How I battle Mom Guilt

I think most moms struggle with that little feeling of guilt. Some may feel it when they are working, others while they are working out, or maybe when you are treating yourself to a girls night … or just when sitting in your car before going in. Ya know, its just so quiet in the car, you’re alone, so peaceful, and you know that as soon as you walk in the door the chaos is gonna hit you upside the head. I don’t think “Mom Guilt” is a totally bad thing. I think it can be used a tool in our lives, like a measuring stick instead of a bat that we use to beat ourselves up.

Here are somethings I tend to beat myself up about:

My temper = Mom Guilt

The baseball bat tells me no other mom loses their temper. All the other moms are sweet and well spoken.

Time away from my kids = Mom Guilt

The baseball bat reminds me that in order for me to leave them I have to ask someone else to step in. And this means “inconveniencing” my friends and family, and failing my kids.

My phone = Mom Guilt

Here the baseball bat tells me that other kids are better, smarter, and funnier than mine. Along with the fact that I can easily just swipe right out of reality on any of these social platforms and forget about needing to make dinner.

So obviously the baseball bat is not my friend. It does not build me up. It does not help me. The bat hurts me, and it actually makes me a worse mom, and a lesser version of myself.

If I were to take a measuring stick to these areas of guilt instead I would get this…

My Temper: I know for a fact other moms lose their tempers. I know that I am working on mine…Thanks counseling! I know that I am quick to ask for forgiveness and that my kids often don’t even remember the last time I yelled…I mean asked them to clean their ever loving rooms.

Time Away from my kids: This one is tough for me. I really do hate asking others to step in and watch my kids but you know what?! Jesse and I just got back from a trip yesterday and the kids were gone with friends all weekend and they had the best time. I don’t think they missed us at all! And the best part was the hugs, smiles and kisses we got when we picked them up. Also, the fact that Jesse and I got 3 nights away was magical!

My phone: So I know that I am on it too much. In fact just last night Zeke totally called me out. We finished a movie and I immediately grabbed it, he noticed and said just that. So this is me measuring the fact that, yes, I am on it too much and need to make some changes.

So friends, lets put down our bats and take a step back. We cannot be the best versions of ourselves if we are bloodied and bruised. We can, however, step back and measure ourselves not against one another but measuring ourselves against the moms we want to be. No shame, no guilt just trying everyday to press on and be the best for those we love!

Being alone with this guy helps me to refocus so I can be better for him, me and the three we left at home!

Happy New Year 2018


I cannot wait to see what 2018 and the Lord have in store for me, my family and here on my little corner of the internet! I have some big goals and a road map in place to get me there, now I need to be brave enough to take the necessary steps.

2017 was a fun year in our house:

Jesse and I went skydiving for my birthday

We went to Disneyland for spring break and got to visit our California family

Tent Camped and the quickly upgraded our tent to “Poppy” Pop-Up Camper

I went to RISE with my Cousin Melissa, and saw my hero Rachel Hollis

Got a matching tattoo with Melissa

Jesse and I ran away to Disney World ALONE

Zoe got Sister Locs and all my hair woes are now GONE

My sister Michelle visited before moving to Germany

DISNEY WORLD as a family, where we basically moved there

Visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with the kids!

Loved all things Summer: swimming, Schlitterbahn, TBARMcamps, beach trip, and lake trip

I started blogging more

We hung out with friends, and really dove into our community

We dated more and communicated better

Built furniture and rearranged our house

Wore matching Christmas Jammies

And rested like it was our J-O-B

So here are some of my resolutions, goals, oh I don’t know what to call them but here is what I am striving for in 2018:

Do my 5 minute journal EVERYDAY

Drink more water than coffee

Read my Bible daily

Write more

Be Present with my fam = less time scrolling on my phone

Slow to anger and Quick to Love

To work out because I am ABLE to move my body and because I enjoy it

I find that having something to narrow your focus, to hone in on improving yourself, you need a very specific idea. No fluff around it or extra stuff to get caught up in. This year I picked a word that I could focus on. A single word that will help me remember who I want to be and where I want 2018 so lead me. My word for the year is COURAGE. I want to stop worrying about what others think of me and that takes Courage. I want to speak to women and share what the Lord has done and that takes Courage. I want to love my kids and husband with all that I am even when I feel like I have nothing left to give, and for me, you guessed it takes Courage. So this year that’s what I’ll be focusing on being brave, and courageous!

What about you? What are your goals? Do you have a word? Or a focus? I want to hear it! Let’s keep each other accountable this year!

The Date Night That Ended in Tears


Last week Titus and I met up with a few of his classmates and his teacher to watch the movie WONDER. Their class read the book earlier this year, and they wanted to see the movie all together. Obviously I was game for that, I read Wonder a few years ago and loved the storyIt was an opportunity to have a nice night out for me and my sweet boy.

Titus is our middle child. He was our baby for a long time and when Zoe came home his role as the “baby” was shifted. He and Zoe compete for attention quite a bit, they are both entertainers, both super funny and both very competitive. All that to say, he doesn’t get a lot of the one on one time or attention he craves. So this was a great opportunity for us.

A Theatre Pic is a must…Or did you even go?!

WONDER is about a little boy with Craniofacial that starts public school for the first time in 5th grade. His family is fiercely protective about his feelings, but they know that this is the right next step for their family. Auggie (the main character) knows that yes, he looks different, and yes, others notice and often stare. But as a family, they just hope that no one will be ugly to him. His family’s  life revolves all around him, and at one point in the older sister in the movie says, “My family is the earth and our life revolves around the Sun (son).” That line hit me right in the gut.


A few weeks ago I sat with Titus and Zeke at lunch, surrounded by other friends and parents Titus (my little performer) made a joke, “No one even sees Zeke, or me anymore. They all only see Zoe.” I deflected and joked with him, smiling nervously, while crying inside, “Did he really feel this way?! CRAP!” His little joke replayed in my mind as soon as I heard the sister say that. You see I know the truth, our life was flipped upside down the moment Zoe landed in Texas. Not in a terrible way, but our family shifted. We all started learning a new language, we have seen a whole slew of doctors and specialists, we have had fits and learning curves, and our lives have revolved around a lot of these things.


All the way home I choked back tears while we talked about the movie what he liked best, how it was different from the book, who our favorite character was, and so on. When we pulled up in our driveway I looked at my second born and confronted all those feelings. “Titus, do you feel like our life revolves around Zoe? Do you sometimes feel invisible? Do you know how much I love you and how special you are to me?” It was a talk that I hated having to have. I cried so much and so did he. We made a deal, “Titus next time you are feeling invisible or really need my attention, put your hands on each side of my face and tell me you need me. I need your help! Ok?!” We hugged and I kissed his sweet face. One of my biggest goals in raising these three kids is that they see me recognize my faults, and see me ask for their forgiveness. If I teach them nothing else I want them to know how to humble themselves, ask for forgiveness and press on. Also I want to teach them to Love God and Love Others but you get me right?!


So why tell you this? Because it’s hard. Mothering three very different kids is tough work. And I guess I just wanted you to know that you are not alone. This is tough, but it matters! 


These 3…I hope they know how hard I am trying!

Take in the scenery


I am not sure how one little stretch of road could mean so much to me! But this stretch, it gets me ever time!!

This stretch of road means so much to me. I can barely walk down it without tearing up. There are large pictures of adopted children and posters that say, “RUN FOR MORE” and “YOU DID IT”.

Why? Because at the end of this stretch is the finish line of a half marathon and 5K that benefits adoptive families. Chosen is the organization that puts it on and we ran with them for two years while in the process of adopting Zoe. These people became our friends, our support and really they became like our family. We are huge fans of Chosen in the way they have help us in the past and how they continue to lend their support to so many adoptive families!

Back when Chosen had a marathon (2013) I ran that with our team. Team Tapley Ever After had 15 or so people running for purpose, these friends trained with us and really put their money where their mouth was. Training (suffering) together is real love and there are many memories that I can recall fondly. This stretch of road signified the end of a MARATHON! 26.2 miles! The girls I ran the whole thing with slowed down a bit and allowed me (without my knowledge) to sprint this part out alone. Tears streaming down my face, it signified so much more than the finish of a race. It signified the finish of this incredibly difficult journey, and that my family wasn’t alone in it thanks to our family, friends and Chosen.


Team Tapley Ever After! Blood, sweat and tears and all the memories!


Just a few pics from the 2014 Chosen Race and those who ran for Tapley Ever After

The following year was a really tough time in our adoption process. Team Tapley Ever After showed up again, and this time with around 25 people supporting us and running with us! As I ran this stretch of road I began crying out to the Lord that we wouldn’t need to do this for our family again; that next year we could support a different family. Begging Him that next year at this race, Zoe would be home. It wasn’t as beautiful as the year before but it was desperation, asking Him to show me where the finish line would be. It would be 10 months later that Zoe finally arrived home.


2015 Tapley Family at the Chosen Race

And just two months after arriving home in America, Zoe stood at the finish line placing finisher medals around the necks of those having run for a cause much greater than themselves. It was in that moment surrounded by some of my amazingly sweet friends I realized how significant that was. We were finally on the other side of the finish line, and now it was our turn to cheer for those that we running that hard race, to support them as the finished, and to love them through their struggles.


Yesterday was the third year that Zoe was able to medal the finishers, and it never gets old. Seeing people cross the finish line is so incredible. They have just accomplished so much, some run in strong, proud of how they performed, some run in dog tired and beat up (that course is NO JOKE!), others run in full of emotion and my heart understands! The finish line of this particular race is really just an awesome and meaningful place.


Zoe giving a well deserved medal to a finisher! 2017 Chosen Race

Isn’t that us just day to day? Some days I finish and think “Wow I OWNED today! Really! Great Job Jeanette!!” Other days I barely finish the day awake because of how tired I am and then there are the days when I have just too many emotions to even function. I think more than anything this sweet stretch of road reminds me that I am not alone. God is lending His ever present ear to me, I have friends at the finish line cheering me on, reminding me that I am strong enough to finish well.

So my thought is this… How can we do this better? Can we look up from our own race, as tired as we may be, and encourage someone? YES! Can we see that they may be struggling and help them? YES! Can we even grasp that at the end of our race (or challenge) that we will be able to support someone is a whole new way? I Think YES!

So look up, and reach your hand to either be supported or be supportive. And while your eyes are up, take in the scenery it’s a beautiful world we live in!


One of my favorite views!



How my life changed with 2 friends, a book and the gym!

I am a HUGE fan of women’s bible studies, and as I admitted in my 10 Things you don’t know about me I have just this week finished and completed my first Bible study book ever! My Pastor Dad and Bible Study leading mother are so proud I am sure.

Anyway, I love the idea of gathering together, growing, stretching and making new friends. When I moved to Texas from Alaska 5 years ago I was super lonely. I knew one other family and that was it. We left our home, our family, and our church just like we believed God had told us to, and we were here in Texas alone. One day, in a mess of emotions, I told my Jesse just how low I was feeling. There had been so many changes. Alaska to Texas, no family, I had just sent my first born off to kindergarten, Jesse was working a new schedule that we weren’t used to, and honestly was just desperate for community. We started going to a small church, and I started at a new gym. Titus and I started going to MOPS and we joined other mommy and me groups. I was so in need of friendship. I know that I function better when I’m connected to others. The gym of all places was where I found those people who I would soon call friends.

There was this crazy pretty blonde that taught most of the classes that I was able to go to. As I began to get into the routine I got to know some more of the people around me, and the pretty blonde, her name is Lindsay, and I started to talk a little and she invited me to a Bible study that she led right there in the gym. After Wednesday’s body pump or cycle class we would meet in the childcare room, sit on the floor, and she would lead a small group of sweaty women. That group quickly became my friends. It was beautiful and so real. There was one day when I was loading  Titus into the car and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, “WOAH!” I thought, “I look rough! How in the world have I made friends looking like this?!” That’s when I knew these people were solid. Then one day standing over a cycle bike one of these sweet girls, Holly, handed me a book, “Read this! Jeanette, it’ll change your life!” I giggled, I love to read but how could a book change my life?!

The beautiful blonde you see is OBVIOUSLY Lindsay and That lovely lady with the beautiful smile is Holly. Who would’ve thought that God could change my life with two friends and a gym membership!?!

I dove into the book, Kisses From Katie, head first. I was reading, devouring this young girl’s story and about half way through the book I shut it and looked up at Jesse and I quote, “Jesse, I think we need to adopt or like sponsor a 100 children in Africa.” He calmly told me to, in his words, “pump the brakes,” finish the book and see how it ends. But I felt that quiet tug. The Lord whispered, “I called you to be a mom. There are a TON of babies with no mom. What are you going to do about it?!” Let me rewind a bit here and tell you that when I was little and was asked what I wanted to be when I grow up I would answer very firmly, ” A mom.”
So, Jesse and I talked a little bit more and he told me he’d pray about it. Classic husband just trying to appease his wife. A few days later he looked at me and said, “A girl right?! What would we name her?”

BOOM there it was. We jumped into this world of adoption.

Ok now back to the bible study, the girls in that group were some of the first people I told about this new venture. They were the first ones praying for her, and in Bible study we were going through the Hebrews 11 “Hall of Faith.” Lindsay would dive into each of the hero’s listed story. Over and over in Hebrews 11 it is said “By Faith that ____” and so often these heros of the bible- Sarah, Abraham, Enoch, Noah- followed the Lord blindly doing the craziest things. So often they didn’t even get to see His finished work. Noah built the ark, a boat that he had no idea what that even was and he followed God’s CRAZY specific instructions for like 100 years all by faith.

As we went through this I was so glad that God was calling me to something easy and short. I really can’t help but laugh. From the time we said YES we will adopt, to the day Zoe was actually in America and in my arms was almost 3 years. Now that’s not as long as some others waited and by far not the longest process I’ve ever heard of, but it was long and grueling and hard.

 By Faith, I believed the Lord called me to this.

 By Faith I knew he wouldn’t fail me.

 By Faith I knew that He had a better plan for this little girl I would get to call my own.

After the Bible study had ended and changed, as seasons do, those girls were still my go to people. And near the end of our process when circumstances were hard and my faith weary it was that group that stood by my side. It was them that held my weak arms up and wouldn’t let me give in. They said, “We are with you to the end” and they were. And they still are!

We have some beautiful photos that were taken at the airport and it was a freaking party. Zoe can and will tell you now that she came home sad, and confused, BUT she will also tell you there were a lot of people there to celebrate her homecoming. That is because it wasn’t just my victory or my family’s victory it was all of ours, Zoe was an orphan no more!! That group had expanded my heart, and my reach. Those women cried with me, and prayed, and gave, and connected me with new people. And my favorite part is that it all started on the floor of a child care room in a gym. In a place where we sat, with little to no makeup, and we were real and open with each other. That, guys, is the key. Be real. Be honest. Be open. Be a friend.


This is only half the people! That was a party!! I love looking back at these faces. I see so much JOY!!

Where can you be real today? How can you meet a friend right where she is? What can you do to open yourself up now to find community? I know that it’s not easy and I know that it’s terrifying to walk into new places and not know anyone, but what if today you were just a little bit braver? What could that look like? Let’s be bold and full of faith together!

I started using the gym to Punish myself not Push myself…

Today as I write this it is Monday. As I got up and got ready for the gym this morning, I felt the weight of the weekend on me. I felt sluggish, heavy, and full. Over the weekend we had a family pizza night, tacos, and more tacos. All. The. Tacos. We had dinner and drinks with friends and while it was all super fun and much needed, I could tell this morning I had overdone it. None of these things are necessarily bad, but what is bad, is this: I was emotional all weekend. My heart was heavy so I ate and drank my feelings and in doing that, I over did it!

Walking into the gym this morning was pretty much the same as it is every morning, but today I had the added pressure of knowing that I over snacked, over dipped and over sipped all weekend, and that pressure was telling me that I needed to work harder, run faster and basically punish myself for my bad decision making. But that’s not the relationship I want to have with the gym.


Looking happy or pretty while lifting is NOT ALLOWED! Only serious CrossFitters here!

 Punishing my body doesn’t sound fun. It sounds hurtful, and full of shame. Here are reasons why I love going to the gym: I have awesome friends that I get to workout with. I can work hard and surprise myself with lifting heavy weights. I am a healthier and fitter me because of the gym. Going to the gym makes me happy, and as the ever famous Elle Woods once said, “Exercise gives you endorphines, endorphines make you happy, and happy people don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t!” Thank you Legally Blonde for always speaking truth to me!8f14ffc1ea8f3c41afafd5f8f724eee8--moment-quotes-movie-quotes

So as I finished my workout today I thought, “I don’t want to punish myself I want to push myself mentally.” How do we as women, moms, wives, and friends combat this feeling of punishment when we know we’ve slipped up?! Well, I am not a fitness blogger, and no one ever comes to me for this sort of advice so I went to someone who is smarter than me. Kelsey Flanagan is kind, wise, helpful and as sweet as can be. She is passionate in helping people in all walks of life to create a happier and healthier versions of themselves.

So here are Kelsey’s thoughts below…..

The relationship with most people and gyms can be unhealthy. But we can get in control of that.

How? Think about your relationship with food or anything you cling too. If you want to see a change you will first have to be AWARE of the emotion you have attached to that “thing” whether it’s gym, food, family, drugs, alcohol.  The first step is awareness.

Once you have recognized that – you then should ask yourself

“Why?” Why do I do what I do? Why do I love the gym? Why do I go to the gym? Once you have some reason and why you will start to see the pattern. Whether it’s because you feel good when you leave, you want to be stronger,  you get the spend time with your friends, you finally get an hour to yourself, or you want to work off the cupcakes you had. All of these reasons are pretty positive except that last one. So now, ask yourself  “Why do I do that to myself? What about that action don’t I like?”

It’s the question game. Ask until you finally root to the problem then come up with a solution. I have struggled with an unhealthy relationship with food so this speaks to me. I’ve taken these steps below to step back and recognize what I was actually doing. Try it out and see what you come up with.

Step 1. Awareness (Journal feelings & shifts you’d like to see and notice)

Step 2. Ask yourself open ended questions

Step 3. Recognize the root issues

Step 4. Come up with ideas for a solution

Step 5. Find 1 thing that can make your relationship with the gym just a little bit better.

Whether that is: Shifting your motivation more positive. –Giving yourself the permission to forget and forgive yourself for your actions. –Working hard everyday at the gym instead of those days you “need” to.  –Writing down your reasons why you go to the gym everyday. –Taking the time to be more mindful of the decisions and what caused them.

Understanding your WHY is something we often forget about. I’ve been doing more gratitude and asking myself, “why am I doing what I’m doing”, and “how is that working for me?” These 2 questions always lead me back to my Why. My Why is to have the energy to give the help, love, and ears people desire the most. The gym gives me energy it’s my happy place, but hasn’t always been.

Why do you go to the gym everyday or on the days you “should”? An hour to prove to yourself that you are strong, worthy, and amazing… Or. An hour to punish yourself for the decisions you’ve made… When you are aware of the different mindsets you will be able to distinguish a trend and become more aware. Appreciate your hour.

So now here I am really thinking through these things. I love going to the gym, because I know it makes me a healthier mom, a happier mom, but over all a happy and healthier me. I love the way the gym makes me feel. I feel stronger, happier, and even sexier when I go into the gym with the mentality of “getting to go” vs “having to go.” I don’t NEED to go to the gym, I get to go! I don’t NEED to punish my body. My body has already proven itself to me I am stronger than I think both mentally and physically. I like my body and sure I should watch what I eat and treat it kindly but I will now be mindful of my Whys and my actions!

I am just so thankful for Kelsey and her wisdom. She was so kind to sit with me and talk this out. As the weekends come I know that I will be thinking more and more about this and really examining my actions!

Kelsey can be found at Be Fitness Happy or you can email her at and while you are at it check her out on Instagram too Here!.

Alright friends, go be mindful and think about you WHYS, why are you stuffing that cupcake in your mouth? Why are you drinking that extra glass of wine? What about that extra mile or _____fill in the blank_____. If its not inline with your Why let’s ask some of those questions!

The Gospel as seen through Moana

Let me speak honestly. I love Jesus very much. I love Disney very much. My friend Julianna said of me tonight, “Jeanette wishes she was a Disney princess.” Yes, that’s very true. Working for Disney as a princess is my absolute dream job. My house is full of Disney movies and songs, as well as a lot of Jesus.

Moana came out last Christmas, and it quickly became one of my all-time favorite movies. I say all the time that I think Moana’s story line is the closest Disney will come to presenting the gospel. I know what you are thinking, “Come on, Jeanette. Moana! The Gospel?” Ok, friend, let me explain.

First, please know that this is all my own interpretation. This is just how I see it. I know that it can be stretching and silly, BUT I do believe that The Lord speaks to us in many different ways and that if we look we can find Jesus almost everywhere. Now with that said…The gospel as seen or heard from Moana.


Moana is chosen by the ocean at a very young age to return the heart of Te Fiti. She’s just a child at this point, so she doesn’t understand but she is constantly drawn to the ocean. We are each chosen by God for something in this world. We can call it our calling or our passion. Whatever it is, we are chosen and it draws us. (1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.)

Her grandmother tells her (in the middle of a song OBVIOUSLY) that she is her father’s daughter. He is stubborn and she needs to obey him BUT if she hears the voice inside her calling her to follow the farthest star, that voice inside is “who you are”. Ok let me break this one down…We are supposed to obey our fathers, the bible tells us to but there are times when maybe our dads are telling us something that goes against the voice inside. What is that voice inside? That nudging, I think, is the Holy Spirit urging you to follow the calling God has set upon your life.

You are your father’s daughter

Stubbornness and pride

Mind what he says but remember

You may hear a voice inside

And if the voice starts to whisper

To follow the farthest star

Moana, that voice inside is who you are

So Moana does a super brave thing: she leaves her home, her family, and takes a huge leap of faith. She repeats over and over who she is and what her purpose is, “I am Moana of Montunui….restore the heart of Te Fiti”. I think many times along the way we forget who are or what we are supposed to be doing. Life is messy and busy, and it can be easy to forget. We need to remember: I was chosen, I am a child of God, I have a purpose, I have a calling on my life. (Isaiah 41:9-10 I have called you back from the ends of the earth, saying, ‘You are my servant.’ For I have chosen you and will not throw you away. 10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.)

Meanwhile the journey gets hard. She fails and she gets really upset. Yelling at the ocean,Moana asks, “Why me?! Why choose me?” Have you ever felt that way? Asked why is this your passion, your calling? It’s too hard. It takes too much work. You’re failing, tired, and lost. Why!!!! In that moment, she gives up and throws the heart of Te Fiti into the ocean. When this happens to us, God knows. He sees and watches. Sometimes I think He’s going to say, “Calm down. I know what I’m doing. I know why I chose you.” But other times I think He looks and says, “Ok, I’ll let the next person do this, and they will and they will get what should’ve been yours.” I don’t think God is being sassy but I do believe that if we don’t do what we are supposed to do, then someone else will.

In this moment, Moana’s grandmother comes to her (in spirit form…it’s a Disney movie, give me a break) and reminds her of who she is: a girl that loves her island, a girl that has made her family and her people proud. She then sings….

Sometimes the world seems against you

The journey may leave a scar

But scars can heal and reveal just

Where you are

The people you love will change you

The things you have learned will guide you

And nothing on earth can silence

The quiet voice still inside you

And when that voice starts to whisper

Moana, you’ve come so far

Moana, listen

Do you know who you are?

Moana is again reminded of who she is and what her calling is. How often do we need that kind of reminder? Do we have people in our lives who can and will remind us when we’ve forgotten who we are? Sometimes in life, we pick up baggage and scars but those things remind us of where we’ve been, how we’ve grown, and where we are today. But they don’t force us to give up our identity or our calling, not if we don’t allow them to. Moana doesn’t allow this hurt to sidetrack her. She dives in and pushes forward. ( 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair;  9 we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.)

In the end, Moana takes the heart of Te Fiti and while returning it to where it belongs, she beautifully sings:

I have crossed the horizon to find you

I know your name

They have stolen the heart from inside you

But this does not define you

This is not who you are

You know who you are

This is my favorite part because… God has done more than cross the ocean for us. He literally sent His son to die for us on a cross. He Knows Your Name. Somewhere along the way maybe someone took something from you, or hurt you, or you forgot who you are but that does NOT define you. That is not who you are. Do you know who you are?! You are a chosen child of God. The God of the Universe created you. He knows your name.

(Isaiah 43:1-4 (message translation) But now, God’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel: “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you:all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.)


What I Have Learned in the Last Two Years

What I have learned in the two years since Zoe came home:

Well real quick, if we are new friends let me give you the story. Almost five years ago my husband and I whole heartedly jumped into the adoption process for a little girl from the Democratic Republic of Congo. We received her picture with very little information about her other than the fact that she was deaf. We said yes and then waited and fought for her for the next year and a half. Zoe Danielle came home August 18, 2015. For me to say that she is the sweetest little fire cracker is an understatement. To say that she changed our family for the best is an understatement. To say that the past five years were easy would be a lie straight from the devil himself. So here are some things that I have learned:

My family looks different. We were prepared for some off looks or sideways glances when Zoe came home. I mean we are a multiracial family and in we walk signing, or widely gesturing. Sometimes Jesse and I will try to dissect the reason for the stares, but really most the time we just smile and then kindly ignore. So my lesson from this is, “Get over it Jeanette. Yes, you look different. Maybe those people think you are giving them off looks because you keep smiling at them. Stop being a weirdo!”

People will ask you LOTS of questions. In these moments I am almost thankful that Zoe cannot hear the things people will ask. I am a fairly open book and we LOVE to tell our adoption story. But, asking how much she cost or if her real mom is dead isn’t the best way to get me to open up. I LOVE when people ask me where is she from or simply ask about our story. These are things that are not only appropriate, but so much fun to talk about. My lesson from this: People ask dumb questions. Sometimes I can laugh them off, sometimes I just ignore them.

You will feel abandoned. Let me be totally real. Our community rallied around us in the most amazing way. We had meals delivered to our front door for weeks. We had groceries brought to us, we had cookies delivered, we had people come and just sit with us. We also had the most amazingly fun and lovely Adoption Shower. We were loved on real good. When all of that faded, the newness wore off, and life just started again, it got real quiet around here. That’s a little hard to admit because I don’t want to hurt anyones feelings, but I want to be honest. I felt so lonely. The dust settled and life was looking and feeling a bit more normalISH. We were forming a family, teaching a language, learning a language, all the while teaching and showing Zoe love and trust. It was hard and exhausting and I don’t think I knew the words I needed to even begin to ask for help. I just felt alone. My lesson from this: If you feel alone you are not: text, call, ask, and even beg someone to let you come over and if they say yes then you better go! I realize looking back that I was scared to act on our new normal or to impose our new normal onto our friends. I am so thankful that I had a friend that realized I was being a hermit and sort of forced Zoe and me out of the house and into the functioning part of our new world.

Play is the language of all kids. I love watching Zoe play with her group of friends. She can be bossy and that always makes me cringe but they are all playing the same thing and only a few of them know sign language or know more than just a few words. But off they go playing and having fun. I love the girls that she has surrounded herself with, they are kind and so accepting. Zoe tends to make friends everywhere we go and I watch her walk up to new kids, reach her hand out and shake then wave them (or drag them) over to start a new game. It never fails that they just follow her, and join into whatever world she’s got going on. I tend to be nervous for her, or for the new friend: Is Zoe being too bossy, will the new friend understand that Zoe is deaf and will that new friend be kind? For the most part it’s yes to all of the above. My Lesson from this: As long as kids are not raised by jerks they will be kind. We have been around a very few jerk-y kids but they haven’t fazed Zoe one bit!

My last lesson is this…

This is hard. Adopting, the process, the becoming a new version of our family… it’s all super hard work. Some days I would lay in bed exhausted, doubting how worth it it was. Then days like the other morning when Zoe came in and laid directly on top of me, snuggled up and dozed off when I know in the deep places of my heart how right this is. My lesson from this: If it came easy you wouldn’t appreciate it. There were times she wouldn’t let me snuggle her, there were times I didn’t want to snuggle her. But years later here we are snuggled up, with consistent “I love you’s”

Two years ago we left the airport with a new daughter. She looked terrified and weary but she was mine. I had ached and longed for this girl. My arms were finally around her and I was  never letting her go. She is a Tapley through and through; loud, sassy, funny and even super tall. She is gracious to me in my short-comings and her gratitude is off the charts. I can truly say that with this little girl in my life and in our family I am a better mom.

On a quick side note, let me tell you one more story: We as a family are huge Disney fans, and this past Spring Break we went to Disneyland. While standing in line for a ride, I looked over at Zeke (10) and Titus (8) and asked them what their favorite core memory (From the Pixar movie INSIDE OUT) was. Keep in mind we are in Disneyland, we had just met Mickey! Without even thinking they both said in unison, “The day Zoe came home.” My heart smiled and I remembered that while we were in the waiting process of bringing Zoe home I worried that we would be “messing up our family” or the boys would get less of us because of her or that she wouldn’t like them or they wouldn’t like her or the countless other fears I had that made no sense! I am so thankful we messed our family up. I am so thankful we look different.



July Book Reviews

Ya’ll. Summer is coming to an end quickly. I see my ‘To Read’ list growing, but my time actually reading dwindling, while July wasn’t a super busy month for my family, I did choose to watch more TV than I like to admit. But with that said here are my reviews of what I did read!

Fierce Love: One woman’s Courageous Journey to Save Her Marriage Shauna Shanks    This story is probably based on my greatest fear. Her husband tells her he doesn’t love her and is ready to end their marriage. She does the opposite of what I would’ve done which is she seeks the Lord and pursues hope and perseverance. I won’t spoil the ending but it’s a beautiful story. She speaks about using lip gloss as a physical reminder to speak kind and pretty words. She speaks of the Ebenezer Stone and how the Lord was with her each step. It’s a great read!


Rich People Problems (Crazy Rich Asians book 3) Kevin Kwan                                                The end of a great series is my favorite. This was a great summer read. The whole series was light, funny and just plain delightful! I loved the ending and felt like it was all wrapped up in a beautiful bow. I still think of the characters like they are real people, and I feel like that means the character development is on point!


Worlds Collide (Land of Stories book 6) Christopher Colfer                                                     Ok, this the last book in The Land of Stories series that the boys and I have listened to for the past few summers, and we could not wait for its release! Mr Colfer did not disappoint with this one! After five books, he wrapped this fractured fairy tale series up in such a magical way. These characters are so fun, and we listen to it read by the author himself. Hearing his performance of each character made it so much more enjoyable. My favorite character is Mother Goose. She is a bit of a lush in this series, and a lot of her jokes when over the boys’ heads, but they made me giggle.


The Lipstick Gospel Stephanie Wilson                                                                                               I recently got a new devotional and journal (The Lipstick Gospel Devotional and Prayer Journal) written by this same author. In the devotional it referred back to her book The Lipstick Gospel and her story about finding her faith. I decided to read it so I would have a better understanding of her and her story. It was a quick read and I loved how honest she was with her struggles to commit to Jesus and how she leaned into Him and sought peace. Such a beautiful story. And by the way I am also loving the devotion and journal prompts!


Today Will be Different Maria Semple                                                                                               I really thought that this was going to be a super fast read. One that I could sit by the pool with and read it really quickly. I’ve read another book by this author before and she’s so light and funny but, this book flipped back in time really quickly without much warning so I found myself a little confused at times and having to re-read the last page or so to make sure I understood where we were or where she was taking me. This was a fun story and I think the quirkiness of the protagonist was super sweet but the ending lost me. I think it just fell a little flat while I was waiting for some big reveal it was just sort of eh.

What are you reading?

What do you want to read?

When do you find time to read?

What’s your favorite thing to read?


Started Of Mess and Moxie yesterday and teared up in the intro…good sign?!

My TO READ List:

Of Mess and Moxie Jen Hatmaker

Steal Away Home Aaron Ivey and Matt Carter

Shoe Dog (yes still on my list)

Sophie Kinsella’s and Jane Green’s new books just arrived too!