Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned - I have been blogless in your sight. Amen.

Ok, now on to the news....

Tomorrow morning, I (clay) will leave for a mission trip with 57 others to Jamaica for a week. It is a 'freshmen' trip - meaning that the students on this trip are either freshmen or part of our freshmen ministry's leadership team. We will be in Montego Bay, and there will also be two other freshmen teams in other parts of Jamaica. All said, there are nearly 180 students on these three trips! Wesley also has five other mission trips going out over spring break - very exciting stuff!

We would covet your prayers as this will be the longest separation the kids and I have ever experienced. They will spend a few days with my parents, and Deborah's aunt Pat from Colorado will be in town all week as well. Once I get back, I will post some current pictures of the fam!


clay for the kirklands


A Time to Remember and Be Thankful

Each September, the weather remains generally hot, yet there are a few days and several mornings where the scent of Fall is apparent. It's a glimmer of hope that relief from the Georgia heat is in the mail, and eventually we will be able to go outside and not be in danger of dehydration. Furthermore, though, September also is an ebenezer - a marked place/time of remembrance - for our family since on September 16th, 2004, Pam Hydrick, Deborah's mother, died of breast cancer in her home.

Most certainly, we still desperately miss Pam. If you have never lost anyone close to you, then it might be tempting to believe that after seven years, one should be 'over' the loss. Unfortunately, that is an unfortunate assumption, for I do not believe that anyone 'gets over' losing their parent/loved one. Does it get easier? Yes, in the sense that life must go on and things change. Does it still hurt? Yes, because we loved her and she loved us.

I will always remember how she immediately made me feel welcomed into their family, and that comfort and peace that she provided for me never ceased from her. As parents, we long for her to be around to teach us what she knew, to help us when we are in trouble, and to know and bless our children. We are left with our memories of her, and it is a true blessing from God that we have so many good memories about Pam. His goodness is still evident in the midst of a terrible and tragic loss in our lives. He is good because Pam is living now without pain or sickness in her body. He is good because He has blessed Deborah with the gift of motherhood. He is good because He did and still grieves with us and sends His Comfort to us whenever we need Him. He is good because He can't be anything else. We are thankful to God for Pam.

We are also thankful for God in the ways He has protected us in the past few weeks. Three weeks ago I started having abdominal pain. Five days later, I was in the ER and found out that I had some rare torsion of an appendage on my intestines. Gratefully, it did not require surgery and it was something that had to work itself out. Two weeks later, I was as good as new!

On Saturday, Deborah was giving a shower at the clubhouse of our neighborhood and I was home with the kids. While in the playroom, Cannon tried to climb up a wooden play kitchen and fell backwards. Unfortunately, so did the piece of furniture, and it landed on top of him. When I removed the furniture off of his body, his entire face was covered in blood and blood was actually coming out of his forehead like a fountain! I ran him downstairs, wrapped him in a towel, and called Deborah. Within fifteen minutes we were in the ER (again) and Cannon was getting cared for. Praise the Lord, he had no head trauma or concussion. He did, though, require three layers of stitches since the gash went all the way to his skull! He is doing well now and will get his outer layer of stitches out at the end of the week.

So, it has been a little wild around here lately, but as mentioned earlier, God has been good.

Clay for the Kirklands


yes, we are alive!

So, I have a confession to make: I have not been a good blogger boy. I am ok with that, but I do promise to try to be better. Thus, this is an attempt to catch up on the past seven months in as few words as possible.

Our winter was spent waiting for Gracey to come, and while we waited, Cannon decided to start walking. Everyone was thrilled with his development, especially Fields, because Cannon's new skill meant that playtime would become a lot more fun. Well, at the end of March (the 29th to be exact), Pamela Grace Kirkland arrived! The boys were instantly mesmerized by the new baby, and both Deborah and I fell in love with our little girl at first sight. Since then, she has continued to be a stunning baby: she is sleeping through the night, eating quickly and thoroughly, and she calm temperament has made the transition from two to three kids very smooth for everyone.

The school year ended very well for all things Wesley. Our sign ups for student leadership were at an all time high, and our upcoming intern class is the second largest that we have ever had. The Lord is continuing to build us, and we are continuing to learn how to adjust to each year. Working in a campus ministry where your staff changes by 50-70 percent each and every year demands a fair bit of flexibility! Despite the challenge of change, it is a tremendous place to work and watch God transform young men and women. The directors return on July 18th, and the interns arrive on August 1 for intern training. Our 'summer' is quickly coming to an end, but good things always come in August!

We spent a week with my brother and his family as well as my parents on Amelia Island the first week of June. My parents are always gracious hosts to the madness that six kids six and under bring to a beach week! The boys enjoyed the pool more than the ocean, but in reality, they enjoyed the junk food, extended bed times, and the cousins the most. Gracey had a baby tent that was her favorite spot all week outside, and Deborah was able to soak up some rays and listen to ocean. The highlight of the trip for me was playing golf with my dad at TPC sawgrass!

So, that is our summer in a nutshell. Hope you enjoy!

clay for the kirklands


Colorado, Conference, Christmas

The Christmas break for us has 'officially' begun - kinda. Even though the interns and students are gone, my work still continues for a bit longer. I will be with Bob at a college ministry conference all next week in Kansas City. He and I will be teaching on Tuesday at the 'boot camp' of the conference. It is an event that I have attended several times with Bob, so we always look forward to it.

Tonight, though, the travel begins. The whole fam is heading out to Colorado to spend a week with Deborah's aunt, uncle, and cousin. Deborah has wanted to visit them for such a long time, and things worked out to where it was a possibility. So, we all fly out tonight, and I will hop over to KC on Monday morning and return to Denver on Friday night. We all will return to Athens on Sunday night. It should be quite an adventure!

Once we return, we will take a few days to regain our composure and then it is off to Marietta for a bit and then to Cumming for another bit. Our kids will be road and air warriors by the time Christmas is over!

We are attempting to finish and mail our Christmas season newsletter in the midst of all of this, so hopefully you will get that sooner than later. We would appreciate your prayers as we travel all over the country! Thanks!

clay for the kirklands



Hey everyone - I know, I know....it's been nearly three months since I posted. SORRY! And, to top it off, this post will be really short! Sorry again!

Anyway, if you have not already, please go to my facebook page and watch the WESLEY fundraising dinner video...it is awesome!

On a personal note, we failed on our first attempt to 'see' the gender of our baby three weeks ago! But, this coming Tuesday, we get another shot!



Are you serious.....Yes I am!

Why the title....because it is the question you will ask me, plus the response I will give you, when you read this next line:


We could not be more thrilled and excited about this third 'blessing' from the Lord! We told our parents a week ago, and now we are releasing it to the public, so pass on the good news!

Deborah has started to feel a bit queasy, which happened to her with both Fields and Cannon in the past. It is also a primary prayer focus of ours since she has two to take care of and also has two jobs! Please, please, please join with us in asking God for MERCY in regards to Deborah and her health.

As far as baby Kirkland goes, he/she is healthy, has a very good heart rate, and is right on schedule with his/her physical development. We are actually able to see the little arms/legs budding out on the ultrasound this week!

Many have asked/assumed about our desire for a girl this time; however, we really do not have a preference. Either way we consider ourselves blessed. It really is overwhelming to remember God's faithfulness to us throughout our journey into and out of infertility. He has been, is still, and always will be GOOD!

clay for the kirklands


Another Summer Update

Here is another installment from the life of the Kirklands. The 'bullet point' format seemed to work out last time, so I am going to do it again.

- CHILDREN - the kids are doing so well. Fields turns two on Monday! He has become focused on a few important things: plastic golf clubs (thank you, God), Barney, trains, and books. Each time he goes to bed, he has to have several/all of these items in his crib with him! Some of his highlights have been sleeping with a full sized guitar in his crib, a plastic tricycle, and two full sized beach balls....funny stuff. Cannon is now 8 months old his specialties include crawling and cutting teeth. This week we have found him sitting up in his bed just babbling about life or playing with this crib toy. He also has a passion for increasing the size of his upper thigh!

- NEW HOME - We moved! It literally was a whirlwind of a move, but somehow (God) it happened. On July 6th we received an offer for our house - it had been on the market for ten weeks - and on July 23rd we closed! So many of our friends and interns from Wesley helped us pack up and get out so quickly. Instead of buying a home so quickly, we were pointed towards a great opportunity to rent a home in a wonderful neighborhood in Athens. It is quite larger and nicer than we are used to, but the Lord directed our steps to this place. We signed a year's lease and will reconsider our options for buying something next summer.

- WORK - The interns of the 2010-2011 school year arrive on Monday! We have nearly 75 interns serving with us this year! Intern Training is one of my favorite times of the year - I often can barely sleep because of the anticipation and excitement of each day. It is a great and crazy mixture of fun, worship, wildness, good teaching, and wonderful community. UGA students begin on Monday, the 16th, and our first big service of the year will be on the 18th.

- OTHER STUFF - Deborah and I celebrated 9 years of marriage on the 28th of July! Our anniversary dinner was a culinary journey at the Woodfire Grill in Atlanta. Kevin Gillespie, a Top Chef finalist, is co-owner and head chef there. We did the five course tasting menu, and it was out of this world. Below is a description of each course:

Five Course tasting menu:

- Chef’s treat #1 – amuse-bouche – local carrot, pickled beets, Moroccan spiced aioli

1. 1. Local glazed carrot, applesauce smear, German style red cabbage

2. 2. Olive oil poached shrimp, golden raisin tapenade, crispy fried eggplant donut

- Chef’s treat#2 – amuse-bouche – heirloom tomato with pickled cucumber relish

3. 3. Berkshire pork belly, fire roasted okra, sweet corn puree, local fire roasted glazed quail, roasted tomato vinaigrette

4. 4. Sous-vide and smoked lamb loin with Yukon gold sauce, braised pistachios in beef broth, pickled mustard seeds

5. 5. Blueberry and cornmeal cake with blueberry ice cream, white chocolate ganache, and sweet corn sauce, blueberry syrup, with crumbled cookies on the side

- Chef’s treat #3 – 2 chocolate truffles

It was fabulous - I mean, FABULOUS!!!!!

clay for the kirklands