Pondering two kids off to university

It has been a very long time since my last Pondering post. It is not that I haven’t pondered anything over the past couple years, but I just haven’t put them in words.

As Sean and Mikayla head out of our house at about the same time, leaving only Emily still at home, just the thought of that has been on my mind often lately. I don’t envision life getting any less busy, but we will end up not going so many directions for school activities. Mikayla’s summer has been packed with activities: serving in Papua New Guinea, working, visiting with friends, family reunion, and even a bit of time at the beach. And now packing for college.

We are taking Mikayla to Taylor University next Monday. It is not that far, as we will be seeing her on Fall Break, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yet, it is far enough that it is not a visit every weekend. She tell me that four hours is a good distance. We believe she is ready to fly and this will be her first test flight.

Sean too, has been active this summer. Between training for the Rockford Ninja Warrior competition and working, we haven’t seen much of him this summer. It is wonderful for us to see how his body has been transformed by the great food he is eating and the physical training.

Sean starts at Cornerstone University after Labor Day. He has been flying for sometime now, but not solo. Though he will be very close in proximity, living in the dorms will be a new adventure for him. After a few semesters at GRCC it is time for him to focus on his major.

As I think about Sean and Mikayla, my father’s heart is torn between loving their presence in our home, watching them grow into wonderful adults, seeing God’s hand in and on their lives and trusting the training they’ve had under our roof to let them go. Molly and I know that the Lord is watching over them, but it is still somewhat discomforting sending your kids out into this crazy world.



Pondering health

As I continue to reflect on the past year, I often return to my own discontent with the inability to run on a regular basis.  It has been a part of me for almost 40 years, but since 2007, I have struggled with calf issues that come and go.  I can still get out and go for a three or four mile run with little or Robert 53 13.05.11no pain as long as I’ve had several days rest in between.  I’ve even been able to run a few longer races over the past five years.  Am I just getting old?  Am I expecting too much?  Do I need to place my time commitments in other areas?  I don’t know the answer to those questions.  I do know that I need to be content and thankful, especially in the light of the happenings of the last two weeks with Molly and the current skin issues that Zachary is having.  My health is good and better than most 55 year old guys.  I can still play in the yard with my kids and my dogs.  I can put in a long day’s work in the yard or garage.  I need to be thankful for the good gifts and blessings He has given – health is just one of them.


Pondering 2014

As a look back on the past twelve months I see a multitude of blessings.  Though we have struggles, our family has so much for which to be thankful.  Our friends and family come to mind – so many people that we count as friends who have helped us and we’ve had the opportunity to assist in some way come to the forefront.  People from around the whole have given input into our lives in 2014.  Others, from right here In Grand Rapids, we have built relationships that go beyond the “Hi, how are you?”  We know that God is pleased as His people share their joys and sorrows with one another.

oneanotherprojectLast week I was privileged to share some thoughts with the 9th through 12th graders at NorthPointe Christian.  Our pastor and friend, Wayne Hoag, wrote The One Another Project in 2012 and I used it as a reference.  The school’s theme for this year is from Philippians 2:3-4.  As we regard one another as more important than ourselves life takes on new meaning.  We become more like the example Jesus gave us – to be people with the heart of a servant.  Some of the other ‘one another’ admonitions like love, encourage, accept, pray for, and teach begin to take shape in our lives as we see those around us as more important than ourselves.

As I reflect on my service to those around me this past year, I feel those inside my own family have received the short end of my service to others.  They are the most important people that God has placed in my realm of influence, but at times I take them for granted and don’t spend the necessary time cultivating those relationships.  I love my family and know that they love me, but my actions don’t always show that.   Reviewing 2014 has helped me to be even more thankful for God’s mercy and grace in my life.  It has shown me that I must always regard my family as more important than myself.

Pondering winter…

As I ponder the winter we are having here in West Michigan, it has been 20 years since I’ve experienced these bone-chilling temperatures.  Molly and I were living in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.  In January 1994 it reached -26o.  We were younger and it seemed like those low temps were more of an adventure to be experienced than something to be avoided or cause us to grumble.  Now, we grumble a bit more, and as the cold weather is in week three we long to see temperatures above freezing.  The Arctic weather has brought a good amount of snow which is still fun for me, especially to watch our labradoddle run around in it for longer than I can endure the biting wind on my face.  Our family was even able to get a quick photo in the snowy conditions a couple days ago after church, but we did not stay out too long!

As I grow older it is tougher to run in sub-zero wind chill, so I relent to the treadmill at a local fitness center or the nearby school.  I have never been fond of running on a treadmill, but alas it does allow me to keep a level of fitness to resume running outside when the temperatures permit.  We remain hopeful that these temperatures will soon be a memory and the weather prognosticators say it will be soon.


Pondering a thankful heart.

Thanksgiving in the US comes but once a year, but the spirit of thanksgiving should be with us throughout the whole of every day. I mentioned a couple weeks ago in Looking ahead to Thanksgiving that we are to ‘count our many blessings’. Our family has been doing that during prayer times and some of us are even writing them down.


Molly received a book from a friend, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. The subtitle is: A dare to live fully right where you are. As I ponder that thought, I think of how often I feel frustrated in some of the daily activities of life. The simple task of doing the dishes is rarely, if ever, a daily duty that any of us enjoys in the moment.  As I have considered the things I do each day and looked intently at the blessings to be had, I have even found thankful thoughts toward doing dishes. I am thankful for an abundance of clean water.  During our time in Papua New Guinea this was not always a given. Often times we had to save the rinse water to do the next day’s laundry. I also remember showering with one bucket of warm water for all three of the Clementz boys!

As you come to the Thanksgiving table tomorrow, look to the gifts and blessings God has brought to you and give a gift of praise back to Him. God will smile down upon you and give you peace.

Looking ahead…

Looking ahead to Thanksgiving.

As we cornucopialook forward to Thanksgiving 2013, Molly and I have discussed visiting her brother and his family.  Extended family, especially Molly’s brothers and sisters, has been a big part of our lives.  Missing them while serving in Papua New Guinea and not seeing them as often as we would like while here in the US has helped us to be thankful for the times together.  As we look at all aspects of our lives, we have much peace when we recognize the blessings God has poured upon us.  May the God of Peace fill you this season with the ability to ‘count your many blessings’ especially in times when you may not feel like doing so.

Looking ahead…


Looking ahead to Papua New Guinea mission trip.

Last night Molly and I were joined by Sean, Mikayla, Emily and a half dozen other young people and their parents to discuss and give forth information concerning a GET Global mission trip to Papua new Guinea in July 2014.  We are in the planning stages and hope to have a full team of 20 young people before the end of 2013.  The month-long trip will cost approximately $4500/person not including passports and required vaccinations.  Many partners are needed to pray and provide finances for each of the team members.  Please be praying for us as we build this team and help to prepare them for this life-changing trip to the South Pacific.