The Saturday Between

Carrying the Christmas tree up through our pasture at sunset. 2014
Carrying the Christmas tree up through our pasture at sunset. 2014

I think I’ve recovered enough from Share Thanksgiving to being preparing for Advent. I need to clear space in heart, mind, and home.

It’s the Saturday between – autumn and Thanksgiving are ending, winter and Advent are beginning. It’s time to replace the bowl of decorative gourds on the dining room table with pine cones and candles.

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

If you’re still thinking about buying an Advent book, Amazon is offering 30% off any one book (up to $10 off) through November 29.

Alternately, my friend, Emily, suggested making the most of this code by using it for expensive books, like Christmas pop up books. Her top picks are The 12 Days of Christmas Anniversary Edition: A Pop-up Celebration, Snowflakes: A Pop-up Book; 5th Anniversary Edition (I want this one!), and Woodland Christmas: A Festive Wintertime Pop-Up Book.

Thanksgiving was wonderful in so many ways, and yet it was laced with sadness. Kalkidan loved a feast more than anyone I know, and she was on my mind all day. Honestly, I was just about to write, “Kalkidan loved a feast more than anyone I know, and she would have been in heaven Thursday.” Then I remembered that she actually is in heaven.

This happens to me all the time. I’m doing or saying something so normal, and then something hits and my heart squeezes in my chest, and nothing feels normal at all. December is going to be hard; there’s just no way to get around it, we have to go right through the middle of it.

This morning Beza and I are meeting with someone to discuss putting extensions in her hair. We’ve never done anything like this. Kalkidan had locs and Beza has talked about getting Sisterlocks, but extensions are a brand new thing. I’ll be sure to share pictures when she has them done.

Some of the kids want to cut our Christmas tree tomorrow. I would rather wait one more week, but they have some valid reasons for doing it now. If they promise to share the load of digging out the Christmas boxes, decorating the front porch, and still having family dinner tomorrow, I think I can manage.

Most of all, I want to hang our Jesse Tree on the dining room wall, put the ornaments in a basket on the dining room sideboard, and arrange our Advent candles in a circle to look something like an Advent wreath.

The trees outside are covered in beautiful, thick frost. The fog is so thick that I can’t seen my neighbor’s house across our pasture. Winter is here. Thanksgiving is over, Advent is beginning. One of the hardest months of our lives is about to commence.

Emmanuel, God with us.


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. Abrianna
    November 28, 2015

    I know how hard it can be. My mother went in the hospital on Oct. 31st and died of cancer on Dec. 7th. That made 2 very hard holiday seasons for us. This year marks 15 years and it still hurts. i can only imagine how losing a child at this time of year makes it that much harder.

    1. Lisa Qualls
      November 29, 2015

      Thanks for the comment, Abrianna. It's hard to even imagine decorating our tree today.

  2. Lisa Qualls
    November 29, 2015

    I'm glad you got a new Advent book and that you used the code! I used it for a book for one of my kids for Christmas.

  3. Laurel
    November 29, 2015

    Lisa . . . I don't comment often, but you are often in my thoughts and prayers.

    Yesterday, I went to a funeral . . . the 2nd funeral in 2 weeks . . . the 3rd funeral in 3 months . . . the 6th death of a family member or friend in 6 months. Jim and I lost 3 of our parents in a 6 week period this fall . . . and two of our young adult children lost 3 friends in the past 6 months, as well. Grief has been overwhelming for us in this season.

    Please pray for my friend Alicia, who lost her 22 year old son last week. He died in his sleep. I haven't yet heard the results of the autopsy. That was yesterday's funeral; my dad's funeral was last week.

    I will continue to lift your family up to the Lord, as I also pray for the families of David (22), Sophia (18), and "Woody" (21), who each went to be with the Lord in the past 6 months.

    Maybe you could write a post some time of the most helpful things that your friends did for you after your loss. What words brought comfort; what actions showed love? Sometimes we friends are left speechless, and wonder if another casserole in the freezer is really what the family needs.

    1. Lisa Qualls
      November 29, 2015

      Laurel, I've been thinking about writing about post like that. Thank you for encouraging me. I'm so sorry for all of the loss your family is experiencing.

  4. ahhodgman
    November 29, 2015

    What is the crying at Jordan?
    Who hears, O God, the prophecy?
    Dark is the season, dark our hearts
    and shut to mystery.

    Who then shall stir in this darkness,
    prepare for joy in the winter night?
    Mortal in darkness we lie down
    blindhearted, seeing no light.

    Lord, give us grace to awake us,
    to see the branch that begins to bloom;
    in great humility is hid all heaven
    in a little room.

    Now comes the day of salvation,
    in joy and terror the Word is born!
    God comes as gift into our lives;
    oh let salvation dawn!

    –Carol Christopher Drake

    1. Lisa Qualls
      November 29, 2015

      Beautiful. Thank you.


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