Sharing hope

Dave Schwab

Fri November 22, 2013 3:11pm

Mom Jennifer Jones drew inspiration from her Down syndrome child to write a book about hope.
“Thrive: Growing Through Life’s Greatest Challenges” is Jones’ first self-published book.
 “In 2004, our lives were forever changed for the better when our first child and daughter, Addison Grace, to our surprise was born with Down syndrome,” noted Jones, A San Diego State University graduate and 10-year resident of Eastlake, on her website about the origin of her debut book.
Down syndrome, a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of a chromosome, is the most common chromosome abnormality in humans and afflicts about one out of every 691 babies born in the United States. Delayed physical growth, distinctive facial characteristics and low IQ are hallmarks of the condition.
“That was definitely a catalyst to my soul searching,” Jones said of the impact of her daughter’s birth, adding it caused her to question everything from why me to what now to what does this mean, not only for my present and future but her (Addison’s) present and future?”
Never having been a writer, or even thinking she could be, Jones began jotting down “random thoughts and emotions balanced with some of the perspectives I’d gained from it all,” to give voice to her experience.
“My kids give me great material and perspective that always rocks my world,” said Jones.
But having a child with Down syndrome, admits Jones, caused her to “wrestle with a lot of things,” including her core beliefs and her Christian faith. It led her to reexamine her beliefs “about life and the intrinsic worth of each human being.”
It was a self-revealing experience. And one of discovery as well.
“I had to deal with a child marked as being ‘less than’ by society,” Jones said, adding she concluded that “a lot of stuff in this life that we think matters really doesn’t. At the end of the day,  our relationships — and people — are just about all that matters.”
Jones’ new e-book is part of her own spiritual journey which she embarked on in 1994 when she left her hometown of San Diego, fled from San Diego State University, and headed to Phoenix where she jumped head first into a ministry training program called Master’s Commission.
In the fall of 2000, Jones said she finally “came to my senses” and married her pastor husband.
“Our adventures began at a church in Alamo, California,” Jones said. “We eventually traveled down the coast of California, serving in Los Angeles and later residing in Chula Vista.”
“I love and respect Marcus more today than the day we were married. He’s a true gift to me,” said Jones of her spouse.
Jones said lessons learned from her daughter are “intertwined throughout” her first tome, but added it’s really more a philosophical work than it is about any particular subject.
“The theme of the book is hope,” she said. “No matter the circumstances, the pitfalls life throws you — there’s hope. We can choose to gain and embrace, face our fears and move forward. Hope is floating on top of that.”
Though her target market is child bearing-age women, Jones said her book offers insight that could benefit everyone.
“My hope is that what I’ve discovered will encourage other people to find similar solutions, any person who’s had any sort of difficulties come their way and rock them at their core,” she said, adding she hopes her book offers some “fresh perspectives.”
“It’s an attempt to inspire courage and hope,” Jones said.
Jones feels she has other books in her, with at least one more in the pipeline.
“Maybe this is actually a calling, a reason for going beyond myself,” Jones said, adding “it’s spurred me on to write something that could potentially help other people. The bottom line is, I would like people to walk away after reading my book with the sense that life can bring disappointment, pain and hardship, but that this doesn’t mean that it’s over. There’s hope. You can turn the page and keep going. In the end, there’s significant purpose and meaning in the pain. I want people to find hope and perspective in their struggles.”