2.22.16 Sometimes Wishes Do



There’s an unknown quote that says, “I was chasing my dreams but I tripped over reality.” I think that this has happened to me more in my life than I’d like to admit.  Because sometimes … dreams don’t come true.

When I was a girl, I was going to be an archaeologist. I was going to have adventures like Indiana Jones, and make grand discoveries that would mark my place in the world.  But yeah, that didn’t happen.

When I was a teenager, I was going to marry my first love.  We would be one of those couples who’d gush, with stars in our eyes, of the way that we had met in high school and defied all the odds.  Only – we didn’t.

In college I was going to meet a handsome stranger with a sexy accent … and my husband is handsome, but his Midwest accent isn’t quite what I’d had in mind.

I have over fourteen children’s book manuscripts, one middle grade novel and a young adult piece just waiting to be discovered.  I’ve sent query letter after query letter, and have yet to publish most of them.

The ever-brutally honest yourecards.com reminds us that,”According to astronomy, when you wish on a star, you’re actually a few million years late.”  That explains a lot actually, and yet I keep on wishing, and dreaming, and hoping, and writing, because as Paulo Coelho once said, “It is the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

I’m not an archaeologist … I’m a teacher, a writer, and a speaker, and it’s good.

I didn’t marry my first love, but I’m totally in love with my last.

I’m not a world-renown author … but today, I got this letter in the mail, under which was my complimentary copy of Bella Grace magazine, since I am published in it!  My favorite magazine in the entire world, and I’m in it!

So many times, most times even, dreams don’t necessarily come true the way you think they will … but then again … sometimes wishes do.

I hope you’ll find time to pick up Bella Grace, Issue 7 (my favorite number I might add), and breathe in the possibility that life has beautiful things in store for us all.

With joy,


2.15.16 My Unlikely Valentine


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I know that much of the world doesn’t appreciate Valentine’s Day, they tout it as nothing more than a “Hallmark Holiday,” but I’ve always had faith that a day dedicated to love would never disappoint.  And this year, it came through. 

You might suppose, as I did, that my Valentine would be my husband of over eleven years – and while I’m certain he thought the same, it simply isn’t so, because the day before Valentine’s Day, I’d already given my heart out on loan to someone else entirely.

Starting out as a solo mission to the Post Office, I was armed with fourteen Valentines to ship and a few errands to run.  Making a station for myself to address the envelopes, an older gentleman took up standing next to me to mark his single box.  Shuffling around for something to write with, I smiled and showed him where the pen was attached to the desk.  He laughed gently and we got to small talking.  He shared that he was a metal-worker, we discussed the weather, and after a few more pleasantries, realized the line was moving on.  He smiled, his eyes hesitant to end the conversation, thanked me for talking with him, and began to carry himself to the front of the line.    In that moment, there was only one thing to do.  

“I’m sorry to bother you again,” I said, “but do you have a Valentine this year?”  He smiled, questioning, but laughed a bit sadly, responding that he did not.  I couldn’t know whether he had always been alone, or whether loneliness was new to him, but it really didn’t matter.  “Well, you’ll have to be my Valentine then,” I said, and proceeded to give him the final Valentine card of my stack.  I explained who the picture was of, (my son and daughter) and said he now had a bit of love from my family to hang on his refrigerator.  

“Thank you,” he said, eyes shining.  “I love it.”  

Eventually our line moved on, as did the both of us, but before leaving, the man walked back in line to where I stood, and hugged me. “I’ll never forget this,” he said, patting his chest pocket where he stored the picture. “It made my day – thank you.”  I told him it was my pleasure, and that was all. 

Until it wasn’t.  Because two aisles into my trip to Walmart … there he was.  “Well hello Valentine,” I said.  

“Hello!” he said, smiling broadly.  “You must’ve known I was thinking about you and your family!  I just looked at my picture again!” he said.  We proceeded to run into one another every few aisles and laughed like we had our own private joke each time.  On the last aisle, I gave him another hug, and told him I would be praying for him.  He reassured me he’d do the same … and we parted as unlikely Valentines. 

Some might think me odd – investing all this time and conversation on a stranger … but isn’t that the point?  I’m fairly certain, after all, that the greatest commandment we were ever given (John 13:34) was to, “Love one another.”  Galatians 5:6 also says that, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”  I cannot pretend to know this man’s story, or why we happened to cross paths so many times that day, but I do have faith that it was for a reason.  And by giving away my heart for just one hour … it may have given him the hope to carry on through one more Valentine’s Day. 

Go love someone … wherever you are,





2.8.16 To Live



“To live will be an awfully big adventure.” -J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Daddy, you are turning sixty, and my but that seems like an extraordinary number.  Take a minute, one set of sixty-seconds to just imagine the scope of what you’ve done in this life.

You have lived 21,900 days.

Your heart has beat more than 44,150,400 times.

You’ve taken more than 438,000,000 breaths.

By now, you would have dreamed at least 65,700 dreams if you were average … but I know you … and as a dreamer, you’re more likely in the 131,400 range.

Over the years, you’ve traveled past 3,120 sets of seven days in a week.

You have witnessed sixty sets of four seasons parading, one after another for you to enjoy.

You’ve been married 39 years, which means that for 14,235 days and nights, you’ve never been alone.

A workaholic in the most honorable way, you’ve worked nearly 12,000 days, and clocked in likely more than 120,000 hours.

Sources say that most men drive nearly 16,000 miles a year, which, if correct, puts you right near a million miles traveled.

You’ve been a father for 13,870 days, (which accounts for many sleepless nights, I now know, but who wants to count those).

More than 76,650 hours of music have filled your days as you taught me how to appreciate only the really good songs.

On estimation, you have taken over 109,500,000 steps in your life … and I love how you’ve never looked back once.

You’ve lived more in sixty years than some people do in a whole lifetime daddy, and I’m sure it gets tiring sometimes, but I want you to know this isn’t an end – like Avi says, it is just, “The end of the beginning.”

And I wish I could be there to help you celebrate … to ring in this new year the way only  you and I can, with lots of room for childishness and dreaming – but all those miles you’ve traveled have sadly settled about 660 between us, and it’s hard. So instead I’ve decided to give you a piece of what you and I do best … imagination, and pretend.

Daddy I want you to imagine that I’m painting you a picture … just like the ones you taped to the fridge when I was little.  And pretend that somehow, I was able to join together our most precious memories in one watercolored-blend of construction paper. In the center, I’m brand new, wrapped snugly in the soft blue blanket you and mom bought in anticipation of the boy I didn’t turn out to be after all, your gentle lips curl in the silent paper lullaby you’d have sung. The upper left-hand corner, shows me curled asleep in your lap at a concert, completely oblivious in the comfort of my dreams.  Then below it, following the line of a fishing pole you’re casting, you see my delighted, double-pigtailed head, bobbing with the weight of anticipation for my first catch.

Drifting to the right, your strong arms wind around mine as I take my first swing, rounding the edges that blur onto the sidewalk, with you chasing behind me after I made you promise not to let go. In the center, you stand behind mom taking pictures of me, all dressed up with a boy at my side, resigning yourself to the periphery with a sad, but knowing smile. Trailing the veil of paint, I now stand, with you on my arm for the last time, before you give me to a different boy, this time … forever. But in a curl, at the bottom left corner, you bend to kiss my forehead, and then his, your first grandson nestled in my arms. As the picture advances on, there are now two children to call you Papa … the granddaughter looking surreally similar to your own baby girl from years ago.

And on the bottom right?  That piece is unpainted – the story yet to be, as we have many adventures still in wait for us to live.

Can you see it daddy? I painted with the best words I could … just for you.

To Neverland and Back,

Your Elle

2.1.16 See People



 I think the world is blind sometimes.  Truly.  We live and work and shift in and around one another constantly, but how often can we actually say that we, “see” people?  Not often enough is my perception.  Children’s book author Dodie Smith once said, “I like seeing people when they can’t see me.”  And I would argue that most often, that is the case because not many bother to look.  This isn’t a slam or a tirade, just an observation of the sightlessness of society.  I’m certainly a part of this – of overlooking, or simply looking past that which I don’t always take the time to notice.  But then there’s sometimes … and I am a better me when I am looking then.

When I’m really observant, I see him.  A man shuffling his way down the street, bent in half with the weight of years sagging down his once-strong shoulders.  He is a time capsule, living history … but with no one to tell his stories to, he’s simply lost in an age that forgets his value.

When I take the time to notice, I see her.  A woman sitting alone at a cafe table filled with empty places.  Guests filter in and fill the tight space with the friends and lovers they brought along, and one by one they ask her if they can borrow a seat.  She smiles tightly, a new intensity focused on her newspaper, as she perpetually loses chairs from a table she wishes was full.

When I scan the noise I see him.  A boy, inking letters onto his forearm during class, marking himself with words and symbols the world expects to see.  He bears true the reality that people will always live down to your expectations, and since no one ever takes the time to set the bar higher for him – he’s got nowhere to try to climb.

When I watch the chaos I see her.  She is the only thing still.  Beautiful like a chameleon, she camouflages herself into the fade of background noise.  She glances with tired eyes at the overly-enthusiastic masks around her, wishing she was a better actress so that she could pretend to fit in … but she’s too different.  A butterfly among moths doesn’t change the fact that she’s the outlier, no matter how lovely her wings.

And I wish that everyone saw them.  I wish most of all that there were something to say.  Norwegian poet and novelist Tarjei Vesaas said, “Almost nothing need be said when you have eyes.”  But I think I’d amend it to say, “When you have eyes that are open.”

What we see may not change what is … but it just may incite a prayer, a conversation, or the smile that says, “Carry on gentle spirit, until we see one another again.”

Take it in.  Look around you.  And please, see people.