Te Ka

SPOILER ALERT: Moana spoilers… I warned ya.

Now let’s get down to business. And if you wanna finish that with “to defeat the Huhns” … sigh. My heart goes out to you. Not in a happy way. In a “I’ll grimace and wait for you to finish… while singing ANYTHING else in my head to not have to listen to that song”. Not my fav. And makes me sound bitter. Lets scratch that. This IS the internet, right? I only have to show you what I want you to see about  me.

Okay. Moana. I cried. Did you cry? I CRIED. But, I cry a lot at movies. I love going to the theatre and seeing a good drama. Often because I cry at random points throughout the movie. Someone says something that touches me personally, tears. Someone reminds me of loved ones, tears. Somehow, a truth speaks to me through the strangest of moments, and I’m slouching down, pulling up my hood, and letting the waterworks flow from my eyes. Oddly enough, it’s one of the few times I don’t feel ashamed of the tears. Just that they are personal, their mine. And afterwards, it feels damned good. Ohh, and the best? When its a movie you NEVER think you’d cry over! (Someday, I’ll tell you the wildly humorous story of Becoming Jane and King Kong. I promise, it’s a good one.)

Bah! I promise to stay on point this time. Moana. Moana is told from a young age who she is going to be, not who she longs to be. She has to discover herself, in that, and works to save her island. There’s this moment where Maui and Moana are battling against Te Ka, and Moana realizes something about Te Ka. Te Ka is missing something in it’s chest. At this point, she realizes that the treasured heart of Te Fiti stone that she has … belongs to Te Ka. Moana in this moment, connects. Just like Te Ka, she wants desperately to be what she longs to be. To be whole. To know and follow her heart. Moana speaks these gentle words and the world changes:

I have crossed the horizon to find you
I know your name
They have stolen the heart from inside you
But this does not define you
This is not who you are
You know who you are

Te Ka’s everything changes. To be known. Truly known. To know yourself. To know that the things of this world, the things ripped from you, broken relationships, uncertain futures, engraved pasts… they do not get to define you. They are not who you are.

They do not get to define me. They are not who I am.



Heart of Stone

Annnnnd we are back! Well, I am. And you’re here today! Last time, I shared about my secret love of marriage and finding my future husband. Today, let’s broaden that.

This is one of my favorite clips from the TV show, Friends. Rachel and Phoebe are discussing that Chandler is about to propose to Monica. “Two best friends, falling in love. I mean, how often does that happen?”

As the episode progresses, they become 80% happy, and only 20% jealous.

At this moment, I believe the writers of the show have written the conversation that I have with myself with every Save the Date and Wedding Announcement that’s ever crossed my path. Of course, I am over the moon for my friends who have come upon these wonderful, life changing moments. And unfortunately, I so often have to pretend that the tears in my eyes are solely of overwhelming love for them — when I know that part of it is the tinge on my heart. My selfish jealous tights around my lungs and squeezes out a “my turn yet?”. I swallow it, fight to breath big, and gush in love for them.It’s a hard balance. Love & Joy for others. And not letting my jealousy of their place in life to show, because I know that my love for them is more. And my jealousy needs to learn to be less. I need to learn that.

I also quickly realized that my friends may not know of my jealousy, because I hide my desire. And as I think about how I need to change that, I also become reflective over scripture that tells us that “from the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks”. Therefore, if this is something that I am true passionate about, I should be welling over from the ideas of it.i have allowed my heart to build up a guarded wall, not to preserve me, but to harden myself from heartache. But heartache, like joy, love, and many others, is a part of life. It is how we take it on and move forward that define us.

In order to change my thoughts, actions,and words – I need a heart that beats again.



Long, long ago, in a far off land called Missouri, one Oregon girl stuck out like dandelion in the roses at a little bible college.  One day, my small group leader had us make a list of things we wanted in our “perfect man”. She smiled smuggly at us, waiting to prove us wrong, and I remember thinking it was odd. Shouldn’t we all want the same things? Loves God, Kind, Faithful, etc. But no, the other girls listed things about how good looking he should be, that he had to play guitar, or work with kids, know about cars, provide for her, think she was the hottest thing. Out small group leader’s face became smugger and smugger with each person who was willing to share their list. She hit them with a bang — she told them how wrong it all was and that they should be focused on Christ, backing it with scripture (the ultimate Bible College whammy). I agreed with what she was aiming to get at, but not how she approached it. I couldn’t have been more glad that I did not share with them that night. In fact, I’m pretty sure I avoided sharing anything with that small group for the rest of the year.

Here’s what her “perfect man” spiel reinforced in me:

if you share something personal from the heart, you will face rejection.

This wasn’t something that I came to a conclusion to because of my old small group leader, but something that had become a truth in my life. Or at least that’s how I felt it was. I didn’t plan my future wedding because I didn’t want to get attached or heartbroken over any of it. I didn’t talk about my dream husband because I didn’t want to be disappointed or give crazy expectations to whoever I dated.

If I acknowledged these things, that made them real. And made me breakable. And I didn’t know if I could handle that.


Let’s discuss more on this tomorrow.

Dandelions – You see flowers in these weeds.


Leave behind your regrets and mistakes; come today there’s no reason to wait: Jesus is calling

Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy; from the ashes a new life is born: Jesus is calling

Many things have been rambling around in my life. I don’t know that’s even possible. It’s been more like a bull in an unlit children’s room full of stuffed animals. Unseen, crowded, out of place, confusing, chaos, but not necessarily doing “damage” like he would in a china shop. But if someone were to turn on the light they would see the mess. That the bull has been present for quite a while and still hasn’t found its calm.

For some reason, over the years, I have told myself that I have to keep my life together. That no one can know about my real emotions. That no one really wants to see them or deal with them. I tell myself it’s okay because I don’t lie to them, I just don’t let them into that little kids room. If I say, “Yes, times are tough. But it’s teaching me to trust in God.”– I’ve found that that suffices for most. No one asks “and what’s that like?” or “what struggles are you facing in that?” They here me answer with something God-like and they check out. I know, because I do it too. I don’t let them into the kids room because that’s where the realness is. And realness is raw. There is a tender, delicate heart inside, that desperately needs to open a door and allow the bull to leave. Or kick it out. Before he destroys the walls. 

I’m tired from it. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. I am learning to trust in God. That is definitely true. It’s hard. There’s no way I could do anything or be myself without Him. I’m required to find Him in the little things. In all things. I desperately need Him. I love that I love for Him and crave His presence in my life.

What I really need? What I really need is to turn that little kids room into an altar to Him. Remind myself that He can tame the bull, that is me, into a gentle lamb.

Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

“The thing I remember best about successful people I’ve met all through the years is their obvious delight in what they’re doing and it seems to have very little to do with worldly success. They just love what they’re doing, and they love it in front of others.”
Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember

Last week, I spent some time flipping through some videos online. When I’m feeling blah, or in a rut, it tends to be feed my desire for a lil pick-me-up. I love how one video leads to a similar video … if you like this, you’ll LOVE this! I stopped on a video from USA TODAY Inspiration Nation videos. It was the story of an 8 yr. old girl, Alex, from Lakewood, Washington (Woot!! All my old PSCC classmates!!) who decided to make a list of 600 Acts of Kindness to do in honor of her late grandmother. My heart was welling up and right out of my eyes. Another gorgeous tale of love and kindness.

Now, some of you my already know of my great love of kindness that pours out of one particular TV star: Ellen DeGeneres. She is phenomenal. You will find more inspiring stories on her show than any other place I’ve seen. Her motto? Be Kind to One Another. As you know, my respect and admiration of Ellen has gone beyond just watching clips of her show to posting 30 videos up until my 30th birthday (30til30 videos found here!) — asking to have the honor of going to her show and helping hand out the gifts she gives to her audience. There were good and not-so-good moments afterwards. No, I never did receive a call from Ellen inviting me to help hand out gifts. But, I did receive a call at the age of 31, telling me that the 2 tickets I had requested on their website (the same way everyone can request tickets to Ellen). I did get to go, I took one of my best friends, Chris, with me. And his brother, Jamie, came to Cali with us as well! Chris made it on the show for a segment and you can see me, laughing and dancing, next to him in lil short clips. It was magical. 1000%. But alas, I didn’t go to get on the show, I just wanted to be a part of the helping.

After watching Alex, I realized: I’m almost 33, still long for that goal to help Ellen, but why can’t I help here in the meantime? It’s true. So, here’s to the start of something new! Inspired by Alex. And Ellen. And a childhood favorite, Mr. Rogers. It’s about to be a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

#33til33 starts soon!



2nd Greatest Golden

One of the first guidelines I was told as a child was to “do unto others as you’d have them do unto you”. Of course, I tended to forget all about it when my sister and I were playing dolls and she took years dress I’d been eyeing. And I’m pretty positive I completely erased the idea as I gnashed (yes, gnashed) my teeth at sister, my hands gripping her arm in angry, revving up to let loose and clamp down on that arm in a rage-filled bite. Granted, I was probably only 2 and my sister would have been 3 or 4, but I sure did not want to think about sisterly love at that moment.

As I grew older, I heard the same message from the church – “love your neighbor as yourself”. Being a (relatively) well-mannered youth, I thought I was taking this to heart. Giving much of myself and my heart to others in my life. love them,  Love Them, LOVE THEM! It was the cause of great friendships and endless heartaches.


It’s true. Someone did once say that to me. In college, a close friend of mine told me this one day. “Elisa, did you realize your life is a series of near misses?” He laughed, I laughed. At the time, it felt so true. I felt it so much that I wore it like a name tag. Isn’t it clever? Isn’t it funny? Was what I’d tell everyone. I started to engrave it upon my heart. You are a series of near misses. That’s your life story. 

A few years later, I was truly feeling the hurt of all things around me. Disapproved by family, jilted in love, shady choices by people I had trusted in the church, friendships dwindling … I was in a pit of self-wallowing and despair.  I felt like every effort I made in relationships would fizzle out quicker than a cheap box of matches. If I was trying so desperately to make connections with others, why were they pushing me away? Why would they not show me grace and love?? I have been defined: forever a miss.

I wish I could remember the point everything started to change. Someone had spoke on what it meant about how to truly “love your neighbor as yourself “That that act, it requires you to love yourself first. If I was loving on my neighbors with the love that I lacked for myself, then they were not getting the best I could offer. It wasn’t about being kind and hoping/expecting the same in exchange– it was about knowing that I am loved, bring filled with love, and  sharing love with others.

For years I was foolish enough to believe them. Not anymore. Not I. My near misses didn’t define me, I get to define me. I decide what I can fill my heart with. I get to decide what I share with others and how I treat them. I choose to love myself– not that that’s incredibly easy or something I always want, but I still choose it. Because I want to share the best love I can with others. The best me.

Right now, some of that means some big personal changes in my life, challenges that I’m working towards. I hope you are choosing some too! How can I encourage you push forward? How can I help you to see beyond the near misses and redefine yourself as you?