By Hannah Brzozowski
1. God speaks to me through coffee.
About two years ago, Nick and I were at a standstill when it came to leaving Kenosha, our church, and everything we knew (I’m not a huge fan of change, more on that later…). I went to my favorite Starbucks, got a delicious white chocolate mocha, and sat down to read. I had two types of books - ones on prayer, reading the Bible, seeking God, etc.. and a “not so spiritual” book, The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines. I wasn’t really expecting anything in that Starbucks that day but something shifted in me. When I started to read about how Joanna and Chip’s marriage worked, I was blown away by how Chip was constantly encouraging Joanna to take a risk and how it would pay off. One thought came to mind as I was reading, “Live a life worth writing about.” The rest is history. I told Nick about my coffee moment and said that I was ready to take the risk.
The second time that coffee affected my life was right here in Champaign-Urbana. We were adventuring around Illinois looking for a place to start a church. We were looking for “signs” from God everywhere - anything that could give us some clue of where we were supposed to move and start a brand new church. We drove around northern Illinois and then stayed the night in C-U. The next morning, we went to a coffee shop and I got the best Carmel latte of my life! Now (nothing against local cafes but in my experience), I almost never like lattes that are made anywhere but Starbucks. I understand the importance to support local, but I also need a good latte! That particular drink helped me feel at home like I could imagine living here. That one small, seemingly insignificant experience helped me decide that this is where I would make friends and start a church.
Side note: I have found so many other local cafe’s I absolutely love in C-U!
2. I’m slowly, very cautiously, becoming a risk-taker.
Like I said before, I HATE change. I went to the same Christian school from 3rd-12th grade. When I graduated from high school, I never understood why people would leave their home town. It’s familiar. It’s comfortable. You know where everything is, everyone there, and it’s never going to really change all that much. So, I stayed. I went off to college for a semester but came home to Kenosha twice a week. Then, I ended up moving home the next semester. Then, I got married, and you guessed it, moved into a house in Kenosha. Now, I will say this: I did move to Kenosha from Pleasant Prairie (a 10-minute drive)…so, please give me some credit!
After the coffee incident of 2019, I have slowly realized that God can and often does work only when we take a risk. Quitting our jobs, moving to a brand new city, hours away from family, friends and everything we’ve ever known to start a church was (and still is) a huge risk. Through it all, I’ve come to trust in God’s ability to take care of me, instead of my own. I’ve also come to realize that new places mean new perspectives; perspectives that I would never have listened to, if I stayed in Kenosha.
3. Four Weddings, Four Summers.
You read that right - all four of my parents’ kids got married in four years. My oldest sister, Abby got married to Kyle in 2010. My older sister, Lydie got married to Ezell in 2012. Then, finally my older brother, Dan got married to Stefanie in 2013.
Nick and I got married in the summer of 2011, right in the middle. I am the youngest so I kind of messed up the order - whoops! We were engaged the summer after high school and then married at 18 & 19. Looking back, I can’t believe we actually did it. I guess I saw a good man and I didn’t want to chance it!
4. I love Design.
One of my new found passions in the past few years has been both interior and graphic design. I’m self-taught in both (thanks, YouTube!) and I really enjoy being able to make things look nice, whether that be a room or a pamphlet. A lot of people ask who designed the marketing materials or t-shirts for Anchor - that would be me! I keep on trying to get better and learn from others as much as I can.
I love redoing a space and making it feel relaxing and comfortable for anyone. I’ve been able to do a few projects for my family in the past. I even surprised my Mom (with the help of my Dad and siblings) with a new living room when she was out of town on Spring Break! Another project was my family’s cottage in Green Lake, Wisconsin. I got the opportunity to update some things there and I love how it turned out.
5. I fall asleep to The Office every night.
I’m the type of person that hates silence, whether it be in conversation or just in general. As I’m typing this, Albert, my dog, is snoring next to me and it gives me an odd sort of comfort that it’s not completely silent.
When I was a kid (ok, a teenager too), I used to fall asleep to a radio program called “Adventures in Odyssey” every night. I gave that up when we got married. I figured Nick would think I was a little crazy if I listened to cartoon characters solving mysteries and moral dilemmas - all with a convenient lesson learned at the end of each episode. To this day, I think about the lessons I learned from that show. 😂
Fast forward five years, I made the mistake of putting a TV in our bedroom. Ever since, I am hooked to some sort of noise, as I fall asleep. When we moved, I decided to use my phone instead, which is a little better. However, it does show something about me - I need that ongoing noise to keep my mind distracted.
I’ve discovered recently that I can think of the worst-case scenario a lot. Nick says it’s a gift, but sometimes, it can feel like a curse. I can overthink the conversation I had with someone and think they didn’t like what I said. Or I can think about how terrible things would go if we take this risk (I did say I was cautiously becoming a risk-taker).
I’m hoping one day soon, I’ll be able to face those thoughts and not have them give me such anxiety as I’m drifting off, but for now, I fall asleep with to Michael Scott’s shenanigans every night and sometimes, when I’m lucky, a lesson too (like, maybe don’t promise a group of 3rd grader’s you’ll pay for their college tuition).
Now that I’ve talked about myself so much, what about you? If you were to share 5 things about yourself, what would they be? Comment them below. I’d love to know!