It's been a while since we updated you on our lives (about 10 months), so we thought we would take a moment as we enter this second quarter of 2018. the reason it has taken us so long to update you is that we needed to finalize a few decisions before we made the information public...So here ya' go!
The Kids: The kids are doing well. Serena is now 16, Ashton is 13, Eden is 11, and Elie is 8. People often ask about how they are doing in school, and the answer is usually longer than they anticipate. In short, they are doing great. If that's all you need to know, scroll on down to the next paragraph. If you want to know more, keep reading. Through years of travel, local and global experiences, and years of influence places like City School and Acton Academy and thinkers like Jeff Sandefer, Ben Hewitt, John Gatto, Tony Wagner and Sir Ken Robbinson, we have, with the assistance of the local public school staff and teachers, created a hybrid model of our kids - part-time public school, open-sourced-online learning and home-based experiential learning. This route better accommodates our adventures, a broader worldview, experience, and our views of academia.
Serena: Serena is now 16 and is ready to take her next step in adventure. At the age of 11, she traveled with Matthew and HELP One Now to Haiti to work with underprivileged children. At the age of 13, she and Sarah traveled to New York City, to explore the thrills of a big city usually seen on television. But now at 16, she has decided to follow suit with many of her aunts, uncles, and parents. This summer, July 2018, Serena will be traveling with Adventures in Mission, to Guatemala. Between now and then, Serena will be raising funds to make this trip possible. She would love you to partner with her through encouragement and tax-deductible online donations. To know more about her trip, click HERE.
New Adventures: We have some big news! When we moved here our initial motivation was rest and recovery. We had been working very hard for the past fifteen years as social entrepreneurs and church planters focused on the individual, collective, and social renewal in Austin. Austin progressivism and innovation has deeply influenced and created much of the basis of our identity in the way we live and think. It taught us to see the world as a place full of possibilities. While in Austin, our focus was the nonprofit sector, both faith-based and non-faith-based. Where we live now, the nonprofit sector is not yet situated for the type of movement and influence it had in Austin. However, it does seem the for-profit sector could be poised as a catalyst for community and social development leading to the empowerment of the nonprofit sector. The for-profit sector is a world we haven't been apart of, but in light of our entrepreneurial-bend, we have decided to step into this new realm and fuse it with our history in social development - some call it business-as-mission, others call it socially conscious business, I have heard the term business-as-development; but whatever it is, our vision for a place hasn't changed because our geography has. We still want our efforts to play deep in the way of communal, social, and economic development, particularly for a part of the country that is losing more citizens than any other part of our nation; and has been on an economic deep-dive ever since industrialized agriculture took over and factories were shipped overseas. We want to be a part of creating a local economy and breathing pride back into this place. So, in the name of development, and following suit with Trappists of the early church, we are opening a microbrewery! That's right, you read that correctly. We figure if the monks could do it centuries ago, why not now - why not us? We don't know if a town like this can sustain it, but after two years of studying the economic impact, small local breweries are having on rural development the numbers are stacked in our favor. You know us, we'd much rather try and fail, than live wondering "what if?" So, over the past year, we have been working with and discussing marketing and branding strategy with Bethany Bauman as well as being coached and consulted by Strange Land Brewery and Rockport Consulting firm. We are currently in the process of applying for our federal licenses, once we are approved we will then apply for our state and local license. If you want to keep up with what's going on you can check us out at www.knoxcobrewco.com (still in development) or on Facebook at Knox County Brewing Company (please click the like button on our page) - and don't be surprised if you get a link to a go-fund-me page. Most of you reading this were active in the development work we did in Austin, and we want to invite you to be a hand in the work we do here!
Adoption: Well, unfortunately, it appears that our adoption journey has either come to an end or put on a long hiatus. We have to make a decision soon, as our contract is coming to an end with our agency. If we decide to close our adoption journey then we will grant the money we have raised to another family in need of funds. This will likely be the route we take. We have begun conversations with CASA and are looking into advocacy options, which may lead to foster care down the road. For whatever reason, after doing all we could do, the doors seem to be shutting on adoption...for now.
Dogs: Those of you who know us, know we are dog people. We love our dogs. Toward the end of 2017, we lost our beloved Redd. His breed has a 5-8 year lifespan and he lived seven and half of those well. At the end of the day, our boy just grew old. We took some needed time to mourn our loss, and have now brought a new fella into our house. Loki is the new "little" guy and is a bullmastiff. Our other dog, Violet, who is an English Bull Terrier seems to get along with him well enough, and frankly, seems a bit relieved to give up the alpha position.
That's it for the Hansens. We pray and hope your new year is off to a great start. Don't be strangers. We'd love to hear from you!