Check out the Latest Articles:

michele and girls

Over the years I’ve written many times about my very dear friend, Michele, whom my kids affectionately call Aunt Michele. There is so much I want to say, but I’m struggling for words today. I’ll let Michele’s tribute from the memorial service speak for itself.

I would first like to thank Russ and Lisa and the rest of the Qualls family for inviting me to speak and offer this remembrance of Kalkidan. It is a distinct honor and privilege and I am very grateful. I would also like to take a moment and thank Russ and Lisa and the rest of their family for the tremendous sacrifices which they have made over the last years to provide for Kalkidan. God has seen all you have done and I am confident that He is pleased.

As I have been thinking about what I would like to say, my mind kept composing a letter to Kalkidan, so that is what I would like to share with you now.

Dear Kalkidan,

Well, here we are – most of your favorite people, all gathered in one place to celebrate your life and remember you. I am sure that that makes you happy. And if you were not in a wholly better place right now I am sure you would like to be here with us. You have always loved parties and celebrations, and just being with people. It is one of your many endearing qualities.



Lord, We fall to our knees before the Wounded Healer
who cups His hands to catch every falling tear & sparrow & heart
in His palms that have our names engraved right into Him
far deeper than any of earth’s sorrow.
We pray tonight in the name of Him of who catches everything falling
so we don’t fall apart…so we are held. Amen. [Ann Voskamp]

giving thanks #1571 – 1580

my sister, Laura, who spent a week caring for us

my physical therapist who is helping my body heal


This is what I’ve read every morning since I’ve been well enough to pick up my Bible and hold it in my hands.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height  nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 38-39

Three Sisters

I could make a stack of albums of titled, “Kalkidan’s Cute Moments.” As you know, there were plenty of hard moments, but we didn’t take pictures of those. We aren’t rewriting history, we’re just savoring the precious, joyful times with her. Her smile was amazing.

This is one of two slideshows we shared at Kalkidan’s (Dimples’) memorial service. The first was our one year “Forever Day” video and this is one spanning her life from the very earliest photos we have of her. She was truly amazing and we are missing her so much.



This is the text of our family’s tribute to Kalkidan at her memorial service. We all stood together lending our strength and love to Russ who spoke beautifully.  You can watch the video on my One Thankful Mom Facebook page.

Thank you to each one of you for being with us today, celebrating and remembering our amazing daughter, Kalkidan. Your presence means more than you’ll ever know.

On Valentine’s Day 2006, Lisa got a phone call that would change our lives. Our friend Emily called to tell her that they were adopting two little boys from Ethiopia.  Something happened during that phone call – a door opened just a crack and she glimpsed a possibility for our future.


giving thanks #1561 – 1570

Jesus and His great love for us

the privilege of being Kalkidan’s (Dimples’) parents – the Lord counted us worthy of her


Russ and I are heading out on a short road trip this morning with Dimples. A friend who used to work in the cottage at Dimples’ program invited her to come visit for a few days. Dimples is beyond excited. Not only will she see some of the adults who were integral to her life and path toward healing, she’ll see some of her friends as well. One of her closest friends has a family now (!!!!); they’ll get to visit and have fun outside of the more structured environment where they met.


Well friends, it’s early on Christmas Eve morning and I suspect I won’t get back here until all of the festivities are over. I don’t want to miss the opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas.

Last night we realized that our water storage tank is nearly empty, which means there is a problem with the pump in our well, or something in our house isn’t working. This means: no showers, flushing toilets only when necessary, and minimizing water consumption. Talk about bad timing. Russ is going to call the well people this morning and see if they can come out, but it’s Christmas Eve, so I suspect it will be costly. Sad!


O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie…

I hadn’t given much thought to the significance of Bethlehem, until a couple of weeks ago. This is a busy day and our attention spans are short, so I’ll get right to the point.

In comparison to powerful and grand Jerusalem, Bethlehem was a small, lowly town. Yet the Messiah, the savior of the world, was born there.