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We walked into the cottage after the long drive to Montana, and one of the first things I heard was one staff member say to another, “I’m really going to miss that kid.” Those words characterized Dimples’ entire farewell.

Dimples “Goodbye Ceremony” was lovely. All of the children from her cottage were present, and many of the staff. She also invited the chaplain and a couple of kids from other cottages who were close friends. Her therapist lit a candle and spoke of Dimples, how she had grown, the hard work she did in therapy, difficult moments, successes, and overall affirmed Dimples for the progress she made. Then she lit the candle of the cottage case manager who shared her thoughts, who then lit the candle of her closest staff member who spoke more affirming words.

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Leaving Montana with Dimples – Mimi shared the driving.

So many of you are praying for Dimples and our family as she settles in at home. The days are flying by, but I need to pause to tell you that she is doing amazing. I have tears in my eyes just typing that. Let me share a few quick thoughts.

*She is so happy to be home. It was hard to say goodbye in Montana, and she misses her friends and the staff, but she was ready to make the transition.

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Annarose’s senior year of high school is just about to begin. Rather than use a prepared booklist and lesson plan for literature, I’m putting together a list of “Books you Should Read Before Graduating  from High School.”

You’re a bunch of smart folks, so what book(s) would you recommend? I’d like to get a broad range of suggestions, so bring them on!

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Some people plan couple’s massages. Not us, we like being a little different (as you may have noticed), so we scheduled couple’s colonoscopies. One of the perks of turning 50 is paying better attention to our health. Having an oncology nurse for one of my best friends hasn’t given me wiggle room with things like mammograms or now this – the dreaded colonoscopy.

We could have done our colonoscopies separately, but we chose to have them “cheek to cheek” rather than lose two weekends to this loveliness.

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When Jen Hatmaker writes a book, you just might want to read it.

Sometime in mid-July, before we left for Whidbey Island, I was offered the opportunity to read and review the newly updated edition of Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity. It seemed perfect at the time; the book would arrive before we left and I would read it while on vacation. I sent the required email and promptly forgot all about it.

Three weeks later I found a package on my desk from Tyndale House. Imagine my surprise to find a copy of the book, along with instructions to review it soon – like late July.

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We arrived home at midnight, and in our caffeine-fueled state, Russ and I stayed up until 1:00 am unloading the van. This morning came a little too early for me, but I was eager to sit down and write some deep reflections on the things I learned while we were away. Before I began, I did my Bible study and began wading through emails and messages.

Nothing prepared me for the seemingly routine voicemail from the school district announcing that the start of the school year is likely to be delayed one to two weeks due to uncompleted construction projects at various schools.

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It’s Monday morning and I’m in the gray place of transition – from Whidbey Island to home, vacation to reality, and summer to school. My mind is full of lists: chore charts, lesson plans, schedules, goals for each child, dinner menus, house plans, and any number of other things.

Are you with me? Are you transitioning out of summer and back into school? I feel some panic rising, and I’m doing my best to hold on to peace. We have three more days here and it would be easy to completely waste them. I need to stay in the moment and enjoy the relaxed pace we’re living.

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Hi friends! I’m still on a break from regular blogging, but have to say I miss writing and I miss all of you. Since it’s early in the morning and everyone is sleeping, I’m making a quick visit to my blog.

Last week we had all of our big kids here together and it was very special; I don’t take these times for granted. We went for an amazing hike at Ebey’s Landing, with the trail running along the edge of a bluff high above the beach.

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We made it to Whidbey Island late Thursday night  and waited until Friday morning to unload the van. It was packed with bikes, food, sports equipment, camping gear, bags of books, K’nex, and everything we need for the next few weeks. Yesterday we made our (hopefully) only trip off the island to do a very big Costco run, and now I feel ready to relax.

Isaiah is picking Hannah up at the airport this morning; they’ll have plenty of time to catch up as they wait in the long ferry line. Sunshine is joining us fresh from horse camp. Samuel arrives tonight and the other big kids will arrive a few days later.

You won’t hear from me this week, and then only a little bit for the rest of our time here.

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This morning we are loading up the car and heading to Whidbey Island – my favorite place on earth. I have a lifetime of memories there from walking the beach as a little girl, to watching my own children grow up there. It’s amazing to me that one place has seen so much of my family’s life.

Here is the song Isaiah sang for Noah and Katie at their wedding reception; I know I’m his mom, but it really is beautiful. I shared it on my One Thankful Mom Facebook page, but I know that not all of you follow me there. If you like the song, please share it – and be sure to “Like” my FB page too!

Have a wonderful day, friends.

Lisa