HOPE IS THE ANTHEM // Thanksgiving 2016

GRATEFUL || Gratitude reflections in the midst of the heaviness, the brokenness, the grey.

For the first snow magic.

gilmore-girls-snowIt’s the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Christmas decorations, Campus Christmas magic arrived overnight. Twirling holiday decorations in shades of calming blue hang overhead. The strains of every variety of music celebrating the most wonderful time of the year build up each other to fill the atmosphere. Big bands, smooth voices, jazzy beats. Childlike joy and wonder. May my eyes never grow to old to open up and behold this all. To be grateful.
And it’s time to be honest. I’ve been avoiding it all. An escape artist perfecting my work. Over the past month, days have flown by in a blur of colors. The changing dynamics of life have been relentless and overwhelming. My heart has been heavy and the thoughts and words have been coming, yet I’ve had to dig harder. Processing has meant more sentiment welling up within, more eyes turning red, more pressing myself to express the reality. And all I want to do is to get lost in the daze, to numb myself to it all. The experiences have been so much, and my soul is forever processing. So with deluges of thoughts I have started, grand ambitions and common themes ready to go, I have begun telling stories. Just as rapidly, the desire vanishes. It seems lately there are enough words going around, and adding my little voice to the massive storm is unnecessary.
Yet, I am an artist. Creating is in my veins. And so I’ve been hiding, sitting on things for too long. Giving every excuse for escape. Forgetting just how much this makes me come alive. And so here I go again, tiptoeing cautiously, trying to back away frantically, on the threshold of this world of words.

For community.
Everyday we have two options, to withdraw into our own little safe dream world, one where nothing tangible and lasting ever happens, or to open the doors and walk into the mess, and come alive more than you ever dreamed. Lately, I’ve been fighting to choose the second, and it has proved to be so worth it.
With each passing day, I am impacted more and more by community. Recently, I have been intensely reminded with goodbyes and departures, with the insanely crazy seasons of stress right now, with the celebrations of joy for friends, of the treasure it is to live in community.
Wherever you go, there is nothing more sacred, more rooted, more creative, more essential than to love others well.
Living life with others and walking in community with them is a precious gift. It’s what we are made for.
Community, kids, is so important.
Into the mess, the lovely, the hard nights
Chose to walk alongside the roughest seasons
Continuing to invest and believe in
Cinder block walls have taught me so well
That it’s about the stories we live not the ones we tell
It’s good to be with other hearts
Whether in coffee shops or climbing up mountain trails
Because something special starts
And you know with them it’s okay to fail
People who have viewed your most unfiltered state
And said they’ll still be around anyways

For hope being the anthem. 

You only vote once in a while.

But you change the world everyday you’re alive.

How you love, who you love, every breath is your religion.

-Jon Foreman

These past couple of weeks. All the is-this-a-bad-dream scenarios, the effects polarizing so deeply that it cuts to the core, the mess and the storm, the screens used to hide behind while unveiling our deepest fears and most intense thoughts. All the assignments, full schedules, stress leading to more coloring and working out only to circle back to stress, losing your mind slowly. All the things.

No matter how hard I try, I can’t fix this brokenness. No matter how many pages I write, stories I tell, songs I sing, people I love, things I create. I can fight all I want to, that won’t change the world.
We need a healthy dose of perspective
Things get twisted and distorted rapidly
You blink and the entire page is rewritten
And we forget we are living on the edge of eternity
Head can’t think straight heart can’t relate
So much love and so much hate, which will we let win
This isn’t a pretty picture, on every side we’re in dissarray
Yet we’re helping create it
Every breath building a religion, a war, a movement, a cause
An altar to what we love most, tear it down build it back up
For the love of it all, where is the love?
Where is the soul, humanity, even kindness?
Instead we spend our days ripped apart
Incapable of seeing the magnificence in living
Of the incredible and complex nature of the heart
Things I believe in right now:
Love alone is worth the fight, it is louder than all of this. More resilient.
We make the world we want, every single day we are alive.
That Hope is the anthem of my soul. It is the reason why I do the work, make the art I was created to, keep rising every dawn and living as fully as possible.


For floral dresses
coffee in hand
songs and words and creativity flowing out
chances to help change the world
anthems of hope flooding my speakers
movies scores that fill up emotions
those just right words in books that express your heart
handwritten mail
little girl enthusiastic bear hugs
little boy laughter echoing down the halls
the souls and stories that have changed me so much this year
learning to chose present over perfect
perspective
the bittersweetness of change
the way the music makes me come alive
the stories you get lost in
the always perfectly timed reminders of how desperately I need Jesus and grace to make it through everyday – no matter how often I forget
my own brokenness that pulls me back to grace
for the light and heavy of it all that remind this sentimental heart that eternity is worth fighting for and living for. 

Happy Thanksgiving friends.
May we fight, may we search closely for all that we have to be truly grateful for, may we be surprised by the richness of our right now lives.
Hannah-Grace

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