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Today is World AIDS Day. The internet is full of smart, informative posts about HIV and AIDS and I encourage you to read them, be educated, fight stigma, and support organizations working toward those goals.

Today my heart is missing Kalkidan, and this is what I want you to know about HIV.

In 2006, when we began the process of adopting Kalkidan, we knew very little about HIV. We worried about the safety of our other children – could they get it by living with her? Would she be sick all the time? Could she ever marry and have children? Would she die?


Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent. The first candle lit each Advent season is the candle of hope. Our pastor introduced Advent teaching that in order to hope, we have to connect with our hopelessness. He spoke of God’s presence even in the times when He seems silent. I thought about that, not so much in terms of silence, but what about the times when tragedy strikes and he allows it? Is He silent then?

After church, while the turkey cooked, we bundled up and tromped through the pasture to our little tree farm. It was cold, and the kids couldn’t settle on just the right tree. It seemed that every few minutes, we heard Wogauyu’s voice call out, “I found it! I found the perfect tree!”

Christmas is Coming

Christmas is Coming

I have a love/hate relationship with Black Friday and shopping in general. That being said, I love shopping online and avoiding the stores.

There are some great deals on Amazon this morning!

Fire Tablets for only $35. That seems crazy to me. There is a limit of two; I already ordered mine. Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black

Those of you who follow me on my One Thankful Mom Facebook page may remember a discussion we had about Instant Pots. I still don’t have one, but when I saw this amazing deal, it went in my Amazon cart.

Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W, Stainless Steel Cooking Pot and Exterior, Latest 3rd Generation Technology

And of course there are toys, lots of toys, Up to 50% off Fisher Price and Mattel Toys.

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. When you click on an Amazon link on my site and shop, I receive a small commission (regardless of what you order). This helps support the free content here at One Thankful Mom – and it doesn’t add a cent to your cost.

I’ll keep looking for great deals and share them with you on my One Thankful Mom Facebook page today. I also plan to write our family Christmas letter; it would be nice to get cards in the mail early this year. We’ll see!

Coffee is ready and I’m ready to write. Have a wonderful day, friends.




What a week! In an hour we’ll head to the venue and begin cooking for Share Thanksgiving. As always, I have so much I want to write about and so little time. Here we go with a quick post.

*Advent begins this Sunday! If you don’t have a book, or candles, or anything at all, you’re not too late. My post, Advent: Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room, has some suggestions that will help you. I encourage you to keep it simple and enjoy the season.

* Thank you so much for the responses that are coming in for my Giving Voice to Siblings book. I am very excited about this project. I invite your kids to participate! If the deadline is too soon for you, I’m flexible.

girls orange

I’ve been wanting to sit down and write all week, but it’s been full of the unexpected and slightly challenging. Now it’s Thursday afternoon, and I can’t go an entire week without posting! Here we go – in bullet points.

*Yesterday I gathered a fraction of the 1,000 paper cranes given to us on Kalkidan’s birthday, and put them in a large vase with some small lights. It looks so pretty and makes my heart glad. I’ll post a picture soon.

*When I showed it to Russ, a wave of “this can’t be true” washed over me and I grabbed hold of him and cried.


This morning I woke up at 5:20 and knew I needed to get out of bed and give thanks. The Lord is so good to us and it is always helpful to record the blessings in my life.

giving thanks #1691 – 1700

two days in Coeur d’ Alene while Russ was at a climate meeting, one day alone with him – bliss, one day with the three youngest – fun

Beza’s gift to me – decluttering the big cupboard in the laundry room – I smile every time I walk in the room 

orange for k bday

Thank you from the depths of our hearts, friends. You helped us remember Kalkidan with sweet memories and laughter. There were tears, but not nearly as many as I feared. Jesus reached past our fear and gave us joy.

Last Thursday, on her birthday, we were surrounded by orange. Our entire family wore orange, even those far away, and every friend I saw that day also had on some orange. When I opened my email, there were pictures of friends wearing orange, and my phone chimed throughout the day with more pictures from friends.

Facebook was awash in orange. Each time I checked there were more pictures and it made me so happy. Instagram was also covered in orange with pictures from people we know and many we don’t. My dear friend’s daughter and her friends on the Bellhaven track team dressed in orange. My niece’s PT classmates at Regis wore orange. Annarose’s ballroom team at UI wore orange.

kalkidan  memorial cross

[Please join us Thursday, October 29th, and post a picture of yourself wearing or holding something orange with the hashtag #rememberingkalkidan .]

Throughout my life I’ve seen memorials. I’ve stood in front of  grand ones, like Lincoln sitting in all of his marble glory, and very small ones, like the white cross with a pair of drumsticks lashed to it that used to stand on Highway 95. I drove by that cross many times as I traveled north to Couer d’Alene and Spokane, and I wondered about the person who died and the family who put the cross in the ground. I had sober respect for that curve in the road and always drove it with caution. The cross was there for many years.

It was at that same curve in the road where Kalkidan’s life on this earth ended and her life in heaven began. Not long after the accident, we began to talk about ways to remember her, and the idea of putting a cross at the site came to mind. I couldn’t decide how I felt. For a very long time I couldn’t even drive by that spot, until one day when the Lord reminded me that in the most terrible moment of my life, He was there.

My Four Teens October 2104

My Four Teens October 2014

Kalkidan loved being a teenager. The day she turned twelve she began talking about turning thirteen. With an impish grin she would remind me that soon I would have one more teenager in the family; she couldn’t wait for October 29th to arrive.

That was one year ago this week. She had the joy of being a teenager for nearly two months.


Wogauyu's sermon notes

Wogauyu’s sermon notes

A few thoughts on this Tuesday morning.

*I ordered the roadway cross with Kalkidan’s name and dates on it; it should arrive later this week. I can’t even imagine opening the box – or when I do imagine it, I feel sick to my stomach. I’m going to leave it for Russ to open and I’ll look at it when I can, or maybe when we put it in the ground.

*Her birthday is in nine days – Lord have mercy.