How Parenting Children From Hard Places Can Be Blessings In Disguise.

*Editor’s Note- This is a guest post by our good friend Lisa Qualls. She is a writer, speaker, mom of 12, and the creator of Thankful Moms, where she writes about motherhood, adoption, faith, and grief. Lisa is a mom by birth and adoption. Along with her husband Russ, their adoption journey has been marked by joy as well as challenges of trauma and attachment. You can visit her blog here, and connect with her on Facebook here.

Holidays are wonderful family times, but holidays can also be are hard – especially for families with kids from “hard places.” The pressure of special events, increased anxiety, and disruption of schedules due to school vacations, can sometimes bring about true crisis.

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Four years ago, I wrote a post to my readers on Christmas Eve. It was early in the morning; my family was sleeping and snow was falling outside the windows in the pre-dawn hour. I’d been silent, unable to write for several days as I tried to make sense of the crisis we found ourselves in.

Discovering ‘A Different Beautiful’ On The Parenting Journey.

*Editor’s Note- This is a guest post from our good friend Courtney Westlake. She is the author of the newly released book A Different Beautiful. She lives in Illinois with her husband Evan and two children, Connor and Brenna. After Brenna was born with a severe skin disorder, Courtney began chronicling family life and experiences raising a child with physical differences and special needs on her blog. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Sometimes the life we dreamed of having when we first started out on the parenting journey doesn’t turn out the way we envisioned it. In the midst of this, there’s an opportunity to discover a different beautiful.

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When my husband, Evan, and I found out we were expecting a little girl, joining her big brother Connor in our family, we had a vision of pigtails. We pictured a little girl chasing her brother around the house, with blond pigtails bouncing on the sides of her head.

Because I’ve Been There, I’m Asking…”Mind Your Own Business!”

Gossip hurts. Gossip is no fun and it tears someone down quicker than the blink of an eye. My family has been through the ringer with this one. That’s why I’m asking politely…please mind your own business!

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I see my children tense before I even know why. We’ve been snuggled up on the couch for the last hour enjoying a family movie night. My youngest has built a nest of blankets so cozy and warm I feel like I could stay snuggled up there forever. Without warning, his body becomes ridged. I notice that my older son has his fists clenched firmly. My daughter has pulled her blanket tighter around her. My hearing seems to be fading in this fourth decade of my life so it takes me a moment to hear the approaching sirens, I too feel my heart skip a beat.

How Do You Get Through Placing Your Child In Residential Treatment?

Season 4, Episode 31- The Honestly Speaking Podcast

We’ve personally been down this road 4 separate times with one of our kids. It never gets easier. How do you make it through the devastation of placing your child in residential treatment?

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In today’s episode of Honestly Speaking, our co-host Nicole Goerges turns the microphone on us, and interviews us over this topic because we’ve walked this road several times in the past. It never gets easy, even when the absence of your child creates peace for the rest of your family.

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5 Things I Learned From A Weekend Away With My Teenage Daughters.

Not that long ago, my two teenage daughters and I headed out for a father-daughter weekend camp. I knew it would be awesome. What I didn’t know was how much I would learn from my time with them.

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The rain has picked up and lightning flashes across the darkening sky forming momentary webs of light that stretch across the expanse of the Indiana sky above us. Our van shakes as we zoom down the expressway. With each thunder clap my 14-year-old daughter jumps in the passenger seat. Eventually she reaches across the center space between my seat and hers, and clutches my hand. She squeezes tightly. Even at 14. She’s been running to my lap or reaching for my hand during storms or scary movies since she learned to walk.

Yes, You Can Find A Place Of Rest When You’re Completely Exhausted!

Yawning, yawning, and more yawning. If that describes you, we want you to know- You’re not alone! There’s a way to find rest and it’s not as difficult as you think it is.

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The year was 2004 and we were the parents of a 2 year old. We had adopted her at birth, she was healthy and happy, and almost like clockwork, she began to sleep through the night at 3 months old. “This parenting gig is easy,” we thought. Boy were we in for a rude awakening (literally).

How To Find Rest When You’re Completely Exhausted.

When we first started down the foster and adoptive road, we were energized and excited. But exhaustion quickly kicked in and left us defeated. We soon wondered: Will we ever find our way back to a place of rest?

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I remember staring at our newborn daughter, who was screaming at the top of her lungs at 3am, and begging her to fall back asleep. Of course, being a newborn, she wasn’t listening to me. I yawned one of those out-of-control yawns. I hadn’t seen that hour of the night since college. I soon realized this was just the beginning.

10 Reasons You Don’t Want To Steal My Van

We’re proud of our big family. We’re equally as proud of our big 12-passenger van. It’s helped us cart our beautiful family all over the U.S. But recently, something interesting happened…

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This is NOT our van. This is what our van SHOULD look like.

A few weeks ago I went into a local coffee shop, grabbed a cup of Jo and returned to my van. I unlocked the door and climbed into the driver’s seat. I wrinkled my nose at the smell of stale smoke. It was not the smell of a fresh cigarette; it was the leftover lingering stench of a chain smoker’s clothes. A chill ran through me and I placed my bag on the floor and my coffee in the cup holder. I climbed across all the rows of seats to the very back to make sure there wasn’t a person connected to that odor. No one was there. I climbed back to the front and looked all around the parking lot.