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How did it happen that more than a month passed without a simple Sunday Gratitude post? Our weekends have been packed, and the hours have flown by so quickly. Despite the lack of posts, I am deeply grateful to God for many good gifts in my life.

We’re ridiculously blessed – sitting here in my dining room, looking out the windows, it’s clear that we are surrounded by beauty and abundance. Focusing on gratitude, even in the midst of suffering, perhaps especially in the midst of suffering, is essential for me. Thanks for being my witnesses.

giving thanks #1681 – 1690

Russ and I both home all weekend – the first time in ages

Kalkidan painting

I was sitting in a middle seat, fighting air sickness, the bane of my travel existence. I put in my earbuds, hit play, and a worship song began streaming into my ears that I had never really listened closely to before.

On the day when I see
All that You have for me
When I see You face to face
There surrounded by Your grace

All my fears swept away
In the light of Your embrace
Where Your love is all I need
and forever I am free

Kalkidan – she is free. I could almost see her, light, joyful. Tears began trickling down my cheeks.

Beauty reminds me of God's good gifts.

Beauty reminds me of God’s good gifts.

I’ve been thinking about how blogging is different from most other forms of writing; it’s essentially a collection of public rough drafts. When I’m churning out content several times a week, I don’t have the luxury of editing much, or having somebody read every post before I click “publish.”

Maybe it’s a good thing, you get a less edited version of me – a more authentic version, sometimes with errors included. I still laugh about the day Russ called me from his office to tell me that I had a split infinitive in my blog post. I have too many smart people in my family.


This week’s Tuesday Topic comes from Lydia.

This is my second year teaching First Grade. I have had a lot of experience with children with many different needs both in my parents’ home, camps, and educational settings.  However, there is a particular student in my class this year who comes from “hard places” and I am struggling to set him up for behavioral success.  His behaviors are very impulsive and he struggles to stay on task.  In addition, he is very defiant and often refuses to obey the simplest requests.  Stealing food and lying occur as well.  My typical behavior management tricks do not work with him.


I sat behind this truck at a stoplight in Seattle. The bumper sticker cracked me up.

The words on the back of this truck made me laugh.

Alrighty then, I just got word that there was a technical problem with the advertising campaign that was launched today, and all participating bloggers needed to take the posts down. That’s never happened before!

Each week I reach back into my archives for a My Learning Curve post that I  hope will be helpful to you. An earlier version of this post was published in October 2011.

Last night I had an errand to run.  I drove a few minutes to a house in town and knocked on the door.  A little girl answered and a scowl appeared on her face.   She demanded, “Why are you here?”

You can imagine that was not the greeting I was expecting — especially since I was at my friend’s house, and the child was my daughter.

I said, “Kalkidan, that’s not a respectful or kind way to greet me.  Let’s shut the door and try that again.”

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Thank you to everyone who commented on Four Tips for Better Sleep. I’m not alone! I struggle with sleep, and it’s easy to feel like I’m the only one who is up in the middle of the night feeling miserable. Apparently there are quite a few of us.

My doctor explained to me that there are three phases in the process of waking: Asleep, Aware, Awake.

This understanding helps me get more sleep. Now I recognize when I’m just beginning to become aware. My eyes may not be open yet, and I’m still in a very restful state. If I can resist the urge to begin actively thinking about anything specific, and if I can avoid moving too much, getting up to go to the bathroom, or even looking at the clock, I can often drift back down into sleep.

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We know it’s important to get enough sleep for our health and well being, yet many of us struggle to sleep well. I’ve read about sleep, talked with my doctor, taken medication, and monitored my sleep with apps on my phone. These are the keys I’ve found for good sleep – maybe they will help you too.

1. Establish a Bedtime Routine

I start preparing for a good night of sleep just about the time we finish cleaning up dinner. We set up the coffee maker and tidy the house. I put my computer and any books I need in my quiet spot in our living room where I spend the early hours of the morning.

I resist the urge to watch a show or work on my computer, because even when I’m very tired, I’m tempted to stay awake much later than when I read a book. 

It’s Wednesday and I’m reaching back into my archives for a My Learning Curve post that I  hope will be helpful to you. An earlier form of this was published in April 2012.

Kalkidan asks questions – lots and lots of questions.  I can see dozens of you right now nodding your heads and saying, “Yep, I know just what that is like.”  From the time she gets in the car after school, until we sit down for dinner 2 1/2 hours later, the questions are constant and range from the necessary to the ridiculous.  I find myself answering, answering, and answering again; eventually I find myself saying, “Kalkidan, you know that is nonsense and I’m not going to answer it.”  Hmmm…that’s not a particularly smart strategy.

It’s as if Kalkidan believes she is not being seen, or I will not meet her needs, if she isn’t talking constantly.  Which reminds me of something Karyn Purvis says, and this is a paraphrase because I don’t want to dig through my notes this morning, “Abuse tells a child, ‘I don’t like you.’ Neglect tells a child, ‘You don’t exist.'”  Perhaps the constant questions help Kalkidan feel as if she exists.


|Part 1 of Giving Voice to Siblings|

Two years into our journey, we began working with a gifted adoption therapist who helped us with our children from “hard places.”  We began to see some light shining down into the pit where we found ourselves.  Every other week we were able to process the events in our home with somebody who really understood and could help us.  Our children began to respond to therapy and we slowly began to recover.

But what about our other children?  Were they meeting with a professional every other week?  Were they having their concerns heard?  Were they gaining new strategies for coping with what their family and home had become?  Nearly 18 months into therapy we realized that our other children were not going to spontaneously recover.  We needed to intentionally help them find their voices again and make our home a safe place for them.