Tuesday, March 14, 2017

about a month ago brandon and started a little vegetable garden. i told my friends and family i was very nervous about this. i'm not too good with plants. like i killed an aloe plant after a year and those you should not be able to kill that easily. brandon was president of his future farmers of america club in high school so he assured me he wouldn't lead me or our plants astray. i should also note that the whole month of february was like 70 degrees so we were pretty stoked about this and confident winter had melted away.

we planted them in 30 little pots, spinach, hot peppers, green peppers. then brandon left. like i said, that was almost a month ago and i still text him every day asking him what to do. is it too cold, is it too hot, should i water them, what if it rains and i watered them, are they ok, why are they flopping over are they dying why haven't they all germinated yet? he's very patient and kind and answers all my questions.

i have started referring to them as my babies. because, clearly i'm insane. and again, brandon is very patient and does not remind me that these are not really babies he just goes with it. i bring them and in outside every day and water them and tell them i love them. if i'm having a bad day at work i come home at lunch and sit on my patio with them and love them and they make me feel better.

yesterday at the end of my work day i looked out the window and it was snowing and i literally yelled MY BABIES and grabbed my bag and ran out the door. (have i mentioned that i'm clearly insane). i sped home and got my little plants inside. they looked happier than normal actually i think they liked the snow a bit. it was only like 10 minutes so it was new for them. aww babies first snow!!

this morning i was making breakfast and they were sitting in their boxes on top of my washer and dryer and i told them that they should be grateful that they are allowed to come inside when it is cold out because there is a lot of really sad daffodils outside right now all droopy and sad because it has been below freezing the past few nights. so i told them to shape up and be grateful for what they have. as if they care because really they are plants hannah, they are plants.

but then i told myself the same thing. that i needed to be grateful for things. because gratitude changes everything. so, today i am grateful for these little plant babies and that they teach me funny lessons and i am grateful for everyone who doesn't make fun of me for talking to my little plants and telling them that i love them.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

i'm cheating. i was supposed to write 4 blogs this month and i've felt very uninspired. so today on the last hours of february jan told me to talk about simple joys. so here it is.

it is the last day of february and it is 72 out which is my favorite temperature. i'm laying in bed with the windows open and i am a happy little clam. february was a month of frustration and pain, lots and lots and lots of pain, but also really great weekends with brandon, laughing until i cried with two of my best friends that i've known since elementary school, getting to snuggle and watch a lot of golden girls with my favorite puppy, playing games with noah and megan, hiking some mountains (at the gym and in person), starting a very real real budget, got approved to continue living in my little cozy house with brandon (!!!!), and continuing to live life with a lot of my favorite women in richmond and in boiling springs and beyond.

i've realized some hard truths about myself and relationships, i've reconciled old relationships, i've held hands with my favorite baby A LOT, i've shopped at costco more and the grocery store less, i've sat in parked cars and had conversations that are easier to have in the dark, i've taken victory in running 1 mile at a time, i've planted a vegetable garden, i've taken to sitting on my back porch steps in the morning and soaking in the sun and time with jesus, i've cried a lot of happy tears, i've apologized, i've had my heart grow three sizes with love for brandon, i've read 5 books, i've gone to the gym surprisingly consistently, i've tried to listen more and talk less.

today i read a quote that is honestly changing my life. i sent it to chelsea and kept going back to the text and rereading it for myself as my life was changing before my eyes. glennon melton doyle (wombach?) posted a quote today that she got form someone else that said " if you're going to share share from your scars not from your open wounds" and that is good. oh so good. so good. keep re-reading it and post it on all your mirrors and write it on your heart. i know i am.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

i've been thinking about eating lately. mostly about the lack of eating i do. i'd venture to say all like 3 of you who read my blog know that i can't swallow food so i don't eat much. i chomp on stuff and taste things but for all intents and purposes (is that the saying) i don't eat food. this freaks people who do eat food (everyone else) out a bit. and i am trying to replace my I'm sorry's with thank you's lately so instead of apologizing for freaking you out i'll say thank you for your concern. growing up i never thought much about it. my mom packed me snacks in my lisa frank lunch box. i sat at the dinner table with my whole family every night. some nights i'd try things but most of the time i sat with an empty placemat in front of me. it never bothered me. it still doesn't but i feel much more aware of it lately.

brandon and i have been talking about love languages a lot lately and about how we give and receive love. brandon is a really great cook and loves cooking and loves cooking for people. if we are honest, i haven't been feeling tangibly loved by him lately and as we were talking about it this weekend i realized something. brandon would LOVE to cook for me. he'd enjoy trying new things and sharing new recipes and cooking me breakfast and take me out to dinner with him on taco tuesdays. he'd love to buy me drinks at the bar on saturday nights. but he can't. and this obviously isn't news to him he's known since day 1 i couldn't swallow but i think we are still in a learning curve. don't get me wrong, brandon shows me love in a lot of other ways, and is really great, but cooking is definitely one of his strengths and he can't love me that way. so, we learn and we figure out other ways for him to use his talents to love me and for me to use my talents to love him.

i had a conversation with one of my best friends yesterday about eating out. she is trying to spend less money going out and is sad she can't go out as much anymore. to her going out is a good source of conversation, community, sharing meals and stories with friends around a table. i agreed that those things were all true but she could enjoy it without actually spending money. (hello free chips and salsa and water and breadsticks). she lamented that she'd miss out on things. i told her i didn't feel like i was missing out on things by not eating out. no one HAS to eat out. i still have a great life without tabs open at bars or ordering another round of wings. for a minute i felt a little sting like maybe i was really missing out on something. but then she said well you're an exception hannah and i can learn to be an exception too. she and our other friends have always been so gracious to me and other friends on diets or training plans or budgets who bring their own trail mix into restaurants. so i have hope that she can embrace this little area of sacrifice and we can drink a lot of water and eat a lot of free chips together.

hear this though, i understand the community. i understand the breaking of bread together and how that brings people together. i understand cooking as an organic thing that can bond people together. i am certain things shared over time spent lingering at the dinner table are meant to be shared there and not other places. i am grateful that there is always a seat at the table for me and for my family and friends always inviting me along and getting past the awkwardness and embracing the larger spirit of community and looking beyond split checks

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

today i walked out of a spin class at my gym after 8 minutes. i had a goal for the month of going to 2 spin classes. i didn't do that. mostly because i didn't schedule them out well and because i have a giant spleen and because...i just didn't. so today i was going to try. today after being dehydrated due to being on the toilet literally for 4 hours due to barium injections, having an IV, having a CT scan and working 8 hours. i figured it was a good time to try a new exercise you know. so i got there, didn't register because i didn't know how, sat on a bike, asked both my neighbors and instructor for help getting the bike adjusted to me and no one helped me. so i started pedaling and apparently there is a new thing in spin classes for EVERYONE to see how fast you're going and to be called out for not going fast enough. so my bike wasn't adjusted right so i couldn't go fast and i'm clearly not in that great of shape and no one would help me. so i picked up my bag and walked out. which is actually kinda a funny thing to do looking back. but i'm proud of myself. so i went and sat on a stationary bike and put it on a hard track and pretended to ride up mountains and told my friends i had walked out of a spin class and laughed about it. then i started crying. on a stationary bike. in the middle of the gym. clearly today i am not capable of acting like a normal human.

i cried because i so desperately want to do things with my little body and i can't. i wanted to start training for a marathon this month and i can't. i want to run every day and work out and be high energy. and i can't. i'm anemic and my spleen is 4x the size it should be. it would be like maybe understandable or something less surprising maybe if this was like WOW VERY ABNORMAL. but its not. yesterday i was texting a friend and she was amazed that all this was going on and i literally laughed and was like oh no big surprise just another crazy part of my life. not surprised.

but it still blows. the other day i was running and literally blood was pouring out of the hole where my feeding tube is in my stomach. and i laughed and thought wow wouldn't it be cool if when i was running all i had to deal with was like cramps and shortness of breath like everyone else? how neat that would be! i would literally be like a multi marathon runner. probably not i'm kinda lazy, but it would be so great! instead i get stomach acid and blood ruining all my clothes.

all this is a lot of complaining. i get that. but sometimes i forget that it's ok to talk about the hard things. that even though honestly 99.999999999999999% of the time i don't ever think that i'm different or that my life is different it is. and not bad. so many good things about my life. i'm about to go to sleep and i'm still eating 4th meal. because i can eat and sleep. praise jesus hallelujah.

my best pal mary reminded me this weekend that actually when i am hurt i have a hard time with it. i'm good at being honest, i'm good at knowing how i feel but when i'm ACTUALLY hurt or scared or have been hurt by someone i have a really hard time with it. so i get defensive and sarcastic and sassy and apathetic and blah blah blah instead of dealing with it. today i got frustrated with brandon for probably 29 things that he did or didn't do. instead of just saying hey i know i've told you how bad my pain is a lot lately but today it is bad and i had to go to the hospital by myself and that is scary and hard for me and so i need a little extra kindness and grace and love. instead i used a lot of periods in my text messages (a sure sign i'm upset haha) and was a grouch.

tonight i was reminded that hard things should come back to grace and truth. grace and truth. grace and truth. they go together. so this is a little truth. and maybe you have a little grace. and next time you'll speak truth to me and i'll remember to respond with a little grace too.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

i know the new year is already one week old so this post is late but i've been busy and marinating on it and so here it is. i've been praying since december 31st that the Lord would help bring things to my mind from 2016 so i could reflect on them. a lot of things happened. i got my masters degree, i got a really great real job after months of struggling and applying to 100+ jobs, i moved into a new house, i started dating brandon, i was told i might have cancer (i don't). i have a spleen 3x its normal size, i read a lot of books, i drove more miles than i probably ever had before, i spent two whole weeks at the beach, i joined a gym, i started listening to more podcasts. but, as i continued thinking and praying i was sitting in church last sunday and reading through past journal entries and came to this one dated 1.3.16 

14 "And now, here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to start all over again. I'm taking her back out into the wilderness where we had our first date, and I'll court her. 

15 I'll give her bouquets of roses. I'll turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope. 

Goals for 2016- go from heartbreak valley into acres of hope. 

i had another goal of writing 52 letters to friends. i wrote 1. so let's not focus on that. but really, at that time i was in heartbreak valley. i had seriously dated a guy and got my heart absolutely broken and was searching still for the wrong thing. i had a sticky note everywhere i went that had the phrase heartbreak valley into acres of hope. i was praying that the Lord would lead me there. I don't know where the sticky notes went or when I stopped feeling like i was in heartbreak valley but last sunday when i was sitting in church and found that page in my journal i started to cry. because ya'll, the Lord did it. I feel 1000% in acres of hope. I sent my mama a text yesterday morning because Brandon was making breakfast and I was snuggled on the couch and it was snowing so hard and it was so good and so perfect and she said "you sound so happy!" and i said YES I AM!! this is acres of hope. 

things are not perfect, work is hard, i was kinda sick all last week, life is changing and some days really sady and other days really perfect. but, I am setting this up as an Ebenezer - a place where the Lord showed up, because he did. I prayed incessantly that I'd move from Heartbreak Valley to Acres of Hope and I did. & I am so grateful. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

i've always been pretty good at imagining the worst. at freaking myself out. at believing pretty outrageous lies. at going from 0-worst case scenario real quick. i was thinking about this today as i was driving and trying to think of examples. one of the oldest examples i thought of was one night i went upstairs to my room and swore on my little life that there was someone in my room throwing things around. somehow a burglar had entered through my second story window (or better yet, the attic) and was just in my room throwing toys around. i had gone upstairs and seen a shadow of something bouncing around but nothing was making noise. i went downstairs and told my dad that someone was in my room. clearly my dad knew better than i did and sent Sam upstairs with me to show me that clearly I was wrong. well, i was. turns out the thing i saw bouncing around was a balloon i had tied to my desk chair and it was bouncing around due to my ceiling fan being on. clearly not a man throwing toys around. a balloon. but i was 100% convinced. i wasn't scared, just very confident in my assessment of the situation.

fast forward probably 20 years later and i'm still like this. i can immediately think of the worst case scenerio and live in that. i don't even really get scared from it, i just am very sure of what i think is happening. in brazil often i would lay in bed and hear gunshots and fireworks (which sound VERY similar ok) and literally convince myself almost every night that i was going to die. that they were going to hop over the probably 30 foot gate with broken glass and razor wire and come straight for my little house and kill me. sometimes i'd be scared but most of the time i'd just say well, ok this is it. i couldn't call anyone or tell anyone but nearly every night i was convinced that this situation was going to unfold.

i get so sure of myself in these moments. i'm stubborn and adamant that these worst case things are bound to happen because i just convince myself of them. brandon often tells me i have to chill before i give myself a heart attack.

my senior year of college i remember sitting in my dorm room i shared with chelsea and i was unpacking medical supplies. it was a sunday night and my parents called me like they usually did. i can't remember if it was my mom or dad that told me my sister megan had cancer. i sat on top of those cardboard boxes in shock and disbelief. for some reason after that the rest of the fall and winter i was terrified to drive. i constantly thought i was going to die. these thoughts weren't suicidal, i didn't want to die i just could constantly envision all the ways i could. getting hit, hitting a guardrail, merging into another car, etc. gruesome thoughts. i was convinced every time i got in the car that something bad was going to happen. i listened to sodom south georgia by iron and wine a lot that fall because jon myer played sat open mic night and i remember sitting on the curb outside the coffee shop and being so paralyzed with fear. fear that my sister would die. fear that i would die. a few weeks later chelsea invited me on a date. she covered a table in the coffee shop upstairs with a sheet and had sparkling grape juice for me. we caught up on life and i told her all these things. i hadn't told anyone else and i was having a hard time processing them. i confess, i don't remember what she said but she's good at asking questions and being tough and loving and knowing my heart well. she's always been there to remind me i'm not alone in anything and i'm so grateful.

somehow the fear to drive subsided for over a year. i lived in colorado and almost drove off mountains all the time and was never scared. then back in boiling springs in the spring of 2013 i was driving home from work and had a panic attack while driving. the fear returned. the same thoughts ran through my head every day while i drove. what if this happened, what if this happened, what would i do if this happened. again, i never had any desire to act on these thoughts my mind would just constantly race from the time i turned my key in the ignition to when i got out of the car. i had to tell people about the panic attack and the things i had been panicking about and i think the fear went away.

it returned a little this week and i'm not sure why. i think partially its because my car has had 99 problems and they all bad and i had a tire blow out recently and now i'm scared constantly that my car is just going to explode.

i don't have any neat way to wrap this up. i pray a lot in these fears. i laid in my bed every night in brazil asking jesus to keep me safe from the people with guns and from snakes and tarantulas and scorpions. i pray while i drive that these thoughts get out of my head. and i trust that they will. maybe they will come back. but that's just where i am in life right now.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

i've been wanting to write. i have a list of blogs i want to write. some of them include : what is wrong with christians these days, how i got really freaked out in my relationship last week, the funny things being the mother of a hedgehog teaches me, the ever popular topic of disability, remembering that new jobs are hard.

today i write about none of those. or all of them, we will see what comes out of my little fast fingers. today i saw/read 2 things that i loved a lot. and i heard a song i now love a lot.

"give me the courage to stand the pain to get the grace" flannery o'conner.

"they wish they'd have the courage to live a life true to themselves and not the life others expected of them....how can we be loved if we are always in hiding?" donald miller from Scary Close.

and this song from the civil wars. because i have a lot of people i love in the valleys of life right now and all i want is for Jesus to take them out of the valleys onto the mountains that they love. 

I was sitting in my car on my lunch break and it was raining and i read those words by donald miller over and over and over and i cried. because i want that so badly for everyone. i want people to live how they want to live and not in the expectations of others. i think i'm definitely an anomaly (in many ways) in that i think i'm pretty good at living the life i want to live and don't really get tripped up in others expectations. but, i've learned through 26 years and hard conversations that this isn't typical. this isn't me tooting my own horn, i'm not so sure why i don't care that much about others but i have prayed hard for my heart to be tender towards those that do struggle with that. to those who seek acceptance and love and worth in relationships and people and in the hearts of others. and don't get me wrong, clearly i do it too. and it's so hard not to. but i so desperately want the people i love, to have courage you dear hearts, and live fiercely and boldly and unashamed. 

part of this for me is acknowledging that i have this new really tender heart. i cry a lot. when i'm hurt, sad, happy, overwhelmed with beauty, when i see little baby toes, when i miss pieces of me that are home in others hearts, when i read sentences like those above. and just learning to tell myself that its all ok. i try to talk about it all. i am writing more things down. i am spending more time with jesus. i actually think that's the reason for my tender heart, jesus. i am so grateful. 

Oh the outcast dreams of acceptance
Just to find pure love's embrace
Like an orphan longs for its mother
May you hold me in your grace
Oh won't you take me from this valley
To that mountain high above
Oh I will pray, pray, pray till I see your smiling face
I will pray, pray, pray to the one that I love