10.14.19 Orbit



“Protect your space and circle. Invest in people who know you will feed you just as much goodness as you do them.” -Alex Elle

I’m not typically one to “protect my space.” I let everyone in … everyone and anyone who I might think needs me for a moment, or a month, or a lifetime. I’m learning that this is sometimes a good thing, and sometimes not. For better or for worse, I’m more of a straight line than a circle, people in my life are welcome to join in the conga of my chaos, but they must know that the line can get long.

My sister is not this way. As much as we might look alike, or sound alike … as much as we have  a shared history of similar experiences and timelines … we are very different. My sister is a circle person. Circle people are protective, enjoy small groups to associate with, and thrive off of innermost confidences rather than hearts on sleeves. The beauty of it is … regardless of whether or not I deserve it – I’ve made it into her inner sanctum. I cannot tell you what an honor it is to be one of the chosen few who gets to know her – really know her.

This weekend, my mom and sister and I went to the beach … just the three of us. It was  short, and sweet, and spirit-filling. We ate a plethora of peanut butter M&M’s, watched a laugh-til-you-cry movie, walked on the beach with the ocean playing tag as it tickled it’s way past our toes. Why? Because of this sunshine-girl’s birthday, and simply because … for the first time … in a long time … we could!

I moved to the South for family, which was hard because so much of mine is still spread across the country. There is no perfect place, nowhere that will satisfy every aching place of my linear heart … but this weekend, inside my sister’s circle seems pretty close.

Though there are a million things I’m grateful for, I’d have to say that my favorite thing about her is the wisdom she doesn’t know she possesses. Listening without fixing, hugging without urgency to let go, reaching over the bed in the middle of the night to give my hand a squeeze just to know she was there. She speaks wisdom in action, in smiles and stares. To know her is to love her, and so today I ask you to help me celebrate this woman, this life-giving little sun whose orbit I’m so blessed to circle.




1.21.19 Today’s Yesterday


“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.



7.9.18 A True Fan



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“It’s always compliments from people you love that mean so much.” Maria Bamford

Today I have the shortest, sweetest story. To drag it out would be to diminish it’s utter serendipity, and as I delight in fortuitous happenstances, I will tell it as it was. This lovely one is my sister. She is bright of eye, sharp with wit, generous in love and I have admired her forever. A sister through and through, she faithfully buys everything I am published in and reads every post, article, and poem I write. My mom, dad, sister, and husband generously fight over who is my “biggest fan,” and though I trust them with my life, I usually don’t believe a word of it.

That being said, the other day, my sister and I sat poolside, and she was thumbing through my newest Bella Grace summer edition magazine. She came across a spread of “65 Heart & Soul-Saving Reasons to Say No” in which writer’s responded to a Bella Grace’s prompt on Instagram. I’d not gone through that particular section yet, and she scanned and read the responses to herself, finally stopping on the third page of quotes to read me one that said, “Saying no is brave. It is an act of choosing ‘you’ when the world plays tug-of-war with your heart. Reclaim your right to what fills, not empties you.” Pointing to it before reading aloud, she burst out laughing.

“It was yours!” she bubbled. Sure enough, looking down, I saw that I had indeed written that post to Bella’s Instagram months before. “I guess now you’ll have to believe me when I say you really are my favorite writer,” she smiled.

I cannot tell you what that moment meant to me. If I could bottle it, I would, just to let the magic of my sister’s approval wash over me each time I opened the jar. She always says the right thing, but having her mistakenly identify a favorite quote and then find out it was mine!?! That was an authentic compliment I finally allowed myself to believe was real.

So my sweet sister, thank you from the bottom of this quote … our quote …

“I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart).”  e.e.cummings


Love you forever, Elle

4.16.17 She Still


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 “She made broken look beautiful
and strong look invincible.
She walked with the Universe
on her shoulders and made it
look like a pair of wings.”  – Ariana Dancu

Recently I’ve been thinking just how lucky I am to have so many strong women in my life. I would list you here on this page, but you know who you are. You are the “she” that keep me going – that keep me running … and just like clockwork, you always know right when it is time to wind me back up again, when my tick-tock-self is almost worn out. I feel unmeasurably blessed by you, and this is to let you know.

She Still

She still knows when I need her –

without my asking,

or even hinting why or how

She calls me

and talks me rationally through my




It is her smile that carries my spirit

and whether in photograph,

or in person –

even a glimpse is enough …

to reassure my choices,

to soothe my chaotic mind,

to protect my wounded heart from anything it can’t handle alone

When the world presents itself in a tempest of fury,

her voice is my focal point

When I’m trapped in fractured pieces of a memory,

she reminds me of who I am,

not where I’ve been

Her laugh makes me laugh

Her sadness is mine

Her success is my win too

And though the dark will come,

and the storms will rage,

and the choice won’t always be ours,

she still guards my heart,

and gives me her light

and somehow we make it through

There is no way to tell

at times

who carries who,

but whether by crawling

or flying

it is she –


who brings me back to who I’m meant to be

and who I’d never have known

without her






9.8.16 Thirty-Four Wishes



So it is my birthday.  My thirty-fourth birthday to be exact.  I know I’m not supposed to tell you that.  I am well aware that when you are no longer twenty-something, age is not supposed to be something that you share … but I’m sharing it anyway, because I’m grateful.  I’m grateful that in these thirty-four years I have memories that keep me in good company, regardless of the number that is growing ever on.  While I may not want the visual affirmation of decades of candles on my cake … I do like what my mother believes about wishes.  She says you get a wish for every year, for every fire lit sparkle that keeps hope dancing above the frosting.

I have no idea what this new year holds, but I wanted to mark and welcome it with a bit of a retrospective peek into who I’ve been, and what each year has held for me so far.  Me in  time-capsule-doses.  This life has been ordinary magic … and I thank so many of you for quite literally bringing my wishes to life.

Year One: I was blessed with an exceptional mom and dad, who inspire me still.

Year Two: My sister decided to love me, and has never stopped.

Year Three: My best-cousin and I become life-long partners.

Year Four: I believe with every fiber of my being in Santa Claus.

Year Five: I met the boy next door, who pretty much shaped my sister and my play days ever summer thereafter.

Year Six: I discover that not all teachers should be.

Year Seven: I become enamored with dinosaurs.

Year Eight: I discover the fun of Halloween (matching Pandas mommy and me).

Year Nine: I move for the first time.

Year Ten: I lose my dog … my first best friend.

Year Eleven: My kindred-spirit grandmother moves in.

Year Twelve: I meet my best friend.

Year Thirteen: I am immersed in the power of sleepovers!

Year Fourteen: High school begins, and all that goes with it.

Year Fifteen: I become a dancer.

Year Sixteen: I fall in love for the first time … and recognize the influence of a heart above all things … even sense.

Year Seventeen: I meet someone who calls me back to myself.

Year Eighteen: I go away to college with the best roomie a cousin could ask for.

Year Nineteen: I meet the man I am going to marry, who picks up and protects my heart.

Year Twenty: I enter into the School of Education to become a teacher.

Year Twenty-One: I graduate, get married, and get lost in Europe with my new husband.

Year Twenty-Two: I get my first teaching job, and become a first time auntie.

Year Twenty-Three: I experience infertility and the heartache that goes with missing something you’ve never even had.

Year Twenty-Four: I graduate from graduate school, and we drive the Romantic Road in Germany.

Year Twenty-Five: I get to know the wonder of my world … my son.

Year Twenty-Six: I choose to stay at home with my son and begin to write.

Year Twenty-Seven: I get to know the second wonder of my world … my daughter.

Year Twenty-Eight: I am diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease.

Year Twenty-Nine: My parents move, and my grandfather dies … and I feel the last bit of my childhood taken from me.

Year Thirty: We get our first puppy, who now weighs 100 lbs.

Year Thirty-One: I get my first children’s book published.

Year Thirty-Two: I taste a fairy tale and meet my husband in Cannes, France for the weekend.

Year Thirty-Three: I get published by my favorite magazine in the world twice.

Year Thirty-Four: Yet to be determined, but sure to be an adventure!

My wish?  Tell me about your most memorable year!  Share, post, comment! Give me the gift of words … they’re my favorite treat!


6.15.16 Our Season



“When I say I won’t tell anyone, my sister doesn’t count.” -someecards.com

I love summer for the same reasons that everyone loves summer.  I love the no-alarm- clock mornings, and the way-too-late-but-still-awake evenings.  I love the breakfasts for dinner (because why not?) and cold pizza for breakfast (why not again?).  I love that there is a time of year when everyone feels just a little bit younger, and tend (therefore) to bend and loosen the rules we usually place around our lives so snugly.  Summer is a time not only to relax, but relive a little bit of all those memories that taught us why summer was so great in the first place.

Summer used to be a time for scraped knees, swimming, and sunburns.  As I grew up, it was a time of friends, fireflies, and firsts.  More recently, as the circle continues to spin, it is a time of swim-shorts and little belly bikinis, goggles that only come in too-tight or too-loose sizes, and birthday parties galore.  While all of these things are true … when I think summer, the first thing I think of is my sister.


Living about six states away, depending on the route, my big sister is entirely too far away most of the time.  Growing up, I did not anticipate that we would have “seasons,” but for better or worse, we do – and summer is our season. Early in June, either she comes here or I go there, and we bring our entourage of little self-reflections.  Still, the greatest reflection, the closest to my own, is that of my sister.  We don’t do anything special, and that is entirely what makes it so.  Because my sister listens to me the way no one else ever possibly could.  She listens with history of who I was then, and who I am now.  She hears both what I say, and what I leave out.  She can decipher the subtle cadences of my sarcasm or my sincerity.

With her I do not have to try at all.  I can just be.

Do you know what a relief it is to have someone like that?  Like her?  I wish her for all of you, but selfishly I would give not an ounce of her away.  I covet my time so much so that I rarely even answer my phone when she is here.  Who could I possibly have time to talk to when we are so busy doing nothing at all?  We eat too much, share too much, laugh too much, don’t sleep enough, and all is as it should be in the world … when I’ve got her here to take care of bringing my spirit back to where it needs to be – beside hers.


P.S. We were both in this picture, but she looked better than me … so yeah, I did what any logical sister would do and cut myself out!

Go love your sister, biological or gifted to you from the world.