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Getting to Know...

Gretchen Hanna

Favorite Non-Profit

Favorite Book or Author

Too many from which to choose, though I am currently loving the storytelling of Kate Morton (historical fiction).

Favorite Movie

Personal Questions

Tell us about yourself - your family, marital status, your background... the basics.

I am a 50-year-old married mother of two. I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart, Doug, since 1990. Our son, David, is a 22-year-old graduate student, studying archaeology, and our daughter, Jenny, is a 20-year-old college junior, studying communication and human development. My husband was the only one with sense – he obtained a business degree which supports us. About 18 months ago, I returned to work as a speech language pathologist after a 21 year absence. It’s been great, but intense, and is the reason I’m currently on hiatus from writing (which I miss dreadfully).

Where is your favorite vacation spot? Why?

My favorite vacation spot is Maui. Italy and England hold space in the top 2-3, but Maui feels like my heart home - where I can utterly relax and breathe. I love the laid-back lifestyle, and seeing the whales in the winter is one of my favorite ways to spend time, ever, ever, ever. I also love the turtles and going snorkeling. I feel so close to God when I get to peek at His creation from beneath the water’s surface. There is so much life I take for granted that lives and does its thing, every single day.

What is your #1 bucket list dream?

My number one bucket list dream would be to own a piece of land near water, where I could take walks along the shoreline. On this land, I would also love to have a tiny menagerie of animals, all ‘rescued’, who would be communication partners, reading buddies, or friends to a private practice caseload of children and/or adults with speech and language differences. Caring for and talking to animals is such an amazingly functional way to communicate, learn how to care for someone other than yourself, and work on how to be a good friend.

Tell the readers one thing you would like them to know about you and/or your writing.

I would like readers to know that I’m just like them. I just happen to be a verbal processor who shares.  Often, I write in keen response to what God has been doing in my heart.

What would you want your 5-word epitaph to be?

“She loved hard and well.”

Faith Questions

Briefly, tell us about your faith journey.

I became a believer when I was 12-years-old, and was baptized at that time with my mother, who also came to know Jesus then. Our faith was not watered and didn’t grow much after that time, but the seeds had been planted. I began seeking God in earnest when I gave birth to my children, and joined my first church shortly after moving to Washington State, when my kids were 2- and 4-years-old. I would say I recommitted to my faith at that point, and haven’t looked back.

What is your favorite story from the Bible, the one that inspires, moves you?

How do you EVEN pick a favorite story from the Bible??? One of my favorites is the story of Ruth. On so many levels, this is a story of humility and servitude, and looking out for others before oneself. Ruth takes care of her mother-in-law and loves her well, and this is especially inspiring to me because my mother-in-law has been difficult for me to feel close to even though I love her dearly. Ruth went beyond her feelings and loved well. I want to be like her.

Do you have a life's bible verse? If so, what is it?

I have so many favorite verses, but the one which reels me back in when I am spinning with anxiety or despair is Matthew 11:28-30. I am an Enneagram 2 personality type, The Helper, which means I can tend to take on people’s burdens as my own.  This positive trait of being helpful can turn unhealthy very quickly, so I take comfort in remembering that I needn’t carry the world’s burdens on my shoulders – Jesus carries them for me. In fact, it’s essential that I remember this truth.

If you could have a long, leisurely dinner with a person from the Bible, who would it be and why? What would you talk about?

I would love to have dinner with Mary Magdalen. I would love to know what it was like to have such a deep friend with Jesus, and what it was like being a woman in her time, and just…what she thought about her whole life’s experience.

If you could pick one thing you deeply want the readers to know about God, what would it be?

I would want readers to know that they are so loved—so very loved by the Artist who crafted and created them.

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