This book, this story, deserves the glowing reviews it has been given.
i LOVE it! Ok, there are very few books i dislike but this is one i will remember for a long long time; this is one which when i remember it, i smile sadly and nod knowingly, in appreciation of the window which John Green has given us into a world which is sad but yet so powerful.
Hazel is terminal. She always has been. She has accepted and has learned to live with it, trying her best to live the life she has been given as close to how she wants to as possible, or at least to the extent her parents and doctors allow her.
And when she least expected it, life throws her a curve ball in the form of Augustus Waters; a handsome, tall, in-remission boy who accompanies his friend to cancer support group. As their relationship develops, we are privileged to see how terminally ill young people deal with death and living in the knowledge of what is going to kill you.
We watch how Hazel and Augustus relate to each other, to their grieving and fearful parents, to their doctors who are trying their best to offer some sort of treatment, to their friends who are outside of this cancer bubble and to their friends within the cancer bubble.
We see how each of these people cope or not cope with the harsh reality of a terminal diagnosis, how they choose to stay and love on or choose to walk away and forget.
Their adventure to find the author of Hazel’s favourite book reveals some wonderful moments and makes you think what you would and would not do for the one you love when they are dying, what it means to love someone even if it is only for a short time. The funny moments are precious, the sad moments are poignant; i laughed, i smiled, i cried a little, i cheered and my heart was moved.
i have not told you much at all about the storyline or even about the characters involved. It is a book i think you need to explore for yourself. So go out, get it and read it.
i truly wish all young people, who are faced with such illnesses, and their loved ones, every happiness life offers them, and every comfort and peace when the time comes to let go.
You heard the good news; Jason has a family coming for him and of course last year we had the sad news that Jasper aged out. While i will always be praying for these boys (just like i pray for all the orphans we had previously advocated for), we need to move forward and help more precious children. So we have 2 new orphans we are advocating for and praying for. We, meaning my boy and i and you too!
Dean was brought to the institute when he was 5. He is now 12 years old. His special need is listed as mental delays which makes his exact condition unclear and i believe this may be what is stopping families from jumping in and committing to giving him a home. He has learnt much since being at the institute. He has good self-care skills and can even help with simple chores. Dean is described as an introverted child who gets along well with the other children at his institute and at school.
Whatever his specific need might be, it is clear that with a loving family around him and the right tools available to him, he will go far. He needs people who believe in him, he needs to find his people!
And you can help that caring family find him; you can share Dean’s story and need for a family. You can pray for him and for a family to step forward for him asap.
You can also help grow his adoption grant.Because of his “mental delays”, he is likely to be overlooked for domestic adoption within his country. So an expensive international adoption would be his best chance for a family to call his own. This grant which Reece’s Rainbow has opened for him will help the family who comes for him to reach him faster and make finances less of an obstacle to Dean getting a family.
Caroline also come into institutional care when she was about 5 years old. She is now 12 years old. She has Cerebral Palsy which affected her lower legs. After a surgery in 2013, she has been able to walk with only a slight limp. In school, she is just a little bit behind her peers because she had no early education before coming into care. Caroline is described as very easy-going with a positive attitude about everything she does.
Doesn’t she sound lovely? All she is lacking to make the most of life is a loving family who can help her to get all the possible care she needs and to show her that family means standing with each other.
You can help Caroline find her forever family! Share her story and her need for a caring family. You can pray for her and her family to step up for her asap.
You can also help grow her adoption grant. Like most special needs orphans in her country, she is considered an outcast and will unlikely be chosen for domestic adoption. An expensive international adoption might be the way to a forever family for her. Reece’s Rainbow’s adoption grant will enable a family to face a lesser financial hurdle when considering Caroline’s adoption.
There you are – 2 lovely children in need of wonderful families to help them navigate life better and to shine like the little stars they are.
Please join us in advocating for DEAN and CAROLINE, as well as praying for their daily needs and for a family for each of them.
You can click on their names or pictures to find out more. You can like my FB page, Just Needing A Family’s Love, to follow along and take part in fundraisers and other events for these precious kiddos.
Here’s Part 02 of our Spring Break this year. If you have not read Part 01, go here to read it.
Yes, we were off to Liverpool – the place where my husband got his degree and more importantly, the city where his football team is. Yes, it is his team… hahhaa… The last time we went there… i had to go look it up; it was 2009! Almost 6 years ago! Read about that trip here.
This time the main aim of going to Liverpool was to watch a football match; Liverpool vs Newcastle. Initially, Tobias and i were not going to the match. Walter planning to go with his colleagues and friends. But the match date got shifted and they could not make the new date. So it became a family event 😀
i’m just going to give you a day by day summary of what we enjoyed there.
We landed on Saturday, about lunchtime. Picked up our rental car from the airport, then headed for lunch, settling on the quick and easy option of KFC.
Then it was off to the hotel to check in and rest. We had to get up really early to catch the 7 am train to Geneva for the flight in. And we had all had a late night the night before. So rest was needed.
After our little rest, we ventured out for a short walk and to get dinner. It was decided that we would get fish and chips (a must-have while we were in Liverpool) and bring it back to the room to eat. It made for a quiet evening in. As well as an early night.
The next morning, we headed down for a nice breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast. (There was other stuff too but we like our eggs , bacon and toast.) Then it was a short walk down to the Museum of Liverpool.
This museum opened just a couple of years ago and is a great museum. So very very much to see inside. In my opinion, they had squeezed way too much in there, i hardly knew where to start.
They had exhibits about the docks and the life back then. Exhibits which traced Liverpool’s history to the very early years. A small area which showed off the overhead rail which used to run in the city (it was taken down because the company went burst). There was a special area which highlighted the Beatles story, of course. As well as a whole room tracing the history of the 2 football teams in Liverpool. We got to watch a very interesting film about how one team became 2.
We spent more than 3 hours in there and still had not finished looking at everything. But we were getting hungry and went to find food.
Darling hubby had researched (he doesn’t do that often) and found a lovely place (The Interesting Eating Company) which serves pancakes and scones all day (i love scones!). It took a 15 minute drive to get there but so worth it! And get this, they do gluten-free too!
It was a very rainy day so we just drove around a bit and then decided to visit the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King. We saw it the last time from the outside only. It is absolutely beautiful! Lots of interesting bits inside too.
Dinner was another must-have; authentic Chinese food! We went down to Chinatown and chose a very small family run place. It felt like we were eating in someone’s home. The place could only seat 12 at the most. It was not ‘i-will-keeping-raving-about-it’ food but it was homely and we liked it.
The next day was Match Day! But the match wasn’t till late in the evening. So we spent the morning having a little wander around the Festival Gardens. The feel of it was a very lovely and ambitious project neglected over time. Or maybe it was just the time of day? But there were some nice bits and a little walk along the water’s edge gave us a good view to admire.
Then we crossed the Mersey or actually we went under it and into an area called the Wirral (yes, the English and their strange place names). We visited a lovely little village called Port Sunlight, which was built by Lord Leverhulme for his workers. You can read more about the history of Port Sunlight and Lord Leverhulme here and here.
i really like the village. They have preserved it so well, even the Tudor buildings (i really fancy living in a Tudor house some day). And we also spent time walking around in the museum built by Lord Leverhulme for his wife, the Lady Lever Museum. It houses a lot of the art they had collected over the years. According to a short history written on a display in the museum, Lord Leverhulme loved art, he collected all sorts and filled his many homes with them. The museum shows off just a small portion of his vast collection. There is also a sweet little cafe in the basement of the museum which served traditional great-tasting but rather filling English fare.
Then we headed back to the hotel for a little rest. It was going to be a late night.
At about 5 pm, we dressed in our reds and went off to Anfield!
i had not been to a live football match since i was a little girl and the atmosphere was quite amazing; brimming with the excitement and anticipation of thousands of fans.
Before the match started, a moment of silence was observed in memory of all the fans who lost their lives at Hillsborough more than 25 years ago. The anniversary was just a couple of days after this match.
Then the match started! We sang, we cheered, we oh-ed and ah-ed.
What i found most amusing was the cheers from the Newcastle fans. i have to hand it to them; there were some really interesting rhymes they had come up with, some not meant for children’s ears. i am tickled that someone actually thought up these cheers and people learnt them by heart and everyone shouted it out in unison!
It was so very late after the match and we had to get back to the car of risk getting it shut in the school grounds. So dinner was sandwiches from a Tesco Express, which closed a few minutes after we bought our food!
Needless to say, we had a late start the next day, which was just fine cos we were on holiday. It was to be a day of walking. We decided to walk from the docks, through the city to the World Museum on the other side. This way we saw lots along the way, stopping off at various interesting shops and thrift stores.
The World Museum was spread across 6 floors and was quite interesting. It is not the most exciting museum we have been to, we do go to quite a number. And some of the exhibits were not well-maintained. But it did cover lots of topics, from bugs to bones, underwater creatures to space travel. The cafe did not sell very exciting food but it was enough to satisfy and had a great view of the city.
On the way back, we went into an interesting place, called the Bluecoats. It is a whole building, dedicated to the arts. Artists could rent studios and exhibition space. There were workshops held there and various shops, selling wonderfully hand-crafted items, some very expensive but oh so very pretty!
There is a most amazing bookshop there, a place with lots and lots of books, not just normal books, very old and curious books. The place smelled thrilling – i loved it! We spoke to the owner and found out they had just moved in a few years ago and would even find antique or hard-to-find titles for anyone and they ship internationally! Of course, we took his namecard!
We had bought 6 books for just £12! Most were from thrift stores. We would have bought more if we had the luggage space, especially from that wonderful bookstore mentioned above. And of course we bought some lovely food items too. We even stopped off at the Chinese grocery shop. We then dropped off our stash at the hotel, got into the car and drove to Crosby Beach.
It is a lovely lovely flat expense of beach, stretching for miles! Lots of people were out and about with the family and walking their dogs. There is a nice playground, near the parking area. And then you take a short walk and up a little hill and you can see the sea!
The interesting thing about this beach is the permanent installation art on it. It is called Another Place by Antony Gormley. There are about 100 iron-casted men standing all along the beach and up to 1 km into the water. It represents man standing against nature and in harmony with nature. It was interesting to see.
We had dinner near the beach, at an American-styled pub. Then drove around and looked at the grand and beautiful houses in the area. Last but not least, we stopped and enjoyed the sunset.
Then next day we checked out. Dropped off the car at the airport and took a bus to Manchester where we caught our flight back. Why Manchester? Cos we were using Hubby’s miles to get ourselves a free flight 😉
There were so many other places we wanted to visit, such as the Tate, the Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum, the Fab Four Story, Open Eye Museum etc. And we had planned to ride the Mersey Ferry but didn’t get to it.
It looks like we will definitely have to make another trip 😉