that perfect hand…

In Ocean's 11, Danny said that "the house always wins. If you play long enough, never change the stakes, then the house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big… and then, you take the house." Here's the hand I've been dealt, sometimes it's risky and sometimes it's safe, but all the time… it's perfect. It's mine.

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rude awakening

I am not invincible. I am not a genius. I don’t have the perfect nose. I don’t have a photographic memory. I am not capable of multitasking tv watching and novel reading. I don’t know when someone is lying to me. I trust the weather people a little too much. I don’t go to sleep on time every night. I don’t have a time to be asleep at, but if I did, I still wouldn’t do it. I admire my friend Angela for traveling across the world every year. I am envious of the people I know who are in love. I am not fearless. I know what I did was wrong, but I need affirmation for what I do that’s right. I am not perfect, but I do the best that I can. I don’t always eat the allotted amount of fruits and vegetables (I don’t even know what they are). I say things without meaning it sometimes just to get out of a tough spot. I have pictures on my walls but I tend to avoid looking at them. I am afraid that I might never be a teacher. I am a terrible communicator. I know I am procrastinating when I know I should be reading. I deliberately lift weights that are too heavy for me at the gym. I like my coffee black, my tea green, and my space in the morning. I am too embarrassed to carry an umbrella so I wear my hood instead. I am scared of being worth-less. I know that in my life, there is a spot reserved for me, just haven’t found it yet. I think the best part about university is observing all the different kinds of people that are there. I think the worst part of university is how my voice and opinions are not always praised. I have a voice that clearly needs to be humbled. I am not invincible, but I am capable; I am not wise, but I am not stupid either. I am not entirely sure what I am, but it’s always a little easier to know what I am not. And those are just the Tuesdays.


“All our ordinary stories are changed in time, altered as much by the present as the present is shaped by the past.” -Joy Kogawa


merry christmas from the hagenstams!

“How can I stop from singing Your praise? How can I ever say enough, how amazing Your love?” …God’s greatest blessing is family… and here is a photographic tribute to my own… please, if you feel compelled to join in the Penticton festivities next year, by all means! And sorry for how huge these are..Wordpress and I are still getting acquainted.


Derek and Me
Loving seeing Derek at the Kamloops Blazers game in Kelowna… Derek was a little hesitant to share the love!

New Years Fondue!

New Year’s Eve fondue!


Just before Putz left back for Invermere!


Putting the Hagen in Hagenstam…Mark and Jes

Biggest Fans!

More Kamloops Blazer action… there’s our favourite player right in the middle, in his Hugo Boss silk suit I might add! We sure had fun doing this and seeing the Huisman men (Uncle Pete is right behind Dad’s head)


The Tie that Binds

The lot of us…once a year…Dad in the hot seat…don’t you wish you were there?!

God sent SNOW

God sent us a beautiful abundance of snow…so we fought with it!

Nate and Kate

Normally Nate and I are relatively attractive… here, not so much!

Daddy’s girl!

Hey, she’s single?!!

Sister Love

Loving it!

The one where Jayme got hurt

Hating it! Right after Miss Jayme hurt herself.

Mom and Dad!

Where it all started! Beauty!


Traditional Poses…

Mom and her girls

Mom and her girls! I don’t know who is more proud…her of us or us of her!



As ever the rarity, I have nothing to say. I have a ‘to do’ list and one of them is ‘write on blog – something smart’. No joke. However, I am drowning in Canadian History of Race and Ethnicity, Laws and Social Change Anthropology, Canadian Post-Modern Literature, and Shakespeare’s Comedies…if you think that would make me have something smart to say on my blog, well, you’re wrong. Instead, I am stealing some pictures from Alicia’s facebook profile and giving them to you in a montage. Sounds nice doesn’t it? What I would prefer to sit here and tell you is about how every Wednesday night, Dan and I go to the Josoks for dinner. Sometimes it’s just Auntie Monika and Uncle Richard and us, and sometimes we get the added bonus of Alicia and Griffin’s company (and sometimes Benn, Alicia’s friend). I try to go out early to watch Oprah with Auntie, Dan to follow… and we have wonderful evenings of chatter, food, and a place to feel like home (I swear all these Holenstein women are exactly the same…). It’s a lot of fun, I feel blessed more and more as I am let into the little bits of their lives. Except …when we play Scrabble.

So while I would really like to sit here and tell you about our fabulous Wednesday nights, I just want you all to know that Auntie Monika is a Scrabble cheater. I don’t know how she does it, and maybe she’s legit, but I swear she cheats. Last night I was winning for the very first time until Griffin just “randomly” messed up the entire board…which is fine, but one might wonder if his Mutti actually put him up to the task. And if anyone has a Scrabble dictionary lying around that they do not use please send it to my home address.

Take a look at the pictures, and perhaps you may want to join us one night? We have fun, aside from Auntie’s cheating. haha 🙂

Adopted Siblings!

Adopted siblings!



We’re falling in love with this kid!

Scrabble Night!

“Get ready, set…”


Dan surprised us with his skill!

Monika the Cheater
 Look at that face? The sly look of a cheater!! :):):)


Doin’ the silly dance!

Scrabble Night!

Great start!
Yes, Toejam is MY word!

Dan and Griff

Isn’t Griffin beautiful?

Raging Kate!

Yes…I was silently raging about this. Maybe I am a Holenstein at heart…because even though I was not winning legitimately myself (yes, I cheated when Auntie went to get us tea…so did Alicia and Dan…sorry AM if you’re reading this) I got so aggressively competitive, I am glad the game ended! hahahahah


doubting thomas

I heard this song at CLBI’s ‘Confessions’ tour and recently stumbled onto Nickel Creek’s version of it… and I love it. You should download it or go a step further and buy Nickel Creek’s CD:

  What will be left when I’ve drawn my last breath,
Besides the folks I’ve met and the folks who know me,
Will I discover a soul saving love,
Or just the dirt above and below me,

I’m a doubting thomas,
I took a promise,
But I do not feel safe,
Oh me of little faith,

Sometimes I pray for a slap in the face,
Then I beg to be spared ’cause I’m a coward,
If there’s a master of death I’ll bet he’s holding his breath,
As I show the blind and tell the deaf about his power,
I’m a doubting thomas,
I can’t keep my promises,
‘Cause i don’t know what’s safe,
oh me of little faith

Can I be used to help others find truth,
When I’m scared I’ll find proof that its a lie,
Can I be lead down a trail dropping bread crumbs,
That prove I’m not ready to die,

Please give me time to decipher the signs,
Please forgive me for time that I’ve wasted,

I’m a doubting thomas,
I’ll take your promise,
Though I know nothin’s safe,
Oh me of little faith


question #1

(This is an interactive blog, I would like you to comment answers for me because I am genuinely curious and I plan to do this often now, providing this goes well…)

Q1: Do you believe that acting upon conviction (doing what you know you should)… especially one that you keep fighting to ignore but can’t… is worth it even if the outcome is completely heartwrenching and appearingly awful?


brilliance…sheer brilliance

(Disclaimer: this is long but read it, I didn’t write about 94% of it so you can be guaranteed enjoyment in that!)

I’ve been preoccupied lately with being a witness. In fact, I am not very good at it outloud so I try to do it in action… I struggle mostly between the world I know so unbelievably well (the secular world) and wanting that part of my world to see the other part of it (the Christian world) in hopes that they all might merge together as one. But this isn’t easy for me. So today, listening as I do everyday on the way to school on my iPod, I had Rob Bell’s sermon podcast (you can subscribe to Mars Hill Church on iTunes…I recommend it!) on and his topic was exactly that. I wanted to re-share two stories he shared…and if you read til the end, you’ll see why I was fighting tears at the corner of Shelbourne and Hillside at 7:14 this morning:

A skateboarder for the King of Kings Skateboarding team got up and grabbed the mic to share his ‘story’. He said “Hey, I just wanna tell you a bit of my story. I was a heroine addict and everyday I was using the drug. And I got to a place where my life was totally falling apart and I cried out to GOD…and GOD rescued me.

So I met these other guys who follow Jesus and something happened IN me and I began to follow this Jesus.  Just BE careful when you cry out to GOD because YOUR WHOLE LIFE could change.” I used heroine everyday and then I cried out and in my oppression and in my despair I was hurt and my life is totally different. THAT changes the world.

Justifiable worldviews and arguments…still who is going to argue with THAT? JUST GO and report your faith. Rob Bell goes on to say that Jesus likens Faith to the wind…it blows wherever it pleases…therefore, Jesus’ mentality is that faith, and life as a Christian, is exciting and mysterious…worth every ounce.

The other story (it’s worth it I promise):

A three year old girl was a firstborn and only child in her family but now her mom is pregnant again and the girl was very excited about having a new brother or sister.

Within a few hours of the parents bringing the baby boy home from the hospital, the little girl made a request to be alone with her brother in his room with the door shut.

Her insistence of being alone with the baby with the door shut made her parents a bit uneasy but then they remembered they has installed an intercom system in anticipation of the babies arrival. They realized that they could let their daughter do this and if they heard the slightest indication that something strange was happening, they could be in the baby’s room in an instant.

So they let the little girl go into the baby’s room, shut the door, and they raced to the intercom listening station and they heard the girls footsteps moving across the room, imagined her standing over the crib and then they heard her saying to her three day old brother:

“Tell me about GOD, I’ve almost forgotten.”

People are transformed by faith in GOD and go out to change their part of the world. Of all the ways Jesus could talk about faith, he tells a story of return… a return to your real, true home and to a GOD who loves you. It’s as real as you sitting there.

Isn’t that true? As believers we understand that humanity comes directly from God, and a home up in Heaven, why not be empowered by the thought of helping all of His children not come, but return home…?

I think it’s as simple as that. Maybe?


lets talk karma

I don’t believe in karma but the word fits.

Remember numerous months ago when I blogged about the girl from high school that full on rage glared slash snubbed me in the computer lab when I said hi to her?

She’s in my English class.

4 months of agony are upon me.

4 months of her gaze piercing through my fake blond head.

She’s graduated from silently smirking at me to a raw, angry ‘you-are-the-worst-thing-to-ever-happen-to-me’ glare.

I really think she should just grow up and tell me what I did. I’ve grown up, so she should. I mean, she could blog about it or something.


walked all over… literally

I am a struggling disappointment.

No matter which way I spin it, I can’t seem to measure up.

I am too clean, therefore my roommate rages because she feels my cleanliness is a passive aggressive way of making her be clean. It’s not, at all, why I am clean. But okay. (I have many more roomie examples of how I am a constant failure but I will leave that topic at a standstill for the lack of privatization of this venue…I am sure I will need re-constructive personality counselling once this school year ends and we part ways!).

I take the bus, not because I am environmentally conscious but rather because I am bank account conscious [gas and parking]. And the weather in Victoria is very mild compared to Calgary, even though I am not used to the rain. So I under dress for my bank account conscious ride to school in the morning, yet when I am waiting for the bus, the rain pours and I am left a soggy mess the rest of the day. What sort of pay off is that?

I eat healthily and work our religiously at a very routinely pace of certain hours of the day, certain amounts, certain balances, and I get a ton of sleep, but I am absolutely exhausted all the time. My body is letting me down.

I read and read and take notes only to have a quiz this morning that was only on one very specific act of the play. I try to overachieve, then end up royally undeachieving, as I didn’t focus enough on it to get 10 out of 10. I think I plateaued at 5.

I pay close attention to the couple I was house sitting for, especially how I was supposed to ‘arm’ and ‘disarm’ the alarm. the first thing I do when I began my job? Set it off the alarm. The alarm company was very gracious, but I am not sure how the couple feels.

To top it all off, yesterday I was walking into the computer lab as Luke was walking out of it. He’s 6’2. I am 5’4.5ish. I said hi and waved to him and he literally walked/looked right over me. Maybe the air up there is a little stuffier, therefore inhibiting his ears and eyes, but when I asked him about it later, he absolutely did not see me… and yet if I had reached out about 4 inches form my body (my struggling, exhausted body), he would’ve been in my arms, we were that close. My height has always served decently for me, really just became something of a complex in that moment (and subesquently, from now on). It was embarrassing humbling to note that not only am I a struggling disappointment, but I am an unnoticeable one.

And these examples are only the last 4 days! The rest of my life provides a true, embarrassing humbling testament to that.

It’s not funny.



‘i wannnnnna gooo homme’

What a title to start a new year of life and blogging, huh? I think it appropriate.

So here’s the deal: Jes asked us all what our new year resolutions are at our New Year’s Eve fondue the other night (and subsequently our last night in Penticton). She said ‘don’t think about it, just whatever comes to your head’. And my response was ‘love more; stress less’. Sounds easy, right? I sure hope so.

But now I am sitting here in Victoria, not even two weeks of a winter vacation later, and my brain already hurts from what is about to start yet again. School, financial turmoil, roommates, and rain. Will it ever end? Stress less. Please.

And I look back at the holidays, not without it’s imperfections and arguments, but still brilliant and then the past 22 years of a man (basically) free existence, and one thing is resoundingly clear. Love more.

I was hoping to write some masterpiece of my goals and ambitions for 2008, full of eloquent and witty ways of showing you how absolutely in control of my life-this-year I am. But that’s a bit of a laugh riot.

I think I might have more controlled understanding of my life now than I ever have at this moment… because as I get my school bag ready, trying to maintain a low blood pressure, my true resolution is to surrender this pen to my life story to Jesus. I’ve come a long way, and this is the very first time I have ever done that, and I pray that His desires for 2008 in Kate is beyond my overactive imagination, and my own wants… He knows those, now He can come up with the rest.

Love more; Stress Less… and be moldable by Jesus Christ. (I know moldable is not a word but I am making it one for the sake of direction).

PS My title reflects the always-present out-of-place feeling I get when I leave Camrose or Penticton… it wears off after a few days, but it’s hard to get back into a routine without my sister and brother in laws encouragement, my mom’s gentle understanding, and my entire family’s way of being ‘home’. Growing up is hard, no matter how many years I’ve been doing it.

Here’s to the masterpiece of my life! Prepare…to be surprised~