Planting Trees

When my children were all little, the first five born in fewer than eight years, it seemed the flurry of diapers, spit-up on my shoulder, and sleepless nights would always be my life.  I couldn’t imagine a day when I would have deep conversations with my children and need to reach up when I hugged them.   Today, I am very blessed to have children spanning twenty years, from 24 to four; it affords me a perspective that often makes me consider how children grow.

Twelve years ago when we bought our home, there were three very small maples planted in the front yard.  It seemed it would be ages before they amounted to anything.  Then one spring they offered a tiny circle of shade in the middle of the afternoon.  Each year they’ve grown and become more established, their branches reaching farther. This summer they shaded our front porch on hot days, and today, Sunshine gathered Eby and Little Man for a picnic under them.

Raising children is a lot like planting trees, isn’t it? We think they will always be small, depending upon us for their needs to be met, thinking it will be so long before those trees grow tall.  I’ll never forget the night I walked in my older boys’ room to cover them before going to bed and realized there was a young man, not a boy, sleeping in the top bunk.  It happens, friends, they really do grow up.  One day I was comforting my young son, and not many years later, he put his arm around my shoulder to comfort me.

I love the music of  Andrew Peterson and listen to it often.  His song, Planting Trees, speaks deeply to me as I pour myself into mothering my children.

We chose the spot, we dug the hole
We laid the maples in the ground to have and hold
As Autumn falls to Winter’s sleep
We pray that somehow in the Spring
The roots grow deep

And many years from now
Long after we are gone
These trees will spread their branches out
And bless the dawn…

Happy Friday, friends. Love your children, the babies, the middle crowd, the teens, and those wonderful big kids.

#161 – 170  giving thanks

Samuel taking Sunshine out for lunch

Sweet Pea’s first offer of a residency interview

Dimples’ plans for Saturday

Noah talking economics with Russ

Rusty leading worship at a youth event

Ladybug playing keyboards and singing with the worship team

Mimi’s beautiful heart

our small county fair – free!

two medical appointments done

meatloaf and baked potatoes on the first rainy day in ages


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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. Shilo Taylor
    September 17, 2011

    Perfect timing as I'm held hostage by the rain with my four children 6yrs and under (while my husband is out of town) today. I'll soak up the noise knowing one day I might actually have a quiet house (gasp!) 🙂

  2. Kris
    September 29, 2011

    Thank you for this reminder.


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