Saturday, October 25, 2014

Wahoo! It Finally Happened!!

Today I received this text from my 28-year-old son.  I just KNEW if I was patient enough, all those years of teaching and training would finally sink in!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Worth Considering

At any given moment, you have the power to say "this is not how the story is going to end."                                                     
                                                                              - Anonymous

Monday, September 1, 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014

30 years. . .

Hard to believe it's been thirty years since I married this handsome guy.  We've experienced happiness and heartache through years of school, babies coming and going, a few marathons, weddings, funerals, and he has been my rock through it all.

It was difficult to imagine, when I snapped this picture of Elder Hansen and our mission president, Alfredo Meijome, all those years ago, that I'd actually become Mrs. Elder Hansen.

My heart still flutters when he walks in the room.  I'm so grateful we are bound for eternity!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I miss our kids!

It's been almost two weeks since this last night in Rome.  I keep turning around throughout my days, thinking I see one or two of them, and I think of them all with very fond memories of our time together in Europe.

To our Study Abroad students, I'm afraid I miss you wonderful young people who have touched our lives forever.  I am certain you will go on to fulfill meaningful, service-filled lives.  Don't forget the memories we made!  Although there may be one or two things we'd all like to forget, we hope you will carry the lessons you learned this summer with you forever.  I know we will.

You have etched yourselves into our hearts.  We love you.  Keep in touch!

Sunday, July 27, 2014


This adventure has gone way too fast!  We're already in Florence, Italy.  We started a few days ago in Venice, where we visited a glass making factory on the nearby island of Murano.  We stayed on the island of Lido, where there was a nice little sandy beach.  We then went to Bologna, visiting Ducati as well as the Barilla Pasta Factory in Parma.  We got to meet with the President of the Barilla Academy, who showed us around and then sent us on a tour of a pasta making plant.  The kids had a great time.  We learned a lot about pasta, and how the Italians complement their pasta with sauce, while we Americans complement our sauce with pasta, i.e. we like a lot more sauce back home!  We watched pasta come through the machines, got to sample a little, and watched them dry it and box it up.

In the morning we make one last bus ride to Rome.  There we will say goodbye to Peter, our bus driver, and we will spend our last few days in that beautiful city.  We have loved Florence.  Some of us took a cooking class where we learned how to make pasta and pizza and gelato.  Others shopped the market, went out to the coast, stopping at Pisa along the way.

This morning we spent an hour getting to church in Florence.  It is a nice new building, where a ward was recently formed from the two branches here.  The church is growing strong.  The missionaries seemed happy, and the saints were delightful.  And the church bathroom was so clean.  It is amazing to see how much effort it takes just to get to church for these people in Europe.  So many don't have cars, so I'm sure doing much visiting of other members is not easy, as well.  They sure don't seem to mind.

Mark and I certainly hope all these wonderful students are soaking all of this in.  They've done much these past almost-five weeks.  They've been good sports and we are are glad to say their "ours."  Here are some pictures.  I've had very unreliable internet connections at our hotels, but hopefully this post will come through!  We are cherishing each moment we have with these young people in this beautiful part of the world!
At church in Florence.  Pictured with us is a BYU Dance Study Abroad group also in Italy.


 Brooke and Heidi, here, then Melanie and Allyson, four of our cooking school culinary cuties!

Holly, our assistant director, is on my right.  Joseph, our young man who is getting married soon after we return home, is on my left.  We tried to teach him everything he is going to need to know about marriage.  We all had a lot to say.  Poor guy was getting inundated, even from our single young women!  Here we are showing off our newly created Tiramasu.  The rest of the class got a kick out of us not adding coffee to it or drinking the wine they served with the pasta dishes.  

 Holly, Joseph, and Spencer in the back, rolling out their pasta dough.

Following are pictures of all the students, somewhat dark, at a dinner provided by our hotel in Lienz, Austria.

 And the beautiful bridge of sighs.  We loved Venice.  It even rained, and we still loved it.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Stille Nacht. . .

We have one of the best choirs in Austria!  These students sounded absolutely, breathtakingly lovely singing "Silent Night" in the little church built on the spot on which the original church stood, where the song was first sung, in Oberndorf, Austria, just outside Salzburg.  I will always remember how I felt as I heard these beautiful young people sing that song.  Their harmonies were spot on.

We have been singing a few hymns on the bus.  Our bus driver, Peter, loves to hear them sing.  He's ordinarily quite jovial and likes to be funny.  Our singing brings him close to tears.

I'm grateful for the music training these students have had.  I'm grateful they want to sing.  I'm grateful they are sharing their talents with the world.

And I'll try to catch up on the blog!  Whew!  This trip is going by way too fast!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Paris in the Rain!

Paris in the rain--we have not let it dampen our spirits!  Come to think of it, rain has fallen just about every day so far.   The past few days we have paraded around Paris (with umbrellas!), sailed on the Seine, ventured out to Versailles, and consumed a few french crepes.  My, these students have endless energy!  

We visited the European Union in Brussels.  I actually didn't end up going, as two of our young men didn't show up to the bus that morning and I stayed behind to find out what happened with them.  They accidentally slept in, bless their hearts.  We are discovering during this adventure to be not only patient with one another but to be on time and not keep others waiting.  

We have learned many other things.  We visited a new museum at Bastogne, the area where the Allies held off the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge.  We also visited Normandy and walked along Omaha beach.  It is a beautiful, very peaceful place.  We saw the rows and rows of graves at the American Cemetery, and we walked out to Point du Hoc, and saw the huge craters created by the Allies, and the remains of the German bunkers.  There was even a WWII Vet who had come ashore on D-Day, who happened to be there to greet us and the others who were there.  

This morning we visited Disneyland Paris.  We met with the Vice President of Finance, and she explained how things have changed since 1992, when Disney first came to France.  They were gracious enough to give us all park tickets for the day, and while some opted to stay until closing time, others came back to the city to see a few more of the many sights.  We leave early in the morning.

We really enjoy these students and their excitement for learning more about the world, including history, different customs, and how various businesses are run.

Here is Mark at Versailles.  

And Chris sitting on a wall in Brussels.  

Kia, Kevin, and Mailee on the beach at Normandy.

Hillary on Omaha beach.

More pictures from Normandy:

The group (most of them, anyway!) standing in one of the huge craters just off Omaha beach.

At a big German gun in a bunker

At our Ibis hotel in Paris

Sunday, July 6, 2014

How they decorate for the Fourth of July in Brussels

Janelle Jiang, Hillary Hansen, Chris Groesbeck, and Spencer Jensen

We were in Brussels for the 4th of July.  Here is the welcome we received.  They dressed up the 'Mannekin Pis' like a little yankee doodle boy.  The kids walked around, ate waffles, french fries, and loved seeing the lovely architecture of Brussels.  We saw a few churches, did a lot of walking, and some even did their laundry.  

Janelle Jiang happy to see the waffle truck.

Mark standing next to Peter, our bus driver, who is getting his game on.

Spencer Jensen and Chris Groesbeck doing some laundry in the hotel room!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

London to Amsterdam

Whew!  It's been a wonderful whirlwind.  I literally have not had more than a minute to sit down and write about our adventures.  We have been going non stop.  When we have returned to the hotel, we are more than exhausted.  But an exhilarating sort of exhausted.  London passed quicker than the tube out of Tottingham.  The students saw plays, shopped at Portabello Road, window shopped at Harrods, stormed the Tower of London, and watched for the birds on the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral (we didn't see any, and no bird woman or Mary Poppins, either).  Some went to the sites of the 2012 London Olympics, and a few of us even went out to Wimbledon to see if we could take in a little tennis (we walked through the rain and didn't even get close to a blade of Center Court grass).  Most of us, along with every other tourist in London, witnessed the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace.  The queen wasn't home, though, or I'm sure she would have invited us in for a spot of herb tea.

The students visited with an executive from the Baringa consulting firm and also paid a visit to the Bank of England.  Mark said those visits were wonderful.  The students have been well behaved and delightful.   I would imagine some of their eyes have been opened by the differences in the way people dress and behave outside their own neighborhoods.  But the kids have been cautious and safe.  One young man left his phone on the subway.  A man picked it up and contacted us, letting us know that he would send it on to an upcoming hotel.  It is nice to see the good in the world.  And, speaking of good, it was wonderful to be able to attend church in the Hyde Park ward on Sunday.  It took us about an hour and 15 minutes of tube riding and walking to get there, but it felt good to be there.  

We are hoping the luggage of one of our young women makes it--it has yet to arrive.  She's been a great sport for the past six days without it, and we are doing all we can to find it.  

In Amsterdam we visited the flower auction and saw some of the 34.5 million flowers that pass through there each day.  Yes, each day.  It was incredible to see how they arrive, are bid upon, and move to the retailers throughout the world with such haste.  We stopped for lunch at a little fishing village, and also visited a cheese and clog-making shop.  Some of us even got to dance with the locals who were there, simply celebrating cheese and clogs.  

We got to see the house of Anne Frank, where she hid with her family for two years and wrote in her diary.  What an inspiring young woman.  Some of us took a boat ride through the canals of Amsterdam, and strolled through the halls of museums, admiring Rembrandts, Vermeers and Van Goghs.  

Wow.  There's so much more to say.  We are having a wonderful time.  These students are eager to learn, delightful to be with, and happy to be here, even through these jam-packed days.  

Some of the group at the Changing of the Guard in London

Mark getting in a quick snooze before (and during) The Lion King.  Either that, or he is being extra reverent.

Hillary and Mark (and everyone else in London) outside the palace.

At the cheese/clog shop outside Amsterdam

In Dam Platz, Amsterdam

Lunching at the fishing village

Dancing with the locals!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

RWA 5K Pictures

Thanks to our photographer, Chris Justice, for these pictures of the Running with Angels 5K on Saturday, May 17th.  I began to upload them one way, then discovered a much faster way of doing it, and now realize they are somewhat discombobulated.  So please excuse my 'picture-uploading-in-order' abilities!  I am learning!  I also just wanted to get these out there for those of you who would like to see your wonderful selves.

I love looking at the faces of the many people who participated in this event.  I could comment on a lot of the photos.  But they pretty much speak for themselves.  Thank you to those of you who helped volunteer your time and effort to accommodate the nearly 1,100 participants.  And thank you to those of you who came and made this a memorable event.

And to our angels. . . you continue to always be in our hearts.