Geez Louise!

I can't believe it's been so long since I've blogged! Life just seems to get in the way.

I turned the 'ripe' old age of 62 in July and decided to take early retirement from Social Security. I now only work 19 hours a week at my wonderful nonprofit job at World Joy. I've been so busy that I don't know how I ever had time to work full-time. I'm really enjoying this early retirement status.

As promised, I need to catch you up on the status of the well in Abrenya, which so many of you donated to. We raised over $8,000. We have been waiting for a dryer part of the season before drilling. There was a terrible flood shortly after we left Abomosu, which destroyed most of the farmer's crops. It's been too wet to drill until now.

Abrenya was probably my most favorite village that we visited. The people are so grateful and willing to do their part in improving their conditions. We had to walk on foot, about two miles, into the village. It wasn't a hard hike and the weather was cooperating with us ... not too hot. There were sights, sounds, and smells that I had never experienced before and I was so grateful that I was finally here in Ghana, Africa!

As we approached the village we could see the World Joy school up on the crest of a small hill, nestled among the jungle. I watched a teacher running along the classrooms, clapping his hands to announce our arrival. Then the most marvelous thing happened. At least 200 children came running out of the school towards us. They placed their arms around us and loved and hugged us. As they were running they were shouting the word, "Obruni". I thought they were yelling "Granny", which my grand kids call me. We were all overwhelmed with the welcoming party and we all had tears of joy in our eyes as we hugged the children back. I later found out that Obruni means white woman and not granny!

We were shown the lovely school which World Joy built for this small village a few years back, as well as the living quarters for the teachers. The school is overcrowded and they need more classrooms. They could also use playground equipment and supplies for the students. The tribal leaders and village met with us under the Mango trees and had a little traditional dance and singing for us. They proceeded to thank us for all World Joy has done for them and then petitioned some additional help which they are in need of. We told them of our plans to build a well in their village. They were so grateful for the news.

Upon our arrival back to the states we found out that the government was going to be drilling a well shortly for their village. But, they are in need of an additional well, so the funds that we raised from our dinner in July will build the extra well that they need. We are in looking for a contractor and the drilling should take place any day now. I'll keep you posted with pictures as they become available.

I'm excited to announce that two large companies have asked if they could do a service project in our villages and then take 50 volunteers over to complete the projects. Veridian Energy from Norwalk, CT will be going over in February. World Joy will be conducting the excursion. They will be installing solar panels which will generate electricity for our new Health Post and Library in Asanafo, and school in Abrenya. These solar panels will store electricity in lanterns and the children will be able to check out a lantern in the evenings so they can work on homework and read.

I'm not at liberty to announce the other company's name just yet. But many of you are familiar with this company and may even be distributors for them. They will be announcing their venture at their annual convention in the New Year. So, I may be seeing some of you on their excursion to Ghana. They are going to build a school and then at least 50 of the distributors and executives will go over for a week to complete the project. I can't wait to announce the name of the company after their convention. Oh ... and I'll be at their convention in our World Joy booth so you may see me there!

After immersing ourselves in the African culture in Abrenya, the skies were threatening rain so it was time to hurry back to Abomosu. The rains came and the floods came up ... as we slipped and slogged our way back to camp. And I mean it didn't just rain ... it poured. I met a lovely young woman with a baby strapped to her back, a pan of plantains on her head, packages in her arms and she handed me a large palm frond to hold over my head like an umbrella. She insisted that I take it. She gave me the one that she was holding over her and her baby. I tried to refuse, but she insisted. That was the most kind and loving gesture!

So ... lots of great things are happening for our brothers and sisters in Ghana, Africa.

Life has been kind to the Hansen family. I'm so grateful for this past year. We've had three lovely grand babies join our family. We're enjoying good health. Perhaps I've partied a little too hard ... I've got about 10 pounds to lose. I've signed up for the Salt Lake Half Marathon in the Spring so will be starting training as soon as I get rid of this nasty cold. I lost my voice on Christmas day and it still hasn't returned. BOOOO!

Got lots to do today to get ready for my laundry room makeover, which my daughter Ginger and her family gave me for a Christmas present. Can't wait for Friday!

Abomosu Here We Come!

As promised ... I'll catch you up on my trip to Africa after telling you what I've been up to.

I had the wonderful opportunity of flying to Oregon and being with Natalie while she gave birth to her first boy, Jacob Doc Peton. Doc is a family name on the Peton side and I think it's an adorable name so I just may call him Doc instead of Jacob! It was a fabulous week getting to spend time with the girls while Natalie took care of the baby. I think my lot in life is being a mother. That's ALL I ever wanted in life. I loved every minute I spent taking care of the family.

I participated in another Half Marathon last Saturday in Provo, Utah, the Halloween Half Marathon. Words of advice ... don't participate in a Marathon without training first! There were several of us who dressed alike, "Where's Waldo", and we were VERY easy to find in the crowd of 4,000! A grateful thank you to my daughter Angie, and niece Eden, who stuck with me the entire time and helped me limp across the finish line because of leg and toe cramps! We had to leave the house at 4:30 a.m. to catch the bus in Provo at 5:30 a.m. The most exciting time of the race was riding on the bus up the canyon, which caught fire and we had to evacuate, in the dark, cold, and windy morning. It was FREEZING! Fire trucks, police, and ambulance arrived to make sure we were fine. It was pretty exciting!

Then yesterday we participated in the blessing of Margaret Rita Martineau. What a gorgeous little grand baby girl! Lindsey and Ryan provided a delicious luncheon for all, after Sacrament meeting. It was a great day being with family. I LOVE the Martineau family!

Back to Africa ... I was warned that I would be swarmed with people begging to take my luggage at the airport so they could receive a tip. No one bothered me in the airport and I was feeling pretty smug until I arrived at the van which would transport us to Abomosu. We were swarmed with many men trying to take our suitcases and place them in the van. I handed a tip to our driver and told him to disperse it to whom he thought was helping the best. It was sooo hard to ignore their pleas for money. But, I couldn't pay everyone, so had to tell them that Yaw would disperse the tip. There was a lot of grumbling and I had to just ignore it.

I was very worried that we wouldn't be able to get everyone's luggage into the van. Thankfully Teri, who has been a luggage handler for an airline was able to offer her expert advise and all luggage was soon packed tightly and neatly into the van. We piled into the van, with Granny in the front with the driver, and off we headed into the busy streets of Accra. Yes, it was a shock at first, to see all of the vendors coming up to the van as we stopped at the traffic lights, begging us to buy their wares. We were warned not to buy anything but a specific brand of bottled water or we would become sick. The breads and fruits and vegetables looked delicious, but once again, we couldn't eat the raw items without treating them with bleach first.

Our first stop was at the Accra LDS Temple. The grounds were beautiful and we were able to take some gorgeous pictures there. We didn't look too bad for having traveled 1 1/2 days without a shower!

We had many stops that we needed to make before driving to the village. The traffic was horrendous and crossing the streets on foot was literally taking our life in our hands! We had to buy some minutes for our international phone as well as internet time for our computer. Then it was off to the market to shop for our groceries.

The mall was very nice and modern with a very nice grocery store. All of the foods were imported from various countries so the prices were extremely high! We divided and conquered by splitting up in two's and shopped for our items. Total bill was over 900 Cedis. I'll never forget how frightened and vulnerable I felt while pulling out and counting 900 Cedis, in small bills, from my sweaty money belt!

Now the big challenge was getting ALL of the food into the van. Luckily I had brought a collapsible cooler which we placed our frozen foods into. We shoved groceries EVERYWHERE in the van, pockets, under seats, on laps, in between seats, you name it ... we stored it. And we made it fit. It was getting dark and our driver was nervous about making the trip into the jungle during the night, but we had no choice. We were ALL tired and hungry so ate at the mall. There was a nice chicken place and pizza place which we enjoyed. We were told that we didn't have to worry about eating the food there and we shouldn't get sick. And none of us got sick our entire trip! We were really blessed.

Finally we were on the road to Abomosu. It was dark, dusty, and extremely hard to see. What an experience! It took forever to get out of the city of Accra. And just when we thought the roads were clear and there would be a break in traffic, everything came to a screeching halt. The road would literally end and cars would be dodging pot holes, each other, people, and there was no rhyme or reason to where everyone was driving. It was a nightmare! There was no sleep for me! We had now been up for 2 days and a night!

It took us over 4 hours to drive 90 miles. We pulled into the little jungle village of Abomosu just after 11:00 p.m. The village was asleep with a few goats wandering around. We were excited to see our new home which would house us for the next 10 days. We pulled up to a gated structure and within minutes Brother Abu came to greet us and open the gates. The house looked wonderful compared to the other structures in the village. We quickly entered the home and were met with extreme heat! The windows had been shut and the fans weren't on so it was extremely hot and stifling. The appliances were much smaller than American standard and I was worried that not all of our perishables would fit in the fridge. The fridge wasn't working but we were able to run an extension cord into another outlet to get it to work.

Our party quickly spread out in the home to claim their beds. I was assigned to the bunk bed room. It had (4) sets of bunk beds and there were (4) of us sleeping in that room, so we each got our own bunk bed. While I took care of the groceries my sweet companions made up the beds for us. The pillows and linen weren't quite what we were expecting. The pillows felt like bricks under our heads. I learned to sleep better without one!

I thought it may be cooler sleeping up top closer to the fan, but it was extremely hard for me to climb to the top without a ladder, and the fan was making such a rackity noise, and my head was so close to the fan ... I thought it would chop off my head ... I decided to sleep in the bottom bunk. Because of sooo many high bunk beds in the room there wasn't much air circulation so my first night of sleep was next to nil. In the night I could hear something munching in the corner of the room. I was too tired to care so didn't worry about it.

We were all anxious for morning to arrive so we could see our surroundings in the daylight. I got up bright and early to see if the internet connection would work and post an e-mail to my family to tell them I had arrived safe and sound. Internet was too slow so decided to start cooking breakfast for the crew. When I went into the kitchen I was met with a 'slew' of bugs on the countertops. Although the windows were screened the tiny bugs could still fit through the screens. There was no hot water in the home so water had to be heated for dishes as well as treated with bleach. Even the egg shells had to be treated before cracking them into our food! Food prep took a lot more time because of the precautions that had to be taken.

It was a beautiful sunny morning and it was amazing to watch the villagers walking back and forth in front of our home, with Plantains and water buckets on top of their heads. The children were dressed in their school uniforms, fetching water for their homes before heading to school. I could hear the bleating of the goats, roosters crowing, strange animal sounds that I had never heard before, and smell the fires burning used to cook the villager's breakfast. The village was coming alive and my companions were still slumbering in their beds! I couldn't wait to get started for the day.

More to follow on my Africa trip .... Have a wonderful day!
Packing for Ghana!
Demonstrators sent in TONS of craft supplies which we used to teach crafting projects and left with some of the local teachers for use in the schools.
Some of the gang --- Holly was off getting something to eat and Trav and Terri had already left on the red eye to New York.
New York here we come!
Accra, Ghana Africa .... we have arrived!

Wendy Oakes, one of our school teachers and me at the Accra airport.

Looking Forward To This Day!

I know ... I know ... guilt trip ... It's been months since I've posted anything on my blog. I promise nothing is wrong. In fact everything is terrific. Yesterday was a day that I've been waiting and longing for, for years! I officially joined the ranks of receiving social security and I've semi-retired from my job. I'm taking my Social Security early because I'm afraid if I don't there won't be any left when I reach full retirement age. And ... gosh darn ... I've worked hard and I'm getting older and I deserve a little break from work! So yesterday was glorious. I woke early and sat in bed crocheting, then did a little reading, ate a little breakfast, played with the dog, took a little nap, ran some errands, cleaned a little bit, networked three of our computers to a printer, cleaned a carpet, and rearranged Lynn's office. I think he's afraid I'm taking over his personal space. I am!

And I only have to work 3 more hours this month at my day job. And ... I'm flying out to Portland, Oregon to stay with my daughter for a week while she brings her first baby boy into the world, tomorrow! Isn't this fun?

As promised, a few months ago, I told you that I would recap my glorious trip to Africa. So I'll post just a few comments today and continue to do so for the next while. I tried posting to my blog while in Africa but the internet connection was next to 'nil', so I was lucky to get an e-mail or two posted while there, to the family.

My Executive Director, Regina, and I planned a site visit to Ghana, Africa where World Joy has adopted 13 villages in the eastern region of Ghana. Up until working for World Joy I knew nothing about Africa, other than I thought South Africa was a location in Africa, not realizing that there are over 70 countries in Africa. Ghana is located in the western part of Africa and is a tropical country. There are no lions, tigers, hippos, water buffalos, and etc. that you typically think of when you hear the word, Africa. But there are man eating ants, large snakes, grass cutters and all sorts of strange looking creepy, crawly things. And of course the biggest danger, mosquitoes, which carry malaria.

When word got out among our friends and family that we were going to Africa, everyone wanted to come along too. Because we were going on a site visit to see the projects that World Joy had completed and assess what still needs to be done, we weren't sure how we could use volunteers on this trip. But soon there were 10 of us making plans to travel to Ghana together for 10 days. There were 3 mothers with 3 teenagers, 2 school teachers, 1 teenager, and one ole granny. I was responsible for the lone teenager. What a blessing these teens were. Talk about entertainment and such good, hard workers. And ... they were cheerful and so helpful the entire trip. Our trip wouldn't have been nearly as successful without their help.

We determined that we would each take 2 suitcases, one with personal items and the 2nd with school supplies, newborn kits, food, and craft items for our villagers. Our volunteers had raised money for paint for one of the schools that we were planning on re-painting and we put together a vocabulary packet for teaching English in the classrooms. This took weeks of planning and preparation.

Prior to leaving on our trip we were required to have a Yellow Fever shot to enter into the country. But many of us took extra precautions and had Typhoid shots and whatever else they recommended prior to take off. We also needed to secure passports and Visas, and an official entrance letter from World Joy. We also had to start taking our Doxycyclene pills prior to leaving on our trip and continuing taking them for 3 weeks upon our return. This was to prevent Malaria. We also pre-treated all of our clothing with Permethrine prior to our trip.

I planned the menu and shopped for food items that I knew would be hard to find in Ghana, like peanut butter and tuna fish and canned chili. And each traveler was asked to provide the ingredients for one dessert. So we all had brownie, cake, and cookie mixes in our luggage. We knew that it would be a hard adjustment for the next 10 days and if we had something sweet, and something from home, we could make it through anything!

So, on the morning of June 22nd, 8 of us took off from the Salt Lake airport heading for New York for a layover. Terri and Travis were flying stand-by and took a red eye the night before to New York and met up with us there. We were soooo excited. This trip brought 10 strangers together for an unforgettable and marvelous experience. I couldn't have asked for better friends to share this experience with. I still marvel that 10 people who had never met prior to this trip could have been matched more perfectly to live, eat, and sleep together for 10 days, without ever having an unkind or harsh word between us.

We arrived eager and anxious in New York and could hardly wait for the next leg of our trip. Our flight didn't leave until after 11:00 p.m. As we approached our gate for departure I noticed that we were in the minority for skin color on this flight. There were many blacks dressed in American clothing and a few in traditional African attire. I was mesmerized by the fabric and head dresses that the women wore and had great plans of acquiring a traditional dress while there. This was also the flight I was kind of dreading. I don't normally sleep well on a plane and have a hard time getting comfortable with my long legs. But one very nice thing ... my body is a lot smaller and the seats are much more comfortable these days!

Ghana is only 6 hours ahead of Utah time, so after flying all night we arrived at 2:30 p.m. the next day, which was only 7:30 a.m. Utah time. The sky was a little overcast and as I stepped off the plane I noticed the humidity, which was nice, but I was expecting more heat and surprisingly there was a gentle breeze. The airport was small and extremely crowded. Going through customs was a breeze. But going to exchange our currency into Cidis was very hectic. Although the money changer spoke English I had a very hard time understanding her and had to keep asking her to repeat what she just said. I had to exchange over a thousand dollars into Cidis and asked for small bills. And what I received in exchange was a wad of bills that would have choked a horse! Here I was trying to stuff the 'wad o' cash' into my money belt which was readily exposed for all to see. I was sure I was going to be robbed the minute I stepped out of the airport. Since I was the one in charge of the money I told the others that I would go meet the driver and wait for them. Picking up my luggage was a nightmare. There were at least 50 people, with luggage, trying to shove their way through a check-point. The officials were going through everyone's luggage. I decided to act like I knew what I was doing, so pushed and shoved my way through the check-point line and was able to get through without having my luggage searched.

As I exited 'check point Charley' I searched for our driver, Yaw, who said he would be holding a sign with my name on it. I've spoken many times to Yaw on the phone but we had never met. Sure enough, there was a good looking black man, holding a sign with my name. I ran with open arms, screaming, "Yaw!" He looked a little surprised, but hugged me back and grinned. A few minutes later another black man came over to us and I noticed he had a World Joy shirt on. It was then that I found out I had hugged the wrong man. This man was holding Yaw's sign while he used the restroom. We had a good laugh!

More to continue tomorrow! The next post will take you to the streets of Accra and thru the jungle to Abomosu our little village where we lived for 10 glorious days!

Hugs to you all! Make it a great day. I certainly am!

I'm On My Way Tomorrow!!!

Ghana, Africa ... here I come!

I'm all packed and ready to go. Now if I can just get a good night's rest I'll be all set for the big day tomorrow! I'm so excited. This is going to be an adventure of a lifetime!

I have planned all of the particulars for this big trip. We have ten people in our group going to Ghana. We have three mothers with three teenagers, two teachers, one teenager, and one ole' granny. It's been fun planning the meals, grocery list, and itinerary for the 10 days that we will be there. This will be a 'first' for all of us in our party. I think that's why I'm so nervous. I really don't know what to expect. I've seen lots of pictures and asked lots of questions and talked to the people we will be working with in Ghana, but until I actually experience it, I'm sure it's going to be different than what I've imagined!

We leave Salt Lake tomorrow morning at 11:00 and fly to JFK. Have a 3 1/2 hour layover there and then leave on a direct flight to Accra, Ghana at 9:30 p.m. We arrive the next day at 12:30 p.m. We have a wonderful driver with a 15 passenger van who will meet us at the airport. We are each taking 2 suitcases, one with our personal items and the second filled to the brim with school supplies, rubber stamps, ink, card stock, and paper. One of my suitcases was designated to hold food items. It was overweight by 2 pounds so I had to remove a 3 pound jar of peanut butter. I may be hand-carrying that on the flight! I hope TSA doesn't consider it a dangerous weapon! Gotta have my Extra Crunchy Skippy Peanut Butter!

Yao, our driver will take us grocery shopping, to the pharmacy to get our malaria pills, to the phone store for a phone card, and then to the computer store for a wireless modem. Yes, we plan on having internet in the jungle. After getting our essentials, we'll get on the road to Abomosu. It will take us probably at least 3 hours to get there. It's 90 miles from Accra, but on a very bumpy, rough road. We are going to be packed so tight in that van with all of our suitcases and groceries, I'm not sure where we're going to put the pigs and chickens??

My plan is to post our daily experiences on my blog as well as Facebook. I'll try to include some video footage as well. So, please check back daily to see the wonderful 'good' that World Joy and our volunteers are bringing to the Atiwa District in Ghana. We will be working in some of our schools which we have built, as well as helping out in the Health Posts, and helping repair and paint one of our World Joy schools. We've got a LOT of work to do, and I'm anxious to experience this new adventure!

I'm off to get a good night's rest. Probably won't get to chat with you until Friday!


Hey Everyone .... it's a dark, dreary, dismal rainy day here in Salt Lake this morning. I HATE this kind of weather. Give me the sunshine and I'm a happy camper! You'll all probably laugh in a few weeks when my tune changes. I'll be leaving for Africa on June 22nd and I'm sure I will be experiencing some very hot and rainy weather. UGH! But I'm soooo looking forward to the trip. I'm nervous, I'm scared, I'm excited ... all emotions are swirling around in my head. I'm not afraid that something scary is going to happen to me. I think I know what I will encounter, but until I REALLY see and feel the poverty and the living conditions of the villagers it will hit me hard and it will be very emotional for me. Not sure how I can handle that. I want to help everyone and yet I know it's not possible!

We had the most wonderful donation from Ogio. They delivered over $28,000 worth of backpacks and computer sleeves for our children and teachers in Ghana. I can't wait to see the look on their faces when they are delivered. We have a fabulous sponsor who ships containers to Ghana every few months and has offered to ship the backpacks for free. Our first shipment of used books arrived a couple of weeks ago. They will be going into our first, ever school library. Isn't that marvelous?

World Joy has been nominated for the Vivint Gives Back Project for 2011. With your help, we have the chance to win $250,000, but we need your votes daily to win. A few months ago the Utah Food Bank was in a voting campaign to receive one million dollars ... and with their supporters they were the winners of the million from WalMart! We just need to get the word out! Put the link on your facebook, blogs, e-mails and help us raise funds for our mothers and children in Africa. You can vote once a day for World Joy. Please get the ball rolling to help our wonderful charity.

Here's the link to vote, When you get to the site you'll need to click on the Mountain Zone, View All, List, and then click on the "W" for World Joy. There will be voting button to click on. Let's make this happen!

Thanks to you demonstrators who have graciously donated retired alphabet sets, stamp sets, ink and paper to World Joy for our expedition. These supplies will be used in the classroom to help support our English teaching classes. We can still use more supplies. Please send to World Joy, 420 W. 1500 S., Ste. 101, Bountiful, UT 84010. If you let me know the value of your donation I can send you a receipt for tax purposes.

Can't wait to see many of you at our upcoming Evening to Remember - World Joy 2011 event. We will be having an organized swap, with (20) in each group. You can access our web here for information regarding the swap. You will need to bring your own adhesive and scissors for your projects. I still have a few more seats available. Please visit to register or call me at 801-797-9935.

Loves and Hugs to All! -- Lou


Two weeks ago I participated in my first ever Half Marathon. I've told you before, but I'll tell you again ... I've NEVER run in my life. Well, once ... when I was a teenager and was being chased by a bear. For reals! My counsins and I had walked about 7 miles across the fields to our other ranch in Montana, up in the mountains for a day of fishing and lunching. My cousin caught a fish and a nice, ole bear smelled that fish and proceeded to chase after him, until he threw the fishing pole and fish down and ran. The bear was more interested in the fish, thank heavens! I think we ran the entire 7 miles without stopping and didn't dare look back.

Anyway, a few months ago I shared with you how I was crazy, but was going to train for my first race. I faithfully trained, following the Jeff Galloway 'walking' schedule for the half marathon. I can't remember how many weeks we trained, but it seemed like it was forever! My daughters would come to the house early Saturday mornings for our long runs/walks. I began to dread our Saturdays because it took up most of the morning. But I loved the talks and associations with my girls.

The night before the race we met at Mimi's Cafe for a pasta feast. Well, mine wasn't much of a feast, because of my small tummy, but it was good and we had a great time laughing, chatting, eating, and geting our minds set for the big race the next day.

My baby sis and her daughter from Idaho came and joined us for the race. They too had been training. My oldest daughter Angie, and middle daughter, Laurel have both joined Weight Watchers and have lost 60 pounds. I'm soooo proud of them, and they raced with us, as well. My darling daughter-in law, Camie and my niece, Nancy joined us too. (Nancy qualified for the Boston Marathon so we weren't quite in her league. And Camie is running a Tri-athalon in a few weeks. She's not only a racer, but a biker too.) So we had a great group to train and motivate each other.

The day of the race dawned bright and early! I was sooo excited, but nervous for the un-known. I was certain that completing the race wouldn't be an issue, but I wanted to complete it in 3 hours. That would mean keeping a pace of a 15 minute mile, which is pretty 'clippy'. The furthest we had walked was 10 1/2 miles in our training. What's another 2 1/2 miles, right? The course started up at Primary Children's Hospital, on a hill ... thank goodness. There were over 10,000 people in the race! Can you believe that? We made our way to the back of the pack. Our race number on our chest had a chip in it, and when we crossed over the start line, it started tracking our speed and time.

I promised my daughter Angie that I wouldn't leave her and we would complete the race together. What a wonderful time we had. I remember seeing the first mile marker and we cheered and raised our arms in the air, as if we had just completed the marathon. It was exciting! There was a LOT of energy around us and it was a perfect morning for a race. The skies were overcast and the weather was perfect for a long sleeve top, with just a little threat of rain in the air. Not too hot, not too cold. As we made our way along the course, I noticed gloves, hats, jackets, and scarves thrown on the ground, left abandoned, waiting for the owners to hopefully retrieve them at the end of the race. Runners were already warming up and discarding their extra clothing. Thanks to Camie and the use of her top, "I was perfect ... not too hot, not too cold, just right", as Goldilocks would say.

We were told that the race would be marked every mile, and it wasn't. It was disappointing because neither of us had those fancy Garmin watches to tell us how far we had gone and how fast our speed was. We were trying to calculate from our watches. But the best site of all was coming down 2700 South, which is just a few blocks from my home and hearing our baby daughter yelling and screaming for us, and seeing Lynn and Dieter and Lindsey waiting for us and cheering us on. It makes me cry just remembering the scene. We were still going strong and feeling great, other than we needed a 'potty' break. We would run some, walk some, and when I would lag behind, Angie would spur me on, and vice versa. We were sooo good for each other.

We probably waited in line for the 'potty' at least 15 minutes. We were tempted to 'squat' behind a bush, but my dignity just wouldn't let me! Some runners who ran past us, looked like they had just went in their pants ... probably did ... that's what I'm told the serious runners do. I guess I'll never be a serious runner! After waiting all of that time for the 'potty' ... Ang decided that she wouldn't go, which caused us to have another potty break down the road.

Who would have ever thought that I could walk from Primary Children's Hospital to my home? This was amazing! And I was still walking ... still had a long way to go. When we arrived at Liberty Park, we found another wonderful site ... Lynn, Dieter, and Linz cheering us on. It was exhilarating seeing the red, 23 mile marker. The red signs were for the full Marathon runners. The route split at Sugar House Park and then joined up just past Liberty Park. When we got to State Street and looked UP the hill, I thought, "Wow ... I never imagined State Street was soooo steep." You don't notice it when you're riding in a car up the street, but you sure do when you're walking it. Those last three miles weren't difficult at all. The hill was great! I had good tunes in my ears and was dancing and singing and 'egging' Ang up the hill. Later she told me that she was having a hard time and every bone in her body hurt. I had no 'hurts' at all ... not one little whit. It was amazing!

We did have a good laugh when several good looking, fit, buff men ran past us. I thought, "Wow ... you mean we've been in front of these guys the whole race? Man ... we're really haulin'!" After a few more ran past us, the lady next to me said, "Those are the marathon runners!" Deflated I said, "Ohhhhh...."

Coming down the home stretch was so energetic. Thinking that we were going to run right into the Gateway behind the Union Pacific, and then finding out that the route turned south for a few blocks was discouraging, because we had started running thinking it was the Finish Line. And of course there were thousands of our fans cheering us on, we couldn't stop running now .... we had to keep going, and we did! Our finish time was 3 hours 21 minutes. I figure that we made our goal of finishing in 3 hours because we stopped twice for a potty break.

If you would like to see more pics of our race along the route, check out the website, put in my last name, Hansen, and choose the Salt Lake Marathon race and our pictures will come up. The 'sweat' on Angie's shirt is NOT 'sweat' ... she spilled her water.

Well ... end of race, end of story. But wait ... there's more! I've signed up for the Halloween Half Marathon in October, running down Provo Canyon. It's downhill all the way and is supposed to be a beautiful run. Come join me if you're in the area. I'd LOVE having you. We have a group on Facebook where we motivate and encourage each other with our training program. Now, I've got to get back to training during the week. I've been a 'slacker' lately!

Urgent Update!

Thank you, thank you for the HUGE response to the building of our well in Abrenya, Ghana, Africa! We're ALMOST there. I only have a few spots left for our Evening to Remember, so first come first serve. I don't want to have to turn anyone away, like I had to last year.

I'm soooo excited I'm going to cry ... literally. This is a dream come true. This could not be possible without your generous hearts.

More later ... gotta run ... we have a well to drill!

Love You -- Linda

I'm Baaack!

It's a great day! Wonderful things are in the works and I'm so grateful for all that the Lord has blessed me with. Let me share a few of those blessings.

I'm so blessed to have you as my friends. You have been such a joy and inspiration in my life. You were with me through the passing of my mother, you have supported me in my Stampin' Up! days, you cheered me on in my weight loss success, and you continue to e-mail, phone, and send cards of encouragement of love and support. Thank you, thank you, thank you ... I'm so blessed!

I know that we are all anxiously waiting for April 1st for the announcement of Stampin' Up!'s convention schedule. Once again, I can reassure you that World Joy's event will not interfere with anything that Stampin' Up! has planned. I've moved my event to 4:00 p.m. so you'll have plenty of time to come over and swap, stamp your projects and have a delicious buffet dinner, and be back in time for any festivities that Stampin' Up! may have planned.

The reason why I tell you this in advance of April 1st is because the media is going to have me on their TV program announcing our event to build the well. The event will be open to the general public. I want to give you 'first dibs' on registering. Click here to register.

Why else am I excited? Because we are going to build a merry-go-round in our little village of Abrenya, the one we are raising money for the well, and the 'whirl' will generate electricity for the school and charge (40) battery operated lanterns for the children to take home in the evening. This village has NO electricity. The lanterns are assigned to leaders who are in charge of keeping them charged. The leaders are in charge of 6 children who gather in the evening as a study group around their lantern. Test scores have risen at least 50% since the children have been able to study at night. Isn't that AMAZING?? I'm going to the inventor's home to play on the 'whirl' and charge the lanterns to see how they work. Doesn't that sound like fun?

Am I'm also excited because World Joy is coming to St. George, Utah and Mesa, Arizona. We'll be doing some fund raiser dinners and auctions in those cities this year. There is a wonderful lady who called our office yesterday and volunteered her reception center and is providing the food and venue for the event on December 2nd. I can't get over the generosity of people! And our Mesa event will be on November 6th.

And .... I'm going to Ghana on June 24th! We will be teaching English to the school children. I'm so excited I can't wait. My Visa came the other day.

What else am I excited about? Oh .... you know that I've been training for a Half Marathon on April 17th in Salt Lake. I'll be so happy to get it OVER with. Our long walks/runs are on Saturdays and it takes up such a big chunk of my time. I'm beginning to not like it sooo much. But I do like the results after the walk is over. I feel good ... well most of the time ... if I've had a good rest the night before. We walked 10 1/2 miles last Saturday!

How am I doing with my weight? Well, I'm maintaining. When I started training for the Marathon I gained about 4 pounds. I've lost 2 of those. My weight stays right around 147-149. I'm still wearing a size 10 ... oh wait ... I bought a pair of size 8 corduroys the other day. I still continue eating too much sugar and have bad headaches. When will I EVER learn? After the candy is gone in the house I won't buy more, I promise!

And last, but not least, I'm blessed with a wonderful family who love and support me. Most weekends have been spent tending grandchildren, which I adore. Our daughter Natalie joined us last week from Oregon for a few days. It was wonderful having her just to ourselves ... no children to compete with. She didn't have to make her bed ... got to sleep in ... eat when she wanted ... lounge around in her jammies ... and just have a relaxed time with her siblings and Mom and Dad. She needed the R&R. She's expecting her 4th baby.

So, that's about it for now. I'm teaching myself how to can meat tonight. Pray I don't blow up the house with the pressure cooker! Yikes .... I'll share more on the Bag Meal preparation and why I'm canning meat. It's amazing what I've been doing with food storage and I'd love to share my recipes and how to's. It's great for the working Mom in helping simplify meal time!

Love and Hugs to All! See you soon!

Register Now for An Evening to Remember, 2011 - World Joy

I'm so excited I can barely stand it! The possibility of bringing clean, pure, beautiful drinking water to the villagers in Abrenya is becoming a reality with each new day. Many of you have already taken a leap of faith and registered for our event, not even knowing the schedule of events for convention. I thank you for your trust and support!

I would never purposely plan anything to interfere with the scheduled events for convention. Not knowing what is being planned I need to take a 'leap of faith' and schedule my venue for Friday, July 15th. At the present I have our event scheduled from 6:00 until 9:00 p.m. IF we need to move the event to earlier in the afternnoon, I have the option of doing that as well.

For those of you who attended last year, you know that it truly WAS an Evening to Remember. Not only was the food 'to die for', but the renewing of old acquaintances, and making new friends, and stamping gorgeous projects, and participating in the best swap ever was priceless. BUT this year will be even BETTER, because your participation is truly making a difference in that little village in Ghana. Seats are going quickly, so don't delay. Click on this link to pay for your spot for An Evening to Remember and build the well in Abrenya!.

For those of you who can't attend Convention, you can still participate in the building of the well. We'll accept any donation, large or small, and it's tax deductible! Click on this link to make a donation for the building of the well.

So what's for eats on the menu. Let's see, how about The Traditional Buffet, with all you can eat.
  1. Mixed green salad with condiments and dressing.
  2. Assorted seasonal fruit tray.
  3. Prime Rib with Au Jus
  4. Apricot cranberry glazed chicken
  5. Seasonal vegetables
  6. Parslied new red potatoes
  7. Chocolate macadamia nut moussecake with an Oreo cookie crust.
  8. Hard rolls
  9. Sparkling cranberry juice
Yummm ... my mouth is watering just thinking about the food. It's excellent! You'll love it, I promise.

And yes, we'll have an organized swap that you'll want to sign up for. More details forthcoming. There will also be an incredible item that will be up for 'auction'. I'm not going to tell you just what it is ... but it's something that you'll ALL want, I promise! So, save your pennies for the 'live' auction item.

And, last but not least, don't forget the incredible stamping projects donated by the one and only, Dawn Rapsas! Dawn is the creator of UStamp with Dawn and Friends. This is an amazing website which gives you access to incredible stamping projects with tutorials and step by step instructions with pictures. This new round of projects will focus on the Big Shot. Dawn has a line up of incredible designers, including the one and only, Jaron Winder, and THE Designer of our Exclusive Stampin' Up! Bigz XL Die the O Christmas Tree Pop-Up and the Pop-Up Three Tier Cake, Karen Burniston. Oh, and did I mention ... I'm a Guest Designer on UStamp too and I've got some great projects that I've already started working on. You won't want to miss out. Please click on this link to register for UStamp with Dawn.

That's about it for now. Don't delay. Last year's An Evening to Remember sold out quickly!

Get Ready ... Get Set ... Go!

Before I break the BIG news ... let me tell you a quick story. Almost two years ago, I took my last trip with Stampin' Up! to London, Ontario, Canada. On the way home we had a layover in Detroit, Michigan. I had my really expensive handbag on the chair next to me. It was a later flight in the evening and the only people down by our gate were the ones waiting to board our plane. My traveling companion sat down next to me and her skirt was covering my purse so I didn't see it when I stood up to board the plane. As soon as I got seated on the plane I realized that my purse was missing. The pilot had me come up to the front of the cockpit while he radioed for help to find my purse. But alas my purse was gone. It was the worst trip home ... because everything was in my purse, from SS card to passport, check book, debit card, camera, glasses ... you name it, it was in there! It's the most horrible feeling knowing that someone is pilfering through your personal items and knows a lot about you.

Just before Christmas I got a notice in the mail saying that some loose items had been found at the post office and there was postage due of $1.90 for the items. I kept ignoring the attempt to deliver because I didn't know of anyone sending me a package. I finally stopped at the PO and the desk clerk retrieved the envelope with my name on it and told me to open the package and I could refuse it if needed. I opened the envelope and the message inside was from the post office in Detroit telling me that some loose items had been found at their office. Out plopped my Stampin' Up! passport holder and inside was my credit cards, DL, and passport. I was floored. This has been almost two years! My temple recommend and SS card is still missing, which concerns me and of course my camera, glasses and nice handbag .... BOOOOO! Just wish I knew the story behind the stolen purse. Wouldn't that be interesting? Anyway, someone was either feeling guilty or simply found my items dumped somewhere. Thank you whoever you are!

O.K... so I just participated in my FIRST EVER 5K Frigid Race in Provo, Utah. What an amazing experience! I'm not a runner and don't profess to be one. I've only been training for the Salt Lake Half Marathon for less than three weeks, but my daughter-in-law talked me into running with her. Although the air was 'gunky' and it was cold .... duh .... wonder why it's called the Frigid 5K?... it was a wonderful experience. There were only about 35 in the race and they were mostly young college kids. That was to my advantage because I received an award for the oldest female and I had the best time in my division ... 43:47 for 3.2 miles. Not too shabby for an ole slow-poke. I walked fairly fast and shuffled a few times. There was a lady with a dog behind me and a young, heavy-set girl behind her. I was bound and determined that they weren't going to beat me. Every time I heard the woman running behind me, I picked up the pace. I beat em' both! I think I'll enter the Chinese New Year 5K race in February. Come join me!

Now for the BIG NEWS .... YES ... I'm going to have another Evening to Remember in Salt Lake City, Utah on July 15, 2011 at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. I was debating the other day about having the event because it's so much work and after hearing about the forgotten Village of Abrenya, the thought hit me like a bolt of lightening ... why not hold the event, charge $50 more than last year and donate all of the proceeds for the building of the well. I contacted the villagers and they are so excited to think that this may become a reality. And by paying your money directly to World Joy, this will be a tax write off for you because we're a 501 (c)3 non-profit foundation.

I'm taking reservations now, and payment, because all of the profits will be donated to World Joy to build a well in the Village of Abrenya, Ghana, Africa. (I need $10,000) They need to build the well during the dry months which is January-March, hence that's the reason for taking payment now.

The cost for the event will be $100, which will include a delicious buffet dinner, gorgeous ambiance and view of the city, entertainment, and some stamping projects. Call me quickly at 801-294-5581, World Joy from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday to reserve your spot. I can accept credit cards over the phone or you can e-mail me your information at Or you can send a check to World Joy, 420 W. 1500 S., Ste. 101, Bountiful, Utah 84010. Remember, last year's event sold out in less than a day!

Now for another BIG ANNOUNCEMENT .... Our famous, one and only, Dawn Rapsas from the state of New Jersey has offered to donate ALL of the stamping supplies for the projects that will be made at the event! Dawn is one of the most generous, kind, happy, creative, business oriented, exciting, and motivational people I have ever known. In 2008-2009, Dawn earned the status of #32 Demonstrator of the Year. In 2009-2010 she was #1 Demo of the Year. And for 2010-2011 she earned the title of #3 Demo of the Year! Last year she was the Winner of the Workshop of a Lifetime Recruiting Challenge. She is also the creator and CEO of UStamp with Dawn. For a small fee you will have access to some of the greatest stampers in the world, showing you projects through pictures, detailed instructions, and video. Thousands of crafters have received ideas for their personal projects as well as their business ideas.

Our stamping projects for the evening will be phenomenal, thanks to our own Dawn. We love you, Dawn!

Due to the payment of the drilling of the well, in advance of our Evening to Remember, there can be no refunds. But, if for some reason you are not able to make the event, you are welcome to sell/give your seat to another attendee.

World Joy