A Place Called Blessing: Where Hurting Ends and Love Begins

Overview

“If you’ve ever doubted your ability to be a vessel of grace and healing in the life of someone who’s hurting, you need to read A Place Called Blessing. It is the story of a wounded soul named Josh, but chances are there is a Josh living next door to you or even sitting near you in the pew at church.”—Jim Daly, president, Focus on the Family

His whole life has been a story of hurt and rejection. Is one family’s love enough to turn it all ...

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A Place Called Blessing: Where Hurting Ends and Love Begins

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Overview

“If you’ve ever doubted your ability to be a vessel of grace and healing in the life of someone who’s hurting, you need to read A Place Called Blessing. It is the story of a wounded soul named Josh, but chances are there is a Josh living next door to you or even sitting near you in the pew at church.”—Jim Daly, president, Focus on the Family

His whole life has been a story of hurt and rejection. Is one family’s love enough to turn it all around?

Josh lost his parents in a drunk-driving accident and lost track of his two brothers after a tragic fire. By age eighteen, he is an angry young man who only wants a job, an apartment, and to be left alone. Instead, he meets Mike and Anna, an unusual son-and-mother team who draw him into their lives. For the first time, Josh receives unconditional love and something every human being craves, the gift of “the blessing.” But tragedy strikes again, and a shocking secret is revealed. Can Josh hang on to what he’s learned about blessings, curses, and family?

The life-changing message of the relational classic, The Blessing—now in compelling story form. Complete with a reader’s guide to help you identify and apply the five elements of the biblical blessing to your own life and relationships.

Visit www.TheBlessing.com for more information and an opportunity to join The Blessing Challenge, one million people choosing to change the life of one child—their child!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780849946189
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/3/2011
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. John Trentis president of StrongFamilies.com and founder of The Institute for the Blessing at Barclay College. John is a sought-after speaker and an award-winning author of more than twenty books, including six books for children. He has been a featured guest on numerous radio and television programs and leads The Blessing Challenge, a joint partnership with Focus on the Family and StrongFamilies.com. John and his wife, Cindy, have two grown daughters, Kari and Laura.

Annette Smith is a novelist, nurse, and a master storyteller.She has written five volumes of original short stories,two parenting books, and five novels, all set in small towns. Her fourth novel, A Bigger Life, was named by Library Journal as one of the best novels of 2007 and was a finalist in the American Christian Fiction Book Awards. Annette and her husband, Randy, have two adult children.

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Read an Excerpt

A PLACE CALLED BLESSING

Where Hurting Ends and Love Begins
By John Trent Annette Smith

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2011 John Trent
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8499-4618-9


Chapter One

Most every kid has a special toy or blanket he likes to have with him at bedtime or when he is scared or upset. You know, something to hold that helps him go to sleep and makes him feel safe. You probably had one. Or your kids did. Maybe for you it was a teddy bear, a pillow, or a blanket—a gift from your mom or your dad, maybe your grandma. Mine was a tan rabbit with soft fur and silky ears that I rubbed between my fingers as I fell asleep.

But I didn't get that rabbit from my parents or my grandparents. Nope. Not that rabbit or any other toy. I never met my grandparents, and my parents were really young when they had me and my two brothers, Sam and Matt. Young and dumb, as they say.

My dad did not go to work very often. My mom wasn't big on cooking or cleaning or taking care of kids. What they liked to do was go out with their friends. Every weekend and lots of weeknights, the two of them went out drinking and partying. Every time they went, they would promise to bring us boys a treat or a toy if we were good.

I think we were good. Maybe not. All I know is most of the time they forgot. We rarely got treats, and we didn't have many toys.

Once when I was pretty little, Mom and Dad took me and my brothers with them. They stopped on the way at a gas station and got us Honey Buns. Our mom gave us a blanket that was in the front seat. When we got to the bar, they left us in the car. It was only supposed to be a little while, but I guess they forgot. Matt and Sam and I fell asleep and did not wake up until the cops came and opened up the doors. Somebody had seen us and called. The cops did not have to break a window or anything because my dad had not locked the doors. They just pulled us out and put us in the back of their car, then went inside to get our parents. When they found them, they put them in a different cop car.

That's when I got the rabbit. In our state, lots of communities have this program called Caring Cops. It has been around for a long time. The way it works is, police officers carry stuffed animals in their trunks to give to kids who might be scared or upset. All three of us got one.

If you ask me, whoever came up with that had a good idea.

That night they put my parents in jail, and we boys went to this place where they had lots of beds for kids. They gave us some food and some clean clothes. We only stayed there one night. Before our parents could take us home, they had to promise not to make that mistake again.

Sure enough, they learned their lesson. From then on, they left us at home when they went out. I was four, almost five. Matt was six, and Sam was seven.

I do not remember my parents hitting us or spanking us. They yelled sometimes, but mostly at each other. I guess we did not cause them too much trouble because they pretty much ignored us. We were sort of like the furniture. Just ... there. They did not touch us or talk to us much. They slept till noon usually, leaving us to fend for ourselves.

We looked out for one another, as best as little kids could. We played with stuff like cans and boxes. We had sword fights with wire coat hangers. I'm surprised nobody's eye got put out. Sometimes we wrestled. Most days we ate cereal from the box and drank orange soda. Our couch had three cushions, one each for my brothers and me to sleep on. Every night we pulled them off the couch and lined them up in a row against the wall. My parents slept on a mattress on the floor.

We didn't go outside. We didn't go to school. But we did watch TV.

It was on 24/7.

Early one Sunday morning, I guess my dad must have gotten confused driving home from a bar. No one ever did tell us the whole story. I heard a cop saying later that he was glad no one else was killed. Of course, at the time I did not understand what he meant.

I am not sure how they found out about us, but when the police came to our apartment after the accident, they found me and my brothers asleep on our couch cushions. We woke up confused and afraid, but we didn't cry. We had learned early on that crying didn't exactly do us any good.

"Where's our mom?" my oldest brother, Sam, asked one of the cops standing at the door.

He looked over at his partner. "Uh, she had to go somewhere."

"How about our dad?"

"He went with her."

"So they're coming home soon?" I remember asking.

They looked at each other again as if they did not know.

"Hey, I bet you boys are hungry," the first cop said. "Let's go get you something to eat."

We weren't sure about leaving. Mom and Dad had told us to stay put. But these guys were police officers, and from our experience they were people who had been nice to us. You could trust them. Besides, we were hungry.

"Come on, fellows," said the cop. "It'll be all right."

We didn't exactly have a choice, so we went. None of us had on pajamas. We did not own any. We slept in the same clothes we wore all day, which were the same clothes we wore most days. None of us wore underwear. We had finished off the cereal earlier in the day, so there was no food in the house. The apartment was dark. Even the TV was black because our electricity had been turned off the day before.

It was getting light by the time we got to the police station. We sat side by side on a sticky plastic couch while they called for a social worker to come and get us. Our hair was long. It had been more than two weeks since any of us had taken a bath. The officers had driven us by McDonald's to get breakfast. Biscuits with sausage inside. We ate them without saying a word.

Every time a new person came to check on us, we asked him about our mom and our dad. Again and again, the cops told us the same thing.

"Don't worry."

"Everything's going to be all right."

We had been at the police station for two hours before the social worker finally showed up. She took us to a room without any windows, and one of the cops went with her. He stood in the corner. She sat down at a little table. We had to sit down, too, but there were not enough chairs, and I had to sit in my oldest brother's lap.

"When do we get to see our parents?" he asked.

"I'm sorry, but you're not going to be able to see them again." She held a wad of Kleenex in her hand. "There was a wreck. On the highway. Your parents died in an accident."

We started crying then, all of us at once. The social worker tried to hug us, but I pulled away. I was mad.

Everyone had been telling us everything would be all right. But this was not right! I ran over to the cop and started hitting and kicking him.

Our parents were not much, but they were all we had.

Most people have some kind of family ties. Relatives, even if they live far away, who will help out when there is a real need. The social workers tried and tried to find somebody like that who would take in my brothers and me, but they had no such luck.

Nobody wanted us.

Which was how we ended up in foster care.

Like most, our state is pretty short of foster homes. Some counties don't have a single home. At any given time, it can be a challenge for a social worker to place one kid. Finding a home to take three brothers on short notice was an impossible task. So we were separated for the first time ever in our lives.

When my brothers got into a car to be taken away, I tried to run after them, but a big man grabbed me. He picked me up and held me tight. I cried and fought against him, trying to get down. Why were they going and not me? What had I done bad?

You can listen to the news and know that the foster-care system has a lot of problems. But I have to give them credit for one thing. They tried to make it where my brothers and I got to see each other on a regular basis. The plan was for us to get together once a month. That may sound like a lot, but to a little kid a month is the same thing as a year. And sometimes it worked out, but sometimes it did not. Or two of us would make it, but the other one would not.

I understand it better now. People are busy, especially people who take care of lots of kids. Things happen. But I didn't understand it then. All I knew was they would tell me I was going to see my brothers, and then it didn't happen. It just started eating at me. A lot of things did.

Not many kids get to stay in the same foster home for very long. I lost count of how many different ones I got sent to. Some places I would go to for just one night while they tried to find someplace else for me to go. Others lasted longer—weeks or months, maybe. I was still pretty little then, so my sense of time passing was not all that good.

One foster mom told me she was thinking about adopting me. She was going to see if she could get my brothers too. I was so excited. Finally, a real family for me. I couldn't stop thinking about how great everything was going to be. I hoped it would happen soon. But a few days later I came in from playing and saw that Foster Mom was packing up my stuff. No way. I started crying and asked her why she was doing that. Had she been lying to me all along? I got mad and pulled all the books and toys off the shelf in my room. I threw those books and toys as far and as hard as I could.

Foster Mom would not look at me. She did not even yell at me for throwing stuff. She just kept on putting my stuff into a big plastic bag. There were problems, and she had changed her mind. She was sorry, but my social worker was on her way to get me to take me somewhere else.

When stuff like that happens to you as a kid, you eventually learn to expect most everything to go bad. You just kind of give up. That's what I did, anyway. I stopped counting on things and believing people. I didn't ever feel safe, couldn't ever let my guard down. Think about it. I had been shown that even if people say they care about you and they want you, they can change their minds.

It is easy to say I stopped trusting when I went to foster care, but that is not when it started. No, it was way before that. When your parents don't come when you cry, don't feed you when you're hungry, don't pick you up when you fall, you learn that you can't count on anyone.

But then something unexpected happened. I was six years old when my foster mom at the time told me I was leaving her house to go to a new home. She packed my clothes into a bag, my tan rabbit too. I wasn't surprised that I had to leave. The day before I had hit her real son when he told me I was stupid. Before that, I had wet the bed three nights in a row.

But this time I wasn't leaving because of fighting or doing anything else wrong. I did not know it at the time, but I was about to experience one of the best days of my life.

Or the worst, depending on how you look at it.

Chapter Two

When the social worker came to pick me up, she told me she had a surprise. I ran to the car, hoping it was some candy or gum, but it turned out to be way better than that. When I got almost to the car, two heads popped up from where they had been hiding, ducked down in the backseat. My brothers were laughing their heads off. I learned that they were going to the new home too. We would all be in the same foster home at the same time.

My brothers and I hugged and poked one another and tickled and laughed while the social worker drove. Looking back, I realize I did not care what the house looked like or even if the other kids there were big and mean. I was so glad to be with my brothers, nothing else mattered in the whole world.

Since I was the last one in, I had a seat by the window. We drove and drove, from one end of town to the other, faster and farther, to where there weren't many houses. Just lots of trees and fences and even cows and some horses.

"Are we almost there?" I needed to use the bathroom.

"How much farther?" asked Sam.

"Is there a mom and a dad?" asked Matt. His last home was with a lady who did not have a husband. He was the only boy in a family with three girls. His room was pink.

She smiled at us in the mirror. The job of a social worker cannot be easy. She was probably smiling because her task of transporting three rowdy brothers was almost to its end. But we never knew.

"Start watching, guys." She slowed the car and turned down a little road. Trees grew so close they touched overhead; it felt as though we were going through a tunnel. Like always when I was about to see a new home, my stomach got jerky. I put my hand to my mouth and chewed on the knuckle of my left thumb.

Pretty soon, we drove out of the tree tunnel and started up a driveway. We boys stopped talking. We had been through this so many times before. Would the family be nice? Would they let us watch TV? Would we get food that we liked? Would there be lots of kids, or would we be the only ones?

The driveway was bumpy. Even though the car wasn't stopped and we knew better, we unlatched our seat belts so we could see better. There weren't any other houses around. This one was white with black shutters and a red front door. Old. Pretty big. And with a porch on the front. There was a big wooden garage off to one side, separate from the house. The yard had a swing set and a sandbox and tall yellow flowers growing on each side of the sidewalk that led up to the front steps.

"Get your bags, boys." The social worker opened up the trunk. Then she led the way up the sidewalk. We climbed the wide wooden steps and took a look around the porch. There was a swing and a couple of chairs, some plants, a watering can, and a little brown dog. I tried to pet him, but he jumped off the porch and ran around to the back of the house.

Before she even knocked, our new foster mom opened the door. She was young and pretty. And black ... which my brothers and I were not. We looked at one another. This was something the social worker had forgotten to tell us. But I guess she had remembered to tell Foster Mom because she did not seem surprised at all.

She told us to come on in. Foster Dad would be home in a couple of hours. He was out on the tractor, cutting hay. No, she didn't have any kids. Just us. But she had been taking care of foster kids for ten years. She wasn't as young as she looked.

Foster Mom showed us around downstairs—the kitchen; the living room, where there was a TV; and the room where she and Foster Dad slept. Then we climbed the stairs to what she called the attic. Two rooms. The ceiling sloped on the sides, and there was a big window in the end.

One of the rooms had three beds. I was glad to see that. I couldn't wait to sleep next to my brothers again. The other room had toys and books, an art easel and paints, and a CD player with a bunch of music she said we could play whenever we wanted. There wasn't a bathroom, so we would have to go downstairs for that, but we didn't care. She showed us where we were supposed to put our clothes; then she and the social worker went downstairs so they could fill out the papers.

We sat down, each of us on our beds. We had been through this before. Meet Foster Mom. See your room. Put your stuff away. Meet Foster Dad later—if there was a dad. My older brothers agreed this was a pretty good place. I wanted to go look for that dog.

"Boys, come downstairs, please." It was the social worker. She told us she was leaving, but she would come back to check on us in a week. Then she left.

"You boys hungry?"

The first thing new foster moms always ask after the social worker leaves is if you want a snack. A kid always does. We had peanut butter on crackers and then some apple slices.

As I sat at the table in the kitchen, my feet didn't reach the floor. "Where's your dog?" I asked.

"Toby? You want to see him?" Foster Mom opened the back door and called. In a minute he ran in and started sniffing my feet. Foster Mom gave me a cup with some dog food in it. "You want to give him his dinner? His bowl is right there." She pointed.

I slid out of the chair and took the cup of food from her. Toby wagged his tail. When I poured the food into his bowl, he ate it all really fast. I knelt down to pet him. When he licked my hand, it tickled. I scratched his chin. He rolled over for me to rub his belly.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from A PLACE CALLED BLESSING by John Trent Annette Smith Copyright © 2011 by John Trent. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 41 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 29, 2012

    I received this wonderful book from the Publisher, Thomas Nelson

    I received this wonderful book from the Publisher, Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.
    What I can say is that I like this book. It was heart rending reading about Josh and the condition which he grew up with. It's no wonder that Josh does not trust people easily and preferred to keep to himself. After all, a person can only takes so much heart break .
    I love the way, how the author brings Josh back and how he linked Josh's past to his present. It was rather shameful how his brothers had behave towards him although at that time they were still kids. But the one could also argue that his brothers are older than him. Who didn't the make the first move? Why should Anne be the one who made the effort?
    It makes me sad to what happen to Anne and her family at the end. I wish the senerio would not be like that but am not the author.
    Overall, I give it 4 stars out of 5. It's a good read but there are still room for improvement.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 10, 2012

    This book is written with love and talent!

    I really enjoyed this book.The book is so rich in characters. I felt that I met the whole entire town! This was a wonderful book. It really ministered to me at a difficult time in my life. I loved it so much. It was well written and full of God's love. Many books in this particular genre are fairly predictable, and while this one was to some extent, there were many twists and turns that I didn't expect and I found myself sneaking a few minutes whenever I could to read. This redemption shows up through several characters in the book. A lot of characters are thrown at the reader in the first chapter, but quickly sorted out. I did, however, struggle some to get attached to many of the characters. I feel it took a long time for me to trust. I loved this book and had a hard time putting it down. It has faith, love, some mild suspense and even a surprise ending. The author did a wonderful job! As you read you will want to cry, yell, give advice, and cheer. A book that will have your emotions changing from one scene to the next as you read. I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone that likes to read Christian fiction. A great book to read with the lessons of love, forgiveness, and trust written throughout the pages. The author did a great job writing a story that is down-to-earth and practical. The circumstances surrounding the plot could happen to anyone. The lessons are practical for everyone. This book is beautifully written, and I really enjoyed reading it. It is very inspiring and touching, and it brought tears to my eyes. The main idea is simply about always putting your faith in the Lord and let Him lead you in the decisions you make. I would highly recommend this book. I loved this book...and think you will, too. As a result, I was able to savor every morsel. I usually choose Christian Fiction because there is a purity to the relationships, though the characters are flawed and real. Though this book is labeled as Christian Fiction and had many references to Christianity, there are several parts of this book regarding the intimacy, that read slightly like a mainstream romance novel. I got a free copy of this through Booksneeze! Thank you!

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  • Posted September 5, 2011

    Great Book!

    A Place Called Blessing by John Trent is a semi-true/semi-fictional story following a boy's life that illustrates the universal need children have to be blessed by adults in their lives. We see the main character (Josh) go from a difficult early childhood with his parents, enter the foster care system with all it's ups and downs, become a struggling young adult, and finally achieve success in life after being around a woman who takes time to invest in him and bless him. Trent writes in an easy to read, flowing style that draws the reader in and keeps the pages turning.

    Originally I was drawn to this book as a soon to be foster to adopt parent who was looking for information as to how I can better help future children in my care, but as I started reading through it I found that it resonated more deeply within me by making me think through my own personal history. I genuinely enjoyed reading this book - so much so that I finished it all in one afternoon - and I would reccommend it to anyone interested in understanding more about how important it is to bless your children and/or other people in your life.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted August 17, 2011

    Terrific Story

    A Place Called Blessing is a wonderful novel by John Trent and Annette Smith. The book follows the life of a boy named Josh who is first neglected by his parents and then placed in foster care after their deaths in a drunk-driving accident. For awhile, he is moved from one home to another, but finally he is brought to a place that seems perfect and his brothers are able to stay with him too. However, tragedy strikes in an accidental fire that kills his young friend and the boys are once again forced to move. His older brothers are separated from Josh, and Josh grows up in group homes and ends up homeless as soon as he is old enough to leave. He finds a job working for the City and a place to stay, not realizing that the place to stay comes with friends, family, love, and forgiveness.

    The story has some great twists to it and is very captivating. My only complaint would be that I felt the end could have been a bit longer. I wanted to read more!!!

    I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a great feel good story. You will definitely be drawn in as you watch Josh overcome the odd's to finding God's love.

    I rate this 5 stars (out of 5)

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  • Posted August 15, 2011

    Great example on how to live life

    This book really made me realize how little I knew about foster care. Josh, the main character of the book, has a tradjic childhood and a horrible outlook on life. I do not personally know anyone who was in foster care, but it seriously has me considering hosting a child in my future. I could not believe how one family just gave Josh up when there was an accident. Josh was disposable to that family and others who fostered Josh.
    The book also shows how each person can be shown unconditional love and how that changes lives. I really believe that everyone needs to apply these actions to their everyday life and with everyone who we come in contact with. We can make a different in the lives of our spouses, family, the bank teller, the grocery store bagger, a stranger who passes us on the sidewalk.
    It's a great read, check it out and share it!

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  • Posted August 13, 2011

    A new outlook awaits in this novel

    A Place Called Blessing
    Where Hurting Ends and Love Begins
    By John Trent with Annette Smith
    Published by Tomas Nelson

    As part of a BookSneeze® registration I was given a complimentarily copy of "A Place Called Blessing Where Hurting Ends and Love Begins by John Trent with Annette Smith" Published by Tomas Nelson

    This novel is about a boy who unfortunately was not given the best chance to succeed. By the age of five years old he had lost his parents, a couple of years later he lost his brothers. Unfortunately the stars where not aligning for this little boy. By the age of eighteen he decided to tough it out on his home and just when he was losing hope the stars started to align for me. To go from having nothing to living under a roof is a big deal and with time he even got an education. This story follows Josh's life and his journey to unlikely success. Along the way he as lost many things but with every loss he found something he could gain.

    I felt like I was really living the story, as if I was Josh. John Trent writes with such passion that it is hard to put the book down. This story made me so sad I cried and so happy I cried. I cannot find fault in this novel. It was so plausible and so heartwarming; I would not change a thing. The message in this novel as definitely tested my faith. I feel like I can believe again despite what I have went through. Just like Josh as had the chance to. This novel is so compelling that it has improved my faith and it will do the same for anyone who reads this novel. I would recommend this novel to everyone. It is a quick read that will forever change the readers' perspective on life.

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  • Posted August 10, 2011

    Quick Read, but Predictable and Melodramatic

    A Place Called Blessing is a sort of follow-up or companion piece to The Blessing. The book is about a young man named Josh who ends up orphaned and believing he's basically unlovable. His traumatic childhood has made him a distrustful, angry adult. However, through a series of events, he goes out on his own and finds out that he's worth something and that he's most definitely not unlovable. What did I think? Well, I give it 3 stars because it held my attention and I read it in one sitting {that's not so easy to do with 4 kiddos!}. The reason I didn't rate it higher is because a) it was quite predictable {with the exception of one plot twist near the end}; and b) it was melodramatic to the point where I felt like I was being manipulated with high emotions. On the predictability, when a key character was described at one point, I knew from that single sentence what would happen to him in the book. About the melodrama, I'm all for touchy-feely stuff {I loved Same Kind of Different As Me, for example}, but I don't like feeling like I'm being manipulated and that's how reading this book felt. If it had a soundtrack, it would be full of orchestra swells, weeping violins and sad strums on a cello. Bottom line: It gets points for holding my attention, but it didn't have a lasting impact * I received a copy of this book through BookSneeze's blogger book review program. I was not compensated and was not forced to give a positive review of the book.

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  • Posted August 10, 2011

    Quick and Easy Read- Simple and Predictable

    "A Place Called Blessing" was a very quick read. The story is very lucid and predictable. The plot itself is a good one; it is just a bit lacking on complexity. This book would be a great read for an older elementary or junior high aged student.

    This book is based on the five elements introduced by the book "The Blessing" which is also written by John Trent. That means nothing to me because I did not read "The Blessing" and other than being told this book is in relation to "The Blessing", I would have never known.

    I'm not quite sure why this is considered Christian Fiction as it does not touch on the subject of God or religion other than the characters showing up and church a couple times.

    As I read through "A Place Called Blessing", I caught myself correctly predicting what was going to happen next. The story was not very believable and did not keep my attention. Although short, the back of the book and the one line reviews on the front cover pretty much sum up the book. It was a sweet story, but not necessarily a good read.


    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted August 4, 2011

    Nice emotional book

    I was so surprised that I actually really enjoyed this book. Josh's story was so interesting to read and really opened my eyes to the world of foster care. I could feel his emotion and anger while going through life in the foster care system. There were times when this book made me really sad and there were times when I was happy. I really cared about Josh and how his life would end up especially when he was homeless. I wish that more time was spent on Josh's time in the foster care system as a teenager instead of jumping from being a child to being 18. When it got to him being on his own though, I couldn't stop reading. I loved Mike and Anna and how they welcomed Josh into their family even though they didn't even know him. Josh didn't want anything to do with them, but Anna didn't care. Mike and Anna were such good people that I was surprised how much I cared for what happened to them. This was such a heartfelt book and I was glad that even thought they went to church and believed in God, they didn't talk about it every other sentence. The book was all about Josh and I enjoyed reading his emotional, yet very good story.

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  • Posted August 3, 2011

    Easy and Uplifting read

    A Place Called Blessing, Where Hurting Ends and Loves Begins by John Trent, PhD

    A Place Called Blessing by John Trent, PhD is inspiring and thought provoking book that tells the story of Josh. At the age of 5 Josh and his 2 brothers are put into the foster care system. The boys have the same longing to belong, be part of a family and to be loved. Unfortunately, Josh has a hard time and constantly seems to have trouble. His problems lead him to become labeled as a risk and thus not adoptable. When Josh's brother's get adopted it sends Josh even further down the spiral of heartache. He withdraws and becomes a loner. But Josh is given an unexpected blessing in the form of Annie and Mike.

    Even though this book was a tear jerker I couldn't put it down; I enjoyed reading about Josh journey. Reading this book made me realize that I have had many blessings in my life. Realizing my blessings was a great outcome of the book, but we are given a challenge to pay forward the 5 elements of blessing. The book comes with a questions and discussion guide that is great to work through with a group, friend or alone. This book is a companion to The Blessing but is able to read on it own.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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  • Posted July 25, 2011

    Heartbreaking Story

    This was a heart wrenching story about a young man who lost his parents and was separated from his brothers. From the very first page my heart was touched to think of a person going through all these things. The first few pages had me hooked and I couldn't put the book down. I finished it in a few hours. Because it was written so well, I could feel everything the main character was going through. The character went through unimaginable trials and was searching for God through it all. Even though the novel was not a real story, I am sure that there are stories like this one. After reading this book, it made me want to reach out and help some of the kids in foster care. The ending was a surprise and it made the book so much better and much sadder at the same time. This book made me realize how blessed my life is to not have experienced any of the things that the character did. This book led me to a deeper understanding of trials and suffering and how God is there through them all.

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  • Posted July 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    What An Awesome Book!!

    When I first started reading I thought "what a sad book". Soon I got caught up with what Josh was thinking and feeling and the sadness, while still there, took a backseat. I loved that he kept pushing through what life was throwing at him. It was still sad, but what I kept getting from it was how resilient was are, and that no matter how much hurt we suffer from those who should love us the most, we still have the capacity to love and be loved by others. The book was interesting from the first paragraph and it kept getting better and better. Then "BAM", out of the blue came a shocker that I had to read over and over! It left me with my mouth hanging open. It made the story perfect! This is definitely a book I'll read again.

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  • Posted July 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Place Called Blessing - A Beautiful Novel

    Josh has lived a difficult life. He and his two older brothers are ripped from the only home they have known when their neglectful parents die in a drunk driving accident. It may have not been the best home, but it was their home. Trying to keep the boys together proves to be an exercise in futility as they are sent off to different foster homes, only getting to see each other off an on. Then a miracle. A family takes in all of them and they are happy for the first time in their young lives. They make friends. Their foster family truly seems to care for them. Everything is just perfect.

    Until a horrible tragedy separates them forever.

    Despondent and distrustful of most everyone, Josh ends up living out his teenage years in a home for boys. When he ages out at 18, he begins to try and make a life for himself. Sleeping in homeless shelters or on streets, eating beef jerky for dinner, he works up to three jobs a day in hopes of getting an apartment, a place to call his own.

    Trying to get into a more lucrative construction job, Josh heads to a new town. There he meets his supervisor, Mike, who offers him a room to rent in his mom's house. That decision would change Josh's life forever. Josh begins to truly live and feel like part of a family; something he feels like he doesn't deserve.

    My heart ached for Josh throughout his story. For any of you contemplating foster care or adoption, I encourage you to read this short book. It gives such an honest and thoughtful portrayal, from a child's perspective, of what it's like to live without a family growing up and the destruction it can weave into the soul of a youngster. Even though this book is classified as Christian Fiction, there is not too much discussion of God in this book, so if you are hesitant to read this book because of the description, I would urge you to give it a chance. There is some talk of going to church and such, but there isn't a lot of deep spiritual growth in the characters, which is something I was looking for in this type of novel. With that said, I really loved this book and I read it fairly quickly. There is a lot of emotion packed into the ~170 pages, with some surprising twists and turns that were unexpected. Josh's story is haunting, but so true-to-life for many children. His story is one that will profoundly impact you and stick with you for quite some time. I wholeheartedly endorse this novel.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted July 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    TRULY AMAZING story of Love among humans

    5 HIGHEST - 1 LOWEST STARS: 5 Stars

    READ IT OR SKIP IT? READ IT

    WHO MIGHT LIKE/HATE THIS BOOK?
    Anyone who doesn't enjoy fiction will want to pass on this book, otherwise, just about everyone will enjoy this book. A fiction story that demonstrates a beautiful story of human love for one another after a damaged upbringing.


    BOOK REVIEW:
    I wasn't sure I was going to like this book after not enjoying John Trent's other book: The Blessing. But this book was totally different - a fiction story that shows human kindness and love. In an often painful world, this book really touches the soul. The story is that of a young boy who is traumatized through a very rough upbringing, being shipped from foster home to foster home and never feeling loved or safe. He grows into a young man with trust issues. A family reaches out to him and shows him the kindest unconditional love. This is truly a beautiful story. You will not be sorry you took the time to read it.

    Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher Thomas Nelson for this review. I am giving my honest review, as positive reviews are not required

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  • Posted July 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    a book about the power of unconditional love

    This book and the story contained within its pages both show how hope can be attained even in what initially seems to be a hopeless situation. Josh and his brothers' troubled childhood is eventually replaced by blessed redemption With God's divine purpose, Josh eventually finds the grace to heal.

    This is an inspiring book, pulled at my heartstrings quite a number of times. I never got the chance to read John Trent's previous book, "The Blessing", which is in a way related to this fictional follow up. But I think this book is a far better way of keeping to heart the principles we all need to know to attain a blessed life. This is a quick read, with a lot of heart.
    This is the kind of book that most people today should read so they can somehow understand the existence and importance of unconditional love.

    I got an ARC of this book through Booksneeze.

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  • Posted July 14, 2011

    A story that will captivate you

    This story is a fictional follow up to John Trent's "The Blessing", to help enable the reader to understand how the information in "The Blessing" can be implemented in another's life. The story is based upon the sad life of Josh, who from the beginning suffers from parental neglect, and must be placed in foster care with his brothers, and then experiences extreme tragedy when he inadvertantly causes a death from a fire he sets. He then loses all hope, and suffers through life to adulthood. Then, by God's providence, he lands in an environment where he begins to experience The Blessing from those who are closest to him. By living the principles outlined in John Trent's original book "The Blessing", those surrounding Josh (along with God's divine purpose) change Josh's heart and he is transformed. I loved this book, and it was an enjoyable quick read, and a reminder to me that life can be really really tough, but God can change lives and hearts. I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted July 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    SUCH A GREAT BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!

    Wow. This book is seriously one of the best books I've ever read. Such an amazing story of love, grace, restoration and mercy. Very powerful story!

    Without giving too much away, here is a quick synopsis. The main character, Josh, is from a home torn apart by alcohol & drug abuse. When his parents die in a car wreck, he & his brothers go into foster homes. Initially split up into different homes, they survive but miss each other terribly. They are eventually reunited at a foster home that seems to be ideal for all of them. And then a tragedy changes all that. They are moved to a children's home where they live in different cottages on the same property. When Josh's two brothers are adopted together & he is left behind, he spends the rest of his childhood believing lies about his past, lies about his future....and becomes an angry, ugly, sometimes violent person because of it. Josh ages out of the system at 18 & begins life on his own, moving from one shelter to another, sleeping in laundrymat bathrooms and alleys while he tries to make ends meet working part time at McDonald's and Home Depot. Josh's life continues in disorder & pain until he finds a place to stay with a coworker and his mother. His rented room in their house becomes "home". For the first time in his life, he has a family who loves and cherishes him. They extend grace & mercy to him in ways he doesn't even recognize until the book's end, when a twist in the plotline will shock you and bring you to your knees.

    While the story itself is fiction, the author admits that it's based on several experiences from his own life. The story is beautiful & restores your hope in humanity and family and relationships in general.

    I highly recommend this book!

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  • Posted July 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Im a tough critic, but this is a MUST read!

    I am not familiar with either author but decided to give this one a shot anyway. I didn't realize this story was a beautiful fiction novel about love without expectations. This book was so beautiful! I highly recommend it and am purchasing one for my sister. You will love this book.

    The book is about a kid who has a very tough life. He grows up into a young adult with a very tough life and now also a lot of baggage from his childhood. A family tries to befriend him, but his childhood baggage keeps resurfacing and he finds it hard to believe someone would be nice to him without expecting something back. He is so sure that there is no such thing as a free gift or free hand in life that he turns from the gifts over and over. Finally, he learns about love. Real love with no conditions. Such a beautiful moving story and the authors did a fantastic job painting a vivid picture. Great piece of artwork!

    I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for this review but I did really give my honest opinion.

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  • Posted July 7, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    A Must Read!

    Where hurting ends and love begins sums up the entire book in one sentence. You travel with a then 6 year old boy named Josh to manhood and the lessons he learns along the way. The lessons are the 5 elements of a blessing and the author speaks more about this at the end along with questions for discussion. In total there are 177 pages of this hard to put down book. I was never sure if I was going to cry, laugh or be in total shock about what the story told but had cold chills the entire book! The author also has other books: The Blessing (from which this book is based on) and a children's book called I'd Choose You. This is another book that I will gladly hand over to another reader!

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  • Posted July 6, 2011

    Very good read, heartwarming

    I couldn't put down this book. A Place Called Blessing by John Trent is both heartwarming and inspirational. The story is engaging from beginning to end.

    Though it's fictional, the characters showed such honor and compassion that they inspired me to be more open and loving to people, despite their background. When committed love is shown, even the hardest hearts can melt.

    My only complain about the book is the abrupt ending. Other than that, I highly recommend this book. I have not read The Blessing, also by John Trent that outlines the principles illustrated in the story. I imagine it would be pretty good as well.

    Disclosure: Thomas Nelson provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for this review. Opinions are entirely my own.

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