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I had big plans to post something today before we leave or Refresh, but the simple task of doing laundry and making packing lists has taken all of my energy. This is only my third day on my own and I feel somewhat incompetent.

We’re loading up some of the kids and bringing them along; I’m not ready to leave the younger ones yet. My sister is going to keep Eby and Little Man while the older ones stay with friends near the conference. Together with some other kids and adults, they are going to be on a sibling panel.

tears in a bottle

It’s been eight weeks since the day Kalkidan left our arms and entered heaven. Maybe I should just say that it’s been eight weeks since she died, but it hurts my heart to write those words. As I grow physically stronger and begin to reenter the world, I want to share something with you about our grief.

Don’t be afraid to talk to us about Kalkidan and our loss. Please don’t worry that you’ll make us sad or that we’ll cry. We already are sad and we’re thankful for moments to acknowledge it.

family dinner

giving thanks #1611 – 1620

new paint that I adore in the dining room

Hannah’s visit, which was longer than usual thanks to her research rotation


In the days following the accident, a wise psychologist and friend came to our home to meet with with our family. He talked about grief and what we all might feel and experience. Then he said something that I’ve thought of many times since that day.

He said we would experience the profound presence of absence.”

Think about that for a minute.

winter jam qualls girls

Kalkidan turned 13 last October. This was a much anticipated birthday, so much so that she began talking about the day she turned twelve. She couldn’t wait to be a teenager and loved to remind me that it wouldn’t be long before she could take driver’s ed.

In recent years we’ve encouraged our kids to ask for experiences rather than “things” for gifts. As we talked about what she wanted for her birthday, Kalkidan realized there really wasn’t much she needed to own. Keeping her room organized and somewhat tidy was a challenge, and adding more “stuff” wasn’t going to make it any easier.



Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

I know how important it is to be in the Word of God, and even more so during a time of deep suffering, but I’m finding it hard to focus chapter by chapter. So I set a task for myself.

Friends (many of you) have sent cards and emails that include verses to encourage us.

Dr Quinn

Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman has become part of our slow journey through grief.

Evenings are hard. Once dinner is cleaned up and the boys head to bed, the house becomes quiet; it’s unsettling. Kalkidan was a bundle of energy, often talking, singing, and recruiting us to play games right up until bedtime. The strange calm in our home feels heavy.

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sweet memories of our trip to Nebraska


giving thanks #1601 – 1610

Laura’s help all of last week (thanks for the plane ticket, Mom and Dad)

Hannah arriving next Thursday

waking up Saturday morning and not immediately counting one more week since the accident


Our pastor and friend, Aaron Couch, shared this post on his blog in the days following the memorial service.

This last week, I did the unthinkable. I helped some of my dear friends lay one of their own children to rest. Even now, 10 days after the tragic car accident I find myself teared up over the reality of what the last week and a half has exposed about life and its frailty.

I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.

I still am not ready.

And yet, here I sit having to let go at some level of a relationship that was severed too soon.

My dear friends are great people. They love the Lord. They have 11 children – 7 biological and 4 adopted. And they have chosen through adoption to love kids from tough places. And love they did. And tough it was… and is.

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In the grand scheme of tragedy, suffering, and even death, it seems trivial to update you on my recovery, but many of you have asked, so here it is.

My body hurts. It’s been nearly six weeks since the accident and I’m frustrated by my slow progress. I’m still spending most of the day in a recliner in our family room. Friends are still bringing meals and cleaning my house. I’m still unable to drive.

The pain in my hip is understandable. There is a fracture in the right side of my sacrum and significant soft tissue damage on my hip. It is healing, but wow, it’s been something.