Finding hope in the chaos of life.

My memoir, which I’ve not finished writing, has been given an unwanted sequel. Not by Matt, my 31-year-old son who was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was 11. By a close family member, who just received that same diagnosis. I can’t give more details yet, out of respect for this person’s privacy, but as you might imagine, my own brain is reeling.

The prognosis for my family member is good, as was Matt’s. Recovery will be long and arduous, as was Matt’s. My heart is breaking all over again.

I had planned to give you an update on what’s not blooming in my garden this year–my climbing hydrangea and my yucca. Both bloomed last year for the first time, giving me such hope. I wrote that I was “open to the possibility” that the blooms were a sign my chronic health issues would resolve. (You can read the post below.)

This year, those plants have not bloomed and my health has not improved and now my memoir has a sequel.

What does it all mean?

It means we will always be challenged to find hope in the chaos of life.

I remain open to that possibility–that there will always be hope. I still have mine. Do you?

(The chaos in my life will include some out of state care-taking, so you may not hear from me for awhile. I won’t forget about you if you don’t forget about me.)



When I looked out of the living room window the other day, I saw that my climbing hydrangea had buds. “Michael!” I yelled to my husband who was in the yard. I ran outside and dragged him over to look. Upon closer inspection, we saw five clusters of buds about to explode into starbursts of tiny white flowers. I had waited five years for this.

The next day, I was strolling around the back yard and again yelled to Michael to “come look!”  This time it was my yucca, a name that belies its stately spires of white flowers. In seven years, my yucca has graced me with this vision just once. As I pointed out to Michael the tall stalk rising up out of the scratchy foliage, I noticed two more blooms-to-be.

There’s more. If you’re not a gardener, stay with me here. There’s a deeper meaning to my garden eureka moments. At least that’s what I choose to believe.

My rose campion, started with cuttings I took from our other house 11 years ago, has finally produced a sprinkling of its vibrant magenta flowers.

And an ornamental variegated grass that I’ve had for four or five years surprised me with tall wheat-like plumes that dance gracefully in every breeze.

What the heck is going on in my garden?

People adhere to different philosophies about unexpected events. Here are some commons sayings:

“There are no coincidences.”

“It was meant to be.”

“It happened for a reason.”

One of my personal sayings is: “I’m open to the possibility.”

It’s possible that this year’s garden miracles are a coincidence. It’s possible they’re a result of our rainy May, or the new type of fertilizer I used.

I’m going with another possibility. I think my late bloomers are a sign of good things to come.

Last year, I declared that 2017 would be “my” year–the year I would finally conquer my crazy health conditions. So far, 2017 has not exactly been cooperative.

Then, this visual chorus in my garden like angels splashing the earth with a flower-petaled “Hallelujah.”

I’m taking it as a sign that I’ll get better. Or maybe there’s an alternate miracle in store for me. Maybe I’ll hit 1,000 followers on my blog. Or I’ll finish my memoir. Or, even better, all three AND a book deal. Or something different and superior, yet to be revealed.

Yup. I’m going with it.

If nothing else, when I peek out of my living room window or wander around the yard, I’ll be reminded that good things can be in store for us. They may be holding out, just beyond our awareness, waiting for the right moment to appear. I’ll stay open to the possibility that these things take their good old time getting here. And when they do, Hallelujah!



  • An emerging writer in upstate, NY, Karen DeBonis tells her story on her website, in publications like the NY Times, (a Tiny Love Story), in her “Become Emboldened” projects, and elsewhere. "Portrait of a People-Pleaser and the Son Who Paid the Price", Karen’s transformational memoir about a woman’s quest for authenticity and the courage to speak her truth, is currently available for representation.

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  1. Jack Herlocker on June 20, 2018 at 4:44 PM

    Oh, Karen! If anyone deserves to NOT have sequels of this sort (but does deserve pretty flowers!) it would be you! I hope your garden wakes up in blooms, your memoir progresses, and you discover an unexpected bit of happiness in an unanticipated way.

    • Karen DeBonis on June 20, 2018 at 6:57 PM

      Thanks Jack – you always know the right thing to say. It will all unfold as it’s meant to – the flowers will bloom, or not, my memoir will get done, this year or next, or the year after. The most important thing is that my family member will recover and for that I’m happy.

  2. God's Whispers of Truth on June 20, 2018 at 5:18 PM

    Hugs Karen! I’m continuing to keep you in my heart and prayers.❤🌱🌹

  3. Elizabeth Browne on June 20, 2018 at 6:27 PM

    Karen, you & your family continue to be in my heart & prayers. Take heart💜
    Although those two words may seem shallow, know that you touch many hearts & give people the beauty & strength through your heart & sharing. Many lives bloom because of your touching their lives.💝💐🦋

    • Karen DeBonis on June 20, 2018 at 6:58 PM

      That’s so beautiful Elizabeth. Thank you.

  4. judy lawless on June 21, 2018 at 7:42 PM

    Perhaps those blossoms were a needed reminder to not give up hope. Some days we need that more than others. They will bloom again. Wishing you the best in your newest quest for improved health, and that of your family members.

  5. Karen DeBonis on June 21, 2018 at 9:30 PM

    Thanks Judy. I do have other blooms to keep me inspired, so I will draw from them. I appreciate your good wishes.

  6. bburrell60Beth on June 26, 2018 at 2:03 PM

    Karen, I’m sorry for your family member – I hope things improve quickly and as much as they can. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and writing. I like the idea of “open to possibility.” As for the gardening angle, my favorite flower is the rose campion – I am constantly on the lookout for it at plant nurseries and consider the day a good one when I find a rose campion in bloom in my yard. The color is awesome.
    Take care,

  7. Karen DeBonis on June 26, 2018 at 7:53 PM

    Thanks so much, fellow gardener Beth! First, my family member is recovering slowly but steadily, after a tumor the size of an orange was removed from her brain. We have much to be grateful for, as she hasn’t lost any cognitive function and her prognosis is excellent. As for rose campion–also a favorite of mine –it didn’t come back this year either! How can that be, as its brilliant magenta blooms are always popping up somewhere? But what IS about to bloom is another fuzzy silver-leafed plant–a monstrosity that I didn’t plant and haven’t yet identified. Maybe I should do a follow-up post on that, as a reminder to focus on what we have, rather than on what we don’t.

  8. Happy Positivity Day! – Karen DeBonis on July 13, 2018 at 3:54 PM

    […] this new designation. One month ago, on an unlucky Wednesday, a family member called to say she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was too early to reveal her identity, but now I’ll tell you that it was Mary Beth, my […]

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