Friday, March 30, 2007


It's been a manic few months. I bet you're wondering what I've been up to. But, if not... I'm going to tell you anyway... Here's what's been going on in my 2007 thus far.

Thing 1:

This has been dominating about 180% of my time. No Joke.
That, my friends, is the logo for the 2007 National Youth Gathering in Orlando this summer. I have the privelege of attending the gathering with 22 youth and 3 other adults (Lord Help Us). Our bus, after a 24 hour trip will arrive in Orlando on July 26 and pull out on August 1, with a pit stop in Biloxi, MS to do a day service project there at Camp Biloxi. It's gonna be a blast.

I'm so looking forward to the Gathering, and I'm seeing my youth get more excited as it nears, as well. However, there is a HUGE financial commitment that it requires (nearly $1100 a person) that stresses me out, wondering what exactly will happen if we don't get that much money. So far, though, the congregation has been wonderfully supportive and has really helped us out.
In the back of my mind though, there's the stress of being the primary adult in charge of the whole thing. An "OH MY GOSH WHY ARE THEY LETTING ME BE IN CHARGE OF THE WHOLE GROUP. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!" kind of niggling that hits me every once in a while. This is the first major trip that I'm in charge of. What happens if one of my kids gets sent to the hospital, is caught stealing or having sex, goes to jail or dies? I'm the adult that they'll call. I'll be the one who has to call the parent and say, "your child, on my watch, did such and such". That's a pretty big responsibility.
Overall, I'm so excited to get to the gathering and to watch the amazing things that happen there. I know that I was changed because of the experience and I know of many others who lives were impacted mightily by the things that God did through the speakers, the musicians, the planners and the activities there. I really can't wait.
2007 thing number 2:

Waaay back in January, I used my Christmas present (plane tickets!) to go see S. Sarah in Colorado. What a great time. I attempted skiing under Sarah's patient tutelage (my new fancy word). Skiing was fun, though I spent a majority of the first run like this:

Some nice man named Amil, though did ski over and help me learn some rudimentary skiing points like "making pizza slices" and I was able to really enjoy myself by the end of the day. It was nice to have some quality time with S. Sarah too as I hadn't seen her since Graduation! We also were able to plot brilliantly about B's wedding this summer and Operation Gravy Boat was born.

Thing 3:

The group at Freddy's Frozen Custard in Wichita during Youth Quake.

February brought youth quake, where I learned a very strong lesson in being prepared. I learned that even if snow cancels your meetings, you should still take the time before you leave to lay down the law. I learned that just because floors have been closed off for construction, it doesn't mean your middle schoolers won't find a way to hang out on them. I had to be the bad guy a couple times, which was no fun, but found that the adults that came along really stood along beside me and supported me when I laid down the law.

I also took a big step and led an adult session on MySpace, Facebook, etc which went really well, with the possibility of me writing some curriculum to be used at future quakes! Cool huh!
Thing 4:

Me, Jessie and Alycia at the Arch.

March is nearly over and for that I'm so thankful. It has been a crazy, crazy month. I did have the opportunity to go to St. Louis for a leadership training with two of my youth and it was a wonderful experience. Not to mention I got to see Jamie J. whom I hadn't seen since this summer. We also got to stay at a nunnery. I made some new friends and saw my youth get fired up and excited about all that they're capable of.

So, that's 2007 so far. Thanks for reading! More soon.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bite My Tongue~Relient K

I just downloaded the new Relient K CD "Five Score and Seven Years Ago" and this has become my favorite song of the past few days.

James says that the tongue is the hardest thing to control and that's one thing I'm learning in large doses here. Self-Censorship. When to say something, when to say nothing, and when to go home, make a phone call and rant about it later to a friend in faraway locations. :)

Relient K-Bite My Tongue

I was going to spell it out in full detail but.
I dropped the call before I spilled my guts.
But your floor stayed clean like my conscience will be.
Cause if you heard anything you didn’t hear it from me
And I’m sweeping up the seconds that tick off the clock.
And saving them for later when I’m too ticked to talk.
And I need some time to search my mind.
To locate the words that seem so hard to find
Sometimes I say things that. I wish I could take back.
The most crucial thing I lack. Is a thing called tact.
And if you’re always so intently listening.

Then the smartest thing to say is to tell myself not to say a thing

Yeah, I gotta keep quiet, quiet.
Don’t let it all come undone.
Cause if I dare open my mouth. It’ll just be to bite my tongue. To bite my tongue

It seems I’m always close minded with an open mouth.
And the worst of me seems to come right out.
But I’ve never broken bones with a stone or a stick.
But I’ll conjure up a phrase that can cut to the quick
Cause sometimes I say things that. I wish I could take back.

And the smartest thing to say is to tell myself to keep

Quiet, quiet. Don’t let it all come undone.
Cause if I dare open my mouth. It’ll just be to bite my tongue
Yeah, I gotta keep quiet, quiet. (And) listen to your voice.

Because the power of your words. Can repair all that I’ve destroyed

And when I finally do. Let it come from you.
The peace of understanding grips my soul.
You’re the reason I’ve. Found meaning in this life.
So I’ll swallow up my pride and give you control. Give it to you.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Hey folks! I have some exciting news! I'll be blogging (the proper title is "embedded blogger/forum moderator") for the LCMS Youth Ministry's Web Resource... YouthEsource.

So... go check it out and if you see this face....

or this one....

Or this one...

you've found the right spot! (Go to and click on forums and family ties)

(Really, the only reason I'm posting pics is so I have a web address for my profile photo:) )

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Leadership: Part Deaux

So, last week, I wondered what turned leadership qualities into true leadership.

I'm still pondering that question and don't know if I'm any closer to the answer. This weekend, though, I did have the privelege of attending CLYFR (Council of Lutheran Youth Fellowship Representatives) as the Oklahoma District Rep with two of my youth. Basically, it was intense leader training, equipping my youth and others from all around the nation how to plan and lead servant events (something the two of mine are going to do this summer on our way back from NYG).

It was a good weekend overall, but one thing that I keep thinking about is a comment that my youth made when contemplating whether or not to run for to be the regional representative for LYF.

"I just never realized that Obnoxious and Outgoing could be confused for leadership" to which I responded that she was a leader... that "obnoxious and outgoing" were signs of leadership...

So I've been thinking a lot about it these past few days, wondering what the best way is to help continue to build on these leadership skills my youth have. I have A LOT of youth with very strong leader tendencies that come in various shapes and sizes and I want to help them use and develop those to the best ability I can. I want to help them realize what God has given them. I want to help them identify those gifts they've been given and help them find a way to best use those gifts to help build and strengthen the body of Christ.

Part of my job is also to help them find their voice in the church because I think that for many years, the youth have been looked over, pushed to their own "corner" in the church as people say, "they're the church of tomorrow," not realizing that they are the church of today and they deserve a voice today.

I'm afraid that if we don't equip our youth to be strong leaders and then never empower them to be leaders in their churches, there won't be a church of tomorrow.

Monday, March 12, 2007


According the Spode, my chocolate milk rebellion of '91 was a sign that I have always been a leader. I'm not sure if that's necessarily true, but I have been thinking a lot recently about what it takes to turn leadership tendencies into true leadership.

As a DCE, I work with Youth most of the time. I'm in charge of keeping them safe, keeping them alive and helping them grow more mature in their faith walks. My leadership is just kind of assumed.

I wish it were that easy elsewhere. Being young, female, and a DCE in the LCMS is kind of "three strikes and you're out" kind of policy. Being a leader isn't inherited, it's earned.

Teresa, the fantastic church administrator, has been telling me recently, "If you don't let people know you're in charge, they won't think you are". I think that's true and why last year was such a struggle. I was in charge, but all that anyone heard was "we don't know what's happening... we're letting everyone down!" by another adult voice. My voice was drowned out.

I've had to learn how to re-voice my opinions, to come back and say "Things are fine. I do know what I'm doing. I'm a capable leader." Are people hearing me? I don't know. There are still a lot of things happening that make me think that I'm making headway, other things that make me think that I'll never be heard, but I suppose that's true of everyone?

So what turns leadership tendencies into true leadership? Experience and Patience I guess, both things I'm still acquiring...

And a backbone apparently... which mine has been getting tested quite frequently.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Beware the Ides

After some introspection and looking back over the past few years, I've realized something.

The Ides of March (or the times surrounding it) are not friendly to me. The things that were lurking in the background as "thought to have been dealt with" spring back into the forefront as "life-consuming, soul-crushing and to be dealt with ASAP" issues.

I could bore you with a laundry list of things that have happened in March that set Hannah into crisis management mode these past 3 years, but, there's no need for that. I should be prepared, but every year I'm suprised by the force that these new/old developments explode onto the scene. Every year, I enter March delusionally thinking that I'm just starting to get a handle on the new year, on my life, on things and BAM!! Back to the beginning. Anyone else have months like that?

It makes me sympathize with good ole Julius Caesar. Look what happened to him on the Ides. :)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Staying Power

Apparently I have staying power.

According to Kristylaughed, I'm the kind of person who sees things through.

Which is a blessing and a curse I suppose.

I want to be the kind of person that sees things through to the end. But how do you know when to cut your losses? How do you know when enough is enough? If the decision is all yours, how do you know what the right decision is? How do you know that it's an ok decision? How do you know that it's ok to just wash your hands of the problem? Or do you just stsick it out, hope for the best and to hades with the consequences?

There's been a lot going on recently that's made me really seriously consider my future and what it holds for me. I know that I need to make a decision and soon, but in the words of Sara Groves, "I'm caught between the promise and the things I know."

I've gotten comfortable.

I like certain things, I'm seeing growth and change.

And Yet.

There's the soul-breaking side. The straw that's close to breaking my back, the thing that makes me wonder about my perseverance, the thing that makes me turn on "Painting Pictures of Egypt" and hit the repeat button. The thing that makes me think that I should give up on seeing it through.

Either decision is heart-breaking.

Pray for me.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Whilst talking on the phone the other day to a good friend, I realized something.

It's amazing what 10 years of experience and perspective will do.

One of my youth has been weighing on my heart for a while now. She is talented, beautiful, funny and just seems completely lost.

In every different situation, she is a different person. From minute to minute her personality changes from happy to sad, excited to coma-like, from being inclusive to completely excluding.

I also see a lot of my 10 years ago self in her. The insecurity to really be who you are. The ability to be the same person in different crowds. Being able to express emotions without coming across as rude or hurtful.

I want to tell her (and maybe myself at that age too): "You are beautiful, talented, funny and amazing just as you are. Why not just be yourself?"