Chippin' Away

Moving one day, one minute, one step at a time.

Happy 1 year Davis! November 25, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 3:24 pm

Guys.  I can’t believe my baby boy is one.  Where in the world did the last year go???  Oh, how I wish I was the scrapbooking, baby book keeping, organized mom right now.  Looking back, I realize I haven’t posted about Davis since 4 months.  Y’all, that’s me.  I just can’t keep up with that stuff.  So, here is a catch up.  Little D from the last 8 months!

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Sweet Davis, you may be a super tiny guy (3% weight, 15% height), but you are a mighty addition to this family.  You’ve been a source of bonding and joy for me and daddy and your sisters.  You are so smart with 18 words already at one year old!  You’ve devoted your brain power to talking instead of growing it seems!  But, I know that the Lord has great plans for you.  You are a silly, joyful, opinionated, loving little boy and I can’t wait to see how you grow over the next year!


Give Away! November 1, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 2:57 pm

Hey y’all!  So, the holidays are in full swing and I just know you need to do some Christmas shopping!  My friend, Jamie, over at Dreaming Big Dreams is posting daily about some great places to shop that will make a difference in someone’s life and/or support a small business.  Let’s try and shop smart this year!

Her first give away is for a great easy shop called Ink Of Me.  Go to Jamie’s blog and read all about this great shop and enter to win!


Lies, lies, lies September 26, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 1:05 pm

It has been ages since my last post.  I wrote a guest post over at a friend’s blog several weeks ago, but otherwise I’ve been MIA.  The main reason, other than I have 4 stinking kids that take up all my stinking time (and that’s ok!), is that it’s been a really hard season around here.  Our oldest is experiencing some major effects of her trauma and it’s causing a lot of hurt, tears, arguments, tantrums, more tears, talks, more tears, and major exhaustion.  I will protect her story, but you guys have to know, adoption is hard.  Parenting is hard, and throw in an older adopted child, and it just adds a whole other layer of hard.

We recently decided that it was time to start counseling.  She and I will be working on attachment, she’ll be working through some trauma stuff, and I’ll be going to a mom’s group full of other adoptive moms that feel the same feelings as I do.  It’s going to be really good.  But deciding to start this was extremely difficult for me.  Admitting I need help is difficult for me.

I am realizing during this time that there are a lot of lies I am telling myself and believing.  Here are a few of them.

I think I have to be perfect.  I think other people need to think I have it all together.  I think that I’m a failure if I need help.  I think there is no way other moms would ever think or say the things I’ve said or thought.  I have feelings that I never thought were possible for this sinning soul and they are scary.  I think my husband needs a perfect wife or he’ll be less in love with me.  I think I wasn’t cut out to do this adoption thing.  I tell myself this was a mistake.  That my kid doesn’t love me and will never love me.  I tell myself this will never change.  I tell myself that I can’t do this anymore.  You see where I’m going here?

I was drawn to a verse recently that says, “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9).  Friends, I have believed all of the things I mentioned, and more, and here’s the thing.  They are lies.  I can not trust my feelings.  In John 8, there are some words written about Satan.  “When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”  Jesus reminded me that I’m also fighting a spiritual battle here.  Not only is my heart deceiving me, but Satan is telling me lies.  He is attacking us because we are displaying a small picture of Christ’s love.  He wants to destroy it.  Satan does not like any picture that tells others of God’s love.  Marriage and adoption are two big ones.  He will always want to destroy those relationships.

Friends, we need to fight against these lies!  We need to cling to the truths that have been revealed to us in God’s word.  When my flesh is weak and my faith is running dry, I will cling to the One who gives living water.  I will pray with the psalmist “I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?  My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”  I will remember Christ’s words when he says, “In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  I will remember that God is good, just, merciful, and faithful to the end.  I will remember that even on my best days I’m a sinner in need of a savior.  And on my worst days the grace of God does not run out.  I will remember that my hope is not in this world or this time, but in knowing this is not my home.  There will be a time when my daughter doesn’t cry or yell or say hurtful things.  There will be a time when we won’t have abuse and neglect and orphans and pain.  I will remember who I am in Christ.  An heir to the throne of the King.

And on the days I can’t make myself remember, I reach out and rely on my brothers and sisters who God gave me.  My FAMILY.  My family who was meant to help carry my burdens.  When my heart is deceiving, and satan is lying, and my flesh is screaming, may the Lord draw me near community, to the Church who will lift my eyes for me when I can not.  I will fight against the lies!


4 years and 4 kids later… June 27, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 9:33 pm


Today is me and Jeff’s 4th anniversary.  In some ways, I can’t believe it’s been 4 years already.  But mostly, I feel like it should be way more than that!  Not in a bad way, of course, but it kind of seems a life time ago that I walked down the aisle to the most wonderful man God could have ever picked for me.  But, maybe that’s because in those 4 years we have moved across the country, graduated from graduate school, bought a house, became temporary parents to 2 boys, forever family for 3 girls, and birthed 1 sweet, sweet little boy.  That’s 6 different kids in case anyone is counting.  I’d say the last 4 years have been more of an adventure than either of us anticipated on that day.  But I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Jeff Griswold, I never knew it was possible to love you more than I did 4 years ago.  But, here I am, blown away by the love I have for you.  You are an amazing husband and father.  You are dedicated and committed to learning your role as husband and father, and I admire you so much for how much you’ve grown in both.  You let me dream and plan and be a bit spontaneous and crazy all while grounding me when I need it, being a steady leader and loving me through some of the hardest moments of my life.  You have stood firm at my side, guiding me, loving me, listening, gently rebuking, and loving me better than anyone else could.  I am so thankful for you.

Jeff, the last year has by far been the hardest.  We’ve gone from 0-4 children and with 3 of those kids being from a difficult past, it’s no wonder we are stretched so thin.  I am so thankful that you are walking this crazy path with me.  I’m certain I’d be in the nut house by now if it weren’t for you.  You’ve loved me so well through all of the crazy.  I love you, J.D. Griswold.  I am super excited to see what the next 4 years will bring……but, let’s be honest.  I’m kind of thinking less crazy would be nice.

Happy anniversary sweet husband!!



what will my kids remember? June 14, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 7:30 pm

Do you remember what your mom served you for breakfast when you were little?  Do you remember if she hand-made all the decorations for your 1st birthday or just went to McDonalds because it was easier?  Do you remember how many times a week she cooked a home-made meal and how many times she heated up something in the microwave?

Some of us probably remember some of the details, but I think most us probably remember the time we spent with our mom.  That’s what I remember most.  I remember that my mom worked the night shift and would still somehow stay awake long enough to drive me to school sometimes.  I remember that my mom made it to every band concert and football game (which was really a marching band show….seriously).  I remember that she let me have sleep overs and help her bake cookies at Christmas time.  I remember trips to Sonic, which for some reason were the magical trips that made my teenage self actually start talking to my mom about what was going on in my life.  I remember her dancing and laughing (and snorting) with my friends, who thought she was the coolest, even though I was mortified.  I remember worshipping Jesus next to mom on Sunday mornings.  I remember hearing her sing praises all day long as she worked so tirelessly to provide for our family and keep the home a safe, loving environment.

I don’t remember how often the house was clean.  I don’t remember my first birthday party.  I don’t remember the lunches she packed for me for school (because we bought our lunch at that was ok!).  I don’t remember my mom trying to be someone she wasn’t.

See, I have this problem with comparing myself to other moms.  I find myself believing that if I am not the crafty mom, the homeschooling mom, the mom that wears make-up and high heels every day, then I’m not a good mom.  I read a blog recently talking about this exact same thing.  We moms somehow believe that if we aren’t like the other moms then we aren’t doing it right.

I am not doing my kids any favors by trying to be someone that I’m not.  What I want to do is have my kids remember me as a mom who followed Jesus, taught them to follow Jesus, and had as much fun as I could along the way.  There will be days of success and days of failure.  None of us are the perfect mom.  But, I hope that when my kids are 30 (ack! I’m almost 30!) they will remember me being a mom who loved her kids and did the chores when there was time.


4 months March 28, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 1:20 am

My little boy is 4 months old.  How in the world did that happen?  I haven’t even written posts for the first 3 months.  I blame the other 3 kiddos.  ha!

Anyway, check this out month by month:

Davis, you have been a sweet addition to our growing (probably done growing!) family.  I love you sweet guy.  You’ve grown so much and are so strong.  It’s so fun to see your little personality come out each day.  But, it would be nice if you could start taking naps.  =)


I Never Got to Hold Her February 25, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 3:42 pm

One of the most common words you’ll hear when researching or talking to people about adoption is “bonding.”  Children bonding with their new families, parents bonding with their new children, siblings bonding with new brothers and sisters.  This is much harder than you’d think.  It’s easy to assume that you’ll swoop in, “save” these children from their horrible situations, and they’ll just instantly love you and you’ll instantly love them and everything is flowers and rainbows from adoption day forward.  Nothing is further than the truth.

The reality that I’ve experienced is that our girls came to us having experienced trauma.  They were scared.  And we were part of the reason they were no longer with their biological mother.  I experienced becoming an instant mother to 3 girls I didn’t know, didn’t carry in my womb, who didn’t instantly love me in return.  All of those factors, plus some, affect bonding.  But, I’ve realized something since giving birth to our son.  I never got to hold Marisol.

Davis is almost constantly attached to me.  Bella and Addie need me to carry them, change their diapers, give them baths, get them dressed.  They are most certainly dependent on me.  Marisol, however, came to me able to dress herself, bath herself, potty by herself.  She came to me older and bigger than I can handle to lift up over my head, too big for me to carry her on my hip.  Too big for me to swing around and too big for me to put in the moby wrap.  I never got to hold her.  And I’ll never get to hold her in the same way as I have all the others.  Sure, I can put her on my lap and rock her in the rocking chair.  I can give her hugs and cuddle with her.  But I never got to hold her.

Having Davis has helped me realize that this has effected and is effecting me and Mari’s bonding.  Now I realize that it’s extremely important for me to find creative ways to touch her, hold her, and be close to her.  We missed out on that early in her life, but we are together now and can make up for it now.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t grief that experience.  I’m sad that I never will know what she looked like as a baby.  I’ll never know what she or Bella sounded like when they cried.  I will never know what it was like to watch those two learn and grow, find their voices, learn to crawl and then walk.  I missed all of that.  But at least I can grieve knowing that I have the rest of my life to get to know them, teach them, and watch them grow.


Brave January 24, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 4:23 pm

spoiler alert: I talk about what happens in the movie Brave!!


My sweet 7 year old, Marisol, got the movie Brave for Christmas.  I had taken her to see it with a friend in the theater and it was super scary for her in 3D with the whole mother-turning-into-a-bear situation going on there.  But, she got it for Christmas and she really likes it.

We’ve watched it twice now, and both times she’s started to cry when the main character is crying because she misses her mom.  “What’s wrong?” I asked.  “I’m sad because she misses her mom.”

Ya’ll, it’s easy for me to forget that my daughter is grieving.  She’s a part of our family every day.  We treat her like she’s been here forever.  But the hard truth is, she hasn’t.  She’s still new around here and she’s still experiencing very new grief.  I hate that for her.  I wish I could take it away.  But here’s what this teaches me:

1. My daughter misses her mom.  I need to always remember that.

2. Grief comes in many forms.  Tantrums over homework, anger and getting in trouble, and even in movies.  It’s there.

3. My daughter is comfortable enough to tell me, her new mom, that she misses her old mom.  This is progress.  I’m so thankful.

4. My daughter is brave.  So, so brave.

I love this sweet girl.



Mother of 4 December 13, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 8:55 pm

When the heck did I become a mother to 4 children? Seriously. In some ways it feels like this is how it’s always been. In other ways, it definitely feels like we went from zero kids to 4 kids in 13 months. Either way, it feels complete. I am in love with all 4 of kiddos!!

Here are a few pictures of our family of 6! if y’all need pics, let me know. Travis Townsend is a great photographer and friend.

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Foster Care Initiative October 28, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — chippinaway @ 8:45 pm

Our pastors and elders have been praying for years about how the Church could serve the orphan.  Last week, we started a 3 week series called “Adoption” that is meant to teach us about our Father’s love for us and what it has called us to do.

I encourage you to check it out here:

Also, our church, which founded The For The City Center here in Austin, has launched a Foster Care Initiative.  With about 244 orphans who are adoptable in Austin and over 500 churches, there should not be waiting children!!!  There should be waiting parents.  This morning, this statistic was shared: if 1 in 50 proclaiming Christians adopted an orphan, the Church would  take care of the orphan crisis.  The crisis of over 147 million orphans world wide.  Dear Austinites and friends across the state, let’s start in our cities!

Check out the initiative here: