Dennis Ellingson has served as a pastor and as a professional counselor. He continues to minister through a number of venues. He also is a speaker and presenter on the subjects of herbs, grand-parenting, and the Old West.
Dennis is married to Kit, a professional photographer (who took many of the beautiful photographs in God’s Wild Herbs). They are the parents of two grown children: Todd, who is married to Lori; and Wendy, who is married to Rob. Dennis and Kit also are grandparents and find this the most rewarding of their accomplishments and experiences.
The Ellingsons reside in Southern Oregon and are the owners of the “God’s Healing Herbs” research-based herb gardens. He is known as The Herb Guy on Facebook, where he shares healthy-living tips and devotional thoughts.
Dennis is the author of three Cladach titles:
A Conversation with Dennis and his wife, Kit
Tell us something about how the two of you met.
Dennis: I was born and raised in Oregon, and Kit lived in New London, Connecticut. I met her while I was serving in the navy in her hometown, in 1969. It was “love at first sight.” We married in 1970.
What would people be surprised to learn about each of you?
Dennis: People are usually surprised to discover that, though we are now Christian pastors and counselors, we had a pretty wild youth.
Kit: Some may be surprised to hear that I am a recovering or “reformed” alcoholic, celebrating well over twenty years of sobriety!
Does your ministry involve working with children and teens?
Dennis: Since becoming Christians and getting involved in the ministry we have had a heart for children and teens and have worked in many different types of programs and situations on their behalf.
What are the greatest rewards in working with youth?
Dennis: There is nothing more personally satisfying than seeing a child or youth become a Christian adult and take their place in society as part of the solution rather than as part of the problem.
Kit: It is such a blessing to be involved in the lives of children.
As grandparents, how do you pass down your hobbies and skills to your grandson?
Dennis: We are hands-on grandparents who want to involve our grandson in our daily activities: helping in the garden, going hiking, going on fishing trips, assisting in the ongoing ministries of the church and even helping put together food boxes for the needy at Christmas time.
Kit: Our grandson, Randy, loves to put on his boots and overalls and join Pa in the garden. The two of them love to see just how dirty they can get. Randy wants to be involved in every aspect, not just watching.
Why do you think it’s important to have a presence in the lives of your grandchildren?
Kit: I think a sense of security is an important result of the positive presence of grandparents in the lives of children. I never felt secure while growing up, and it was always something I longed for.Dennis: As mentioned in The Godly Grandparent, it is the idea of nurturing. Someone is going to nurture the children. Be it good or bad, positive or negative; nurturing will happen. We want to be a strong positive force in that process. We, as people, are a culmination of what others put into us.
When is the parenting/ grand-parenting role finished?
Dennis: Never. Even though my grandparents have been gone for many years, their loving presence in my early life still affects me today.Kit: I agree; never.
Do you think godliness is more “caught” or “taught”?
Dennis: I think both. I remember being taught, which I wasn’t always excited about. Examples of godliness often played a bigger role. I caught on to the lives other Christians lived just as much as taking in their teaching.
What has surprised you about being a published author?
Dennis: That I could actually achieve such a thing (and do it three times!) and that God truly gives us the desires of our hearts.
Do you have any advice for parents of young children, especially those who want to reinforce the values set by the grandparents?
Kit: Remember that children see and hear a lot more than you may think they do, and those things have an impact on their lives. Take them to church; involve God in their lives.
Thank you for visiting with us so openly and encouragingly, as you also do in your books.
Listen here to a KTLF Radio interview with Dennis and Kit on the subject of Christian grand-parenting