Finding a Way

Univ. of Queensland Press
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I learned from my family that most things could be achieved – the challenge was finding a way. Blind from birth, Graeme Innes was blessed. Blessed because he had a family who refused to view his blindness as a handicap and who instilled in him a belief in his own abilities. Blessed because he had the determination to persevere when obstacles were put in his way. And now, after a long and successful career – from lawyer to company director to Human Rights Commissioner – he has written his story. Finding a Way shares his memories of love and support, of challenges and failures, and of overcoming the discrimination so many people with disabilities face. He writes of the importance of family, the value of courage and the unique experience of a life without one sense but with heightened awareness of the others. Alongside his life story, Innes shares ideas on advocacy for people with disabilities and outlines what remains to be done to fully include people with disabilities in Australian society.
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About the author

Graeme Innes AM is a lawyer, mediator and company director. In 1995 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his work on the development of the Disability Discrimination Act, and in 2003 he was a finalist for Australian of the Year. Graeme's work as a human rights practitioner has spanned more than thirty years and includes his role as Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission where he led work on Australia's ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Same-Sex: Same Entitlements Inquiry.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Univ. of Queensland Press
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Published on
Jun 22, 2016
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780702257278
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / People with Disabilities
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Thomas Toren experienced more horror, loss, and change in his life than most.

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!

A prophecy brings common sense to the confusion of modern life, responding to its challenges in local and international conflict resolution, through remembering life’s composition of widely divergent yet related parts. An alternative view of life’s complexities, this novel is a modern-day take on an ancient way of seeing, placing the reader as the central character in a set of real-life circumstances, and confronting them wherever they find themselves. In many ways, the book is an initiation, taking you on a fascinating journey while deepening your comprehension of who and what you are and your place in the scheme of things. Disoriented and dissatisfied by the trite answers provided by compromised teachers and politicians alike, and perhaps lacking the experience and wisdom to judiciously negotiate life in the confusion of a world of apparent plenty, most people find themselves struggling to find representatives whose wise application of intelligence is the currency of their decision making. Where a balance of feeling and intuition equally weighted by logic and reason is absent, humanity is forced to conclude that society’s rulers, whether financial or political, have abandoned representing life’s common destiny as the foundation stone of humankind’s finest aspirations. When morality is applied differently in different settings to gain advantage and cultures have a variety of spiritual and existential beliefs pitted one against the other, the step to terrorism, though seemingly incomprehensible, appears understandable to a mind pushed to its extremes, as it attempts to reconcile that which is apparently irreconcilable. Without prizing humanity as an interwoven part of nature’s fabric, people are caught between a rock and hard place, but it is precisely there that Platypus Dreaming inspires hope.
When all seems lost, where can hope be found?

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.

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