the story of a branch

attention, people of the internet; let’s do REALTALK for a moment or two here, okay? pour yourself a drink, settle in for a little bit, and stay with me here. i may not know much about some things, but i’ve learned a lot about knowing people, and something tells me i’m not the only one who’s been feeling this way lately.

i’m weary, y’all. weary of these false connections forged over computers, of the … Read the rest

the long way home

a few weeks ago, i had a dream. one of those dreams that stays with you, not just into the waking hours, but days later. some dreams are just that–dreams, nothing more. but this one… i remain convinced this one meant something, means something still.

in my dream, i was at a graduation of sorts. i was waiting backstage in my cap and gown, ready to walk across the stage and into a new future. … Read the rest

living lightly

two weeks ago, i signed a lease on a tiny little efficiency apartment in philadelphia, a mere six miles from my new job as a second-grade teacher in the northern part of the city. one week ago, i made the official move into my new space. i rented a u-haul and packed it tight with all my bins and boxes and random items of furniture, ones that i’d stored at various places while i was … Read the rest

a letter to my future self {or, the days in which i learned to shine}

there will come a day, dear elena, when you’re going to need to read this, to remind yourself that all of life is seasons, and the hard times eventually give way to something soft and quiet, like the air after a summer thunderstorm. you’ll want to remember these days, what it feels like to turn your face to the sunshine, and the stillness in your soul in the midst of the busyness and chaos … Read the rest

life among the middle parts

it was a two-minute conversation with an innocent five-year old that got me thinking.
“miss elena, are you a mom?”
“nope; i’m just your teacher.”
“but you don’t have kids? are you even married?
“no, i’m not married either.”
(long pause; i could see the wheels turning as this little one tried to process what i’d just said.)
“well, i think you should just get married. and then you can be a … Read the rest

when my seasons collide

if there’s one thing i know to be true with every fiber of my being, it is that all of this life is seasons. there’s an ebb and flow, a continual changing of the tides; old gives way to new, and something beautiful always rises up out of the ashes.

for me, this season often feels like a cold, hard winter. i’m in a thin place, where sometimes the winds are so bitter and  … Read the rest

a new season

this week has been tough for me. my heart is tender and tired, and i have to fight the tears back multiple times a day. i’ve been meeting with the girls in my small groups, the same girls i have loved + taught + mentored + laughed + cried with for the past four years. i’ve watched some of them grow into young women, others from little girls to teens. i’ve prayed for them, listened … Read the rest

winter

Today is October 23rd, the heart of autumn. Nearly harvest time. Typically my favorite part of the year. I love this season. Lately, God’s been showing me, however, the significance of spiritual seasons as well as the physical, revealing to me that the two aren’t always the same. My body is in the midst of autumn—but every other part of me is in the middle of a winter.

In winter, everything is quiet. … Read the rest

signs of spring

today was beautiful, warm breezes and sunshine everywhere. i simply couldn’t stay indoors, so i decided to head to the trail for a run. six and a half miles. i’ve done it countless times before. but something about today was different.

it was God. He was so real, so present, so close i was sure i could reach out and touch Him. i heard Him in the wind. i felt Him as the gentle sunshine … Read the rest