When I first began writing children’s books, I had a somewhat limited view of what was to come. The more I seized opportunities to share across the map, the more I realized that my stories and stick-characters meant as much to adults as to children. Families were looking for simplicity inside life’s most complicated journeys. Hands-on practical tools make it easier for everyone to talk about tough topics and I became passionate about providing those tools.
I have to admit, there were times over the past six months when I wondered if I was trying to do too much. I worried about being able to switch gears for those I was attempting to help. Alzheimer’s, cancer and deployment each brings unique challenges that, at times, can seem insurmountable. However, a remarkable phenomenon began unfolding that magnified my desire to make a difference in hurting lives. As I shared practical tools, I realized that while each journey had a different “face,” the emotions experienced were the same. The awareness ribbons may vary from purple to pink to yellow, yet the heart of the matter is exactly the same. Children and adults need a vast tool box to cope–one that enables them to have a voice in the midst of what they can’t change. Instead of fretting, I decided to use my experience to the utmost and simply trust the compassion God placed inside of me. I also found peace in remembering that I’m not alone; I’ve been blessed with a wealth of supporters.
In the past three weeks, my team members and I have delivered an Alzheimer’s event to celebrate Grandparent’s Day, a presentation about cancer through a child’s eyes, and a program to Army families facing deployment. Individuals and families are more resilient when they are better equipped to cope, understand one another, and make a difference–each in their own way. Our interactive approaches and palpable tools inspired adults, alongside children, to color and finger-paint as well as share their hopes and fears. Touching the kid inside everyone affords a hope-filled path and a fresh perspective. The photos below clearly show that Huge Outcomes are Possible Everyday with HOPE–even inside the most difficult journeys.