Staying Connected While Staying Apart

My friends, it’s been far too long since I’ve written to you. If I had a blog post for every time I’ve thought about writing, you would already be tired of reading.

How are you? How are you holding up?

Do you feel the uncertainty of these days? It seems we swing back and forth from, “Let’s stay home and make cookies!” to “This is serious and people are dying.”

Many times I’m not sure what to feel.


The greatest gifts in life are the people we love.

Last weekend I went to Seattle for Sisters Weekend. For a number of years my sisters and I have spent a weekend with our parents; I’m deeply thankful for the time together.

This year was our first Sisters Weekend without my dad. I had some tearful moments, but most of all I felt grateful to my dad for taking such good care of all of us, especially my mom.

We shared stories from our childhoods, like the time my mom had a substitute teaching job and she got all the way to the school before realizing I was still in the car. I’d stretched out on the back seat and fallen asleep. No seat belts were required, so I was quite comfortable. Imagine my mom’s surprise when she got all the way to the school and realized she’d forgotten to drop her four-year-old off with Mrs. Lindsey, who let me watch JP Patches and Romper Room.

We had a grand time staying in a beautiful historic hotel, going to a show at the 5th Avenue Theater, and eating at incredible restaurants. It was like stepping out of my life and into another for two days.

My sister and I even went to Nordstrom just to smell a perfume I’d read about. It was strange to be so frivolous.

By Saturday night I felt relaxed and wished we could have had one more day.

While you may not be able to get away for a fancy weekend, we mammas need to let our brains rest from the intensity of life. We spend so much time thinking about our children’s needs, we nearly forget our own. It’s therapeutic and good for us to take a break. Laughing really hard in a hotel lobby is good too.

Traditions anchor me, reminding me of what’s important. They also eliminate decisions – I know what I’m doing the weekend after Presidents Day each year. I’m somewhat averse to decision-making, so that’s a huge bonus.

Sisters Weekend is dear because the sole purpose is for the four of us to be together. We’re not celebrating a holiday, graduation, or wedding; we’re together just because we want to be, and it’s good.

Do you have a tradition of gathering with your parents or siblings on a regular, or even annual, basis? Leave a comment and share it with us.

Each Wednesday I send a short and sweet email to my inner circle of readers. I’d love to send it to you too! As my thanks, I’ll email you my guide for foster and adoptive moms. Click HERE to sign up and you’ll find it in your inbox this week.

With love on this last Monday of February,


2017 – You’re Coming Soon


view Montana mountain

I have a post in the works about my goals (not resolutions) for 2016 and how I’ve done – or how I’m doing in the case of some of them. I still have two weeks to go, friends!

But my mind and heart are moving quickly toward the hopeful newness of 2017.

Weeks ago I wrote that 2017 is going to be a year of Completion and Restoration. That wasn’t just a blog post – God is speaking this to us. These words are with me every day; Russ and I talk about them as we look toward the new year.

I have changes coming for my blog, more writing and other work-related projects, my family (Zoe will go home in the coming months), many unfinished home and farm projects.

My first tiny goal is to figure out how to write a newsletter to you. Jennifer had that task, and I know it’s simple, she showed me once, but it’s one more thing to learn. I also have to redesign the graphic at the top of the blog. These tech-related tasks bring me to tears.

If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, I’ll be even more motivated to follow through if you do. I plan to email this more personal letter to you most weekends.

Please sign up for my newsletter so I know this is a worthy task.

All the experts tell me I’m supposed to offer you something fabulous in return, like an ebook, but I don’t know how to do that yet! So, if you would be so kind to simply encourage me, I would be grateful.

[This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.]

And just because it deserves mentioning, if you didn’t see it on my Facebook page,Ā Amazon has a great Deal of the Day on my favorite sound machine.Ā I love it and have one in every bedroom of our house.

Have a fabulous Friday.


$10 Off a Book on Amazon

A C reading

[This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.]

Amazon has a special Book Deal Nov. 24 – 28: Save $10 off any books purchase of $25 or more with the code: HOLIDAYBOOK.

You can get all the details here.

We love building our kids’ libraries and give them a new book each Christmas.

I wish I could write a post about favorite books, but I’m cooking Thanksgiving dinner and can’t stop! I’ve written many posts in the past you might like.

This page has some of my favorite picture books.

Ten of My Favorite Books for 2015

The Year in Books

Our turkey is roasting. Russ decided we have more pie than we need for dinner so he broke into the pumpkin pie for breakfast. All in all, it’s a nice day.

Lastly, I have Black Friday deals coming in the Thankful Moms Etsy store tomorrow!

Have a wonderful day, friends.



Completion and Restoration for Our Marriage and Family in 2017| Part 2

Part 2 of my thoughts on the coming year and our theme of Completion and Restoration.

2017 completion and restoration image

Don’t missĀ Completion and Restoration for our Marriage and Family in 2017 | Part 1

Last week I wrote about the theme of Completion for the coming year.

What about Restoration?

With so much upheaval in our lives, relationships have also been neglected. We’ve been working so hard, for so long, we haven’t taken time to enjoy the people we love.

We plan to change that in 2017.

The most important relationship is our marriage.

I love Russ with all my heart, and I need to make sure he knows it, every day. I need to love him more than I love myself, which is easy to say, but not so easy to live.

Every morning before the kids leave for school, we pray,

Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord alone.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
And love your neighbor as yourself.

Those words have sunk deep into me – do I love my neighbor as myself? Do I love my husband as myself? When a task is inconvenient, will I do it anyway to make his life a little easier or better? Do I make sacrifices for him the way I want him to make them for me?

In addition to our marriage, we’re thinking about our kids, especially our older children.

We need to figure out new ways to love our adult kids and grow our relationships with them.

2016 brought many changes with our big kids and we expect 2017 to bring more.

This fall, both Samuel and Isaiah moved away, Isaiah to St. Louis, and Samuel to Portland. These were not, “I’m moving away for a year and I’ll be back,” moves, these were grown-up moves. They won’t live in our little town again. Mimi may be on the verge of moving away too.

Soon we will only have our youngest five living near, which bring us to a new season of life. We need to think about our big kids, how to connect with them, how to spend time with them.

We lost many years while pouring ourselves into their younger siblings. Those can’t be reclaimed, but we can intentionally build something new. It’s tempting to look back with regret, but we won’t gain a thing; we can only look forward and find a new way that brings something better.

Many other relationships were also set aside during those years. We want to restore some of those as well, as time allows, but first, our marriage and our children.

What else will the Lord lead us to restore? Our health, faith, traditions, joy? We don’t know yet, we only know this is our plan for 2017, and honestly, the glimpse we have right now feels full.

We’ll be praying over the long list of incomplete projects/dreams/tasks/commitments, asking God for wisdom about what to complete in all realms of our lives: personal, professional, family, home – everything.

I’m guessing a good number of tasks will be permanently crossed off our lists. We’ll likely wrestle through the remainder, asking each other good questions, prioritizing, figuring out how to help one another.

I will be Russ’ biggest supporter and assistant as he works to complete and restore in 2017, and my most restrained self as I hold back from beginning too many new things and focus on completing what I’ve begun (dare I whisper the word “book?”).

We’ll keep walking through trauma and grief. I met with our counselor yesterday and he told me we’re right where we should be in the grief process. Good to know, because I often feel I’m not handling it well at all.

Russ and I are doing this together – loving each other – trading ashes for beauty, and sorrow for joy, incomplete for complete, and broken for restored.

Lord, have mercy on us. Give us clarity of mind, grace for one another, hearts overflowing with love, and strength to complete the unfinished and restore the broken. Amen.


[This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.]