Waiting, A Time of Learning

I shared a post on Instagram the other day about waiting. I’m gonna share it below to help put the rest of what I’m about to write into context.
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I feel like this (the verse in the image above) is the anthem of my life, and let me confess to you…I’m not very good at being patient 😕 I am practicing and improving as the years go on though, so that’s something! 😁

I find myself continually in a place where I am practicing contentment and trying to be patient as I wait for the next thing in life my heart is desiring. A few years ago this waiting was in regards to being married. I longed to be a wife and enjoy the companionship of my handsome hubby. I even got to the point in waiting where I told the Lord, “If this isn’t the person you have for me let this relationship dissolve and plant a new desire in my heart”. As you know I am now happily married to that same wonderful man and wouldn’t change a thing. I learned a lot about myself in the waiting and it allowed me to prepare for the sacrifices that love and marriage would and has required of me.

Today that desire waiting to be fulfilled is motherhood. I have actually had “baby fever” for several years but recently that desire has been aching at my heart. I love kids, they are seriously the best humans in the world! They are smart, funny, so genuine, and love in such an unconditional way. It’s amazing to me. I feel like I’ve always been a mom at heart even from a young age, as I would care for and teach my baby dolls as if they were real babies 🙈

I am learning in this time of waiting (we aren’t quite ready for babies just yet as a couple and that’s ok, cause when we are ready it’s gonna be amazing) that I should be enjoying all the freedoms that life without kids offers. I usually stay occupied by taking great care of my hubby and our dog! However since it’s been just me and the dog, I miss taking care of another human. I know I am just missing my hubby and that is totally understandable! Plus I have several friends that will be having adorable babies soon, and I have so many friends who allow me to pour into and love on their kiddos!! I have truly been blessed in the season of waiting with some amazing women and kiddos to share life with while my hubby is away!! Thank you all for your love and support and indulging my baby fever!! #waiting #pactience #confession

I know this may seem like a totally new topic, but trust me there is a connection.

 

This past week my heart was a bit heavy. It’s been 4 years now since my Grandma Linda passed away from cancer. She was an amazing, feisty, strong willed, and wise woman. I learned so very much from her. She taught me during my waiting that being married is a job you must take seriously. It means taking care of and meeting the needs of your partner, sometimes even when you don’t feel like it. I think the most memorable thing she said to me during this time is, “There might be days you wake up and you might not be able to stand anything about your husband. Just the fact that he exists might be irritating; know that loving someone is a choice, not a feeling.” I can’t guarantee that those are the exact words she used, but it’s pretty close, or at least the best I can remember. The point is loving is a choice we must choose daily!

Then one day in our second year of marriage, everything my hubby did irritated me to no end and I realized what my grandma meant! I was short with him and when he asked why, I remember responding, “I’m not really sure but just the fact that you exist today is irritating.” I know that sounds terrible, but it was true. I just woke up “on the wrong side of the bed” so to speak and felt irritated at the world, and my husband, and the dog, for no other reason than I was in an irritable mood. I took a little time to myself, then apologized to my wonderful hubby and made sure he knew I love him so very much. I was just feeling funky and I was taking it out on him. That day what my grandma had said to me really clicked.

She was such a wise woman and I am so thankful for all the time I had with her. As I mentioned above, she passed away from cancer. She was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer a few years prior, and I prayed that she would get well. That the Lord who can do all things, would heal her of the cancer. In this season of waiting for an answer, something was growing heavy on my heart. While I was praying, I just told God, “I know you are the healer; that all things are possible with you! I want you to know that, even if you don’t give me what I want. Even if my thought of healing isn’t the thing that happens, it doesn’t change how I feel about You. I know You’re still good and You still love me!”  I know that may seem crazy to some, but this wasn’t the first grandparent I had prayed to be healed of a terminal illness.

My grandma Mary passed away of Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) in 2000. My Grandpa Bill passed away from bone cancer in 2010.  I prayed and prayed for them to be healed. But I believe there are two kinds of healing: the earthly healing and the heavenly healing. Earthly healing, when you are healed and get to have a personal testimony to share with others. Heavenly healing, where you receive the ultimate healing of no more sickness and no more pain in eternity with the Lord.

I have a personal relationship with the Lord, and through that I have learned that God is faithful. He has always kept me safe and protected me from harm. He has healed me! So I know that even if my prayers aren’t answered the way I want, that He’s still good and His love for me is true.

I guess the whole point of this is that I’ve learned that my ways, wants and desires for my life and what affects my life aren’t always what God has in mind, and I have learned that Gods plans for me are always more/better than anything I imagined for myself.  If you read my post Everything I Dreamed and More, you know what I’m talking about.

I have learned in every season of waiting, to remind myself and the Lord, that even if I don’t get what I want, that I know His plans for me are good. I will still love Him even if I don’t get the things I feel so strongly in my heart. So even if my grandparents passed away, which they did. Even if I didn’t get to be married, which I did. Even if I don’t get to be a mom. That I know His plans for me are better than I can imagine and that I just need some help finding a new dream, if that’s the case.

I heard a song on K-LOVE the other day and it completely took me back to that feeling of crying out to God for what I wanted. Healing, a husband, Motherhood, and knowing that even if I don’t get what I want. God is my Hope and He has done so many good things for me and through me in my lifetime, that this one thing won’t keep me from loving Him! The song is called Even If,by MercyMe. The chorus is my favorite

“I know You’re able and I know You can

Save through the fire with Your mighty hand

But even if You don’t

My hope is You alone

I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt

Would all go away if You’d just say the word

But even if You don’t

My hope is You alone”

Just know that waiting is never easy. However in my experience it is always a learning experience that is preparing you for what’s to come!!

 

Thank you for sharing in my journey! If you are interested in receiving my blog posts in your inbox (I don’t post a lot, mostly just when I have sessions and if inspiration or life compels me), scroll down and click the follow button.

~Hannah

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Cooking is Therapy for the Soul

I don’t know about you but cooking is one of my favorite things to do, I’m a regular ole house wife these days (said with a huge smile across my face, cause I really love it). From the planning and prep to the cooking and enjoying, it is such a stress relieving activity. I found a great article called Kitchen Therapy: Cooking Up Mental Well-Being, it’s a short but good read that touches on the mental benefits of cooking!d5632f03476de17a0393b20961d930d2

I must admit that I was really great about planning out our meals during our first year of marriage, but that second year not so much. When we lived in California, I use to get out the cook books and plan two weeks worth of meals and write out all the ingredients I needed from the store for my grocery run. When we moved to North Carolina, I started making  a list of the things we were out of that I know we eat a lot and occasionally wrote out ingredients for meals. I am gonna be honest we ate a lot of taco soup, mini meatloaves, tacos, chicken or fish and rice last year. On the plus side I never heard any complaints. However this year, during our long “see you soon”, I have decided I am going to get back into the habit of planning out two weeks of meals and the ingredients needed, along with spicing things up a little bit with some new dishes, and veggies with lunch and dinner. Confession, as much as I enjoy cooking, I am not amazing at multitasking (cooking mutliple items at a time), I usually end up plating the food and realizing I totally forgot the veggie.

This is the year for improvement! So lets get into the really good stuff! All the cooking things I’ll be sharing are gluten free. I went mostly gluten free in 2014 and haven’t looked back, well except for the occasional donut, but I pay dearly when I overdo it, with sinus congestion, headaches, and irritability! I do not have an “allergy” to gluten that is life threatening, but I was experiencing “seasonal allergy” sinus issues and did some research to help me feel better, and what you eat matters! To read more about my reasons for cutting out gluten click here!

Here are a few things I’ve made and enjoyed lately.

Tacos, one of my go to food choices! Sometimes we do chicken fajita style as well, I think this might be one of my favorite meals….we eat it a lot!

Something new I made over the weekend was this amazing One Pan Pesto Chicken and Veggies

Another new side dish I made was cauliflower “rice”, the recipe came from my against all grain cookbook (I have the one to the very right “meals made simple”).

While searching for the cauliflower “rice” recipe (with no luck), I found a new recipe that I can’t wait to try this week called Beef Cauliflower Fried Rice, but I’m gonna use chicken instead of beef!

I don’t have any tips for cooking but I can tell you, keep trying. Learning is good for the mind, and on the plus if you mess it up, you’ll know better next time. 🙂 Also Pinterest recipes can be amazing or they can be total flops, so don’t be to hard on yourself when they don’t turn out. I have had my share of pinterest fails, as frustrating as it can be, just throw that recipe out or modify to make it better! We’ve had our share of, “It might be gross but this is what’s for dinner, I won’t make it again…Sorry” moments. Thankfully my hubby can always find the bright side to my cooking, or fibs and tells me “it’s not that bad” when I am eating that same thing and know it’s not that great either. Thank God for a loving husband, who appreciates the thought and love I put into making our meals!

Thank you for sharing in my journey! If you are interested in receiving my blog posts in your inbox (I don’t post a lot, mostly just when I have sessions and if inspiration or life compels me), scroll down and click the follow button.
~Hannah

P.S. I would love to connect with you on Instagram!

There’s nothing good about goodbye…

Personally I think it’s a terrible name…cause good is definitely not how you feel when you say bye. I prefer “see you soon”.
You are probably wondering…. “what brought that on?” Well, I have just embarked on the longest see you soon I’ve had to do since my hubby and I got married in 2015. It’s his turn to go out and protect our country and I am beyond proud of him for his passion and commitment to his job!
I know this time apart will pass quickly, because I have such a wonderful family and great support system/family/friends here in Jacksonville. The Lord knew just where I needed to be during this time and even though when we moved here I wasn’t thrilled, I am so very thankful now. I have been blessed with an amazing church and church family to serve with here. I have awesome friends who are so encouraging and supportive; who are already opening up their arms to spend time with me and keep me occupied while the hubby is away. Not gonna lie, I’m kind of excited for some of the new activities I’ll hopefully get to do, like babysit some really awesome and cute kiddos.
I have also been immensely blessed with my photography business here and my It Works business ( I realize I haven’t actually shared that with you guys here yet. I’ll post an update soon) as well!
I am looking forward to my mother’s day minis coming up in may, and I recently had an opportunity open to me for doing some real estate photography as well!
I have been clinging to this verse for a while now, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT)
This year, while having it’s challenges, will be so amazing. I know it might seem a little crazy, but this is my year to thrive. I can just feel it! The Lord has been so faithful and opened so many doors for me here, and I want to honor Him by doing my very best!
Something I remind myself of daily is this, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6, 7 NLT)
This promise is true, because I have been at peace about this long “see you soon” for a while now. Not that I won’t be missing my hubby, cause of course I will. I know some days will be hard and I will cry, other days will be easy….and I will be counting down the days till I get to see him again!
I would appreciate any prayers and encouragement you’d like to send my way this year!
Thank you for sharing in my journey! If you are interested in receiving my blog posts in your inbox (I don’t post a lot, mostly just when I have sessions and if inspiration or life compels me), scroll down and click the follow button.
~Hannah

Here are some of my favorite memories we’ve shared during our 2 years of marriage so far, and can’t wait to make so many more memories when you return!

Everything I Dreamed and More

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I’m sure you’ve all looked at the date several times today, so it may seem redundant when I say it’s January 17th!  What’s so special about the 17th of January, you ask, it’s our Wedding Anniversary!!!  Our second anniversary to be exact; and as I think about all that happened in life to bring us to this place, I am so very thankful that it didn’t work out how I had planned back in 2007, when I made my 5 year plan for what being out of high school would look like on one of my class projects for senior year.

So I’m sure you’re wondering what my 5 year plan as an almost high school graduate looked like, so here it goes (well at least what I can remember).

  1. I would attend UCM (University of Central Missouri) in Warrensburg and major in Photography with a Journalism minor.
  2. I would be engaged junior year to Matt. (Who was at the time my boyfriend of almost 2 years then, and who is my wonderful husband today)
  3.  I would graduate college in 2011
  4.  Matt and I would get married sometime in 2011
  5.  I would work to becoming a Photographer Full time

That’s all I can remember, but it’s possible that #5 wasn’t there yet, but I knew that was the work goal!  I don’t even want to know what my life would look like if all those things came to pass as I had planned them back then.  I guarantee that I wouldn’t be as happy as I am now.

I am happy to say that I did attend UCM and got my Degree in Photography, graduating in 2011, as planned!  Oh and becoming a Photographer Full Time happened to, but not as soon as I had envisioned.  However my relationship plans didn’t go at all like I imagined…

During my first year of college (spring break to be exact) my boyfriend broke up with me.  I was heartbroken and, as most love struck girls do I image, thought that I would never love anyone else.  It was definitely for the best then, cause I was not ready for all the plans I had made.  I got to enjoy college without missing my boyfriend and could focus on more important things like classes and making new friends, you know all those college life things.

But back to being heartbroken, it took me a long time to put myself out there again to the idea of dating someone who could hurt me again.  It was much-needed though cause when I did start going out with people, I learned very quickly what I was looking for in a potential husband (cause I meant business, love wasn’t just for wasting time with people who had no potential to be “the one”).  I wanted someone who could make me laugh, who liked to listen to me talk and cared about what I was saying, who enjoyed my strange sense of humor and laughed along with me (even if it was only cause he was laughing at the fact that I am not very funny at all).  I could list more but you get the point, there were certain things that were important to me in someone I wanted to share life with.

Now fast forward to 2011, I was getting ready to graduate and that long-lost boyfriend (Matt) contacted me through Facebook.  He asked if I was excited to graduate and what my plans were, then said he’d be in town shortly after I graduated (he was living in Cali cause he was now a Marine) and wanted to know if I’d have lunch with him.  I said sure… and let me tell you, I was a huge skeptic to why he wanted to “reconnect” with me after breaking up with me 3 years ago. We had an enjoyable lunch, which lead to texts and talks over the next 6 months to see if this might be something for real or if it was just nothing.

We ended up starting what I call round 2 of dating in October of 2011, right before his first deployment.  So long distance got even longer and more challenging, but it was so worth it.  In 2012 I was ready to be married, and I started secretly planning my dream wedding.  I won’t even lie to you, I bought a dress around then too, the dress I wore on my wedding day.  I know you think I’m crazy, but as crazy as it sounds, I’m so glad I did, cause my Grandma Linda got to see me in my wedding dress, even though she didn’t get to see me in it on my wedding day ( she passed away in 2013).

He finally proposed to me in October of 2014 and we were married on January 17, 2015!!!  See it was a good thing I already had it all planned out!  We got to go on a beautiful honeymoon cruise to Nausea, St. Martin, and St. Thomas!

In March of 2015 I moved to Missouri so we could live together, yes we did live apart for a month and a half after being married. California was the first time I had lived outside of Missouri. I was so happy to be with my husband but it was a lot of life change, and I struggle with change… but I was with my hubby and we were enjoying the married life and learning how to live together. If you’re not married, living together isn’t as easy as it sounds. It is kinda hard cause you are molding two separate lives into one…and after 26 years of doing things the way you like them, adjusting to someone else is challenging, but so worth it!

In the 2 years we’ve been married we’ve done a lot together. Two cross the long road trips: Missouri to California, and California to North Carolina. You really learn a lot about each other and what gets to you on a long road trip. We’ve explored California while we lived there with a trip to San Francisco, and the East coast a little in 2016 with a trip to Boston and some adventures in North Carolina (where we live now).

If you would have told me in 2011, this would be my life with all these wonderful adventure with the man I love and our dog. I would have been amazed, cause I never imaged a life so full of what I didn’t know I wanted. Back then I would have been content to live in Missouri, be married to the one I love, and be a photographer, but God knew there was so much more He had in store for my life! I am so thankful that I don’t always get what I want in life, because what I didn’t know I wanted has been so much better than I could have imagined!

If you stuck through this to the end thank you so much! I know I have a lot of words, but I hope maybe they have been helpful.

If things are going as planned, don’t worry, cause trust me one day you’ll look back and life will be more than you imagined!

~Hannah

Pinterest & Cooking

I have always enjoyed to bake and cook since I was young. However since being married, I really love cooking and testing out new recipes! I have several cookbooks and have bookmarked my favorite recipes so far: mini meatloaves, stuffed peppers, baked chicken with brussels sprouts and carrots, and cheesy chicken rices bake. I have also found that Pinterest is an oasis of recipes, whatever your heart might desire, or in my case yesterday a place to search for recipes that contain items I currently had on-hand. My search of potatoes and hamburger turned up a whole bunch of yummy looking food, but this Poor Man’s stew just caught my eye, probably because it feels like fall out now!Jacksonville NC Photographer, Jacksonville kids photography, Jacksonville family photographyIt also was a plus that it contained items I had on-hand, except the tomato paste. I substituted a can of petite diced tomatoes that I blended up to be a little more paste-like and added a little less water than the recipe called for. It turned out delicious and I got the husband seal of approval to make it again! I have so many more Pinterest recipes that I need to make off my food board,  but last week I made the zucchini pizza bites (I pinned on my gluten free board) and they are yummy too!

I’d love to hear what your favorite recipes are, or something new you’ve tried that should be shared, so leave a comment below!