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." 

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