2016 was unpredictable, exciting, fulfilling, satisfying, adventurous, and so much more.
The days after Christmas are quiet and slow, a complete change of pace from the month and a half before of “the holiday season”. The days after Christmas are a juxtaposition of being both depressing and joyful. I hate taking down Christmas decorations, but I look forward to setting goals for the days to come and reflecting on the year past. If I had to pick, I think I would actually put this past year as a top 5 favorite years to date. Paul and I have so much to be grateful for every single year. We truly do have so much to be thankful for, and I know more often than not… we take that for granted. But there was just something different about this year, and I could feel it. I saw it, and I was so aware of it. We made strides in our careers, moved forward with confidence in our marriage, made hard decisions, encouraged big changes, and continued to build the foundation to our future home & family.
We celebrated more, fought less, and laughed a lot.
So much happened this year, and it was all so thrilling. I feel like Paul and I were cheerleaders for each other, high kicking with pom-poms from the sidelines… okay, maybe just me in that specific mental picture… but you get the idea. It is so fun to be married young and grow up together. So many say we are crazy, a minority of people naive enough to believe we could actually find someone we want to be with forever at 19 years old, and that the chances of staying with someone when you get married at 21 are not high. You won’t “find yourself”, your independence is stripped of you, and you will never fully thrive as an individual… yet, I have found marriage to be quite the contrary. I believe in marriage, and I believe that two hearts beating with the same fire is stronger together than separated. I believe in the sanctity of marriage, I believe in the covenant. I believe it’s more than the “old fashioned way” to do things, but truly what we are called to do if we find someone we love and want to be with. And listen, marriage isn’t the end all, be all. It really isn’t. Paul says in the bible that we are better off NOT married. (There’s a lot of meat to why he says that.) But, should we find someone our hearts beat with passion for, we are better together than apart. Marriage isn’t everything. If your timeline doesn’t look quite like you always thought it would, I promise that life is just as full for you. Don’t let the world tell you something is “off” if you aren’t married by age ______. Frankly, as someone who got a lot of crap for getting married at 21… it feels a little like “danged if you do, danged if you don’t.”
I don’t know why I just went off on that tangent, but I assume it’s because someone out there needed to hear that. So, soak that in. Love where you’re at, and praise God in all things. We all have things that we definitely didn’t imagine would be the way they ended up panning out. That’s life. And I choose to praise Him still.
Just the other night during date night while we were driving around looking at Christmas lights, Paul said he loved growing up with me. That line melted my heart. It was also kind of funny coming from someone who is about to turn 27… but it’s so true. We met when we were just babies. We both are changing constantly, taking risks and leaping for the next goals. But, how fun to do that with your best friend by your side? For better or for worse. We get to choose daily to keep loving the person our spouse is morphing into, supporting them and fighting for their dreams with them. Paul and I are both entrepreneurs at heart. We have to force ourself to stop dreaming up new business ideas and building things. One of my Christmas gifts on Christmas morning sent me into a whole new idea for The Cake Shop, and we started coming up with plans for it over our Christmas morning coffee, snuggled up on the love seat. (It’s kind of a problem… ha) But I couldn’t have asked for someone better to walk through life with me. He is truly the best support system, and believes in me way more than I do myself.
If you would have told me this time last year that I would finally start The Cake Shop for The Cake by Hannah in 2016… I really don’t think I would have believed it. I would certainly hope for it, but probably not see it as a reality. The Cake Shop has been a dream of mine since two Christmases ago when I first launched my blog. I really wanted to launch it WITH The Cake Shop, but God’s timing to be able to was way better than my own. So, here I sit almost two months since launch, and completely blown away by all of your support. I thought surely the only people who would be my first customers would be family and friends, but you all have shown me I was so wrong. I cannot say enough how grateful I am for each and every one of you. You have truly made my dreams come true- to create community and positivity in my own little corner of the internet. Together we can make a movement, change the world, and #LoveLikeCake. We can spread goodness across the earth through everything we do. We can spread kindness like buttercream frosting, thick & generously, without reserve.
2016 I tackled things I have been so afraid of for so many years, and all the while I battled the worst anxiety I have ever had in my entire life. Funny how that works. I entered back into giftings of mine I never thought I would pursue again, and I look forward to all that 2017 has to offer specifically in that arena. I stood up for myself in ways I never thought I could, I battled lies in my head about who I am and what I am worth. Most importantly, I laughed a lot, danced in the kitchen more, and stopped taking myself so seriously all the time. (I am still trying to get better at that.)
I am so grateful for you all, and I can’t stinking wait to show you what all I have been dreaming up for 2017. For The Cake Shop, it’s gonna be all new products, new types of items… and some seriously amazing tees and clothing items. You made the soft launch of my shop better than I could have ever hoped for. I wish I could bear hug each and every one of you. The launch of my site was way less than perfect… like, a semi disaster. And STILL you poured in your love and support, and sent me sweet messages. AND, the best part, you bought my product and loved it. The best thing ever has been watching you post photos in your tees and sweatshirts. I have cried multiple times at your posts, just being blown away that ANYBODY would care to join me in being kind and support what I am doing other than maybe my mom. That ANYBODY would care to follow my life, my wardrobe, my marriage, and my struggles… like, that is crazzzzaaaaay but I am so freaking thankful. As I have said so many times, I pray that you never just see me in anything I do. I hope you see that what I love, talk about, and even wear!- it’s all a reflection of how good the God is that I believe in, know personally, and see work in my life daily.
As for the rest of 2017, there is so much to be excited for. Our dreams of buying a house were set back (that was on our list for 2016), but we are believing in being debt free for 2017, and purchasing our first home. I can’t wait to see what all God has for us. What all we will accomplish and get to cheer one another on in.
Thank you (again), every single one of you. Thank you for following The Cake by Hannah, for reading my posts, and for being such encouraging people. I am forever grateful.
Infinite x’s + o’s- Han
All photos by Cottonwood Road Photography for The Cake by Hannah
You can shop this ADORABLE ensemble at Landry Kate. The long duster and green peplum top are both from there. I am so obsessed with both. This cup of coffee is from my favorite little coffee shop on the Mckinney Square, Snug. (They have the BEST daily flavored drip!)