A Welcome

Hi friends, welcome!

Since this is my first post after the site’s name change, I thought I would tell you a touch of who I am.

My name is Hannah Innis, and I’m 30 years old, just shy of 31. I am wife to Ryan – my strong and steady, my big spoon, my life love – and mother to, Samuel – my one and a half year-old, bursting at the seams with energy, big lover of life, all boy – my son.

IMG_8934IMG_8888IMG_8947

IMG_8927

Photos by Kaleigh Simmons Photography

I am a part-time working, mostly staying at home mom, but when I do partly work, it’s at my beloved fine dining restaurant cozied up in a historic building in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. I adore being part of others’ experiences and that’s what people expect when they dine there. Many are celebrating something, and I have found deep joy in making memorable evenings for others. I love food, I love wine, and I love everything that involves time around a table. If I ever leave my job, I’ll leave a piece of me there.

When I tell you about my love for time around the table at my job, it seeps right into my love for time around the table anywhere. Food and wine are a big part of who I am away from the workplace as well. I think the best conversations are spent at a table with good food paired with a good glass of wine. Some of my favorite memories are these moments, these sacred times with people I love with soft music in the background, quiet lights, and usually loud and real talk going on endlessly. Change that table to a paper plate on your lap and a cold sparkling water with lemon on a hot summer day and you have just as much of my attention as a detailed dining production. If you sit me down with good food and good people my soul is overflowing.

I live in a small town, the one I grew up in and said I would never live in again. We moved there four months ago after searching all surrounding areas for 6 months. I’m endlessly grateful to be back, to raise my family in this friendly, small town, on this quiet cul-de-sac, where I grew up.

 

 

 

I am very much a family person. I am my parents’ youngest of five daughters and each of us are married to incredible men, with beautiful babies ranging from growing in the womb to almost 15 years old…fourteen grandbabies to be exact. Ryan, on the other hand, is the oldest to six siblings, with three brothers and two sisters. Throw in my Ryan’s parents, one sister-in-law and their sweet baby boy, just four months younger than our Sam, and you have my family. Big, loud, loving, supporting each other’s dreams, encouraging one another…that is my foundation. I am very much obsessed with these people, every single one of them. Each of their unique personalities and passions, their hurts and joys that make up the stories of who they are…just obsessed with them.

 

 

 

As for the one growing in the womb, that one is mine. We will welcome our second child this summer, expected to arrive sometime around June 20. I’m nestled somewhere in between fearing for my sanity and overwhelmed with excitement. Aside from these emotions, we know we are beyond blessed to be parents and bring this child into our lives.

There’s no telling you about who I am without telling you what I believe, because those go hand in hand, heart in heart. I am in love with Jesus, who saves me daily with grace. Who brought me back to Him time and time again in big and small ways.   He is my reason for everything. I have been through the dark and the scary without letting my Savior near me, and it was indeed the hardest years of my life. Never again will I choose to walk through the years of this beautiful, challenging, sin soaked, beloved life without the One who offers me hope in every grief and joy. My biggest prayer is that I may seek Him daily and shine His light with my words and actions. And that He continues to rescue me each time I fail.

 

Aside from food, family, faith, and friends, my passions rest mostly in the creative. I love to photograph and have been pursuing this as another part time job. I photograph families and kids, and am learning more and more the love of capturing life through a lens.

I also love to write, but have been doing most of it in my head over the past year and half. The pen and paper and the laptop and been sitting patiently on the back burner as I learned to parent and discover what this new life looks like. Writing in my head doesn’t feel as good as the physical exhale that is getting it onto paper or a screen, and so, with great effort, I’m putting my fingers to keys and rediscovering this life long passion of mine.

 

This is my little space to share stories and experiences that cause me to think, learn, live, parent, and in the meantime, maybe we can connect on some topics. I don’t know, but I need the exhale, and this is my favorite spot for doing so.

 

My first year of living my thirties has been beautiful and life giving, and entirely different from my twenties. But if you’re interested in that too, keep scrolling. Lots of lessons learned there.

So, this is me. Just a touch of me. I couldn’t give you the rest if I tried, because I’m still learning.

 

Life is wild, isn’t it? We imagine that some day we will reach a moment where it all clicks, and then instead we realize we are actually re-learning and re-shaping everything we’ve ever known. I’ve come to see that if we aren’t growing, changing, evolving, then we are stagnant. We settle for complacency in what we think is probably the best it’s going to get for us. What if we keep going, even when the change and the questions are scary?

I want to chase after and demolish things that scare me, and then move on to the next one. My twenties were great and all, but so far, I’m absolutely in love with my thirties.

Happy Weekend, sweet friends!

Cheers!

 

Advertisements

Learning

We are already creeping into crisp air and early sunsets.  It’s hard to believe that summer 2015 is coming to a close.

It was a summer of learning, for me.

After spending May with lots of work and only passing each other in the mornings and late evenings, Ryan and I decided we needed to make a decision.  We were newly married for only three months, and we knew we couldn’t spend another month the way we spent May.  So I did something that I haven’t done in years.  I took a step back at work and spent the summer working two, sometimes three shifts a week.

I was terrified.  I have spent most of my adult life working five to six nights a week at busy restaurants.  Allowing myself time off seemed a bit negligent, but I knew that taking this step was imperative to my marriage and to my own mental sanity.

It ended up being the best summer.  Ryan and I were able to take trips, go camping, spend time with each other and our families, and I remembered that mornings and evenings still exist…and they are glorious.

I was able to take a trip out west with my friend Betsy to photograph a gorgeous mountain wedding.  Returning to the place  I once lived healed deep parts of my soul that I didn’t recognize to still be broken (that’s an entirely new blog in itself).  It was quick and busy and a twelve hour day of photographing with one of my best friends made me feel alive and fresh and challenged.

IMG_5795

oh and hey, we met Willie Robertson.  We spotted him at the Cowboy Bar in Jackson, Wyoming.  To my father’s dismay, I introduced myself in a whisper saying, “Hi, I know you don’t want people to bug you, but, my dad LOVES you…”

IMG_5806

checking out the wedding site.  Tetons in the background.

IMG_5809

IMG_5829

On a beautiful hike with beautiful people

IMG_5832 IMG_5845 IMG_5853 IMG_5856 IMG_5888

The wedding day just after the ceremony.  Hi mountains!

This summer Ryan and I were able to GO ON DATES.  We are generally frugal people….

Let me re-phrase:  Ryan is so great at being fiscally conscious, while I try determinedly to spend our money on important things like food and wine and dates and home decor.  He has been an enormous blessing in the money world by reminding me of what’s important and necessary.  Thank the Good Lord that he agrees an occasional splurge on date night is necessary.

IMG_5907 IMG_5909

I mean, just so.freaking.adorable.

IMG_5912

IMG_5960

If you are not familiar with Michigan, I’ll let you know that there are lakes EVERYWHERE, and we are blessed to be able to spend time on this particular lake often in the summer.  Boat rides and these people happened, often.

I was able to go with Ryan up north to Traverse City, MI for a business trip, where we rented a cottage on Old Mission Peninsula, ate fabulous food all weekend, and even got to visit our cousin, Jamie, who works for the local news station.

IMG_6016IMG_6018 IMG_6028 IMG_6033 IMG_6037 IMG_6049

We ended this great weekend with a perfect night camping.

IMG_6099 IMG_6104

Our last trip of the summer was to North Carolina for a wedding with a quick stop in Washington D.C. on the way to visit with some dear friends.

Aside from the travel, we were able to spend time with each other and with friends, have dinner on our deck, go golfing (oh we golfed; we golfed endlessly.)  It was an incredible summer.

But I also learned.

I learned that I don’t need to work my life away to feel accomplished or justified.  And although I do love what I do, it doesn’t define the person I am or the life I want to live.  My priorities are far beyond what I do to earn money.

I also learned that I have passions to re-ignite.  I say RE-ignite because they were coals that were cooling from neglect, and this summer I was reminded that doing the things you love will feed your soul.  For me these include photography, my writing, and travel.  I always keep a notebook and pen on me, but have rarely taken them out these past few months.  I was once going to school for photography and was crazy in love with capturing these still moments representing so much more than that one second in time.  I adore exploring and finding what makes places special.  Somewhere along the way I forgot I had a camera…and a notebook…and a pen…and a passion.

We constantly look for those things that make us feel fulfilled, and sharing stories and lessons and moments is one of those things for me.  It’s putting a pen to paper and scribbling, and spending time with people who want me to help share their story.  It’s discovering a new place and sharing what I love about it with others.

But it’s also time that I spend learning from someone else’s craft.  It’s reading and learning from other writers, shooting with photographers whose work far surpasses my own, and it’s GETTING OUT and going places.

This summer, I’ve learned ENORMOUSLY that I never want to stop learning.

To you and to me, may we always be pushing to be a better version of ourselves than the day before,

Cheers!