Every Waking Momentby Chris Fabry
Devin Hillis is a struggling documentary filmmaker who stumbles onto the story of a lifetime while interviewing subjects at an Arizona retirement home. One of the employeesa seemingly ordinary young woman named Treha Langsamhas no family and/b>/i>/i>
A 2014 Christianity Today Award of Merit winner from the best-selling author of War Room!
Devin Hillis is a struggling documentary filmmaker who stumbles onto the story of a lifetime while interviewing subjects at an Arizona retirement home. One of the employeesa seemingly ordinary young woman named Treha Langsamhas no family and little memory of her childhood. She does, however, possess an extraordinary gift for connecting with dementia patients. Even more gripping is the story that begins to unravel when a cryptic letter from one of the home’s residents reveals clues to Treha’s shrouded past, setting into motion a chain of events that captures national interest.
Treha Langsam is a mysterious young woman who has fallen through the cracks, much like many of the elderly people she works with at Desert Gardens. But Miriam Howard, director of the assisted-living facility, sees her extraordinary gift and untapped potential. Treha is a whisperer of sorts, calling those who have slipped into dementia back to a life of vibrant, if only temporary, clarity.
When a documentary team stumbles onto Treha’s story, her gift is discovered and the search for answers about her past begins. As the truth slowly unravels, Treha and those around her must each tackle a difficult question: if this is as good as life gets, is that enough?
With authentic characterizations and riveting prose, bestselling author Chris Fabry delivers an uplifting, human tale of an ordinary woman with an extraordinary gift.
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EVERY Waking MOMENT
By Chris Fabry, Sarah Mason
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2013 Chris Fabry
All rights reserved.
Ardeth Williams was eighty-nine and her eyes were glassy and clouded. She stared straight ahead with a slight head tilt as her daughter and son-in-law wheeled her past open doors at Desert Gardens of Tucson, Arizona. The companion building, Desert Gardens Retirement Home, was a fully staffed facility featuring its own golf course, a spa, exercise rooms, and several pools. But this Desert Gardens offered assisted living and hospice, a nursing home with frills. It was billed on the brochure as a complete end-of-life facility located in the comfort of an upscale desert community.
Miriam Howard, director of the facility, followed the group closely, watching Ardeth for any response. She couldn't tell if anything was going on behind the opaque eyes. The old woman's body sat rigid, her hands drawn in. Her head bounced like a marionette's as her son-in-law pushed her.
Retirement was bearing down on Miriam like a semitruck trying to make it through a yellow light. It was a huge transition Miriam had dreamed about, but now that she could measure her remaining time in hours instead of days or weeks, she couldn't suppress the sadness. This wasn't her timing. But the decision had been made by the board and the new director was moving in.
She had developed a facility that actually cared for people inside the "compound," as some cantankerous residents called it. There was human capital here and she knew it. And she hoped the new director would learn the same. The woman was on the job already, learning procedures, the problem residents, soaking up the routine, uncovering the scope and magnitude of her duties.
"Aren't these flowers the prettiest?" Ardeth's daughter said when they reached the room. "It's so bright in here, don't you think? And clean. They'll keep it neat for you, Mom, and you don't have to do a thing. You always kept everything so tidy and now you won't have to worry about that. Isn't that great?"
The daughter didn't realize this was part of the problem. The same tasks that wore her mother down were the tasks that gave her structure and stability. Worth. When she could no longer do them and others were paid to accomplish things she had done as long as she could remember, life became a calendar of guilt—every day lived as a spectator, watching others do what she couldn't and being reminded with each breakfast made by someone else's hands. Miriam saw this clearly but could never fully explain the truth to families crunching numbers on the cost of warehousing the aged.
"You'll have a nice view of the parking lot, too," her son-in-law said, tongue in cheek. "All those fancy cars the employees drive." His hair was graying and it was clear he and his wife were having a hard time letting go, though they were trying to be strong.
He pushed the wheelchair farther into the narrow room and struggled past the bed.
"She can't see the TV facing that way," his wife snapped. She turned the chair around, jostling the old woman.
Miriam had seen this tug-of-war for thirty years. The walk of a hopeless family trying to love well but failing. Everyone watching a parent slip away shot flares of anger that were really masqueraded loss. Deciding what Mother would like or wouldn't was a seesaw between two relatives who were guessing. Love looked like this and worse and was accompanied by a mute, white-haired shell.
When Ardeth was situated, the man locked the wheels clumsily and patted her spotted hand as he bent to her ear. "Here we are. What do you think, Mom? Do you want this to be your home?"
Nothing from the old woman. Not a grunt or a wave of the hand. No scowl. No recognition. Behind the cataracts and age and wrinkles, there was simply bewilderment. And even a casual observer could sense the fear. Could taste it in the air. But this scene brought out Miriam's strength.
She sat on the bed beside Ardeth. In the early days, before she had learned the valuable lessons that came with running the facility, she would have spoken as if the old woman weren't there or weren't aware. Now, she gently put a hand on Ardeth's shoulder and spoke softly, including her.
"Ardeth will not just be a patient if she comes here," Miriam said. "She will be part of our family. Part of our village. And there are things she will contribute to the whole that others can't."
The daughter hung on every word. Mouth agape. Water filling her eyes.
Miriam continued. "What you're doing, the process you're going through, is a loving one. I know it doesn't feel like that. You're having a hard time even considering this, and your heart is telling you to take her home, where she belongs."
The man crossed his arms and looked away, but the daughter nodded. "That's exactly it. I just want to take care of her. We're overreacting. She put up with so much from me; the least I can do is return the favor."
Miriam smiled. "That's a viable option. But if Ardeth was to stay with us, I want you to know that you won't be abandoning her. You're giving her the best care possible."
The daughter took her mother's hand. "I want to be here for her."
"Of course. And she knows that, though she can't express it."
The woman pulled a tissue from a full, decorative box on the nightstand and wiped at her eyes.
"Our goal is to give each resident the best care," Miriam said. "Late at night, early in the morning, all of those who work here strive to give the attention each person needs. If you decide this is the best, you can rest easy. Ardeth will lack for nothing."
A bead of saliva pooled at the edge of the old woman's mouth and gravity did its work. Her daughter leaned forward, taking another tissue to catch the bead as it ran down her chin.
"I don't want her to be in bed all day," the daughter said, her voice breaking, her tone accusatory. She caught herself and put a hand on her chest. "But that was happening at home. I hated leaving her in front of the television, but I have things to do and I can't take her with me." She was whispering now.
Miriam knew it was time to be quiet.
The daughter went on. "I want her to do the things she loves. Gardening and reading. She loves life. She loves our children. You only see her this way, the vacant stare, but there's a vibrant woman in there. Giving and kind. But she gets upset when she can't remember things and then she gets angry, and I can't ..."
More tears. Head down and retreating to tissues.
Miriam scooted to the edge of the bed and leaned toward the daughter. Trust was her most important commodity. The family had to place their full faith in her and the staff. "I know exactly what you're going through, and I wouldn't blame you if you took your mother and got in the car and drove home. This is the hardest decision I ever had to make."
"You've done this?"
"Yes. My own mother. Of course, it was easier bringing her here, knowing I'd be working with her every day. But seeing her lose that independence, that sense of dignity—it felt like giving up. Like one more loss in a long line of them. And you want the losses to stop. You just want the old life back. The person you knew."
The woman nodded. "Exactly."
It was time for words again. Miriam felt the spotlight. The moment when things either came together or disintegrated.
"I want to be honest. As I look at you, I see that strong woman your mother was. Confident and caring and full of life. Only wanting the best for those you love. I want that person you knew to return. But the truth is, this may be the best we achieve. Today, having her here and comfortable and not agitated ... that may be as good as we get. Are you okay with that? If this is as good as it gets, can you let go and rest in that?"
"I don't know what you're asking."
Miriam leaned forward, her elbows on her knees. "Your love for your mother is not conditional on her response. You love her for who she is. You don't love her because of the things she can do for you."
The daughter nodded.
"So no matter what happens—if she improves, remains like this, or if she regresses—her condition is not the point. We always hope and pray for progress. But if you don't get the response you'd like, are you willing to accept that and just love her? That's where I see you struggling."
The woman's face clouded. "You're saying I don't love my mother if I don't let her stay here?"
The man put a hand on his wife's shoulder. "Let's cut the sales job, Mrs. Howard. Your job is to convince us to spend the money Ardeth has saved and put it into this place so you can keep building your little geriatric empire."
Miriam pursed her lips. The anger wasn't new. She had heard much more creative and acerbic accusations. She disregarded the charge and focused on the daughter.
"Let me try again. What I'm calling you to do is to see reality. Not how things might be or could be, but how they are. This is the baseline we work from. And when you embrace that, not requiring change but accepting where you are, where she is, then wonderful things can happen. Your heart can rest. You won't feel guilty about what you've done or haven't done. You can simply love her."
The daughter thought a moment, ruminating on the words. Processing.
Miriam wished she could film this interaction for her successor—it was a classic scene she had seen repeated a thousand times with varying results.
"My biggest fear is that she'll fall. That if she stays with us, she won't be safe. But you can't guarantee ..." There was raw emotion in the words. The daughter looked up, pleading, almost begging.
"Our highest priority is her safety and comfort. But our goal for Ardeth doesn't stop there—or with her surviving a few years. We want her to thrive. And in whatever ways she can integrate into our family, our community, we're going to help her do that. We'll give her opportunities to be involved at whatever level she's able."
Her husband leaned forward. His voice was high-pitched and came out nearly whining. "This is not making her part of your community. It doesn't take a village to care for my mother-in-law, especially when it costs this much."
Miriam turned to him with a smile. "If the best place for Ardeth is your home or some other facility, I would not want her to move here."
The old woman leaned in her chair, her body ramrod straight but listing like the Tower of Pisa.
Miriam addressed the daughter again. "You mentioned reading. What does she like to read? What music does she enjoy? We can provide recorded books and music. That adds such a quality of life."
The daughter's eyes came alive. "You could do that? When she was younger, she read Little Women to me. I hated it. Now it's one of the treasures of my life." She rattled off several other book titles and music from the 1940s—Benny Goodman, George Gershwin, Glenn Miller, and Tommy Dorsey.
"Oh, great," the man said. "You charge extra for CDs of the big band era?" He walked to the window and stood, looking out.
"My mother loved 'Indian Summer,'" Miriam said, ignoring him. "I still have some of those CDs. Bing Crosby. Frank Sinatra. The Andrews Sisters."
It was a rapturous look, the face of the daughter, and Miriam knew she had opened something, a pathway leading to a connection with another resident.
"I don't want her wasting away in an institution. She's gone downhill so quickly. It's hard to watch."
"The process is never easy. But you're not losing her."
"That's what it feels like. Even if she gets to read books and hear music, it feels like she's moving on without us." The woman's eyes misted and she dropped her gaze to the floor.
Footsteps echoed in the hallway and Miriam glanced up as Treha passed the room. Miriam called to her, and the young woman took three heavy steps backward in a modified moonwalk, her blue scrubs swishing, and stood in the doorway. She stared at a spot just above the floor and swayed, her brown hair gathered in a clip on top of her head, emphasizing her strong features—high cheekbones, a well-defined nose, dark brows and lashes, and ears that bent forward, as if her parents might have been elves.
Miriam spoke to the daughter. "This is a young lady who works with us. She would be one of the caretakers for your mother."
"It's nice to meet you," the daughter said.
The girl nodded and her cheeks jiggled, but she didn't make eye contact.
"She is a special young lady," Miriam said. "A very hard worker. Would you mind if I introduce her to Ardeth?"
The daughter spoke tentatively. "I suppose it would be all right."
The man studied the girl's name tag and tried to pronounce it. "Is it Tree-ha?"
"Tray-uh," Miriam corrected. "Why don't you step inside a moment?"
The girl shuffled in, the untied laces of her black-and-white canvas Keds clicking on the tile. She glanced up at the woman and her husband and then quickly found another spot on the wall, her head swaying slightly.
"Treha, I want you to meet Ardeth. She may be coming to live with us."
Treha looked at the old woman instead of averting her eyes. She tilted her head to one side and leaned forward, speaking in a soft voice like a timid actress unsure of her lines. The words sounded thick and unformed on her tongue.
"Hello, Mrs. Ardeth."
The old woman didn't respond, and Treha took another step and angled her body away. She leaned closer as if trying a different frequency on the woman's receiver.
"Would you like to take Ardeth to the dayroom?" Miriam said.
Treha looked up, questioning with her eyes, asking and receiving something unspoken. She nodded, then gave Ardeth a light touch on the arm, the slightest feathery movement with a pudgy hand. There was no response.
Treha released the wheel locks and pushed the chair through the door with ease, gliding confidently, her body one with the chair and the old woman, as if they were made for one another.
"What will she do?" the daughter said.
Miriam tried to hide the smile, the inner joy. She didn't want to promise something Treha couldn't deliver. "Come with me."
Excerpted from EVERY Waking MOMENT by Chris Fabry, Sarah Mason. Copyright © 2013 Chris Fabry. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
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This is the fourth Chris Fabry book I've read, and it's my favorite yet. The writing was so polished, and I found the story interesting. You don't read many books where the main character is disabled and overweight. But you watch her overcome the pain of her past and develop some self-esteem. The other main characters are in a nursing home, and I really felt like I was there with all those old, forgotten people. Very sweet and insightful story for all ages to enjoy.
SUMMARY: Treha Langsam, a young woman struggling with her own difficulties, has a special gift…she is able to connect with elderly people suffering from dementia. Though not able to cure the residents of Desert Gardens Retirement Home, Treha provides a way of communication, if only temporary. While helping those in need, she must “find” her own self albeit very painful at times. When a documentary shifts the story to Treha, she must question “if this is as good as life gets, it that enough”? A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS: This novel caused me to ponder life in ways I hadn’t considered. Deeply intriguing yet profoundly compassionate, the story connected people of all ages and stages in life with each other. Through almost a funnel effect, the author took the position that everyone’s life story affects others in some way. It poses the question…”when is enough, good enough”? Not a genre I normally read, in fact, almost a book I found myself discontinuing, I became drawn into the heart of the storyline and compulsively finished. RATING: 4.5 (out of 5) pennies. *I received a complimentary copy of Every Waking Moment from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review*
Every Waking Moment by Chris Fabry Treha Langsam works at Desert Gardens an assisted living - nursing home facility. She was originally hired as a janitor until it was discovered she had a very special gift. She somehow can reach the lost souls of dementia patients. Miriam Howard her boss befriends her and does her best to help her. She is taken under the wing of resident Dr. Crenshaw. Soon she is caught up the mystery surrounding an illness caused by Phutura, the community Pharmacial company that Dr Crenshaw used to be employed with. A local documentary team has taken an interest in the residents of Desert Gardens. And are soon caught up in the mystery of Treha’s past. Treha has falling through the cracks herself. Can the documentary team, Miriam and Treha fight big business and come out on top. Read this riveting story from Chris Farby to find out what happens. I want to thank the author Chris Fabry and publisher Tyndale for bringing good clean Christian books like this one to readers like me. I would also like to thank The Book Club Network Inc. for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest review.
Treha lives in her own little world at times. She knows she's different. Her eyes constantly move, she types on an unseen keyboard I her lap, and she has an ability to reach into the hearts and souls of those others can't reach. When Devin and Jonah come into the nursing home where Treha works while filming their documentary, is when her life takes a turn she never expected. The characters in this book were well developed and a great contrast and complement to each other. Christ Fabry is a new-to-me author, but I'm glad I've found him. This book had a completely different plot line than the books I've read lately. As I read, I couldn't guess where the story was going. When I first began reading, I thought the story was going in one direction, but I was wrong. Great book that kept me reading from the first word!
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I thoroughly enjoyed Every Waking Moment by Chris Fabrys. I found it to be a smoothly written, well put together story about the personal worth of everyone. I found myself reading fast to see what would happen, while at the same time wishing I wouldn't get done so fast. An excellent read.
This is a wonderful story of a young woman, Treha Langsam, who values the elderly people at Desert Gardens Retirement home, somehow encouraging them to go beyond being wilting vegetables and once more participate in life. The elderly loved her as she encouraged them with activities to do more than sit waiting for death. But there is always evil in stories just as there is in life. Treha’s bike, her only means of transportation, was stolen. And Mrs. Howard, a good director, left to be replaced by Mrs. Millstone, a person with no vision who didn’t care about the residents. Finally, when Treha was ordered not to talk to residents, she got help for Ardeth when Ardeth fell, only to be fired by Mrs. Millstone. What did Treha learn about who she is? How did she figure it out? Why and how did Treha travel to Arizona? What happened to Treha when she was 4 ½ years old? Would she ever find her mother?
Wonderful! I have read several novels by Chris Fabry, and each one just gets better than the last. His characters are engaging and real, and he is a great storyteller. This book contains mystery and the search for family, plus a unique main character who tugs at the heart. The tension is resolved very satisfactorily. The ending is sweet but leaves some bits open, for me to surmise how they came out. That is part of its charm.
Don't you just love those books that sneak into your hands, promising you an enjoyable tale then they grab you by the heart and don't let go? That's what happened to me when I picked up a copy of "Every Waking Moment" by Chris Fabry. I've read a few of Chris's previous novels, but none of them prepared me for the emotional impact of meeting Treha Langsam. Even though he does a thorough job of describing her, the reader is still left with many features to fill in via imagination. Why does this matter? Because Treha is not like you and I. She's different, and no one knows why. Fortunately, plenty of people around her value her unique spirit and giftings, and those who don't...well, I won't spoil it for you. Have tissues handy. Lots of lovable people will pop up throughout the book, and some may not be around to say goodbye when the story ends. But each character will have changed you by the time you turn the final page. Here's to stories that celebrate young men and women like Treha Langsam, and that give honor to those of an older generation. My thanks to my friends at Tyndale House Publishers for my advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review (I also bought a copy to share...it was that good!).
Great hook, good build, but the ending doesn't feel complete. Fabry drew me into the story from the beginning. I didn't know what to expect, but I was enjoying the ride. The ending of the book is alright, not as good as the beginning and middle caused me to hope for, but it wasn't bad. The epilogue felt out of place, though...sure it was kindof sweet, but it raises a host of questions that just aren't answered. Why raise the questions when we're ok accepting what the characters have accepted? Unfortunately, that caused a bit of a letdown for me. It's still a nice story with memorable characters and some well told scenes, and if the ending had been strong this would be an absolutely stellar book. It's still worth reading, but it's not the knock-your-socks-off book I thought it was after reading the first few chapters.
I picked this novel to read about caregivers. Soon I was involved in elder care management and the lives of people who choose to be caregivers. The past, sometimes hidden, brings in suspense and drama. The book has received 2014 awards and I plan to read more by the author.
Wow!! This was an amazing story. I have read one other of Chris Fabry's book and was impressed with that one and this book is on the same level. The story of a young girl hurt by a test drug that should never have been tested on humans. She possessed the special gift of reaching out to those who had been abandoned as old and unwanted in society and drawing them out and giving them life. Two amateurs document her life and the stories of the elderly in a fascinating documentary. Just an incredible story of forgiveness, redemption and making the best of your circumstances.
I did wind up enjoying this book, although at the beginning I was not very interested in it. I was not really curious about Treha until I got to the part where she reads Dr. Crenshaw's letter. The ending was okay, but it seemed like it needed something more. Like what happened to the characters after that.
I would read this book again. It's in my "Read Again" folder. I put myself in Treha's place and understand what's it like to have special needs and when people don't or won't try to understand how it hurt's. Reading about it and experiencing it are two different things. I am there, too.
Every Waking Moment is one of the most powerful books I have read in a long time. It's a beautiful story of inner beauty. I love Treha. She has such a wonderful gift with people. I love how everything comes together and figure out how the book got its title at the end. What a great, inspiring and powerful read. It's worth every bit of 5 stars if not more.
Treha works at a nursing home. She is very gifted in getting patients who have dementia come back to life. Treha was abandoned as a child and therefore has a few issues of her own. When a documentary team comes to the nursing home, some of Treha's secrets are uncovered. This book was okay. It was a little hard to get into but it wasn't bad.
Chris Fabry is quickly becoming one of my go-to authors, as I'm pretty sure what I'm going to get when I start one of his books : not only a great read, but a thought-provoking, interesting, and even an unusual-subject-matter-book. Along with some humor. "Every Waking Moment" does not disappoint in any of those regards. Our four main characters are Treha Langsam, a custodian at a retirement home who has a special gift: she is able to communicate with patients with dementia, to reach them and draw them out, even though she is considered by some to be impaired, or to have her own special needs; Miriam Howard, the facilities director at the home who is on the cusp of retirement herself. She is kind and caring, and unfortunately her replacement does not accept what she cannot understand, and Treha soon finds herself unemployed. Devin Hillis, an aspiring documentary filmmaker who "collects stories" and has just enough belief to keep hanging onto his dreams, but just few enough dollars that it's high risk to continue; and his assistant, the wise cracking and somewhat more realistic Jonah. The book also includes an interesting element of suspense, as we are shown pieces of why Treha is as special as she is. The many layers of this book make for an excellent story, one that I can highly recommend!
Fabry wove a story that was both unexpected and stirring. The main characters were well developed. I liked that each one was challenged and changed throughout the story. Treha, was mysterious. Everything about her was different and/or unknown. Though the mystery of why and who she comprised most of the story, it isn't really a mystery. We all have a story. Everyone has something to offer. Everyone has worth. Fabry had a way of taking those society tends to overlook or look down upon and bring those facts to life. The epilogue made me want more. Is that his purpose? Another book? Or just a way to leave you thinking? Good read!
“Value people not just for the income they provide us. Value them because of the lives they have lived,” says Miriam Howard. Desert Gardens is an assisted living facility where the lives of the residents, Treha - a girl with an unusual ability to connect with those with dementia, Miriam Howard - the director being forced out into retirement, Jillian Millstone - the incoming director, and Devin and Jonah – a documentary film team, are all woven together into a fascinating story. It seems that one of the residents, Dr. Crenshaw, knows something of Treha’s past – yet before she can find out about it, he becomes too ill to speak. So what are the connections between her and him? What is her background and why is she so “unusual”. The mysteries abound and this story is like an onion, which needs to be peeled away layer by layer. I found myself rooting for the residents, totally disliking Ms. Millstone and only wanting Miriam to come back. I kept wanting Treha to be able to find out about her past and not have to make it up. This book was different from the previous books that I have read by Chris Fabry - there weren't any car chase scenes or people being blown up but there were still mysteries and guns!
I received a free copy of this book through a Goodreads, First Reads giveaway in exchange for my honest opinion. An interesting look at life for the elderly. Treha Langsam is a mysterious young woman who has fallen through the cracks, much like many of the elderly people she works with at Desert Gardens. But Miriam Howard, director of the assisted-living facility, sees her extraordinary gift and untapped potential. Treha is a whisperer of sorts, calling those who have slipped into dementia back to a life of vibrant, if only temporary, clarity. When a documentary team stumbles onto Treha’s story, her gift is discovered and the search for answers about her past begins. As the truth slowly unravels, Treha and those around her must each tackle a difficult question: if this is as good as life gets, is that enough? The elderly characters are very believable and well-written. I had a little trouble understanding the character of Treha. I believe that it is just because she is an unusual character and I’ve never known anyone like her, not a problem with the writing. The development of the story seems to be a little slow at the beginning. By the time I finished I realized that it is just because the author took time to do an in-depth development. I did struggle with the inserted sections that were script-like for the documentary crew. This felt very uneven and it seemed to distract me from the story. This is the problem that kept me from giving this book the full 5 stars. I do recommend reading this book. It takes a good look at what life has become for many elderly people, as well as others who are different from most people.
Treha Langsam has a unique ability and one that works well where she is employed. She can connect with those who seem lost within themselves, victims of such illnesses like dementia and Alheimer's who rob not only the family members from being able to communicate with their loved ones but often times the loved ones who remained trapped within prisons of their own body. Treha can relate because she too is different. Judged by outside appearances of eye movements she can not control, often time society has a label of "different" that they place on her instead of simply getting to know the real person behind what the skin hides. Perhaps this is the very reason she can connect with those elderly loved ones she helps in the Desert Garden Home. Unlike most retirement and hospice centers, the director Miriam Howard sees more that just providing a place for the elderly to live out whatever remains of their life. She believes in treating them like family and the center more like a real home. One in which they find love and acceptance and not abandonment and loneliness and Treha provides that connection to draw them out where they remained locked inside their body. Now if only someone can find the key in which to unlock the past that remains hidden even to Treha, one that will provide to her the answers which she seeks, who she is, does she have a family out there somewhere and can someone help her physically to get better. It seems that the answers lie within one elderly patient Dr. Crenshaw who finds that sharing riddles, puzzles and word clues with Treha's unparalleled ability to solve them in record time holds the key that will unlock the door to her hidden life. I received Every Waking Moment by Chris Fabry compliments of Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed are strictly my own. I LOVE Chris Fabry's novels because hidden within the pages of each one is a treasure waiting to be found. I don't even have to read the book premise any longer when I know he has written another new novel because I know I will enjoy it like eating my favorite meal. It is meant to be savored because you don't get them that often so you LOVE to enjoy every single moment. This one was no exception. I love how Chris chose to incorporate a retirement home and the telling of the stories the elderly hold is exceptional and often taken for granted the stories that each one holds inside. We get a glimpse of some of those and it gives us wisdom if we are willing to listen and take the time to hear them. I rate this novel a 5 out of 5 stars.
This is the first Chris Fabry book I have read. When I started this book I assumed it would follow a woman with a special gift who can reach dementia patients. We are introduced to several characters in this book and I really liked how Chris had all of their lives intertwined. We meet patients, Treha, Miriam the director about to retire, and Devin and Jonah the filmmakers. There are more but those are the main ones. Treha is a very special young woman with special needs. Her name is very unusual but means something special in the book. You will have to read it to find out. We are treated to different view points as the story progresses which I really enjoyed. However, this book took me by surprise through many twists and turns I did not see coming. This book was sad, uplifting, and a little bit scary that this could be reality. The ending was very fitting and choked me up a bit. What I really liked and thought would be neat was if people did do documentaries of older peoples lives. What we could learn! I received this book from The Book Club Network for my honest opinion.
Every Waking Moment is an intense book you can't put down. It revolves around the people associated with an assisted living residence. It includes the administrator and her family, residents, staff, and two men who are making " life films". The story begins to develop around the person who was hired as a janitor but becomes more of a friend to the residents and has a way of bringing them out of themselves. There is curiosity as to where Treha came from, how she was raised, and just her past all around. In looking into it, several big discoveries are made that lead to Big Business and the politics around it. I enjoyed this book very much and can't wait to add other Chris Fabry books to my to be read list.I recieved this book from The Book Club Network for my honest review.
Every Waking Moment by Chris Fabry is an uplifting, human tale of an ordinary woman with an extraordinary gift, and this novel goes on my top inspirational fiction list. All the elements that elevate it to that rank are present: lyrical prose, rich characterization, emotionally gripping themes, compelling message, and the power to effect change in how one thinks. Highly recommended. This is a difficult review to write because it will be hard for me to do justice to this wonderful novel. The engaging writing style held my interest from the beginning and the themes are both vital and compelling. I wish there were more novels like this in the Christian fiction genre. The story revolves around an unusual character named Treha (Tray-uh), a young girl with a tender heart who struggles to connect with people. Treha's gift is the ability to reach inside older people who are suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s and pull them back - a gift "to help flowers bloom, to free chained minds. But the girl herself remained closed tight like a desert rose in the winter." The book's cover beautifully depicts Treha's character and struggles. Other characters play strong parts, such as Miriam Howard, director of Desert Gardens in Tucson, Arizona where Treha works. Miriam has a genuine compassion and ability at working with people to make Desert Gardens remind them of their home. Forced into early retirement, Miriam's replacement is Jillian Millstone, who is "able to catalog every duty for the job except compassion." One of the book's main themes, "the power of story," can't help but resonate with everyone who reads it. Devin Hillis and his partner, Jonah, are given permission to interview some of the residents at Desert Gardens for a documentary they are producing. In Devin's words, "I'm a big believer in the power of stories. Individual and collective. We were capturing people at Desert Gardens rehearsing their lives, showing how one person's story touches another and how it feeds the rest of us, makes us better. Instead of discounting those on the margins, those our society says aren't important, we need to celebrate their stories. Ask more questions. Learn and grow and honor them." I appreciate a book that makes me think, and a Desert Gardens resident named Elsie did exactly that. I've always thought of 1 Corinthians 10:13 as giving the assurance that God doesn't place upon us more than we are capable of withstanding. But I love how Elsie takes it a step further when she says, "He does give us more than we can handle. He lets us go through deeper waters so that we cling to him; that's the whole point of having faith. If we could handle everything, there would be no reason for us to need God." Treha talks about how people crave touch, and she always reached out to touch a hand, arm, shoulder, or gently rub a back. And she also listened. I have often visited nursing homes and am ashamed to realize I haven't been very good in these areas. Treha's actions and attitude are something I will always remember. The theme of valuing people because of the lives they've lived is so relevant and compelling for today. Discussion questions at the end are very thought provoking. Every Waking Moment will definitely go on my list of 2013 favorites. There is so much opportunity for further development of characters and storylines that I really hope Chris will write a sequel. It was a pleasure to discover the writing of Chris Fabry and I highly recommend this book to all readers. A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.
This was an intriguing book I find hard to describe. It started as a look at a nursing home and its residents as a loving, caring administrator, Miriam, is forced out and replaced by a cold martinet seemingly incapable of warmth or concern. There we meet Treha, a somehow impaired young woman who has a gift of reaching those lost in dementia or Alzheimers, and the young men doing a documentary on the lives on the residents of the home. The book shifts about halfway through to a compelling mystery as the moviemakers and Miriam try to help Treha discover her origins and the cause of her impairments and her gift on connecting with the unreachable. The pace quickens with the addition to the storyline of a paranoid old man and strong hints of danger and conspiracy at high levels. The book captured my interest and heart from the beginning until the satisfying ending. I received the book from The Book Club Network in exchange for this honest opinion.