Author Archives for lizharrell3

Social Media Moss

You know that saying ” a rolling stone gathers no moss?” Well, where it concerns this blog, and my social media hustle, my social media landscape is covered with green stuff. I’ve got so much moss that Martha Stewart could gather it for 1000 terrariums containing adorable snails and red toadstools.

I’ve slowed down. Way down. I went through a lot of personal stuff and went to ground. I had no book coming out, so I quit the hustle. I’ve been blogging and into social media for over 10 years and while I was once full of life, sprinty, running inside the pack, waving a flag, springing lightly in my athletic shoes… I got old. I got slow. I got tired. I got rude comments and weird twitter followers and the rose-gold finish on social media wore down to an icky gray color.

But now I’ve had a nice long break. I’m still not sprint-with-the-pack ready. I don’t care for algorithms and I have no idea how many people even read this blog anymore. But there’s a difference between being laid back and letting the whole operation fall into total disrepair. So, with that said, I’m trying to straighten things out to at least an old lady presentable state. I don’t mind not sprinting with the pack, but I would like a pair of serviceable shoes and a water bottle for a stroll by the lake.

I started an author page on Facebook. I wiped the cobwebs off Twitter. I started a public Instagram account. All of these can be found on my side bar as well.

On a fantastic side note, my best friend sent me a pair of Golden Girl leggings for my birthday. I can confidently say I will survive until spring now. It was always my dream to be part of the Golden Girls, and now I get to wear them. It’s the next best thing. Because let’s face it, I’ve been Old Lady Liz for a long time.

And now Old Lady Liz is dipping her toe back into the social media waters.

And since I just referred to myself in the third person, I’m taking that as a clear sign I need to break and go get some lunch.

Yes to bacon, hold the moss.


Spicy 5th Avenue Chandelier Day

Jane woke up the other morning out of sorts. She was teary eyed and asking to stay home. I realize that a lot of mothers would say “suck it up” and send the kid anyway because in all likelihood, they’re getting played. But Jane has always been the eternal dose of morning sunshine in our house. She usually springs out of bed, dresses herself (which is a creative endeavor that I don’t usually interfere with unless it involves more than three patterns), and gives out hugs.

Clearly, she needed a mental health day.

We took our time with breakfast, and watched cartoons, and then we took the train to 5th Avenue. I needed to return some ill-thought-out Anthropologie sale purchases. We saw Jenna Bush, and while I’ve been in New York long enough to be calm about famous people, I still couldn’t help myself and snapped a picture. I like Jenna.


Afterward we wandered into Free People, and when Jane spotted the chandeliers she paused, and stated loudly, “WOW. Look at those spicy chandeliers. I bet they cost a lot of cheese.”

Then she proceeded to pull a dress off the rack and exclaim, “NOW THAT IS WHAT I CALL FASHION.”

Again, a phrase never before passed from my lips.

From there we moved on to the windows at Saks. While examining an Alexander McQueen dress I asked her, “Isn’t that beautiful?” And she shook her head and said, “I think they overdid it.”

Clearly, Jane is barreling toward the age of 15 far more quickly than I ever imagined.

On our way back to the subway we passed an all-men choir practicing outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

“Why are there no girls?” she asked, arms crossed.

“Sometimes choirs have all girls, and sometimes they’re all boys, and sometimes they’re both,” I explained.

“They need girls,” she responded.

I decided to change the subject to something less gender-inflamed, and pointed to St. Patrick’s and said, “Someday you’ll read books by a man named Fitzgerald. He got married here.”

She gazed up at the church, frowned, and said, “Well, I’m not getting married here. I’m going to have a dog.”

Then we visited American Girl, bought a doll outfit that cost more than my returned Anthropologie shirts, went home and Jane created her own choir where everyone was welcome, complete with dogs and stage lights.

It seems like she has some solid life plans.

Spicy chandeliers.

Lots of cheese.




P.S. I’m dipping my toe back into social media maintenance and have a public Facebook page now. It’s a good place to contact me for now, or keep up with the other places I’m writing these days. Come say hi here. 


Winter Lessons












As ready as I am for spring (and ladies I am READY), I’ve seen a lot of beautiful things this winter. It’s been a swing back and forth, seeing all the glorious beauty of the country and city covered in snow, while also climbing the apartment walls and wishing for warm breezes. Jane’s general mood lately has been very “cash me outside” which I can only attribute to cabin fever, because surely 5 is too early for 13.

At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

This winter has been full of hard lessons, which I’ve noticed usually turn into teaching lessons, which then turn into grace lessons, which eventually become peace. More than anything else I’ve discovered that I want to LEARN. When I used to look at my life in total, I had a laundry list of wants and desires. Wow has that list ever grown small. Because while I still have goals and wishes, the forefront of my life’s intention is to learn. To not be stagnant in my mind, to not be high handed in my relationships, to not be so staunch that I have no room to flex or bend in life’s strong winds.

The truth is we never ever have it all figured out. Not about ourselves. Not about anyone else. To believe that is self delusion.  And MAN is there some serious beauty in that. This winter has taught me that my life isn’t a puzzle to be finished and snapped into place where perfection and the full picture is made clear. It’s always muddled, and there’s new enlightening things waiting just around the corner. I’m a living, breathing, changing, evolving spirit. And so is everyone else.

This winter taught me peace in the middle of uncertainty.

This winter taught me that uncertainty and learning can become peace.

Even when my kindergartner looks me dead in the eye and spills tiny pieces of boiled egg all over my clean floor while I’m simultaneously telling her not to do that thing.

Just kidding, I had zero peace in that moment.

All that philosophical stuff means this: it’s been a hard winter, it’s been a good winter, I’ve learned a lot, I am grateful, and now spring is coming. And that means I can put my kid outside to eat her boiled eggs and spread all the pieces she wants for the birds.

And I’ll watch and smile and ponder why she loves boiled eggs so much, and be so glad deep in my soul I won’t be scrubbing boiled yolk off my floor.

I’m ready for spring’s lessons now.


The Post Where I Talk about White Christian Radicalized Racists and Lose a Lot of Readers But That’s Okay Because This is Getting Ridiculous, Ya’ll.



Wow, huh?

Over the past several days I’ve watched friends post incredibly racist things about Muslims and scratched my head. Because I know if I say, “Um, excuse me guys. My husband was once a 2 year old little Muslim refugee” they would respond “Oh, well we don’t mean him, Fayez is great, it’s just those others…”

And that just doesn’t wash. Because that’s like someone saying, “You just can’t trust women, they all look the same and any one of them could be a real bitch, oh, but not you, Liz. You’re okay.”

No thank you.



And then I saw a Christian friend post this. And something inside my head snapped. Like, literally I heard a snap like a rubber band popping or a twig breaking.

I’m watching a lot of white people become just as racist and close minded and in some cases, radicalized, as the Muslims they fear (*sidenote… they’ve likely never even spoken with a Muslim before). From the Emanuel AME Church shooting in Charleston, S.C., and the 2012 attack on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, to the attack just this week on the mosque in Quebec City…it’s clear that something is going awry with the white folks.

And then I’m watching Christians who have heart attacks over whether the government is going to make them bake a cake for gay people make a million excuses for why those Syrian children don’t need to be here, or need to be screened for more than the already allotted two year vetting process (if my husband had had to wait for two years for safe place to live he might not be here today).

If this is the spirit of Christ I’ll eat my shoe.

I don’t know why this surprises me. This is a facet of life that African Americans have known about and experienced since, well, forever. As that old quote goes, “Racism isn’t an opinion, it’s an offense.” But I suppose I’m like most people, and sadly didn’t understand until this hit home on my own doorstep.

“But Liz, don’t you worry about your safety? Don’t you worry about 9-11 happening again?”

Of course. I live in New York City. I also worry about the skulking man at the end of the subway car being a serial rapist and following me home. I worry about an extremist white guy barging into my local movie theater with a ton of guns that he bought with very little effort or red tape. I worry about all the super-bugs that antibiotics can’t cure.

The bottom line is, yes, terrible crap can happen. And terrible crap will happen eventually. That is life. That is the cost of admission for living and breathing on this planet.

But it’s the constant worry, and belligerent anger, and racism, and radicalism that results from fear that I categorically reject.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Timothy 1:7

Fear is not the spirit of God. Fear never produces a sound mind (or judgement). And apparently, fear makes angry white Christians post insanely racist memes on Facebook. Like. A lot. I will no longer make excuses for these people and say things like “they’re just stuck in their ways” or “they mean well” or “they have a good heart deep down.”

When people tell you who they are, you should believe them.

I reject the brand of Christian benevolence that only applies to American white folks.

My Jesus was a Middle Eastern man who came to flip the tables of the religious and have dinner with the tax collectors.

I am thankful that the UK and Canada provided a safe refuge and home to my husband and his family. I’m thankful that I married into their family so that I could experience a group of people who follow Islam and show love to those around them, and who accept me and my faith and my daughter without reservations.

I categorically reject the racism I see right now.

I categorically reject the fear that is floating so thickly in our ether.

I will put one foot in front of the other and call it out, and love my family, and smile at people who look differently than me. I will pray that God intervenes not only on the world stage, but also in the white-fueled anger polluting our churches and communities.

I’ve never been good at straddling fences. I see no reason to start now.

Because this is ridiculous, ya’ll.


Mustering a Happy Ending


It’s hard to say this, because a lot of people are throwing around the words “special little snowflake” like they’re the most clever adjective inventors in history, but I’m very depressed about our country.

I used to be moderate about politics, somewhere in the middle seemed the most sane to me. But now it seems there’s no middle.

I’m so disillusioned with people who claim to be Christians supporting Trump. Making excuses for him. Saying things like, “But Hillary…” as if that makes him a viable alternative. It makes me feel physically ill. He is everything Christ was not, in almost every possible way. I could list the bible verses to back that up, but that would just end up being the entire new testament.

I deactivated Facebook. It was too much. I couldn’t stand the articles popping up in my news feed. I couldn’t stand seeing old friends berating other old friends online, with zero compassion or care in the way they spoke to each other.


This is not a happy-feely blog post. I don’t have a good ending or a positive spin to sum things up. I’m just disgusted and angry. And underneath it all is sadness, sadness that this is not the country I thought it was. So since I don’t have a better way to wrap up my feelings, I’ll discuss my favorite house of all time.

I took this picture in Vermont in a tiny town in the Green Mountains. The sun was going down and it was snowing.  My heart stopped a little. It was one of those moments where I saw it and thought, “Oh please let me live in a place that looks exactly like this at least once in my lifetime it’s like my dreams just came to life with framing and electricity.”

And I suppose if there’s any positive way to spin things, it’s that beyond the political and beyond this country and beyond angry people, we still have our dreams. My dream is a little Victorian house in the snow. Actually, my dream is really the life that could take place in a little Victorian house in the snow. The meals I could cook in it. The friends that could visit it. The books I could write in it. The evenings spent with open windows and breezes and bird sounds.

Your dream may be owning a yoga studio or becoming a dog trainer. And no matter how dark the landscape looks around us, we have to keep fixed on those dreams.

So you keep watching whatever you’re watching (cake making, baby raising, company running, money investing, yarn spinning) and I’ll keep my eye on this little purple house with a whole world inside it, just full of potential.

And if I have to write letters or make phone calls or march in the streets, I’ll do that too.

I guess I mustered a happy ending after all.

Good Days



Today I took a long walk by the river, and saw purple and green streaks in the wood grain of the pier. My knee did not hurt. My body felt good.

Today I ate breakfast on a park bench and threw tiny pieces of food to the sparrows. They were little and big, different colored feathers, different size beaks, different personalities. The brave ones charged forward toward my feet and snapped up the food. The timid ones sat in a nearby bush and examined me, trying to decide of I was a predator. I sat with these tiny things and watched them and smiled.

Today I did four loads of laundry.

Today I lit a candle and worked on a upcoming article assignment.

Today I picked Jane up at school and the weather was good enough to go the park. The trees have no leaves. The landscape was gray. She ran around in her bright pink coat, pretending to be a secret spy superhero. I watched. She laughed. I laughed.

Today we took the train home, and I started dinner early.

Today, just now, I sat down at this computer and thought, “What a great day.”

And then I thought, “What was so great about it?”

I’ve learned that good days are not exciting days. Good days are everyday days. Calm days. Days when nothing breaks down and nothing hurts in your soul or your body. Days when you get the privilege of your morning walk, the time to write a few words down, the energy to clean your apartment, the easy smile of just saying “hello” after a day apart with your loved ones.

Good days aren’t extreme highs of excitement.

They are somewhere in the middle.

They are like today.

I am thankful.

The Best December







Busy. Good busy. But so busy.

We’ve been buying presents, reorganizing the apartment, running errands, walking back and forth to school, wearing coats and hats, decorating the tree, and making cookies. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a holiday season this much in a long time, and that probably has something to do with us all being at home this year. No traveling. No being apart. No rushing. No crazy schedules.

It could also have something to do with living in New York, where the smell of chestnuts is on every street corner. I think this city rivals the North Pole as the center of the Christmas universe.

I’m thankful for the best December in years.

I’m also thankful to be busy writing some online posts for my favorite hometown website. Oh my goodness how I’ve missed deadlines and work. It feels really good and productive. You can check them out here, here, here, here, and here.

Told you I was busy.

I hope you’ll take the time to check out the website in general, as there are some really great ways to donate or help good Arkansas based organizations over the holiday season.

In the mean time, happy Christmas you guys!