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“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” Frederick Buechner

After nearly four months, I returned to the place of our accident – where Kalkidan’s life on earth ended and her beautiful eternity began. Russ and I were on our way to the Spokane Orphan Summit and the best way to get there was to drive straight up Highway 95 and then cut over into Washington. It couldn’t have been a better opportunity; with no children with us we could talk and cry without concern for anyone else


Russ traveled to California for a meeting this week. It was the first time he’d been away since the accident and I was a little anxious about it. It’s not that life is terribly hard, it’s more that we are leaning hard on one another. I often rest my head on his chest and breathe; I need to feel connected, hear his heartbeat, and borrow a little of his strength.

We’ve experienced so much in our years together – since we were seniors in high school. We’ve had many challenges and faced everything we promised in our marriage vows: better and worse, richer and poorer, sickness and health. Thirty years of marriage have allowed us to experience the highest heights and lowest lows.

isaiah coffee

Spring semester is winding down, projects are wrapping up and finals are looming in the near future.  Isaiah had a little hiccup this semester that is still making me laugh, so (with his permission) I just have to share. The caveat is that I’m probably going to miss some important details and when Isaiah reads it, he’ll want to set the record straight, so watch for a potential apology and an update.

Last winter when he registered for spring semester classes, Isaiah planned to take a yoga class. He registered for three different classes, intending to drop two once he chose the class he liked best.

September 2014

September 2014

I don’t often post short bits here, most often they show up on my One Thankful Mom Facebook page, but today I’ve felt sad all day long. Maybe it’s because yesterday’s post was hard – and maybe because I wonder if people think we’re crazy to have done things the way we did. I don’t know. I remind myself that it’s okay to be different – I’ve pretty much embraced that my entire adult life.



Remembering Moments Part 1 | Remembering Moments Part 2 | Remembering Moments Part 3 | Remembering Moments Part 4 | Remembering Moments Part 5

With tears running down our cheeks we held hands in the back seat as our friend slowly drove us home. It was snowing lightly and I was nervous to be in a car again. I also knew we were going to pass the curve where our accident had occurred, and I didn’t want to see it. I closed my eyes and drifted off.

We pulled up the driveway and saw our house, the front porch lit by white lights, and the Christmas tree still in the bay window. One of the older boys, maybe Noah, met us at the car with a wheelchair and they carefully brought me through the garage and into the house. I don’t remember how they got me up the short flight of stairs and into the family room.

Claire and Janna 2

For the past few years, Claire has been asking for a puppy. She’s done her research, and even volunteers at a veterinary clinic. Life was too full and difficult to consider adding one more thing to our lives, so we said no.


Then the accident happened and we lost Kalkidan, Claire’s closest companion. Kalkidan had bunk beds and most nights found Claire sleeping on the top bunk. Claire read aloud to Kalkidan before bed, they listened to music, and talked. On Saturday mornings they made crepes.

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It had to happen. For nearly three months I’ve hardly left my house, but last Saturday I found myself at the grocery store and realized that I am emerging from my cocoon. My world was very small for many weeks, revolving around physical therapy and a few other medical appointments. Then we added church, and finally our small group. I even met a friend for coffee last week.

Easter 2009

Easter 2009

“Mom, if God makes the future, why doesn’t he always make it good?” Little Man’s question and the expression on his sweet face made me stop and pull him close.

Oh, precious boy, I wish I had an easy answer to this question that has burned in the hearts of so many. How do I express that most days it takes sheer faith for me to believe that God’s ways are good and his plans are always best? It makes no sense when we suffer and feel we’re drowning under the weight of sorrow.


Remembering Moments Part 1 | Remembering Moments Part 2 | Remembering Moments Part 3 | Remembering Moments Part 4

Time passed and eventually I was taken upstairs to a room. As my bed was wheeled down the hallway I saw Russ and with him, friends who live in Coeur d’Alene. I later learned that our pastor called a friend of his, a pastor who was much closer to the hospital, who came to be with Russ in the emergency room. He also called friends of his who lived near and had lost their son a few years before; he knew they would be a comfort to us.

The anticipated snowstorm had arrived and Russ didn’t want anybody on the roads coming to see us – not our children, our families, our dear friends from home, or our pastors. What a gift it was to have the Body of Christ show up, even when we were far from home.

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One thing I miss terribly about homeschooling is reading aloud to my kids. Last month I realized this really isn’t a difficult problem to solve, I simply need to carve out time to read before they leave for school. I always want to make the most of time spent reading aloud so I choose my books carefully. For the next many months, we’ll work our way through The Chronicles of Narnia. Thankfully, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a relatively short book, so we are brimming with success at having finished it last week.

If you haven’t read these books, don’t delay. I read them for the first time as a college student and couldn’t believe that I had missed them in my childhood. I have never liked fantasy, so I wasn’t drawn to them, but Russ persuaded me to give the series a try, and I’m so glad I did.

Earlier in the week we read the saddest section of the book, where Aslan dies at the hands of the White Witch. Susan and Lucy are weeping and Lewis writes, “It was all more lonely and hopeless and horrid than I know how to describe.”