A Long Overdue Hello

Hello friend! It may seem like I’ve fallen off the face of the earth, but I’ve just been a little quiet in this space. I’ve missed you!

We’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of the release of The Connected Parent. It’s been amazing to see this dream come true. Due to Covid, there were no book signings and no launch party, but my days were packed with online interviews and speaking. The book continues to do very well and I’m so thankful.

The Connected Parent

I began working on my sibling book again but found it hard to make progress. I love the topic so much, but with the kids doing school at home during quarantine, progress was terribly slow. Because I was eager to get the content out to you, Annarose and I did a live webinar which was a huge success. The replay is now available for purchase.

Caring for the Siblings in Adoptive and Foster Families

The Hope Circle continues to grow and give me so much joy! If you’re an adoptive mom looking for a safe, loving, supportive community, I invite you to join us. This is the space where I’m able to personally interact with foster and adoptive moms.

The Hope Circle

Work at The Adoption Connection continues to expand. What began as a podcast is now a resource-rich website with courses, webinars, private and group coaching, and more. In order to make it easier for everyone to find things, and to simplify my life, I’m bringing more of my work under The Adoption Connection.

The Adoption Connection

One Thankful Mom will continue to be my personal and author website.

This summer we have a family wedding in Mexico. The boys are busy with daily football workouts and summer jobs. I hope to get back to writing more in the fall!

If you want to connect more personally, I spend most of my personal online time in the Hope Circle. You can also find me on Instagram at One Thankful Mom and The Adoption Connection.

All my love,


Fifty-Four Favorite Fiction Books

I asked for your all-time favorite works of fiction and the answers poured in! I didn’t expect such an amazing response to a 24-hour Instastory but you went above and beyond to share your favorites.
[This post contains Amazon affiliate links which means if you click on a link and choose to make a purchase I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you.]

In no particular order, these are the novels you recommended. If a series was recommended, I tried to list the first book in the series. When an author was recommended, I listed their most popular book.

Your Favorite Fiction

Les Miserable
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
American Dirt
The Bluest Eye
A Man Called Ove
The Prince of Tides
The Stand
These is My Words
The Book of Lost Friends
Dandelion Wine
Call Your Daughter Home
Crossing to Safety
The Language of Flowers
All the Light We Cannot See (recommended by two people)
The Thornbirds
Cormorant Strike Series
News of the World
Redeeming Love (recommended by three people)
My Dear Hamilton
Stone Fox
The Family Under the Bridge
The Pelican Brief
Hannah Coulter
The Glass Castle
Peace Like a River (recommended by two people)
So Brave, Young, and Handsome
The Count of Monte Cristo
Pride and Prejudice
No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
No Ballet Shoes in Syria
The Nightingale
Dear Mr. Knightley
Carry On: A Story of Resilience, Redemption, and an Unlikely Family
All Quiet on the Western Front
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society (recommended by two people)
Winter in Paradise
The Poisonwood Bible
A Girl of the Limberlost
I Capture the Castle
Where the Crawdads Sing
The Thirteenth Tale
Anne of Green Gables
My Family and Other Animals
My Brilliant Friend
If I Gained the World
I’ve Got You Under My Skin
The Circle
The Masterpiece: A Novel

I’m already adding some of these to my Amazon cart and my library app. I hope you find some treasures here too!

Happy Reading,


My Word for 2021


It’s taken me a while to find my word for 2021. But several things dropped into place giving me a clearer vision, and “Pause” is the answer.

I want to Pause in several areas of my life.

Relational: I want to Pause when interacting, especially when tension is high. In that Pause, I can choose to respond rather than react. Last night, the final thing I did before going to bed was apologize to my son for the way I had reacted to him earlier that evening. A two-second pause would have made all the difference.

Spiritual:  Friends reminded me of the beauty of sabbath. Our family has gotten away from the joy of a day to rest from work and enjoy each other. I’m finding my way back.

After reading through the Bible in 2020, I’m also slowing down and settling more deeply into a smaller portion of the Word. I’m taking more time to pray and listen to the Lord.

Physical: The first book I read in 2021 was Why We Sleep. I’ve struggled with sleep for years and I know it’s important. But I didn’t realize how profoundly essential sleep is for our physical and mental health. Russ and I have set a 9:00 bedtime giving us the opportunity for eight hours of sleep. We’re Pausing our evenings earlier and making sleep a priority.

Emotional: Often I set my feelings aside and press on with my work-it’s the Enneagram 3 in me. I’m learning to Pause and feel my feelings, even when they hurt. Over the holidays I had a very sad day. I consciously let those feelings come, telling myself, “Feelings come and go,” knowing the deep sadness would lift.

Vocational: I’m choosing a slower pace in 2021. In preparation for the book launch, I got some great advice, “Say yes to everything.” And I did. Even without travel, book signings, and conferences, I managed to pack my days. It was exhilarating, exhausting, and totally worth it. Now I’m slowing my pace, taking more time for thinking, writing, and people.

Is there an area of your life you need to Pause?

Do you have a word for 2021? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to hear.

I hope your year is off to a hopeful start.

With love,


The Connected Parent, Dr.Karyn Purvis, and Confetti

It’s been a confetti kind of month! My family celebrated our happiness in a big Covid-style way.

Nearly one month ago The Connected Parent released into the world. After eight years of work, the book was born. There were many times when I didn’t know if it would be completed and I’m deeply thankful to God for allowing this dream to be fulfilled.

I’m also thankful to you. I truly have the best readers in the world. Many of you have been with me for years and that means more than you can imagine. The most helpful thing you can do for the book is to leave a review on Amazon. It helps the book continue to gain traction.

Dr. Karyn Purvis was a gift to the world. Together with Dr. David Cross, she developed Trust-Based Relational Intervention, an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. I met her through Empowered to Connect when we were speaking together.

I had an idea for a book combining her incredible scientific knowledge and wisdom with my real-life experiences of a mom doing my best to apply what I had learned. Thankfully, she thought it was a great idea and we started writing in 2012.

Through her cancer treatments and my parenting challenges, we persevered. When we lost our daughter, Kalkidan, in a car accident, I didn’t know if I would ever be able to finish the book. As I recovered I decided to see the book through in honor of Kalkidan and children like her who had experienced early adversity.

Sadly, Dr. Purvis did not live to hold this book in her hands, but her family wanted this final written work published in her honor.

I’ve had a great time being a guest on multiple podcasts since the book released and more are coming soon:

The Real-Mom podcast by Foster the Family
Honestly Adoption
The Empowered Parent
Empowered to Connect
Creating a Family
Orphans No More

Whether you listen to my interview or not, I highly recommend these great podcasts for adoptive and foster parents.

The book is available in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook. I was honored to narrate the audiobook myself. It was a joy. I’m hopeful that The Connected Parent will be published in Spanish too!

Quarantine, Family, and a Book Launch

Hello, friend! Are you easing out of quarantine or sheltering in place? For me, it feels more difficult to figure out what to do now that restrictions are changing.

I have big news coming about the book, but let me fill you in on family first!

Since I last posted, Annarose returned home from Mexico for the duration of quarantine. It was very hard for her to leave but the board of her organization said it was time. It’s a joy to have her home. We’re spending lots of time together and even tackling some projects like painting the living room. She also has a gardening job and is enjoying working a few days a week.

Russ and Isaiah have stayed on their regular work schedules. Claire is wrapping up her senior year of high school and working two days a week as a barista. The boys are finishing school and eager to get out to see friends and play basketball. We’ll see how soon that can all happen.

I’ve continued working a lot. With preparations for the release of The Connected Parent, a weekly podcast, the Hope Circle, interviews, and more, my days are overflowing.

And just to make life more exciting, I completed a program to become a Certified Enneagram Coach! The Enneagram is a fantastic tool for personal, relational, and spiritual growth. More news about this to come.

With The Connected Parent coming out in a little more than a month, Harvest House Publishers is gearing up for a big book launch. We’ll be forming a Launch Team soon to help spread the word about the book. I would love to include you! Watch my OTM Facebook page for information, or shoot me an email to let me know you’re interested.

Here are a a few resources I’ve created in recent weeks:

Trauma Free World – Learn why you might lose compassion for your child and how to get it back.

A Theology of Hustle podcast – I was a guest on this great podcast.

The Adoption Connection podcast – We’re continuing to release a new episode each week. Here are a few highlights:

Exploring the Complexities of Transracial Adoption with Tara Vandewoude

Pandemic Schooling Advice from a School Counselor with Maria Hansen-Quine

Adoption and Foster Care Book Reviews Just for You with Lanaya Graham

The Enneagram and Adoption with Jeff and Beth McCord

Please subscribe to my weekly email to stay in the loop about the book launch and every other exciting thing! Use the form just below this post or in the sidebar on the right of the page.

I know these days of quarantine have been hard, but if there’s anything we know as parents, we can do hard things!

All my love,