29 April 2014

WHAT ONCE WAS LOST by Kim Vogel Sawyer and Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow

What Once was Lost

WaterBrook Press (September 17, 2013)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
5 Stars *****


Heart Warming and Gripping

Set in Kansas in the late 1800’s, this thoroughly captivating story with its skilfully-crafted charming characters, and unique story-line, completely grabbed my attention and my heart from the very beginning!

Christina Willems faithfully runs the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor, having taken over after the passing of her father. The poor and displaced individuals that live in this beautiful old 3-story Victorian house have in a sense become Christina’s family. She has opened her heart fully to them all and sees to their every need, even to the detriment of her own. She had become their provider, protector, and friend. So how will Christina cope when there is a mysterious fire that makes the house uninhabitable for her and the poor residents to dwell in? Can she find suitable places for all on such short notice, and will she cope having her ‘family’ scattered about until the damaged house can be repaired?

Mill owner Levi Jonnson is a loner and likes it that way… or so he thinks. That was until the lovely Christina came begging him to look after little Tommy, the blind boy that everyone else rejected. Levi’s painful past has caused him to place a barrier around his heart against people and God alike, but will young Tommy be the one to break down some of the confines that Levi has erected? Or will Levi conclude that it’s not worth the pain and forsake Tommy also?

Another prominent character of this story is the aforementioned 11 year old Tommy Kilgore, who was abandoned by his father and dumped at the Poor house after Tommy became blind. Mentally abused before he was finally discarded, Tommy also bears many imprinted scars invisible to the naked eye, but glaring in his personality. Reading Tommy’s viewpoint in the story gave me an opportunity to see through his unseeing eyes into his world and his needs. I adored this character and silently cheered for Tommy for every small accomplishment he mastered. However, Tommy has a fear-driven secret which results in some very dire consequences for him and all those he loves!

‘What Once Was Lost’ is an immensely stirring tale of people who have allowed their past to deeply impact their present lives. And it expressively illustrates how God can be busy directing new paths when all seems lost to us, while highlighting the importance of sharing our burdens with God and others. I loved the unpredictability, the heart-rending moments regarding Tommy, and the sweet charisma that hovered between Christina and Levi. Suspense, drama, and a fulfilling conclusion complete this wonderful novel. Highly recommended!!
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This book may be purchased at Amazon, CBD, Barnes & Noble, Deeper Shopping, and The Book Depository (free Worldwide delivery)

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GIVEAWAY: Answer this Question to Enter: Do you know of someone who has impaired vision or is blind and what do you think is their greatest strength? 

We are giving away 2 copies of Kim's book this week - Reader's choice of book and format (International winners ebook only or paperback if book is available through the Book Depository). And a Starbuck's $10 gift card!
*Follow Kim on Twitter (put"T") or 'Like' her page on FB (put "FB") in your comments. 
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59 comments:

  1. NOELA what a wonderful review! I really need to get busy and read this book, it sounds so exciting. :-)

    In answer to your question, I have known two different people that were blind. One was a young man that came to church with us for a while and he had a great talent for playing the organ. It was so enjoyable to play music with him. Then the second one was a small five year old boy that played the drums. Oh what a sight that was, he didn't just tap at them he played with abandonment! It was so fantastic when his dad, who was a drummer also, would place him on the stool and hand him the sticks! It would make me want to laugh and cry at the same time.

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    1. It really is a very special story TERESA! I hope you are able to find the time to relax and enjoy reading this wonderful story. I think you'll be blessed for it... I know I was.
      Wow, how amazing for you to experience those incredible people who used their gifts to bless others and God! As a musician yourself, that would have been such an honor to see such talent despite their disability. x

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  2. Hey Noela,
    I wanted to say that I absolutely love the cover of this book. Beautiful. My grandma doesn't have good eyesight at the age of 93 but she keeps chugging along in life. She puts a smile on everyone's face. She loves to sing and read her bible every day.
    My grandmas greatest steangh is making people laugh and smile.
    oh,hello.hiya@gmail.com

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    1. Hi DANIE, I know what you mean about the book cover!! It really is absolutely beautiful!
      Awww, what a great Grandma you have!! That's really precious that at 93 she still loves to sing and read her Bible and bless others! Give her a hug from me! :) Thanks for sharing Danie.

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  3. First off, NOELA, you have convinced me I want to read this book. I wasn't sure since the heroine cares for the disabled (it's coming up on the two year anniversary of my Amy's death and I have been feeling it) but I know the Lord uses all things to His glory, even a book. So count me in!

    To answer the question, Yes. As I a teen, I went to a Methodist church and we had a pastor who was legally blind. I mean...really legally blind. He could only see written words (the Scriptures) if he held the Bible right up to his eye (yep, only one eye could faintly see) but he did so every week, even though he knew them by heart. I would venture to say that because he couldn't see peoples faces, he learned to see their heart. He had acute hearing and seemed to be able to sense the least change in voice, giving him a precious insight into someone's mood( um, insert mine here ;) ). I'm probably not explaining this very well. I always admired him. He was truly one of the gentlest and kindest and most loving Christian's I have ever met. Years later, and many moves later, I discovered he lived across town from me! I went to visit him and he remembered coming to our home for lunch (he had a driver, or my dad would go pick him up) and the brownies I always made. He truly had a servant's heart and deeply impacted my life, though at the time I had no idea how much. Looking back, the Lord has placed people in my direct path my whole life who had disabilities, most pretty severe, like my Amy. Isn't it sweet how HE works?!
    Love you Ladies!!!

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    1. ANNE, I just want to thank you SO MUCH for sharing that beautiful glimpse into that amazing man that was your pastor! Wow. That is so incredibly special and yes, trust me, you explained it perfectly... I was so touched reading about that man. What a gift he had, and He used what most (including me) would think is solely a disability to 'see' people and to touch their lives. And that reminds me so much of young Tommy from Kim's story. I think it is beautiful too, that our wonderful Lord gave you your own little wonder and extraordinary little angel Amy, for the memorable time you had with her. You are blessed. Love you too Anne!!

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  4. Oh! What a wonderful review!! I have enjoyed several of Kim's books and it seems like this is one I will totally love as well! Thanks for sharing!
    My grandfather went blind in the last months before he died. I was very young and found it scary that he wanted to feel my face. So I don't remember much about his strenghts during this period in his life. I'm sure I have met more people who were blind, but I don't remember them at the moment.

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    1. Oh yeah, you will DEFINITELY enjoy this one MARIAN!! Thanks also, I'm so glad you enjoyed reading the review on Kim's book! :)
      I can imagine it would be a bit daunting for you as a young child to encounter that, as you wouldn't have fully understood. I also can't imagine how frightening it would be at first, to go blind!

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  5. As always, a beautifully written review, NOELA! Having read many of Kim's books, I know how talented she is. This sounds like an especially good one!

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    1. Thank you DIANA and yes, I do believe this one is an exceptional book of Kim's... but as you say Kim is very talented and has written many treasures!! I just wish I had more time to read them all! :)

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  6. Noela Great review God bless u
    Diana Thank u for writing this book God bless u
    A person who is blind would still have Gods Gifts, to be a strength, a love to to the people around them. We all have Gods Gifts We should be using them to their utmost Let your light shine.
    Chris G

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    1. God bless you too CHRIS! Yes that's true Chris, God has given all of us gifts to use for His glory. And we love seeing those gifts He's bestowed upon people in action as He is then brought glory!

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  7. As a child growing up in church, our song leader was blind and had been since birth. His strength and inspiration came from God and his love for me. What an inspiration he always was to me.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi MELANIE, thank you for coming by to read about Kim's book and for sharing. Your song leader sounds amazing and a wonderful inspiration!

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  8. I used to know an elderly man who was blind. He didn't let it stop him. He knew every inch of his tiny farm and the animals on it. I was small enough not to remember much...but I remember his laughter and joy...

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    1. That's awesome VIRGINIA, and it conjures up wonderful images. I'm sure he thought himself, very blessed!

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  9. Noela, thanks so much for the wonderful review. I enjoy Kim's books and am looking forward to reading this one. My sister was blind, and she was one of the most generous people you'd ever meet. She also loved to bake, and could bake a mean cheesecake. :)

    Thank you for offering the giveaway. I follow Kim on Twitter and like her on Facebook. Wishing her all the best with her books!

    Thanks and blessings,
    Karen
    klange61AThotmailDOTcom

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    1. Hi KAREN, God bless you and thanks so much for sharing about your wonderful sister! She sounds amazing, as does her cheesecakes!! I hope you are blessed to read this book of Kim's soon... you'll love it!

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  10. Hello OWG. (((Hugs))) to each of you. And thanks Noela for this review of Kim's book.I know from that and the subject that I want to read every word of it. Would love more of Kim's books. It must have been so hard for these poor people to have to leave their safe place with Christina who loved each of them. And, I can see why it would break her heart for this to happen. As to knowing someone blind. I did. In the small town where my mother and daddy lived, and me for a few years before marriage, our church had a blind preacher. He got blind from a tractor accident on his farm. But, he never gave up his serving GOD through his preaching. Even after he retired he was the one called to be our interrum pastor between pastors. And was called for so many marriages and deaths. Everyone seemed to love that man. There was 8 siblings in my family. We were scattered across the United States, but when we went home and to church, he knew which one it was as soon as he heard our voice. and, he was always right. He preached the funeral for my mother and daddy and the first sibling I lost. and, other relatives. He married my husband and I at my second marriage. His wife would bring him and sign the documents. He was an exceptional man of GOD. We all loved him. I would love to win Kim's book. FB Thanks for a chance. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

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    1. MAXIE, you always have so many wonderful stories and experiences to share from your wonderful upbringing, family, and experiences, and we're always so blessed to read about them! Sounds like this pastor had a true heart after God and a very big one at that. When adversity's come our way, we can choose how to let them direct us, and it's beautiful to see this man continue on to serve and bless God and so many others through his preaching and service.
      I so appreciate you Maxie, and I really hope you get to read Kim's book soon. I know you'd be very blessed from reading that amazing story!!

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  11. I remember a little girl who was blind in one eye because of a BB gun accident. It was a lot to deal with. This sounds like a good story and I would love to read it. Sonja dot Nishimoto at gmail dot com

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    1. SONJA, thanks so much for stopping by to read about Kim's book! It really is a wonderful story and I hope you get to read it soon! How awful for an accident like that to happen to that little girl, those things are so dangerous! I so hope she's thriving now. Blessings Sonja!

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  12. "FB"
    There is an old gentleman in our church, Mr. Reece, who has an impairment in one of his eyes, but he is the most encouraging fellow. He'll get up and cry and thank the choir for bringing him such enjoyment with their music.

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    1. Aww SUSAN, what a beautiful man to express so much heartfelt thanks and encouragement to the choir. God bless him. Thanks for coming by to share Susan!

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  13. One of my closest friends is legally blind. Her greatest strength is her faith in God and her sweet personality.
    FB
    cindialtman(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Thanks CINDI for sharing about your friend. She sounds like such a lovely person! I have never known anyone that is blind, personally myself. But I did have a deaf & dumb Aunt and Uncle. They were such happy people!

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  14. I have never known anyone who is sight impaired or blind. It would be quite frightening I think.

    FB

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Hi MARY, thank you for coming by to read about Kim's wonderful book!
      I agree, it would be very frightening to lose your sight... whether a little or completely, and especially at the onset. I can see from these stories though, that everyone has been sharing today, that many do go on to not only accept their condition, but to also do so much to bring glory to God!

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  15. I really don't know anyone who is blind or has really impaired vision (though I know plenty of people, including myself, who are impaired enough to wear glasses). I've gone through cataract surgery and still have some difficulties with my eyes, so can relate to the scariness of not being able to see well or the possibility of being impaired.
    What Once Was Lost was an excellent book. The gift Levi gave Christina was so sweet! I love working with kids so always appreciate all the wonderful children in Kim's books.

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    1. Thanks for sharing PAM! I'm one of those sight impaired people too. I hate my glasses however, so I don't wear them in public. It's really only a problem when I can't make out faces unless they're quite close... So if someone I don't know really well, waves to me from afar.... I have no idea who they are! :) I'm sure for that reason, people think I'm a snob!
      I take it you have already got a copy of Kim's book? Maybe you could be a contender for the Starbuck's card! But if you'd like to be in the drawing for Kim's book as well, do let us know!

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    1. Thanks 'SKYLINE SPIRIT'! :) Remember to answer the question for an entry to win this great book of Kim's!

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  17. I don't personally know anyone. A group of us friends were out to dinner one night, we stopped for ice cream. A man came in and we could tell he was blind. My husband and another friend's husband asked if he needed assistance. He immediately began talking with them. Let them lead him to a certain room. But he came back to our group. Witnessed to us. We explained we were all believers. Had a great conversation. He was handing out DVD recordings of him playing the piano and singing at church and sharing Jesus. Here we were enjoying ice cream. It was clear he visited here often. The School for the Blind was down the street. Made us stop and think. We left him talking with another group. T & FB
    Nancycooks4u(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. NANCY, thanks so much for sharing that inspiring story with us all!! That "weakness" of his was also his strength, and He allowed the Lord to use it! God bless him, and you too Nancy!

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  18. Fabulous post. I really want to read this one!

    I have a co-worker who lost his vision in his mid-thirties due to a medical condition. He has used his impairment to drive a full-time crusade to promote accessibility for the disabled. He and his seeing eye dog go to schools, government agencies, and companies to promote technologies that exist now and promote the development of new ones. (He also helps develop these technologies.) His goal is to enable those with disabilities to experience the same access to information, social development, and job/personal opportunities as the rest of us. His strengths - "vision", perseverance, positive attitude, and a huge heart. And yes, he's my hero. :-)

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    1. Wow, I am so inspired reading these fantastic stories about these truly amazing people... Including your co-worker REBECCA!! He IS a hero Rebecca, to everyone he's working to help, and all those who are encouraged and inspired by his selfless service and goals!

      *Make sure you come back to check the winners list or leave us your email so that we can contact you if you are one of the winners!

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    2. It's people like him that prove that ALL of us can make a difference.

      rrgreene62(at)gmail(dot)com

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    3. Very true REBECCA!! Glad you came back. :)

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  19. A wonderful review. I look forward to reading this book.

    I do not know anyone who is vision impaired or blind but I imagine their strength would be listening!!

    Thank you for a chance to win!

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    1. Thank you STARLA, so glad you could come by to read about this book of Kim's!!
      I'm positive that would be one of their greatest strengths as well Starla! How often do we listen to people only to be soon distracted by what's going on around us? I'm particularly bad at 'not listening' when my cute as a button grandson is around, lol! ;)

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  20. There is a teenager in our congregation who has impaired vision and is legally blind. She is the sweetest and most compassionate teenager I've known!

    colorvibrant at gmail dot com

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    1. That's so beautiful HEIDI... what an amazing woman she'll be and what an impacting life this teenager is going to have on the world around her! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  21. Thanks for reviewing this book for us, Noela! It sounds wonderful and I can't wait to read it! My daughter's best friend has severely limited vision. She can't drive and needs to hold her cell phone very close to her face to use it, despite corrective lenses. I think what I most admire about Erica is that her limited vision doesn't stop her from doing what she wants to do! She doesn't look at life and see the obstacles she has to face, she sees the opportunities she has to learn new ways to do things! She is an amazing young woman who has taught me about overcoming adversity!

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    1. Thank you and you are more than welcome! :) It's definitely a very memorable story KELLY, I know you'll love it when you do get to read it!
      Thanks also for sharing about Erica. She sounds like an amazing inspiration to everyone around her, and even to me reading about her! It's a good way to be isn't it... to look at the opportunities, rather than the obstacles!

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  22. What a wonderful interview and can't wait to read this book. I do not know anyone who is blind but I work with the elderly who had vision impairments. I have noticed a lot of them have a good sense of hearing. Thank you for this chance to win a copy of this book. I like Kim on fb. ~ Blessings to you ~ lisastifleratyahoodotcom

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    1. God bless you also LISA and thank you!! I hope you get to read this wonderful story soon!

      That's often true isn't it, when one sense is weakened - the others are heightened. Bless you for the work you do with the elderly Lisa! My dad needed a lot of care before he passed away, and my mum - though she still fights for her independence, has needed extra help after her operations. So I just really appreciate you and all those that work in this field!

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  23. I love Kim's books...read this one and devoured it..lol. I am now anxious to read her newest one!
    A blind girl lived next door to me when I was 10; she attended a school for the blind in a nearby town so was just home on weekends. I admired her so much, and we were very good friends for the two years she lived next door. When the family moved away, I lost touch with her, but did hear she later married and had children.

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    1. JACKIE... Haha it was an easy one to devour wasn't it?! Books like these are so difficult to put down!! I can't wait to read her newer ones also. There's already one out and another one to be released soon!

      I loved reading about your lovely neighbor friend. I'm sure you would have been admired for your kindness and friendship as much as the admiration you held for her. So happy for her, that she went on to later marry and have children which I'm sure was such a blessing for her!

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  24. Thanks for the review, Noela! Sounds like a great book. I can't say that I know anyone blind or with impaired vision...The closest would be a color-blind friend, but he seems to get along just fine. :) I had an acquaintance--a customer at where I once worked--who was over 90 years old and had been blind for years. She loved telling stories about her life, and she was extremely intelligent.
    FB and T :)

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    1. Thank you JENNIFER, it sure is a great read this one! Hope you get to read it soon!

      Wow, over 90, blind, and still getting out and about.. And telling stories, lol. That impresses me! Sounds like an amazing lady!

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  25. Such a beautiful review for a beautiful book, Noela!! Thank you!!

    The books which contain children are always my favorites!! "What Once Was Lost" has such a beautifully touching story line and the added suspense, drama, and romance - make it even more enticing!! I particularly love your comment that "it expressively illustrates how God can be busy directing new paths when all seems lost to us" - one of the wonderful ways God allows Kim to inspire us through her writing!! I know that all of God's followers go through trials but this blog has helped me realize what a large part those trials have played in the beautifully touching writing of Christian fiction for so many wonderful authors and the resulting inspiration to all of their readers!! An excellent example of your statement that I just quoted!!

    Many years ago - I followed the concerts of a member of a well-known country artist trio of brothers, who was then pursuing a solo career. I would reserve my vacation days from work - to attend these concerts across the U.S.. The organist/pianist for his band was blind and possessed extraordinary musical talents that included singing. I would watch the band members line up after a concert to sign autographs - the pianist, while appearing to enjoy the camaraderie of his fellow band members, also seemed a bit detached from his surroundings. Since the concerts would often continue through three days, in a different nearby city each day, I was blessed to be able to enjoy numerous concerts on each trip, become friends with both the artist and his band members, and spend time chatting with them before and after concerts. I sensed a need to extend my arm as a guide to the pianist and we enjoyed many wonderful conversations re: his blindness, the things he did to overcome some of the problems of his disability, and our love of music - in general. I, too, played the piano and organ, sang, and we both were born on Christmas Day and lived in the South - so we had much in common. Even though quite a bit younger than I, he passed away several years ago - and I will always cherish the friendship we shared and the blessing of being able to extend a "helping arm". God gives those who have lost one of their senses, a heightened awareness in their other senses, that can develop into beautiful gifts of talent - such as my friend possessed.

    Thanks for another opportunity to win one of Kim's wonderful novels!!

    FB

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    1. BONNIE, Bonnie, Bonnie, your comments never fail to make me smile and bless my socks off!! Thank you for your encouraging and joyous spirit, you girl are a treasure! You know what? I have also learnt that truth you spoke of, more than anything else also, while reading these great Christian fiction novels!! They grab God's truths and illustrate them so wonderfully, sort of like Jesus' parables! And I'm blessed to be a small part of it.

      Bonnie, wow, don't mind me, I'm just awestruck again, lol. Your story "expressively illustrates" (hehe) how God directs how paths to cross, to help and bless each other, thereby showing HIS love to His creation. That was a GREAT story to read, thank you for that!
      And you've inspired me today Bonnie, so a big thanks for that also!

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  26. My late husband and I were friends of a blind man who taught at a college. He lost his eyesight when he was a teenager, so he told us he "saw" things in his mind like they were in the '60's. He showed us his house (he lived alone) and how he was able to use a computer and other things. He also showed us his Rubik Cube where the colors were written in Braille. No matter how I mixed up the cube, he could put it back together in less than 1 minute - every time! Amazing!
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

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    1. WOW, SUSAN!! I'm lucky to just get ONE side of a Rubik Cube done, lol. That's amazing! Just shows you how sharp his mind is regardless of his loss of sight. And he taught too?! Very inspiring!! That's interesting also, that he 'saw' things as they were in the 60's. It makes sense of course, but I guess I hadn't thought about it before.
      Thanks so much for sharing Susan! God bless!

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  27. FB, T, I have to say that the 10 year old girls down the road from us is probably the most cheerful blind person we know. She also has MS and she loves the Lord Jesus so much and her family. Thank you for the review Noela, loved it. I would love to read this over a starbucks drink.
    Blessings
    Linda Marie Finn
    Faithful Acres Books
    www.faithfulacres.net
    faithfulacresbooks@gmail.com

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    1. LINDA, that conjures up a wonderful image - reading this great book over a Starbuck's drink!! :) Hope you get to do that, winner or not!! Sounds too good not to, lol. :)
      Thank you for sharing about your neighbor. My heart goes out to her and will keep her in my prayers. How wonderful though, even with all her adversities, that she can be so cheerful! What an inspiring young lady!

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  28. Thank you, Noela!! One of the benefits of age - lots of stories and lots of memories (LOL)!! I'm blessed to know that they can be an inspiration to others - one of the reasons God allows us to have them and one of the reasons I love to tell them!! You're an inspiration to me, also - Noela!! Love you!!

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    1. Love you too BONNIE, SO glad the Lord brought you across our path!! God bless you! xx

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