Merry (almost) Christmas


Merry (almost) Christmas, friends.

My great joy is that all of our children are home. Hannah was the last to arrive;  her flight was delayed for many hours, but she finally made it. I’m so thankful that we will be together for Christmas, and probably more importantly, on the 27th, the anniversary of our accident, and Kalkidan going to be with Jesus.

This is the most emotionally complicated Christmas I’ve experienced. You know I love Advent and Christmas, but this year I don’t know how to feel. I’m afraid that I won’t be joyful enough for my children, or if I’m too joyful, it means that I’ve forgotten Kalkidan.

And how do we get through the 27th? I’m so glad that it is a Sunday, which provides us with structure for the day. We know what to do on Sunday – we get up and go to church, we worship, we come home and have family dinner. The comfort of routine will be a gift to us. Please pray for us, that the Lord will be powerfully present and He will lead us through the day.

Time is short this morning, but I want to write a quick post before I close myself down for Christmas. I know I’ve blogged very little these past weeks, so this may come as no surprise, but I’m intentionally taking the week from Christmas to New Year’s off (with the possible exception of the 27th). I will be posting on Instagram (you can follow me!) and my One Thankful Mom Facebook page (you can “Like” it!), which are both lots of fun and don’t take time away from being fully present with my family.

Now, for a very quick post:

*Russ and I went to San Francisco last week. It was a good trip, different than I expected, but good just the same. He worked long hours while we were gone, so I had a lot time on my own. I also had major tech challenges which made it nearly impossible to write. I spent a lot of time in the Apple Store, and they got me fixed up, but it is abundantly clear that I must buy a new laptop. My current one is nine years old – can you believe it?

*While in Macys, I walked by a big display of Fiestaware. The bright orange dishes always make me think of Kalkidan and usually make me happy. Most mornings I drink my coffee in a bright orange mug. That day, I began to cry and had to turn away.

*I’m reminded that we never know what is happening in a person’s heart and mind.

*That tearful moment was redeemed yesterday when we loaded my new poppy (orange) platter with seasoned chicken. It made me think of Kalkidan – her vibrant personality, her passion for cooking, and her love of eating. I know it’s only a platter, but it made me feel happy.

*My favorite part of our trip was Friday night when we walked from our hotel on Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf. We talked, laughed, ate good food, and got soaked in a rainstorm.

*This morning our house is full in all the best ways. When the family wakes up, we’ll have our traditional Christmas Eve breakfast of cornflake sundaes (I’ll post a picture on Instagram), eggs, and sausage.

*We have tons of cooking and baking planned for today; thankfully some of my kids love to cook!

*Amazingly, all of the gifts are wrapped and ready to go under the tree.

*We’ll go to church at 4:00 and then have Christmas Eve dinner, lighting the Advent candles one more time as we sing O Come, O Come Emmanuel. Tomorrow morning we’ll light the white candle in the center and sing Joy to the World.

I hope your Christmas is filled with joy. If it is a sad or complicated time, I’m right there with you. Jesus came for all of it – the joy and the sorrow. He meets us in our fear and walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death.

Our good shepherd – Emmanuel, God with us.

P.S. This book is going to be my morning companion through 2016. Would you like to join me?

[This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.]


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. Ann Z.
    December 24, 2015

    I will join you in 2016! Just downloaded this to my kindle. Blessings to you and your family today and in the days ahead. May God light your path and lead you boldly through this season of joy and great sorrow for you.

  2. Pam
    December 24, 2015

    Praying for your quiet and your busy, your heart and your mind, you, your family, and all the memories of all the years. God in all His Perfection is with you. Blessed Christmas dear one.

  3. Melissa Joy
    December 26, 2015

    Mrs. Qualls, I just wanted to say that this weekend, I am keeping your family in particular prayer. May our Lord who came & who is coming again, show His God-with-you presence in special ways tomorrow.

  4. Chris
    December 27, 2015

    Been thinking of you all week-knowing this is HARD-all of it-don't worry about being too joyful, no one expects that. Just getting through this hard first anniversary/Christmas and all the memories will be a major job-but HE is able:)
    we just lost my mother in law on Nov 15-Christmas was just not a huge focus for us this year, we just had to walk through the days doing the next thing.
    Blesssings on your blogging sabatical

  5. Jennifer
    December 30, 2015

    Sending belated merry wishes to you and your family. I hope the Christmas season held much joy for you and your loved ones. Although I didn't know Kalkidan, except through your writing, I very much remembered her on the 27th and said a prayer for peace for all and the comfort of remembering her light and spice.


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