7.30.21 Sunless Day

2

“Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” J.M. Barrie

I read the news today

and I think it might’ve been a mistake

I

think

I

might’ve been mistaken –

in my litany of sunny days

when others face smoke

and fog

and fear

and haven’t seen the sky in

who

knows

how

l o n g

Whether it is because of the dark that surrounds them …

or because they’ve forgotten how to look up …

a sunless day

is a sunless day

I read the news today

and I think it might have been important

I

think

I

might’ve been mistaken –

in my litany of sunny days

I should instead remember to pray with more intention than repetition,

to clear fear where I can

and hold hands where I cannot

to lift chins and wipe tears and embrace

with my words whomever I can possibly reach

Can you help me

even once?

Because sometimes,

(most times)

once is enough

Share the Light

7.19.21 Stay

8

“There are many different kinds of bravery.” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Did you know that you were born of a wish? Longstanding and riddled with doubt at the test of time, your daddy and I didn’t know whether or not you would come true … but then, like the miracle you are … you did.

As an infant your days were wreathed in smiles, and giggles … counted, kissed fingers and toes. As a toddler, every day was an expeditious discovery of what was new. Stems and rocks, the way water splashed and the way bubbles floated, everything was alight with wonder. At school age, the adventure continued. You learned and you played and you nurtured the most important gift heaven gave you – your imagination. In the middle years you discovered what a wide world it truly is. You found friends across the world and met every new opportunity with integrity and curiosity, a most powerful combination.

And now, now my precious baby boy … now you are entering a whole new phase, a whole new chapter to the epic tale of you. It was some time ago that I came to realize how brave you really are – how brave you’ve always been.

Stay brave.

Sometimes things will be difficult, but you can handle difficult things! You have love. You have faith. You have your precious, priceless childhood filled to overflowing with memories to sustain you.

Stay young.

Remember that no matter who has opinions of you or for you, you know who you are and what you are capable of. You were created at this time in history for a purpose no one can fulfill but you. Don’t doubt your worth.

Stay true.

Finally, know that there is not one step of this beautiful life that you walk alone. Your faith, your family, your friends, and your spirit are not only beside, but within you. Focus your compass north, your mind heavenward, and your feet forward. You walk in the company of angels.

Stay close my son … always.

7.7.21 Reordering Fractals

6

It is not often that I give myself time to think

and lately I’ve been thinking

It is not often that I let my thoughts sink in

and lately they dwell

Some are light

frothy whisps and whispers …

dandelion puffs scattering a million different directions

like fractals of light

impossible to recall or reclaim

Other thoughts are heavier

dense, purple-bruised clouds

that thicken

and linger

and swell until I feel my feet moving …

physically up and walking me away from a brewing storm of chaos I unwittingly created

somehow my feet knowing my heart couldn’t handle if we stayed

Amazing how a multitude of musings have the power to free or ensnare you

to offer the comfort of company

or the isolation of introspection

Regardless of their condition –

of density to the point of saturation …

or fleeting fancies barely tiptoed across the mind,

thoughts require time

both the getting into

and climbing back out of

But prayer –

the utterance of a holy plea

to stay, to calm, or to go before me

is both my anchor and my lifeline …

Hemming me in

and letting me go

turning my thinking into reflection

reordering my fractals

into stars

6.25.21 Two Weeks Into Summer

4

“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink in the wild air.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

We have officially finished two weeks of summer … already! As a writer, I have accomplished little. Instead, I have been quite focused on being: a mom, a wife, a friend, and a human – you know, all of the titles I wasn’t able to give myself to fully this year. And so, we have delved into the sunlight armed with freckles and giggles. From discovering new ice cream places to bake off competitions, visiting friends to glow stick parties, ocean drives to waterfall hikes, our family is pursuing every moment of summer with passion and forced purposelessness. We have reminded ourselves: how to sleep in, how to build four-room forts, how much we love to read, and what movies are worth watching and re-watching. We have had bonfires and perfected the art of the s’more, went for long walks and slow runs, discovered new restaurants and even allowed ourselves to take naps … all of us!

Just fourteen days, and I feel as though I am waking up again from a long, fitful and restless sleep. I honestly cannot fathom the journey I know some of you have endured these past two years … the journey so many of you (of us) are still on. But I truly, madly, deeply hope that you can find time to reintroduce yourself to the simple pleasures that bring you back to yourself. If you feel you cannot afford the time, then steal it – go ahead, I give you permission. Do yourself and those you love the favor of your entire presence. Hit pause on what “should” be done for what must be done.

I’d write more, but I’m off to read, and dream, work on a puzzle with my son, and dance with my daughter – the best kind of busy.

Breathe in, and out, and in once more … then, smile sunshine … you’ve got time.

Elle

6.15.21 Hello Bella

4

Sometimes I think about what Summer would say to me if she were the friend I imagine her to be.

“Where have you been?” she asks. “And why haven’t you made time for the best parts of yourself? I miss you.”

To which I answer …

“I miss me too.”

It seems that our summer-selves are just a bit more magical because summer is the season where our childhood hearts remain effervescent with joyous potential.

(Excerpt from Bella Grace issue 28)

I have to say that I am just completely charmed with the Summer Issue of Bella Grace. Writing “A Summer State of Mind,” allowed me to dwell in my favorite season of the year. And “52 Things I Could Do,” was pure fun from start to finish … dreaming of all the possibilities I’d treat myself to if time were not such a villain!

As if that weren’t dreamy enough, I am also the host of Bella Grace’s Blog Grace Notes … dipping my toes further into the beauty that is summer with, “Summer Lights: 35 Joys That Light Us From the Inside.”

Please take time to say, “Hello Bella,” with me and let me know which piece spoke to your inner summer-self! Hearing from you all is forever and always my favorite part!

Sparkles and sun kisses,

Elle

5.23.21 Ever-So-Much-More

2

Sometimes you ask me if I’m still attracted to you. After being together for 20 years, I feel I must be failing somewhere if you must ask … so here is my answer to that question evermore. Let it now be a closed issue.

I simply adore you

without strings and beyond reason

If someone asks me, “Where is home?”

Your name is my answer

I am not simply attracted to you –

you are my North

the gravity keeping my heart grounded

and my spirit close

In some ways I hate the words “I love you,”

because they are insufficient

As a lover and weaver of words

you can’t imagine how frustrating it is to know so many …

and not be able to craft them together to say enough

And so you

my life … I want you to listen closely

Read and reread as you must, but know

unequivocally

you must trust that what I feel for you is

beyond words

beyond years

beyond the etches of time wearing themselves into us both

beyond what you view as your imperfections

(and what I view as your charms)

beyond benefit or lust

beyond convenient and settled

Honestly?

I don’t think I’d know me without you,

because the best parts of both of us,

exist outside of us both

with their own sets of journeys,

but they only exist because God set our paths to cross

What serendipity.

And so I have one thing left to say –

thank you for choosing me

over and over again

even when I wouldn’t choose myself

especially then

I love that I see you in him

I love that I see you in her

echoes of your laughter and your compassion

reincarnated in another set of lives

Imagine that love … the kind that becomes a legacy

So no

I am not simply “attracted” to you

I am written into the pages of your story

sharing breaths

sharing atoms

sharing ever-so-much-more

than I love you’s

5.16.21 Voiceless

0

Yesterday my son texted me a picture of a bird’s nest that he and his cousin found when they were playing baseball outside. A perfect, manilla colored egg lay atop the nest. It would have been a happy discovery indeed, but when when I scrolled in to look closer, right beneath the egg, I realized that the top layer of the nest was green, plastic netting, commonly used as lawns are being made … not grown … created. It hurt to see; so I wrote.

I’m afraid we’ve failed you –

again

And I’m afraid no one remains

unaffected

less protected

or more rejected

than those who have no voice to raise

How is it that we have fallen so far

from Eden?

from grace?

from the commission to

take care

or

be aware

Instead we close our eyes

and compromise

our virtue for value

and sustainable

for easily attainable

I’m so sorry

and I know it’s not enough

It hurts …

this separation of who we were called to be

and what we’ve become instead

I’m afraid there isn’t much time to fix things

to fix us

to mend your broken heart

to mend our broken place

But I promise to try

to use the voice I still have

even if it’s barely a whisper

You say actions speak louder

so that brings me some comfort

I guess this is me

taking one more step

5.4.21 Beyond Bearing It

3

Sometimes, when I can’t fall asleep, I sift through pictures in my mind of before. I lie in bed, heart pounding, throat throbbing, repressed tears threatening to absolutely overwhelm me if I let them – because of this gift, and how quickly it’s passing me by.

Of him.

Of her.

Of becoming a mother and remembering every detail that my too-fast life with them will let me recall. Memories come back to me in fragmented bits … little pieces of stained glass that join together in an endless collage of colors and lenses I miss looking through.

I am so blessed.

But love – love this big … quite simply, it hurts.

It hurts because even when you try to savor every second, they still pass. It hurts because the world isn’t perfect and they are … so you need it to be, but can’t change it. It hurts because even when they’re too big to crawl up onto your lap, a part of them wants to, so you hold on instead for a too long hug – and it never feels like enough.

When she was nine months old, I was about to put her in bed, and she placed her tiny hands on either side of my face. She held me there, and stared at me so intently … her bright eyes telling me all the things she couldn’t say, but found a way to share nonetheless.

When he was off to his first day of Kindergarten – unafraid and excited for whatever came next, I asked him for one more hug. “For me buddy, not for you,” I’d said. He smiled big and hugged me tight. “It’s okay mommy,” he whispered in my ear, “I’ll miss you too.” Taking care of my heart at five, and checking in with me ever since.

She is my starlight. He is my keeper.

And though I am the farthest thing from what they deserve, I am on-my-knees grateful that God gave them to me … even for a time as fleeting as this. Because although I know I love imperfectly, I also know I love them fully – to the very edge of myself, almost beyond bearing it.

4.21.21 Joy of the Unexpected

10

In truth, I almost didn’t write tonight. Again. It seems that every night, I am too much or not enough of whatever it is I feel that I need to be to contribute to the world in the way I want. And yet, I have a simple story – so short it is more an occurrence, but a sweet one nonetheless.

I was walking during my daughter’s dance practice, looking up as I normally do on walks (as the sky entertains in a way feet cannot). As I rounded a corner, I saw an older man walking his dog. I looked down long enough to smile at him and wave, and he said, “What an unexpected pleasure.”

That’s it. That is my sweet snippet, and yet when I reflect on this day … it was my blossom. To think that seeing a smile from the other side of the road, from a total stranger could bring this man such joy, brought me joy just to think it possible. We both continued on smiling. I went back to looking up, he went back to walking forward, but he was right, it was an unexpected pleasure. Being given the gift of a smile, one intended specifically for you, is a tiny treasure – a golden moment I tucked into the pocket of my heart.

I hope you found something that warmed you today … something small enough to keep your travels light, and bright.