As I sit with a cup of coffee in hand far earlier than I hoped to be awake, my baby and husband fast asleep, I am filled with awe. Is that allowed? Can you be in awe of your own life? I am not in awe because we are filthy rich, live in a massive home, or are notable people. We lead fairly simple lives. Busy, but simple and full. We know what it means to want and know what it means to be with plenty. We have good days, we have bad days. We are, well… normal. My life isn’t “awe-worthy” to somebody from the outside, I suppose. At least, not according to the standard of perfection set by the unachievable mark we have defined for us by media and magazines. But, wow, it is to me. We inch closer and closer, by the hour, to a new year and a new decade. The entrance to a new phase in history, a new moment in time, and I just want to note it. I want it to go slow. I want to put a sticky note in time right here that says “Some of your best!”
The last 10 years I saw dreams grow legs and start to wobble. From a 17 year old girl with dreams of a big city, becoming a famous news broadcaster (chummy with Kathie Lee and Hoda, of course), and hoping to marry at some point in time to a now 27 year old woman who works from her home office (or, honestly, the sofa with a baby and dog on her lap), with a little boy pulling on her hair as she types and edits, and a husband she could have only dreamed up. No super fancy cars or lavish trips across the world…at least, not yet ;)… but a heart overflowing with every dream she could have ever asked for answered in a special way immeasurably better than she could have ever asked or hoped for.
Have you ever seen a video of a baby giraffe or, you know, something cute and gangly like that try to stand after birth, wobbling to and fro, and then before you know it they’re standing in all their gangly glory? Then, they begin to run. They don’t have the whole running thing down perfectly, so the mom has to gallop alongside to direct, but they are off none the less. That is what the last 10 years have been. From wobbling on the ground to a gangly, guided gallop, and now a rather confident and solid run. In what direction, we don’t fully know. 😉 I certainly don’t have it ALL down, y’all, but I do at least have down the running part fairly well. More precision and direction, perhaps, comes over the next 10 years. Although, I selfishly hope I never fully know what direction I am running. An idea, yes. But I never want to be so in charge of where my feet go that I forget to run where God directs me still, like a little foal needing the mother to guide and redirect as I stumble over my feet.
Ten years ago, I was a girl with white blonde hair, because I didn’t know to ask for full highlights instead of dyed hair. … It’s true. We all learn over time the important things, haha. I simply knew I wanted bright blonde hair that wasn’t yellow-y… and left with a head of white hair. It took some time to reel back in from that one (see above haha). And quite a few tears. And one breakdown that allowed me to go home early from school, which my mom NEVER allowed. So… we all know it was bad. Real bad. I couldn’t find a good picture of my white blonde hair… and I am sure it’s because I wanted no record of it.
I went to school as a very thirsty Christian. I had been a believer my whole life, but I was on the cusp of really figuring out why I believe what I believe and how I wanted my faith to look. Let’s just say, those were interesting years. Sometimes a little embarrassing to think about. I was so clueless about so much and so young. So thirsty and curious to learn ALL the things I knew nothing about in regards to my faith. I learned a wealth of knowledge in regards to life and faith from ages 17-19, and thank God for that. I settled down on the “fiery faith” thing and really found my step, my own faith and my own ideals according to my own relationship with Jesus. I wouldn’t trade those years for anything, though I would like to keep some of it in the vault for just me to know about haha. I truly am thankful, though.
I met my husband at 19 and married him at 21. It was 2012 at The Village Church. A cute boy with a hoodie over his head and blue jeans with black converse sat in front of me. His eyes and gorgeous lashes along with that tan skin paired with blonde locks that peeked out from underneath the hood yanked my attention, and I was smitten. I knew I wanted to chat more after church, but for the time being had to sit behind his cute hooded head and imagine what he was like as I tried to focus on the sermon. He heard me singing and says that is how he knew he wanted to know me more. I remember that moment in time so vividly. I remember the moment I met the man who would change the course of my life so perfectly, and I wish there was a way to capture moments in your mind and pull it out onto a video so it never goes away. Nerd alert: You know how in Harry Potter they can pull out memories with a wand and put it into a pool of memories?… that’s what I want for this moment in my life. Along with the second I met my son, Knox.
In 2014, I married my best friend. And the cute, hooded boy I fell in love with was my husband. And y’all… our first year of marriage was hell. If you are a newlywed thinking to yourself “What did I do? What happened to the cute couple we were at 19?”… you aren’t alone. It happens. NOT to everybody. In fact, I hate when people almost will it upon others that their first year of marriage will just inherently suck, because theirs did and it’s the cliche “first year” thing. I don’t wish that for anybody. But, for us, ours was shy of a disaster. I can giggle at least a little now about it. But I spent many nights wailing in our bathtub, because it was the only room in our studio loft with a door that locked. I threw a remote and a couple punches, and we threw around the “D Word” more than either of us like to admit. We were young, broke, and dumb… lol. But for real. I learned at a young age, and unfortunately it had to happen my first year of marriage, just how much a need for financial security ruled my heart. I had never had to think about money until I was married and had none. I didn’t know I could feel so angry or insecure until I had virtually nothing (or so I thought nothing- I focused on the wrong things). And WOW did it rock my world. I had never really known what it was like to be told “no” or to have to let wants die so that we could.. well, eat. I will never forget Paul sitting me down to say, “Hannah, if we have 10 lemons to live off of each month, but you want to spend 12… it won’t work.” Y’all… I needed HEEEELLLP lol. Living in Dallas, the home of the “30,000 Millionaire” didn’t help either. That is a term for Dallas, because everybody is sucked into a materialistic way of life as they are surrounded by actual rich people. And it’s actually hard to know when you’re out in Dallas who is actually wealthy, because everybody is trying so hard to achieve the facade that they are. In short: Dallas wasn’t good for me. It took time to completely weed out of me what was so icky and I didn’t even know existed until it was shoved in my face with an ugly mask. But wow, praise God. I would say this was the greatest and most substantial (arguably) thing I learned in my life in the last ten years that has truly made me a different person entirely from start to finish of it.
2015 was big. Firstly, in January of 2015 I started my blog. Below is a photo from my very early days! I wasn’t certain what it would look like except that I wanted to defy the “Dallas Blogger” thing and do it differently. In the middle of all the fake and the fashion, I wanted to create something that showed you can love those things, fashion and nice things, without losing yourself. And you can most certainly be “real.” Thus, The Cake was born and here we are nearly 5 years later. Then, that fall we moved to Mckinney to be part of a church plant and start our life’s call to do ministry alongside one another. Funny fact: My first date with Paul, we sat on a bench in early November over hot apple cider talking. He let me know he was called to be a pastor and wanted to plant a church one day. He told me that if I didn’t feel a call to that, then we shouldn’t really continue dating because it’s pointless. LOL. To the point! What was crazy, is ever since I was a little girl, I told people I thought I would marry a pastor.
Moving to Mckinney was the best thing we ever did. We have never been healthier or more full than doing ministry together. Moving to Mckinney didn’t fix everything, but it sure did bring out of us a closer version to who we were created to be. The last 4.5 years have been some of our best. Hard as hell. Am I allowed to say that? Sorry… err…honestly, so freaking hard. But the best thing that’s ever happened. We’ve launched two companies, seen our bank account and our little family grow, and it’s been the sweetest adventure of all time.
In 2016, I was burned out. I was exhausted and working (no joke) 8 different contract jobs at once trying to get my dreams rolling to really make money doing my own thing. Blogging wasn’t a hobby anymore as I booked jobs with Dillard’s and a full Valentine’s Day campaign with BareMinerals, and I found out I LOVED creating quality content with purpose. And, I loved styling photo shoots. It was so much fun to me, whether for myself or others. I just found out I loved being given a product and making others see through a lens how great it was, too. I spent hours a day in my car driving to Oak Cliff for one job while also working 40 minutes away at a Pure Barre, and blogging for companies who had hired me to do so on the reg in the meantime. All while growing The Cake by Hannah content and doing photoshoots with Hannah Hagaman to create a look for my own blog. By the end of 2016, I quit almost everything for my sanity and put all my cards into the blogging thing. I found out I was really sick, got diagnosed with a slew of issues (that actually made my entire life FINALLY make sense), and I knew I needed to redirect things and focus. Paul was getting into a groove with his new job, and I could slow down a little bit. Despite cutting our income in half for about two years, we were happier and healthier than ever.
2017, I got pregnant with our son. What a sweet year. I learned more about myself than ever before from a tiny 6 pound 11 oz. ball named Knox. I have never felt more fulfilled or content than now. The last two years have been some of my best, and as I watch my sweet boy grow and become a true little kid, my heart aches inside. The wrinkles on my forehead are ever-present and my dark circles seem almost permanent like a tattoo, yet I am the happiest I have ever been. 2018 is kind of a blur, mostly due to a growing human I had to keep alive, and 2019 I launched a new company that has changed our lives.
It’s hard to label myself an “entrepreneur” but here we are. I took the things I learned over the last 9 years, what I love and how to do it, and started training people under me to do it for others. My love for styling shoots and creating content bled into other people’s companies. The Cake Media Management was born in April of 2019, and truly has bec0me more than I thought it could be or ever would be.
PHEW, that was fun! I legit have tears in my eyes recalling all that God has done in these ten years. So here we are, about 48 hours from 2020. And, from just the couple of things I know are for sure coming this year, I literally am giddy with excitement. I can’t wait to bring you along the journey of the next decade here in this tiny corner of the Internet. I have no idea what all will come, but I do know that I am so ready. Right now, there are so many unknowns in our life that I know I should feel entirely overwhelmed. And, honestly, Hannah 8-10 years ago would be having a full-on panic attack right now. But, isn’t it funny what time and age does? In a weird way, I am ready to walk alongside my husband, hand in hand, and take on the world together despite the amount of unknowns we have in front of us. I am ready to see more dreams that have been deep inside our souls grow legs and take life right before our very eyes.
All I know is that I have God, my best friend, and my son by my side. And that truly is all I need. I can say that so wholeheartedly. It’s proven true the last 10 years, and I know it will stand firm the next 10 to come.
Happy New Year, y’all. Thank you for being part of this amazing journey. Thank you for being part of my life the last 5 years, and thank you for loving my little family. You are so much the reason I can say I am living my dream life. Simple and full. And so full because of each and every one of you.