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On June 15th I published the post, Not Inoculated; I reflected on the realization that although we had suffered a terrible tragedy, we were not protected from future sorrow. One week later, on June 22nd, my son, Nick, died.

If you’ve read my Tell it Well series, you know that Nick was born when I was a teen and I was forced to give him up for adoption. It was the late seventies and adoption was just beginning to change allowing more openness, sadly Catholic Charities was not at the forefront of that movement. The adoption was closed and I was devastated.

Beza and Hannah

Beza’s summer is off to a great start. First, she finished her school year earning academic honors, and best of all, she enjoyed her teachers and classes.

Second, she got a job! Beza is a hard worker, but it’s not always easy to get a job at fifteen. She was hired by a cleaning company and is learning how to clean thoroughly and quickly. It’s extra fun because she and Annarose often work together. [I am more than a little excited to have two daughters who are being trained to be professional cleaners!]

Beza raising money for camp with the youth group.

Beza raising money for camp with the youth group. photo by Brent Billings

Isaiah Ferguson

The weeks are flying by and I’ve hardly managed to blog, I have lots to say but I’m struggling a little with writing. The simplest thing for me is to update you on what the kids are all doing this summer; they lead interesting lives!

I’ll start with Isaiah because he is in the midst of a big project. Last spring he went on an alternative Spring Break to work with Operation Help or Hush, an organization based in Ferguson, Missouri. They’re doing really good work helping rebuild the community.

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A month of so after the accident, we were on our way home from physical therapy, nearly at our driveway, when a thought struck me – and it hit like a fist gripping my heart. We have not been inoculated to tragedy.

The unthinkable happened; we were in a terrible car accident and lost our daughter. Terrifying experiences like this surface in our worst dreams, the ones that wake you in the night and it takes a few moments to realize that although your heart is pounding and you’ve broken out in a sweat, it’s not real; it’s only a dream. But for us, it was not a dream, this really happened.

sisters grad

It feels like it’s been ages since I’ve posted anything, June 2nd to be precise, and when I take time off, I often have trouble getting started again. I’m jumping back in with gratitude since it is always helpful to me. If you follow me on Facebook, you know that so much has happened in the last two weeks; I’m still catching my breath. I hope that life is beginning to settle down and shift into summer mode.

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This Friday Annarose will graduate from high school. It’s hard to believe that our middle child, our sixteen-year-old daughter, has reached this milestone. Even more notable is the way God has shaped her through the experiences of our life as a family.

She is a remarkable young woman known for her friendliness and compassion. Last week she was named Student of the Year at Moscow High School (even though she attends part time), and Most Inspirational on the track team. She has also won several great scholarships, including the Idaho Governor’s Cup, which will be presented at the state capitol next Monday.

We may weep today, but Kalkidan is filled with joy.

We may weep today, yet Kalkidan is filled with joy.

Today marks five months since the morning we set off for Montana, a morning that ended in sorrow. A heavy weight of sadness has been growing in my heart since yesterday.

Last night I found myself thinking that five months ago, as we prepared and packed for our trip, we had no idea how our life was about to change and the suffering that was in our future. I wanted to warn myself – tell us that we should cancel the trip.


Words don’t seem adequate when it comes to thanking you, but wrapped up in these words are love and gratitude beyond measure.

Russ and I want to thank you from the very depths of our hearts. You have prayed for us, cried with us, fed us, sent us gifts of comfort and cheer, and given generously to help us.

The day after the accident a dear friend established a GoFundMe account to help us purchase a new van, cover funeral expenses, and help with any medical expenses. We never saw the GoFundMe page (it was closed before we had the opportunity), but we were astounded when we heard of the generosity of so many people. We felt your love and concern for our family. The outpouring of donations toward this account continues to lift many burdens off of us.

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Eight years ago today, Russ and Kalkidan arrived at the Spokane airport after an arduous 50 hour trip home. They faced bad weather, canceled flights, and an unexpected overnight stay in Atlanta. She became our daughter in January 2007 and we met her in February 2007, but due to delays with her visa, she was unable to travel home with us on our first trip. When the call came that her visa was approved, Russ was on his way back to Ethiopia within two days.



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I had a post nearly ready to go this morning, but when I read it one last time, I decided it was too somber for Monday morning. This place gives me the space to reflect, to grieve through my words, but I want you to know that we are not mourning every moment of every day.

I’m so glad that I went to Boise to watch Annarose compete in the state track meet. I drove down with a new friend and had six hours of great conversation. We met up with other friends and had dinner together. The next morning we were at the track early enough to watch the pole vaulters warm up. Annarose cleared her PR height on her first vault, sailing over the bar with ease, which was very exciting. She didn’t make a new PR, but she was happy with her performance, and loved being with her team at the state meet.