2.17.19 At the Edge

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Hello dear ones. I hope that you will join me in reading my newest poem, “At the Edge,” on Grace Notes, Bella Grace Magazine’s blog. This poem means a great deal to me, as it represents a place that I think we all find ourselves from time to time. We try so hard to make sense of the things that try us, not always realizing that the trial itself promises beauty on the other side of enduring it. Nothing lasts forever precious hearts. Stay strong, and please share this piece with those who might most need to hear it.

All my love,

Elle

 

 

2.12.19 His

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They say all men are created equal

and I believe it

But in my experience, they don’t remain so

because some

(one)

has found a way to elevate my perspective on the possibility of everything

His is the memory I run to when I need to hear just one more story

the promise that nothing lasts forever, and tomorrow will be better than today

His is the patient voice on the other side of my endless why’s

answering when he can

and holding me when he can’t

There are few people who are able to possess the freedom of imagination

and the anchoring roots of integrity

but he does

His is the mind that recognizes my Neverland dreams

and the plank-walk inducing push to jump into the unknown

and keep swimming though I can’t see land

“Landing isn’t what you’re looking to do,” he will remind me

and I will carry on

I share his eyes, but not always his sight

and yet his is the calm to my tempest-beset heart

when the world overwhelms my “Why does it have to be that way,” view

“So then make it better,” he will challenge

Equal to none,

this is the man

I have made a lifetime of admiring

It is his hands that have held me

helped me

pushed me

and fiercely protected me

always

and today

it is his life

I am grateful for

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.6.19 Morning

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This morning my son woke up my daughter who had come into my bed sometime before and fallen back asleep, “Wake up, I need you to play a game.” 

“What game?” 

“It doesn’t matter, as long as you play with me. Leave mom sleep, but I want to play with you.” 

“Well then, you’ll have to carry me,” she said groggily. 

“Ugh,” he grumbled.

“Carry me or I can’t go,” she insisted.

“Fine, get on my back,” he replied dutifully turning around. 

“Nope, this way,” she said, curling her legs up for him to scoop her. “But don’t drop me!” 

“I’m not gonna drop you,” he said, shifting to get a better hold. “If anything, I’ll go down too.” 

After putting her down she ran back to me, “I just needed a hug.” I gave her a tight snuggle. And waiting behind her, was him. “I just need a hug too.” I held on for as tightly as he’d let me. 

1.25.19 Peace Will Arrive on the Climb

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The path of my mind runs in circles

around and anon

my thoughts drift as shadows

chasing priorities that cut each other off

in their attempt to steal forward in my thinking

sifting and shifting 

too quickly for anything to gain much more attention 

than an increased heartbeat

as I try

and fail

to make yet another decision

that may not be mine to make

inside

and out of reach

over arching

and undercutting

the calm repose

I am only allowed to seek

not find

Patience is the prescription 

but knowing a cure

and procuring one

are sadly not of equal merit

to a fragile heart

or a too-full mind

And so it comes down to the truth

that though I may wish it – 

the path is not mine to forage,

but to follow

One tentative,

night-light-lit step at a time

Perhaps in the dance of a spiral staircase 

I cannot see the end of … 

peace will arrive on the climb

For now,

I’ll tell my weary mind, 

“Fret not dear burdened friend … 

for maybe sleep –

will come tomorrow” 

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1.21.19 Today’s Yesterday

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“Is solace anywhere more comforting than in the arms of a sister?”

It has been a hard week, to say the very least. There have been a bevy of emotional ups and downs, and at the end of it all … I was utterly exhausted. Usually, my day consists of waking up and dashing from one activity to the next. As awful as it is to admit, I usually need to think hard when someone says, “What’d you do yesterday?” But today’s yesterday is the exception.

Yesterday, after family coming and family going and hellos that came for goodbyes, my sister stayed. She  lives exactly 829 miles away, and it takes 13 hours and 29 minutes to get from one of our doorsteps to the other. We do not get to spend Sundays together, except for yesterday. Here for less than ideal circumstances and the passing of our grandmother (maybe the greatest lady who ever lived), we were granted an impromptu two days of “us.”

Emotionally (but never conversationally) spent, we sat in my bed for over two hours. We solved at least half of all the world’s problems. And mostly, we just rested and refueled one another’s emptiness. My sister is one of the only people who is allowed to see me in any stage, shape, or form of who I am at any given moment. She is the keeper of my secrets … the focus of my memories … and the protector to my fears. There isn’t a whole lot that cannot be solved by a day spent doing “nothing” with her … because her nothing is a whole lot more than something with anyone else.

Be grateful if you have a sister. If not … I’ll try to be one to you, as I’m pretty sure I’ve had the best training from the greatest example out there.

Elle

 

1.14.19 Not Now

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Today I lost my grandmother. And while I know each person’s pain is their own, this feels quite acute … as if a particular piece of my childhood-self, somehow, can’t fathom her world without her. Yesterday was a long goodbye, and today I missed her final breath by two minutes. Just two. I wouldn’t have wanted her to stay, but it was my turn to be the brave one. In leaving, it’s almost as if she was saying, “No, no little girl. This moment isn’t yours to bear.” And yet facing a host of tomorrows without her seems somewhat indomitable if I’m being honest.

After leaving, I wasn’t ready. So I stayed. I went to the lake and closed my eyes against the rare, January sunshine. I went to the park and swung in the swing she always sat in … second from the right. I bought sweets at the candy store. I ran all the way up the church steps … just to run right back down. Then I got my nails painted red – her favorite, flashy color.

I tried grandma, to have a day “bumming” around … just the way you’d like it. I smiled. I remembered. I played. And I know where you are. And I’m happy for you … but here’s what I’m feeling just the same.

 

There is an art to saying goodbye

to orchestrating a memory that you know will be your last

only nothing seems good enough

or long enough

because although you may have shared a million laughs

it seems a million and one …

would have been the perfect number

Maybe I could have been satisfied with just one more

if one more had been allowed

but then again

maybe not

In coming my memory flickered like moving pictures

each and every one starring that jubilant face,

but in going, I fear might fade

like the sound of a voice in the echo

like the shade of the eye I can’t catch

like the difference between holding a hand

and having yours held in return 

the coming

of going

hurts strong

There is an art to saying goodbye

and it would seem, I am no master

There are too many colors and

untidy emotions that don’t quite match

In a medium of tears and memories

of the words I’d planned to say

of the prayers I meant to pray

and moments I may have missed 

without knowing

I tried so hard

to paint pictures that would last

but now there is only beauty 

in retrospect

You’d think I’d have seen it coming –

but who looks for what they don’t want to see? 

Who studies what they never wish to know?

Who accepts what they’ve practiced to deny? 

There is an art to saying goodbye

and I’m sure 

somewhere

it is done prettily 

with noble tears

and released fears

and flower-petal softness

But art is only a representation of the parts we 

want

to remember

and today

I want then

not now

I’ll love you forever. Thank you for being you, so I could enjoy this life in a way I couldn’t ever pursue without the gift of eternal optimism, and relentless joy you showed me how to own.

I pray this poem helps you too, my readers, however you are hurting from whomever you’ve lost. There is an art to saying goodbye … and maybe the key to being the best artist … is to never say it at all.

Elle

1.8.19 Right Here

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Some days my writer’s heart is more fragile than I’d like to admit. I think it is because writing is such a personal art, and so when you’re rejected, it doesn’t feel like a teacher telling you to edit … it feels like someone saying they don’t like you and that hurts worse. For as many accomplishments as I have been blessed to have this past year, I still pray fervently that I’ll be able to push this passion toward something more. Last Saturday I sent out twenty query letters … I already got three rejections. And sometimes my thick skin isn’t as thick as I like to pretend it is … and my upper lip isn’t as stiff as it should be … and my chin might just wobble a little as I heave in a breath and tell myself, “Just keep going.” 

When I’m feeling a little bruised –  and maybe just a little bit broken, I am instantly given the gift of my parents – of my mom who tells me I’m her inspiration to keep going – of my daddy who reminds me of Neverland.

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And then I smile and write some more. Tonight … quite when I needed to hear it the most, I received an email telling me that two more pieces are getting published. I might not be there, but I am here. I might not be then, but I am now.

And here …

and now …

might just be exactly the place I’m meant to be.

 

Carry on word-filled hearts. Like my daddy says, “I’m always right here,” with you.

Elle

12.30.18 From the Bottom of My Illuminated Heart

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Sometimes in the quiet, or not-so-quiet of my mind, I wonder if my words will matter. This is a dark fear, and it creeps upon me like a shadow, threatening to dash my confidence to carry on. But carry on I always do, because I just can’t seem to help it. Words are a part of me … maybe the best part, because somehow, they have the most chance of actually helping … of being there when I can’t be there … of soothing a heart that stumbles upon them.

Having the “what’s next” type of personality, I often see what I have not accomplished yet, and rarely take time to reflect on what I have. Today, so close to the new year, I decided to look back.

In the past four years I have …

Spoken multiple times a year for both educational and writing audiences

Reached 89 countries through my blog

Gained 1,110 followers

Had my website reached by 17,777 visitors

Had my articles, poems, and posts reach 23,520 views

Written one or more posts a week for four years for a total of 320 posts/articles/poems

Continued writing/editing most of my 17 book manuscripts (I even finished a few)

Published 18 total pieces for Bella Grace Magazine and their affiliate blog, Grace Notes the past two years

Met countless lovely individuals who shared their hearts with me and allowed me the same courtesy

So – in the ways of the publishing world … I have a long way to go. But, I guess I am going to take my daughter’s advice and “Enjoy the ride.” There are so many moments of bliss in the reality that not only do I have something to say, but I have unbelievable, artistic, creative, kind-hearted, kindred-spirits that actually want to read it!

Thank you my friends! Thank you for caring enough to read these ruminations of mine and continuing to believe in me and keep my light lit, even when the shadows threaten. You are my jar of fireflies … my lantern … my fairy dust. Thank you effervescently from the bottom of my illuminated heart.

Elle

12.24.18 Miraculously Still

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I wonder if the night was silent 

because it was too overwhelmed to speak

Maybe the fractals of light 

cast by the Bright Morning Star

were so incandescently stunning

that it somehow took nature’s breath away

and the gravity of heaven coming to earth

on the words of a promise

spoken by the lips of angels

resonated through the foundations of the world

in echoed whispers too sacred to be heard at all 

It might be that the love

transposed from ethereal divinity

into a mother’s young heart

was simply too pure to be translated into the

 imperfect reduction of words

Some feelings

after all

are simply beyond

Regardless of the why

the result of that ancient coming 

was simple

breathless

beauty

And the captivating 

overwhelming

absence of noise

must have come 

from the pivotal essence of it all

For one moment

for one breath

all

miraculously

was still

12.16.18 Holiday Cheer

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“Try to see things differently – It’s the only way to get a clearer perspective on the world and on your life.” – Neal Shusterman
Today I was reminded just how much perspective matters. I often try to look for opportunities to share a smile, a word, or a story with the people I come to meet and this particular trip to the market was no different. In the baking aisle, I was completely lost among ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and ground ginger when I saw a happy, very tall looking man glancing up at the shelves from a wheelchair. I asked if I could help him reach anything and he smiled largely at me, thanking me for the offer but assuring me he was fine and just waiting for his wife.

A few aisles later, I asked a worker where the molasses was, as I’ve never in my life made gingerbread cookies and had no idea. He told me it was on the top shelf near the syrup, but that it was probably really far back as a lot of people were asking about it today. He did not offer to help, just told me that I could find it there if any was left. As I made my way back, I saw the same pleasant gentleman and his wife and told them of my woes. They wheeled along with me and said they’d help me check. She finagled the last jar from the top shelf for me. I laughed and said, “Here I thought I was going to help you and you are helping me!” He smiled and told me that he was always the height-helper before getting Multiple Sclerosis. I apologized for his diagnosis and he simply smiled again and said, “You know what, it’s okay. It took a long time to progress and I’m doing alright.” His wife and I shared a few teacher stories, and after telling them I’d be praying for them, we shook hands and I was on my way.

In the checkout, I thought I’d continue the cheer and asked the teller if she was excited for Christmas. “You’re seriously asking a person in retail if they’re excited for Christmas?” she asked sarcastically.

“I guess so,” I replied. “I’ve never worked in retail so I wouldn’t know.” She continued to have a chilled demeanor and it just made me so sad. It’s true that none of us know one another’s story, but it struck me as so ironic that this seemingly healthy woman refused to find joy, and this ailing man, reduced to a wheelchair, couldn’t part with it. As I was leaving, I hoped that she would find a way to experience more than she expected this season … maybe the sweet man and his wife would find their way to her line and shift her perspective.

At home tonight, I’m blessed from my tired head, all the way down to my vintage apron. My husband and I decided to make something old and something new. He made his mother’s famous peanut butter cookies and I attempted my first gingerbread. We were both weary from a long work week, stressed with holiday finances, and overwhelmed with the all-too-soon promise of Monday morning – and yet we laughed and kissed and danced as we made a royal mess in our kitchen. Hours later, after endless cups of almond flour, loads of dishes, shared baking pans, and happy medium baking temperature (we wanted to each bake our recipes at the same time) we are in a sweet, sugar coma … grateful for the best gift of the season … one another.

I hope you are able to find yourself on the brighter side of the Christmas tree lights today and well into the new year. Be blessed dear ones.

Elle