Thursday, October 12, 2017



i am 12 days into being a married woman and i am finding more joy and more mourning than i expected. i changed my name last week and cried for four hours about it. when i come home on my lunch breaks and its just the dogs and i, sometimes i cry. i've been trying to process these feelings and talk to friends who are often better at processing things than i am and i have been met with resounding "me too's" which i think are the most beautiful words we can ever hear.

i am now certain that mourning is ok in the beginning of marriage but i am also certain that no one really talks about it unless prompted (this is based off several google searches...the least helpful was of a blog post a girl wrote about her first week of marriage and how it was the ultimately happy perfect week of her life...she was also on her honeymoon which i have not had yet so i do imagine if i was blogging from a beach somewhere not fresh from the soul sucking social security office and DMV i may feel otherwise too). my sweet friend is engaged right now and she just begun premarital counseling and she taught me the term "leaving and cleaving", which i had never heard. she talked about how you leave and cleave (to split apart) your own family and forge your new family with your partner together. she talked about how this concept was hard for her and she had to process leaving a family she was very tied to. i had never heard this term or thought about it much, but now that i have i think this is certainly another thing to mourn. another friend talked about how she cried when she gave her spare car key to her husband and not her dad, realizing that her new husband was the one who would be taking care of her from now on. these are all such good things, and i think we are quick to celebrate them, but people, let's mourn what we are losing. the mourning doesn't take away from the good things that are being created and knit together.

another friend and i were talking about my feelings this week and some thoughts spilled out of me. i think i am having a hard time processing all THIS (marriage, wedding, new husband, new name) because i honest to God never thought it would happen. this is not at all self-deprecating and i have proof from so many people in my life that they thought and believed otherwise for me. i'm not someone who dreamt of their wedding. i got a pinterest like three weeks ago to look up recipes. i never once got on it for wedding stuff. i remember one conversation i had with my mama in the grocery store when i was little and we talked about weddings and i told her that i was going to have an orange wedding dress and orange cake because it was my favorite color. praise the lord no one let me follow through on that. i never dreamed of a certain type of man or a certain house. if you asked my people what my life plans were most would tell you i was adamant about owning an RV and never owning a house because owning a house requires a lot of STUFF to put in the house and that i was ok chasing adventure forever. i'm fiercely independent. that's not to say i didn't want to be with someone, i did, but i never imagined the outcome being a bride and a wife. really, i didn't imagine this would happen for me. when i swiped on brandon on tinder i did not think oh hm this is my future husband that someday i will share a bank account and dishes with.

i heard this quote yesterday and it changed me. " if you don't mourn whatever story you had originally written, you're not going to be able to create a new one." chrissy kelly. i had written a story of deep friendships, having monthly goals to try new things, spending at most $100 on groceries a month, forging my path in the world and making a difference on my own. this quote realized it really was ok to give myself permission to mourn the old story and do the hard work of creating a new one. and whew, i am so grateful i get to create it with brandon. he's so patient and kind and i know the physical things of our marriage are the same as our not marriage, living together, dishes, groceries, but the other night we were talking about how different it really is. how different it just feels, like tectonic plates underfoot shifting (not the earthquake kind, but the change of things that until you take stock of differences you may not have noticed). how we are already differently making decisions, as one & as a family now. 

so friends, marriage is really beautiful and fun but there is some mourning to do too. and i'm giving myself the grace to do so. 

ps--i believe this quote applies to EVERYTHING in life, so give yourself the grace to mourn. after the hard things and after the joyful things. the new relationships, the new jobs, the new babies, the marriages, the movings, all the changes. and give yourself the grace to tell Jesus deeply and loudly the mourning feelings and the joy. this week i've been reading psalm 51 and i am so in love with the verse 8 that says Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have broken rejoice. i am certainly not a theologian and haven't looked any of this up but when i read that verse it also gives me permission to mourn and rejoice. i take it to mean that God is the one that breaks the bones-the hard things, the sin, the crap in our lives, but he is also the one who gives us permission to carry on after the hard breaking of them. we are allowed to rejoice after those hard things get broken and put aside. God wants us to continue the gladness and joy. he's like, yeah-these things-these bones, are hard and maybe bad or not great but let me break them for you and release you and then let's get on with the celebrating. so, i am letting my bones of the story i had originally written for myself break, and then the creating of new stories and rejoicing will continue. (if you are a theologian and my interpretation of this is 1000% wrong, feel free to tell me and tell me what it really means, i'm down to learn new things but i may still hold onto my interpretation because right now i like it a lot).

Sunday, September 17, 2017

as more time goes on i (obviously) am noticing more things brandon and i disagree on. not that i ever thought we were in agreement on everything in life because that's a hard no, but just little things that i notice day to day. it's not like i've ever been married before or lived with a partner before so it's all just new to me. brandon is really good at reminding me that we are in this together and that he is always down to talk, even if i am not. thus, me sitting on my back patio with the dogs writing this blog because i needed to write to process it. he knew i was feeling funky but i wasn't ready to talk. i'm not even mad. this isn't a fight. it's just a-hmm i thought we agreed on these things but we don't. brandon asked tonight if he could get a credit card just for gas to improve his credit score for when we want to buy a house. we've done dave ramsey. we agreed we'd never have a credit card. i felt weirdly hurt and betrayed that he would even ask me to get a credit card. that was something i thought we'd never do because we were so against it and against credit as a thing to define us.
or like, i thought it was common knowledge that you use a dish and you wash it. or use the dishwasher. but no, brandon would leave all his dishes in the sink for a week if he wanted to/could. (to be fair he washed all his dishes all day today in a timely manner which is pretty impressive without even having a reminder)

it's so interesting to me how engrained things are in my mind from my family or lived experiences that i never really realized before. dinner at the table instead of in front of the tv. dishes being done before bed. shoes put in the shoe basket. clothes in the hamper. wet towels hung up. taking out the trash when throwing out rotten food. i'm sure brandon has a list equally as long.

i've felt a lot like martha from the mary and martha story in luke. i'm all about opening up my home and filling it with love and people and dogs but then i miss out on things because i'm so concerned about the dishes in the sink. my friend chelsea was in town last weekend and i see her like twice a year and she's my best friend and she was eating pizza with brandon in the living room and i was doing dishes. to be fair, we were both tired and i don't think she at all held it against me. chelsea- did you? text me. brandon has been good at reminding me that it really will be ok. that the dishes in the sink won't cause life to end and that we will be ok as a couple. i know that when i go inside or when he comes out here and we talk about the credit card thing he will tell me it'll be ok. and it will. and i know he wants to get a credit card because he wants to help his credit. i have fine credit and when we talked to a loan broker if we did everything in my name we would be golden and approved for a half million dollar loan (what? yes. i can't even handle it. side note: we would NEVER take that much money.) and so i think maybe sometimes brandon feels like he isn't providing for us. before we joined our bank accounts honestly he was always owing me money. and $20 here or there adds up. before we combined our accounts he owed me $600. and i'm sure that sucks. and i don't even want to think about/dwell on our current financial situation because we are very much anticipating october. the month the wedding ends, our birthdays end, and we don't have to spend tons of extra money on things. we will feel rich i think. i can't even imagine how much more my parents feel this sentiment. we are so grateful.

so listen. joining lives together is hard. joining bank accounts together is hard. but we keep telling each other that we are so grateful to do things together. that makes things so much better. and we are grateful.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

i think life is a little hard right now. i have felt more materialistic than i maybe ever have. pretty much daily i am buying something, or selling something old. i am trying hard to make this little house a home. i want things to be nice. i want to decorate how i want to, because i never really have. i scour craigslist and Facebook groups for sales. i buy furniture only to flip it and sell it for more the next day. i'm not sure why. i look on zillow at houses to buy, even though that's not our plan right now. i look at cars to buy, even though mine is perfectly fine (minus only having AC every other time i drive it--i don't want to talk about it).

i have been listening to jen hatmakers podcast about girlfriends and i have been longing for girlfriends. i feel like i have less community now than i ever have. a lot of that is my own doing. brandon moved in three months ago and i just love him a lot. we see friends but car situations and driving situations are weird right now so we end up doing a lot of things together. i feel guilty/honestly a lot of times i don't want to leave him when i come home from work to hang out with friends. that's the only time of day i see him and i love cooking dinner for or with him and taking the dogs for a walk. i think i still operate under the same rules i did when we dated long distance and our time was limited. i need to be ok missing him for a few hours at night because i get to see him every other night forever. it is hard to let go of that. he really is just really great and fun to hang out with.

a few weeks ago we had just gotten our new dog riley. we took both dogs for a walk and came home and watered our garden and turned the compost pile and got the clothes off the clothesline. and i teared up. i love this little life we are building together. it's simple. dogs and cooking and trying to be frugal and growing our own food and trying to waste less. i cried telling brandon this and then a bird pooped on his shoulder and he ruined my sentimental moment. also, i laughed a lot at the bird poop.

we argue more than i'd like. we are learning each other. dating, especially dating long distance didn't mean we didn't fight. it did mean though that we'd have a limited time to resolve them and we probably didn't always get to the root of the issue or the why behind how we felt. we just soothed each other to the point that we could say goodbye for another two weeks and not leave upset or questioning. now we actually have time to talk about the whys of our discontentment or anger or tears. and how to actually change or fix things going forward. this means a lot of communicating about how we communicate. me telling him what i need to hear in the moment. we are both really logical and self aware and so if i'm upset i don't need to hear logic. i probably already have that covered. i do need to be told that my feelings are still real and valid, no matter how illogical they may be. then we can talk about logic. he needs to not be interrupted. he needs to be asked to do things in a gentle way. he needs to be responded to calmly when he asks a question (even if i feel he should know or could easily find out the answer).

i am more and more grateful every day for the marriages i've gotten first row seats to. zach and ashley in cdh, brandon and leigh ann, noah and megan. i am so grateful. i am so grateful for christine being very honest about her fights with her husband.

i try to be honest with my friends about where i am. about our fights. about what we are learning. about whats working or not working. i told them the other day that i believe i've done a lot of hard things in life but marriage might be the hardest. we are trying. i called him this morning because i had a bad dream about us and he is good at saying hannah i am here i love you i'm not mad at you and i'm never going anywhere. and that is good.

Friday, March 31, 2017

dear little body of mine, 

whew. i love you. i try to tell you i love you every day. i try to tell you i love you within the first two steps of my run because it is actually amazing to me that you can run at all. every doctor ever told me i shouldnt ever run. actually, every doctor ever told me i shouldn't be alive. but that is too much to unpack for one letter.

 this letter is about my 102 pound body. it is small. my hands are nearly child sized. but, despite all the negative words, i do love my little body. but little body, right now you are broke as hell. and i'm sorry for that. but also, needing you to be healed soon. 

my insides are literally falling apart. nearly every organ is messed up. which, if you think about it, is actually pretty amazing that my little body can be so synchronized that it fails in unison. i digress. little body, please stop failing me. i eat healthy. i see a chiropractor weekly, i exercise, i soak in vitamin D and even recently have started using sunscreen. I'm just trying to do all the things i want to do, adventurous and mundane, and you are making that pretty difficult. 

i'm not sure what you need. i'm not sure if you need medicine, if you need voodoo medicine, if you need a vacation, if you need a swift kick in the pants, or what. let a sister know. i'll do what i can to take care of you better. i'll do whatever you want. i am doing the best i can though. we've come 26 years together, surely you want to hold on quite a bit more time? 

little body of mine, i'll try to listen to you more and continue telling you i love you. but please don't fail me now. 

love, 
your concerned and sick owner

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

here is a secret. part of me actually likes fighting with my fiancĂ©. before you get your panties in a wad  hear me out. Brandon and I rarely fight. I am SURE this will change and we are soon to spend all of our days together and surely things will occur. we have been dating 15 months and engaged for 10 days. while dating we had honestly probably 2 fights. one knock out drag out fight, and another where I got mad and we talked about it and it was over. for the first six months of dating we didn't fight. at all. literally. and i would talk to my friends and say "i want Brandon and I to fight." and they'd look at me like I had three heads which you may be looking at your screen right now and thinking the same thing.

here is why: I wanted to see how we would fight. Would we yell? Would we listen well? Would we be honest about things? Would things come out in fights that we had been holding in and building resentment about without ever expressing them until the lid came off the pot and we fought? Would we seek forgiveness? Would we need space? Would he push me to tell him what was wrong when I inevitably said "nothing" when asked?

I'm not always great at sharing my feelings. I'm really great at being honest until I actually feel hurt about something. Then I close up like a little clam. My poor family knows the struggle of my silent treatments, refusing to actually acknowledge hurtful things. I've tried hard to get better at letting people in in the moment. The first time we fought I remember driving around in silence with Brandon, who surely did not actually know why I was mad or refusing to talk, but who has always been very gracious and patient in all things. I remember him saying something to the effect of "ok yeah you can be mad but when we get to (insert destination here) we need to talk about this." He gave me space but also acknowledged what needed to happen without me even telling him that's what I needed.

This weekend (7 days after getting engaged) we had a huge fight. The subject of the fight mattered in the moment, but it doesn't matter now. What does matter now is that Brandon listened really well, he apologized, and he gave me a real plan of how to change the situation, he gave me endless words of affirmation, and at the end of it all when I was feeling worn out, sad, and semi sheepish for how I handled things, he gave me constant reassurance that it was all ok and that it was going to continue to be ok. He gave me space to be honest about what hurt me. At one point I could tell he was super frustrated with me and he could have easily reacted poorly but he didn't. I don't mean any of this patronizingly like oh pat on the head good boy Brandon. All this to say, we fought really well.  Yes, he did something that hurt me, VERY unintentionally and indirectly, but we fought well. Through my tears, through him letting me verbally process why things hurt me so badly, and through holding me tightly.

I'm CLEARLY no saint (see above paragraph) and I am sadly certain that I am going to hurt Brandon way worse than he hurt me on Sunday. I don't want to ever hurt him but I reckon it'll happen. I am hopeful and pray that I will have as much grace as he has shown me.

Brandon is also really good at carrying on with life. Yeah, it sucked to fight on Sunday but he didn't dwell on it (that I know of...). Without this blog probably a month from now we wouldn't even remember it. Similar to how I can't recall all the details of the other 2 fights we've had. We are good at choosing love and joy and are so excited about our lives together that we aren't trying to live in the crap times. When asked how my weekend was yesterday by my best pal Sarah in passing I said Brandon and I had a fight and she said unless it was funny or very important to our relationship I didn't need to tell her about it because it is over and we are ok. And that is very good advice.

So, fighting sucks, and it is hard and sad but also can be really great to see how you and your person react and carry on in love in the midst of it all.

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.


i am 12 days into being a married woman and i am finding more joy and more mourning than i expected. i changed my name last week and cri...