Tuesday, August 4, 2015

An Outpouring of Words

      I feel like the inspiration to write anything long and noteworthy has departed my brain since about 12 days ago. I nearly wore myself out with writing this summer, just not on here. In the last several days I have started a blog post several times only to stop because it was sounding too academic and I really dislike reading academic sounding blogs. I much prefer them to be written well, but at the same time very practical and relaxed. Just my opinion...
     Out of my writing this summer, you would find an essay about growing up in the little town of Ladysmith, Wisconsin where the maple trees were spectacular and the first twelve years of my life were established on a dairy farm. (ask my sister now and she'd probably tell you that the farm has been far removed from my blood! Ha!) I wrote about American parenting although I didn't really have any expert advice on the subject. Thankfully, and to my rescue, this is where being required to quote multiple sources came in helpful.
     My last writing project was about Nicky Cruz and gangs in America. This one was probably my most thought about project and definitely the one that ignited my passion. I was reminded again that we cannot expect to reach anyone with Truth by just having a good church service and hoping they will attend and enjoy the entertainment. Are you kidding? People don't generally recruit themselves, be it for positions in business, leaders of organizations, gangs, or what have you; they are usually sought after and hunted down. Such is the case with reaching people with the Gospel. I beg you to not turn up your nose at Christians who are willing go into places and situations that most deem as "un-fit and dangerous" to seek out those who are lost and searching for something they don't even know exists. I find that the Life of Jesus and bringing people to Him, is not always starched and white, for if it were, you and I would not be His children. We, with all of our problems and grime would not have been allowed to enter the heart of God because we would have been too dirty to sit beside Him in the throne room. All glory to God that such is not the case. He gladly welcomes our hearts into his, no matter the evil that has been done...Which brings me to speak of my current favorite words: But God. Those two little words offer so much life and hope for every individual that makes up the 7,357,672,900+ people of the nations. I love how those are the words used in the transition of explaining how Christ changes our hearts. Parts of Ephesians 2 in my own words would go something like this: "Your soul was smothered in death with the sins you committed and you were enraptured with your fleshly desires, living as a child of wrath..... But God, saw your state and loved you so much that He reached out in mercy and pulled you out of the Pit, making you alive with the Messiah, forgiving your past life... you are saved because of grace!  You were once far away but now in Christ Jesus you have been brought home by the blood of the Messiah." That's outright exciting! So why, I ask, do we hide the Gospel from those that appear unreachable? Why do we prefer to remain in the shadows, on the other side of the wall, hoping that our lamp will shine around the corner and cast a small ray of hope to those in the room on the other side when God really wants us to come out of hiding, into the midst of the room and illuminate the darkness. Is it because of pride? We find ourselves being scared that living out the life of Jesus in public would make people look at us strange. It might. But does that matter? No. Jesus does not require that we maintain a perfectly clean comfort zone. He would rather be loved with reckless abandon.
     When we invite the Holy Spirit to live in us, we are asking him to consume our being. We are asking him to work through us in a way that gives God the glory. We are asking him to love others through us. In short words, we are crying out that He would fill us with power to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  Lord help us! 

Sunday, July 5, 2015


 ...because sometimes titles are far from me.

I present you with this picture of the sister and I after we had returned home from a thanksgiving supper with friends. We were supposed to dress up. And yes, it's from all the way back in November of 2014. I'm on top of this people! Can't you see??  I was told by several sources that I looked like some kind of old fashioned, country preachers wife... and Rhoda looked like a business woman with some kind of style!

Two weeks ago from this very day, I was going to Iowa with Rhoda to see my other sister and brother and sister-in-law. It was grand! We painted the one sisters house and listened to all sorts of happy music, ate cheesecake, had breakfast of pancakes w/ bananas and cream, and went to my favorite thrift store and found bright, happy clothes for 50-80% off! This is precisely why thrift stores are my favorite. :)

Fast forward to present day. I am in the midst of school and work and planning to move which means packing and sorting and adjustments and finding a new job and transferring to a new college.... Sometimes it feels like a bunch of craziness and it seems like suddenly, everything is happening really fast, and very soon I will no longer be surrounded by the familiar. Instead, I will be surrounded by the unfamiliar and people that I don't know, but I'm honestly excited about the fact that I will be meeting new people and stumbling upon new opportunities and I can't wait to see what God will bring to my life through all of this.  

My boss takes amazing pictures! I stole this one from her Facebook -and she doesn't know it yet- because she lets me do things like that and I had to work while most were celebrating our Freedom in some way or another...hence I missed the fireworks. Yesterday didn't seem like the 4th to me. Most times there is a picnic with friends, but this day I was writing an essay in response to an article on the effects of American parenting compared to that of other cultures from South Korea, Sweden, Finland, and China, to name a few... and then I had to work in the afternoon and evening. When my sister and I were on our way home from work around 10:45 we had to take a different route home because there had obviously been an accident or something blocking our road, but all was well 'cause we went past a trailer park where Fireworks were happening.. so Yay! We still saw some! :) 

This is it for now friends. More will come another day when I get around to writing the things I have been thinking. Please enjoy what remains of the summer and eat lots of watermelon and roast marshmallows and eat smores...and go swimming and all that good stuff...

'till next time....

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Eric & Naomi's Wedding

The end of May I was in Colorado for my sister Naomi's wedding. It was a lovely day. The kind of day that gives you warm, happy, excited feelings all the way down to your toes. It was also beautiful in that there were tears of joy and happiness and healing. The whole day was full of God's goodness and that always makes any day just so much better. 

There were colorful lollipops that had to be torn out of their nicely taped packages and sometimes certain people would get very excited when one broke.... 'cause then it could be eaten without excuse. 

 There was yards and yards of burlap and lace for the tables.

Lord bless whoever stayed to finish decorating while the bride/bridesmaids got
 their nails made pretty.. :)

Rehearsal... obviously.

The morning of the wedding my cousins -Allison and Chels- did every ones hair and make-up. They do a fantastic job, just sayin'! 

These girls were so adorable! Makes me want to be a flower girl. :)

Naomi was a stunning bride. She had this same smile going on all day! And this is random here but I just love sister weddings! Think i'm a little prejudice?  No..not really.

The reception was beautiful. It was very simple and relaxed which I believe makes anything better! 

The coffee table. You can't see here but there were chocolate covered coffee beans. Yay! 

The new Mr. & Mrs. Eric Hunsberger! 

These sisters of mine are my favorite. :)

Bridesmaids. It was so fun meeting these girls..

Mom, Rhoda & I

Love this sister and cousin of mine.. Love how this picture shows their personalities! 

So here you have it. The day in pictures. 
The End.
most of the photo credits go to Chelsy Bontrager

Monday, June 8, 2015

In Which...I return from hibernation.

February 1st. That's the last time I blogged. 126 whole days ago. It's been a crazy spring, and I know I don't actually need to say that. I think it's fact that I just stated the obvious of everyone else's life too.... surprise! 

In January I began my first semester of college for my Associates degree in accounting. I enjoyed it a lot and now that summer has arrived I'm studying Human Relations and taking my Comp 1 class.. for which I will nervously tackle my essay writing abilities. I think perhaps a love/hate relationship is developing between me and English. I just don't normally include colons and semi colons in my writing. And I don't usually spend much time thinking about when to use 'their' or when it sounds better to say 'his or her' instead...Help! 

 So far this spring I have had great fun making wedding cakes for 3 of my friends, as well as a ton of graduation cakes which I will not post here, lest it turn into a food-blog-that-is-linked-to-on-pinterest-all.the.time. which is exactly not what I intend. I did post the wedding cakes though. Just because. 

Above is a picture of my sister and I with Mom at my sister Naomi's wedding. I have a few more pictures which I will post in a few days. Let me just say that it was a beautiful wedding full of good things. :) One of those weddings where you keep wanting to go back and have all the happiness all over again... 
And now we are here, experiencing today. Yesterday is gone, never to return and tomorrow is on a countdown to the exciting unknown. This post is a very random, non-deep-thinking return to what will hopefully be a more frequent string of posts in the near future....

Until then... please smile at someone who looks sad. They need to be able to see your joy. What's more, a smile just might save their day! :)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The untitled post of my thoughts this evening.

“Hannah! Come quick!” I left what I was doing to go see whatever it was that was causing the urgency in my boss’ (I’ll call her Audrey) voice. “Look!” she said, “That’s the girl that my husband said he loves. The one in the gray pants.” I looked at the lady she was talking about. She was shorter and fluffier than Audrey “How can he say that?” she asked me. I don’t remember what I said and to my regret I don’t remember saying anything.

That is just one example of the frantic-ness which occurred often in the 4+ months I knew her.
It was a daily occurrence. I would get to work at 7 in the morning and shortly after that Audrey would get there. She usually seemed to be hung over from the night before and it would take about 3 hours for her to come around. When she did start talking she was usually mad at the person above her (the manager of the store where I worked) and there was always a story from her time at the bar the night before or it was a story of how she sat down by the pond fishing till midnight or 1:00 in the morning… and every day there were tears. They usually lasted through the whole day. Many days she spent a good fourth of her day outside on the phone crying.  There was deep hatred inside. And the lies…to customers, to us girls working under her, to the guys above her… lies to everyone about everyone… it was better to just figure something out on your own than trying to ask her because what she would tell you, you would soon discover was not the truth.

The last time I saw her was back in August 2014. She had left work that night muttering hatred and threats aimed mainly at the store manager.

I haven’t ever been able to stop thinking of her. At times I want to but for the most part I don’t. What I do want to forget is the stress that was there for 4 months. What I don’t want to forget is her. I want to remember what God had to teach me about loving the unlovable. I remember so clearly thinking how she is equal to me. Sure, I was raised in a Christian home and at the age of 18 my life was vastly different then hers at 50. Much more ‘good’. While I may have never had abortions, gotten drunk every night, slept with every available man or what have you, I still couldn’t have any pride in thinking God loved me more. Because He doesn’t.

 I wish I could say that she came to know Jesus and that the whole entire situation changed but I can’t. What I can say though is that God showed me a whole different meaning to the word love. And when I see how He loves people like Audrey it’s very squelching to any pride that He would love me more because of how much ‘better’ I am.

I don’t work at that particular store anymore, but it’s interesting the reactions I get when I tell people what I miss the most from my 17 months there. I tell people honestly that the thing I miss the most is working with the people. I miss working right beside them every day. I miss being in on their lives. It was my all time favorite activity of the day to see a co-worker sad and have them laughing and positive till they left that night.

 I know some people think it wasn’t a very good environment to surround myself with. “What terrible company for a young person…” I can almost hear them thinking…  It was dark. But God was also at work there. I felt His Spirit there. Some days when the darkness and stress was so heavy that it felt claustrophobic another worker would tell me how glad they were that I was there. I would give them a hug. Tell them how glad I was to know them…or give them a compliment. It would make their day just hearing words of kindness. Other days it was them giving me a hug. But lest you think I always embraced the stress and every other chance I had to show complete Christlikeness… I didn’t.

All that said…Don’t shy away from loving the ‘unlovable’. After all, who is the unlovable? It’s us just as much as it is them. Open up your life and let Jesus love them through you. You won’t ever regret it. I promise. 

Friday, December 19, 2014


Without reservations. Because you are loved.

This post is a pile of my thoughts from the last several days. They have been going in all sorts of directions and have been inspired by all sorts of things but I'm finding that they all stem back to one thing.


It's Human nature. We were made to worship. Something. We feel the need to devote our life to something. Our energy. Our time. Our worship. What we worship is what we crave. It's what we sacrifice our time for. I don't need to list all the things that could possibly fit in this description. You already know it. Just look inside your self and if you're very honest you probably won't have a hard time of knowing what it is that is the object of your worship. 

But this isn't a post about idolatry. That is a whole 'nother subject...

 Here I'm talking about Jesus. We have grown up being told what our "worship" should look like but is that really truth?

There's more to be discovered about the heart of God.

There are multitudes who have no idea what He really wants. To many of us He is portrayed to be a God whom we are to serve by way of our good deeds and works. As a way of somehow hopefully paying Him back for the suffering He endured when He paid for our sin. Right there you have it. He paid the price because He knew we couldn't. So why do we think we can pay it back?  If Jesus paid our debt because he knew we couldn't..... that's that. He didn't do it to suffice until we could... he did it instead of us. That shows us right there that God is not interested in our works of 'payment'. He wants our worship.

In the past I have had a very shallow understanding of worship. In fact I didn't really know what it was. I felt that there was much more to it than what I saw portrayed. I had this idea that Christ died for me so that I had a reason to serve/give back to Him. I didn't get it that He was actually doing what He did so that I would know that He loved me. That He wanted a relationship with me.

I have grown up singing the song "I Stand Amazed" but it wasn't until recently that the words ...He shed no tears for His own grief but sweat drops of blood for mine... actually sunk in. I was singing the song with a group of others and suddenly my thoughts ran wild like this: "Wait! What are the next words?" and then it was: "Really? I never knew it said that! O Jesus thank you! This changes everything..."  And then there were various other thoughts that I don't remember as exactly.

The main point is this: How we view God determines how we view worship to Him.

If we believe the lie that we must work hard to repay Him -out of love of course- for what He did for us then we will also -most likely- feel as though we are never good enough for Him. Like we will never measure up to what He deserves to have from us. We will feel insecure about offering Him nothing but ourselves. On the flip side when we realize that we can't repay Him and that His whole reason for dying was to bring God closer than ever to man and also to show us just how great His unconditional love is than our response is naturally one of thankfulness, praise, love, worship.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

God in a $0.40 CD

She was at a thrift store with her sisters. She was looking for something exciting. That one thing that had 'her name' on it. She did what she always does first and went to the clearance section of the store. To her left was a gigantic rack of music. She went there next since she can't leave a store without looking through the music. There it was, close to the front. A 14 yr. old CD that was marked 80% off its original price of $1.99! When this particular young lady sees music for $0.40 it just has a way of going into her cart. And most times it doesn't go back on the shelf. Just imagine. 11 songs for $0.40?!

That was me. Hannah, the person writing this. That music was probably the favorite thing I purchased all day. I haven't stopped listening to it since. The whole album is full of God's Spirit. I needed that. I love it when a song has been around for 16 years -a popular song at that- and suddenly you find that version of it that is instantly your favorite. It's anointed. It's different from all the others.

I had specifically been asking God to reveal Himself to me in some way. He did. In a way that I wasn't expecting. It's those little things that cause my belief in God to grow bigger. How do I know that He cares about the very small things? Because He made Himself known to me through a very small thing. It was nothing big and/or sophisticated. Simply bringing to me 11 songs -for practically free- that have blessed me over and over.

How has God made Himself known to you today? Maybe it was a hug from a random friend. Maybe you were going through something difficult or outright hard and that person who had no idea gave you chocolate for no reason at all or maybe they spoke words of life to you right when you needed it the most. Maybe God spoke His love to you through flowers from a child or by simply watching the leaves dance around in the wind. Or the sunset... or who knows, maybe someone posted something on Facebook that was just what you needed for that day. A moment of Light. Truth. Promise.

Look around you. Most times God doesn't throw a big party when He tells us He loves us. A lot of times it's in the small things. The things that make our hearts happy. It's when we realize these things are gifts, that we know. Without a doubt. That He really and truly cares. Because we are His.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Jacob & Dorcas - The wedding

And so it was. My sister got married. And it was beautiful! I have so many memories from that day that I could talk for hours about it. But since no body wants to spend hours reading a blog post I shall condense it to these 36 pictures & a few words.

 It was a most lovely wedding. It was beautiful. God was present. It has been marked in my head as one of my favorite weddings ever!  So I shall begin:

We started the day with our cousin bringing us coffee drinks of our choice to drink while the hair and make up was being worked on... It was quite pleasant of her I thought... :)

The flower girls were most adorable I thought. They became friends very fast which was adorable to watch! On the way to the place where pictures were to be taken they sat in the back seat counting each others freckles... It was entertaining.

Dorcas was a stunning bride! Her face says it all!

What's not to like about eating cheesecake for breakfast? 
Especially with that pretty, stripped tea towel bib about your neck....

The front of the church...

Our family. Just us. Somehow we all grew up and it seems as though we're all the same age. Just look at us being all adult and everything... haha! :)

And then there are the rest of us...

These two played beautiful prelude music! Every time I think of it I remember how the bridal party was all down stairs and we could hear the music while being told stories of times when people have fainted while standing up front and we were being mildly instructed on what to do should we began to feel light in our heads and so on... It was a little entertaining. 

Jacob welcomed all the guests..

All of us sisters had a spot in the bridal party along with one of our cousins. Somehow it felt organized to me to be in the middle. I know it sounds weird but it just was that way. It seems to me that Dorcas was probably coming in at this time judging by all our expressions.

There was a wonderful time of worship...

"The Prayer" Let me just say that God totally sang that song for me. Practice did not go well. At rehearsal it went worse yet. I went home and prayed over that song. The next day I felt like it was going to be completely fine. It was. My God is awesome! 

A prayer of blessing.

Mr. & Mrs. Jacob Potsander!! 

The reception was beautiful! It was relaxed and fun...

There were lots of beautiful hydrangeas on the tables...

Simple beauty & loveliness...

There was happy music being played...which is always a good thing in any situation.

I love this picture! It captures so much of the joy that was there! 

A few random sibling pictures....

 The old car they left in was perfect. Even better than their original plan which is another story that I don't remember all of.... 

So there you have it. And the time has come to end this post.

-the end