6.25.21 Two Weeks Into Summer

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“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink in the wild air.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

We have officially finished two weeks of summer … already! As a writer, I have accomplished little. Instead, I have been quite focused on being: a mom, a wife, a friend, and a human – you know, all of the titles I wasn’t able to give myself to fully this year. And so, we have delved into the sunlight armed with freckles and giggles. From discovering new ice cream places to bake off competitions, visiting friends to glow stick parties, ocean drives to waterfall hikes, our family is pursuing every moment of summer with passion and forced purposelessness. We have reminded ourselves: how to sleep in, how to build four-room forts, how much we love to read, and what movies are worth watching and re-watching. We have had bonfires and perfected the art of the s’more, went for long walks and slow runs, discovered new restaurants and even allowed ourselves to take naps … all of us!

Just fourteen days, and I feel as though I am waking up again from a long, fitful and restless sleep. I honestly cannot fathom the journey I know some of you have endured these past two years … the journey so many of you (of us) are still on. But I truly, madly, deeply hope that you can find time to reintroduce yourself to the simple pleasures that bring you back to yourself. If you feel you cannot afford the time, then steal it – go ahead, I give you permission. Do yourself and those you love the favor of your entire presence. Hit pause on what “should” be done for what must be done.

I’d write more, but I’m off to read, and dream, work on a puzzle with my son, and dance with my daughter – the best kind of busy.

Breathe in, and out, and in once more … then, smile sunshine … you’ve got time.

Elle

6.15.21 Hello Bella

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Sometimes I think about what Summer would say to me if she were the friend I imagine her to be.

“Where have you been?” she asks. “And why haven’t you made time for the best parts of yourself? I miss you.”

To which I answer …

“I miss me too.”

It seems that our summer-selves are just a bit more magical because summer is the season where our childhood hearts remain effervescent with joyous potential.

(Excerpt from Bella Grace issue 28)

I have to say that I am just completely charmed with the Summer Issue of Bella Grace. Writing “A Summer State of Mind,” allowed me to dwell in my favorite season of the year. And “52 Things I Could Do,” was pure fun from start to finish … dreaming of all the possibilities I’d treat myself to if time were not such a villain!

As if that weren’t dreamy enough, I am also the host of Bella Grace’s Blog Grace Notes … dipping my toes further into the beauty that is summer with, “Summer Lights: 35 Joys That Light Us From the Inside.”

Please take time to say, “Hello Bella,” with me and let me know which piece spoke to your inner summer-self! Hearing from you all is forever and always my favorite part!

Sparkles and sun kisses,

Elle

5.23.21 Ever-So-Much-More

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Sometimes you ask me if I’m still attracted to you. After being together for 20 years, I feel I must be failing somewhere if you must ask … so here is my answer to that question evermore. Let it now be a closed issue.

I simply adore you

without strings and beyond reason

If someone asks me, “Where is home?”

Your name is my answer

I am not simply attracted to you –

you are my North

the gravity keeping my heart grounded

and my spirit close

In some ways I hate the words “I love you,”

because they are insufficient

As a lover and weaver of words

you can’t imagine how frustrating it is to know so many …

and not be able to craft them together to say enough

And so you

my life … I want you to listen closely

Read and reread as you must, but know

unequivocally

you must trust that what I feel for you is

beyond words

beyond years

beyond the etches of time wearing themselves into us both

beyond what you view as your imperfections

(and what I view as your charms)

beyond benefit or lust

beyond convenient and settled

Honestly?

I don’t think I’d know me without you,

because the best parts of both of us,

exist outside of us both

with their own sets of journeys,

but they only exist because God set our paths to cross

What serendipity.

And so I have one thing left to say –

thank you for choosing me

over and over again

even when I wouldn’t choose myself

especially then

I love that I see you in him

I love that I see you in her

echoes of your laughter and your compassion

reincarnated in another set of lives

Imagine that love … the kind that becomes a legacy

So no

I am not simply “attracted” to you

I am written into the pages of your story

sharing breaths

sharing atoms

sharing ever-so-much-more

than I love you’s

5.4.21 Beyond Bearing It

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Sometimes, when I can’t fall asleep, I sift through pictures in my mind of before. I lie in bed, heart pounding, throat throbbing, repressed tears threatening to absolutely overwhelm me if I let them – because of this gift, and how quickly it’s passing me by.

Of him.

Of her.

Of becoming a mother and remembering every detail that my too-fast life with them will let me recall. Memories come back to me in fragmented bits … little pieces of stained glass that join together in an endless collage of colors and lenses I miss looking through.

I am so blessed.

But love – love this big … quite simply, it hurts.

It hurts because even when you try to savor every second, they still pass. It hurts because the world isn’t perfect and they are … so you need it to be, but can’t change it. It hurts because even when they’re too big to crawl up onto your lap, a part of them wants to, so you hold on instead for a too long hug – and it never feels like enough.

When she was nine months old, I was about to put her in bed, and she placed her tiny hands on either side of my face. She held me there, and stared at me so intently … her bright eyes telling me all the things she couldn’t say, but found a way to share nonetheless.

When he was off to his first day of Kindergarten – unafraid and excited for whatever came next, I asked him for one more hug. “For me buddy, not for you,” I’d said. He smiled big and hugged me tight. “It’s okay mommy,” he whispered in my ear, “I’ll miss you too.” Taking care of my heart at five, and checking in with me ever since.

She is my starlight. He is my keeper.

And though I am the farthest thing from what they deserve, I am on-my-knees grateful that God gave them to me … even for a time as fleeting as this. Because although I know I love imperfectly, I also know I love them fully – to the very edge of myself, almost beyond bearing it.

4.21.21 Joy of the Unexpected

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In truth, I almost didn’t write tonight. Again. It seems that every night, I am too much or not enough of whatever it is I feel that I need to be to contribute to the world in the way I want. And yet, I have a simple story – so short it is more an occurrence, but a sweet one nonetheless.

I was walking during my daughter’s dance practice, looking up as I normally do on walks (as the sky entertains in a way feet cannot). As I rounded a corner, I saw an older man walking his dog. I looked down long enough to smile at him and wave, and he said, “What an unexpected pleasure.”

That’s it. That is my sweet snippet, and yet when I reflect on this day … it was my blossom. To think that seeing a smile from the other side of the road, from a total stranger could bring this man such joy, brought me joy just to think it possible. We both continued on smiling. I went back to looking up, he went back to walking forward, but he was right, it was an unexpected pleasure. Being given the gift of a smile, one intended specifically for you, is a tiny treasure – a golden moment I tucked into the pocket of my heart.

I hope you found something that warmed you today … something small enough to keep your travels light, and bright.

4.3.21 “Yes” Day

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It has been a year of “No.” No you can’t go there. No we can’t see them. No school. No sleepovers. No trips. No. No. No. So … inspired by the cute film on Netflix, “Yes Day,” with a few parameters, my husband and I decided that this spring break, though we wouldn’t be going on any trips or seeing friends, we would say YES to a “Yes Day” of our own.

We gave the kids a budget and told them, “No destruction to people or property … AND NO MORE PETS!” (We have 8 in case you didn’t know that fun fact about us – 1 hamster, 3 fish, 2 cats, and 2 dogs … you’re never lonely that’s for sure.) My takeaway is this – I am SO GRATEFUL FOR MY KIDS! They were so fantastic, stayed completely within budget, and even had mini-meetings throughout the day to discuss what might be the best options for time and money. So responsible.

Here is a list of what went down:

  1. Breakfast pick up from Chick-Fil-A (Matthew and I had to drive to three to find one open)
  2. Go to Walmart to buy Water Wars Ammunition!
  3. Have an all-out Water War in the yard (mom and dad had to pick up the 200 balloon pieces)
  4. Lunch at Noodles (Matthew and I had to drive to two to find one open … we don’t have good luck with food places or Google Maps)
  5. Go mini golfing (The sky rather opened and we got 100% drenched and proceeded to run the course instead of golf it … don’t worry … we hit every single number. We are not quitters.)
  6. Went to the mall (in our sopping wet clothes)
  7. Got hot, buttered pretzels (mom got a smoothie instead)
  8. Went to the toy store
  9. Got macaron cookies (white chocolate raspberry was the best)
  10. Kids played games while we picked up pizza
  11. Took a 9:30 drive to get ice cream before it closed at 10:00
  12. Watched two movies (Matthew and I fell asleep for both of them)

All in all, it was an amazing yes day. I think the most memorable part of it, for me, was just the freedom of not having any decisions to make. It was yes. Matthew and I started off with the stipulation that IF we said no, even accidentally, we’d owe them more money. It happened three times and I think they were almost rooting for our mistakes so the budget kept increasing! Ha ha! Delight.

So here’s to yes when you can, no when you have to, and lots and lots of smiles and memories in between.

3.24.21 Springing Forward by Looking Back

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“In a year that has felt both impossibly long and frozen – an immobile collection of repeating days – it can seem difficult to look forward. A new season is upon us and yet it is the same season when, for many of us, this entire shift of ‘the world as we knew it’ began. So what are we to do with spring? How can we advance bravely into the possibility of what we hope for when things appear no different? It’s simple – we look back. Take a bit of time to dwell in your ever-present treasure of memories. Spring is a time of reflections, new directions, and growth. Let the garden of your mind harvest sweet blossoms, and make yourself an enchanting bouquet of thoughts.”

– Excerpt from Springing Forward by Looking Back, Bella Grace Issue 27

I hope that you will take some time to explore Bella Grace’s Spring Issue! It is filled with all things lovely and has so many refreshing suggestions to reset your spirit! As always, it is an honor to write for my absolute favorite magazine in the entire world!

Happy Spring my darlings! Here’s to new beginnings!

Elle

3.13.21 Beyond

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Sometimes I wish that we lived in a world where there weren’t quite so many conventions … so many “unwritten” rules of decorum and what is or is not: expected, accepted, or normalized. This is where children have it right. They rush into conversation with reckless abandon, all tangled hair and thoughts … all colorful, vibrant questions. I want to meet someone and push beyond the “getting to know you” phase immediately. I want to grab their hand, look directly into their eyes, and ask them if the ocean calls their spirit like it does mine. I want to know if they too feel magic in the wind and believe in the possibility that Fate and Destiny like to play.

But those are not ordinary questions, and so instead, I fear many of us remain on the surface … knowing, but also not knowing each other fully. I want to live in a world where those kinds of questions don’t end in a quandary of someone looking at me as though I am not “fully sane.” Why can’t we know? Why can’t we ask? Why can’t we feel fully and cannonball into grand discussions edged in gold, instead of politely tiptoeing around generalities that keep us shallowly acceptable?

Can I just say … I’d love to fight normal? I’d love to wrestle the glass barriers of the mundane in preference of the glorious, curious questions I wish I could ask. What invokes passion in you? What draws you to the edge of yourself? Do you believe our mortal bodies contain immortal relevance and what in this glorious, terrible life has led you to your conclusions?

Albeit to say, I would irrevocably love to push beyond to the good stuff … but the world might have to spin a little faster (or maybe it’s slower) before that happens. And yet, if you find yourself in need of a little bit more … of a little bit deeper … just know there’s someone out there who feels the same and is happy to follow your wondering, wandering thoughts. Beyond seems like an awfully enchanting place to go.

Come with me?

Elle

3.8.21 Grateful Gifting

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I was supremely blessed this past week when two orders came in for quote stacks from my mini shop, This Quotable Life Boutique. Every time someone reaches out to me for a personalized gift, I feel so remarkably grateful … grateful that I was thought of in the place between giver and gift. From personalized poetry to wedding vows – I have been able to walk in some of the most fragile, remarkable moments with individuals who deemed me worthy of entering into their journey. What could be more satisfying than that?

And so, I thank you … all of you who read my words … who ask me to keep writing. Whether in response to a piece in Bella Grace Magazine that touched your heart, or a blog post of mine that found you at just the right time, you, my sweet readers, keep me writing – keep me inspired – keep me dreaming of what is to come.

My circle of influence may not be large, but every time I’m asked to write, or told that my words found their way to someone at just the right time – I am in awe. I am humbled and endlessly grateful for the chance to matter in the moment.

So here’s to you – my lovers of words, of dreams, and the places that draw us between them.

Sending you sparkles,

Elle