Sweet 16!

Turns out Kayla's been rocking the wigs from a very young age!

Turns out Kayla’s been rocking the wigs from a very young age!

Oh how my life changed 16 years ago, @ 7:21 am, when I held my beautiful angel, Kayla, for the first time.  I remember being gobsmacked with the intensity of feeling – how is it humanly possible to experience such immense love?!!!

As Elizabeth Stone says – “The decision to have a child is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body“   SO true.

There have been no greater joys in my life than seeing my children grow up so beautifully.
There is no one I’d rather spend time with than my two precious munchkins.
And there is no greater pain than seeing my babies go through challenging times.
It certainly is the full package of raw wonder.

I’m so glad we were able to celebrate Kayla’s 16th birthday in such a wonderful way. 

Kayla's Board - Kendall, Lauren, Kelly (missing Meagan)

Kayla’s Board – Kendall, Lauren, Kelly (missing Meagan)

The trip to Banff with Kayla’s “Board” was so fun – tubing at Norquay, hot tubbing, dog sledding, delicious dining and pajama parties.  Not to mention separate gourmet dinners out and a day of paintballing madness.  Such a Party Girl! :)

We are truly blessed with the best friends in the world!!!

We came home Sunday to courageous Lauren shaving her head in solidarity and raising a pile of money in the process.  Please read all about it – it was amazing.  http://www.carpediemhappenings.com/current-happenings-2/what-a-shave-it-was/

The greetings and love that came for dear Kayla were off the charts.  Our friend Carol even arranged to have Kayla’s favorite electronic artist, DeadMau5, send a full personalized gift pack to her complete with autographed pictures, a t-shirt, CD and various other rockstar swag.

Sweet Benjamin presenting us with his handmade original "Cancer Monster"

Sweet Benjamin presenting us with his handmade original “Cancer Monster”

I am always blown away by people’s kindness, generosity and support.  Young Benjamin, celebrated his 8th Birthday yesterday and decided that he would like to donate ALL of his birthday money to the Carpe Diem Fund.  As I cried tears of absolute amazement at the size this sweet angel’s heart, he also presented us with his own handmade felt “Cancer Monster” to get rid of and protect us from cancer.  No words.

I carry that powerful talisman in my purse.

Thank you to everyone who made Kayla’s birthday so very special!

Love Letter to Kayla:

You, my sweet precious Kayla, have gone through far too much in your short 16 years and yet I could not be prouder of the incredible young woman you have become.

You approach life with a paradox of tenderness & tenacity.
You have the biggest heart and exhibit such kindness – to everything from animals to children to friends to strangers in need.
When you set your mind to something, you are freaking unstoppable.

You embody grace, wisdom, beauty and courage.

I love our talks – they span everything from the depths of emotional exploration and profound discussions on spirituality/philosophy to silly musings, laughter & everyday chatter.

I am in absolute awe of you and I love you to bits!!!

Carpe Diem, beautiful angel.  Happy Sweet 16!

With deep love & admiration, Mom xo

About Shannon Duke

I'm Shannon Duke and I’ve combined my business skills with the wisdom that literally saved my life and have built a system that redefines success. Today I am passionate about helping you achieve life-fulfilling and life-enhancing success in both your business & personal life. Read My Story


  1. Fantastic – no greater depth than the love between mother and child. And YES!!! Ms. Kayla, you have grown into the most amazing young woman. Happy Sweet 16th love. I love you.

  2. Michelle Richardson says:

    Simply beautiful… just like you two! <3 oxox

  3. Yes, I think all mothers can relate to the overwhelming emotions that take hold once we have given birth to a child!! As my daughter is also turning 16, I’m so happy that you, Shannon and Kayla, get to share in this very special moment in time!! Carpe Diem!!!

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