Finding Hope and Joy

When was the last time you wanted to jump up and down because you were so incredibly happy?  Children naturally show their enthusiasm.  As adults our enthusiasm wanes, stressors weigh us down, criticisms cripple us, and life can be hard.

Lately I’ve been pretty bogged down.  A good friend was diagnosed with cancer. My daughter has a friend whose mom died of cancer. Friends are struggling financially. And the list goes on. Not much jumping up and down for joy around here.  Can you relate?

Be encouraged. I have an idea for us to consider.  Joy is found in serving others.

Here’s my story.  About two weeks ago an opportunity came up to help plan a birthday party for Hattie, a little girl who is battling cancer. She just turned four and her family wanted to have a birthday celebration for their friends and family.

Spreading Sunshine, a non-profit organization that mobilizes volunteers to support families facing childhood illness or disability, decided to throw the party for this family. With a teeny, tiny budget, lots of ideas and very little time to pull this off, the planning began in earnest.

Hattie loves Disney characters, so we decided to make it character party.  Someone had a bright idea to have volunteers dress in costume and welcome the guests.  Surely people would be excited to do that. We asked people to help. CRICKETS.  We tried to find costumes. MORE CRICKETS.

We reached out on Facebook.  Now I know for some of you Facebook may be a dirty word right now.  I’ve been pretty busy so I’ve merely glanced at the controversies filling my Facebook timeline. Thankfully Facebook can also be used for good.

My friends shared the need and people started coming out of the woodwork to volunteer. All to show love to a stranger they have never met. I’m jumping up and down!!  JUMPING UP AND DOWN!!!

Yes, right now it’s a mess out there in social media world.

As for me, I choose to focus on kindness.  I choose to build others up rather than tear them down.  I choose to celebrate. I choose to look for what unifies rather than what divides.I choose to be thankful.  I choose to forgive. I choose to see the beauty of community when we come together to serve and love others.

I choose HOPE.

In one week this birthday party will a distant memory.  But, I hope it is also a DEFINING MOMENT.  I hope Hattie’s family is strengthened for the many months left in treatment.  I hope they are moved by the kindness of strangers. I hope they enjoy time with their family and friends. I hope they have a blast at the party.

I hope everyone who helps throw the party is blessed with oodles of JOY.  I hope the person who donates money knows the difference their dollars will make.  I hope the volunteers  enjoy giving hugs and helping kids have fun.

I hope we all look back and smile with tears in our eyes as we remember Hattie’s party.

Want to you join the party?  You can DONATE to help cover the cost of the party.  You can VOLUNTEER.

I encourage you find something that makes you jump up and down with joy!  Share your experiences finding HOPE and JOY.


You can keep up with Hattie’s story by joining her Facebook group, HOPE for HATTIE (what a perfect name for a group!).


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