Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Well, I thought I'd let you know that Hannah was able to deliver her address at school today, and everything went well. We may have to color her hair again when it is able to handle it, but for now, all is quiet. Thanks for praying with me for my daughter. She has stepped out in a spiritual leadership position, and I do believe that perhaps there were forces at work that didn't want her to be able to share in chapel this morning. By the way, our youth pastors, Jake and Jennah, showed up with their son (who also had a birthday yesterday) for Hannah's chapel today. Is that great, or what?! They will probably never know what their presence and encouragement meant to her (or the countless other youth they love and serve daily), but she will carry that memory always in her heart, feeling that she was special enough to them that they would find a way to be there for her. Thanks Jake and Jennah for showing God's love through your love.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

15th Birthday and Red Hair

Today is Eric Barrington Larson's 15th birthday! He was born at 4:59 PM; my doctor had wanted us to wait until after his work day was over to have Eric so he wouldn't have to cancel patients, but sometimes you just can't wait! :-) We love you, Eric, and thank God for the man you are becoming.

Tonight, I find myself proud of my oldest daughter, Hannah, for how she handled herself in what many other teens would believe an unfair situation. I have seen her Christ-like attitude, her acceptance of her responsibilities, her respect for authority, and her desire to bring God glory.

It all seemed so simple, really; my daughter and some friends decided to add red highlights to their hair. She had dyed her hair red before, and we had no problem with it, so we weren't concerned at all. When she came home, however, we were surprised (as was she) that the color turned out to be so bright. It was RED alright!

As some of you know, she attends a private school with a dress code which stipulates that hair cannot be dyed an "unnatural" color. Now, I personally know, because I teach there, that there have been other girls who have come to school with colors in their hair which were obviously not "natural." However, they haven't been the Chaplain who has to stand in front of the entire student body every week, so it hasn't seemed to be much of an issue!

After being "dress-coded," Hannah went to our hairdresser to try and fix the situation. She then ended up with pink and orange hair which they tried to cover with a darker color. When the darker color was washed out, her hair had a slightly purple hue in certain lights. She wasn't sure how this would go over at school, but our hairdresser said that Hannah shouldn't dye it anymore for at least a couple of days because it would cause too much damage.

So, this evening when I got home from Back to School Night at 9:00 PM, I found my slightly purple-haired daughter at the computer, crying and typing out an apology letter to the school administration, staff, and students. She was crying because if they don't accept her hair color, she won't be able to deliver the theme for the entire year of chapels at school tomorrow. She has worked so hard on the theme for the year, the verses that she felt the Lord wanted for the student body, her power-point presentation (which has great graphics, by the way), and her "speech." She is afraid that she won't be able to give it, and she will have to have someone else read it for her. Her heart is crushed because she has been praying and preparing for this for weeks.

Her letter made me so proud because she owned what she could own; she asked for forgiveness; she accepted whatever consequences would be coming her way; and she did it all with the utmost of humility and respect for those in authority over her. I know that she doesn't agree with it all because it does seem unfair that others haven't been called for the very same thing, and she (and we) don't think that is something to focus on. (As an aside, when Dave and I were in youth ministry, we always said we would never make hair color an issue in our home because we saw some Christian families filled with division and anger over such a non-eternal thing. I find it ironic that due to her school rules, not our rules, it has become a BIG issue in our home right now.) I know that many students dye their hair to shock people or to be rebellious, and hence the dress-code, but that wasn't her heart in doing it. Hannah graciously accepted her responsibility for being in a leadership position, and is handling the entire thing wonderfully. My heart treasures that my daughter is handling this situation on her own and doing it with such a Christ-like attitude, even though it has upset her so much.

That's what is going on in the Larson home this evening. I'll let you know what happens. If you think of it, please pray for her tomorrow as she finds out whether or not she will be able to speak in chapel.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Video Sunday -Understand by Jeremy Camp

Tonight I'm posting a video by Jeremy Camp who happened to be at the Harvest Crusade here in Turlock on Friday night. I'm too tired for much commentary, so I'm sure the words to this song will minister to you much more than my words here.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Time Article- Mother Teresa

I read an article in the newspaper this morning that mentioned Mother Teresa, and it said that letters and journal entries that she had written were being published in a new book that was coming out. It gave an example of her writing and said that she had spent almost 50 years without sensing the presence of God. This was enough information to intrigue me, and then I received our Time Magazine in the mail today, and who should be on the front cover? Mother Teresa, of course! The headline reads, "The Secret Life of Mother Teresa," and the secondary headline reads, "Newly published letters reveal a beloved icon's 50-year crisis of faith."

I quickly turned to the article (you can read it here) and realized that there were so many interesting thoughts that I couldn't read it without a pen to underline portions of it, so I put it aside until this evening. As soon as the I had some free time, I sat on our living room sofa and read the entire seven page article. I did underline portions of it because I found it powerful. I mean, how many people in the world don't know about Mother Teresa? She was a Nobel Peace Prize winner, she started the "Missionaries of Charity" organization serving the poorest of the poor in India, and her death in 1997 was a world news-making event with world leaders from over 50 nations in attendance at her funeral! Quickly there was talk of making her a saint, and so far she has been beatified; the next step is canonization. The Time article had a subtitle that read, "A decade after Mother Teresa's death, her secret letters show that she spent almost 50 years without sensing the presence of God in her life. What does her experience teach us about the value of doubt?"

Doubt - that's a word that Christians don't want to place on themselves because they know the verse in James that says,"the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind." James 1:6 We good Christians never doubt that the Lord is with us, do we? The word, doubt, means: "a feeling of uncertainty about the truth, reality, or nature of something; to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe; to distrust." With that definition, I know I have had times of doubt. What about you?

In speaking of the "dark night" of Mother Teresa's soul, the author of the book said, "[Mother] Teresa found ways, starting in the early 1960's, to live with it and abandoned neither her belief nor her work. [The author] produced the book as proof of the faith-filled perseverance that he sees as her most spiritually heroic act.

The Lord has brought the term, perseverance, to my attention many times lately. Have you ever been sensitive to something, and the Lord keeps bringing it to your attention because He's telling you something? Well, Mother Teresa's life exemplifies perseverance. Mother Teresa had asked that her notes, journals, and letters be destroyed, but the church overruled her wishes. And I believe that perhaps God will speak just as powerfully through her notes of doubt and her life of perseverance in the face of that doubt.

Mother Teresa told a Reverend in 1979 that "Jesus has a very special love for you. [But] as for me - the silence and the emptiness is so great - that I look and do not see, -Listen and do not hear." Oh my friend, have you ever been there? Have you ever shown up at church and smiled your Sunday smile, all the while thinking that Jesus has great love for others, but as for you, are not seeing and not hearing, and you're wondering if any of it is even true? There have been times when this has been true of me. I'm sure some of my journal entries arn't too far off from this letter of Mother Teresa's which says, "Please pray specially for me that I may not spoil His work and that Our Lord may show Himself -for there is such terrible darkness within me, as if everything was dead." I personally have had times of such terrible darkness of the soul that I've not even been able to pray. I have had to ask Dave to pray over me because I can't even form the thoughts or words to pray, and even if I could, I question whether it even makes any difference. Have you ever felt like that?

Towards the end of the article, there is this quote from James Martin of Jesuit Magazine: "Everything she's [Mother Teresa's] experiencing," he says, "is what average believers experience in their spiritual lives writ large. I have known scores of people who have felt abandoned by God and had doubts about God's existence. And this book expresses that in such a stunning way but shows her full of complete trust at the same time." He takes a breath. "Who would have thought that the person who was considered the most faithful woman in the world struggled like that with her faith?" he asks. "And who would have thought that the one thought to be the most ardent of believers could be a saint to the skeptics?" Martin has long used Teresa as an example to parishioners of self-emptying love. Now, he says, he will use her extraordinary faith in the face of overwhelming silence to illustrate how doubt is a natural part of everyone's life, be it an average believer's or a world-famous saint's."

So, perseverance is what Mother Teresa's life exemplifies, and that's what the Lord is teaching me in many ways. "Keeping on" is of great value to God and His kingdom. Those who don't follow Jesus should wonder how Christ-followers keep going in the face of struggle, illness, doubt, financial issues, etc... I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am to keep on keeping on, even when it's not fun or glamorous, even when others don't understand or approve, even when my reputation takes a hit, and even when I don't believe it! God sometimes works best through those moments when we've said we can't go on.

I currently have many quotes that I use in my classroom from Mother Teresa, so I know I will be interested in reading this book. I encourage you to please check out the article and let me know what you think. Does the article encourage you and your faith, or make you question? Do you identify with anything Mother Teresa went through, or can you not understand the "dark night of the soul?" Let me know your thoughts.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Of Cleats and Such

It happened. Today, I utterly failed one of my children, and I had to look in tear-filled little eyes and tell my youngest daughter that the current situation was all my fault. We were sitting there on her closet floor looking eye-to-eye - she saying that she was sorry she couldn't remember where something was so she was going to be late, and I saying that I didn't come through on my responsibility to buy some equipment/supplies for her. It seemed so simple: youngest daughter needed new cleats for her soccer practice by today at 5:00 PM. Now mind you, I knew she needed cleats since the end of last week, and somewhere in my magical thinking I must have thought they would just show up. Even this morning, I knew I needed to get her cleats before practice. But....sometimes life happens, and in certain moments, it grows into this unwieldy and far-reaching monster.

I left for work today at 7:20 AM and didn't get home until 4:00 PM. My neighbor brought my son home from school, and we were discussing how we would work tomorrow morning's carpool. My son was upset about a project and HAD to show me his papers right then (with much angst in his voice and demeanor). Kari had forgotten that she had practice, so she was doing her homework without a thought in the world about getting ready for practice.

My husband had been in an all day meeting, and when he arrived home (about 4:45 PM), the two of us were trying to brief each other on the big things that had happened. All the while, the phone was ringing, and the kids were buzzing in and around us. Then in the middle of a sentence, it hit me....."It's 4:55, and my daughter isn't dressed, and I haven't bought the cleats, and her coach said the kids were NOT to be late!"

If you know my youngest (a driven, anxious, Type A girl), you will understand that when she realized the situation, she was in agony. She took her coach's words seriously (and the coach surely looked serious when she said them)that the girls were to arrive early for practice so that when she (the coach) stepped on the field at 5:00 PM, they would be ready and waiting. (I know soccer should be fun, and it will be when they actually start playing, but Kari is the new girl on a team that has been together for a while, so she doesn't really feel she belongs. Therefore, she is even more driven to do everything perfectly.) Anyway, Kari wasn't dressed, didn't have her bag packed, didn't have her water bottle, and most importantly, she didn't have any shoes to wear! She started frantically searching for her soccer socks, and of course, they were no where to be found. Then, in her anxious struggle, she couldn't find her shin guards. She felt the pressure to be dressed and at practice in exactly five minutes which was impossible because we hadn't even been to the store to buy her cleats yet.

And this was the moment when I felt that I had utterly failed her. I knew how important this was to her. I saw her crumble against her closet door, crying, taking all the responsibility for the situation on herself because she wasn't dressed and couldn't find her shin guards. She kept apologizing for moving her shin guards to another place and forgetting where she had stashed them. As plump, round tears rolled down her hot cheeks, she apologized for not putting her water bottle in the refrigerator last night.

To be honest, it felt like my heart was literally breaking inside my chest. I sat down in front of her and told her that it was my fault, not hers. I knew she had practice, and I forgot to remind her after school; I didn't manage my time well to make sure I got her where she needed to be in time; I didn't get the cleats last weekend because we had two birthday parties and school starting, and I just didn't think it all through; I let the busyness of a school afternoon take precedence over something that was of utmost importance to my daughter. And now she was paying the price. I sat there not really knowing what to do next. I knew that it really wouldn't work for her to get to the practice late because there would be a price for her to pay publicly before the team, and it just didn't seem fair that she would have to carry that when it wasn't her fault. Not to mention, at the first practice, we had to tell her coach that she would miss the second practice because we had scheduled her birthday party for the same day and time before getting the soccer practice schedule. So, my youngest already felt she let the team down and even more so now. For my daughter, that was the crushing weight caused her to crumble in front of me.

I know things happen. I know I've made plenty of other mistakes and will make some whoppers in the future. I know I'm not perfect, and I can live with that. But when failure to plan on my part so affects my child......well, that hurts me deeply.

But then........I had a few quiet moments because Dad stepped in and took her to get the elusive cleats, I sensed that the unexpected free time that missing practice would provide was exactly what we needed. Sometimes, we just need to breathe, to be, to step outside of the craziness and realize that we should be in control of our activities, not the other way around. As a result of our afternoon meltdown, priorities changed, and I became aware of the holy in the common. I didn't cook dinner tonight, but I did help my son with his project. We didn't have my daughter's cleats, but we did re-assure her of our love. My daughter had some one-on-one time with Dad, and she was able to finish her homework. We were all home (even the two high-schoolers!), and that in itself is a comforting thing. Everyone went to bed on time (except me, of course), and tomorrow is a new day filled with all of the grace and mercy that we will need. I am so thankful for God's promise that He gives strength to us, and blesses us with peace. (Ps: 29-11) I will sleep with a sense of peace tonight because in the midst of the chaos, He is with us and His grace is sufficient. O, how I thank Him for His faithfulness!

Monday, August 20, 2007

School has started!

Well, today was the first day of school for four of us here in the Larson household. I think the hardest part of the day was dealing with the onslaught of papers that needed signing, packages of information that needed to be read, and supplies that needed to be purchased after the first school day was over.

My classes went well, and I am excited to get to know some new students. I had the current class of eighth graders last year, but I have two new classes of seventh graders, and if today is any example, it will be a great year. (Of course, they are seventh graders, and they are a little afraid the first couple of weeks. :)

I have had many thoughts seeping through the borders of my consciousness the last couple of weeks, but they quickly dissipate with the plethora of activities that take place in my life during the month of August. Being sick, on top of the busyness, has had an effect on my ability to get a few moments in which to post anything on here that would be worth reading. (I know this is hardly worth reading anyway! :) However, I do want to say that God is at work in powerful ways, and I am marveling at His desire to want to show up in our lives when we are surrendered to Him. I am thankful for the work that only He can do, and I'm blessed to be along for the ride.

By the way, I haven't been posting about the "Fast and Pray" Wednesdays lately, but I am asking you to join with me this Wednesday as it is the last one before the Harvest Crusade. Please continue to pray that we would be ready for all that God wants to do, and that Holy Spirit would draw hundreds, if not thousands, to the Lord this weekend.

Believing with you, Gena

Friday, August 17, 2007

I finally made it in to the doctor today; thank the Lord! I've been sick for the better part of three weeks, but with the miracle of antibiotics I am sure to be on the mend.

I started back to work this week and have put in some full days. My room is now cleaned (remodeling took place over the summer so there was dust galore to clean off everything), decorated, and organized. I was able to meet some of my students today at the "Eagle Expo," which is the day the students get their schedules, locks & lockers, P.E. clothes, and books. I was scheduled to have a student aide, and horror of horrors, I found out her schedule was changed, leaving me without help! Thankfully, another student had signed on by the end of the day, so I should be okay.

So, I'm sure you are able to see why I haven't posted this week; illness and work have sapped my strength and energy. I'm headed to bed now for a good night's sleep because tomorrow we celebrate Kari and Eric's birthdays with our families.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sometimes You Just Need to Laugh! :-)

Nothing makes me belly-laugh like a baby with the giggles! I thought for Video Sunday, we could all use a good laugh, so watch this:

Book Title and Burned Biscuits

There's been a couple of comments on Mary's blog about the title to the book, Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture. It seems that perhaps some people might be put off from reading the book because of the title. Most comments, including mine, mention that perhaps it is the term, "postmodern," that is the cause of some confusion or ambiguity. I mentioned in an earlier blog that Mary does a good job of defining the term in her book, but I'm wondering, "What thoughts come to your mind when your read that title?" Does it seem like a book you would be interested in? Why or why not? I just thought it might be interesting to read what some of you are thinking.

Also, feel free to ask any questions you might have for me. You can always check on my profile and email me if you feel that you wouldn't want to leave your question in a comment.

Tonight, David and I went with my sister and her husband to the Westside Theatre in Newman to see the bluegrass musical group, Burned Biscuits. I know the name is weird, but the group is very talented, and they had some really cool t-shirts for sale. (I didn't buy one, however.) There was also an opening band called Scott Gates and the Pacific Ocean Bluegrass, and they had a nine year old girl who played the mandolin and sang (yes, that's right.....9 years old!), and she was great. It was worth going just to see such talent in that little girl. For me, bluegrass is fine in small doses, so although the talent was great, tonight was just enough to tide me over for a while. :-)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Authentic Parenting-Part 4

Hello everyone!

If you'd like to read an excerpt from the book, click here.

To purchase, click here. I think you'll find that it is a pretty quick and thought-provoking read, so you'll want to underline as you go along. I thought I'd give you glimpse into a couple of the thoughts that I underlined while reading:

Page 42- "So through the jumble of parenting in a shifting culture, cling to Jesus' simple truth. Seek His kingdom. Trust. Dare not to be anxious. Point your children to the life of Christ residing dynamically within you."

Page 53- "A friend of mine has a dear son named Jacob who lives with a brain injury. The few times I've seen him, I have met pieces of Jesus. (Gena here: that is just a GREAT sentence!) He understands the gospel in a simple way yet more profoundly than I ever will. [His mother, Jeanne,] shares stories about him on her blog....."The most remarkable thing about Jacob now is his faith, which radiates from him with such intensity one can only wonder what fellowship he shared with his Father during those months of darkness.....I sensed God speaking to my heart and asking me what I wanted most for my children. I answered, "That when they stand in Your presence, You will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." God reminded me how Jacob's faith touches so many. It was as though he said, "Jacob is my good and faithful servant. I'm satisfied in him. I want you to be too." As parents we aspire to great things for our kids. Jacob taught me to keep my eye on the one most important goal."
[Author Mary DeMuth again] That's what bothers me about all the pontificating. It's as if we've lost Jesus in the midst of our very intellectual discussions about postmodernity. We've divorced ourselves from modern tradition, from Scriptural authenticity. But instead of being anchored, we float around discussing paradigms and community and mystery. We use lots of really smart words to define Christianity. We make it appealing to thinkers while Jacob flings his arms heavenward and simply adores his Saviour.

Page 192- If I were to summarize the way most of us parent our children, I would have to say this: We primarily parent-and dare I say live our lives-to reduce pain and increase properity. We protect our children from the radical call of Christ because, to be honest,truly following after His kingdom messes with our plans. It's difficult. Painful.....But as Bonhoffer says, "When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die."

Page 211 - To worship God is a profoundly countercultural task because it deals a decisive blow to our selfishness.

Page 214 - So much pressure exists for parents to produce perfect children that we unwittingly pressure our children to follow harder after rules than after Jesus.

Meet Mary and read her crazy blog here.

Authentic Parenting-Part 3

As promised, today I'm sharing an interview with Mary DeMuth.

Mary, aren’t there already a bazillion parenting books out there? Why did you feel the need to write this book?

Yes, I do believe there are a bazillion. I always struggle when I write a parenting book because I feel so darned small and weak. I don’t parent perfectly. But, we did live through two and half years in France, the hotbed of hyper-postmodernity. We had to learn how to parent our kids in that culture. It occurred to me that the things we learned would be helpful to American parents too.

Briefly, what does the term postmodern mean, and why should it matter to us as parents?

Postmodernism is the waiting room between what used to be a modern worldview and what will be. According to several postmodern scholars, we’re in a shift right now, leaving modern ideas behind, but what we are shifting to is not yet fully defined.

Postmoderns believe that rationalism and/or more education doesn’t necessarily create a better society. They typically don’t embrace the notion of absolute truth, though they reach for the transcendent. They are skeptical, and often question whether science is something to be embraced or feared.

The question for parents is how will we mine the current worldview, even as it shifts? What in it can we embrace as biblical? What is not biblical? What I’ve seen in the church is a fearful adherence to what is familiar. So we cling to modern ideas, even though they may not be biblical and shun postmodern ideas even when they might be biblical. Our children will meet this shifting worldview no matter what our opinion of it is.

How can we as parents help our children prepare for the world outside their door?

Become a conversational parent. Talk to your kids. Listen. Share your story.
Dare to believe that God has much to teach you through your kids. Be humble enough to learn from them.
Create a haven for your kids, an oasis in your home that protects, supports, and gives kids space to be themselves. Take seriously the mandate that you are responsible for the soul-nurturing of your children.
Teach your children to joyfully engage their world, while holding tightly to Jesus’ hand. Teaching this comes primarily from modeling it in your own life. Do you engage your neighbors? Are you more interested in God’s kingdom than your own?
Admit your failures openly with your children, showing how much you need Jesus to live your daily life.

You are the first to admit that being authentic might require a parent to apologize after an angry outburst. I know I've had to do that a time or two. Are you saying that authentic parents don’t always have it all together as some would like to think?

Yep! We are all frail, needy humans. If we present ourselves as perfect parents, never failing, always doing this correctly, we show our children we have no need of Jesus. We also set up a standard of perfection—that to be a Christian, one has to be perfect. This can lead to our children creating elaborate facades or hiding behind masks. I’d rather have my children see that even mommies make mistakes. Even mommies need Jesus every single day.

You talk about the twin values of engagement and purity. What do you mean by that?

Many parents subconsciously believe that true parenting means protection at any cost. We received a lot of flak for putting our children in French schools because the atmosphere there wasn’t exactly nurturing. Believe me, the decision was excruciating. But through it all, I realized that Jesus calls us all to be engaged in the culture we live in, yet not to be stained by it. That’s the beauty of engagement and purity.

Abraham understood this. After God told him to leave everything and venture to a new place, he obeyed: “From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD” (Genesis 12:8). Oswald Chambers elaborates: “Bethel is the symbol of communion with God; Ai is the symbol of the world. Abraham pitched his tent between the two.” As parents journeying alongside our children through a postmodern world, this concept of pitching our tent between communion with God and engagement in the world should encourage us.

I have my own struggles with postmodernism, but what bugs you about postmodernism?

I happen to believe in absolute truth, so that’s a problem! But more than that, I worry that all our rambling about it, trying to discern what it is, has caused us to rely more heavily on our own intellectual pursuit of God than our heart. When I get caught up in that, I remind myself of my friend Jeanne’s son Jacob, whose heart after Jesus takes my breath away. Living with a brain injury, Jacob throws off pretense as he worships God, arms vaulted to the sky in unashamed heart worship. That’s the kind of believer I want to be. That’s the kind of heart I want. I love this verse: “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). For me, for my children, that’s my prayer, that we’d be simply and purely devoted to Jesus no matter what worldview we find ourselves in.

Thanks, Mary, for your thoughtful answers and your time.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Authentic Parenting-Part 2

After reading the book, Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture - Practical Help for Shaping Your Children's Hearts, Minds, and Souls, I am encouraged and challenged in how David and I are raising our children. I am encouraged because we have lived honestly before our children and have shared openly about our faults and failures as individuals and as parents. In fact, just yesterday I had to tell my son that I haven't parented a 15 year old boy before, so perhaps he could tell me how I might do a better job. (AND I didn't say that in a sarcastic voice, it was sincere! ;-) We had a good visit, and he told me that he needs me to tell him what to do one time and set a time limit for it, and then not to bug him again. Good advice, right? So, I learned from my child, and that's one of the themes from Mary's book - children and parents must listen to one another, be honest and open-hearted with one another, and learn from one another. In other words, we need to have a CONVERSATIONAL APPROACH to life because that will serve our children best as they leave our home and venture out into a postmodern world.

I was also challenged reading this book because I was shown that I have often mistaken protection for parenting. This is such an easy thing to do, and I (and Dave) have done this with the best of intentions. Like many parents, we want our children to know the truth of Jesus, but we haven't allowed them in many situations where they've had to rely on that Truth. I want my children to absolutely love the Lord Jesus with their whole hearts, and to know their need of Him, but I've unwittingly put up barriers to that by my protection of them that was mostly motivated by fear. I don't think I'm alone in not fully trusting God with my children. We say that we've given our children back to the Lord, but we try to control so much of their lives that we are showing them (and the world) that we don't trust Him with our children.

Another thought: the term "postmodern" is thrown around a lot these days, and Mary does a good job of defining what that means. I appreciated her definitions and examples of modernity and postmodernity. She accurately points out that because our culture is shifting (not our need for Jesus or the absolute truth of His word) "and most of postmodern thought is a reaction against modernity, we're (parents) are better off if we simply try to follow Jesus in the midst of the change as we love our children." (page 26) Isn't that how we all desire to live? We want to "engage as a family in people's lives in such a way that beckons them to Jesus Christ without sacrificing our family to the world system." (page 28) Mary tells us how we can better do that.

I thought today I'd share from the back cover of the book. It says:

Tired of trite answers about family life? So are your kids.

Your children are growing up in a world that's different from the one you knew as a child. In this postmodern culture,people are discovering and living out truth in radically new ways. Mary DeMuth highlights the pitfalls of this new worldview and demonstrates how you can use its strengths to enhance your relationships with your children and prepare them to genuinely live out and effectively communicate the good news of Jesus Christ.

With her own imperfect family life as an example, Mary reveals the helpfulness of...
-engaging your kids in conversations instead of issuing ultimatums
-seeing your children's behaviors as windows into your own spiritual life
-coaching your children instead of lecturing them
-modeling the transparent, authentic lifestyle you want for your kids
-demonstrating a life of thankfulness, creativity, and service

Find out how you can use this new way of thinking to cooperate with God's work in your family and in the world.

Gena here again: Tomorrow I'll post an interview with Mary that I think you'll enjoy. Remember, we're all on this journey together, and we need to learn and grow together. I cannot be all that God designed me to be without you, and neither can my family be all that God designed us to be without your family. I am honored to be a part of God's family along with you.

Blessings to you all!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Authentic Parenting

I'm reading a book right now called Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture, and I find that the author's words and premise resonate within my spirit as a Christian parent. I asked to be a part of the blog tour for this book, so I will be posting more about it as the week goes on. If you are interested in the book or the author, visit Mary's helpful and fun website here.

You can check out the other blogs participating on the Authentic Parenting Tour this week. For a complete listing of the blogs participating in the six week tour, visit here.
Almost Hypergraphic
Audra Marie
Blogging for Writers
Camy’s Loft Coming Home
Good Word Editing
Heather in Madrid
Lexical Light
Mother Inferior
Pattie’s Place
Portrait of a Writer...Interrupted
Seedlings in Stone
Spoiled for the Ordinary
They Hang Like Paper Lanterns

If you are interested in purchasing the book, you can click here.

Please check back this week to learn more about my thoughts on this book. I look forward to sharing with you what I am learning and thinking.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Pictures from Colorado

Well, I finally was able to load some pictures onto my computer so that I can get them up for you. Let's see if this works! :-)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Kickin' It in Colorado

We are having a wonderful time here in Colorado. Today, we went to downtown Boulder (Pearl Street) to meet up with Dave's cousin and her family for a quick tour/walk and a delightful dinner. We met them at the downtown outdoor mall area, and within minutes, Dave's cousin had us walking on a tree-shrouded, dirt-packed path beside a beautiful stream. We visited while we hiked, and I felt like we got to know her and her family better. We've not been able to spend much time together through the years, but we've always kept in touch through our annual Christmas letters, watching the kids grow up from year to year in the family photo. At least now when her kids get our Christmas letter, they'll know who we are! :-)

Yesterday, we met Nate, Heidi, and Dalin Lindskoog yesterday for lunch. They were gracious enough to drive up to Boulder, and we drove down from Loveland, to meet up at a new outdoor shopping area. We visited all through lunch (Dalin was a trooper!), and then we visited some more outside at a small kids play area. It was HOT, but in the shade with some ice water, it was manageable. It was so good to hear how they are doing, and what God is up to in their lives. God has great things in store for them, and we're excited to see what unfolds.
We were also able to connect with Ben, Kim, Jacob, and Megan Kemper in Highlands Ranch (below Denver) on Sunday evening for dinner; it was a great meal, by the way! We were able to see their home, walk around the neighborhood (trying hard not to be envious of the view), and visit and laugh together. It was wonderful to see them in their new surroundings, and if I had the pictures on my computer, I'd post them here for you to see. (I've got to get better at getting photos on here, but one thing at a time, right?)

We are staying with our friends, Gary and Jodi, in Loveland, at their beautiful home. They have been hosts-extraordinaire, spoiling us with great meals/snacks, tours, and good conversation. Dave and I have enjoyed spending this time with them, as they have been a special part of our lives for years. Gary was actually my boss when we lived in Fresno, and he and Jodi blessed Dave and me many, many times through my years working for them. Gary has also been Dave's "MacWorld" buddy for years now. Every January, except for this past year, Dave and Gary head to San Francisco to attend the MacWorld convention together. They are both MacFreaks! Just kidding, maybe! :-)

On Sunday, before leaving for Ben and Kim's home, we took Hannah up to Estes Park for the GMA Music in the Rockies Conference that she is attending with her band, Mathom House. Poor girl, she had to go to the Michael W. Smith concert that night. By the time all is said and done, she will have also seen (heard) Rebecca St. James, Shaun Groves, Aaron Shust, Mark Schultz, Sandi Patty, Tammy Trent, Natalie Grant, Brian Littrell, Sanctus Real, and many others. She is attending workshops during the day, and then they have these great concerts each evening. I can't wait to hear what God has spoken to her heart while she's been there. It is a fabulous opportunity for her to explore various aspects of music/creative arts ministries, and she called tonight to say she's having a great time. I knew she would!

We'll be back in time for church on Sunday. We were able to visit another church this past Sunday (Dave even made it to two churches), and although we love to visit other churches (to check out all that God is doing elsewhere), it's just not the same as being at New Life.

Oh, by the way, my cousin had her baby on Sunday, I hear. Congratulations to Jack and Megan on the birth of their son, Hayden Christian! I can't wait to meet him!