Monday, June 25, 2018

Why would I ever want to write a book? Who would ever want to read a book I wrote? the market right now is definitely oversaturated with christian women writing books all with their own truths to tell and vulnerabilities to expose. I say this lightly though because with each book I read about being brave and vulnerable and honest I continue to crave all those things. I don't think they are wrong or lying when they write these books. I don't think they are intentionally giving us breadcrumbs instead of a piece of bread but that is often how I'm left feeling. Don't get me wrong, these are women I appreciate and admire and many have podcasts that I listen to weekly. These women have virtually been in my home, car, on runs with me, laid in bed while I folded laundry, pulled weeds in the garden with me, and lived life in almost every capacity with me.

 I've never written a book so I don't know how it goes. I don't know if anyone sets out to be 100% bold, out there, every secret exposed so that women know they are not alone. I don't know if publishers and editors quietly and swiftly cross things out. My friend Amanda attempted to get a book published once and like many other times in her life, was quickly told that her story was too much and too loud and too honest and too brash for the world. We were not physically together but even now thinking of her story my heart wants to break. Listen, she is loud and honestly one of the biggest personalities in the world and will probably be ridiculously famous one day and we can only hope that those publishers will remember her and feel real bad. But not for long because we are nice girls.

So, why would I want to write a book? 1) my life is pretty funny 2) every time I do write something someone somewhere says You should write a book 3) I'm only 28 years old but I've lived a lot of life. I literally just had to do the math and ask my husband and I'm 27, but maybe by the time anyone reads this I'll be 28! That sounds like a fine age to be. Also, once I fell down a manhole and got hit in the head with a dead bat (not the same day or even in the same hemisphere) so surely this is the kind of book you'd like to read.

I don't have an agenda. I have a lot of stories to tell. I have been thinking long and hard about themes in my life. I'm not sure there are many other than : I'm going to keep saying no to people who tell me I can't do things, I'm going to keep loving and pursuing Jesus all my days, I'm going to fight for honesty, I'm going to trust that the moon is always round, and I'm going to laugh a whole lot while I do it.

I don't know if this will be finished this year or in 5 years from now or when I'm 40 and have lived a lot more life. I don't know if it ever will be. I do know that I love writing and that it is taken a LOT in me to use commas and capital letters and mostly correct grammar. Surely I've done things wrong but maybe this will entice my friend Jan to read things I write. I even used paragraphs Jan!!

i just want to write down the goodness. i don't want to forget this time.

coming home the day we bought our house after painting all day, hot, sweaty, exhausted, giddy and over the moon and doing all over again the next day.

dancing to jolene in the low kitchen light on a friday night after having a date going to home depot to buy toilets for our house.

lazy sunday afternoons at the pool

summertime is so good for our souls. laughing longer, going to bed while the sun is still up. late weekend nights on the patio playing cards.

this season is very sweet. emily asked me today how life was and i said it was wonderful. i know just a month ago we were struggling. we were fighting all the time. every weekend included tears. you're so stressed out at work. buying a house was a lot more stressful than we anticipated. you were drinking and smoking often.

i asked if we could consider counseling. you asked if we could give it a month. you started trying harder and i did too. we communicated better. we said please thank you and i'm sorry more. you bought me bananas at the store because you were concerned i didn't have enough for the week. i come home and start supper when you have a late interview. i fold laundry every sunday or monday night. we get in bed happy and tired every night.

i walked up the stairs this weekend and thought wow i'm really enjoying brandon. its true when people talking about loving and liking someone. liking someone does not come naturally all the time. i love brandon always. i love him when we are having hard conversations. i love him in the tears. i love him because he's a lot quicker to apologize than i am. i love him because he is more full of grace than i am. i don't always like him though. but i am lately. i am really liking him and that feels so good.

matthew 11:28-30 in the message is so good

Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

i'll show you how to take real rest. brandon is showing me this too. laying on the couch in the middle of a saturday afternoon reading a book. going to bed at 8 on a friday night to watch netflix. going for long walks saturday nights. we are learning unforced rhythms of grace in our marriage. in our hearts. in our home. i want this home to be a home of rest. i want us to live knowing that everything is actively being redeemed. 

became lawyers not lovers
questioning, interrogating, giving stink eye adds to our darkness

we need kindness, listening ear, hold space for us, need the reminder that we are going to be ok

if love has an agenda it is no longer love. it seems like you're trying to be helpful but you're not. its easier for people to grow when they are loved and accepted not helped, fixed, or informed

being kind odes not mean you're enabling people it just means you're being kind

not everyone has to be on your side or see your point of view

the only destination we have is jesus' feet

expand your bandwidth for joy

i've been learning a lot about control lately. mostly about how much i crave it. back in 2009 in the smokey mountains of tennessee i learned how badly i crave and use (read: abuse) control. I've always known that I am a bit of a mastermind when it comes to guilt tripping, manipulation, and controlling. probably has something to do with being very catered to as a child due to ridiculous medical situations. I  have a different direction for this blog so I don't want to go too far down that rabbit hole of my childhood and why I am the way I am. another story another day.

i've known about the enneagram for several years now. every single time i take the assessment i come back as a 2. as a social worker, being the helper, makes a lot of sense. i've gone back and forth between 2 and 8 a lot due to my overtly honest nature. what gets me every time is the not great qualities of the 2: neediness, guilt tripping, and manipulation. what a JOY i must be.

the need for control has reared its very ugly head lately. brandon has brought up my tendencies to nag and control. it is not my favorite thing in the world to be called out for the bad qualities i possess. especially ones that i have identified and worked hard to change. the work may never be done. this conversation sent me into a pretty bad anxiety attack spiral where all i felt like i could do is grasp tighter, control more, and continue to choke out the goodness and joy. luckily i have a very kind husband who is quick to bestow grace and understanding and compassion. all the while probably being wary of these tendencies i possess.

as i continue to process these things the biggest justification i have is: it is really out of love. it may be the mothering instinct in me. i don't know honestly. we continue to have conversations about money and food and work and all the little things in life that I want to control and somewhat can but mostly can't and I keep trying.

Monday, February 12, 2018

i am not a terrible wife. i am not a terrible wife. i am not a terrible wife. i have told myself this a lot in the past 18 hours. this is because i do indeed feel like a terrible wife. i know, really do know, that i am not a terrible wife though. i felt needy this weekend. i felt like brandon and i needed to spend time together since this past week after our honeymoon was busy and we were both sick and it didn't feel like a lot of quality time happened. several nights i read or watched tv in bed while he played video games. that happened some this weekend too. we didn't have many plans, which i love and hate simultaneously, and we spent majority of saturday afternoon apart and spent time with friends saturday night and i took a long walk sunday afternoon. all weekend i felt needy. i felt like i need more and more time with brandon since i felt like this past week wasn't full of quality time or quantity time. in scary close donald miller talks about how when dating his now wife she said i don't need quality time, i just need quantity time. when i read that statement its like my eyes were opened. someone finally put into words how i felt. i don't need quality date nights or extravagant adventures. i need quantity time. running errands together, sitting on the couch watching tv together, talking or not talking. this weekend i think the breakdown came in the quality/quantity. i needed both i think. brandon spent a lot of time playing video games, which he plays online with his best friend. so while i may be sitting across from him or next to him i feel totally isolated. he's got a headset on and is actively talking to someone else, focused on something else, and not easily distracted. to me that doesn't feel like quality or quantity time. i think to him it does. we were in the same room, probably on the same couch, and i was probably reading or playing candy crush next to him. sunday night when we were talking about our weekends he snapped a little (understandably so, and not even in a mean way) and said he felt annoyed that i kept telling him we weren't spending time together when he felt like we were and felt like he wanted to just relax and that every moment didn't have to involve a conversation or meaningful time together. he agreed that he understood how i felt while he played video games. and i agreed that i came across as a nice version of smothering.

then i laid in bed next to him and cried a bit. because i think all this comes from real deep seated fears of insecurity. i have been feeling like i have no idea why brandon would want to be married to me. we spent our honeymoon in mexico and were surrounded by people all over the world and everyone was very kind and we had an amazing time. but, i felt bad for brandon. i felt bad that he was married to a wife who just stared at him across the dinner table at amazing restraunts every lunch and dinner because i couldn't eat. i felt bad that i felt nervous talking to other couples because i always don't want people to feel awkward if they can't understand me. i felt bad that i got sick due to a lack of sleep and food one day. and all these insecurities mean i feel like this could never be true or good or have longevity. as if brandon will wake up one day and see my face and realize that he could do better. (update: he has in fact seen my face, and this has yet to happen. very certain that it won't ever happen but these types of things have deep roots) even last night brandon said hannah you're the perfect wife for me. and i said no and he said yes. you are. brandon is so good at calming my insecurities, without me even verbalizing them. i mean, obviously my neediness came out in full swing this weekend and so maybe he just knew that i was feeling insecure and the by product was me being clingy. (or, and this is stupidly shocking to me, God gave us good good gifts in each other, because he is a God of good good gifts. and brandon is perfect for me. and i am perfect for him. thanks God.) he may be that in tune. or, maybe, he really does just love me. and we both agreed we have things to work on. and communicate better about. and we are still trying to figure out schedules and time and what the other person needs. part of it i think is due to still being very estatic that after 1.5 years of being apart i'm still really jazzed that we ge to be together. and we have fun together. and i love spending time with him. but, i think another part is insecurity coming out in unhealthy ways.

so, i am not a terrible wife. i am trying. i am praying. i pray a lot, every day at 8:48 to be precise, for brandon and our marriage. i don't think i have prayed for myself in our marriage since we were engaged. i don't have it all together. i don't know that i would say i do, but i think that i spend a lot of time focusing on praying for brandon and praying for our marriage and neglecting myself in that (i'm just now accepting that i'm an enneagram 2 so bare with me). every morning i brush my teeth and read this devotional called heart of the matter and i opened it this morning and the first sentence said "you are hard to love too. understanding this is the start of learning to love difficult people...God doesn't love you because you make a wonderful addition to his family, he loves you in spite of what you are like. through his love for you he changes you, to be like himself. he makes you lovely, even though you didn't start out lovely. you need exactly the same things from God, grace mercy, kindness, and welcome, that others need from you." and carried on. and i laughed at God (with God I think) because yup. i am. i am hard to love. but not unloveable. and also, not a terrible wife. just a wife who is in need of, and very thankful for grace upon grace upon grace.

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.

Why would I ever want to write a book? Who would ever want to read a book I wrote? the market right now is definitely oversaturated with chr...