A Different Beautiful: Discovering and Celebrating Beauty in Places You Never Expected - eBook
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|Format: DRM Free ePub|
Vendor: Shiloh Run Press
Publication Date: 2016
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
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Bekah5 Stars Out Of 5More than Just a StoryMarch 4, 2017BekahQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This 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. *
Rhonda Nash-hallMadison Heights VAAge: 45-54Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5TRue beautyNovember 28, 2016Rhonda Nash-hallMadison Heights VAAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 4Courtney 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.
tmurrellTNAge: 35-44Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5InsightfulAugust 26, 2016tmurrellTNAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Courtney'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.
Susan BNorth CarolinaAge: 55-65Gender: Female3 Stars Out Of 5Touching StoryAugust 12, 2016Susan BNorth CarolinaAge: 55-65Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets 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.
thall55 Stars Out Of 5Excellent Read! Beauty beyond just what can be seen on the outside!August 9, 2016thall5Quality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5What 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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