A Lantern Fest Story

I heard about The Lantern Fest a few months ago and knew right away it was something I wanted to experience with my family this summer.

The lanterns are said to be symbols of our highest hopes and biggest dreams or to memorialize someone we love who is no longer with us.

With my step-dad passing away a few months ago I wanted my family to be able to experience something extra special together. I just didn't realize how incredibly amazing it would be!

None of us had ever been to an event quite like this before, so we weren't really sure what to expect. After checking in we were each given a lantern, a roasting stick, and a small box containing: a lighter, marshmallows, graham crackers, a small permanent marker, and instructions for lighting the lanterns.

We found one of the last remaining fire-pits and gathered around it while trying to keep the kids entertained until dark.  

As the sun was setting, we all took a moment to write our hopes and dreams on our lantern. Then we took turns passing them around so everyone could write a hope we had for each person.   

On my mom's lantern, we all wrote a little note to her and to Cliff.

J.R.'s says: "To the best Mother-in-Law any man could be lucky enough to have. Thank you for everything." and "Cliff, love and miss you. Keep watching over all of us, and blessing us with your good luck. Please especially watch over Channa. Love you."

Finally it was dark enough to light our lanterns and send them on their journey! Click over to my Instagram for a short video to see how magical it was. 


After sending our lanterns off, we all stood in awe watching the amazing sight above us when I noticed something blow by our feet on the ground. 

It was someone's unlit lantern! 

I picked it up, and turned around expecting to see someone chasing after it, but no-one was there. 

That's when I noticed a hole had ripped through the parchment paper near the bottom. Not wanting our experience to end, I asked my sister Chantel if she thought we could fix it. Together we gently tied the parchment paper back together, being careful not to rip it anymore. 

After mending it the best we could, I held the top as she lit the fire source. 

All lanterns need time to fill up with warm air before the can take off, but of course this one took a little bit longer. When we felt it was ready, we let go of it. 

Instead of traveling up though, it started traveling out -and it was headed straight towards a small group of people!

Chantel chased after it, when luckily it dropped to the ground.

I felt foolish to believe that we could actually get this broken lantern to fly, even more so because we could have potentially hurt other people.  

The lantern was still lit, so Chantel carefully picked it up and took a few steps back towards us. "It's not going to work." we told each other. "Chan, bring it back and put it in the fire. It's too dangerous." 

She held onto it though, coaching it, giving it more time. 

It would never work. We all doubted it's ability to ever fly. 

Moments later her finger-tips carefully let go of the the lantern again. I held my breath, ready for another disaster, but slowly and surely it started floating higher and higher. 

"Yes!" Chan threw her hands in the air and turned back to look at us with the biggest smile. 

My mouth hung slightly open in disbelief.  

Mom cheered and Chantel and I high-fived as she ran back to our group. 

We huddled together, watching her small miracle float away when she said quietly, "Even broken ones can do it." 

Some people would say our family is broken. 

Since Cliff's passing it feels like there's a hole in our family and in our lives. We've been though a lot together and individually. Sometimes we fight with each other or let each other down, and we've all had our hearts broken by set backs and disappointments when it comes to our individual hopes and dreams. 

But with some extra patience and love, I know that together we can do incredible things. 

I believe in us. 

After all, "Even broken ones can do it." 

June and July 2016

This June, J.R. and our best friends surprised me by taking me to my first-ever concert.

The four of us were out to dinner when a waitress come up to our table and asked, "Are you Candace?" I was completely shocked when she handed me a blank envelope and said, "Someone wants you to have this." and then walked away. 

My heart pounded in my chest as I held the envelope in my hand and wondered what could be inside of it and who would have sent it? 

When I finally opened the envelope I realized it was four tickets to the Jason Aldean Concert! That my husband and our two best friends had bought to surprise me with. It was seriously one of the sweetest/funniest things that have happened to me.   

The concert was completely sold out and it was insane! 

Jason Aldean had Thomas Rhett and a Thousand Horses open for him. They all performed so well. I had been told multiple times that seeing an artist perform live was a let-down because they never sound as good as they do on the radio - so not true! They all rocked. 

The only bad thing about the concert was how many people where there; and it seemed like everyone was drunk. As Jason sang his encore, we all decided to try and leave before the drunk drivers got on the road. 

We got out of the parking lot and were headed north when we noticed a Dodge Charger pulled off the side of the road. Next thing we knew the Charger lunged toward a group of four or five people and literally ran them over! Then shot out into the oncoming traffic lane (which no cars were driving on because everyone was leaving the concert) and speed off at like 80 mile per hour. There were no cops or crowd control of any kind. Other pedestrians helped the people who had been ran over and we called 911 for an ambulance. 

It was one of the craziest things I've ever witnessed. No-one died, but it still put a damper on the whole experience and I've kinda lost my desire to ever go to a concert again. 

On a brighter note, my sister, niece, and I went to the Blackridge Reservoir one afternoon in June. This is a small body of water in the City of Herriman nick named, "The Herriman Beach."

Now, when I hear the word reservoir I think of a lake -but this place is more like a pond.

Anyways, the city trucked in tons and tons of sand to create a white beach around the pond. It's a pretty popular place, especially on the weekends, so if you plan on coming here I'd recommend going on a weekday.

We played in the sand and shallow water and soaked up the sun on our beach towels. Afterwards we stopped for Hawaiian shaved iced. It was the perfect summer day.

She's the cutest little thing.

To be honest though, this summer hasn't been that great. 

Have you ever heard of Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease? I hadn't heard of it until this July. 

It's a disease most people get when they're kids,  kind of like the Chicken Pox. Except instead of itchy spots, you get painful blisters on your hands, feet, and in your mouth.  Although, just like the chicken pox, it's highly contagious and there is no medicine they can give you to cure it. It just has to run it course - which is about a week long. I got it first (from my nephew) and then J.R. came down with it a week later. 

I'll spare you the gross pictures, but J.R.'s feet looked like he had some sort of leprosy. 

He'd asked me one day, "How do the bottoms of my feet look?" 
I told him honestly, "You have Walking Dead feet. They look like zombie feet." 

It was horrible.

We watched sooo mannny movies during this time though. Here's a small list of what I remember: 

- Back to the Future
- The Bourne Trilogy including: Bourne Identity, Bourne Supermacy, Bourne Ultimatum and the newly released Jason Bourne
- Romancing The Stone  
- Remember the Titans 
- The Ascent of Woman (A Netflix documentary) 
- Far and Away 
- The Avengers Age of Ultron
- Simon Birch
- The Goonies 

Plus a few more that I can't remember right now.  

Then about a week after we started feeling better from HFM, we both got a really bad case of the stomach flu. It completely wiped us out for four days. (And there is only one bathroom in our house - let me tell you how wonderful that was.)  

Next thing we knew - three weeks of July had come and gone. 

But it's half way through August right now and we've done our best to make up for all the lost time! Those are some adventures I'll have to write about in a different post though - so stay tuned.  


How's your summer been so far??