8.24.16 Laughing Stars



I am exhausted.  Mentally. Physically. Spiritually.  Spent. I don’t like feeling this way. Not one tiny smidgen, however, I’ve rarely found anyone who enjoys being laid waste by their endless tasks of endless days.  I am not sad. I am not angry. I am not listless or uninspired … I’m simply too tired to feed the imagination that says, “Come on … it’s my turn to play.” What did I expect with a new job, a new school year?  Certainly I didn’t anticipate I’d just waltz in and know what I was doing, and when, and how.  Well … I’d hoped, but I’m coming to learn that hope and expectation do not always agree.

Things are getting done … slowly.  As my mind flits and flutters from one task to the next, beating like a hummingbird’s wings.  My productivity and mindset do not match at all.  I’d like to be more than I am sometimes.  Have you ever thought that?  I’d like to be much more put-together than I often feel I am.  To have plans, and timetables, and actually follow the slotted minutes I designated for each thing would be lovely indeed.  But that is not life.  Not my life at least. My life is much more like a bright, engaging piece of abstract art – beautiful, messy, and somewhat unfinished in its pursuit.

I am okay with this I suppose, because even when I am as I am … exhausted to the point past sleeping … I still have traces of whimsy floating like dust particles around me.  And I see them through filtered light … my own personal confetti.  I sit in my office … my blue room, and everything feels better.  I run my hand along the old worn box that holds my most-precious letters given to me over a lifetime.  I put pumpkin-spiced coffee on the antique side table I inherited ages ago.  I curl up into cozy in the chair I’ve had forever, and I dream a waking dream of possibility.  And I imagine I’m anywhere, and everywhere at once.

My creativity comes back, and the weariness of my day wears thinner. I think if it could speak, my imagination would tell me what Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said in The Little Prince. “You – you alone will have the stars as no one else has them … In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night …You – only you – will have stars that can laugh.”

And so take the time to hear the stars my friend … because I would not be surprised, if they were laughing for you too.


8.18.16 My First Guest Blogger!!!



This is my first, but hopefully not last blog hosted by a guest! An amazing writer, photographer and kindred-spirit … I am completely honored for her debut blog to be showcased on my site!  Please read through her bio at the end and encourage her with comments by finding her on Facebook and Instagram.  And now … without further delay …

Finding the Pieces Within – Courtney Johnson


“We lose ourselves in the things we love. We find ourselves there, too.”
–Kristen Martz

I am a lover of life. I love finding the celebration in anything I can. Sure, life’s big milestones are amazing and forever ingrained in me. But I revel in the day to day! It is just as beautiful, and I desire to hold on to those feelings and moments, and relive them. It might seem ordinary to some, but to me, my life is exquisite. The prevalence of love and beauty is never lost on me. It is exactly that which I choose to center myself around.
Like any fairy tale, my life is not without its struggles; pieces of myself have come and gone, making way for what was necessary. And sometimes I put away bits of myself that no longer fit into a particular time and space. But those elements are still there, waiting for the perfect day to come back.
Unfortunately, one true piece of me that I have stifled for some time now has been the expressive part of my soul, the creator. She was right there with me for years until certain aspects of my life pushed her aside, trapping her, and closing her off from the best parts of me. Other pieces have since developed and taken over the show, but she’s been quietly watching and reminiscing … all the while hoping for a chance to show herself again.
Ever since I could write, I did. In fancy journals with vintage pictures on the cover, or old notebooks with the metal spiral poking into my skin as I carried them. I would tap away on my grandma’s antique metal typewriter, loving the sound of each key inking the paper. And Post-Its were essential; perfect, yellow squares to hold my lists, love stories, mysteries, poems, and songs.
It was no different with pictures. I documented everything with pictures … digital and physical albums containing tens of thousands of images telling the story of my life.
With a love like I had for pictures and words, I never understood why the version of me who created them could be lost. Back then writing and photography felt like something I just did – but I get it now, that version is the best version of me, she is still a huge part of who I am … and I need to keep her close.
Now I have this irrepressible urge to write, to photograph, to capture meaning in everything. Not necessarily to be heard by others, but to be heard by myself. Sometimes you just need you to hear you.
The old soul who values reverence, sentimentality, time, and music … they all rest with her … and she’s not satisfied with just a front-row seat anymore. She wants to create. She wants to perpetuate as much of my beautiful life as she can. She needs just a little stage time.
So if you notice her out and about, give her some encouragement, a smile, a hug, or a high five. Keeping her going will take some work, but it will be so worthwhile. If you feel like a part of you is missing or unfulfilled, look inside yourself. Chances are you will find a piece of who you used to be too. Immerse yourself in something inspiring and bring you out to play. Create a little space in your life to pick things up again, and don’t let the other pieces of you say no.
Here’s to you, dear one, for swooping in, befriending her, and helping me escort her out in a parade of wonder and amazement. She has been missed, and I need her more than I ever realized. She has so much to celebrate! This beautiful life I live is her muse, and she is mine.

Courtney’s Bio


Courtney Johnson is a lover of life and a seeker of fun in every day.  As a teacher and mother of three little ones, she and her husband conquer each crazy day with love and laughter.  Along the way she pens thought-provoking narratives and captures beauty where she sees it, letting her life be her muse.

8.9.16 A “Bella” Day


Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 5.02.04 PM

Aristotle once said that, “Hope is a waking dream.”  Can I just say that today I feel fully awake?  Another piece of mine has been published and so today you can find me on Bella Grace Magazine’s Blog!  I am always so impressed with the way words and pictures compliment one another just so … like stars and wishes, they magically fit, and the image chosen is summertime dreamy.

So here’s to Pretend, the theme of my piece, … and reality, because my words are really out there in print today!

Please pass on this post, and take a peek at my favorite magazine in the world.

Facebook: @bellagracemagazine

Twitter: @bellagracemag

Instagram: @bellagracemagazine

Elle Harris

8.4.16 School Bells



I worked in my classroom for eleven straight hours today, and let me tell you I understand the meaning of the phrase, “hot mess,” in an all too personal way.  It was about ninety degrees and there wasn’t air running.  And although I felt as if I was melting, I was much too stubborn to quit hanging up, throwing out, wandering around, and working under the pressure of that tick-tocking nemesis on the wall.  School starts in about a week and a half.  Needless to say, I could use a bit. More. Time!  Instead … I wrote a poem.  I am a nerd – what can I say? Enjoy!

 The Week Before School

(to the tune of The Itsy Bitsy Spider)

The brand new stressful school year is creeping in real fast

Down comes curriculum you have used from the past

Out goes the old as you bring in all the new

And the standard-based technology is most of what you’ll do

The brand new crop of students are prepping to leave home

Clearing racks at Target, up every aisle they roam

Getting some supplies and a lot that they don’t need

As their parents count their blessings that soon they will be freed

The brand new centered classroom is shaping up real nice

Sadly nothing’s free and it cost you quite a price

You’ll just have to embrace it because school starts so soon

And you won’t be out again until it ends in June

So prepare yourself for meetings you didn’t know you had

Late nights spent correcting and grades that get quite bad

Lunches paired with recess you have to chaperone

And the last time in nine months you will ever be alone

The life spent as a teacher is full as full can be

Twenty-something students packed like a cannery

Filled with loud opinions and stories that they share

It’s a good thing there’s a week left for you to still prepare

All my best to you this year fellow teachers!  It’ll be a great year … just keep shining!