When he was just six, his mother was arrested for Rassenschande and imprisoned by the Nazis. Young Thomas would not see her again until he was almost thirty. He did not know who his father was, and the man who raised him was cold and distant. His older half-sister grew up to be an unkind, egotistical person who betrayed him and his beloved wife, Lisa.
He was born in Berlin in 1931. He was expelled from two German primary schools because of his stepfathers Jewish surname. From age seven, he was raised by two women in the Russian immigrant community of Harbin, China, where he finished a Russian high school at the top of his class. Having spent his formative years there and suspecting that his biological father was either Russian or Polish, Toren considers himself Russian.
This all seemed perfectly normal to the young man. Torens explanation: children accept everything as normal. Only in hindsight, after acquiring some life experience and wisdom, are we able to understand and analyse our childhood.
To escape the Soviet bloc, he managed to travel to Israel, where he married his lifelong love, Lisa. In these transitions, a bit of stability emerged. Toren had a long, successful career as a qualified mechanicalengineer and brilliant inventor. Now retired, Toren felt the urge to record the stories of his unusual life, during which he has experienced four cultures and observed many more. Hes called Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Australia home at various times of his life. These intercontinental movements were not by choice; they were imposed as a result of political upheavals of the twentieth century.
Toren knows that life was not meant to be easy. Wishing and hoping is not enough. Determination and perseverance are essential. A bit of luck also helps. Life has taught Toren an important lesson. He says: We should learn to fully appreciate each one of our many blessings, which we normally take for granted. We tend to fully appreciate our blessings only in retrospect, after we have lost them!
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Blake Bailey has been hailed as “addictively readable” (New York Times) and praised for his ability to capture lives “compellingly and in harrowing detail” (Time). The Splendid Things We Planned is his darkly funny account of growing up in the shadow of an erratic and increasingly dangerous brother, an exhilarating and sometimes harrowing story that culminates in one unforgettable Christmas.
When Scott Russell Sanders was four, his father held him in his arms during a thunderstorm, and he felt awe—"the tingle of a power that surges through bone and rain and everything." He says, "The search for communion with this power has run like a bright thread through all my days." A Private History of Awe is an account of this search, told as a series of awe-inspiring episodes: his early memory of watching a fire with his father; his attraction to the solemn cadences of the Bible despite his frustration with Sunday-school religion; his discovery of books and the body; his mounting opposition to the Vietnam War and all forms of violence; his decision to leave behind the university life of Oxford and Harvard and return to Indiana, where three generations of his family have put down roots. In many ways, this is the story of a generation's passage through the 1960s—from innocence to experience, from euphoria to disillusionment. But Sanders has found a language that captures the transcendence of ordinary lives while never reducing them to formula. In his hands, the pattern of American boyhood that was made classic by writers from Mark Twain to Tobias Wolff is given a powerful new charge.
In January 1988 Martin Pistorius, aged twelve, fell inexplicably sick. First, he lost his voice and stopped eating. Then he slept constantly and shunned human contact. Doctors were mystified. Within eighteen months he was mute and wheelchair-bound. Martin's parents were told an unknown degenerative disease left him with the mind of a baby and less than two years to live.
Martin was moved to care centers for severely disabled children. The stress and heartache shook his parents’ marriage and their family to the core. Their boy was gone. Or so they thought.
Ghost Boy is the heart-wrenching story of one boy’s return to life through the power of love and faith. In these pages, readers see:A parent’s resilience.The consequences of misdiagnosis.Abuse at the hands of cruel caretakers.The unthinkable duration of Martin’s mental alertness betrayed by his lifeless body.
We also see a life reclaimed—a business created, a new love kindled—all from a wheelchair. Martin's emergence from his own darkness invites us to celebrate our own lives and fight for a better life for others.
Katherine and Jay married right after college and sought adventure far from home in Los Angeles, CA. As they pursued their dreams--she as a model and he as a lawyer--they planted their lives in the city and in their church community. Their son, James, came along unexpectedly in the fall of 2007, and just six months later, everything changed in a moment for this young family.
On April 21, 2008, as James slept in the other room, Katherine collapsed, suffering a massive brain stem stroke without warning. Miraculously, Jay came home in time and called for help. Katherine was immediately rushed into micro-brain surgery, though her chance of survival was slim. As the sun rose the next morning, the surgeon proclaimed that Katherine had survived the removal of part of her brain, though her future recovery was completely uncertain. Yet in that moment, there was a spark of hope. Through 40 days on life support in the ICU and nearly two years in full-time brain rehab, that spark of hope was fanned into flame.
Defying every prognosis with grit and grace, Katherine and Jay, side by side, struggled to regain a life for Katherine as she re-learned to talk and eat and walk. Returning home with a severely disabled body but a completely renewed purpose, they committed to celebrate this gift of a second chance by embracing life fully, even though that life looked very different than they could have ever imagined. In the midst of continuing hardships and struggles, both in body and mind, Katherine and Jay found what we all long to find . . . hope, hope that heals the most broken place, our souls.
An excruciating yet beautiful road to recovery has led the Wolf family to their new normal, in which almost every moment of life is marked with the scars of that fateful April day in 2008. Now, eight years later, Katherine and Jay are stewarding their story of suffering, restoration, and Christ-centered hope in this broken world through their ministry Hope Heals.