1.22.23 2:00 am Friend

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“… and she embraced the chaos as it painted her life with purpose.” – J.H. Hard

It was 2:13 am

and we’d talked for four hours

(four hours and nine minutes)

and the funny thing is …

it wasn’t enough

We could have kept on talking

until the moon and the sun switched places

again

Everything and nothing at all

tears

and tantrums

confessions

and conundrums

secrets

and surreptitious truths

Each of them weighted equally

as the minutes ticked

as the clock struck

done

All I could think, was how grateful I am

to have this gift in my life

a kindred

who knows both what is possible

and unlikely

but trades dreams … and wishes … and prayers with me anyway

Therein lies the true magic

the believing that four hours of life shared in conversation

changes things

because it does

It allows us to carry on

to keep moving forward in both the mundane and miraculous

May each one of us be so lucky

as to have a four-hour-conversation

and a 2:00 am friend

12.31.22 Hopeful Expectancy

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“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me … Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” 

– Shel Silverstein

Here upon the dawn of a fresh new year, I wanted to write you poetry. I wanted to write you dreamy, sweet, recollections. But yesterday, I called my sister in tears, and so instead, I decided to write you truth. Here it is. Being a dreamer … a wisher … a doer, is sometimes overwhelmingly heavy. Waking up each day with stories you know need to be told, but don’t have the time to tell–stepping into new days and weeks and months that pass without your permission or intention–finding that there were so many meant-to’s still in a wishful pile of haven’t done’s … it’s a lot.

This year, I have been a mom to two teenagers. I’ve been a wife (albeit one who owes her husband about a million date nights). I have started a new job teaching an entirely new level of (high school). I’ve continued my blog. I’ve been a guest speaker. I’ve written for my favorite magazine for another year. And yet, oh friends. Yet, I am the farthest thing from satisfied that I’ve done enough.

So I called her, my sweet sister, in tears. I’m not much of a cryer–until I am. Then, it seems, I have no choice but to let it all out. I called to confess that I have so much more to do, so much I’ve not done, so much I started without finishing. I told her I wanted to be someone my kids could be proud of for chasing and pursuing and “making” something of herself. I asked her why I have so many words in my mind, spinning and itching to be sent and spoken. I asked her why I can’t get farther. I asked. And I cried. And I muttered, “Why can’t I get farther?”

“Oh, sweetheart,” she said. “It’s because you’re not arriving. You’re already there.” She went on to explain (in the patient way that only sisters can) that the standard I hold myself to is not the same version of me the world sees. She told me that my children, my husband, and my family are already proud of me … and that the only one who isn’t, is me.

The truth, it would seem, is just as heavy as all of those other feelings. But where self-doubts seem to weigh me down, this spoken truth, was more of a blanket statement … settling over and comforting the parts of my heart and mind that are so often restless.

Dear ones. I wish you many things in this new year. I wish me many things too, but more than anything, I wish you truth and hopeful expectancy. May you hear the words that need to be said. May you feel the prayers that need to rest on and stay with you. May you allow yourself to be loved exactly as you are, not as you think you should be.

Here, on the eve of a brand new shiny turn about the sun: my fears have been cried, my tears have been dried, my wishes to heaven have been sent, and my busy brain has begun plotting and planning without strings attached. Maybe things will work out … maybe something better than my own plans will come to be … maybe nothing what-so-ever will change. No matter what, it is with a tenacious heart and winged-spirit that I step into 2023.

Ironically, or not so ironically, this particular verse popped up on two different apps of mine, two days in a row. “God’s timing is perfect,” Ecclesiastes 2:11. Work on believing it with me.

Delight and unabashed joy for what was, what is, and what will be, or won’t. Regardless of circumstances, sparkle and shine. Smile and trust. Love and be loved. Peace and optimism and effervescent hope be yours!

Elle

12.26.22 Gold, Frankincense, & Myrrh

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“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11

A few weeks ago, I was asked to speak a Christmas message to a group of mothers. I was so honored to be able to reflect on the joy of the season, and also the night Jesus was born. As a mom, I think that mysterious night … that holy night captures my imagination, and pulls at my heart. I think about the ways that I utterly adore my children, how I loved them before they were born, and how, the moment I became a parent, nothing was the same.

What I often try to reflect on, that I really struggle with, were the gifts of the Magi. As a new mother, everyone brings you gifts that promise hope, and a future filled with fun and love – but those weren’t the kinds of gifts Mary received. She received gold, a gift fit for kings; frankincense, a gift offered to the gods; and myrrh, a gift offering for death. Regardless of your faith, of your religion, of whom you dedicate your life to … I wonder if just for a moment, you can imagine this mother’s heart. Can you imagine the weight on the shoulders of this young hope-filled girl knowing that her child was destined for things she couldn’t fathom?

I think there is so much we as people can learn from this story, about ourselves and our place in this life. There are gold, frankincense, and myrrh moments we all face. I invite you to watch my speech on these things, and I’d love to hear any thoughts you might want to share on the gifts you face in your life.

GOLD LINK

FRANKINCENSE LINK

MYRRH LINK

I wish you and yours a beautiful and blessed holiday – one filled with life, and light, and hope. You are all worthy, and known, and loved. I appreciate you so much in my life … you are who I write for.

Elle Harris

12.12.22 Tis the Season to Be Cozy

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“I think I could live in your thoughts … your mind would seem a cozy place.” – Caroline George

Here it is again … my favorite read for my favorite season! Cozy! Bella Grace Magazine’s Volume 5 of Cozy is out, and I’m in love. I was so excited to write a piece called, “Top to Toes Cozy in 10 Simple Steps.” I think that so often, people think cozy is something you can just turn on, but in my experience, cozy takes its time. From your sweet too-tense neck and shoulders to your heart, hands, and lungs – we need to relax each part of ourselves and unburden our bodies from expectation.

I hope that you will take some time to think about what cozy really means to you and determine a routine you can commit to in order to restore your brilliant joy.

What’s your favorite ritual of cozy? I’d sure love to know!

Snuggles and sparkles,

Elle

11.26.22 Gratitude

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“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

To be grateful

honestly grateful

is not as familiar a posture as I wish it were

I say the right words

“I am thankful for …”

but do I live it?

Do I truly dwell in not just satisfaction

in temperance and tolerance

but actual gratitude?

Mind over matter – yes.

Logic wins. I am healthy. I am happy. I love.

But if I’m being completely honest

(as is rare for me to even be with myself)

I could work on my attitude of gratitude

Sometimes my prayers become a disjointed list

instead of an intentional offering

Sometimes my “thanks” are bottled and boxed …

saying sweet tidings

without animation

without spirit, or life

And I’m sorry.

Because this gift I’ve been given,

this life and these people

these days and relationships and serendipitous encounters

they deserve more

I’m ashamed to admit it might take me some time

this rearranging my posture –

I believe there might not be anything more important

than to saturate myself in appreciation

ordinary and otherwise

The brilliance of a sunrise and the miracle of one more breath

should be regraded with equal measures of requited adoration

I don’t want to say,

“I’m grateful,”

I want to remain in a state of being so

regardless

11.9.22 Cliche

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“I’m a cliche,”

she told me through her tears

she told me through mine 

I took in her tired eyes …

too tired to cry

I took in her straight-edge shoulders …

strong from the weight they’d proven they would continue to bear

I wonder if telling someone new hurts worse

than keeping it inside

Do the spinning, recurrent, stuck-on-play thoughts

pause 

when shared – giving peace to the weary,

world-beaten mind that must endure them?

Or does saying them out loud

again

open just-barely healed scars?

I hated that all I could do was listen

because listening doesn’t feel like enough

And yet the set of her chin 

the clench in her jaw

told me she was not waiting for the right words

(she knew no one would ever have)

she was not waiting for anyone to fix

or heal

or save

Listening would never be enough

but being heard … 

was 

Somewhere between the “I do’s”

and “I don’t anymore,”

between the “Until death do us part’s” 

and “I’ve got nothing left,” 

lay the infinitesimal

(albeit shattered) 

portion of hope

waiting to be stumbled upon in the dark 

And even though the dark remains

ink-stained as the document signed to revoke a promise that

paper should never be strong enough to change –

she’s going to make it

she is

Undeniably.

Somehow, slowly, 

crawling will become standing

on her own precious feet

on her own grounded terms

Pinpricks of light will begin to shimmer and wink into existence 

wish-worthy as a constellation

Feather by broken feather

her wings will knit together

her thoughts will calm, and quiet

and she will find peace 

among the pieces of what was

Though she can’t know it yet

she will

she is not a cliche

she is not a tragedy

she is a phoenix

and my but I wonder at the beauty that will be born

from her ashes

10.24.22 Good Witch

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I’d like to be a good witch

If magic were a choosing

And brew and bottle lovely things

To lend for life’s perusing

From gentle breeze to inkling

And wisest wish to whim

I’d sprinkle pleasant daydreams

Filling stardust to the brim

Then with whispered words of musing

I’d find ways to charm the day

And leave some room for Fate and Chance

To twirl and run and play

Then when the day’s bright mischief ends

When sun succumbs to stars

Before the dark could take its claim,

I’d catch sunbeams in jars

And whenever one felt lonely

or they hit a snag or glitch

I’d help and soothe, brew joy and hope

If I could be a witch

10.2.22 Your Company

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Sometimes I think you found a secret passage way into my soul –

a back door

or an open window 

that no one else took the trouble to look for

or check on … 

to know for certain that there was a part of me

that wasn’t actually locked

or closed, so much as un-searched for. 

How did you know to do that?

To go there? 

To find me? 

How did you know those were the questions that needed asking?

Those were the silences I needed to stretch in, 

the pauses between conversations that gave me the space

I didn’t know I required,

to open up.

You surprise me.

Still.

And perhaps that is the grandest gift –

the key that you are to me … 

No matter how many words are said or unsaid,

no matter how many days and weeks and months

lapse between our conversations,

I am always still looking forward to “next.” 

Because I know there’s more of me to find with you,

beside your quiet heart

inside your busy mind

with or without reason or proof of anything 

apart from my liking myself more

for your company.

9.18.22 And Then, There’s Bella

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My favorite thing about being a writer is hearing back from readers. I adore knowing which lines transcended the page and found their way into a heart, or a mind, or a memory. I love imagining my words as tiny, gossamer threads, weaving themselves in and out of the consciousnesses of others. When someone shares that something is, “exactly” how they feel, my heart alights at the wonder of it all … at this shared experience of life, and the living of it.

And then, there’s Bella. Bella Grace comes in all her majesty, robed in the scent of ink on thick paper, and I dwell in the magical reality that this publication has linked me to so many. So many minds. So many stories. So many effervescent opportunities to merge one story, one life, to another. This fall, I wrote, “Dear Life, You are Not What I Planned,” for Issue 33. I really, really hope you have the chance to pick up a copy and let me know if any lines crossed your conscious and settled there.

“Whether playing hands with Fate or Destiny, or crafting conversations with God, you, Life, lead us on a path written in invisible ink.”

Please share a line that resonates.

All my love,

Elle

9.11.22 Alternate Reality

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“I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?” 

― John Lennon

I’ve heard it said, 

that everyone has a different version of reality –

because no two people can live 

even the same experience

the same way

Some people would call this a lonely thought

because if true …

then no one can ever understand you

fully

But the way I see it,

it’s a blessing, really,

because if no one else can ever experience what you do

the way that you do …

how can you be wrong?

Or less?

Or not enough?

If what you experience in this life is yours alone, 

then you, 

precious one,

are a limited edition –

the rarest of finds, 

a treasure who can never be deemed insignificant.

How might the world transform

(glitter-bright with blameless, shameless curiosity)

if people could accept this about one another?

How might this life awaken,

dream-drenched with charm and adoration

if we could accept this about ourselves?