And she was full of gratitude. The kind that takes up all the table space.


Chaos took Craziness by the hand and they started jigging in the middle of the floor.

That has been my life as of lately. One big ol’ wedding party to celebrate Craziness & Chaos as they weave & bob & cut the cake.

And while I crave slowness & stillness, my bones feel full of gratitude for so many individuals. Individuals who came into my life just weeks ago. Individuals who have been friends & family since the start of this adventure and eons before it. Individuals who have read this little blog of mine since the first posting three years ago (happy blog-o-versary to me!)

This post is for all of you. It holds my gratitude. My love. My need to each & every one of you. My need to breadcrumb a trail of thankfulness for the ones who have pushed me, dared me, and believed in me enough to support me as I followed my dreams.

It ain’t ova yet… Truly, it is just starting.

First, first, All Of You– For all my readers. My supporters. My letter writers. My Beliebers (I don’t actually have those but hey, why not?) You keep me going. You make me see the value in my work. You challenge me. You keep my hands full of gratitude. I treasure you & your dedication to me in an always & always sort of way. Hold tight, much ahead.

& to a God of Abundance- I deserve nothing of this. But I am so thankful that you filled my hands. You’ve blessed me with soul & purpose, is there thankfulness enough in this world for that?

Mama & Dad– I know I don’t say it nearly enough but Thank You. For raising me well. For believing in me enough to let me quit my job to follow my heart. For instilling values into me. For teaching me the true worth of humans & the time that they will always deserve. I love you.

Celia & Carleigh- You two have been my biggest cheerleaders since day one. Every blog post, every writing piece, every stitch of the heart. I don’t think enough words exist in the world to thank you so fully for your friendship and your belief in me. I don’t ever plan to let you down.

The roots of me—Corey, Lauren, Laura, Sarah, Christine & Tori-  Thank you for the endless support. The constant normalcy. The girls’ nights that arrive at much-needed times. The wine & laughter. Y’all take such inventory up in my heart.

Jill & Ron– Seemed only right to pair you as the two of you tag team my blog on a daily basis and show my TED talk to dinner guests. Thank you for your endless support & your goodness. Jill, thanks for taming Ron. & for being one of my very best friends. Ron, thanks for taking care of my Jill. & for telling me what the world truly needed out of me.  Naters– not a day goes by where we don’t miss you still. We love you. We are constantly geared towards making you prouder.

Britt– For a friendship that never ages. Never falls away. Never stops growing. You bring me laughter & clarity. I am endlessly grateful to call you a friend. I am so very proud of you & your every endeavor.


Tiffany Farley- For being a brain sister. For being a sister when I always prayed for one. For loving branding just as much as me (maybe more). For being fierce right alongside me in pursuing gifts and never apologizing for the call on your life. I look up to you. I thank God for you in an always & always kind of way.

Tippin-For laughter. For joy. For the reality that life should not be taken so seriously. You keep me high-fiving a million angels & I is so very grateful for you. This is truly our beginning…

Tammy Tibbetts- There are not enough words in the dictionary to thank you for your friendship & guidance in the last two years. You and your organization saved me. You gave wings to my smallest ideas. And I will never, EVER, stop thanking you as my front row seat supporter at the TED showcase. It means the world to have you in my corner.


Danielle LaPorte, Eric Handler & Selena Soo- Thank you for giving me the courage to leap. Thank you for the chances you’ve poured out upon me. Thank you for igniting a light within me & steering me on a path to making own dreams come true. It has been the biggest pleasure & blessing to work with each of you this year. Thank you for being such lasting role models to me.

Danielle D, Becky, Leonora, Sara, & Jen- You. Speak. Life. Into. Me. You keep me organized. You keep me sane. You convince me that Twitter is a beautiful, beautiful organism. I would be all sorts of lost without you. Thank you for putting up with me & thank you for never leaving my side.

The More Love Letters Team – Each of you is a miracle. An absolute miracle. Thank you for joining me. For coming along with the wild ride. For bringing feet and arms to a crazy mission and making sure I don’t stand alone in it. You are invaluable  in my book. I love you in an infinite, forever kind of way.

The whole of City Church- I feel blessed & blessed & blessed to be in such community with such beautiful souls. Thank you for welcoming me in. Thank you for shifting me & helping me heal. Thank you for showing me what mobility God has for my life & for teaching me to grow my faith like a sunflower. Taller & taller & taller. T & Miah- thank you for being my biggest strongholds in all of this. My gratitude for the both of you Never Stops Overflowing. Lauren G– You are one of my best friends. You make me so proud. Thank you for caking me with normalcy & Starbucks. I need it more desperately than you know.

Save the Children- I miss the limbs off each of you but I am so thankful to have known you, laughed with you, and- above all- gained the distinct pleasure to work with you. Your drive is remarkable and I am severely impressed with each of you on a daily basis. Thanks for being such a supportive clan & for pushing me to make the leap out into my own ventures. It was Rough Sauce to say goodbye but I won’t let you down.

She’s the First- Oh, jeepers… open the floodgates. Each of you has changed my life is some unexpected way. I won’t ever stop being grateful for how I stumbled into such a powerful organization full of go-getters & do-gooders. I love you. And I am eternally oozing with gratitude at the thought of being enveloped in this family of beautiful folks.


To TED & TEDsters alike- Thank you for bringing me to your stage and giving me a chance to truck my little mail crate along to NYC. You gifted this girl with the very best experience of her life and she will never forget it. Nick- thank you for your friendship in all of this. Tania & Brian- Thank you for adopting me into your family and keeping my tummy full of cruddy diner food. You fuel me & you make me count my blessings twice.  I am so thankful to be a “we” with you.

To the Grovers- Thank you for ushering me into your community. Thank you for warm cups of coffee & the finest of fine hospitality. Thank you for bringing  innovation back into the elbows of New Haven and letting me fall in love with this city all over again.

Steph & Sara-I honor you. I look up to you. I never go a day without thinking of your mentorship. Thank you for being leaders & beacons in my life. And for helping me hold my mission high up to the world.

Joshua Furnas– Thank you for laughter. & orbs. And for printing. & publishing my first memoir without letting me see the manuscript.


My Georgia Peaches- Thank you for the best vacation this girl has had in a long while, even better than the time the maid at Disney World consistently sculpted characters out of hotel towels for me. It was such joy & needed goodness to find friendship, laughter, deep conversation, & home in the crevices of Georgia’s countryside. I’ll be moving soon 😉

Kendall Ciesemier – I don’t know how our friendship rose up out of the ground but I am so thankful that it did. Thank you for your peace. For your quality. For your willingness to be a constant cheerleader but also a voice of reason. I treasure you.

Matthew- How do I thank you enough?! I feel like this whole blog post should be just for you… But will you take the mention? I am proud to have you as a cousin. I have been wanting to change the name of this blog to…. Stay tuned. But seriously, I love you. Always.

Azure, Claire, Kaleigh, Tehrene- AKA the definition of awesome sauce. Thank you for always hammering me with inspiration & new ideas. & text messages. & support. & beautiful words. Each of you are a marvel to me. I feel very lucky & blessed to know you.

There are numbers & numbers of folks to thank beyond this teeny blog post. Please know that this is not the fullness of my list or the end of my list… I would be here for tiny eternities if I were to list everyone. For all your impact, your support, your love, and your spirit…. I am scripting a language of gratitude to you. 


Let’s Turn Our Lives into A Christmas Carol that the World Just Itches to Hear A Single Note of.

So I have been on Facebook for the past half hour and it is official. Facebook Official, if you will call it that.

There is no way to defriend your own self on Facebook.

Come on Mark Zuckerberg, how did you miss this one? There absolutely should be a “remove as friend” button on our own sites. I would adore the prospect of clicking it right now. Click. Click. Click. Friend. Defriend. Friend. Defriend.

The girl I have been for the past few weeks is no one that I would ever want to be friends with. I wouldn’t want to sit down and have coffee with her. I wouldn’t want to have a Skype date with her. I wouldn’t want to invite her into my home. I would very much delight in leaving her outside in the cold and watching her freeze her buns off as I sip my hot cocoa from the window of my third floor apartment. Ha ha ha! You lose! Ok. That was harsh, Hannah.

There comes a time and a place in all of our lives when we look in the mirror and we question who is posing on the other side of the glass. Not someone we know. Not someone we like. Not someone suitable for our friendship. But someone who seems tired and restless. Unhappy. Victimized.

And then we need to make a choice. Just like the Bachelor and all his friendly little reality star companions with their roses and shots of love, we too need to make a choice. Stay the victim or scream out the weakness.

There is a fine line between going through a tough time, having an off day, learning to wallow for just a little while and sinking the world with your Titanical tears.

You know what? We could cry So Loud right now. We really could. We could march right over to Central Park and have a festival of Cries & Whines & Shouts & Screams and maybe eventually we can even whine to the tune of Silent Night and have the Most Un Silent, Un Settling of Nights. But we won’t get anywhere in Wallowing. We won’t move a single step in Squeezing ourselves into Precarious Categories that keep us from our full potential. We won’t go stronger. We won’t make our lives the least bit longer.

A revelation came to me the other night as I watched the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center light for the very first time. Surrounded by half a million people, singing to Christmas carols that found as all with a memorization for their words, and looking up at the tree I began to cry. (I know, I know, Me crying? Say it ain’t so). I wasn’t crying over that moment. Nor the perfection of the season all around. I was crying because I had forgotten to say thank you. Night after night, age eight and upward, I would pray to the heavens that one day I could call New York City my home. While some girls wrote love letters to boys with braces, I wrote letters & symphonies & novels to this City.

And I am here now. Here Now. In the city who let me dream of etching my name upon its skyline for so long. And I never even thanked God. I never even said Thank You for making a dream of mine come true. For making my life into exactly what I asked it to be. Funny how we forget to say thank you. Funny how we forget a lot of things…

I may not know you. You may not know me. But I think you are strong, funny, endearing, resilient & capable. And don’t you forget that! I wish I could wrap up every one of those attributes and sneak them right under your Christmas tree right now and then beg you to open the presents up early.

Maybe you don’t even need those presents right now. But I certainly do!

We all need a reminder of this from time to time, that YES, life is hard. But We Are Kick Ass.

We were made for goodness. Sweet, sweet goodness. Oozing and dripping all over our lives just like the chocolate that trickled from my Max Brenner Chocolate Chai just the other day.

I was made for Skype dates with my best friends, near & far. Near & Dear. I was made for belting out an inconsistent tune to Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is You.” I was made for a big blanket under a string of Christmas lights, curled up as creations dance in my head like Sugar Plum Fairies. I was made for sneakers & barbels. Protein & Boxing Gloves. I was made for workouts & hard work.

I was not made to entertain guests like Doubt or Insecurity. I was made to build Gingerbread Houses with my Dreams & give Eskimo kisses with my creativity. To Go Snow Shoeing with Compassion & Sip Eggnog with my Love for Life. I was made to be an expert of wallpapering. Wallpapering my life with love letters, strangers, & simplicity. More importantly, wall papering the lives of others with Comfort, Kindness, Understanding & Companionship.

I was made for the Rudolph’s of this world, the misfits, the lonely, the stepped upon. They are the ones with the Bright Red Noses, the stories that my ears perk to hear.  They are the ones who light my way and I don’t think I will ever stop seeking them out.

I was not made for a single “un” word. Not Unstable. Not Unworthy. Not Unable.

But it is one thing to say these things, write these things, voice these things. We need to live these things. Live Out Loud. Live So Loud. Let’s Turn Our Lives into A Christmas Carol that the World Just Itches to Hear A Single Note of. A Single note is all it takes and then the world practically cries over good fortune that we actually came here to sing the whole song. The whole entire song. Yes. Oh yes, we were made to sing the whole entire song.

What were you made for?

P.S. Anyone up for a Skype date with some hot cocoa? I will bring the Holiday cheer…

Perhaps blogs cannot blow out candles but they can certainly wear party hats and make wishes.

“Do you understand how there could be any writing in a spider’s web?”
Oh, no,” said Dr Dorian. “I don’t understand it. But for that matter I don’t understand how a spider learned to spin a web in the first place. When the words appeared, everyone said they were a miracle. But nobody pointed out that the web itself is a miracle.”

Charlotte’s Web

This time last year I was surrounded by a clutter of Christmas decor, volunteer applications for my year of service, empty coffee cups already branding their rings upon the table, and a few of the girls in my life who have my heart pretty much memorized.

I can list to you the things I knew in that very moment: One) I did not have any clue where I wanted to go after graduation. Two) I was really very happy in the moment with these good friends of mine(though its easy now to think I took it for granted). Three) I did not want to be a blogger.

Blogger. The very word made me shiver. Sent me fleeting for the nearest pillow to shove my face into so that I could scream shrilly without alarming my roommates. I never set out to be a blogger. And when I started out, I knew for that reason, I would never be good at blogging.

The first few posts felt quite similar to an old home movie where a little girl with a head full of curls anxiously tries to jam a plastic Jelly onto her foot. It would not fit. No matter how hard she tugged and pulled, the world around the little girl knew- the perfect pink Jelly would not fit.

It was not until one of the Memorizers of my Heart felt the Harsh Words of Mean Girls did I feel prompted to use my blog, my icky sticky blog, to write something to console her. And in that moment of stitching stories & sentiments together to give to a dear friend, I became hooked on the idea of using my words to Spin Together the Feelings We All Sometimes Have. The ones for which we proclaim, “there are no words.”

For a girl who adores words more than pumpkin pie and hot apple cider, I find it very hard to articulate what this year of writing at As Simple as That has meant to me. This blog has become my very own nook of goodness on the web, a place that I have turned to time and time again in the past 365 days, only to find that you have never turned away. When I think of the web its no longer some abysmal hole of information tied together by http://www.’s and .com’s but rather a spiderweb of remarkable people who bare their souls to the world on a daily basis. Through a post. Through a comment. Through a thought. Through a word. Webs. Webs. Brilliant Webs.

I really must say to anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis and grows nervy over the thought of writing their own blog, do it. Absolutely, 100%, no questions asked, do it. Is that even a question? I am practically jumping up and down, using this blog as a trampoline, to push you to start lacing stories. Testing your Passions.

If I will one day tell my children that there was a moment that changed me for the good and for the better, it was the day I realized that your heart can have a place on the internet, that you don’t need a niche to make yourself grow, that you can start your own drumbeat when the world just doesn’t give you one that you can lay your hands to. That you can meet strangers over a computer screen and let them surprise you, as they become some of your greatest comforts at the end of the longest days.

It has become somewhat a cliche of my own to use but I do believe that there are people in this world who make “thank you” seem like too small of a word. You are those people to me. Thank you for reading. Thank you for giving me that first comment. Thank you for being mentors to me in the “blogosphere.”Thank you for showing me just how beauty looks with a .com attached. Thank you for writing love letters and doing so much more than that. Thank you for giving me stories to share. Thank you for always sending a text message after every post, without fail, to give me your feedback (Car- that one is for you).

But one last thank you, perhaps it could be the only one. Thank you for making it clearly undeniable that all of you, the web and the life of this site, are the miracle at hand.

Here’s to a wonderful year of what I would like to call soul-searching upon a page. Without you, I would have never found the words. Because of you, I am left without more words to say.




Well let me tell you future employers, I have relevant experience…

Sometimes I wonder if she is happy, if her meetings are making great substitutes for her friends, if she is just as sad as I am to see her tell her friends she cant hang out because she was too many places to be. Sometimes I want to cry for her when she is too worn out to talk to her mother on the phone and she does not want her mother to see her negativity. I know she is hurting because she wants to talk to her best friend who needs her, her friend from home who has just become very sick. She wants to be everywhere at once but she can only be where she has scheduled herself to be. She hears it day in and day out, “You have everything going for you,” “Who would not want your life? It is absolutely perfect.” And all she can do is sigh and agree because she knows complaining will not give her more minutes to the ones she has already lost at meetings. Crying wont supply her the energy she has already lost. She loves what she does, but she needs to learn to put down the books, put aside the planner, and take a step back and reprioritize.

April 29, 2009 (One year ago today)

If you are looking to do what I did last year let me give you a few warnings first: A piece of paper will never hold your hand. Your planner will not curl up next to you or fix you a cup of tea. Your meetings won’t even flinch when you try to tell them about your day and when you try to take that same piece of paper shopping with you, it won’t be honest about how that black top really looks.

Perhaps you have met the stunning piece of paper I was referring to, his name is “resume” and he is a pretty big deal. Or so they say. Of course I don’t discard the importance of past experience or relevant skills but I think sometimes we tend to put aside people and the real essence of life to give ourselves up to this piece of paper. We pour ourselves daily into perfecting this piece of paper, into being top-notch at our work and at the head of the game for the job search. We stress and cry and pull our hair out over meetings and events and things we “committed” ourselves to.

Well, if these are the things that really matter then why don’t they read off resumes at funerals? How come we don’t sit around the table with our girlfriends and spill over each others’ latest accumulations of relevant skills?

That post above was written one year ago in separate blog for my magazine writing class. Although I was supposed to be keeping the content to “plagiarism issues” somehow the blog got me to see that I was unhappy, overtired and that I was spreading myself too thin. I was put nothing into my relationships, I was going to sleep lonely. I was waking up with no real reason for waking.

The hardest part can be admitting that we are unhappy with the way our lives look, to come to terms with the fact that we are indeed lonely or spending too much quality time with our resumes and planners.

I met someone this year who completely puzzled me; he was one of the first people who saw right past the walls put up by my full agenda book and bullet points on a resume. He looked right into my eyes and told me that I was tired and that I need a little fun in my life. And he said that is all he wanted to help me with. Help me let my hair down once in a while. He still does not know how that meant the world to me.

We all need these little reminders, be it a person we are close to or our own tired selves look back in the mirror. We all should use these little check points and dare to ask them daily: Am I happy? Am I having fun? Am I making everyday worth it? But even more difficult than evaluating our lives with these sometimes hard to ask questions is having the courage, when the answer is no, to take a step back and make a change. This change involves all the active verbs employers won’t ever look for on a resume: searching our souls, finding our bliss, cutting some slack, gaining a hobby, letting go of negativity, forgiving ourselves, vowing to move forward. Now that is “relevant experience” if I do say so myself.

We live in a culture where dedication to our careers and setting goals is expected, but is any of the success worth it if we cannot attest to being happy with it all? If we cannot take a night off, slide off of the paper and step away from the planner…

Dare to join me?