Celebrating M.O.M: Charissa, the Story of Hope.

In case you missed it, we are running a series here on Happy Little Surprises, where once a month, we feature an extraordinary Mom, holding up ordinary objects that represent the phases and the Moments of Motherhood that she finds herself in.

Last month, I wrote about Ashleigh, and the beautiful balancer that she is. It was such a pleasure to highlight her life, and to see the praise and the applause that came to her, from this community.

What a joy!

I am loving this series and I am equally delighted to bring you these photos of our next MOM.

Her name is Charissa, and she is called “Mama” by her two boys, Isaac, (4) and Andrew (1).

I’ve known her for less than two years, but she feels like an old friend, because she understands me so well, and she cares so deeply. In fact, she is one of the most selfless, caring people I know, and she gives of herself freely, every day, to her family, her friends, and to the world.

She is the happiest when she is in sunlight and in nature, in the mountains or at the beach.

When asked for one word to describe her life, she said it was : “hopeful.”

I think the word is super fitting, since “hopeful” is who she is and hope is what she gives.

Everywhere she goes, she tells the story of the impossible, and hope follows.

Her life itself tells the story of miraculous healing and breakthrough, and I think I can speak for many when I say that I instantly feel hopeful, as though ANYTHING is possible, when I am in her presence.

Her life tells many stories. Some funny, and others, rich with compassion, and deep truths. Some light and others, oozing of the mysteries of God.

Even the “bear” she brought to the photoshoot, tells a story.


Charissa recalls the day they realized he wasn’t a bear at all, he was actually a puppy. But her son, Isaac, had already named him “Grey Bear,” so now, of course, he has no choice but to continue being a bear.

Grey Bear was a last-minute purchase for Charissa and her husband after they had left on a day trip, and accidently left Isaac’s other lovie at home. Lucky for all, it was love at first sight, and a good night of sleep, when they gave Grey Bear to Isaac. The two bonded deeply and went everywhere together, until his baby brother, Andrew, was born. Andrew did not yet have a lovie, and when Isaac realized this, he decided to give his beloved bear to Andrew, so that Andrew would also have a lovie to sleep with.

Isn’t that a beautiful thing?


Needless to say, Grey Bear is in the family to stay, and Charissa brought him for good reason! He represents all the loves, cuddles, sleepless nights, and moments of sweet tenderness she has with her two beautiful boys.

She also brought two little cars that represent the daily adventures she has with them. She spends most of her days playing with, chasing, picking up, and searching for things that bring smiles to her boys.


Things like these tiny cars.

They keep her busy, but she always has time to listen, and to help others. She pauses to hear the needs of those around her. And to tell stories. Those wonderful, miraculous, hope-filled, God stories.

I am always better for knowing them. And I am always amazed at her ability to use words, to encourage and inspire.

Charissa’s dream is to “learn to see the beauty that God has instilled into every moment.”

I see that beauty every time I am with her and I am grateful to be a small part of those moments, by bringing you these photos, and allowing you to have a peak into her life. I am honored to bring you a tiny glimpse of her soul.

For it is full of beauty, and of HOPE.


Note: All photo credits belong to Thalyta and Thalyta Swanson Photography, rights reserved. If you would like to share this, or any part of this content, please link back to this article, in its original entirety. Thank you! So we can all stay happy.:) -Ruthie

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