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.

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.
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