Friday, July 23, 2010

‘Blind Hope: An Unwanted Dog and the Woman She Rescued’ by Kim Meeder and Laurie Sacher – Book Review and Giveaway

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Occasionally a book will come along that brings joy, happiness and tears. ‘Blind Hope: An Unwanted Dog and the Woman She Rescued’ by Kim Meeder and Laurie Sacher is just such a book.

Here is the synopsis of this sweet book:

          An Unwanted Dog. 
          An Emotional Rescue. 
          Two Lives Forever Changed.

Laurie’s dreams had been shattered before she came to work at Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch – the ranch of rescued dreams – where broken horses and broken children encounter healing every day. In an attempt to soothe her aching soul, Laurie reached out to save a dog in need. And she soon began to realize that the dog was rescuing her.
An inspiring true story told through the engaging voice of Kim Meeder, Blind Hope reveals poignant life lessons Laurie experienced through her ailing yet courageous canine friend. Despite the blindness of her dog – and her own heart – Laurie uncovered what she really needed most: authentic love, unconditional trust, and true acceptance, faults and all.
As Laurie and her dog, Mia, both learned to follow the lead of a master they couldn’t see. Laurie discovered the transforming power of God’s grace even for imperfect and selfish people – and she experienced a greater love than she had ever known.

Here is the biography of the authors:


Kim Meeder is the author of Hope Rising and Bridge Called Hope. Along with her husband, Troy, she owns and operates Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch in central Oregon. Crystal Peaks is a nonprofit organization that rescues abused and neglected horses and pairs them with disadvantaged children, offering the children a place of safety, peace, and hope. In 2004, Kim received the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award, one of the nation’s highest honors for public service.

Laurie Sacher is a team leader at Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch. Laurie graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University in 2003 and taught English as a Second Language in Spain before 
returning to her native California roots to pursue her passion for kids and animals.

Here is the book trailer for this heartwarming book:





Laurie and Mia built a special bond, and Laurie saw how her relationship with Mia mirrored her relationship with God. Here is Kim explaining:

As long as Mia stayed close enough to hear Laurie’s muted commands – and obeyed them – she was able to navigate an unknown world. Yet the moment Mia stopped listening to her master and chose instead to wander, everything changed. Once Mia was separated from Laurie, her world quickly compressed into a dangerous and lonely place.
Mia was following the sound of her master’s footsteps. Her previous experiences had taught her that this was a sound she could trust. A sound that kept her safe.
I smiled at Laurie and pointed a gloved thumb over my shoulder at her dog. My words were measured out between breaths. “What faith…to follow a master…you cannot see.” (p. 7)

Here Kim describes Laurie, and the relationship they developed:

Laurie’s summer season as a volunteer at Crystal Peaks ended with a new beginning. She was hired on as a permanent part of our family, our staff. Like everyone else, she wrestled with her intrinsic weaknesses, but she also had kindness, tenacity, and a great capacity to try. One year linked arms with another, each drawing our lives together more closely than the lost. The tall, lovely girl that had breezed up my hill had also walked into my heart and turned into a friend. (p. 11)

Laurie had certain expectations about the Australian shepherd mix (age of about nine years) that she was going to pick up. The dog did not live up to those expectations when she saw her:

The dog was almost completely white with a brown patch over each eye and a single brown spot on her rump. Her coat was a dull, tangled mess. Despite the intense heat, the Aussie’s underbelly, from chin to tail, was shrouded with a three-inch swatch of stinking guard hair. The dog was so thin she looked to be half her normal body weight.
Laurie’s heart recoiled.
What? You’ve got to be kidding me! This isn’t the dog for me. She’s not nice looking at all! There has to be some mistake; this can’t be my dog! Why did I say yes to a dog I’d never seen? What was I thinking?
Suddenly Lori felt too ashamed of her shallow motives to admit out loud that, based solely on how the dog looked, she didn’t want to take her. Yet if she declined to take the dog after seeing her, everyone would know that her loving compassion was only a façade; she would be exposed as a fake. Laurie rubbed her hand across her mouth in an attempt to hide her deepening disappointment. She stifled a moan of frustration, all the while hating herself in the awkward moments of silence. (pp. 15-16)

Laurie did take the dog, and renamed her Mia. A transformation occurred in both of them:

Laurie looked at the terrified dog, whose only response was trembling submission; the canine dared not look back. At that moment, something inside Laurie changed. Drop by drop, like melting ice, compassion for the frightened dog began to flow.
Wow, this dog has struggled for a long time. She has fought hard and survived so much. I don’t really know how yet, but I can provide her with another chance. I know I can give this dog a new start, another try at this life. I can do that. I know I can do that. (p. 22)

Laurie had some struggles herself during her life:

Nearly all her adult life had been consumed with the pursuit of fulfillment, worth, and love. In a give-and-take world, Laurie soon learned that if she wanted to feel valued and loved, it was going to cost her. Her desperation to fill those needs was matched only by her vain attempts to satisfy them. Slowly, her resistance to stand against self-destructive habits caved in under the weight of their promised consolations.
In an effort to quell her insatiable desire to be valued, accepted, and loved, Laurie gradually relinquished her moral code. She fought less and less to retain a place of virtue. Instead of pursuing her dreams, she yielded to the destructive flow of drifting downstream. By doing so, every new twist in her logic led her to make one detrimental decision after another. Each destructive choice ushered her deeper into the hollow wasteland of loneliness. Outwardly her childhood ideals had become her self-fulfilling prophecy. To others, she looked happy, she looked beautiful, she looked prosperous. The truth of who she was lay barren and buried deep inside her.
          On the inside, Laurie was dying. (p. 25)

When Mia first came into Laurie’s life, she had difficulty following direction and doing as she was told. Laurie saw that she was doing the same thing with God:

“What’s also true is that I’ve been living pretty much my whole life just like my wayward dog. Because of Mia, I can clearly see that all along it was my own self-centered obsessions that plugged my ears and blinded my eyes from understanding God’s perspective.” (p. 49)

Mia taught Laurie so many lessons:

“Well, because of Mia, I’m gaining perspective. The picture of my life has come into sharp focus. I’ve been treating God like a bank and going to him only in great anger or deep sorrow. Then I would beg or demand him to give me what I wanted; peace, love, comfort, health, finances – my list was long! I’m sad to say that when my requests were not met within my time frame, I would storm away and blame him for everything that had gone wrong in my life. (p. 50)

Mia had a lot of physical problems, but she began to thrive in Laurie’s care:

Finally, after spaying, dental work, and the removal of her hemorrhaging left eye, Mia began to thrive under her loving master’s care. The once ragged and forsaken little dog Laurie had brought home only months before had transformed into a beautiful, glossy-coated friend of her soul. (p. 71)

Ultimately, Mia went blind in her remaining eye. Laurie decided she needed to train Mia to live life a little differently than she’d been living:

After many rehearsals, Laurie took Mia to the impressive Oregon Coast, with its miles of empty seashore. It was the perfect place to teach Mia how to trust, believe, and listen. Laurie could think of no setting more inspiring for coaching her friend.
Once the two of them arrived at the beach, Laurie released her wriggling dog from her leash. Mia was thrilled! She bounced around Laurie in big goofy leaps, always blindly looking up in the direction of where she believed her master’s face might be. Mia’s ecstatic body language seemed to shout, “Thank you!” Then, true to her species, she set off to investigate her surroundings. (p. 81)

This was yet another lesson for Laurie:

“My dog isn’t teaching me to sit and stay, but to move forward in action – to trust, believe, and listen. Before my eyes, Mia has demonstrated that it doesn’t matter if I can see what lies ahead of me. It only matters that I trust, believe, and listen to the God who does.”

Another lesson Laurie learned is that both she – and Mia – needed to stay close to their master, and to learn their true character:

“I have to go back to the basics. I need to let go of what I once believed was right – my way – and quit pretending to know things I don’t. I want to follow not only my master’s voice, but his actions as well. Like my dog, only I can determine to shift myself closer to the peace that comes when I move silently with my master. It’s within his presence that I find complete rest. In this perfect place of greatest dependence, I need no words at all.” (p. 128)

Laurie also saw a joy in her dog no matter what her health or circumstances might reflect:

“Mia has proved with her life that my current difficult circumstances aren’t nearly as important as what I decide to do with them. How I act in these challenging situations determines who I really am and what I really believe. When I view my life from that perspective, it’s far easier for me to focus on what I should do instead of what I think I should have.
“I can either focus on complaining about my hardships or I can decide to allow each challenge to help me grow up. I think it’s ironic that it took an animal, my little dog, to teach me how to behave, how to take responsibility for how I feel.
Although it might take me a lifetime to put into practice, because of Mia, I now understand that circumstances don’t dictate how I feel – I do. I can always choose my attitude. I can always choose joy.” (pp. 136-137)

In the Epilogue, Kim says this:

Like other rescue stories on the ranch, Laurie and Mia’s reveals how something beautiful happens when we’re selfless in our actions. In our efforts to reach out and save another in need, our own heart is often released from selfishness, isolation, and defeat. In a world weakened by loneliness, great strength can happen if we choose to reach beyond our own difficulties and do something for the benefit of someone who is hurting. (p. 176)   

Kim concludes by reminding us that we have Someone on who we can rely:

The truth is, in the greater picture, we’re all struggling to find our way. Similar to Laurie’s dog, none of us can see what lies ahead. Like Mia, you might be bounding forward in defiance, circling in panic, or trotting along at your Master’s heels. Maybe you’re curled up in a dark place, too weak to crawl out of your devastation. Wherever you are in this life, whatever challenges you might face, however hopeless your situation appears, there is hope.
Friends, we have a rescuer… His name is Jesus.
No matter what our stage of life, we can always turn toward our Master. Because of Jesus and his great love, regardless of where our choices have led us, we can always choose to turn around. We can always choose him. And when we do, he will come…he will pick us up…and he will carry us home. (p. 177)

What great news! I have had to have Him do that for me many times!

I loved this book! We have two English Cocker Spaniels – Toby and Shelby – so a book with a dog featured prominently is always going to be a favorite! The story about Mia and Laurie – and the revelations that Laurie discovered through Mia’s joy, unconditional love, etc… parallel that of how God feels about us – is sweet and heartwarming. Kim’s writing is also wonderful. I thank both of those ladies for sharing their hearts and lives – and Laurie for sharing her precious dog – with their readers!

You can download and read the first chapter here.

You can order this book here.

This book was published by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group and provided by them for review and giveaway purposes.
___________________________________________________

I have a copy of this book that I would love to send along to one of you! 

There are several ways to gain entry:

1) Leave a comment here on the blog, telling me what about a special animal in your life, and what he/she has taught you.  Please make sure to leave your email address in this format – sample[at]gmail[dot]com.

2) Follow me on Twitter; I will more than likely follow you back!  If you are already a Twitter follower, that counts, too!  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

3) Follow me as a Google Friend on this blog; if you are already a Friend, that counts, too!  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

4) Become my Facebook friend.  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

5) Follow this blog as a NetWorked Blog Follower after you’ve become my Facebook friend.  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

So there are five chances to enter!  Please limit one entry per option.

This giveaway is for U.S. residents only.  The deadline for entry is Friday, August 6, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. EST.  A winner will be chosen via the Random Number Generator on Saturday, August 7, 2010 and will be contacted via email.  The best to all of you!

47 comments:

rubynreba said...

I had always wanted a calico cat and 3 years ago I got a calico kitten. My husband and I had never had a pet and we are having so much fun with her! I can't even imagine life without Reba now! I love animal stories and this sounds like a very good book.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

rubynreba said...

I follow your blog.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Giveaway Roundup said...

I am a new follower on Google Friend Connect. Please enter me.
ludeluh at yahoo dot com

Cindy W. said...

My heart is crying out to win this book!

I have a nine year old poodle who is the smartest animal that has ever owned me. He has taught me that nothing is impossible...even teaching a dog to "high-five". He talks to me in different voices, each meaning something different. He is one of a kind.

Smiles,
Cindy W.

countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

misskallie2000 said...

I have a silver grey persian who is 12 yrs old. I had lived alone for 8 yrs when my daughter brought me a little wiggling fur ball to keep me company. When you live alone you get lonesome for someone to talk to or with. This little ball of fur has kept me company & entertained me and given me someone to talk to and loved me. Some days I would come home from work and not speak to anyone until I went back to work the next. Even the phone did not ring so without my fuzz ball I would have been very lonely.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Cindy W. said...

I am a GFC follower.

Smiles,
Cindy W.

countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

misskallie2000 said...

Follow via twitter
tweet
http://twitter.com/misskallie2000/status/19447168487

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

misskallie2000 said...

I am old follower via GFC

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

misskallie2000 said...

I am old friend on FB
shared
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1424713340&v=wall&story_fbid=141319492563100

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

misskallie2000 said...

Follow via Networked Blog (Brenda B. Hill)

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

I had a little yellow parakeet that I had named Hope. One day I saw that her leg was swollen where the leg band was. My husband and I took her to the animal hospital the only plave open on Sunday evening. The vet we talked to said that he could either put her down or amputate her leg. It was too swoolen by the time that we were able to see him. He didn't know if Hope would survive the surgery or not. Often birds go into shock when they had surgery. The next morning,we came and he was amazed, He said that if she survived she would be weak but instead she was hopping and eating as if nothing happened! CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I am a GFC follower of this blog.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I sent you a friend request on FB.


CarolNWong(at)aol(dot(com)

Linda Kish said...

My first dog, Blaze, taught me unconditional love. After he passed away we got a second min pin, Puppy. He is now 9 and has been here for 5 years. His love is even stronger than Blaze's was.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Andrea Schultz said...

Thanks for the great comments! Looking forward to more to come!

Blessings -

Andrea

Lisa said...

Carmen sent me here. I never had any pets, but I love a good Christian novel.

Maureen said...

Hi Andrea...I have 3 dogs, two are rescued, and a rescued cat. I am a dog person..they give unconditional Love! Right now I'm reading "Saving Gracie", and am really learning about the horrible Puppy Mills!
Please enter me to win this book!

Carman sent me!
Maureen

karenk said...

what an inspirational story...my friend nancy and her dog, mollie, are best friends :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Tea said...

My special pet is Boots. She is my Tuxedo cat. Boots has taught me the importance of companionship. Not just having a companion, but a companion who is in sync with your emotions. Boots knows when I'm not feeling well, when I'm happy, when I'm not playful and when I'm just plain tired. She understand me. She is the best pet. She has taught me how to be a companion to other people.

teakettle58(at)yahoo(dot)com

Tea said...

I follow you on Twitter. http://twitter.com/Jungleorchid

Tea said...

I am a Google friend on this blog.

Tea said...

I am networked as a follower.

Tea said...

I am a Facebook friend.

Jan Marie said...

I have an 8 year old Weimaraner who is the most loyal and faithful friend a person could ever wish for. His real owner, my daughter, has moved to France and we are both so lonely that the pain is nearly unbearable. Kaiser has been my comfort and forced me to get up and go even when I didn't want to. He has kept me from giving in to the pain and I think I have done the same for him.

janmarien[at]embarqmail[dot]com

Jan Marie said...

I am a Facebook friend.

janmarien[at]embarqmail[dot]com

Jan Marie said...

I am a follower on Google Friend.

May I also put in a plug for my brand new blog and ask you to visit me at http://janmarienewby.blogspot.com.

janmarien[at]embarqmail[dot]com

Jan Marie said...

I am a follower on Networked blogs.

May I also put in a plug for my brand new blog and ask you to visit me at http://janmarienewby.blogspot.com.

janmarien[at]embarqmail[dot]com

Steve Capell said...

Actually we have Chihuahuas and they are the most affected no matter what the circumstances are. I remember several times when I wasn’t feeling well and they sensed that and would lay beside my side and just look at me as if they knew. I find their devotion to be something that I strive for in my daily life. Thanks for hosting this giveaway. This book sounds fantastic.


steven(dot)capell(at)gmail(dot)com

Patsy said...

A special pet of mine was our dog Casey who passed away about a month ago. He was 16 years old and was a special part of our family. What I learned from him was that no matter what kind of day I had or what mood I was in his love for me was always steady and unforgiven. Reminds me of God's love. Would love a copy of your book.
plhouston(at)bellsouth(dot)net

Patsy said...

By the way I forgot to say Carman sent me.
plhouston(at)bellsouth(dot)net

Kate said...

I have an 11 year old black lab who's been my closest companion since I was a kid. He's got tumors all over him now, a heart condition, and I think he might have cancer too. He's on his way out of this world, but he's taught me to cherish the little moments in life... "they're the real ones after all!" = )
Blessings,
Kate

kate[at]atentforthesun[dot]com

Leah said...

I love dog stories.

I own two toy poodles. The bigger one is closest to me. She sleeps with me and almost always has to be by my side. I didn't choose her she chose me. We adopted the poodles from a rescue where they were placed after their owner was diagnosed with alzheimers. That night I sat in my sister's room petting one of the poodles. My sister had to go to bed and wanted to sleep with both dogs. I told her I wasn't done petting the dog in my lap so I left with that one. That one turned out to be Chloe, the bigger dog, my companion. She chose me. She chose to sit in my lap that night so I could pet her instead of the smaller one.

leah49(at)gmail(dot)com

LaTawnia said...

Hi Andrea! What a beautiful story and wonderful review!
I follow you everywhere!
My dogs Jack (a chiwinni) and Dorito (a chihuahua) have both been influential in my life. I was going through a hard time when my roommate brought home Jack. He had two broken legs on his right side. The owners wanted to put him down. So she brought him home for me to rescue. He was so cute! He hopped around on his other two legs til his legs healed. And Dorito was suppose to go to a neighbor. But after he was neutered they didn't want him so they dropped him over the fence. He ran into the house and jumped into my lap. (And I didn't even like chihuahuas!) He was absolutely crushed because no one wanted him. When he cried my heart melted. In rescuing them they rescued me from a life of loneliness.

LaTawnia said...

I forgot to leave my address!

latawniakintz[at]gmail[dot]com

Anonymous said...

I've seen this book and after reading this I would be very interested in reading it.

Thanks for putting my name in the hat.

I'm a follower of your blog.

Nora
The Book Club Network
www.bookfun.org

norafindinghope (at) gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I follow you on Twitter and facebook.

I have a special persion cat right now. She follows me whereever I go and yells at me in the morning if I don't give her a treat right away. She will stalk to me and fuss until she gets her 4 treats. She cracks me up.

I used to have a dog when I was a kid. That dog went everywhere we went. I perfer cats now. They are easier to take care of. Ha!

Norafindinghope Z(at) gmail.com

Anonymous said...

NetWorked Blog Follower

Nora

norafindinghope (at) gmail.com

lotus82 said...

Our family dog, Black Jack, has taught our whole family patience and also responsibility...\we can't just up and leave now, without thinking about Black Jack and I love it that the kids never forget..plus we have all made such a good friend of him...he even lays there with me and lets me cry sometimes after the kids go to bed, he just knows I need someone there to vent to.

~Steph
soklad@hotmail.com
http://fortheluvofsanity.blogspot.com/

lotus82 said...

I follow you on twitter (soklad)

~Steph
soklad@hotmail.com
http://fortheluvofsanity.blogspot.com/

lotus82 said...

I follow you on GFC

~Steph
soklad@hotmail.com
http://fortheluvofsanity.blogspot.com/

lotus82 said...

Friends on facebook (Stephanie Christmann)

~Steph
soklad@hotmail.com
http://fortheluvofsanity.blogspot.com/

Nancye said...

***Warning***Long Post***Sorry!***
My first dog that was ever "truly mine." I picked her out of a litter at the Humane Society and bought her with my own money. I paid for everything for her. I named her "Kayley Rae" When she came home, she only weighed 2.5 lbs. She was a ROTTEN puppy and chewed up EVERYTHING (including the handle off a bowling ball bag!) After a few years she turned into the most amazing dog. I loved her with all my heart. She didn't have a mean bone in her body. She was so gentle that my now 15 year old son learned to walk by pulling up on her. When she died, I was beyond devastated. I still miss her today. I have had other dogs, but Kayley was my first dog.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

I follow you on Twitter
@NancyeDavis

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

GFC Follower

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Facebook Friend

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

I follow you on Networked Blogs

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Andrea Schultz said...

Thanks to everyone for your wonderful comments and memories!

Blessings -

Andrea

 
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