Monday, July 26, 2010

go green

The result of leaving our two year old buckled into car seat while I walk Jaxon's friends up to their door after a play date. Oops, apparently the markers bag was in reach!! Hey, at least we're going green!?!? :)

When it's hard to worship...

It's been two months since we stood beside our friends while they said goodbye to their sweet little almost 2 year old boy. In some ways, it feels like so long ago and other times the emotions are so raw it feels like 2 hours ago.  As with any tragic experience, they don't tend to leave you very quickly.  Life at our house has, for the most part, gone back to normal.  When you have kids you really have no choice other then to tie your laces up and keep hitting the pavement... you keep going. However, every so often my mind drifts to how my heart has changed since that sweet baby boy died.  Don't get me wrong...I think about it daily, but I don't let my heart FEEL what it wants to very often. I often wonder how our friends are walking through each day right now. I'm not sure I'd want to even get out of bed most days, to be honest. I continue to beg God to bring them joy again and hearts that can sustain through this life until they too can meet their baby boy in heaven.

My heart has been changed and the way I see life has changed. The way I worship has changed too. Worship can be a variety of things for different people. For me it's been a long walk through God's creation, sitting next to the ocean or the mountains and feeling His realness, power, and strength, praying with a close friend, or singing my heart out during amazing worship sets.  Lately, worship has been hard. If you have sat next to me the last month or so in church, I apologize if I make you uncomfortable. Being surrounded by God's words, love, and grace through worship time at church has forced me to face what my heart is really feeling deep inside. And, it often hurts. Lately, if I've run alone on the trails I usually can't get through my miles without at least one good cry and a cry out to God for peace and hope for our friends.  I find myself avoiding running alone and showing up for church late just so I don't have to sit through worship music more then once. What used to be my life line to God is becoming a place I'd like to avoid for a bit, until I can let me heart settle some of this pain.

Realizing this about myself has me asking lots of questions. Will I risk feeling yucky inside long enough to let God bring me peace? What does God want to teach me about myself through this horrible experience that isn't even my own, but our friends? What kind of woman do I want to be that will walk with God as he works on our hurting hearts? Can I find joy in worshiping again the way I used to? How come we have to feel so bad inside to really feel God's love for us? Am I doing all I can to be the mommy and wife God intends for me? How come I feel this anxiousness for my kid's safety in a way I never have? Am I trusting God enough? When will He make good come from this for our friend's sake?

While I let my heart work in an open and close type way, I also am seeing God as SO much bigger then I thought before. I fear God like I never have before. I now understand a bit better how much God wants me to love HIM more then anything else. I am SO thankful for what I do have, despite my undeserving soul. I suppose He will show me back to the way to worship. In some ways it's been the best worship ever when I let myself crack a bit and let Him in and my feelings out, but it also takes an emotional I am sometimes too tired to deal with.

Life is great at the Hansen house. It really is. I just am needing some time to slowly release my heart's thoughts while we keep moving forward. In the mean time, I am going to keep trying to worship... until it feels like joy and freedom again.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

9 years ago...

Wow. 9 years ago tomorrow (21st) I married the man who made me laugh, heard my dreams & fears, sweet talked me, wrote me love notes, helped me, told me I was pretty, took me along on random road trips, prayed with me, read to me, ran errands for me, listened to me, talked to me, served with me, held me, and made my heart pound when he walked in the room.

It has been a wonderfully crazy great 9 years. Sometimes hard, sometimes frustrating, sometimes stressful, sometimes easy, sometimes teary, sometimes funny, sometimes overly happy, sometimes sad, sometimes joy filled, sometimes pain filled, sometimes strong, sometimes weak, sometimes lovely, sometimes old, sometimes new, sometimes surprised, sometimes annoyed, sometimes crazy, sometimes forgiving, sometimes together, sometimes apart, sometimes perfect.  All of these sometimes have made up 9 amazing years of marriage with a pretty amazing best friend.

I have grown, been stretched, and learned so much about us, myself, him, and our life together. I couldn't have asked for a better 9 years with anyone as special as my husband. Happy Anniversary, Babe! Love you, always.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

new website

Our church has a new website! I think it's pretty cool! Check it out... isn't it amazing how we are all so technologically connected these days!?!?


Sunday, July 11, 2010

"summer stuff"

At the end of the last couple spring season's, Jaxon and I have put together a list.  Our list is "summer stuff" that we plan to do together. It is fun to see what he is looking forward to and make plans for things that I want to make a priority.  I started this as just an idea to figure out what he most enjoys doing.  It has become a little tradtion now and we love getting some fun things on our summer to-do list! I can't believe we are half through our list already. We had a breakfast date at Hyvee and he wrote out this list, with very little help from me. We've checked a chunk of the items off, but are looking forward to what is left on there. I love planning things with my children in mind and knowing we have things to do to help us spend time together, have fun, and plant roots within our family. This summer has been wonderful with Jaxon home with Austin and me all day. Pretty sure I was made for "summer stuff" in my life!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I love Vacations!

Have I said I love vacation before? If not... I LOVE VACATIONS! Family vacations is one of my very favorite things we do as a family.  Since we've been married, Dave and I vowed to be sure we took time each year to get away and just connect with each other.  This became even more obvious to us to be done after we had kids. Getting out of town with your family, making memories, exploring the world, avoiding distractions from home, and just bonding. It's great. I love it. Did I say that yet?

This year we drove to the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee! We made a few stops on the way down to visit family & friends and drove straight through on the way home. This year our good friends, Jonny, Katie, and Miss Avery joined us too. SOOO fun! SOOO tired :)  We stayed in a cabin in the middle of no-where and did tons of fun stuff! We did everything from hiking, water parks, amusement parks, aquariums,napping, eating, laughing a lot,date nights, and hanging out. The boys traveled amazingly! never cried once!  Dave did a heck of a job driving the whole time too. (I did offer:) It was good. I think all had a grand ole time.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Congrats, Mom!

This summer marks a great milestone in my mom's life. 10 years ago this summer she finally opened her own shop.  She talked about doing this for a long time and finally she found the spot, some money, and some time to make it happen!!! I'm so proud of her. She turned an old barber shop into a cute little flower & gift shop. For those of you that know my mom you know she is gifted beyond great in the creativity department.  She is full of art, creativity, ideas, and talent.  I obviously missed this gene :)  A handful of her abilities inlcude painting, drawing, flower arranging, scetching, and just simple creativity with random things.  She can take about anything and make it look pretty :)  She is awesome at what she does in her shop. She knows flowers and flowers seem to work for her! She has ran The Farmers Wife in Jesup for 10 years and I know many people have been blessed for it, including her family. We celebrated last week with a little party and served up some yummy pork burgers for the town. It was so fun to see my mom there celebrating. I wish I would have taken a picture of the store BEFORE she gave away all the beautoful flower arrangments! The front of the store was covered with them. Congrats, Mom!!! What an accomplishment! Thanks for all you do to bring smiles to so many people in your community and surrounding area!!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Iowans for Africa

We're at it again! Team Iowans for Africa is once again training for a marathon and raising money for a great cause! The team thing went so well last year that the coach decided to make it a ministry. Boy, oh boy, has he had a great response!!! Training for another marathon is something I want to do again sometime, but I knew 2 years in a row was going to be pushing it for my family. I was pretty excited when I found out we would be doing the Des Moines Marathon and this race offers a half marathon too!!! I decided to sign up for the half and take it easy a bit with my training. It's been a great choice as I've made time for running, but have been able to let up a bit with the commitment level.  Don't get me wrong, I am still an excited runner!

I am super excited about our cause this year... raising money to build a school in Mozambique, Africa.  Our church partners with Food for the Hungry to meet some of the needs in this area already. Children attend school under a tree. During rainy season school is cancelled. Having an actual building will allow school to happen year round AND the government will provide a teacher with an existing building. Education can change a community. I'm excited that we can run for the future of not only today's children in Mozambique, but generations from today too. It's also pretty special because one of the girls we sponsor is from this same community. It makes my world feel a little smaller when we connect with our friends clear across the world.  It puts a lot of perspective in place for me as I sometimes struggle through some hard runs.

Last year about 75 of us trained for and finished the Chicago Marathon. This year we have about 250 people!!! Wow! God is good! The above photo is from Sturgis Falls half marathon last weekend. Most of us, anyways. If you are looking for the bright orange shirts this year on the trails, look again. We're coming at ya in full force in gray with a big green tree on the front. Here we go again!!