Stars in The Sand, Book Giveaway

Looking for a book with a connection to spirituality during a hospitalization? Shannon Alford, a Certified Child Life Specialist has done just that. She is the author of, Stars in the Sand: Finding the Light of the Lord in Unexpected Places.

To celebrate Child Life Month we will be giving away a copy of her book.

stars in the sand

Choose one or more ways to enter:

1. Like the post and leave a comment below

2. Sign up for email notifications at Child Life Mommy

3. On Facebook, “Like” Child Life Mommy’s page and leave a comment

4. ReTweet on Twitter and tag @ChildLifeMommy

5. On Instagram, Re-post pic and tag @ChildLifeMommy

Good Luck, winner will be chosen on 3/15/15

Shipped to US residents only.

Related articles:

Stars in the Sand: Child Life Resource

Following My Intuition: My Love Story and Discovery of Child Life


Have you ever had a gut feeling that something was going to drastically change in your life or you were seeking to fulfill something deeper? This feeling resonated with me 11 years ago and forever changed me.

I was a recent college grad, working as a recreation therapist assistant at a local children’s hospital in San Diego, California. I provided therapeutic activities and support to our long term pediatric patients and their families. It was an amazing position, but once I started, I knew that there was just something else that I was supposed to do. I started taking on different tasks, asking questions of my fellow team member’s positions and did lots of research at home. OT, PT, SLP, nursing, social work, nothing seemed to connect with me.

Life’s Journey Down Under

For a graduation present to myself, I planned a three week trip with my best friend to Australia. We booked with a global tour group, Contiki to travel with 40 other people on a bus from Sydney to Cairns. The road trip would last 2 weeks stopping at different cities along the way to experience Australia’s most adventurous excursions.

There was so much excitement leading to the trip. We wrote out a must do list that included bungee jumping, white water rafting, sky diving, surfing and of course cuddling a koala. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was putting all my positive vibes out there. I had this repetitive feeling that this trip was supposed to tell me what I was supposed to do with my life. I clearly remember saying it out loud to my friends, who just smiled and agreed with my silliness.

A Match for the Sheila

australia 1

Our trip began and we were having the time of our lives. Meeting people from across the globe and experiencing everything and more from our list. We went to a crocodile farm, played a didgeridoo, hung out with kangaroos, and drank snakebite. Every morning on the bus ride to the next town, the group would share stories from the night before. We were crying from laughter. These weren’t just strangers anymore, they were friends.

One of those friendships stood out amongst the others, his name was Greg. He was 29-year-old cop from New York, who was on the trip with three of his buddies. Something between us clicked and we began to open up about our lives. Greg wasn’t anyone that I would ever imagine dating. He was older, lived in New York and was a cop, his life was established and mine was just beginning. So how would that ever work out?

Well it did.

As soon as the trip ended and we headed home, my heart was filled with such an emptiness. I thought it would go away, but it just got stronger. Greg and I met up two weeks after the trip in Las Vegas. I fell in love and knew that I would eventually marry him.

Ding! Ding! It’s Child Life 

I was back to work and on cloud nine from my smitten feelings of love. Greg and I had planned monthly trips to see one another to continue our relationship. I also was still in that phase of trying to figure out my next step for a career change, when a patient of ours was referred to child life for an upcoming surgery. Something sparked my interest when I heard the name child life specialist.

That night I discovered the Child Life Council and learned all about a child life specialist.  Everything I was reading was resonating within me. This is it! This is what I am supposed to be doing!

There was a section on schools that offer child life programs. The one that stood out was Bank Street College of Education in New York. Coincidence, I don’t think so.

Flip Flops to Snow Boots


Within a year of the trip, I had moved back to my home town in Northern California. I wanted to save money, apply to Bank Street and have my family get to know Greg when he visited. It was incredibly challenging at times. My friends and family were very protective and didn’t want me to move across the country for a guy that I was dating.

I understood where they were coming from, but it never wavered my feelings. I didn’t have any reservations that this wouldn’t work. I knew my gut feelings were leading me in the right path for happiness in a relationship and career.

The Stars Were Aligned


Two years later, I was giving the commencement speech at Bank Street. I was married and looking forward to working in the field and starting a family with the love of my life. I think my gut feelings were more of an intuition.

Have you had a similar experience?

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Stars in the Sand- Child Life Resource

I have had the pleasure to connect with a fellow child life specialist, Shannon Alford. She is not only doing amazing work with patients and families at a children’s hospital, but she is also a loving mother and the author of Stars in the Sand: Finding the Light of the Lord in Unexpected Places. She writes under the pen name, Leigh Snyder

This is a beautiful book that captures the struggles that families endure and how their faith can be questioned and also used as a source of healing, hope and resiliency.

Here is a little bit more about the book and Shannon.

Stars in the Sand: Finding the Light of the Lord in Unexpected Places


Before you take your child to the hospital…

Stars in the Sand offers an insider’s view of a children’s hospital. The warm and witty stories provide practical information on

  • How hospitalization affects children and their families
  • Ways to support children’s development during hospitalization
  • Techniques to increase coping and offer comfort through illness and injury
  • Ways faith can be challenged and strengthened through trials and crisis
  • Examples of strength, hope, and inspiration

Can you ever think of a time more trying to one’s soul than enduring that of the pain of your child? Stars in the Sand compassionately shares an insider’s experience into the world of a Child Life Specialist. The brilliant and warm stories reflecting the divine presence of God in a children’s hospital permeate the book and share hope when circumstances can challenge even the strongest will. The stories are brief and to the point, yet they provide spiritual insight and provoke though. They also show that even though we place a lot of faith in current medical technology, we should never untether ourselves from the most glorious source of healing—the miracles of God’s blessings.

—Tony Anders, author, Artisan of the Human Spirit


Shannon Alford is a Child Life Specialist at a large children’s hospital whose work is to help children cope with the stress and anxiety that often accompanies hospitalization and medical procedures. Shannon’s experience includes working with hospitalized children of all ages from the ER to ICU. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Ed, and daughter, Audrey. She is currently working on her second book.

Click Here to order your copy of Stars in the Sand

You can contact Shannon by email at and follow her on Facebook.