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,

Sunday, December 11, 2011


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,

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!

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, 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 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,

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


"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 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,

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 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,