Celebrating Groundhog's Day

For years, each morning I was greeted by the sound of a baby crying, the smell of dirty diapers, and the sight of a house that desperately needed a maid. Blurry eyed and foggy minded, I stumbled down the stairs with a toddler on my hip, a preschooler clinging to my leg, and the baby balanced over my shoulder. Upon arriving at the kitchen table, after managing to let the dog out and the cats in, we would shove the previous night’s dishes out of the way and begin our morning with breakfast, in hopes that more food would end up in little tummies than on the floor.
And this is how it went,
     day after
           day after
                  day after
                         day after day…….

During this period of my life, which I like to call the groundhog years, I was desperate for adventure. My days went by in a blur and felt pointless. While mopping spilled kool-aid, I would dream of feeding aids orphans alongside my husband while being a missionary in Malawi. When I sat on my country porch watching the kids play in the field, visions of my family and I sharing Christ with the neighbors in our high rise apartment in Leipzig, Germany floated through my head. I spent hours re-living mission trips to Mexico, church camps, and weekend retreats. I begged God to let me live on “The Edge” again. The Edge, where God invites you to throw over all logic and anything else that you might be holding on to. The Edge, where He is at work and He allows you to be a part of and witness to, amazing life changing events that can only be explained as supernatural.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being a mom and I treasured my time with my little ones. It was just that I craved a little excitement. I knew God was still working and using me. Raising my kids will likely be the most important thing I do in my lifetime. However, when you’re up to your knees in drool and sour sippy cups it doesn’t always feel like it.

God used my groundhog years to show me that He works just as much in the little moments as He does during the big adventures. He has always been here, loving, teaching, molding and making. It’s silly but I get a kick out of Groundhog’s Day because it reminds me that living moment by moment can be just as much of an adventure as living on the edge.

On a personal note, many of you know 2010, was nothing even close to a groundhog year for our family. Instead, it was the year God gave me what I asked for. Life on the edge. It wasn’t the way I imagined it. We didn’t go overseas or re-live our glory days leading a youth ministry. However, 2010 did bring the Clancy’s endless adventure, teach us crazy love, and develop rock solid faith.

I am going to skip the details of the entire year for the time being, and fast forward to December so I can catch everyone up on what is happening now.

After I left the Class Christian Writers conference, I had big writing plans. I couldn't wait to just park myself at my computer and write. God, thankfully had plans too and decided the Clancy family had waited long enough. It was time move us out of my parent’s house and back into the workforce. Whoo hoo!

It makes me sad that today is the first day I have been able to write in months but, I have gladly put it on hold in order to start our new life.

So, for now, the Clancy’s are done with winter……..

We are now living in beautiful Georgetown Texas, which happens to be only an hour from my family. Dan is the Children’s/Family Pastor at First Baptist Church Georgetown. The kiddos are settling in at Ford Elementary School and spend their weekends playing basketball. We absolutely love it here. God has blessed us in ways only He could think up. After 14 years of living all over the country, I am finally home.
I am no longer a mis-placed Texan!


Advent Conspiracy, December's Challange

If you saw my sneak peek video, you probably figured out what our December challenge is.

Our challenge is to re-think Christmas and begin to celebrate it differently. I want to ask the hard questions and be willing to face the hard answers. Do we celebrate in a way that truly honors Jesus’ Birthday? Do we prepare for Christmas the way Jesus would have?

Honestly, I struggled a little with picking this topic as our first challenge. I have been re-thinking Christmas for last five years or so and I will be the first to admit it is hard. It takes courage to change. I am telling you this because some of the ideas I want to present to you could be tough to hear. I hope that you will hang with me and give this challenge a chance. Changing the way we think about Christmas is a big deal and it is a step by step process. My hope is that you do at least one thing differently this year, even if that one thing is just thinking of celebrating Christmas in a fresh way.

So, I want to begin by introducing you to Advent Conspiracy. [AC] Advent Conspiracy is an international movement restoring the scandal of Christmas by substituting compassion for consumption. It is a genius movement put together by some great pastors and followed by thousands of people. I wish I could take credit for thinking of it. Instead, I will ask you to join it with me.

Advent Conspiracy  focuses on four things,

Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love All

[Worship Fully]
It starts with Jesus. It ends with Jesus. This is the holistic approach God had in mind for Christmas. It’s a season where we are called to put down our burdens and lift a song up to our God. It’s a season where love wins, peace reigns, and a king is celebrated with each breath. It’s the party of the year. Entering the story of advent means entering this season with an overwhelming passion to worship Jesus to the fullest.

[Spend Less]
Before you think we’re getting all Scrooge on you, let us explain what we mean. We like gifts. Our kids really like gifts. But consider this: America spends an average of $450 billion a year every Christmas. How often have you spent money on Christmas presents for no other reason than obligation? How many times have you received a gift out of that same obligation? Thanks, but no thanks, right? We’re asking people to consider buying ONE LESS GIFT this Christmas. Just one. Sounds insignificant, yet many who have taken this small sacrifice have experienced something nothing less than a miracle: They have been more available to celebrate Christ during the advent season.

[Give More]
God’s gift to us was a relationship built on love. So it’s no wonder why we’re drawn to the idea that Christmas should be a time to love our friends and family in the most memorable ways possible. Time is the real gift Christmas offers us, and no matter how hard we look, it can’t be found at the mall. Time to make a gift that turns into the next family heirloom. Time to write mom a letter. Time to take the kids sledding. Time to bake really good cookies and sing really bad Christmas carols. Time to make love visible through relational giving. Sounds a lot better than getting a sweater two sizes too big, right? Need a few ideas? Just click here and see what others have done to give more during the advent season.

[Love All]
When Jesus loved, He loved in ways never imagined. Though rich, he became poor to love the poor, the forgotten, the overlooked and the sick. He played to the margins. By spending less at Christmas we have the opportunity to join Him in giving resources to those who need help the most. When Advent Conspiracy first began four churches challenged this simple concept to its congregations. The result raised more than a half million dollars to aid those in need. One less gift. One unbelievable present in the name of Christ.

The story of Christ's birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love.

What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists.

And when it's all over, many of us are left with presents to return, looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas?

What if Christmas became a world-changing event again?

I plan on taking the four areas and focusing on them week by week. I hope to offer stories, gift ideas, inspiration and more. I also hope you will share your thoughts and ideas too.

Welcome to Advent Conspiracy

The information above is from the Advent Conspiracy website. http://www.adventconspiracy.org/

Please forgive the bland post. Blogger is not letting me up load images at the moment.


Exciting New Changes

The CLASS Christian Writer’s Conference I just went to gave me all kinds of fresh new ideas. I feel a little like a kid examining all my new school supplies. I can’t wait to for the chance to use each one.

The first place I am going to start is this blog. For the most part itwill remain the same,but I am  going to add some new and exciting elements. It won’t happen all at once, so be on the lookout.

My first addition is a monthly challenge. Each month I will issue a challenge that requires a little bravery. I will explain it step by step, so that we can all participate in it together. This will give us a chance to encourage each other and witness all the cool things God does in each of our lives.

My plan is to give the challenge on the first day of each month. Since this is our first one, I am giving a sneak peek.

This video is your clue.


I am sure you have tons of questions.   I will explain in detail on December 1.



CLASS Christian Writers Conference Ghost Ranch, New Mexico

Whew, I am back, and no, I didn’t fall in the remains of the well located a few feet from our front door. Instead of a pit, I was on a mountain top, literally and spiritually. A precious person in my life gave me an all expense paid trip to the CLASS Christian Writers Conference in New Mexico. It has taken me a week to process my time there, and the only description I can come up with is, it was AMAZING.

For starters, I got to experience some feelings I haven’t felt in since high school. No, not raging hormones, but raging emotions. Emotions, that centered around me and what God was/is doing with me. I hate to admit it, but there is a name for what I experienced and its called, All About Me. I am guessing I’m being about as clear as the water in the well I mentioned, so I will elaborate. The conference felt like church camp for adults times ten. For the last 15 years, all the similar trips I’ve been on, I went  as a sponsor. I’ve been blessed to watch God move, speak and change teen’s and adult’s lives. I’ve been a witness to numerous answered prayers and even miracles. This time, instead of watching, I received and it was AMAZING.

                                                                                                                             My room, #8
I stayed up late giggling and dreaming in the bunk house with my new friends, then tore thru the cold for a morning shower in our “shared” bathroom. Good food just appeared without any of my menu planning, grocery shopping or cooking. I attended remarkable chapel services that required none of my greeting, set up, tear down, or ministry skills. I sat for hours at the feet of pro’s learning the ins and outs of writing. Editors, agents and authors shared their wisdom.I even got published in another book. I was loved on, encouraged and prayed for. Best of all, God’s presence was there. If for some reason you couldn’t feel it or sense in the people, all you had to do was look up. His beauty was everywhere and it was AMAZING.

Me and Bruce Wilkinson

The bunk house I stayed in (far right corner)

God opened some huge doors for me and spoke clearly about the direction He wants me headed in. I am overwhelmed with gratitude. All I can offer in return is my obedience.

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. . .


The David Crowder Band's New Video "Shine" (a great piece of brave)

One of my favorite things to use as a piece of brave is music. There are tons of song lyrics out there that remind me how big God is and that he already has everything under control.  Sometimes I play the music to get pumped up before I have to do something scary, like Rocky did when he was getting ready for the big fight.  I can hear the theme song now.......

The David Crowder Band is one of my all time favorite worship bands.  I love David's voice and the style of the music.  Their songs have been a source of strength for me during hard times.   I got to go hear David at his church in Waco this summer.  It was amazing.  The church is geared towards college students. Since it was summertime, only a few people were there.  I secretly pretended I was at my own private concert.

Besides an amazing time worshiping God, the best part of visiting the church was seeing how humble and real David is.  He held open the doors, greeted people and hung out drinking coffee just like everyone else.  When it was time for him to lead the music, he and the band played as if they were playing a concert for thousands.  It didn't matter that only a handful of us were in the audience.  The Band just wanted to honor God with their best. I don't know about you, but it feels good to know that David is the real deal.  Just a regular ole' person.

The David Crowder Band has just released this video.  I LOVE it.  I know you will too.

I chose to post it on my blog because it's a great example of using a "piece of brave".  Did you notice how the couple used a flower as a symbol throughout their lives? The words are incredible too. The band and people from the church made all the light bright scenes themselves. I love that David leaned on his church family for help.  So great. Did I mention I LOVE this video?



I Admit it, I Stole From My Kids

 Getting ready for the first day of school is hectic for our family. My four children and I usually scurry around town like squirrels, anxiously gathering everything we need. This year was different. My husband’s lack of a job, meant we didn’t have money for school supplies.

Since shopping wasn’t an option, I decided to prepare for our first day, by registering the kids early, so the paperwork wouldn’t delay us the next morning. We drove to the school, met the teachers, and checked out the classrooms. The secretary seemed kind, so I hid my embarrassment, gathered my courage, and asked her if there was anything left from the fill-a-book-bag-for-needy-child program. She told me it was doubtful, but she would give us whatever she could find.

That night, I gathered the few supplies we already had and tried to sleep. Even though I prayed and asked God to provide for us, I tossed and turned, trying to come up with a solution. It made me sad to think of my kids missing out on the sharp points of new crayons and the chance to enjoy the new plastic smell of a back pack before it’s filled with sweaty gym clothes. I could still see the fear on my kids’ faces when they told me they were worried everyone would know they were “poor”.

This arrangement was too much for my motherly instincts to allow, so I took matters into my own hands. I drove to a 24-hour superstore and bought their 4 cheapest backpacks. I couldn’t buy anything to put in them, but at least it was a start.

That morning, I heroically swooped into each child's room and surprised them with a backpack. Their smiles said it all. When we got to school, the secretary was wearing a huge smile too. I saw tears in her eyes, as she told me the staff had gotten together and dug up backpacks and supplies for each one of my children. God had provided.The kids were ecstatic. I was relived.

Oddly, on the drive back home, I didn’t feel like smiling. Instead, I felt guilty. I wondered if the secretary was disappointed when she saw my kids already had backpacks. I realized what I had done. I had allowed fear and anxiety to seep into my life again. Playing the hero by buying backpacks had stolen a huge blessing from my kids. I had robbed them of a lesson on trust. I had also stolen the joy of giving from the secretary.

If I hadn’t stepped in, my kids would have experienced a direct answer to prayer. They would have understood how much their teachers cared for them. Most of all they would have known they could put their trust in God, instead of me.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7 (NIV)

God is good, so even though I messed things up for my kids, and their teachers, He allowed me to learn an important lesson. From now on, I will try to let go of my pride and let God do things His way.  I will trust Him to meet our needs.

Lord, open my eyes to see when you are at work. Help me resist taking matters in my own hands. Instead, allow me to humble myself and trust you completely. In Jesus name, Amen.