Easter 2016

God is good, life is full….and I only seem to be able to get one post out every other year. However, God’s grace in the past couple of years has been amazing!

Here are a few glimpses of grace from the last 2 years:

In January 2014, my sister Cindy had surgery for breast cancer and began her journey of treatment which involved chemo and reconstruction. As of today, she is feeling stronger each day, no evidence of cancer, and we praise God for healing grace. One day after Cindy’s surgery, our brother-in-law, Steve, had surgery to replace a chunk of skull that doctors had to remove in Nov 2013 following a subduralhematoma. We praise God for sparing Steve’s life and for the remarkable recovery he has had! During that same time, my mom was diagnosed with osteomyelitis of the jaw, was on medication and waiting to see if she would need surgery.  She has now gotten this word from her dentist: “Prayer works…You are a miracle…the bone looks great!”

In May ’14, Jacob graduated from Bethel, and later that year landed a great new job. Yay!

August 7, 2014 Avery Virginia was born! What a sweet, delightful gift of grace! We found out a few weeks later that Avery has cystic fibrosis, a hard diagnosis, but God’s grace is sustaining us all, as we look to Him, our Great Physician.

November 2014, I went to the Philippines to deliver gospel-film-producing equipment, Bibles and other resources to pastors, and to teach women how to study the Bible inductively.

In December 2014, we gathered as a family in Colorado the week before Christmas.  We rented a house inWinter Park, on a dead end street, bordering a national forest…BEAUTIFUL!! One night at dinner, we went around the table and shared highlights and “lowlights” or challenges/hard stuff. What a special time, to laugh and cry together, thanking God for His goodness and grace even in the most difficult circumstances.

2015 highlights and lowlights:

  • January- Avery had to have surgery to remove a mass in her sinuses, scary but resulted in much easier breathing and feeding.
  • May- We finally closed on our house in Austin after 5 years of a roller coaster of “sold/not sold” and God showed us that this process was not about us but about trusting Him for what HE was doing in not only our lives, but lives of others that we met in the process.
  • August- Avery turned 1! We are so thankful that God is sustaining and growing her, in spite of the rough patches.
  • September- We sold and moved out of our Mounds View townhome (put everything in storage) …  and were grateful to move in with Suzie and Steve for 2 months.
  • October- Trip of a lifetime to Israel. Incredible, amazing privilege to walk where Jesus walked!
  • November- We said a sad, final goodbye to Sammy, our beloved golden retriever. Oh, how much we miss him! Moved into our new home in Blaine and welcomed the whole family for Thanksgiving a week later.
  • December- quickly unpacked some more boxes and got the house ready for a fantastic Christmas houseful! The Denver Larsons were in MN for about a week, and we packed in all kinds of fun family time.

IMG_89852016 so far:

I have taken on a new full-time position at Bethlehem, Interim Director of Women’s Ministry, and praying for a smooth transition to 3 part-time, campus-specific Ministers for Women.

Benjamin turned 4!! He loves Legos, reading and  attending their neighborhood school, Stedman.

Avery is almost 20 months old (check our Ali’s blog here)  and is a very busy young lady, learning all kinds of new things each day. She keeps mom and dad on their toes!

Matt is working for Medtronic, in a new position that helps track their technology that is currently in use by providers. Ali has her own photography business that is flourishing.

Our “great-grand puppies” were born in January to David and Emma’s dog, Wilson. They will be keeping one puppy, and one, newly named “Dakota,”  will be going to Denver to be a therapy dog for Avery as she goes through treatments each day.

David will be graduating from UND Medical School in May, and has just “matched” for a 5 year residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN for ENT (Ears, Nose & Throat.) Emma plans to keep teaching tennis and they are purchasing their first house.

Sara has stepped into a new job at 3M, at the same time finishing her Master of Science in Management of Technology. She graduates in May,  and she and Dave are also purchasing their first house.

Jacob lives in Robbinsdale, helps lead youth at Eagle Brook Church and enjoys his work with Creek Ridge Capital. He and Sara ran the Twin Cities marathon together last Fall.

 

Benjamin Willys Larson!

Welcome Benjamin!

What a privilege to finally hold this dear, sweet boy in my arms!

I flew out of Minneapolis around 11am Saturday and arrived at the hospital with time to spare.  (I took the Super Shuttle from the airport and the rest of the passengers, upon hearing that I was on my way to the birth of my first grandson, convinced the driver to drop me off first!)

Ali was resting comfortably when I got to the room, and we had a relaxing couple of hours visiting with Ali’s dad, Chip, and Arlene, Amber and DJ. At 4:00pm we all headed to the family waiting room while Ali and Matt began the final phase of labor.  After 3 hours of pushing and trying to re-position Benjamin (he was trying to enter the world sideways), the doctors decided it was best to deliver him via c-section. The next hour seemed like an eternity while we waited anxiously, praying and pacing the hall, hoping to hear any minute…

Finally, we heard the great news! Our little sweetheart arrived around 8:00pm on January 7, 2012, weighing 7 pounds, 2 ounces, 20.4″ long and a 14″ head! We got to visit briefly with Benjamin and Matt for awhile, and later with Ali. Everyone is doing well, relieved that he is here and safe!

Here is a quote from Ali, posted on Facebook:

Benjamin is here (7lbs 2oz)! Details/pics/blog post (Adventures in Larsonland)  to come as I am currently hooked up to 7 machines, on four medications, and running on 1 hour of sleep in the last 50… been a rough day, but so happy the love of our lives is here to cheer me up:) I love my husband for helping me survive and being such a wonderful partner (& daddy!)

Summer 2011 Updates

In addition to the wonderful news of our first grandson on the way, here is what is going on in the lives of the rest of our kids:

JACOB had an incredible summer of ministry at Camp Shamineau, coming home last week with many wonderful memories and stories of God at work in the lives of the boys he counseled.  A special joy was to have Korey in his cabin group one week.  Korey is the younger brother of Karl, Jacob’s best friend who died of cancer in 1997.  Jacob will return to Bethel this week.

 

SARA graduated from Bethel University in May, moved home with us in June and began a job search.  When 3M offered her a full-time job, she put the pursuit of the MA on hold for the time being.  Wedding planning is just one of the fun activities we have together!  DAVE is heading back to Virginia for his last year of law school, and they are making decisions on where they will live after the wedding in June next year.

 

DAVID is working full-time at Cabela’s and is pursuing a career in medicine, almost making it into UND Medical School this year. (he was the next on the waiting list!)

EMMA completed her Masters in May and is joining the Tennis Coaching Staff at UND, along with her teaching and coaching at the club and working as a manager at Starbucks. WILSON, their lab, is super-excited for the hunting season.

 

Grandson #1 On the Way!

Matt and Ali announced this week that a little Larson boy will join our family in January!  What exciting news!  We are thrilled to be grandparents! We are praying for this little guy already, and for Matt and Ali as Ali wrote this on her blog:

After declining all of the genetic testing for our baby, I somehow decided that it would be okay to get screened for the cystic fibrosis gene – it was a simple cheek swab that would tell me if I was a carrier for this disease or not.  Seemed pretty easy!  The odds of even being a carrier are 1 in 30, so I figured I may as well find out.  With no family history of cystic fibrosis that I could find, I was pretty shocked to learn two weeks later that indeed I was a carrier of the gene (a recessive gene, hence the lack of family history).  I was told not to worry, the chances that Matt had the gene as well were again 1 in 30 (so the chances of us BOTH having it were extremely small), and we both had to be carriers for any child to be born with the disease.  And so, Matt dutifully went in to the doctor’s office, got his cheek swabbed, and waited.
Two weeks later, I got the call from my OB that – odds be damned – Matt is indeed a carrier of the CF gene as well.  Who would have known?  This information was followed shortly with something along the lines of…”this means that your baby has a 1 in 4 chance of being born with CF…”, “keep in mind that there’s a 75% chance that  your baby will be born healthy…”, “some CF gene-carrying parents choose to do IVF for future children so as to make sure the gene is not passed on…”, “I’d like you to make an appointment with a high risk OB just for a consultation…”, and some other stuff that is all a little blurred at the moment.  One in four.  That’s all that kept running through my head.
After many many, many tears, I came home and did a little research about CF (feel free to visit http://www.cff.org) and was happy to learn that many CF kids go on to live happy, generally healthy lives, but sad to read the staggering fact that “the predicted median age of survival for a person with CF is in the mid-30s.”  Wow…

I’m not quite ready to talk about this all that much, but I did want to get my thoughts out there for now (the tears don’t come as easily as when I say it out loud).  Matt and I are both digesting/processing all of this information and praying that our baby, with CF or not, is happy and healthy.  We trust that God has a plan that is bigger than our own, both now and in the future, and that our baby is in His hands for the next five months (and forever).  As a friend was gracious in reminding me, I feel comfort that God is more powerful than me or any doctor.  And as she has offered to pray with Eph. 3:20 in mind (“now to Him who is able to do IMMEASURABLY more than all we can ask or imagine…”), so too do we.  No matter what, we know that he/she will be incredibly loved by the two of us and by the amazing friends and family surrounding us.

This week, Ali wrote:

We are also learning to be grateful in this precarious situation we’ve found ourselves in.  We trust that God is at work in all of this, and despite the unknown future, we are grateful for the little one growing and developing at this very minute.  We are grateful for the lessons in patience, trust, love, and grace that we continue to be learning through all of this.  And though we did not love hearing some of the news at this week’s appointment with the high risk doctor, we were SO grateful to find out the sex of our little peanut early!

May Flowers and Foxes

Along with May flowers, we have all kinds of celebrations happening in our family!

JACOB is finishing his first year at Bethel, wrapping up the studies and choir, and is looking forward to being a camp counselor this summer at Camp Shamineau, near Motley, MN.

SARA is busy applying for jobs, interviewing, finishing her senior thesis, and studying for finals.  Her last Bethel Choir concert is tonight at 7:30pm in Benson Great Hall.  It has been such a joy to have both Sara and Jacob singing together under the leadership of Dr. Dennis Port.  While there will be tears of sadness tonight, we look forward to many more wonderful concerts!  On Monday, May 9 at 8:00 pm, Sara will have her Senior Voice Recital in Benson Great Hall.  We would love to have as many family and friends there as possible!   Baccaaureate is May 20th and Commencement will be May 21st at 4:00 pm.  Sara is graduating with two majors: Biochemistry/Molecular Biology (B.S.) and Chemistry (B.A.).  In addition, she has already begun her Master of Arts in Teaching through Bethel University College of Adult and Professional Studies.

DAVID is waiting to hear from medicals schools and working full-time at Cabelas.  He is gearing up to host a party for…

EMMA is graduating from UND with her Masters on May 14th!  She has had a very busy year of research, writing, teaching at UND, working at Starbucks and teaching tennis. We are planning to drive up to Grand Forks for the celebration on Sunday, May 15th. David and Emma will celebrate 3 years of marriage in July!

MATT continues his work at Medtronic, leading worship at their church and playing in a few bands, but the BIG news is that MAY 30th, Memorial Day, is the JEOPARDY! show…be sure to watch that day, wherever you are!

ALI is working on obtaining her Master in Teaching, and has just received word she will be student teaching in Denver Public Schools, just a few blocks from their house.  Matt and Ali recently celebrated their 2nd wedding anniversary and are planning a trip to Minnesota in June.

BARRY is getting used to his new job, still misses patients and aspects of the old job, but more time to be home has been wonderful!  PAM is loving her new part-time job as Ministry Assistant for Women’s Ministry at Bethlehem Baptist Church and continues her volunteer roles in Vernacular Video Mission International.

We had a fox family move in across the street, and you can view video here.

Merry Christmas from the Larsons!


2010 has been an event-FULL year for our family and we are grateful to God for His grace and mercy in all that has transpired! We began 2010 with a mission trip to the Philippines that was amazing for Barry, Jacob and I.  Shortly after returning, we announced our plans to leave Austin for the Twin Cities.  Barry had accepted a position with Geriatric Services of MN, where he is now caring for the frailest of the elderly in settings where they need to be seen: long & short term care facilities on the north and west sides of Mpls.  We began our move to Mounds View in May, Barry started working in June and I bounced back and forth for a few weeks, and then settled in July.

Jacob (18) ran the 4 X 800m in the State track meet (his relay team crushed the AHS records!) and graduated from AHS in June.  He worked all summer at the municipal pool in Austin, saving up for Bethel University, where he is now a freshman.  He is loving college, especially singing in the Bethel Choir.  Festival of Christmas was fabulous!

Sara (21) is newly engaged (12-19-10) to be married to Dave Merritt!  (son of Bob and Laurie) The date will be announced sometime later.  Sara is a senior at Bethel double-majoring in Chemistry/Biochemistry, is a TA and alto section leader for the Bethel Choir. Dave is in his 2nd year of law school at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and is planning to start his career with Faegre & Benson in Mpls.

David and Emma live in Grand Forks, ND with Wilson, their yellow lab. David (23) works full time for Cabela’s and is applying to medical school.  He and Wilson love to hunt together!  Emma (23) is teaching an undergraduate class at UND and working on her Master’s thesis, in addition to teaching/coaching tennis and supervising at Starbucks.

Matt and Ali live in Denver, CO with Lincoln, their “little stinker”! Matt (27) is employed by Medtronic in the neuroscience division and leads worship at Denver Community Church (DCC) around once a month.  He also plays with Ali’s dad, Chip, in a band.  Ali (29) resigned from her job in mid-2010 to begin a Masters degree in Education.  It is quite a change for her, but she is loving the learning and the challenge.  Ali will turn 30 on Dec 25!!

We are LOVING being closer to our family in the Twin Cities, but miss our dear friends in Austin! We think visitors are fantastic, so please plan to come see us!

If you comment and leave your email, I will send you our new address.

Wow! What a season!


The Austin boys track team has had an incredible season!  I’ve been so busy with getting a house on the market, buying a new house, planning a graduation party and attending track meets that I have not had time to update this blog in a LONG time…sorry.  The guys have been working hard and training diligently, and that effort has paid huge dividends, as they have advance to the True Team State Meet AND three relays qualified for State. Jacob’s 4 X 800m relay posted a 25-year-record-smashing time at the Section meet in Lakeville to advance to State, and at the State meet they broke their own record by another 3 seconds!!   They took third place in State, but the top 5 finishers were within 1 second, so it could hardly have been a closer race!  Here are some links to some articles in the local papers on the team’s accomplishments:

Austin Daily Herald 1

Austin Daily Herald 2

Big Transition Ahead….

The Larsons are in the midst of one of the biggest transitions in our lives….here is the letter that Barry sent out to his patients a few weeks ago:

A very good and gracious God led me and my family to Austin almost 22 years ago and blessed me with the opportunity to work at the Austin Medical Center in a great community.  The largest part of that blessing is each of you, the people I have been honored to know and serve.

In easily the most difficult crossroads of my life to date, I have made the decision to bring to a close my practice at AMC effective this spring.  While many factors of necessity enter into such a decision, primary is changes in my family and the desire to be closer to them in the northern Twin Cities area as they, and I, grow older. 

Words cannot adequately express how much each of you mean to me and indeed how privileged I have been to be a part of your lives.  The trust and patience you have shown, the laughter as well as the tears we have shared are all a part of the precious memories I take with me.  You all helped this kid doctor grow up and were the best teachers I could have had.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I will be joining a somewhat more limited geriatric focused practice in North Minneapolis called Geriatrics Services of Minnesota.  It will be a definite change and new challenge in many ways I am sure.

Thank you for your understanding and I ask for your prayers for me and my family in this transition time.  Thanks for your support of Austin Medical Center and Mayo Health System going forward- your care is in good hands. 

So, there it is! We made this decision with much prayer, and are trusting that God will guide us in the steps ahead.  Barry’s last day at AMC will be May 14, and he will begin his new practice on May 24.  We have begun the process of down-sizing, packing up and sprucing up our home in Austin for a sale after Jacob graduates.  We have also signed a purchase agreement on a new townhome on the New Brighton-Mounds View border. The closing date is set for May 21st, so hopefully we can have a few things moved in there before Barry starts his new job.  There will be a lot of driving back and forth this spring and summer!

We would sure appreciate your prayers for us in this huge transition in our lives!