Tag Archives: encouragement

Hope for the Holidays

30 Nov

Christmas has always been my very favorite holiday. Time with family, celebrating Jesus’ birth, church, traditions, memories, food, and gifts. There really is so much that makes this a season of joy!

On Christmas Eve, we would go to the annual candlelight service at our church, followed by dinner with family. Then on Christmas morning we would wake up, wait for my mom to get her video camera ready (anyone else’s parent do this? It seemed to take her forever!), then my brother and I would open our gifts. Once we finished, my Daddy would start cooking the most delicious breakfast. My grandma and grandpa would come, and we sat around the table talking and laughing.

Growing up, Christmas to me was always mostly about the gifts, as I think it is for most children. However, the holidays are not always easy for everyone. I never understood that until I experienced it first hand.

It was December 2011 when my life changed forever. My Daddy had struggled with health problems for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until April 2011 that he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. That following October, he had surgery to remove his bladder. We knew that this was a very serious surgery, but we were believing that he would come out just fine. He had surgery on Halloween and everything went fine, but the healing process after was anything but fine. For 50 days, he was touch and go. Then on December 12th the doctors told us what we feared most; “there is nothing more we can do.” As a family we decided to put my Daddy in Hospice. We were told he would probably have about 4 days left. However, at 11:59 PM on Monday December 12th, 2011, my Daddy took his last breath this side of Heaven.

Our family, though strong in our faith in the Lord, was shattered. We knew this day would come, but we were no where near ready to let him go. That was the hardest, saddest Christmas I have ever experienced. Though it has been almost 7 years, the pain by no means has gone away.

Every holiday since then, we are reminded that he is in Heaven by the very real absence we feel. We miss him every second of every day, but Christmas is no longer a time of sadness. After the year of firsts, we realized that my Daddy wouldn’t want us to live our lives being sad. The holidays are now filled with laughter, joy, and memories that make my heart swell with love.

People deal with grief in many different ways. I have seen many individuals stop living their lives after the death of a loved one; they are so deeply affected by this loss that they find it nearly impossible to go on. Others, from the outside looking in, may seem as though they have forgotten about their loved one that passed. They live their lives like nothing ever happened and are often judged very harshly because of it. No one knows the real level of a person’s grief except for that person.

So the question seems to be, how do people face the holidays while still grieving the loss of a loved one? I have learned a few things over the last 6 holidays since losing my Daddy.

Traditions

For most families, tradition is an integral part of any holiday, specifically Christmas. After losing my Daddy, we felt very lost the first Christmas without him. We were overcome with sadness and truly didn’t feel like “celebrating” anything. There were a lot of tears that year and because the loss was so raw, we didn’t do any of our normal traditions. As time went on, we realized that we needed those traditions to continue to heal. With tradition comes structure and when you lose someone, everything feels chaotic and in disarray. Many of the same traditions we had when my Daddy was here, we still continue today. We mention him and how much he would love someone who has been born since his passing, or mention a funny comment that we knew he would make in a situation. The twinge of sadness will always be there, but we are able to smile because we know that we will see him again someday in Heaven.

Keep Their Memory Alive

When a loved one passes, sometimes it may feel like mentioning them is taboo. I know that for me personally, I worry that if I mention my Daddy to certain people, I will bring a wave of sadness on them, and I don’t want to ever do that intentionally. When people mention him, depending on the person and the situation, I often smile or laugh, but I still feel sad because he’s not here with us physically. As someone who has personally experienced this, I realize more and more that we must learn to move forward. When I say moving forward, I mean never hesitating to mention their name or share a funny story about them. By talking about them, we keep their memory alive. We are allowing family members who were born after their passing get to know them. For example, I have two nieces and a nephew, who were all born after my Daddy passed away. Though they never met him, my nieces both know who their Pop was, that he would love them so very much, and that they will see him in Heaven someday. They recognize him in pictures and even talk about him sometimes. My nephew is only 5 months old, so as he grows, he’ll know all about his Pop too!

Cherish Each Moment

The main thing that I have learned through my loss is that each and every moment in this life is precious. We knew that we were going to lose my Daddy; the doctors told us and while it wasn’t necessarily a shock, the pain was still so great. After such a terrible loss, I realized first hand how much I cherish time with my loved ones. You gain such a different perspective when your world is turned upside down. Arguments and disagreements over little things seem so petty, time with loved ones doesn’t feel like a burden, and slowing down when life is pulling you in a million different directions feels like a breath of fresh air.

So if the holidays are a difficult time for you, like they are for so many, I hope that you can begin to heal by using some of these tips. I hope that you can find solace in the Lord Jesus and know that He is with you and sees your hurting heart.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” -Psalm 34:18

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” –Revelation 21:4

And if you are experiencing the pain that comes from a loss, whether recent or not, please know that it is okay for you to grieve. You will never and are never expected to “get over” this loss.

The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to.” —Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Losing someone is the hardest thing in life to go through , but please know that if you have gone through a loss such as this, you are given the opportunity to help lift up others. The loss and pain that you have suffered has or will make you a stronger person as you continue on your life’s journey. You will meet people that are just now going through something that you went through yourself and when you meet those people, use that as an opportunity to lift them up. Let them know that what they’re going through will never be easy, but they have someone to talk to if they so choose. Tell them that you love them and that you are there for them; you will not have all the answers, but you can listen and sometimes that is all a person needs.

And if your heart is overwhelmed to the point that you feel you truly cannot go on, please know that there are counselors that are trained to help you process what you are going through. Many local churches have licensed counselors on their staff, please reach out because though you may feel alone, you do not have to be.

As you can tell, this post is very different from any that I have made before, but as Christmas is getting closer, there could be someone that desperately needs to read these words of encouragement.

Blessings,

Mrs. Hannah D.

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Our Love Story, Part 2

13 Oct

On my last post, Our Love Story, Part 1, I left off where Houston, our two friends, and I had just arrived at the movies in the city a couple of hours from home.

He had just purchased my movie ticket and opened the door for me as we entered the theater. I knew then he was a gentleman and I was probably in trouble! I hadn’t really dated a guy a like him. Ever! He was pretty different from anyone before.

So the movie was okay, I sat by him but of course I was so guarded that I didn’t even hold his hand. It wasn’t a date anyway remember?!? 🙄 After the movie we went to Chili’s for dinner. I was nervous as can be because I was really starting to like this guy. My friend and I stepped away to the restroom only to come back and find that he paid for mine and his meals! I mean the nerve of this guy?! 😉

We made one last stop at Starbucks and we had the best time talking and laughing. After getting home the guys offered to crank our cars so they could warm up since it was bitterly cold outside. We had left the cars at my church so we talked as we waited. By the end of the night, Houston finally asked for my number. ❤️

We began texting and talking here and there. It wasn’t long before we started hanging out some too. I was still so guarded from having my heart broken that I only hung out with him at my church. We would watch movies or ride around and talk.

It was getting close to Valentine’s Day and he asked me if he could take me out on a proper date to celebrate. Having never been on a real Valentine’s date I was so excited (and nervous)!

The morning of our date, Saturday, February 13th, 2010, I woke up to the smell of Houston’s cologne. When I opened my eyes there sat a handmade card he had given my mom to set on my pillow.

In the card he simply wrote, “I can’t wait for our date tonight!” 💕 What a beautiful surprise!! I got ready and he picked me up about 2:45 that afternoon. When he arrived he was carrying the most gorgeous bouquet of white roses. The first time a man had ever given me roses for Valentine’s Day!

He came in and gave me my beautiful flowers, another handmade card, and a necklace! The whole day had been a surprise and I was so excited to see what he had been planning!

So we headed to the city for dinner first at Olive Garden. He knew Italian was my favorite food (he even called ahead to see if he could make reservations)! We then headed to the movies to see Valentine’s Day! He had even bought the tickets a week in advance! The movie was great and we were having a blast. We talked the whole way home and decided to ride around some more before he dropped me off at home.

As we were riding and talking I asked him why he chose to get me white roses instead of the traditional red? His words exactly were, “when I look at you I see purity and white is the color of purity.” I melted. ❣️

-a little back story…we had talked a lot over that first couple of months and I had made it a point to tell him my values and standards. He and I both shared that we planned to stay pure until marriage and he respected that.-

He kissed me that night for the first time since we’d met. It was the most perfect ending to a perfect date.

Two days later, on February 16, 2010, we officially became a couple. We’ve been together ever since.

If you are still waiting on the one don’t give up. God has that special someone just for you. He gave me mine and I could never thank Him enough.

Blessings,

MRS. Hannah D. ❤️

More Than Just Fireworks 💥

7 Jul

Oh it has been sooooooo long since I last blogged. Don’t even remember when the last time was? I think it was for my wedding anniversary…yes that’s it! That was the last time I posted!! So I guess I’m technically doing good…it’s been less than a month! Haha 😆

Anywayyy…I’ve been so inspired the last ten days. So much joy in the midst of a very busy, stressful season in life.

Let’s start with last Thursday, June 28th…I became an Aunt (again!!! 😍) to a precious, perfect little boy. 💙

Cole Daniel 💙

I’m completely in love with him just like I am his sisters. And may I add, they are just the best big sisters to him already. 💕💕💙

When I became an aunt 6 years ago I had no idea how much love my heart would hold for these babies. My heart could just burst! I can’t imagine what it will be like with my own babies someday! ❤️

Now let’s jump forward a few days to the Fourth of July. It was a day spent with family! That night Houston & I headed back home from my mom’s and I mentioned something about the annual fireworks show they do each year in our town. He asked if I wanted to watch them and I suggested driving to our land to see if we could see them from there.

We haven’t been over to our land in a really long time. Life has been so dang busy and we just never make time to go over there. We saw that the hay had been cut on our first section of land (in front of where we want to build our house someday) so we drove out on it.

As we waited on the fireworks to start we listened to music and talked about events of the day. Our latest song, “I Like Me Better” by Lauv came on and it was perfect. We discovered that song on the radio on our anniversary getaway back in June. The lyrics couldn’t be more true…

“To not know who I am but still know that I’m good long as you’re here with me…

I like me better when I’m with you

I knew from the first time, I’d stay for a long time ’cause

I like me better when

I like me better when I’m with you”

The fireworks started and my heart began to swell as I realized we had a perfect view!!

We watched for a while and began to talk about the future. When our house is built we will be able to invite all our family over for the Fourth of July. The girls and Cole can run in the yard and play with Creed, maybe we’ll have a baby by then and we can all sit on the porch and talk as we watch the fireworks. I was almost in tears thinking about how wonderful that will be. My heart is so happy. ❤️

More often than not the dream of building a house has seemed more and more distant. Between life and finances, it just seems hard to fathom. God has realllllyyyy been dealing with my heart on this. It seems that each week at church the sermon is meant just for me. Whether it’s about believing in the dreams that God has given you or speaking life over your situation…it’s stepped all over my toes.

I cannot wait to build our dream house. 🏡 It will be OUR house on OUR land. It will be perfect and it will be a huge blessing. God is working behind the scenes and He is going to make a way. I just need to sit back and TRUST in Him.

And don’t worry…when we begin this house-building journey, I’ll take you all along for the ride! 🤗

What are your God-given dreams?

Never give up on them!

Blessings,

Mrs. Hannah D. 💜

1,461 ❤️

7 Jun

I am the worst. I haven’t posted on here since April 23rd. If any of you read this, you’re probably not surprised. But as I usually say, life has been so busy and I truly haven’t had time to blog as much as I’d like.

Things have been very, very stressful this last month or so. Work has been busy, Grad School has just started back up for the summer, and we’ve been stretched so thin lately. I constantly feel like I’m running in 100 different directions but not really “getting” anywhere. Know what I mean? And then, about two weeks ago, my car messed up. I’ve had my car for a little over 9 years…yes NINE, and it has been such a good car. But you know that saying “when it rains, it pours!”? Well, yeah, that’s accurate. We were able to get it fixed (thank God), but not without a HEFTY price to pay. Anyone in need of a kidney? Ha. 🙃😬

But I am not writing this post to talk about my stresses. Life is stressful enough for everyone else in this world, the last thing you want to read about it MY stress. This post is in honor of my FOUR year Wedding Anniversary. ❤️

One thousand four hundred sixty one days as husband and wife. To be quite honest, I’m surprised he’s put up with me this long! 😂 He is such a good man. I say that all the time, but it couldn’t be more true.

We have been together for just over 8 years. Over that time, we have celebrated and mourned, learned, grew, struggled, laughed, smiled, watched endless hours of TV, and so much more…TOGETHER. My husband has been with me through the most devastatingly heartbreaking times and the most wonderful, joyous times.

It has never once been him or me, it has always been US. When he’s not with me I don’t feel like myself. He is truly my much better half. He is the encourager when I feel discouraged, he is the one that pushes me to be more like Jesus, he believes in me, he supports me, and so much more. I’m his biggest fan.

When God made him, I know that He was making him just for me. Our love and our relationship has been God ordained from the beginning. I pray that He is glorified in us and through us all the days of our life and that when people look at our marriage, they see Jesus’ love shining through.

I can’t wait to build a house with you someday.

I can’t wait to continue spoiling our nieces and nephew with you.

I can’t wait to have babies with you someday.

I can’t wait to see you smiling at me as I graduate with my Master’s.

I can’t wait to travel the world with you.

I can’t wait to continue loving and celebrating this beautiful life with you. Forever and ever and ever.

Thank you for being you.

Let’s grab some ice cream and run away together.

I love you eternally.

Blessings,

MRS. Hannah D. 🖤

Who Am I?!

24 Apr

I have had this blog for roughly 6ish years. It has gone from “Hannah B’s” blog, to the current Southernchicwife and throughout the name changes there have been a lot of life changes since the start up of this blog. One thing I did realize though…I have never formally introduced myself to my beloved readers! So, here we go…

My name is Hannah and I’m 27 years old. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and my life would be absolutely nothing without Him.

I am married to the most incredible man on planet Earth. If you’ve been reading my blog posts for any time at all you know that I am head over heels in love with him & he’s my very best friend. We’ve been married almost 4 years and together for 8. We live in a really small southern town with our sweet pup Creed, who is half lab and half Catahoula! I never realized how much you could love a dog until Creed came into our lives. I often wonder what in the world we ever did without him?!

My husband and I are VERY involved in our local church. He is a Deacon and I sing on the worship team. We love our church family so much and feel so blessed to be part of a church full of so many wonderful people.

Our families mean everything to us. We live very close to both of our families and truly wouldn’t have it any other way. I always like to say that our roots run very deep. Family is something so sacred to me. Many of you know that when I was 20 I lost my Daddy to heart failure. That was the hardest, darkest time in my life. I had just finished up my first semester of my junior year of college when it happened. I’ve gone through so many stages of grief and though it has been almost 7 years, my heart still aches. I cannot wait to see him in Heaven someday. Losing him opened my heart to so much love and appreciation for my family. My family is my heartbeat.

I am working full time at a local community college in my town. My Daddy worked here my whole life so when I got the job as an Academic Advisor I truly felt like I was coming “home.” Just 6 months after beginning my new career I was accepted into Graduate School. As a sophomore in college, I had thought about going to Grad School someday, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to or not. Four years passed after graduating with my Bachelor’s and I finally took the leap. I am working towards my Master of Education in College Counseling and Student Affairs. I seriously LOVE it. I love what I am learning and I’m excited about the potential doors this level of education will open. I have also been accepted in to the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society for being in the top 10% of my class. Such an honor!!!

So a few more details about ME…

  • I LOVE music…seriously couldn’t live without it
  • I have a lot of insecurities and have always struggled with my body image
  • I am a Weight Watcher and I love the freedom of the program
  • Binge watching TV shows is my jam…I’m obsessed with The Office, This Is Us, Law & Order: SVU, and The Walking Dead
  • I’m a homebody
  • I am an introvert and I do not like being the “center of attention”
  • Social situations with a lot of people usually make me uncomfortable
  • Worrying is one of my biggest downfalls (there are MANY)
  • Baking is one of my favorite things to do
  • Shopping is another one of my favorite activities (hellooooo Home Goods & TJ Maxx)
  • The Pioneer Woman is my spirit animal; I dream of meeting her someday. I’m pretty sure we’d be best friends.
  • I’m obsessed with jewelry (mainly Kendra Scott)
  • I went through a pretty dark time after college where I struggled tremendously with anxiety. I was on medication and everything. I’m so thankful to have overcome that!
  • I could literally eat crusty bread with a warm soft center & whipped salted butter, pizza, pasta, ice cream, chocolate chunk cookies (Pioneer Woman recipe only!), and warm brownies every. single. day. I don’t…but I COULD!
  • Destin, FL is my favorite place in the world. My husband proposed to me there and when we go there with my family my heart could literally explode from happiness.
  • Clearly the beach is my happy place
  • I would chose a small town over a big city any day (hello stargazing!)
  • I love taking pictures and have 9,000+ photos on my phone that I just cannot delete. I’ve even bought extra GB of storage on the Cloud. Said photos date back to 2011.
  • I seriously LOVE Broadway shows. I’ve been to several in my home state, but I dream of going to New York someday and seeing one. Preferably Hamilton and Wicked.
  • Speaking of travel…I dream of going to Hawaii someday, eating my way through Italy (give me ALL the pasta!), and going to New York City around Christmas to see the Rockefeller Christmas tree!
  • I don’t drink or smoke. Never had any interest in either. Besides, why waste calories on alcoholic drinks when you could have food instead?!
  • My husband and I dream of building a house on our land (hopefully within the next two years) and having a family of our own.
  • We LOVE our life as husband and wife, but we absolutely want children someday. I’m thinking at least two…possibly more. I have a boy name and girl name already picked out. 🙂
  • My life is FAR from perfect, but it is wonderful and God has blessed me far more than I could ever ask, think, or imagine.

Thanks so much for reading!!! What’s a fun fact about you??? 🤗

Blessings,

Mrs. Hannah D. ❤️

Playing Catch Up

31 Mar

So if you are an avid reader of my blog you are fully aware that I haven’t blogged in almost two months. I’ve taken an “unofficial” break from blogging. Life has been crazy busy. The break will most likely continue, but I had to hop on and make a post!

Before I get into the details about the busyness of life I just have to say one thing…

“God is good. God is good to me. God is good at being God. And today is just another page in our great love story.” –Lysa TerKurst, Uninvited

Now let’s just reflect on life as of late…

In mid-February we traveled to Dallas for a friend’s wedding. We had a blast meeting new friends, spending time with “old” friends, and making memories. It was a blessing to celebrate such a beautiful couple as they began the amazing journey of marriage!

Wishing them a lifetime of happiness!!! ❤️

Once we got back home the rain started. It rained..and rained…and RAINED for what felt like a month. Naturally the river came up and we were flooded out of our house for almost two weeks. Thankfully we were able to go stay with my momma, but our poor pup had to go stay at my hubby’s brother’s house. We loved the time spent with momma, but there’s no place like home!

The week after we got home, my cousin Lauren gave birth to her sweet baby girl, Jordyn! 💕 After visiting we’re a tiny bit closer to having baby fever! 😉

We also spent some quality time with our boy. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE our dog?! Literally obsessed with him. 😍

Now we’re finally caught up to last week! As of last Wednesday, I was on Spring Break!!!! I celebrated my first full day of break by shopping with my wonderful momma! We had a blast!!! Recently I’ve been obsessed with the Hamilton soundtrack. Like literally obsessed. The songs tell the story of Alexander Hamilton and you basically get a history lesson with each one. SO good! Well mom and I listened to the entire soundtrack yesterday. It was amazing and now we want to fly to New York. Well, I wanted to before this, but anyway! Some of the songs have some pretty bad language, so you’ve been warned, but it’s worth looking past that & checking it out!!

It was a blast and we both felt like we had learned so much!!! 🤓

Thursday came and was filled with blessings. I got to have lunch with my honey, enjoyed a wonderful massage he had bought me for Christmas, played with our pup, got take out for dinner, & watched The Office! 🤗😊💆🏻😌

And to finish off the week, Friday came and I spent the entire day with my best friend. We shopped a little, ate a lot, and just enjoyed each other’s company. I’m so thankful and blessed to be married to my very best friend! ❤️

While out and about we tried a new restaurant, Blaze Pizza! I’ve been wanting to try it for a while so I was very excited!! At first bite it reminded us of the delicious pizza we ate on our honeymoon at Sandals Whitehouse in Jamaica! 🇯🇲 So of course we loved it! 🤗

It was a busy, but wonderful Spring Break. I’m so thankful for the time off to rest before a super busy season of work starts up. I’ve been extremely stressed, busy,and exhausted lately, so it was much needed.

This coming week will be filled with busyness as we celebrate my birthday bestie turning SIX!!! I cannot deal. 😭

My birthday is the day after Adalyn’s…but I’m turning 27 and that is terrifying close to 30…so let’s not talk about it. 😀

Anyway, as I said earlier, I’ll probably continue with the “blog break” until life slows down a little. Between work, Grad school, church, and just life in general, I don’t have a ton of free time. 😔

So I’ll see ya when I see ya!

Blessings,

-Mrs. Hannah D. 🖤

A Sunday Well Spent

17 Jan

I’m a little ashamed that this is the first time I’ve blogged all year. 😛 Hehe!!

This Sunday, I was so inspired by life that I knew I had to compile all my thoughts into this blog.

Almost a year ago, Sunday’s were filled with anxiety, stress, and tears. It was one of my least favorite days of the week. Nowadays, Sunday’s are quite different. A really good different.

Within the last year, my momma started an unspoken tradition of lunch at her house every Sunday after church. Previously we would just go to a restaurant in town, but being in a small town we were very limited with our choices.

It isn’t the food (though it is always delicious!) that makes Sunday lunch so special; it is time with the people I love. We all sit at the dining room table, eat, talk, laugh. It’s perfect.

Our conversations are sometimes filled with tears, sometimes laughter, but always smiles.

After lunch my nieces play and we all lay around and relax.

Sunday morning church fills my soul and Sunday lunch fills my heart (& stomach! 😋)

This time with family is something I so cherish. God is so good and I am so thankful.

Find time to cherish the little things.

Blessings,

Mrs. Hannah D. ❤️