Sunday, March 30, 2008

Love in Action!

I know, I know......I haven't been very faithful in keeping up on my posting, but it's been vacation time for all of us here in honor of resurrection day!  We've had a simply wonderful week: we've enjoyed a GREAT get-away day with all of the staff and their families at Gilroy Gardens, we've relaxed in the mountains for a couple of days, and I've been able to get a couple of cleaning projects done.  It's been a good and relaxing time!

If you attend our church, you've no doubt seen the signs, bulletin inserts, video, banner, and sign up tables for Servolution.  I am on the planning team, and we are so excited to see God work through our body of believers at New Life to bless our community.  In short, Servolution is "Love in Action" in our community; as you know, words are cheap, but actions speak loud and clear.  It is our prayer that many will experience the love of Christ through our love and service to them.

If you haven't signed up yet, you can CLICK HERE.  If you have questions about what Servolution is and what we will be doing, you can check the Servolution FAQ page.  I encourage everyone reading (which by the way, some of you need to de-lurk!) to sign up to serve alongside of us.  You won't regret it.

We have all kinds of projects that we will be doing that day, so there's a place for everyone to serve.  We encourage you to serve with your children ages 8 and older.  (Childcare is available for those 7 and under.)  We desire to serve our community not as a strategy, but as an act of love.  You can be a part of it, and I know you won't regret it.

Also, we are in need of projects and project leaders.  If you know of someone we can serve, or if you are already a part of a small group, neighborhood group, etc... and would like to lead that group in a project, just let us know.  There is a "Contact Us" link on the Servolution website ( for you to use.

I consider it such a blessing that God has allowed David and me to serve in a church body that is so sold out to radically loving and serving others.  Seriously, you guys (and gals) are some of the most giving and loving people I have ever had the privilege of serving with.  I am excited about what God wants to do through us as we live for HIS glory!

Oh, and by the way, "de-lurking" is the bloggy term for leaving a comment to let the person know you are reading his/her blog.  It is considered polite to leave a comment when you begin reading a person's blog so that they have some way of knowing who's out there.  I know some of you live in mortal fear that someone else will know you are reading, so feel free to send me an email if you'd like:  gena (at) newlifecc (d0t) com

Okay, I'm outta here.  It's time to get ready for the new week, so blessings to you all!

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Well, I did a new thing this Easter weekend; I attended all four Easter services!  Let me just say, I LOVED EVERY ONE!  I met many of your family members who came to church with you for Easter; thank you for that honor!  I saw God at work in each service, and I discovered that even though Dave speaks four times, each time is slightly different, so I felt I learned something new at each service.  I prayed multiple times throughout each service, and I felt that I could almost explode from the pure joy of people deciding to come running home to Jesus!  HE is so good, and all glory and praise belong to HIM!   

Oh, and by the way, when Dave was describing his perfect day (waking to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, having it brought to him, having all the time in the world to read the paper, etc....., I (along with many of you) thought he was hinting at what I should be doing for him!  :-)  Actually, he may have been hinting, but I am blessed because HE often gets up and makes coffee, brings it to me on a tray with the newspaper, and encourages me to take time to read and relax.  I'm blessed, I know.

This Easter weekend was filled with mixed emotions as two of our church family members had funerals for loved ones.  However, in some ways, it seemed most appropriate that their family members' funerals were during a season when the resurrection Sunday reminds us of the hope we have through our risen Savior who has conquered death and given us eternal life with Him.  The knowledge that our loved ones are with Jesus and that we will see them again brings comfort in the midst of incredible grief.  I thank God that He is our comforter and that he knows our pain.

On Tuesday, we are off with our staff and their families for a day at Gilroy Gardens.  We take all the staff families somewhere on the Tuesday after Easter each year as a thank you for ALL the extra work they do to prepare for Easter.  I am so looking forward to our time together.  We are blessed with the best staff, and we love each one so much.  It is wonderful to see all of our children having fun together, and we love the chance to simply "be" with each other.

Well, my children are wrestling in the living room, and I await the crying that is sure to ensue.  You all know how it starts off so fun, but inevitably someone gets a little too rough and doesn't know when to stop, and it's all downhill from there!  And usually, I know exactly which child will be the one to turn all the fun around.  Do you have that "one" in your family also?  ;-) 

Friday, March 21, 2008

Our Guest

My last post reminded me of a poem by Edgar A. Guest.  When I was in high school, I was given an old leather volume of his poems, and I memorized one for an English assignment.  Since that time, I've had a soft spot in my heart for his poetry; it is folksy and simple.  Many years ago when Dave and I were in an antique store in Pacific Grove, I found a volume of his collected verses published in 1934 and I bought it. Guest died in 1959 after writing more than 11,000 poems and having over 20 poetry volumes published.  An interesting aside, his niece, Judith Guest, wrote the best-selling novel, Ordinary People.  Edgar A. Guest was called "the poet of the people."

Anyway, as I originally was saying, my last post reminded me of Edgar A. Guest's poem, "Our House," so I thought I'd share it with you.

Our House

I like to see a lovely lawn
Bediamoned with dew at dawn,
But mine is often trampled bare,
Because the youngsters gather there.

I like a spotless house and clean
Where many a touch of grace is seen,
but mine is often tossed about
By youngsters racing in and out.

I like a quiet house at night
Where I may sit to read and write,
But my peace flies before the tones
Of three brass throated saxophones.

My books to tumult are resigned,
In vain my furniture is shined.
My lawn is bare, my flowers fall,
Youth rides triumphant over all.

I love the grass, I love the rose,
And every living thing that grows.
I love the books I ponder o'er,
But oh, I love the children more!

And so unto myself I say:
Be mine the house where youngsters play.
Oh, little girl, oh, healthy boy,
Be mine the house which you enjoy!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

How to Know Where Grace Lives

I was looking through my collected quotations tonight (for journal starters for class), and came across these sayings. I thought I'd share them with you. May your home be where grace lives.

How to Know Where Grace Lives

* All the neighborhood kids want to hang out at the house where grace

* There is always enough for one more where grace more for more to sleep more more kiss.

* You can see people dancing where grace lives.

* You can hear things like, "Please forgive me, I was wrong....You are my

* The eyes of the children where grace lives shine with joy and anticipation. They have not been wounded by impossible expectations. They have not been distanced by rejection. They have been embraced and accepted and loved.

* The moms at the houses where grace lives are just regular, everyday moms,
but God lives inside them. By His power, they are becoming holy and righteous
and good. They stumble but recover quickly. They make mistakes but say, "I'm
sorry." They get blown by the winds of heartache and adversity, but their hearts remain tender toward God.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Miracle Worker

I just returned from seeing "The Miracle Worker" at the Fallon House Theater in Columbia. I LOVED IT! I took Kari and a friend, along with Dave's mom, to see this Sierra Repertory production because Kari had just finished reading the book for her book report. The play received good reviews, and after seeing it, I would say the reviews were right on. The woman who played Annie Sullivan, the teacher who worked with Helen Keller, was fabulous! And let me tell you, the drama was a very physical one for the individuals who played Annie and Helen. If you have any free time this weekend, I know you would enjoy seeing it. I had also never been inside of the Fallon House Theater, and it had so much character! The only problem for the younger children is that the floor is not sloped that much at all, so it was difficult for them to see some of the action on the stage. I also loved the sets which feature beautiful manzanita branches and a twilight sky behind them.

On our way to the theater tonight, we stopped in Sonora to have dinner and we saw a group of men from Monte Vista Chapel having dinner. One of them, a friend, came up to say, "Hi!" because I hadn't seen them. This group had headed to the hills early this morning to ride their bikes before heading to the men's retreat at Silver Spur tonight. These men live for the Lord and it was good to see them out doing something fun together. I'm praying God blesses them all during their retreat, and that the Lord will be with their wives and children this weekend.

Dave returned home from his conference tonight while I was at the play. We just spoke for only a few moments because he's worn out, but tomorrow I know we'll go on a walk or a drive to catch up with one another. I'm excited to hear what he learned and what was confirmed in his heart.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Marriage Book Resources

Since I mentioned a few posts back that I would list some of my favorite marriage books that I've read through the years, I thought I'd better follow through! I have a tendency to get side-tracked; can you tell?

Anyway, today I will share three books (besides the previously mentioned For Women Only book by Shaunti Feldman) that I greatly benefited from.

The first is Love and Respect. David and I were blessed to hear Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and his wife speak at a pastor's conference soon after his book came out. I think it was one of the best marriage teachings I have ever heard. We bought the book right then, and truth be told, we both read it in a couple of days. Both of us felt that we learned things we didn't know before that would definitely help our marriage be better. I don't know of anyone who's read the book that hasn't thought it was a book to help new habits be born. Sometimes we just have to learn a new way to communicate. I love that he shares a word picture that is easy to relate to: men hear through blue (male) earphones and women through pink (female) earphones. Sounds fundamental, doesn't it? However, when you read this book, I think you'll agree that we, as women, overlook this very real fact most of the time. I found out that I was doing and saying some things that came across to Dave as disrespectful even though that wasn't what was necessarily in my heart. And I was surprised at how small some of the things seemed to me, and yet, they were very hurtful to him because he has an innate need for respect. Women respecting men is counter-cultural in our society right now, but I know that I am commanded in the Word to respect my husband, so it benefits me to learn how to better do this.

Another book, Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas, was also a very informative read for me. The subtitle says it all, "What if God's primary intent for your marriage isn't to make you happy . . . but holy? And what if your relationship isn't as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God? Wow, now that really flies in the face of what we're told about marriage today. If we're not happy (so the secular notion goes), then surely God is not glorified, so it's okay if we get out. Now, I'm not saying that if a woman is in an abusive situation that she should continue to stay, but there are lots of Christian marriages ending for non-scriptural reasons.

A third book is called His Needs, Her Needs (subtitle: Building an Affair Proof Marriage) by Willard F. Harley. I haven't read this for a few years, but I remember thinking that it was a good book.

In speaking of all three of the above books, I realized that I don't have a copy of any of them in my home at the moment because they have all been lent out at some point to someone, and I don't for the life of me remember who has them. If you are reading this and remember that you have a copy of one of these books, feel free to let it "fly away home." But, just as quickly as the books might find their way back into my house, I know they'll be gone again soon because I have a hard time keeping books to myself!

I pray for my marriage continually, and I hope that you are praying for your marriage as well. I remember the saying that "the biggest detriment to a 'great' marriage is a 'good' marriage." I think that's true. I pray that you are not stuck in a good marriage, but that you will be able to experience a great marriage. Nothing worth having comes without much work, sacrifice, and perseverance. Keep praying; keep believing; keep working and learning. A Christ-centered, growing marriage can bring glory to God, and even though my marriage isn't perfect (and never will be because two imperfect people are in it), we continue to choose to put the Lord first in our individual lives and to look out for the other's interests. I pray our lives and our marriage bring honor to the One who continues to mold and fill us.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Jigu! Thunder Drums

I had a surprise in my email inbox on Thursday evening; I had won tickets for me and my family to see Jigu! Thunder Drums at the Gallo Center! Now I can never again say I haven't won anything. Actually, I couldn't say that before because I did win a cute lunch box on one website and a book on another, but those don't hold a candle to the Gallo tickets! The contest asked for the number of tickets we would need, and I debated on whether to put "6" in the number box. I mean, who would give away SIX tickets to the Gallo?! Well, I decided to be honest, and I received what I had asked for!

We had a great time: the Gallo Center is beautiful, the show was entertaining (no falling asleep during this show!), and it was a memorable, FREE evening for my family! :-)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Bibles and Burlap

I arrived home a couple of hours ago from our church's women's retreat. I had a wonderful time, and I felt so absolutely blessed by the women who attended. I was blessed by the women who were able to ride up (and back) with me, the women who were in my cabin (Go Cabin 6!), the other women who attended, and by the speaker. I met some incredible women that I had not previously had the privilege to knowing, and I caught up with some others that I am not able to visit with very often.

I was blown away by the love and acceptance I felt between us all. I love it when God shows up and speaks to us about things we weren't even aware that we needed to address. He is so good! Life is not easy and hurts are many and deep. As I looked around the meeting room, I was honored to sit in the presence of so many courageous and beautiful women. I am so proud to know that they are a part of "my" church family and that they are walking the hard road of surrender and obedience. You all ROCK, and I am praying that you all continue to allow God to pour His spirit on you and through you. I specifically wish you could see how beautiful you are! I was humbled, challenged, inspired, and convicted through your stories and testimonies.

I heard there were a couple of midnight (or perhaps a little later) expeditions involving flashlights and burlap bags. There may even be an incriminating picture or two floating around. Just know that I pray for all of you delinquent souls ;-), and I am here to provide a model for you to follow.

Let's remember all that God spoke to us, and let's live out the Love that He poured over us. Love to you all!