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Large Family Life

A paper airplane volcano 2

Last Monday was the 27th, seven months since we said goodbye. Being in a Third World country for the first time, far away from home and my family, the hole in my heart felt all the more profound. I really wanted to do something special to remember my sister and celebrate her life.

patio 1

Last March I wrote about our decision not to make any major changes to our home, or any other big decisions for that matter, in 2015. Healing our hearts and bodies, gathering our children close, and leaning in close to the Lord are our major tasks for the year.

Although we weren’t ready to tackle a remodel, we decided to build a patio. Having wanted one for many years, we knew that it would add joy to our lives and would be a therapeutic project for Russ. He loves to work outdoors and nearly any project that allows him to spend time on his tractor is an added bonus.

annarose and kalkidan

In the midst of sadness, life keeps moving forward. I’m almost thankful that although I may want to escape my life, my kids make it impossible. Today I’m continuing my update on the kids’ summer adventures.

Annarose lives life more fully than anyone I know. She has such a passion for friends, family, the Lord, adventure – and she’s nearly fearless.

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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.


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.

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.


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.