Tag Archives: memory

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. ❤️

Our Love Story, Part 1

14 Sep

“Every love story is beautiful, but ours is my favorite.”

Well what do you know…it’s been two-ish months since I’ve blogged. Life is crazy, I’ve been busy, you know the drill.

Anyway, a couple of days ago I shared a post on Facebook that my husband and I officially met on September 12, 2009. It showed up in my memories and I was shocked to realize it has been almost a decade!! I talk a lot on here about our love now and how much of a blessing marriage is, but I realized that I’ve never told our love story. So here we go, from the beginning.

Our Story

It was Saturday, September 12, 2009, I was in my first semester of college. At this point, I had been single about a year and a half. There was a guy that I did like but the feelings weren’t mutual, so I had become pretty content with not looking for a guy and just enjoying being single. Anyway, on this typical Saturday night I was just hanging out at home, which I did almost every weekend. My friend kept trying to get me to come by her boyfriend’s house and hang out with them and a few other people. I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to…my antisocial ways haven’t really changed much since then. But alas, I went.

I was dressed in a t-shirt and black sweatpants…and I’m pretty sure my hair was in a messy bun. Had I known then that I would be meeting my future husband I probably would’ve dressed a little better! I walked in the room where everyone was and Houston was the only one I didn’t recognize. We were introduced and that was that. The next day he sent me a friend request on Facebook and sent me a pretty basic “hey it was nice to meet you” message. I replied (with a smiley face I might add) and never heard back from him.

Fast forward to January 2010, New Years Day to be exact. I had spent New Years Eve at home with my parents suffering an awful cold and eating cookie dough ice cream. It was perfect LOL! 😂 The same friend invited me to hang out with her at her boyfriend’s house and I reluctantly went. Houston was the only other person besides them there that night. I was just myself and didn’t consider this to be anything because I “wasn’t interested in having a boyfriend at the time.” So we hung out by the fire, made smores, and the guys shot bottle rockets. We talked a little and I remember thinking he was pretty cute, but like I said I “was fine being single.”

One week later, my friend invites me to go to the movies in the city a couple of hours away. I specifically told her “THIS IS NOT A DATE!” But let’s be real, it was a double date no matter how much I tried to deny it. We all met up at my church to head to a movie and dinner. I distinctly remember opening the door of the truck and smelling the most wonderful cologne I had ever smelled in my 18 years of life. He still wears that same cologne today and I am still just as in love with it now as I was then. It is forever imbedded into my brain. I sat in the backseat (behind Houston) with my friend. The ride up there was fine; I didn’t talk much just played on my phone as we listened to music. Funny thing is, they let me choose what to listen to and I was still in my ridiculous “skater-boy music phase,” good grief!

We arrived at the movies and Houston paid for my movie ticket AND opened the door for me. I knew I was in trouble then…

This is a pretty long post so…to be continued…

🖤

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. ❤️

Love

6 Feb

My heart has been so overwhelmed with love lately. ❤️

You know, I wish I had time (I guess I could make time, but whatever) to blog every week. But life is just so busy and I just don’t make time like I should; resulting in blog posts such as this one that are filled with random thoughts.

These random thoughts, the ones that have been filling my heart and mind lately, come gushing like a word-waterfall and then all my dedicated readers (are there any???) read my posts and are left feeling overwhelmed by my word vomit. Okay, that was a run-on sentence. Sorry. Ahhhh.

So back to the beginning, the actual reason for this post. A few Saturday’s ago in one of my Graduate classes we talked about different movies and how we could use the theme of specific movies to tell our story. One of the movies was The Lego Movie, and the theme was “everything is awesome!” As I sat there, telling about the positive aspects in my life I realized that everything I was describing was truth. Though the theme of everything being awesome and wonderful seemed silly and unrealistic, I was inspired. It clicked right then and there that there are so many things I have to thank God for in my life.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do NOT want this blog post to come across that I have the perfect life, because I DON’T. I have internal struggles with worry and fear, stresses about finances and the future, and I’ve suffered incredible loss of loved ones. But sitting there that day, telling a complete stranger about all the wonderful things in my life, I knew that the good is what God desires that we focus on.

Since it is inching ever so closely to Valentine’s Day let me just talk about the love of my life. My husband. My soulmate. My heart.

When I was a little girl I always dreamed of marrying my Prince Charming and living happily ever after. When I was a teenager, lonely and broken hearted, I made a list of all the traits I would want in a future husband.

Guess what! I found him.

I found my prince, the man God made for me, the one who exceeded every expectation.

Now let’s also take into account the fact that God made Houston EXTRA patient because He knew I would be a handful. I mean, God is all-knowing! 😉

My husband is loving in every sense of the word. He is good. He is kind. He is selfless. He works hard. He is more than I could have ever wanted, and everything I need.

Yes, I realize this is very mushy. But when you love someone so much, you can’t help but tell the world how wonderful they are.

Our love and our marriage never ceases to bring my thoughts and heart back to God. Back to our Savior, the One who gave us the ability to love. The One who’s love for US is far greater than our human minds could comprehend. The Creator, the King of Kings, the good, good Father.

My heart could just burst.

My life isn’t perfect, my marriage isn’t perfect; but it is wonderful despite the trials and God has poured out His blessings in more ways than I could count.

Find ways to look for the good in YOUR life today. You’ll be amazed at how much your perspective will change when you do.

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. ❤️

If I’m Being Real…

15 Nov

I’m a terrible blogger. Seriously the worst. I haven’t blogged in well over a month.

Want to know why??

Because I haven’t felt like it.

There, I said it. Ever since I broke my foot on October 9th, I have been in the worst funk. I’ve been discouraged, frustrated, exhausted, etc. And frankly, I haven’t felt like encouraging anyone. Let’s not forget to mention having a really bad cold and falling TWICE since the incident. Can’t win for losing.

I’ve also been very stressed. Work has been busy, grad school has been, well, not high on the motivation list, and adult-ing has been stressful. I’m just tired and I think I need a break. Maybe a vacation. To a Caribbean island. Any volunteers to pay for said vacation? *crickets* …yeah I didn’t think so. I won’t even go into financial stresses…not the time or place.

And let’s not even talking about my eating habits. You know what you really don’t feel like doing when you have a broken foot? Cooking. Yep.

Okay, okay, I’m done now. I know you didn’t come here to “listen” to me complain about life and being an adult.

Guys let me be real with you. It’s okay to not always be encouraging. It’s okay to have seasons of life where YOU are the one that needs encouragement. Sometimes you just have to depend on the ones you love to be there for you.  And there are times when you are NOT going to be the strong one. I hope in times like these you have a loving spouse to be strong for you or that you have a family that loves and supports you in EVERY season.

I’m SO insanely thankful that I do.

Even if you’re not married or maybe your family doesn’t live close by, you know who you DO have? Jesus. He is always strong. He is always good. He always cares.

It’s an interesting thing, faith that is. I know with all of my being that God is good. That He has the best plans for my life and for my marriage and family. I know that He won’t let me go. But sometimes…I doubt. More often than not, worry clouds my mind and peace seems so distant. Ever feel that way too? Good, I’m glad I’m not alone in this.

Maybe you want peace, but there’s war in your head? (yes those are Switchfoot lyrics..credit where is due!) Sometimes the pain and stress is what opens the door to the promise ahead. The promise God gives us in His unchanging Word…

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” -Jeremiah 29:11-12

Blessings,

Mrs. Hannah D. 🖤