A Twelve Year Winter

A Twelve Year WinterImage

The Rose


Some say love, it is a river

That drowns the tender reed

Some say love, it is a razor

That leaves your soul to bleed

Some say love, it is a hunger

An endless, aching need

I say love, it is a flower

And you it’s only seed

It’s the heart afraid of breaking

That never learns to dance

Its the dream afraid of waking

That never takes the chance

It’s the one who won’t be taken,

Who cannot seem to give

And the soul afraid of dying

That never learns to live

And the night has been too lonely

And the road has been too long

And you think that love is only

For the lucky and the strong

Just remember in the winter

Far beneath the bitter snow

Lies the seed that with the sun’s love,

In the spring, becomes a rose.


Writer(s): Amanda Mcbroom

Copyright: Third Story Music Inc., Warner-tamerlane Publishing Corp.


I have always loved the song “The Rose” with its sad melody and haunting lyrics.  I sang it for a talent show when I was much younger, I found solace in it after a tough breakup, but until we adopted our son John I do not think I really had a grasp on the truth these simple words brought. 


When we adopted John and Christian in 2001 adding them to our family of four, my idealism was at an all time high.  We had struggles leading up to the adoption as anyone who has been through the process can attest to, but the day we saw our two sons for the first time is etched in the memory of my soul.  The dreams and desires of my heart for these two children was palpable.  The joy of knowing we were making a tangible difference in two lives as well as enriching our own families global perspective was intoxicating. 


Reality hit hard within weeks of their arrival to the USA.  John was diagnosed with Glaucoma, and every year seemed to get harder with him.  His anger at the world was focused directly on Scott and me.  His times of happiness were rare and short lived.  A river of tears, angry shouting matches with God, Scott, John, questioning my ability to parent, heart break for my son who has so much potential, so much to offer, so much life to live.  Sleepless nights praying for a miracle, praying for sanity, praying to get through the next hour.


Glimpses of hope, a wonderful Summer, an emotional break through, the volcano dormant for a bit.  Perfect in school and public, stubborn and fiercely independent, beautiful man-child with a world to conquer.  This roller coaster of hope, anger, heart break, frustration, helplessness, counseling, flashes of potential, and resentment, riding strapped in with a love that has not wavered but at times has remained only by the seatbelt of faith, friends, family and red wine.


Its been twelve plus years since the wonderful day we chose to grow our family.  John turned eighteen this past weekend.  He had a party with friends, his laughter and deep voice still sing in my heart.  He played his African drum that we brought home on the plane with him so many years ago.  The twelve year winter is over, the hopes and dreams lying dormant are budding into an award winning rose.  



Sunday Blessing

Sunday Blessing:

This selection from A Book of Everyday Prayers by William Barclay seemed to call out to me tonight. This weekend has brought news of death, illnesses, and made me ever more aware of the daily gift life is.


O God, our Father, who hast bidden us to pray for all men, we remember at evening time those who specially need our prayers.

Bless those who are lonely, and who feel their loneliness worst of all at evening time.

Bless those who are sad, and who at evening feel most of all the absence of some one whom they loved, and lost awhile.

Bless those who are ill, and who will not sleep this night; and those who this night will wake to ease the sufferer’s pain.

Bless those who have no home, and no family circle to call their own.

O God, who art everywhere present, bless this our home, and help us to remember that Jesus is always are unseen guest, and so help us never in this place to do or say anything which would make Him sad to see.

Keep us this night in the dark hours, and grant us kindly sleep, and make us to feel around us and about us and about us the clasp of the everlasting arms, which will never let us go: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Saturday Story Time: What’s For Dinner?

Saturday Story Time: What’s For Dinner?

“Mom, you know how people make fun of me because I eat so much?” Christian asked me. Well, I guess we do make fun of you a bit, you can eat a lot. “I know, I know, but you know how I always want to finish what other people do not eat? It’s because I hate to see waste, my friends may tease me, but they have never been starving. I remember not having food, I remember wondering when I was going to get to eat again, that’s why Mom, they don’t get it” I smile at my son and say you are right Christian, they do not get it, how could they?

In 2001 when we adopted Christian and John they were so skinny I thought they would break if squeezed too hard. Christian was just four, but he knew what hunger was, and he did not like the feeling. For the first five, maybe six years they had been with us Christian would wake up every morning and ask what was for dinner. He needed to know that there would be dinner. He needed to know he was going to get another meal. Even now he will ask me what is for dinner sometime during the day. It is a pleasure to be able to tell him food. You will always have enough food.

Christian loves hamburgers, I know he did not have any red meat before coming to be a part of our family, and chicken was a rarity in his diet. He has become quite the “foodie” willing to try different things, learning how to cook and coming up with interesting and inventive ways to make his favorite things. He has his own George Foreman Grill, a Quesadilla maker, a couple of cook books and real flare for spices. When he was in fourth grade he decided that after his NFL or NBA career he would open a restaurant. It would be called “OVER TIME” and would have burgers representing each of the franchise teams.

Now, he gets a bit embarrassed about his cooking dreams. Still, his love for burgers out weighs anything else. When his friends get dessert, he gets a hamburger. If we go out to breakfast at a diner, he always wants to know if he can get a burger instead of breakfast. Sweets he can live with out, but burgers, now that would just be cruel. For Christmas and birthdays he often asks for meat. Just some bacon or hamburger meat please.

Christian has always had a heart for the homeless and since he was just a kindergartener he has asked an incessant amount of questions about the people on the street, or what happened to that person, why are they begging for food. I am sure it is a constant reminder for him of the grace he is now living under. As a fifteen year old he is able to understand and have compassion for the hungry more than most kids in America. Christian gets it, because he remembers his own hunger very clearly. He does not remember very much about Africa, and that makes me sad. I can not give him memories of his birth mother and father. I can not tell him how tall he will be or if he looks more like his birth mother or his birth father. Thank God, I can tell him whats for dinner.

Sunday Blessing: The Blessing of Unanswered Prayers

Thank you to all Veterans, we will remember and we are honored by your service


Sunday Blessing:

The Blessing of Unanswered Prayers

I asked for strength that I might achieve;
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy;
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life;
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I had asked for,
but everything that I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered;
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

– Unknown Confederate Soldier


A Black Cloud Week

The black cloud seemed to follow me everywhere this week. You know the one where every tiny thing you think is just one step takes one hundred? That was this week. The kids are normal teenagers, but every little thing they do not do seems like a gigantic war against you personally. One quick phone call ends up being three hours of holding, and elevator music to answer a question that they got wrong in the first place. The dog decides that you do not have quite enough on your plate, so he rolls in the mud, and covers your window in smeary dirt because you will not let him in the house. You know the kind of week.

It’s the week when the weather changes, and you step in gum in your favorite shoes. It just happens. My week has been full of these kind of moments and more. Isaac tweaked his bad knee again, Jessie, who is usually my sanity life line, had a couple of typical teenage reactions to me this week. She texted me “Yeah, Yeah” four times in one conversation, and ended it with “Whatever.” Christian, bless his heart, failed his permit test for the fourth time. Everybody I talked to had some sort of crisis big and small. Scotty was incredibly supportive, but I know he feels guilty he can not be here, and I feel bad complaining when he is sacrificing so much to help us remain in Bend. Lila was moody and well… you get the idea.

Some days are just so, I don’t know, daily. I have fought depression since I was a teenager. I take antidepressants and over the years have been learning the power of self-care. I have walked three times this week, taken my vitamins, tried to get enough sleep, and yet, still struggled to keep my head above the rising water. My tolerance level is pretty high, and I can juggle a whole lot but this was just one of those weeks.
You know the type where all those things you swore you would never do, or say like you parents did, and you find them coming out of your mouth. The times when you wonder which came first, kids or alcohol? There are weeks like that. I had one this week.

Tonight I met a friend for a drink, and we sat for three hours lamenting our busyness, the joy and despair of our kids, and parents, getting older. We shared our nightmare of a week with each other, and both listened in horror to what the other one had to go through. We laughed, cried and laughed some more. We tried to out do each other with the worst of stories. It is always good to know someone else struggles as much as you. They think you are amazing for all the things you manage, and you thank God you are not having to deal with what they are.

We left after those three hours in the same exact position we were before we met. We both still had too much to do, in too little time. I still have four teenagers, a dirty dog, and a schedule that looks like a subway station at rush hour. She still has to deal with all her craziness as well. These three hours did not change anything, they changed everything. The cloud has not gone away, but now instead of focusing on the darkness, I can once again see, that rain, is what makes the flowers grow.

A Brothers Love

“Are John and Christian really close?” This is a common question as people think that because they are blood brothers they should somehow be closer than they would be to Isaac or Jessica. I am not really sure where this thinking comes from but, my answer is no. John and Christian have a typical brother relationship where they all get along fairly well, fight when upset and pick on each other non stop. It is Isaac and John who have a special relationship.

From the beginning Isaac and John bonded. I could not tell you what it was, they are so very different from each other. John is quiet and a perfectionist. Isaac is outgoing and the only thing he wants perfect is his sandwich. John has struggled with interpersonal relationships. John has rebelled against the life fate has thrown him. Isaac has pretty much been spoiled in every way possible. He has never known hunger or hardship. Yet, Isaac has accepted both his brothers with unconditional love and a fierce loyalty that surprised even me.

When John would be having problems at home and would not talk to anyone, he talked to Isaac. When John was mad at the world because of his eyes and not able to connect emotionally with anyone, Isaac would be there. After a particularly heated argument which included him reacting violently to Scott and lots of language being thrown about he broke down, crawled up on his bunk bed and cried. Isaac just climbed up and laid next to him, saying nothing, but saying everything by being there.

Isaac does not coddle John, he teases him relentlessly like the rest of the family. He calls him out on his crappy attitude and they do piss each other off. Isaac has only said once he wished we had not adopted the boys and that was when he wanted his own room and figured he would probably have had it if we had not adopted John and Christian. He got over it pretty quick and moved on to more important things like begging for a PS3.

John has Reactive Attachment Disorder. John is legally blind. John has Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. John is brilliant. John is incredible strong physically, and mentally. John has never told me he loves me. He has told Isaac, and that has been a very dim light that keeps me thinking we will get through the tunnel. Isaac tells me he loves me all the time, offers hugs and love freely. Isaac loves me, and through his love for John, he has given me hope for John’s future attachment.

I will end with a poem Isaac wrote this year about his brother. I know for John there is no better gift than being accepted, and understood. That’s family. That’s a brothers love. That bond is not about who shares whose blood, but about what God created our family to be.


He waits
Strong and bulky
At the top of the
Hill he will stay

He blends in to
His surroundings
But as you get closer
His features stand out

He is darker than
Most of the world
Around him and
You will often find
Him by himself

But that is how
He prefers to be
Independent to the end

Whimsical Wednesday: Grandma Dona
May 9, 2012, 10:58 pm
Filed under: blessings, entertainment, grief, humor, love, Parenting | Tags: , , , , , ,

Whimsical Wednesday:  Grandma Dona

My grand mother lived up to her name in every way shape and form.  I fight back the tears as I write this, remembering what an incredible lady she was.  I think she will be a future Saturday blog about ordinary people doing extraordinary things but tonight is whimsical and that is what we will focus on.

Edona, was a fashion model for a department store in Portland, Oregon in the 1940’s.  All I ever knew her as, was Grandma Dona.  I remember being in awe of her.  She was one classy lady.  Gramma always had the perfect outfit, and the best jewelry.  She knew how to make you feel beautiful and special.  She taught me about being a lady, and knowing when the shoe was perfect.  Her eyes always sparkled with a joy I could not imagine, and her wit was fast and true.

When she died and the family got together we all took a hat and a scarf from her collection to wear in her honor.  That woman had more jewelry, hats, and scarves than anyone I have ever met.  Not to mention the purses and gloves.  I was honored to get many of her items because I was just crazy enough to wear them.  Her hats surround my mirror, and many pieces of her jewelry line my box of treasures.

I have worn them on special occasions, let my daughter wear them and been given more compliments on them, than any other thing I wear.  Grandma was elegant and stylish and just enough of a goof to pull off just about anything.  She never left the house without lip stick and some sort of accessory.  It ranged from a hat, to a cane with a  diamond studded handle, but she always had something with Bling. Wow I miss that woman.

“Kari” she said, “women do not sweat, we glow”  “Smile and nod your head, that way they do not know what a nucklehead you think they are” Grandma would remark.  “Ladies do not blow their noses in public, we daintily wipe and wait till we are out of ear and eye shot to do our business”  “Whatever you wear, wear it with confidence and the next thing you know, everyone will want to dress like you.” These sayings and so many more fill my heart and mind as I remember her.

My children have enjoyed her boxes and boxes of costume jewelry, and I have treasured every piece as a reflection of her beauty and elegance.  I found a pair of earrings at the shop I work at, and fell in love with them.  I bought them and wore them home only to find that one of my grandma’s necklaces matches it perfectly.  It was just the reminder I needed of her incredible love, and great humor which held our family together for decades.

I put on her necklaces and I go back to whimsical world of childhood dreams and princess fantasies.  A world where anything is possible and a little bling goes a long, long way.  Thanks Gramma, I love you.