a whole handful.


Five fingers on her little starfish hand.

Five years.


Do you know how amazing this is?

I have tried to put it into words myself –and feel that I fall so short.

I’ve watched friends have to bury their children well before they reach 5 years of age. I’ve had to watch my baby almost lose her chance to see this birthday.

I do not take this birthday lightly by any means.

I rejoice in this birthday – I celebrate it with respect and awe and thanks. Thanks to God for the gift of her life, thanks to our family and friends who support us every day on this journey of life, thanks to the doctors and nurses and other medical professionals who help keep kendall running every day. This day would not be possible without any of you.

On this, the last day you are four, I wanted to tell you this:

My dear baby kendall quinn –

from the moment you were born, you have fought with all your might to survive. to LIVE.

and live you have. you live each day to the fullest. You are excited about every new thing, every new challenge, every opportunity that comes your way. You show me what it is to see this life for all the beauty it really holds.you have taught me to not sweat the small stuff, and what it’s like to sweat the really really big stuff.  Your sisters taught me how to be a mommy – you’ve taught me how to be a momma bear. Fierce, loyal, unwielding.

You have taught me so much in your five years here, it’s as if i didn’t really know what it was to live before i met you.

and i’m just so very proud of you my baby girl. I cannot tell you that enough. I am proud of how you endure all that you must every day with a smile on your face, and i’m proud of how you love unconditionally, and i’m proud web3 of how you have taught so many people to keep on keepin’ on.  I’m SO proud of you for putting up the fight you do, when the darkness of those infections threatened to overwhelm you, you looked them in the eye and said “not today”. How very brave you are! You really are a warrior princess, kendall quinn. Your name means that you will be a strong leader in the valley.  When we chose that name for you, I had no idea just how true it would be. You have been in the valley of the shadow of death more times than any child should – and you have come out stronger on the other side. you have taught me how to handle  life in the valley, and life on the mountaintops.


aff6b10a-deeb-4083-91dd-a144018246f9 I have no idea what this year ahead holds for you.

My hope is that it holds nothing but health, happiness and so many good things. Your one true wish – to meet and swim with Ariel – will be granted. i hope it is the time of your life. I hope you chase the wind and touch the sky. I hope you become even stronger and even more amazing in this year ahead. Most of all – I hope you know how very much you are loved, and how very very proud I am to be your momma.

 Kendall as Ariel 027

you did it baby girl. you became a whole hand-full.

you’re my hero, for always.


keep on keepin on~

love, mommy.

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  1. You did it again! Simultaneously Made me cry, and hug my kids a little tighter. Love you girl. Thanks for Being the right Mama for Kendall! God chose so well when He chose you for the job! So proud to know you. 😉

  2. This post is perfect, Terra – it really is. Your family have totally captured my heart and I’m not the only one.

    Little miss Kendall has her own little army and her story is one that inspires me every day – and don’t even get me started on you, Mama!

    What a five years it has been for all of you – and what a sassy cutie pie Kendall has become!

    Sending so much love to you all and wishing I was there to bake the biggest chocolate cake to celebrate! Happy birthday, Kendall – and happy birth-day Terra! Xx
    Kristy @ SOuthern In-Law talked about…Chicken Soup for the Soul

  3. It’s Time To Make A Wish!
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    /?*?? ?M?A?K?E? – ?W?I?S?H? ? ?* ?
    / \ ?. ? *? ???* ??? ???* ?? ?? ???* ? ?? ? ?? •* ? ??”

  4. I found your blog through your facebook page Hope for Kendall. I really just wanted to say that even though I have never met you, nor do I know you or your beautiful little family, you are an AMAZING woman. Your love and devotion to your little girl are so obvious on this blog and your facebook page for her, and your story really touched me! She is SUCH a lucky little girl to have been given a woman like you for a mom who would do anything for her and give her the best life possible! I will keep her, you, and your family in my thoughts! I hope there are nothing but great things in store for Kendall this coming year on her journey to 6 years old! <3

  5. Happy Happy Belated to Kendall Quinn! I KNEW it was coming….and I missed it! Good thing I sang EXTRA loud at Kendall’s Royal Fall Festival a few weeks ago! I hope it was a beautiful day for the whole Atkinson Family, but most especially, Princess Kendall Quinn who is now FIVE! SO awesome! What a milestone! Blessings to you all from ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE STREET! And REALLY cool news about the trip to swim with Ariel!!! How exciting! Can’t wait to hear all about it! Love, The Corrells