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

little things

Happy Sunday, friends!

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Let me tell you a story about simple joys.

This past week started out not so great, as I came down with a nasty cold and subsequently felt pretty horrendous. It sucks for everyone to have to work when you’re sick, but I’m going to step out on a limb here and say that those of us who work with kids have it especially rough. My reasoning is that little ones don’t really care if you are sick; they need your attention, your care, and your love regardless of how you are feeling that day! This unintentional selfishness only adds to the sweetness of kiddos, in my opinion, but it does make it really hard when you are feeling miserable. I felt like I was failing my kids with my Sick Teacher persona, and I was generally disgruntled because being sick is the worst, obvs.

However, Friday came along and I was feeling so much better. It was like I had energy and revitalization breathed into my lungs (although that could have been helped along by the Vicks that I slathered on my chest that morning). The first day of feeling better after you’ve ben sick for a few days is one of the best feelings ever, and it always makes me immensely thankful that I am not sick very often. So I decided to share my joy with my preschool friends during our Circle Time. I told them that I was thankful that I was feeling better, that I got to spend the day with them, and that it was Friday, and then I asked them to each share something they were thankful for that morning. I got a range of responses from “My four-wheeler!” to “Um, one time, I went to the beach and I went in the ocean and I like the beach and my Daddy was there too and…” (Four-year-old attention span, holla!) But one of my buddies looked at me very sweetly and said, “I’m thankful that you feel better.” ARROW THROUGH HEART.

After that, the rest of my Friday went swimmingly. Sharing my joy with my friends multiplied theirs, and I had love and enthusiasm to spare. We watched a movie and made art creations and a lovely time was had by all.

God is good, everybody, and his Spirit is sweet.

As always, thank you so much for visiting, and feel free to leave me comments below! I kind of love it when you do. Also, let me know what you’d like to hear more about – my latest illutration projects, teacher life, fun things I find in Internet-land…I LOVE writing but sometimes my idea well runs a bit dry, so I’d love input.

xo t.elyse

wanting it.

:: Listen: Beyonce – XO ::

It’s a New Year.

I’ve gotta say, 2013 was pretty good to me. It was the beginning of some huge things, like starting my first teaching job and moving into my first home. It brought me new, treasured friendships, taught me a few lessons, and helped me experience and feel things I never thought I would.

But 2014…this is a year. I can’t explain it, and I might be a raging cliche in saying so, but I feel a spirit of change stirring in me. Maybe it’s an excitement; I know that I, for one, am looking forward to a fresh start. And beyond that maybe it’s readiness for something new. Or maybe it’s dissatisfaction, a frustration with who I am and who I’ve been. I don’t know.

I read this quote recently, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since: “Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.”

It’s a quote from Bill Cosby, which in my mind makes it ten times better, just because I love me some Bill. But Cosby aside, this is solid advice. How many times do you shy away from something that you truly want because it makes you nervous? And if you’re like me, you want a lot of things, and a lot of things make you nervous, and so you settle into routine. And I don’t mean to say that what I’m currently doing isn’t what I want, because I’m fortunate enough to say that it is.

But there’s more. And I’m tired of saying “No” or “Maybe later” or “What if it doesn’t work out?” So it’s time to say “Yes.” Yes to the things that I want but put off because of fear or laziness or distraction.

For me, this means brushing up on my previous 5 years of German language learning and becoming fluent (with the help of Rosetta Stone – thanks Mom and Dad!). It means continuously making art and adding it to my shop and being consistent in blogging. And it means working towards a dream (secret for now 🙂 ) that I’ve had for years – a big dream that requires big changes.

I’m nervous, friends. These are some big declarations to make, some of which I’ve made before and completely failed to accomplish. I’m kind of putting myself out there with all of it, and even if nobody else cares whether or not I update my blog with my silly ramblings, I will know if I fail.

But here’s the thing: I have to try. And friends, so do you.

xo t.elyse

salvation in green and white

This past weekend, as I was driving back home from our family vacation, I had a moment.

My youngest brother was sleeping in the passenger seat, and we had just gotten back on the road after a pit-stop for some coffee.

I listened to the radio as I waited for my latte to cool and scanned my mind for answers to the question that’s been on my heart for some time.

Where is my God?

I don’t mean this question literally, and actually I don’t even mean it in the usual way (Where is God when tragedy strikes? Why doesn’t God intervene? etc.) My life is a charmed one, and in the darkest times of my life God has been clearly present.

But what about in the not-so-dark times? What about right now, when life is going my way, when I’m happy and content, when the extent of my blessings is known full well?

It’s in these times that I lose Him. It’s right now that I can’t feel His presence. I live the day to day and I thank Him for His provision and mercy; I say silent prayers as different people come to my mind…But somehow, though my mind knows He is listening, He’s not there. What am I doing, Lord, that I can’t hear your voice? What am I not doing? The frustration from a lack of answers sets in, and I lose myself to apathy and the daily routine.

But then, a moment.

I took the first sip of my tall decaf latte, and as the familiar taste filled my mouth, I felt a rush of so many memories, like I was in a hundred different places all at once. I was in London, bracing myself against the windy weather and setting out to explore for the day. I was on my way to college to start my freshman year. I was sitting at the bookstore reading magazines with my best friends. I was cozied up in the corner of my favorite college town coffee shop. I was in the back seat on a 10-hour trip to our friends’ winter wedding.

And just as the sweetness of espresso and steamed milk filled my mouth, so this wave of nostalgia filled my heart, and the combination of the two left me unable to suppress a smile.

And in that moment, when my questions ceased and I actually took in the beauty of it all, I clearly heard, “Here I am.”

*t.

Coconut Hot Chocolate

…is what I’m currently sipping on, while all of my sweet-smelling candles are lit, and it is absolute perfection. Not to mention the fact that there is what I’m hoping will be a gorgeous storm brewing right at this very moment. Nights like this are a gift, my friends. 

In addition, I have some pictures of a few art projects I made for around my new little home. Can i share?

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So far I have…tried my hand at a monogram; brightened some empty space with some fabric-filled embroidery hoops; immortalized one of my favorite quotes on canvas; gave myself and others a little reminder; and started painting one of my favorite things in the world (which has since been finished, updates to come!). 

Time well spent, I would say. 

*t.elyse