a lesson in the art of shrinking

as i dressed this morning, my gaze fell upon a flatter-than-usual stomach, and i stopped for a moment just to look. and as i wiggled my fleshy hips into a pair of pants that somehow fit looser than they have in days past, it occurred to me:

i belong to a generation of shrinking women.

we’ve been taught that something is beautiful only if doesn’t take up much space. and so we
shrink back,… Read the rest

stay

yesterday, i put my heart on my sleeve for all of social media to see when i wrote this post:
IT’S BEEN A WEEK, Y’ALL. emergency rooms + doctor’s offices, car breakdowns + mechanics bills, grad school deadlines + the end-of-year blur. long days + short nights, weary bones + achy souls. it’s been a week of gritting my teeth + digging in my heels, of emotional highs and lows (mostly lows, if i’m being Read the rest

in celebration of the small things {or, what jim & pam taught me about love}

i’ve never been a big t.v. watcher, but one show that i instantly fell head-over-heels for and still adore to this day is the office. from jim’s goofy grin to pam’s adorable cardigan collection to michael’s horribly hilarious one-liners, i felt an instant kinship to the small, scranton-based paper company. i watched the show religiously each and every season and have re-watched it (several times) since then.

there’s so much that i love about the … Read the rest

one word 2015:: home

in lieu of new year’s resolutions (and to show support and solidarity with the #oneword365 movement), i’ve spent the last several januarys of my life carefully choosing a word that i hope will shape the coming year. this is perfect for me for a couple different reasons:

a) it doesn’t lock me into anything. selecting a word over a resolution is open-ended. it leaves room for mistakes and loose ends, and it allows the … Read the rest

wordless things

i’ve wanted to write for weeks now, to sit down at a table with some coffee and a pen, and flesh out all the things i have inside of me. but every attempt ends up with the page blank and me frustrated and reeling in disappointment. and then i read this::

“I always find it more difficult to say the things I mean than the things I don’t.” (W. Somerset Maugham)

maybe the reason … Read the rest

the day i decided to kick fear to the curb

throughout my entire life, i’ve been the “play-it-on-the-safe-side” girl; i’m overly cautious and a meticulous planner, and i do my best to steer clear of anything that remotely resembles a risk. part of it, i’m sure, is just my personality, my nature–but it’s more than that, and i know it.

the majority of it is fear. fear of being disappointed. fear of failing. fear of looking like a fool. there are so many … Read the rest

in this place

sometimes people ask me about when i first got “saved”, and i tell them the story of the old Pentecostal church and a preacher who spoke with a slow, Southern drawl. i was young, not yet 18 years old, and still finding sure footing in my new country, in my new family who had taken me in as their own. i sat in that church and listened to stories about Jesus, and then i … Read the rest

tiny paper hearts

fifteen months ago, i took pieces of construction paper, bright red, soft pink, and scattered them across a dining room table. pencil in hand, i traced little hearts and cut each one out, nearly fifty of them in all. and as i said my goodbyes during that last week in liberia, i’d slip a tiny paper heart into each girl’s hand. she would look at me with tears in her eyes, and i’d pull her … Read the rest

ode to the table

i’ve always known that i’m deeply relational. i crave connection, opening up our hearts and baring our souls, and typically, that happens for me around the table. there’s something about sharing a meal with others that binds you together. the table somehow becomes holy ground, and it’s all i can do to not gulp deep of that sacred air and take off my sandals and bend myself low. people talk at the table, not … 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