Sunday, May 31, 2020

Day 37: Single

This post brought to you by an exceptionally dreary last day of May.

In theory, I should be doing something besides blogging. But after putting in 6+ hours of work yesterday, I really don’t feel like jumping back into it yet.. so I’m gonna wait.

As I sit in the silence looking out my window, I can’t help but think that today would be a glorious day to curl up beside another human and read a book or watch a movie.

The catch?
I don’t have another human.
9.8/10 days, or approximately 358/365 days of the year, I’m perfectly fine with that.

Today though, it’d be nice to have someone.

A couple years back, I told myself that if I wasn’t married or in a serious relationship by 27 that I was going to ditch dating and resign myself to a perpetual life of singleness.

In all reality, I didn’t make it to 27.

Dating has never really been my strong suit.
I’m not all that social, and I find it rather pointless to spend time getting to know someone who will have no lasting presence in my life.  (It sounds harsh, but it’s true.)
In addition, I find the formality of getting to know people (aka the smalltalk of life that apparently must occur before having genuine conversations) exhausting.
Not to mention the pressure to appear social... because sitting in silence on a first date is frowned upon.

Which consequently meant that I was over most dates before they began.
Unfair? Maybe.  But true nonetheless.
Why both attempting to date if that was my mentality?  Because some days, my impulsivity and belief in the necessity of companionship overrode my frustration with the miserable state of online dating.

However, this past January (or February?), I decided enough was enough and threw in the towel on dating.

If I’m honest, I really haven’t regretted it at all.  While some days are quiet, and life can have its lonely moments, there is a freedom in the solitude of singleness, a joy in the serenity of silence, and a peace in the ceasing of searching.

And so I will sit.

‘Til tomorrow,

-Hannah

Song of the Day: Raise a Hallelujah
Question of the Day: What do you do on rainy days?
Challenge of the Day: Do something that needs done, even if you don’t feel like it
Photo of the Day: (From before the rain came in...)

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Day 36: Awkward Introvert Alert

So, I said last night that it was high time for a more light-hearted post, which I guess is brought to you by lazy(ish) Saturday morning thoughts.

I say it a lot, but guys, I’m awkward.
And super introverted.
Which can be sort of problematic when it comes to social interactions.

Additionally, as an introvert, it is my prerogative in life to overthink things.
Especially social things.
And I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but, for those of you who have miraculously been spared from this predisposition, here is a look into the mind of this awkward introvert in some common social scenarios.

1) Shopping.
You know one of the best parts of quarantine life?  Online shopping and grocery pick-up.  Yes, I know they existed before, but I had less reason to use them.  Which meant at least weekly trips to the store.  Thankfully,  having moved across the country to a densely populated city, the likelihood of me running into someone that I know is statistically low.  That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen - it just doesn’t happen as often.  Being from small town USA though, I was used to seeing people I knew all the time.  Which often looked like this:

When shopping with my mom:
Mom: Is that....?
Me: Yes. Whatever you do, don’t go say something.  We’re here to shop, not to talk. They probably won’t even see us if we don’t say something.

Two aisles later, we cross paths - insert generic conversation and a farewell.
(Mentally): phew. That’s done, now we can go on with the day.
*We turn to the next aisle, and see the same person.*

Instantly, my mind starts to race, my hands get a little sweaty, and my heart begins to pound..
(Mentally): Not again.  What am I going to do? We already talked, so it’d be weird to say anything.  But I know them, so it’s probably rude not to say anything.  Maybe I can act like I didn’t see them.  But they’re walking right towards me - how can I not see them? Is it too late to turn around? Yes, I need something at the other end of the aisle, but I can always come back later.  Ugh, they saw me.  What are they doing? Are they going to say something?  Maybe they won’t make eye contact.  Maybe I can just smile...   *insert awkward smile and eye contact*

(Mentally while walking away): That was so awkward.  What’s wrong with you, Hannah? Why can’t you just respond like a normal person?  You know what, I think I can survive another week without these things. Maybe it’s best to just be done with shopping for today. Yeah, that sounds like a plan.

Except, it’s a lot harder to convince someone else to drop shopping entirely just because of running into someone you knew. When I’m by myself though? Yeah, it definitely happens.

2) Walking/running
For reference, I walk on a circular path. My goal is ALWAYS to not meet anyone on my walk/run. Some common scenarios:
-When prepping to go out: I hear someone outside. No. There can’t be someone outside.  If there’s someone out, they might... talk to me! Nope.  I can’t do it.  Maybe I should wait...
-When first arriving: thank God. No one else is here.
-OR-
Crap. There’s someone else. Which way are they walking? How fast are they going?
Wait, why is someone going the wrong way? How can I avoid everyone if someone’s going the wrong way?! What were they thinking?
-When approaching someone going slower than me: Slow down, Hannah. You’re going to catch them. If you catch them, then you have to pass them, and if you pass them, it might be awkward.  If you slow down, you can just stay behind them... (which often probably makes me look super creepy because I end up matching the EXACT PACE of the person I’m following... including stopping whenever they stop.  Oops)
-When someone new comes to the path: which way are they going? Wait, why are they going backwards? Oh well, I’m far enough behind that I can turn around so we’ll never meet! (One time, however, as soon as I turned around, the guy did too. So I turned around again... and the guy did too. Dude. Do you not know the rules of the path? Avoid people at all costs!!)

3) Phones
(Mentally): Oh no. My phone is ringing. Who is it? Why are they calling?  I wasn’t ready for a call. I’m not mentally prepared for this. Maybe I’ll let it go to voicemail.  But will they know that I’m avoiding them? Oh, good. It stopped ringing. I’ll give it 5 minutes and call back..
**Which is also why my phone is ALWAYS on silent.  If it rings, I will never hear it. So much less anxiety.**

4) Interactions with people who may be different than me (which probably accounts for every other interaction ever...)
(Mentally): Okay, Hannah - you’re trying to look normal - because if you don’t they might think that you’re judging them, so whatever you do, don’t stare.
But make some eye contact, or else it will look like you’re avoiding them.
No, that’s too much eye contact -it looks creepy. Look away.
No, not too far away! That doesn’t look natural anyway.
Stop looking down - you look ashamed.
No, don’t look too bold, it’ll come across like you’re trying to be dominant.
Now smile and nod,
That’s too much smile. Stop smiling. Your smile is creepy.

And so it goes.

Why do I tell you this?
1) To maybe get a few chuckles at how ridiculous my awkward brain can be
And...
2) To say this: be kind to your awkward introverted friends.  If they’re anything like me (which my older brother just informed me that apparently most aren’t, because this apparently isn’t a simple byproduct of introversion), they’re not judging and avoiding you. They’re judging and avoiding themselves.

‘Til tomorrow

-Hannah 


Question of the Day: can any of y’all relate? Please tell me I’m not alone...
Challenge of the Day: Accept failure. And let it push you harder to succeed.
I didn’t take a single post-worthy picture today, so I guess I’m skipping that part tonight...


Friday, May 29, 2020

Day 35: Need sleep

I thought I was going to write a more lengthy post again this evening, but considering I’m beginning to nod off every time I close my eyes to ponder possible discussions, I think tonight gets cut short.

With that in mind, I think I’ll just throw out the questions I’ve been considering and plan on fleshing them out more at a later date.

Q1: Is there a difference between connection and community?
Q2: If so, can one exist without the other?

Okay, I need sleep.

‘Til tomorrow,

-Hannah

Song of the Day: Tremble
Question of the Day: see above?
Challenge of the Day: Change a plan
Photo of the Day: 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

day 34: conversation

this post brought to you by a tired, indecisive hannah.

it’s been a while since i avoided the use of capital letters. so, for day 34 of #100daysofhannah and #100daystooffload, why not?

most of the day i’ve been contemplating writing a follow-up post to yesterday’s discussion of dichotomies and binomials, but now that the time to write is here, it’s hard to find the motivation

probably because it’s something that i don’t know how to talk about, and i don’t really know where to start

so i guess we’ll go back to running
endlessly running from the uncomfortable
because i’m privileged enough to have that option

growing up in the middle of nowhere ohio, it was easy to believe that racism didn’t really exist
mainly because diversity didn’t really exist
in my graduating class of 74, there were maybe 2-3 people who weren’t directly of european descent
because we were the only ones stubborn enough to settle a swamp and convert it to farmland
and there was little motivation for anyone else to move to a town with a single, blinking light
(which, i was, and am, admittedly okay with)

as the years passed, it was easy to hold onto this concept, or at least believe that racism only existed in a small, dying population
but surely not in my generation
and certainly not in me

but i was wrong.

and in avoiding and denying this harsh reality, i have not only turned a deaf ear to the voices of the hurting, but also refused to acknowledge my place among the accused

and for that, i’m sorry.

i’ll admit that i don’t know how to talk about racism and white privilege
it’s uncomfortable
and upsetting
and ugly
and divisive

but so is a gospel of merciful grace, given freely by a god of love, through the death of his only son.

it’s long been said that the first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem...
i guess it’s time that i join the conversation.

‘til tomorrow,

-hannah

song of the day: how beautiful
question of the day: what are you afraid to talk about?
challenge of the day: embrace the uncomfortable
photo of the day:

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Day 33: Binomials

Well, another day has somehow passed us by, which means it’s time for yet another blog post.  Welcome to Day 33 of #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload.

Today’s topic?
Binomials.

Thrilling, right?

In life, it’s easy to try to classify things into a binomial nomenclature.
Things are black or white.
Information is true or false.
People are right or wrong.
Or any of the other million dichotomies that could be listed.

But, from my experience, this depiction of life is far from accurate.
The gray zone? It’s real.
Information - it can have a grain of truth, or an ounce of fiction.
And we as humans? We can be right and wrong at the same time.

Put simply, life is complex.
Life is not binomial.

And classifying it as such, while simple, leads to significant errors in our judgement.

Recently, I’ve been seeing the non-dichotomy of life play out in several arenas.

First: COVID-19.
As a member of the healthcare community, who has been blessed to maintain employment during the shutdown, it’s been easy to stand on the pro-quarantine side of the argument, and wish for my state leaders to take the risks of an early opening more seriously.
But, as I’ve been frequently reminded in talking to those who have a greater understanding of the economic effects of these last 2.5 months, there is a strong argument for necessary re-opening..
Which one is right?  Both. (Link to awesome podcast that I stumbled across talking about this)

Second: Politics
I hate politics.
There - I said it.
I was exposed to the divisive nature of politics at an early age, while sitting at family get-togethers and hearing extended family members getting into heated discussions regarding their views.  Being the (moderately) conflict averse child that I was, I vowed never to care enough about politics to let them so bitterly poison my life.
With age, however, I’m beginning to realize that this approach is just as harmful.
Because sitting idly by and watching injustices continue initiates no more change than fully supporting the policies themselves.
What does this look like in practice? Not a clue..

Third: personal life.
I’m not sure how to introduce this one, so I guess I’ll just dive in.
The non-binomial status of life seems to show itself daily in my personal life.
Despite my introversion, external input keeps me out of my head.  Its volume quiets the deafening silence.
In my ambition, I know laziness.
Successes are tempered by failures.
I am forced to employ logic while embracing emotion.

I’ll admit, it’s hard for me to embrace this lack of dichotomy.
Because, despite my argument for the gray zone of life, there’s simplicity in the temptation of a world of black and white.
And there’s comfort in the boundaries of Newtonian reality.

But this is not the world in which we live.
Rather, like Schrodinger’s cat, we exist in a constant state of duplicity, promoting frighteningly beautiful complexity.

What a wonderful world.

‘Til tomorrow,

-Hannah

Question of the Day: What’s your take? Is life black and white, or gray?
Challenge of the Day: Learn a new word
Photo of the Day:

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Day 32: Talking

This post brought to you by a long day of work and a beautiful evening.

Day 32 of #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload.... what to talk about today?

So, while contemplating life this morning and reviewing on the happenings of yesterday, I realized something:

I’m not sure I know how to carry on a conversation in person anymore.

Okay, so that’s a little bit dramatic.
And it doesn’t account for my baseline level of awkwardness and general conversational failures.

But I think there’s really something to it.

I’ve become so accustomed to silence that, when in the (infrequent) presence of others, I don’t think to make extra effort to carry on a conversation, and so, rather than actively trying to think of questions to engage the other individual, I am content to simply enjoy the presence of other humans.

Which, when typed out, actually sort of sounds like a good thing.

However, in practice, it’s probably a little weird.
Because it ends up looking like a massively one-sided conversation that has the potential to unintentionally convey disinterest.
And often involves me laughing or making faces, in lieu of remembering to respond how normal people do.

Such is the life of an awkward introvert.

Oops.

In other news:
  • I wore my glasses all day for the first time in like 3 years today!  My left eye was bugging me last evening/this morning, so rather than irritating it more with contacts, I figured I’d try to tolerate the specs.  Pros: Less irritation and better central clarity than I had remembered.  Cons:  Disorienting peripheral motion, frames getting in my way, excessive blur outside of the limited spec width, and an improperly adjusted right temple.
  • My desk came! And is officially installed. Whoop!
  • I didn’t really do anything according to my normal daily schedule - and it was okay.
‘Til tomorrow,

-Hannah

Song of the Day: Great Assembly
Question of the Day: How are your conversation skills holding up with quarantine?
Challenge of the Day: Give your eyes a break - decrease the near work, wear your specs, just close your eyes for a couple minutes of meditation- whatever works best for you!
Photo of the Day: 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Day 31: M is for...

M is for Monday, memorial, motivation, modification, and Murph - all of which this post is brought to you by.

Today is Monday May 25th - Memorial Day here in the States.
Which means a holiday from the daily holiday of WFH life.

Normally, I’d be spending the day with family - grilling out, being active outdoors, maybe going to a Memorial Day service, and (on a good year) helping Dad in the fields.

But, we all know this isn’t a normal year.

Pre-COVID, I was supposed to be home this weekend - I had planned to take two extra days off work so that I could spend some extended time with loved ones... and have an early celebration of one of my favorite days of the yea :)

However, when the only direct flights home would be through a city that would require a 14 day quarantine upon return (therein ruining my current mandatory on-call schedule), plans change.

And so, rather than sitting around the table with the people that I haven’t seen in 5 months, I’m sitting in my house on the other side of the country, drinking my coffee, and enjoying an absolutely gorgeous (late) southern morning.

I guess this isn’t so bad.

A storm rolled through last night/this morning which cooled temps to the lowest they’ve been in days - a whopping 68 degrees - which provided the perfect time to complete my first ever (modified) Murph.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Murph, it’s a CrossFit WOD, that is completed on Memorial Day in memory of Lt. Michael Murphy who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2005.  The workout?  A 1 mile run, followed by 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 squats, and another 1 mile run - all in a 20 lbs weighted vest.

First off, some disclaimers:
1) I am NOT a cross fitter.
2) I have approximately NO upper body strength.
3) I don’t own a 20 lbs vest.
4) I don’t have access to a pull-up bar.
5) I like to work out, but I’m not in awesome shape.

Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can move on.

My idea to attempt the workout this year started about 3 weeks ago with Brooke Wells’ Murph prep challenge - 70 reps of 5 pull-ups (or burpees), 10 push-ups, and 15 squats over the course of a week. Easy enough, right? Okay, so I admittedly modified the challenge from full push-ups to “girl-style” to allow me to complete the reps (going from 0-100 full push-ups a day is a recipe for disaster), but hey, improvement is improvement.

After the week, my older brother pointed out that the whole point of the workout was to prep for the Murph.  A quick google search later, I was in.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who decides to do ridiculous things simply for the sake of being able to say that I’ve done them...

In any case, 3 weeks of “training” later (I have no idea how to train for anything - so I just did a bunch of reps every day for 3 weeks), it was time to try it.

Theoretically, the workout was supposed to be for time, but I told myself from day one that my only goal was to finish all of the necessary components over the course of the day.
But this morning as I contemplated when to start, I realized that I was too stubborn to throw time completely to the wind. So, I gave myself two hours (including an expected hour break) to complete everything in (beginner crossfitters are supposed to aim for an hour or less - oops).

Nearly 30 minutes and half of the workout later, my body called it quits and gave way to excessive muscle cramps.
Insert an hour break with more food, water, and painkiller (retrospectively, starting the workout without having anything to drink was probably a bad idea...)
With half an hour left in my allotted time frame, I started back in - determined to finish.

50 burpees, 100 push-ups, 150 squats, 1 mile, and exactly 30 minutes later,  I was done.
Total elapsed time: 2:03
Total workout time: 0:58

Admittedly, I was a bit frustrated by the need for a break in the middle - I had been hitting all of my goal times up to that point! But, despite the break and modifications, it felt good to accomplish something that a month ago would have been completely impossible.  A faster end mile and the physical exhaustion were just icing on the cake.

I obviously have no idea where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing on Memorial Day 2021, but a repeat Murph (with fewer modifications) will hopefully be on the list.

‘Til tomorrow - have a lovely Monday/holiday/Memorial Day!

-Hannah

Question of the Day: What workout challenge should I attempt next?
Challenge of the Day: Do 15 Burpees!
Photo of the Day: 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Day 30: Community

This post brought to you by ONE MONTH of #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload.  And conversations with my favorite (and only) older brother.

In all honesty, I had every intent on writing this earlier.  In fact, I actually started this post something like 8 hours ago.  But, as so commonly happens, I got utterly distracted, and so, am getting around to writing it now.

C’est la vie, right?

Sometimes quarantine makes me think, and I’m not sure I’ll have the skill to put my thoughts into words, but I guess I’ll try.

Community isn’t something that comes easy to me.  I’m a bit of a loner, and I honestly pride myself in that fact.  It’s not that I don’t like people - even if somedays I try my best to convince them of that. It’s just easier to not let people in.  I mean, after all, if no one knows me, no one can hurt me, right?

And so, I try to keep most everyone at a distance - telling myself that what feels safer for me is better for them too.

While it may not be true, it’s really sort of beautiful.  Because when no one gets close, it’s easy to believe that who I am, what I say, and what I do doesn’t matter.  And when nothing matters, life comes easy.

With quarantine life, I feel like there’s been a lot of talk about community - some communities using this as a time to grow stronger, others feeling so utterly alone because all connections have been lost.

Me?
I don’t even know.

Before COVID hit, I didn’t necessarily have a booming social life.  Sure, I had engagements that I enjoyed that seemed to keep me busy most every night of the week, to the point that I had convinced myself that maybe this was the way to “live in community” like I’d so often been encouraged to do.   But, they didn’t necessarily define me.

And then came the shutdown when everything came to a screeching halt.

Suddenly, all these engagements were gone, and I was left on my own.
At first, it felt weird.
But, with every passing day, I came to love the silence - the solitude.
To the point where I honestly don’t want it to end (which, may be a problem considering my chosen career).

I’ll admit - that makes me feel guilty.
Shouldn’t I want to run back to everything that has been lost?
Shouldn’t I miss the life I was living before?
And, why? Why don’t I?
What does that say about me?

I don’t have all the answers - or, probably any of them.
All I know is that I love it here.

The topic of community bothers me the most when I think about church.
Community is something that I feel like is often highly emphasized in the context of the church - and righty so.  The message of Christ was to love God and love others - and it’s pretty hard to do that within a bubble.

But if I’m honest, I haven’t listened to a service since Easter.
I don’t listen to the devotions that are posted daily on social media.
I don’t follow along in the books that I’m supposed to be reading for studies.
I don’t miss going to church.

And so, when I hear people talk about their concern that COVID is going to change the church atmosphere forever because people will back out of community for the sake of convenience, I can’t help but turn in shame, because I don’t have to look hard to know that that’s me.

It’s what I’ve done all my life.
And I have a million and half arguments to make it sound good, like - “if you’re not connected with people you’re really not in community anyway”, and, “you don’t need to be in a church to grow in faith” - both of which I feel are true.
But neither of these change the simple reality that we weren’t made to do life alone - even on the days when it feels like that’s what we prefer.

Admittedly, I have no idea what this may look like as the days, weeks, and months pass by.  As they do though, I’m grateful for the little communities that I still find myself in.

Annnd I’m tired of writing.
Night y’all.

-Hannah

Question of the Day: Are you ready for COVID to end yet?
Challenge of the Day: Run a mile.
Photo of the Day:

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Day 29: Recap

This post brought to you by another lovely evening of Name That Tune.

As it would seem that I still haven’t figured out how to plan my days more wisely, this Day 29 of #100DaysoHannah and #100DaystoOffload will be yet another simple recap.

It was a scorcher today.
Last night, I decided to skip my alarm, in favor of having one day a week dedicated to sleeping in.  When I woke at 6, I started getting ready for my morning walk/run routine, when I glanced at the temperature - 78 degrees.

Yikes.

Though this may have been the coolest part of the day, I’ve been out on enough 80 degree, 90% humidity mornings to know that they’re really not all that refreshing - the walk would wait until after breakfast, coffee, a podcast, and devotions.

For the podcast this morning, I decided to dig into the Authentic You archives, where I stumbled on an episode about comparisons.  Great food for thought - maybe even worth a blog post later.

The rest of the morning slipped by in a blur of walking, chores, and snacks.

This afternoon, I admittedly spent wayyy too much time analyzing a potential desk purchase.  I’m not used to buying even modestly priced items (four years of grad school will do that to you), so I tend to get analysis paralysis pretty frequently.  Around 3:00 though, I decided to go ahead and pull the trigger.  Here’s to hoping I like the result!

The rest of the afternoon was spent working out (aka training for my first Murph!) and researching not entirely random diseases.

I think tomorrow I need a to-do list.

In any case, Happy Saturday, y’all.  I hope it was great!

-Hannah

Question of the Day: How do you escape analysis paralysis?
Challenge of the Day: Try to guess 20 songs (title, artist, and album) within the first 30 seconds!
Photo of the Day: 

Friday, May 22, 2020

Day 28 Random.

Tonight was going to be a night of abstract word vomit - but after letting my fingers hit whatever keys they felt like for the last 20 minutes, I was too ashamed of my words to actually publish them.
Because who really wants to read a non-sensical post trying to quantify the feelings that I don’t know if I have?

Exactly.

Right now, I’m heavily contemplating not even posting today.
I mean, does it matter?
What happens if I don’t?
Why should I?
I should be able to do whatever I want.

Which sum up my Friday in a nutshell.
And, for tonight, I won’t even try to make that ugly reality anything but the harsh truth that it is.

Hooray for day 28.

-Hannah

Question: Do you ever write, just to write?
Challenge: Do something you don’t want to do (like write a post)

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Day 27: Running

Twenty-seven days of #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload
Oh goodness - what to talk about today..

It’s been another day of posts flitting through my head, but significant uncertainty about what I want to say tonight.

So, I guess I’ll embrace the spirit of spontaneity and just dive in.

I was angry today.
I’d like to pretend it doesn’t happen often, but if I’m truly honest, I’m a much angrier person than I normally admit.

In theory, my anger today could probably be justified.
An repeated, undeniable, inexcusable error by the offending party prevented me from accomplishing a project that I value, leaving me frustratingly helpless.
And fuming.
How could such utter incompetence be possible - much less accepted?

As I sit back and reflect though, my anger was disproportionate.  Yes, the frustration was reasonable. But anger?  It wasn’t called for.

So then, why anger?
If it’s like normal, this anger was probably a culmination of events - carefully tucked away in a bottle of “no worries” and “it’s okay’s”.

Because life’s easier when it’s all okay.
There’s no need for confrontation.
There’s less pain without the sting of truth.
Maybe for once I can avoid the high risk stake of vulnerability.

And some days, it really is okay.
I try to understand.
I see my many flaws.
I’m not hurt - so, what’s to hide?

But some days, they’re just words - another phrase.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again - emotions are not my strong suit.  I just don’t really know what to do with them.
And so, I shut them off or bottle them up.

Growing up, I can’t deny that I was an angry kid.
Some days it felt like that was my super power - like the Hulk, with anger in hand, I could conquer anything.
More often though, I knew it was one of my greatest weaknesses.

And so I tried to hide it - stuff it inside where all the other emotions knew to go.

But anger?  It always came back.
When stuffing failed, I ran.

I’d like to say that at some point it all changed - that one magical day my anger disappeared never to return.
But if I’m honest, the truth is that I’m still running - running from people, running from emotions.
Hiding in a new life, hoping that the anger of my past lags far behind me.

I’ll admit - I don’t like ending with imperfection, but I promised attempted authenticity.
So, here we’ll sit.

‘Til tomorrow,

-Hannah

Question of the Day: What makes you mad?
Challenge of the Day:  Touch your toes
Photo of the Day: I didn’t take any pictures today.. So here’s a post-run pic from Sunday. Because, running.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Day 26: Reading

Well, we’re officially over 1/4 of the way through #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload!
Welcome to Day 26!

I’ve had about six different ideas floating through my head today as to what to discuss in today’s blog (since I so miserably failed at blogging the last couple of days), and I’m still not really sure which one to pick.  Too bad I can’t put out a realtime poll to ease decisions.  Oh well...

This morning, one of my best friends recommended a book to read, which got me thinking about reading in general.

Y’all, I suck at reading.
Which, is honestly sorta funny considering how much I love to write, and how much I appreciate the written word.

It’s not that the physical act of reading is particularly difficult for me, or even that I struggle with reading comprehension - I’ve been blessed to have both of those come pretty naturally.

I just don’t really read.

This hasn’t always been the case by any means.  As a child, I absolutely loved to read (refer to my Memories (Part 1) post), and can remember getting up before school and lying on the couch with a book to my nose (gotta love that uncorrected myope life) on many a morning.

At some point in late high school or early undergrad though, that died.

Maybe I was just burned out.
Maybe I stopped being willing to sit for hours at a time.
Maybe I learned to love living in the present, rather than running to another’s world.
Maybe I just got busy.

Who knows.

Admittedly, I can’t say that I really miss it.
I’m not someone who looks forward to curling up with a book and coffee on cold rainy days.
Or hot sunny summer days.
That’s just not me.
But, some days, I still love a good read for all the wonders that books have to offer.

Some days, it’s the characters that I fall in love with.
Others, it’s the philosophies.
Some days, it’s the life lessons.
Others, it’s the irony.

Today?  Today, it was the sheer brilliance of the creation.
And the willingness of someone to share it with me.

No, I don’t read often.
But, maybe I should.
Because maybe, through someone else’s words, a connection can be formed from across the world.

‘Til tomorrow: happy reading!

-Hannah

Song of the Day: I Don’t Care
Question of the Day:  What’s one of your favorite books, and why?
Challenge of the Day: Start (and finish?) a new book this week!
Photo of the Day: 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Day 25: First Quarter

Ugh - today was supposed to be a significant post day. I mean, after all, it's Day 25! We're 1/4 of the way done with #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload.

But, it's not gonna be.
1) Because it's way past my bedtime.
2) I don't want to turn my brain on enough to contemplate life right now (that can wait til tomorrow... maybe... I don't remember what's planned for tomorrow)
and
3) I need to get up early and be REALLY productive tomorrow morning.  Which is likely to be impaired if I stay up even later tonight.

Later y'all,

-Hannah

Question of the Day: How often do you assess your motives?
Challenge of the Day: Try to see life from a different perspective than you normally do.

PS: I'm skipping the photo of the day for now.  Maybe I'll add it tomorrow. (Is that permitted?) We'll see.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Day 24: Call

I would just like to point out that I’m blogging before 10:00p, which is a significant change from my apparent new norm.

This Day 24 of #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload brought to you by an almost 3 hour phone call with fam and a gloriously hot day.

Let’s get this out of the way first:
As a rule, I’m really not a phone person. There’s just so much room for awkwardness which just tends to compound my already excessive awkwardness.
Besides, most conversations can be managed just as easily with a text, which leaves sooo much more time for well-thought responses.

Over the past year, my phone aversion has (slowly) started to decrease though.
Maybe it’s being 18 hours from home.
Maybe it’s not being given the option of staring as my phone while it rings and being able to claim in all honesty that I thought the call was an accident. (Okay, I still do this sometimes... it takes a lot of effort to work up the nerve to answer an unexpected phone call!)
Maybe COVID really is getting to me and I’m just too bind to see it.
Who knows.

All I know is that I’ve had TWO 2+ hour phone calls with my parents in the last week.
With nothing being wrong.
And you know what? I’ve actually enjoyed them.

Admittedly, growing up and hearing other people talk about multiple hour daily phone calls with their significant other, I thought that they were crazy.  Like, what in the world could anyone have to talk about for that long that often?

But I think I’m beginning to understand - you find the things that you both care about, and you talk about them.  And you don’t run away from silence.

My dad and I are both solidly introverted.  (Okay, so he’s probably got me beat. It’s not... well maybe it is... my fault that I’m in a career that requires a relatively high degree of interpersonal communication..)  Which would seem to pose a problem for conversation.

But it isn’t.
Because it’s okay to not talk about anything.
And it’s just as okay to talk about everything.

Tonight - after a discussion of the weather, I got distracted by analyzing weather patterns around the world, which led to comparisons of Greenland and Iceland, followed by a short investigation of geothermal energy, a brief analysis of COVID practices around the world, and an introduction of a book discussing the Christian position in politics (which I have historically avoided).

And before I knew it, we were nearing three hours together.

Which is to say that I’m incredibly grateful - for the time to talk to my family, family who is willing to take the time to talk with me, technology that allows us to stay connected despite being 18 hours part, and unlimited diversity in conversations.

‘Til tomorrow!

-Hannah

Question of the Day: Do you have an internal monologue?
Challenge of the Day: Call someone you love - just because you can.
Photo of the Day: 

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Day 23: Just thinking

Day 23 of #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload...

Tonight gets to be another short post, secondary to relatively incoherent thoughts and more questions than answers.

But, for the sake of offloading, here are a couple thoughts.

  • It’s funny how too many thoughts is just as worthless as too few.
  • Why is is so easy to always go back to the same things in life - hoping that they’ll satisfy, knowing that they won’t?
  • Do cravings truly show deficiency? Or do they rather highlight a fault in our appetite?
Annnd that’s all I’ve got.

Song of the day: Gravity
Question of the day: When you get to the end of a day, what determines if it was a success?
Challenge of the day: Identify a craving in your life.
Photo of the day: 

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Day 22: NTT

Disclaimer: I was really excited to go to bed after finishing tonight’s round of name that tune... And then I realized that I hadn’t completed a #100DaysofHannah/#100DaystoOffload post.  So, here I am.

Huzzah.

Day 22

Name that tune is probably one of my favorite parts of the quarantine life.
For the last... monthish, we’ve been getting together 1-2 times/week (via Zoom) to test our musical memories.  Between funny faces, outlandish guesses, and the sheer variety of musical selections, there is rarely a dull moment.  Plus, it’s an opportunity to see everyone without the necessity of smalltalk or the incessant questioning of life changes (of which there are almost always none.)

At this point, we’re over 815 songs in - which is a lot of songs to try to guess before the chorus comes around.  Tonight was probably the toughest night yet.  We’re getting past the commonly known songs from most of our favorite artists, so the playlists are constantly becoming more obscure.  This round was, consequently, the closest round to date - with only 4 points separating first and second place (there’s a point for song and album, with a bonus for artist.  My brother, the playlist maker, gets these points if noone else can guess them in a reasonable time.)  No, we’re not competitive at all.

It’s these times that make me increasingly grateful for the technology that keeps us close - even when we’re far away.

Okay, I think that’s enough.
Night y’all.

-Hannah

Question of the Day: Do you have any games that you’ve started playing with family or friends?
Challenge of the Day: If you’re not already doing it - find a game or a quiz to play to connect with the people you can’t hang out with!
Photo of the Day:


Friday, May 15, 2020

Day 21: Rest

It’s Day 21 of #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload, and I’m not sure what this post is brought to you by.

I’m not entirely sure why, but today was another tired day.

Maybe it was the constant 90% humidity.  Maybe it was the storm that rolled in mid-afternoon and remained ‘til late evening.  Maybe it was dehydration.  Maybe it was a longer, harder workout yesterday.  Maybe it was a restless night secondary to some of the strangest dreams I’ve had in quite a while.

In all reality, it probably doesn’t matter.  All I really know is that I didn’t come near accomplishing all my goals for the day.

When I realized that as 8:00p rolled around and I barely had the energy to stand up, let alone get another 8k of steps, complete a workout, finish a PowerPoint, and write this blog, it was admittedly hard for me to decide what to do.  Part of me wanted to stubbornly keep pushing on in an effort to convince myself that I really don’t need to rest.  The other part knew that, while I probably could muster the energy to keep going, I really shouldn’t.  I should rest.

It probably flies in the face of my “I’m happy to fall asleep anytime” post yesterday, but resting doesn’t always come easy for me. I guess that highlights the difference between sleep and rest.

Sleep is the physical act of purposeful detachment from reality achieved by ceasing to be awake.
Rest is a mental/emotional state in which we purposefully exchange the stresses of life for an environment of inner peace.

Sleep is easy.
Rest is hard.

Because, from my experience, to rest, I must be willing to say - this is who I am, and that’s okay.
Which, most days, doesn’t come naturally.
It’s much easier to see my flaws and failures and tell myself that it’s not okay.  I’m not enough.  I can never be enough. I can never rest.

But, in Psalms 46:10, the Father encourages: Be still, and know that I am God.
And in Matthew 11:28 the Savior calls: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

As mentioned before, I don’t like to sit still, and so, I frequently will be in constant motion - even during in-person conversations.  On multiple occasions, I have been reminded by my family, “Hannah, it’s really distracting and hard to talk with you when you’re always moving.”

I think the same holds true in our spiritual walk.
It’s hard to grow a relationship when we never stay still enough - physically or mentally - to have a conversation.
It’s hard to see all that another may be when we hold so tightly to all that we are (or aren’t).

But when we cast our cares on Him, we are freed to rest in His goodness, mercy, and strength; freed to be still, and beckoned to know.

‘Til tomorrow,

-Hannah

Song of the Day: Into the West
Question of the Day: Where do you find rest?
Challenge of the Day: Take some time to rest!
Photo of the Day: 

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Day 20: Napping

Is today day 20?  Yeah, that sounds right. Happy Day 20 of #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload.

This late(ish) post brought to you by apparent exhaustion.

Okay, y’all, so, I may have just woken up from a nap.
It’s 10:30p, you say?
Yes, yes it is. What’s your point?

For those of you who are only accustomed to a life of mid-afternoon naps, I’d like to introduced the revolutionary concept of pre-bed naps.

What are they?
As the name implies, they are naps that you take right before bed.
This concept was first introduced to me by my parents.  As the story goes, in the first several years of their marriage (aka, pre-kiddos), my mom would often complain to my dad that she was tired in the early evening, but lament that it felt too early to go to bed.  My ever-logical dad would always respond with “why not take a nap, then when it’s over, you can get up and go to bed”

And so, the pre-bed nap was born.

According to my parents, I was always that kid who, if tired, would simply go to bed/fall asleep.  While I’m sure there was a short time where this didn’t hold true (think the stubborn middle/early high school years), it’s been my primary claim to family fame.  As such, it’s no wonder that I remember falling in love with pre-bed naps in late high school.  Many a night, I remember asking my older brother to turn on a movie in the early evening, just so I could have the excuse to curl up on the couch and fall asleep.  Eventually, I dropped the movie requirement, and simply started telling my family anywhere between 7p and 9p, “I’m tired guys. I’m gonna go take a nap,” and heading to the couch to sleep until a reasonable time to go to bed.

Fast forward to pretending to be an adult.
Pre-bed naps are still my favorite.  Many nights after work, I find myself exhausted in the early evening.  Without missing a beat, I curl up on my futon and pass out until the wee hours of the morning, when I decide to pry myself off the couch and climb the stairs to bed.

That’s almost exactly what happened this evening.
Except, when I woke up to check the time and roll over, I realized that I still needed to blog, finish my workout, and clean the kitchen.

So, here I am.

‘Til tomorrow: happy napping!

-Hannah

Question of the Day: Would you take a pre-bed nap?
Challenge of the Day: Listen to your body and sleep when you need it!
Photo of the Day:

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Day 19: Mission

This post brought to you by a day of brainstorming, too much caffeine, and inevitably too little relevant work.

Facebook says it’s Day 19 of #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload, so I guess I’ll believe it.  I honestly have no idea what day of the week, month, or year it is, so how I’m supposed to keep track of what day of this blogging challenge it is is a mystery to me.

In any case...
This morning, my older brother alerted me to a change to the blogging challenge, as described by Kev Quirk in his post “Over-saturation”.

The gist?  Rather than blogging for 100 consecutive days, why not blog for 100 days over the course of a year? (Yielding approximately 2 posts a week, or a post every 3.5 days.). This change would serve to improve post quality, while still maintaining an improved blogging habit and consistency of content creation.

This concept was admittedly tempting, as it would allow for those off days where I have nothing productive to say.  However, after some consideration, I have decided to continue attempting to blog for 100 consecutive days, but with a slight twist.

I completely agree with Kev that posting all the time leads to over-saturation and decreased content quality.  For this reason, it is my goal to have two substantial (whatever that means) posts per week that I will more actively publicize, alternated with otherwise daily content that will appear on this blog only.

With this in mind, I decided to reassess my goal for this blog.
Initially, it was created for the single purpose of completing a challenge - which is fine.
However, producing content simply for the sake of checking it off a list (for me) provides little incentive to create meaningful content.

What’s meaningful?
This will obviously differ for each of us. For me, though, the most meaningful content that I can create (on my personal blog) will encourage, entertain, inspire, or initiate (thought/conversation), promoting a culture of community and an atmosphere of growth.

Interested?  Y’all know where to find me for the next 81 days!

‘Til tomorrow: be awesome.

-Hannah

Song of the Day: Implicit Demand for Proof - Twenty One Pilots
Question of the Day: Working from home vs going to the office - what do you prefer?
Challenge of the Day: Think outside the box!
Photo of the Day: Because it’s one of the only pictures I took all day...


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Day 18: Nothing (Box)

This post brought to you by a complete lack of desire to write this post.

Happy Day 18 of #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload y’all!

Two days in a row of not wanting to words - wow.

I would say this is a new record.
But I’m an introvert.
And have apparently just turned the words part of my brain off again.

I forget when I heard it, but somewhere, sometime I heard someone talking about the “nothing box.”
For those of you who have never heard this reference, it’s supposed to be the place where a guy goes in his mind and thinks about, well, nothing.
In the talk, which I believe was by a woman, she said that we, as women, have no understanding of the “nothing box” because our minds never tun off.

Ha.

I love my nothing box.
It allows me to simply be in the moment - taking in my surroundings, living, breathing, existing.

Which isn’t to say that I don’t love when my mind is racing.
That’s glorious too.
But there’s something so peaceful about just letting it all go and thinking about.. nothing.

Til tomorrow!

-Hannah

Question of the Day: Do you have a “nothing box”?
Challenge of the Day: Write a letter to someone!
Photo of the Day:

Monday, May 11, 2020

Day 17

It’s Day 17 of #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload.

I really don’t have words tonight - or at least not words that I want to string together into cohesive thoughts.

So, in their stead, here’s a song.

All the Way My Savior Leads Me

‘Til tomorrow,

-Hannah

Question of the Day: What do you do when words fail?
Challenge of the Day: Just sit for a moment and be.
Photo of the Day:

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Day 16: Mother’s Day

Y’all, there’s just something about a calm, sunny Sunday morning that I can’t help but love.
Or a calm sunny any morning really - but that’s beside the point.
It’s just so beautiful and perfect - seemingly untainted by the harsh reality of brokenness that defines our world.

Today, the 16th day of #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload, happens to be Mother’s Day - a day generally filled with gatherings and celebrations - honoring the women in our lives who have given themselves so wholly for the sake of another.

But this Mother’s Day, for most of us, looks different.
Travel is still limited.  Gatherings discouraged.  Families separated.
Many are left to spend this day alone.

For me, this is, to the best of my memory, the first Mother’s Day that I have spent away from family - which I don’t say as a plea for sympathy or a call for attention; it is simply a fact.  As a woman who will, in all likelihood, never be a mother, some of the experience of Mother’s Day is admittedly lost on me, and so, in many ways, today feels like just another day away from home (another post for another day).

But, I understand that this is not the experience of all.
Some are mothers - separated for the first time from the very children that they dedicated their life to raising.
Others are children - mourning the loss of a mother, without the support of loved ones to keep them strong.
Some are orphans - longing to simply feel the love of a mother they have never known.
Others are entering motherhood for the first time - celebrating the precious gift that has been entrusted to them.
Some are in the thick of parenting - trying to stay sane as toddlers ravage the house or teens turn away with a cold shoulder.
Still others are without children - longing for the opportunity to raise a family, but knowing that it will never come.

And so, Mother’s Day becomes a day for all.

When I pause for a moment to consider all of these situations, and indeed the countless more that may exist, I cannot pretend to understand the emotional experience that these realities may incur.
I am, however, moved to gratitude by the undeserved blessing that I have been given and so often take for granted in my mother, and indeed all the women who have served a motherly role in my life.

So, to all of you, from me:
Thank you.
Thank you for giving up your time, your money, your space, your pride, your goals, your routine, your health, your anger, your sanity, and, in all reality, your life, to show me what it means to love and to be loved.
I am because you are.

‘Til tomorrow: Happy Mother’s Day!

-Hannah

Song of the Day: Running Just to Catch Myself - In memory of all our car rides screaming (singing?) this at the top of our lungs 💕
Question of the Day: What are you most grateful to your mother for?
Challenge of the Day: Celebrate the mothers in your life!
Photo of the Day: Throwback from 5 years ago on Mother’s Day after Graduation 2!

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Day 15: Revamp?

This post brought to you from my makeshift standing desk by a cool, dreary Saturday and 2.5ish hours of website revamps.

15 Days of #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload down - only 85 more!

I don’t know what type of post I want today to be... So, I guess that means it’s a good time to just write.

It’s been a solidly dreary day with only a few moments of sunshine all day, secondary to a cool front that blew in last evening.  Dreary days often leave me feeling unproductive, regardless of how much was actually accomplished.  So, despite the fact that I talked to family members for 2+ hours, finished my workout challenge for the day, cleaned the house, completely revamped my website (with more updates coming soon), was given a crash course on GIT, and practiced flute for an hour, I feel like I’ve completely wasted the day.

It’s times like these that I have to remind myself that feelings, obviously, don’t define reality.  They simply augment it.
Which, at least for me, can be hard to accept.  I mean, how can something that I feel so strongly be wrong?  But, when I take a step back, reality (the definition of which is a discussion for another day) becomes clear, and I am left to reconcile the resulting conflict between my logic and my emotions.

Yay life.

‘Til tomorrow: may your emotions be stable, your reality congruent, and your outlook sunny.

-Hannah

PS: I don’t know why I feel like I have to have three statements at the end of each blog, but I’m thoroughly convinced that that and the challenge of the day are the two hardest parts of this daily blogging challenge.

Song of the Day (since I skipped yesterday and feel neither awake or alive): Awake and Alive - Skillet 
Question of the Day: Which do you prefer - sunny or dreary days?
Challenge of the Day: Drink more H2O! Try to add an extra 8 oz.  (I’ve been trying to increase my water intake the last couple of days because a) it’s been 90 out, and b) coffee.)
Photo of the Day:

PSS:
If a vamp is a short section of a song that can be repeated over and over, where in the world do we get revamp...?

Friday, May 8, 2020

Day 14: Play you.

This Day 14 of #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload post brought to you by a conversation with a friend and Series 4 Episode 3 of Sherlock.

“No, not Bach. Clearly you don’t understand it. Play you.” - Eurus Holmes

When I was sent this quote nearly a week ago, I had honestly, to my dismay, forgotten about this final episode of Sherlock, and thus, the context of this statement.  That said, in the moment I was particularly struck by the first half of the quote - “No, not Bach.  Clearly you don’t understand it.”

As someone who has been involved with music from a young age, it would be natural to assume that music is a language that I understand.
But in looking deeper, I am appalled and ashamed by my shallow understanding.
So often, the songs that I choose to listen to are simply an echo chamber for my own emotions rather than an amplifier for the thoughts of their creator.

And so it is with life.
How often do I seek for my voice to be heard rather than listening for the whispers of others?
How often do I speak a language that I do not understand?

But isn’t that the beauty of music, or all artistic expression, really? A language in which each phrase, each stroke, each pause is filled with limitless meaning - endlessly available to the masses?
Or is that its curse? As a word with all meaning is equal to that with none.

The quote, however, doesn’t end there.

“Play you.”

As anyone who knows me well could tell you, vulnerability and emotional availability are not among my top 268 talents (which is a post for another day), and so, music has long been my primary form of expression.  Like writing, it allows me to speak without saying a word.

I think my friend worded it perfectly in our conversation:
Music is a summation of their (the musician’s) being - performed to perfection.
The tragedy is that when they play, people only listen.  They can’t understand.
And so it falls on deaf ears.
Beauty in that shape, or any form, can only be marveled at if the one who expresses is heard in equal part.

For me, however, this deafness is not a tragedy.  Rather, it is the security that allows my soul to sing.
Because locked in the bars of melody lie the secrets few can see.

‘Til tomorrow: may your melodies soar, your symphonies sing, and your song be heard.

-Hannah

Question of the Day: Do you prefer to listen to music or play it?
Challenge of the Day: Listen to hear, rather than to be heard
Photo of the Day: Gotta love those southern storms!

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Day 13: Unplanned

This post brought to you by a late workout and too many thoughts.

I feel like I’m starting the second line of all these posts essentially the same.  I don’t like that.
I guess Day 13 of #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload is a good time to realize that, right?

Oh well.

It’s sort of funny.  As I go through each day, I often think - “oh, that could be a good blog topic for te day” - but when I get to actually writing the post, the ideas just don’t feel right.  And so, while there are countless topics spinning around in my head, I remain at a loss for words.

I think that’s honestly one of the parts I like most about this challenge.
With #100DaysofHannah, I aim to put forth 100 days of authentic, minimally filtered Hannah.
Which means presenting my thoughts in real time as I am writing, rather than planning out my posts.

I think that sums up my life pretty succinctly - unplanned.

Most days, I’m okay with unplanned, being too busy living in the moment to care.
But, some days unplanned makes me wonder: what am I really doing?
Am I going anywhere?
Is this, whatever this is, really worth it?
Why? What’s the point?

Which probably sounds bad... but that’s okay.
I’m okay with how it sounds.
Because, at least to me, it’s the wrestling with the hard things that makes us strong.
It’s the questioning that brings answers.
It’s the seeking that finds.

And so, for tonight, I’ll savor sitting here - searching in silence.

‘Til tomorrow: may your questions be answered, your purpose clear, and your mind stilled.

-Hannah

Song of the Day: Car Radio - Twenty One Pilots
Question of the Day: What gives you purpose?
Challenge of the Day: Try meditating for 3-5 minutes
Photo of the Day: The moon this morning was incredible 🌖

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Day 12: Memories (Part 1)

This post brought to you by sunny days and sore feet.

On the 12th day of #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload...

I guess we’re gonna talk about memories.

With it being Teacher Appreciation Week, several of my high school teachers posted on Facebook, asking former students to post what they were doing with their lives, along with a favorite memory with that teacher.  It was admittedly sort of fun to see what everyone remembered from the time - so fun, in fact, that I thought I’d take a blogging trip down memory lane.

Here goes!

Now, where to start...

One of my earliest memories was eating animal crackers while sitting in a canoe at my Aunt and Uncle’s house in South Carolina.  I remember that we couldn’t walk on the grass because of the fire ants.

Still in early childhood, I remember many excursions with my older brother.  One of my favorites was going down to the ditch/out in the field behind our house on a very muddy day, and getting so caked in mud that I had to take my shoes off (because they were too heavy for me to walk in).  My brother carried me back to the house on his back.

Around the same time, one day after a particularly heavy snow, I decided to jump out of the bathroom  window onto the drift by the house.  Dad helped, so it was okay.

I remember one of my favorite batches of kittens being born in the hollow tree behind our house. There was a tiny crack that we could peek in and see the kittens through.  So much fun.

I remember being one of two youngest grandkids, and staying at Grandma’s house (with my barely younger cousin) while all the other grandkids were at school and our parents were out.

I remember Kindergarten and being yelled at for cutting the heart out wrong for our Valentine’s Day project.

In first grade, my favorite memory was the math Grand Prix, where we had timed tests, and little cars on the walls showing who was doing the best in math.   I think it was then that I first came to love numbers.

For second grade, I remember writing my first long stories, and loving to listen to my teacher read to us. My favorite story at that time was Trumpeter of the Saw.

Third grade was one of my favorite years.  I remember being in the classroom at the very top of the old building.  It was that year that we started Vanguard and learned to type (one of my first significant experiences with computers).  We worked with skimmers. I was in the top 5 of AR.  It was my first, and last, year at Farmer before the school was torn down.

For fourth grade, we transitioned to the new school.  I missed the old building, but loved my teacher, so that made it better. It was this year that I was taught to journal and introduced to poetry.

Fifth grade was... something.  I got in trouble more often and struggled to get along with teachers and peers alike.  It was this year, however, that we started band, I discovered The Phantom of the Opera, and the accelerated math program was initiated.  And Bubbly was born. So, I guess it wasn’t all bad.

6th grade... (Not sure why I skipped to numbers there, but hey, it’s my blog, I can do whatever I want.).  Painfully non-descript year, with the primary highlight being continued accelerated math.

In 7th grade, I joined a sport for the first time in my life (basketball), and made new friends... also for I think the first time in my life.  I was introduced to the works of Mark Twain, and actually almost enjoyed school.  Oh yeah, this is the year that I quit piano too.

8th grade was  another generally non-descript year.  Basketball and band continued. We did the quiz bowl thing (I guess I’d been doing that for a while). Yay.

Freshman year, take one.  Oh goodness... This was the year that I learned to recite the alphabet backwards during Geometry.  Still have it memorized ‘til this day.  In band, I was allowed to teach myself trumpet for marching.  And in concert, we played Pirates - which was, I think, my favorite piece in all 4 years of high school.  This was my first, and only year at school with my older brother. I think it was this year that our games of name that tune were introduced. I also joined track this year - and loved it.  Being in the relays, I felt like I (almost) belonged for once.

Sophomore year, take one was... not my favorite.  Let’s not discuss that.

Junior year, take one: Defined by... calculus, chemistry, and high jump.  I also think this was the year that one of my teachers told me (to my face) that I would only be happy if I was barefoot and pregnant.  For the record, I’m still barefoot and definitely not pregnant.

Senior year, take one, actually wasn’t half bad.  It was highlighted by... band, new friends, and choir. Oh yeah, and all the fun excursions that we got to go on by being seniors.  And my awesome group of lunch buddies.  And Ayn Rand.  And a stellar senior piano recital.

Woah, this is looking to be a long post if I keep going with next 9 years.  I think I’ll cut it here for tonight.  Tune in some other night for Memories Part 2.

‘Til tomorrow: may your moments be memorable, your journey meaningful, and your memories magical.

(Sorry, that was even cheesier than normal... I was trying to fit a theme...)

-Hannah

PS:
Song of the Day: Our Song - Taylor Swift (because this was one of the first TS songs that I heard when I was introduced to her music freshman year)
Question of the Day: What are some of your favorite memories?
Challenge of the Day: Try to come up with at least one memory for every year of your life - and share it with the people that you made the memories with!
Photo of the Day: SUN!

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Day 11: Passion

This post brought to you by 5:00 on 5/5, a renewed obsession with curry powder, and yet another day of TS jams.

Hello y’all - it’s 5:00, which can mean only one thing - it’s blog time, and officially Day 11 of #100DaysofHannah and #100DaystoOffload!

First things first: guys, curry powder is heavenly.
And it goes well with approximately everything.
Today’s experiment: curry powder with peanut butter.
Oh. My. Goodness - it’s delicious.
Don’t believe me?  Try it.  No regrets.

Second: Considering my current degree of bouncing, I have probably had too much caffeine once again today. Which is to say, I apologize in advance for how scatterbrained this post may end up.

Okay, that’s enough disclaimers. Onto the fun stuff: passion.

Follow your passions is something that I feel like I’ve been told repeatedly in life - by motivational speakers, pastors, mentors, and friends alike.  And, not gonna lie, that advice sounds awesome.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to spend life fully engaged in a career that they love?

But, when I dive into this concept further, I can’t help but question - does it really work?

For those of you who don’t know me, I can be a very passionate individual.
Though, I suppose that’s probably pretty obvious considering my borderline excessive use of exclamation points and my frequent report of literally jumping up and down while writing...
That said, there are some things that I have loved for as long as I can remember: specifically music, writing, and being in nature.
And so, if someone were to ask me what my greatest passion in life is, I would say music - hands down.
But my love for music does not make me a musician.
Yes, I have put in countless hours learning and playing various instruments.
But yet my passion does not yield perfection; there will always be those (much) better than me.
So where does the journey end?
Is there value in the simple pursuit of a passion without promise of success?
And even if the passion is pursued, who is to guarantee it’s permanence?
After all, despite my at times highly passionate expressions, I find that these moments alternate with periods of significant emotional detachment.  As such, I am a firm believer in the instability of most aspects of life - including passions - creating a reality that, admittedly, often leaves me paralyzed in the face of decisions.
I mean, if I can’t trust following my passions, what am I supposed to do?
And what’s the point of passions if they can’t be trusted?

Admittedly, I don’t have all, or even most of the answers.
But, for me, it all comes down to trust - trusting in the One who is constant, who created passions, who gave talents - that He will guide perfectly.
And so, I am left to follow - not my passions, but my Provider.

I’m not sure how I feel about that ending, but I don’t know what else to say.
‘Til tomorrow: may your path be peaceful, your passion empowered, and your purpose clear.

-Hannah

PS: I think I may start, at least occasionally, adding a relevant song to my post... We’ll see how this goes!

Song of the Day: Maker of Noses
Question of the Day: What is your greatest passion?
Challenge of the Day: Start a new challenge! I’m doing Brooke Wells’ newest workout challenge for the next week!
Photo of the Day: Throwback to a year ago today when one crazy journey ended, and this new one began.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Day 10: Short

This post brought to you by a complete lack of motivation to blog.

Howdy, y’all - I guess it’s Day 10!

Tonight’s post gets to be short
A) because I’m tired
B) because I don’t know what to write
And C) because I don’t know what to write.

But hey, it’s Monday, and that’s okay.

Today, as most days, didn’t go as planned.
What is the purpose in planning then?
That’s a great question - I’m not sure.

In any case, highlights of my Monday were:
-enjoying a beautiful morning run
-listening to an ungodly amount of Taylor Swift (like...5 hours?)
-creating a sign that was going to go on my car for a birthday parade (but not getting to go because...)
-seeing a patient and diagnosing two cranial nerve palsies completely on my own for the first time
-joining a virtual birthday celebration
-binge watching Chuck.. yet again. (Not sure if this is a highlight, or simply a fact)

And with that, I think I’ll call it a night.
‘Til tomorrow: may your shows be binge worthy, your sleep restful, and your blogs short :)

-Hannah

Question of the Day: What is your favorite day of the week?
Challenge of the Day: Get 7 hours of sleep
Photo of the Day: This blew my mind. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Day 9: Routine

This post brought to you by too much thought, not enough action, and a complete failure of my daily routine.

Happy Sunday and Day 9 of #100DaysofHannah!

So,this is going to seem like a 180 degree turn around from yesterday’s post about going with the flow and just embracing the moment, but, y’all, I need a schedule.

And I never realize how much I need that schedule until it falls apart.

This morning, I slept in.  For the first time in around a month, I didn’t set an alarm to ensure that I was up at least an hour before the sun.  I’m not sure if I forgot, or if I just realized when going to bed last night that I should allow myself more than 5 hour of sleep.  Whatever it was, no alarm was set.

And so I slept.

Okay, so, if I’m honest, I still woke up at 6:15 without the alarm,  but for someone who’s used to being up between 4:45 and 5:15, it felt like I had already wasted half of the day.

So rather than going out for my typical sunrise walk/run/time with God, I decided to stay in.
Which meant reading devotions, which led to thinking, which led to journaling/writing, which led to more thinking, which, while probably good, ended up taking wayyyy more time than anticipated.

Much to my dismay, this thinking was also paired with food (without a pre-emotive 7-10k of steps), which, again contrary to the vibe of yesterday’s post, is something I can really struggle with.

So, here I am, 4 hours later, blogging and running in place with seemingly nothing else to show for my day.

Am I overreacting? Absolutely.
Is that knowledge enough to get me out of my head?  Probably not.
Will life and the day go on? Well, yes.

Huzzah.

‘Til tomorrow: May your thoughts be deep, your actions meaningful, and your hours well-spent.

-Hannah

Question of the day: What is the most important part of your routine?
Challenge of the day: Break up the monotony - find something to do today that you don’t normally do. (For instance, I expressed the existence of emotions to three separate people. Which, I think, is a new record.)
Picture of the day:  One of my favorite walls, thanks to some of my favorite people




Saturday, May 2, 2020

Day 8: Nom.

This post brought to you by a morning in the kitchen and 2 hours of podcast prep!

Well guys, it’s officially been a full week of #100DaystoOffload and #100DaysofHannah... Only 92 more days to go!

One of the perks of this quarantine life has meant that I have significantly more time to spend in the kitchen.

Okay, so I probably could have still been cooking/baking when working not from home - I just chose not to for the sake of time and convenience.
Besides, when you’re the only one eating the food - why waste all the time in preparation to sit down and eat it alone?

In any case though, with more hours in the day (thanks to nonexistent commute time and minimal effort in daily physical appearance), I’ve been able to get back in the kitchen.

And, not gonna lie, it’s been fun.

Now, for those of you who don’t know me, you should be alerted that I don’t believe in following recipes. Sure, I may use them as a general guideline, but making food is meant to be an artistic expression of oneself.  The bounds are meant to be tested.  After all, how can you truly understand something until you tear it apart, piece by piece, changing each component until something new is created?

The only problem? I’m really not that methodical.  Rather, I tend to dive in headfirst and figure I’ll learn as I go.

Which means that I rarely, if ever, think about what ingredients I may need before starting, and am much to impatient to pause and try to get them once the process is in motion.

Does this drive everyone else crazy? You betcha.

But, at least to me, the end product is all that really matters.  How it looks, and the path that was taken to get there are pretty irrelevant.

Today’s kitchen adventure started with apple pie (pictured below) in memory of my favorite redhead (and one of the best pie maker’s) birthday. However, I didn’t want to triple the fat content of the already high fat (though lower carb, thanks to almond flour) pie crust by using oil.  So, I added applesauce instead.  How much? No clue.  I just poured a little in and kneaded the flour until it was a spreadable consistency.

From there, I went to the filling.  The recipe called for lemon juice. However, I don’t own lemon juice.  The most acidic liquid I could find?   Wine. So, in went some moscato, a few shakes of cinnamon, a tablespoon or so of monk fruit sweetener, and a couple tablespoons of almond flour.

For the topping? I crumbled the remaining dough, threw on a handful of oatmeal, and added a few spots of butter.

When putting it in the oven, I forgot/neglected to put on anything to protect the crust on the edge, so that was a bit browned.  Nevertheless, the end product was delicious.

While browsing around the kitchen, I came across some frozen chicken that I had bought, well, quite awhile ago if I’m honest.  Though I try to generally not eat meat, I’m not one to waste food, so I decided to cook it up.  It looked mildly freezer burnt, so I decided to throw it in the already hot oven with the only sauce I could find - a jar of medium salsa... and a can of hard coconut mango seltzer.

Naturally, I didn’t set a timer, so I really have no idea how long it simmered. But, when I took it out of the oven halfway through the podcast prep, it was fully cooked, and smelled (and tasted) fantastic.

Admittedly, not all of my cooking adventures are successes.  But for today anyway, I’m grateful for time to experiment and thankful that my ridiculous substitutions turned out pretty okay.

‘Til tomorrow: May your dishes be clean, your recipes tasty, and your creativity unbounded.

-Hannah

Question of the Day: What is your favorite food to make?
Challenge of the Day: Find a new recipe (or non-recipe) and try it!
Photo of the Day:  Homemade apple pie.  ‘Til we meet again, Grandma 💕

Day 1: Mornings

This post brought to you while sitting outside, sipping coffee, and watching the sun rise. For those of you who don’t know me, I have a ...