Filling Hearts

DSC02446editsmallHow was Valentine’s Day? We kept ours very low pressure. The girls made cupcakes complete with pink frosting and sprinkles. In the evening, we took four of our youngest kids out to dinner using a gift card we got for Christmas. It’s quite rare for us to take them to a restaurant, and it was a real treat.

When we got home, we found bouquets of carnations, each in its own vase with a handwritten note attached. Samuel had gotten flowers for his younger sisters. I was so touched. The notes were personal and heartfelt – telling them how beautiful and special they are.

The girls were thrilled. It was one of those sweet moments when Russ and I felt blessed to be the parent of such a kind and loving young man.

Ladybug made me a valentine with this message on it:

Dear Mama, I love you more than I can describe. I love it when you say that I’m like you and when you tell me your stories. I’m so thankful that you’ve followed God even when it was unimaginably hard. I love that you’ve blessed many people through your writing and speaking. I love that you are the wonderful mother you are. But most of all, I love you.

I read her words and I think of all the times I’ve failed as a mother, and yet, the grace of God comes on us and I see that in my imperfection, my children still love me.

Watching our children grow up is incredible – I stand back and marvel at the goodness of God.

This morning, I think of those of you who are suffering as your children struggle. I get it. Thankfully, I have enough children that when I am in despair with one,  things are good with another. I hope you have a glimmer of hope today. You are loved.

How deep the Father’s love for us, How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son,To make a wretch His treasure.

Thank you to Lisa V. for this video:

How was your Valentine’s day? Good? Terrible? Share with us.


This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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. Elizabeth
    February 17, 2014

    So sweet!! My older brother also sent my mom, my sisters, and myself flowers. I so appreciate sibling relationships!

  2. Emily
    February 17, 2014

    Samuels the best. And so is ladybug. And so are you!!! Love you! (And I had a great valentines day :))

  3. Heidi
    February 17, 2014

    Valentine's Day was exceptionally hard and exceptionally beautiful for me this year. I was well prepared for my students to be off…off because of the anticipation of our Valentine's celebration, off because I know for many of them a day celebrating the ones you love and whom love you can leave them feeling lost…it brings a deep sense of confusion and pain. I am SO glad I had prepared my heart because my students spiraled hard despite all of the love and structure I provided them. Friday was full of tears, hiding under desks (they are 9 years old), fights, tantrums, and engines running WAY too high. I did my best to give all 88 what they needed. I survived but my co-workers didn't fair as well and I always feel a sense of guilt wishing I could have done/been more to all of them.

    The highlight is that I am momma to 3…my name may not be officially on any paperwork but I am everything a momma is to them; I am their keeper and protector a majority of the week and almost every weekend… they are my world. They gave me roses, and a coffee mug, and a sweet card with handwritten notes that read things like, "You are the best mom ever and I love you." Be. Still. My. Heart. It was the first time they had referred to me outright as mom (something I would never suggest, hint at, or ask for). It brought me to tears. Friday night, I got to share Jesus with my one who struggles greatly…a beautiful lesson on grace and mercy. It was a perfect in its own way, exhausting, painful, joyous day.

    I am so excited to be going to Refresh next week – I made it a priority to leave my responsibilities behind and take this opportunity to be around people who get it. It is especially divine timing for many reasons and I cannot wait! <3

  4. Acceptance with Joy
    February 17, 2014

    Valentines day had it's very good moments and very hard moments. Flowers and messages of love were the good. The insanity of the screaming and violence of my child previous to the local elementary school principal and vice principal coming to our house to drag his behind to school was not so good… BUT I am grateful for the backing and support of the school. I will never forget this valentines day. Kind of like I will never forget our last Thanksgiving day (where my son ran away and was picked up by the sheriff. ) I never dreamed when we set out to adopt that life would be such a wild ride….

  5. Joelle
    February 17, 2014

    Valentines may traditionally be thought of as a couple's holiday but for us it has always been more of a family time. Each year we have a shrinking family and this year not one child was home–made for a different feel. After a very busy day out and not getting home by the time I intended I pulled together a quick meal (quite nice thanks to the gift of Ohmaha steaks from our new son-in-law for Christmas) and my husband and I relaxed in front of the Olympics. It may have not been "romantic" but as the years go by just being together becomes enough! I look forward to many more "together" moments as the years go by. And it was exciting to think that our newly married daughter was celebrating her first Valentines Day with her special someone.

  6. Paige
    February 18, 2014

    Valentines day was a tough one, we took our son to residential treatment. He has RAD and a variety of other things working against him. My husband and I have not celebrated, although we did exchange cards and small gifts. We are just not much in the mood for celebrating right now. Our other kiddos are struggling too, attempting to find a new normal, while facing their own fears of abandonment and pain. There have been some bright spots, family and friends have rallied around us, prayed for us, encouraged us.

    1. Lisa Qualls
      February 18, 2014

      Paige, I'm so sorry. We took our daughter just before my birthday and it was a very hard couple of months. I just couldn't celebrate or find happiness for awhile, despite profound relief – which I felt guilty even admitting.

  7. Pamela
    February 20, 2014

    Oh, what a sweet big brother! I love that he left flowers and notes for his sisters!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

I accept the Privacy Policy