Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hope or Faith or Maybe Both!

Faith. It's just a little word. It's definition is "a hope in things which are not seen, which are true." My husband and I have had an unspoken motto for the last couple years: "if you don't have the faith yet, just hope and the faith will come." Today my heart is feeling it more tenderly than most. A few months ago our family went through an unusual experience. I didn't post about it at the time because it was too fresh and too private and too tender.

My husband has an old high school acquaintance who was planning to give up a baby. We first learned of the situation through a very close friend. The mother-to-be was in a bad way. She was addicted to drugs and in prison. My husband and I started talking about the possibility of adopting this baby. At the time, I was in the middle of a round of fertility treatments. It was taking it's toll on us both. We have always said that if the treatments don't work, then we would pursue adoption. This seemed just the push we needed.

The timing was all wrong. The situation was not ideal. Nothing was logical, but we agreed that if it was in our power, we would take in this child. We sent a letter to the mother, but it went unanswered. After a few weeks of fasting and praying, we were notified by our friend that there would be no adoption. The mother was keeping the baby with the help of a friend. But the hearts of my family were forever changed. We really opened ourselves to the idea of adoption and I can't shake the feeling that someday this is going to be the best option for our family.

I am terrified, but mostly, I have faith. It will probably be a long journey, but I am ready for it. Or at least, I hope I am.

Monday, October 10, 2011


One of the reasons I enjoy reading family history stories is the immediate change in perspective it gives me for my own life. I get to see the beginnings and the endings for their adventures. I like that. It reminds me that our situations are always temporary.

Like many families, we have our daily and weekly struggles that take up so much of our time and energy that we forget the more lasting blessings in our life. I have a favorite quote: "Never create a permanent solution to a temporary problem."

Here is an example from my own life of when I DIDN'T follow this advice (Oh, I have a million of these!)

When I was a college student, I got married and very happily became pregnant soon after. I was elated and very focused on becoming a mother. I was already enrolled in my final semester at James Madison University. I was a psychology major, interested in family counseling. Within a few weeks of starting the semester, I became very sick with my pregnancy. I was unable to keep any food or drink down and I was passing out every time I vomited (sorry for the graphic imagery). It made it impossible for me to attend class and I had to take a medical withdrawal. That would have been fine if I would have simply enrolled for the next semester and finished with my giant belly. Instead, I was worrying about our family's immediate finances. In order to make more money, I took a job as a check-out girl at a grocery store and just accepted the fact that I wouldn't be able to finish my degree. I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom anyway, and my mom and married sisters (at the time)didn't have to work, so I would be fine. I put our immediate needs ahead of my long-term goals and aspirations. Now, eventually I did go back and get my degree, but I spent so many years regretting and suffering for the delay. Why did I see things so differently then? Shouldn't I have known the benefits of my finishing early would have far outweighed the temporary need for extra income?

We see things from such a limited perspective. The problems of this week or this month are like huge buildings blocking our view as we try to navigate through city streets. It is so easy to get disoriented and lost this way. If we pull out from the street view and click on the bird's-eye view instead, then we can clearly see the direction we need to go. Those tall buildings become little landmarks and we can see where the street will open up again.

Even looking at other people's lives, it is much easier to see the path they should choose than it is for them to know to choose it. They are blinded by their close perspective. We can help ourselves and others so much by talking about our challenges with people who have a clearer view. Our parents, our siblings, those who love us...especially our Heavenly Father. They can help us more than we can help ourselves because their view is less obstructed by our immediate needs and problems.

It isn't lack of wisdom that causes mistakes, it is lack of perspective.

Has this happened to you? Do you have mistakes that just seem obvious now even though you were trying to do the right thing at the time? How have you been able to change your perspective?

Friday, October 07, 2011

It's official! The business that Paul and J started is finally off the ground. Today actually marks 2 weeks since they started working. I am so proud of them! We named the company August Chapman Group after many days of discussing. We made a list of our top 20 names and then we narrowed them down 1 on 1 like a sports bracket. When it came to the final 3, we decided to combine 2 of them. What do you think of the name?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Momma's grin

I look like my mom...This picture is actually taken from the webcam on my work computer. I have a picture somewhere of my mom taken when I was in high school and she has this EXACT same expression on her face. The cheesy grin with the raised eyebrows is so HER! Ha ha...I miss her face!! I am glad the holidays are getting close. I feel myself getting more sentimental every day. I never thought I would be so sappy. Sheesh. Is it just me? I used to worry that I would turn into my I worry that I won't turn out that well. What are your thoughts? How has your relationship with your parents changed as you've gotten older?

sock bun success!!

I wanted to try this new hairstyle on Elle-belle...The Sock Bun! It's super cute and makes her hair look SO thick! Do you love it? I got the idea on someone's blog, but after spending about 45 minutes looking through my regular blogs and their blog links trying to give credit where credit was due, I realized that this isn't exactly a copyrighted idea...there were a billion results when I googled it. So, my bad, I can't find the post that provided my inspiration.

This one was a cakewalk and the results were stellar! Have you tried any new hairdo's lately? Do share! :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Grandma's Birthday

Today would have been my Grandmother's 106th birthday...I can't believe she has been gone that long! She died when I was 17. She was a very interesting lady. She lived with us for 5 years after my grandpa died and it was quite an experience. Our house had been pretty full, but my 2 oldest sisters were in college and my oldest brother was getting ready to graduate so we turned Mom's office into a bedroom for her and she lived off the den right by the front porch.

She would just sit on the porch when the weather was good. Her health was poor and she was already just a little touched in the head. She never cut her hair and she wore it in an old danish style with two long braids wrapped around the top in a ring. She stopped putting it up after a couple of years and she would just wear 2 long braids. My friends thought she was American Indian.

She didn't refrain from expressing her opinions. My dad was an only child and we were her only grandchildren (7 of us). Kim was her favorite and I was her second favorite and she really disliked Candi. Sometimes Rachel would make a dessert and become the 2nd favorite over me, but only for a little while. It was not good, but we were her only family. At the time, we just all said she was crazy and maybe that's all it was.

When her health deteriorated even more, we had to place her in a nearby nursing home. She wasn't there long before she passed away...only a few months, I believe. Those were hard days for my Dad. He visited her every day on his way home from work. He's like that. I hope I am just like him one day.
Grandma made life hard on my mom. She never thought my mom was good enough for my dad. She criticized her an awful lot. My mom is an incredibly selfless woman. She is brilliant and witty and kind and didn't deserve to be disrespected, but she NEVER complained about it. I didn't realize how much of a sacrifice those years must've been for her.

I look forward to getting to know my Grandmother in the next life. She had a hard life and I know that she will be different person now that she is away from all her mortal cares. Even though people have problems, you still love them and value your relationships with them. She was always good to me.

Monday, September 26, 2011

"Before" pictures...AKA: My house now

I just know I will lose these pictures if I don't post them now! I have a lot of aspirations to renovate this house, but most of the projects can't be started yet for various reasons, so here is what the house will look like for a while. I do like the clock that Paul hung on the wall between the dining room and living room. We found it on clearance at Target a few weeks ago. Also, the gun in the photo is a replica of a civil war gun. Totally harmless, in case you were wondering. :)

I really want to paint the brick on this fireplace and replace the wooden blinds with roman shades.

Our furniture is's comfy, though!! What I WANT is a cool patterned armchair and a big L-couch...someday!!

Paul and I can't agree on whether crown molding would work on the vaulted ceiling..I say "yes!" We also need to paint all the wooden baseboards and windowsills white. One project that may happen soon is to paint the tv wall a nice beachy blue color. I have picked the exact shade out already!

I remember how excited I was when I first bought this couch 10 years ago. Sigh. It's seen better days!

Can you see how the chair railing in the dining room stops where the laminate floor transitions to carpet? I don't like that. I also don't like laminate floor or carpet! I want stone and hardwood. I am gonna save my pennies.

This room would look snazzy with some 2-tone paint colors! There is also a horrible border that needs to go...I didn't get it in the shot but it's awful. The kitchen is awful. The cabinets wouldn't be bad with a coat of paint, but the counters need replacing and we need to install a backsplash. I really like having projects on the horizon...wish the horizon was a leetle bit closer, though!

This is the hallway from the living room to the bedrooms. The wooden doors are very cozy, but outdated and it makes it really dark.

The bathroom is basic. It just needs new sink hardware, a new mirror, painted vanity, and a hanging cabinet with some colors and accessories... it probably will be my cheapest project!

I love that they built this bookcase into the living room. It just needs to be painted and some nice molding to make it perfect.

Mantel accessories...I have some ideas...I love Steinmart's homegoods section...I will do this last just in case I change my color scheme or something...

Ellie's room looks about the same...except she now has a doggie crate in there with her!

Her books and accessories.

TV Wall Mount

Paul has been working on getting our TV mounted to the wall. First he installed surround sound and added the higher outlets. He has mad electrician skills for a layman.

He figured out the cheapest way to mount it. It still cost about $50 for all the brackets and hardware. First he went to Home Depot...they don't have a good hardware selection so he had to go to Lowe's instead.

He bought 4 metal brackets and attached 2 to the television (it had the holes already in place) and then we measured EXACTLY to put the other 2 on the wall. The ones of the TV just rested on the ones on the wall and we put little bolts to hold them together.

The hardest part was getting everything plugged in properly while holding the heavy TV.

We also repurposed my dining buffet into a TV stand. We pulled the fronts of the drawers off and reattached them with hinges. I lined it with some pretty japanese paper and VOILA! Isn't it pretty?

I inherited this from my parents and love how it's now a focal piece in my living room! Isn't my hubby handy?
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