Give Thanks Always

November 2022

[This is my monthly newsletter for November 2022. If you’d like to subscribe, shoot me an email at]

This year I’m determined to get ahead of the holiday rush. So far I’m only two months behind schedule. I had big plans to do a massive pre-holiday Costco shopping trip this morning, but my shopping buddy woke with a painful shoulder and arm so we’re delayed. 

In good news, this gives me an unexpected opportunity to write to you. 

Before I forget, if you are an adoptive parent and you’ve ever considered joining The Village (and Hope Circle), we are offering free open-house gatherings in December 2022. Drop in and check it out!

 A Few Highlights

I spent two weeks in Boston with my daughter and son-in-law who just had their first baby. They temporarily relocated to give birth in Boston so my granddaughter could be treated at Boston Children’s for multiple congenital heart defects.

This has been a challenge of endurance—joy and hope mingle with exhaustion and fear. They want nothing more than for baby B to be well enough for them to take her home where her local pediatric cardiology team will continuously monitor her.

Please pray for baby B and her incredible parents.

As we move through November, I invite you to join me in reflection with three questions. Three questions for November:

1. What is life-giving to you right now?
2. What do you feel thankful for in November?
3. Name one thing you’re learning.

I’ll go first. 

1. What is life-giving to you right now?

I recently downloaded this Spotify playlist to keep me company as I work. You can search Spotify for Tsh Oxenreider and her playlist Cozy Writing or try this link. I generally opt for as much silence as possible while I write, but I’m beginning to think instrumental music helps me focus. I also enjoy this playing in the background when I’m not writing. Let me know if you like it!
2. What do you feel thankful for in November?

I originally wrote this question as, “What do you feel deeply thankful for in November?” But that word, deeply, felt too important and I was stumped, so I’ll lighten the thinking load for all of us.

Walking in the dark, that’s what I feel thankful for right now. I love walking and am most consistent when I tie it to another reason for leaving my house. I live outside of town and while I can go down through my pasture and across my neighbor’s driveway to walk on a rural road (as opposed to the highway at the end of my driveway) it often feels like too much effort, especially once we get snow. As a result, I generally drive into town and walk my dog along a nice path.

One of my sons recently started going to football conditioning at 5:00 four afternoons a week. My initial thought was, “That’s a terrible time! How am I going to make dinner?” Then I realized I could get dinner started, drop him off, take a walk, and make it back to finish dinner before everyone got home.

But it’s dark at 5:00, so I wear a reflective hat and vest over my black down jacket and I just got a fantastic lighted dog leash. I’m surprised to find I like walking in the dark, it feels like comfortable solitude.
3. Name one thing you’re learning.

Friends, I had no idea how hard it is to have a baby in the NICU, or in our case, the Cardiac ICU. I knew it would be exhausting, but it’s far more than that. The days are incredibly long with little to no sleep and it is hard to even eat. It got better once we figured out how to order food and trade in and out of the room to eat in the family lounge. Until then it seemed like we subsisted on packets of peanut butter and crackers for far too long after B was born.

There were families at the hospital from all over the world. The depth of the loneliness of being with your child in another part of the world, away from all family, friends, and support is more than I can imagine even after witnessing it. Some families are there for months.

Thankfully, I was able to be with my little family for two weeks and my son-in-law’s mother has continued to stay after I had to leave. I hope to help again once they are back in their home and adjusting to life with a new baby.
How about you? Please hit reply to this email to share your thoughts with me. I wish I could reply to every email, but know I read each one and I’m so delighted to hear from you.

One last thing, if you celebrate Advent (which I love) remember to get your Advent candles! The first day of Advent is Sunday, November 27.

Remember, you’re a good parent doing good work, and I think the world of you.

With love and hope,


P.S. If you’d like to connect with me more frequently, I invite you to join The Hope Circle, where I spend time with the most incredible group of adoptive moms I know. The Hope Circle is now part of The Village which offers even more resources. If you have questions, hit reply and let me know.


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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.

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