The Hope Tree Logo
Illuminate a monthly newsletter of hope & encouragement
Copper Leaves on Teh Hope Tree Sculpture

Special Holiday Issue 2011

In This Issue

Happy Holidays
Guest Author: Debbie Spooner, MSW

Hope is Renewable 

Featured Hope Tree Symbol: Perseverance

Featured Reading, Listening & Watching

In Our Next Issue

Contact Us  

Join Us on
the Radio

Radio Microphone

Every Thursday
at 9 AM MST on 

On Thursday mornings,
fill your coffee mug, snuggle up in a comfy chair and listen to us   
live on Internet radio.

Just go to 
and click on the
"Listen Live" button.

This hour long show features stories about hope, interviews and live conversations with guests from around the world, email and tweeted questions - PLUS -  weekly homework assignments for you
to sharpen your own
"Hope Quotient."

We have a special show on Monday, December 26,  2011 at 11 AM MST featuring a fascinating interview with this issue's guest author, Debbie Spooner

If you ever miss us live, archived shows will be available 24/7 via the station's web site by clicking on the "Talk Radio Archives" banner. Then find The Hope Journal listing and choose the show you want to hear.

See The Hope Tree For Yourself!

Link to The Hope Tree HD Documentary

Hope Related Gifts

Copper Leaf from The Hope Tree

Visit our store by clicking the picture above to see lovely gifts for a loved one or friend in need of symbols that remind them to feel hopeful and encouraged.

We love it when
you forward this newsletter
to your friends
and family . . .

For the best results,
be sure you use the activated  "Forward Email" link at the bottom of the actual newsletter - just below the "Contact Info" section - rather than forwarding it through your regular email service.

The Hope Tree
Happy Holidays to you all!

Dear Hopefuls,

We could not miss this opportunity to give you all a special gift - an unexpected holiday issue of our newsletter.
Even though it is a joyous time of year, it can also be a somewhat melancholy time of year for many. An added dose of hope and encouragement seemed the perfect universal gift. And when we found out that Debbie Spooner was going to be available not just as a Guest Author but also as a guest on our radio show, The Hope Journal, we simply had to make this special issue happen. Let's just all immerse ourselves in all things Debbie Spooner! Without question she is a fascinating woman and a model for how to live life fully with or without cancer.

And, of course, you will find all the other regular features with which we hope you are all becoming familiar and looking forward to.

Our special hopes and encouragement go out to Emily's family and friends in St. Helena, CA, Debbie M. in Aurora, CO, Nancy S. in Mooresville, NC, Liz A. in Avon, OH, and all those fighting the good fight.

My very best wishes to you and your families for the holidays ahead. Join us again in mid-January 20112. And remember, it is inch by inch that we reach the stars.

Carol Jeanotilla & the Hope Tree Gang

If you have enjoyed what you see here in this newsletter, find even more helpful and hopeful information at:

Debbie Spooner & Dr. Borges  - Fly Fishing
Guest author,
Debbie  Spooner, MSW 

Well here I am, two years after placing my "hopes" inside The Hope Tree, still living optimistically and moving forward! I was thrilled to have the opportunity in 2009 to share my treasures with The Hope Tree, and after doing so I had a wonderful, uninterrupted time of good health. I took a bicycle trip around Holland in the spring of 2009. On that trip I was thrilled ro find the place in Leiden, Holland where my ancestors from England settled before setting sail for the Pilgrim Village in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

     Right around that time I was also diagnosed with metastatic cancer of the bones and liver. I was very fortunate that I was able to take oral chemo which gave me incredible freedom to travel, work, play, etc., A year after I started the oral chemo I became resistant to it and began infusions. Most recently I started a BRAND NEW chemotherapy that takes only 5 minutes (2 out of every 3 Mondays) to "push" into a vein. It is truly amazing what scientists are learning, ALL THE TIME, and I feel very blessed to benefit from their genius, research and hard work.

Continuing reading Debbie's story . . . 
 Hope Is Renewable.

    It's not as if we feel hope one day and then get to keep it forever. It would be wonderful if hope worked that way: stretch ourselves to cultivate it, let it take root and then just effortlessly allow it to grow all by itself - harvesting our crop whenever extra hope was needed. But hope needs constant renewal like any living thing. It needs fuel, nourishment, protection and tending. Thankfully, we have ways to make more when the current supply diminishes. We have learned how even small things can produce those healthy chemicals that signal our brains and bodies that we are doing well. There are endless resources available for additional scientific information if we still need more proof that "this hope thing" is real.

    We must protect our hope reserves fiercely. Keep all that we have learned here and elsewhere in mind every day with proven reinforcement aids: keep a hope and gratitude journal; surround ourselves with positive people; avoid people, conversations, TV shows, news and recordings that diminish our ability to stay hopeful. Learn all we can about our illness and the array of treatment options.

    Our hopes are very personal. And no one gets to tell us what to hope for. We are allowed big hopes, medium hopes, small hopes and very teeny, tiny hopes. Our job is to be hopeful about something everyday and keep those good chemicals flowing through our bodies like Morse Code messages across the Atlantic so that we can return to wellness.

Do the homework, get inspired and thrive for as long as possible!

"Without hope, nothing could begin; hope offered a real chance to reach a better end. Hope helps overcome hurdles that we otherwise could not scale, and it moves us forward to a place where healing can occur."


Perseverance Symbol fromThe Hope TreeOur Featured Symbol from 
The Hope Tree: Perseverance
Messages of encouragement to endure fill our childhoods: From the little train that could: "I think I can, I think I can." to Dori in Nemo telling us: "Just keep swimming, keep swimming. Swimming and swimming and swimming." Likely all cultures have symbols and stories about this essential survival skill.

    The symbol of perseverance that we chose here comes to us from the West African Adinkra people. It is inspired by the seeds of their Wawa tree - which are extremely hard. In Adinkra culture, it is a symbol of someone who is strong and tough. It inspires the individual to persevere through hardship and represents the ability to overcome difficulties by facing them head-on.

    You will notice on the sculpted version of this symbol there is a trough in the center bar with circling level ground around it. This represents the recurring cycles of life. There will also always be times when we slip over the edge into a ditch. But we can always find a way to lift ourselves back up - onto and into the level circle of life once more.
Featured Books
Featured reading . . . 

There are many fine authors out there who have written very inspiring books about the power of hope and encouragement. Every month we will recommend several that we find to be exceptional.

Click to order directly through

A Reason for Hope: Gaining Strength for Your Fight Against Cancer by Michael S. Barry (Jul 20, 2004) ISBN-10: 1562922149 & ISBN-13: 978-1562922146

The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life's Hurdles by Karen Reivich & Andrew Shatte ISBN-10: 0767911911 & ISBN-13: 978-0767911917

How to Live Between Office Visits: A Guide to Life, Love and Health by Bernie S. Siegel ISBN-10: 0060924675 & ASIN: B000C4T3ZW

You can also listen . . .

Carol posts many recordings of interviews and shows from her radio series, The Hope Journal, on These recordings can provide hope and encouragement 24/7 if you feel your hope waning.
Click the link below to listen to these fascinating conversation.


Don't miss Carol's discussion with Debbie Spooner, MSW on The Hope Journal radio show December 26, 2011 starting at 11:00 AM MST. Check the sidebar to the left to find out how to listen in on our live, worldwide broadcast.

Should you miss the show you can always listen to archived versions at the same web site: just click the "Talk Radio Archive" banner. Find The Hope Journal listing and choose the show you want to hear.

Or watch . . .

This long holiday weekend would also be a great time to sit down with friends and family and watch the inspiring documentary, The Amazing Story of The Hope Tree. Whether you are interested in how it was created, what it means or how it inspires patients, families anf staff alike - it is the best 26 minutes you will spend in a long time.

Here is the free link:

 Liz Adamson's one-woman four act play, Journey, is now available via her website at or by typing Liz Adamson in the search field at You It is an amazing piece revolving around the concept that is possible to thrive with cancer - not just survive.

IN OUR JANUARY ISSUE, we'll learn about the psychology
of survival . . .

     One of the most important aspects of survival skills is our thinking. We all typically think of needing survival skills when lost in the woods, a swamp or high in the mountains
. But make no mistake about it, this fight with cancer will take all the wily skills you can muster to emerge on the other side intact. And mental focus - mental preparation - plus the ability to not panic will make a tremendous difference in how you feel and how your body heals. We will soon have a fascinating discussion about this very topic with Survival Expert, Bill Scott, from Colorado.
Bill will also be our guest on The Hope Journal for Thursday, January 5, 2011.
     This January 2012 issue will showcase another symbol from The Hope Tree: Bravery. We will also delve into new research on the science behind survival. Look for book recommendations too.

     And don't forget to join us on the radio for The Hope Journal every Thursday at 9 AM MST. Just go to and click on the "Listen Live" (white oval at the upper left hand corner.)

     Hoping everyone has a wonderful holiday season filled with all your favorite people: Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza! We'll see you again in mid-January! 

Contact Info

Carol Jeanotilla answers all of your emails personally. Please feel free to write her at: