Being Truly

Co-hosts, Eli Harlan and Laura Schlett, met at church. Eli began attending the Church of Bethesda-By-The-Sea 9 years ago when her husband became the rector there. Laura began attending 3 years ago when her family moved to South Florida for her husband’s job and she was looking for a church home after a 2 year hiatus from church attendance. Eli sings in the choir, is an expressive artist, Enneagram 2, and the mother of a young adult daughter with blue hair (when Laura met her) striking out on her own for the first time. Laura is a homeschool mom, writer, Enneagram 1, and mother of a young adult daughter with green hair (when Eli met her) back home after initially striking out on her own. They bonded. They began talking about their impending empty nest statuses, desires to travel, shared dream of living in Manhattan or London, and balancing all of that with still needing to meet work and social obligations, aging parents, managing their ever-changing health needs (menopause, migraines, depression, and anxiety), and re-discovering their own identities after so long being defined by their roles as mothers. Eli developed a passion to be open and vulnerable about what it’s like to Truly Be on this woman journey, this mid-life journey, this (often) messy journey. She asked Laura what she thought and if she would be interested in being a part of this project with her. Laura immediately said yes, and here they are getting ready to record their first episodes of the Being Truly podcast. Welcome!

Elizabeth “Eli” Harlan

Being a lifelong Episcopalian, Elizabeth “Eli” Harlan (aka #thepriestswife) has never had a time where she didn’t know God’s presence. Even during those crazy “Prodigal Daughter” years, she felt Jesus was her companion. Her five-minute faith journey begins with a nice church-going family, but that journey was nearly derailed by childhood sexual abuse. Years later, during a healing service at church camp, the memories that she stuffed into a small crack at the back of her mind, drowned her. She spent the next 10 years dealing hard-core with this trauma. In college, she struggled to find her way, mostly leaving her faith behind.  In her third year, when life had gotten particularly complicated, a friend invited her to church, and she found herself again in an Episcopal Church. This was the beginning of her wholehearted journey back to church. After years of therapy, many doses of spiritual healing, an amazing husband, and continued growth in her faith, Eli today begins this podcast with prayers for touching some of the many women who have suffered wounds in their lives. “Dealing with trauma is dirty business but by having companions on the muddy road, we can make the journey a little less terrifying.” In addition, being a priest’s wife has come with its challenges hand-in-hand with its blessings. One of the most difficult for her is that people rarely hear her independent voice. Eli has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and has been working on “that book” for years, but despite her gift for and training in communication, when she speaks the voice people hear is often “just the Rector’s.” An echo rather than an origin. This podcast is at the heart of Eli’s personal ministry as she shares her life word: Connection. A place to keep women connected to each other, to themselves, and to God – even in the messy middle of it all.

Laura Manley Schlett

Things you should know about Laura:

  1. She finds writing these bios very difficult. (This is her millionth-ish attempt.)
  2. She is a spiritual mutt. She was raised by her Unitarian Universalist father and United Methodist mother and alternated services each weekend. She loved the annual Spring kite-flying celebration at the UU church and Christmas at the UMC. Because many of her school friends attended the UMC, Laura was confirmed there when she was 12 years old. Bonus: they had a fun and active youth group and the pastor’s son was cute. College and married life (she did not marry the pastor’s son) introduced her to the evangelical side of the church. Over the last 30 years, Laura has regularly attended an independent Baptist church, a Reformed Presbyterian Church, an Orthodox Presbyterian Church, a sampling of Presbyterian Churches in America, and the Reformed Episcopal Church. After a two-year hiatus from church (she used to think of it as a spiritual crisis, but now she realizes it was a period of transformation), she began attending her current Episcopal church. When labels are necessary, she calls herself a Christian mystic.
  3. She is a polymath in everything but math. If there is learning happening, she is there, and her interests are diverse. She has degrees in biology (with a thesis in evolutionary genetics) and forensic science. She is currently enrolled in the four-year Education for Ministry program through Sewanee and is looking at doctoral programs in faith and culture. She has worked as a bank teller, medical receptionist, medical assistant, writer of elementary level science books, daycare provider, photographer, baker, librarian, ESL teacher, and homeschool tutor. She writes fiction and non-fiction and thinks public speaking would be a wonderful career… if she could only narrow down what to talk about. She looks at this podcast as a means to expand her own knowledge and celebrate communal curiosity… and to engage in public speaking without having to narrow down the topic too much.
  4. She loves books, movies, television, art, and music. All of it. These are the true paths to knowing.
  5. She is a mom to four amazing people and one clingy Shih Tzu.
  6. She is married to, and currently separated from, a man who makes her laugh, makes her cry, makes her think, makes her question, makes her grow.
  7. She often feels like a misfit. (Turns out, so does almost everyone else.)

Music: The People Who In Darkness Walked by Kate Eaton (used with permission)