February 28, 2010

Ezra's LEGO Birthday Party!

Ezra had the greatest 5th birthday party a couple of weeks ago- it was soooo much fun!

It was a Lego Party, and my brother Jared was kind enough to mail Ezra all his old legos from when he was a kid (we're talking squazillions of legos, here) which we set up on the stage as a big "Lego Play Area" so there was always something to do for everyone! (even the adult kids!) :)

We ate pizza, built and raced Lego cars, played 'Pin the Lego Tree on the Lego Island', busted open a piƱata, and devoured minifigure cupcakes!

Big thanks to my friend Erin for taking all the pictures, and big thanks to my brother Jared for all the suhweeeeet legos!

(PS. I can't believe he's FIVE now. Weird.)

February 26, 2010

When Two Boys Share A Room.

Today I spent pretty much my entire day merging the boy's rooms.

They will sleep together in this room from now until... forever?

The problem is that the other room (ezra's old room) is still FULL of toys. The closet, the floor space, the dressers...

Here's the thing: I don't WANT a whole separate PLAYROOM in my house. I don't want that many TOYS!! Somehow I have to downsize an entire room full of toys into this one bedroom.

So my next project will be getting rid of a ton of that stuff that just... sits around... so that most of their toys and their clothes and their beds and everything else all fit into this one room:

(We obviously still need to move MYER's name over to the left and get some more letters for EZRA. I think that will be so cute! Eventually, when Myer is big enough, we'll get bunk-beds and that will give us a lot more space... but for now it's squishy cozy!)

It's going to be crazy trying to get everything to fit in there, but I am determined to do it. I want Ezra's old room to be a nice guest room eventually so that we can have GUESTS again!

I LOVE guests.


February 25, 2010

Myer Love @ 13 Months

Just some random video clips I edited together.

The song is by my talented husband, Chris Clark.

And yes, those are some FIRST STEPS! weee!

February 18, 2010

Learning to Love Love.

(These pictures of my boys have nothing to do with this post.)

(Oh, and I'm sorry for all the talk of intimacy and whatnot lately, but that's what really going on, so that's what I'm really going to write about. ha. Also, you should know that my husband is 100% for me writing about all of this openly and honestly. He's has encouraged me to do so and I feel that I should, so I am. If it's not your cup o' tea, no worries! I will resume normal writing subjects soon.)

(I think. )



I met a friend last night for coffee and came away feeling clear headed and more hopeful for my marriage than ever before.

My marriage is and has been completely wonderful and life-giving, but last night I got a glimpse of the fact that it could even be so much more than this.

For YEARS before I was married, intimacy was associated with painful, gut-wrenching emotions. It was centered and planted deep in feelings of shame and embarrassment and secrecy, as I'm sure it was for many young people who grew up in the church and knew it only as something God hated. (Until the magical day of matrimony when He suddenly loved it!)

And, all these years later, I am realizing that when I said "I do", it didn't magically wipe those painful feelings away. They are still there... still have been there for 6 loooong years. I have been trying to ignore those feelings for all this time, but recently I got to a place where I just couldn't ignore it any longer. But I feel hopeful now for the first time ever that this huge part of my heart that has been boarded up and empty since I was seventeen can be full of life and warmth and laughter again.

I have hated sex. Like, loathed it down to my core HATE.

How sad is that?

The picture of intimacy that has been created in my mind is ugly, distorted, and broken. As a result, when I hear people say things like "the intimacy of God" I get a little bit sick to my stomach. And I think, "Uuuuummmm NO NO NO NO THANK YOU." And then I want to smash something with my fist.

I desperately need to paint a new picture.

To do this, I need to change some things. I need to stop looking to my husband to meet my deepest needs. HE CAN'T DO IT. He was never meant to do it. My deepest needs (of security and worth) can only be met in God.

I've been looking to Chris for these needs, and (of course) have never found myself satisfied. I've been looking in the wrong place this whole time and only just now realized it. It has made me critical and harsh. I have been expecting something from him that he cannot give, and have let that create distance between us.

Also, Chris and I need to go back and rebuild, from the ground up, our idea of intimacy. Without the heaps of shame and guilt and soul-killing remorse. I need to learn to re-associate it with true thoughts of love and safety and freedom and trust (and fun)! We have help in this process, and we also know now that if we don't first have an intimate relationship with God, we won't be able to have one with each other.

So simple, yet so easily forgotten.

Last night, after I was driving home from meeting with my friend, a song came on the radio. A song that is pretty much the epitomy of cheesy cheese-ball. But it spoke to me so deeply I couldn't stop crying.

"Desperado" by the Eagles.

A song about coming down from your fences, opening wide your gates, and actually letting people LOVE you.

Before it's too late.

February 11, 2010


even the front yard is participating!

This has been such a season of dismantling in my life. Things are literally and figuratively falling apart everywhere I look. I keep asking God what He's up to, unsure of the deeper truth that all of this upheaval is ultimately pointing to. Yet, in the chaos, I am encouraged to find that not one iota of my faith has trembled. Never before have I felt so sure that God is with me and for me and loves me than in this time of confusion. I know He is up to something and I am just praying that He will bring me all the way through it- no matter what it takes. I will cling to Him until the end. No halvsies this time. No part-way healings. I will not be satisfied until I have heard all that He wants to say to me and has had opportunity to mold and change the stubborn and broken places in my heart that keep dragging me back (kicking and screaming!) to joyless living.

My wedding ring and the ring I wore on my other hand both broke within hours of each other. My hands have never been so bare, in more ways than one. If nothing else, these past few weeks have reminded me that I am empty handed. I bring nothing to God but my naked hands- open to receive His grace and mercy poured out on me who deserves death. Nothing I can do with my hands will make me better in His eyes. I can not earn my way to His love.

Another truth that surfaces as I look down at my bare fingers: when all is said and done, I will stand alone before Him and give account for my life. Chris will not be there. It won't be 'Emery & Chris' before God, it will be 'Emery Josephine' before God. I cannot hide behind my husband and live in the shadow of his relationship with God. It is not enough. I need to RISE UP and step out of the shadow and turn my own face to the blazing sun.

God offers me unconditional acceptance through Jesus. I don't think I have believed Him when He has told me that. I have believed that He was going to eventually tire of me, and so I have held back my heart. Out of protection. Out of fear. And that's a sin, an act of distrust and disobedience.

If I am holding back my heart from GOD- the one who made me and whose love has no shadow of turning, what then have I been offering my husband? The scraps of scraps?

Yes. Mere crumbs.

Forgive me, Lord! How dare I try and protect myself from You? What pride! What arrogance! YOU who gave your Son up to death at the hands of miscreants... for my sake! And yet I have the audacity to shirk from You- even after all these years of Your loving guidance and gentleness towards me!

I want to know what intimacy is. I don't want to feel the need to protect myself from Him anymore. He will never leave me, abandon me, or push me away until I am "better" or "fixed".

I am but a breath! How long will I tarry outside His arms?

His patience with me is inexhaustible.

February 9, 2010

Better Than A Day Spa.

I've found something WAY better than a day spa.

Forget paying OODLES of money to have yourself pampered.

(sidenote: I think we're plenty pampered enough already.)

What if I told you I got to go somewhere today and kick my feet up for two hours in a comfy chair- reading, watching TV, being offered blankets and movies to watch, being brought whatever food or drinks my heart desired?

I felt like a queen!

Oh! And while I was doing that, I was also doing something else.

I was saving lives.


I found out recently that I have a very rare blood type. I received a call on Friday from the Oklahoma Blood Institute, saying they needed my platelets because their supplies were low. There was a baby born prematurely in a local hospital with my blood type that needed donations.

Platelets only have a shelf life of 5 days, so they are constantly in need of donors.

I scheduled an appointment to go in today, and it was such a great experience!

I've never donated platelets before. Only whole blood. The platelet process takes two hours, which may be hard to squeeze into a daily schedule, but it is completely worth the effort. I went while the boys were at Mother's Day Out. And I would do it again in a heartbeat! (pun?)

If you have never given blood, or haven't done so in awhile, I encourage you to contact your local Blood Center and get your veins down there. Even if you feel afraid, or don't like needles, there is a point where you have to choose to not let your fear hold you back from compassion & generosity. From giving. Your momentary discomfort can restore a child to its parents... make strong someone who is weak... give hope to the desperate.

Better than a day spa.

Incomparably so.

Grab a friend and go down together- maybe in lieu of that pedicure or manicure you had planned... You won't regret it.

What a joy it is!


February 6, 2010

A Hand's Worth of Fingers.

I watched him as he ate his dinner tonight and smiled because he is so very unique. But somehow he's got his uniqueness down to a science. This is why this boy never ceases to amaze me. He is quirky and silly and goofy, but there is a method to it all... a calculated response to certain things that is as consistent as clockwork.

The hot dog he was eating tilted to the left. Without even thinking about it, he figured out a way to make it sit straight. After every bite, he wipes the corners of his mouth on a single, unfolded napkin that sits to the left of his plate. Everything has to be just so. The grapes can't be cut. The hot dog can't be crooked. The cheese must stand alone.

(It's not allowed to touch the crackers.)

Some days I become completely exhasparated by his quirks. Those days, I resolve to entertain them NO MORE and attempt to steamroll over his oddities with a heavy dose of PRACTICAL.

We fight and cry for days. Misery envelops the household.

Then I am inevitably reminded that it is not my job to stamp out every quirk, but to strengthen his inner man. To give him the gift of knowing he is valued and lovely, all while persistently calling him towards the character of God. These quirks have nothing to do with his moral character. I am not being a good steward of my energy by dumping it out upon his eccentricities. There are bigger battles to fight.

It is in those moments of 'defeat' that I learn to actually delight in his idiosyncrasies. Because when you jumble them all together, you get Ezra. Sweet, kind, malleable, tender-hearted Ezra. Whose hotdog must remain at a perfect 90˚ to his plate surface at all times. And whose current favorite word is POOP SACK. Oh how he laughs... every single time he says it. I can't tell if he's laughing at the words themselves, or the reaction that it causes in my face. (Probably the latter, but I JUST CAN'T HELP IT.)

I wouldn't trade these last five years of my life for anything in the world. Not money. Not fame. Not the freedom I had before becoming a mother. NOTHING. He has given me the gift of living and leading a full life. Because, no matter what happens in the days and years ahead, I have done much. I have given the world much. I have been blessed to know and love Ezra, the methodical master of silliness and laughter.

Happy birthday, sweet boy.
A whole hand's worth of fingers! WOW!

February 4, 2010

Beauty in the Breakdown.

Some of the things that have broken down these past two weeks:

- Myer's lungs. (They think he's asthmatic.)
- Chris's finger. (It could be a staph infection)
- My wedding ring (the stone fell out in my hand.)
- The car. (It almost didn't start this afternoon.)
- My heart. (But it has been promised new joy.)
- My sleep. (Myer is up at all hours- teething four molars at once and being generally miserable.)
- My routine. (The snow! The sickness! We know not the day or the hour!)
- This blog. (My apologies.)

Some of the things that have not been broken down these past two weeks:

- My faith in a God who is above all and in all.
- My love for a husband that ADORES me, even when I feel depleted.

I'm sorry I have been so absent lately. Life seems to be breaking down all around, and my focus is elsewhere for a time. This breakdown has me oddly excited...knowing that breakdown leads to breakthrough for those who love Him.

And, oh! I do!

No matter what, I do.

February 1, 2010

Nurturing Their Strengths.

My boys have VERY different personalities. I love this about them.

If I had to make a guess right now about what their individual interests/strengths might be, it would be this:

Ezra, my math/science/"needs to know EXACTLY how everything works" child.

Example: Last night in the bath he was asking me about water... questions so scientifically baffling that I think I may have blacked out whilst attempting to answer them. I remember answering something about tiny hydrogens and oxygens? To which he asked "how do they stay stuck together and can we take them apart?"

And then I started sucking my thumb.

Myer, my artistic/musical/"somehow even manages to dance & shimmy to TALK RADIO" child.

He drums, strums, hums, dances, and draws with sheer delight written all over his face. From morning till night. He absolutely loves instruments, whereas Ezra used to screech at us angrily until we would put them away. (Actually, come to think of it, he still does that. haha.)

My two older brothers are very different as well. One is an engineer, one is an artist. I think it's such an amazing thing when there is such diversity within a single family. It keeps things interesting and teaches everyone the valuable life skill of appreciating and loving people who aren't exactly like you.

As Myer & Ezra's mother, I want to learn to nurture these boy's strengths, and i think a big part of doing that successfully is

1. Giving them the freedom to explore and discover what those strengths might be on their own.
2. keeping a watchful, mindful eye on what they gravitate towards naturally. (Making lots of mental notes.)
3. being generous with my encouragement and spending time learning about those things they love myself so that I can be a rich resource of knowledge and excitement for my kids.

My parents were really good at this with all three of us, and I hope to pass that along to my own boys as they grow. I know it will bless them and give them confidence, like it gave me when I was a little girl.