In this incredibly moving and inspiring essay collection, Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Brett recounts 50 hard life lessons. Overcoming a troubled childhood, being a single parent, and surviving cancer lead her to maintain that while "life isn't tied with a bow, it's still a gift." She speaks convincingly of believing in miracles and forgiving everyone everything. While autobiographical inspiration can be self-serving and tedious, this example of the genre is hard to put down. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/09.]
Publishers Weekly - Library Journal
On turning 50, Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Brett wrote her most popular piece ever, containing the cancer survivor and single mom's most important life lessons. Here she expands and expounds on that column, incorporating other essays penned over her 14 years as an opinion columnist, to make a rousing inspirational collection. Most of her pieces-dedicated to substantive but familiar ideas like "Overprepare, then go with the flow," "Stay put in the day you are in," and "God loves you because of who God is"-are short, sweet, and frequently resonant (if at times overly simple). Complimenting her own experience with anecdotes from friends and others, as well as poems, prayers, psalms and excerpts from treasured books, Brett employs a veteran writer's knack for keen observation and thorough self-knowledge, delivering hard-earned wisdom with deceptive ease.
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From the Publisher
"I intend to give my 82-year-old dad a copy of God Never Blinks. I will also buy one for a 16-year-old friend. This wise, compassionate and honest book is a blueprint for living a happy, fulfilling life. Its lessons are timelessand timely."
Thrity Umrigar, author of The Space Between Us"
Regina Brett is a gifted observer of the experiences that shape who we are, and her lessons unfold with buoyancy, humor and a courageous honesty. She has given us a beautifully written roadmap for life."
Jeffrey Zaslow, coauthor of "The Last Lecture""
Regina Brett's book, God Never Blinks, provides practical insights that can change the world."
Deepak Chopra, author of The Ultimate Happiness Prescription
Read an Excerpt
God Never Blinks 50 Lessons for Life's Little Detours
By Brett, Regina
Grand Central Publishing Copyright © 2010 Brett, Regina
All right reserved.
Life Isn’t Fair, but It’s Still Good.
The hat always came back, more faded yet stronger than ever.
Frank started it.
I had undergone my first chemotherapy and couldn’t imagine being bald. Then I saw a guy wearing a baseball cap bearing these words: LIFE IS GOOD.
Life didn’t feel good and it was about to feel worse, so I asked the guy where he got the hat. Two days later, Frank drove across town and stopped by my house and gave me one. Frank is a magical kind of guy. A house painter by trade, he lives by two simple words: Get to.
They remind him to be grateful for everything. Instead of saying, “I have to go to work today,” Frank tells himself, “I get to go to work.” Instead of saying, “I have to get groceries,” he gets to. Instead of saying, “I have to take the kids to baseball practice,” he gets to. It works for everything.
The hat on anyone but Frank might not have carried the same power. It was navy blue with an oval patch that announced its message in white letters.
And life was good. Even though my hair fell out, my body grew weak, my eyebrows fell off. Instead of wearing a wig, I wore that hat as my answer to cancer, as my billboard to the world. People love to stare at a bald woman. They got a message back when they gawked.
Gradually, I got well, my hair grew back, and I put the hat away until a friend got cancer and asked about that hat I used to wear. She wanted one. At first I didn’t want to part with mine. It was like my binky, my security blanket. But I had to pass it on. If I didn’t, the luck might run out. She made a promise to get well and pass the hat on to another woman. Instead, she gave it back to me to pass on to another survivor.
We call it the Chemo Hat.
I don’t know how many women have worn it these past 11 years. I’ve lost count. So many friends have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Arlene. Joy. Cheryl. Kaye. Sheila. Joan. Sandy. Woman after woman passed it on.
When the hat came back to me, it always looked more tired and worn, but each woman had a new sparkle in her eyes. Everyone who wore the lucky Chemo Hat is still alive and thriving.
Last year I gave it to my friend and coworker Patrick. He was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 37. Patrick got the hat, even though I wasn’t sure it could tackle any kind of cancer. He told his mom about the hat, how he was now a link in this chain of survival. She found Life is good, Inc., the company that made the hat and makes other products with the motto. She called the company and told them the story of the hat and ordered a whole box of caps.
She sent them to Patrick’s closest friends and relatives. They took pictures of themselves wearing the hats. All over his refrigerator he put up photos of college friends and their kids and dogs and lawn ornaments wearing the LIFE IS GOOD hat.
Meanwhile, the folks at Life is good, Inc., were moved by Patrick’s mom. They held a staff meeting and challenged their employees, “in the spirit of the traveling lucky Chemo Hat,” to pass their hats on to someone needing a lift. They sent Patrick a photo of all 175 of them each wearing a hat.
Patrick finished chemo and is fine. He was so lucky; he never lost his hair, it just thinned out. He never wore the hat, but it touched him. He kept it on a table at the bottom of the stairs where he could see that message every day.
It got him through the really bad days when he wanted to quit chemo and give up. Anyone with cancer has known those days. Even folks who have never had cancer have known them.
Turns out it wasn’t the hat but the message on it that kept us all going, that keeps us all going.
Life is good.
Pass it on.
Excerpted from God Never Blinks by Brett, Regina Copyright © 2010 by Brett, Regina. Excerpted by permission.
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