Out of My Comfort Zone For the Sake of Connection

Last week I pushed myself way out of my comfort zone for the sake of connection.

Being a mom for 32 years has taught me that doing what feels good to me doesn’t lead to close relationships with the people I love. This is how I found myself layered in a down jacket and snow pants spending the day in a snow-covered sagebrush meadow.

In the spirit of being a supportive mom,  I chaperoned Wogayu’s 6th-grade class trip to McCall Outdoor Science School. I’m not great at committing when I have no idea what to expect, and I was worried about two things: being cold and not sleeping.

McCall is beautiful. The drive reminded me how much I love Idaho; there’s so much room to breathe. The landscape is turning green and the views were spectacular.

I shared a cabin with seven girls I’d never met. They were excited and could have talked all night; I fell asleep before they did both nights. Tuesday morning we gathered our group of kids for a full day outdoors in the snow. Thankfully, despite it being May, I obeyed the packing list and had warm clothes and snow boots.

I loved watching the kids explore, observe, and learn – the homeschooling mama in me took it all in. I also really enjoyed seeing Wogayu in the midst of his peers as they worked together.

Leaving Wednesday was a little sad – I felt like I was just settling in and getting to know the kids. But I needed to be back for Claire’s track meet since the season is nearly over and I hadn’t made it to one yet.

As I wrote in my weekly email (which I would love to send to you):

I’m so used to thinking I can’t do things like this. For years I had babies, lots of babies, so it was an obvious “No.” Then I had children I couldn’t possibly leave and we were barely surviving. That season was followed by four years of recovering, grieving, and still dealing with significant challenges.

Here’s the good news, friend. We won’t stay in the hardest of the hard forever with our kids. God is always working, always loving us, always with us – and there is hope. I would never have believed life would become more stable and I would have more capacity. I couldn’t even lift my head to imagine a good future.

But God…

Even one year ago I wouldn’t have considered going. It still felt so hard to be with lots of other people, especially strangers and I didn’t have the capacity to do something completely new.

I’m just so glad I said, “Yes.”

SO many details to share:

Mother’s Day is coming soon and it can be bittersweet, especially for adoptive and foster moms. Melissa and I share five practical tips for navigating this complex day in episode #36 of The Adoption Connection podcast.

During the month of April, we read Faith, Hope, & Connection: A 30-Day Devotional for Adoptive and Foster Parents, together in my private Facebook group. The conversations were so sweet. If you haven’t read it yet and you need a boost of encouragement, grab a copy and join the group. The daily discussion posts are easy to find and it’s never too late to join the conversation.

I’ll be speaking at the Replanted Conference (formerly Refresh Chicago) October 24-26. Join me!

Lastly, the deadline for submitting my book manuscript is nearly here (May 13th) and I have a big week of wrapping up details in addition to celebrating Annarose’s college graduation next Saturday. It’s going to be quite a week!

Courage and hope, my friends.


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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. Amy
    May 7, 2019

    I needed to read this, Lisa! Again, you put into words what I am dealing with and made me think I might not be going crazy?? After some really busy and stressful weeks, I am worn out and in need of down time. But when do I get that?? And the differences in how my husband and I grieve causes stress and friction in our marriage.
    So, THANK YOU!
    And I am praying for you during this busy time in your life, too! Blessings to you!

    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 7, 2019

      Amy, you’re not going crazy! Grief is long, so much longer than I realized. Thank you for your prayers!

  2. Shellie
    May 11, 2019

    Lisa& Melissa,
    Thank you thank you for you hearts and insights. Up very early this morning too much stress, calling out to God for peace and insight, leaving the tough stuff at his feet and grateful I can.
    The gaming podcast was great and hope my husband will listen.
    I needed a different perspective on this issue.I really enjoyed your opposing views on gaming and finding the benefits of it! Yeah there can be good drawn out!
    Hope came in a podcast 🙂
    Then reading Lisa adventure was helpful in insightful in seeing seasons in raising children and in grieving too. Im so grateful to have listened this morning.
    God Bless you both

    1. Lisa Qualls
      May 12, 2019

      Shellie, thank you for the comment and encouragement. I’m so glad the podcast spoke to you!


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