My Grandfathers Life: A story of personal inspiration

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With me being born in the U. The older generations have really worked hard to pass as much on so we can keep it alive for them, and working on this book has definitely given me a renewed desire to do that and to pass it on to my children. What do you think is the most misunderstood thing about Cuba and this period of history?

One of the big things that spurred me writing the book was [that] growing up in Florida, so many people have a connection to Cuba or someone Cuban or at least have a little bit of a personal knowledge of it from interactions or the news. Can you tell me more about what inspired them and how you write about fashion in your work?

My grandmother used to have photos of herself all over the house. I grew up seeing these pictures of her in these beautiful gowns and her stories of going to parties and falling in love with my grandfather. There was a very romantic sense about that time period for me. Media is a huge part of my writing process. I look at a lot of old photographs, watch old movies from the time period, really anything I can to immerse myself, and so I wanted to capture the glamour of that time period.

You originally planned one book, then it became two. Is this the end? Even Isabel? Right now my next few books are basically featuring ancestors of the family. I am thinking about Maria, and if I did write one of the sisters, she would be the next one, but probably not for a few years. FB Twitter ellipsis More. Image zoom. Chris Malpass; Berkley. By Maureen Lee Lenker. Popular in Books. Close Share options. When I got an opportunity to take a storytelling workshop at the studio, I thought it a perfect excuse to make some sort of tribute to Gramps.

After digging fruitlessly for the right story, I decided to call my dad — recording without his knowledge — to see what might come of a conversation. And I lucked out: There was a sketchbook he had recently scanned that he wanted to send me. There were also travelogues, and sketchbooks just for dreams that were filled with the vivid images that his subconscious cooked up nightly. But the memory book was different. It was like all his sketchbooks compressed into one — an impressionistic retrospective stretching back to early childhood.

How A Grandfather's Example Shaped The Life, Travels And Faith Of A Little Girl

Dad and I ended up flipping through the pages for over an hour, and story after story rushed out. Students 1. She offers stories of kindness, trust, compassion, listening, courage; of loss and suffering; and of affirming life. Best of all, and to my delight, she does so without religiobullshit. She writes with humility and grace and a strong and convincing belief in our ability to persevere and celebrate. Dec 29, C. G rated it really liked it. Rachel Naomi Remen is a doctor turned counselor for people living with cancer. There were a lot of beautiful stories in here about her grandfather and her work - I especially loved the parts on blessings and mystery.

Sometimes I found the way she talked about people sort of uncomfortable, especially across difference, and wondered how they would feel about her portrayal of them. But one story, "Broken," about a physician who had a lot of anger about his job and colleagues, hit home so 4. But one story, "Broken," about a physician who had a lot of anger about his job and colleagues, hit home so hard I xeroxed it to keep at work. Jun 15, Nancy rated it really liked it Recommended to Nancy by: Dave. Shelves: religion , non-fiction , grief.

This is a beautiful book. Gentle and warm and full of insight and encouragement. I think I will need to get my own copy. There is an interesting mash up of religious teachings, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, mysticism, and it all works together. Feb 26, Rita rated it really liked it Shelves: american , nonfiction. What a surprising book!

KHAT -- EmotionalFulls

What a life story Rachel Remen has -- only child of older hard-working professionals. Full of ambition and determination, even after a collapse at age 16 and a diagnosis of Crohn's disease [no cure, bad prognosis]. Her marvelous memories of her wise grandfather's caring for her and nuggets of wisdom [he died when she w Recommended by Mia Meijer Inspirational I don't normally read inspirational books, but Mia had this on her top-ten favorite books, and had a copy to lend. Her marvelous memories of her wise grandfather's caring for her and nuggets of wisdom [he died when she was 7] -- she notes that he was probably much less available to his own daughter [her mother] when she was a child.

Much of Remen's book is quite short accounts of outstanding anecdotes of people dealing with severe illness, death of a loved one, and so on. She discusses how new [and rejected] this idea was when she first started lecturing on it in the s[?

My Grandfather's Son

Reading several of these anecdotes really gives a good impression of the mind-body linkage, or of the spiritual side of health and illness, if you will. See her own website too, which has several of the stories from this book. I will keep you safe. I had no idea why. We let the matter drop there.


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From time to time I would think about it, and once I dreamt it again. It was just as disturbing. Some years later I was agonizing over a major career change. The stress of this decision became intense, and one morning I awoke with a severe pain in my back. After the third or fourth day, I went to see my doctor, who told me that the pain did not correspond with anything anatomical he knew about.

The pain went on for weeks. Finally someone suggested I consult an acupuncturist …This was not the usual thing to do at that time, but I had become desperate and so I had gone. Rossman ran his finger lightly down my back. When he touched the place that was hurting, the pain was so intense that I cried out.


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The life energy is stuck here. Suddenly I understood how the rock felt. The rock was afraid to let the bulb bloom. If it bloomed and became visible, it could be hurt. I also understood for the first time that if it did bloom, the daffodil might die. Survival was a high priority in our family. My father, and indeed many other members of my family, had been made fearful of life by the Depression and the war. They had become experts at surviving. Surviving was a question of tenacity, of putting safety above all other considerations. Living, on the other hand, was a matter of passion and risk.

Of finding something important and serving it. Of doing whatever was needed in order to live out loud. As a child of my family, I had not understood the difference in this way before. Perhaps survival was not the goal of life at all. As I watched in surprise, slowly it became taller and thinner and more transparent until I realized it was becoming a greenhouse.

Inside it, the daffodil bulb put out a spike and bloomed. The yellow of the flower was extraordinary—as if it were made not of petals but of light. Lying there on Dr. In the blink of an eye, things had turned inside out. The reason the rock had given the bulb for not blooming was the very reason it was important to bloom. It was a dangerous world, a world of suffering, loneliness, and loss.

Daffodils were needed. My family had actually cultivated fear. After I was bitten by a stray dog as a child and underwent a painful series of rabies shots, I became terrified of all dogs. My father encouraged this, believing that it would keep me safe. It had never occurred to me before that fear might be the wrong sort of protection. After the first treatment, my pain never came back. When I revisited Dr. Shortly afterward, I left my secure and respectable faculty position at Stanford and moved down the peninsula to join with others who also dreamt of finding a new way to practice medicine.

Perhaps finding the right protection is the first responsibility of anyone hoping to make a difference in this world. Caring deeply makes us vulnerable. You cannot move things forward without exposure and involvement, without risk and process and criticism. Those who wish to change things may face disappointment, loss, or even ridicule.

If you are ahead of your time, people laugh as often as they applaud, and being there first is usually lonely. But our protection cannot come between us and our purpose. Right protection is something within us rather than something between us and the world, more about finding a place of refuge and strength than finding a hiding place.

Feb 15, Olivia rated it really liked it Recommended to Olivia by: Anika. This book contains some lovely true stories and insights. Based on the title, I wouldn't have expected to like it. But actually only a small portion of the book is about the author's grandfather. The majority of the book is page chapters telling stories about something that happened to the author or someone she knows. The author, Remen, is a doctor who counsels people with cancer and has had a life-long chronic illness herself. Because of this, she has spent a lot of time thinking about what This book contains some lovely true stories and insights.

Because of this, she has spent a lot of time thinking about what really matters in life, how to be authentic, how to truly serve others, etc. A running theme throughout the book emphasizes the value of every life and how every kind action, no matter how small, can have a big impact. Although I didn't love every story, I appreciated that the chapters were so short. If one chapter didn't strike a chord with me, it was over quickly and I could try again with the next one.

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That being said, there were several stories that I found to be quite profound. My sister gave me a copy of this book, so I was able to highlight certain passages and stories, and I know I will refer to them again in the future. Because the book contains so many stories, each person who reads it is likely to be moved by several of them - or more. I found the organization of the book to be a little haphazard and sometimes a bit repetitive, but these did little to take away from the overall positive impact of the book.

View 1 comment. Oct 05, Carol rated it it was amazing. I absolutely loved this book! The author is a cancer physician who counsels with people dealing with cancer.

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Though raised by almost athiest parents, her grandfather secretly taught her of his beliefs as an Orthodox Jew while she was a young child. It is so beautifully written and speaks of the kindness and goodness of humanity, of finding joy,awe and peace in the midst of our trials interwoven with her beliefs. She shares many different stories that she has learned from those she has come in co I absolutely loved this book!

She shares many different stories that she has learned from those she has come in contact with in her life. There are so many beautiful little quotes throughout the book but my favorite is the following because it speaks of the beauty and wonder of this life which I need to remember and regain the awe that my life deserves. I cried my way through many chapters, I don't know if this is because I read it in the weeks following my surgery, but it touched my soul.

This a prayer that her grandfather used to say regularly: "Days pass and the years vanish and we walk sightless amoung miracles. Lord, fill our eyes with seeing and our minds with knowing. Let there be moments when your Presence, like lightening, illuminates the darkness in which we walk. Help us to see, wherever we gaze, that the bush burns, unconsumed. Oct 27, CarrieLyn rated it liked it. I had to warm up to this book. Parts of it seem cliche, but parts are really memorable. I love the story of the boy who is crazy about his hot wheels car, but when a bunch of people give him hot wheels, he puts them all away because he doesn't know how to love that many.

And, big surprise ending, the epilogue draws on the story of the Jaredites in the Book of Mormon as an example of how we should be willing to step out of our comfort zone knowing that we can rely on the light provided by the fin I had to warm up to this book. And, big surprise ending, the epilogue draws on the story of the Jaredites in the Book of Mormon as an example of how we should be willing to step out of our comfort zone knowing that we can rely on the light provided by the finger of God.

The author seems like a truly wonderful person who has respect for all religions, all people including a drug dealer whom she credits with teaching her, a trained M. The frustrating thing about the book is that you want to understand her own story; how she went from being a pediatrician to being a counselor to cancer patients; if she reconciled with her father; how she overcame her illness Crohn's disease , but that is not the point of her book. But you still want to know. Maybe I needed to read her other book to get her story.


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  4. May 06, Stephanie rated it liked it Shelves: book-group. Not being a novel with a plot, I found it difficult to get around to reading this book. But, that being said, once I did pick it up, I enjoyed it. There were many inspiring passages and wished I weren't reading a library copy so I could underline and mark up the book. However, by the middle of the book I realized that I had forgotten most of the "inspiring" passages.

    I think this was due to there being just too much to remember and retain. Maybe if I were in the medical field or going through a Not being a novel with a plot, I found it difficult to get around to reading this book. Maybe if I were in the medical field or going through a medical crisis, I would have been able to relate to the book better and retain more. I really think that every medical professional should read this book. I love how the author, a medical professional herself, acknowledged that there are some things that science cannot explain, and that it is this very mystery that gives life meaning.

    I would probably have to read this book many times in order to actually remember enough of it, but this probably won't happen. Sep 13, Julie rated it really liked it Shelves: want-to-buy. This was recommended to me by a friend who read this book when she had cancer.

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    It is full of terrific insights for any of us, whether or not we are struggling with huge challenges. The author shares amazing experiences she's had as a pediatrician and as a counselor to people fighting cancer. A book that inspires you to live better and love others more fully. Of course, I didn't agree with every single opinion of hers, but that doesn't diminish my overall impression of the book.