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Dimples is here for her very last home visit. The time has gone by so quickly; it’s  hard to believe that we’ve reached this milestone. Samuel drove to the MT/ID border on Tuesday to pick her up. Sunshine went with him so the girls had some sister time on the way back. We had one day at home and then headed to Seattle yesterday for appointments at Seattle Children’s.

This visit feels different to me. Dimples seems calmer and less anxious – I feel calmer and less anxious too.

Wrapping around Dimples

Wrapping around Dimples

Last night we had a Wraparound meeting in preparation for Dimples’ return home. Her case manager suggested this to me as a means of organizing our support team in a more concrete way.

If you’ve been reading my blog for long, you know that we are blessed with many people who love Dimples and want to see her successfully transition back into our home and our community. In the past, most of our support has come when I have specifically asked somebody for help. Some of it has been regularly scheduled, but often the burden has been heavy on me to make sure we had enough help to avoid a major crisis.

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giving thanks #1441 – 1460

iced coffee 

my book group

new books chosen for the year (I’ll share this week)

Isaiah home for a surprise visit

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Little Man asked, “Mom, when will you take me to Ethiopia to see my mom?”

“I don’t know, but we want to take you some day.”

“Okay, I miss her. I want to go back and live with her.”    

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16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1Thess 5:16-18

Sometimes it would be so much easier not to give thanks; days are hard, wakeful nights are long, and tears are near. I don’t think God expects us to be thankful for all circumstances, but in all circumstances. The sure knowledge that he is with us and that even in the hardest times we are loved by our amazing God, should lead us to be thankful.

This isn”t always easy to do, but I practice it with my simple Sunday Gratitude posts. If not one person reads this, it’s okay because it is an exercise in obedience for me. When I really consider all that I am thankful for, it lightens my heart.

giving thanks #1431 – 1440

a great visit with my sister Elizabeth and her kids

spending a fun day at the pool

lots of time wearing pajamas and sipping coffee

my car full of middle school girls going to youth group

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“Faith can be work. Love can be labor. Hope can get long.” Beth Moore

This quote seems to sum up all that I know about raising children. Holding on to our faith may require great effort. Loving our families will be hard work. And hope? Sometimes I get worn out with hoping because answers don’t come, or healing doesn’t happen even when I plead for it.

Loving Jesus doesn’t make us immune to suffering or struggle; it means he is with us in it. We are never alone – never

sunshine and mimi

Two of my brown-eyed girls.

My brain is running all over the place this morning, so I’m just going to let it go and you can come along with me if you like.

I haven’t been praying enough and I know it. Russ and I went for an early morning walk today and while we did, we prayed for our kids. It’s pretty cumbersome to pray out loud while walking, so we would say one child’s name, and pray silently for a bit, then we would say another, and on down the line. I’m inclined to make things too complicated; this was simple and effective. When do you pray for your kids? Do you keep it simple, have a method, do different days of the week (for big families)?

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I woke up this morning at 4:15. This was not a good thing, but it became a good thing when I got up at 5:00, made coffee, and sat down with my Bible study. My little group of friends and I are studying Children of the Day: 1 & 2 Thessalonians and I’m enjoying it so much. Beth Moore’s passion for God’s Word is downright contagious.

At 5:30 the sun crept up over Moscow Mountain and it was so pretty that I grabbed my camera and went out in my pajamas to take a few pictures to share with you. If you were here having coffee with me, you could have seen it for yourself.

giving thanks #1411 – 1430

our niece and her sweet baby who came to visit Friday

movie night with Annarose’s friends

which morphed into a teen dance party – the yard lit by white lights

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Our summer got off to a wild start with the graduation extravaganza in May,  followed by Noah and Katie’s wedding on June 14th. My reply mantra to all requests was, “…after the wedding.” The wedding was followed by nearly a week of recovery and reorganizing (and a stomach bug), then we headed out for a few days to celebrate our anniversary.

Today our “normal” summer break begins. It’s time for me to get my bearings and organize the next several weeks so the summer doesn’t slip away and I find myself in late August wondering why I didn’t get anything done.

Homeschooling 1991

Homeschooling 1991

I’ve spent the past 23 years homeschooling, and unless I collapse from exhaustion, I have 11 more to go. There are days when I’m not sure I’ll make it to the end, and if I don’t, I’m going to give myself the same grace and kindness I would give you and say, “Well done – that was amazing.”

Over the years, I’ve been hard on myself. I’ve compared myself to other homeschoolers, private schools, and public schools. I’ve fretted over my children’s failures and successes and feared I might have ruined them. Don’t ask about the year that one of my children “forgot” to do math for months (and I was too overwhelmed to check) – I promise, that child is now an adult with two college degrees.