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.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

More Family

Grace #14: My other nieces and nephews

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of getting to spend time with my nieces and nephews from my hubby's side. Spending time with them is very special and important to me. They only live an hour away, but the parents of the 3 oldest are divorced; and their dad (my hubby's brother) moved far away this past summer, with the youngest and his mom. All this makes getting together with them just a little bit more challenging! So...when we the stars do manage to align for the family, it is treasured time. You see, I have been pretty close to these kids since they were very little, and being that we all only lived an hour away, we could see each other often. Then when everything in their family began to change, so did our time together. I realize now that I probably took that ease of seeing them for granted. Not now! When we are together I work hard to be present for them and get at least a few moments (usually more!) alone with each of them. Each of them is so special to me, and I truly respect how they are handling all the upheaval they have gone through. They are such loving, caring, funny, kind and creative kids...each in his/her own way. I have loved watching them grow up and seeing the amazing people they are evolving into. Even more I love the relationships that my kids have with them. They have amazing relationships with ALL their cousins. My hubby and I have always made it a priority for our kids to be with their cousins on both sides whenever possible and to nurture those relationships. I'd say we've done a pretty good job! I am grateful to be Aunt Chellie to these four wonderful kids.


Grace #13: My Physical Fitness

Today I did a cartwheel! I had not done one in at least 20 years. We were hanging out with family at a gym, and there was this huge mat on the gym floor where the kids were wrestling with each other and their uncle. In addition, my daughter was practicing her cartwheels and round-offs. Every time I see her doing them I remember doing gymnastics as a kid and how much I enjoyed it, and I fantasize about trying a cartwheel. I always think about doing one, but the fear of falling and hurting myself usually wins out and I don't do it. Today I just did not want to let fear win. It helped that we had been playing dodge ball and I felt like a kid. Anyway, I DID IT! I am so proud of myself. I am forty-ish and in decent shape...and I can still do a cartwheel. Yay for me! :)

Monday, February 9, 2009


Grace # 12: My Sister-in-law, My Niece and Nephews, and...Oh Yeah, My Brother :)

This past weekend we went to visit my brother and his family to celebrate my niece's and nephews' birthdays. We all had a fabulous time together. The four adults (my hubby, my bro, my sister-in-law and I) even got to have some real "adult" time while the kids watched movies. So much fun! I was aware the entire weekend of how thankful I am that they are a part of my life, so I knew I needed to make them one of my graces.

I am truly blessed that my bro had the good sense to marry his wonderful wife, M. Not only did he get a fantastic wife, but I got a terrific sister-in-law out of the union! I just love M. She is fun, kind, caring, loving and incredibly generous. She has a HUGE heart, and all who know her get to benefit from it. She is a great mom, and she is a super aunt to all her nieces and nephews. Over the years, M and I have gone from somewhat distant relatives by marriage to good friends and "sisters of the heart." M has three of her own sisters, but she has generously opened to her heart to include me in that circle. I know I can truly depend on her to be there for my family and me. I always enjoy our families' visits with one another, and one of the best parts is that we always have A LOT OF FUN together! Finally, M puts up with my bro, and for that she deserves a medal of honor.

My nieces and nephews are one of the great joys in my life. I am very grateful that I get to see them as often as I do (of course, I wish it were more often, though!), and that I have be able to watch them grow and change. They are awesome kids! One of the best things is that my kids are very close to their cousins, and thoroughly enjoy every moment with them. The worst thing is when we have to say good-bye at the end of a visit. :(

Hmm, it seems that I am forgetting something. What could it be?... Oh! Sorry Little Bro! I didn't really forget about you. Yes, I am grateful for my brother. He is terrific. We have been through a lot together over the years, and I have always been able to count on him. He is a wonderful brother, dad, uncle and hubby. Four of the best things he did were to marry M and have 3 amazing kids with her. Thanks for that, Bro!

Now, this is not to say that we have not had our disagreements and "rough spots" along the way in these relationships. We definitely have, but the absolute best part about my relationships with all these wonderful people is that there is a deep and abiding respect and love that gets us through...anything.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Grace #11: Incredibly sore muscles

I am grateful that my muscles are so unbelievably sore from my work-out today because it means that I am healthy enough to exercise. I am fortunate enough to have a great place to work out--the Jazzercise Center not far from my house. I take classes with an instructor (who also happens to be a good friend--how cool is that?!) and friends that are always challenging me to
lift heavier weights, to work just do MORE!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Snowed In

Grace #10: Snow Days!

A winter storm blasted our community this past week. We received about 36 hours of snow, sleet and ice. It was a beautiful winter wonderland outside. I was truly grateful for the fact that school was canceled for 3 days and there was one 2-hour delay. I know, most moms dread this many days off in the middle of the week only a couple of weeks after the holiday break. Usually I am one of those moms. This time was different. First, I was ready for some real SNOW. We had not gotten anything of any significance all season. Mostly, though, I was thankful because the night before the big storm I came down with an awful cold, and because school was called off I got to sleep in for 4 days. Four days of blissful waking on my own without having to jump out of bed and rush off to start our day. I felt lousy, and because of the weather everything was canceled. I couldn't work out even if I wanted to, which I didn't, because yep, you guessed it, I felt lousy. No meetings to sit through while I sniffed and coughed. No endless errands to run while I fantasized what it was like to actually breathe and get enough oxygen to my brain. No volunteering at school while my eyes itched, my nose ran, and my eardrums felt like they would explode. You may wonder why I would be so happy that my children were home while I felt so cruddy. This is the best part. They weren't here much. Amazingly, the neighbor kids were all around and available and desperate to play all day outside getting fresh air and exercise! When the kids were here, their friends were too, so they were happily occupied. One afternoon, both my darlings were gone and I laid on the couch for hours and watched Food Network. Unheard of in my world! Our final afternoon off school was spent having a play date at our dear friends, the D Family. We don't get to see these friends much due to the kids all going to different schools and being on different schedules, so it was a blessing to have unexpected play time with them. We have been friends for a long time and our kids have grown up together, so it was especially fun to see them all enjoy a long afternoon sledding and playing. AND, I got to share coffee and conversation with a very good friend. Can't beat that! I do kinda wish I hadn't been sick during our snow days. I did not get out to enjoy the winter weather or go sledding, which I love. However, I got some much needed rest and recovered from my cold in record time. I am ready to tackle the week to come.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Amazing Little Gadget

Grace #9: My Purple iPod

This past Christmas I received some "Christmas money" from my parents and in-laws. I knew instantly what I iPod! Santa had gotten one for my son Jack, and I fell in love with it. I adored everything about it, so when my windfall came I was thrilled. The day after Christmas I trekked out to Target (a daring feat, indeed!) with Jack in tow. He was along to "help" me with my purchase, and make one of his own. I knew without a doubt which color of iPod NanoChromatic that I wanted. Purple! My favorite color. (Yes, I know it looks blue in the photo. In some lighting it looks blue. I couldn't find the right lighting the day I took this. Er.) I adore my iPod. I like to listen to whatever music I want at just the touch of a finger. I like putting it on "shuffle" and being surprised with each new song. One of the reasons I have always enjoyed listening to the radio is that I never know what song is coming next. Now, with my iPod, all the songs are only ones I like. I like plugging myself into my own little world to walk my dog, vacuum the house, or cook dinner just by inserting the little ear buds. I also like plugging the iPod into my home or car stereo. Basically, I am having a ball with my new gadget.

The number one reason I am thankful for my iPod is that it is a new way for me to connect with my pre-teen son. This has been so important and vital to me. As with many males, my son loves electronics, gadgets, video games, etc. This is a world that is completely foreign to me, and one I am not at all interested in. However, being an involoved mom, I have tried on many occasions, and with many different media, to join my son in his world. I have tried to play his Gameboy, play Wii, etc. I have not been too successful. I have had such difficulty maintaining just enough interest to not appear completely stupid and inept. Out of self-preservation, and a need to not totally embarrass myself and him, I have always bailed out. NOW, with the iPod, Jack and I connect. We share music. We share tips on navigating the iTunes website. We introduce each other to new artists and songs. We listen to music together. This is not to say we don't have our bumps. He argues with me when he is not allowed to listen to some of my music because of
inappropriate lyrics. However, for the most part, this amazing little gadget has helped my son and I get just a little bit closer at this transitional time of his life, and for that I am extremely grateful.

Post Script: After my initial posting of this Grace, I allowed Jack to read it. As if to prove my point about our electronic differences, he implored me to please change the word Gameboy to Nintendo DS.

Me: Jack, it doesn't really matter.
Him: Mom, it does matter. They are not the same thing.
Me: Well, for my purposes, it doesn't matter. My readers will know what I mean.
Him: Please change it, Mom!

Two of the things I have learned as a mom are to choose my battles and honor the things that are important to my children. So, this post script is dedicated to you, Jack. I love you with all my heart!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My home

Grace # 8

I am grateful that my dog needed to get up in the middle of the night a few nights ago. While she did whatever business she needed to do outside, I sat on my couch, in my family room, in the dark. As I sat there in the quiet darkness, I realized once again how much I love my house.

These were important moments for me. Firstly, too much of the time, I do not take enough time to enjoy the quiet peacefulness of my home. Either the kids are home, and there is no quiet, or I am rushing about to "get things done." Secondly, I spend way too much time focusing on what my house needs to "make it better." In other words, I concentrate on what is wrong with my house, rather than what is right with it. Too often, I think about the walls that need to be painted; the baseboards that need to be cleaned; the closets that need to be reorganized; the siding that needs to be power washed; the trim that needs to be replaced; the basement that needs to be finished; the kitchen floor that needs to be replaced. Get the idea??? As I type this, I realize that my house is not necessarily the problem. The problem is me, and possibly my expectations. I am frustrated by the lack of time and resources available to devote to my house. Perhaps I need to "just be" with my house.

That night in the darkness reminded me of all the things that I truly love about my house. I love the elevation. I love the floor plan. I love my front porch, back patio and yard. I really like my kitchen. I really like the "girls' bathroom" that I share with my daughter. I love my soak tub! I am passionate about the natural light in my house (thanks, B for always reminding me of this!), and the fabulous windows in my two-story family room. Finally, you know what I love most about my house? It is my home.

My home is where my husband and children are. Our home is where Sean and I raise, nurture, enjoy and yes, struggle with, our kids. This is where we make our marriage stronger. This is where our family witnesses each other at our best and at our worst; where we are most vulnerable. This is where I feel safest and most comfortable. Home is where I want to be when I don't feel well, when I want to cook, and when I just want to relax. Home is where my beloved pets are. This is their home, too. As I write this, I struggle to really put into words what "home" means to me. It's a concept, a feeling, for which words do no justice. Home just means home, and when you have one you just know what that means. I feel immense gratitude for the fact that I do know what home means. Home is where my heart is.

"Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than a magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration."
-Charles Dickens

"There's no place like home."
-Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Big Blue sky

Grace #7: Sunny day!

I am grateful that the sun is shining today! One good thing about all those endless gray days for me has been that I can really appreciate the sunny day we are having. I love it when the sun shines and the sky is just so blue because it just seems that the sky goes on endlessly. It makes me realize how BIG the earth is...and just how beautiful it is.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Got hope? You bet I do!

Grace #6: Barack Obama and the American People

Words cannot describe the happiness and overwhelming gratitude that I feel today. President Obama (boy, do I LOVE saying that!) embodies "hope and virtue" for me. I have been so affected by the inspiration that he has given Americans, and the movement that has been occurring in our country. I have experienced a renewed faith in America. I feel excited to be an American again.

Barack Obama is truly a hero to me.

Thank you President Obama, and thank you my fellow citizens.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cuppa joe?

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Grace #5

One good thing about being a busy mom who doesn't get enough sleep is that I frequently "need" caffeine. My dear hubby would tell you that I most definitely do not need caffeine, and that
I ought not drink COFFEE of all things. "Do you know that coffee has at least 100 known carcinogens?!" Yes, he has told me that. Yes, I do care. However, I dearly love my Starbucks non-fat, extra-hot mocha. I love the way it smells. I love the way it tastes. I love the sweet whipped cream on top. I love the warmth it gives me, and, yes, I love the caffeine buzz it gives me.

The other thing I dearly love about having coffee is that I often get to share a "cuppa" with a good friend. I thoroughly enjoy this part of the coffee experience. This photo was actually taken while Sean and I were in San Antonio celebrating his 40th birthday. We enjoyed venti cups of coffee (after a late night consuming many margaritas!) with our good friends from college who had joined us for the celebration. In my regular life, if I am very lucky, I might get to sit in a Starbucks with a friend and have coffee. This is the best! If I can't have coffee in person with a friend, the second best way to share a "cuppa" is to talk on the phone with a friend while sipping my favorite beverage. My time with my friends is one of the most important things in my life, and coffee just makes that time all the more fulfilling!

I am so grateful for my friends and Starbucks coffee.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tote this!

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Grace #4
I am grateful to be a mom who has so much to tote around. That need led me to this bag. I was in need of a new "purse." I actually purchased a black leather purse. I liked it. It held my stuff...well, some of my stuff. The fact is that I needed more than a purse. I needed a
tote bag. Most days, when I leave the house, I have to take notebooks or files or books or my camera (or all of these!) with me. Now, I COULD carry 2 bags, but let's face it, I am busy, my brain is crowded,
and I am getting older. Chances are I am going to leave at least one of these bags somewhere. Actually, that has happened. So I surrendered. I began to look for a tote, and
I remembered my friend S had a tote that I coveted. She got hers from Lands End, and gave me the "go-ahead" to copy her. (I didn't get the exact same bag. I chose a different pattern.) I was so excited when my new bag came in the mail. I love this bag. I feel so happy when I
see my new bag. AND, it's highly functional! It holds a lot and
has many inside pockets and a special strap to hold my keys.
I am grateful for my new tote bag!

Grace #3 My wonderful Family

'Nough said!

Friday, January 16, 2009

"52 Graces"

This is my maiden voyage as a blogger. Kinda scary, but I am going to do it anyway. I have several friends who blog, and their courage to put their thoughts, etc. "out there" for all to see and read has always impressed and humbled me. I was recently challenged by one of these friends to give it a go myself. So here goes....

I have recently begun to think that I need to take time out of my life to focus on those things for which I am grateful. However, it took me a while, and a just a few "knocks on the head," to get me to actually DO something. This blog is my attempt to do something active to acknowledge my gratitude.

Knock on the head number one is the fact that I have been struggling with post-holiday, winter (too many cold and gray days!), and hormonal (can you say “beginnings of perimenopause?!) blues. As part of the blues, I have been plagued with way too much negative thinking. Being stuck in this cycle has led to more negative, self-defeating thinking, “What’s wrong with me? Why am I being so negative?” I knew
I needed to DO something, but what????

Knock on the head number two was receiving an email from my dear friend, B. The subject of the email was, you guessed it, gratitude. I loved the email. The message was that you need to find gratitude even in places where it doesn’t seem possible—e.g. “ I am grateful for the mess to clean up after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.”

Number three: This one came from B as well. She posted an entry on her blog titled “52 Graces” in which she talked about her realization more gratitude is necessary in her life as well. Included was a reference to another blog, “Blah, Blah, Blog” by Julie. Julie started the idea of including a grace per week on her blog. Hence the term “52 Graces.”

Finally, my own daughter provided the last knock on the head that got me thinking, “Hmm, maybe I should give some thought to doing something about this gratitu
de thing…” My daughter and I have been working our way through all the American Girl historical stories. Our latest is the story of Kaya, a Native American girl. In Kaya’s culture they thank all living things that give their lives so that people can benefit. At dinner the other night we were eating venison (an extremely rare occurrence for us). My hubby thought the kids would freak out to know what we were eating, but I had confidence they would be ok with it so we told them. My daughter’s beautiful response was, “Oh, poor deer. Thank you so much for giving your life so that we can eat.”

OK. OK. OK. I get it!

Grace #1: Last night I was grateful to be out walking in the freezing cold because it means that I have a wonderful old dog named Hoosier that is still healthy enough to get outside for a walk.

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Grace #2: Along those same lines...I am grateful for the cat vomit I had to clean up yesterday because it means I have 2 wonderful, adorable cats that bring great joy and much laughter to my life.