A Jumbled Mess

Really, who can believe it is fall already?  Summer has left us, well most of us anyway.  The leaves are changing, temperatures are dropping and the apples are ready for picking.  I am sitting here looking out my window at blue skies, fallen pine cones and a 75 degree day before me.  Fall?  I think not.  We have moved people!  For all those that did not know the Hanson Six has relocated once again to the South.  This time that means Franklin, TN.  A place we called home over five years ago.  Here we are.  Well, at least five of us because Thing 1 is in Seattle, way over in the Pacific Northwest and it feels so very odd to have been going through this process without her.  More on that later.  

Let me break this down for you.  We, and I mean all six of us, were not fans of the harsh winter season.  Which in our defense feels as though it lasts about 9 months in the great White North.  I mean, come on!  Anyhow, we knew MN was not our forever place but the timing just never seemed right for a move and then amidst our chaos filled summer, bam!  Husband Jared was entertaining thoughts of leaving and listening to a new company vie for him.  All quite flattering.  And if I am completely honest this decision was surrounded by prayer, pro and con lists, so many late night conversations and gut wrenching sleepless nights.  We have all experienced our fair share of mixed emotions.  A few leaning towards the dramatic.  What it comes down to,  what is always the toughest, is leaving people.  The ones we forged authentic relationships with.  Our community.  Friends we celebrated holidays with,  prayed for and around while one of us or one of our children have been in the pits, the ones we rallied with and cheered for.  Baked with and for, toasted a New Year with, had umpteen date nights with, studied Scripture with, raised our hands in worship with, embarrassed our children with when we did a Chinese fire drill (by the way, does anyone know why it is called this?), yelled on the sidelines with, watched footie with.  The memories are endless and for that my heart is so grateful.  They were all my silver linings.  God kisses in the flesh of the past four years.  My heart has been torn over saying goodbye, but as you know we Hansons say "see you later" to our forever friends.  

In the end, Husband Jared accepted a job offer from Apple and here we are.  Farewell to Best Buy.  Thus the move to TN and a new chapter in our journey.  As I said before, mixed emotions.  Thing 2 is entering her senior year of high school.  Had a solid core group of girlfriends, a mentor we love, a job she loved, a d- group she was leading, I could go on and on.  For her this sudden change has been difficult to process and understandably so.  Thing 3 was not to keen on leaving either.  Same for her, a trust worthy circle of friends, a school she liked, a mentor we all love and a life that she was settling into.  Thing 4 raised his hands in utter joy when he heard the news that he would not be attending his former school this year.  No kidding.  I think he even cried tears of joy.  He is missing his boys, his d-group and leaders and a few close buddies from school.  For him moving meant his ticket out of a learning environment he wasn't fond of.  Just keeping it real here.  Thing 1 processed in an entirely different manner because, as I mentioned above, she was already leaving MN for her own adventure. All that to say the Hanson Six have dealt with change and experienced being the new kids on more than one occasion.  This time we are returning to a place we know, although it has endured it's own changes as well, family waiting for us with open arms and fingers crossed, no harsh winter season.  

There are always two sides to any story.  I am grateful for that.  Minnesota was the right place for our family for the season we were in.  For four years we were all spurred on to growth in different and challenging ways.  We met people who stole our hearts and became family instantly.  I type those words through tear filled eyes.  Reflection has a way of doing that to me.  Being on the other side does too.  I witnessed God in big ways while in MN.  He was oh so good to us that way.  He never failed us and that marks a season.  

So here we go.  All in.  Well, kind of.  We are currently in temporary housing while we do some house hunting.  Not  looking for home ownership here, only renting for us.  You know that gypsy spirit, she gets the best of us and we have learned we prefer the flexibility and mobility of renting.  Plus, no yard work for Husband Jared.  Score!  The Things will be in school just as soon as we have an address and know where we are zoned for.  For now there is reading and writing and math quizzes at home.  Sometimes.  Husband Jared begins his training today.  Learning a new corporate culture and familiarizing himself with the brand.  Thing 1 has FaceTimed us throughout our road trip down here and our first night in TN, checking in on her siblings.  Other than that we are acclimating to our new environment, spending as much time with the family as we can, reconnecting with old friends, attempting to make sense of all these changes together and thanking God for it all.  Like I said, He never fails us.  

As for me I am standing.  Emotionally and physically spent from all that a move entails.  Details, details and more details.  Then more details that you forgot even though you might have done this seventeen bazillion times before.  Did I say that some of us lean towards the dramatic?  Ahem.  Mama's you know this.  You are thinking about everyone's well being, their emotional state, whether or not they drank water, took their vitamins or in our case ate a meal on any given day.  That is what I do.  I wanted to make sure the Things had time with their friends.  Time to process and deal and say see you later and celebrate.  I was concerned for Husband Jared.  He had to give his notice, prepare projects and emails and future plans for his team and then he was preparing for the new with phone conversations and travel and training plans.  Oh and we were taking our eldest to school on the other side of the country.  There's that.  And now I am sitting here tapping at the key board and allowing myself five minutes to feel.  To feel the weight of this life change.  To fully engage in the grieving of leaving people you love.  To celebrate Husband Jared and his joy as he steps into the new.  To grapple with a new place, that isn't really new, but is.  To remember what it is like to live near family and to treat those relationships with care.  To be still.  To physically stop moving and just be.  I do not understand why this is so hard for me.  Here is my mantra, today is a new day and while this is my present that I am in it is a gift none the less and in this space I will deal and dance and yell and pray and at the end of it I will be thankful.  Long mantra, I know.  Thankful for the new chapter.  Heck, that we have another chapter together as a family.  And I will be thankful that these ones with me will make me laugh and cause my lips to turn up to smile more often than not.  We get to do this together.  And together is the best place to be.  Now that place is in Tennessee.  

On Her 17th Birthday

Happy golden birthday Thing 2!  Girl, there has not been a dull moment since the moment you were born and  I have been in awe of you since then.  You see life through the lens of an optimist, always finding the best in the world, always remembering that we are here in God's created space with God created people.

Whew!  When I reflect on your last year I feel compelled to exhale.  An opportunity to travel to Bali was presented to you and your Dad and I instantly knew it was a God kiss.  I can not even tell you what my Mama's heart felt as I watched you walk away, a tad nervy and uncertain about what forty plus hours of travel would be like.  It was as though my heart leaped out of my chest and decided to hop on a plane.  Yet you handled yourself with all the confidence you could muster and that flexible, free spirit guided you.  Some might say you possess a gypsy spirit and to that I say well done.  Your Mama has that in her too and it suits us.  So not only did you travel across the International date line, the Durbin family invited you to Cali to celebrate Madison's 16th birthday.  We had a trip to TN and most recently a move to TN and in between there have been countless MN adventures with family and friends for you.  The part of you that seeks justice was inspired to lead a fundraiser within the senior high youth group.  You partnered with IJM and shared the "loose change to loosen chains" cause, collecting coins to spread the word around the epidemic of human trafficking.  There were documentary movie nights and corporate church gatherings.  Not to mention a mentoring relationship with one of your junior high girls that was spurred on because of your mentor.  You were a D-group leader and the joy I saw in you when you were serving those girls was abundantly clear.  All that between college classes and a job at Francesca's Boutique.  No wonder I feel the need to catch my breath when I write this.

Dear daughter, as we enter this senior year of high school and your 17th year, I know we are on the cusp of multitudes of change.  I pray you enter into that and embrace it all with a full and open heart to the work that the Lord continues to do.  Just like when you look through the camera lens and capture just the right lighting and then the shutter clicks and the moment is caught, I feel that same way when I see you.  Those times when you are in your element, leaning into the gifting the Holy Spirit has given you.  Walking the narrow path.  Studying His words.  Learning something new about the faithful ones that came before us.  Discovering your place within the body of the church and speaking out for those that don't have the freedom.  Use your voice, sometimes whisper and always love.  Keep loving big, the only way you know how and please don't ever stop.  Despite what the world might say.  You have the ability to diffuse anger, make someone smile and bring people together.  Keep being you.  I shake my head in disbelief sometimes; This ginormous opportunity I've had to be your Mama.  And my prayer is always above all else that you love Jesus.  I mean that, chase after Jesus with everything because He is everything.

I love you sweet one,  my Laney-Lu.