Craving Our Routine

chili pepper ornaments

It’s 5:00 on Monday and I’m finally sitting down to write. We’re almost back to a normal routine, but not quite; I’m beginning to crave it. We’ve had a wonderful holiday, now it’s dwindling away and I’d rather wrap it up neatly than let it slowly fall apart. Does that make sense?

Time with our family was truly wonderful. It was bittersweet, of course, because Kalkidan’s absence was very notable. She brought energy to every moment, loved to cook and eat, and was always excited to play games.

Each year we give our kids a Christmas ornament to add to their collections. This year I found perfect red chili pepper ornaments in honor of Kalkidan. When the box arrived and I saw them for the first time, I nearly cried.

chili pepper ornaments 2

Those ornaments will hang on our trees in houses all over the country each Christmas. Our grandchildren will see them each year and know about the aunt they never met. It breaks my heart that they won’t know her in person, but I’m quite sure they will memorize the stories they hear when we gather.

Speaking of Christmas trees, I loved our tree this year. I loved cutting it in our own little tree farm, watching the guys haul it up from the pasture, decorating it with favorite ornaments, and sitting by it in the early morning hours.

I also loved taking it down after Christmas, sweeping up the needles, and putting furniture back in place. The living room is bright with light flooding in the bay window where the tree had looked so lovely not long ago. I can breathe a little more deeply in the space.

I still have white lights on top of cabinets and bookcases. I also splurged on some flameless candles that I put in candle holders lining the top of the piano. Each evening, when I turn them one, they give me a moment of peace.

Annarose is loving her time in Togo. Beza got her drivers permit today. Noah and Katie are back in Seattle. Hannah arrived in Minneapolis on Sunday and was back in the OR this morning. Mimi is home and back to work after lots of travel. Samuel and Isaiah are squeezing in as many projects as they can before classes resume on the 13th.

The three youngest will be on the bus tomorrow morning at 7:45 and I plan to spend the day getting my life organized – well maybe not my life, but hopefully the next few months. I have many goals for the year, and specific projects I hneed to complete by the end of May. Summer is not my most efficient time.

How are all of you? I’ve missed writing to you and reading your comments and thoughts. I’m going to make a good effort to get back to regular blogging, including Tuesday Topics, and continuing our series on homeless youth and kids in the foster system. This week we are going to hear a young woman tell her story.

All for now – seriously, it’s time to make dinner; talk about being behind schedule!

Love to you,


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Molly Kitsmiller
    January 4, 2016

    I am so with you on getting back to the routine. My kids are dying for it, so in turn, am I! We had our first day of routine today and it was a good day. Structure is so key for my kids. I love making goals and laying plans – the hard part is changing them when it becomes necessary! Hugs to you, LIsa!

    1. Lisa Qualls
      January 5, 2016

      This morning was the first day back to school, and I wish I had done a little more to prep one of my boys. It was a little rough, but we made it!

  2. cathylank
    January 7, 2016

    Routine is so important! I have been SO RELIEVED this week that the holidays are over.

    1. Lisa Qualls
      January 7, 2016

      So true, Cathy! I think we're beginning to calm down as routine sets in.


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