Monday, January 26, 2009


I am only just a little bit excited. Actually, no, I am a LOT excited! Today at about 2pm Glenn was at work and he got a call from a restricted number. He contemplated whether or not to take it but since he was walking past the kitchen he decided to slip in and see who it was. It was a lady from SUNY Upstate Medical University informing him that he has been accepted for the class of 2013!!!! We are moving to Syracuse!!! Glenn finally got in to medical school! Yes, it took 3 times applying but he's in! God answered our prayers!

My first response was to scream and then cry and then tell the kids and then change my facebook status to "Sonja is SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Wow! I can't believe it is real. We have been waiting for this for SO long! I was really hoping that he wouldn't get put on the waiting list - he got an acceptance call!

Hannah's first response was "Mommy, where is my green book [her quiet time diary]? I need to check it off [of her prayer list]!" She is so excited that God answered her first prayer request that she wrote down. Another cool thing - he gets his white coat on her birthday - August 26th!

I know that there is so much to come but I am excited and continue to praise God and trust Him with our future.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Burb

There are so many things I love and a few things that I don't like about the Burb (what we call our '95 Chevy Suburban).

One of the things that I love most is SPACE!!! Our kids aren't huge yet but I know that even when they are full grown they will be able to sit in it and we'll be able to carry everything we'd need for a vacation etc. Caleb is already 4'8"  at 8 years old. He is not going to be short! Hannah and Lydia at 6 and almost 5 are pushing 4'. I guess knowing that they are our children we should automatically assume that they would be tall. (Unless they happen to get extra Hansen genes). 

It is also nice, being transient like we are, that it is able to hold A LOT when we take the seats out when we move.  It is amazing to me how few trips we had to make with it when we moved twice last year! 

I also like that it seats 8 people so we can take 2 people along with us if we want to or have the need. When Glenn's parents visited and when his sister and our nephew visited last year we were able to do whatever because we all fit in there together.

There are a few things that I don't like about it... the known problems and the unknown. Last week I drove it out to AWANA with the kids and I don't remember it giving me problems on the way to church but I was praying hard all the way home not sure if it was going to make it because it was acting funny and felt like it was going to fall apart and I didn't have my cell phone to call anyone and we have to drive through some sketchy parts of Rochester to get home. Thankfully we made it home and I swore I would never drive it again. Glenn had to work the next couple of days so couldn't look at it until Saturday morning when we were supposed to be going to the home of some friends. They graciously came and got me and the kids then let us borrow their van for the night so we could get to church in the morning. Glenn had no answers on the Burb but he thought that it might be the transmission. Yesterday we took it somewhere and were told it was not the transmission but it might be the motor. The guy who checked it out said that the Burb was great and that we should get it fixed. So today it is at another shop getting worked on. I guess that the intake manifold gasket is shot. It will cost us, but a lot less than a junker that we don't know what is wrong with it on Craigslist. Getting this fixed should also help out gas mileage (which was about 9mpg last time I checked - ouch! another thing I don't like about our Burb) because it is spitting out too much gas. There is still the problem with the gas line and the loose front end that we have to replace a tie rod every year to get it to pass inspection but... we'll be on the road again and not HAVE to buy a vehicle right now.

So that is our most recent Burb saga. I really love our Burb. It has been a great vehicle for us. I don't know if I would be content with a mini-van and Glenn's dream vehicle is a LandRover Defender 110 so I am glad that the Burb is fixable for now. 

Friday, January 16, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

I got tagged on facebook to write 25 random things about me and thought I would post them here as well.

1. I never ate onions until after I married Glenn now I can't cook without them!!

2. I lived in 2 places from birth to when I got married and 13 places in the 9 1/2 years since then (*though I did live in the one bedroom apartment I lived in as a baby with my hubby and 4 kids for 10 months and the house that I grew up in for 4 months so I guess I have only lived in 13 places total). 1707c, 3615, *0783, 1310, mini mart, Aldermans, Alan's, Christensens, 1304a, *1314b, 1090, Lishawas, our current little house.

3. I loved the 3 months from August 26-November 26 of 2008 because I could say my kids were 2, 4, 6, and 8! I truly think that this is the easiest stage in my parenting ever - no more diapers, everyone sleeps through the night and we haven't gotten to the teen/tween issues yet!

4. I homeschool my kids. Caleb is in 3rd grade this year and Hannah is in 1st.

5. I would love to write a book someday.

6. I bake most of our bread. My two favorite recipes are Oatmeal Bread and French Bread.

7. I love Wegmans reusable shopping bags.

8. I am a messie and tired of it so I am trying to get more organized this year.

9. I love camping (except for trying to get out of the tent in the middle of the night!)

10. I went to 3 colleges and still graduated with my BS in only 4 years.

11. I am really praying Glenn gets into medical school this year because I am so tired of this waiting game but I am so thankful for all that God has taught me through these last 4+ years!

12. I really miss the Tuesday morning Bible study I went to at the Waterloo Rec when we lived there!

13. Both of my parents are in heaven with my Gram who was like a 2nd mom to me and my Savior Jesus Christ who I can't wait to meet in person!

14. I want to be an oak tree follower of Christ - with deep roots firmly grounded in God's Word and a strong trunk that is not easily swayed by winds or trials. (thanks Linda Dillow for that illustration that I just re-read this morning).

15. Speaking of Linda Dillow, the two books that have changed my life the most besides the Bible are books by her - Calm my Anxious Heart and Creative Counterpart.

16. I played piano and flute growing up and would love to learn how to play the guitar.

17. I love cooking healthy meals for my family and would love to teach others how through my direct sales business but need to get shows booked in order to do that. Ugg, I hate the phone!

18. I love the model of mentoring set up in Titus 2. I would love to have a mentor (and be one) but because we move so much I have never made the commitment.

19. I am addicted to facebook.

20. I love the Strong Museum of Play (especially the Berenstein Bears part!)

21. I love North Baptist Church and can understand why someone would want to move to Rochester just to be a part of it and am very sad that we will have to leave it someday!

22. I LOVE books so the libraries of the Monroe County Library System are some of my favorite places! There are regularly over 50 books on my card and it is NOT the kids fault - though they love books because of their parents.

23. This has been the first successful week of homeschooling that we have had all year and it is all do to a right attitude from the teacher (mom) a little planning, and checklists (that are the bad guy instead of mom).

24. My favorite food is Hawaiian Haystacks.

25. I hope that I never forget that this world is not my home, I'm just a passing through even when I have lived in one place for over 2 years!

Well, there's 25 random things.

Monday, January 12, 2009

God is at Work

As I write this Glenn is heading east on the NYS Thruway, I-90, on his way to Upstate Medical University for his interview and I am so thankful for all the people that are praying for him! This is the only interview that he has been offered at this point and we would love to go there! 

That is really on my heart but another thing on my heart right now is that I am SO thankful for the work that God is doing in my family. I know that we would not be where we are right now spiritually if it weren't for these many years of uncertainty and steps of faith that we have taken  through which we have seen God at work to get us to this point.  I love seeing God at work in my kids. Whenever anything good happens the first thing out of Abigail's little 3 year old mouth is "Thank you God!" Even things I don't notice she is so quick to thank God for them. How it brings joy to this mommy's heart! 

This year I really wanted Caleb and Hannah to get into God's Word more. They memorize verses for AWANA but that program doesn't really challenge them to get into God's Word for themselves everyday so I thought I would look for something for them. Starting in middle school or so I had used the Word of Life Quiet Time diary to help direct my time with God for several years and it was really helpful for me. I have looked online for them before for the kid's ages but never bought them. I found some on ebay shortly before Christmas, a few of them from several years back that had never been used that someone was clearing out and I bought all that she had to offer. We gave them to the kids on Saturday and I sat down with them and talked them through the prayer section and what they would be doing everyday (reading a short scripture passage and doing an age appropriate activity based on it).  They were so excited and wanted to start right then but the reading started on Sunday so I told them that they could work on putting down some of the things that they wanted to be praying for and we could pray together. I loved listening to the things that they wanted to pray for. The first request they both put down was that Dad would get into medical school then that Abigail would believe in Jesus. Caleb wrote down Lydia that she would grow in Christ. Hannah's next request was that Abigail and Lydia and her own husband and Caleb's wife would believe in Jesus :). On the missionary page they both wrote down a request for the Thomas' family to catch "the Chisler" (a big rat that has been bothering them in their home where they serve God overseas). They went on to write many things that they were thankful for on the thank you page: grandma & grandpa's visit, a warm home, blankets, pillows, family, safety tools. I really don't think that they were given enough space on those few pages for requests and things to be thankful for! It's OK, we can staple in more pages :)  When we got home from church yesterday Caleb ran and got his quiet time diary to add a request for his friend Zach from church whose arm is broken. It was neat to chat with the kids too after they had done the first day and see what they had learned. I am excited about what God is going to do in their (and  my life) through this tool that we are using this year.

Another thing I am excited about is how God is working in Glenn's life. A lot rides on this interview today. We would love to go to Upstate but as he was reading his Bible this morning he was on James 4:4, "You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."  We have talked a lot over the last year and specifically recently from the series at church about people pleasing. I love that the song on his lips this morning was "I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold, I'd rather have Him than have riches untold...." You know what? Today is a big day. Glenn may get into Upstate but if that is not God's best plan for us we don't want it. I know that as he goes into his interviews today he is going to be himself and if that is where God wants him, He will work out the details.

These many years of waiting on God have not been easy but the song that rings through my heart this morning is "Through it all, through it all, I've learned to trust in Jesus, I've learned to trust in God. Through it all, through it all, I've learned to depend upon His Word." My God is so good and faithful and I trust Him. He has proven Himself over and over again. Thank you Jesus!

Sunday, January 04, 2009


Right now Glenn's parents are visiting us which is so much fun. We have only seen them once a year for the last three years around Christmas time and the kids are loving their time with Grandma & Grandpa. We aren't around family much, mine more than his because mine is closer, so we try to make the most of the little snippets we do have with family. God has really been impressing me lately though of the fact that, though I do not have blood family that I see often I am so blessed to have "family" close by. Last month at Vertical Worship during communion Brad Files was talking about how he is closer to some people that he has absolutely nothing in common with besides being a fellow follower of Christ than people that went to the same school, like the same movies, do the same job, etc. I have been thinking about that a lot lately. I love that about the family of Christ. Every Sunday I feel like I am going to a family party when I go to church. I am always excited to go to church, not just because I know that I am going to be fed spiritually and get to serve but I get to see people that I love and that love me and my family. I am not related to anyone that goes to North but am closer to many people there than people I am related to.

I don't get out much but last night, since Glenn's parents were here, I decided to go with Glenn to the last night of work party for another one of his co-workers who is leaving his floor. Sitting there I was struck once again with how thankful I am for North and for Glenn and for being part of the family of Christ. God has shown me again and again that no matter where He lands us or for how long He will provide all that we need and one of my needs is a support system. Everywhere that we have lived that has not been near family He has provided family for us at our church, first at Highland Park Baptist, then Fillmore Wesleyan and now North Baptist. I can think of special families that have adopted us like the Francis family in Chattanooga, the Hahns, Cronks, Deans, Masts, Nafzigers, Keelers/Woodards and many other families that we became part of when we lived in Houghton and here our small groups and so many others that have had an impact on our lives. I love having adopted families. I am so blessed. Besides having people that I am related to by blood and by marriage we have countless families that have invited us to be a part of their lives that are as close as, or closer than "real" family. I guess that I don't really know where I was going with this but if you are one of those people I just wanted to say how thankful I am for you. My life is so much better because God has brought you into our lives. Thanks.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Hawaiian Haystacks

Last night we had Hawaiian Haystacks for supper. It is one of our favorite meals and I am often asked for the recipe so... here it is!

The sauce can be made two ways, I usually use the 2nd way b/c it has less salt but the first way is easier so I will give you both:

Sauce option #1:
2 (10 oz) cans cream of chicken soup
1C chicken broth
2C diced cooked chicken
Stir together in a pan and simmer until heated through

Sauce option #2:
Saute 1 onion chopped (and optional 1/2 green pepper) in 1/4C margarine or chicken fat skimmed from broth until soft.
Add: 1/4C flour. Stir and cook until bubbly.
Add: 2C chicken broth, 1C milk, and salt & pepper to taste.
Cook stirring constantly until smooth and thickened.
Add: 2-3C diced cooked chicken (and optional 1T chopped parsley)
Heat through.

At the table have bowls of:
chow mein noodles
diced tomatos
chopped celery
chopped green peppers
chopped green onions
pineapple chunks
shredded cheddar cheese
slivered almonds

Let everyone stack their own toppings on the base of rice and chicken gravy - yum! Everyone gets to eat only what they like! Enjoy!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Chaos Peace

It is funny the stuff that comes up when you google "it feels like chaos peace" like I just did. There were such a wide range of websites that came up for where people think that they can get peace in the midst of their chaos. I could really tell from his blog that this one guy was really searching. Another lady had some really strange ideas and a very large following. How can you find peace without Christ? I really think that it is impossible! You can try all you want with meditating, de-stressing, etc but the only source of peace is Jesus Christ. The reason I googled it is because I feel like my life is chaos right now and this song by Sanctus Real keeps going through my head because I have heard it on the radie several times lately but I don't know the words. The part that keeps going through my head is "it feels like chaos somehow there's peace" and I really wanted to know what they words were so.... google to the rescue. Of course many other people had wanted to know the words and put them in their blog so now I join their number. It really seems an appropriate song to start out this new year with. It is time for healing. God longs to heal me. It is time to fix my broken parts and God wants to do that. He is not going to choose ways that I would particularly choose BUT He does know what is best and He will choose the best ways for me. It's time to surrender to What I can't see because He is making me into something beautiful, something fit for heaven. Oh Lord, I surrender. Fill me with Your peace that passes understanding in the midst of this chaos. I trust You.

Whatever You’re Doing
by Sanctus Real

It’s time for healing time to move on
It’s time to fix what’s been broken too long
Time make right what has been wrong
It’s time to find my way to where I belong
There’s a wave that’s crashing over me
All I can do is surrender

Whatever you’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos somehow there’s peace
It’s hard to surrender to what I can’t see
but I’m giving in to something heavenly

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Revaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow your will
or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is you want from me
I give everything I surrender…


Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I’ve wanted to say for so many years
Time to to release all my held back tears

Whatever you’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You’re up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly

Whatever you’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but now I can see
This something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly
Something heavenly

It’s time to face up
Clean this old house
Time breathe in and let everything out

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Out with the Old, In with the New... 2008 in Review

The first of the year always makes me reflect on the old year as I look forward to what God has for us for in the new year. I don't usually make resolutions but I did last year. I don't remember all of them but here is how I did on the ones that I remember:
1. Spend time with God every day - this is a normal goal I have every year. I did pretty good on this one this year. God has taught me a lot but I still have a lot to learn!
2. Use only cloth grocery bags. I did pretty good with this one this year. It probably helps that I do a lot of my grocery shopping at Aldi and I am not willing to buy plastic bags from them to put my groceries in. The rest of my shopping I do at Wegmans and they have those great "Did you remember your bags?" signs out in the parking lot which remind me to grab my stack of black Wegmans bags that I adore. They are so great! I use them all the time, even when I am not grocery shopping :). I think that I probably collected less than 20 plastic bags from various stores over the whole year which I really don't think is that bad.
3. Do not shop at WalMart. I kept this one! We haven't been to WalMart since November 30, 2007. I am sure that it has saved us a tremendous amount of money and hassle. I haven't missed it. When I have needed something it I've often prayed about it and it has been on sale at Wegmans when I do my normal shopping.
4. Blog at least once a week. I did better at this than in some previous years but still not great. I will try to do better this year.

I don't remember if I had any other resolutions and I haven't decided on ones for this year so I am now going to reflect on the last year. I'll put links to some pictures and some of my blogs if you want visuals or more information.

Did lots of sledding down "our hill" in "our valley" by the Conservatory in Highland Park. Found a mattress for Lydia's trundle bed on Craigslist. Had a minor car accident when a lady turned into our Burb near BJs. Checked out the new Elmo's world exhibit and the traveling Grossology exhibit at the Strong Museum of Play. Heard from Upstate that Glenn was put on the bad wait list. Enjoyed time with our community group and at AWANA. My dad and Russ visited our house for a couple of hours.

More sledding. SuperBowl party with community group at Schulers. Started Financial Peace University with our small group. Glenn interviewed at U of R. Valentine's Day party at the Museum of Play and date night at Lishawa's with our community group. Enjoyed visits from AmyJo, Kyle, Ehren, & Dad, Kim Hunt, Russ & Camy, Zach & Chris. Celebrated Lydia's 4th birthday with a trip to the Museum of Play. Ended the month with everyone sick.

Visited Dad at Rochester General after his heart catheterization. Went to the Public Market in a blizzard. Had Lydia's birthday party. Took walks in the snow after dinner because it was still light out after the time change. Went to the St Patrick's day parade downtown. Enjoyed Easter dinner at Lishawa's with Hoffmans, Lilites, and Ippolitos. Quick trip to Waterloo because they thought Dad had had a brain stem stroke, it turned out he was just having seizures b/c he had missed some meds. Caleb started reading Redwall. Kids did Read Across America at the library. Had dinner at the Bertrams. Had community group over for Hawaiian Haystacks.

Celebrated April Fool's day at the playground with unseasonably warm weather and cake for supper. Took many trips to Lishawa's to feed Sammy and do our laundry. Had an interesting conversation with Caleb. Baked lots of bread because Caleb was helping and added lots of sugar to the wrong bowl. Got too many books from the RCSD book giveaway. Had dinner at the Dudleys. Hosted a party with a direct sales kitchen tools company and decided to sign up to be an independent consultant. Awana hike at Durand Eastman Park. Practices and meetings for Spring Fling. Burb failed inspection because outer tie rod broke.

Celebrated Glenn's birthday and 3 days off in a row with a short vacation to Fillmore Wesleyan Church, stayed with the Nafzigers, and I had my first Cooking Show at Jenn Keeler's house. Enjoyed Highland Park in the spring with cherry blossoms, dogwoods, magnolias and of course lilacs. Spent Mother's Day with Dad and the Nelsons at my cousin Jamie's house. Held 2 other Cooking Shows. Struggled a lot with depression and unknowns of our future. Applied for passports for the possibility of going to Caribbean for med school. Hannah learned how to ride a bike without training wheels. Steph and Brody visited. Glenn dropped his phone in the toilet. Awana closing. Spring Fling.

Dad went home to be with the Lord. Calling hours. Funeral. Kendra came to visit. Played in Lake Ontario. Abigail started potty training. Community group camping trip at Letchworth State Park. Had a couple more Cooking Shows. Kristina helped me sort the kids room and we got rid of a lot of toys in preparation for going to Caribbean possibly. Got letter from U of R that wait list wasn't moving enough and so Glenn didn't get in. Started packing.

Lots of packing and sorting. Watched fireworks from the top of Highland Hospital parking garage. Weekly free movie at Regal theater with the Free Family Movie Festival as well as free movies in Highland Bowl. Trip to Waterloo to go to Sauders, visit Phoebe and go to Zach's graduation party. Found out Caribbean school lost Glenn's application so going in the fall not an option and after much prayer decided to stay in Rochester but found out our apartment was already rented out. Seneca Park Zoo with Robin, Stacy, Bethany & Ava. Celebrated Caleb's 8th birthday with Dudleys, Kristina & Betty. Bought our Mac G4 laptop off craigslist. Tales with Tails at the library. Challenged by City Builder and City Watching sermons at church. Went to Museum of Play with Jenn, Noelle & Mya. Sold several things on Craigslist. Started moving stuff to Betlem Storage. Weekly story time and summer reading program at the library. Communtiy group yard sale at Hibbards. Help moving from many friends. Said goodbye to Highland Park and 1090 and temporarily moved in with Lishawas.

Got settled in at Lishawas'. Glenn biked the 3 miles to and from work all month. Arnett Community Block party. Digging and Dunking at church. More weekly free movies and summer reading as well as many visits to Arnett Library. Glenn shadowed a DO. Had stuff stolen from in the house while we were in the front yard including our cell phones, Lishawa's computer, one of Glenn's bikes & his favorite messanger bag with some important stuff in it. Glenn's bike was recovered but it took several weeks of red tape for him to get it back. Went to Family Camp at Letourneau during our anniversary. Kids enjoyed playing at Lishawas. Played at the Files on their trampoline often. Got new cell phones after almost 3 weeks of hassles with Verizon. Glenn applied to many medical schools. Celebrated Hannah's 6th birthday. Weekly prayer time with Lishawas.

On Labor Day had Dad's burial then spent the afternoon by and in Grandma & Grandpa Nelson's pool. Made a castle out of a refridgerator box. Started a new small group on the south side of town. Kids started AWANA Caleb - Truth & Training, Hannah - Sparks, Lydia - Cubbies, Abigail - Puggles. Starting homeschooling - Caleb 3rd grade, Hannah 1st. Spirit of America. Darien Lake. Lishawas left for Jordan. Greatly challenged by Fighting Fair series at church. Honey extraction at Tinker Nature Center. Deaf Awareness and Curious George at the Museum of Play. WXXI Open House. Museum of Play with Pines.

Moved into our new little house. Sparks hike. More moving. Sonja started Beth Moore's Daniel study. Went apple picking. Raked lots of leaves. Family Fun Fest at Brighton Library and other visits there. Halloween party at Museum of Play and went trick or treating and got amazing amounts of good candy.

Abigail got sick. Filled up our tank for less than $100 for the first time in years. Voted. Rochester Book Festival. Got our CLA. Lots more raking. Caleb's first overnight at a friend's house (Will). Sold more stuff on craigslist. Girls all got bad colds. Watched Frosty the Snowman in honor of the first snow that stuck. Many visits to Brighton Library. Celebrated Abigail's 3rd birthday. To Haywards for Thanksgiving. Had dinner at Chalones.

Glenn started volunteering at St Joseph's Neighborhood Center. Did a couple of Holiday Bazaars for my business that weren't very successful. Burb wouldn't start several times so we got it a new battery. Had Chalones over to play. Went to a party with our old community group. Museum of Play with Keelers, Mesmers, and Nelsons. Fun time hanging out with our small group and singing carols. Went sledding. Took kids Christmas shopping for each other at Museum of Play store. Went to a big Christmas light display after going to the late Christmas eve service at church. Celebrated Christmas by enjoying Christmas morning at home and Christmas dinner and games at Files. Glenn's parents came to visit on the 30th for a week and a half and helped us ring in the new year.

I often get comments on how much my kids have grown. So as of right now this is how big they are:
Caleb - 55.5" 72#
Hannah - 47.25" 47#
Lydia - 45.75" 41#
Abigail - 38.75" 33#

Well, I think that was my longest post ever. We are excited to see what God has in store for us for the next year and know that He will be faithful through it just as He has been this year.