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

in which my heart knows to make space

i’m usually one who has no problem wearing her heart on her sleeve.

i feel things deeply, always have and probably always will. things of substance and soul tend to captivate me, and if there’s one thing i’ve learned over the years, it’s that these hearts of ours are fickle little creatures, messy and beautiful and glorious and wild.

i can remember a prayer that i prayed once, on a sunny afternoon on my porch … Read the rest

count the cost

it seems no matter where i turn these days, i can’t get away from three little words:: “count the cost.”

it all started a couple weeks ago, after i read through the gospel of luke. in 14.25-33. Jesus speaks of building a tower and a king going to war, of carrying one’s cross and the act of sacrifice to follow after him. count the cost. 

since then, i’ve been wrestling with this passage, these hard Read the rest