Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Peaceful Forest

Grace #20: Trees

Easter weekend my family and I went to North Carolina to visit my mother-in-law. Like me, she loves the outdoors, so we spent a lot of time outside. One of the outings we went on was to a local park. She had heard that there is a stand of "virgin beeches"-- beech trees that are over 100 years old--there. So we hiked several miles, and finally found the trees. They were huge and beautiful. It was a new experience for me to be among so many old trees, and it was a wonderful one. The Celestine Prophecy talks about how trees vibrate with energy...with life. I definitely felt this energy, this life coming from those trees and it was incredible!

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Grace #19: Motherhood

Ten years ago today I became a mother. I can't get over the fact that I have been a mom for a decade now. In some ways, it seems like my son was just a baby yesterday, then I he is ten. Most of the time I can't even remember what it was like to not have kids. I know most parents probably feel this way, but it is just so incredible to me how quickly time has gone by.

Nothing in my life has changed me more than motherhood. Yes, at the core I am the same me I have always been, but I am
so different, too. Until I became a mom I had no idea how selfless I could be...and be okay with it! I had no idea how little sleep I could "get by" on. I thought all-nighters in college were tough. That was nothing compared to dealing with a high-needs baby in the middle of the night who is teething and has a stuffy nose...all while visiting relatives. I had no clue what it was like to have another human being with me (and usually physically attached to me) 24/7 for days, months, years on end, AND that I would be mostly alright with it. I learned how amazingly patient, AND inpatient I am capable of being. My marriage evolved as well. Parenting together has been one of the most rewarding and challenging aspects of my marriage. The love between my husband and me is so much deeper since we became parents. Additionally, since becoming a mother, I have made some of the most incredible friends, and the friendships I had before were enriched due to our shared experiences as moms. I also became an octopus when I became a mom! I am impressed by the number of things that I could do all at one time, all while holding a child. I became physically stronger.

The physical strength I gained was just the beginning. The emotional and spiritual strength I have developed still amazes me. My pregnancies and natural births taught me about the awesome inner strength I possess. They also empowered me to begin the hard work of motherhood. In addition to pregnancy and birth, nursing my children was one of the best experiences of my life. It taught me so much about myself and my kids. I learned from all the wonderful, peaceful moments of nursing, as well as all the rough times such as sore nipples and mastitis. All these experience allowed me to develop the tenacity that a mother needs to forcefully advocate for her children, her family--and herself--when necessary.

As I sit here typing this, I am aware that there are so many more ways that I have grown as a person, more ways than I can even put words to.

I am also specifically grateful to my son, my firstborn. I was so naive when he was born, still so self-centered. That all changed as fast as the speed of light with his birth. He was a high-needs baby, a baby who would never accept anything less than my very best. There was no easing into motherhood with this kid! It was a baptism by fire. He NEEDED my full and alert and loving attention almost all the time. As he grew, I realized that I had been blessed with an amazing and spirited child. He is a child who always requires me to rise to the next and higher level of mothering. It is exhausting at times to mother a spirited child, but the rewards I have gained are priceless.

So mazel tov to me...and mazel tov to my children, to all my mom friends, and their children! We are all better off because of each other. Here's to the next ten years!

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Thursday, March 26, 2009


Grace #18:

Golden trumpets,

Sunshiny faces,

Lemony beauty,

Buttery goodness

I love daffodils!
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Friday, March 20, 2009

Can Spring Be Far Behind?

Grace #17: Winter

Winter is my grace you may ask?! Yes. I AM grateful for winter because it makes me so very thankful...and READY for spring.

Today is an perfectly gorgeous day. It is brightly sunny with a few wispy clouds and it is currently about 70 degrees. I love it when the weather is like this. I can wear my cute and comfortable new cropped jeans with my new, short-sleeve, v-neck tee...and not need to wear a jacket. I can open the windows in my house and car and begin to rid both of the stale air trapped in them. The kids and I can be outside!

I love spring. I love the new beginnings: the buds on the trees, the greening of the grass, the green shoots in the earth. I rejoice in the appearance of the yellow and purple crocuses and the forsythia bushes. I adore the colors that burst forth in nature: reds, oranges, blues, greens, yellows and purples. I love how the earth wakes up and explodes with life. People smile more. I see neighbors emerging from their winter hibernation "caves." My kids look red-cheeked, wind-blown and smell of fresh air. My Beloved gets back on his bike; goes for long rides or commutes to work; and rejoices in exercising again. His stress level goes down and he enjoys life more. We all sleep a little better at night.

I am so happy that we will be able to grill and eat out on our patio. We can go to the park. We can play outside with friends. We will go for family bike rides. I can ride my bike to the store. This coming weekend we will put up our trampoline, and my kids and their cousins and friends will enjoy hours of fun and exercise. My doggie can enjoy lying in the grass with her favorite bone. When spring comes I am inspired to get outdoors! I am inspired to use my camera more. I will go to Zoo Blooms to photograph the flowers. In a few weeks, D and her family will come and the two of us will head to the Flower Show, our cameras in tow. Oh the tulips!

"Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!" ~Robin Williams

Here are some shots from today...

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Blast to the Past

Grace #16: My Camera

Last weekend while browsing photos, I came across these gems! I love the fact that cameras exist. I can capture these adorable, and hysterical, images

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Girls Weekend

Grace #15: Weekend with good friends

My daughter, C, and I enjoyed a "girls weekend" together, traveling to my good friend, D's, home. While there we spent wonderful quality time with D, her daughter and her hubby. C and I enjoyed our travel time listening to music, watching movies (my daughter, not me! I was of course doing the driving), and listening to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. The audio book was particularly fun for me. I have been anxiously anticipating the time when she would want to "read" the Harry Potter books. If you know me, you know I LOVED reading them with my son and husband :) We had a yummy dinner at Panera, and just generally enjoyed our girl time together.

Finally, after too many pit-stops due to my small, caffeine-stimulated bladder, we arrived at D's house. Unfortunately we were too late to see her daughter, S, who was already in bed, but nonetheless so happy to be there! After a good night's sleep, we left the girls with D's hubby, R, (muchas gracias, R!!) and then headed off to breakfast at Original Pancake House--one of our very favorite things to do together.

After a lot of scrumptious food:

a lot of stimulating conversation and girl talk:

And even more of their tasty coffee:

we left OPH, and headed for...are you ready for this?...more coffee! We just HAD to go to one of our fave coffee houses for more delicious java and fun gabbing. It was so wonderful to have all this connecting time with one of my oldest friends. Pardon the pun, but it was so "cup-filling!"

The rest of our weekend was spent playing with the girls, sharing our photos and music, and laughing. It was a joy to watch S and C play together. As a mom, I delighted in watching my daughter be an incredible playmate to her friend who is 3.5 years younger. I also got to appreciate the immense growth and development that S has accomplished in the past year.

Finally, I enjoyed watching my friend mother her daughter. D is an awesome mom who exhibits true devotion, patience, courage, love, fortitude and dedication. I am grateful to call her my friend. I have learned a lot from her.

Lastly, thanks to my beloved and son for spending a "guys weekend" together, so that the girls could all bond and connect!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Grace #14: Girl Scout Cookies

What?! Sugar-nazi Chellie is grateful for brownies, cookies...refined sugar??? No. I am not thankful for sugar right now. Although, there definitely times that I am, like when it sweetens my beloved Starbucks mocha...mmmm....But I digress. I am grateful for the fact that my daughter is involved in Brownie Girl Scouts. Specifically, I'm happy that she sells those cookies in the colorful little boxes. My daughter's involvement is Scouts has been a great experience for both of us (I am one of her troop leaders). I have gotten to see her grow and develop into a delightful girl, and Scouts has been a big part of that. We both have made some of our dearest friends through Scouts. Her two BFF's are in Brownies with her, I am very good friends with my co-leaders. My daughter is developing "courage, confidence and character." Her cookie-selling experience has allowed me to have an opportunity to watch this growth up close. I have loved watching her go from a very shy, scared, timid and inexperienced cookie-seller to a much more confident, self-assured, well-mannered and successful just one year! The transformation was amazing. Further, I am thankful for the money that our troop makes from our sales. Those funds allow us to do more for our girls. It allows them to do worthwhile service projects like helping out the needy kids in their very own school. Yes. I am grateful for those yummy cookies and Scouts. They have allowed my daughter and I to have a deeper connection...with a lot of fun thrown in the mix.