10.17.21 Gratitude Pumpkin

6

“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer

A few weeks ago, someone sent me an idea they found of making a, “gratitude pumpkin,” for the season. The premise is that each day you put something you’re grateful for on the rind to decorate it. I bought a pumpkin for my classroom, and every day, when the students come into the room, they are able to write one thing they are grateful for. Within a day, I was so blessed to see that my name was on the pumpkin. Isn’t it amazing how one little ounce of gratitude can re-awaken your sense of place?

So how about this … let’s create a virtual pumpkin challenge! Please take a moment to share who or what you are grateful for. Share your moment of gratitude with the person who needs to hear it most. Ask them what they’re grateful for! Imagine the ripple effect! Imagine the spark.

10.10.21 Sometimes, I Miss You

4

“Every time I look at you, you’re different.”

– Mrs. Foster, Tuck Everlasting

Sometimes

even when you’re right before me

even when I can see your smile, and all your attention is directly on me

I miss you

Even then –

because I don’t only know you and love you now

but then too

and I miss you then

and there

In the places between wishes and daydreams,

when your tiny fingers would catch my pinky and hold tight

I miss your un-prompted giggles and the way your hiccups frustrated you

I miss your mis-pronunciations and sidewalk-chalk smudges

I miss your “Let’s race,” and “So big,” and “I love you more,” words

spoken in a voice that is the same

and yet so different

I love you now

more than I ever have,

but less than I will even tomorrow

YOU

in your cleverness

in your silliness

in your wisdom

and beauty

and intelligence

YOU in your everything that makes me proud

I am grateful for every freckle earned dancing in the sunshine with you …

every smile fought for and given freely …

every fall-asleep hug, every on and off-key song, every rhyme and reasonless adventure

But even after all of that

even in all you will still become … and all I hope to still be for you –

Is it okay to be honest and say

that sometimes,

I love you so much …

that I miss you?

9.30.21 Where Colors Burn

2

“And what once felt so predictable –
a canopy of breeze-tossed green
is now an explosion of brilliance …
colors that burn just to look at …”

If Fall were a woman, in the words of the eminent Jane Austen, “She would certainly be a fearsome thing to behold.” Imagine all of that brilliance … all of that passion … burning in one spirit, lighting up the world as quick as a spark and as memorable as the impression of fireworks’ afterglow. How I hope to hold a fraction of that light – that vivacity.

Bella Grace Issue 29 is filled to the brim with all things captivating. I was excited to see a throwback piece from Grace Notes of mine, “Fall is Made for Reinvention.” Please take some time this fall to listen slowly, love deeply, and soak in all the places where colors burn.

Wind chimes and wishes,

Elle Harris

9.19.21 You Will Rise

1

” … If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools …”

– Rudyard Kipling, “If”

This week, a precious friend confided the difficult reality that sometimes, life hurts. Right now – her pain is acute. And although no one goes through this existence completely unscathed, there are times that will shake you to the point of an internal tremble. I’ve been thinking about her all week. Praying for her. And while I hate that I cannot fix it, I want her to know … I want you all to know, that Hope is an ever-present promise, even when all else fails. I wish I could take away the trials, but for the time being, all I have to offer is a small collection of words I gathered in the midst of this trial. May they bring you back to a point of knowing this is not the end of the world’s story … or of yours.

Life isn’t always what it seems

what you thought it was,

would, or even should be

Sometimes, when the clouds come

they stay

stagnant and unforgiving

relentless and roiling

In the dark, the questions come

doubts intermingling with leftover pieces of dreams …

as though everything you thought you knew to be true

is backwards, a broken, mirrored reflection of what it once was

sharp shards revealing every tear

Even then … in the moments where Destiny feels defective

and reality is rent with defeat,

even then there is light

Fractured bits of faith remain as glittered dust among the debris

incapable of being gathered and disposed of fully

Just as embers might once again be fanned into flame

Credence is worthy of reflection

And while chaos is deafening –

Hope speaks in constant whispers beneath it all …

a steady undercurrent, present below the pain

What is anguish but an inverse reaction to love?

What is devastation if not proof that devotion was present?

So be angry dear heart,

there is room in this space to be angry.

Be sad if you must,

there is room in this space to be sad.

Ask questions, have doubts, be aware of the darkness …

because I know,

even if you don’t –

even if you can’t –

that you are made of stardust and promises …

and your heart is branded with infallible truths

This life has no claim over that which is eternal

You may be shaken but you are not shattered

You might well have fallen, only to prove

once again

you will rise

9.6.21 *39 Wishes

3

I am two days away from my 39th birthday … and as always happens near this turn of season and year, I am reflective and grateful for another twirl about the sun. My mom always says that you have as many wishes as you do candles, so I thought I’d share a few with you – because I believe in blessings, not luck … so I have full confidence that sharing them might actually help them come true. I’d love to know some of your wishes too!

  1. I wish to be as brave as my husband.
  2. I wish to be as kind as my son.
  3. I wish to be as magical as my daughter.
  4. I wish to be as encouraging as my mom.
  5. I wish to be as selfless as my sister.
  6. I wish to have as much integrity as my dad.
  7. I wish to love as unconditionally as my pets love me.
  8. I wish to be the kind of friend who’s trusted enough for the 3:00 AM phone calls.
  9. I wish to be as curious as my students.
  10. I wish to be as wonder-filled as my nieces and nephews.
  11. I wish to never stop learning new things.
  12. I wish to see rain and have the urge to dance.
  13. I wish to hear the wind and understand its secrets.
  14. I wish to explore.
  15. I wish to be in the right place at the right time for the right person.
  16. I wish to be given the right words to comfort anyone who needs to hear them.
  17. I wish to know fluently the language of empathy.
  18. I wish to help, and have the grace to let others help me in return.
  19. I wish to remember my dreams after waking up.
  20. I wish to never let fear take hold.
  21. I wish to have thousands of more days where I laugh until it hurts.
  22. I wish to never lose touch with the majesty of nature.
  23. I wish to let ordinary moments take my breath away.
  24. I wish to be an example of faith in action.
  25. I wish to always know the grace of being humble.
  26. I wish to forgive myself as easily as others forgive me.
  27. I wish my children to know (without a doubt) that they always came first.
  28. I wish to forever choose whimsy over reality.
  29. I wish everyone I speak with to feel cared for and comfortable.
  30. I wish to be more in tune with the voice of heaven.
  31. I wish for my memory to be clear and long.
  32. I wish for my anxieties to be fleeting.
  33. I wish to know and be known.
  34. I wish to remain in tune with my inner child.
  35. I wish to always be helpful.
  36. I wish for days filled with contemplation of hummingbirds.
  37. I wish to see the best in every person and place.
  38. I wish to understand God’s definition of love and peace.
  39. I wish to place golden moments in tiny glass boxes to treasure.

8.26.21 Held

1

Sometimes, I think we all just need to be held

in the in-between places that fissure and fester …

that feel one word or deed away

from shattering our resolve

c o m p l e t e l y

On the days when your skin feels too tight

and your heart skips and stutters –

desperately trying to find a rhythm amidst the speed of light

and what’s supposedly

wrong

or right

in a time when there’s no such thing

Sometimes, I imagine a golden thread

weaving its way in and out of the dark

and frayed pieces of the spirit that we all try to ignore

I try to fathom a light among my heavy, swollen thoughts

that build and fill to the point of brimming

But to be held …

to be wrapped in the promise that

everything is going to be okay

It’s not the truth of the words that matters

instead

in the end

it’s the hope behind them …

the possibility

that hope is enough

the reality that it always is

8.12.21 Like Her Light

4

I wonder how it can be

that the light of my life

has once again had her turn about the sun –

where she has shared smiles

and ideas

and daydreams

as if they were

endlessly renewable resources

And to her …

they are

There is no day that is not made brighter because of her

There is no individual she leaves

without having made them feel truly seen

and known

and valued

And always, I am in awe not only of her

but of the breathtaking reality

that I get to be a part of her story …

As she continues to grow,

as she continues to circumnavigate this life

I know there will be times

I want to bear the weight of the world for her

and yet,

I also know she will find her own way

and that somehow

she will illuminate her own path …

thereby casting her incandescence

like starlight

like sunlight

like

her

light

Radiant and brilliant as she

7.30.21 Sunless Day

3

“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