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We made it to Whidbey Island late Thursday night  and waited until Friday morning to unload the van. It was packed with bikes, food, sports equipment, camping gear, bags of books, K’nex, and everything we need for the next few weeks. Yesterday we made our (hopefully) only trip off the island to do a very big Costco run, and now I feel ready to relax.

Isaiah is picking Hannah up at the airport this morning; they’ll have plenty of time to catch up as they wait in the long ferry line. Sunshine is joining us fresh from horse camp. Samuel arrives tonight and the other big kids will arrive a few days later.

You won’t hear from me this week, and then only a little bit for the rest of our time here.

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This morning we are loading up the car and heading to Whidbey Island – my favorite place on earth. I have a lifetime of memories there from walking the beach as a little girl, to watching my own children grow up there. It’s amazing to me that one place has seen so much of my family’s life.

Here is the song Isaiah sang for Noah and Katie at their wedding reception; I know I’m his mom, but it really is beautiful. I shared it on my One Thankful Mom Facebook page, but I know that not all of you follow me there. If you like the song, please share it – and be sure to “Like” my FB page too!

Have a wonderful day, friends.



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iced coffee 

my book group

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

Isaiah home for a surprise visit

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)?


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.

isaiahandR1997Last week we celebrated our 30th anniversary on Monday, Russ’ birthday on Friday, Noah and Katie’s wedding on Saturday, and Father’s Day on Sunday. Whew! It was a big week. Yesterday was so full with family and friends coming and going from our house, washing mountains of dishes, returning rentals, and general clean up, that the kids didn’t even give Russ his gifts. We’ll do that tonight.

Annarose posted this lovely tribute on Facebook. 


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Noah and Katie Qualls

bridesmaids and sisters squeezed in a bedroom upstairs doing hair and make up

groomsmen up for an early breakfast

friends giving their day to help us prepare

Katie, absolutely stunning

bridesmaids, all beautiful


This is what a busy day of wedding prep will do to a little guy. When I finally headed upstairs last night, I found him sleeping on my bed with books scattered all around.

There is lots going on, and I want to remember to be thankful, so here I go.

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Russ’ birthday today, and his sons taking him out for breakfast

birthday pie when they get back

helpful daughters and bridesmaids

the backyard sparkling with lights


We had the most wonderful thirtieth anniversary. Our children threw a small party for us last night. Hannah baked cheesecakes, Mimi selected the wine, and our friends Rick and Beth hosted. Russ and I went out for dinner and then arrived at the party in time to relax and enjoy it. The highlight of the evening was eight of our kids singing a song for us. We loved it – and I may have cried just a little. [I'll try to post a short clip of it on my One Thankful Mom Facebook page later today.]


Today Russ and I are celebrating three decades of marriage. I am profoundly thankful for the life God has given us and the way He continues to work in our lives. More than anything, we want to honor Jesus with our marriage, and while we falter and fail on a regular basis, we pull one another up and press on.

In honor of today, I’m quickly sharing 30 things I’m thankful for in our lives.

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10,958 days of faithfulness

adventures from WA to NY to CO to ID

Russ’ commitment to me and our children

high school graduation from rival high schools, college together