Sunday, March 29, 2009

Parenthood - Common Uniqueness

My good friend Marc had his little girl, his first child, blessed today. I was lucky to be there. As he, and I, and others stood to bear our testimonies afterward, it occurred to me just what an interesting ride parenthood is.

I mean, it's like the ultimate in shared human experiences. Almost everyone at some point in their lives will experience it. Many who don't experience it biologically will still be able to do it socially. It truly is one thing that almost everyone does.

But for all of it's common ground, shared experiences, and universality, it's still unique with every child and every parent. I interact differently with Brendon than I do with Jake. I know that I interact differently with their friends who come over to play, because they are someone else's child. Even though I do make them follow the rules of our house while they're here, and I'm the responsible adult while I'm here, I'm still not their dad.

If fate had touched someone else with the task of being the parent to Brendon or Jacob, their shared experience would be vastly different (possibly even better) than what we've shared.

I don't really know where I'm going with this, other than that I find it interesting that God has set up our lives in such a way that we can be so unique. We all do it, but we all do it our own way.

Mark Hansen

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Praying & Singing & Drumming

It was kinda cool to post up that song the other day, but even cooler to get this response:

Subject: I just read your blog...

and I thought the lyrics were amazing. So, I listened to the music and thought it could use a bit more fill-in-type drums - just for fun.

Here's what I came up with.

Feel free to do whatever you want with it - or nothing at all. I just needed to play to this awesome song, and now I feel *MUCH* better.

Thanks again for sharing.


I decided to leave the full link on there. I really like reading his "I Love My Journal" blog. He's got some real insights into the scriptures. Just don't look at his pictures if individuality scares you!

Mark Hansen

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Church Food

Many of you, who are my friends, know that this last six months have been very difficult for me, especially financially. My parents have had to step in and help us cover what could have been a very big gap in our health insurance, and just recently, we started to get assistance from our ward.

This is probably the second or third time in our 20+ years of marriage that we've had to get what's known to Mormons as "Church Welfare". The most common form it takes is the food order.

You meet with your Relief Society President and determine what food staples you need. The two of you fill out a form called a "Food Order", and then you take that to what's called a "Bishop's Storehouse".

The Church has a vast network of farms, orchards, canneries, and other food-producing resources all over the World, but especially in America. The food is all grown, manufactured, packaged, and distributed to these storehouses all across the country. It also happens across the world, but I'm more familiar with how it works in America.

In a lot of cases, these canneries and distribution networks are managed by paid church members, but much of the staff that does the more menial labor that requires less critical skill is volunteer. Assignments are given out to wards and stakes (local and regional congregations) to fulfill certain days and hours of volunteer labor.

Usually, the first people to fill those slots are the the folks that are receiving the aid. So, when the next assignments come up in our ward, we will be expected to go. Still, there were many times when I helped fulfill these assignments when I was not on assistance. Sometimes you just go to help out.

In addition to all this help, one of the more famous, if not mundane, aspects of the church is its emphasis on prudent living, and a great emphasis is placed on having food storage. This is only partly due to a mild paranoia that arose out of the great depression. It's actually very practical. We don't have any special line on a prediction for the next natural disaster. It just makes good sense to have a supply on hand when you need it.

I mention all this because tonight, I cooked a meal that was provided, in part, by the groceries that were given to us from the bishop's storehouse, and partly from our own food storage. I didn't have to go out and buy anything to make tonight's meal. Technically, it cost money, because we had bought the part that came from storage. But still...

And, since I cooked it in my dutch oven, I didn't even use any electricity or gas!

Here's the fun part: It was incredibly delicious. I made a seafood chowder with garlic, cheese, and butter biscuits. I daresay, it was as good as, if not better than, a restaurant meal.

I'm not sure that I should be bragging about needing help from our ward to make ends meet. I hope it doesn't sound like I am.

But a long time ago, as I was growing in the music industry here, I learned something very important from a friend. You can complain about what you don't have, or you can make some thing good with what you do. I feel like I followed his advice tonight. And I feel a bit richer for it.

Mark Hansen

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pray & Sing

So, tonight we're doing our family scripture study (thanks to my dear wife Jodi), and it's Jacob's turn to read. He's in third grade, which is tough enough when you're reading scriptures, but he's also been struggling with his reading.

So, he's reading along, and he hits this word that he's having a really hard time with.

Sound it out, Jacob. Start with just the first half of the word.



"R..." He struggles, "Pr..."

Good, good... now what does "ai" sound like?

"AY!" That one he knew.

Put it together, now...


That's it! Great job! Now, you already know the last half of the word.

He thinks for a moment... "Sing!"

That's right! Now put those two together.

"Pray, sing, pray, sing," he chants, just like on Sesame Street. Then he gets it: "Praising!"

It was right about there that the light suddenly hit me. Duh. Suddenly it dawned on me, once again, what it means in the doctrine and covenants, "The song of the righteous is a prayer unto me.." and "Make a Joyful Noise", from the Psalm.

It also reminds me of a song I wrote a long time ago.

I Will Sing This Prayer
Free mp3 Download

The mountains all around me
Are a fortress strong and tall
The pine trees at attention
Stand as sentries on the wall
The evening wraps around me
Like I was never really there
And while the light is fading
I will sing this prayer

The city seems so quiet
Wrapped up in all it's noise
Machines and men in motion
Some build and some destroy
The people rush on by me
Like I was never really there
And while the world is turning
I will sing this prayer

The earth just keeps on moving
Dancing slowly on it's way
Above the blue and green and white
My life just fades away
But there is One who always
Knows that I am there
And while I'm thinking of Him
I will sing this prayer

There are worlds too vast to number
But He knows I am there
And while He's thinking of me
I will sing this prayer

Mark Hansen

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

"...Drifting Along with the Tumbling Tumbleweeds"

So, it was pretty windy on the way to work this morning. This is the time of the year when there's lots of tumbleweeds outside our town, too. They break off in the winter, and then the snow melts, and the march winds come. I looked out across the empty fields and saw the weeds rolling in the wind. It looked like a herd of animals all running along together.

It was kinda odd. I got to think about freedom. I know people who would look at those tumbleweeds and say that they are so free. They would say that there was nothing holding them back, and that they are free to roam wherever the wind would take them.

But that's actually where I have the problem with that as a symbol for freedom.

These weeds have no freedom. They go nowhere as a result of their own freewill. They are at the complete mercy and whim of outside forces, in this case, the wind.

I remember once a songwriting client of mine wrote a song about being as free and wild as the river. Ronnie James Dio did a song (which is a cool sounding song, even though I disagree with it) where he bemoans seeing lightning, because he sees that it's free, as he wishes he was.

Got news for you, they all go along the path of least resistance. The 'weeds, the river, and lightning all go along paths determined by other factors. No freedom here.

Maybe that's why I can relate so well to the 'weeds right now. I'm having a hard time taking a stand and walking against the wind.

Mark Hansen


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