Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Five

"Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are."
-Marianne Williamson

For this week's Friday Five, I thought I would share five of my favorite memories. Five days I can remember feeling nothing but joy.

{1. Meeting Pete the penguin}
During my treatment post transplant, I had to stay in the hospital for 100 days before I could go home. After I went home I was back in and out of the hospital for various complications. During one of these return stays, I was battling incessant vomiting and was forced to have a feeding tube. I was there during Christmas, a difficult fact to accept for a 13-year old. Everyone did the best they could to make my stay enjoyable, filling my room and walls with Christmas decorations galore, donations of presents from generous strangers, visits from multiple Santa Clauses, and my favorite of all - a visit by Pete the penguin. This was not planned, but one day when my grandma was spending the day with me, someone from Sea World came to my room asking if I would like to meet Pete. We of course said yes, and my grandma was just as excited as me, she has always been a huge penguin lover, and their house is filled with penguins in all forms. They brought him in and let him waddle around while we pet and played with him. One of the most surprising parts was how soft his feathers were! I expected him to feel rubbery... more skin less feathers. It was such a special experience between my grandma and I, and not many people can say they had a one-on-one visit with a penguin! It cheered me right up and temporarily made me forget I was a sick kid spending Christmas in the hospital.

{2. My high school graduation}
Somehow after missing a portion of middle school, doing a semester of high school through independent study due to a knee surgery, and all my other health complications, I managed to graduate high school on time. I remember standing in the gym lined up with the 600+ students in my class, in my gold honors cap and gown, my purple and gold lei, and an enormous grin. High school was a less than pleasant experience for me, teased my first year for being in a wheelchair, betrayed by girls I thought were my friends, and a lack of belonging. So knowing I would never have to return to high school, and just the feeling of accomplishment and pride were overwhelming. This will forever remain one of the happiest days of my life.

{3. The first time Brent told me he loved me}
About 5 months after our first date, Brent and were enjoying a normal relaxing Saturday night. He suggested we get a bottle of champagne and some strawberries to enjoy. It was then while we enjoyed two of my favorite things on this earth- that he told me for the first time he was in love with me. So very special and something you never ever forget!

{4. My ten-year post-transplant anniversary party}
To celebrate 10 years following the cord blood transplant that saved my life, my family threw a party for me. With the people most special to me, we enjoyed the pool, amazing food, wonderful company, and reflected on all I have overcome during those 10 years. It was a special reminder of all that I am thankful for, how lucky I am to still be here and cancer-free, and what an amazing support team I have among my family and friends. If you want to read details about that day, you can here and here.

{5. Participating in my first photo contest}
Always a lover of photography, I took a photo class in college, but after my last surgery it fell by the wayside. Earlier this year I got back into it, and saw an ad in the local paper for a photo contest to capture "My San Clemente" shots that represented personal views of the town. I entered 5 photos, and went with aunt Lori to the awards show and exhibit at a local art gallery. Seeing my photos was such a special experience, I was out of my comfort zone and it was wonderful. I was surprised to learn that 4 out of the 5 I submitted received honorable mentions! It really motivated me and gave me a boost of courage. You can see the photos I submitted here.

What are 5 of your favorite moments?


  1. Chels, I am tearing up over here, *gah* I love all of these!! I will have to think long and hard about mine. I know my wedding day was one, I think the day Billy told me he loved me was another. He got so emotional, all teary... it was SO sweet. He said it randomly in a conversation we were having before church when I offered to go get him something to eat for breakfast. He said he just couldn't keep it in anymore, and I was stunned but overjoyed. Cuz what could I say? of course I agreed :)

    p.s. Petting a penguin is VERY special.


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