Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I Can't Be Frustrated After Reading This Email!

I know that I am not posting AT ALL on this blog anymore. That doesn't mean that I don't have things that I want to share; it simply means that there is no time for me to sit down and produce half-way thoughtful posts. Facebook allows for quick updates, so that's where I find myself most of the time.

However, I received an email today that I thought I'd share. The back story? I ordered Dave a Road ID bracelet for his birthday. A Road ID bracelet lists his name and other important info (emergency phone numbers, etc) so that if he were to get hit by a car or pass out (God forbid) while biking or running, the emergency personnel would know who he is. Most runners don't carry their wallets with them (for obvious reasons), so if they are incapacitated in any way, emergency crews would have to list them as a "John Doe."

Anyway, long story not-s0-short, we gave Dave one for his birthday. I ordered it online, and the projected ship date was 10/6/10. Well, today I received the following email from the company. It made me laugh so much that I couldn't be frustrated with the fact that Dave's gift won't be shipped until 10/20/10 - a full two weeks later than the projected. :)

Here's the email -

Hello Gena:

Sometimes...we're not as smart as we think we are. Now, is one of those times. Allow me to explain:

When you placed your order on 09/21/2010, we told you that your items would ship on 10/6/10. Unfortunately, we are going miss this deadline. The delay is directly related to an inventory shortage. I know what you're thinking, "Don't you guys have systems and people in place to make sure this type of thing doesn't happen?" The answer to that question is "yes." But, we screwed up anyway.

Please trust that we are working hard, and doing everything we can, to get your order out the door as soon as possible. We now expect to ship your order on (hopefully before) 10/20 (2 weeks from today).

I know this is a significantly larger delay than you bargained for. I can't apologize enough.

Again, we are now quoting a 10/20 ship date...but we hope to be able to ship your order before then.

We pride ourselves on exceeding our customers' expectations. I know that we have failed in this instance. With egg on my face, I humbly apologize for the delay and hope that you can forgive us.

On a lighter note, we haven't fired our inventory manager. His job is secure and so is he. By secure, we mean that he's tied up in a broom closet, drinking leaky ceiling water.

Be safe out there; and let me know if you have any questions.


Edward Wimmer
Road ID

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Entitlement VS Exposure

Wow! It's been a while, hasn't it? I guess I post most of the day to day Larson happenings on Face Book now, but I've been re-thinking that lately. I don't think I have the courage to totally drop FB yet, but I'm working on it. Too much to keep up with, if you ask me (which you didn't; just thought I'd put in my two cents worth!).

I came across the following article today, and I just thought that is was really solid and sound information, and Oh. So. True. If you are married and have the time, please check it out. I really believe that every person considering marriage should be required to read this.

This comes from a blog called "Simple Marriage," and you might want to subscribe. Not every article relates to where I am specifically, but I haven't found any advice that I don't agree with at the site. So, please give yourself a couple of minutes to pop over to the Simple Marriage site, but if you don't have time, I've included the article below.

Entitlement Vs Exposure (Click link to go to this article on the Simple Marriage website.)

The Difference: Entitlement vs. Exposure

If you’ve read Simple Marriage for a while, you know that I believe marriage is design togrow us up.

Our growth is the result of the pressure this relationship puts on us. Pressure to both chart our own course in life and be our own person while at the same time pressure to connect with our partner and enjoy the benefits relationships offer.

Many people fall victim to believing marriage is about happiness.

That you will meet your soul mate, fall madly in love, have a romantic wedding then be swept off into a rose petal covered existence together for the rest of your life.

This Hollywood version of marriage is everywhere … in the movies.

Real life … a different story.

Marriage is not about happiness (although there are times of happiness within the relationship), it’s about growing up. And this all starts at the beginning of the relationship and the beliefs you bring into it.

There are two basic attitudes you could have going into a relationship:

  1. An attitude of entitlement, or
  2. An attitude of exposure.

Here’s the difference between the two.

An attitude of entitlement believes, “I choose you because you complete me, make me feel secure and good about myself and you make life better for me. I can expect you to meet my needs, take care of me, and make me feel better about myself than I do now. Being in relationship with you is the best thing for me because of what you provide for my life.”

An attitude of entitlement leads to an expectation of reciprocity, “I gave to you so now you owe me something in return.” Or, “I’ll tell you about me, but only if you tell me about you. If you don’t, I won’t either. But I want to, so you have to. I’ll go first and then you are obligated to disclose too: it is only fair. If I go first, you have to make me feel secure because I need to be able to trust you.

There are many marriages that fall into this category. In these relationships, this attitude is actually a source of frustration, but they don’t realize that it’s this attitude that is causing the frustration. Instead, the spouse is blamed and seen as the cause of the marital issues.

An attitude of exposure says, “I choose you because my relationship with you is one that will expose my personality quirks, character defects and my immature ways of relating to others. This exposure is not the result of anything malicious by you, instead it’s the natural result of our committed relationship. And in this relationship I will have the opportunity to see myself in a light that I seldom do and/or have spent most of my life running from. But if I am willing to look at and address what our relationship exposes about me, I can grow up and mature into more love and passion than ever before.”

An attitude of exposure is not a natural response or view of relationships – BUT IT’S THE BEST WAY TO GROW UP!

Instead of seeing marriage as a place where you are completed, a person who is growing sees marriage as the one place that your incompletion is exposed.

The only other relationship that will expose your incompleteness to this degree is the one with your children.

So, what do you do with these two different attitudes?

First, you must own up to which attitude is yours. This takes some guts and some courage, but it’s worth it. Then second, you then confront life and marriage’s conflict in drastically different ways, depending on which attitude you choose.

If you’re driven by an attitude of entitlement, your main approach to conflict in marriage is: What is wrong with my spouse? And, What is it about my spouse that needs to change so I can experience relief and comfort? You can easily see how Nice Guys and Pleasers fall into this category.

On the other hand, if you go into a relationship with an attitude of exposure, you’ll approach issues and problems by asking: What is this situation exposing about me? And, In what ways do I need to change and grow in order to be able to more effectively love both my spouse AND myself?

Moving from one attitude to the other is a marker of growth. It is also the best way to begin to blow the roof off your marriage’s potential.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Very Generous Father's Day Gift

My husband received one of the most generous father's day gifts this year. It is a one-of-a-kind gift that took much love and sacrifice on the part of my daughter who gave it to him. Unless you know the background, you really can't appreciate what a gift this really is. Here's a picture of it:
And here's what it says:

"To David,
I am your loving daughter Kari. I have decided that the best thing I could give to you for Father's Day was a coupon. Now, you are probably wondering what the coupon is for. So, continue reading.

I hereby give David E. Larson permission to dance to the song Alejandro by Lady Gaga in front of me in public or in private 25 times. Each time you do it, I have to mark a number.

Kari E. Larson 6/20/10

1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25"

Don't kids come up with the best things ever?! This will make me smile for years to come, as will Dave's dancing. ;)

Monday, June 14, 2010

For the Love of All Things Beautiful

Yes, I'm willing to use my blog to have another chance to win a giveaway taking place over at Remodelaholic! I love Lisa Leonard's designs and have entered giveaways before; maybe one of these days I'll just buy me something instead of waiting to win a contest! :) Lisa has a blog you might want to check out, also.

I'll let you know if I win! :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

End of the School Year Update!

Well, it's officially summertime here at the Larson home. Yay! Can't tell you how good that feels! There were so many events and parties at the end of the school year, so the easiest way to catch up is to show you photos of the events. If you happen to be my friend on facebook, you've already seen these.

First of all, at Kari's 6th grade promotion, she was awarded the "Hope of America" award from the Kiwanas Club of Turlock. It is an award given to one sixth grade student who demonstrates leadership skills, academic accomplishment, good character, and civic responsibility. In this picture, her principal (far right) is announcing why Kari was chosen for this award.

Good sixth grade friends who will be headed to junior high together.
Only the best sixth grade teacher EVER!
And then of course, there was Peter's 8th grade promotion ceremony. It happened to be raining that day, but thankfully, the rain stopped right as the ceremony began and started again as soon as it was over. Couldn't have been timed better! Here he is walking in to the ceremony.
Pete and Grandma Larson
Proud Mama!
Proud Papa with the graduate.
Good buds!
And of course, the BIG graduation in our family was Eric's from high school. Here he is after he received his diploma (along with congratulatory hugs from our neighbor/board member and various faculty). Oh, yeah.
So proud of this child of mine! Love, love, LOVE him!
Eric with the Larson grandparents who both graduated from Turlock High. Yep, there's been three generations of Larsons who have graduated from THS. Grandma Larson even sang the alma mater along with the students and Grandpa Larson made sure to wear THS blue. :)
Grandpa Ed and Grandma Lynda were able to use two of the nine tickets Eric received to attend the graduation with us.
Couldn't have imagine 17 years ago that we'd be standing at a graduation ceremony with such a tall, handsome young man - so very proud of him. Looking forward to seeing him fulfill the Lord's purposes for his life as he continues to grow in Him.
Eric, you are a wonderful son and we couldn't be happier or more proud to call you our own! We pray that as you begin this next chapter of your life that you will seek the Lord with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and that you would follow Him and His ways. Listen to His voice directing you in the path He has for you. YOU are a gift to this world, and your adventure has only just begun.

We love you with everything we are, Dad and Mom

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Let's see, events last week included: Senior Grad night for our son at The Refinery Youth Group, a job on Tuesday for me out of town, our youngest daughter's band performance, our oldest daughter's choral performance, providing part of a meal that our small group served to the homeless, a trip to the divisional finals in Sacramento for our son, a bridal shower for my cousin, a graduation party for our son at our home, baptism Sunday with approximately 35 people being baptized, and attending a grad party for the son of some friends. And this coming last week of school promises more of the same. Oh, it's all good stuff, but there's just SO MUCH good stuff!

Yeah, I'm tired.

And you know what happens when I get tired, really tired? I start to see things through melancholy eyes. I find it harder to handle things, and I'm a little harder on myself than I probably should be. I begin to feel that I am sliding down into depression.

I begin to look at so much of my life and think that I just can't keep up. I can't keep up with all the people that I should keep up with (family, friends, neighbors, church members). I can't keep on top of my kid's schedules. I can't keep up with my household and family responsibilities. I can't keep on top of my job. I often can't even keep up with my thoughts that are going in a hundred different directions.

Yes, it's that haunting "all or nothing" mentality that I struggle with. If I can't keep up with everything at the level with which I think I should, then I just begin to shut down. And right now? I'm in shutdown mode.

Why do I tell you that? I'm not really sure. Maybe it's because I often have people tell me that they don't know how I do it all. Maybe it's because I'm trying to justify why I'm not keeping up with stuff. Maybe it's for sympathy. Maybe it's because I want those who struggle with the same things to know that they are not alone. Whatever the reason, it feels risky sharing with the world that I'm struggling, even though I've vowed to try to live my life authentically with my Lord and with others.

So, tonight, I need to get to bed. I need some sleep, and then I need to spend some time in the peaceful and renewing presence of the Lord. I know that those two things will help me to regain my proper perspective and will revive me. He has promised that His strength is sufficient for me, so tonight I am grateful for that promise. HE will carry me, and that's exactly what I need.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Locks of Love

I realize that I don't post much here anymore. Mainly, it's because more people see what I post on Facebook than ever stop by my good ol' blog. However, I know there are a few of you who aren't on Facebook (gasp!), so I'm posting some pictures of Kari and her donation to Locks of Love.


No turning back now!

J. did a great job with Kari's hair. She's my sons' favorite hairdresser, and now I think Kari's pretty happy with her, too!
Kari loves to climb on top of Grandpa's work truck. On this day, she decided she should make a bed for herself up there.
I love this short-haired girl!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

You Matter!

Do you know that you matter at New Life Christian Center?

That thought came to me today while I was thanking God for the good gift of His people that He's placed here at New Life - this family who seeks to glorify Him in all that we do. As we are gearing up for Servolution, I see so many of you stepping out to serve in radical ways. Today, as more and more people signed up, I just looked in wonder and thankfulness at the blessing of being a part of this family.

We all long to matter, to make a difference, to belong to something bigger than ourselves. Many of you who call New Life Christian Center your church home have come to an understanding of who Jesus Christ is for the first time after hearing of His love for you and discovering your need for Him as your savior. You chose to place Him on His rightful throne in your life. You chose to become a part of His family and this church because you realized that this was a place where you mattered and could make a difference. And some of you came to New Life because you moved into the area or had been previously disenchanted with what you saw in organized religion. You ventured in to this new family to see if maybe there really was "new life" to be had; if there really was a reason for you to be placed on this earth; if there really was a place where people not only said they believed in Jesus Christ, but they lived it out in radical ways.

You matter at New Life Christian Center because there is a mission that we are to fulfill here in this valley. If you have been called to be a part of this family at New Life, then you have a part in it. Thank you for choosing to live out your faith with us. Truly, I can't imagine being a part of a better group of Christ followers than those of you who call New Life Christian Center your home and your family. Dave and I are so blessed.

To all of you who serve in hundreds (wait, make that thousands) of ways here at New Life,
"THANK YOU!" Because of your love for Him and your willingness to live out your faith in the nitty-gritty of life, He is at work in mighty ways here and in this valley!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Why Truth is Beautiful - by Mary DeMuth

Mary DeMuth is an author and her Inside Renewal monthly ezine contained this article that echoes what those of us at retreat caught a glimpse of. Number eleven specifically talks about taking off masks (the theme of this year's retreat). Even if you didn't attend the retreat, I think you'll benefit from what Mary shares. I agree whole-heartedly.

If you are interested in her blog, you can click HERE, and if you're interested in her website, you can click HERE. You might remember my blog posts about her book, Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture, (Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, Post 4)but she has also written many fiction books. You can check all that out at her blog.

Why Truth is Beautiful.

I've had a flood of reader mail, which has really blessed me. It occurred to me that honest, authentic writing changes folks. Truth, raw and redemptive, sets people free. Culled from my inbox, here are twenty reasons why Truth is beautiful:

  1. When we tell the truth about our stories, others don't feel alone anymore.
  2. When we share our foibles in light of God's truth, we realize we are small but God is big.
  3. The beauty of redemption shines all the brighter on a dark canvas. (So saying it like it is doesn't negate God's intersection, it highlights it.)
  4. Telling or writing the truth frees us and others from the people-pleasing trap.
  5. When we share our stories, we give others the chance to grieve their own in an open way. Truth opens up emotions we once thought buried.
  6. The truth, when written humbly, shines the light on people's sins in an invitational, grace-oriented way.
  7. Truth helps us be accountable to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
  8. Truth obliterates the power of sin in my life when I share it.
  9. Being an authentic communicator invites others into shared community.
  10. Writing or telling the truth makes us real and it strips us of a performance-based Christianity.
  11. Truth rips down masks (in the best possible way).
  12. When we point to truth, we remember that Truth personified is Jesus.
  13. When we speak the truth in love, we show a friend that we genuinely care. We're willing to risk a temporary lapse in relationship for the sake of our friend's better good and holiness.
  14. Telling the truth is spiritual warfare. Since Satan is the father of lies and speaks lies as his native language, truth-telling renders him speechless.
  15. Truth is refreshing.
  16. Truth is contagious. When you share it, you invite others to follow you. You can start a revolution of disclosure.
  17. People trust a truth teller.
  18. If you're passionate about something, being truthful endears you to your audience. They trust what you're saying and are more apt to join you in your passion.
  19. Telling the truth is safe. You don't have to worry about contradicting yourself or trying to remember who you told what to.
  20. Being a truth teller helps you look yourself in the mirror and not be ashamed.

What about you? Why, in your opinion, is truth beautiful? (And why are lies destructive?)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My Other Blog

Some of you might not know that I occasionally post on my other blog, Express Yourself with Uppercase Living. So, although it seems that I don't post often (well, that's actually true), I do post on both blogs. I just thought you might want to check it out. Also, you can become a FAN on my Uppercase Living Products and Projects page. I'd love to see you there!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I Wish........

I found the following courtesy of "The Organizer Lady." I family had this memorized and lived this out! :) If you are blessed enough to have young children, start training them NOW! I know it seems hard, but believe me, it doesn't get easier when they are older!

In Our Family

  • In our family, we make our beds before we leave our room in the morning.
  • In our family, we put dishes into the dishwasher, not the sink.
  • In our family, we put what we need the next day by the front door the night before.
  • In our family, we don't drop our things when we come in the door. We take them and put them where they belong.
  • In our family, we put dirty clothes into the hamper as soon as we take them off.
  • In our family, we take responsibility for completing the chores assigned to us.
  • In our family, we don't complain about our responsibilities.
  • In our family, we always flush the toilet immediately.
  • In our family, we put up toys, games, tools, and stuff we are using immediately.
  • In our family, we don't leave things out just because we plan to get back to the project later.
  • In our family, we wash, dry, fold, and put up our clothes as one continuous job.
  • In our family, we make sure all trash goes into the trash basket.
  • In our family, we keep our closets and drawers neat.
  • In our family, we use the team concept. Each person does his part to support all.
  • In our family, we are willing to help others where necessary because we are a team.
  • In our family, we talk kindly to each other.
  • In our family, we think ahead to solve problems before they happen.
  • In our family, we pay attention to maintaining beauty.
  • In our family, we push our chairs up to the table when we leave.
  • In our family, we strive to complete projects and clean up expeditiously.
  • In our family, the person who uses the last sheet of toilet paper puts new roll on the roller.
  • In our family, we value each other and the contribution each makes.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Sometimes, our world is rocked in a moment. Sometimes the wind is sucked right out of us. BUT.....I know that I know that I know......that God is with us even in these moments.

Being a pastor's wife, I get more than my fair share of times when I hear of an individual or family that has just experienced something earth-shattering. Life will be forever different from that moment on. I pray earnestly. My thoughts are focused on that person or family no matter what else I may be doing at that time. I start thinking of ways that I might be able to help; a meal, childcare, a hug, a prayer. Tonight, I find myself in one of those times. I must hold on to the promise that God has said He will never leave us or forsake us.

As I find myself in one of those "sometimes" moments tonight, I stumbled upon a blog that literally made me cry. Perhaps I am more prone to tears because this is a "sometimes" moment, but if you have a few minutes, I think you would appreciate this mother's raw and honest description of the birth of her precious daughter.

You can go HERE to read "Enjoying the Small Things" blog post.

**God, you who knows the beginning to the end, I thank you that you are in control, even when everything around us can seem so out of control. Amen.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Servolution 2010

Wow! I can't believe that we are gearing up for our third annual Servolution which will take place on May 1, 2010! In case you missed the summary of last year's event, here's the video and some stats. You know you want to lead a team this year that makes a difference in our community for His Kingdom, so contact me to sign up as a team leader. You won't regret it; I promise.

Here are some results from Servolution 2009 in Turlock, CA.

1300+ volunteers
120+ projects
500 grocery baskets given away
117 people given health screening
300 people visited our resource fair
73 haircuts given
1800 hot dogs consumed
70 people gave blood in our blood drive, and
Approximately 15,000 man hours of work donated.

THAT is love in action!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes!

Check out my book!

I am looking forward to going through this new book (You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes and other Great Advice from an Unlikely Preacher's Wife) with our staff wives. It is written by Lisa McKay of "A Preacher's Wife" blog fame.

I am always quick to share what a blessing it is to be called together with my husband to serve as pastors, but there are some unique things about being pastors that one just can't understand unless you've been called to walk that road. That's why it's always good when the staff wives get together; we can be a safe place for one another and we can celebrate and commiserate together. I know this book will spur some great conversations among us!

If you are interested in giving this book to a pastor's wife that you know, you can go the LifeWay Website or to purchase it. You can also enter a pastor's wife you know to win a giveaway by visiting HERE.

Oh, and now that we staff wives have been given permission to wear cute shoes, we are open to shopping with you fashionistas out there who have undoubtedly seen the state of our foot apparel. :-)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Winter Formal

THS Winter Formal
January 2010

Just thought I'd share a few photos from a fun night with a great group of kids.

First, Eric is ready and waiting, and therefore, subject to his Dad making him pose for a picture.
Sweet kids - Eric and Kerstyn
Putting on a wrist corsage is a rather easy thing to do.
Pinning on a boutonniere is not so easy. So, I pinned it on Eric's shirt..........
and then we just had Kerstyn pretend that she was pinning it on Eric's shirt. :)
That situation cracked them up!
Already having a fun (or should we say a "funny") time.
Great friends.
The whole gang!
After dinner out on the town, the group decided that they didn't want to arrive at the winter formal right on time, so it was our house for a little Apples to Apples - along with cookies and milk. Dessert is always necessary, right?

Good kids + some fancy clothes + dinner out + games + a fun formal = a great time.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Looking Back

Can I just tell you how thankful I am for photographs? Really. I just downloaded a boatload of photos from my camera, and believe it or not, I had forgotten some of the events already! So, I thought I'd add a few pictures as a way of catching up here at the ol' blog. (Facebook has changed my blogging habits as I'm sure you've noticed. I just don't have time for EVERYTHING!)

Anyway, I'll start with some of those strange, random photos that showed up on my camera. I can usually figure out who took the picture based on what it is. Let's see how you do at guessing who was behind the lens.
Picture 1
Yes, I think Pete must have taken this shot. To be honest, there were about 90 photos of stop-motion photography. When I scan through the iPhotos quickly, I can see the action take place! It was pretty cool, but photo by photo, it's not so interesting and it sure takes up a lot of room in iPhoto!

Picture 2 - Can you guess who took this one?
Yes, I'm sure the girliness of this picture helped you figure out that it was taken by Kari. She had created this masterpiece after doing the dishes one evening. She's a little artist, anyway, so I guess it was just natural for her to find something to create out of the dishtowels. It was fun to find this on the camera. I love the suckers for the mouth, the bubble gum for the nose, and tootsie rolls for the eyes. :)

There were many other photos, too, but I'll spare you the randomness of them all. I then found photos of the Cousin Christmas Sleepover. The Tuesday before Christmas, we had all the cousins spend the night (well, one had to leave early because of her job; that's what happens when the kids start getting older), and we had a great time. Between myself and my two sisters, we have ten kiddos, and I happen to have the oldest two kids and the youngest two kids. My sisters were busy during those four years between Eric and Peter! :) They had six kids in four years! I guess that must seem ridiculous until you learn that my youngest sister had triplets. We are all so blessed! Anyway, I digress. Here's some photos of those crazy cousins.
The white elephant gift exchange was quite fun. The kids had to bring something that they already had around their house that they weren't using. Kari shows off her sunglasses.

I'm not sure which gift the kids are laughing about here.

My nephew received a lovely dishtowel that had a painted girl on it with a crocheted dress sewn on. This happened to be something we had (I can't imagine why I didn't use it!), and it was from Brazil. You know how crazy those Brazilians are! The funny thing is, when you lift up the crocheted dress, they had painted panties on the girl! Quite interesting (and funny if you are a teenage boy)!

And then, my niece received a grass skirt and maracas; you can never have too many maracas, you know!

The cousins had fun playing Apples to Apples.

Sssshhhhh.....don't tell anyone that two high school boys had fun coloring some fuzzy posters from the white elephant exchange.

The living room becomes one big bed with wall to wall cousins. My older two are getting more finicky though; they decided to sleep in their own beds. :)

Yes, it's hard to wake up the kids after they've been up having fun most of the night!

Yes, cousin sleepover provides fun times and great memories. I feel so blessed that our kids get to grow up together. I realize that not everyone has that luxury, and I don't take it for granted. I'll never regret the effort and HUGE amount of food it takes to have everyone over.