Called to Care for the Sick and Wounded

Friends, I have the honor and the privilege of sharing two beautiful books with you today. Both of the authors have boundless hearts and serve in hospitals as Child Life Specialists, where they pour their efforts and energy into caring for precious children and their families. They are skilled at their work as they assist patients and families through their traumatic journey of illness or injury. These are the women who are the unsung heroes of the medical field. It is through their tireless involvement and insightful wisdom, that they touch the lives of countless people in the medical facilities they are employed.  These are the people that are invested in exploring ways to further the progress and potential of each child in their care.

I am inspired by their brave and intentional steps to make a difference in the lives of the hurting. I want to share with you their mission, and purpose through their unique voice and I pray their words and their gift blesses you too.

And I find great joy in knowing God’s hands and feet are everywhere living among us in this world. 

The first book is titled, “Stars in the Sand: Finding the Light of the Lord In Unexpected Places”, by Leigh Snyder.

Stars in the Sand

This book is a beautifully written memoir of the experiences of Leigh’s work with the sick and injured children in her care. Her work in a Children’s hospital is full of hardships and distress because of the trauma or illness or injury children are facing. She is called to serve her patients and their families as she navigates around such difficult obstacles to instill comfort and hope to those weary and worn from enduring such a difficult season of suffering.  The Child Life Specialist has a significant role in the treatment plan, and Leigh discovers over and over again, the human spirit and it’s strength and brokenness through each case she has.

In this precious piece of literature, you will be guided through stories of hope and healing, of pain and grief, and as she shares the poignant parts of her journey, she threads God’s Word and Grace hidden beneath and above it all. Her detailed account of difficult cases and her insight and raw emotion will deeply touch you and stretch your perspective. There is a world of need out there, and Leigh is in the trenches sharing her light and love with the broken and wounded and lost. She is a witness to humanity at it’s lowest and highest level.

As Leigh shares her own journey of working alongside the lives she observes , she offers such precious moments for the reader to truly embrace. Through each case and experience,  she opens a new perspective on the inter-workings of such places as the ER or NICU or inpatient long-term medical hospital stays. As I began to understand her work and the environment more, I was moved by her powerful stories of children and families and caregivers that play such a pivotal role in her faith journey as well as her personal growth.  It’s amazing what lessons can be learned if we look hard enough, and go deep enough to find them.

Leigh discovers treasures through her profession, and takes them out for us all to witness and bask in the glow of God’s miraculous ways and message. I love how she threads it all together, with the flow of both wisdom and intention. Her work is wondrous and worthy of attention…

Because it’s everywhere.

Hidden in the trenches of this world are the unsung heroes sacrificing much to serve and give what they can to help the hurting children and their beloved families. Leigh is one voice of many to carry this call… and I am blessed to share her journey and her mission with you.

“The presence of the stars in the sky and stars in the sand remind me of God’s blessings. Some shine brightly and are apparent. Others are hidden away, out of sight until they become revealed. Like digging in the sand, sometimes these blessings require some work or effort before they can be discovered and appreciated. Like lights in the sand, often I have found the light of the Lord in unexpected places. One of those places is in the hospital. From triage to trauma in the emergency department to the still of the night in a hospital room, I have witnessed the light and the comfort of the Lord.”

Oh, how I love that.

You will truly be blessed by Leigh’s words, her passionate message and profound stories of hardship and hope, devastation and deliverance, longing and love. It will inspire you, move you, and open a new part of your heart for the wounded and those that serve them.

The next author I want to introduce to you is Shani Thornton, who is also a child life specialist as she too, works in the hospital environment offering her service and heart to those experiencing trauma, injury and illness. In her years of experience and well-practiced skill in working with patients and families in the medical world, she has created a resource that can assist others in forging the medical journey with less anxiety and more assurance to make the experience more comfortable and productive.

Her book, “It’s Time For Your Checkup” has its own purpose that is so very important, as it speaks to the parents and their children,  guiding them in preparing  for doctor visits and check ups, with the wisdom and insight she has gained through her experience in the field and as a mother.

It's Time for a Check Up

She categorizes the book in the following chapters:

It’s Time for Your Checkup

Steps to a Vaccination

Steps to a Blood Test

Note to Parents

Coping Strategies for Different Age Groups

Typical Components of a Routine Wellness Checkup


This book is such a valuable tool that equips families who are beginning their parenting journey with little children, as the information and wisdom Shani shares helps both the parent and the child prepare for future doctor or hospital visits ahead. I remember being a first time mom and fearfully forging through these appointments, not feeling prepared in what to expect and therefore I couldn’t help my own children either. This book walks you through routine visits with real life photos that offer both advice and education that will inform and encourage you and your child.

I love how Shani explains her book…

“This book is intended to prepare children and families for what to expect when going to a doctor visit. Children can often have anxiety and be scared of going for a checkup. It is important for parents to be honest about what will occur, using simple language. Children often feel a loss of control and may behave differently because of these feelings. When we explain what they will experience using their five senses (touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing) and offer realistic choices, it can help them feel more comfortable.”

Oh what a valuable resource this would be for any new parent!


I know these books would be a blessing for any family, and I know both Leigh and Shani want to share their gift with others who are in need of the nourishment and wisdom they can provide through each of their books.

Do you have little ones scared to go to the doctor?

Perhaps you feel ill equipped to help your child through doctor visits and medical procedures?

Have you experienced illness or trauma or injury with one of your beloved children?

Are you in search of hope and inspiration through the eyes of a caregiver?

Perhaps you know someone who would be blessed by these books as a gift.

Share your response in the comments, and be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest to enter our little gift-giving mission.  (Buttons to follow are up top!)

What joy it brings me to have connected with such loving souls who spend their days helping those who hurt, carrying those who are burdened, and giving tirelessly to those in need. These are the people that extend themselves above and beyond their call and oftentimes go unnoticed. I believe their purpose is far greater than looking for honor. Their mission is much bigger than that.

These are two women her serve in the trenches of pain, and I for one want to honor them and their work.

Author Signature


  1. says

    Both truly sound like wonderful reads and admit the second I could have so used more then a few times with different visits to the girls’ doctors, especially when Emma had RSV and now this last bout of pneumonia. Thank you for sharing and will definitely have to look into these both. Hugs to you 🙂

    • says

      Thanks Janine,
      Thanks so much for the support. Having two little ones myself, I know the struggles that we go through when bringing them to the doctor. I am sure that you uprooted Emma beautifully during her illness with RSV and Pneumonia.

  2. says

    You have been busy reading, Chris! Both of these books sound wonderful in their own ways. A book like Shani’s would have been so helpful when my kids were little; doctor’s visits were not fun. Thank you for sharing the work of both of these women!

    • says

      Hi Dana,
      Thanks so much for the feedback. I am a strong advocate for positioning your child in a comfort hold during any medical procedure. The old school way of holding them down by several team members, is incredibly traumatic. The book covers these tips and more. 🙂

  3. says

    So beautiful for you to find and share your wonderful descriptions of these books! And to have a giveaway!
    The first one would surely make me cry, but probably in a good way.
    The second book seems so important. Even after five years of parenting, I still find new challenges with taking the kids to the doctor – and I mean it’s worse for me than them!

    • says

      Thanks Tamara,
      I have Leigh’s book as well and love it! It is a tear jerker for sure.
      I also have a hard time watching my kids go through the struggles of a wellness visit or even worse a sick visit. I snug my child life hat on tight and use my mommy intuition to help support them.

  4. says

    I know firsthand how wonderful child life specialists are, since several different ones worked with my son last year. I’ve also witnessed how they helped numerous other children in the hospital where my son was treated. Having a needle stuck into your chest to receive chemo — I can’t think of anything more scary to a child — and yet these women were right there, holding hands, distracting, doing whatever they needed to do to keep these kids calm and reassured. Heroic indeed. 🙂

    • says

      Thanks Emily. I am sorry to hear that your son has gone through so much. I am sure that you were surprised by how resilient he was in getting through it.
      Sending you positive vibes!

  5. says

    I’m so obsessed with books. I just can’t get enough of them. You should see my overcrowded bookshelves. It’s kind of ridiculous considering I have a kindle full as well :). Thanks for sharing these, Chris! They both look wonderful. I’ll have to check out the first one. My kids are a little old for the second, but it looks like an awesome comforting resource for little ones.

  6. says

    Hi Chris! These books are so wonderful. I really enjoy true to life writing, and I think I’d really relate to Stars in the Sand. There are so many people who are leading such heroic lives, and so quietly. Good for you for bringing all of us these books!

    You are a generous blogger. It’s really an inspiration my friend.

    • says

      Thank you so so much Ceil… I appreciate your support SO much!! These fine ladies deserve the attention and I hope their hard work and intention are both blessed and honored. 🙂

  7. says

    Wonderful shares, Chris! I love that there are such incredible people helping our children to cope with scary doctor visits! I will definitely get the second one; my son has a blood draw coming up for an allergy screening and I’ve been SO worried about how he’ll react!

  8. says

    We were so touched by the efforts of the Child Life Specialist in the NICU. She got Braedan in to meet his baby sister at the NICU, even though he was technically too young. She spent an hour with him, explaining what the babies would look like, what is going on in the NICU, what to expect, etc. They are special people!
    And I love the book for helping a kid through a scary appointment!!
    Great giveaway Chris. Thanks for sharing these with us!

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