Hope is a Journey….

Archive for August, 2013


8 years ago today, Sasha entered this world unexpectedly – with a fierceness that would shake and embrace our hearts forever.

2005 pics Sasha newborn will too 028

From the moment she took her first breath, Sasha has always played by her own rulebook.

2005 pics Sasha newborn will too 040
She was supposed to be ‘perfectly healthy’ – but instead, she was critically ill…doctors scratching their heads – baffled by the unexpected situation on their hands. We were told that they didn’t know why she was so sick, they couldn’t promise us they could fix it, and that we were in the best place for her.

Little did we know that this was just the beginning of our journey through peaks and valleys with her.

sasha and dad

Sasha and me sep


I can’t even begin to describe the fear that takes over your heart – squeezing and crushing you with every beat – when you’re faced with ‘the unknown‘ and you find yourself holding on to every shred of hope that comes your way.



Sleep Study BW
But Sasha…she became my lesson in faith, perseverance, and strength.

sasha temp

Sasha ng smiling

sasha neb

sasha hospital doll

sasha hospital dad
















Mom and Sasha




SHE became MY teacher…


There’s no denying that Sasha has been through hell and back….that she has experienced more in her short life than any human being should endure in an entire lifetime…yet this little soul shines joy, courage, and love.


Ralph and I have done our best to find the best, most compassionate and brilliant team to walk with us on our journey with her, and we are incredibly grateful for their dedication, candor, and willingness to help Sasha thrive, blossom and grow to be the sweet little girl that she is today.

Sasha Baby Smile Dusk

Over the years, Sasha has certainly had her rough times…

sasha temp

sasha infusion

sasha hospital

Sasha eeg

sasha easter hospital

sasha and sonny chels

chels and sasha














Sasha Bear



Sasha Sleep Study


And while we can’t escape them…


Or deny them…


We have found our way through them….


We’ve grown from them…

sasha ng

And Sasha has taught us SO MUCH about what is really important through it all.


But there’s more to Sasha than the ‘tough times


And THAT is what we focus on…


THAT is what we celebrate…


THAT is what we hold tightly to…


Between the fierceness and the fragility, Sasha has blossomed…shined…and become the most precious ray of light this world has to offer.

Sasha has taught me to be courageous, even in my own fear.

She has taught me to be patient, even in my frustration.

She has taught me to be strong, even in my weakness.

Sasha has taught me to find the hope…even when I feel hopeless.


While I would never wish her journey on another soul, Sasha’s life is a testament to how joy can exist – flourish, and shine through even the darkest night.


Today, and every day – I celebrate the true gift that Sasha is, not only to Ralph, Will and I….but to this world.


Happy Birthday to my Fire and Flowers….to my precious sunshine….to the most fierce bit of sweetness I will ever know.


Love and Light,




After a Season of Silence…my cold fingertips danced across the ivory keys – it was as if not a day had passed since their last encounter.  Within hours, 4 songs were born.


It had felt like forever since I just opened up and released what had been contained for more than a year.   I couldn’t believe the rawness and the depth of the emotion that poured out of me.  It was as if it had been pounding on the floodgates relentlessly just waiting for the moment that stopped fighting it.  That moment was one of the most powerful moments I have ever had.


Over the next 2 weeks, another 6 songs crept their way across the blank paper that rested upon my piano top.  It was then, that I knew that it was time to make another album.  Since then, I’ve written enough songs to fill an entire album…and then some!

Suffering Pic

Originally, back in 2011, I had planned on immediately working on and releasing another album  after “Unleashed” came out given the fact that I had more than 50 songs waiting in the wings.  Life, at the time, had other plans.  Between all of my own medical chaos and new issues arising for my children (medically and academically), the time was not right – and I was not willing to embark on a project that I could only give ‘some’ of myself to.  If I was going to do another album, I would do it when I was able to give ALL of myself to it….and that time is NOW!

I have prayed about this, I have spent hours planning this, I have talked with Ralph about this, and I have reached out to those who have worked with me before – everything is falling into place, and I can’t be more excited and more driven to make this project become a reality!  I’ve spent hours with my friend, Rob Marshall, revamping and updating the Hope Rising Website (you should check it out…I think it came out great!), my friend Matt Hanson has spent hours editing and creating a fantastic video…and I have even snuck into the studio for a few hours in preparation for THIS moment….

I learned so much from making my first two albums…I have new ideas, fresh songs, and (hopefully) an inspiring message to share with the world – but I need YOUR help to make it happen!

How can I help?” You ask…..

There are a few ways in which you can help:

1. Head on over to my Kickstarter page and select a “Rewards Package” that strikes your fancy.

2. Share the page with your friends, family…EVERYONE you know via Facebook, Twitter, your blogs, email, snail mail…any way you can think to share my “Kickstarter” page – I am asking you to do it.  Even if you can’t help financially, it will cost you nothing to share the project with everyone you know.

Sky limit

You see, if I don’t reach my ‘bare bones‘ fundraising goal of $2,500.00 for this project….then the project doesn’t happen…it disappears back behind the floodgates and is silenced.

Washed outSO…we’ve got 30 days to reach this goal – and I am counting on all of you to help me reach it – to help me share my passion, my hope, my joy with you – and the rest of the world.

Thanks so much for walking on this journey with me, I am so blessed to have you all in my life.

Love and Light,


The Horizon

The Horizon

There are times when in life where the landscape is so dark, so bleak and so unwelcoming that you could never envision even the tiniest speck of light being born within it.


What is it about the darkness that we fear?


Is it the helplessness that suffocates your spirit?


Is it the emptiness that you feel when it surrounds you?


Is it the deafening silence often found within?


Is it the unending view of nothingness that deprives us of daring to dream??


What is it that soaks our soul with a breathless and desperate longing during these times?


It is Hope.


Hope that tomorrow will be better.


Hope that, somehow – somewhere within the darkness, someone will find you and grab your hand and be with you through it all.


Hope that, no matter how helpless you feel, there is always someone there willing to help you find your way.


Hope that the silence will be broken by the sounds of love.


Hope that the landscape will suddenly blossom and flourish with a blinding fierceness beyond your wildest dreams.


Hope that, within you, you can give birth to a glimmer of light that you can nurture, grow, and release to extinguish the darkness that has enveloped you for so long.




Yes, Hope.


You see, Hope and I have been on a journey.  One of many ups and downs…


Sometimes, I’ve even doubted that Hope was anything other than a desperate plea for sanity during desperate times.  I’ve wondered if it truly could exist outside of my heart.  I’ve had many nights that I’ve held onto it by a thread…dangling precariously close to the edge of letting the darkness consume me.

Hanging by a thread

Yes, Hope and I know each other well.


The thing about Hope is that you have to be willing to have it in order to be touched by it.


If you don’t allow yourself to have Hope, then you can’t be carried by the strength within it.


If you don’t trust in the power of Hope, then you’ll never experience it.


If you don’t release your fears to make room for Hope, it will never reside in you.


These past few years have been often dark and scary for me in so many ways….


It is so hard to truly express the things I’ve felt in the depths of my being, but I could sum it up by saying that I was was in a tug of war between Hope and Fear.


Between the financial challenges, the emotional heartache, the medical challenges (the changes in my body and the changes that my children and other family members have faced) and the spiritual challenges – that tug of war has been, at times, truly painful,  overwhelming, heartbreaking, and often suffocating.

There is nothing worse than having your body fail you while you watch those you love struggle, suffer, and fall down.  If you add the emotional toll that takes as well as the financial toll, the weight is crushing.


On top of all that, you still have to function – the demands never change even when your life does.  You have to find a way to continue on, to make ends meet, to hold it together, and to do more than ‘survive‘ – you have to find a way to LIVE.  AND….the only way to do that is to have HOPE.


But here’s where the blessing arrives…despite the continued challenges we face, the horizon is finally in our view and it is BEAUTIFUL, INSPIRING, and BREATHTAKING!


While I still have medical challenges – there is finally a (medical) stability within that has given me a reprieve from the hospitalizations, and the children have a solid medical team and we are making significant progress (though our greatest challenges with Sasha still exist).  For the first time since 2010, I feel like I can finally catch my breath and not just ‘tread water‘ – but actually swim to the shore.  Don’t get me wrong, the road is still tough, overwhelming, scary, frustrating, and crushing at times, but we have found our ‘Room to Breathe.’


It’s been a long journey for our family, one that is not over – one that will always throw darkness our way…but, as long as we have HOPE, we will always have a light that will dwell within the horizon of our hearts…and as long as we have that – the darkness will never overcome us.

IMG_0838There is more to come….so much good, so much that’s exciting….stay tuned!

Love and Light,


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