Make a Mistake Doing Something

I read an article this week about a man who was dying of cancer.  He talked about people being afraid of saying the wrong thing, or not coming to see him for fear of awkwardness.  He spoke of old friends who stayed away because they felt it had been too long and reconnecting in his last months would be strange. Then he said something that really struck me, 

 If you’re going to make a mistake, make a mistake doing something.

How often do we neglect to reach out because we fear that somehow we’ll embarrass ourselves, it will be awkward, or perhaps we even fear we’ll say something that might cause the other person pain?

I think this applies to friends in all kinds of circumstances – not only the dying.  How often do we hear news of a divorce, a struggling child, an illness, or some other situation in the life of an old friend, a person we know in our community, or somewhat distant relative, and we say nothing because it seems too uncomfortable?  Maybe we can’t change the situation or even help in a tangible way, but we can care, we can pray.  How will they know we care if we say nothing?

Do you need to make a call, send an email, or put a note in the mail?  Who needs to hear from  you today?  Can you share with us?

#791 – 800 giving thanks

my father’s birthday today

Russ’ mom’s birthday today

my godson’s birthday today

meaningful conversations with Russ

a friend who is suffering, and knows I care

Dimples spending the night at Aunt Michele’s

Ladybug’s enthusiasm for life and her Leap Day festivities

Honeybee’s experiments with her natural hair

participating in the development of a resource for kids with HIV

unexpected words that speak truth into our lives


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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. Marissa
    March 1, 2012

    Wise words, and very timely for me. Last night I felt convicted that I had neglected a friend in pain because I had no idea how to be there for her. I'm bringing her flowers today and begging for forgiveness. I'm so thankful for the things that keep us humble and the grace of God.

  2. Emily
    March 1, 2012

    The director of my grad program always says, "Oh, just hurry up and fail already!". She means with reflecting in a counseling session, but it's a good life reminder too :-).

    Honeybee's experiments with her natural hair- is that what's in the pic of all the kids with Russ in the snow? Beautiful.

  3. Lorene
    March 1, 2012

    I can't agree more with this "If you are going to make a mistake, make a mistake doing something". This week I have went through some heart wrenching moments. I'm thankful for those who have/were not afraid to reach out and taking the risk to be open and vulnerable to provide me with resources to get through. What an impact it has had within my life. The unexpected people, people I knew and those I didn't know, who selflessly were willing to share their support through their love, time and sharing their hearts/stories to give me encouragement and guidance. God truly is amazing, He knows who to place in our lives! This experience has confirmed and encouraged me to also be aware and willing to share with those around me.. strangers or not!

  4. Erin
    March 1, 2012

    Hi Lisa!
    I read your blog but don't generally comment….I am a lurker at heart 🙂
    I notice you said that Honeybee is experimenting with her natural hair – I wanted to let her know that I noticed the difference in the last picture you posted and it looks SO AWESOME!!
    Noticeable in a very good way! 🙂
    🙂 Erin H

  5. Diane
    March 1, 2012

    After reading your blog post, yesterday, I am reminded of your social worker. I wonder if she felt she was doing something, never realizing years later your hurts were her mistakes, maybe? Yet, in the moment of her life, she felt she was doing something.

    More than anything, I was most thankful to read how forgiveness has washed over you towards this woman. While I was praying last night I thought of you, I thought of her, and, I thought of Forgiveness, all of ours paid for on the Cross. I was so moved and sooooo thankful you could forgive.

    As always, your blog continues to provide Hope to me how so many of us who have such different life stories or journeys in many ways are very, very similar!!

  6. Kaci
    March 1, 2012

    I love that quote… Thanks for sharing!

  7. dorothy
    March 1, 2012

    on this one….already said thanks to our mental health worker and PCA team…I don't always like what they do but they are on this journey together with us – regardless of how I 'feel' in the moment. 🙂

  8. Mary
    March 1, 2012

    I LOVE Honeybee's experiments with her natural hair and I am privately wishing I had all of that hair. It is just beautiful and she looks so grown up and confident and beautiful. I was remembering a post several months or a year? back with the title, "Honeybee's Happy Hair." And when I saw her in the snow, I thought–now THAT is happy hair.

  9. Hannah Tucker
    March 1, 2012

    I struggle with "doing something"; I'm enough of an introvert that it takes more for me even to comment when I appreciate someone's words. It's hard to realize – even when it's so obvious – that friendship is a two-way street: that if you are built up by a friend's words or actions, that they likely need the same from you, especially when they're going through an uncomfortable or painful time. Thank you for addressing this subject.

  10. Angela
    March 1, 2012

    I can so relate to this quote. We have been through some hard experiences ( losing a daughter to cancer at age 4) and there were times I felt like people avoided us, even after her death because they didn't know what to say. Sometimes you don't even have to say words. Just a hug to show you care, a gift, etc says so much without words as well!! I remember this now for myself, to reach out even though I may not always know what is the RIGHT thing! I just want to show that I care and I am thinking of others dealing with hard experiences as well!!

  11. Shari8063
    March 1, 2012

    This is excellent! I have both failed others and been left on my own in painful struggle. Because of my own struggle I am learning to approach others in hardship. When I don't what to say, I tell them that I wish I had words to express my sorrow but I don't. They usually appreciate the honesty and the approach. Sometimes it feels hard because it is hard.

  12. KCW
    March 4, 2012

    My husband and I have been struggling through life decisions and this came at the perfect time. We don't want to avoid making mistakes so badly that we fail to do anything with ourselves.

    Thanks for your willingness to write & blog. I've just started reading this (married only 5 months & hoping to adopt and have a large family) and you have inspired me to really pursue this dream of being a mom to hurt kids (despite the fact that I WILL make mistakes). Thanks for sharing your gift of writing — it builds up the saints!


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