Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Festival of Trees

For 40 years, the Festival of Trees has ushered in the Holiday Season in Utah.  More importantly, every penny raised helps children at Primary Children’s Medical Center, the hospital our Makenzie spent her last month.  The Festival is organized and orchestrated by volunteers throughout the state and relies on the generous support of those who decorate and purchase trees, wreaths, gingerbread creations, playhouses, centerpieces, and quilts.

I remember going to the festival when I was young with my Mom. 
I was always amazed by the lights, the outrageous decor and the amazing spirit that filled the room.

Its been years since I have been but last year, we were lucky enough to have our own mini Festival of Trees at the hospital with us.  There were many trees brought to the hospital after the festival was over that helped brighten what, at that time, was not a very cheery-happy-celebrating time of year.  I remember this blue and white tree the best since it was so close to Makenzie's Room.  Ill never forget looking at that tree as I walked out of there the night of December 13th- I couldn't shake the little tiny bit of light that crept into my heart thinking my baby was surrounded by the most beautiful Christmas tree I could ever imagine.  
Ill never forget that feeling.

I wanted to do a tree for Makenzie this year but for lack of funds and time I just couldn't pull it off. 
That's when a group of angels stepped in.
A group of girls who never knew me, our family or Makenzie. 
They wanted to make a tree in honor of our baby. 
and a tree they made. 
The most beautiful. 
The most loving.
The most inspiring.
The most MAKENZIE tree that I could imagine for her.
I cant thank these amazing girls enough.
You can read a special article the newspaper wrote about them and our tree HERE.

Ryan and I went to the festival on auction night. 
We walked in the door found row M for of course MAKENZIE and sprinted over to our tree.
My breathe was taken away.
The first thing I thought of was that blue and white tree that was by her room last year.
My baby is so proud. She is so honored at this most special gift these young women gave her.

They captured every detail. 
The leggings, the toys, the MRW, the balloons, the angels!
Simply... Perfect...

Although we spent pretty much our whole night watching in amazement at our angels tree, we did walk around to witness all the other breathtaking trees and decor that was there.  

Its simply amazing. to see some of these stories. to see ways families are honoring their loved ones. to see how some are celebrating the gift of life. or to see the incredible generosity and support everyone has for this hospital. a place that saved my baby for a month longer than i could have. a place that provided her love, comfort, help. a place that never made me leave. a place that always kept me in the loop. a place that helped me in more ways than i could ever express. this night was wonderful. to remember the amazing team that gave me more time with her. seeing the incredible love others have for our baby and of course remembering our makenzie rye.


Ashley Sullenger said...

That's incredible! Aren't people amazing? That makes me so happy for you!

Alana said...

I was amazed at how well these girls captured Makenzie without knowing our her or our family. Her tree was PERFECT! My kids stood forever just looking at "their Kenzie's tree". I took a picture of them in front of it, then a lady offered to take one of me with them in front of the tree and she didn't even get my head in the picture... LOL...oh well! It was an honor to see that tree and know that I am the aunt of that sweet little girl with the beautiful big eyes that said so much! Love you guys!

Hil said...

What sweet girls and such a beautiful tree :)

GINA. said...

Christmas is a season of giving, and what a wonderful gift these girls have given to you, your family, and Makenzie!
The tree is beautiful, breathtaking, and everything wonderful...Just like MRW!
I cannot imagine Christmas season being easy for you, but hopefully this tree brings you a little bit of joy to help get you through this season.
Her memory WILL live on forever. She will not be forgotten. These girls have helped prove that.
I pray that this Christmas brings you and your family love, and much deserved peace.

Victoria Strong said...

This is so, so, so beautiful that stranger did this in Makenzie's memory! And what a job they did -- I've never seen a tree like that! Gorgeous!!!

Andrea said...

That is very awesome! I will have to look for her tree when I am able to go with my family. I was there as a auction host that night. :) I am so happy that she was able to have a tree in honor of her and that you were able to go that night. They did a wonderful job!!!

Chels said...


I cried tears of joy for you and your little Kenzie. What a great way to honor her special spirit. Angels are looking out for you and Ryan both that was a sign for heaven above.
So happy for you,

Shawna said...

How wonderful Kendra. This tree is incredible. I absolutely love the little BabyLegs and the beautiful "Makenzie" train and "MRW" frame. Simply amazing. Makenzie and you are very blessed by all those who have heard and felt your story.

Tiff@ny said...


They did such a wonderful job capturing your little Makenzie's spirit!!! I have been trying to find someone to go with me to the festival of trees for days now with no such luck. But I am going to take my little lady tomorrow by myself so we can go see this amazing little tree for ourselves! =) I hope this beautiful tree brightens you and Ryan's hearts during what I am sure is an amazingly hard time of year!!! Your family is in our prayers! Happy Holidays.


The Mac's House said...


Sometimes when you least expect it the wonders of strangers can do so much.

I've facebooked about this article. I'm hoping to raise awareness about this disease!

:) Teri

Emma said...

Wow! What a gift of love!! The tree is incredible and what a fantastic job they did of capturing Kenzie, and you and Ryan along the way. I think the leggings are such an awesome idea-so inspired by you and Kenzie and showing how her life is still touching others each and every day. I wish we lived closer and could come see it ourselves, but thanks for sharing in pics-incredible!
Hugs, Em

Chanse and Janell said...

I LOVE the tree! It's beautiful and amazing!

Hope all is well.

Anonymous said...

The tree is so beautiful and peerfectly decorated in honor of MKW. Those young women are amazing. They truly demonstrate what it means to have "the pure Love of Christ." Kenzie is and always be your little angel and our angel, too. I miss her and love her so much. I know our entire family misses and loves her. I'm grateful for loving, kind people who spend some of their time doing such worthwhile projects for PCMC. Love you always Auntie M

brigette said...

Its so beautiful kendra were going on friday!! I cant wait to see it in person. Hope to see you soon!! Love ya bunches!!

AJ and Cindy said...

how absolutely perfect! What a sweet gift for you guys. I hope to see it this weekend!

Anonymous said...

SO special!

Chantay said...

I am ones of the people that helped with your little Makenzies tree and it was an amazing experience. The young women were very touched and grateful that you shared a little peice of your heart and lets us in to help. We were so glad to hear you were gonna come talk to us and i was very moved by all that you had been through your an amzing person and Makenzie is an amazing angel.

♥ Stephan & Michelle & Ashlyn ♥ said...

You guys totally deserve this.. and literally could that tree be anymore perfect?! I started crying reading this! For one such a amazing honor for her and you guys!

Alerie said...

One word....AMAZING!! Everything about it, how they captured everything about Makenzie and how these girls did this for your family. I LOVE LOVE LOVE how they used baby leggings. That was such a perfect touch. Always thinking and praying for you especially during this time. Much love!!

¨*:·.TIFF.·:*¨ said...

I went to the Festival of Trees yesterday and saw Makenzie's tree. I got goosebumps looking at the tree and knowing the story behind it being there at the festival.
What an amazing group of girls who not only took it upon themselves to do this tree, but to also portray Makenzie's personality so perfectly with the decorations they used.
It's just another example of how your sweet daughter Makenzie has touched even more peoples' lives. Thank you for sharing her story with us and allowing our lives to be changed for the better through her example of perfect, pure and unselfish love.

Unknown said...

You are so strong and brave! Mackenzie is SO beautiful, and you have created such an incredible testament to her life. I am in tears - what angels those young women are; Mackenzie's story continues to touch people. I'm sending prayers to you from Colorado even though we've never met.

RhettandCass said...

Hi Kendra, you don't know me at all but I found your blog and have been following for a while now (hope that's okay) I love reading your posts. You write so beautifully. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I feel so close to you but I know we've never met. I'm so so sorry for your loss. Your little girl is such an angel. I went to the festival of trees today and my eyes filled with tears as I walked past her tree it is so perfect just like your baby. You and your husband are in my prayer and thoughts. Love from a new friend! Cassidy

Chels said...


I just got off the phone with my sister and she said your mother told her the tree was sent back to you guys!!! I am sooo excited to hear that. We went on Friday to see it and noticed it was bought and I had wondered and hoped and prayed it would end up back with you and Ryan in your home. See prayers do come true.
Love ya,

Katie said...

Hi! I'm Cindy Maudsley's sister, and I have read your blog for awhile. Your posts always bring tears to my eyes. Being able to see the tree for Mckenzie was amazing. You are unbelievably strong and I am constantly amazed by you and your story. i'm so glad those young women made this tree in honor of your beautiful daughter, and that you were given it as a gift. Merry Christmas! I'm sure she will be there with you this Christmas :)


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