Fat Girl Wearing Thin

Life beyond the loss.

   Dec 10

Gratitude in December




Teresa over at Spirit Grooves always reminds me to post my gratitude list for the month.  It seems like I only remember after she’s posted hers;  I’m pretty grateful for that!  Well, that and the fact that I loved her image enough to use it for my own post today (see above and thank you, Teresa!) 

I realized that I have a lot of things to be grateful for this month.  It’s just a matter of seeing through the chaos and spotting the beauty that patiently waits for me to notice. 


This month I’m most grateful for….

1.  …the couple of days Craig and I spent in Chicago this past weekend.  There was an exhibit that I really wanted to see at the Museum of Science and Industry and Craig had been wanting to go to a couple of architectural salvage warehouses, so we decided this was what we wanted most for each other for the holidays.  I called up my nephew who was willing to come and dog sit and we left on Friday.  I think this may end up being an annual event for us. We are more about experiences rather than gifts at this point in our lives, and stepping away from the daily chaos that surrounds us – even for a short time – does so much good for our marriage (and sanity!)  And, we had a great time.

Here is an Instagram photo of the Christmas tree outside of the John Hancock building. 


2.  …the fact that my back didn’t give me too much trouble while we were away.  I am still nursing it back to health after over-using it for the past 6 months while waiting for my stomach muscles to heal from surgery.  It took a lot of time and energy to get it into great shape before, and it’s going to take a lot of hard work to get back to where I was but I’m truly grateful that my pain level was tolerable and allowed me to enjoy myself this weekend. 

3.  …finding new tea to enjoy!  I get so excited over the simplest things, don’t I?  lol  While in Chicago this weekend Craig and I were wandering around in a neighborhood near Wrigley Field and came across a tea shop I’d never heard of before, called David’s Tea.  When we went inside, I felt like a kid in a candy shop.  There were teas with names like Movie Night (real popcorn pieces inside), Red Velvet Cake (with chocolate bits and sprinkles) and Toasted Marshmallow (with brittle pieces, marshmallow bits and allspice).  I was in tea heaven!  I bought samples of nearly 10 different types and am sure I’ll be blogging about them at some point; I always love finding new things to try. 

4.  …the kind and thoughtful words of my customers via email and on Etsy.  Being a newbie business owner comes with all the highs and lows of a kid going through puberty.  One minute you think you’re doing what you were put on this earth to do, and the next minute you’re filled with fear and doubt and wondering What was I thinking?  Was I dropped on my head as a baby?! 

But then I receive a note from a customer about his/her purchase and it sends me over the moon.  Counting on feedback from outside sources should not determine our paths in life, but when you’re in the early stages of a new venture, the kindness of others can do remarkable things to help you find your footing.  I’m grateful to know that my artwork is bringing joy to people.   It keeps me focused on days when a particular painting keeps yelling, ‘Oh, you may think you’re done, but lady you’ve got a LOT more work to do’.  Like this one:


5.  …the decision to host my third annual Hate Loss Challenge in January.  I hesitated at first because I was convinced that I’d be too overwhelmed because of the commitment, but then I realized that I need it just as much as anyone (and it always seems to have a way of bringing participants closer together, doesn’t it?).  I even designed a new logo for this year, as some of you may have noticed.  If you’re new to the Challenge, I’ll be posting an overview soon.

6.  …and as always, I’m grateful to my readers.  You are all amazing people and very special to me.


See you back here later in the week.  Have a good one! 



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  1. Kyra says:

    That painting is stunning Ellen!

    • Ellen says:

      Thank you, Kyra. It looks totally different now. I added three dimensional paper flowers/leaves to it and used some 3d paint to bring out the branches. I’ll be posting progress on my art blog. I just can’t seem to find that ‘sweet spot’ that says it’s done. Having trouble with that a lot lately for some reason.

  2. Tea – yes, me too. I’m drinking some right now:) Funny how the little things can make us happy.

  3. Sharon says:

    I’m always envious of your trips to Chicago. Haven’t been there since 2002 when I lived there for six weeks while wrapping up my career. I had a great time and the best part of all was that someone else was paying for it! LOL!

  4. NewMe says:

    And I’m grateful to know you!

  5. Roxie says:

    Chiming in on the Chicago envy. I’ve never been – I need to remedy that.

    I love it that you are thrilled with your new tea discovery. I’m grateful for Barnes and Noble – I actually popped into a store this evening, just to look around. It just makes me happy to be in there!

    I love the new logo and the painting- you are so talented.

  6. May I come to Chicago, too? (Try and stop me. ) :)

    You have much to be grateful for, indeed, but I do understand the trepidation on the “out-on-my-own-ness” of self-employment. It’s scary…and exhilirating…and rewarding.

  7. MizFit says:

    wow. the painting is BEAUTIFUL.

    • Ellen says:

      MizFit – I JUST found your comment hanging out in my spam folder – how kind of you to leave a compliment on my painting. I’m sorry it took so long to connect back with you! Lesson to me to check spam more often…thank you for stopping by :)

  8. Hanlie says:

    I love that you are focusing on doing things together instead of buying gifts – that is definitely my style too.

    Your art is so uplifting. I love that you share it with us.

    I also had a problem with my back muscles for a week or so and ascribed it to the fact that I could only sleep on my back. Now that I can lie on my sides I actually feel much better. But yes, I think I overused my back muscles to compensate for my severed stomach muscles. I really have to start doing Pilates in the new year.

    • Ellen says:

      Hanlie, I do hope you’re feeling better. I found that stretching helped tremendously. I should have been more aware of what I was doing to my back, but didn’t realize it until it was too late. ANY kind of stretching to help keep your back as limber as possible will be good medicine for you. It takes so long for those stomach muscles to heal. My surgery has been over 6 months now and if I do a full sit-up, I still feel tingling near my incision. Be good to yourself.

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