28 October 2012

Interview with Tamera Alexander


Tamera Alexander

Tamera Alexander is the author of A Lasting Impression, and also of Rekindled and The Inheritance, and is currently working on her tenth novel. Her fall 2012 release, To Whisper Her Name, showcases the history of the Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville, the most successful thoroughbred stud farm in American history. 

Tamera, welcome to Overcoming Through Time – With God’s Help.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers.  Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help?
One of the most difficult struggles in my life is also––through God’s grace––one of my greatest victories. But as we know, every victor bears the scars of struggle. Sometimes those scars are visible, sometimes they’re hidden, but they’re still there. I was sexually molested when I was a young girl. The incidents occurred over a two-year period. The perpetrator was not someone in my family. It was a family “friend.” As I matured, I grew to realize that none of what happened was my “fault.” But at the time, and for years following, I felt as though I’d done something wrong. I felt dirty. And somehow…less.
That feeling took root inside me and manifested itself in the form of deep insecurity and self-doubt. Even stuttering. When I was around the age of 13, someone I respected read a poem I’d written and told me, “You’ll be making an a** of yourself if you ever let anyone read what you’ve written.” Due to lingering childhood issues, I took that statement to heart and put away writing for many, many years.
In my teen years and through college, God filled my life with people who helped me work through my past issues and hurts. He healed me of so much of that pain. And through a turn of events later in life, he drew me back to the love of writing. With writing comes risk. Risk that can feed insecurity and self-doubt. Funny little twist, huh? But God never calls us to do something we could accomplish on our own. He calls us to God-sized tasks so we’ll learn to rely on his strength and not ours. And his strength––like his grace and healing––is immeasurable!

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
I love Jeremiah 29:11-13, a much-quoted promise and one that’s very familiar to us…

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”

Sounds great, huh? God has a plan for you and me. Plans for good, not for harm. Plans to give us a future and a hope. God will listen to our prayers. If we look for Him wholeheartedly, we’ll find him. This is all great stuff! But…

Are you familiar with verse 10 of that same chapter, and verse 14? The two verses that [bracket] the promise we love to quote? They’re not as frequently quoted, but they should be. Note verse 10 and 14 in bold below:

This is what the Lord says, “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you, says the Lord. I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your land.”

Captivity. God is promising captivity.

So yes, while verses 11-13 offer comfort and hope, don’t forget that God first promised his “chosen people” seventy years of struggle and hardship, circumstances they would never have chosen for themselves. Sound familiar?

These verses demonstrate to me that I should never judge God by my circumstances. They also remind me that sometimes, enduring a hurt or a painful circumstance is the best way for me to grow closer to God. And isn’t that the ultimate goal of my earthly journey, and God’s will for me here…to grow closer to him. To become more like Christ.
A Lasting Impression
Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?  Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print? 
Yes, A Lasting Impression is available in audio and large print and ebook, as are all my other novels.

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
As I write, I take steps closer to Christ. And it’s my deepest hope that readers––as they read my stories––will take steps closer to him too.

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
I particularly enjoyed writing A Lasting Impression because Claire Laurent and Adelicia Acklen (the “real” woman who built the Belmont Mansion) were both strong women with internal struggles. Struggles they hid well, and that only a handful of people around them knew about. Struggles (and weaknesses) that God used to make them stronger.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?

I’ve received numerous letters from readers who have struggled with insecurity and self-doubt due to past hurts, and who found encouragement and hope as they read A Lasting Impression. A Lasting Impression is about authenticity. It’s about being real first with yourself, then with others. And ultimately with God. 



All of my stories grow from either a personal struggle or a question I’m wrestling with in my own life. For instance, as I was writing my book, Within My Heart, I’d just lost my precious mom to gallbladder cancer, so much of my “working through grief of loss” is in that story, as well as many of my last moments with Mom.


Anything else you’d like to share, Tamera?
Thanks so much for the chance to share how God has poured grace and healing into my life. I’ll be sure to visit back often during this week, so if anyone has any questions––or maybe if they want to share their stories in the hope of encouraging others––I’ll be visiting and reading!

Thank you, Tamera, for sharing part of your journey with us. Have a blessed day and keep on writing!

Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist whose works have been awarded and nominated for numerous honors, including the Christy Award, the RITA Award, and the Carol Award. After seventeen years in Colorado, Tamera and her husband have returned to their native South and live in Nashville, Tennessee, where they enjoy spending time with their two grown children, and a ten-pound silky terrier named Jack.

LINKS for purchases of all Tamera's books (click here.) 

October 2012 (November 2012 release but book starts shipping October 10th)To Whisper Her Name, a Belle Meade Plantation novel by Zondervan. (OTT: We got our copies from Amazon, yay!!!)

GIVEAWAYS: Tamera is also doing a giveaway for us this week in addition to our giveaways of a book of choice plus one Tamera Alexander paperback that we are giving away ourselves--grand total of THREE giveaways this week. 


QUESTION: Have you lost a parent to cancer? How did you cope?




54 comments:

  1. Hello girls! I have lost both parents but not to cancer. And, it is so hard! I have lost 2 sisters to cancer tho. First one was only 47. So young. She and I were such friends. Took a long time to get over it (as much as you can ever). Without my Heavenly Father, and my family, not sure what I would have done. And, of course, faithful friends. This one was closest to me in age, so at home longer together. (more bonded) Much later in life I lost another. After I married and had a family of my own, I lived close to her, so we became really close too! Such a big hurt.You see, we are a large family of 10. Since then I've lost 2 sisters and a brother. Just 3 left. 2 brothers. (oldest and youngest) But, thankfully we were all raised in a Christian home from the beginning, and all saved. So I know they are waiting for us in Heaven. I would love to win Tamera's book.
    Maxie ( mac262@me.com )

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  2. TAMERA, thank you for being our guest this week on OTT! Truly a moving and transparent interview, TAMERA and CARRIE. TAMERA, I appreciate your willingness to share these heartbreaking events in your life with our readers, and I know many will receive healing from past hurts just by reading this. Thank you so much.

    I just love your books so much! I just finished To Whisper Her Name...what a fabulous novel! I can't wait for my "cohorts" here on the blog to read it! :)

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  3. I know what it is like to depend on God when it seem like the bottom is falling out of your life .My mother died at the age of 60 with lung cancer she never smoked a day in her life she worked at a school for 20 years that had asbestos.Then I got sick for 18 months there were times I would cry out for God just to let me died but I received my healing.A few years ago my niece was rape by a man they called the " blue eye rapist "while she was working Real Estate .She and the other girl fight back my niece bit him during the attack and they got his DNA they made an arrest .She has allowed God to heal her now is helping others to be VICTOR'S NOT VICTIMS.I told her the other day she needed to write a book on what God has done for here and her family .In the last few years God has showed up and showed off in so many ways in my life,my family and friends life that it would take to long to write . Love to win a copy please .Thank you for the offer ,Dana "Girl" Spille

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  4. What a wonderful interview... thank you Tamera and Carrie for sharing with us!! I LOVE to hear what God has done in other people's lives, it's such a blessing for me in my own life.

    I don't think I have read any of Tamera's books, but they look good and the covers are BEAUTIFUL! Those alone make me want to read them. :)

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  5. I so admire you ladies who do these interviews and provide us with the fun of entering drawings! Thanks you especially to you Carrie.
    I really do love Tamera's writing style and my gosh, those covers knock me out of the water!!! I'd love to win. And I do love Jeremiah 29:11-13. What a comfort they are. Please enter my name in the drawing. Blessings! and CL

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  6. I haven't lost my parents to cancer, but my grandpa suffered through cancer for most of my life. He passed away 6 years ago, but it was definitely a rough time. I know that without the Lord I wouldn't have been able to handle it as well as I did, and I'll forever be grateful for the time that He gave me with my grandpa. =)

    Thanks for the wonderful giveaway!

    CL

    lubell1106(at)gmail(dot)com

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  7. Wow, great interview Tamera and Carrie!
    Tamera, thanks sooooo much for sharing your powerful testimony, you really blessed me with your comments. I can't believe that person made such a discouraging comment to you at such a crucial age regarding your poetry, not cool. However, I bless God for how He brought you back to writing, yay!

    I won A Lasting Impression a while ago, but have not had the chance to read it. After reading this post, I will definitely have new appreciation for this book and I look forward to the journey it offers :)

    No, my parents are alive and well. My grandparents have passed on, but not from cancer. My deepest condolences and prayers go out to those of you who have lost parents or loved ones to cancer.

    Thanks for the giveaway, ladies! I'm always so blessed by each of you and this blog! Hugs to you and CL!
    Kara
    wman4jcATaolDOTcom

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  8. Thank you for sharing Tamera. After reading your testimony, I was reminded of Luke 1:37, "For nothing is impossible with God"

    I would love to win one of your books, what beautiful covers. I just purchased To Whisper Her Name and can't wait to start reading it.

    Thanks for the giveaway and CL
    -Janella

    arieljo12 at hotmail dot com

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  9. Oh MAXIE, that had to have been horrid to lose your sisters to cancer--and so young. When my mom lost her brother to leukemia she really clammed up for a while--I think it was too hard to really talk about. And her other sister has leukemia, too. My mother died of cancer two years ago and her one sister, who could have attended the funeral, was too upset to come. I felt really bad for her. But God is good and He does bring us comfort and compassion for others.

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  10. I am very grateful that TAMERA came to W. Virginia (which is in my zone) and spoke at a librarians conference recently. I totally blame my friend Kim Taylor for telling me I MUST read Tamera's books because she is Kim's fave author, with good reason as I have found out. One of her books is my new standard for how to "write right!" Thanks for sharing with us TAMERA, and thanks for coming by DIANA!!!

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  11. WOW, DANA, yes, your niece needs to share her story. She helped bring down the rapist. I am curious how many years he got--because he certainly affected a number of people's lives. If she ever wants to share her testimony with us, let me know!

    DANA, your poor mom--I bet that happening to her has made you really CAUTIOUS for your family! So there is good that has come from this.

    Thanks, DANA!

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  12. Oh, LADETTE!!!! I had not read any either!!! Until last winter or spring. I have read Christian fiction for over 25 years! In ACFW when I first joined 6 yrs ago I kept hearing Tamera Alexander this and that and thought--oh brother. I am not one who follows the crowds. Plus she is not in my time frame, normally (although I have one now in late 19th century) but anyways, my CPer wore me down and am I ever glad she did!!! Great author and lovely lady!

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  13. CL

    My mother died when I was five, two months before my sixth birthday. She was in the hospital and was almost ready to be discharged. A cousin told me she was full of cancer and being a small hospital they did not remove the likely fibroid tumors. On her death certificate after she was buried, it was written in ink, "tumor benign." Likely she died of a blood clot to the heart as they did not get patients up to walk after surgery. I have no memory of my mother and look at my little six-year-old granddaughter and wonder that it must have been such a shock to my system that would cause me not to have a memory. Psalm 139 is one of my favorites! Today is the day I received the Lord as My Personal Savior and Lord on October 28, 1973. I am so thankful the Holy Spirit drew me. Blessing to each of you. Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House
    lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

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  14. Thankfully I have not lost a parent to cancer.

    Thanks for the giveaways Tamera!! I'm soo glad you overcame that challenge.

    CL

    marissamehresman(at)aol(dot)com

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  15. ELYSSA, Glad you got to spend time with your beloved Grandpa! I know my daughter is so glad she got to fly out to CA and spend time with my mom before she had that horrible whipple procedure done and then died later from the cancer that they failed to treat properly. I pray your grandpa didn't suffer terribly.

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  16. DARLENE, Thanks for coming by! you are very welcome--we love to minister to our readers! Yes, I love Tamera's books, too, and those verses!!!

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  17. Thank you for this interview TAMERA and CARRIE!
    So sorry to hear what you went through Tamera. I wasn't abused sexually but I was physically, and have struggled with insecurity most of my life. But I can truthfully say, really knowing God and fully accepting His breathtaking love for us, helps more than we can imagine!

    I'm SO grateful you took up writing again. You've brought so much pleasure and inspiration to readers! Your gift of writing can paint the most touching and exquisite story that it lifts the reader up and completely into another time and place!

    DIANA, this cohort cannnot wait until her copy gets delivered to begin devouring it!! :)

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  18. Carrie, I forgot to put the CL on my comment. Thanks for this interview.
    Maxie

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  19. When I was much younger I lost my grandfather to cancer...I was younger at the time and didn't really know him. I think that it's a lot harder now, knowing that I never got a chance to get close to him and wishing that I could see him again. I can't really say how I coped with that...I don't think I really did. At this point, I'm just dealing with regret over all the years I never had with him and the years I'll never get back as a child.

    On another note, I just finished The Inheritance and LOVED every second of it. Fell in love with the story completely. I've loved every book I've picked up from Tamera...she never disappoints.

    Emreilly303(at)gmail(dot)com

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  20. Oh...sorry, Carrie forgot! CL

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  21. KARA, we love you, too! I am sorry TAMERA had to go through the loss of her mother but I could tell in the story that she knew what it felt like (because I've been through it too) and it made the story more touching.

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  22. AhA! now I know JANELLA is J GRACE, I wondered! Thanks for coming by and thanks for liking my page! Blessings!

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  23. KATHLEEN, I gasped when I read that about the tumor being benign! Was it and they messed up or did she have cancer and they wrote down wrong on the death certificate? I love all the Psalms and find them so comforting. Thanks for sharing! Hugs!

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  24. MARISSA, you followed my page a while back and I thank you for doing that!!! It means a lot! Thanks!

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  25. Hey sweet friends! Wonderful to read through your comments this evening, and I'm so honored to be with y'all this week. What a blessing!

    My heart goes out to those of you who have lost parents, and especially if you were very young. Or if you've lost sisters and brothers to cancer. It's so hard losing those we love, but in Christ "losing" those we love isn't really losing. It's merely being separated for a while. And even though that "little while" can feel like an **awfully long time** at moments, I'm comforted that the Lord will reunite us again in his perfect timing.

    Thanks for all the kind words about my novels, gals. I'm incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to write, and the connections with readers are an extra special blessing. Taking these journeys with you is so special to me. Thank you for reading!

    More tomorrow!

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  26. we lost my precious 92 1/2 year old mom-in-law to cancer last August 2011. We were able to spend the entire summer caring for her. I spent many many sleepless nights in hospital and rehab with her and treasure the time! she is a precious angel now!

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  27. TAMERA, thank you for sharing your testimony with us. It's good to have you with us on the blog this week! I have read all your books so far, exept for the new one which is on its way to me in the Netherlands. Looking forward to read it.
    I have heard that you are going on a tour in the Netherlands in November and that you are visiting the bookstore in my town, so I hope to see you there! :)

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  28. I haven't lost any immediate family to cancer. Thankfully my parents are still with us and their parents live to relatively old ages. I did lose a younger sister several years ago, and with time and the Lords help the memories are not so painful, but are sweet.

    Patty
    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  29. I lost both parents and parent in laws too cancer. It was so hard to get thru.I struggled for years.Hospice was a God send.

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  30. CL liked!
    Thank you for a great interview!
    I have not lost a parent to cancer. I'm lucky to still have my mother and father alive still.
    campbellamyd at gmail dot com

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  31. WOW...amazing testimony! I will always remember Captivity now in a good way. Thank you for sharing this testimony with us.
    CARRIE LIKE
    Thank you
    Sandi Borgens
    anchored@swbell.net

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  32. Thanks for chance to win

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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  33. Tamera, thank you for sharing your story. I personally found your interview very encouraging and inspiring! I cannot believe that anyone would discourage you from writing-that was terrible-but God is good and I am glad He drew you back. To Whisper Her Name is on my Kindle now and I'm really looking forward to reading it. I visited Belle Meade long ago while on vacation. I was fascinated with its history of horse breeding and even purchased the gift shop book. God bless!

    Carrie like (Sorry, Carrie, don't know how I missed not liking it sooner, because I certainly do like!)

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  34. Yes, my father died of liver cancer when I was 24 after a 4 year battle. It was so rough to watch. I still remember the Scriptures, the songs that the Lord brought to me. Though people offer a small amount of comfort, the Lord brings the true peace and I will forever remember that time as one of the most peaceful of my life.

    julesreffner(at)gmail(dot)com

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  35. I still have power, praise God, unlike the folks in VA Beach and I pray we keep power. One huge limb down in neighbors yard. Ditches are flowing well right now--they did a HUGE dig-out last summer for our ditches which constantly flood. Whew! There is water coming down our chimnye, though, which is always disconcerting during these big storms.

    And the Geek Squad got rid of a couple of "big nasties" including a Trogran that made it past Kapersky. Glad I have that support.

    So will try to pop back in here and respond to our commenters!

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  36. CARRIE, thanks for keeping us updated. We are all praying...and give the Geeks a big hug from me. Well...maybe not. lol

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  37. CARRIE, so good to hear that you still have power. Praying you will keep the power and that the storm passes soon.
    Prayers and hugs! ♥

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  38. I (thankfully) have not lost a parent to cancer. How ever one of my dearest friends did as well as my own dad. I may not know the direct pain of losing a parent, but I know the hurt that comes with losing those you love to this awful disease and I know the constant ache you have for the loved ones who do suffer directly.

    I have always wanted to win a book from you Tamara! More so now after learning more about you :) I am SO sorry you had to endure something as terrible as you did. But I am SO HAPPY that God brought you out of it and made you stronger in Him! You have touched me with our journey back to writing and I am praying for you. May God bless and keep you always!

    Please enter me! CL!

    Amada(pronounced: a.m.a.th.a) Chavez

    amada_chavez{AT}yahoo{DOT}com

    Exodus 14:14

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  39. NOELA, wait till you see this gorgeous cover!!!
    DIANA, my Geeks helped me out, thank God!
    MARIAN, We appear to have been spared the brunt like the poor people are getting in NE. Please prayer for them!

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  40. Thankfully my husband has not had cancer and I pray that he never will. Thanks so much for the giveaway. Would love to win! makeighleekyleigh at yahoo.com

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  41. RHONDA, what a blessing that you got to spend that time with her! She sounds like a sweetie! Big hugs to you! how is your hubby doing with that--men tend to stuff their feelings.

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  42. Thank you for sharing your story. I still have my parents, but lost my grandmother to cancer. She had lived a good life, but it was still hard to see her go. It was especially hard to watch her die, which was a long and difficult process for her. It is still hard to see how much my mom misses her mom, even though it has been 3 years now. But our God is the God of all comfort and her comforts us in our sorrow.

    Gail

    bookwurm70 at gmail dot com

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  43. PATTY and AMY--enjoy your parents! Sorry Patty that you lost your sister. And while that had to be hard for you, I can only imagine how your parents felt/feel--we don't expect to outlive our kids.

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  44. PAT C. Yikes--both your parents and inlaws--oh my. I pray God brought you comfort and continues to do so. Hugs!

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  45. SANDI, thanks for liking me, lol! It is such an encouragement to me when I go to my author page and I have more people who signed on as a like! Since I am still waiting for a contract, I find this fun to have new people who like me and are waiting on my next step with God--on to publication in fiction! blessings!

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  46. LISA, I pray you are doing okay in Rhode Island! Thanks for liking my author page--I already knew you like the real me, lol! Hugs!

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  47. JULIA, What a testimony! I have found such peace myself, during the most difficult of times, when so many people have been praying for me and I knew that only God's supernatural peace, enveloping me, was what got me through. So sorry you lost your father so young but I am so glad God put His angels around you and wrapped you in His love!

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  48. AMADA, I am sorry for your losses. I am so grateful my two BFFs survived breast cancer in the past two years. So glad I didn't lose them--I think I'd feel like I lost a little bit of myself. Hugs!

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  49. I feel blessed that I haven't lost any family to cancer, but I HAVE lost all my family to various other ailments and conditions. There is no good way to lose a loved one, but cancer would be right at the top of the list of awful ways. So sorry for your losses..

    Karen Schulz

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  50. So agree on hospice! They were a God send for us!

    About a week before Mom passed away in August 2009, I was getting ready for the hospice aid to arrive when I noticed Kenny Chesney singing on TV. I'd muted the channel earlier because Mom was sleeping but since she loved Kenny, I turned it up. Mom immediately started shimmying from side to side in bed, smiling.

    I asked her, "What on earth are you doing?" She just smiled that sweet smile and said, "I'm bed dancin'."

    We just laughed and danced together for a minute. She was such a hoot and such fun. She always was. That's one thing I love most about the relationship we shared...we loved to laugh together, and we laughed together a lot. What precious memories.

    So appreciate getting to know you all better through your comments. And Carrie, praying for you and so many others up north from us. Much love, friends.

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  51. We love persistency here at OTT and I am entering a comment for CATHY HORNE, who entered a comment twice and they disappeared into cyberland. CATHY also "liked" CARRIE's page-so CL!

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  52. Thankfully this has not happened to me.

    Thanks for the giveaway.
    Katie Johnson
    johnsonk133@yahoo.com

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  53. Per Random.org, KATHLEEN is our winner this week of a SIGNED copy of Tamera Alexander's new book! CONGRATS, KATHLEEN!!! Thanks for liking my page, too, sweetie!

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  54. Sandi Borgens you are our THIRD winner this week--will check to see if you want a SIGNED Tamara Alexander book or you want to pick any of her books, your choice of format. BLESSINGS!

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