Giving Thanks and Looking Forward to Advent

Thanksgiving week, and I have so much to be thankful for – so much, yet I woke yesterday morning wondering how I will push myself to plan a holiday dinner and carry the weight of creating a special time for my family.

I have fond memories of Thanksgivings spent with cousins and my Nana, playing cards for hours, the dads watching football in the basement, olives on our fingers as we waited for dinner. And the food – so much good food.

fall grasses centerpiece

I miss my enthusiasm and sense of direction. Will it come back? I hope so – I think so.

Grief is a wild beast; an unpredictable, heavy weight pressing on me.

My spirits were lifted yesterday when Noah and Katie, together with Katie’s sister, Molly, came for family dinner. Russ and Claire were at a 4H fundraiser and I didn’t feel like cooking a big dinner, but when three big kids showed up, willing to help cook and keep me company in the kitchen, I got motivated. It was fun being together and by the time they left, I felt much better about Thanksgiving.

Best of all, Advent is coming this Sunday. Although sorrow weighs on our hearts, we look toward the coming of Jesus, our savior who came to be with us in the midst of it.

In our accident, in the crashing of metal and crushing of our bodies, Jesus was there. In the ambulance and hospital, Jesus was there. In the unimaginable moments of the funeral home and gathering later with hundreds of friends and family to celebrate Kalkidan, Jesus was there. In the months of recovery and healing my wounded body, and in the nearly two years of healing our broken hearts, Jesus is still with us.

My friend, Sarah, reminded me of these words from the Christmas hymn, Good Christian Men Rejoice,

Christ was born for this
Christ was born for this

Indeed, He was born for this; He came to be with us, to join us in our brokenness and bring us to wholeness.

We’re slowly finding our way, and this Thanksgiving is one more step in our journey. We’ll miss Hannah in Minnesota, Isaiah in St. Louis, and of course, Kalkidan.

We’ll gather close with the ones we love right here – and give thanks.

In happy news, we’ve added Create Your Own necklaces to the Thankful Moms Etsy store. You choose a word bar with the phrase that means the most to you, then add charms and beads, to create a one-of-a-kind necklace. I can’t wait to see what people create!

We’ve also added two new phrases for cuffs and bracelets: “wholehearted,” and “in Christ alone.”

You might like my recent post, Four Simple Advent Traditions for Everyone. I share simple ideas and free resources for celebrating Advent as well as many books I’ve used over the years.  Yesterday I added a link to the free download for the Jesse tree ornaments I use with my family.

jesse-tree-ornaments edit


I don’t know if there will be time to write another post this week, but I’ll be sure to post on my Thankful Moms Facebook page, and maybe even on Instagram.

I love watching for deals on Amazon to share with you – especially on Black Friday. You won’t find me in the stores, I’ll be home in comfy clothes hanging out with my family, eating pie for breakfast (why yes, we will) and shopping for bargains at the same time.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, friends. I wish you could stop over for pie and coffee.



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. Mandy Poulter
    November 23, 2016

    I have been reading your blog for sometime. I come from, and now I have, a large adoptive family. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your heart and being such an encouragement to so many. Our family lost our seven-year-old son in February. We adopted him when he was three from Taiwan. He had complex special needs. He touched our hearts and lives in ways we could never imagine. He truly is one of the greatest blessings God could’ve ever given me. On the day he went to heaven or hearts and lives were shattered. We are still trying to find ways to pick up the pieces. I just want to let you know that your posts have brought encouragement to me. They also help me not feel so alone in this mothers journey of grief. We know God is there through it all. We cling to the hope and promises that we will see her son, Keaton, again someday in heaven. I just wanted to let you know that you have been an encouragement to me, as someone who is also walking greif’s journey. I just received my bracelet from your Etsy store. I chose the one that says “Courage, dear heart”. I love the saying. Thank you so much! I wish you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Lisa Qualls
      November 23, 2016

      Mandy, thank you so much for writing. Sometimes I worry about how often I write about grief, but this is my reality – this is my truth. It’s good to know that I’m not alone and you understand me too. I wear, “courage dear, heart” every day. I need to see it every day. I know I’m loved by my Father, and I also know I need the courage that only He can give. Many blessings to you and your family as you walk through Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  2. Virginia Max
    December 1, 2016

    Just wanted to share the blog of a friend who lost her son five years ago. She writes poignantly about grief and has been a huge blessing to so many who are grieving. Wishing God’s richest blessings and joy to you and your special family.

    1. Lisa Qualls
      December 1, 2016

      Thank you, Virginia.


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