My Valentine: Part 3

My parents had tried to warn me about those ‘fixer-upper-type homes’. First it was chiseling off the laminate backsplash in the kitchen, then painting the cabinets. Now, I had gotten the bright idea to cover the pink laminate counters with faux concrete. As always, Mark was game.

After dusting the entire house, running the vacuum nonstop, and a week of work, the counters were finally ready for sealing.

“You can’t use the stove, Mark,” I said one day in passing. “The sealant needs 72 hours before it’s cured.”

“Got it,” Mark said, nodding.

It was no more than five hours later that I saw the stain– greasy splotches all over my beautiful concrete counters and right by the stove. I screamed and scrubbed the stains with a rag, pleading for them to lift. “No, no, no, no, no, no, no,” I kept saying.

“What’s wrong?” Mark said, turning into the kitchen.

“The counters,” I cried. “Did you use the stove?!”

He pulled back, a sheepish expression covering his features. “Well, yeah… why?”

“Why? The counters! I told you not to use the stove.”

Mark lifted his hands, warding me away. “Now wait a second. You said not to use the counter for three more days.”

“Mark!” I dropped my face in my hands. “I said not to use the stove.” Tears slipped down my cheeks. The exhaustion of the week caught up to me, the physical and emotional toll finally making itself known.

“Don’t worry. I can fix this. It’s easy. I’ll just do another layer of concrete. Don’t cry. It’s going to be just fine,” he said, darting toward the back door.

He spent the afternoon trying to patch over the stain, but nothing worked. It only got worse and grew to the size of a beach ball. I became an emotional (possibly PMSing) mess. I forgot how much better our kitchen looked than before. I forgot how much fun we’d had DIYing together.

I spent the next week grumbling each time I passed the stain. My perfect counters were blemished, and it could have been avoided! If only Mark had paid attention to me. I stewed, and I stewed, until it got to the point where I would bring the counter up in any marital conversation about communication. “You have to listen to me. Remember the counter?

Two months later.

“Let’s just finish the grout tonight,” I plead. We were so close.

“I’m too tired,” he said. “Let’s finish in the morning. We’ve got all day tomorrow.”

I huffed. “Maaaaarrrrk.”

Then I saw his eyes, his bloodshot and puffy eyes. He had worked all day cutting and laying the backsplash. What right did I have to ask for more? I had only stood around critiquing– “A little to the left”, “that edge isn’t straight”, blah blah blah.

“Go to bed, Sweetheart. I’ll finish up the grout myself.”

“By yourself? Are you sure you can do that?” he asked, sniffling. The family cold had caught up to him. “I have to go to bed. I don’t feel well. Are you sure you can do it by yourself?”

“Sure. It’ll be a breeze. I’ve watched Fixer Upper and Property Brothers enough to know how to do grout! Just go to bed,” I said, giving him a quick squeeze. “And thanks for all your hard work today. It looks great,” I said.

I went to work, mixing the grout and slathering it over the tiles and into the cracks. I waited the allotted time, then grabbed my sponge to clear off the extra. Piece of cake.

Except for it wasn’t. It was hard. The grout was hardening too quickly. I scrubbed until my knuckles were literally bleeding, and I had only cleaned off 1/6 of the grouted tile. Tears formed at my eyes, and I scrubbed harder, longer.

I scrubbed and cried until it was clear I needed help, and fast. It was 2 am. I was only a half of the way done. I had been working for 3 hours. The grout felt like concrete at this point.

It took setting aside all my pride to wake Mark. With tear-filled eyes, I begged. “Mark, I’m so sorry to wake you up. I know how tired you are. I know you have a cold. But, I need help.”

He squinted at the sight of the hall light.

I came closer, repeating myself.

He saw my tears, my bloodied hands, and he got up right away.

He finished cleaning the concrete-hard grout in 30 minutes, without a single complaint. “It’s okay, Heather,” he said when I kept apologizing.

The next morning, I walked past the stove. The grease stain from Mark’s mistake months ago shone back at me. I had held it over his head for the last two months, unwilling to forgive such a stupid mistake. And yet, Mark had dealt with my tile disaster without a single rebuke, a single guilt-inducing comment.

I ran my fingers across the stain and smiled. I would forever love that stain, for all it represented. I would never hold onto such a silly grudge again. It wasn’t worth it. I turned to the backsplash on the opposite wall. Instead, I would try to be more like my husband, willing to help at a moment’s notice. I would forgive always.




Blog Tour: The Forgotten Girl

Heather Chapman and Cedar Fort Publishing & Media are pleased to announce the The Forgotten Girl blog tour, which will run from February 13-21st, 2018.

About the book:

It is 1906, and sixteen-year-old Stella’s life in Durliosy, Poland, is bleak. Her only hope of surviving is to travel to America, a land of freedom and opportunity, and reunite with her brother in Baltimore. There she’ll find new challenges, and perhaps, if she can put her painful past behind her, a new chance for love and lasting happiness.

About the author:

Being the youngest of four sisters and one very tolerant older brother, Heather grew up on a steady diet of chocolate, Anne of Green Gables, Audrey Hepburn, Jane Austen, and the other staples of female literature and moviedom. These stories inspired Heather to begin writing at an early age. After meeting and marrying her husband Mark, Heather graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University and finally settled down in a small farming community in southeastern Idaho with her husband and four children. In her spare time, Heather enjoys time spent with family, volleyball, piano, the outdoors, and almost anything creative.

Author Residence: Soda Springs, ID

The Forgotten Girl Blog Tour Schedule

Feb. 13- Kaki Olsen Books

Feb. 14- Singing Librarians

Hardcover Feedback

Feb. 15- Inklings and Notions 

Rockin Book Reviews

Feb. 16- Getting Your Read On

Wishful Endings

Feb. 17- Bookworm Lisa

JoAnn Arnold 

Feb. 18- Jori Loves A Story

The Things I Love Most

Feb. 19- My Book A Day

A Bliss Complete

Feb. 20- Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books

Feb. 21- Robyn Echols Book Blog

Jori Loves A Story (INTERVIEW)



My Valentine: Part 2

He chose to come home for Christmas, I kept reminding myself. He likes me. What had started out as a nice family dinner had gone disastrously wrong.

“I don’t feel well. I think I’ll just sleep,” He said. His olive skin had turned pale.

“Are you sure? The whole family is here, and my Aunt Katie and her family are coming, too.” I had been excited to have him meet more of my family.

There were three long banquet-type tables running the length of the house to accommodate my parents, four siblings and their spouses, my nieces and nephews and extended family.

“I’m really alright,” He said, swallowing.

I nodded and said, “Feel better,” before returning to the chaos of family holidays.

Why couldn’t he push through it? It was the holidays, and the entire family kept asking me “Where’s Mark?”

I tried to push the disappointment away, but the pit in my stomach just seemed to grow. I took a bite of my potatoes, then swirled my fork around the salad. That’s when I realized… It wasn’t a pit in my stomach.

My fork clinked against the table, and I caught the gaze of my brother Matt. His eyes betrayed him. He felt my same agony, and he wasn’t sure what to do either.

I walked to my mom, whispering I was headed to the basement to lie down. Matt was on my heels, nodding his intention to do the same.

It BECAME A SCENE FROM A NIGHTMARE. My mom banished the ill to the basement, and what had once been love and compassion between my brother, Mark, and me became a brutal fight to survive.

“Heather, I need the bathroom!” Mark pounded on the door. “HURRY!”

I was currently doing the double ended elimination technique– garbage can in hands while on the toilet. “Come back later, Mark. I can’t have you by the door right now.”

He pounded louder. “HURRY!”

When I opened the door, he was bent over rocking back and forth. At the sight of an open bathroom, he sprinted past me, almost running me over. He slammed the door on my heels.

I wish I could say it was over. And for Mark at least, it soon was. Matt and I weren’t so lucky. We camped out in the downstairs den and spent the night moaning from body aches and rushing to the restroom.

Mark camped out beside us, and nursed me and my brother. He cleaned out our garbage cans after we puked. It feels necessary to reiterate this. My college boyfriend cleaned up my and my brother’s vomit on his big Christmas visit with my family.

He heard and saw me at my very worst– and I mean worst. I was disgusting. I had purple bruises dotting underneath my eyes. My skin was white, my hair stringy and greasy. I smelled…feral (and that’s putting it lightly). I whined. I was anything but attractive.

And still he was there. He held my hair back, and he gave me water to swish.

I imagine many in his circumstances might act differently. “You know, this isn’t really working out. This whole trip was a good test run, and I think it’s time we went our separate ways. Get better, and while you’re at it– Take a shower. Put some makeup and deodorant on. Maybe I’ll see you around campus next semester.

But this guy was different. After it was all said and done and we were driving back to school, Mark leaned toward the passenger seat.

“I want to marry you, Heather.”



My Valentine: Part 1

Years ago, I sat in a college dorm room, ranting to my roommate about how horrible college boys were. I had just started my second semester of college with a new job (event planning), new classes (chemistry, biology, nutrition), and a new vision… No more dating.

She laughed at my resolution. I laughed at her laughter because I was determined to focus on other things.

I signed up a week and a half late for an Intro to Voice (Singing 101) class for an extra credit to keep my scholarship. It was in a strange building (now demolished) and in a strange part of campus. I had to look at a map to find it. And as I followed my route, I was lead to a deserted alley in the middle of a crowded campus. Walking down the gravel road, I sighed. It was January, and the sun was just dimming. I had been feeling trapped in Provo, trapped with people. I had no car, no place to escape the noise and busyness, and it was suffocating.

And then, there I was in an abandoned alley. I got to the bottom of the hill, and stopped. I was only ten feet away from a deer. I marveled, because a.) I’m a romantic, b.) I was severely missing nature, and c.) It surprised me.

There were footsteps behind me, tennis shoes against the gravel.

“Look, a deer!” I said, turning to meet the gaze of my oncoming companion.

He laughed, clearly amused. “Yep, it’s a deer.”

But he wasn’t laughing at the deer. He was laughing at me. I blushed, feeling embarrassed at my enthusiasm, and met his eyes– his golden brown eyes.

We shuffled around awkwardly.

He glanced at his map– obviously looking for the same building as me. “Intro to Voice in the KMB?”

“Uh, yeah,” I said.

He smiled again. “I think this is it.” He gestured to the building to his right (my left).

I swallowed and nodded, following him. Great start, I thought to myself. Now this guy thinks I’m “nature girl”.


<3 H


The New Year brings hope. It’s like that curvy refresh button at the top of the screen. It reconnects me, and often I work better afterward. My 2018 word/motto is Rise. I want to rise to the challenges life has in store for me, rise to my goals, rise to greater strength and kindness, rise to a better version of myself.

My 2018 writerly goals:

  1. Title and edit my new book that comes out this December (Eek! Surprise!). For now, I’ve been calling it Finding Elle, but I think that will change. It’s historical fiction, inspired by my favorite place in the world. It’s coming of age, with a touch of romance.
  2. Write something new. My goal is to complete a draft of something new– something that stretches me. Perhaps a time period that requires more research, or one of the stories in my head that is a different genre… something different to better my writing and efforts.
  3. Attend Storymakers Conference. This is my new annual party– a party with my sister and writer friends, a party learning my craft from the best, and a chance to reconnect with the potential of the stories in my head.
  4. Support other writers. I hope to do more this year– review, critique, promotion– with the intent of helping others. I’m hoping to do a series of interviews on my blog with other authors.
  5. Blog. I have many blog ideas, but I get timid. It’s vulnerable to share, at least for an introvert like myself.
  6. Read more, at least a book/month.


Living Reminders

Jay Dell Butler, Army Infantryman, World War II, Germany

“Our two machine guns and the company I was attached to were assigned to walk right straight toward town without shooting back. The other two companies were to go around on the west side and walk through the town shooting from the hip at anything that moved. This was at eleven o’clock at night. So we started toward that town and got pretty close to it. Then the other companies started walking through the town, shooting from the hip. When you get every man shooting, it doesn’t matter what he saw, he just shot.

“You could hear the roar of war. You just can’t imagine that sound.

“I saw the flame of his rifle, and with the rest of them (my company), I jumped in the ditch to get out of the rain of bullets. They were popping over our heads like firecrackers. As we got up to go, I looked to the right and saw another rifleman shooting at us. I saw the flame of his rifle.

“I got the bullet. 

“Turning my head to the right saved me because the bullet touched my jaw, entering through the top of my shoulder. It went through me, but on it’s way– it broke my collar bone and top rib, my rib puncturing my left lung. The bullet split the shoulder blade in my back. So there I was in that ditch full of water. I couldn’t get up. I don’t know why, shock or something. The water was ice cold. Everybody had to leave me.

‘Lieutenant, I’m hit.’ 

‘Ahuh,’ he says.

“But they had to leave me, and I understood that. I didn’t feel bad that they’d go off and leave me out there in the middle of the field, because I knew they had to keep going. So I was left out there alone, in the dark, in that ice water, and I couldn’t see anything.”



Veteran’s Day.

We gather, singing songs, pledging our allegiance, and professing our gratitude. In our small town, it’s a community event, complete with music, speeches, essay contests. We are grateful.

But time lengthens the gap between the brutality of war, the history of our freedom. Besides those of us that know active military or grew up in a family of service members, most see it only in the pages of a history textbook, the portrayals of Pearl Harbor and the like.

War is ugly, and no matter how it ends– there are always consequences, far reaching ones.

Have you lived with the consequences? Do you think about the horror these boys (and now women) face(d)?

My Grandpa, the man who gave the account above, lived with the consequences everyday. You see, one of his arms was left paralyzed from the war.

He married after, even had six children, without the use of an arm.

He farmed, he worked as a butcher and custodian. Without the use of an arm.

True grit is rare, almost extinct in our day of technology and entitlement. But, I saw it. I saw my grandpa work in his meat shop (that he built with his own hand), heard stories of him lifting 350 lb. carcasses from the truck to his meat hook, all without the use of an arm. You see, he made do to survive. He took care of his family.

Did the war ever leave his mind, his memory? I don’t know, but by the time he was old, confined to a wheelchair, he spoke of the memories, the horror, as if it had happened only yesterday. War took so much more than his arm. Grandpa didn’t play the victim, but it didn’t matter. I knew it took more– possibilities for his future, serenity in sleep, double-armed embraces of his loved ones.

It’s a lot to take in. But we should try. We should try to understand the sacrifices, the purposeful placement in harms way of our veterans, all in pursuit of protecting our freedoms, our America.

Gratitude and debt don’t seem enough. But it will have to do.

We honor those that fought, and continue to fight, for our freedom, for our America. “Thank you” isn’t nearly enough. We love you. We pray for you and yours.

<3 H