Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thank you Rachel! Blog Award! Yay!

Thank you for my first Blog Award. ♥ I love it. ♥

With this award I'm supposed to share my blog philosophy. My philosophy is listed at the top of my blog "Without rain, nothing would grow". My other philosophy is - Everything is better with tea and scones. Even tears.

Thank you again Rachel and my nominations are:

Ruth's Rambles...
Roary Needs a Friend (or Two)
Navigating my internal roads in Bikram's Yoga
finding common threads
Flower Patch Farmgirl
Dreamy Whites
Sweet As Candy


Rachel's fabulous blog is here:

Nature Versus Nurture Versus The Things That Make You You

Today's entry is being taken from a recent e-mail I sent someone. When it comes to nature versus nurture in the adoption world I tend to lean on both sides. I'm many things from both my adoptive and biological family. At the end of the day however I am most importantly an individual. I often feel lost in the debate, and I think many times adoptees are seen perhaps as the ultimate experiment in this ongoing discussion. It is hard to identify with yourself when you feel like you only have two options for identity. Not only that but decisions you made will come with the label 'adoptee'. I have sometimes felt representative of all adoptees merely by the fact I am one. Similar to the feeling I represent all International Adoptive Parents. For some, knowing only me will make me representative of all. It's a lot to live up to.

Here is the excerpt of my own individual experience on this subject.

Within my own immediate family I definitely felt "different". With one family member in particular I clearly felt a lack of belonging. As an adult though I can see it was his own feelings of inadequately belonging that I was really witnessing. It's interesting... As an adult my perspective on our young family has greatly evolved. As I've watched my brother move through life I've come to appreciate the fact that we are more like each other in our reactions to some situations than we are even like our parents. Nurture is very evident in certain instinctual behavior.

Having met my birth family I agree with my Opa's assessment that I'm much like my Oma. I adored my Oma so this also rather indulgently satisfies my ego. I am more like my Oma than I am like any of my birth family. However, my mannerisms mirror my sister and we too share countless similarities. Growing up under the umbrella of artistic it was amazing to see my biological family full of singers, musicians, and artists with talents much like my own. I wouldn't define that as finding belonging, more so recognizing parts of myself. My paternal grandmother was a country singer, that's one of the neat facts I have tucked away that delights the singer inside of me. In my biological family the person I'm most similar to would be my father from what I know. I count his death among one of the losses you're never prepared for in reunion.

I love knowing my background, and my family with all its problems has definitely grown twofold and I'm very blessed by all of them. I hope all of my experience with my own adoption will translate into understanding between our child and us. I have an understanding of their grief and I hope that will give us a stronger ability to move through that grief which will be a life long journey.

At the end of the day interestingly from my own experience I've learned the things I would say are my biggest quirks and characteristics I was surprised to find were in fact simply my own. No one else has a weird pajama obsession, or addiction to fresh flowers. No one else would count opera as their favorite music or even old black and white movies as must haves. No one else sees peanut butter chocolate milkshakes as the be all end all of the drink world, or has a drive towards politics and international relations. The things I think Doug sees as my weird idiosyncrasies or even fundamental truths are very different from everyone. This merely reinforces to me that I am not part of either side of the nature versus nurture debate. I exist not even in the middle. For no part of this seems to account for my individuality.

This is as close to a response I'm willing to give. I've looked far and wide and no one else is exactly my kind of crazy. Yes, that is pride you're reading. I'm my own fabulous person and I'm pretty sure we all carry that badge of uniqueness.


image form

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Crafty Like A Dense Fox

I'm not very crafty. I'm more of an explorer. I find ideas, collect material for said ideas, and then hand them off to my mother to do. It's a system of sorts.

I'm more capable of crafts that take the coordination and dexterity of an underdeveloped slug. The above require very little of anything resembling talent which make them perfect for a simple easy home project.

Mason jars are my absoloute favourite. They are cheap and easy to replace and can be used as vases, candle holders, or drinking glasses. The ones filled with candles at the wedding above are so gorgeous! Even the hanging one our sliding glass door (pictured up top) prompted Doug to oooh and aww.

Enjoy the day my lovelies!! xx


ThalloDesign on
keri and kevin on
the adventures of f & j on

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Hormonal Garden Party

The sunshine flirted away during the Olympics, batted her eyelashes on the national news, shared her warm rays with all the visitors in February, but now that July is nearly here she taunts us. It's rainy and cold, oh sunshine you fickle little tart!

I'd love to have an outdoor garden party, but alas, I live in Vancouver. It is 14 degrees and %&^$#^& raining outside. 1, 2 ,3, 4, 5. I'm good. I'm calm. I'm zen.

For those who don't live in Vancouver you may not understand my animosity for the rain. After all, my blog itself carries the phrase "without rain, nothing would grow". You may wonder where my sense of profound wisdom in appreciating those iridescent little rain drops has run off to? Lucky for me this is my blog so I can be as crabby as I want to be. No, this isn't just my pms talking. It helps though. It definitely helps.

I'm not often crabby. My hormones usually lead me to whiny and needy but not angry and crabby. On the rare occasion they rear their tiny angry red faces I think it's important to let them run a muck for a day or two. It reminds me that feeling angry and frustrated is in fact normal, and it reminds Doug that his wife is to be both respected and feared.

Yesterday as he rolled his eyes and moaned "Jessa, you're just trying to start a fight". I declared proudly "Obviously!!! I've been going out of my way for two hours to start a fight!" Later when he finally started to lose his own temper at my unrelenting nitpicking I narrowed my eyes, sucked the warmth out of the room and muttered in a low terrifying tone "Feeling lucky today Comrade?" Cue the foreboding music. That's when he packed me up and shipped us out to watch a french film at the matinee. He's a smart cookie that one.

So this is day 2 of severe crankiness. Since it truly is a rare occasion that I'm so darn irritable, I thought I would try to ease my mood by planning a garden party. The lovely images above are incredibly inspiring and I am taking notes on how to arrange my own 'Secret Garden' garden party. (Wasn't that the best book!). However, as bewitching as the above photos are, I'm still storming around like the Goblin King so my next plan is to snuggle up with Madame Bovary, a nice cup of tea, and the three cats who have stayed relentlessly by my side fearing for my blood pressure. If that doesn't work I may take this opportunity to write angry letters on behalf of PETA and Amnesty International. I may even write a disgruntled letter to Pango Pizza, just to see if I can get a free pizza out of the deal.

Ah Monday my old foe, you do not disappoint. Don't worry my friends, the PMS Princess will soon return to the land of Estrogen and will be replaced once more by the peculiar dame who usually hangs out in these parts.

*Disclaimer* Jessalyn Rodenburgh is not responsible for the views expressed here today in her usually pleasant blog. Today's entry was written by a mob of angry hormones and she in no way endorses or secretly applauds their gift for discourse.


Flower cupcakes from

tea sandwiches #1

tea sandwiches #2

The rest from

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hark! Is that sunshine I see?!

I told you I'd remove my head from my derriere by today and I have. Eeyore may give the impression that moping around all day is an easy life, but the truth is it's rather exhausting. The comfort food is a bonus in the land of the depressed, but it's usually a bad sign when my body starts craving carrots. Besides, I have too much to be grateful for to spend my days creating sad lines on my face. Today is a fresh start and I awoke to sun streaming through my curtains. I'm thinking picnic at the park this afternoon along with some good books and writing paper.

Yesterday on facebook I posted these updated nursery photos. It's slowly coming along and I am really pleased with things! I'm heading to Portland in a couple weeks to search out the rug above, and a fluffy white organic baby bumper. I could look at the rug for hours as it reminds me of whipped icing!

I finally put up some pictures to start livening the white walls. The images I used are above along with a couple others I hope to find a home for. Since mine is not done yet, I've also added some other nursery photos that I adore.

Happy Friday everyone!! I hope the sunshine finds us often this summer.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Little Rain Cloud

I'm often jealous of those who have children. Especially those who have never dealt with infertility. Many of us arrived at this moment after years of grief and I think we were changed long before Imagine went bankrupt. We'd discovered our strength before any of the new Ethiopian requirements were made. We'd already lost so much.

We'd already learned to live with feeling helpless and what it means to feel your world shaken and still carry on the next day. Each time bad news arrives I feel I've had years to prepare for the uncertain. Years to pick up the pieces of my broken heart once more. I'm not saying it's easy, it's damn hard at times. It's exhausting and sometimes the tears surprise me. My raw anger at the situation shocks me, but I get through it. We all do.

My marriage has survived years of infertility and a very rocky adoption. I guess after all this I feel like a survivor. I'm proud of my strength.

Today marks 20 months since our dossier arrived in Ethiopia. Today we also received an update that didn't give us any answers. Today I will mope and have a long talk with some food about my frustration.

Tomorrow I will pick myself up, carry on with as much dignity as I can muster, and be amazed at what a wonderful life we have built together. I understand this process. I understand this grief. I understand just how strong I am.

Love, J xx

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Best Dad I Know

The best Dad I know has yet to meet his child.
He has yet to touch his face or hold his hand but he carries him day in and day out no matter how tired he is.
The best Dad I know has sacrificed much in order to one day bring his child home, because that is what you do when you're a father.
The best Dad I know kisses three furry faces every morning and tells them each 'I love you. Have a great day!"
The best Dad I know kisses the same furry faces upon arriving home each night and says "I love you. How was your day?" He then listens intently for any meows of excitement or displeasure. It is no wonder they adore him as they do.
The best Dad I know would walk through hell to save his child, I know this because he already has.
The best Dad I know makes his wife laugh often. He knows this relationship will be the most important his child ever witnesses.
The best Dad I know understands the world is more than his backyard. He understands the proverb 'We have not inherited this land from our ancestors; rather we have borrowed it from our children'
The best Dad I know works hard on behalf of all children. He knows why the environment, war, and poverty are his problem. He's a father to many.
The best Dad I know is the man I love with all my heart. I believe my child deserves the best, and he simply is the very best.
The best Dad I know will read this and blush, half smile, lean over and kiss me. He won't believe a word of it, because the very best Dad I know begins each day with the resolution that today he will be an even better Dad.

Doug, I love you all the way to the moon and back.

J xx

Friday, June 18, 2010

Homeless and Helpless

How many of us take for granted the comfort and safety our homes allow us? How many of us have thought of the check list of things we would take out of our homes in a fire? How many of us have even considered what it would be like to be driven from our homes never to return? Alone, hungry, and fleeing for our lives.This is the reality of refugees, the world's most vulnerable people.

I'm going to borrow statistics from the UNHCR and it will make it clear the incredible need of our awareness and support to help the millions who are now homeless.

The latest figures available show that the number of refugees of concern to UNHCR stood at 10.5 million refugees at the beginning of 2009, down 8 percent from a year earlier.

A further 4.7 million registered refugees are looked after in some 60 camps in the Middle East by United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which was set up in 1949 to care for displaced Palestinians.

The refugees of concern to UNHCR are spread around the world, with more than half in Asia and 22 percent in Africa. They live in widely varying conditions, from well-established camps and collective centres to makeshift shelters or living in the open.

More than half of all refugees of concern to UNHCR live in urban areas. They all face three possible solutions: repatriation; local integration or resettlement.

One of my favourite quotes by Noam Chomsky is in Imperial Ambitions. Noam Chomsky is an integral voice on foreign and domestic american policies, and one the world's most renowned intellectuals. I think this is an incredible reminder of our power and responsibility in this world.

At the talks you give to American audiences you are often asked "What should I do?"

Only by American audiences.I'm never asked this in the third world. When you go to Turkey or Colombia or Brazil or somewhere else, they don’t ask you, “What should I do?” They tell you what they’re doing. It’s only in highly privileged cultures that people ask, “What should I do?” We have every option open to us. None of the problems that are faced by intellectuals in Turkey or campesinos in Brazil or anything like that. We can do anything. But what people here are trained to believe is, we have to have something we can do that will be easy, that will work very fast, and then we can go back to our ordinary lives. And it doesn’t work that way. You want to do something, you’re going to have to be dedicated, committed, at it day after day. You know exactly what it is: it’s educational programs, it’s organizing, it’s activism. That’s the way things change. You want something that’s going to be a magic key that will enable you to go back to watching television tomorrow? It’s not there.

We are people with freedom, wealth and opportunity. We are responsible for the direction this world takes. These mothers, fathers and children are no different from us, and they deserve our utmost respect and hard work to make this world safe for everyone.

June 20 is World Refugee Day . Please do not ignore this global epidemic. We are one world and it is in our hands to make a difference.

If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
Mother Teresa

Recommended Reading:
The Price of Indifference by Arthur C. Helton

For children:
One Day We Had To Run! : Refugee children tell their stories in words and paintings Sybella Wilkes

UNHCR Website-

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

The A-Team = A+

If you think I'm basing my film review solely on Bradley Cooper's hair, eyes, smile, and body you're only 75% right, so shame on you. How dare you think I'm so shallow and easy to please! There is 25% of me capable of depth and appreciation that has nothing to do with the hotness of all things Bradley Cooper. Just because I'm a little distracted by this gorgeous hunk of man with his amazing laugh and gorgeous smile and dear God what were we talking about?

I expected the movie to be mediocre at best but it was start to finish excellent. It started strong, ended strong, and the middle was filled with explosions, bad jokes, and the insane. I want to live inside this movie.

Now, I should have prefaced all of this by saying I love action movies and I love raunchy humour. I love classic guy flicks. If your boyfriend has it on dvd, chances are I saw it in the theatres five times, dressed up like the lead, own the original and extended version, and can quote it verbatim. I think most movies could be improved with a car chase and unnecessary explosions. ps. Your boyfriend has a crush on me.

The weakest part of the movie for me was Jessica Biel. She's a pretty girl who is as exciting as stale toast. Honestly, if all that was required of this role was sex appeal and chemistry, I really think they should have backtracked in the phone book and gave Jessica Alba a jingle.

If you're looking for something to do this weekend, grab some gold chains and dill flavoured popcorn and remember...If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team. If nothing else you get to enjoy Cooper's hair for two hours, which is totally worth $11.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Toilet Troubles

Years ago while babysitting one of my favourite little men, I heard a quiet scratching coming from the bathroom. We were playing in the basement and I remember Henry in all his two year old braveness rushing to see what it was. I scooped him up and as calmly as possible said "lets leave that for when Mommy comes home." Yes, that was my game plan. I would leave whatever was making the odd noise for Mommy. I was a wimp. We continued to play on the floor, while I casually kept my eye on the bathroom. The scratching grew louder and louder, and I realized with horror the calls were coming from inside the toilet!

When his mom arrived home she told me it was just a drainage problem. It was old plumbing and the night before it had been dripping a lot. She confidently strode into the bathroom, while I stood 8 feet back in the playroom clutching Henry to me. She told me not to worry as she popped open the toilet lid to show me there was nothing in there.

As she lifted the lid we saw furry claws and two small black eyes peering up at us. There was a gigantic RAT in the toilet. To this day I always check the toilet before sitting down and can sadly no longer go to the bathroom in the dark. I now pass my phobia on to all of you, my loyal readers.

scratch, scratch, scratch...


image from

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Freedom Seekers

There has never been a word so loved by me as freedom. The heading for my blog has an empty bird cage to signify my commitment to living outside the bars. We all struggle with imprisonment, often by our own hands. I am constantly trying to fly once more.

I am free to vote, free to pursue education, free to love, and free to find my joy. I revel in my freedom. I adore flying in a world of possibilities. There is something so delicious in the unfolding of one's wings.

I will not say life has been unkind for the past few years, because there is something too macabre in the sentiment. Life has been difficult, but life has given me opportunities I otherwise would not have had. I have found peace. I have found peace within the most painful hours, minutes, seconds of my life. I have found peace in the release of tears, and peace in the laughter rising from the depths of my belly. I have been free to find my peace.

To quote Tennesse Williams, here is 'a prayer for the wild at heart, kept in cages'.

I pray we find our peace in troubled waters, and peace each time the sun bends down to kiss our shoulders. I pray we find freedom in our soul, and in the moments that it's hard to breathe freedom lifts us from such sorrows, and we are dancing in the open space of solace. Enjoying the sweet revelry of time.

J xx