Friday, September 14, 2012

Furniture Makeover :: A Spotted Shelf

It's been a while since we've done a furniture makeover... so let's do a quick one, shall we? (I promise an even better one is coming soon!)

This little bookshelf was brought to me by my friend Malerie, for her little girl Gia (who should be coming home from Korea any time now!) She wanted some additional storage for her room, so we decided to make this little bookshelf a little more girly. While I think it turned out cute, I am not convinced it's going to hold up well... so while I do my "reveal" I'll also share with you a few things I would've done differently if I had this project to do over. (You might as well learn from my mistakes... right? ;)

First - we started with a sort of wood composite shelf. It wasn't real wood, or even veneer. It felt more like cardboard with a woodgrain sticker on it than anything else. (You know the kind of shelf I'm talking about? I think we've all had a similar one at some time in our life!) I'm pretty sure this was mistake #1.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint says it can cover ANYTHING - glass, plastic, veneer, metal, etc - and so far I've believed it to be true. But I struggled some with this piece. There were places it "bubbled" and pulled away from the finish when I painted it on. It took a lot of strokes with thick paint and a lot of coats to get an even finish.  I did finally manage to get it all painted white, and waxed... so then we were on to Step 2.

I don't have pictures of the next few steps (they were that stressful) so just stay with me as I tell you mistake #2, okay? In an effort to make this piece girlier (is that a word?) I had suggested Mod Podging some bright wrapping paper on the inside of the back of this piece, so it would peek out from around her books.  So Malerie picked out a pretty polka-dot pattern and I went to work!

Let me tell you that I love Mod Podge... until I actually use it again and then I remember how much I hate it. Mod Podge is great for small projects, but I keep trying to use it for big ones. And Mod Podge + a big sheet of thin wrapping paper is a disaster waiting to happen! It took 2 tries to get a piece cut out the right size without punching a hole in it before I got it in place. Then, when I tried to Mod Podge it on, I got wrinkles EVERYWHERE! At that point though, there was no going back. So I finished it up, put a ridiculous number of Mod Podge coats OVER the wrapping paper, and let it dry. And here's the finished product!

I think it turned out pretty cute, but I'm not sure how well it will stand up to wear and tear. If I had this project to do over I would make these changes ::

#1 - Start with a real wooden shelf - or at the very least, a veneer shelf. No pressed wood or wood composite.

#2 - Instead of Mod Podging wrapping paper (which is thin and easily tears/wrinkles), I would suggest a pretty fabric! It will be much easier to work with and it should hold up better as backing. Wallpaper would probably be an okay option too (just be sure to Mod Podge over it as well as under it.)

#3 - I would probably paint a polyacrylic coat to seal a bookshelf, instead of using wax. I haven't tried this yet (so I can't recommend a brand or method) but I have a friend who uses polyacrylic with her Annie Sloan Chalk Paints. I just think it would stand up better to the wear and tear of books being pulled in and out of the shelves.

So... if you're looking for an easy way to customize a bookshelf, this is a great technique! Just make sure you learn from my mistakes, and you'll have a finished product that will hold up even better over time. :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012


As I write this I have tears in my eyes from the sweetest text (with scripture) that my friend Katie just sent me. Before I even finished reading it, a message popped up on my facebook from another friend (and Mommy of 7) who took time out of her busy day to encourage me and let me know she is praying for us and our adoption.

It only took a second of reflection to be overwhelmed by the ways people have reached out to us since we announced we were adopting.  I have had texts, phone calls, sweet questions at church, and blog comments. People on facebook have commented and "liked" and prayed like crazy. And the messages - oh the messages! I have had so many sweet ones (some from people I barely know) via email and facebook (that I really need to respond to... sorry ya'll! I get all emotional reading them and then I can't type and then I forget to write back!)

 image from {}

All that to say - I am blessed. And humbled. And I want to remember that for the next time I get discouraged. This journey has already been so difficult and we haven't even "technically" taken the first "official" step (we haven't been able to find an agency to work with). But I'm afraid I would've already given up on this dream without the love and support of so many of my friends (and family!) Whether we are close or not - please know that your comments and prayers don't go unnoticed. THANK YOU for taking time out of your day to encourage me! The Lord uses your kind words and prayers in powerful ways!

While I'm talking about our adoption I will share that the ball is rolling again! We emailed a Thai Adoption Lawyer today!!!! Thanks for helping me find the strength to face the waves one more time! I don't want to get my hopes up again, but this is a completely different direction (that we haven't looked into until now) and I can't help but wonder if maybe this could be THE path God is leading us to take! The things we've read on the website look promising - but only time will tell. I am praying they will respond quickly and that we'll be able to set up a phone call with them soon... I'll keep ya'll posted!

*In case you haven't noticed, there's a new tab at the top of my page. For those of you who like to follow our adoption journey, it just got a little easier! If you click on "Our Adoption", there is a chronological list of all the blogs I've written about our adoption (or adoption in general). I'll be updating the list each time I post a new one. I know when I we started researching Thai adoption, I spent hours reading through the blogs of other families who had adopted from Thailand. So I hope this will help some future adoptive Moms & Dads navigate my site a little better! :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Adoption doesn't have to be PLAN B

Last week, I posted a pretty vulnerable blog. In it I explained why we haven't made any new progress in our adoption (because we're emotionally exhausted from the process), and that I really needed some prayers and encouragement so that I could find the strength to keep pursuing our daughter.

Most people who read it responded with really encouraging and/or understanding comments, prayers, and scripture.... except for one.

Now before I go any further - let me just say that I don't want to discourage people from commenting on my blog. As a matter of fact, it's kind of disappointing to me that I have 100+ readers and hardly any are "commenters". I LOVE comments! I like to know who my readers are, what you're thinking and feeling, your opinions, or what you might have questions about! So I want to discuss what happened next carefully - without attacking this commenter.

Last week, when I reached out for the support I needed to keep going, what I got instead was an anonymous comment from someone who discouraged me from pursuing the adoption of our daughter in Thailand, and encouraged me to just have "kids of our own" instead. It went a little something like this ::

Like I told Rusty, maybe God is saying.....what's wrong with having your own child...there are a million couples out there that can't and they are probably going to get priority over you, so what the heck!!!! two would make a beautiful child!!!!...just saying...that is an option if you really, really want a child.....wouldn't be that bad now would it?????

Now, I addressed this comment in a status post on facebook - but after 43 comments and 98 "likes" there, I thought it might be worth discussing on my blog too (you know... for those of you who aren't my facebook friends).

Let me start by saying that I don't believe this person meant for this comment to be hurtful (even though they posted anonymously). I simply believe they either (a) don't support adoption (b) don't fully understand it (c) don't think before they speak/type or (d) all of the above. So for those of you out there who might be in the same boat, allow me to explain a few things. 

#1 - My husband and I are not idiots. If we were just trying to think of ANY way to have a child, then believe me, we could come up with the idea on our own to do it "the old fashioned way"! We know that is "an option" - we didn't need you to point that out.
#2 - While we aren't suffering from infertility (at least not that we know of - we haven't tried to have biological children yet) there are many couples out there who are. I would NEVER recommend telling someone who is trying to adopt to just "have kids of their own" without intimately knowing their situation. For a couple dealing with infertility, that would be like pouring salt in an already painful wound.

#3 - I can assure you that our adopted child will be "our own child" - she just won't be our biological child. It is really offensive to adoptive families to refer to their adopted child as anything but "their own" child.

#4 - I do really, really want a child...and while I appreciate you saying Rusty and I would make a beautiful child, the one I see when I close my eyes doesn't look like either of us. She has beautiful black hair and skin the color of brown sugar and sweet slanted eyes. Her name is Kate and she's somewhere in Thailand. And it won't matter how many biological children we have, I will still really, really want HER.
I know that last one seems crazy to some people, but believe it or not, adoption is not our Plan B. We decided first, before we even tried to have biological children, that we wanted to adopt a daughter from Thailand. As a matter of fact we not only decided, we felt called by God to do it (and He has confirmed that calling in many, many ways!) Please believe us when we say, adoption is our PLAN A! We have been given the incredible opportunity to meet hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children around the world, and we consider it an HONOR that God would choose us to parent one of these precious children.
Now that's not to say we don't want biological children someday - we will absolutely try to have biological kids too (when the Lord reveals His timing to us) and we will be so happy if God blesses our family in that way. But for now we are absolutely THRILLED and completely obsessed with the dream of adding a Thai daughter to our forever family!
Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous, I'm sure your comment was well intentioned. But when people who are called to adoption are struggling through it (and everyone does, because adoption is not easy) please don't discourage them or try to change their path. There are too many precious children out there who desperately need loving families.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sarah's Sheet Music Challenge

Remember when I shared about the vintage sheet music I framed for our living room? I am currently obsessed with sheet music as art, so I volunteered to help one of my readers find some pieces for their home!

Sarah gave me quite the challenge by saying she'd love some pieces for each of her family's states - Washington (where her husband is from), Indiana (where Sarah is from), and Georgia (where they now live with their 2 super cute kids!) Now themes are really easy to find (color schemes, flowers, animals, etc), and names are sometimes easy to find, but I wasn't sure about states. It took me a little while, but Sarah I think I've got some pretty great options for you today!

 Collection #1

We'll start with 3 colorful pieces. The links to purchase these are below each photo, so you can snatch them up if you decide they're right for your space Sarah!

There were a lot of great options for Georgia, but I chose this one because (I think) both of Sarah's babies were born in GA! It was printed in 1923.

This piece was printed in 1917... so I'm pretty sure it's not "Indiana" by John McLaughlin (gosh I love that song!)

I have to admit that The Washington Waddle is my favorite title from this search... and for those of you who know Sarah's husband (he's hilarious) this quirky song title is somehow fitting! Haha! It was printed in 1911.

Collection #2

Now, if you'd like a more muted (and matching) series, here's another option for you!

I love that this sheet music is from Great Britain! It would definitely be a unique piece to add to your collection. I can't find a date on it, but it's beautiful whether it's old or new!

This piece was printed in 1846. Definitely an antique! The age of this music is what makes the price higher... but $40 really isn't a bad price for a unique piece of art (and history) for your wall!

This piece was printed in 1909, so it's another antique piece. The title sounds so romantic to me!

I really LOVE this set! Mustard yellow is very popular these days, and I think these would look amazing together! I love everything about these 3 pieces (if I had any ties to Indiana or Washington I might by this set myself! ;)

Now, just in case none of those strike your fancy, here are some links to a few more great options ::




*Sarah, please let me know if you decide to purchase any of these collections! I'd love to see a photo of them framed in your home!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fighting Waves

Several of you have been so sweet to ask me, or Rusty, or my Mom for an update on our adoption process. We've been telling people that we took a break for a few weeks - mostly because our house flooded and our life was crazy chaos trying to live/work/eat/sleep in the house while it was being fixed. We've also blamed our break on traveling - we've been to a couple of out of town weddings/visits over the past few weeks too. But now all that is over and I still don't want to jump back into making phone calls and writing emails. Can I be honest about the reason why? It's because I feel like I'm fighting waves.

Have you ever been hit by a big, strong wave at the beach? I mean WIPED OUT?! There you are... walking along, and out of no where it sneaks up behind you and knocks the wind right out of you! You fight for air, while it throws you up on the beach - exhausted and sputtering. You're eyes are stinging from the salt water, there's sand in your mouth (and maybe a few other places too), and your lungs and muscles are exhausted from fighting something much stronger than you.

Well that's what I feel like right now.

Each time we've set up a phone meeting with an adoption agency we have walked into the water, hand in hand, full of hope. Each time we've believed we would make progress... even if it was just a few more steps into the water. And each time, we have been beaten half to death by a nasty wave. After a few days of crying, praying, and wondering what was next - we'd walk back into the water again... and again, one more time, we'd be beaten to death by a wave that landed us RIGHT back on the shore - the EXACT place we started.

And now... I'm a little sick of the water. And if I'm being REALLY honest, I'm bitter and angry about the fact that these stupid waves are ruining my day at the beach (if you know what I mean?) Instead of being excited about our adoption, I find myself feeling depressed, anxious, and hopeless. Every little thing reminds me that after months of trying we haven't made any progress. It is frustrating (and heartbreaking) beyond explanation.

I KNOW that there's a little girl out there, somewhere in Thailand, worth fighting for... but I am weary. Would you mind praying for me? I am trying hard to find the strength and courage to face the waves again.