grace given

grace given

Click on the words above to see a short video, then continue reading.

We recently changed our cable subscription back to basic. I not so silently mourned the loss of my beloved show “House Hunters.” It was the show that I loved to hate. It singlehandedly fueled feelings of  discontent  with my home.

It is videos like this one that spur me to get real and quit whining about the mismatched woodwork, half installed tile on the bathroom floor, and doors riddled with holes found within my home.

The joy shown on the faces of the men, women and children in this video, in the midst of their poverty, can only be the result of God given grace. I should be so lucky.


wine anyone?

Give a unique gift that is as beautiful as it is functional.

Hand crafted stone coasters:  Set of 4 $17

–Each tile measures approx 4″ x 4″

–Each tile is unique, therefore variations in color and symmetry are to be expected.

–Felt pads on the bottom protect surfaces

–Each design is sealed with several coats of clear polyurethane

The following designs are available:

Wine bottles

Wine 1


Side view

Birds 2

Yellow Finches

Birds 1


Go Big Red!




Please contact me at the email address below to place your order and arrange for pickup.

I can usually create coasters to fit any theme choice. Contact me to discuss special orders.

Some proceeds from the sales will help to support my youngest son’s mission trip to Guatemala, scheduled for July 2014.

biological bias?

During my last year of grad school, I conducted a research study related to parent-child closeness in adoption. While researching my topic, I found a study that coined the term “biological bias” to explain the reason why parents of biological kids rated their children as less difficult than parents of adopted children that displayed similar behaviors.

At the time the study spoke to me directly, and it resounds even stronger now given the current circumstances occurring within my family. Regular readers of my blog know that I never hesitate to spew my angst related to the antics of my adopted son. I go on and on about the broken rules, walls and doors. I pay little attention to his pleas for privacy. “I’m sick of you telling people my business” is heard but largely ignored.  I justify my printed words by telling myself that writing is a coping mechanism for me. But, if forced to be honest with myself, I would have to admit that more often than not, I wear my adoptive parent status as a badge of honor. I am seeking validation.

Currently, my youngest child is presenting a completely different set of challenges for me as a parent. The angst that I feel in response to this child’s behavior is different, but no less strong.  Writing about these challenges would likely be as cathartic as writing about my adopted son’s issues, yet I don’t. I am sad to admit that I am demonstrating my own version of biological bias. I am choosing to protect the privacy of my youngest son, a courtesy that I have not extended to his brother.

But that stops today. This blog will always serve as a medium to share things that are happening in my life, including the general challenges of parenting, caring for an aging parent and other issues that give me pause, however, the posts will be void of our dirty laundry.

I have several forums open to me that serve in supporting my role as an adoptive parent. I will continue to utilize them when I need to be propped up. I also have a great husband and supportive family to give me strength when other issues are threatening to pull me under water. I am eternally grateful.

2 simple gifts

The following stories of unexpected gifts made this day a memorable one.

This morning ran a bit smoother than most Mondays. There was no fighting or power struggles. We were in the van and backing out of the driveway by 7:02am. I didn’t think that the morning could get any better until I turned out of the school parking lot and caught my first glimpse of the magnificent sunrise.

Did I immediately pull over and snap a picture with my smartphone? No I did not.  But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that for a split second I regretted not having bought into the myth that I could not conduct my life successfully without 24/7 access to the internet and fantastic picture taking technology.  But the regret was fleeting and I spent the rest of my commute reveling  at the brilliant horizon and searing it into my memory.

As Tom readied to leave the house this evening, the dog began to whine.  He expected his nightly walk.  I had already settled into the couch with my laptop and had  little intention of moving. I was exhausted and the last thing that I wanted to do was to go back outside into the world.

Dragging myself off of the couch, I regrettably pulled on a sweatshirt and tennis shoes. The night was crisp and quiet, a stark contrast to the way the day started. The streets and sidewalks were empty. The houses were lit up and I stole glances inside as I walked past. As I passed one house, I looked up and caught sight of a young girl dancing in her living room. The look of joy on her face was priceless. I looked away and smiled.  I continued on with the realization that anything could be around the next turn.

pissing match

The title of this post describes the battle that I am knee deep in with E. How long can a mother expect to have to wait for her child to follow a directive?  One minute, one hour, one day? It was on day 3 that I took the clothes from the floor of the first floor bathroom and back entry. It could be argued that I fired the first shot.

The years spent together have not served to minimize the conflicts.  We were told from day one, that an adopted child cannot be expected to conform to a ready made family. We the parents must conform to the child.  As a result,  we took advantage of “kid time” a group for adopted kids and their sibs, multiple therapists, and untold hours of education regarding the effects of trauma, and exposure to alcohol on the developing child.  My language and style of interacting were molded by all that I had been taught. Build the relationship and the rest will follow. Still rather than  falling into the rhythm of family life, this child continues to fight it tooth and nail.

On Sunday I let him know that cleaning the bathroom was the ransom I was due in  exchange for his belongings.  As of this morning, they remain in my possession. This is a child that was born to cut off his nose to spite his face. Two mornings in a row he spews expletives my way, angry that he is without his sweatshirts, black skinnies and belt. Something deep within is preventing him from paying the ransom. Long ago a therapist told me that these kids hold on tight so as not to lose themselves along the way. My dilemma?  How to break through the stubborn without inflicting more pain?

why does my garden hate me?

I experience the anticipation each spring of my perennials emerging from the earth and filling my flower beds. And each spring I experience the let down when I realize that some variety planted the previous year or in this case two years ago will not be coming back to life.

Why is it that I only have a 50% survival rate when it comes to my perennials? I plant shade loving varieties in the shade and sun loving ones in the sun. I don’t know what they expect from me. Fertilizer maybe? I really can only be bothered with good old H2O. I suppose it doesn’t help that the dog likely used the garden as a toilet this past winter.

I have had similar poor luck with cala lilies. I receive bulbs from various neighbors. They either grow stunted or don’t grow at all. Meanwhile I walk by the houses of said neighbors and am stunned to see theirs towering against their fences.

Well I have 2 weeks to ready my yard for Michael’s graduation open house. At this point I plan on throwing a ton of annuals in various pots and using them to fill up the bare spots. A few hanging baskets on shepherd’s hooks and a couple dozen solar lights and I should be good to go. Maybe I’ll post some before and after pics.

The picture below shows the large mounding coriopsis ( far right) that didn’t return this year. Last summer it bloomed from June to Sept.

Yellow flowers


a mother’s day reflection

a mother’s day reflection

This link above spoke to me as I pondered what Mother’s day meant to me as both a child and a mother.

Mother’s day always seemed more of a burden than a celebration, partly because my mother’s expectations were high. It seemed as though mom was perpetually trying to fill a hole bored deep  in her soul by a childhood that was void of abundance, and often lacking in security.

It was only in the months leading up to her death that  the bitterness and anger she so often displayed, and that often overshadowed our relationship, were replaced  by a gentle acceptance of our love and care for her.

Mom’s last 4 days were filled with immeasurable grace, and I will treasure them always.