Thursday, December 30, 2010


There's always something vaguely romantic about Christmas.

I don't mean lovey dovey stupid "Diamonds are forever," kind of romance, but more of a beauty that isn't of this world. There's an "other" kind of love, beauty at Christmas.

There's a certain poignancy to it, I think, and sitting in church with 4 generations of my mother's family crammed into a pew, my 14 year-old-godson sitting beside me, meeting my alto harmony note for note with his sweet tenor voice, my grandpa, sister, cousins, aunts and uncles gathered together while snow fell glittery and heavy outside-- all celebrating together the joy of the Savior who came from that "other," for us--nothing seemed/seems more beautiful than that.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Preparations

On the phone with the sister:

Me: Ask Dad if he wants to go see True Grit? If he does that's his Christmas Present. I'll even buy him dinner!
Sister: (asking dad) He said he'd love to. And now he's all excited.
Me: Ask Dad who his favorite child is NOW!
Sister: I hate you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

10 Things I Learned in 2010

10. It is a long way to walk from the Flamingo hotel to the Vegas sign and suggesting that you do so (instead of taking a cab) will earn a very long walk and very dirty looks from your friends. Also, wearing sandals is a good way to insure your feet feeling like they will just fall right off. Also, when people tell you, "it's not very far!" They are LYING.
9. Elephant Love Medley + Western Nebraska + Friend + Nostalgia = singalong (We could be HEEEEEEEEEEEEROES!)
8. Watching the first couple of seasons of 30 Rock will inspire 100 million new one liners and jokes. And makes me want to have a cool name like Liz Lemon.
7. Murder Mysteries are fun and not lame.
6. If death comes in threes, then weirdness just comes in droves.
5. Friends who have had too much to drink = hilarious. Strangers who have had too much to drink = obnoxious (and trespassers!)
4. No matter how many times your Zumba Instructor stands RIGHT in FRONT of you, your body will not move in the way that it's supposed to because you are not a middle-aged Latina woman.
3. If you borrow a friend's car to go see another friend's band play in a city that you don't live in, it's a good chance that car will get vandaled. The night before the first friend's wedding.
2.People in Chipotle will start to recognize your face and order if you use that as your standard "vegetarian" fast food stop. I'm not sure if this is awesome or embarrassing. You decide.
1.While following Wayne Coyne on twitter, it is at your own risk if you open a picture that he posts. This is even more (always) true if the post mentions his wife (Michelle). Just don't do it. Your eyeballs will thank you. Trust me on this one.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Double Emphasis

Back in the day, a friend of mine used to double-first name people as a way distinguish one person from another person with the same name. That caught on and a couple of friends in that circle will have, for now and for always, double first names.

As Christmas approaches, when people have asked my plans, I've found that I have started using my friend's double emphasis.

I'm going home (HOME!) for Christmas (CHRISTMAS!)

The itinerary thus far is to mock the gimpy sister, eat lots of food, bake cookies, see lots of family and enjoy being home (home) for the first Christmas (Christmas) in 6 years.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Poem For Christmas

'Twer the weeks before Christmas and all the town
All the Crazies were stirring and spreading it 'round

Thursday, on 9th Street, we ate tacos galore
Creepy Santa stumbled 'round the restaurant floor
He scared the small child eating at our table
And we were wishing THIS Santa was only a fable

He asked 'bout our drinks in a leering way
And then stumbled off to bother others that day

As we walked the block party and chatted with friends
We noticed that Santa was following our trend
And since avoidance was clearly not working
We scurried away as to not to say something jerky

Then the next night, after some Cheer
With Melsons and Caps and others quite dear,
We pulled up to the curb at casa de Melson
And saw something strange that required half-Nelsons

Two strangers were knocking at Katherine and Thad's
Looking for Richard and Sam and getting quite mad

When Scott Melson asked them what the eff they were doing
They laughed and and took Ashley's bowl for the viewing

We hurried inside and called the police
Then they laid 'neath my car as if to tease
They danced 'round the yard in a curious fit
Then hid as cars passed them--obviously quite lit.

The police came and chatted with our new found "pals"
Then their friend picked them up after a quick phone call

Dear friends and family as Christmas approaches
Remember the crazy that sometimes encroaches.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Year in Review

I've been having a really hard time putting words into the things I've been feeling and experiencing these last few months. And as my readers know, the joy of being "frustratingly vague," is an accomplishment toward which I strive.

It is hard to talk about this year because it has been hard***.

There have been lots of wonderful, wonderful things that I've been able to experience this year: the New Years trip, Vegas, my grandpa's trip to DC, the whole entire month of June, the Re:Thread stores, the growing, more "mature" relationship with my sister*.

This year has also been a reminder of the many good things that I do have and a drawing closer to those who know me and have loved me best.

This year, however challenging it has been, has been bearable because of the Melsons, who've fed me cupcakes and alcohol; Kristy, who gave up some of her precious vacation to road trip to Colorado; the Caps and their hilarious son who invited me to his "Trash truck" party; and Jules, steady and dependable, with her unending empathy.

This year feels like it has been one big exercise in futility, despite all those good, good things that have happened.

And it could get better, or it could not.

Or things could change, or they could not.

January 1, 2011 could bring about something amazing, or it could not.

And I'm trying to find some peace in that.

*Mature is in quotes because when we talk on the phone, I still call her "big people**" just to make her mad and our voices tend to get higher in pitch the longer we talk. We also giggle. A Lot.

**It's not as bad as it sounds. Or maybe it is. It's an inside joke.

***Most of it by my own doing. Yes, the footnotes are out of order.

Monday, December 06, 2010

White Flag

Dear 2010,

You started out so well and with such potential. There was travel and adventure and good stories to be told and with more travel and more adventure on the horizon. But as this year draws to a close, it's all I can do to drag myself to it, waving my white flag of surrender.

You Have Bested Me 2010. Congratulations.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Life Together

For the last few years, I've been attending a house church.

This is what that time has been for me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hope for a Tree Cut Down

About 3 months ago, I stumbled across this album, which I have been listening to it obsessively off and on since then.

It's Spring Awakening + Sufjan + Jesus.
Lots of favorites on the whole album (free! download!) but this one's been my favorite this listen.


Long before anyone saw us we were seen by you.
Long before anyone heard us we were listened to.
Long before anyone spoke to us we were spoken to
by the voice of eternal Love, an everlasting Love.

Love that existed from all eternity.
Love that existed from all eternity.
Love that existed from all eternity
and will last through all eternity.

I am the chosen child of God,
precious in God's eyes.
I am the chosen child of God,
precious in God's eyes.

Called the Beloved from all eternity.
Called the Beloved from all eternity.
Called the Beloved from all eternity
and held safe in an everlasting embrace.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Getting There

This week is emotional. And since I've declared a moratorium on having any emotions at all (really, who needs those), you can imagine how difficult it is to not want run around and do something really destructive in place of the feelings.

So, instead, I'm blogging.

Sometimes, it is easy to see God's hand and God's goodness. Other times, not so easy.

It's easy to see God working when, this summer, after a 9 month battle with cancer with a very small survival rate, my Aunt was given a clean bill of health. It is not so easy to see God working, when Friday, a former youth and his older brother lost their father (and mother- 6 years ago) to cancer.

It's easy to see God's goodness when things are good, and sometimes, even when things are bad (when they seem to have a "reason"), but it is a lot harder when they seem to have no reason at all.

Monday, November 08, 2010


Me: so, if you could put on your super-di-duper praying pants that would be great.
Mom: all my pants are super-di-duper praying pants. But I'll wear two pairs.

Yep. We're family.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Return of Zumba

Yes, it's back. All of the uncoordinated, shaking, dancing hour of it. I'm so happy.

I'm also happy because this little jewel of a song was placed squarely in the middle of the hour.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Type A

It may come as a shock (or not, really, at all), that I'm Type A. I like structure, order, plans, knowing and following rules. One of my biggest joys this week has been constructing a really well organized spreadsheet. You think I'm joking? I'll send you the google doc.

I'm also an oldest child, which means I like to do Everything. Right. And. Everything. Well. The. Very. First. Time. Which is why things like skiing, where a large portion of my day is spent falling really pisses me off. And don't get me started on crafting. Did you see those pajama pants I made freshmen year of college? They weren't so much pants as they were tents.

All that aside, this year, for me, seems to be all about letting go of plans, pushing myself (even if that means failing or not getting the result that I hope), and learning to wait and be patient in the waiting.

It's not been easy, nor necessarily comfortable for me. Remember that whole doing everything right the first time? and the liking of the plans? I'm still me, after all.

This fall, in particular, as different opportunities and new challenges and adventures are presenting themselves, I've seen how that time of discomfort, of pushing, has been preparing me.

Things that I thought were failures (or just undeniably stupid), are turning into something potentially very good.

So, I continue to wait. And to rest in God's goodness.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I heart Rethread: OKC

rethread preview from Matt Lowery on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


It seems that all my bridges have been burned
But you say 'That's exactly how this grace thing works’
It's not the long walk home that will change this heart
But the welcome I receive with every start
Mumford and Sons

Recently, I was asked how forgiving I was. More recently, a friend, with whom I was having a disagreement, asked how often I would allow for certain things to continue (along the lines of, "you need to teach this person a lesson.") Sunday, at church, while talking with my favorite old people, the wife said that the reason their marriage had lasted for 65 years was because it was filled with laughter, and more importantly, forgiveness.

I am no expert on forgiveness. I know that I sometimes withhold it when it is needed, or add conditions once given. I know that I don't always ask for forgiveness from those whom I have hurt.

I do know, that forgiveness, like love, has to be a continuous choice. A continual choice to let go, to not stack up lists of wrongs. To be willing to be the person that moves toward peace.

Forgiveness, like love, is something that is more about the giver than the receiver.

And, that when it is about the giving, there is a freedom in that.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Song of the Week-Mumford and Sons

While I was in Denver this last month and driving about in the city during the times that my radio (which I named Lazarus for it's unreliability of always turning on) worked, I heard the song, "Little Lion Man," by Mumford and Sons. Instant love.

This week, thanks to Amazon's daily deal, I picked up their whole album and I think that this is probably my most favorite album since The Crane Wife. There are some of you, I'm sure, who are like, "Please Hannah, Mumford and Sons, you are so two-thousand and late, I've liked them since they were just Mumford."

Well, I'm late to the pop-culture party. Big Surprise.

The song that's been on replay this week is Winter Winds. You can watch the video here

Oh the shame that sent me off from the God that I once loved
Was the same that sent me into your arms
Oh and pestilence is won when you are lost and I am gone
And no hope, no hope will overcome

And if your strife strikes at your sleep
Remember spring swaps snow for leaves
You'll be happy and wholesome again
When the city clears and sun ascends

And my head told my heart
"Let love grow"
But my heart told my head
"This time no"

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I Want to Walk

Today is chapel day. Today, we sang one of my very favorite hymns. Today, it is my prayer.

I want to walk as a child of the Light
I want to follow Jesus
God set the stars To give light to the world
The Star of my life is Jesus.

In Him there is no darkness at all
The night and the day are both alike
The lamb is the Light of the city of God
Shine in my heart Lord Jesus.

I want to see the Brightness of God
I want to look at Jesus
Clear Son of righteousness shine on my path
And show me the way to the Father.

I'm looking for the coming of Christ
I want to be with Jesus
When we have run, with patience, the race
We shall know the joy of Jesus.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Too Much Awesome

This is too awesome not to share.

My old college roommate B sent me this in the mail... it's a HAPPY HANNAH complete with mate... (PRIMATE hahaha) Happy Hank!

On the packaging of "Happy Hannah" it says, "she's not into Hanky Panky so don't try any monkey business"

Ain't that the truth.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lost in Translation

This morning before church:

Elderly Man 1: Hannah Montana! How are you this morning?
Elderly Man 2: Montana?! Billings or Helena?
Elderly Man 1: No no--Hannah MONTANA
ELderly Man 2: Right--Montana--BILLINGS OR HELENA?
Elderly Man 1: HANNAH MONTANA--It's a TV Show
Elderly Man 2: What?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Song of the Week-Sara Bareilles

I Love Sara.

Should be sayin' that to you by now, shouldn't I?
Layin' down the law that I live by,
Though maybe next time

I've got a thick tongue,
Brimming with the words that go unsung
Simmer then the burn for a someone,
A wrong one

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Not It

More than once, several people have made the comment that they enjoy, "living vicariously" through my various adventures.

Ok, it's someone else's turn.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Trip in Four Parts

1. Southern Illinois:

2. Chicago:

3. Nebraska:

4. Colorado:

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

More Questions than Answers

This last week, in my travels, I spent a lot of time talking/processing/praying about life, about where God is leading me and why it feels that Everything Is Happening All At Once.

Now being on the "flip side" of this trip, I still have more questions than answers, more things to process, more decisions to make than decisions made.

One thing that this trip brought about was a reminder of the friends that God has placed in my life, all over the country. Friends willing to read emails, open their doors and couches, drive across country with me, and answer my crazy phone calls late when I forget about things like time changes, friends that know me and love me well enough to understand when to be silent, when to talk, when to advise, when to encourage, when to tell me I am being foolish, when to simply sing a long to Moulan Rogue at the top our lungs in Western Nebraska.

I'm pretty blessed.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Song of the Week

I am weary with the pain of Jacob's wrestling
In the darkness with the Fear, in the darkness with the Fear
But he met the morning wounded with a blessing
So in the night my hope lives on

When Elisha woke surrounded by the forces
Of the enemies of God, the enemies of God
He saw the hills aflame with angels on their horses
So in the night my hope lives on

I see the slave that toils beneath the yoke unyielding
And I can hear the captive groan, hear the captive groan
For some hand to stay the whip his foe is wielding
Still in the night my hope lives on

I see the armies of the enemy approaching
And the people driven, trembling, to the shore
But a doorway through the waters now is opening
So in the night my hope lives on

Like the son who thought he'd gone beyond forgiveness,
Too ashamed to lift his head--but if he could lift his head
He would see his father running from a distance
In the night my hope lives on

I can see the crowd of men retreating
As he stands between the woman and their stones
And if mercy in his holy heart is beating
Then in the night my hope lives on

I remember how they scorned the son of Mary
He was gentle as a lamb, gentle as a lamb
He was beaten, he was crucified, and buried
And in the night, my hope was gone

But the rulers of earth could not control Him
They did not take his life--he laid it down
All the chains of earth could never hope to hold him
So in the night my hope lives on

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Asking For It

*Introducing myself to the first graders*

Me: blah blah blah you can call me Miss Hannah
First Grader: did you work at such and such last year?
Me: No, I've worked here for 6 years.
Other First Grader: That's how OLD I AM!
Me: Wow! That's a lot
Another first grader: How old are you?!
Me: Guess!
Other First Grader: 55!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Quote of the Day

"I realize my self-esteem should not be dependent on other people's failure, but it kind of is." -Jules

This is why Jules and I are friends

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


Scene: hanging out with Melsons, discussing theological matters...

Ashley: the important question is this, (dramatic voice), "what if... God was one of us?"

Monday, August 02, 2010

Song of the Week

Well ‘I do’ are the two most famous last words
The beginning of the end
But to lose your life for another I’ve heard is a good place to begin
Cause the only way to find your life is to lay your own life down
And I believe it’s an easy price for the life that we have found

And we’re dancing in the minefields
We’re went sailing in the storm
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise was for
That’s what the promise is for

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A few, fun photos

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Importance of Story

I know I've talked about it a lot, but I'm still pondering A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller and thanks to the NYG last week, it's been brought back into the forefront of my mind. Matt Popovitz spoke at the gathering and talked a lot about story... about the story that we're living, that God is using to tell the gospel.

Also that night at the mass event, there was a time of memorial for those groups who had lost youth group members or leaders since the last gathering. Most of you know that in 2008, we lost both a student and a leader within three months. We also have two other students who have lost parents (one this past year and another as an infant but through terrible circumstances). As the tribute began, I watched as my students stood, arms around each other, supporting one another.

I was struck then how powerful is the story of God. His grace, goodness, love, compassion.

How God has worked in the lives, the story of these students. How he is continuing to work good. How he is using, molding, strengthening and shaping them to be his story to others.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Stretch

The thing about committing myself to doing hard things is that, well...

They're hard.

There are unforeseen results and challenges and risks.

Not to mention that when you put yourself in places where change can happen, you run the risk of change stretching, molding and growing you like no other.

And though it's scary and life is rushing at me faster than I could imagine, life is still full and the stretching, though painful, is still worth it, God's presence still very present.

And that's enough for now.



National Youth Gathering was awesome.

I'll post pictures and highlights soon.

But today, I'm back in the office and trying to figure out this thing called "routine."

More soon.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Travel Itinerary

New Orleans:

Ride bus with lots of high schoolers
Catch up with college student Jessie
Make one hundred inside jokes
Play cards
Eat terrible fast food
Arrive in New Orleans
Cut out mustaches and affix to skewer sticks for district booth
"Test" said mustaches
Meet crocodiles and alligators on the swamp tour
Also: talk like crocodile hunter on swamp tour
Mississippi River cruise with the WI district
See the KRIZ!
Initiate the 2010 Cajun Riverboat Dance Party
Take jumping pictures all around New Orleans
See S.Sarah
See Zeal
See 100 other people, friends, family
Scare youth with my enthusiasm for seeing old friends
Walk, Walk, Walk, Walk
Attend mass events with my youth
Follow Big Barbie
Worship with SoulFire
Bible Studies
Serve the City of New Orleans
Eat Po'Boys, Red Beans and Rice, Jambalaya
Wear matching shirts all week long
Attend final Mass Event, say goodbye to friends
Return to OKC

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I have a really hard time keeping my expectations in check.

Before most trips, while packing, I have a little dance party to try to contain my excitement(you think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not).

Every three years, my job, via the the National Youth Gathering, gives me the opportunity to see some of the people most dear to me. College friends, childhood connections, random people that I know and love, old OK district people, etc.

I love it.

It just hit me today that in about 72 hours, I will be in the midst of most of the Lutherans that I know and love.

Let the apartment dancing commence.

If you're going to be around the NYG, look for big barbie. That's my group and chances are, I'll be close by.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Greek to Me

The High school students with which I work formed a praise band last year and have been selected to lead prayer and praise for our hotel (about 800+ students) at the 2010 National Youth Gathering taking place in New Orleans this week.

With that, I've been the primary contact person, so it's fallen to me to talk to the people that need talking to and organize the things that our group needs so that they can do what they're supposed to with minimal confusion.

I might mention that my role in leading the praise band falls somewhere between fangirl and occasional roadie.

When the NYG people called me this week to talk about sound needs this is what I heard:

NYG Man: Now, I've got 7 zip zorps and 3 wibble wobbles to plug into your hokey pokeys. Do you think this will be sufficient?
Me: (long pause while I try to figure out the best way to say that I have no effing clue) Can you email that to me so I can double check?

Yeah, I'm a total pro.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Song of the Week

Ingrid, you are always timely.

Baby you've got the sort of laugh that waters me
And makes me grow tall and strong and proud and flattens me
I find you stunning, but you are running me down
My love's too big for you my love
My love's too big for you my love

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Messiah OKC Middle School Lincoln Trip

Our Middle School Trip to the Hippie House.


Many thanks to the girgismelson for reminding me about this from Sex and the City (and NOT the travesty that was SATC2)

"Samantha: "You know, being scared is not an easy thing for men to admit"

Miranda: "So what? They get a medal for correctly identifying a feeling? We do that all day long. I feel pissed off. TA DA!!" - Miranda Hobbes

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


So, I've got this big trip with my high schoolers in about a week (do not remind me how much I have to do, I'm avoiding it).

The trip is in New Orleans and prior to Friday, I owned two pairs of shorts. So, I went to Old Navy and this is what transpired:

Me to dressing room lady (DRL): How do we feel about these shorts?
DRL: Very cute! You are totally rocking them.
Me: I'm going on a trip to New Orleans
DRL: Awesome! Yeah those are fine.
Me: I'm 28, and I'm going with high school students. As an adult.
DRL: (looks over shorts) Oh honey, no. Try something else.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Travelfest: Summer 2010

Oh Man.

June? Are you still here? I seemed to have missed you in the hustle and bustle and the awesome that I've been experiencing.

Friends, I had great intentions of telling you all about my adventures in the mountains, but my middle school trip preparations to Nebraska took precedence.

Since college, since friends have been sent to the four corners, weddings have been the time that we get together and celebrate. My favorite thing about the Sarah getting married is having the chance to spend time with her and Ryan and the life that she's creating for herself. Sunday afternoon and into the evening, we spent time laughing, talking, joking with the new couple which might be one of my very favorite times of the whole week (but its a close call, b/c there were some great moments).

All the wedding things seemed to go smoothly and with little stress and Sarah was the most calm bride of all my friends--even with some things that didn't go quite as planned.

As always, there never is quite enough time... Colorado holds some of my very favorite people and it never seems like the days/week that I spend there are enough to contain all the things that I want to do and experience.

However, as weeks and vacations go, this one was pretty great.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Yet another

Colleen took this one and I love it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

In all of the Festivities

Sarah and I took this jewel of a picture.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Weekend Update

Sarah is married!

My feet are sore from all the dancing and my fingers are bursting with all the stories of this fantastic week.

But you'll have to wait blogging buddies.

One more day in Colorado, then back to Oklahoma, then off the Nebraska with the middle schoolers.

We'll be in touch.


Sunday, June 06, 2010

PS22 Chorus "LISZTOMANIA" Phoenix

Sunday, May 30, 2010


At the Movies:

Me: I'd like one ticket for SATC2, please.

Ticket Guy: Ok, that's $9.00 but, first, can I see your ID?

Me: You seriously think I'm under 17?

Ticket Guy: Yes

Me: Ok, (handing id) but I think you'll be surprised...

Ticket Guy: (looks at id, hands back with ticket, shrugs)

Monday, May 24, 2010

On high school graduations

Anybody remember that Baz Luhrmann song, Everybody's Free To Wear Sunscreen? I suppose that it's not really a song, so much as wisdom dispensed over a beat and played incessantly the summer before my senior year of high school.

While I don't dispute the wisdom that Mr. Luhrmann and as someone who has attended her fair share of high school graduations (as a youth worker, its in the job description), I've been thinking about my own little bit of advice Baz Luhrmann style:

To the Valedictorians, when writing your speeches:
-Funny is remembered and appreciated more than the serious (boring). If you can communicate some actual truth in the midst of humor, a+ for you. In 5 or 6 or 10 years when you deliver a Maid of Honor or Best Man toast, you would do well to remember this then too.
-We all know that you don't have enough life experience to share "wisdom" with your classmates. You don't have to remind us at the beginning of your speech.
-Thank your parents. Thank your friends and family, but don't belabor the point. We don't get the inside jokes, hilarious though they may be to you, and if you're one of ten valedictorians, we may not have the patience for it either.

For the graduates:
-Yes, life as you know it is changing. While it may be a little sad, don't let high school be your last big adventure. What a shame it would be to peak at 18... you've barely started living.
-You may have heard that life is what you make of it and it's true. You're at the point now called, "adulthood." Up until now, people have largely been making choices for you. Failure was always somewhat cushioned by youth. You're responsible for yourself now.
-Find good friends. Be comfortable with the fact that the good friends may not be the coolest. You're probably not as cool as you think you are either so it balances out.
-Take risks, but recognize that there is a difference in taking risks and risky behavior. Drinking excessively and passing out at that college party is not "taking a risk," it's mostly stupid.
-Love is hard work. It takes time and effort.

I think that's all;
And now... Mr. Luhrmann

Thursday, May 20, 2010


This will be my last blog about the weather. Promise.

Yesterday, needing some supplies for my portion of the house church dinner, I headed over to the grocery store across the street from the church. Closed. Sunday's hail had damaged the roof and they were working on repairing it, according the big signs stretched across the doors.

Disappointed, I headed over to the Wal-mart a few miles down the road. Pulling into the suspiciously empty parking lot, but noticing people walking in and out of the store, I went ahead and parked, but was told they were also closed for repairs from Sunday's hail.

For try three I headed even farther away to a much more expensive, limited and very crowded store to buy the things I needed. What was to be a 10 minute errand ended up taking nearly two hours.

I'm sure that a more socially minded person would be quick to remind me (and the thought crossed my mind) that, "just think what the people after Katrina had to go through," or "you think this is hard?! People in Africa have to grow their own corn to make into food. That's hard!" And I'm aware of that, I really am.

But gosh darn it-- I like my convenience.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Music and Life

I love music. I love discovering new songs and artists, but there's something to be said about old standards.

I have a few songs that have stuck with me over the years, songs that I can listen to again and again, then put away to wear out another time. Songs that, for whatever reason, always seem like the "right song" with the "right words". Sometimes, they provide the ability to work with minimal distraction, to think through things, to define a moment, or sometimes, speak truth.

These last few weeks, I'm glad for these standards.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Dear Oklahoma Weather gods,

For nearly 6 years, I've lived here and I've scoffed at what I felt were your attempts at "Winter storms" and "tornadic activity." I've mocked your weathermen, secretly rolling my eyes at Gary England's theatrics, or popping in a movie and avoiding the whole business. I've been known to say with a nonchalant attitude, "well, we had storms in Illinois/Nebraska, no big deal.

After the weather these last few months, I do so solemnly swear to take you seriously weather gods. Your untimely snow storms (CHRISTMAS?!? MY BIRTHDAY?!) got my attention this winter. I realized that I might have hurt your feelings by mocking you in the past. But this last week, from crazy tornadoes and today's hail storms that damaged my car (IN ITS COVERED PARKING SPOT), I fear that I may have seriously pissed you off. You're no longer playing fair.

Please stop being so angry. I'm sorry that I hurt your feelings. Now, be nice.



Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Monday, May 10, 2010


"God watches over the idiots"

Quote for the start of the 2010 Tornado Season.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

It's Come To This

Apparently, the outlet my brain is using to process?


Really bad poetry.

I mean, it's not "There once was a man from Nantucket," but I'm pretty sure these poems of mine will not see the light of day... or this blog.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


Oh Man, life continues to be so good and so, so very full.

And by full, I mean a-million-things-on-my-to-do-list-so-of-course-I'm-blogging-about-it-instead-of-doing-it.

With VBS looming (and the ever present, "oh my goodness we do NOT have enough family group leaders! There will be children running AMUCK!" panic that attends it), a trip to the mountains for the wedding of a best friend (!), and a middle school trip to Nebraska shortly following, life is full of the short term busy and the long term busy.

Add to that some personal deadlines that I've set for myself this month and my head feels like it just might explode.

So, if you see me running around, headless, the pieces I'm sure are very nearby.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Adventures in Illinois

I'm back from the big eff. I'll write more later, when I'm not procrastinating the 19 million things that need to be done before the crazy-ness that will be my next, oh 3 months or so, but, I wanted to leave you a picture and a story:

My Grandpa was selected to go on an honor flight (read the story here) honoring WW2 vets.

As it was his first time flying, the Southwest crew announced that there was an 85 year old man who had never flown before and they gave him a pair of wings!

The Stuckemeyer-Ramsey-Miller-Winter Reception at the homecoming parade.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Today after preschool chapel, one of the the little girls was searching under the pews in the sanctuary, frantically, while the teachers aid was helping her search. The little girl was clearly upset, so I asked what she was looking for and she said, tears running down her cheeks, "I have lost my lipstick!"

Monday, April 19, 2010


Part of my responsibilities as a youth worker is to help plan the once-yearly high school weekend retreat.

This last week, we were talking about the theme of the next year's gathering and we began talking, amongst other things, what it would have been like to have lived in the time of Jesus and to be one of the disciples and how that would have affected their lives to the very end.

I wondered if, after Jesus ascended to heaven, if the disciples and other followers got together for dinner and told the wonderful stories about their time with Jesus on earth, looking forward to the time in heaven retelling those stories. If one of them would say something and another would say, "Hey remember when Jesus did this...?" or, "remember that time when Jesus...." before launching into a well-loved, often-told tale.

During that District meeting, we jumped from talking about the disciples being part of a story just as our youth (and ourselves) part of that larger story. To mis-quote Don Miller, we're the trees, but the story is about the forest.

In my house church, we are beginning to read the gospels as part of a larger, narrative story (instead of piece by piece). I'm so excited to get into this because I think that the stories are something that my soul is needing right now. I'm ready to hear and live the story.

The stories give hope and humanity to things that are otherwise boiled down to memory verses, sound bites and moral tales. The stories matter

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Song of the Week-Giving Up-Ingrid Michaelson

What if we stopped having a ball
What if the paint chips from the wall
What if there's always cups in the sink
What if I'm not what you think I am
What if I fall further than you
What if you dream of somebody new
What if I never let you win--
And chase you with a rolling pin--
Well, what if I do?

Cause I am giving up on making passes
and I am giving up on half empty glasses
and I am giving up on greener grasses
I am giving up

What if our baby comes in after nine
What if your eyes close before mine
What if you lose yourself sometimes
I'll be the one to find you safe in my heart.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I'm not sure if it's been this beautiful spring weather (the mornings, in particular), sleeping with the windows open or the fact that I'll be in Illinois next week, but my mind has been taking me there in my dreams many nights this week.

In last night's dream, I was back in high school and for some reason, needed to take my combine to school. While that's a little odd--particularly given the fact that I've never driven a combine--the REALLY weird part was the color of the combine.



My John Deere (Green and Yellow) loving family would be hanging their heads in shame.

Monday, April 12, 2010

For My Grampy

My Cousin called this morning to tell me the good news:

My Grandpa, a WW2 Veteran, has the opportunity to travel to Washington DC on an "honor flight," to view the WW2 memorial and be welcomed back home in a homecoming parade.

The best part? 3 of his children (my mom, my aunt and my uncle) get to go with him.

What an amazing experience for my Grandpa and for his children. What an amazing story for his grand-children and great-grandchildren.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

An Ode to Fitness

Dear Self,

While I'm glad that you're on this "fitness kick" that you seem to enjoy so much, please remember that you've got to have me around for hopefully another 50 or 60 years. You should remember that just because you walk 6 miles a couple of times a week you DO NOT USE THE SAME MUSCLES ON A BICYCLE.

When you overestimate your athletic prowess by saying to a friend, "Sure I can ride 9.1 miles around the lake, no problem," you will most likely end up cursing yourself about halfway through and realizing that there is no way to get back to your ride other than by dropping an f bomb and powering through to the end, even though it's like pedaling through soup because the wind is so fierce.

Also it's a good idea to remember that you have to climb stairs to your apartment, carrying your heavy mountain bike, so when your legs shake uncontrollably the first time only carrying your purse... you've probably overextended yourself.

If you could take notes and try to improve before the next time you decide to do something athletic (remember your first time skiiing?), we'll get along much better.

Kisses and hugs,

Your body.


I've been working on a couple of "personal challenges" that I'm really excited about from big to small.

This week's challenge: No TV week (to see how I fare without the cable tv). If there are shows I want to watch, I can watch them online the next day. Plus, with summer and its insanity rounding the corner, I'm not sure it's that continuing to pay for something that I barely watch in the evening is the best budgetary decision I can make at this point in time.

More on my "experiments" in the next few weeks.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter Triumph, Easter Joy

Hallelujah! Our Savior is Alive!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Dark Friday

I wonder what the disciples were thinking on Palm Sunday, entering Jerusalem triumphantly, shouting with the crowds, "Hosanna, Lord Save us" as people laid palm branches before their king.

I wonder what they were thinking as they watched him cleanse the temple. Did they watch in amazement and trepidation or wonder who he was that dared such things?

I wonder what they were thinking at the passover feast, when he knelt to wash their feet, as he broke bread, passed the wine, told of upcoming betrayal, reclining with him, enjoying the time, one meal among many they'd shared... did they know it was the last?

What were they thinking when they went to Gethsemane? Did they understand his grief, his urgency, his prayers, the reason he was soaked with sweat, burdened with unseen weight?

What about when they saw Judas, one of them arriving, kissing Jesus on the cheek, handing him over to death?

What about when they saw him crucified?

Did they understand?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Neon Signs and Burning Bushes

Back in middle schol, high school and even college, I was big on praying for signs. "Dear Jesus, if it rains today it means that so and so likes me," "If (fill in the blank) happens, it means that this is what I'm supposed to do with my life," or "It would be so much easier if God would plant a big flashing arrow in the way I'm supposed to go!"

As I've gotten older, read more, experienced more, grown closer and grown farther apart in my faith walk, I think I've come to the conclusion that "signs" (burning bushes or the flashing arrow variety) are few and far between.

I can say with certainty that I've felt God's voice speak to me twice in my adult life. Once before I found out I was coming to Oklahoma and another time I'm still waiting to see how He is working that out.

The rest of the time, with decisions, large or small, with big risk or no risk, I find that God's love and past provision enables me to make choices with freedom (and maybe a little angst).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bandaids and Bullet Holes

"The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing … not healing, not curing … that is a friend who cares."--Henri Nouwen

A Tale of Two Friends:

So, I have this walking buddy. I'd like to call her NTJ. NTJ has become a good friend, albiet the fact that we disagree on most things (social policy, our varying degrees of lutheranism, politics, etc). However, we respect each other enough that we can discuss most things in a civil way. The one thing about NTJ that "bothers" me... for lack of a better word is her desire to make every situation positive. I don't mean that to sound cynical. I'll explain a little more.

I have another former walking buddy who moved up north and I'll call "the Kriz." The Kriz and I have spent lots of time talking and sharing. The thing that I love/hate most about the Kriz is her capacity to lay out the truth... most of the time in a loving way and her ability to not sugar coat a situation.

During the last week, I've talked with both NTJ and the Kriz about some things going on and their responses were very different. NTJ listened and said, "well... something pacifying... God will work it out... something something something" (that's not the EXACT thing she said). The Kriz listened and said, "Well... guess you'll have to wait and see, now suck it up." (that's not the EXACT thing she said either, but I'm paraphrasing).

I think that there is a lot of strength in a friendship that allows for someone to say to you, in truth and love that "it may not get better." I also think that as a culture, we're so focused on avoiding conflict and making things better right away and slapping band-aids on bullet holes that we forget that there's lessons to be learned in the waiting, the grieving, and the struggle that are better than any lessons that a quick fix can offer.

Here's to the sitting, the waiting and for the friends that sit and wait with you.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Is a great day for Regina Spektor:

"This is how it works
You're young until you're not
You love until you don't
You try until you can't
You laugh until you cry
You cry until you laugh
And everyone must breathe
Until their dying breath

No, this is how it works
You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else's heart
Pumping someone else's blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don't get harmed
But even if it does
You'll just do it all again"

Spring Cleaning

I recently re-read Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

For those of you reading that don't know, Donald Miller's book is about living a better story. He says that a good story is a character that wants something and goes through conflict to get it. What makes a great story if the something they want is meaningful. Don also writes that our lives are our stories and the book has really convicted me to "live a better story"

Since reading the book, I've taken on some "personal projects" in an effort to live a better story. In my last blog, I think I called it, "the time of Hannah doing some difficult things," things that have the potential of immediate conflict (not necessarily bad conflict, but definitely not easy) and no easy resolutions. But, it feels good. Scary and exciting, but good.

It's feeling a little like spring cleaning... dusting off the cobwebs, opening the windows, airing out the house, looking around and looking forward to the upcoming season.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Opening Up

A couple of years (yes, years) ago, I posted a couple of blogs about vulnerability.

As I've grown up, I've had a curious pendulum swing with "vulnerability". As a college freshman, dealing with the stress of moving away from home, friend drama and homework, being vulnerable meant crying. A Lot. I would pour my tearful angst-ridden woes out and think to myself, "I can sense that this is not bringing people closer to me.... but I'm BEING VULNERABLE!"

In reality, I was probably depressed and whiny. Both completely curable. And the things that I thought were bringing me closer to friends were actually pushing me away from authentic relationships.

It took all four years of my college career and a couple of years out in adulthood to understand that, but not before swinging to the other end of the spectrum, to a time I like to call, "the time of not talking to anyone about anything."

During that time, everything, even when it was terrible, was "fine" or "good." Granted, during that time, during some more bad drama and other issues, I had been told by friends (and several others) that, "we don't want to hear the bad," and the message that I took from that was no matter the problem, or the issue I was facing, I needed to not talk about it or "man-up" and deal with it, and still keep smiling, even if that was not how I was feeling.

While that made things better on the surface, it was still incredibly lonely and frustrating. While it made for easier friendships and relationships, the depth of true friendship was missing.

These last couple of years (and mostly the last 18 months or so,) I feel like I may be getting the hang of what it means to be vulnerable--not the whiny, depressed "vulnerable" of the college student Hannah and not the walled-off cheerfulness that hid the real me--but a me that is honest with who I am, what my limitations are, and the struggles and joys that I'm experiencing and how to share that with others... And it's taken true friends that have chosen to love me in spite of/because of all of that.

In an effort to live as someone who is truly open, I've noticed that it also means doing the hard things that I don't necessarily want to do. It's saying things that need to be said, putting myself in situations that can be challenging, but better in the long run and being "honestly Hannah" in all circumstances, quirks and all. And it's infinitely better than either side of the pendulum.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


My friend Jules (aka the spode) has made a recent, valiant effort to return to the blogosphere.

I'm going to attempt the same thing.

Now, I know, I know, blog friends, I've been promising that for a while now and haven't been so good, and I don't know that I can actually promise that I'll be much better this time around, BUT, I'll make an effort.

I think that the biggest difference in the past year and a half/two, I've been so busy living life that I haven't had much time to overanalyze process every stinking thing.

It makes a big difference. But, it's not an excuse to not try to update you with a little more regularity.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

It must be March

Hello March,

It's nice to know that you've already met my low expectations for the month.

Day 2 and I'm already ready for you to be over.


Thursday, February 11, 2010


That's right. Fun to be had with some good college friends. Hooray!

Yes Mom, I'll text when I arrive.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

On First Corinthians 13

"This love described by Paul isn’t mushy and sentimental. It’s tough and unwilling to yield. This love that is patient and kind and isn’t rude or boastful and is self-giving and all that. Here’s what is scary about this kind of love: you can’t manipulate it. There is no amount of weight loss, piety, personality management, big smiles, or strained pretense that can affect this love. And maybe in the absence of manipulation we stand bare before the eyes of God. This love is found in the gaze of God as God looks upon us naked and whole. Because this type of love is characterized by the giver, not the receiver. Gone are the strivings and manipulations and efforts to make ourselves more lovable. In the face-to-face gaze of the beloved, we are known because we are loved. We aren’t loved because we are known."

Read the full article here

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

K's Choice cover with my sisters :)


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Oh Me Oh My

What a fun weekend.

Visit from the Laura
Dinner at Iguana Grill
Presents and presence from people I love
Cranium and Cupcakes
Great quotes, "Was the sandwich named after the earl of sandwich or the earl after the sandwich?" and "It's not that I don't like talking about dead babies, but..."
Lots and lots of laughter
SoulFire leading worship
Coffee Shop
Hooray for A GREAT Birthday

Thursday, January 28, 2010

There are days...

When I'm reminded why I do what I do.

After Saturday's movie night (it went well friends, thanks for the prayers) in which kids brought lots of friends, I received an email from a parent wondering if we had done enough to reach out to those not part of our group.

I had been gauging the event's success on the fact that kids brought friends. Period. But I also know that there is/was probably more that we can do and that Saturday's event was just a "step" in the right direction of being more open to those around us.

Today, I got an email from a parent saying that their child (typically a quiet one) was bringing their friend to another youth event.

That makes for an awesome day.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


This weekend, we are taking our high school students to see the movie To Save a Life. I had an opportunity to preview this movie a couple of months ago and am really excited for it and for the discussion I hope comes from the movie is powerful.

The movie is about a boy named Jake, whose life begins to change when a former friend commits suicide. The movie is a pretty accurate portrayal of a lot of typical high school things, (partying, social circles, relationships) and it has an authentic mentoring relationship between youth worker and youth that I really enjoyed seeing.

But mostly, the movie is about...suicide.

A year and a half ago, a student at my church committed suicide.

Since then, that event and the time that followed falls into the category of, "the things I never talk about."

This movie, the message and the fact that I am preparing to lead discussion with the high school students after means that I have been staring down the face of this "thing that I never talk about" and will mean that I may have to talk about it to some extent, throwing me into a bit of emotional turmoil.

So, blog buddies, pray for me. This head on confrontation is causing lots of heartache and a little bit of anxiety.

Thanks, friends.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

From the broken...

A couple of weeks ago, during the high school small group, we read one of my very favorite parts of scripture--the sinful woman washing Jesus' feet. We talked about how Jesus, instead of condemning says, "this woman has done a beautiful thing for me."

In life, we (and by we, I mean that I am) are a lot like the woman in this account looking for the beautiful in the broken pieces. One particular youth in this group lost a parent in very tragic circumstances. The fact that he is healthy, strong, living and that his family has built a new life out of those broken pieces is a testament of God's beauty and something that I sometimes marvel.

Beauty out of the broken.

Our broken, sinful hearts seek and cry out for restoration and redemption.

For a time period of about 18 months several years ago (my life seems to move in 18 month time spans), there was a time when I felt broken. Broken by circumstances, failed relationships, friendships, finances, work, life. Much like Donald Miller in his book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years that he felt as though he would never thank God for the things he was experiencing, I felt the same way. There were many things that I felt would never resolve, would never get better, would never get repaired (as evidenced by this blog o mine).

The other night, while thinking about that time, it suddenly hit me that time of feeling broken was a time that God was using to bring about beauty. There is a lot of beauty in my life that came from that time. New friends, new relationships, new experiences, a stronger wearing, longer lasting version of myself. And even though I thought I would never thank God for that time, I am thankful. Thankful for the newness He's brought and thankful for beautiful things he has done and continues to do for me.