Monday, May 1, 2017

| worth the wait. |

Image may contain: 1 person, tree, plant, outdoor and nature

If the smattering of readers that this blog has managed to accumulate over the passing years dissolved entirely since my last post, then I'm hardly surprised. I didn't intend to take a sabbatical from blogging; it just happened that way. Real living took control, if you will, and left no spare spaces for virtually scribbling memories onto my cyber logbook. My posts were sporadic at best when I was still furnishing the blogging world with them, and will likely continue to be increasingly so in the future. Which is fine. Life is too fleeting to be digitally charted.

But, seeing as my life has taken on some fairly significant adaptions since my last post, I figured I owed the blog a few pictures and words. The last time I posted, I was a single girl working a full-time nanny job, exploring life's various invitations, and proving the diverse and sundry circumstances surrounding me for that channel called God's will. Life was beautiful, but largely defined by question marks. I knew that God had a blueprint with my name on it, a detailed design for my life, but I had yet to know the specifics.

I also had a certain guy's number in my phone, and though we had only been texting for three days at the time and our friendship was so fledgling at the time that it barely warranted the title of "friendship", I had an inkling that God's will for my life might possibly involve him.



Tomorrow, I will have been this amazing man's wife for two weeks, and I can say with a heart still struggling to grasp that all this time, God actually planned to bless me this much, that it has been the most incredible, most joy-filled two weeks of my entire life. Truly, God's best is worth waiting for, and every time I look into my husband's beautiful eyes, listen to him talk about God and hold him in my arms, the raw joy and emotion that I feel from being his wife, from loving and being loved by him, is nothing that any kind of words could ever do justice. I love him beyond what I judged my own heart capable of, and to feel God's will and guidance carrying first our friendship, then our ensuing courtship, engagement and now our marriage, has integrated a kind of harmony into our relationship that nothing else ever could have.

Guys, wait on God. It's worth it.


I saw Trent one day in church on a rainy Sunday, and though he was only a face without a name at the time, and though anything like a relationship was located nowhere near my romantic radar at the time, I looked at him twice, the second being several seconds longer than the first. Ha. He was sitting all by himself on the opposite end of the church sanctuary, with his Bible on his knees and wearing an expression of serious contemplation, and it took me aback. In a society of pretenders and jokesters, there was a mien of gravity and maturity about him that I had yet to detect in anyone under thirty. A few more Sundays of discreetly eyeing him from across the church aisle, watching him, and denying any inklings of attraction for a perfect stranger, paid homage to my first impressions of him. He was a man who took his life and his God with appropriate sobriety, and took his faith home with him instead of leaving it at church and finding it there again the following Sunday. There was something different about him. Something real. All of my life, I've hungered for sincerity, authenticity, and depth, and he was all three. And I liked him. Wanted my acquaintance with him to extend beyond little half-crush from across the church aisle. Even if all we ever happened to be were casual friends.

Fast forward a handful of months. I met his family, learned their names and made acquaintance, and they promptly reached out to us and made us feel welcome at the church. We hung out as families a couple of times, but him and I never spoke. He was quiet and reserved and I was much too shy and uncertain, and with a little time, smitten, to make any advances. Nonetheless, the longer I watched him, stalked his social media, (heh) and trailed him with my eyes, the more I knew I longed to know him, talk to him, hear his thoughts about God and life. I doubted that said event lived in the realm of possibility, or if I was ready for it even if it did, but I wanted to give it a try.

I had despaired on ever taking my rapport with Trent beyond subtly watching him in church and scribbling my admiration of him in my journal, and was looking elsewhere for an avenue to channel my energy into. But, lo and behold, one Sunday after church he quietly approached me and asked me for my number, and if maybe sometime I'd ever like to do something with him. I still remember what I said as I nervously texted my number into his phone, and I remind him of it when occasion calls for it:  "Sorry, I'm awkward."

His mental response, as he told me later: "Well, we can be awkward together."

I didn't know if it would work, but I knew, without any of the misgivings I had predicted, how badly I wanted it to.

We texted for hours on end following that haphazard little meeting and went on various dates that invariably involved eating and asking hundreds of get-to-know-you questions like "so, do you believe in spanking kids" and whether or not the guy should surprise the girl with an engagement ring or make her select it herself. He was the most thoughtful person I had ever known, and I loved catching glimpses of his depth. I didn't care what we talked about, or what we were doing; if I was doing it with him, I was happy. So happy. Again and again I made observations of his integrity and his love for God, and my admiration for him ran wild.

It was on Christmas Eve of December 2016 that I knew I wanted to marry him. He had come over to my family's home in the Sandia Mountains for a few hours and we had gone for a hike in the woods. On the way back we were sliding around like children on the perilous mixture of snow, ice and mud layering the dirt road, and in between teasing him and trying to keep my own balance, I realized the level of closeness I had achieved with him even in the brief segment of weeks that I had been his friend. How much I respected him, and how God had so abundantly opened a window of blessing in my life when He allowed us to meet. How I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could trust him with the keeping of my heart, and how passionately I loved him and wanted to save a seat in my future to him.

God continued to bless, and each time a possible conflict attempted to present itself, His provision laid it to rest. There is nothing that strengthens a relationship more than to witness God's hand being the caretaker of it. The more time that I spent in Trent's presence, the more aware I become that my heart had joined itself to his, and how I wanted nothing more than to be his best friend, his cheerleader and his confidante, for the rest of our lives.

On February 18th Trent asked me to marry him. We had planned to meet at my house with his sister in law to take some couple shots together. We were in the woods together, when Brit told me to turn and look the other way 'for a pose' (riiigghht) When she gave me the okay to turn around, he was kneeling with the ring. There was no panic, no adrenaline rush of emotion or excitement, not even any tears. Just peace. And the most happiness I had ever known up to date.

Oh, and I did say 'yes'.

The next eight weeks were definitely among the more stressful I have known. More than once I was very glad that you only plan a wedding once, and I definitely considered ditching the whole wedding thing and running off with him and eloping. On the wedding day, I was a ball of nerves. I mean, is this actually happening? I'm getting married? for real? and will there be enough food for everyone? what if one of the bridesmaids passes out? or I pass out? I planned to drive to the church myself, but my mom drove me there to give me some time to relax in the passenger's seat, or at least, pretend to relax.

I had the five best bridesmaids any bride has ever been lucky enough to claim by her side: my sisters-in-law, Brit and Angie, my two best friends, Salinn and Kaily, and last but not least for sure, my baby sister, Esther Joy. My mom was with me the whole time, helping me get ready, and my bridesmaids were awesome, handling my nerves with a version of grace that deserves an honor.
However, after we were all ready and the only thing remaining in our schedule was to wait, I felt again that peace that had been with me since the first day I met Trent. Every building block in our relationship was placed there by God. It was His work, and He would not leave it lacking or unfinished. When it was time to walk down the aisle, I felt no fear at all, and as soon as I saw the man who was to become my husband, waiting for me, I could have stopped and just thanked God right there. Thanked Him for providing me with the guts I needed to actually meet him here at the altar and say the sacred words that made us one flesh, and for the joy that at that moment, and ever since then, has known no limits.

Image may contain: one or more people and wedding

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and outdoor

Our day was in a word, a miracle. Everything came together, and my family and his banded together to tie all the loose ends together and cheer us on as we took the plunge into marriage. So many things that could have (and should have) utterly gone awry flowed without a glitch and by the time the last pictures were taken, the reception tidied away, and we were finally alone together as husband and wife, we were overwhelmed at how the grace of God had made our day into everything that it was.

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and outdoor

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: one or more people and wedding

Image may contain: one or more people, tree and outdoor

Sure, there will be rough edges to sand down to smoothness, struggles to talk out, and days when it takes a lot of work. We're still both flawed human beings living in a world where imperfection is everyone's native language.

But we have God on our side, and have, from the beginning.

Image may contain: 1 person, wedding, tree and outdoor

God bless,

Thursday, October 20, 2016

| stay forever, autumn. |


Fall is my favorite season, hands down. Something about the excitement of the change in the air, the falling temperatures, the accomplishment of having made it through three-fourths of another year, the harvest aspect of the season, the knowledge that Christmas is a stray handful of weeks away, makes it richer, at least to me, than its three colleagues.


some happy things from this month so far:

* hiking in the beautiful Sandia Mountains. The aspens and cottonwoods are in the process of transforming from green to yellow, and it's a glorious spectacle to behold. I want to climb to the top of those wooded peaks and camp there for a month- no technology, no distractions, just nature and me and God.

 not in the sandia mountains but this was fun. (obviously.)

* new beginnings, fresh starts, and feeling so much joy just at being alive, still (fairly) young, haha, and exploring new blessings God has been saving for up until now. Lately my heart has been happier than I ever imagined it could feel again, and that's Jesus, people. All the praise for that, belongs to Him.

A photo posted by Hannah Hopkins (@hannahellie95) on

* okay, this is so clichéd... but.... Starbucks fall-flavor lattes. Sorry, guys. I had to insert that. I feel this pinprick of guilt every time I enter the Starbucks and exchange four or five dollars for a coffee (mind, it's hardly a frequent occurrence) but those lattes are fabulous things, and I've yet to repent of a single one.

* my job, which, while exhausting, offers more rewards than merely the paycheck. It has had its tragic moments, the majority of which are comedic in nature, but it's splitting at the seams with unpredictability and endearingness. (blogger protests that endearingness isn't a word. Well, it ought to be, and I'm going to be a rebel and insert it anyway.)

* roasting green chiles. If you don't know what that is, well, mosey on down to New Mexico, and you'll acquire a fairly decent knowledge of it pretty fast. Also green chile peanut brittle is awesome, and so are green chile pistachio nuts, and so is any kind of food (almost!) with green chiles in / on it, and if I ever vacate the state, I will miss green chiles with all of my heart. ha.

* revival meetings at church, among other church-related happenings. We've been blessed with a fairly steady series of those in the past several weeks, and each one has been stirring and edifying.

* the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, which, besides being a small carnival in its own right, has me saving up for a ride in a hot air balloon next October. Maybe that idea will be outgrown, but for now, I'm saving it on a spot on my imaginary bucket list.


* this quote: "What God is bringing you through at this very moment is going to be the testimony that brings someone else through. No mess, no message." *and truer words were never spoken*

* also this quote: "Writers don't choose their crafts: they write, in order to face the world." Anonymous genius who jotted down that concept, you are correct.

* doing crazy, happy things with fam, like random pizza with no notice, planning pumpkin patch trips, showing my skeptical brothers that, yes sir, I really am a competent driver and you don't need to say, "i'll meet you on the other side" every time I take off, and plotting prospective cross-country trips to visit friends. (SO hoping that will work out.)

Anyway, enough arbitrary thought for now. I hope everyone is having a beautiful day, and if not, as one of my friends says, have a better day tomorrow. :)

Friday, August 12, 2016

| these summer nights. |


(where are the pictures? I didn't feel like snagging one from pinterest, and the ones on my mobile phone are pathetically gritty. so guess what. you get to read the words and be content minus visual stimulation. haha.)


Summer. I don't know how to sum up this one. I wrote a blog post a month ago, but kept it stuffed in the drafts folder too long and when I wandered back over to the blogger dashboard and poked over the words again, they sounded lame. People say I write deep thoughts that aren't necessarily inspiring at times, so I shall adjourn from my generally melancholic and introverted self and provide the general public with something that doesn't quite deserve the adjective "heavy." I guess I could describe the sweaty, screaming volleyball games with the church youth, the curled up beneath a Southwestern sky last weekend, probably as close to a major fireworks show as we will ever get, (go Route 66) the disgraceful number of times we took advantage of Sonic's half-off evening milkshake policy and indulged under the stars, that time we drove down to Jemez Springs for some creek swimming, but had disastrous glass cuts within minutes from someone's previous beer binge, (it was . . . colorful? okay, that was morbid) the horseback rides in the Sandia Mountains, and I'm not sure what else to add to the collection of memorabilia.

Okay, I lied. I found a few half-decent shots on my phone, this one being from a hike a few days ago.

And this one from a mini road trip a week ago, to pay my respects to the decaying remnants of a major forest fire this past June. It's amazing how much a little heat can destroy, how healing can require all of a lifetime.

Though I'm thankful for my family and friends and road trips and fireworks and Sonic milkshakes and the like, I feel the most myself, alone under a sky quilted with constellations, listening to the crickets and cicadas and coyotes and other assorted nocturnal wildlife put the night to music, housecleaning my thoughts. Sometimes I bring my guitar or my mandolin outside and make my own contribution, which, besides writing, I enjoy more than anything in the world. I have scores of unfinished songs written up in my docs folder, though I doubt if anyone will ever see them. Which is perfectly fine by me. My mom finally convinced me to put some songs on YouTube, so I dug out my dusty little account and uploaded a few I plunked out in our garage, with my mobile phone as a recording device. My favorite song in the world is JJ Heller's "Love Me." Maybe because I possess a fetish for the melancholic. Maybe because the mournful flavor of the lyrics connects somewhere inside me. Maybe because the culmination of the song is the most degraded of humanity finally making his peace with his Father. I'd like to write a song like that someday. Thanks to the fifty-hour-a-week job I'm about to commence the day after Labor Day, (so long, lazy summer days) my time for such things is about to perish entirely, but I hope that there will always be a few moments in my life for a couple of guitar songs, a half-hour or so of letting my heart bleed into a keyboard, of exploring the quiet backwoods where the punk-rock beat of life changes to wind in the cedars and water on rocks, and remembering my Creator in the days of my youth. Which, mournfully enough, are expiring rapidly. I've never felt so ancient before. I can't believe I was a teenager eleven brief months ago. People say I have an old soul, and I've definitely been feeling that of late.

I love this song too:

"You can spend your whole life building
Something from nothin'
One storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway . . .

You can chase a dream
That seems so out of reach
And you know it might never come your way
Dream it anyway . . .

This world's gone crazy
It's hard to believe
that tomorrow will be any better than today
Believe it anyway . . .

God is great, but sometimes life ain't good
And when I pray, sometimes it don't turn out how I think it should
But I do it anyway."

That's enough for tonight. I even found another picture to leave with y'all.

Good night.