8.17.19 Birthday Squared

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“Peace is the beauty of life. It is sunshine. It is the smile of a child, the love of a mother …  the togetherness of a family. It is the advancement of man, the victory of a just cause, the triumph of truth.” – Menachem Begin

My mother and my daughter were born a day apart. Some might think it coincidence that two of the most important women in my life were born in such close proximity to our planet’s turn around the sun … but not me – because these two precious souls are of the same making. Sometimes I imagine that God took the very same cloth, made of joy and sparkle, divine patience and an ethereal twinkle in their blue eyes, and said, “Yes … the world needs more of this.”

My theory of their interconnected hearts is confirmed in the way that they love. Both my mother and my daughter epitomize the idea of putting others’ needs before their own. They are the first to self-sacrifice in honor of a friend, and it is quite something to recognize their particular brand of benevolence echoed  a generation apart.

I cannot ever live up to their level of altruism or down to their level of humble gratitude; so I am satisfied to live directly in-between. Thank you mommy, for being the catalyst of a life focused on the brighter side. Thank you daughter, for being the ever-present reminder that love speaks, and stays, and snuggles. I could never have deserved either one of you … but I am effervescently thankful that God gave you to me anyway.

All my love, and the happiest of turns around the sun to you both … I hope you feel every ray of gifted light this year and in all the years to come.

Elle (your daughter, your mommy, your #1 fan)

8.6.19 National Friendship Day

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“I have learned that friendship isn’t about who you’ve known the longest, it’s about who came and never left your side.” Yolanda Hadid

A few months ago, Bella Grace asked me to write a post for National Friendship Day, celebrated on the first Sunday of August! It was an absolute delight to do so, and I hope that you’ll click on the link below and check it out!

Love and the best of best friends are wished for you today,

Elle

15 Special Ways to Celebrate Your Friendships

8.2.19 Up

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Hope is a yellow balloon

on a silver string that has been let go

spiraling and rising on a bright trail of sunlight

Past the tops of trees

branches brushing as it flies

the tiny bubble of light smiles as it sails

on currents of wind

winding its way beyond indecisive skies

or clouds closing in

Hope dances all the same

on certain assurance

that the only direction worth directing one’s promise

is up

7.23.19 I Wish Him …

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There are some wishes-come-true that are too powerful not to have come straight from heaven. He is, and has been, my most precious wish. I remember, twelve years ago today, meeting a tiny blue-eyed wonder who stole my heart with a single sigh. My heart, heavy with the fears that accompany infertility, suddenly found its way back to beating … and the breath I’d been holding in hope became a thousand colorful balloons finding their way to the sky.

I know he’s nearly a teenager now … I know we are supposed to butt heads and grapple with misunderstandings. I know that I’m not supposed to “get” him, and he’s not likely to care about what his mom thinks – but that’s just so not us. This boy … this wonder … is truly one of the best friends in my whole life. He’s intelligent, considerate, and kind. He’s protective and intentional in conversation. When I’m happy, chances are he’s the source of my laughter, and when I’m sad he won’t let me off without acknowledging whether or not I’m okay. We love pirates and pretend, random facts and Neverland. I love the way he loves his sister. I love the way he looks up to his dad.

I love him. Simply – and infinitely complex.

On this … his twelfth birthday, I thought I’d make a few wishes for him … one for each candle he blew out today.

  1. I wish him effervescent joy like he brings to others.
  2. I wish him confidence in times of chaos and calm.
  3. I wish him the freedom to always escape to his imagination.
  4. I wish him a lifetime of Sandman-sweet dreams.
  5. I wish him truest friendship in and of every age.
  6. I wish him the love that has no barriers or boundaries.
  7. I wish him fulfillment in each of his pursued endeavors.
  8. I wish him a thousand unexpected adventures.
  9. I wish him tenacity when life does what it does, and tries him.
  10. I wish him experience that leads to both humility and wisdom.
  11. I wish him accomplishment that bears pride in helping others.
  12. And most of all, I wish him faith borne of heaven’s wings.

 

7.17.19 To Here, and Now, And Them

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Some people

if they’re the right people

and sometimes

when it’s the right time

destiny brings you face to face with

exactly

who you were meant to know

And in the expanse of a conversation

you find your perspectives soften

your world tilts ever-so-slightly on it’s axis

until the sun can reach your soul

in a way it was always meant to

And in fate’s embrace

you feel extraordinarily blessed

to have lived this day

to have found this human being

belonging to the same moment in a history of moments

sharing the same space and place as you

And in the pause of the breath of eternity

you become profoundly grateful

that of the infinite sweep of stars

somehow, the dust of your being settled

the light of your spirit alit

and magnetically drew you to

here

and now

and them

 

 

7.5.19 Obstacles … Hurdles Cleared … and Everything In-Between

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So … we are moving. Far. We are starting new jobs, the kids are starting new schools, we need to find a new church … the list goes on and on. People keep asking me if I’m stressed and I am quick to say yes, but not about moving so much as trying to keep up with LIFE while you’re moving. This is a pity post, which means dear ones, that I am going to be looking for a sweet amount of “You poor thing’s,” and “It won’t last forever’s,” in my comments section! 🙂

Obstacle #1: We are closing a week before moving, which essentially means we are homeless.

Obstacle #2: We are closing on the new house two weeks after moving, which essentially means … we are STILL homeless.

Hurdle Cleared #1: We have good friends and family that will take care of us on both sides.

Everything In-Between #1: My cat … aka: Natural Born Predator, is currently going cross-eyed watching the carpet where a bug is crawling instead of doing her inborn duty and killing it.

Obstacle #3: Our seven-month-old puppy had an allergic reaction to the anesthesia for her spay surgery and almost died two weeks ago.

Hurdle Cleared #2: We have a fabulous veterinarian and she was able to do her surgery with new meds and she made it!

Everything In-Between #2: We have a dog with a donut around her neck who has no sense of spacial-awareness and is bumbling all over our box-ridden house … hilariously sad.

Obstacle #4: My husband has never seen the house we are buying in person, and is equal parts excited and terrified at his purchase.

Hurdle Cleared #3: Digital photography and realtor.com have provided great sneak-peeks!

Everything In-Between #3: There are some things that just DO NOT fit in boxes.

Obstacle #5: We took a family day “off” on the Fourth of July, and my son was sick with a fever the whole time resulting in two four-hour naps and no picnics, pools, or fireworks.

Hurdle Cleared #4: Sitting in an isolated row to see Spiderman: Far From Home totally redeemed our booger day. Nothing says God bless America like a Marvel movie!

Obstacle #6: We need to drive one of our cars down early and drop off our four pets to live with my family while we fly back to close on our house here, to then drive the other car down … but … we drive a Mini Cooper and a Kia.

Hurdle Cleared #5: My mom is as crazy as I am and agreed to help us herd our beasts south putting us at three adults to help wrangle the Great Pyrenees, Bernese Mountain dog, and two free-range cats! Say hairy!

Everything In-Between #4: Friends who buy you coffee and give you amazing, make-you-cry memory gifts are a rare and treasured blessing!

Obstacle #7: Having a piano ups the mover’s cost a hundred dollars! Grrr.

Hurdle Cleared #6: There is no clearing this hurdle … moving is wicked expensive, even when you do it the “cheap” way.

Everything In-Between #5: Is it weird how much I will miss my local antique store?

Obstacle #8: It is nearly impossible to pack your children sufficiently for a week away at camp and three weeks of being vagabond gypsies.

Hurdle Cleared #7: They are young and moving states away … much too far for the shame of repeated outfits for three weeks causing lasting damage.

Hurdle Cleared #8: I can always play the … “Hey, just remember at your new school there will be no uniforms!” card. I’ll tell them this rotation of clothes is just a final ode to uniforms.

Everything In-Between #6: Stress is bad for your complexion … and by “your” I mean my. I’m a literal zit-monster. Also … too much sun (even though I wear a chalk-white amount of sunscreen) gives my fair skin an unnatural amount of freckles – not the cute kind like my daughter’s cinnamon sugar across the nose sprinkle … but rather the sides of my face so that I look like I have a beard – a freckle beard. Attractive.

Everything In-Between #7: I want to tackle my summer reading list! 

Obstacle #9: My daughter’s bedroom light and fan stopped working. It is after the inspection, but we aren’t jerks … so we hired an electrician days before moving.

Hurdle Cleared #9: I found out that a friend that I taught with’s husband is an electrician! He was a wizard and it was over in fifty dollars!

Everything In-Between #8: I want to take a nap; and I cannot.

Everything In-Between #9: There are a great deal of, “We have to go there ONE. MORE. TIME. places in my family. We are running out of funds to fund our memory-making.

Obstacle #10: Saying goodbye to the home you moved into four days before your daughter was born really, really hurts.

Hurdle Cleared #10: Moving into a new home nine days before your daughter’s tenth birthday is a really, really cool irony.

Everything In-Between #10: Even now … even in all the chaos … life is a magnificent journey of haphazard, wonderful joys.

I’d still appreciate the pity post comments my darlings … I’m not getting my naps so something’s got to fuel my fire!

All my exhausted love,

Elle

6.27.19 Evidence of the Divine

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“And as You speak, a hundred billion galaxies are born … in the vapor of Your breath the planets form. If the stars were made to worship so will I.” Hillsong

In the everyday

in the commonplace

there exists little room for wonder

and we forget to be amazed at the splendor

waiting to marvel at miracles we inherently missed

So often people say that God is silent

and yet nature screams His presence everywhere

Is it not an unaccountable phenomenon that we exist at all?

That in a span of hours the world pirouettes in its turn among the stars

that in a span of days we slow waltz with the sun

Is it not unfathomable magic that even hundreds of thousands of miles away

the moon still directs the ocean

in a perpetual state of tide and wave, a crescendo of creation prevails

Is it not unimaginable that both sea and sky exemplify the glory of nature,

yet compliment rather than compete as evidence of the divine

 

6.18.19 Slipping Into Summer

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“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days – three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.”
John Keats

Isn’t that a wonderful thought? To live three days as a butterfly, flitting and flying free in the warmest of summer breezes? Delighting in the presence of the present moment and never giving credit to a future you couldn’t plan for if you tried. It is that feeling that gives summer its magic and glory. Summer days have a way of lengthening and stretching twilight to dawn with minimal effort. The sun shows herself off brilliantly, complimented by her suitor moon, glowing brighter at the mere reflection of her.

It is a beautiful, anything-can-happen time of year and I encourage you to embrace each glittering moment of it! The summer Bella Grace Issue #20 is an absolute delight! I am featured on the cover! Please join me and read, “25 Whimsical Ways to Enlighten the Light of Summer.” I would absolutely love to hear how you are planning to delight in the days before you.

Be glitteringly fabulous and enjoy every fleeting butterfly-wing breeze,

Elle

6.12.19 Love Looks Different

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“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.”
Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

I was married at 21. I remember people telling me I was really young and I remember thinking they were crazy. We had been together three years by that time, and when you’re 21, three years is a lifetime. Today is fifteen years from the day I said I do. And somehow, though back then three years seemed SO long, five times that has gone by in less than the blink of an eye … the beat of a heart … the length of a song.

I’ve often shared that I’m a hopeless romantic, and it’s true. I apologize to my husband because I know how unfair and unrealistic it is to be the way I am … and yet … I simply cannot help it. I love love. I even have a Pinterest board called that and pin romantic images. The thing is, after fifteen years, love looks different. At this stage it isn’t all sweeping gestures and classic eyes-closed kisses … but that doesn’t make it less … it makes it real.

For us at 36 and 37, with two kids and two dogs and two cats and two fish and two full time jobs … love is lived-in and a bit nicked up in places. My favorite home decor style is vintage romantic, and maybe that’s why … because it is still lovely, but aged … somehow sophisticated in its imperfection as if it has survived many stories worth telling. This is our love.

For us now:

Love looks like going to a coffee shop instead of a romantic dinner (neither of us have a huge appreciation for overpriced food).

Love looks like saying yes to acting classes and summer camps instead of get-away vacations for two.

Love looks like choosing to visit family every time we have a holiday.

Love looks like emptying the dishwasher, making the bed, and rinsing out the sink after shaving all without being asked.

Love looks like sacrificing Saturdays for soccer games and choosing your son’s travel league as your favorite sports team.

Love looks like saying yes to another dog because (at this point of fur) what’s the difference?

Love looks like stolen kisses at midnight because it is the only time our daughter might actually be sleep.

Love looks like laughing at old jokes … remembering first kisses … and being secure in the fact that regardless of the potholes life throws our way … we’re under construction together.

So yeah … our love looks nothing like my Pintrest board. It doesn’t sweep you under like a romantic novel or entrance you like a classic film … but it has stood the test of time; it is vintage and lovely, worn and comfortable. My love story, and the children who have come out of it, are the greatest accomplishments of my life. My husband is my living, breathing, there-for-me-when-I’m-being-a-weirdo, dream-come-true and I hope he knows it, even when I forget to thank him as I should.

Wherever you are in your love story … I sure would like to hear about it! You know I’m a sucker for romance after all … even when love looks different.

Hugs and kisses,

Elle

6.4.19 Esse Quam Videri

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“Esse Quam Videri” 

So our family is about to embark on a new adventure … we are moving from one part of these amazing United States to another. We’ve never before been out of the Midwest and now? We are about to be Southern y’all! The problem is … I love people too much – fiercely so, and with moving comes goodbyes; and goodbyes wreck me.

This past week I needed to say goodbye to my school … my students (present and former) and my friends. Do you know that the word goodbye actually comes from the 1500’s when the standard greeting was, “God be with thee.” I wish we still said that … a prayer in parting instead of a single word ringing with finality. I’m blessed enough to be going from a place that believes the same. I was grateful to be sent off with a jar of words … glitter … and a motto to live by.

Esse Quam Videri means, “To be rather than to seem.” Authenticity, love, and intention have always been my primary ambitions, and I am ever-so-enchanted to know that in this place … among these people, I have been nurtured to be myself, and encouraged to be more than I ever thought I was worthy of becoming – a bringer of hope, a believer in change, and now a dreamer of what lies ahead.

In these next days and months there will be a great deal of change for my family and myself, but one thing is for certain … wherever I go, I want to be, rather than seem … and I never want to say goodbye to anyone I’ve had the chance to know.

Please pray for me; I need you readers … your encouragement carries me more than you know.

All my love and God be with you,

Elle