Wednesday, December 17, 2014

6 Months of Life: Part 2

Time for Part 2! :) 

Ok...this is just gonna be one month!  August was a big one!

August was a BIG much happened.  In July, my sister, Laurie, had surgery to have tumor removed. We found out after surgery that the tumor was cancerous and she was given the diagnosis of Stage 2 Ovarian Cancer.  If you saw my last post, after the month of July we had of attending two funerals for Keith's uncles that both passed of cancer I was pretty much in pieces.  To be honest, it is a bit of a blur looking back now on what my reaction was completely.  I remember thinking that there was just no way I could lose her, I lost Mom only 2 years before and my sisters are all I have.  They are my rocks, who I lean on and just could not fathom the thought of possibly losing Laurie.  When someone you love has cancer or is in pain or hurting of any way, shape or form...the feeling of helplessness SUCKS! (Sorry, no other way to express it really)  When I don't know what to mind automatically goes to "What CAN I do?"  I decided I wanted a way to help Laurie FIGHT...I wanted her to know that we were standing behind her, in this with her and we were supporting I had the idea for some t-shirts (if you know me well, you know I love making shirts for ALL kinds of occasions and events) for our family that would show Laurie we were in this together!  So...Team Laurie's Ninja Shirts were born! ;)  We did these as a surprise and ended up getting shirts for not only our family, but also some people that Laurie works with (and AMAZING group of people, BTW).  In total, our first order was over 50 shirts...we surprised Laurie right before her first chemo treatment and it was so wonderful to see her face when she realized what was going on.  I will forever hold that in my heart.  It went on even further after we posted some pictures of our shirts on Facebook and in total, over the last 4 months, we have ordered over 125 shirts and were able to use them as well as some generous donations to help Laurie with medical and other expenses while she had to take off for treatment and such.  It was a HUGE blessing and we are incredibly grateful for everyone for showing such support!  Side note - if you need shirts made in the Wichita/Garden Plain area - talk to me...I have a guy...he is AMAZING! :)
Our INCREDIBLY handsome model when we surprised Aunt Laurie!


That's RIGHT...WU is on TEAM LAURIE!!!!

With emotions running high from the news in late July of Laurie's diagnosis, we also had a HUGE change in our family in early August.  My dad decided after losing mom and since he was getting older and things were getting harder to take care of, after 17 years he was going to sell his house and land outside of Garden Plain and move back into town.  So, we embarked on organizing a lifetime of accumulating (and that man can ACCUMULATE - I am being EXTREMELY nice here...;)) and divide out the most important items and sort through the "stuff" to be sold at Auction and the house to get ready to be put on the market. To say it was a daunting task does not even begin to describe it...but we are Seiwert's...we press on (and always have a some fun in doing so):
Candace and I having a little fun  - yeah...we are goofs ;)

Day of the sale with Dad
Everyone was all over so we couldn't get all of us in one picture, but it was a great day

The day of the sale was incredibly emotional.  I thought I had a handle on it and then I watched our family dining room set being sold...I remembered Mom's excitement and attention to detail in finding just the right piece of furniture for that dining room.  This house was her dream, everything was just has she had always wanted...I could remember all of the holidays we had spent gathered around that table...and there it was, being sold to the highest was too much.  I broke down, which caused a chain reaction and we had a crying party in the garage.  The day was rough, but we got through it.  The house went on the market and sold withing a month and soon, it was all done (after my brothers set the pasture on fire of course - it's another story for another time).  At the end of it all, all of the "stuff" may have been gone and the title of the house is in someone else's name, but no one will ever take away the memories we made in that home...those will stay with us forever.

The rest of our August flew by in a flash (not even kidding, the sale and Laurie's first chemo treatment were just in the first week and a half of the month!).  All of a sudden it was Kolten's first day of school!  Preschool at least....:)  Garden Plain started a Preschool in the Elementary School. Kolten was SO EXCITED to meet new friends and get started in school!  He even named his backpack...his name is "Gary" (no idea why)! ;)

Our handsome little Preschooler!
Of course, school means treats for momma to make!  Those that know me well, know I kinda live for this I had to make some adorable little treats for his class during the first month of school...:)

We also celebrated Keith's 32nd birthday during the month of August. It was a pretty low key celebration this year, but don't worry, I wouldn't forget to mention that Keith is a whole year older! ;)

All in all, like I said...August was a month of emotional highs and lows to say the least.  It was incredible to watch God at work in our lives and yet again providing strength when I thought I could not handle even more.  I am so amazed continually that God brought us back to Kansas at just the right was hard, it was crazy and it has been AMAZING to see His plan working in our lives!

Stay tuned for later this week to get into the rest of this year!!  Have a blessed day friends!

Monday, December 15, 2014

6 Months of Life: Part 1

So...I have been more than M.I.A around here in the last 6+ months, and life has change A LOT for the Hansen family.  I decided it was best to sum it up in a couple posts! :)  Here is what we have been up to!

To start out the month of June, I actually have to start at the end of May...Keith surprised me with a trip to Kansas City for my 30th Birthday.  He packed our bags two days in advance and hid them in the basement and just told me to get dressed and we were going somewhere on the day of our trip.  He did an AMAZING job...we were on a strict budget with our life changes, so he used some hotel rewards for Argosy Casino and got a free hotel room and free meals for us, he worked my my sister, Vickie, to watch the kids so we could go for a night out and when we were waiting for dinner, I got an extra surprise...our great friends, Robyn and Courtney, walked in!  We had a great night out and it was an incredible weekend!

Robyn took this pic right as they walked in...yes, I was a bit surprised! ;)
We got back home and on June 3rd, I officially turned the big 3-0...It was nice day with our little family, complete with my special present that I told Kolten I had wanted pretty much all year...a Little Mermaid Balloon (purchased with Daddy's help, of course)!  Keith surprises didn't stop at the weekend get away either.  For years I had told him about this Snoopy Sno-Cone machine I had when I was little that I absolutely loved, and he found one at a garage sale!  This guy...I tell ya, he is a keeper! ;)

After our celebrations, we started to really pray and come to terms with the position our family was in. With Keith out of a job, I had started to look for some part time employment to at least be able to help with bills and hold us over until Keith was able to find a full time position.  He applied to a lot of places, but was not finding any possible leads. I had some luck to be offered a couple part time jobs, but our answer came one night during a call with my niece, Candace. We found out that they were looking at purchasing a new home and their current house would be available for us to rent in Garden Plain if we decided to move home.  We prayed a lot and felt like God was really telling us to move back, so we gave notice to our landlord in Iowa and made plans to move home to Kansas in mid-June.  As we were packing up we experienced heartache as Keith's Uncle Jim passed away after a battle with cancer.  We put a stall on our packing and traveled to Nebraska for Jim's funeral.  Because of our limited time to get out of our house in Iowa, we had to travel back from Nebraska the day of the funeral and on the way home, we got the call that Keith's other uncle, Norm, had lost his battle with cancer that day as well.  We made quick plans and changes in the next couple of days and with a 4 hour round trip to pick up a truck, and with help from our AMAZING church family at Trinity, we packed up and drove a Uhaul truck to Nebraska for the 2nd funeral in less than two weeks.  While it was incredibly stressful, I was amazed at the way I saw God work in our lives and He truly provided the strength we did not have to get us through.

We arrived in Garden Plain on June 15th in whirlwind, my wonderful brother, Dale and niece, Nicole helped us to unpack our truck in a few hours.  In just a week, we got pretty much everything unpacked and our new home was ready for a fun filled afternoon to celebrate Kolten's 4th birthday!  We had a wonderful afternoon, complete with a visit from "Uncle" Newby in the firetruck!  After the celebration of Kolten's birthday, we got ready to pack our bags and head to Montana to see Grandma and Grandpa Hansen!  Yes, if you are keeping up...we did A LOT of traveling in June! ;)

We arrived in Montana on June 28th, and Kolten got to celebrate his actual birthday with a fun filled trip to the zoo and a really awesome cake from Grandma and Grandpa Hansen that had an actual Transformer on it!  He was so excited!
Kolten's birthday party in Kansas, pic of the kids on their 1st airplane ride and Kolten with Grandma and Grandpa at the Zoo

We started out July still in Montana and Uncle Dan joined us for the whole family to take a fun filled vacation to Yellowstone National Park.  We had an AMAZING time...we saw so many animals, lots of Buffalo and Elk and an adorable Black Bear to name just a few!  We also went to the Battle of Little Big Horn (I think that may have been in June technically - I can't remember now!) and Kolten got to take part in the Junior Ranger Program.  He LOVED it!  Keith helped him work through some little work books and they learned about all kinds of stuff (that he tried to teach me as well :))!  Grandma and Grandpa also got him a pretty awesome vest to put his badges and patches on (which of course we will have to plan more trips to get all filled up). We had such and incredible time and are so thankful to Grandma and Grandpa Hansen for making the trip possible for us! :)
All loaded up and ready to go!
Our ADORABLE Junior Ranger!

As we got back from Montana, it was time for our new life to start back in Kansas.  I interviewed and was hired back at Wichita State before our trip and started the Monday after we returned.  Keith started a new job as well as the Manager of the Distribution Center for the Wichita Eagle.  We got started with our "new normal" and geared up for a busy and fun fall because Kolten was going to start PreSchool!!! 

I am sure there are things that happened here and there that I may have forgotten, but that's our "highlight reel" for June and July!  Check back (hopefully) tomorrow for August and beyond! 

Have a blessed day friends! :)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Becoming a Champion of Faith

I woke up to my foot being nudged. Groggy, I looked to the foot of the bed and saw Keith, and then the words came out…

“Did you get my text?”

“No, why? What happened?”

“I am officially ‘separated’ from Target”

Then…something that I NEVER would have thought would come next…I heard a voice, felt it deep in my heart, God said to me, “Everything is going to be fine.”  That voice, that feeling, was something a couple of years ago I never would have stopped to hear or listen to, but it is that feeling, that has been my saving grace these last few weeks.

Many of you know that we moved up here to Waterloo about a year ago so that Keith could take a job with Target.  It was something that I never thought we would do; move 8 ½ hours away from our family and friends, from everything that we knew for our entire lives.  It was a great opportunity, a good job, with enough pay so that I could stay home with the kids, which was always my dream.  

So, I’m not going to lie to you, the first feeling WAS a feeling of comfort and peace…but about an hour later, and in the days and weeks that have followed, my biggest question for God has been “WHY!?”   Here’s the thing though, I KNOW why!

We were brought here to Iowa for Keith and I to grow as a couple and learn to bring our family closer to Christ every day, through everything we do.  We have been connected to AMAZING (which doesn’t even seem like a strong enough word) people, especially through our church.  From the people who welcomed us our first day attending Trinity, to our small group, the people we have met through different events not even connected to church, but are men and women of Christ that help us to grow in our faith daily. 

I think daily and have devoted our website and this blog to the idea that we are “Hansen Champions”…from day one with AdvoCare, we have loved the motto, tagline, slogan, whatever you want to call it that they use, “We Build Champions”.  It has encompassed the idea and vision Keith and I have for our family.  

This adventure we are one now is bringing us to a whole new level of Champion.  We are becoming champions…TRUE Champions of FAITH!  We have a strong faith that God brought us here for a reason, we have seen the reason in some cases, but we have a challenge on a daily basis to look and see, EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. on how God has blessed us.  We are going through a bump on our road, we know that.  However, what we know and believe event STRONGER is that God is leading us and we KNOW that he will be with us every step of the way.  We may struggle, we may falter and we may fall down, but HE will guide us and HE will bless us!

I will of course keep you posted along the way, but we greatly appreciate any prayers you can offer our way!  We want to share this journey with you all because as I have said before, this is a place I want to share to help others to know they are not alone.  I won’t lie; sometimes it’s a little “therapy” for me too! ;)  I hope you all will take this though and use it as a source of encouragement and faith!

Have a blessed day friends!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Back to the Basics

So...I have been M.I.A. on here for over a month now and A LOT has been going on.  To be honest, I started to get to a point where I felt like the things that were going on in my head and what I wanted to write about was to "deep" to dive in to or that maybe I didn't have enough "expertise" in the areas that I felt lead to talk about so I just didn't write anything.

I had to go back and realize and really come to terms again with WHY I decided to start this blog (yes, I understand it has only been going since January, but that's what happened).  The reason I did this was to talk about things that were on my heart and reach out to people.  That is the "beauty" and "beast" of blogs, isn't it?  I don't NEED expertise to talk about a subject! ;)  This whole thing is just my opinions and feelings.  I want people to be able to read these and get to know me, maybe even know that they are not alone in feelings they are having.  I spent so much of my life not being true to myself and worrying about what everyone around me thought,  and I have gone through SO MUCH in the last few years that have lead me to this point, I want to share and help others.  THAT is the point of Hansen Champions and THAT is what I am going to do!

So, I will give fair warning now...there will be topics that will be across the board on here (that's how my mind works - it's a little humorous sometimes I think to unwind the "web" on how my thoughts connect:)).  I appreciate feed back and discussion are VERY welcome!  Like I said, the whole purpose of this blog is to help others, reach out, lift each other up and know that at the end of the day, what is most important is to be THANKFUL and show GRATITUDE from the experiences we have had and to the God that has made them possible!

Be blessed friends! :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Dollar on the Table

So…while unpacking the kid’s toys at, as Kolten says, our “New New House” one item in particular caught Kolten’s eye as he was exploring all of his toys after the move – one of Keith’s old wallets. 

Kolten brought it to Keith a couple nights ago and told him, “I need a dollar for my wallet”.  The first thing that went through my mind was, “How does he know that??”  The answer is simple…we have been using cash to pay with items more recently because for the first time in a long time we CAN use cash and are not using cards any more (THANK YOU AdvoCare and Financial Peace!)…and everything that Keith and I DO is seen by Kolten and becomes his reality, what he knows, and little by little his views on everything are being shaped by us!  Eventually McKinley will be joining this bandwagon too and it really has gotten me to start thinking about how and what we need/want to do to make sure that these kiddos grow into the true CHAMPION people they have been created to be!  It’s sort of a heavy thought to get my head around sometimes (yes, I just said heavy – IT IS!)

Anyway…back to the wallet and the dollar…:)

So, as I have talked about recently, we have been taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace and I have been reading  Dave and his daughter, Rachel Cruze’s book Smart Money Smart Kids (that is being released on April 22nd and you should ALL go and pre-order!!) and one of the key concepts is to TEACH your kids about the value of work and earning money with paying commissions for work done.  Rachel and Dave talk about starting even as early as 3 years old (Kolten will be 4 in June!!!) at having jobs that your children can do on a regular basis to earn commissions (NOT allowances).  Then as they earn that money, you can work together towards goals of purchases they may want and using it is just a base to teach them about working and money in general.  Then as they get even older, you can teach them the value of giving, spending AND saving.  Like I said before, I don’t wanna lay out everything on here for you – I really do want you guys to read this book – it is AWESOME!!!

So…Keith told Kolten that he would give him a dollar for his wallet if he did some work to earn that money.  Keith told Kolten that he needed to go and pick up the toys in his toy room off the floor and he would get his dollar for his work he did.  So, Kolten went in there and Keith could hear him starting to pick up toys, then he heard the sounds of picking up turn into the sounds of playing (he’s 3 – he gets a distracted easily…I’m almost 30 and I get distracted when I start cleaning!).  Kolten would come back out and tell Keith, “I need that dollar for my wallet!” and they cycle went on throughout the evening of picking up, then playing, never completing the task. 

The next day, I saw the dollar on the table and Kolten told me, “Momma, I need that dollar for my wallet.”  So, I told him (and it was even without hearing this story from Keith first – he told me everything from the night before after I told him my story – YEAH for being on the same parenting page!), “I will give you the dollar if you do some work to earn the dollar.  If you want to earn money, you have to do work to earn it.  Mommy and Daddy aren’t going to just give you money just because you want it.”  Then Kolten said (in true Kolten style), “Okay, okay, okay…what do I have to do?”  I told him he needed to pick up the toys he had played with that morning in the living room.  Well, we had a movie on at the same time and he started to pick up, but soon got distracted again and again.  I reminded him a few times, but eventually he said to me, “No, I not gonna do it…I’m gonna watch this show.”   I told him that was okay and that was his choice, but that he would not get the dollar until he did his work so he could earn his money.  He agreed and the dollar is still on the table.  We have had little talks about what he could do with the money he earns, but for now he hasn’t decided. 

The whole thing has just reminded me in so many ways about the responsibility we have as parents.  We are so incredibly blessed with two AMAZING children and I know they they will grown into amazing, champion adults.  I feel like it is just something that so often if you look into our society that has been taken for granted so often...teaching kids from the beginning not only what we think is "right and wrong" but showing them and being the example they need in this world.  I know in the next few weeks and months we will start to get a plan together as he shows he is ready and he will start to do his jobs each day and week to earn his commissions and we will plan for fun purchases and I am SO incredibly excited to teach him the value of saving and giving.  This child has one of the BIGGEST hearts I have ever seen and I know he is going to do amazing things (yeah sure, I’m a little biased, but who cares ;)).  I am so incredible thankful for people like Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze that have brought these ideas to the forward to help truly raise champion children and change how we look at money and how we can teach our children.  I really do hope that you take the time to look into Rachel and Dave’s book, Smart Money Smart Kids, and if you are looking for help with your own personal finances, look into Financial Peace University, it’s truly life changing!!    
Have a BLESSED day friends!  

Monday, March 31, 2014

Momma Monday - Building our Legacy!

So, I am going to take a moment to admit something that I think is important to get out there and I am not saying that EVERYONE that is a mother or parent has thought this, but I think there is probably someone out there that has thought the same thing and the purpose of this blog is to get stuff out there…so, here goes!!! ;)

I remember when we had first gotten married, having a conversation with Keith about when we should start “trying” for kids…I jokingly said to him, “I just wanna have a baby so I can dress it up and play with it like a real, live baby doll!”  I was OF COURSE joking, but I don’t know that I ever really knew (or at least fully considered) the FULL extent of being a parent.  Sometimes it still amazes me that God has blessed us so much and entrusted Keith and me with these two, precious human beings.  It takes incredible faith and reliance on God on a daily basis to make sure that we are raising them up in the best way possible and making the right choices to guide them to be the true CHAMPIONS I know they are and can be.  One of the best ways I can describe this is straight from God’s word:
My silly little champions :)

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

Like I said, there are MANY ways in which we seek God’s guidance daily to help us to raise our children, but one in which we have realized lately and has hit very close to home with me is when dealing with money.  I know, you are probably reading this and thinking, “Umm….Lisa….your children are 3 ½ and 1…they don’t have a concept of money yet…how is this even on your radar yet?”  Well…let me tell you! ;)

Keith and I have been taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU) over the last few weeks and I LOVE IT!  I am not going to get into a bunch of details right now about FPU right now…but I will later…it’s AMAZING!  ANYWHO….during the 2nd lesson that was taught, Dave’s daughter, Rachel Cruze is introduced and gave some tips and about teaching children about money and leaving a legacy for your children of understanding the importance of hard work and earning money, then having a giving spirit with that money.   I absolutely loved her and I could tell in just the short time of her presentation that I wanted to know more about who she was and what she did within the Ramsey organization.  So, I did what every person does this day in age…I went home and searched the internet!  I found out that Dave and his daughter have written a book, Smart Money Smart Kids.  The book will be official released on April 22nd, but I actually was chosen to be a part of the Launch Team for the book, so I have a copy and have been reading (ok…DEVOURING) it for the last few days and I can’t recommend this book enough!  It is co-written by Rachel and Dave and brings the perspective from her on what is what like to be raised a “Ramsey kid” and what it was like to come about at the time when her parents were building the legacy they not only built for their family, but so many others as well.  Dave brings on the points of what is like to be in the parent roll and how it is not always the easiest but it is WORTH IT!  It’s such an amazing point to think about as parents we often think, “Am I doing this right?” “Will they appreciate this when they are older?” and in this case you can SEE the rewards and what an amazing daughter Dave has raised and now Rachel is giving back as well, it’s truly incredible.

Be on the lookout of for more specific tips I have seen in the book…but I won’t lie…I am not gonna give it all away!  I really recommend that you go out and pre-order the book NOW!  Click HERE to go to the site to pre-order and you get some great extras along with your order if you order before the release! 

I hope you all have a fabulous Monday!  Be blessed friends!