Thursday, July 31, 2014

{pretty, happy, funny, real} - Home and Away


An abandoned house we came across in our travels.
The past several weeks have been intense. Not only are we sleep-deprived and sore from too much painting, but that pesky sliver also keeps getting bumped. Recognizing that we needed a break, my in-laws blessed us with a one-night hotel stay in Richmond last weekend.

We had a great trip. After devouring gyros and tzatziki sauce (YUM!) at a lovely little Greek restaurant, we made ourselves return to the hotel to relax. Relaxing is difficult in a place like Richmond; there are so many things we want to see.

On our way home, we took back roads on purpose. Thanks to GPS, we got to enjoy the middle of nowhere while still knowing where we were going.


 Now that we live in a house, our lack of furniture has become apparent. We really want quality furniture, but are not willing to pay a lot for it. Don't we all? The couch and a small chair in our living room looked pretty lonely until this weekend. On our way through the countryside, we came to a flea market that was packed with furniture. 

We found a comfy chair for only $50, but weren't sure if the light blue would match the darker blue of our couch. Fortunately, I had brought a couch pillow along in case we happened to need it. Placing the pillow by the chair, we were amazed. Not only was the color perfect, but the fabric was also identical. We couldn't have found a better match! Our excitement took away any chance of bargaining, but the price was still great. We also found matching end tables and a coffee table. So now, our living room is ready for company.


I normally feel current or maybe even ahead of the curve. After all, I'm a blogger. I have Twitter, Facebook, and even Instagram (granted, I was WAY behind with two of the three). I make picture collages and have taught myself some html. Then, I come across something like this: "SMH." Based on the placement and usage, I determine that it could be like "LOL." Since LOL became popular, the abbreviations have just kept coming:

YOLO = You Only Live Once
LMHO = Laughing My Head Off (apparently LOL couldn't quite get the point across)
IDK = I Don't Know
IMHO = In My Humble Opinion
TBH = To Be Honest (because without that intro, people should assume whatever you say is a lie?)

Completely stumped, I had to look up "SMH" this morning:
SMH = Shaking My Head

What happened to using whole words anyway? IDK. SMH.


Sometimes, paint colors are not what you expect. My plan was to paint the basement paneling a light tan/beige. The paint swatch told me that's exactly what it was. But, oh, it wasn't. It was yellow. Our basement looks a little more like a farm kitchen than we expected, but at least it is bright and cheery. I might be painting these walls again sooner than expected.

This post is linked up with Like Mother, Like Daughter.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Small Sips After A Fire Hose

If you have ever attended a conference, you know that it is impossible to soak up all of the information. It's like drinking out of a fire hose. The women's conference I attended was no different. In two days, my sister and I attended thirteen sessions. My notes don't do the wonderful sessions justice, so I am excited to listen again now that the sessions are available online. If you are intrigued by the little snippets in the video below, you may want to check out the sessions here.

Want some specific recommendations? Here are my favorites:
  • Why This Issue Now? - I laughed so hard at the interactions between Tim and Kathy Keller. The rest of the panel and the content was fabulous, too.
  • Laboring for a God Who Fights for Us - "God is completely in charge AND what you do matters." - Tim Keller 
  • Fearing God in a Fallen World - I had never heard of Paige Brown, but she turned out to be my favorite speaker. "Self-promotion means we are using people instead of loving them."
  • Responding to God According to His Word - This session blew me away. The hope of the Gospel was explained in a powerful way. If you can only listen to one session, pick this one.
I was so blessed by this conference and hopefully forever changed. If you check it out, please let me know what you think in the comments.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What We Thought We Wanted

We have been working crazy hours on the house. While swishing a paintbrush, a little thought keeps popping into my head: "This process would be so much harder if we had kids." Every time, I quickly add, "Of course, I would much rather have kids."

Working on the house has reminded me of the things that we wanted to do before having kids. Couples often come up with a before-children to-do list that looks something like this:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

{pretty, happy, funny, real} - Fresh Paint, Magic Sinks, Favorite Food, & Critters

And now it's time for {pretty, happy, funny, real} the part of the blog where Davy shares...something pretty, happy, funny, and real. 

[Catch the Veggie Tales reference, anyone? "And now it's time for Silly Songs with Larry, the part of the show where Larry comes out and sings...a silly song." If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you should probably watch this video. Or don't. Either way, it has nothing to do with the rest of this post. Just know, they are great videos for kids.]


We moved in to our new house on Saturday. Homeownership has already provided a few challenges, but we are very happy with our new house. The new paint colors make the house feel like our home.


When we looked at the house, I thought that the single sink was a downside to the kitchen. Not a deal-breaker, obviously, but something that I could live with. We have lived here for less than a week, and I already am a huge fan of the sink. The depth makes dirty dishes disappear.

Amazing, right?


My husband is a gift giver. Early in our relationship, he started surprising me with flowers at random times. Eventually, he learned that I prefer one flower over a bouquet. Then, he realized that chocolate makes me happy, too, so he would randomly bring a flower and some chocolate home. Not long ago, I mentioned that chocolate is good, but I would honestly consider it very romantic if he surprised me with my favorite food sometime. My favorite food is pretty unnecessary in daily life, and I have a hard time splurging on it.

Yesterday, he brought home one rose and my favorite food. What is it?

Black olives.
I felt loved and very special.
He laughed at me, because I even snuck a few before dinner.


We have seen more "critters" in the last few days in our house than we did during the whole year in our third-floor apartment. I guess that is logical.

The little bunny on the bottom right can stay. We named him Munch. The ants and Mr. Groundhog can go away. And so can the bat that was leaving droppings in our car port. An exterminator was here yesterday, so the spiders, earwigs, and other creepy crawlies should be gone soon.

And just like that, our home-ownership journey begins.

What is pretty, happy, funny, or real in your life?

This post is linked up with Like Mother, Like Daughter for {pretty, happy, funny, real}.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Infertility Is Like A Sliver

[I wrote this post last week, but haven't had internet until today. Better late than never, right? Moving is a pretty good excuse, I think.]

I have a sliver in my finger from the trim in our new house. It doesn't want to come out. At first, my finger was sore and inflamed. The sliver made it hard to continue life as usual. The sliver would catch on everything and send shooting pain up my sensitive pinky. Trying to remove the sliver just made it worse. Eventually, the swelling went down and the soreness went away. But, the sliver still catches on things sometimes. Just when I forget, my finger gets bumped.

Infertility is the same way. In some seasons, infertility has sent shooting pain into every part of my life. In others, I forget the infertility sliver is there until it gets bumped. In all seasons, I want it gone.

Due to our shift toward adoption, our big trip, and our new house, infertility has been a much smaller part of my life lately (Praise the Lord!). Distraction has been so good. I was reminded last weekend that infertility is not gone. My infertility sliver was bumped.

It was a perfect storm. I was exhausted from working so hard on the house. My hormones were at that cry-at-anything level. And I hadn't thought about infertility in a while. Then, we went to church. At one point in the service, my thoughts became self focused and I started thinking about how long we have been trying to start a family: 3.5 years. If you haven't done this mental exercise yet, just don't go there. Nothing good can come of it. Anyway, I started calculating. In the last three years, that couple has had two kids. This other couple has gotten married, had one kid, and is expecting another. You see? Bad idea. As the numbers and covetousness rolled through my head, my husband turned and asked if I was okay. I said yes, then started to wonder if he was okay. Our family-oriented church has been a tough place for both of us to be at times. Nothing makes me cry faster than seeing my husband hurting like that. I didn't cry though, not yet.

Then, we sang "The Song." The song that hurts our hearts every time. The one that makes us wonder what we did to deserve infertility, then makes us remind ourselves that God is not vengeful like that. That God is good. The song that bumps my infertility sliver so hard every time. The song we used to love, called "Blessed the Man that Fears Jehovah." It is based on Psalm 128:

Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
who walks in his ways!
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
who fears the Lord.

The Lord bless you from Zion!
May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life!
May you see your children's children!
Peace be upon Israel!

I lost it. In the middle of church. I thought about leaving, but my face does not handle crying discreetly. The instantly bright red nose and eyes would be a dead give away. So, I stayed in the pew with tears streaming down my face and my husbands arm around me. Stupid infertility. 

And thus, I was reminded that the infertility sliver has not gone anywhere. It is still there and will continue to be bumped. Eventually, God will remove the infertility sliver, hopefully by blessing us with adopted or biological children. Until that day, I need to be prepared. I need to remind myself that God is good and that infertility has brought blessings, not just sorrow. I need to avoid the trap of comparison and envy. I must choose joy in spite of the sliver.

P.S. By the way, the actual sliver in my finger is tiny. It does not want to be removed, but will work it's way out eventually.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

{pretty, happy, funny, real} - Paint, Paint, and More Paint, Oh My

If you haven't noticed, I have been MIA in the blog world. Blame our new house. This post must be quick, because we only have fifty hours before move-in. Yikes! 


Of all the paint colors we chose, this one made me the most nervous. And now, it's my favorite. This room will eventually be a baby room (we hope), but we are calling it an office for now. Either way, we just love the color.


Progress is making me happy this week. Our guest room is officially finished. You may wonder why we covered the gray. Apparently, the previous owner locked at least one cat in this room often. It smelled that way. So, we had to paint. We are really happy with the green. The pictures don't do it justice.


Since our recent trip, my husband has been talking about how he wants to live in Florida. He clerked with a judge down there in law school and wants to go back. As the paint goes onto our walls, we are noticing that the colors are quite bright. I am telling him that the inside of our house feels like Florida, so we don't actually need to move there.


Painting trim takes FOREVER. And ever. And ever. We are trying to turn our wooden trim white. Apparently, that process requires two coats of primer and two coats of paint. And ever. And ever. 

What is pretty, happy, funny, or real in your life?

This post is linked up with Like Mother, Like Daughter for {pretty, happy, funny, real}.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

{pretty, happy, funny, real} - Charleston and Our New House

Today, I am linking up with the ladies at Like Mother, Like Daughter again for {pretty, happy, funny, real}.


If you have never visited Charleston, South Carolina, I encourage you to go. We only had a few hours to spend there, but loved every minute. This lovely little space was between two old homes on a historic street.


Don't these flowers look happy to you? We found this colorful flower box outside an attorney's office on our walk through Charleston.


"Funny" may not be the right word, but I choose to laugh. We found this pile and MUCH more under the fridge in our new house. The cat smell needed to go, but we had no idea the source was so...abundant. I can see how cat hair and even cat food could gather under the fridge, but mail? You know those styrofoam trays that raw chicken comes in? We found one of those under the stove. Bleh! The kitchen is clean now and smells so much better. Progress feels good.


We bought thirteen gallons of paint and primer the other day. After carrying my paint swatches around for weeks, I changed the color scheme at the last minute. Rookie mistake? Maybe. The colors here are a little brighter than reality, but you get the idea. We have our work cut out for us. 

What is pretty, happy, funny, or real in your life?

This post has also been linked up on Lovely Thursdays and the Little Friday Linkup.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

You Are Not Alone

I spent the weekend with 4,000 women. The conference was wonderful, but I will share more about that later. Today, I just want to remind you that you are not alone, whatever your struggle. The interactions I had with a variety of women reminded me of that fact. One woman recently experienced a miscarriage, one mother dealt with infertility for several years before having biological children, and her sister was adopted and has adopted through foster care. Another women is dealing with secondary infertility, yet another has walked through endometriosis and cervical cancer and is beginning the adoption process. And those were just the women I talked to! In a crowd of 4,000, there must have been many, many more.

Recognizing the similar struggles of these women also reminded me of the other struggles represented. The mother of a child with disabilities was not alone. The caretaker of aging parents was not alone. The widow was not alone. Every woman there had a struggle, and she was not alone. 

Let's live that way. Let's recognize the struggles of those around us. Let's be willing to be vulnerable with our own struggles. Let's encourage one another. We are not alone.

*This post was linked up with the Infertility Link Up.