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

12.26.22 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

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

9.3.22 An Inch Away From Forty

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“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”

– Sophia Loren

So this week, I am going to turn forty … and like anyone approaching a milestone, it has caused me to reflect a great deal. Upon my rumination, I’m ashamed to admit that I am still riddled with insecurities. I think it’s easy, as we gloss over one another’s lives by an Instagram scroll or Facebook feed, to imagine that everyone’s got it all together. That our days consist of nothing but the polished, filtered photos and bright string of smiles tying one story to the next. It’s not often we get to hear the truth of what complexes lurk beneath the surface of each other’s digitized reality. So, I figured a bit of honesty was in order.

INSECURITIES:

I worry about my accomplishments, and how much farther I think they should be – whether or not my writing will reach the right audience.

I worry about my waistline, and my hairline, and my wrinkles. I am afraid I won’t be able to see past them, and then I am ashamed of myself and my vanity.

I worry I’m not smart enough.

Or relevant enough.

Or interesting enough.

I think about all the things I should make time for, but haven’t, or know I probably won’t.

I’m not great at cooking, or plants, or fixing things.

I wonder if I’ll ever feel like I’m “there,” like I’ve arrived … or if I’ll always be striving, and searching.

It’s a lot – enough to keep my mind spinning and reeling and honestly, I think I thought that by now, I’d be a lot closer to resolved on most of them. But then, I think about the three things I actually am secure on.

My faith.

My family.

My friends.

And just like that … the litany of my previous, ever-growing list doesn’t seem so daunting. There might be a lot that, at forty, I still don’t have figured out, but I know, imperfect and insecure as I am, there are a few things that I do.

9.19.21 You Will Rise

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” … 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

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

1.20.21 The Beautiful In-Betweens

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“In a paradoxical blush of cool hands and warm cheeks, warm nights with cool breezes, winter makes her entrance with dramatic grace and patience. There are so many beguiling experiences that, like the coming of a new season, only live in the in-between places of ourselves.”

I am honored to be featured in Bella Grace Magazine’s Winter Issue 26! From start to finish, this bookzine is filled with delighting in the magical aspects of the every day. My article focuses on looking at those in-between places in our lives that transition us from here to there. I’d LOVE to hear if you read it, and if so, which in-between time resonated most with you.

All my love,

Elle

7.30.20 Tomorrow

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As a writer who focuses on the whimsical, deep, and beautiful … who tries to surround herself with elements of faith, and wonder, and magic … can I just say it’s a bit of a reality check when life happens?

Last night I captured this image of a halo moon. I imagined the incandescent symbolism behind a night sky lit with a golden echo. It was magnificent. It was a moment I was so, so blessed to catch because tonight … well … tonight I need to hold onto the truth that the moon is still out there, even if it is hidden by the clouds. The wishes I wished were still spoken … even if today they seem farther from coming true than they ever have. The feeling of peace was real then … even if I don’t feel it now.

Today was hard, and then harder … but the moon is still out there, and the stars, and a piece of peace I’ll chase again tomorrow.

Love. Always love.

Elle

5.4.20 A Poem for the Ageless

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Here’s to the ageless ones …

the ones who self-identify with feelings 

instead of years

The ones that triumphantly ride squeaky-wheeled carts in parking lots

and aren’t ashamed to order dessert first,

even if they’re eating alone

Here’s to the ageless ones … 

the old souls in young bodies

bursting with wisdom they yearn to give freely,

yet no one receives without cost

Here’s to the ageless ones … 

who sing and beat their steering-wheel-drum

chanting their anthems to the wide-open windows 

and passerby cars 

who carry on completely unaware

Here’s to the ageless ones …

to those captured deep-in-thought,

tangled in the philosophies they weave

theories stitched in time 

yet surrounded by those stuck in the shallow end

Here’s to the ageless ones … 

the running barefoot, hair down breeze dancers

who delight in the light that they chase

just to feel the thrill of releasing it back to the wild 

Here’s to the young

the purposefully naive … 

the dreamers who remember to play

Here’s to the old, 

the vintage souls …

the antique hearts whose beat is the rest in-between

To those who transform 

but refuse to conform their spirit to a number 

too small to fit into

or big enough to get lost in

Here’s to the ageless ones …

for the world belongs to you