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What a week! In an hour we’ll head to the venue and begin cooking for Share Thanksgiving. As always, I have so much I want to write about and so little time. Here we go with a quick post.

*Advent begins this Sunday! If you don’t have a book, or candles, or anything at all, you’re not too late. My post, Advent: Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room, has some suggestions that will help you. I encourage you to keep it simple and enjoy the season.

* Thank you so much for the responses that are coming in for my Giving Voice to Siblings book. I am very excited about this project. I invite your kids to participate! If the deadline is too soon for you, I’m flexible.

September 2007

September 2007

You may be wondering why the title of this post is Book #2: Giving Voice to Siblings, when I haven’t announced the publication of Book #1. I’m happy to say that Book #1 is moving forward. My co-author and I have both had huge life challenges since we began writing. Thankfully, we are committed to the project and plan to finish strong. I’m so excited to share more with you when I can.

I’m interested in many topics related to adoption and parenting children from “hard places.” One has become a passion of mine in recent years.

How do we give voice to siblings when new children from “hard places” join the family?

three in orange

giving thanks #1701- 1710

a bright, sunny Saturday

boys riding bikes up and down the driveway

Share Thanksgiving only three days away


If you’ve been reading my blog for long, you know I love Advent. I have so many things to write about today, but Advent begins in a little over a week (Sunday, November 29th), and it’s time to do a little planning.

Advent is a time to settle down, calm our hearts, and draw closer to Jesus as we prepare to celebrate His birth.

All you really need is a candle, a Bible, and a simple schedule for daily readings. Come to think of it, you don’t even need to own a Bible – you can find all that you need online – but if you don’t own a Bible, you need one. If you can’t buy one, message me and I’ll mail one to you. God’s Word is life for your soul!

girls orange

I’ve been wanting to sit down and write all week, but it’s been full of the unexpected and slightly challenging. Now it’s Thursday afternoon, and I can’t go an entire week without posting! Here we go – in bullet points.

*Yesterday I gathered a fraction of the 1,000 paper cranes given to us on Kalkidan’s birthday, and put them in a large vase with some small lights. It looks so pretty and makes my heart glad. I’ll post a picture soon.

*When I showed it to Russ, a wave of “this can’t be true” washed over me and I grabbed hold of him and cried.


This morning I woke up at 5:20 and knew I needed to get out of bed and give thanks. The Lord is so good to us and it is always helpful to record the blessings in my life.

giving thanks #1691 – 1700

two days in Coeur d’ Alene while Russ was at a climate meeting, one day alone with him – bliss, one day with the three youngest – fun

Beza’s gift to me – decluttering the big cupboard in the laundry room – I smile every time I walk in the room 

fight like a girl

One of Russ’ students gave him an orange bracelet for Kalkidan’s birthday that says, “FIGHT like a GIRL.”

Kalkidan was a fighter. First she fought out of fear. Later she fought for healing.

One of my few memories from the accident is Russ’ voice as he, and a nurse who stopped to help, did CPR on Kalkidan.  Their voices, counting compressions, came to me in a moment of foggy consciousness. I heard Russ calling out to God, and then I heard him say,  “Come on, Kalkidan, you’re a fighter. I need you to fight harder than you’ve ever fought before. I love you.”

orange for k bday

Thank you from the depths of our hearts, friends. You helped us remember Kalkidan with sweet memories and laughter. There were tears, but not nearly as many as I feared. Jesus reached past our fear and gave us joy.

Last Thursday, on her birthday, we were surrounded by orange. Our entire family wore orange, even those far away, and every friend I saw that day also had on some orange. When I opened my email, there were pictures of friends wearing orange, and my phone chimed throughout the day with more pictures from friends.

Facebook was awash in orange. Each time I checked there were more pictures and it made me so happy. Instagram was also covered in orange with pictures from people we know and many we don’t. My dear friend’s daughter and her friends on the Bellhaven track team dressed in orange. My niece’s PT classmates at Regis wore orange. Annarose’s ballroom team at UI wore orange.

kalkidan  memorial cross

[Please join us Thursday, October 29th, and post a picture of yourself wearing or holding something orange with the hashtag #rememberingkalkidan .]

Throughout my life I’ve seen memorials. I’ve stood in front of  grand ones, like Lincoln sitting in all of his marble glory, and very small ones, like the white cross with a pair of drumsticks lashed to it that used to stand on Highway 95. I drove by that cross many times as I traveled north to Couer d’Alene and Spokane, and I wondered about the person who died and the family who put the cross in the ground. I had sober respect for that curve in the road and always drove it with caution. The cross was there for many years.

It was at that same curve in the road where Kalkidan’s life on this earth ended and her life in heaven began. Not long after the accident, we began to talk about ways to remember her, and the idea of putting a cross at the site came to mind. I couldn’t decide how I felt. For a very long time I couldn’t even drive by that spot, until one day when the Lord reminded me that in the most terrible moment of my life, He was there.

My Four Teens October 2104

My Four Teens October 2014

Kalkidan loved being a teenager. The day she turned twelve she began talking about turning thirteen. With an impish grin she would remind me that soon I would have one more teenager in the family; she couldn’t wait for October 29th to arrive.

That was one year ago this week. She had the joy of being a teenager for nearly two months.