2.28.21 Somedays

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I have several friends who suffer from chronic illnesses, and honestly, I hurt for them in a place I can’t feel, but feel nonetheless. So this is for you my brave warriors. This is for the days your body becomes a cage to the spirit within you that knows peace is waiting for you someday. I love you. I hear you. Carry on precious … one more day … one more hour … one more breath if that’s all you can commit to. This is not all – you are more, and nothing, not even this pain can make you less. For you, dear ones, are made of beyond. Until then, I bless you for enduring now. I would be lost without you, and I thank you for not letting me get lost. 

Somedays

Somedays are dangerous things

they tease and taunt

and ease and haunt

the imperfections of our current state

of being

of wanting

of waiting

And on days like that …

the Somedays 

when the magic of stardust and wishes call

when the perfection of heaven echoes in the loves we lost

when the sea and the sky brim at a capacity greater than any earthly ambition

my heart aches with a craving I can’t satisfy

at the freedom I see

but don’t have

at the wonders of when

but not yet

at the whims I imagine

but can’t

make

real

Some days,

when Someday comes

my skin feels too tight

and my tears fall just right

and living 

is heavier

than it seems it should have the right to ever be

because beauty is in the eye of the beheld

and I wish to be held

by something lighter

than gravity

Someday

Reflections to Consider

1. Who do I know that might be depending on “Someday?” 

2. How can I make today worth their struggle to stay? 

3. What words, quotes, poems, or songs might I cover them in?

4. If I were to pray for them, what would I say? 

5. What wildflowers, free and blooming might inspire their view of today? 

6. What memories could I share to remind them of better moments in time? 

7. What does hope sound like? Smell like? Feel like? Look like? Can I catch some to share? 

8. If I visited, what activities could we do together where we were equal and free? 

9. What movies and books define our relationship? What else could I add to a care package that would enable and empower? 

10. What are ways to love them purely, as they are, and were, and will be … without filter or flaw? How can I show them that they are still them? And I am still me? And we are still us? 

2.16.21 Love You, For Me

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Love You, For Me

Beautiful

I need you to do something for me

and I know it isn’t easy, but I’m asking just the same.

If I could do it myself,

I would.

If I could ask someone else … it would never be enough.

And so I come to you – 

for you.

I need you to love you, for me.

I need you to recognize the impossibly, impractically, imperfectly-perfect person you are …

not just to me,

but to anyone who knows you truly – to anyone who has seen the magic you alone possess. 

I need you to imagine with me, that you are already there … 

that you have nothing to prove, and no one left to impress, 

except yourself. 

There is no one on earth who has, or ever could:

do what you do

think what you think

feel what you feel

imprint hope or impart wisdom the way that you can.

I need you to believe me.

I need you to hold on, for me.

I need you to recognize that reflection in the mirror for the exquisite treasure she is.

Do not dispel her value, 

diminish her worth

or doubt her purpose. 

Because I love her, 

but I need you to love her,

for me. 

2.7.21 One of Those

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Oh my, but it was a week … one of those that go from bad, to worse. The kind that make you question yourself, and then the world, and then yourself again. An eternal optimist, I must say I was really challenged this week to remain so. Still – I choose.

I choose happy even when it doesn’t make sense. Even when I can’t sleep because my heart is pounding in time to the ticking-ticks of the never slowing down clock of the race I didn’t ask to be in. I choose joy even when I don’t feel it, or see it, or hear it … even when I can’t tell where it has gone, or when, or if it will return. I choose hope because without it – friends: how would we dare to carry on?

So I am asking you to do me two favors.

  1. Pray for someone else. Because my guess is … they need it. Give some space for grace and calling out to the heavens on behalf of someone who may have lost their voice, their faith that tomorrow (for better or for worse) is on its way.
  2. Tell them.

If each person who read this post did that … could you imagine? It might just have the power to turn “one of those” weeks, into a holy revolution!

I’m praying for you,

Elle

1.27.21 What’s Next

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What’s Next

I am a what’s next girl

for better … 

or worse

It is something I am equally proud

and 

utterly 

embarrassed of

While delighted in every new 

light (and sometimes too bright)

idea

I also cannot settle

Is it an asset? 

A flaw? 

Am I curating curiosity? 

Or chasing the thrill 

of a thread that never ends?

Am I incomplete somehow? 

Or … somewhere? 

Yes.

And no.

And does it matter if I’ll never know?

My heart throbs with an urgency 

to do

to create

to run and build and learn

My mind spins with a frantic need

to write

to read

to pray and meditate and understand that I never will

I want answers

but find they matter less than my questions

I want to get there

but not as much as I want to explore

From wander 

to wish

and back again

I come and go

inside and outside 

skipping stones across my imagination

and feeling the ripples in reality, 

until only one question remains – 

What’s next? 

1.20.21 The Beautiful In-Betweens

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“In a paradoxical blush of cool hands and warm cheeks, warm nights with cool breezes, winter makes her entrance with dramatic grace and patience. There are so many beguiling experiences that, like the coming of a new season, only live in the in-between places of ourselves.”

I am honored to be featured in Bella Grace Magazine’s Winter Issue 26! From start to finish, this bookzine is filled with delighting in the magical aspects of the every day. My article focuses on looking at those in-between places in our lives that transition us from here to there. I’d LOVE to hear if you read it, and if so, which in-between time resonated most with you.

All my love,

Elle

1.12.21 Missing Light

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Her name was Lucy

which, not-so-ironically, means light.

And OH, but she was.

Fiery and feisty,

she taught me what it meant to be made of 

perhaps

a dash more spice

than sugar …

though her sweet tooth was never fully satisfied.

She loved life

and laughter –

so

much 

laughter.

She loved fancy

and flirting

and the color red.

When I was a little girl,

she taught me songs the world forgot,

but I remember still  … 

songs about “Elmer’s tune,” and “The Man in the Moon,” 

songs my children now know the words to.

I loved the way she called me “Dolly,” 

the way she didn’t over-apologize the way I do,

the way she shamelessly said

what-so-ever crossed her mind,

whether it was mindful or not.

Living nearly a century, with immeasurable loss,

she had every right to be hardened – to be jaded, or sad.

But she wasn’t. 

She lived in a world of her own making, 

dressing up her goodbyes as “too-da-loo’s” 

somehow making every parting more sweet than sorrow-filled.

She chose joy, 

and taught me that even now, even without her – 

because of her … 

I can too.

1.4.20 A Single Word

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I have never really been a person to start a year with a single “word.” I have favorite words … too many, and I suppose that is why choosing one to embody an entire year never seemed sufficient enough. And yet … I betray myself, because recently, I realized I do have a word. But before telling you what it is, I have one story, and one confession. 

A few weeks ago, I was in a cohort of teachers and was asked the question, “If you could speak any language fluently, what language would you want to know how to speak.” I listened to the others choosing beautiful languages that had always been on my list, but when it came to be my turn to answer, I couldn’t pick any. Surprising even myself, what came out of my mouth was “respect.” 

I went on to explain how I wish that I could speak the language of respect fluently to all people, because I have come to learn that as “alike” or “different” as I believe myself to be from anyone else, every single person in the universe speaks and feels respect differently. As humans we have nothing if not a consistent margin for offense, mis-intended communication and accidental conflict. It’s exhausting, actually … especially for those of us who feel everything and care perhaps a little too much.

Now, onto my confession. As I was thinking about my wish to speak respect fluently, a small voice in the back of my mind asked me very, very clearly … “Is respect the language you speak to yourself?” And guess what my answer was – nope. Not often. Not even once a day sometimes. Here I try and try and bend to the point of breaking to love and honor and respect others (albeit imperfectly), and I don’t even really try to return the favor to myself. 

I point out her flaws. I tell her of her shortcomings. I expect more and more out of her with less and less time, encouragement, and praise. I am not very nice to her at all. I am demanding and harsh and critical. Professionally. Personally. Physically. I tell her she is not enough. How’s that for honesty? I’m a bit ashamed to admit it, but how will I ever become fluent in respect if I don’t start with telling myself the truth? So that is my intention this year. I hope to mend our relationship a little … or, a lot maybe. I want to give her a bit of grace, a bit of encouragement, and maybe even a long-deserved apology. 

My word for the year is RESPECT. I’m thinking it might take me awhile to get it right, but self … I’m sure going to try. 

12.25.20 Nostalgic

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“Does it always hurt this much,” she asked.

“Yes, it does,” I assured her.

“I just love their ages so much right now … it’s just going too fast.”

“I know. And it will keep going. Just snuggle them up, and keep holding on.”

This was a recent conversation one of my closest friends and I had. I always feel especially nostalgic around Christmas … maybe because I have fourteen years’ worth of proof lining my window sills of just how quickly Father Time passes us by. This year, my son gave me coupons for favors, but the one that said, “A hug whenever you ask for one,” also said, “Never expires – can use without coupon!” I melted.

As I read the story of the very first Christmas to my family today, I realized I wasn’t alone. Twice the passage from Luke 2 said, “And Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Even the mother of God reflected on the precious and few moments and memories of her son’s too-short life. I can’t imagine the strength it must have required for her to know, even on the day of his birth, that his life was meant for everyone else.

I pray that you are feeling nostalgic, that you wish on the ancient light that led Hope to us all. May you dwell in the magic, mystery, and majesty of God’s greatest gift this Christmas and always. Rest in the love that heaven made incarnate.

12.16.20 Words

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Words

can be frightfully insufficient things

especially when you need them to mean more

or less

especially in the wake of what you didn’t mean to say

or did

but wish you didn’t 

And whether you form them 

into long sentences that ribbon and curl with intention

Or punctuate them in short, sharp points you made

and can’t take back

they remain too much

they remain not enough

leaving you full

and somehow completely empty 

all at once

12.5.20 Loneliness Knows No Age

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“All great and precious things are lonely.” John Steinbeck

I think people forget, sometimes, that loneliness knows no age. It doesn’t settle for the old, or the young but satisfies itself only in any and every. If this pandemic has taught us anything as a people, it is that we are not meant to be solitary creatures. We cannot thrive alone. We cannot survive alone. And we shouldn’t have to.

Though I don’t talk about it often, I am a teacher, blessed with 105 middle school minds this year. They are snarky and sarcastic. They are witty and wonderful. They are tired and grumpy, excited and funny. But most of all … they are lonely.

In a world where the satisfaction of an answer is instant, and the gratification of working something out over time doesn’t exist, it can be hard for any of us to feel value beyond the moment. When you are twelve and thirteen years old, your brain is first becoming capable of metacognition … of thinking about thinking – of registering your feelings and taking stock of what to make of them. Now imagine doing that when your parents are working, when you can only see friends through a screen, and your teachers aren’t only a hallway away. This is the reality we are in. Balancing safety with sanity. There is no right or wrong … only stuck – all of us in a purgatory of waiting for we don’t know what, or when exactly.

It is hard. It is hard not to hug. It’s hard not to squeeze a shoulder or toss a smile freely that isn’t swallowed up by a mask.

Nearby, there is a thriving retirement community … filled with amazing individuals with stories that span a generation. Tucked inside of brilliant minds, behind silver strands, are thoughts and wisdom just waiting to be imparted on any ears that would have time for a story.

My students were asked to write a letter, to take a chance on a multigenerational friendship. Now, over two hundred letters later … I am reading hope, personified. I am reading the curious questions of children who are stretching and reaching for answers from memories and hands that are willing to write them. From tales of what school was like eighty-seven years ago, to new and old book titles recommended. No matter how many letters pass through my inbox, no matter how long it takes me to read and send, read and send, I cannot stop smiling as each word, each hope, and each wish is shared.

Loneliness knows no age, and these sweet pen pals, some over eighty years apart, are forming friendships that also know no age. Author Tom Bodett says, “They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.” Can I just say how blessed I feel to see that one assignment has covered all three?

Go love someone by giving them the time to hear a story, or share one of your own … no matter what their age.