Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Continuing on the journey...

Today I changed a profile picture.  Seems harmless and I probably wouldn't normally give it a second thought.  However this particular picture was posted at the start of this blog...with my Dad's memory in mind.  I started Hannah's Day blog to share my thoughts on grief, cooking, hobbies and really anything in which I could gain my voice back after his it was fitting to have a picture of me and my Dad.

The last few weeks I've had the thought of changing my picture on here.  I wanted it to serve as a marker.  Then that lovely voice would poke its head and say "Gosh, then you are forgetting. You don't want to forget, Hannah, do you?!"  For any of you that has lost someone, whether to death, ended friendships or moves, you've heard that voice too...the one that makes it hard and sometimes impossible to pick up your feet to walk forward because for some reason moving forward is congruent with forgetting.  It's a pretty loud voice sometimes...even when it comes to changing a little picture.

I didn't particularly want to change my picture.  It wasn't like I needed to put a new one up.  There was another voice I heard, however, the One that belongs to my biggest fan, the One cheering me on and understanding (better than I) that moving forward is the only way to go.  This One's voice reminds me that I cannot stand still although at times I need to pause; I cannot go back although it is good to remember.  It reminds me that I must continue to on the journey.

Heaviness fills my heart most times when I think of continuing on the journey because it feels like the further forward I go the further back my Dad's memory is.  I know this isn't the truth, but it is a very strong feeling that I can't shake sometimes. Continuing the journey, differently than you imagined when you started, it very hard.  It takes courage from the depth of your soul.  Courage to face the next joy.  I say joy because when you've lost someone, at least what I'm finding, is it takes more courage to face joy because that means you have to push through that voice that says, "You can't really find joy if you're Dad's not here to enjoy it with you." 

I'm finding in this season (especially) that my Mom's words ring true, "It isn't an either/or thing, it needs to be both/and."

She's right.  Continuing on doesn't mean choosing between moving forward or keeping my Dad's memory close.  Doing one does not negate the other although that voice would like us to think so!  No.  Continuing on the journey means I get to choose moving forward and holding my Dad close. Maybe the first step of continuing on the journey is changing a profile picture.  Further still, maybe continuing on the journey will one day be growing our family or moving to a new home that Dad was never in.  Each step being a feat to face and victory to overcome with more and more freedom on the other side of both.  I can have both/and - choosing to move forward and having joy can be my option.

So...I'd like to choose that one please...continuing and joy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Persimmon Cookies

Persimmon Cookies

Today is the second time in three weeks that I've made these bad boys! They will delight your taste buds so I thought I'd share the recipe. These delicious treats made their way into my family when I was in high school when my Dad decided to start baking -- One day I got home from school during the holiday season it look like the kitchen had exploded with cookies and treats! It was awesome!

Two weeks ago was my first go at making these myself and they will now become a regular Fall/Winter treat!  Enjoy the recipe as I got it from my Dad and he probably got it from who knows where...but it's in my family cookbook now so try it for yourself and enjoy them during the holidays :-D

Persimmon Cookies

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup persimmon pulp (I scooped the insides out of the skin and stuck it in a blender - easy peasy)
2 cups flour (white or wheat work; I've done 1 cup white and 1 cup wheat...if you have wheat you're trying to get rid of, use it! Works great!)
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Cream butter and sugar.  Add egg.  Dissolve soda in persimmon pulp (it'll harden a bit, that's fine) and add to butter mixture.  Mix well.  Add dry ingredients, raisins and nuts -- pic below.  Drop by spoonfuls onto a greases cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10 mins or until lightly brown.  Smaller cookies work great for this!

consistency of dough

Monday, November 3, 2014

You Are Here

I came across this song today...incredible reminder of being present in the are here.


You Are Here - The Wailin' Jennys

You Are Here

You wonder why you wonder when
You wonder how now and then
How you became who you’ve become

You are here
And yet you dream of being there
Of being where you think the good life has begun

Every darkened hallway
Every fallen dream
Every battle lost and
Every shadow in between
Will bring you to your knees and
Closer to the reason

And there’s no making cases
For getting out or trading places
And there’s no turning back
No you are here

Who can say who made the choice
In the matter of your birth
Who brought about that fateful day
Well you are here and born with fire and desire
You’re the only one can stand in your own way

And every broken arrow
Every hardened smile
Every foolish gamble and
Every lonely mile
Will bring you to your knees and
Closer to the reason

And there’s no making cases
For getting out or trading places
And there’s no turning back
No you are here

And every sign of love
Every seed that’s growing
Every sweet surrender
To that silent knowing
Will bring you to your knees and
Closer to the reason

And there’s no making cases
For getting out or trading places
And there’s no turning back
No you are here

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Another Anniversary

Today marks another anniversary.  Year 3.

Sometimes I sit and wonder if this is real life.  Did Dad actually die?  Has it really been 3 years?

Questions regularly fill my mind, especially this time of year, but my grief is different these days.  My heart less heavy, my mind less distracted by the realization that he is indeed gone.  Never feeling "better now," but feeling more "okay" with each passing day.

Today I don't really want to be on my phone or on social media as I want to be in this day myself.  Please don't confuse that with thinking that I want to be alone!  No, I just want to be with my own thoughts and self today.  The last 3 years I've felt this, a little bit...but this year it's really all I want to do - to find a spot and sit with my Dad and myself.  To be.

Today is different for me too because in this journey of moving forward, I find myself being okay with not posting a picture of my Dad out of remembrance.  Strangely it's partly to do with not having any new photos of him.  I know this is part of moving forward.  It's always a struggle for me not to feel guilty in moving forward.  Thankfully, to combat the guilt I can always go back to my Dad's very words, "Keep living life!  Do not stop!"  I am blessed to even have a video message of him saying it to us.

I am grateful of all the friends and family that join me in celebrating my Dad's life, especially today, but really most days.

Today I hold grief and hope in both hands.

Today, and every other day, I remember my sweet Papa, his legacy, and the brave choices and love he lived.

Today I choose to keep moving forward and being okay, knowing I'm actually honouring my Dad.

Today I am blessed that I get to feel the great loss his absence is in my life.  Yes, I get to feel it.

Today I see all the hard work I've sewn in coming to this place of "okay-ness."  Not "better," but "okay."

Today I continue to choose to be thankful no matter the circumstances.

And today, when I think of my blessings, I count my family twice.

October 21st will always be my special day, just me and my Daddy.

Enjoy this video we had at Dad's memorial service.  And as always, if you have a memory of my Dad, please be free to share it in the comment section below.  I love hearing how he's touched other peoples' lives.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

2014 Family Pictures

St Paul Photo Co.

I am so excited about pictures! A few months back Phil and I decided we wanted to take new family pictures since the last time he and I did them was our engagement pictures, 4 1/2 years ago! I am excited to share these and the beautiful work of Ashley Rick at St Paul Photo Co. She was amazing during the shoot and I recommend her for any setting :-)

Here you go!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

People of Promise

Photo by the lovely Becca Pleuler

I had the honour of speaking at church a few weeks ago.  Here is the sermon if you'd like to have a listen. You can listen online or download for later.

Be encouraged! :)

People of Promise - Hannah Day

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

God Is Not A Sleep Number Bed

photo by Elizabeth Dipprey

Last Sunday, August 10th, Philip had the privilege of preaching at our church, Zimmerman Community Church.  This time when he spoke, he preached on something God has been putting in his heart...and if you read my previous post about Growing, there is a similar theme in the season God has been bringing Phil and I both through.

I want to share his sermon entitled, "Got Is Not A Sleep Number Bed," with you.  Be encouraged. Be challenged.  Keep pursing Jesus even when it gets uncomfortable!  Enjoy :-)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Passing Through

Tomorrow marks 3 years. 

The day after Mom and Dad’s 31st Anniversary.

3 years since my family received news that would change our lives and our dreams.  Maybe it’s because I have time to think today, on a day off, but I feel this day the last 2 years has come and gone.  But this year, I have time, or maybe space, to remember.

I want to remember that Skype call we received June 8th, 2011.  It was Philip, John-Michael, Candace and myself with my Mom and dear friend Rob on the other side.  She shared the heart stopping news with us and if there were ever a moment in my life of shock and time ceasing to move, it was that moment.  
Wait, my Dad has been given 6-12 months to live? My Dad. No. He has to meet my kids! He can’t die! Is this really happening?
Those were the majority of my thoughts in that moment. In the next, the Holy Spirit spoke to me, “Peace, Hannah girl. Peace.” And my mind slowed and I allowed the tears to come. Our dear friend Rob sang over us before we left and then, the four of us, alone in a small office, cried and held each other.
I tell people often that never in my life would I choose to have this in common with anyone. I would never even wish this on my fiercest enemy.
Grief is a lonely road. Very few choose to journey it with you. Since that day, 3 years ago, I have experienced the greatest loneliness, deep in my soul. I have had nights of sobs and days of pain. Although I will never say, “Okay, I’m better now,” I will say the intense pain and sorrow does get lighter…but never leaves. I would never choose for it to leave if it means I would stop having capacity to relate to the brokenhearted.  Jesus knew this pain and sorrow the best, and I desire with my whole soul to be like Him.
I wish I never had to say bye to my Dad. I wish I never had to experience this degree of pain and heartbreak. I wish a lot of things these last 3 years, but I am always, always reminded of what a friend spoke to me shortly after my Dad died. She reminded me of Psalm 23, one of my favourite Psalms.  She pointed out something I had never recognized before in the valley of the shadow of death…we must pass through.
Not long ago I found a video of my Dad shortly after he was diagnosed with stage 4,  inoperable, metastasized cancer.  He said, “Keep living!  Don’t stop because of the news we have received. Keep living life to the fullest!”  What a brave man.  Since then, I have faced other challenges in which I have felt pressured to stop or dwell on the hardship…but, I remember what my Dad said, and choose to keep living and moving forward.
I’m not sure if my Dad knew it when he said it, but when he told us to keep living and keep running the race, I think he also meant what Psalm 23 says, for us to pass through.  Do not get stuck or stop. Do not go around. But pass through.  I believe it is in the “passing through” that we have the opportunity to see Jesus in more of His glory. In our deepest pain, he never wants us to go around or ignore it, but to pass through.  
As I say over and over again, never would I have chosen this journey. However, it has been in this journey that I have seen Jesus blessing the poor in spirit and the brokenhearted…only this time it is me.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


After writing my last post, I've started thinking of growth and what growing means and looks like.  I'm realizing that we choose whether we will grow or not.  I am very grateful that I have chosen growth over stagnation in my life.  That doesn't mean I haven't had (plenty) moments of stagnation, but I am beyond grateful that the Holy Spirit has got my attention before stagnation becomes too comfortable.  Phil and I are finding ourselves in a season of this together.  Facing the choice of whether to grow, or stay.

I had a friend in high school who used to say, "Hannah, your comfort zone is being uncomfortable!"  My, how I wish that were still true!  As an Missionary Kid I think it's easy to find myself thriving in uncomfortable becomes normal (and all MKs reply, "Here here!").  I am learning however, with age, it is easy to become comfortable with, well, comfort.  I've been living in America for 9 years now.  I can't believe it.  That's 9 years of consistent American addresses and driver's licenses.  I have found myself getting comfortable with comfort.  I have my life; it's stable, with a great husband, a wonderful church family, family living close by, buying a business (more later), and my Mom is thriving.  I'm comfortable!

I'm not saying that those things are wrong or bad, having a stable and wonderful life is great! But I find the older I get that it's easier to stay than to go, it's easier to continue routine than to be somewhat spontaneous, and it's easier to remain the same rather than growing.  Growing takes outside pressure, good or bad, to cause a reaction within us.  We choose whether we want that reaction to be good or bad.  When my Dad died, I had a choice...and continue to have a choice.  I can choose to remain angry (yes, Joyful Hannah was angry for quite some time!), or I can choose to grow.  Said differently, I can choose to pick up my cross and die daily, or not.

It always takes time to grow but the best place to start is by consciously choosing to grow.  It takes a choice...and a lot of hard work and humility.  I don't want to get too comfortable that I stop growing, no matter how old I get.  I want to pursue excellence and God's call for my life no matter how uncomfortable it may get.  I want to die daily...after all, isn't that being like Jesus?  I want to be like Jesus so badly...more than I want to be comfortable!  So I choose to change, or stay the same, whichever allows space in my heart to grow and become more like Jesus.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Seeing that I have been grieving one thing or another for most of my life, this is a beautiful quote that brings comfort to my heart.  I had to share. 

"Grief is neither a disorder nor a healing process; it is a sign of health itself, a whole and natural gesture of love. Nor must we see grief as a step toward something better. No matter how much it hurts—and it may be the greatest pain in life—grief can be an end in itself, a pure expression of love." 
Gerald May

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Living on Purpose

For a while now I've wanted to write something about being intentional and living on purpose.  I've read and re-read, edited and re-edited this post several times.  Last week even, I got another nice encouraging kick in the pants after reading a friend's blog about a similar, finally, here are some thoughts...hopefully some clear thoughts :)

Sometimes, being the one in a different season as those around you can be really hard.  Loneliness is not uncommon nor feeling the need to compare oneself, regularly.  Sometimes you have days of feeling confident and fulfilled, but then someone makes a comment to you in passing or as a joke and it makes you reevaluate the course you have chosen.  At least that has been my experience.

Phil and I, even before we got married, decided to live our lives intentionally instead of allowing life to simply happen to us.  We are finding ourselves in another intense season of this choice.  This choosing to wait, on purpose, season.  Waiting.  I think we take for granted all these "normal" life things because in society, it's just "what you do," right?  Go to college.  Get married.  Buy a house.  Have kids.  I think one of the biggest misconceptions we can have is that we are out of control in regards to the timing of our lives.  Clearly said, many of us feel we don't have control of timing.  In Christian circles it is many times stated that "God is in control," and as much as I absolutely agree with that statement I would suggest that indeed God is in control AND has given us free-will to choose what direction to go.  Maybe not with every single event that happens in life, but I have found that people can choose when to say yes and when to say no.  That goes for life choices...and if you will, timing. Phil and I have learned that timing is incredibly important. 

Phil and I realized this principle early on.  We are in control of our response to life and the timing in which we choose to do things.  Seeking God on the timing for when things should occur in our life and seeking wise counsel (super important) are huge tips for success, no matter what stage of life you are in.  I've never been one for doing something just because everyone else is doing it, or because it's "normal"...and I guess that is a core belief that has permeated all of my life.  I want to do things on purpose.  To be intentional.  I want to intentionally get out of debt and not just hope for it to happen.  I want to intentionally do the best I can to create a safe environment for my kids for whenever they come and join us.  I want to be intentional about running our business effectively and wisely (more about this later).  I want to intentionally invest in friendships and not just hope they grow and flourish. I want to live on purpose.  Does this mean everything goes "according to plan"?  Of course not!  But it does mean that when surprises come, it's not because of irresponsibility but because, life happens.

Phil and I experienced the pressure of "normal" life early on in our relationship.  Since we first started dating we knew we were going to get married...we just weren't clear on the "when" part.  Most people would ask, "Well if you know, why don't you just get married then?"  We would say over and over again that we're waiting for God's timing.  God's timing is perfect and although we like to hurry it up sometimes, Phil and I are very sensitive to what His thoughts are with the timing in which we do things in our lives.  Going to college, getting married, having kids, buying a house, owning a business.  Although these are indeed "normal" life things, we always want God to have a say by intentionally asking Him what He thinks and how to proceed.

I am continually reminded of my parents whenever I feel frustrated about living on purpose.  They got married and 5 years later had my brother, their first child.  They were following the vision and Call God put on their lives to be Missionaries.  Do you know how many times people told my Dad, "Um Larry, are you sure about being a Missionary?  I think being a Youth Pastor or something would be better suited to you."  He was told that A LOT.  Seriously, he was told crap like very often.  And yet, he and my Mom held to their guns and waited for God's timing and direction.  All their friends were buying houses and having kids while they were raising money to go to AFRICA....HELLO?!  Who does that?  I do not say this lightly when I yell, PRAISE GOD my parents do that!  It took perseverance, tons of patience, and continually surrendering to The Lord.  That's the kind of couple I want Phil and I to be like.  A couple that lives life on purpose and intentionally, always asking God for His thoughts about our lives.

I love where Phil and I are at in life right now.  Believe me, I am more content now than I have been since my Dad died.  I think part of the reason for this is because Phil and I have chosen to live on purpose, and not simply allow life to happen to us.  Is it hard? Absolutely! But, when the hard times comes, it's a little easier to get through when we know we have chosen to be where we are at and following God in that direction.

God wants to take you on this wild ride of life.  Choose today to live on purpose.  Be thoughtful.  Be intentional about living. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Home Made Tortillas

That's right folks, I am now into making my very own tortillas!  And can I say they are DELICIOUS!  Like, super delicious!

Philip and I get loads of recipes from our "buddy" Chef John over at  He is the man!  All his recipes are video blogs so you can actually watch him make the foods you are attempting.  I highly recommend his blog.  I'll post my pictures here and you can jump over to his site to get the recipe.  Enjoy!

Chef John's Flour Tortillas

Some optional topping if you make tortillas just to eat!

Makes 8 tortillas

Makes 8 tortillas
Cook them on an ungreased skillet

And you're done!  Yummy!

Homemade Pudding

I just tried a simple little pudding recipe from my Real Simple magazine and wanted to share. Very easy and you probably have everything on hand (except agave nectar, but I don't think it's even necessary).

1 cup milk
3 Tbs agave syrup
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (for flavour)
A pinch of salt

Chia seeds expand when wet. Cover your jar and shake. My magazine suggests to chill for 20 mins and serve with fruit, but I suggest to even leave it over night to give the seeds plenty of time to expand.  And that's it!  All done!  I'm going to use raspberries and they were delicious!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

New Bread Recipe

I have discovered another bread recipe that I like better than my previous recipe. The website I get this from has too many words so I will give you all the info you need, right from my memory!  The website is really helpful for pictures and the videos at the bottom of the post, so be sure to look at them! Try it and tell me what you think!

4 cups flour
2 tsp dry active yeast
1 Tb sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
2 cups of lukewarm water (1 1/2 cups cold & 1/2 cup of boiling is your best option!)

I use organic ingredients, but you can use whatever you'd like.

Step 1- Boil water.  In a measuring jug fill with 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of boiled water.  Add sugar and yeast.  Let sit until the yeast gets foamy...about 15 mins.  You can stir if you want, but I usually try and wait until after it foams.

Step 2- While yeast water is doing its thing, measure out salt and flour into a big bowl and mix together.

Step 3- a. Pour yeast water into flour after it's become foamy and b. mix.

Step 3a
Step 3b

Step 4- Once you have it all mixed together as shown in "Step 3b" cover with a towel.  Preheat oven on lowest temp (usually 170 degrees) for 1 minute and then TURN OFF and simply put your covered bowl into the oven to rise for 1-1/2 hours.

Step 5- When your bread has risen, you can grease 2 pyrex bowls.  Play with the sizes to see what you like.  I like using a bigger size than the original recipe calls for because I like my bread cut with longer slices.  In the pic below you see I used 2 different sizes and it worked fine.

Step 5

Step 6- a. This is the ONLY tricky part...and it's not that tricky but you'll want to watch the video because my picture doesn't explain it very well.  You will use 2 forks and pull the dough off the sides and fold into the middle.  Go around the bowl a few times.  You can also use one fork and one hand to hold the bowl (my problem!).  b. Once you're done folding the dough over itself, divide the bread into half.

Step 6b

Step 7- put the bread into your pyrex containers and let rise for another 20 mins.  I usually cover them again and put them on the oven while it's preheating to the cook temperature - 425 degrees.

Step 7

Step 8- put bread into a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes and then 375 degrees for 17 minutes.'re DONE!  Yip, all done! :)