my garden and dabbling in veganism

Oh. My. Goodness. It has been a minute. I’m kidding, that’s a stupid saying. It’s been many minutes. But here’s the thing, I super miss this. I miss writing, I miss taking pictures and sharing them, etc. And I kind of think I have a super incredible life for so many reasons, and I hope that sharing my joy can remind others of their own. (Was that an ok transition? Can I show you my pictures now? Ok thanks!)

So, I kind of love gardening. And by “gardening” i mean planting vegetables and herbs in containers, setting them on my porch, and chanting “PLEASEDONTDIEPLEASEDONTDIE” to them daily. I just love the idea of growing something from a tiny seed to an actual yummy vegetable or sweet-smelling herb. Anyway, enough rambling, here’s some pictures from last weekend when I potted them. I decided to wait until nighttime because it was way too hot that day, and I’m so glad I did because the pictures turned out pretty neat, I think🙂

DSC_0008 DSC_0009DSC_0014 DSC_0015 DSC_0018 DSC_0022 DSC_0023 DSC_0025Aren’t they just darling?? So far I’ve got tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers in the veggie category, and rosemary and lavender for my herbs. I did have an INCREDIBLE-smelling mojito mint, but it met a swift demise on one of the super hot days we had lately…sad. Here’s to hoping the rest of my little plant friends flourish!The balcony seems like it would be a happy place to live, so hopefully they like it!

Oh, and here’s a few other little randoms:

DSC_0028This pretty shot comes as a result of my parents calling me frantically saying “THERE’S A RAINBOW OUTSIDE GO LOOK AT IT IT’S A RAINBOW THERE’S A RAINBOW!!” My dad basically made me write my name in blood promising to take a picture of it. But I’m glad they did, because it was quite gorgeous! You can’t tell from this picture, but there was actually a double rainbow! There was a really faint one stretching over top of the other. So neat.DSC_0029

DSC_0033 (Baked sweet potatoes are not quite as delicious as they look, just so you don’t get your hopes up, but they’re not too bad either🙂 )

So if you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know that I recently decided to dabble in being vegan, specifically a “high-carb, low-fat, plant-based” vegan. Pretentious, I know. But it’s just a lifestyle that has caught my attention through various articles and videos on Youtube (I subscribe to a lot of vloggers that I just find really interesting to watch, I’ll do a post about it sometime), and people always rave about the health benefits of eating this way. It’s centered around fruits, vegetables, and healthy starches like sweet potatoes and rice. As it is a vegan diet, that means no meat, dairy, or animal byproducts of any kind (i.e. eggs). It’s pretty extreme, but many of the people I’ve read about/watched started following it because they suffered from health problems of different kinds, and wanted a natural way to eliminate those issues. I don’t really have any health issues per se, but I have always been fascinated by how much of an impact food has on the way people feel. ANYWAY, I decided to give it a try! I haven’t been extremely strict with it (on the weekends I’ve had some sweets and dairy), but during the week and in the majority of my meals I’ve tried to keep it to fruits, veggies, and healthy fats like nuts/nut butter. And honestly, even without doing it 100% I have noticed a change in how I look and feel, namely my stomach – you know that bloated feeling you get after you eat? GONE. My stomach feels flat, and I don’t feel yucky or too full after I eat! And on the opposite end, I don’t feel hungry or like I’m not eating enough. My only complaint so far is that I’ve been feeling really drained, like I could nap for hours and still go to bed at 9:00. Now, I’m a pretty low-energy person to begin with, due to having low iron, but it’s been noticeably worse since cutting out meat and dairy. This means I’ll just have to increase my intake of other foods that are naturally higher in protein and iron, such as spinach and beans.

Wow, I really didn’t intend for this post to be about that, but you’re ok with a little tangent now and again, right?? As always, thanks so much for visiting! More to come soon, along with some changes to my Etsy shop! Hope the rest of your holiday weekend is downright lovely. 

t. elyse

november

:: Listen: Every Stone by Manchester Orchestra ::

Tis’ the season for sweaters and hot cocoa and holidays, and life is just so lovely. In case you’ve forgotten, let me just take a moment and remind you how good things are. The air is crisp and has the best kind of bite, holiday colors are being splashed up everywhere you go, and personally, I think it’s the perfect time for dreaming. Even if you don’t like the cold and Christmas is coming too quickly for you, you have to admit that there’s a certain buzz in the air that only comes around a few times a year. So step outside, soak up the energy. Reflect on your life that is and dream about what could be. Make your Christmas list and think about what to give your friends and family that will bring a smile to their face. The giving, my friends. The energy is all in the giving. I know it’s early, but just think about it. You might have fun. Just maybe.

While I’m holiday dreaming/planning/crafting, I’d thought I’d share some loveliness that’s been happening around here.

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A few weeks ago I spent the weekend in Philly for my best friend’s birthday. It was one of those refreshing weekends that brings you back to yourself, if that makes sense. Jo is a hardworking architect and we don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like because of her crazy schedule, so any time we get to hang out is cherished. That Sunday morning we had brunch at the sweetest little French cafe, and it was perfect. Fresh scones with homemade butter, and the strongest cappuccino I’ve had in a while. Be still, my heart.

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Yesterday, I came home to a letter sitting on the counter from a sweet college friend. I was admittedly in a mood and kind of just feeling down for a myriad of reasons, but I was really excited to see what was in this envelope. Inside was my FAVORITE print from one of my very favorite artists, Nan Lawson, along with the sweetest letter that said everything that I needed to hear in that moment. Like, exactly what I needed. I am not a believer in coincidence. This was an instance of love Divine and All-Knowing, and I’m sure my kind friend had no idea that she was being used for such perfect good. (Allison, a thank-you letter is en route. You have no idea.)

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Sunday morning sketches. Every week I fall more in love with my church and everyone there. It is warm, welcoming, and full of truth. If you need somewhere to call home, try Middlesex United Methodist. It took me years to find a church that made me feel ok with church again. I’d be happy to bring you!

Thanks for visiting, friends. Breathe in November, won’t you?

t.elyse

travel envy

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(A few on-the-road snapshots from my mini trip to New York this past weekend!)

Being a self-proclaimed house cat, I never thought I’d get to a point where I had an overwhelming desire to travel. I’ve been SO lucky in my life so far in that I’ve had so many opportunities to go overseas, both for missions work and for extended stays over the summer throughout high school and college. And I had a blast, but extreme travel anxiety sort of put a damper on the whole thing, and usually once I got back home I was ready to kiss planes, trains, and automobiles goodbye. Thankfully, though, God is good and I’m happy to say that I can once again travel without the hours of pacing and nail-biting beforehand. Of course, now I am a grown-up with a job and a schedule and a tight budget, so my thoughts and dreams of going back to Europe have to remain just thoughts and dreams for the time being. So, I figured if I can’t actually go anywhere, I’d channel my wanderlust into something creative. Plus I found some super cute old-timey postage envelopes, so a Travel Series just had to be made.

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Luggage is fun, isn’t it? Well, not in reality. In reality it’s heavy and awkward and obnoxious to carry/roll/drag through the airport/train station. But in old movies it always looks glamorous, with the hat boxes and the matching leather sets. Anyway, I like it.

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Not a real plane, I know. But paper airplanes are just cuter, and if I’m completely honest, a thousand times easier to draw. You still get the sentiment, right?

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Why New York City? It’s my favorite place in the world. Whenever I feel stir-crazy, I’m ready for NYC. It’s fast and exciting and magical, and I never ever get tired of it.

These are definitely going in my shop soon, but I feel like maybe I should take some better pictures. I have this weird affinity towards mood-lighting, but I feel like it maybe doesn’t translate into product shots. I know you’re “supposed” to shoot these things in natural daylight, against a neutral background or something like that. But do I have to?? Can I break the rules? Are these appropriate product shots that give a decent idea of what they look like in real life? I don’t know. Thoughts?? I love feedback from my friends, I NEED it. So, comments please!

Thanks for visiting!

t. elyse

etsy lovin.

Hand-Illustrated Blank Card: "Rose"

It’s no secret that I love Etsy. It has long been one of my favorite sites to peruse for beautiful things that I don’t necessarily need (aren’t those the best things?). It’s also the home of my little shop. But this shop isn’t about shameless self-promotion, though I’m not above that🙂

I just think that the whole idea behind giving non-professional artists a place to buy and sell their handmade goods is so amazing. Not all people who call themselves artists went to school for it, or even do it full-time. And not all of them have the connections to really get their work out there. I know that personally, I don’t always have the confidence or drive to show my art to people, even my friends, because I’m by no means an art genius or a “professional”. I make what I love, and I hope that other people will enjoy it too. Having a shop on Etsy makes it SO easy to upload pictures and price what I’ve made so that anybody can see or purchase them. How cool is that?? And as much as I want to sell what I make, it honestly just makes me so excited that people look at it. Is that silly? I have no idea, but it really does make me smile. So anyway, I thought I’d post pictures of some of my current favorite finds, with links to the shops they come from, of course. Click on the pictures to give these people a visit if you like what you see!

Always - Illustration Print

1. “Always” print by Nan Lawson. She is one of my absolute favorite current artists, and every single one of her prints is adorable. She mostly does portraits of pop culture, movie, or book characters. This one, of course, is of Professor Snape from the Harry Potter series. He is my favorite character of the whole series – sullen, strict, and heart-achingly loyal. I’ve been wanting to add this print to my collection for a few years now…Feel free to gift it to me🙂

Coral stud earrings, wood post earrings, spring colors, apricot, peach

2. Coral-dipped Wooden Stud Earrings from Paragraphloop. This shop has so many unbelievably cute products, for real. Everything they sell – from jewelry to boxes to bowls – is made from wood and dipped in paint. I love the paint-dipped look, so when I saw these earrings I was smitten. Also I love anything that is coral, so there’s that.

As seen on SOUTHERN LIVING Magazine-  Personalized recipe cards, set of 20

3. Recipe Cards from Invita Paper Studio. I just love recipe cards. I’m not a super brave or exciting cook; I tend to stick to the same few recipes when I’m not eating super-easy stuff like grilled cheese or scrambled eggs. What can I say, cooking for one is enthralling. But I still do love collecting recipes for the times I do cook something a little more complicated, and for all the baking I do. Do I have recipe cards? Yes. Lots. Would I like more? Certainly!

Original Reclaimed Wood Marquee Letters (A-Z) 16 inch

4. Reclaimed Wood Marquee Letters from Son of Whale. Not only are these wooden letters incredibly gorgeous, but the sellers have such a sweet story: all of their profits are to raise support for their adoption of a little girl from Japan. They have a link to their blog in their shop description. A beautiful product for a very worthy cause!

Flying By Night Print 8x10

5. “Flying by Night” Print by Emily Winfield Martin of The Black Apple. Another one of my very favorites. I love this girl’s work and I have two of her prints in my home already. And her book. I’d cover my walls if I could. Everything she does is so beautiful and the fantasy worlds and back-stories she comes up with for all of her paintings are so creative. If you love children’s literature/art like I do, you must pay her a visit.

See anything you like?? I know my style’s a little eccentric, but Etsy has so much more to offer even if art prints and recipe cards aren’t your thing. Next time you want to buy a gift for a friend or something special for yourself, try supporting an individual artist instead of hitting up a big chain. (Target, I don’t mean you. Everyone else but you. You are everything.)

More cards coming to my shop this week!

t.elyse

weekend life

:: LISTEN: Rainbow by Robert Plant ::

Hello! Yes, it’s Tuesday and I’m just now writing about my weekend…But to be fair, I think the painful experience that is the beginning of the workweek deserves a throwback to happier times. In other words, I’d like to think about my free-time adventures rather than the current mundanity. Is that ok? Ok.

I had kind of an awesome weekend, like the kind that seems just long enough for you to accomplish everything you wanted to AND take a nap (or two). I think part of it was due to the fact that I purposed myself to document my adventures, even if they weren’t super exciting. I think I might try to do this more often, if for no other reason than to be able to look back someday on what my daily life was like in 2014. So, I will take you from the beginning, or from when I started being awake and taking pictures.

::Saturday::

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I started my Saturday morning with a trip to the mall on an errand for my mama. I tried my hand at snapping photos while driving…This is not safe, and I don’t recommend it. Also I definitely got weird looks from neighboring cars. So, don’t be one of those girls (me).

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After that, I came back home and made a list for a much-needed trip to the grocery store. Am I the only one who waits until I’m eating pickles for lunch to go to the store? Procrastination at its’ finest.

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What happened next was a visit to Target, and the aftermath of said visit. I dunno guys, I’m not ok when I go there. The dollar section is way too exciting for my tiny, craft-lovin heart to handle. Anyway, once I came home I lit my new candles picked up from the White Barn Candle Co. and got to work on adding a few new cards to the shop. Here’s a quick description of the pictures starting at the top: (1) A new girly added to the shop…I know things are still looking a bit bare, but I have had a recent burst of motivation to make it a happening place. (2) Possibly my favorite White Barn scent ever: Marshmallow Fireside. I am SO excited they brought it back this Fall. (3&4) Pumpkin Caramel Latte and Pumpkin Pecan Waffle…Guys, these smell so good I had to fight the urge to lick them a little bit. Also, these cute jar candles are 2 for $20 right now…Just saying! (5) Onto the dollar section in Target: these super cute black clothespins with pointed edges. I’m thinking I will use them to hang some cool prints or something. (6) Cute little gift tags for a friend🙂 (7&8) Kraft paper sticker labels and chalkboard sticker labels that came together in a pack. Thinking I will use them for packaging/shipping cards bought from the shop. (9) WHAT is the cuteness that is these stickers??? I’m 10 years old inside, and I’m obsessed. When will I use them? ALWAYS. Maybe if you’re nice and lucky (or just ask me to) I will write you a letter and include a sticker of FOOD WITH FACES, Y’ALL.

::Sunday::

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Call me silly, but on the weekends I like to dress up and play with muh makeups. This is really because being a preschool teacher, I don’t normally get the opportunity to wear clothes that I’d rather not have paint/crumbs/boogers on🙂 So Sunday morning I almost made it to church on time, but when I realized that I’d be ridiculously late I decided to do this instead. I know that Jesus loves me in spite of this, and I even sang some songs for him as I curled my hair. Thank the Lord he likes us a whole lot and has a sense of humor🙂

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In addition to being ridiculous, I got a whole bunch of cleaning done Sunday morning. Obviously I didn’t take pictures of myself scrubbing my toilet (should I have?), so instead I give you a little snippet of my Autumn decor in my freshly-cleaned kitchen. Aren’t white pumpkins so pretty??

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A little gift for a sweet friend!

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I’m a little in love with my front porch! Mums and pumpkins make my heart so happy. (I took this picture on my phone and edited it with the A Beautiful Mess app.)

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After my relaxing morning at home I met up with my Grandma at Barnes & Noble! It’s her Sunday after-church tradition, and I’ve been joining in the fun with her. I so love spending time with my Grandma. She’s sweet and kind and so much fun to be around. I am so thankful that we live nearby and that we’ve always had such a close relationship. We’re very nearly the same person, which is both fun for us and mind-boggling for my mother😉

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And who should I run into there but this little gem of a friend! The one and only Derek Shatto. This friend is of the sweetest variety. He is genuine and inspiring. I have so much more to say about him and his ministry, but that’s for another post (coming soon!).

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Then we went to see The Maze Runner, which, if you haven’t seen it, is SO awesome. I was quite literally on the edge of my seat for most of the movie, and I’m pretty sure I let out audible “No…NO….No…”‘s throughout. I haven’t read the book, which I’ve heard is also amazing. Let me know if you’ve read it!

WHEW. What a weekend. Perfect, right? Maybe it doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, but it was just what I needed: good friends, my sweet family, and rejuvenating me-time. If this was at all entertaining to read or you want to tell me about your weekend adventures, please comment and let me know!

Also, with wanting to add so much more to my shop, I would love to hear some suggestions about things that you would like to see on a card. I know I tend to get stuck in ruts of things that I just enjoy drawing for myself, but I definitely want to branch out and make things that people will want to buy either for themselves or others! So, let me know.

And as always, thank you so much for reading my little musings. You’re the best. Yes, You.

❤ t. elyse

technology and recent happenings

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to technology, I’m sort of pathetically helpless. And by “technology” i mean basic computer functions and skills. Typically I upload photos from my camera by putting my memory card in the little drive in my Mac, but recently it has decided not to work. It’s probably something stupid of my own doing, and you really don’t need to hear about it. Basically all of that to say that I’ve had certain blog posts planned centered around photos that are on said memory card, and it’s clearly not working out. So as a change of plans, I’ve decided to upload some of my phone photos and share some of my favorite summer memories.

Yay? Thanks for humoring me, friends and fam, and reading my pointless nothings and viewing my pointless pictures. I love you all way too much. Here goes!

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Sidewalk chalk is the best medium for summer.

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I’m so thankful for captured memories like this one to remember my sweet Pop-Pop by.

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That one time my bathing suit broke while I was crossing the street. Because why not. 

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That time shortly thereafter when I burned off all my skin. 

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This magical rainbow wall!

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There aren’t many things better than ice cream on the boardwalk.

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An overly crowded car coming home from the beach resulted in an unexpected train ride home from Philly. I didn’t mind so much🙂

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Never a good combination. Even if it is Independence Day. Even if you do live in ‘Merica.

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I love doing commissioned art projects for sweet friends! This was not the finished project…It looked much less like an octopus at the end, don’t worry. 

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Sometimes kiddos want to build Noah’s Ark with playing cards. Who am I to say no??

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What up, prehistoric animals??

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I love weekends spent in Ithaca, NY with my best friends and this little ice-cream-lovin sweetie!

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And this one. He’s new, and kind of a big deal. 

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Butterfly Day at Ashcombe’s Farm.

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This baby cow is possibly the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen. 

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Oh wait, but look at this pig. AND THE TOMATO IN HIS MOUTH.

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Um, and look at this cow. I love field trips to the farm. 

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I mean…does it get sweeter than this?

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Oh wait. It does. Because this girl and her ice cream.

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My dear friend Michael and his gorgeous bride on their happiest day!

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At the beautiful barn reception with mah girlz.

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My newly-decorated classroom! Our theme this year is “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”🙂 I’ll take more pictures and show the whole classroom one of these days!

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A gorgeous oasis at Colonel Denning State Park.

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And finally, what better way to usher in Autumn than with a Pumpkin Spice Latte? (Note the 1/2 pump of syrup…I don’t know how people drink them with any more than that. If you can’t taste the espresso, it’s too sweet.)

There were so many more summer memories that I didn’t share, but I thought this was a fun little peek into the past few months. I’m so looking forward to everything that Autumn brings.

Thanks for stopping by🙂

❤ t.elyse

soul-shifting sound

Hi friends! I’ve been gone from here for a long time, and explanations and excuses are pretty much void at this point. So I figured I’d just get right to it, and sharing music seems to be the easiest way since I pretty much always have some new obsession.

And right now it’s Bernhoft.

I’ve loved this beautiful, soulful Norwegian man for some time now, but his newest album Islander is INSANE. And by insane I mean perfection.

If you love soul, funk, jazz or anything in between, then you will be just as obsessed with Bernhoft as I am. Like for real. I honestly have nothing bad to say about any of the tracks, but the first on the album, Come Around, is EVERYTHING. The video is weird, in pure Bernhoft fashion, but seriously listen to this and tell me it isn’t great. I dare you.

YOU’RE WELCOME.

Be back soon. I swear. No, really. I mean it this time. Super soon.

❤ t.elyse

Honesty

Honesty

My life is kind of a mess these days. (Literally. My house is a trainwreck most of the time, complete with tracked-in mulch ALL over the carpeted stairs. Oy.) I seem to have fallen out of my usual groove, the … Continue reading

heart overflow

Happy Monday, sweet friends.

So, I recently had a conversation with a new friend about my beliefs and my faith in God. I knew that this friend didn’t hold my same beliefs, and I was interested to see what exactly they did believe in. My friend told me about having a belief in God, but not in the Bible as His Word, per se, and not in an afterlife. It was a great discussion, very open and respectful, and I truly enjoyed hearing about another person’s beliefs and reasons for them.

But in my Christ-loving heart, I felt frustrated. Not frustrated-angry, but frustrated-sad. And my  reasoning is this: I have joy unsurpassable and peace unexplainable. I have been healed inside and out, forgiven beyond what I deserve, and loved impossibly and unconditionally. All of these things and more, simply because I am in love with Jesus Christ. I choose Him because He is good and sweet and merciful and gracious and powerful and WORTHY. I choose Him because, for some reason absolutely unknown to me, He chooses ME – every moment of every day, in spite of how hopelessly unworthy and imperfect I am.

And so when I encounter a person that has given extensive thought to Jesus and the “Christian” life, and chooses not to follow Him, it crushes me. Not because I think I have all the answers, or because they have an opinion other than mine. But because I know that through the Lord, I have the gift of ultimate LIFE, both here on Earth and forever after. And because I have it, I want the people I love to have it.

And at the risk of sounding super preachy or converty (converty?), it makes me feel like I want to shake people. It’s like being friends with someone who’s sort of misunderstood, and you know if people just gave them a chance, they’d understand: If you just KNEW Jesus like I do. If you just tried to know him for real.

So I was feeling like this about my sweet new friend, and then I saw this quote (also pictured above):

“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”     C. S. Lewis

UGH, Lewis. Perfection, right? So now, I pray. I pray that this friend and any other friends of mine who don’t know Jesus like I do would find themselves surrounded by his love. That the joy given to me would spill over onto my loved ones, and that they may recognize His fingerprints all over it. And that they would know that my sharing my faith with them isn’t because I want to convert them. It’s because I love them too much to not share this thing that is my life.

God, may they understand.

xo t.elyse