Monday, December 30, 2013

The Clemmons Crew Year in Review

It seems we've upgraded with four kids to being called Waylon, Natalie & Crew (according to some of our Christmas cards) :) Or maybe it's just the nice ring it has...Clemmons Crew...either way, I like it. 

With the year coming to a close, we look back to 2013 and marvel at all that has transpired. One year can hold so much, can't it? Here's some recap in our world.

Waylon has made a big transition in his career goals and spent much of the year working hard to make this change of direction happen. He has hopes to land a job as a full-time Fireman. We have felt the continued peace and freedom to step out of traditional ministry role and into this new uncharted territory. We see this job as a great match for Waylon and love the freedom of the schedule with 24 on, 48 off. This schedule allows us to give ourselves to a greater measure to the things we have great conviction to invest in, namely our family, and also the community around us. Through the year Waylon has disciplined himself in exercise, landed a job as a part-time Fireman, and received many hours of training with the Kentucky State Fire Commission. Waylon has loved the line of work and often cracks me up as he shares "cool" things he got to do, such as training by moving through a 1000 degree room, in 70 pounds of high-tech gear that allows him to manipulate flames with his gloved hands. Craziness. Not my idea of a good time, but our whole family has a big sense of gratitude to see the joy this line of work brings him. Big hats off to the Public Service people out there! As well, Waylon has been working for a good friend's company as a 2nd shift janitor. This job has been a huge blessing as it has provided for our family's needs and so much more. Turns out God knows just what we need. And in this season, pushing a broom and a mop, with lots of free time to hear the Word afresh, pray, and just be in a workplace are just what has been needed. However, we do feel expectant that things are about to shift. We hope to have word soon of a full-time position with a fire department coming.

Judah turned five this year, which is just crazy. He's officially "school age" and is tackling phonics, numbers, handwriting, and Bible at home at our "Clemmons Academy." He's doing a great job! He had the time of his life playing TBall again this year. He was known as the kid who would watch the stands as he ran the bases, waiting eagerly for everyone to cheer his name! At the sound of his cheers, a big grin would appear from ear to ear. He lives for action and spends most of his free time in a fantasy world as a ninja, Power Ranger, or super hero. He is a proud brother and loves playing with all of siblings.

Levi turned four (uh-hem..going on thirty) in September. His determination and deep friendship with Judah has led to him joining us in all the schoolwork this year. He is doing great with the material. He also loves art and has a wild imagination. When he is not saving the day with Judah, he is sitting at the kitchen table (or at his new easel) creating some masterpiece. He is very tender and talkative and his prayers make me tear up on a regular basis. Seriously. 

Clara turned two early in the year and has officially staked her claim as the girl in the house. She loves all things pink and purple and wearing dresses or skirts "like a ballerina." She knows how to hold her own and has shown a great interest in horses. She likes to join us for our school days for brief stints and is a gracious independent player when she loses interest. 

Samuel joined our family in July and has truly been a blessing. I'm not sure I've known a happier baby. He makes things brighter as he offers his toothless grins and easy laughter each day. And he has dimples. What's better than a happy, smiling, dimply baby? Can't think of too many things....

My year was one of many transitions as we adjusted to a 2nd shift daddy, a newborn, and homeschooling two boys. I'm learning so much about myself as I give myself to being a stay-at-home, homeschooling momma. I'm learning to be more disciplined, organized, and flexible as we navigate these waters. Some days feel like trudging through mud and others are full of laughter and milestones accomplished. And so it is with many things you give yourself to, I suppose. I feel strongly about persevering through the ups and downs of homeschooling to have these years and this time with our kids. 

Feeling grateful as we look ahead to another new year! Blessings to you, friends in 2014! 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pain Unearths Perspective

Today was my 9 year anniversary. Though our date out will happen later in the week, we shared special moments throughout the day that allowed us to remember and celebrate. I'm so grateful for our marriage. I love this man so much and he still makes me giddy.

As the night settled down and one by one the kids got tucked into bed, I was left with just Samuel and I swaying in our bedroom to "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas". I cuddled his soft cheek close and prayed over him. As I prayed, and was thanking God for him, I realized...oh wow, tomorrow is another anniversary. Not one of wedded bliss, but one of loss...and yet, gain. And yet...Samuel.

God granted me Samuel. Those words are so real to me. They speak to me deep down and a gratitude bubbles over like I rarely know. One year ago, tomorrow, (who forgets 12.12.12?) we were in the ER with bleeding in my pregnancy. We were for the first time learning that yes, there was a loss. One baby was lost. And then we learned of Samuel. Eight week old Samuel was strong, his heartbeat sure. God had granted 2 lives, one going to be with Him so soon and one able to remain. 

I had been listening to JJ Heller's music a lot in that season. One of her songs is her personal story of her stillborn daughter, "Oliviana." (<---Take a listen.) I remember waiting after the ultrasound, waiting to hear any news, and talking to our baby for the first time. From my heart I said, "Baby, if you're are in fact going to be with's far better than coming to me,"as tears streamed down. JJ Heller sings it like this..."Oliviana, you're in the arms of God. Just a moment there, is better than here." Yes, it is. And yes, it hurts.

The doctor that came was so tender. He treated us with great care and concern and said, "Well, it looks like there were 2 babies. And one is still doing just fine." Twins? Did he just say that? But I wasn't really surprised, actually. I felt like I already knew deep down there were 2...I had a dream it was twins, I was growing at a crazy rate, I was breaking out in hives from crazy hormones, and I was so.tired. But it was real now. He just said it. And one was, in fact, already with Jesus. And yet, one remained. 

But I look at Sam. And I think, "Life is so precious! Why are you here with me?! You are such a blessing! I'm so glad you're here!" 

Go hug your kids. Tell them what a miracle it is they are here.

God's hand has been on their life before you even knew of them. And now they're here, with you, because He has given them to you. Wow. 

Painful realities have a way of waking us up. They can shake us to the core to show us what really matters. 

We can't take these sweet ones for granted. They are amazing gifts.