Honesty Hour: Moving somewhere new.

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I’ve been in the thick of book rewrites this last month and I can finally see the light! So much of the book has to do with the transition- learning how to ditch this idea of “getting there” and just learn how to be here now. I am flooded with reminders of lessons I learned when moving to a new city and turning it into a home:

  1. Moving some place new is a rough process and it doesn’t happen overnight. Just because you show up doesn’t mean the hard work of “belonging “is done for you.
  2. Curtains are a major pain to put up so just find someone to help you before you lose your mind.
  3. You can stock a fridge with veggies but you still need to learn how to cook them.
  4. Sometimes it will take a really long time before you stop feeling homesick for the part of you that used to live and love someplace else.

These are things I wish someone had told me earlier.

Regardless, I still would have done the same thing. I would have still packed the car and moved somewhere new but it still would have helped to have that sound advice in my back pocket. Whether it’s moving to college, a new city, or even a new apartment complex– we all could benefit from some wise, big sibling advice from someone who has done it before.

So Honesty Hour:

In the comments, tell us a little bit about the move you made (the where, the who, or maybe the why) and one thing you learned through the transition that you’ll always carry with you. 

 

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Dating Apps: loving or losing it?

HONESTY HOUR VOL. III

“Dating apps are not the best, but the humans using them sure can be.”

Lane and I met on a dating application called Hinge. I seriously wouldn’t have our story be any other way. The only thing I would do differently: go back into the system and archive our first conversations before they were deleted for good.

More and more, my friends meeting and finding love on dating applications. It’s one of the most popular emails I get from readers: Should I do it? Should I take the plunge and try a dating application?

I asked my friend Ashley to chime in here. I forced her into trying online dating and she is now engaged to a pretty phenomenal dude: “Dating apps are not the best. They can seem cold and impersonal and trivial. I had some less than lovely experiences using them in college and my first two years post grad. For a long time, I swore them off, bound and determined to “meet somebody in real life.” But I’m so glad I listened to other friends who had dating app success stories. Lucas McKenzie Whaley is the cutest, most giant, sweetest human being alive – and because of the internet, I get to be relentlessly loved by him until we are old and wrinkly and gray. Which is why I tell every single girl I know to give dating apps a chance. I extol the virtues of Bumble nearly once a week to someone. Dating apps are not the best, but the humans using them sure can be. The Internet has given me the some of my best friends, some my best surprises and greatest gifts. So it only makes sense that God would use the Internet to give me my greatest love and the best gift of them all!”

I figured this would be a perfect Honesty Hour question to extend out into the world: Dating applications: finding love or losing it? Got any good stories? I’d love to hear. The floor is open. 

Honesty Hour Vol. 2: What do you think about weddings?

Our first Honesty Hour was a massive success! I am so excited to be striking up these conversations throughout the month!

I found myself reading this TIME article the other day on the problem with weddings. A little bit of an intense approach, the writer speaks up about why she hates weddings:

“There’s the very good argument that weddings are tradition. But did our great, great, great grandmothers register at Crate & Barrel? Did they hire make-up artists and spend thousands on cakes? Probably not. And yes, everything evolves. But I’m thinking this evolution has gone too far and, in the end, hurts us.”

Weddings in the last 10 years, since the rise of Pinterest, have gotten increasingly more extravagant. However, I’ve also seen a lot of friends forgo the traditions and stick to a small and holy ceremony. Mind you, I did a lot of the things the writer referenced in this piece. I had a registry at Crate & Barrel and Target. I had a make-up artist. We honeymooned right after the big day. We chose to forgo the cake to do a milk & cookies bar. Our guest count was 220 people. When it came to finances, some money came from my parents and some came out of my own pockets. My mom, on the other hand, was married in the backyard of my dad’s home wearing sandals and a purple dress.

There were definitely some times throughout the wedding planning process where I wondered: Why does tradition say we should do this? Can we just skip this part? 

There are some things she wrote in this article that I agreed with:

“Contrary to what romantic comedies would have you believe, a wedding is the starting point, not the finish line. And by obsessing over this one event, we’re putting ourselves behind in the marathon that is a marriage.”

At the core of our wedding, Lane and I wanted the day to be about our guests and what God had done in our story. I like to think we went extra lengths to make our people and God the priority: handwritten notes for each guest, seating charts, a worship-filled ceremony. Every wedding is different and that’s what I love: you get to make the day your own.

So, readers, let’s have Honesty Hour. Chime in and say whatever you’re feeling. No wrong answers here: 

What do you think of weddings? Did you have a big wedding or do you dream of one? Married or single, what investments truly matter to you on the wedding day? Regrets? Things you would do over in a heartbeat? 

Honesty Hour Vol. 1: how do I make my world better?

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First off, oh. my. goodness…

All I have wanted to do in the last two months is get back to blogging. I’ve missed this space!

I tried several times to write something while on my book deadline but my brain just wasn’t having it. I’m learning to give myself grace in the book writing process.

But I’ve officially finished draft 1 of the book and I am so stinking excited to be back here with you. I’ve been brainstorming and coming up with new content and I really cannot wait to grow this blog and strengthen what is already here.

So, in the spirit of that, we are starting a new series! This series is meant to be interactive and a chance for readers like you to connect with one another in the comment section. I find there are a lot of big, scary issues out there (and some light and funny ones, as well) that you guys email me about and ask me to tackle. Truth is, I cannot tackle them alone. I need your help, your experiences, your insight and your advice!

We are officially naming this new series: Honesty Hour.

For those of you who have been around here for a while or a regular reader of the Monday Morning Email, then you know the origins of Honesty Hour. It’s a term I came up with on my first date with Lane. I was sick of playing games. I was sick of all the “light get-to-know-you banter” that happens on a first date. I wanted to get right to the point and figure it out: are we in this or not?

I found myself saying out loud to him throughout the date, “This is an honesty hour.”

“Honesty hour?” he asked me.

“Yes, honesty hour. In honesty hour you get to say whatever you want.”

“Okay,” he answered with a nod. “Honesty hour. Let’s go.”

And so, for the rest of that date, we stayed within honesty hour and it was refreshing and like breath to the parts of me that always feel the need to be polished and insightful. When we said risky things, we could preface with, “After all, this is honesty hour.” And there was no judgment or worry sitting between us. It felt really good. It felt really safe. It felt like we were handing one another permission slips: permission to be in process.

So how does an Honesty Hour like this happen on the blog?

Every other week, we will post a new question/topic. Then it’s your chance to weigh in and give your feedback. Our hope is that we will learn from one another, inspire each other, and push one another to be stronger. I want to talk about all sorts of stuff: life, relationships, food, TV shows, culture, all of it. Sound good? 

So, without further, ado…. let’s have our first Honesty Hour.

Honesty Hour Vol. 1 


How do you make your world a better place?


I had a different topic in mind entirely this afternoon but I’ve been particularly impacted by the Manchester Bombing news. There are no real answers when it comes to a tragedy like this one and it is hard to stay hopeful as you watch the news some nights. Sometimes it feels like this world is so dark and like, no matter what we do, we cannot possibly make a difference. I want to be strong though, strong and hopeful even in the midst of some scary chaos.

So I want to hear from you guys: what do you do to make your world a better place?

Let’s talk concrete actions: do you reach out to friends? Do you write letters? Do you volunteer? If so, where? Do you pray? Do you read certain things? Let’s band together and share our best ideas and resources on how to impact our world in a positive way. 

Also, include your name, age, and where you are writing from! It always helps to know where you are in the world. 

I realize no amount of talking can take the pain out of these tragedies but I also don’t want to be afraid to use our voices when we feel defeated, tired, or fearful.

Meet me in the comments section below.

50 Shades of Honesty.

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I wonder what I will tell them.

I mean, my kids. I wonder what I will tell my kids one day about the world I grew up in. I wonder how their world will look different than my own. I wonder how connected or disconnected this world will be when their hair is long and their knees are scraped and they’ve been standing here long enough to learn that life is both a symphony and a tragic, little poem.

I hope I will have the courage to reach them from beyond the screen. I hope they will see by my own life that I didn’t hide and I didn’t avoid the hard stuff. I wonder if I will have to swallow hard and tell them, “It’s really easy to pretend.”

Because that’s the truth: It really is easy to pretend. It’s easier to hide behind a good story. It’s easier to crop things and filter things and pretend you are holding the world together all on your own. It’s easier to get validation from “likes” instead of hard conversations. We live in a world where slipping out the back door, quietly and unnoticeably, is easier than it used to be. We have more stuff to hide behind than ever before. More password-protected caves to store our identities inside of.

I guess I am afraid that I could just put up a flimsy little status and you’ll always, always think that I am doing okay.

One time I got an email from a woman who told me I wasn’t as lovely of a human being as I pretended to be. She sent it anonymously. She said in the email that she had watched me and she didn’t think I was lovely.

And honestly? Her email broke my heart. I remember what coffee shop I was sitting inside of. I remember the drink I was pursing in my hands. I remember feeling like I had let a total and complete stranger down and I wondered where she’d seen me, how she’d known me. I wondered what her agenda was in sending me that email. Her words were mean and graceless and steaming off the page.

I remember how much that email stung me. How defeated it made me feel. How much I wanted to just say through the screen, “I’m sorry if I let you down but I am trying. I can promise you that I am trying.”

That’s all I can do these days: I can show up and I can try my hardest. I can try to let you in. I can try to hold on tighter. I can try to stay in the mess of myself and finally look at the root of the pain instead of projecting it on people and places outside of me.

And more than anything? I can be honest. I can tell you that my mother once said to me, “You think you are really vulnerable and you’re not. You’re really actually guarded.”

I can tell you I have been so incredibly guarded for so long. I don’t know where the walls come from. I can tell you that I am not a cuddly human being and one night at a happy hour, a few months ago, so many people hugged me in one period that I actually started to cry. Pathetically. I cried because it felt so good to be held after a long day.

I can tell you that when I was in middle school we used to vote people out of the lunch table on a daily basis— survivor-style. I had a stint of time as a mean girl and I still cannot get over the way it is so easy to reject other people with actions. That hard truth stays on my skin like permanent marker. I still cringe over the things I did just for people to see me and want me at their table.

I can tell you that I used to have a tongue as sharp as a razor and I could use it to lash out on the people who hurt me. I could tell you that my words are my greatest strength and my greatest weakness, all in one. They can build a person up effortlessly. They can be used to tear myself down completely. I can tell you that I am really good at extending grace to other people but I struggle to even let myself have a tablespoon of that same grace. I invite other people to sit at the table now but I still struggle to even let myself have a seat.

I can tell you that I’ve always known how to hide behind letters. It’s the best way for me to say what I need to say. I can tell you I have a stack of letters I’ve never gotten the courage to send. A lot of those letters are addressed to “Timmy.” Timmy is my brother. I love him though I don’t know how to tell him that and I chose to write all the sentences about him in my book in the past tense with the hope that things might look different for us in the future.

I can tell you that I’ve always dated boys with close sibling connections. I don’t know if that makes me envious or if that makes me hopeful.

I can tell you that one time a speaking engagement in Seattle got cancelled and I still boarded the plane anyway. The three kindest souls picked me up from the airport. We played “Shake it Off” too many times to count. They bought me sunflowers and I felt like Meg Ryan over and over again on that day. And when we got to a coffee shop, and finally had steaming brews between our hands, one of the girls looked me in the eye and spoke out, “Can I ask you something I’ve wanted to ask you for a really long time?”

I obliged. I told her I am an open book.

“What is your dad like? You never write about him,” she said. Almost immediately.

I remember thinking it was the best question in the world. She was right, I never do write about my father. And I proceeded to tell those three kind souls about the greatest man I have ever had the privilege of knowing. How my father is the hardest worker I know. He worked the longest hours all throughout my childhood so that I never had to know what “wanting” felt like. I told them I got the “dirt beneath my fingernails” work ethic from him and I’ve only ever wanted to make that man proud. Turns out, he doesn’t care about if I succeed he wants me to be happy. I remember him dropping me off at the airport a few months ago and just saying as he pulled my bag from the car, “Don’t take things so seriously, Hannah.”

I remember wanting to answer back, “Can we just erase all the times I never said what I needed to say to you? Can we just spend the next few years loving each other right?”

I think that’s all it boils down to loving each other right.

It all boils down to love and honesty and humility. It doesn’t always have to come in that order. Love to fill in the spaces. Honesty to sew up the gaps. Humility to keep us coming back to one another, more human than yesterday and more flawed than tomorrow will allow.

I can tell you that I am terribly, terribly afraid of making a mistake and loving people wrong and losing people. But I am so damn tired of being so afraid.These days I am willing to be a loser if it means I at least tried to love other people right. 

I can tell you that I am trying to be a lovely human being. I am really, really trying. And it has nothing to do with screens or a character count or a good website or a brand. It just begins with admitting I’ve been wrong before.

I’ve been wrong so many times before and there’s something really lovely about that.

There’s something really lovely about finally being flawed, and seen, and hopeful.