Seasons Under Heavenby Beverly LaHaye
Tory Sullivan struggles with the demands of motherhood and her desire for a career. An aspiring writer, she wonders whether she'll ever be able to develop her talent while raising two young children. But perhaps the problem isn't a matter of time, but of Tory. Cathy Flaherty is rediscovering the grins and groans of the dating game. The spunky single mother of three
Tory Sullivan struggles with the demands of motherhood and her desire for a career. An aspiring writer, she wonders whether she'll ever be able to develop her talent while raising two young children. But perhaps the problem isn't a matter of time, but of Tory. Cathy Flaherty is rediscovering the grins and groans of the dating game. The spunky single mother of three teenagers, she's also learning the urgency of instilling sound values in her children as they attend public school. Sylvia Bryan is an empty-nester. Now that her children are gone, she struggles with a gnawing lack of meaning. Her husband, Harry, wants to become a medical missionary. But for Sylvia, the best part of life seems like nothing but a memory. Brenda Dodd faces an uncertain future. Her nine-year-old son is getting sicker, and there seems to be nothing they can do. It is every mother's nightmare -- a child who will die unless he receives a heart transplant. As the women of Cedar Circle band together to save a dying child, they learn that each moment is precious in every season under the heaven. Taking the best and worst of human circumstances -- the tender moments, the laughter, the tragedies, and the triumphs -- Beverly LaHaye and Terri Blackstock weave from them a poignant, warmly human novel. Gently uncovering the inner struggles, stresses, and joys that surface among neighbors living in a quiet cul-de-sac, the authors show us the power of ordinary lives being knit into a strong, many-textured fabric of family and friendships. Seasons Under Heaven depicts the deepest emotions of a woman's heart, and those circumstances, both thrilling and tragic, that test and strengthen Christian faith.
Read an Excerpt
Joseph Dodd was not one of those kids who feigned illness to get attention. His ten-year-old sister Rachel might have, since she was the one among the four children who leaned toward hypochondria. Leah, her twin, had been known to fake an occasional stomachache in the interest of competition. And Daniel, their twelve-year-old brother, often used a headache excuse to escape pre-algebra.
But not Joseph. Brenda, their mother, knew that the eight-going-on-nine-year-old was the kind of kid who harbored no deceit at all. His feelings and thoughts passed across his face like the Dow prices at the stock exchange, and Brenda could read them clearly.
That's why she knew something was wrong on the day before his ninth birthday. He'd gotten up with dark circles under his eyes, and his skin was as pale as the recycled paper on which they did their schoolwork. His red hair, which he took great pains to keep combed because he had three cowlicks, was disheveled, as if he hadn't given it a thought. On the way into the kitchen, he reached for the counter to steady himself and hung his head while he tried to catch his breath.
Brenda quickly abandoned the eggs she was scrambling and bent down to look into his eyes. 'Joseph, what's the matter, honey?'
'I dunno,' he said.
'Are you sick?' she asked, feeling his forehead.
'It's his blood sugar,' Daniel commented, before slurping his cereal. He wiped a drip from his chin. 'Remember, I studied about the pancreas last week? The book said you could get dizzy if your pancreas didn't work right.'
'What's a pancreas?' Joseph asked, frowning.
'Daniel, don't slurp,' David, their father, said. 'Brenda, what are you teaching him? Endocrinology?'
Brenda grinned. 'More like he's teaching me. We're touching on anatomy in science. I got him some extra books.'
'What's a pancreas?' Joseph asked again. He was still breathing hard and beginning to sweat.
David pushed aside his coffee, leaned across the table, and felt Joseph's forehead. 'You okay, sport?'
Joseph didn't answer. He was still waiting for an answer to his question.
'The pancreas is a gland,' Daniel mumbled around a mouthful of cereal. 'It's near your kidney.'
'Mom, Daniel's talking with his mouth full,' Leah spouted.
'It is not near the kidney,' Rachel said. 'It's near the heart.'
'How would you know? You aren't studying the human body.'
'No, but I have one,' Rachel said, tossing her nose up in the air as if that won the argument.
'I'm going to get my book,' Daniel said. 'I'll prove it to you.'
'Sit back down, young man.' Brenda turned back to the scrambled eggs and took the pan off the stove. She turned to the table --- only a step from the stove in the small kitchen --- and began scooping eggs onto their plates. Her blonde hair waved across her forehead, but she blew it back with her bottom lip. It was already getting hot in the house, and the sun hadn't even come all the way up. Despite the cost of electricity, she was going to have to lower the thermostat today or she'd never get the kids through their lessons.
She reached Joseph's plate and scooped out some eggs.
'I don't want any,' Joseph said.
'Joseph, son, you've gotta eat,' David said.
'I will later.'
Brenda set the pan back on the stove and put her hands on her hips, gazing down at her son. 'Rachel, will you go turn the thermostat down? Maybe if it gets cooler in here Joseph will feel better.' As Rachel popped up to do as she was told, Brenda said, 'I hope you're not getting sick again, Joseph.'
'You can't be sick on your birthday,' Leah said. 'Mom, if he's sick, can we still have the party tomorrow?'
'Of course not. We'd just postpone it.'
'But I don't want to postpone it,' Joseph said, sitting straighter. 'I'm fine. I changed my mind. I'll eat some eggs.'
Brenda grinned and spooned some eggs onto his plate as she heard the air conditioner cut on. 'He'll be fine. Probably just needs to eat something. Sometimes I wake up like that, Joseph. If I didn't eat much the night before, I get up and feel downright shaky until I eat.'
'Blood sugar,' Daniel observed.
'Of course, mostly I eat too much.' She patted her slightly overweight hips. 'Somehow my body can always convince me I'm starving.' She ran her fingers through her hair and studied her youngest. 'Joseph doesn't need to be worried about his pancreas, though. I'm sure it's working just fine. But I have to say, Daniel, that I'm bursting with pride over your interest in the pancreas. David, don't you think he's doctor material? I mean, he's practically ready for medical school.'
David smiled and patted his oldest son on the back. 'I think you're right. I've always said that Daniel had a sharp mind.'
'Me, too, Daddy,' Rachel said, coming back to the table.
'All of you. There's just no telling what you'll be,' Brenda said. 'I'm going to be one of those mothers who can't open her mouth without bragging about her important children. People will run when they see me.' She fixed herself a plate and pulled out a chair. 'Okay, now, before Daddy goes out to the shop, let's talk about this party. Nine years ago tomorrow, the doctor put that precious little bundle into my arms. Nine years, Joseph! Think of it! Bet it seems like a lifetime to you, huh?'
Joseph didn't answer. He propped his chin on his hand and moved the eggs around on his plate.
'It seems like nine long years to me,' Daniel said.
David snickered under his breath, and Brenda shot him an amused look.
'I've already called all of our homeschooled friends,' she told Joseph. 'I told them to be here at two tomorrow. We'll have it outside. We need to start making the cake this afternoon. Joseph, do you want white cake, yellow, or chocolate? You need to consider this very carefully, since you'll be licking the bowl.'
He didn't answer.
Brenda's eyes met David's across the table again. 'Joseph?' David asked, taking the boy's hand.
He looked up. 'Sir?'
'Your mother asked you something. What kind of cake do you want?'
'Um . . . rectangle, I guess.'
'What flavor?' Daniel prompted. 'Mom, he really is sick.'
Brenda frowned. 'Baby, do you want to go back to bed?'
He nodded and pushed his plate away, got up, and headed back to his bedroom.
'I'm taking him to the doctor,' Brenda told David, getting up and heading for the phone. 'Something's not right.'
'Yeah, you better.'
'Tell 'em about his pancreas,' Daniel said. 'They might not think of it.'
David laughed and messed up his son's hair as Brenda dialed the number.
Meet the Author
Beverly LaHaye (www.cwfa.org) is the bestselling author of the Seasons Series (with Terri Blackstock) and The Act of Marriage (with her husband, Tim). She is the founder and chairwoman of Concerned Women for America and shares a daily devotional commentary on the nationally syndicated radio show Concerned Women Today. She and her husband live in southern California.
Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com Facebook: tblackstock Twitter: @terriblackstock
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This book should totally be a movie!!!!! It tells of a nine year old boy Joseph Dodd suffering from dilated congestive cardiomyopathy, meaning that his heart is unable to pump blood properly. After months in the hospital Joseph teeters on the border between life and death. Will a heart for his needed heart transplant be found in time? Or will God take him back? In the meantime, Tory Sullivan's two small children, five year old Brittany and four year old Spencer, make their mother feel like they are interfering with her dream to become a writer, and her husband Barry feels like Tory cares more about writing than she does about her children. Will Tory realize just what a gift Brittany and Spencer are? Or will she continue to prefer writing? Sylvia Bryan is faced with a huge decision. Her son and daughter have both moved out, and her husband Harry wants to move to Nicaragua to do mission work. Cathy Flaherty is a single mom of three kids: seventeen year old Rick, fifteen year old Annie, and twelve year old Mark. She feels disrespected by all three of them, especially Annie, who one night returns three hours late from a date. Besides the problems with her children, she finds a condom in the pocket of Rick's jeans while doing laundry and learns that his school did a course on safe sex and handed out condoms. Will Cathy find a way to fix her problems? This book will have a large variety of problems, and this will solve all of them. Just read the book. You won't regret it, I promise. :)
This book tells a wonderful story of how a group of friends/neighbors learn to rely on God and each other. The lives of four families are entwined as they celebrate life and meet the challenges that we all face in our own lives. All the while you can see God's hand working in and through each of them. When I finished reading this book I longed to live in a Cul-de-Sac with these women, praying and sharing with them.
The reader is drawn into an intimate neighborhood, meets four women wrapped up in their own troubles, and follows them as they discover more about themselves through trying situations. I think the authors pushed the idealized housewife/homeschooler bit a little too much, but the story is still very heartwarming. I look forward to reading the other books in this series. The novel is a good encouragement to all women, Christian and non-Christian.
This book is a compilation of the lives of the four families who live in an upper middle class cul-de-sac in eastern Tennessee. They are in various seasons in their lives. The Dodds are a family with four children who are home-schooled and both parents stay and work at home full time. Although they seem to be the ideal, all American family, there are problems. She is a believer in God, he is not, due to emotional trauma he suffered as a child. At the heart of this book is the sudden illness of their 9 yr. old son. He ends up in the hospital awaiting a heart transplant and his Mom and Dad differ on how to best help him. The Sullivans are a couple with two preschoolers in a family which consists of a hard working husband and a slim, fit, rather obsessive, frustrated writer-wife. She has read so many self-help books she is phobic. She keeps an impeccably clean house, but she hates her role as a stay at home, unfulfilled wife and mother. The last straw was when she SAW a bestseller book on the library shelf that contained the same plot as the book she was currently writing! In anger she destroyed her manuscript and declared she was finished with writing - forever. The Flaherty family is headed by a single Mom who is a veterinarian. She has her hands full with three active, older kids, and a chip on her shoulder because she was dumped for a younger woman. Dating is completely awkward to her and she wonders if it is really worth it and feels like forgetting it. She has problems with the school's sex education classes and is willing to fight all the way to the school board. She is particularly upset with her inability to reach and control her 15 yr. old terribly rebellious daughter. The Bryans are an older Christian couple whose children have all moved out. She is lonely and feels useless, he is a cardiac surgeon with a consuming call on his heart to missions. These two are a sort of surrogate Mom and Dad to the other couples in their area. The book blends the lives of these four families in quite a remarkable way. While each family's life is intertwined and each has their own crises, the thing that pulls them together for a common purpose is the life threatening situation with 9 yr. old Joseph Dodd. Heart transplants aren't cheap, and even with insurance paying part of the bill, the Dodd family is staring at up to $35,000 out of pocket. They put their house up for sale. Not wanting to lose their good neighbors, the other families on the cul-de-sac work to raise the needed funds. This, along with the illness, changes their lives forever. The saddest part of the book is when young Joseph goes into a coma just before he is given up for dead. No heart has been found, and he cannot last more that a few hours at the most. It is a dark, emotional and frightening night at the hospital. But, what eventually happens to the child is a surprise that makes the book worth the read. Changes occur in all the families, and decisions are cemented which will change their lives forever. This is a contemporary, Christian fiction book about four families that could live in Any City, USA, and I recommend it highly.
I highly recommend this book! It is very well written. I read this book in one day. I couldn't put it down! It is a very inspirational story about friendship, friends and family coming together in the event of a crisis, the power of prayer and believing in God. A book worth reading!
Good eady read!