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Beza and Hannah

Beza’s summer is off to a great start. First, she finished her school year earning academic honors, and best of all, she enjoyed her teachers and classes.

Second, she got a job! Beza is a hard worker, but it’s not always easy to get a job at fifteen. She was hired by a cleaning company and is learning how to clean thoroughly and quickly. It’s extra fun because she and Annarose often work together. [I am more than a little excited to have two daughters who are being trained to be professional cleaners!]

Beza raising money for camp with the youth group.

Beza raising money for camp with the youth group. photo by Brent Billings

Isaiah Ferguson

The weeks are flying by and I’ve hardly managed to blog, I have lots to say but I’m struggling a little with writing. The simplest thing for me is to update you on what the kids are all doing this summer; they lead interesting lives!

I’ll start with Isaiah because he is in the midst of a big project. Last spring he went on an alternative Spring Break to work with Operation Help or Hush, an organization based in Ferguson, Missouri. They’re doing really good work helping rebuild the community.

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This Friday Annarose will graduate from high school. It’s hard to believe that our middle child, our sixteen-year-old daughter, has reached this milestone. Even more notable is the way God has shaped her through the experiences of our life as a family.

She is a remarkable young woman known for her friendliness and compassion. Last week she was named Student of the Year at Moscow High School (even though she attends part time), and Most Inspirational on the track team. She has also won several great scholarships, including the Idaho Governor’s Cup, which will be presented at the state capitol next Monday.

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I have so much to share with you – about driving past the site of the accident for the first time, about today being the four month anniversary of Kalkidan going to heaven, of how tears are so close today…but what I’m going to tell you about is the fun we had yesterday with our kids. The other topics can wait a day or two.

Eby turns ten this Thursday and that’s a big birthday in our family. We always celebrate as a family, but the kids get a party when they turn five, ten, and fifteen. Thursday is packed with school and family events, and I couldn’t figure out how to even squeeze in a family dinner. Instead, yesterday we rented a room at a local hotel and celebrated poolside.

yellow daffodils from Beza and an orange mug to remember Kalkidan

yellow daffodils from Beza and an orange mug to remember Kalkidan

giving thanks #1631 – 1640

coffee with a friend while kids played – it’s been awhile

great hand-me-down baseball cleats for both boys

the view from our backyard

the view from our backyard

Thank you for your kind and supportive words as I share the story of the accident and our loss of Kalkidan. I’ve written the next section, but I want Russ to read it before I publish – while I’m writing only my memories, I need to be sure that I’m telling it as well as I can.

Yesterday Russ and Beza left on a quick trip to Seattle for a medical appointment at Children’s. While there they picked up some great patio furniture a friend is passing to us as they prepare to move to a new home. Funny thing is, we don’t have a patio. We’ve long dreamed of building one, but it hasn’t made it to the top of our list.

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Last summer Kalkidan, Claire (Sunshine), and Eden made a bucket list. They were so excited that Kalkidan was coming home and they had big plans – lots of big plans.

This friendship goes way back – all the way back to the beginning. In fact, I was at Eden’s birth and I like to tell her that she was such a cute baby that I couldn’t resist having one more of my own – so God gave me Claire. They’ve been like sisters more than friends, and thankfully, Eden’s mom, Signe is one of the people I love most in the world.

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.

 

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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

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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