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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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

Marriage: 5 Thing To Make Him Awesome

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Photo credit to our awesome wedding photography Melissa

 

My husband and I just celebrated our 1 year anniversary. We did it, we survived our first year, and I can’t wait for a lifetime more of sharing life with him! He is my partner in crime. He gets me when I’m feeling crazy, silly, weird, or obnoxious (those last couple were his words 😊). He always knows how to make me laugh even if I’m upset. He is so very supportive and encouraging. I love every minute of our life. We aren’t perfect but we love each other through our problems and work hard to be the best we can for each other. Marriage is hard work, you love, you get hurt, you forgive, but it is completely worth it!

 Here are a few things, I try to put into practice in our marriage, that have been so good for us. These things have helped us get through some problems and hurts, so I thought I’d share them with you guys! Plus, they help make an awesome husband, marriage, and you!

Focus on what you love and tell him.

I want to say this is something we do to each other often! Making each other feel appreciated by simply saying, “I am so glad you are part of my life because you are so _________.” Fill in the blank, kind, understanding, helpful, generous, thoughtful, loving, funny, encouraging, handsome! I know it makes me feel awesome when I get texts like that from him! You may be saying but I don’t get those kinds of texts….well, then be the one to start them!

I read a book called The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, and he talks a lot about filling up your spouse’s love tank. When your love tank is full you naturally give love back, but when it’s empty we can pull away from each other. So fill his love tank daily!

Respect Him

This will go a long way! We all like respect and when you give respect you get it in return. Do you see the theme here?

Do it even when you feel he might not deserve it, cause if we are honest with ourselves we don’t always deserve the things we are given. Did you know when you give respect when it feels the hardest or least deserved the other person knows it and starts acting in a way to earn the respect you’re giving.

For instance, my husband tells me how awesome of a wife I am, even though I can be difficult, stubborn, irrational, and moody. When he says that, ya it makes me feel good, but my mind goes back to times I’m not awesome, which makes me want to work harder at being a good wife. You see what I mean.

Care for Him; Be Thoughtful

I know you’re thinking, of course, I love my husband…..But do you care for him, not just about him?

I try really hard to remember things he likes to eat and pick them up on my grocery store trips. You see, he like Twizzlers, pop tarts, pizza rolls, and cookies, so I try to use any extra food money we have to pick those things up for him, without being asked. You should see the look on his face when we talk about what I bought at the store for our food and I say pizza rolls, he gets pretty excited.

It doesn’t have to be food related but most of my examples are. I use to get really frustrated that he didn’t make time to put a lunch together for his next day at work, he’s a grown man…then one day I decided to try and make his lunches for him. So when I make dinner, I try to make sure to put a meal portion in a container for him to take. He works hard all day, and it doesn’t take but 5 minutes maybe less to just make it for him, so he can relax and enjoy being off work, and we can enjoy each other.

Ask Him on Dates

I know this might sound silly, but do it. Send him a text, leave him a note, or ask in person, but he will like that you initiated a date with him. I asked mine out on a date last week, “Oh and I wanted to see if you’d check your calendar to see if you can go on a date with me on Saturday evening…. I was thinking dinner and a movie.” I tend to pick the movies a lot so I made sure he knew that it was his choice.

You have to keep the romance alive and it’s so important that he knows you still want to go out with him, that staying in love is important to you! Cause we all know a date is where this all started in the first place, even if it wasn’t super romantic. This also helps you connect with him, by doing something he wants to do. You are present and giving each other your time, which is so important to growing together in your marriage.

Let Him Win

I don’t know about you but my personality can get the best of me, I like to be right. This is not a great quality, I admit, and I’ve been working very hard this past year to keep in mind what’s important. What I mean by that is, I don’t always have to be right…..I know, it’s been hard for me too. For the sake of our marriage and my love for my husband, I have been learning when to be wrong.

We moved into our first home back in March, went to decorate, and what he thought was evenly hung on the wall, wasn’t (in my opinion). We ended up bickering about if a picture was “straight” or not to the point of frustration on both parts. He went down to get a level, which we didn’t have, and I was standing in my “office” room feeling a little flustered that  he didn’t just trust me… Well, then it hit me, we were upset about a picture, seriously! We had both been doing things our own way for a while, him 6 years and I 8, so we liked things our own way. I decided it wasn’t worth being upset over, so when he came back, adjusted the picture and asked if it was even, I said yes.

Sometimes what “feels” like a big deal, really isn’t, and we have to remember to pick our battles. I try to think of it like this when I feel myself getting upset over something, is it really that important, usually the answer is no.

Forgive

I know I said five, but this one is so important! Forgive even when it’s hard, even if it hurts. You are going to hurt each other, not necessarily on purpose, but it will happen, so forgive.

It won’t happen immediately on the inside of you, but it should happen verbally before bed, the day of. Forgiving someone is a process. You have to speak it, step1. Pray for it, step 2. Forget it, step 3.  Verbally speak forgiveness over them and the issue. Pray that God will help heal your heart from the hurt, cause this is truly the only way it will go away. We are human and for some reason we can always remember every wrong thing someone has done to us, but when you pray that God helps you to forgive by healing your heart, ask Him to help you forget. Then stop thinking about it. If it comes to your mind, remind yourself you’ve forgiven it, that it doesn’t have control over you and won’t define your marriage. It’s a “you” thing, plus forgiving someone even when you don’t feel they deserve it, is really for you. So you can move along and enjoy the wonderful life you are building together.

Marriage is hard work people, and hard work isn’t always fun!

I know these things don’t seem like a lot, but they can make a huge difference when it comes to your marriage. Plus, when done and continued will develop not only an awesome husband but an awesome marriage!

There are a few scriptures I like that relate, the first two I have written down and posted next to the bathroom mirror and I tend to look at them in the mornings when I brush my teeth.

“And the Lord God said, “It is not good for a man to be alone. I will make a companion, who will help him.” Genesis 2:18

“Reverence for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him – to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband.” 1 Peter 3:1-6

“and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly].” Ephesians 5:33b (Amplified Bible)

A great related topic, posted by joyforney.org “20 Things Every Married Woman Needs To Know”.  I read it the other day and I was really inspired!

Here is another great read by familyshare.com “10 seemingly ordinary things that can make your marriage awesome”.

Here’s to being awesome wives, who help develop awesome husbands and marriages in 2016!

5 Things To Make Him Awesome

Adventures in North Carolina | Cape Lookout Lighthouse

Shortly after my husband and I moved to North Carolina we marked off the first of many state adventures by going to Cape Lookout Lighthouse!

I didn’t know what to expect cause I’ve only seen lighthouses in pictures, and what I saw far exceeded my expectations. Pictures are wonderful, obviously I’m all for capturing the moments and places we go in our lives, however there is just something about being there in person that you just can’t replace.

I am continually in awe of the wonderful world we live in and all the beauty it holds! So when I say this place is breathtaking, it seriously is. I could have stared at this historic landmark all day, from every different view! To me it is a testament to the dreams and visions God puts inside each of us. Someone had to think, “there must be a way to keep ships from crashing into the shore” and bam someone thought up the lighthouse. Well technically the first type were beacons (fires on hilltops), and towers built by Rome. If you want to read more you can check out the history of the Lighthouse from britannica.com.

I captured some different views and some other details of Cape Lookout National Seashores. I hope you enjoy!

Want to Plan a trip to see it for yourself?

Check out these links:

We plan on visiting several more lighthouses while here on the east coast. http://www.lighthousefriends.com/nc.html has a great visual map, it’s one of the sites I used when planning our trip to Cape Lookout!

Happy Travels!

 

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