On May 22, 2011, an EF-5 Tornado struck Joplin, Missouri destroying much of the community. Danielle C. Stammer retells her amazing story as she and her family barely escape, as some call it, “The Finger of God”. This book will tug at your heart. You feel for the family as you try to imagine the horror they went through and how they rebuild their lives from not one but two tragedies. I enjoyed the book but miss the detail. The book seems hurried and not fully thought out. I’m sure hearing Danielle in person would be a special treat. The book needed to be written for no other reason then to release the emotional energy trapped inside Stammer. Danielle and family have relocated to Jefferson City, Missouri.
Kate Winslet did the English voice narration for a documentary on autism, A Mother’s Courage (aka The Sunshine Boy) and learned of a whole other world of people who are intelligent and vital but unable to communicate through normal means. She met the filmmaker, Margret who filmed her own story with her autistic teenage son who wasn’t able to communicate until he was 10 through the use of a typing letter board.
Winslet wanted to create awareness of autism and to share some of what she had learned it might be like to be autistic or to be the parent of an autistic child. Kate Winslet’s daughter saw the documentary and asked if Kate could imagine not being able to hear her say, “I Love You Mommy.” Winslet knew she needed to do something. This book was born. She shares emails between herself and Margret, first words and photos from people with autism and asked friends and others famous people to pass her well known hat around with a digital camera and to take a photo of themselves with the hat and sent it on with a quote summing up something important they would wish to express if they only had a few words after not being able to communicate for years.
A moving story about one family’s struggle to “stay the course” and follow God’s will for their lives and ministry despite dangerous opposition from one wealthy member of the community who is also their neighbor. Shootings, bombings, threatening mesages… none of this made the pastor and his family leave the church and community that begged them to stay until one fateful night when the author was 7 years old. The daughter of the pastor Rebecca tells us her story and fills in and verified her memory using court documents, interviews with adults who were also there, newspaper accounts etc. Despite the anger directed at them the parents continued to forgive their neighbor and young Rebecca learned that forgiveness is truly the only way to move on and heal. Honest but uplifting.