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.


made with love…

I would like to acknowledge the following people for making the, well…following, photographs possible (or what is inside them):

Dad – for telling me they taste JUST LIKE MOM’s a couple years ago, making me persevere to make them again and again. YES.

Chrissy – for the generous lending of your cooling racks — for the very first time I made biberli not using an extra oven rack or overturned dish drying rack. Trav you get thanked just for your association with Chrissy. And your commentary to my life.

Ky – for you generous donation of icing sugar. I needed more BUT yours got me through round one 3 days ago.

Tim – the guy I work with and his honey bees — the honey he gave me this summer was exactly what I needed for these cookies.

Megan – for being the very first person I made biberli with, I think I’ve come a long way since then.

My Nana – for her legacy of incomparable Christmas cookie recipes.

My landlords — God bless them for the smells they have to put up with wafting through the vents.

Jes — for your patience over my questions over the years, I think this year I might’ve done it solely on my own? Wait, I did ask how long the dough could sit out I think — it’s tough to make these in one sitting!

Luke – for being my biggest fan and favourite ‘critic’… insisting it’s not enough to fairly judge by trying just one.

My dear Mom — whose heart probably broke when her second daughter did nothing but sit around and watch all of the Christmas baking being done… little did she know my baby blues were suffocating my brain with every last detail for making the softest, sweetest, most deliciously golden brown and delightful Christmas cookie the world will ever have the privilege of recognizing. To you mom, I tip my hat.



being aunt kater

I became an auntie this past week… for real! It was awesome. It IS awesome. What a lesson in patience though as we all waited by our respective cell phones to hear the news. I think I was utterly useless for three days as I prayed and wondered and hoped that my dear sister’s (the warrior woman she is) babe would arrive and thus, the wait — her wait — would be over. He’s such a sweetheart, baby Weston, but could being so far away stink any more? Probably not.

I think this lesson of patience and trust is only going to deepen and continue as the weeks or months pass before I get to meet him. Why did I ever leave Cal-gary, I have no idea… 🙂

Anyways, cute and perfect doesn’t describe him. From the few photos I’ve seen, I think that little man is a much more handsome heart-stealer than the rest of the guys in the world combined. There is a picture frame I’ve seen that says something like “all of God’s grace in one little face” and the perfect beauty of that baby is the greatest gift of love that I can think of to date that shows that God knows exactly what He’s doing.

I wrote the babe a letter a few months ago (found here) and the only thing I would add to it is: don’t grow up too quickly — since I clearly can’t get there fast enough!

Any ideas on how to get through this time of separation? Please, help me.


xox sweet one.


to my niece or nephew, pending

Dear sweetie,

I am so excited to meet you, I feel like I’ve been waiting for this day for way too long. And even though there are still a few too many months before you come out to play, there are a couple of things I want you to know so that when you are here and take over our world, you will get started on the right foot:

First of all, I am head over heels in love with you already. I know that might not matter much all of the time but I also know that one day it might mean the world. If you need someone to remind you how much the world doesn’t stand a chance against you, that you are the most beautiful person in the room, or that you deserve to have your heart cherished and admired, I will be there. And before me, I am sure you’ll see your mom and dad ready to remind you first.

Sometimes, people are not very nice. Since you are going to be the coolest kid around, it will be your job to make sure that the other kids are not forgotten, that you include even the girls or boys that might not see things the same way you do. Find the best in everyone because if you’re patient, I am sure they will surprise you. And I promise you will learn more from the people who challenge you and question you rather than the ones who will always agree with you. Be kind, respectful, and bold with your heart and actions — and if you find yourself on the opposite side, forgotten by your peers, I pray someone kind and special will reach out to you.

Dave Matthews Band, Matt Wertz, Garth Brooks, Paul Brandt, Pearl Jam, Dave Barnes, Jewel, Patty Griffin, Hootie and the Blowfish, Bryan Adams, Matchbox 20, Sheree Plett, Kate Voegele, Counting Crows, Kings of Leon, Chris Tomlin — I am not saying that they have everything figured out, because they don’t, but they provide an awesome soundtrack to when you might be feeling particularly lost or joyful or afraid or expectant. And if you want, I will take you to any of their concerts, ever, because they will be classics by the time you’re old enough, and you will be the coolest for simply listening to some of the greats.

Speaking of having things figured out, please don’t forget that this is a goal that is impossible. So why not enjoy life and the spins it will send your way and embrace them as opportunities that will continue to mold, define, renovate, invigorate, and educate who you are. That way, when the end comes and you look back and wonder about those moments where you wish you had had it all figured out, at least you know you gave it your very best shot.

About your Dad — he’s one of my favourite people on the planet. Use him for when you’re unsure or excited about something, because he’s one of the greatest listeners and greatest dreamers I know — I can’t think of anyone better to be vulnerable around or to find a sincere support for the dreams you have. And I promise that if you’re having a bad day or you are confused about something, your Dad’s laugh will make the day lighter and your curiosity for the world and all of its parts came from him.

And your mom? She’s my best friend. I want you to open your heart to her because there’s no better place to be than in her heart. Her ability to tell you the truth, always, in love is totally unmatched. And if some days it feels like there is no one who understands or cares or simply can’t relate, your Mom will — and if she’s unsure, she will try harder than anyone to make sure you know that you are the priority. She’ll carry you — your hurts will be hers, same with your successes, love, passions, and dreams. Just make sure that you make an effort to make her loves, passions, and dreams part of your own.

Read. Live vicariously through stories and adventures and experiences on paper. Not only will it teach you, but your own free spirit will crave the adventure that is your life. And if you ever want someone to live your adventure along side you, I might come along from time to time — I will try to be a cool aunt.

Be brave and take risks. Be honest with yourself but make sure that you will take a chance, especially if people are telling you not to. You need to be your greatest advocate, and I promise your support team of family will make sure everyone else knows that you are a force… life is simply a gift, make sure you appreciate it every day — and courage and bravery will make you do the things that other people might not.

Don’t ever forget that the world owes you nothing, that in fact — you owe something to the world. God has given you talents and gifts and treasures and time that as His child, makes you a servant-heart. Love Jesus, live your life and live it with joy, and everything will be ok.

While I can’t promise I will never embarrass, disappoint, lose focus, or not check in on you, I promise I will try my hardest to do it as little as possible. I also will help you with all of your English and Social Studies homework, and if I am your teacher, I can’t promise you won’t be the teacher’s pet.

I can promise I will always encourage you, remember you, and love you for all of the perfect and imperfect parts about you. I might get old and grumpy and fragile, but I will never, ever get tired of hearing your stories, looking at your pictures, watching you grow, cheering you on, and thanking God for the gift that you already are.

(And it would be in your best interests to be a Riders fan. Even if you become more in tune to your British Columbian heritage, and love the Lions more, this is the only avenue of your life that I will support you lying to your Dad. It might even be fun!)

I love you and am anticipating your arrival more than you might ever know…

Love, Auntie Katie,

–your biggest fan.



That’s actually AUNTIE Katie, BA… soon to be B.Ed! In the course of one week, I finished my degree, found out I am going to be an Auntie in November (who cares about due dates, I am totally an auntie already!), and got accepted into the teaching program! Talk about a tidal wave of awesome blessings and success. I knew 2009 was going to be the best year yet. 🙂

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alberta bound

…And so I cranked up the radio
‘Cause there’s just a little more to go
Before I cross the border at that Sweet Grass sign

I’m Alberta bound
This peace of Heaven that I’ve found
Rocky mountains and black fertal ground
Everything I need, beneath that big blue sky

…And I’ll be Alberta bound until I die

…Maybe it’s my down home redneck roots
Or these dusty old Alberta boots
But like the chinook wind keeps coming back again

Paul Brandt seems to put everything in the best way… ANYWAYS… the flights are booked and I am coming Aug 23-30. Outta Pen and into Edmonton. How fun will THIS be? I sure think so. Wahoo, thanks DAD.


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!


Rider Pride

I legitimately was confused, yet respectful, of Mark’s love for the Sakatchewan Roughriders… but in support of my brother in law, I sat loyally through the entire Grey Cup final today and by the end of it, I was excitedly yelling with the best of fans… I came by it innocently, wanting to watch the game just as BC-moral support for Mark’s favourite team (and Mark himself) but I’ve decided that it really doesn’t matter whether I understand it or not, football is the BEST sport to watch EVER. Oh yeah… AND THE RIDERS WON!!!!!!!!! For the first time in HOW long? I don’t know, I will have to ask Mark. Actually, way to go Mark, I really believe that your dedication to this team helped them through. I am not going to pretend to be hardcore because I am not, but that was unreal! I didn’t even answer the phone during it!! I guess it only makes sense to keep it in the family so I may be considered a convert or betraying BC but like Jes said “forget BC” and ultimately, forget the Lions… because today (and NOT only in the truest “only because they won the Grey Cup” form) I am now a Riders fan. Yeaa…


flights are about 400$, I will keep checking for sales…

…to go back to Camrose. For real.

Honestly, I think God created Camrose and my sister and brother in law’s life there to be “my” place. I am kidding, as that is extremely selfish, but the last 7 days in Camrose, like every other trip there, has been so huge for me a in challenging way. See everything I am extremely stressed, hurting or broken, I find myself heading there…then leaving there with an entirely different perspective: On God. That’s it. I mean, I am quickly learning that my relationship with Christ can be deepened and fostered without going to Camrose, but this time, that’s what I needed from it. I will spare the “gory” details but my heart is soaring at what reading break brought for me.

I spent the week working at CLBI with Jes (and Mark) for the 75th Anniversary of the school’s existence. While it was tiring, and hard work, it also was the first opportunity for me to feel right at home… I love being at CLBI with Jes because it gives me insight into her world, particularly into her and Mark’s ministry there. While I marveled at the Norwegians and the Scandinavian food, I found a quiet comfort in the busyness of it all: they seem to like me here. 🙂 Coupled with some other special visits and connecting with Jes’ connections there…specifically her in-laws and old landlord, I really felt like I had come home. While, at this point in my life, home is anywhere someone will cook me a meal and offer some advice (I am kidding), I really felt like it was the first time I was able to talk in 3 months… about anything and everything. Which was unreal.

I also got to go horseback riding with Amy, Mark’s sister, which rocked. Many of you may have heard me say in the last couple months that I cannot compare Victoria and Alberta because they are completely different in every possible way. It’s true… because when I was riding the horse in the cold, wintry prairie winds, I realized how truly different the places are. And how much I miss being in Alberta. (I know what you guys are thinking…will she ever be content? But that’s not what this is about)

Simply put, I am blessed beyond words because a girl could only dream to find comfort in so many places, such as Penticton with Mom and the kids, Smithers with history, the island with family and friends, and Camrose Alberta with my sister’s world and God willing, maybe my future? But I am more blessed for these gentle reminders that show this girl the ultimate comfort is in God.

I don’t think how much I can emphasize how much of a wonderfully awesome time I had this past week. Or how much I already absolutely, completely miss it.

PS This was the verse at CLBI’s anniversary bash… while the skin-sagging part made Jes and I chuckle, I think it is extremely powerful:

“I’m still in Your presence, but You’ve taken my hand. You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then You bless me. You’re all I want in heaven! You’re all I want on earth! When my skin sags and my bones get brittle, God is rock-firm and faithful. . . . (Psalm 73:23-26 The Message).