Hand in Hand We Go


OBX 2006

We moved into our neighborhood a little over 14 years ago.  I was elbow deep into the throws of motherhood with a 17 month old and a 6 week old.  There was no air.  My life was consumed with mothering.  There was no time for friends, no time for anything but surviving.  It brought unimaginable joys, but for me these were challenging times.

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It took me years to really get out from under my “Baby Rock”.  Our last child came 3 years later when my oldest was in Kindergarten.  Having a child in school lifted the rock of isolation for us.  I began meeting other moms who were in the same season of life as I.  There was a sisterhood built during these years with women who understood what it was like to be a stay-at-home mom.

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I want to be clear that I am in no way drawing a line dividing working moms versus non-working moms.  Each side comes with its own glories and punishments.  But all I know is what I went through staying home.  That choice was made for me as our first child was born requiring a lot of medical attention.  So I hung up my blazers and heels in exchange for jeans and t-shirts undoubtedly stained courtesy of my beloved littles.

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Now that my oldest is 15 and my youngest is 11, I am getting to watch the most remarkable and unexpected renaissance as the women that I raised our children with are finding their way to reclaiming their identities.  No longer just so-and-so’s mom, or Mrs. Whatever, these smart, talented, fine women are redefining who they are and going after dreams that they probably couldn’t have imagined a decade ago.

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It’s almost like watching a garden fill in and bloom.  I’m watching the rebirth of souls in the form of gainful employment, entrepreneurialism, and continuing education.  These women who I watched sometimes secretly mourn their former lives while raising their children, are now taking brave steps to reshape and take back their own lives.

Whether it’s as a baker, a real estate agent, a teacher, a philanthropist, or an author (that’s me!), these women are dusting off their confidence and blooming in their new roles.  I couldn’t be prouder watching each of them on their own paths of growth.  I couldn’t be more excited at the examples they are for their own children and for younger generations of new mothers.  And I couldn’t be more amazed at the energy and sheer determination of the phoenixes that I call my friends.

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Although we do not get to spend as much time together because of our crazy work/life balancing acts that we are negotiating, I am so grateful to have had the company and support of this tribe.  I am excited for each and all of their new adventures, and I am honored to watch them grow into their new spectacular selves.  Cheers ladies!  Here’s to you, your bravery, your sacrifice, and the new you.  We held hands through child rearing.  Let us now hold hands through raising teenagers and pursuing our own dreams separately, but together.

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redbud branch
Have you ever stopped to ponder
The beauty that you see
Whenever you gaze upon
The lovely redbud tree.
It’s cherry blossomed cousins
Put on dramatic show
Their flowers come with presence
But their blossoms quickly go.
The redbud arrives in silence
No festival or cheer
Stately and with purpose
They quietly appear.
Their shock of hue unique
Not red as name suggests
More a mix of pink and purple
Or purpley pink, at best.
Their role is to distract
From cherries’ season end
To share their gift of color
Then covertly fade to blend.
I wonder about human nature
In comparison to these trees
Do you require fanfare
Or can you do your job and leave?
~ Jennifer Chatman

Guest – Beth Gully – Author – The Other Side of Easter

Beth Gully - Easter - with book

In November of 2017, I featured Beth Gully, Graphic designer and author, on my blog.   It was right at the start of the busy holiday shopping season, so I was thrilled at our timing for the post. At that time, Beth was promoting her Christmas themed children’s book, The Other Side of Christmas, An Upside-Down Book, and now has followed up that successful story with her “sequel”, The Other Side of Easter.

Keeping with the *ambigram style in the illustrations, Beth has done it again, with her take on the story of the Easter Bunny entwined with the real story behind Easter. Her one-of-a-kind talent is seen on every page and with every flip of the book. All wrapped in the springy color palette, this book is just lovely from beginning to end.


She’s been getting great recognition in her mid-west region of the country with book signings and television appearances. But it is the word-of-mouth recommendations that are so meaningful to her, and they are coming from all over the country! (You heard it here, folks.)

Beth Gully - Easter - TV

The biggest challenge with this latest book, Beth shares, is that her audience has become “wiser”. It takes more effort and imagination on her part as the artist to come up with surprises and delights for her readers.  And she has delivered!

It’s an important part of Beth’s story to recall that it took her eight years to complete The Other Side of Christmas all due to her feelings that she was not worthy or talented enough to pull off the concept that she had birthed in her mind. The success of her Christmas story opened her eyes and mind to the fact that she is enough just the way she is. This stumbling block of old did not take hold this go around. You can feel her well earned confidence on the pages of The Other Side of Easter.

Beth Gully - The other side of easter

Still incredibly humble and as sweet as the day is long, Gully is taking her identity as an author in stride. TV appearances and media coverage aside, Beth is enjoying the journey of the marketing side of authorship and delights in the unexpected twists and turns of her successes.

To get your copy of The Other Side of Easter (AND The Other Side of Christmas) visit www.TheOtherSideOfEaster.com

And to refresh your memory on my original interview with Beth Gully, please visit


*Ambigram – (AM-bi-gram) – An ambigram is a word, art form or other symbolic representation whose elements retain meaning when viewed or interpreted from a different direction, perspective, or orientation.  ~Wikipedia