Welcome!

Tom and Laura Clifton, serving as missionaries with FamilyLife, a ministry of Cru.

On our blog you can read the latest conference quotes, find out about new things happening within FamilyLife, keep updated with our family, find links to helpful sites, and also find out how to join our support team.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Traditions

I love Christmas traditions and ones to teach my children more about Christ. Over the next several days you can see some of our traditions at A Snap Shot of Motherhood. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Art of Marriage

FamilyLife has produced a video-based conference called The Art of Marriage. It is different than any other video conference I have ever seen. It is also very different than the FamilyLife Weekend to Remember. You can see clips from The Art of Marriage here
View Video Clips from The Art of Marriage - FamilyLife.com.
Check it out and let us know what you think. We'd love to help you get this resource into your church or community. The world premiere for this event is February 11, 2011. If you have questions or would like to register we'd be glad to help you. Remember, check out the videos above!

Great Offer

If you would like to host The Art Of Marriage and you register before December 25th you receive a free gift pack from FamilyLife! You can register for your event online. If you have any questions, we'd be glad to answer them for you!

This gift pack includes:
    • Weekend to Remember Gift Certificate for you and your spouse
    • Rekindling the Romance book
    • Moments with You couples devotional book
    • Homebuilders Couples Series Building Your Marriage to Last study guide
    • When Christmas Came book
    • While They Are Sleeping book
    • Simply Romantic Coffee Dates book
    • And The Art of Marriage promotional materials


Friday, November 26, 2010

We are Thankful

At this season of giving Thanks, we wanted to take a moment to say, "Thank you for all you do to make a difference in lives of people and families for Christ. We couldn't do what we do without your faithful love, encouragement, prayers and support. You are indeed a blessing to us, more than you could ever realize!"

I think Paul says it best in his letter to the Philippians, and it is our heart for you too!


"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all of my prayers for all of you. I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:3-6

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Weekend to Remember Comments

Coeur d'Alene
November 19-21, 2010
Attendance 720
Prayed to receive Christ 16
Holy Spirit 98
Recommit life to Christ 107

  • "I was punched, beaten, picked up, cleaned up, and taught what I need to do. 1st make God the center of my life and my house, 2nd take care of my wife and 3rd take care of my family." (married 8 years)
  • "This conference provided a platform and a structure to talk about things we don't normally talk about, and are good to talk about. Thank you for helping us fine tune our marriage so it more accurately reflects Christ and the Church." (married 3 years)
  • "This event has changed me personally more than I ever thought it would. It was as a switch turned my brain on. I can't change him I can change me, which will change us!" (married 3 years)
  • "We came last year and loved it. We decided to come back this year just to refocus ourselves on our marriage. Although we did not experience anything profound this year it has helped us keep our eyes on the ultimate goal of oneness. It is an invaluable tool to help us continue a great marriage." (married 9 years)
  • "Breath taking experience the gift God gave me when He created my bride." (married 12 years)
  • "Weekend to Remember is truly that, we have been given a gift of knowledge on how to receive the grace of Jesus Christ to grow together spiritually and as a family and I thank you all from the depths of my heart." (married 1 year)
  • "I really wanted to come to this conference because I was looking to a separation from my husband and I wanted God to change my husband and his heart. What happened is that God spoke to me the entire weekend. He showed me where I have been wrong and where I needed to work. God softened my heart and has shown me how to improve and be a better wife and mother." (married 9 years)
  • "This conference allowed us to be more open with each other and trust each other more. My wife opened up to me, that after 18+ years of marriage, she said things about her past that she felt she couldn't trust me with before. This truth gave me a better understanding of why she acts the way she does. It opened up a new door of hope for us and I am looking forward to our future together." (married 18 years)
  • "It opened up old issues that needed to be resolved and provided a "safe" environment to work through them. It opened our hearts to each other and challenged us to be a better spouse and Godly parents. I feel truly blessed to have been here. I am walking away hope and love in my heart, not bitterness." (married 10 years)
  • "It's always so good for us to have uninterrupted time together. We are very aware of how awful our marriage had become. Everything about this weekend gave us the encouragement and tools for us to begin our climb out of the pit. Thank you for making it possible for us to begin our journey." (married 15 years)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Weekend to Remember Comments

Bellingham
November 19-21, 2010
Attendance 335
Invited Holy Spirit to take control 33
Recommitted marriage and Family to Christ 47

  • "Astronomical! So much insight and honesty. I came in to this conference thinking this was our last hope to save our marriage...now I'm leaving feeling like a rejuvenated partner in a strong friendship geared with the tools I need to awaken the bride of his youth he first fell in love with. Amazing! Thank you!" (wife, married 4 years)
  • "We missed the sessions on Friday night because of an argument we had on our way over. We arrived a mid-night because, at one point, we decided not to come and headed for home. As a result of attending this conference, we are committing to receiving our spouse--differences and weaknesses--forgiving them and working on companionship and commitment. We desire to be image bearers to other couples and to leave a legacy with our children. I was also inspired to be a stealth warrior princess!!!" (wife, married 9 years)
  • "Reminded me of why I fell in love with my wife and opened my eyes to my priorities in life." (husband, married 4 years)
  • "Being married 3 months we are just running into how to grow, encourage and glorify the Lord as one rather than individuals. FamilyLife gave us the tools to start doing this early. I am so glad I came to this at 3 months rather than 3 years. We both love each other deeply and have been pointed in the direction to show it."
  • "We have gone for 3 years now and we enjoy the weekend to remember so much we always plan on coming each year. It is so nice to have time to get her without the kids screaming. We miss the kids but we need our time." (husband, married 3 years)
  • "We talked, really talked." (wife, married 4 years)
  • "Broke down walls between us. I feel me again and have moved past some huge road blocks that we could not figure out how to get beyond."
  • "On me--underscored where I am failing, yet provided hope for doing it right! On us--provided hope, re-energized us. I asked my wife to marry me again--to throw away the marriage we don't like and forge ahead building the marriage we can feel we can have the one one God promised us." (husband, married 5 years)
  • "It gave us hope for our marriage. Even though we have only been married for less than a year, it's been a hard one. Coming here and knowing we weren't along and that God wants our marriage to succeed. We've learned how to communicate better. Thank you!" (wife, married 9 months

Monday, November 22, 2010

When Life is Changed Forever

I am amazed at God's work in the lives of people. We just had the awesome opportunity to serve together at the Portland Weekend to Remember. If you read the comments in a previous blog you saw some lives that were impacted. But I want to share how God moved on the hearts of three different couples to move them to a different Weekend to Remember.

Three couples were registered to attend the Bellingham conference and decided at the last minute to change their registration to the Portland event. None of the couples knew each other, but God knew them dearly and knew they needed to be at the Portland event instead. You see, each of these three couples had lost someone dear to them during the past year...a grandson, a granddaughter, a sister. Their losses were great, and because of His tender love and mercy, He put it on their hearts to be at the conference where Rick and Judy Taylor were two of the speakers.

In case you are not familiar with Rick and Judy's story, they lost their son Kyle to drowning when he was five years old. Kyle drowned trying to save his younger brother. Their story and their struggle to deal with their loss is written in their book When Life is Changed Forever.

Whenever Rick and Judy speak at an WTR event they share their story. God has used their story to minister to the hearts of so many who are dealing with loss. Loss isn't something you get over. It changes you and it changes life. I would encourage you to read their story and share it with others who may be walking through a crisis. Their story is lived out in the following verse from 2 Corinthians 1:4
"Praise be the the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble
with the comfort we ourselves have received from Christ."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Weekend to Remember Comments

Portland
November 12-14, 2010
Attendance 688
Prayed to Receive Christ 12
Recommitment to Christ 132
Asked to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit 86

  • "Gave us a chance to have deeper conversation, more intimate, rather than the 'Daily Data Dump' we do every weeknight dinner. We had a chance to sit and look at each other with no distractions or responsibilities. I was also able to be transparent with my spouse as we talked about my intimacy concerns. We have been married 6 years and I have never shared those concerns."
  • "This has been the most important couples' conference I have ever been to. It has helped me greatly." Married 19 years
  • "It gave us the opportunity to talk in a safe place, with a prepared heart, about important issues in our marriage. We had a good marriage on Friday. Now we have an amazing marriage with tools to make it better day by day! Thank you!" Married 3 months
  • "This conference got us back together. Being in full time ministry has drained us and has been an 'extramarital affair' in our relationship. We, on this weekend have set some boundaries and some goals. thanks for the weekend and the challenge!" Married 3 years
  • "A couple days before the conference I wanted a divorce because of major differences and miscommunication between my husband and I. He said something that made me embarrassed and worthless. I was ready to give up. Now--we are starting over." Married 3 years
  • "We are committed not only to making this marriage work, but enjoy it to the fullest. I realize that my wife is a good gift from God and not my enemy. We really are on the same team!" Married 1 year
  • "It has helped us remember that our marriage is worth fighting for, that no sin, no wrong can go unforgiven and there is always a reason to fight for marriage." Married 2 years
  • "We come to the conference every few years because of the difference it made for us in our first year of marriage." Married 7 years
  • "Brought us back together in discussions that we needed to have...from half dead relationship to alive--beyond room-mates to a married couple."
  • "We have been through so much, worked through so many issues throughout our marriage. We couldn't seem to shake the past. This weekend was our fresh start, and second chance to have the marriage we've always wanted. Receiving each other was the missing piece in our journey toward oneness." Married 3 years

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Weekend to Remember Comments

Coeur d'Alene
November 5-7, 2010
Attendance 700
Prayed to Receive Christ 45

  • "I came here with very little hope and with a mental plan to divorce my spouse by the New Year. I'm leaving with a commitment to love him and see him as a child of God. Thank you for giving me hope and for giving our kids a future." Married 17 years
  • "I thought we were doing better than we are. We need a 360 degree change to make God the center and follow God's plan for our marriage and family." Married 1 year
  • Things have been shaky for us for a few months. We have been seeing a counselor for the last few months. This weekend has been so great for bringing us together and strengthening and filling in the gaps from that counsel. It has strengthened my faith. It reminded me of why it's so worth it to keep fighting for my marriage." Married 14 years
  • "We were able to reconnect and work forward on areas of our marriage that have been put on autopilot, especially in communications and ongoing intimacy. My husband's recent travel has made things challenging--thank you all!!! Married 1 year
  • "This conference was an 'eye-opener' with direct and specific impact on our (my wife and I) hearts about the keys to make our marriage what God has designed it to be!!! Married 38 years
  • "I am amazed at the amount of information. It is all very useful and slightly overwhelming until you decide a few things to work on at a time. This is an event you could attend each year and learn something new." Married 2 years
  • The effect this conference had on us was huge! When we arrived less than 48 hours ago we could barely speak to each other with love and tenderness. We have made great strides in learning to respect each other and embrace our differences. We have a renewed commitment to each other and to God." Married 17 years
  • "Oh my goodness, I don't even know where to start! I have already developed a greater level of love and respect for my husband! I want to pray and pray some more to be the greatest gift from God my husband could ask for." Married 9 years
  • "God is so merciful! It is such a miracle of God that we are here. (2 months ago my husband was living w/old girlfriend). We are so excited that God is working in both of us and for what is in store for our marriage. Married 38 years (wife of husband with quote below)
  • "In light of a recent infidelity, helped renew a passion for Christ and my wife. God is loving, cares, full or grace, and mercy. God is rebuilding what I tried to tear down. Praise God. Married 38 years (husband of wife with quote above)


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Whitney!

Today we celebrate Whitney...a life that started out uncertain and with many trials. We are so thankful for the six years that she has blessed our lives. Several pictures of Whitney's beginning are posted on A Snap Shot of Motherhood.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Song from the Heart

Love the song MaryElise created during bath time!

video video

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Art of Marriage - FamilyLife.com

During our FamilyLife Staff Conference we had the opportunity to preview a new resource called The Art of Marriage. Check out this new DVD based conference. The Art of Marriage - FamilyLife.com The world premiere for this event is February 11, 2011. The hope is to get 1000 churches sponsoring an event on 2-11-11.

This new tool is very different than the Weekend to Remember conference. It is a Friday evening, Saturday event that can be hosted almost anywhere. On the website you can find out more information about hosting an event and also see segments from The Art of Marriage. You can also register online to host an event for the World Premiere. Check it out and let us know what you think!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Josiah's Birthday Surprise

Check out what we did to surprise Josiah for his 10th birthday at Laura's other blog

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Guatemala Here We Come!


I've found myself praying more today. Perhaps it is because Tom and Courtney are on a mission trip and I have no contact with them. My prayers for them have not been out of fear, but out of a desire for God to use this trip to impact their lives for His glory. I haven't been pleading, "Oh God, keep them safe" but my prayers have been more like, "Lord, use this trip to give Courtney and Tom a passion for you. May Courtney and Tom be completely sold out for you!"

Is it just because they are out reach that my focus has been different, or is it the fact that going on a trip like this will require them to rely more on God and less on themselves?

I had wanted to go on this trip, but due to some health issues it wasn't to be...but that doesn't mean that God isn't working on me. He has caused me to look at prayer in a new way. He is challenging me to pray purposefully (and more than once a day).

While Whitney was watching a children's video on Daniel it mentioned, "Daniel faced toward Jerusalem and prayed three times a day." It made me wonder...how passionate am I about prayer and trusting God in all circumstances? How would my life be different if I diligently set aside time each day (and more than once a day) to pray to God? Maybe a little more love for God would shine through in my life too.

Here are a couple of pictures from Sunday when the Guatemala team was being commissioned at church...


Prayer Requests:
  • Pray as they minister to the people in Guatemala. This trip was supposed to be a ministry to the children at Palencia School and also a medical mission/vbs to 3 locations in Guatemala. However, because of the volcano eruption and the tropical storm the team wasn't sure where they would actually be able to go. Many lives have been lost due to the eruption and the storms. (Did you see the big sinkhole in Guatemala City?
  • Pray for wisdom and guidance as they decide where they can go
  • Pray for the team to have wisdom as to which families should receive the 206 water filters
  • Pray for people to respond to the gospel
  • Pray for the hearts of those on this team...to be forever impacted by God while they are on this trip
  • Pray for Courtney to have supernatural ability to be able to understand and communicate in Spanish (she has ha d 3 years of Spanish in High School and is the one on the team with the most knowledge of the language).

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Redmond Weekend to Remember

April 30th-May 2nd, 2010
Decisions for Christ 6
Pray to be filled by the Holy Spirit 144
Recommit family to Christ 111
Attendance 361

"We have been married 25 years and came in wounded. I feel like we have been 'transplanted' from the improper location to a place we will grow and thrive."

"The night of day 1, we fought, I slept on the floor. Day 2 changed my entire outlook on our marriage and our oneness. Thank you." Bank manager, married 2 years

"Feeling like I just got my best friend back." husband, general contractor, married 2 years

..."he walks with me instead of way off ahead of me and holds my hand." Homemaker, married 4 years

"We reconnected so big. We have never had so many calm intense deep conversations. It was amazing." Stay at home mom, married 2 years

"We are not getting a divorce now-we feel hope and have tools. We are calling everything after (this conference) 'our second marriage'. A new beginning. Wife, medical assistant, married 2 years

"I arrived at the conference feeling pretty hopeless about the future of our marriage, but now I have hope, and tools." Wife, physician, married 5 years

"We were okay coming here. We are great leaving. We cannot wait to share this with our friends through group leadership and Homebuilders." Wife, married 5 years

"The highlight of the conference was...the way she smiled at me, before we kissed, after the men to men and women to women meetings." Painter, married 13 years

"This conference has given us some tools that we are excited to use in strengthening our family. Many barriers were rubble by the end of the weekend." Husband, industrial painter, married 6 years

Thursday, March 11, 2010

FamilyLife Weekend to Remember



I love stories about life change. Enjoy the video!
This spring there are three opportunities to attend a FamilyLife Weekend to Remember in Washington State:


  • Seattle, Redmond Marriott Town Center, April 30th-May 2nd
  • Seattle, Bellevue Hilton, May 14th-16th
  • Yakima, Holiday Inn Downtown Convention Center, June 11th-13th
Register at www.familylife.com If you would like to save $80 off the price of registration you can register under our group name (TheCliftons). You can also create your own group and after 5 couples register under your group you earn a free registration.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Love Like You Mean It Cruise

FamilyLife has partnered with Premier Christian Cruises to host the first fully chartered marriage conference...and we would like to invite you to come along!Date: Monday, February 14th to Friday, February 18th, 2011
Departs from Port Canaveral, Florida
Ports: Nassau, Bahamas, and CocoCay
Speakers: Dennis & Barbara Rainey, Bob Lepine, Crawford Loritts, Shaunti Feldhan, and
Kirk Cameron.
Entertainment: Big Daddy Weave, Point of Grace, Michael O'Brian, Selah, Annie Moses Band, Acts of Renewal, 321 Improve, and illusionist Harriss III.
Cost: Cabins range from $499-$2699 per person (port fees, taxes, and gratuities are extra)
Reservations: Call 1-800-889-5265 to book your cabin.
Group Plan
You can form a group and save. If couples register under your group you can save $200 off the price of your cabin for each couple that registers! All couples that register under your group also save $100. (This is only good until July 1st, 2010!)
To be a group coordinator you must reserve your cabin first. Call 1-800-889-5265 to reserve your cabin.
If you want to go on the cruise but don't want to form your own group you can join our group. Just call the number above and enter extension #223 and speak to Zack. Tell him you want to join "Frank" Tom and Laura Clifton's group.
If you have any questions please let us know!




Monday, February 22, 2010

CollegeReady

With a junior in high school, I am so excited about the newest resource from FamilyLife...CollegeReady CollegeReady is a six part video resource that covers the following topics:
  • Vision
  • Empowering Friendships
  • Excelling Academically
  • Dating Right
  • Having Fun
  • Growing Spiritually

After spending 17 years praying for and teaching Courtney I want to see her succeed in college...not just academically, but to succeed in her relationship with Christ and to be all that God has intended for her to be.

College is a place where so many students walk away from their faith. Why not invest some time to prepare them to stand strong in their faith! Check out the CollegeReady site and see samples of the six different video segments. I'd love to hear your response to this new resource! CollegeReady-Home

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tom's Tribute

To honor Tom's parents at their 50th Anniversary celebration he wrote a tribute and read it to them at their party...


Dear Mom and Dad,

I have been truly blessed to have had you as parents. And as we celebrate your 50th Anniversary, I have been thinking a lot about you both, and I want to honor you today in the presence of family and friends and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

You have gone the distance, and although you haven't finished the course yet, you have set a great pace to finish well. You could have called it quits many times, but you didn't. I'm proud of you for sticking it out and staying committed to one another and to our family. I have learned from you that divorce isn't an option.

I have learned the importance of family from you both--and faith. Mom, you made sacrifices by staying home with us kids. I remember fondly home-cooked meals (excluding liver), the smell of fried chicken in the well-scrubbed kitchen, black-eyed peas, fresh rolls--the wonderful pitcher of sweet tea--which is still a staple in our family's home today. I remember times at the Sawdust Pile singing praises to Jesus. What I don't remember is all the hard work--diapers before disposable...cleaning up throw-up or nursing me through fevers. I love you Mom.

Thanks to you both for taking us kids to church and letting me go to the Billy Graham Crusade where I heard God's call to faith. Dad, thanks for being there for me--coaching little league, massaging leg cramps at night and continuing to model a godly father and husband, taking care of Mom when she had health issues, praying for our family and yours, and taking me to Promise Keepers with Sean and Fred, continuing to study and teach the Bible...Love is a choice, whether you are showing that love to Mom or helping to take care of your mom. I have great respect for you Dad.

I have learned hard work and helping others through you and mom.

Mom and Dad, thanks for the fun times....Disney, 6 Flags, Tweetsie Railroad, times at Morehead and Atlantic Beach growing up...body surfing, catching crabs, getting sunburned, playing cards. Then as we got older and moved to Washington, there were many water skiing with the Burks, snow skiing at Timberline...boy scout trips with you Dad. All of these are sweet memories.

Thanks for not killing me...I mean there were ample opportunities, and these are just scratching the surface...like when I almost burned the woods down playing with matches; the many times that I was not-so-nice to my siblings...like the jalapeno episode with Sean...There were also teacher episodes and the police episode when for some reason I thought windows in a nearby building were for target practice throwing rocks. Later on, dropping out of college--flipping burgers was a wake-up call that maybe a college education wasn't such a bad idea after all...my parents could really give helpful advice--I only wished I would have listened sooner.

Life wasn't perfect in our home growing up, but I felt loved. You gave me freedom to fail but great encouragement to succeed. You have always loved me and that has been huge in my life. And you have prayed for me. To have you as Mom and you as Dad has made me what I am today. I hope I can show the same love and commitment to my wife and family as you have modeled. I love you Mom and Dad.

Tom


(If you are interested in finding out about honoring your parents or writing a tribute a great resource is The Best Gift You Can Ever Give Your Parents by Dennis Rainey and Dave Boehi.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Legacy and a Tribute

Frank & Quita
Celebrating 50 Years of Marriage
January 31, 2010
On January 31st we had the privilege to host an anniversary celebration to honor Tom's parents for their 50 years of marriage.

We had lots of yummy food...Frank & Quita had a chance to renew their wedding vows...There was also time for Tom & Sean to honor their parents with a Tribute...Special friends came from miles away to join in the celebration and to share their stories of friendship and encouragement from times spent together...We had a scrapbook to give to them filled with encouraging notes, words of blessings, and pictures from their friends from all over the country. It was a great time to renew friendships... We all enjoyed being able to bless Granny & Grandpa...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Help for Haiti

With the devastation of the earthquake in Haiti on January 12th you may be wondering how to help. There are so many different places to give. One place we have chosen to give is to www.gainusa.org GAIN (Global Aid Network) is the humanitarian arm of Campus Crusade for Christ. If you would like to give check out their website.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Death...A Wake-up Call for the Living

"Rosann went to be with the Lord at 2:50 pm today." The words shocked me as I read them. How I grieved for her family. So young and so unexpected.

As I tucked my kids into bed I lingered a little longer. A plea of "Mommy, please stay in here with me" was quickly answered by me sitting on the floor by my daughter's bed and stroking her hair as her eyes slowly drifted off to sleep.

No one knows how long we have here on the earth. We live as if life will continue forever and are shocked when it does not. "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

Some good advice I heard last summer at Pine Cove's family camp from Lynelle Zandstra on mothering...

"Treat your children like they will not be here tomorrow...train them like you won't be"

It is too easy to get caught up with the busyness of life and neglect the things that are important. The lives of my children are important, who they are and who they will become. What can I do, or what do I need to change in order to follow this sage advice? Instead of taking them for granted, treasure them. Instead of looking at their pleas for "one more story" as a delay of bedtime, see it as an opportunity to express love to them through time. Instead of worrying about the messiness of the house, I should be more concerned with the condition of my heart.

Children are a gift and the time with them passes too quickly. What do you do to make your time on earth count for eternity? What are you doing to treasure and to train your children?
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