucado's simple language and measured rhythm makes for a great bedtime or anytime read for children. The illustrations are beautiful and engaging as well. Part of me wished it was a little longer but I also know that it has to be short enough to keep a child's attention and it definitely met that criteria. I think it's great for elementary age children but definitely a concept that could use some reinforcing throughout childhood. Since the author has daughters (and the book was written for and dedicated to them), the illustrator used a female child in all the illustrations which, to me, would limit it's visual appeal but the book definitely still has a message that sons need to hear as well as daughters.

Overall, a wonderful children's book that I can't wait to read to my own children one day. Simple, precious and a wonderful message...just in case you were wondering ;)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Disclaimer of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com program. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations. If you would like to receive books for free in exchange for honest reviews, visit BookSneeze.com. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Snow!

So usually in Maryland we have a decent fall and the leaves show their colors for a time as God paints the world in reds and oranges and yellows. Well, today, He decided that a little white was in order too...
Yep, that would be a dusting of snow...and we're expecting more throughout the day along with rain. I took these pictures at 11:20 this morning and the snow is still coming down, along with some rain and sleet to make a "fun" wintry mix.
Snow (measurable anyway) in Maryland is fairly rare. For D.C., snow has only been reported in the month of October 3 times since 1884, with the last occurrence on the 10th of October in 1979 when 0.3" was recorded. The same is true for Baltimore, with 0.3" reported on that same day.

I'll post another picture later today since the flakes are still flying. I guess my poor little tomato plants are done for the year :( And with green tomatoes still on the vine! I was hoping they would have some time to ripen before we had a serious cold snap but that was not to be I guess. Better luck next year :)

So for today, we've got plenty of house chores to keep us busy inside so I'll enjoy the snow from the window and take a couple of pictures. Maybe a cup of something warm later while I watch this fall/winter wonderland. :)

Soli Deo Gloria,.
Meghan

NEW PHOTOS:
At 2:10pm
At 4:40pm
One of my poor, cold, unripe tomatoes :(

Monday, October 17, 2011

Introducing...

Baby Joshua!

I am so excited to announce that our nephew was born today, October 17th, at 7:15 p.m. and weighed in at 9 lbs., 13 oz. and was 22 inches long! We are so excited to have him join our extended family and can't wait to meet him!

He joins his older sister, Grace, in the list of children we love to spoil ;)

Congrats, JJ&G on your bundle of joy!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan


Update: Official time of birth was apparently 7:06pm, not the 7:15 I listed above :) 

Also pictures! Keeping scrolling to see this lovable bundle of joy!

In his new Pooh Bear outfit
With Daddy
Waiting for his first bath...look at that hair! :)
 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Snowflakes

This past September, I met a snowflake named Zoe.

Obviously, I don't mean a literal snowflake like we see in January (or on the left). Zoe is a snowflake baby, conceived as part of an IVF treatment but then not implanted. Her biological parents' first round of IVF was successful so they had embryos leftover that they chose to freeze instead of destroy. Over time, the rest of the embryos were adopted out to other families. Zoe was one of three adopted by her family but the only one that survived thawing and implantation. Her mom joked that they refer to her as both their oldest and youngest child since she was conceived before their other two children were born but wasn't actually born until last year. Zoe had been frozen for almost 10 years, the outside limit of the technology.

I got tears in my eyes watching this precious little girl enjoy her dinner and observe the world around her. We even got to sing happy birthday to her at church dinner the day after she turned one. It made me so grateful that the technology has been developed that not only allows these children to be created, but allows them to not be forgotten and frozen forever. Currently, over 500,000 embryos are frozen in the U.S., most still waiting for the parent couple's personal IVF use. A portion of those, though, are waiting to be adopted and it is estimated that over 3,000 babies have been born from such adoptions. You can find more on embryo adoptions here.

Anyway, that's what is on my mind right now. One precious little girl...unique as a snowflake :)

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Another Book!

So last week week I posted my review on Lisa Harper's wonderful book "Stumbling Into Grace" that I received from BookSneeze.com. This week, I chose my newest book to review from them and I'm really excited about this one because it's my first children's book!

"Just In Case You Ever Wonder" by Max Lucado is described this way:

"A timeless children's classic by best-selling author, Max Lucado, that reinforces the love of a parent.
There are certain words that every child longs to hear . . . affirmation of unconditional love, promises of support, and words of encouragement. Just in Case You Ever Wonder wraps your children in its tender message of love, comfort, and protection, showing them that as they grow and change, you'll always be there for them—whether it's "monsters in the closet" or hard times when other kids are mean. Beloved author, Max Lucado, helps express unconditional love for a child—simply, powerfully, and forever."

Now, I know you might be asking why I'm reviewing a children's book when I don't actually have kids but the description was so compelling and it sounds like a book I want my future children to have and read that I couldn't pass it up :) It will also be nice to have a book that won't take me forever to read! I look forward to sharing my review with you after the book arrives in the next week or so!

Happy reading!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan