A Different Beautiful: Discovering and Celebrating Beauty in Places You Never Expected
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Shiloh Run Press / 2016 / Paperback
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A Different Beautiful: Discovering and Celebrating Beauty in Places You Never Expected

Shiloh Run Press / 2016 / Paperback

In Stock
Stock No: WW097260


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Product Description

In 2011, Westlake's daughter, Brenna, was born with a life-threatening skin disorder. In this uplifting memoir, Courtney shares how she and her family have learned to value the extraordinary differences and wonderful sameness of humanity. Her heartwarming story will help you find and celebrate God's version of beautiful in your own life! 224 pages, softcover from Shiloh Run.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: Shiloh Run Press
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 8.00 X 5.00 (inches)
ISBN: 1634097262
ISBN-13: 9781634097260

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Publisher's Description

When Courtney Westlake’s family was given the shocking news that their daughter, Brenna, was born in 2011 with a severe, life-threatening skin disorder, they began to discover a new and different beautiful in their lives–one that values extraordinary differences and appreciates the wonderful sameness found in humanity. In A Different Beautiful, Courtney explores what her family has discovered in raising a child with physical differences and what she has learned about true beauty. Through her personal insights and experiences, Courtney shares how you, too, can learn to find and celebrate God’s version of beautiful in your life, especially within our differences and struggles.

Author Bio

Courtney Westlake lives in central Illinois with her husband, Evan, and two children, Connor and Brenna. When Brenna was born in 2011 with a rare and severe skin disorder called harlequin ichthyosis, Courtney began a blog to chronicle their family life and experiences raising a child with physical differences and special needs. Her writing has also been featured on other sites such as Yahoo Parenting, The Huffington Post, (in)courage, and Good Housekeeping. Besides writing, Courtney enjoys photography, traveling, and a good bag of Doritos.
 

Endorsements

Westlake had never heard of the medical condition of harlequin ichthyosis until her daughter, Brenna, was born with the genetic skin disease in 2011. Westlake, already the mother of a healthy two-year-old boy, Connor, was thrilled to discover she was carrying a baby girl. Her happy anticipation soon turned into overwhelming fear when doctors and nurses whisked Brenna off immediately after her birth because her skin was shedding from her tiny body. Westlake shares in up-close detail the courageous journey of parenting Brenna, and how outsiders have greeted their daughter's condition with stares and nasty comments. Rather than grow bitter, Westlake and her husband daily give thanks to God for their beautiful daughter and the countless blessings and life lessons she imparts. This is an emotional story that takes readers from those first tenuous shaky steps to a confident stride that will both inspire and fortify. Westlake's message will especially resonate with parents who have endured difficult medical challenges with their children, but her joyful, resilient, and grateful outlook will encourage individuals of all kinds. -Publisher's Weekly

Editorial Reviews

"The most dazzling beauty in this world is not found on magazine covers, TV commercials, or fashion runways as promised by our media. Uplifting and faith-filled, Courtney Westlake’s A Different Beautiful  reaffirms, in a society that prioritizes perfection, just how wonderful different can be."
—LeAnn Thieman, CSP, CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, author Chicken Soup for the Soul: a Book of Miracles and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Answered Prayers

"I was touched and inspired by reading this story of how one family is turning what some would see as ’difficult’ into something so positive and beautiful. No matter where you're at in life, this book will encourage you to look for the beauty in every situation."
–Crystal Paine, Founder of MoneySavingMom.com and New York Times bestselling author of Say Goodbye to Survival Mode

"In a world determined to ease or eliminate all evidence of 'different,' Courtney Westlake speaks a powerful word. It’s not our sameness that makes us beautiful, but our differences. Rather than resenting the unexpected and reeling from the resulting disappointment, you and I can learn to find beauty in the most unexpected—and incredible—places. The reward? A truly beautiful life."
—Michele Cushatt, Author, Undone: A Story of Making Peace with an Unexpected Life

"In A Different Beautiful, Courtney captivated me with her ability to define beauty in a countercultural way. Through Brenna’s story, you get to peek inside this family’s great journey of transformation, courage, and hope. Courtney has a gift for sharing real struggle, always entangled with hope and a higher perspective. It’s a must-read for all families looking to see the beauty from the eye of the Creator."
—Courtney DeFeo, Author of In This House, We Will Giggle

"A Different Beautiful is a touching and tenderly told story that will inspire you to see and experience beauty through the eyes of God. Brenna's precious life and brave journey will enlarge your eyes and enliven your heart to discover beauty in your own unexpected places."
—Jeannie Cunnion, Author of Parenting the Wholehearted Child

"Different Beautiful is a precious jewel that will touch your heart and inspire your soul. This book teaches us an invaluable life lesson: our wrapping is not as meaningful as the gift we have inside. This message could change your life forever!"
—Roger Crawford, Author of Think Again! and Playing from the Heart, Member of the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame, and Hall of Fame Division 1 Athlete (the only athlete with four impaired limbs to compete in a NCAA Division One college sport)

"This is a story for all of us, because we all deal with the unexpected in this life. Thank you, Courtney, for leading the way and for showing us how to walk through the challenges of life so beautifully."
—Jill Savage, CEO of Hearts at Home and Author of No More Perfect Moms

"To struggle through pain and confusion is difficult. To watch your child struggle through pain and confusion. . .that will change a person. In her book A Different Beautiful, Courtney Westlake gives us a glimpse into the life of a family grappling with their daughter’s unexpected and, at times, scary diagnosis. Courtney shares her story with an eloquence and wisdom that moved me. . .I couldn’t stop at the end of each chapter. As she comes face-to-face with God’s beautiful design in her precious daughter, Courtney invites us into her healing so that we can be restored along with her."
—Sarah Kovac, Author of In Capable Arms: Living a Life Embraced by Grace

"Poignantly told without any hint of self-pity, Courtney’s story gripped me from the very first page and didn’t let go. She beautifully shares the beauty of imperfection in a way that makes us want to want to root for her, and for sweet Brenna. . .and also for ourselves. Deeply moving and encouraging, it is a message our hearts all need to hear."
—Ruth Soukup, New York Times Bestselling Author of Living Well, Spending Less and Unstuffed

Westlake's message will especially resonate with parents who have endured difficult medical challenges with their children, but her joyful, resilient, and grateful outlook will encourage individuals of all kinds.

Addressing the current trend of self-esteem programsfocused on personal awareness, she encourages readers to find their God-given worth in outward expressions of serving others. Particularly perceptive is her advice on approaching others with visible disabilities and teaching children how to treat the differently abled. An inspiring book for all, recommend to parents struggling with unexpected birth anomalies and those who support them.

Product Reviews

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Displaying items 1-5 of 32
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  1. Bekah
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    More than Just a Story
    March 4, 2017
    Bekah
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This week, I had the chance to read a book that offered me the unexpected. It was a two-fer. I went in expecting to read a story about the life of an extraordinary young woman, and I did just that. The unexpected bonus was getting to read a gentle but clear challenge to change my perception of just about everyone I encounter. Hadn't expected that part, but my goodness, am I ever grateful!

    Let me back up and tell you about the story part. A Different Beautiful is (in part) Courtney Westlake's story of her daughter, Brenna, who was born with a rare skin condition called Harlequin ichthyosis. Though they weren't sure she would survive long after birth, Brenna is now a thriving preschooler with a spunky personality and quite a zest for life. But that life has not been void of challenges.

    Brenna's skin requires careful attention to make sure it stays hydrated and free of infection, which means all the things the majority of us take for granted as routine requires much additional work for Courtney and her husband. The laundry, the bathing, the application of particular lotions - even caring for her hair and nails - all of it looks different for them. Since I've never known anyone with this particular condition, reading about it and understanding what their normal looks like was very educational and interesting.

    But although she does want to educate people and every writer wants to be interesting, those two goals weren't the end for Courtney. Brenna's birth changed more than Courtney's routine. It changed her perspective. She looks at beauty differently now, and I would dare to say she looks at it the way Jesus does. Before Brenna was born, Courtney dreamed about what moms expecting baby girls do: dressing them up, mani/pedi dates, prom hair, and more. Those things seemed to represent beauty. But now she sees beauty in a whole new way, everywhere she looks, and she aches for others to do the same.

    And for this reader: mission accomplished. My mind is spinning with new thoughts that I'd never considered before. Understanding how my reactions affect those in front of me. Understanding how a change within my mind doesn't mean much if it doesn't change my interactions with others. Understanding in new ways the beauty of a soul and relationships and a mind focused outward. Understanding of the importance of treasuring God's gifts to me, even if they don't fit the world's "normal" mold.

    I love stories. Courtney probably could have told me Brenna's story in the pages of this book and I would have walked away satisfied with the time I invested in reading it and encouraged others to read it too. But I am thankful she didn't stop with a story. I'm thankful she took time to gently teach through the means of the story. I'm thankful she challenged my thinking in how I view myself and everyone around me.

    * The author provided me with a complimentary copy of this book , but all opinions are my own. *
  2. Rhonda Nash-hall
    Madison Heights VA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    TRue beauty
    November 28, 2016
    Rhonda Nash-hall
    Madison Heights VA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Courtney Westlake's water broke earlier than she had planned, and she awaited expectantly for the precious daughter that she and her husband, Evan, would soon hold in their arms and gaze in her eyes. It didn't work out that way though. Brenna was wiped and confusion and worry showed on the faces of all the doctors and nurses in the delivery room. The loving mother's heart cried out, "Where's my baby? When can I see her, hold her, kiss her tiny face?" Instead of placing her sweet daughter in her aching arms, a neonatologist was summoned immediately. Something was wrong. Something was wrong. Something was wrong with Brenna. Brenna was facing a fight. She just entered the world and she was in pain and she had to fight, because the medical staff told her that babies born with harlequin ichthyosis rarely survived more than a few days. They could keep her painfree until she passed. That's when the heaviest decision fell on their shoulders. Were they going to let Brenna just go? She'd just arrived and they longed for this daughter.

    Brenna's young mother, Courtney Westlake, walks us through the struggle for Brenna's life and then the joy the beautiful little girl brings to their home. Brenna is blessed with the most compassionate brother and parents that God could have given her to. I love the personal stories and the brutal honesty expressed in this book. I did wish there were photographs. I looked on Courtney's blog and looked at Brenna and smiled with tears in my eyes and whispered, "She is beautiful. She is precious." Honestly, from the description in the book of her birth, I thought she would look frightening. But she does not. Her smile is infectious. I did think that more scripture would have been helpful to accompany the stories and opinions. What a lovely book, what an inspiring family!

    As I finished the book, I thought of the song, "How Beautiful" by Twila Paris.
  3. tmurrell
    TN
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Insightful
    August 26, 2016
    tmurrell
    TN
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Courtney's world was changed completely when shortly after the birth of her daughter she was given the news that Brenna had a severe skin disorder. Courtney's dreams for what her future with her daughter would look like were instantly changed. Courtney shares her insights and thoughts on what she's learned in the four years since receiving the diagnosis. Her concept of beauty was changed as God worked on her heart while she cared for her daughter.

    The book is written simply, yet eloquently. Courtney shares from the heart about how her experiences have changed her, but she also shares a few personal details about her precious daughter Brenna. This book changed some of my thoughts and gave me a glimpse into another perspective. The book is touching, heartwarming, and thought provoking. The writing was real and honest and it felt like it came from the heart. It has stories that break up the thoughts, making this an interesting read as well. I think this is a book that everyone should read. We all need to step out of our comfort zones and preconceived ideas to take a look from someone else's view point.

    I received this book free of charge from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
  4. Susan B
    North Carolina
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: Female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Touching Story
    August 12, 2016
    Susan B
    North Carolina
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 3
    "A Different Beautiful" by Courtney Westlake is a touching read which challenges us to examine our perceptions of the world around us. Following the birth of her daughter, who is born with a serious, severe skin disorder that is life-threatenig, Mrs. Westlake goes on a journey of discovery about "beauty" in both the physical and spiritual world around us. She shares her journey with us in her book.

    While I enjoyed the chapters individually and learned much from the insights that Mrs. Westlake shared, I found that the book was difficult to read as a continuous story. There was no logical sequence to the telling of Brenna's story, therefore I found myself reading it more of a devotional or study book, requiring time to absorb the leason or point taught in each chapter. I think this would be a good book for a study group, or book club. However, for me individually, I would have preferred to read Brenna's story chronologically and how she and her family grew in the Lord over time.
  5. thall5
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Excellent Read! Beauty beyond just what can be seen on the outside!
    August 9, 2016
    thall5
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    What is true beauty? Who defines it? How is it defined?

    This engaging and very thought provoking read caught my attention on the first page as the author walks us through the birth of her what was supposed to be a healthy daughter, a diagnosis that was life threatening, their days in NICU fearing for their daughter's life, and the days of toddlerhood and learning to give grace to those that could not see the true beauty in their daughter.

    I loved how the author weaved in stories she herself had experienced and learned from as well as stories from others that helped her learn how to extend grace to deal with others and their attitudes and comments toward her daughter. So many of those stories and experiences made me stop and think myself about how I would deal with certain situations and how God truly desires us to give grace to others and to show them love and compassion even they may not deserve it. I also loved to see how they allowed this unexpected journey to bring them closer together as a couple and family instead of tearing their home apart.

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
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