Saturday, January 31, 2009

The World is Too Much With Us

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. - Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
William Wordsworth
-my favorite of poets

I was on etsy for a short time yesterday and came across these. Pretty creative ideas. I throw away about 20 starbucks cards a day during my shift - what a great idea, to reclaim them into these beautiful and creative pieces of jewelry. If i were more creative, i might actually be inspired.

Friday, January 30, 2009


just some updates:

finally healed ankle. and i've joined a gym so that i can rehabilitate it a bit. it's been nice to be exercising again, though my ankle swells up quite a bit afterward. but it's not too bad - i'm excited to get in shape for some summer mountain sports!
outside of my left ankle
inside of my left ankle

a new piece of jewelry from i like it for the most part, i'm just not totally sure about it yet.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


sorry for the lack of posting this week...

i'm opening the store every day this week. it's killing me. trying to get to sleep early since i don't have any days(nights) inbetween to catch up on sleep.

when i get home from my long mornings i'm trying to work for ACSI, which is a challenge, as i'm so tired. i have a hard time staying focused. every task seems excrutiating. working over 8 hours a day and sleeping not much at night is making me into a mean wife and an impatient dog owner. not to mention always on the verge of tears from exhaustion and wanting an escape from my life.

got my schedule for next week and it's the same as this week. i'm getting so discouraged about this job. please pray for me. I really need to find an alternative way to get insurance. maybe ACSI will reconsider? that would be amazing. but not realistic.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

She's a talker

One thing that i have been trying to improve about myself over the past...10 years is my talkativeness. i'm not sure how i'm doing, but i think i've toned it down a bit. My family told me that i talk a lot. But they don't really talk all THAT much, so i was just keeping us connected by streaming together conversations, right? I've finally discovered in which situations that i have a tendency to monopolize conversation and ramble and ramble so i can better control myself.

When i'm nervous.
I used to get silly chattery when i was nervous or felt a bit socially awkward. One of my best friends told me how obnoxious i was during an exchange we had on a double date. And i realized that i do tend to get a little silly and chattery when i'm not very comfortable with the social situation. lately, i just shake - literally. I've noticed twice in conversations i had with people during our time in Colorado and one recently that was uncomfortable that my hands are physically shaking and my breathing is tight and my heart is pounding. and i'm actually NOT talking much. i'm not sure which is better - being obnoxious or on the verge of an anxiety attack...haha!

When i'm excited.
I get really chattery when i'm really happy or excited. We'll be driving somewhere and Landon will stop and ask, "do you realize that you've been having a conversation with your SELF for at least 20 minutes?". oopsie. i also remember my freshman year of college walking across campus with a really good friend, he turned to me and said, "Hannah, don't take this the wrong way, but don't you ever shut up!?". i'm not sure which way he wanted me to take it, but it hurt my feelings. but obviously his honesty made me take a step back and re-think this. i do chatter and chatter when i'm so excited. when Mom and Dad and Nell came to visit us in Kenya and i hadn't seen them for 7 months, i was ecstatic! we sat in the main room of our cottage and talked and talked until i realized that they were all leaning sideways and NOT talking but yawning and yawning...oopsie - i just realized that you've been traveling for 36 hours. do you want to talk tomorrow?


my dad has ALWAYS (like at least once EVERY TIME i see him) told this (once) funny joke about how my parents were so excited when i started talking so very young....and the kicker: she hasn't stopped since! ha!

but i do think i'm getting better at this. i'm finding great value in listening to others - and i actually have a desire to know them and hear them, not just observing social conversational etiquette. i think there's hope for me yet.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy 27 Doons!!

Yesterday we celebrated Landon's 27th birthday.

For me, birthdays are significant - well, just another "testimony of time" I alluded to in my previous post. Celebrating the life of the one person that has brought me the greatest joy and blessing in my life - what a joy that i can not really articulate or even understand. not to get too carried away, but i just love when his birthday rolls around and i get to consider how he has grown into the man that he is and i see God's amazing work in molding my husband into the amazing man that he is. God has given him such drive and passion for things that he cares about which are so unique - i think. and i am daily inspired and challenged by him.
I'm so grateful that his Dad put the chains on the car tires that morning to brave the fluke blizzard of 82 in Atlanta so that my husband would have his grand entrance into the world! I'm so grateful that his parents lovingly invested into him and supported his Christian education and led by example what it is to have a wonderful marriage and a love for family and God. I'm so grateful that his 3 older siblings picked on him to no end (though merritt's rumored to have been a perfect angel) - so that he could be independent and witty and strong. and i'm grateful that God has walked beside him in the hard times and taught him to trust in Him so that my husband could lead us through this life as he continues to trust God daily. I am so grateful for the people and events and God that have brought him to this place: currently sitting in his study reading for his thesis, in my house, in my life, in my heart. And i know that he is itching for the wild that he is and desires, and i know that he will find it again, but for now he is reading in his PJ's in a tiny little yellow house in the flat lands of the mid-western United States on the day that our nation has received our first black president.

Happy birthday.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The testimonies of time

Are there things that you do or avoid doing to alter the feeling or truth of time in your own mind? Hm - that didn't make much sense. I was just thinking about this the other day. For instance: unpacking. Whenever i go on a business trip or a vacation, as soon as i arrive, i unpack my bags into drawers and closets and "get settled" in. Landon got home last wednesday from Colorado with all of my bags. I didn't unpack them until yesterday (i have such a gracious husband). I am this way whenever i get home from a trip - i just leave my things in my bags - use landon's toothbrush and deodorant for a few days until he catches on... i'm not sure why i do this, but i'm starting to realize that it is because of time. especially when i am back from vacation, i just don't want to "get settled" back into the realities and responsibilities of my life. so i prolong the final process of returning.

there are certain testimonies of time that i like. like...buying more dish soap. this is satisfying to me. weird? (i can't believe i'm even sharing all of this - makes me sound like such a crazy person) i like that we've been washing dishes by hand for 3 years of our life - makes me feel good about water conservation, and about doing things the old way. i like the old way. like soup - people have been doing this way for ages and ages all around the world (i guess not with dish soap though, huh?). and i like that we've lived somewhere long enough. even more than that, i'm about to buy what i think will be my 5th bottle of dish soap since our move to illinois, and what i think will be my last bottle before our move this summer - and that is hugely satisfying.

but some testimonies are sober. this is strange, again, but i so distinctly remember the time passing once i was married. i specifically remember standing in the shower and realizing that my wedding pedicure was grown out and needed to be removed - and the sad feeling i got from this - knowing that my wedding was over - my only wedding of my entire life that i had always wondered about and that i waited for and enjoyed so so so much was now a day in my past and not my future. and though i was relieved and elated to FINALLY be married to the beautiful and amazing Mr. McBrayer i also was a bit sad that my wedding would now only always be a memory. dang chipped and out-grown pedicure.

what else? wrinkles. that's right. i'm getting wrinkles now. i was talking to my little sister about skin care the other day and i no longer care about what causes or prevents break-outs, it's all about the wrinkles! and i think i've just entered the anti-wrinkle worrying world in the last 3 months with this dry weather or something...but it's scary (yet sort of satisfying).

these tiny testimonies of time provoke such emotion in me. i had never noticed it until two very different emotions collided yesterday - unpacking my bags and putting dish soap on the grocery list in the same afternoon.

do you have any distinct testimonies of time? i bet watching your babies grow is a miraculous, satisfying, and bitter-sweet observance of time.

oh, and Landon turns 27 on monday. that sounds old. i guess because i met him when he was 20, and i'm only a year younger than him. so the older he gets, the older that means that i am getting.

Gather ye rosebuds while you may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today;
To-morrow will be dying.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Today: the coldest day in more than a decade

is what is expected for Chicago. Wind chills of up to -40 degrees. and i have the day off of starbucks. i don't have to go anywhere except here. and i feel like it's about stinkin' time and i'm so glad that i got to sleep in today. (YAYAY!)

(my mom sent this video to me a few years ago and i have thought of it on several occasions these last few days - hilarious 40 second video)

Duvick is an "outside" dog, as you know. but when weather gets cold like this, he's on a rotation: 30 minutes outside at a time and then long enough time inside for him to de-thaw, which probably should only be 30 minutes, but a lot of times i forget about him and just let him sit here until he starts licking my hands or wining at the bedroom door wanting landon to wake up (of which he is currently doing). As long as he's sweet and not annoying he usually gets some good time in the house. but that reminds me that it's about time to let him back out.

Even Landon said that yesterday if you would have let your skin be exposed to the air for 10 minutes you could have gotten frost-bite. sheesh! it has snowed most every day this last week and has been very windy these last few days. and i like it. i like winter weather. i don't like it when the weather is sissy - give me snow and give it to me in heaps and enough wind for a white-out. if it's going to snow, then let it SNOW!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Starbucks RED

It's been awhile since i've made a Starbucks post. Not much at Starbucks thrills me these days, but just today i discovered something awesome at the store and thought that you should be informed. I came across a new Starbucks card that we have. Called a Starbucks RED Card.
Every time you use your (STARBUCKS)RED Card to pay for purchases at participating Starbucks stores between 1/3/09 and 12/31/09 (the entire year of 2009!!), Starbucks will donate 5 cents to the Global Fund to help save lives in Africa.

How awesome! I know that I've posted before about Starbucks RED Campaign and about all of the awesome benefits of now having a Starbucks card. Just a refresher:

When you make any purchases with a registered Starbucks card, you will get:
-free syrups and specialty milks (soy, etc...)
-a free tall beverage with purchase of 1lb of whole beans
-2 free hours of wi-fi every day
-free refills of coffee when you're chillin in the cafe'
And don't forget the idea that having this card will help you to budget your purchases.

I got a few Starbucks cards as gifts for Christmas so i loaded the amounts of them both on a new Starbucks RED card and registered it online today. I usually spend about a dollar every day that i'm working at starbucks - so now, 5 cents of each purchase goes to the Golbal Fund. That's pretty cool. It's not like i'm BUYING the card - all the money i put on there goes directly back into my purchases.
So, why not?

Monday, January 12, 2009


(photo by Pink Sherbet)
Today is a dreary Illinois winter day. Well, yesterday it was sunny for a bit and we had a chance to go cross country skiing, so it seemed so beautiful. Today, though, we have not seen any sun. We already have at least a foot of snow, and the snow plows have almost caught up with removing the snow from the streets, except they are extremely wet and slushy.

Imagine my chagrin when i came upon this alert for Gurnee weather just now:
Snow is moving across northern Illinois late this afternoon and will cut across northern Indiana starting this evening. Storm total snowfall accumulations by early morning of 2 to 5 inches are expected... with the greater accumulations across far northern Illinois closer to the Wisconsin state line. Northwest winds will strengthen overnight to 20 to 30 mph with occasional gusts to 35mph. The combination of fresh snow cover... continued light snow overnight... and strong gusty winds will lead to blizzard or near blizzard conditions and dangerous travel conditions... with widespread visibilities of one quarter of a mile or less. Travel will become extremely dangerous and may become nearly impossible late tonight into early Tuesday morning. Winds will begin to diminish in speed toward midday Tuesday.

In addition... Arctic air moving into northern Illinois behind this system will also produce bitter wind chills of 15 below to 20 below Tuesday morning.

and who gets to open the store tomorrow at 4am? ME!!! i really don't get paid enough for this...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

i grew to love the Nature of god

God exists quietly.

When I sit still and contemplate
the breeze that moves upon me
I can hear Him.

For hours I would lay
flat upon the meadows
stare at the
endless field of blue sky
and revel in
the divine placement of all things.

I would walk alone
in the woods and let my mind wander
freely, stumble across theories
on the origins of myself
and all things...

I grew to love the
Nature of god.
I knew Him best not in churches, but
alone with the sun shining on me through the trees.

It birthed a space in me
that would continue to
crave the sacred
and demand sanctity
as my life took flight
and lit out to travel
the world.

It has grounded me
and held me steady
in the strong winds
that have carried me
so far from
where i have been...
written by Jewel, God Exists Quietly

I keep thinking about the sadness i felt as we drove east on I-70 Monday. I realized we were reaching the edge of the mountains - the trees were changing from lodge-pole pines to ponderosa-pines and were no longer snow-covered. I bid the mountains good-bye (i think i even said it out loud!) and held back tears. As we departed the foothills and looked at the mountains behind us, Landon remarked on the beauty of the clouds. You know the ones - that are so dark that they look almost purple with the sun shining behind them, but are made magnificent by the gold lining. And i said, "it looks like we're leaving heaven". and that's exactly how i felt.

we skiied 4.5 miles sunday afternoon to a hut in the middle of trees and mountains - nothing else. and while i was there, i was so incredibly happy. i felt SO FREE. and i felt God there. I too easily disregard him in my busy hum drum daily life here in illinois (so easily, that i hardly even realize it!). well, i make it that way - my fault. i'm crazy-distracted and quite honestly, burdened. when i am not working, i think of work all the time. i have difficulty enjoying my down-time because i know that i could be working. After all, i AM sitting at my desk with student profiles sitting beneath my book of poetry, and i still have word documents that i was composing for sponsors open behind my internet browser and even though it's Saturday and i spent the first 8 hours of my day running around like a crazy woman at Starbucks, i really should be working anyway. the boundaries are confusing.

but when i was up there - there was nothing but me, the mountains, god, and family (well, and chicken parmesan with red wine). and life was made SO simple, and SO beautiful. and i just wish i could live life like that more. i wish i could see God in every moment, as he most definitely is. I wish that i could cherish the most important things about life with my whole heart and REALLY soak them in and understand them and praise God for them instead of compromising them with a brush-over so that i can get just a bit more done before the end of the day.

Friday, January 9, 2009

where's the fire?

enjoying an amaretto sour this evening. mmmmmm. yesterday's post is more appropriate for today as we were bombarded by snow this morning and are expecting more tonight. i love it! plus, we really missed out on snow while we were in colorado - we had many days that were well above freezing - perfect rock climbing weather, but we had to drive quite a ways to find places to cross country ski - last year we just skied down the front driveway and through the neighborhood. i like the snow.

for Christmas my uncle and aunt bought me a fire pit. this is my dream!!! i've been wanting one so badly this last year and am so excited to enjoy it! last night landon made home-made pizza and a cal zone on his new pizza plate, we drank some of dad's homemade beers, and then went out in the back and landon used some fire water to get the party started. we had so much fun roasting marshmallows for s'mores and smokin' patty-backs. great, great night. i hope we can have a repeat often.

today was my first day back at's been about 3 weeks! i've really enjoyed the time off (of COURSE) and forgot how difficult it is to get my body in the swing of these early mornings. i'm exhausted today. at least we'll be getting more snow tonight, so we should have a slow saturday morning...i'm hoping...i could use a chill day.

now that i'm back home and have returned to my busy lifestyle, i don't really feel like i ever left - isn't that the sad thing about vacations? they too quickly become a faint memory. maybe that's a good thing...

Thursday, January 8, 2009


photo by Chris Andersen

It sifts from leaden Sieves -
It powders all the Wood.
It fills with Alabaster Wool
The Wrinkles of the Road -

It makes an Even Face
Of Mountain, and of Plain -
Unbroken Forehead from the East
Unto the East again -

It reaches to the Fence -
It wraps it Rail by Rail
Till it is lost in Fleeces -
It deals Celestial Vail

To Stump, and Stack - and Stem -
A Summer's empty Room -
Acres of Joints, where Harvests were,
Recordless, but for them -

It Ruffles Wrists of Posts
As Ankles of a Queen -
Then stills its Artisans - like Ghosts -
Denying they have been -
Emily Dickinson (c. 1862)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

and back again

(photo by Luiz Castro)

Back home in illinois. and there is a good feeling about being "home". I would much rather be sitting on the hearth of a warm fireplace beneath a twinkling tree sipping on boozy egg nog, but a morning in my cold little house, drinking microwaved coffee, surrounded by newly fallen snow is also good.

I felt sick most of yesterday with the sadness of leaving Colorado again. I am always so sad to leave, i think because i don't know about our future. Is there any hope for our returning to Colorado? I just haven't been able to sever my heart from that beautiful place and the idea of being once again near to family and dearly loved friends, enjoying the mountains daily and living that simple and joyful kind of life. The thought and hope of returning has made it difficult for me to truly love living here. It's no mystery to any of you. I know that i have made it quite clear that i do not like living in illinois. How could i; always riding on the hope of returning HOME?

But i do admit, that this quiet morning sifting through ACSI papers while intermittently taking down Christmas decorations and shoveling the snow has been a quiet morning that i've needed for awhile.

I arrived home last night (this morning, technically) and Landon is still on the road somewhere in Iowa trecking home with our Christmas bounty. He's amazing. I just picture him driving in the dark, sucking on skoal nastyness and sipping a coca cola while he solves the problems of the world (or at least of our lives) through his methodical contemplation. poor guy. he doesn't know this, but he will arrive home to an empty refrigerator and a car that won't start. sorry, babe, i tried.

I will try to post some pictures with hilights from our trip to Colorado within the next couple of days, once Landon returns with the camera.

I've enjoyed reading about your Christmases on your blogs. It was also wonderful to see so many of you, dear family and friends in Colorado this Christmas. You are what makes Colorado home in my heart.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Last year i made a list of 3 things i wanted to accomplish for 2008. I thought if i would post them here then i would have pressured myself enough to go through with them. I guess i couldn't run a half-marathon in october since my ankle was in a cast and i actually did find some "hannah time" for a few months before it went to pot - but no excuses, when it comes to actually ACCOMPLISHING those things, I didn't do any of them. NOT ONE.

This year is one with so much promise and hope. In May we are leaving Illinois. Our lease is up at the end of the month. Landon has applied to 8 PhD programs around the country. By Aprilish we will receive our new marching orders. Landon and i have narrowed the selection of schools down to schools with excellent philosophy of religion prgrams which are also near places that provide "recreational enjoyment" - which we have discovered is a huge priority for us.

Two years ago we were at this place - waiting to hear back from schools, excited about where we might move to, wondering about our future. and i like it. i like change. i'm excited to leave some of our furniture behind. i'm excited at the hope that we may be nearer family. maybe some place with bluer skies, less mosquitos, and wide open spaces.

Well friends, i am sorry that i have neglected this blog these last few weeks - i have been enjoying my time with friends and family so very much that i have not taken the time to post here, check my email, facebook, and everything else i am usually pretty good at. but no worries, i will be back in illinois this next week and after some grocery shopping and early mornings at starbucks, i will be back to spending way too much time online.