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.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Spring Weekend to Remember Events

Spring seems a long way off now that winter has arrived but it's time to mark your calendar for the Spring Weekend to Remember Events. 

In April and May there are three Events to choose from in the state of Washington:

  • Bellevue Hyatt Regency, April 13-15, 2012
  • Pasco Red Lion Hotel,  April 20-22, 2012
  • Redmond Marriott Town Center, May 4-6, 2012
Remember, if you register with the group code "thecliftons" you save 50% off the cost of registration! 

Also, if you are a partner in ministry and you have misplaced your gift certificate, please contact us and we'll get one in the mail to you ASAP.  Your rate is even better than the 50% off price...just a little way to say "thank you" for standing by us in ministry!  

If you would like to attend a WTR in another state check out the dates and locations at www.familylife.com

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Advent Calendar

This Christmas we are using an Advent Calendar to prepare our hearts for Christmas. 
I got the idea from another blog and loved it!  Each drawer contains not a treat, but an object that represents the Christmas story and a verse that goes along with it.  Our children had so much fun running around the house collecting various objects to place inside.  (If we didn't have it, they drew pictures of what we needed!)  On our other blog I am detailing (almost daily) what is inside each drawer and the verse that goes along with it.  You can see it at A Snap Shot of Motherhood.  What are you doing this year to prepare your hearts for God's Greatest Gift?

*If you want step by step instructions of how to put this all together check out the first link above.  Merry Christmas! 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Coeur d'Alene Weekend to Remember Comments

Coeur d'Alene Weekend to Remember®
October 18-20, 2011
Prayed to Receive Christ: 23
Asked to be filled with the Holy Spirit: 92
Recommitted their family to Christ: 87
Attendance 476

Comments from the Weekend:

This was our first time away overnight without kids in 6 years. We have been struggling for the past year. My husband lost his job 6 months ago. My husband admitted this weekend he had give up on our marriage. I have been looking for an excuse to leave. We are going home fully committed to restoring our marriage not to just what it was…but better! (wife, married 6 years)

We’ve been married 18 years and have been separated for 1 ½ years. Our divorce was to be finalized just weeks from now. We’ve made the choice to stay married and grow old together. Praise God. (wife of husband below, married 9 years)

I believe it saved our marriage. We are very close to divorce and now we want to make our marriage work. I want to grow old with her. (husband of wife above, married 9 years)

Closer to each other. Every relationship needs needs a tune up to keep it running great. We try to go to this each year and our church or marriage conference. (husband married 16 years)

Gave us understanding to issues we have dealt with all our married life. Reminded us we need Christ in our lives and in our marriage because without him we are driving blind. Great tools, great resources. (wife, married 16 years)

Touched me deeply. With God’s help I can change to the man God wants me to be. (husband, married 28 years)

My wife and I have now attended seven Weekend to Remember conferences. We look forward to this time every year. It began with us working on our junk, but now it is an equipping tool for the people around us. Thanks. (husband and pastor, married 12 years)

Although this conference helped save our marriage 3 years ago, we still managed to lose focus. We used to think, as I’m sure most couples do, that we were untouchable, we had something not many couples possessed. Little by little, we realized we were missing something. Satan was whittling away that security we thought we had. We truly needed this refresher to combat the evil that ends so many marriages today. Thank you. (wife, married 6 years)

We had just separated 2 weeks ago and my wife moved out. This weekend really helped and I think we have a good shot at working this out. Thanks. (husband, married 13 years)

The power of God is amazing! A miracle happened here this weekend! (wife, married 7 years)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weekend to Remember Update

Below are comments reflecting each of the Weekend to Remember Events held this past weekend. It is so awesome to see God's transforming work in the lives of these couples...

*I was at the end, ready to throw in the towel. Not divorce, just give up. I have recommitted myself to our marriage.

*If I'm willing to die for my wife, like Christ did for the church, then how much easier should it be to rub her back, or rub her feet, or fold laundry.

*We're a young married couple (19 & 21) and it was just a blessing to start off on a good foot, surrounded by couples doing marriage right. This getaway was a straight up blessing from God.

*We were ready to separate, this was our last ditch effort for hope & strength. We fought on the way to the conference through Saturday afternoon & my husband was too angry to attend. Sat. afternoon something changed . God spoke & softened our hearts. My husband has turned back to God. I see my failures. We are going to make it.

*My husband and I haven’t spoken in 7 months prior to coming this weekend. The divorce had been filed and it was ugly. I didn’t even know why I agreed to come. But I’m glad I did. A miracle took place here. My marriage and family haven been saved. My life has been saved. Amen!

*“This weekend was our final attempt. We already had the divorce paperwork and were basically living in two separate households. In fact, we went to file the paperwork but decided to do one last thing before throwing in the towel. I am so glad we did! We have both been convicted and recommitted our lives, marriage, and family to the Lord. For the first time in years, I have hope for our marriage! I had forgotten that there is nothing too big for God to fix.”

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Raising Dead Things

God is in the business of brining life to the things that are dead and without hope...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Weekend to Remember

I am always amazed at how God can give hope in a situation that seems hopeless. He is in the business of restoring broken people and broken lives.

If you would like to attend a Weekend to Remember Event use the code "thecliftons" and save 50% off the cost of registration.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Spring Weekend to Remember Quotes

A Few Comments from the Spring 2011 Weekend to Remember Season:

• This weekend helped me more and more to open up as I give my whole heart to my husband. Marriage felt like a chore, a burden – now I know marriage as a precious gift from God. I see my husband in a whole different light – it’s bright and will forever shine!!

• We found forgiveness!

• I had made up my mind and heart to walk away from my marriage because I thought there was no hope. I was burned out with trying to make it work. Now I see I can stop trying my way and do it God's way. I found new hope in the marriage covenant.

• As a military wife, my reason for planning a trip to Florida was to leave my husband, because of an affair. After this weekend, I plan on going back home with my husband, giving my marriage to God, along with my hurt, pain and put God first in my life and my husband 2nd and pray our marriage will be better, but mostly godly! Thank you!

• I came with the hope that God would speak to the heart of my husband and work wit him to see my needs. The most wonderful thing happened. God opened my eyes and worked on my heart to show me all of the ways that I was lacking in providing for my husband’s needs. Leaving here a newly devoted wife.

• My husband and I are currently in the process of a divorce. However this weekend has changed the way that we have been looking a each other. We have started to put the principles that we have learned this weekend into practice and it feels like we are learning to fall back into love with each other.

Join us for a Weekend to Remember this fall. Use the code "thecliftons" and save 50% off the registration price. Register today at www.familylife.com

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Wonderful Challenge

Last fall a good friend of mine was interviewed for MomLife Today. She was asked, "What is one thing you have done well in parenting?" Marilyn told the story of how she and her husband Don issued a challenge to each of their children when they reached the age of 13.

The challenge placed before each of their children was to read the Bible through in one year and write a commentary. For each and every chapter of the Bible they had to write a 2-3 sentence summary on the chapter. Each day they would read a chapter in the Old Testament, a chapter in the New Testament, a Psalm and a Proverb. If they completed the challenge within the year (with some grace allowed) they would receive a big prize of their choosing. (Marilyn mentioned each one chose something of their liking...a computer, clothes shopping, a sewing machine, etc).

My oldest two are well past the age of thirteen but I thought it would be a wonderful challenge, so we sat them down and gave them the opportunity to write a commentary as well. What an incredible gift...to have the knowledge of what is in the Word from beginning to end.

I am excited to see how spending the time in the Word and summarizing what each chapter is about will impact my children!

My next child is twelve and his birthday is in October. I had really thought about waiting awhile to issue this challenge to him. However, he WANTS to do this! He is so excited about the opportunity and it has blessed my heart tremendously! Thanks Marilyn, for sharing your words of wisdom!

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Ugliest Cake and a Lesson on Forgiveness

The day before MaryElise turned three I wasn't feeling good. I knew I needed a cake and I was debating whether to make one or pick on up at the grocery store. Tom and Josiah were headed to the store so I enlisted them to find a cute pink cake for MaryElise's birthday.

Sometime later Tom called from the store describing some of the cakes. He told me about a "Diner Cake". I had no idea what he was talking about. I heard the lady in the bakery talking about a "big cupcake cake" or a Cinderella cake and then Tom said, "Okay, I think we got it covered" and then he hung up. I felt secure knowing he would come home with something cute with the help from the bakery lady.

He entered the house carrying a cake box and I took a peek inside to see what kind of a cute cake he chose. The cake he came home with looked more like a jelly doughnut explosion than a birthday cake. The sides were smeared with strawberry jelly and the top had mounds of icing and globs of jelly. It was the ugliest cake I had ever seen. I responded by going into my room and crying. (Really mature I know) Much to Josiah's credit, he came in and apologized and said it was his idea. He thought the cake looked great.

Throughout the day I couldn't get over my disappointment. I rehearsed the situation over again in my mind and the frustration began to grow. "How could he be so clueless? This cake is ugly. It isn't even pink. Maybe I'll get lucky and the cake will accidentally fall on the floor and I'll have to get a new one. There is no way I want to take pictures of my cute little girl with such an ugly cake!"

I didn't realize how far I had let the situation go until dinner. I can't remember exactly what it was that I said, but Tom's reply was, "Oh, that really sounds like forgiveness". I realized from his tone that I had not forgiven him. I was choosing to wallow in the disappointment rather than forgiving and letting go. God convicted my heart. How many times have we as parents spoken to our children about the importance of forgiveness and here I was holding on to something silly!
In Colossians 3:13 it says, "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." I had a choice to make and I chose to forgive. (Needless to say, I did take pictures of MaryElise with the cake that we still fondly refer to as the Jelly Doughnut Explosion!)

Friday, June 10, 2011


So many memories... When the children were little time seemed to crawl along. Now with our oldest graduating from high school we see how quickly time passes. We are so thankful for all the memories and for the precious gift of our daughter Courtney!

On June 3rd we had the honor of seeing Courtney graduate from high school. She also had the privilege of giving the salutatorian speech for her senior class.

We have a few more pictures posted on our other blog...A Snapshot of Motherhood. You can also see Courtney give her speech on Laura's facebook page.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Weekend to Remember Comments

Bellevue (Seattle) Weekend to Remember
April 15-17, 2011
Attendance 375
Indicated a Decision for Christ 25
Asked to be filled with the Holy Spirit 46
Recommitted family to Christ 65

  • "This getaway saved our marriage. We were on the brink of divorce! Now we are working hard at saving our new life together!" (Wife, married 6 years, spouse of the following comment)
  • "I have failed my charge as a husband according to Eph 5:25. My wife was driven to leave our family Friday afternoon. God got both of our attention and led us to this seminar Saturday morning. We are focusing on God's will and beginning healing/recovery." (Husband, married 6 years, spouse of the preceding comment)
  • "Brought us back together with a common goal. Reminded us that God has had a plan all along. I didn't make the wrong choice, my spouse is a specifically chosen GIFT." (Wife, married 3 years)
  • "You have provided great insight on the opposite sex for both of us. Before, I felt that my husband thought I was crazy, but during the sessions it was shown that I am just a normal woman and he, normal as a man as well!" (Wife, married 7 years)
  • "I came in hoping my husband would hear what 'I' thought he needed to know. Well I came in realizing my changes were what was needed. We were able to let down our guard and talk genuinely. I stayed quiet when he didn't want to go to [the men's talk], and off I went to [the women's talk], came back weeping and saw that he went to his session. He came in positive and told me many things, and I was able to ask him for forgiveness. I committed to letting God take control of my life and our marriage and let Him be in charge. Thank you." (Wife, married 14 years)
  • "This has been the absolute most important weekend in my marriage. You/God have blessed our life more than anything. Thank you." (Husband, married 10 years)
  • "It was very well worth it. Like digging for buried treasure. I desperately needed this so I can begin to be a better husband/dad." (Husband, married 31 years)
  • "Our eyes have been opened up to what is wrong in our marriage. We are separated and we know what we need to work on." (Wife, married 16 years)
  • "Communication!! This was the thing missing in our marriage. This of course will always be a work in progress. I thank God for folks who point out the obvious things I seem to miss." (Husband, married 7 years)
  • "The words spoken this weekend saved my life and the way I approach my marriage. Thank you!" (Husband, married 6 years)

Weekend to Remember Comments

Redmond (Seattle) Weekend to Remember
April 1-3, 2011
Attendance 197
Indicated a Decision for Christ 1
Asked to be filled with the Holy Spirit 14
Recommitted family to Christ 19

  • "This was the 1st time we have been away for a weekend-just the two of us-in 7 years! I fell in love again. I also learned some great things on how to love and pray for my husband. And we talked about sex and intimacy for the 1st time in I don't know how long. (married 6 years)
  • "Emotional and sharing, focus challenging. This is our 3rd conference in 6 years-it's like changing the oil in our marriage, to keep our spiritual and marital engines from the sludge that builds up slowly! 'Maintenance to last a life time.'"(husband, married 13 years)
  • "WOW very eye opening. Information overload, but awesome. It drew us closer on how to be Godly and have a thriving marriage. How to truly be one. (wife, married 10 years)
  • "This conference always helps us re-focus our priorities and perspectives for our marriage. It's a great 'tune-up' for us as well as a great reminder of God's bigger picture for our marriage and our family."
  • "It reminded me of what was important." (husband, married 4 years)
  • "This getaway is just what we needed! After weeks and months of building stress and tension, this getaway gave us the opportunity and tools we needed to communicated with each other and really connect." (wife, married 3 years)
  • "It encourages us to continue to seek the Lord and His guidance in our lives. It reminded us that the two of us come first before our children. We have forgotten that with teenagers in the house." (wife, married 18 years)
  • "I should have brought a box of Kleenex!!! It was better than I imagined. Both empowering and humbling. After being a single Mom for 10 years and married to an abusive man the first marriage for three years, I realized how selfish I am and how scared I am. I realized too that I've never had solid examples of a wife or mother. My mom, step mom, and mother-in-law 'wear the pants in the family'. No one understands why I don't want to spend too much time with them, but I honestly don't want to become them or watch how they treat their men. I have choices now." (wife-married 3 years, married to the husband with the following comment)
  • "This conference reveals to you not how to solve your marriage issues but rather that you yourself are the issue of your marriage. Poor management leads to a poor marriage. Now I h ave some tools to be a better manager of my marriage." (husband, married 3 years to the woman with the preceding comment)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

In honor of Good Friday, the children made a Garden Tomb. I got the idea from the blog A Holy Experience. The children planted some herbs in a flower pot we had on the deck and put a large stone in the garden to represent the garden tomb. Another rock was placed in front of the large stone to represent the stone that was rolled in place to seal Jesus' tomb. A candle is in our garden because Jesus is the Light of the World. On Easter the stone will be rolled away and we will celebrate the good news that the tomb is empty!

"On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said,
'Why do you look for the living among the dead?
He is not here; he has risen!"
Luke 24:1-6

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ingredients Matter

In honor of Courtney's 18th birthday, and because she has gone vegan, I decided to make her favorite German Chocolate Cake " vegan style". I found a great recipe online and baked the cake. It smelled delicious baking! The frosting however, was a different story. I mixed the ingredients and put it on the stovetop to heat. After awhile the frosting doubled in size and was foamy. I transferred the frosting to my biggest pan and was a little amazed when it continued growing in size. Finally it bubbled out of my pan and onto the stove. I was mortified. I so wanted to bless Courtney, but I had made a mess of the frosting and the stove.

When she came home I told her what happened. She said, "Mom, you did use corn syrup or cornstarch?" I looked up in the cabinet and saw the cornstarch on the shelf and realized I had never taken it out of the cupboard. I had used Baking Soda instead! Oh my. No wonder it acted more like the boys' volcano science experiment rather than frosting. By the way, Josiah fondly calls my concoction "frothing" rather than frosting! With a quick trip to the store and all the right ingredients, the cake was completed. But I sure learned a lesson. Putting something in that doesn't belong can spell disaster. Ingredients are important!

What is your recipe for life? Is your life bubbling out of control like my "frothing"? What kind of ingredients are you putting inside of you? Are there things in your life that you are compromising or substituting for the ingredients that really belong? I know that listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit are so vital in life. Sometimes I ignore what God might be trying to tell me thinking, "Oh, this is no big thing" but God knows what is best for me. He designed me (and He designed you too) and He knows what is best to make each of our lives perfect in His sight.
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