Sunday, October 13, 2013

#4 - :: Done ::

... I did it ...

I ran a half marathon.

:: I finished; I completed ::

(more on this soon)

H ::

Friday, October 11, 2013

"She set out to conquer the world... So she did" :: Stair Stumbling Love

She came stumbling down the stairs this morning. My beautiful Caitlin, hair a mess, eyes half open. She almost fell over at the top. She had hit the snooze button a couple times. Who doesn't love doing that? :) But she wanted to hug me one last time before I left for my race and she knew she wouldn't get another chance. So at 6 am in the morning she arose ...  for me.

She came stumbling down the stairs this morning... sleepy... delivering words of love. My favorite thing. My love language. We embraced. The way we always do, meeting part of our hug quota for the day. It's the kind of embrace that reminds you of everything real, safe and true. It was the kind of embrace that told me she believed. She knows I can do it, conquer my race, just fine.

 Her faith motivates me. 

It's a beautiful thing to carry into my half marathon this weekend. I've got my physical stuff all packed and now I feel my heart all packed with the love and faith of my cherished ones. Invisible, they stand with me. Intangible, but I carry them in my heart. I will need that to keep my spirits high. But in all honesty, I am so stoked. I am ready for this. Ready to run. I text this to Esther (practically my twin sister, 6 years senior) at 9 p.m. last night. She said, "The adrenaline's kicking in!" Yeah! It is. :) And suddenly I believe too. I know I can do it. Conquer my race. Just fine.

I am setting out to conquer the world this weekend. (Yes, yes, my Cailee). So I will. 

Thank you, Beloved. 


"... Here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(Here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
And the sky of the sky of a tree called life; 
which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
And this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)
:: E.E. Cummings ::

Wednesday, October 9, 2013



This is a HUGE item to cross off my list and I can't wait for it!! Training for this half marathon has been an incredible thing. I have so much in my heart in regards to it that I can hardly type (or maybe its because I've had too much coffee on an empty stomach.. Hmm? Meh, let's go with the former). I've intended for a while to post about all that I have learned through prepping for this milestone. But sometimes expressing things too early robs you of the moment. And I have been cherishing this moment, this season of growth. Suffice it to say, after all is said and done, I am sure there will be multiple posts as I reflect.

But I am honored to participate in this race with my dear and precious friend from seminary, Sara Bieri. She's beautiful, isn't she?

This is a picture of Sara and I with her son, Isaac, on her graduation day.

Sara and I have been blessed to share in many activities together - classes, prayer time, shopping, leading worship as well as school victories and frustrations. She's been a tremendous, life giving friend during my season of life here in Portland. She's one of my best. Words can't describe what she gives to me. :: It's healing :: It's been fun journeying with her, enduring with her, and now we get to share in one more thing: our first half marathon!

We head up to Seattle this Friday - I am leaving work early and gettin' the heck outta dodge! We will spend a whole weekend lollygagging - touring around Seattle, carb loading, resting before the big event and maybe taking a tiny jog. Just to keep the muscles loose. Last weekend we ran 11 miles and we both felt AWESOME afterwards. At a little over a 9 min mile pace, we are sittin' pretty. We are doing this. ;)

o o o o o


Every few miles I say this to Sara. Breathless and in surprise. She catches her breath and laughs at me ... every time. "Yes, Hannah, we're doing this," She repeats. "We're doing this." I always say it around mile 5 or 6 without fail. Half-way into our run I settle into the notion that I have started something long and tough. I need to make peace with the fact that I have chosen this. Because it won't end until the finish and I gotta keep going. Now that I've started, there can be no stopping. I make this mental adjustment every time we set out. So I say... when my mind starts to waver ... we are doing this. 
To stay focused. To keep believing.

We are doing this, together, Sara and I, as a team. A life-giving team. 

I think on this and the running becomes wonderful, my feet light again.

o o o o o

I cannot wait to tell you all more about how the event goes! It's going to be a blast. I am going to take over Seattle with my energy. I am going to revel in the moment. And then when I come back down from my adrenaline rush, I look forward to sharing what the Lord has revealed to me through it all.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

#16 :: Done :: "I could so I would"

#16 - Bike to Work successfully all summer, capping off with the Bike to Work Challenge... Check! 

Whoo Hoo! I DID it. I biked to work all summer; I completed the Bike to Work Challenge & I officially have accomplished a desire of my heart. I AM A BIKER. :) It's a weird thing to "want" to be, a biker. But maybe all these years of living in Portland has finally rubbed off on me. Or maybe I see it as a way of fulfilling one of my initial goals in moving away from DC - finding a slower pace of life. One that didn't involve a car. One where I could easily incorporate exercise into my every day lifestyle. 

The DMV - District of Columbia, Maryland & Virginia - is a beautiful area. My heart misses it with every beat. But it's also a chaotic urban sprawl and it's almost impossible to get around without a car. When I was 22, my world was spread out all over the DMV. It was a stressful event every time just getting from point A to point B (Oregonians make me giggle when they talk about  "traffic". Sillies). Now, being 29, the locus of my world is the District proper in all it's wonder. :) Travelling is easy and can include walking. Former DC Mayor, Adrian Fenty, even caught on to the wonderful trend that is biking. Because of him you can now pay an arm and a leg to rent bikes in DC and ride across its tiny circumference. It's a brilliant idea no matter how expensive. But they caught on too late for me. It's nice to know, though, that when I head back east that the District will be more familiar with how I roll: by bike. ;)

So what does biking to work "successfully" mean for me after all this? Well, I had a lot of time to think about it in the 814.5 miles I rode this past summer. My ride into work is all downhill; it takes me about 25 min and it's a breeze. But that means my ride home is all uphill and takes me about 45 min. An uphill ride after 8 hours of work and getting up at 4:30 a.m. is brutal. Brutal. During those mile stretches of pure hill, I had to fight mentally just to make it. I would talk myself through. "You're not stopping, Hannah. No matter how tired you are. No matter how steep the hill. You are not stopping. You can. Dig deep. Push." I decided, while biking up the Ankeny bike boulevard between 28th and Cesar Chavez - my steepest incline, that successful biking, for me, meant that from the moment I mounted my metal steed there would be no dismounting, no matter how tough the ride or how tired I may be, until I reached my destination. Success meant not quitting half way through, not getting off my bike, not stopping, no matter how hard the hill. Success meant fighting through and digging deep until the end, knowing the end always comes. 

:: In all of my trips this summer, I never dismounted. I never quit. 
That is my success. ::

And that's led to a variety of fruitful rewards for me. The number one reward being that I now have my biking badge. This item on my list was more about cultivating the habit of biking than about the bike to work challenge at the end. My friend Sara asked me if my work team "won" the bike challenge. To be honest, I have no idea. I haven't even checked. I think it's because I already have what I want - competence in the biking world, invigorating exercise that is a part of my daily routine that maximizes my time and resources, and a daily challenge that reminds me to keep persevering no matter how hard the task ahead of me. Establishing the pattern was more important to me in the end versus winning on a larger scale. I thought the Bike to Work challenge would be the best way to end #16 on a high note. I was wrong. It was competing with myself that enabled me to be where I wanted in the end. During the bike to work challenge, no one was out there cheering me on, keeping my time, counting my miles, my efforts. It was just me, myself and I. The way it had been all summer. And I had the chance to see if I have what it takes to chase after a dream and grasp it, no matter how tiny, unseen or difficult. The true Hannah won out against all the doubts and voices in my head and this is my high note. 

My mom sent me a text after reading my "I am Limited" post. She did some awesome mothering. First, she told me exactly what I expected her to say: that she didn't want me to bike in the winter because I could get sick and she would not be happy about it. HA! To relieve you, mom, I almost stated in that post that I wouldn't bike just for biking's sake if it meant sacrificing my health. Wisdom and prudence in all things; you've taught me well. So, mom, be relieved. In Portland's winter months I don't plan on biking through the freezing rain every day. But you did say something else, like the true sage you are, that I hadn't fully realized. You told me I don't have to prove anything to anyone. Not even to myself. Not even myself. I cringed when I read that. But I knew you were right. I don't need to strive to prove anything to anyone... including myself. I lost sight of that in my 4 month journey with biking. But now I feel myself returning to equilibrium. I don't need to prove anything to myself, no. And yet while that is true, I still feel there is space for me to continue to learn the lesson that I can overcome my fears. That I can risk out and try new things. That I don't have to be conquered before I start. Living in that space is what I am really aiming for. Biking was just another tangible example of this ongoing battle in my heart. And trying out biking has lead me into a little bit more freedom in this area. And that is where I feel victorious. That's where I continue to feel new. Not striving, not proving. Just being brave enough to try and persevere and seeing that courage rewarded with freedom.

Early this summer, I went for a 35 mile bike ride with Brooke & Lex to surprise Alicia during her half marathon. We biked every few miles or so, stopped and then cheered her on in some sort of ridiculous period formation. Then we'd bike on to the next cheering point. While I was instagramming the photos from my adventure, my brother Isaac sent me a message. His question was simple: "when did you become such a serious biker?!" I explained to him that I had begun biking to work, that it was apart of my 30 before 30 etc. He pressed me a bit further stating he didn't know I was that interested in biking. Stepping back from the conversation for a moment I realized I didn't know I was that into it either. But I was. Biking had brought me joy. So my text back to him was simple: I decided that I could so I would. 

And I did. :) 

Now this philosophy isn't wise for all situations. Could, should and would are all interesting words that can sometimes be dangerous, getting us into messes we have no business being in in the first place. But in this instance it worked for me. Something in me clicked. And any fear that was blocking me dissipated into thin air. I put my mind to it and it became simple. Not only simple, but life-giving. 

Now It's part of my identity. My coworkers know it. My house mates know it. I know it. And I feel good having done this for me, having lived into a long desired dream of mine. Mission accomplished. Number 16 on my list is done. And I now have something - a knowledge, an experience, a habit, an identity - that I plan to carry with me for the rest of my life. 


Brooke: "Hannah, I'm surprised you can ride as many miles as you are on that bike."
Hannah: "Well... I can for two reasons. One, I am in excellent biking shape. And two, I just push it!"

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Another Thought-Provoking Article Close to My Heart ::

"... It's a very good thing that America is a country that tries to nurture the idea of being inclusive, being sensitive, that sort of thing, but then you wonder at what point does it clash with the idea of being truthful?" Adichie ::

Good question.