Summer Time – Reading Time!

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Summer is a time to read!!!

Summer is in full swing and I am loving it!! Although I can not believe we are already at the end of June! One thing that we love about summer in the Hanson Household is we have lots of time to catch up on our reading. Nate and I have a love for books, and that love has definitely carried on to the next generation. Today I thought I would share some of our fun reading resources that we go to during the summer months.

Book Series We Recommend:

Here are three different series for three different age groups that our family is currently enjoying and they are gender neutral so both your boys and girls will enjoy them!

The Adventures of Adam Raccoon Series by Glen Keane (for ages 4-7)

We were delighted to hear that the Adam Raccoon series was back in print! These stories are parables of God’s unfailing love and forgiveness, and they show our kids what to do when they make mistakes. I love how King Aren’s gentle strength paints a picture of our Heavenly Father and how the stories and illustrations make you feel like you are Adam Raccoon. They contain great nuggets of wisdom, such as: “It’s easy to get off track.  But when you do, get back on course and finish the race.” But the true beauty of these books is the way they connect with our children’s hearts and point them to their Heavenly Father! You can purchase these books at or on amazon.

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Pumpkin Fun

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Do your kids think that pumpkins come from Walmart?  If so, a trip to the pumpkin patch might be a good activity this fall.

We live in an entertainment-rich culture.  From tablets to bounce houses, the world is a playground.  But sometimes it is nice to do a simple activity as a family.  One of our fall traditions is a trip to the pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect pumpkins.  We have done this for years, and it is something we all look forward to.  As a farm boy who is transplanted into the city, I love to get my kids out to experience agriculture.  I want them to understand where food is grown, and I want them to enjoy vigorous activity that sometimes involves mud or dust.

What kind of memories do you enjoy making with your family?  How do you connect them to nature and our agrarian heritage?  What are your favorite fall activities?

Enjoy pumpkins?  Here is our post from a few years ago:


Here is our post about shining Christ’s light at Halloween.





New Year, New Goals

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Happy New Year!

As we turn over a new calendar we like to sit down and plan for the new year.  What goals do we have?  What new challenges will we face?  What new things will we tackle?  Here are a few posts that discuss different kinds of goals for you to consider.  Several of these posts have free worksheets that you can print off to assist you in your planning, dreaming, and praying.  Enjoy!

Goal Post:  Don’t kick it wide left – take some time to think and pray about your goals!

Goals and ArmorIn order to accomplish our goals, we are going to have to fight!  This is how we suit up for battle and train our kids.  

Growth and Goals: Are you growing in the right direction?

Goals For Your Kids:  Goals – they’re not just for adults anymore!  Click here to find out more about how we are going to help our kids reflect on last year and look forward to the next!  

Marriage and Parenting GoalsPlan to start the year out right! Download our free worksheet to help you discuss your growth areas for this year.  

Career Goals: What are your values?  What small goals do you have?  What huge goals?  What actions are required?  This is a great time to think about these questions.  

Personal Goals:  Personal goals are like a compass – no matter how far off course you get, you always know which way you are going.  


Here are some of the worksheets with the date changed to 2016 if you are a type-A person like Dana and care about those types of details!

2016 Kid’s New Years Eve Interview

2016 Kid’s Goals 

2016 Gals Personal Goals

2016 Guys Personal Goals

Life Is A Rollercoaster

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“Life is a roller-coaster ride.”

We have probably all said this at one point or another, and we usually are implying something negative.

I was struck by the strangeness of this complaint as I finished riding a roller coaster with my son in Branson.  I had paid a lot of money to ride that roller coaster, and we had a blast!  I will always remember the look of pure joy on his face!  So why are we frustrated when Life gives us a roller coaster ride?  For free even!?!

First, let me tell you why I enjoy a roller coaster ride.  I think I like the feeling of adventure without the danger.  I can tell my brain that I am going to be fine, and then go ahead and enjoy the ride.  There is an assurance that the ride will end well.  Since I don’t have to worry I can enjoy the twists and turns and unexpected jolts as they come.

By contrast, the danger is real when I am careening down an icy mountain road in my minivan.  The ending is not assured.  This is no rollercoaster.  I think life actually feels like that sometimes, doesn’t it?

Life IS a Rollercoaster

So with a rollercoaster, the ending is assured.  And let me give you the punchline:  My life’s ending is assured also!  My future is settled and clear, regardless of how uncertain it feels today.  If I could have half as much faith in the God who designed my life as I have in the engineers who designed the ride, then I could have a whole different mindset.  When the ride is over and the lap bar is released, I will get to spend eternity in Heaven.  So I might as well enjoy the ride!  Want to join me?

Do you believe that your ultimate future is secure?  That Jesus has won the battle, and that we are more than conquerors?  If you believe that, life’s roller coaster will be a lot different.

Strong Boys: Activities

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This weekend we had a great time with the Strong Boys. Today I thought I would share some of the activities that we did so that you can have your own party.

Frisbee Golf:


  • 3 Laundry Baskets from the Dollar Tree
  • Frisbees from Walmart
  • I zip tied numbers to the baskets for the hole numbers 1-3


  • We placed the 3 laundry baskets strategically around the yard.
  • We then split into two groups and took turns throwing our Frisbees towards the basket of the ‘hole’ we were on.
  • Boys started at one location and tried to get their Frisbee into each basket in the least amount of throws.
  • Younger boys just had fun throwing the Frisbees.  Older boys enjoyed the challenge of getting it as close as possible.

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5 Minutes to Listen


“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.” 

Proverbs 3:5-6

It takes about 5 minutes to read through a normal Our Purposeful Life blog post.  Today, instead of spending 5 minutes listening to us, I would like you to spend 5 minutes listening to God.  Really listening.  Not making a speech at God.  Not making a list of requests.  Listening.

If you need to, set a 5 minute timer to make sure you get in the full time.

Don’t make it harder or more ‘religious’ or ‘spiritual’ than it has to be.  There are just 2 steps:

1)      Start your day today by acknowledging Him.  He is here, and He is interested in you.  Acknowledge that fact.

2)      Ask Him to guide you.  Really – whatever you have going on today, ask Him for advice.  Tough conversations, decisions about the weekend or next year, even the mundane details of life.

This is something that will take practice, just like every other meaningful and enjoyable activity in your life.  Just like every other relationship you have.  Start out with some broad questions and some specific yes/no questions.  And take time to really listen.  Ok, start…….now!


You May Also Like:

Armor of God:  Prayer

Daily Refreshment

Walking With God, John Eldredge




Merry Christmas!

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For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

I was reminded of this verse by a dear friend this last week. Of course I see this verse at Christmas time every year – in a card, in a song or on a Christmas decoration. But this year the verse has really struck me.  I have finally listened to the actual words and it has brought joy and comfort to my soul.

Holidays are full of emotion. Sometimes they are wonderful emotions. It can be a time where the family gathers, traditions are completed, love is exchanged and memories are made. Other times holidays can be full of pain and turmoil. The loss of a loved one is heavy on your heart, feelings of hurt and pain rise, opinions are made known, sickness steals and frustrations surface. But as I think about this one verse, I am overwhelmed by the promise of what we were given on that miraculous night 2,000 years ago.

That night that Jesus was born, we were also given a…. Continue Reading…

Tabernacle: God With Us

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God is a brilliant author, a master storyteller, a gifted movie director.  His story sticks to simple and powerful themes, with added layers of meaning that crescendo to an eternal grand finale. One of these powerful themes that we were able to experience yesterday was this truth:  God Is WITH Us! 

There is a neat organization called The Tabernacle Experience.  They have created a life-size replica of the original tabernacle and courtyard, and it travels around the country so that people can see what it was like.  We walked through it with our kids and another family, and we experienced the sights, sounds, and smells of that long ago time.  We saw the fire on the altar, the wash basin, the candles, the bread, the incense, and last of all, the Ark of the Covenant in the Most Holy Place.  It was a wonderful reminder of a chapter in God’s perfect story, especially right after the Day of Atonement.  It was awe-inspiring to imagine that God met with His people in that tent, so long ago.  But to fully understand the story of God With Us, we have to start at the beginning.  Continue Reading…

Day of Atonement: Humble Soul, Clean Heart

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Today is Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, which is probably the most important Jewish holiday of all.  In fact, the Day of Atonement was so important to the Jews that traditionally they would spend 40 days preparing for it.  (30 days as an introduction to the Feast of Trumpets, and then 10 more intense days after)  This is a time to examine yourself and repent.  Fasting is a common part of this holiday, because it helps you to focus on the spiritual world.

Humble Yourself…

Leviticus 16:29-31
“This shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you;  for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you will be clean from all your sins before the Lord.  It is to be a sabbath of solemn rest for you, that you may humble your souls; it is a permanent statute. Continue Reading…

Fuel Your Effectiveness: Everything You Need to Know About Nutrition

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Green apple.

I was thinking about energy and health and nutrition and thought I would put together an incredibly simple list of nutrition principles.  At first glance it doesn’t exactly fit with our blog’s usual theme, but everything is related when considering how to be a well-balanced leader.  I had a couple posts (here and here) about the inter-relationship of Time, Money, Energy, Focus, and Relationships, and health certainly affects all of those.

For example, a healthy lifestyle boosts your immune system, which keeps you from getting sick as often.  (I am not very productive when I am sick.  Just ask my wife.)  It is impossible to be at your peak energy level without good health, and my ability to focus is also closely tied to healthy eating habits.

When discussing our diet, weight loss/weight preservation usually seems to be the focus.  And that is important, no doubt. However, there is a lot more to nutrition than that.  With that in mind, here are a few basic principles to get you started.  Continue Reading…

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