my blog list

about me



stinkin amazing cs lewis quote on love

"Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and probably broken.
Don't love, and lock your heart up in a casket of selfishness.
Make sure you make yourself vulnerable to no one.
But in that casket, dark and motionless, it will change.
Your heart will not become broken but unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
The only place safe from the tragedy of a broken heart is hell. Where nobody gives their heart to anyone."

Bam. CS Lewis, you're amazing. I so much agree with this quote I don't even know what else to say about it but I'm so glad that my heart is wrung rather than being locked up in a casket right now and that is only because of God's grace.


understanding hope

The theme of "hope" has been on my mind and it seems also on many people's minds around me. Why? Because the world is not right and things aren't what they should be and we want something more. Even on the best day where the list gets checked off and the weather is perfect, relationships seem right and the bills are paid and absolutely on the days where it feels like more failure, more bad news, more to do than I have the capacity for, more anger and junk in my own heart to deal with; I hope for something better. Does God just want me to hope for good things to come my way? I want to think "yes", but then I actually READ the Bible and realize that's probably not the whole story. "Now may the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit".
"I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the HOPE to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places.."
I have true hope because of Jesus' sweet & specific sacrifice for me! This hope has amazing power in my life which gives:
-More power in the Holy Spirit to do life
-Eyes to see my calling
-Eyes to see my inheritance
True hope is a lens with which I see clearly what is mine now and in the future. Falsely, I make it something that I muster up, like a positive feeling or energy or a vibe that gives me enough guts to wish or guess that God might do something good in my life in the future. That is not it at all. Yes, God will do things. He will act on my behalf because he is my father and my best friend. He wants to give good gifts, but more than that he wants my heart. If I am hoping for good stuff that is not him, then my hope is misplaced. This is a daily struggle  because I just want good stuff, an easy and comfortable life and to be the queen of my own kingdom. But in moments where I have had those things, there is so much emptiness. There is no peace, joy or power for life and I am so selfish. I have no eyes to see my calling or eternity or other people and their needs. Today I am praying for the God of hope to fill me with all joy and peace in believing so that I will abound in it by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Last night I received a box at my doorstep from I hadn't ordered anything, but look what was inside:


psalm 119

"Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments. Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice, because I have hoped in your word. I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness, you have afflicted me. Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant. Let your mercy come to me, that I may live; for your law is my delight. vs.73-77

This piece of Psalm 119 resonates with me deeply after a three year season of suffering through loss of identity in many things outside of Christ. A much needed and necessary time of pruning and God's gentle revelation of many areas of sin in my life. God made me and fashioned me personally with his own hands, and certainly designed this season as well. I do not think that my experience caused many others to rejoice because they saw that my hope was in the Lord. It was a very hopeless season from my limited perspective. However, the Lord was my comfort and he did keep his promises to me during it all. His love was steadfast and his mercies were new every morning. There is great freedom at the end of such a season and I am so incredibly thankful that my hope is strengthened for the next time of affliction which will surely come. For God's glory maybe others will rejoice as they see this hope more fully displayed in my life.


the best coat i've ever owned

The BEST coat that I have ever owned was purchased from ZARA. I love it! It has a uniquely wide collar and three giant buttons on one shoulder and it ties around the waist. Also has great, deep pockets. I have mixed feelings about ZARA overall and sometimes the largest size is still minuscule since Spaniards are tiny and only eat a cube of cheese a week. I have worn it for 4 seasons now (that's right, during someones entire college experience) and still can't bear to part with it. It's totally pilled on the underside of the arms and when my dog was a puppy he chewed off the end of the waist tie. I had it fixed by a tailor but then he chewed one of the button enclosures and people always though it was some random fringe. Nevertheless it is the single most complimented item I've ever owned. I'm thinking I might just dust it off for one more season although Zara is starting online shopping with free shipping (what prompted this post).


Back of the coat



wow. just wow.

This 12 year old Brazilian boy is just getting warmed up at the three minute mark!


getting picked up at the assisted living home

Today was another one of those "Hannah has the funniest things happen to her" days. I told a friend who is in sales there that I would attend her Brighton Gardens (elderly care facility) Walk Out for Alzheimer's this afternoon. Insert "Dog" before walk and now you're probably getting a better sense of this event. I arrived late as usual and was ushered to the registration table where I had to fill out a long form all about my dog. I really only wrote in the basics because I was 30 minutes late:

Things that you dog can do: Hmmmmpf........well, he sometimes sits but only for a treat and even then it's about a 50-50 chance he'll do it. So I wrote "sometimes sits for treats" and went on with it.

The music starts and a guy on the bass is plucking along (Seinfeld style) really well with an over-the-top announcer who is calling each dog out one at a time to walk the floor and then to do their tricks or show off their costumes in front of the judges. It was serious business and I crammed into a small waiting area with Charlie bustling with nervous owners, dogs and tangled leashes. Everyone was looking at me as if I were an animal abuser because Charlie was costume-less. I gave him a bath people and that rarely happens.

One by one the dogs pranced out and gave Hi-5's, or caught a ball, or just looked cute silly in their tu tu's.
A lady even told me that her poodle named Cecelia got a "bikini shave" for the special day.
Last, but not least, Charlie steps up to the plate. It was rather anti-climactic as I tried to get him to sit (failed) and then eat a treat (spat it out on the sidewalk for me to pick up wet) so he neither sat, nor ate the treat. I also didn't realize that the form I filled out was where the announcer was getting his information to tell everyone about the dog. Apparently most people had written a private school application essay about their dogs while Charlie only had, "sometimes sits for treats". Awesome. He tried his best to talk about Charlie while I hurriedly walked around the courtyard before he had to say that Charlie was 3 years old for a third time....oops. In the end Charlie did charm all of the ladies and I'm sure brightened their afternoons. We went home with three goodie bags of treats (it pays to know the right people in high places at an active adult community).

After everything broke up, the bass player walked over and offered his congratulations to Charlie- for what, I'm not sure, followed by, "when are you going to come and see my band play?" Caught a bit off guard my instinct was to ask, "well what is the name of your band?" to which he replied,  "MarTAY and the ParTAY!" We stood there in the middle of the cafeteria area with all of the ambiance you can imagine. The smells and sounds and of course a room full of half asleep elders tired from the afternoon's excitement. I couldn't have made this one up if I tried. I smiled and we walked out. Later, I looked down at his business card to read only  this:

Marty Berning


and his phone number.

I thought he was gutsy and attractive.

Charlie's new girlfriend with the "bikini shave":

Check out the hand sewn Tutu:


things i am thankful for today

Ok, these are the kinds of posts no one reads, which is fine. I'm just really thankful today about lots of little things. This morning as my Dad would say, the first hint of Fall was in the air. I love it. Fall is my favorite season by far and the temperature change from Summer is a big part of that. I even went inside and put on a button down shirt with my shorts instead of a t-shirt just to celebrate. Yay, Fall is coming!

I scored some beautiful Hydrangeas at Whole Foods on Saturday that have been lighting up the table in my foyer. Every time I walk by them I can't help but smile. They are so robust and fresh and alive (I know, they're actually dead).

I'm thankful for music. Sufjan Stevens is playing some great songs while I do some work.

I enjoyed a post from Gwenyth Paltrow's blog, GOOP, which had a segment on travel in Hong Kong and made me think about great memories that I have from my time living in Asia and traveling there. It's hands down my favorite city in the world so far.

I'm really thankful that I have an informational conference call with a company today for a possible job. It is a sales position with a social media & digital marketing company called Sanjika. I am talking to them at 5:00 PM today. I'll post more about how it goes.

Last but definitely not least, I'm really happy that I was able to connect with a friend last night over coffee who has grown to see amazing works of God in her life through a very difficult and tragic accident. There is abundant redemption for our suffering, for those who belong to Christ. She is changed, her husband is changed and her children are changed. Good is good. I am encouraged to continue to move through difficult circumstances with hope and to be transparent about struggles. If we never tell our stories, others can't see God at work.


21st birthday fun

My baby sister Joy (sorry Joy) turned 21 yesterday! I can't believe it because I changed her diapers and remember so clearly the day I found out Mom was pregnant in the Winter of 8th grade. On my first day of high school my Mom and Joy were still in the hospital as Joy had gotten a fairly bad infection right after her birth and had to stay for a few extra days, so I went to Riverwood High School by myself and signed up for my classes. In college when Joy came to visit she toddled down the hall of my freshman dorm and everyone fed her candy until she was in a sugar coma.

Last night my parents and 5 of Joy's close friends came over for dinner and drinks. I wanted to do a little bit of festive decorating, but per usual, nothing overkill. I always take off one piece of jewelry before I leave the house for the same reason!

I made a large pom pom for the living room and one for the dining table...thanks to Martha Stewart I have made these a thousand times in all different shapes and sizes. They are great for topping gifts as well.

I think they all had fun and Joy felt well celebrated! The only snafu was that somehow the glass container part of our blender went missing 30 minutes before the party. After turning the house upside down and finding the base, blade and top, there was no luck with the pitcher. It is truly a mystery as there isn't much you can do with a glass pitcher that has no top or bottom. Needless to say the recipe I was going to use for frozen margaritas ended up being on the rocks....and I accidentally doubled the Triple Sec and thought it wouldn't be a big deal....whoops! All the girls were tipsy after 30 minutes. I poured them all large glasses of water before they headed out with a DD, of course. This morning I woke up and found this in the refrigerator.
Adult.  Chocolate.  Milk.

Happy Birthday Joy. You're so much fun and I love you. Maybe I will write a post later about all of the things I wish I had known at 21 that I know now. That would be very older sisterly of me.


happy birthday natey boy

My best friend Emily recently commented that I should write about my family & our experiences together because we have some hilarious stories and characters among us. It's very true, but after being a part of it for so long you can't even see it any more. I'm going to do it every Friday and what a perfect day to start but Nathan's birthday?

The year Nathan was born, I was 22 months old and very clearly recall that I was sent to the neighbor's house to eat some watermelon while my Mom had a baby naturally, of course. My parents have always been very health conscious as well as drug free. Side note: we were the kids with brown bread sandwiches before they were cool, carrot sticks, apples and maybe a juice box of something 100% pure or a whole wheat fig newton from the health food store. The memories after Nathan's arrival are quite spotty, probably because I blocked everything out and suppressed the discomfort of not being the only child any more.  

Is this not the essence of big sister control? stay. still. baby. brother. The afternoon didn't turn out so well for that bear in the background either. My entire nap time I covered Brown Bear with Vaseline.

Rockin' Piedmont Park in this one. I can't believe my Mom took us there for picnics in 1979 when there were dead bodies floating in the pond. Wait, maybe that wasn't until the 90's. Anyway, I'm pretty sure Nathan is showing off the food in his mouth. Some things don't change. 

So happy and enthusiastic about everything, even a pumpkin! 

We had pretty wild imaginations and Nathan was always a really good sport with the stuff I made him do. I recall lots of Wizard of Oz, where I got to be Dorothy and prance around the backyard with a stuffed dog in a basket while he had to be everything else running from here to there. So gracious. In this one I think we were in a parade. 

A possible foreshadowing of becoming a pastor or teacher one day? Looks like a "Peace be with you" to me or I'm really excited about sugar. Happy 33rd Birthday Natey Boy! You are loved and missed. 


love these people

How much more fun can you possibly have on the most painful hill during the largest 10K in the world? This city seems small when you run into people you know and love. 

And not just any people...people who use empty beverage jars as restrooms before the race...(not him)

And people who generously give you impromptu rides home in costume.

Happy 4th of July! 

We had an amazing chocolate cake for dessert later that night but it was devoured before I could get a shot.
Sorry Martha. 


how the deal went down before the 4th

The transaction took place in the Starbucks' parking lot at Peachtree and 7th this afternoon. Pulled up to the dumpster area (no other spaces available) and looked for a guy named "Randy" in a "navy blue t-shirt". I told him I had "red hair". He was already waiting for me which made it that much easier. I thought I might just roll down the window, throw the money and grab the bag, but then decided I could be a bit less of a junkie than that. I paid him in cold hard cash and we exchanged a few words. He wished me luck and said he really wished he could keep it for himself, but it was doctor's orders that he not participate.

The goods...

In all seriousness I had no idea what kind of goods these really were!! I felt like Willy Wonka with the Golden Ticket! #3752 out of 55,000?! I wasn't prepared for this. I did start running again back in the Spring, but this group runs just behind the elite class aka: Kenyans. I think I'll be staying to the right--side of the sidewalk.

Three cheers for Randy--who even crossed out his name for me and put an exclamation after mine...he's excited and I'm just wondering if I'll live to tell about this. 


blind date...don't hate

You can interpret "don't hate" however you will. I have some things to say about a recent, "vision impaired" date. Wasn't totally blind.

1. He lives in a retirement community. You can call it Active Adult all day long, I don't care. And as much as the Realtor in me says this is practical when you are single because the homes are smaller, no yards; the rest of me says, "Seriously"?

2. He has a Facebook account but uses a fake first and last name for it and hasn't informed any of his friends. I can't imagine how this works for him. 

3. One of his first few questions to me was, "What do you think of Joel Osteen?" 

4. Mandals, or Man-sandals in case you don't know the lingo. 

5. Jean shorts. 

"Don't hate me for posting something so rude", or "I didn't hate the date", Which is it? 


something on the market...emily giffin's home

I'm not one to stay up late blogging, but I've spent the past hour pouring over these photos of Emily Giffin's home for sale here in Brookhaven. It's just what I'd imagine her home would be. There is so much to comment on and if you'd like larger photos, you'll have to look at the slide show on the Realtor's website here. I absolutely love so many of her choices for furnishings, fabrics and finishes. The boy's names over their beds and their huge! The hardscape path through the backyard to the guest! Modern and classic, combined like warm brownies and ice cream. Yum!


the big apple

Well, I'd venture to say we took a bite. I'm pretty much the kind of traveler that likes to wander, linger and take in the atmosphere, and New York City is just the place! I was reminded of my first trip there for my birthday almost five years ago now, and thought of these two dear friends as we filed through the streets for three days. This trip was a total surprise gift!

Upon arriving to The W Downtown we entered a world of Zoolander meets Sex And The City meets Beetle Juice. In the lobby, I was waiting for someone to serve me a cocktail of pure oxygen. The beat didn't stop at 2:30 am and even our closet was back lit with bright red fluorescent lights as if a dancer would pop out at any moment. The oddest thing in the room was a silver looking cylinder about 4" long that sat on a stand bedside and beckoned us "WISH". 

I had several noble goals for the weekend, one: to find a wooden bangle, two: to find a purse. Ellen hoped to hit up several notable bakeries--we all liked the idea of tasty cupcakes, and I think Jenn just wanted to have fun celebrating her birthday. I guess you'd call these things privileged goals, sort of the opposite of privileged problems? (Things women complain about that aren't really problems to 99.9% of the world).
Thanks Billy! Yellow cake with chocolate frosting and colored sprinkles- I gave it a 6. 

LOVED Chelsea Market...lots to photograph!

I'm pretty sure that's me saying, "you should take a picture of THAT...", since my camera stopped reading it's memory card. Thanks to Jenn and Ellen for the pictures.

Sunday morning landed us on the Upper East Side where we hit up Tim Keller's church (yes we went to church while in NYC for the weekend) and took a very fortuitous walk to Central Park on Sunday afternoon which landed us right in the middle of a Puerto Rican parade! My favorite attraction was a group of drumming women with face paint and an angry beat. They were hilarious, but didn't really fit the look of the rest of the crowd simply enjoying the music and national pride. They looked more like angry housewives blowing off steam!

"Memphis" won the Tony Award in 2010 for Best Musical. Pretty good show!

I did learn one lesson, always double check when people give you suggestions for going out in this city. I'm proud to say that my dear friend Meredith came through for us on a classy little street of bars among Brownstones in Soho where we eventually found a spot called "Highland", a gin & tonic and some well, older men. Before that, our options were more Jersey Shore. I don't know which is worse?

On of my favorite spots was Bryant Park. It was a mild and breezy afternoon, perfect atmosphere with people out and about lounging & playing, an outdoor cafe under a canopy of bright green trees and tasty cocktails to top it off!

More cupcakes after lunch...

Newspaper on a wooden dowel...very Chinese!

The NYC Public Library was another fun stop. Gorgeous building with rich history. New York's most lovable  public sculptures sit out front. Patience and Fortitude were commissioned for $13,000 and made from pink Tennessee marble. The lion's names have changed over the years but most recently were named in 1930 by the mayor of NY, LaGuardia, who felt those were the qualities needed for New York's citizens to survive the depression. I think they're also the qualities I need in this long season of career transition!

Rockefeller Center had a more comedic feel to it than my last visit. It's possibly the fact that Tina Fey buying a box of hot dogs for the whole crew is the image that came to mind when we first arrived there. Sadly, the Dean and Deluca that once sat opposite NBC is gone, but you can still watch Kathi Lee's face getting painted before she goes on air. Jenn, that was just for you. :)

Not bad for a Blackberry photo of Central Park from the top of The Rock. A photographer friend from high school even commented.  Zach Rolen Photography, check him out. 

By day three, we had accidentally gone to Brooklyn a few times thanks to conflicting iPhone directions, so made it our last stop for real. On the way, we hit up ESPRIT....Hello 1985. We look like a commercial about to shoot. To all of our surprise, it was a hit. We left with three red bags and I even found my wooden bangle. Ah...the spirit of a group dedicated to the cause of shopping.

A few final photos....

Until next time-- love you, New York City!