Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Picture of Peace

Good book to transport me to a far-away world 
steamy mug of hot chocolate 
 large, chunky snowflakes falling methodically outside my window 
a perfectly contented afternoon for Janell :-) 

Thanking God for all the AMAZING friends He has brought into my life over this year (and the rest of the years!!) I am so blessed it is incalculable. I am absolutely positively grateful for each one of you :-)

“Two are better than one” Ecclesiastes 4:9 

"A friend loveth at all times" Proverbs 17:17

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you” Philippians 1:3

And so many unposted pictures, unshared memories, untold stories. I truly wish I had the time and space to do it justice. When I count my blessings from this year, they all go back to the wonderful people God has allowed to cross my path for this period of my life. I love you guys soo much! 

I can't wait to grow together in this coming year...
"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" II Peter 3:18

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


This has been a "sick day" for me. Literally.

I won't bore you with the details but in a nutshell, I've been hot and dizzy, and feeling like any minute my head is going to explode. I went to work last night not feeling the greatest, but my thinking was, if I don't have a fever, than I should go so that I can make use of the few hours on the schedule that have been given to me. 
I figured that going and working would either bring out the worst of the sickness, or it would reveal that I'm not really as sick as I thought and I was just being a wimp about it. 

Today, I have been sick, no doubt about it. I've slept most of the day away, except for the wonderful moment when mom babied her poor sick college student and made me a snack of grilled cheese and a spotty yellow banana. And a hefty glass of orange juice. Because she's a firm believer that OJ makes everything better! 

I'm not so sure what it's going to take to make me better. Honestly, I think I'm about over it. One more night of good solid rest should work wonders for me. I am so looking forward to being up and around. I have a humble and hopeful list of people I would be delighted to see and coffee dates I'd love to have while I'm still on break. I just realized I have less than a mere 2 weeks to be the initiator of the list!

I didn't really have a point in mind when I started this post - my goal was only to catch you up a bit, AND to have another rare post that is not about Wesley. (I promise, I do have a life apart from that that kid. :-) It's just that he brings so much joy to life, and while I'm home I can't get enough of him!)

Speaking of family, I figure if I feel well enough to blog, I should feel up to making the trek upstairs to see what the family's up to tonight. 

Thanks for listening
to the ramblings
of this sick girl 

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Christmas day is rapidly drawing to a close. 

(Is it just me, or does Christmas always turn out to be the shortest day of the year!?)

The day has not disappointed, bearing surprises and gifts and family-time as it always does.

And now, as Wesley crawls into bed he exclaims, "Do you know what was my 'faborite' part of the day? When we read the Bible 'togefer'! That was my 'faborite part'."

Well said Little Brother. 

If a five year old can recognize the most important element of the bustling season, you'd think I would be able to as well....  

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Future

Okay, so guess what I discovered?? 

8th grade year
Homework assignment:
Write a story of an imagined future Christmas in your life 
Complete with illustrations 

And I found it today (oh the treasures that the back of my closet holds!) 
Here it is, complete and unabridged, just like I wrote it 6 1/2 years ago.
Maybe you'll get as much of a kick out of it as I did.... Especially those of you who knew me "back in the day" lol 

Some things change. 
And some things things never change. :-P

"Come on Angela. We have to take Blake to the nursery." 
Hi. My name is Janell. I'm 28 years old and married to Matt Clemons. He has two years of seminary left, but we are still praying about what kind of ministry God wants us in. He would like to be a pastor or a missionary (maybe visit Charity at her orphanage and help.) For now we are part of a homey, eighty-five member church. That is where I am right now with our 3 year old daughter, Angela and 4 month old son, Blake (I have always liked that name.) 
"Here is your Sunday school class, Angela. Go on in. Listen well - I will ask you what you learned later." 
"Ok, Mommy!" she nods and scurries off. A couple of doors down is the first and second grade Sunday school class that I teach. There are a few kids talking and laughing with each other. There is Luke sitting in the back row where he always is. He comes because his parents do. I have been praying for him to get saved ever since the first Sunday he came to my class. (about two years ago.) I wit down and start to get myself together and ready to teach. It is Christmas Eve and I have an extra-special lesson planned.
It is time to start. "Listen up class!" I gain some attention. "Today we are going on a little field-trip." By now, everyone's eyes are glued on me. I continue. "Let's go outside around the back of the church." 
We walk through the halls and out the main doors (very quietly.) Once we are there, the kids squeal with delight. Tied up there, i s a real, live, honest-to-goodness sheep! (I brought him in a pick-up truck from the farm our family lives on. We have a couple horses, a henhouse, and a few sheep.) After the kids touch his soft, textured wool, I talk about what this sheep might have seen if he had been alive 2,000 years ago when the angels proclaimed Christ's birth to the shepherds. 
The kids' eyes sparkle with wonder as I, with the help of my wooly friend, make the Christmas story come alive to them. Out of the corner of my eye I see Luke. He looks much more interested then usual. It is as if he is thinking very hard about something. 
After we get back in the classroom I give each child two Christmas cookies I baked the night before. As they chatter and munch away, Luke walks shyly up to my desk. "Um, Mrs. Clemons, that was a really neat story you told." I am surprised at his compliment. 
"I am glad you liked it, Luke." 
"Mrs. Clemons, did Jesus come to earth for me?"
"Yes he did, Luke. He loves you," I reply softly. 
"I would like to ask Him into my heart." 
I am overjoyed! I tell him a little more of the gospel message to make sure he understands, then we pray together. When we finish he gets up and walks back to his seat with a peaceful smile on his face. 
I know that tomorrow we will celebrate Christmas as a family. Angela will bound into our bedroom at exactly 6:03 and we will get up and go to Grandma and Grandpa Knudson's house, have a yummy Christmas dinner, and open presents. But my greatest Christmas present is having Luke get saved. AFter all, that is what Christmas is all about. Christ came to save sinners. Matt and I want to be missionaries, but I know the Lord can use me right now. 
Merry Christmas!

There you have it! I enjoyed reading this story from the "me of Christmas Past" :-) 
But the message of it still rings true. Christ came to 


I hope this Christmas finds you overflowing with gratefulness for that.

This is December...In Missouri

You never know what the weather will end up doing! 

Today it was a rainy, cloudy mist. It may sound weird, but that is one of my favorites! Then again, I like every weather. 

I think Wesley does too :-) 

Every Day is a Saturday

This is Christmas break. I'm pulling to get hours as a waitress, but they are coming few and far between. While I am grateful to management for doing what they can to slide me back onto the schedule, so far the majority of shifts are in the evening. In the meantime I am blessed with the luxury to sleep in, hang out with Wes and Jeremy, and be a part of the "Christmas Festivities" in our home (namely cleaning and baking. :-)

For me,
every day is a Saturday. I hardly know what to do first with all this free time dropped into my lap!

One thing that HAS been nice is the joy of extra reading time (yes, free of school and I still have my nose buried in a book as often as possible! Yes, I suppose that does make me a nerd.)

Devotions today brought some realizations to mind. Not new ones, but definitely needed reminders...

I've had this struggle with fearing what man thinks lately. ALOT.
But even through this Psalm I see the flaw in that, because with the God I serve, there is
no fear necessary, except reverence and awe of Who He is.

"For the King trusts in the Lord, and through steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved."
Psalm 21:7

prayer - the replacement for worry
trust - the anectdote for fear

Realize these things. Remember them. May they be at the forefront of my mind and burrowed deep down in my heart, so that I am not consumed with worry and doubt, but with the love of Christ. 

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fruitful Morning :-)

The day started out with a game of basketball. I take that back... it was more like SIX games! Last night I got a text inviting me to get up super early on this non-school day (translated: 8:00) in order to battle it out on the court in some friendly ball playing. And without a moment's hesitation, I agreed.

That's how I found myself in sweats and a hasty ponytail scraping a respectably thin layer of ice off my windshield at 7:55 this morning. But you know (except for the dreadful instant my alarm clock switched on) I never once regretted saying yes to the game. In fact, I walked away wondering, "Why don't I do this more often?" Even when a group of friends isn't beside me in doing it, why do I not challenge myself physically on a regular basis?
Ever since playing soccer for the first two months of the semester, Iowa has been too cold for my liking to excersize and I haven't held it top priority to grace the weight room with my presence.
But today's exhilerating basketball game showed me that the workout
will be worth it. Even when I'm tempted to stay in bed for the extra hour of unnecessary sleep.... It could never be as gratifying as getting up and getting moving!

Now I post this blog as a way of jogging my memory to these sensible thoughts when everything in me begs to um, PLEASE, NOT JOG early in the morning.

Hmm, do I sense a seed of New Year's Resolution in the making?.... lol

P.S. Thank you to my friends this morning who possessed enough insanity to include me in your early morning b-ball endeavors. It was great fun guys! Note: if any of my college friends are struck with the same desire, let me know and I'd gladly welcome a few faithful workout buddies :-)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Beautiful baby blue.

Treasure from the gas station.

Why? Just because. 

Jeremy is the bestest brother!

"Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero." -Marc Brown

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Full Circle

Tonight, I felt somewhat like a proud grandma. 

Wesley had his first big role performing with his preschool/kindergarten class in a play of the nativity. When I arrived home from college he was quick to offer an invite to the upcoming Christmas program. I eagerly accepted. 

Sitting in the fourth row of the school auditorium, I whipped out my camera - like the proud sister I am -  and snapped the best pictures I could manage. I can't wait for Wesley to see those pictures when he is older. Right now, it seems like just the next fun event for a 5 year old to look forward to, but in my mind it's more. 

You see, when I was in kindergarten, we performed that SAME play. Even to this day I still remember vivid details of my part as a shepherd. I remember my nervousness despite not having any lines to recite; I remember Kelsey Danner who played a sheep and how cute she looked in her little costume (sheep tail and all!); I even remember a slight twinge of jealousy at not getting to play Mary! 

And I remember the Christmas story coming alive to me. I'm sure that is not the first time I had heard it, but given the chance to step into that world (if only through a child's imagination) made me realize "Oh, this Really Happened. These were real people, and Jesus was a real live little baby on this earth." 

So, fourteen years later this is a full circle night. My little brother followed in my footsteps as a shepherd. And I was eager to be right there to document it. I hope this simple play was able to bring the Bible to life a bit more in his developing mind. He's still processing it... 

And it was SO CUTE to see! 

First post ever.

This is a happy day. 
I'm listening to the birds sing. 

That's right. In December, in Missouri. It doesn't matter the weather - the best place to be is on my back deck enjoying the porch swing and the fresh air. While I'm away at school, of course I miss my parents, and my brothers, and my dog. I miss my awesome friends back here in Missouri. And yes, I miss my swing. 

     But you didn't get on to hear me talk about that! I was telling you the reason for this happy day.... You see, I have always wanted to start my own blog. I find the idea irresistibly appealing. It's like an online scrapbook of sorts! There is room to tone my writing skills, pictures are always welcome, and there are everyday stories to be shared and thoughts to be expressed. I won't claim to have the best ideas or the most captivating stories. But with every effort I have, I will strive to be "authentically me" in this blog. 

I am nothing special in and of myself. Just a clay pot that the Master is molding patiently and faithfully. 

II Corinthians 4:7 
For we have this treasure in earthen vessels; that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 

If He can use these posts to make His work a little more defined within my mind - engraved upon my heart - then it will have accomplished its purpose. And I hope whatever you may read here will encourage you that you are not alone in your struggle for sanctification. Keep pressing on my friend! 

Blessings, on this happy First-Blogging-Day,
Janell :-)