Mangoes in Kenya


It’s the beginning of a new year and as it stretches forward, full of possibilities, I yearn for a year that is fruitful.

I’ve been sitting with the word fruitful for a few weeks thinking about what it might look like for me as a wife, mother, and woman who loves Jesus.

We only have so many hours in our days to live the lives we’ve been given.  I don’t want to squander them, but I also don’t want to guard them so tightly that there is no room for joy and generosity.  I want to (once again) search through the good to find the best for my family.

For Russ, being fruitful may mean traveling to Kenya, which brings an extra measure of work for me.  But I give myself to the increased load knowing that Russ’ gifts are being multiplied as he works alongside his Kenyan partners providing water to those who need it most.

For our family, being fruitful may take the form of continued healing as we settle more deeply into the family God has molded us to be.  I hope it means more time intentionally spent enjoying each other, praying for each other, and serving together.  A number of my older children are in a season of life when they are asking God how they can use the talents He has given them to live a life that pleases Him.  I pray that in 2011 they will hear more clearly and maybe even know a bit more certainly the direction their time and education should go.

For me?  As a wife, I want to give myself more fully to supporting Russ in his work and ministry.  As a mother, I need to spread the love around a little more, laugh more, and be fully present for my kids. I want to deepen my relationship with Jesus and with friends, and continue on this unexpected journey into ministry to other adoptive families.  I have some special opportunities coming up, and I need to figure out a little bit better how to manage them alongside my family, homeschooling, home, and A Bushel and A Peck responsibilities.

Most of all, I want 2011 to be fruitful — with a little joy tossed in for good measure.


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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. Emily
    January 21, 2011

    I am about to head out on a good hour long drive and stopped in to check a couple favorite blogs. So glad I read your post- I can pray for you as I drive 🙂

  2. Lori
    January 23, 2011

    I just stumbled upon your blog today but I wanted to say a heartfelt THANK YOU because even though Im not a mom, I can identify with what I've read so far regarding trauma and attachment because I have been there.
    In fact, some of what you've written hits so close to home it brings tears to my eyes
    I was sexually abused by my stepdad for many years. I thought that was "it"and that was bad enough but recently i'e begun remembering earlier abuse by a former boyfriend of my mom's. My mom and I are close-but it's a surface closeness. I will not cry in front of her. I do not share my pain even when I've been on the brink of being hospitalized for suicidal depression. I was taught to take care of others at my own expense very early on. That one post where you told another commenter that it is good she can cry in her mom's arms is so foreign to me. Being rocked is also foreign. I know my mom loves me but she did not protect me.
    Bless you as you continue to allow the Lord to work through you,

    1. One Thankful Mom
      January 24, 2011

      Lori, I am so very sorry for your experience. I am reminded of just how important it is to listen to our children and protect them. They cannot defend themselves. Sadly, for many of us, our children were unprotected for years before they came into our families. You know more clearly than many the vulnerability they faced and the brokenness so many bear. Thank you for leaving a comment and letting me know that you have found my blog helpful.

      1. Lori
        January 24, 2011

        Thank YOU for taking a moment in your busy schedule to write back… It's amazing sometimes how the old "stuff" gets in the way! I found myself thinking that perhaps I'd scared you by sharing just the little I did and I was "beating myself up" for it lol. I wish…back when I was first considering adoption myself, that I'd been brave enough to take that leap of faith. That is my biggest regret in life –not having a child or children. Especially now, reading these testimonies of just how MANY orphans are out there that need love and need Jesus! I could give them one(love) and guide them in their walk with the Other (The Lord Jesus) Thanks for your bold testimony and your willingness to share it! Lori

        1. One Thankful Mom
          January 24, 2011

          Lori, you are welcome. I'm just slow at responding to comments sometimes. I'm even worse when it comes to email — despite my best intentions.


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