Season of Hope

It is snowing today.  First day for the season around here, and I catch myself dreaming of Christmas like a child.  I keep flipping through my recent Taste of Home magazine circling what I want to make for the holidays, while the kids have circled everything in every Christmas catalog that has ventured to our house.  That poor American Girl book is destroyed–but with love, of course.  I tell Dan I am definitely going to have a holiday party this year–maybe two, and he just laughs it all off because I say it every year without serious commitment.  Oh well.  Next year, though…

As the seasons quickly change, I am also reminded of our life twelve months ago.  It was the first time I had ever really (shamefully) acknowledged the meaning of truly stopping and appreciating what surrounded me.  I was living in the hospital with my very sick child, a baby at home, a confused stepson and a husband buried in work.  Nonetheless, we were all alive.  We were all loved.  We were still a family.  Of course I have always been thankful for my blessings but I spent a lot of time focusing on what it really meant to give thanks during that time.

Fast forward to today and I still hold on to those moments in the hospital, watching the snow fall from the sky to the world around me late at night after putting Tessa to sleep.  Those times never escape me.  Because it was those moments from which I learned the greatest gift of life is that as long as there is love, there is always something to be thankful for.  Love seeds hope, and hope will always bloom wherever love is rooted.  No matter where we are or who we are with in each treasured day, believe in love and the rest will fall in place…maybe not at that exact moment, maybe not when we really need it to; but it will.


Photo credit: Jessica Hartman Photography

Some of the best times in life are not the easiest to navigate through.  That is what makes it all worth it–heavy feet, long journeys, rough roads and knowing that someday we will make it though.  And when that time comes, I can look back while smiling and admire the adventure; unfavorable moments and all.


Photo credit: Jessica Hartman Photography

This snow is making me all warm and fuzzy, although I am pretty sure I should thank my pumpkin spice coffee creamer for that. Normally I would complain about it the start of winter, but not today. Today I am thankful for the new season and how lucky I feel to celebrate it and enjoy it from my home.

JHP-Mom Kendal

Photo credit: Jessica Hartman Photography


Tessa in scheduled for a follow-up bone marrow biopsy this Thursday, November 13.  Join me in praying for continued remission–a body free of cancer.  Love and light to my sweet girl as she endures the procedure.  Thank you for your continued support.  

Dear Tessa: October’s Letter…

Dear Tessa,

If you could see yourself now, you see an eager and determined three year old girl.  You would see a beautiful head of naturally highlighted hair with a peculiar style.  You would see a playful spirit and a runny nose.  And most days you would probably see dirty clothes.  If you could hear yourself now, you would hear your voice so sweetly say “I love you mommy.”  You would hear the sound of busy feet moving freely throughout the day.  You would hear contagious laughter rolling in like waves.

If you could see yourself now, you would not see Down syndrome.  If you could hear yourself, you would not hear Down syndrome.  You would not see or hear a cancer survivor either.  You would see you–the little girl who rises above the challenges she faces.  You would see yourself the way we see you–nothing short of amazing.

My wish for you is for everyone to see, hear and enjoy you the way we do…the way you deserve.


I won’t be here forever, dear, and I want you to be able to stand tall enough on your own without my voice speaking for yours.  I want you to be seen and heard as an individual, just as you are and were always meant to be.  And if I am here long enough I want to be in your shadow watching you take all of the light you need to shine brightly, heart bursting with pride and telling those near me, “That’s my girl.”

Photo: LifeTouch

Photo: LifeTouch

I continue to be inspired by you.  I am grateful for the lessons you lend to me without even knowing it.  Inside you is a force so powerful, endearing and infectious.  From watching you fight for your days here on earth to seeing you live and breathe the beauty of life that surrounds you every day since, I am so lucky to call you mine.

Lend a hand

Let your light shine bright.

Love, Mom