My New Year Project

The people we love grace the wall of our dining room. We change the photos each year after Christmas.

I am not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, but as I think about 2008 and what is in store for us in 2009, I desire to become a more prayerful person. Above all I want to pray more with Russ and more intentionally as a family. This year was one of our best for keeping up with Advent readings, so we have already established a good routine at the dinner table which we would like to keep going.

Through our adoptions, we have been blessed to make many new friends. One family from Texas has become particularly dear to us. Some of their children even live in our town which has given us the opportunity to meet our Texas friends in person. We also were blessed to visit their children and photograph them when we were in Ethiopia, giving us a special bond. They are still waiting for a successful court date, along with some other dear friends, and we know all too well how difficult the wait can be.

Last fall I mailed Honeybee’s adoption announcement to them along with a family picture, and my friend emailed:

… your family now resides in our prayer journal on the 25th of each month. Your photographs have taken their place in what would more accurately be called a scrapbook of sorts. Each page designates a day for a family/families for specific prayer during our family worship.

“Wow,” I thought, “they pray for us every single month on the 25th, that is so amazing.” Then I thought, “A photo prayer journal like that is an awesome, wonderful, fantastic idea. I want to make one!”

It has been brewing in my mind ever since and I decided to make it a priority project for the New Year. I wasn’t sure how I wanted it to look. At first I thought I would use a simple spiral-bound scrapbook, but then I wouldn’t be able to change the pictures from year to year. So I decided I would use a three ring binder with page protectors in it and mount the photos on paper. My girls vetoed that idea because it wasn’t nice enough (but it certainly would have been inexpensive and simple).

Yesterday I went to Michaels and settled on a reddish 12 x 12 album with slip in pages. I took all of last year’s Christmas pictures off the bulletin board in the dining room and organized them loosely according to family, friends, etc. I put 30 pages in the album, one for each day of the month, and wrote the number in the upper right corner of each page. Then I began putting photos on the pages. Day one features my parents and my two sisters’ families. Day 2 features Russ’ parents and one sister with her family. Day three is set aside for another sister and all of her children,and so on. Most of the remaining pages will be dedicated to our friends or other people for whom we pray. I have one page for missionaries and another for our pastor and other pastors we know. I plan to have a page for leaders, such as our president and state officials, and another for our friends in the military, local police officers, firefighters, and paramedics (especially our friend Gretchen!).

It is a work in progress, but here are some things I have already learned:

The album I chose is too big to fit on the bookshelf in the dining room. It is going to have to lie flat on the top, which is unfortunate. If I were going to start over, I would choose a smaller album.

The pages are probably larger than I need, although I plan to keep adding photos to the pages over time. Yep, I probably should have chosen a smaller album.

I am having a hard time deciding how many people to put on each page, so I am going to place the photos on each of the remaining 22 pages before I glue any more in. I was trying to be casual and not over-plan this, but I can’t decide if I am putting too many people on a page and will end up with half an album of blank pages, or if I’m going to end up with too many families left at the end of the month.

Here is the plan: each night toward the end of dinner, we’ll get our prayer album and Bible down from the top of the bookshelf and dedicate a few minutes to pray for the family/families who grace the “page of the day” after we read our Bible. I am very excited about this project and hope that my children will grow in their passion to pray for others.

I love learning from one another. I have gotten some great responses to Tisha’s questions which I hope to post tomorrow.

Always learning,


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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. Laurel
    January 2, 2009

    LOVE this idea. Thanks so much for sharing it.


  2. Shonni
    January 2, 2009

    What a wonderful idea…I have so many little ones, and I can see that a picture would really help them think about who we are praying for!

  3. Virginia
    January 3, 2009

    Love the idea and will do it with my kids. What a great way to put all the Christmas photos we receive to good use! I love your blog – it is a bright spot in my day and encourages me to persevere with homeschooling and managing my family. Thanks so much. On another note – check out Every Orphan’s Hope ( if you haven’t heard of it yet. It has a mission similar to AHope and would be an encouragement to you. Blessings! Virginia

  4. Cassc
    January 4, 2009

    This is a great idea, I’m so glad you shared!

  5. Cat and Mark
    January 4, 2009

    What a cool idea. I’m sure it will turn out great – don’t be too hard on yourself. 🙂


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