I read your book and ...
I just finished reading "The Scent of God." I cried at the end. I have never felt like that before with any other memoir I have read. I felt like I was living your life, as you described all the details from when you became a Poor Clare sister, your relationship with your parents, and falling in love with Fr. Vittorio. You endured so much, but had a lot of happy moments as well. I was so happy you and Vittorio had finally gotten married. I'm a romantic. I just wanted to mention, I grew up in Paterson, New Jersey. It was nice to relive your experiences with Vittorio and the children in Hawthorne, a town I know well. You are an amazing woman. I wish you still lived in NJ, I would love to meet you and attend one of your lectures. As a student of Catholic school back in the 60's certain prayers you mentioned, I still remembered. I wish you all the best. --Sandra Cedar Grove, NJ
"Your book, I feel, was placed in my hands at exactly the right moment. Your story, Beryl, touched me deeply, validating that I am precisely where God wants me in West Des Moines, Iowa, being a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a caregiver to birds, squirrels and two domestic rescue cats, and a faithful friend to many. Your courage and conviction to continue in God's path for you is an example for all who are blessed to find and digest your exceptionally written and candidly shared life story. For that I thank you profoundly. -- Shelly Reid Thieman
I just finished your book and wanted to tell you that it is such a wonderful piece of work to read. It is heartbreaking but beautiful. I admire your spirit and wonder at your resilience to survive the tragedies and go on in life. You are such a beacon for people because you just don't give up and drown in your sorrows. -- Sharen Sleater
I just finished The Scent of God. It was a page turner. I loved it. I felt everything you described during your years with Vittorio. Thank you for sharing your love, pain, and life. -- Linda
"I've just this moment finished reading your wonderful memoir. It's a courageous book and an inspiring one. I shall leave a review on Amazon US and UK soon. It's late here in England and I shall be off to bed soon. However, I just wanted to tell you how much I loved your book. Living to the best of our ability, wherever we are is the greatest challenge and, although I knew that in theory and in many ways knew that, your book helped me SEE it in a different and happier light. Thank you for sharing yourself so honestly. I really appreciated that and that more than anything else has truly been an inspiration. --Catherine Kirby England
Though my path has taken me more toward Goddess, Universe, Sacred All, every page resonated with my heart. Thank you.I look forward to reading "A View From the Lake." --Salinda Dahl
Beryl--it was such a plesure to meet you, even briefly, at St. John's, and then to discover your blogs. I look forward to the books. Thank you for the gifts you are offering so generously! --Marilyn McEntyre
I loved reading your memoir The Scent of God. It was selected in our book club by Leah Marcus who met you in Florida this winter visiting her parents. I finished it in 2 days and couldn't put it down. Your writing is absolutely beautiful and the character development was outstanding. I felt like I was right there with you in your descriptions of family life and your adventures in Italy. It was very emotional and I could really sense the height of your emotions and the struggles you have endured. It was quite remarkable and I have already started recommending it to my friends and family. Thank you for your insights and sharing your experiences.
You own the genre of memoir! You gave me the courage to write like I mean it. Your books are a revelation in dead-on, unwavering honesty. Your personal history is simply amazing. In "The Scent of God," as you recount your formative years as a nun, I, the reader, live through you as a young woman struggling with the human condition, wrestling with a divided heart, secreting away a deep yearning for the grace of existence. Your retelling is so candid, your gaze so unwavering and penetrating, my soul winces. But your exquisite eye for detail makes your history a beautiful elegy. This tension between pain like a persistent sore tooth and sensual beauty like a dying man's dream, is what makes the book transcendent. The story is unforgettable and utterly human. You are a hero to anybody with truths to live and tell. I read "The Scent of God," and "View of the Lake," in quick succession and then I thought, "If Bissell can live through that and keep living and write about it and make art, and share the world of the Big Lake with us at the end of the day, well that is a new standard for living." Keep writing, Beryl, keep writing. The world needs you. --With gratitude, Marlais Olmstead Brand
I just finished "The Scent of God" and absolutely loved it. I went to your website and I see that in Pamela Miller's article she says, "Despite more than her share of drama and sorrow, Bissell, now 66 and living in Schroeder." I don't want to seem picky about details, but how can you be 66 if you had your first communion at, it looks like from the picture, age 10 or so? I am going to be 66 and I was born in 1949. (Beryl answers: that's because the article was written ten years ago!) I will be reading all of your books from now. Thank you for a wonderful memoir.
I just finished your amazing story of love. Some can only dream or imagine such a wonderful treasure, gift, blessing. Loss is devastating but how would we feel the good without the bad. Thank you for sharing with us the readers. --Shannon Gannett
As I type this message, I am still overflowing with tears having just finished reading The Scent of God. I'm almost embarrassed to admit I picked my ebook copy up from Amazon's list of free Best Sellers and left it to sit for a month, thinking, "eh, I'll get to it, eventually."
I am a binge reader. In my latest reading frenzy, I finished about ten books in two weeks. Yours capped off the feast. I gave it and only one other book five stars. Although terribly behind in reviewing the books I've read, I'm skipping yours to the front of the line and will work on it Sunday after church.
Ms. Bissell, you have touched me to the very core of my soul through this book and left me with a sublime affirmation of the beauty with which God buoy's our existence. Reading your book was like a communion for my heart. Thank you, for sharing your pain, your joy, your extraordinary life. -- Julia Alexander
I have loved your story, one of love and light and, most especially, courage. -- Caroline W.
I read The Scent of God and absolutely loved it. I'm so anxious for the sequel. Your writing is so beautiful. Like Poetry. You express the raw emotions so well and your descriptions "put me there because of their richness. - Donna B, Lake Park, MN
"I've just completed your book view from the lake. It was a total joy to read each and every one of your stories about life on the shore as my family and I enjoy that area of the world as much as anyone. But the chapter 'A Grief Absorbed' is the one that will stick with me the most because we too lost a daughter, not the tragic way you did but to cystic fibrosis. Your line "My girl is at peace and I no longer have to worry about her safety" is a way I had not looked at my daughter 's passing, but I can now, after 4 long years, say my daughter too is at peace and I no longer have to worry about her suffering. Thank you for your stories and for your insight. – Greg Stacy
I've started a list of friends who will receive your books as gifts. -- Sue Hawkins, Lake Elmo MN
Beryl, I have finally not only ordered but now opened and begun to read The Scent of God. Glad that blogging brought us together. Peace and Hope. --Wayne (Stratoz)
Beryl, thank you for joining us at our Little Canada Book Club (held in Lake Elmo), it was such fun to meet you in person and listen to your stories. In answer to your question, "Would a reader need to believe in God or to be a Christian to read and enjoy this story?"... Not at all! I don't believe in God , but could not put your book down. Can't wait to read View of the Lake and your next book.-- Vicki-Little Canada MN
Wondrous book [The Scent of God]; wondrous love, incredible telling; the love of God ribboned with what you considered frailties, so touching. A privilege to read. I was born Catholic and loved intensely. Didn't become a nun, wanted to at one time. In 1966 at 28 I heard of the Baha'i Faith; and that is my passion, that and loving all. I loved your book. I wish you endless blessings. -- esther bradley-detally author Without A Net: A Sojourn in Russia, and You Carry the Heavy Stuff
While on a recent vacation to Bayfield, Wisconsin, I picked up a copy of your book, A View of the Lake. I have read it and my wife is now reading it. We both have deeply appreciated your observations and thoughts, as well as your readable style. I especially have liked your interest in the people and history of the region. -- Rev.Mark Ebert, Lincoln NE
I just finished reading your book, "View of the Lake." It was such a joy to read. I read about your book in the Lake Superior magazine and purchased it at my local "independent" bookstore (thank you for championing them as they need support in our electronic age). Having been raised in Duluth, I so understand your love of the lake. My dream, too, has always been to have a home (I already have it designed) on the shore of Lake Superior (when I win the lottery!!!). My father was a captain on one of the ore boats you see pass your house so Lake Superior has very special memories for me. I look forward to reading your other book and look forward also to future writings of yours. An avid book reader - Nancy Jappinen, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
I have just finished reading The Scent of God, which the ending has left me in tears. You have such a talent. I am not a writer but am an avid reader and in truth have never enjoyed a book more -- Jan, Lake Worth, FL
The Scent of God has been on my shelf for quite some time and I am so glad I picked it up and read it. I just loved it and was so touched by the honesty and strong feelings that you were able to describe. I look forward to reading other books by you! Thank you so much for sharing you life with me!
I am struck how anyone who reads your books connects with you and your life story. Your willingness and ability to put your life on paper for all to read and reflect on seems to translate into a genuine truth that the person can relate to and then find meaning in their spiritual life. -- Cheryl M, Minnesota
I am enjoying your book about your trials and pleasures relocating to Schroeder. I began reading it on our cruise and though I could have easily finished it in one or two sittings, I am instead drawing it out by treating myself to one chapter at a time . . . I love the chapter where you decided to join the Historical Society and how that one simple decision not only drew you into the community, but gave you the opportunity to meet and learn the history of people, you might not have met for many years and at the same time gave you great stories to write and tell. I have told that story several times (including to my daughter who is struggling to find her path) because it is such a great example of how seemingly small decisions can have major consequences. I particularly like it because both the action and results are very positive. – Bob A, Buffalo
I just finished reading A View of The Lake and wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed it. It is a lovely read and so nice to read about the simple pleasures. -- Nigel M., Ottawa
Your new book, View of the Lake is wonderful! Several of your essays evoked similar experiences and memories which Joanne and I have had in our 20 years on the North Shore. It is a remarkable, intimate and revelatory book. These revelations are less about the lake, and more about you and your simplicity, keen observations, meaningful reflections and insights without pretense or sermonizing. Bravo!-- R. Czeswik, Minnesota
I love this book - it's a glimpse into life on the North Shore, and about fitting in, finding a place. I especially love the walks that Beryl shares with us - in all seasons.This is one book that you absolutely MUST have. You might tear through it all at once, as I did (on the porch looking out at our lake, during a rainstorm, mug of hot tea in hand), or take it slowly (well, who could do this? But I imagine someone might be able to slow themselves down and dole out the goodness).
Beryl has broken the book up into four seasons of learning, and then small, enticing chapters. Each chapter teaches us about something of life on the North shore. I love the chapters on people and community, where Beryl learns to fit in by giving. I love the chapters on wildlife and nature, what she sees on her walks, hikes, skiing, in storms. But I love most what she learns, from being in a new place and adapting. Life is in the small moments, and Beryl captures these exquisitely.
Buy many copies as gifts. It's a wonderful, wonderful book that you'll want to share - but not give yours up!
I couldn't decide if I should "save" this book reading only an essay at a time, savoring each one over many days, or read the book straight through. I tried to read each essay a day at a time but this book is so wonderful I read it through in just a couple of sittings. That is not to say I didn't savor it, as I did, and now I savor the re-reading of the essays for even more pleasure than the first time through.
I only get to the North Shore once a year but with this book I can travel there any time I need a Lake Superior fix.There is a saying that some people come into our lives quickly and go on, others come into our lives, stay a while and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same. This author, this book, is one that will leave footprints on your heart and you will never be the same. I will come back to this book often, whenever I find myself missing the lake and the view. This book is a wonderful gift, the gift of the North Shore, the Lake, anytime I want and the gift of a gentle woman with a passion for life that is contagious. Beryl embraces life and lives it passionately. She is continually learning and finds more ways to get involved and experience things than most of us would and shares them with her readers. This book is a gift to oneself and to any reader in your life.
I grew up on Minnesota's North Shore. I spent all of my childhood and a significant amount of my young adult life mourning my sad existence in a "tourist town." Every day was spent fielding endless questions from haphazard travelers who wonder such ridiculous things as, "Where can I find a campsite without bugs?" and, "How often do you go whale watching," or (my personal favorite), "How old does a deer need to be before it's considered a moose?" Living with cynical, ultra-conservative Northland parents I was doomed from the start to almost resent my northland home. I spent many an hour with my nose buried in various fantasy novels wishing for a more extraordinary existence, not realizing all of the magic that I was missing right outside my door.
It wasn't until recently, when I read "A View of the Lake," did I fully come to appreciate what a wonderful, enchanting environment I live in. Beryl Singleton Bissell's words paint a picture of a beautiful landscape full of whimsical characters. Her delightfully simplistic yet profoundly meaningful stories and anecdotes have transformed my view of Schroeder from being fogged in dull, gray-scale to one overflowing with color. Her "newcomer" perspective allows long-time residents a rare opportunity to rethink their tired views about a place that they've long taken for granted. "A View of the Lake" is a must-read for anyone who has ever wanted to experience North Shore living at it's grandest, and especially for those who have forgotten the importance of appreciating all of the simple joys Mother Nature and kindly neighbors have to offer. ----Oh, one more thing. Beryl, you may not see yourself as a naturalist… but you are. You Are! -- Kim R
I just finished reading "A View of the Lake" and am struck by what a gift it is from the author to all who will read. Reading Beryl's exquisite writing is truly like being vicariously immersed in her life on the North Shore of Lake Superior. The depth, honesty, humility and also humor with which she writes is rare. Many books are readable; this one is to be absorbed and savored more than once. I have purchased another copy to give as a gift, and anyone looking for something to give a reading friend will want to stock up as well. Thank you Beryl....beauty and blessing ooze from the pages of this wonderful book.
I have just started reading Beryl's new book "A View Of the Lake". She truly is a delightful writer, sharing her whimsical, comical, serious, probing side, and mostly, being able to articulate all of it. Her words are like a magical wand. Whatever she taps with her wand, lights up and lives, instead of just being there dormant, existing. It's the little things she sees, and when she taps it, it all of a sudden it gets a life and history with her words. It's just so amazing. My Husband and I have a habit of when we are shopping we tap-tap the surface of it with our fingers, to see what it is made of. Like, is it fake or real? We laugh at each other when we do this, and remark that there we go, 'tap-tapping' again. Beryl does this with everything she sees and hears. A delightful gift. -- Judi S. GA
If you look at something long enough and deeply enough, you become that thing -- this seems to be what Beryl Singleton Bissell and her husband, Bill Christ, experienced in their wild but not rash move from the city to a tiny town on the north shore of Lake Superior. Nothing mattered to them more than the view--not the house, nor the inconvenience of uprooting their more conventional life--to opt for the ever-changing, primitive, sacred beauty of the largest of the Great Lakes. Did they know how they would be changed? The view claimed them. The lake became a teacher and a metaphor for the soul. I knew I ought to stop after each of Beryl's short essays to ponder the deeper waters of wisdom communicated through her descriptions of people, places, and events, but I just kept reading on and on--story after story, insight after insight. I'll come back to this, I promised myself as I turned yet another page. Now I look out my own window. How has my view changed me? How has my soul expanded because of my own environment? What might I become by looking longer, looking deeper? -- Christin Lore Weber
A View of the Lake is a charming book of essays. My first thought was to read one or two a day; but found I could not put the book down until I read the last page. The book is satisfying on so many levels - the graceful way in which the author depicts the beautiful shores of lake Superior, nature, the wild life, the interesting people Beryl encounters along with community involvement. --Anne S
Imagine yourself invited to stay a few days at the lakeside home of Beryl and Bill. Early morning, you are up before the others, sitting at a window facing east, with a cup of fresh coffee cradled in your hands. You are looking into the deep blue soul of the biggest lake you have ever seen, when you spot Beryl's personal journal open on the coffee table where she left it. You know a journal is a private diary, a window to her soul, not for prying eyes. So you do what any well-mannered guest would do; you reach for it and start reading! A View of the Lake is that kind of book.-- John T.
I was patiently waiting for the book "A View of the Lake" to be published and purchased it with great excitement and enthusiasm during our vacation on majestic Lake Superior. I could hardly wait to get started on reading this beautiful and extremely well written book. Beryl's writing style is magnificent! She captures ones full attention with her fun and truthful stories which flow so well that I could imagine myself being in the midst all the places the author mentioned. I sat on the balcony of our condo right on the Lake and read each story with great passion and excitement. I could not put the book down even for a minute. As I was turning the pages I kept thinking "WOW, I purchased a treasure" which I will keep on my coffee table for all our friends and family to enjoy. I even bought several copies to give as gifts. I already know that all the recipients will be fascinated and entertained when reading the "A View of the Lake". It is my all time favorite book which I highly recommend to all readers. - Gabriele B.
While searching for another library book online, I came across The Scent of God and just ordered it out of the blue because it sounded interesting. Now I feel it was meant to be because I loved the book. I also had a hold on your new book, A View of the Lake, without realizing you were the same author! Thank you for writing this wonderful book. So much of it was heartbreaking, but you have led such an interesting life." -- Susan G
Thank you for a View of the Lake. Unintentionally, or perhaps with intent, your book released the power within me -- provided a place where curiosity, problem solving and content exist. Everyone needs a piece of this earth where they go to feel calm, to sort out problems, even if they live miles from water. I picked up this beautifully written book and felt the mist from the great lake. The mist, the words, the intent captured the strength within my heart. -- Lainie F, Texas
I can't wait to read your new book! All the pictures are so-o-o beautiful! And you are so captivating with words describing your journey.What an honor to be contacting the author of this extraordinary memoir. I just finished. You are an amazing woman of God! I was so touched by your story and completely inspired. You have faced many hardships in your life, and the way you tell your story is compelling. I am so thankful to God that He blessed me with the opportunity to read "The Scent Of God". I can't begin to tell you how much of an impact your writing had on me. I will never forget your story, your life as you portrayed it, and your incredible faith. In the Lord." -- Chelsea B, Grand Rapids MI
Your book was lovely. I read it in one day because I couldn't stop, and cried through the last thirty pages. You amaze. I long for your joy in life, your awareness of all its beauty, and I congratulate you on a family well-loved.
I just finished The Scent of God and I can't say enough about it. What a love story! I so enjoyed the way you seemed to be telling me your story, what a great style of writing. I am in awe of your life and feel that I've been introduced to you through your book. – Roy Otto, St. Paul MN
I finally managed to get a copy of your book from the library and could hardly put it down. I laughed, cried and prayed along with you and the other souls you so faithfully portrayed. -- L. Popkes MN
Beryl, thank you for sharing your life with us in such a beautiful and elevating way. I picked up your book while killing some time in Border's in Ashville, NC. The title captured my attention, as I have lived with a "scent of God" all my life...a pure response to such a wonderful love. The book then accompanied me on my first trip to England. There were times I was missing the beautiful countryside because I could not stop reading. As I finish, I'm glad I'm back at home, so my sobbing is at least private. I am so sorry for your tragic losses, yet so glad you embraced such a beautiful love.
You have so accurately expressed the conflict of a pure and devoted love affair with God and the painful disillusionment with His church. While I am not Catholic, I have just completed nursing school at a Catholic college. I have always had a fascination with the Catholic traditions and have grown to love the Sisters as both mentors and friends. I have been seeking God as to the right direction for my career to take, and have been strongly leaning toward oncology. Vittorio's story has moved me. I will carry it with me as I minister to the sick. I've heard that you don't choose books, they choose you. I add the book to shelf of favorites, walking away reminded of our savior's unconditional love. I am inspired by your honesty, strength and genuine faith. I look forward to reading your next book. ~ Donia G Wills, Franlin, TN
I so loved your book, what an amazing style you have, and knowing the author made it even more special. It was interesting to read about your life as a nun since I am Catholic. I think about you often and how we met. I feel like an angel entered into my life, you are filled with joy and peace! Hopefully we run into each other again in the near future. I can't wait for book number 2 by Beryl Singleton Bissell! – Gabriele B. MN
Thank you. My journey had been an intense struggle, from an abused child to and adult, who abused myself. I decided to change, to heal myself. I didn't know prayer, I didn't know God. Along the way I opened to Spirit, now my world consists of blessings and grace. I discovered God is love... And my naive mind, prayed for true love. Thinking I knew what I wanted. I had just discovered God, I had just discovered prayer, I wanted the earthly equivalent... A love to die for. I was sent my son, for the first time I've felt what love truly is... I felt so silly. I'm 30 years old and I had no idea. But I still have this longing for this pure union with a man, a good man, someone who can be a father, someone to share love with. In my healing, I think, I need to let go of this idea, to break this obsession. And I pray and pray for a release from this bond. And then I read your life. In the past two years I've stepped into the light Good God, shared it with my close friend as he died of cancer, pleaded to be given great love, brought forth my son. Given away everything I own, relied on a family that I mistakenly thought had forgotten me, said goodbye to the pain of my childhood and the man who inflicted it, said goodbye to my mother with love and forgiveness in my heart, been bit by a dog, moved 2000 miles, gotten asthma, helped my friend die, and finally settled. Where I've prayed for release from my expectation of love. And then I read your life...and now I know, it's ok to expect great love. Because more than anything, God wants us to have great love. You could have heeded the message you were sent and returned to the convent, I think love would have found you anyway. Love is like water, it always finds its way. Thank you God for answering my prayer, thank you for telling me it's ok. I'm finally giving love, I finally know what it is. Thank you Beryl, for showing me calmer seas. I can't relate to the great sorrows you have felt, I am beginning to relate to the love. Your ability to recognize your many blessings inside of your losses is beautiful. Your memoir gives me hope, that the more I continue to cultivate love, the more will surround us. Your story is love.
I can echo the sentiments of another respondent, "Your book was a spontaneous purchase for me, without any previous awareness of its existence…" In the fall of 2009 I happened to notice your book at Barnes & Noble and I was attracted by the cover and the title - and hooked by the synopsis on the book jacket. For several weeks your book sat in line behind some others, but when I finally started reading it I could barely put it down. I enjoy the memoir genre, and yours is a particularly dramatic and deeply felt memoir. I am not a Catholic and would never have even considered the path of a religious ascetic, but it is a testament to your writing skills that you communicated the essence of your spiritual struggles without making me feel like an outsider. I am very sorry for your losses. In the right hands, your story would make a wonderful movie; have you considered this? Best wishes,-- T.Y.C. Redmond, WA; 1-2010
Your book was a spontaneous purchase for me, without any previous awareness of its existence. I simply saw the title and was intrigued. I, too, look for significance in every moment, and don't believe it was an accident that I picked up your book at this time in my life. Your story is so encouraging and healing to me. I have struggled all my life (I'm 50) to reconcile love of God, church leadership expectations, and passion for life. Your book confirmed my inner knowing; to believe that God is love, that His heart for us is love, and that we can be imperfect (as if we could be anything but!) and still see His loving generosity in our lives. When I read page 73, Prime, I realized I was in the hand of God, that he was using your book to speak to my heart in a myriad of ways. (...no action is ever performed in a void, that everything thought or said or done touches the lives of others everywhere...) My spirit has been fed, encouraged, lightened by what you've shared.
I delighted in the craftsmanship of how the book unfolds. The intermingling of the various times of day and meanings of various prayers, with the daily life. I loved the conflict between the spiritual and the natural, the struggle for the divine while being human. But somewhere in your book I got lost and no longer noticed structure or beautiful writing, I recognized myself and I loved what I saw. How lovely is that? And what a precious gift you've given me.
I cried so many times through your book. The beauty of an idea, the frustrations, the unfulfilled longings. But then your triumphant approach to life, your continued passion and faith, moved me to a well of even deeper weeping. I was astonished at how profoundly I cried at the ending of your book! I was filled at once with grief, compassion, and astonishing joy to see your spirit fly bright. Your words, so vivid and clear, encourage me to choose... To savor every moment, to delight in God's love, and to be love in passionate action. --Sher Powers
"A few moments ago, I finished reading your Scent of God, which I purchased at Barnes and Noble last evening. Being an English teacher, I am a voracious reader and thoroughly enjoy a well-told story and am sometimes moved by what I read. I have to say that no book has ever resonated with me or has left me with such raw and deep emotions as yours has. I connect with your story, your life on so many levels. I do not know you, but today, you have become my friend, and I wanted to thank you for sharing your life with the world. You have given me much to think about for the week ahead, which I will spend alone in meditation and prayer ." – Laura Abington PA
It is 12:05am and I have just finished reading your book through tears. I'm listening to my fingers tap tap tap hoping to let you know how much God has taught me through your book. I had a call on my life beginning in 2005 and was completed by the end of 2006. It was a hard place for me to be because I left my life to follow Our Savior with God promising me to return to it when it was over. I left my life in the world and was heavy into the Spirit of God and following my assignments. Today I have been given what the Lord promised me and In the best way he could ever explain it to me so gentle and real he gave me your story. My question has been how do you choose life when you feel you are giving up on GOD? I often referred to JOB which is how the Holy Spirit taught me to see that now I had twice the life I had before. Still I reflect if I am missing something. I know that God chose life for me because I do not think I had it in me to choose it for myself. I thought it would be the blessed thing to do to try to return but my love of my family and children keep me grounded. Deuteronomy 30:19 I have set before your life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life,....Your story has enriched my life so much and I know that I go forward with the understanding that it's OK. I saw GOD on every page with every stroke and the light shining on my face from the wonderful story. Praise be to God for you...May God bless you over and over and keep you that you may know that God has touched me with you and that you will always be in my heart Beryl you are a treasure...Thank you so much for opening up and sharing this truth with me.
I've just finished your book and could not just put it down and not tell you how inspired I was by all I read. I am not of your faith. In fact you could hardly call me religious. Our family does celebrate our heritage -- holidays, etc. -- but my visits to the temple are rare. My faith is in a God of nature and in the kindness and goodness of most people. I really don't think there's an afterlife, but I hope I'm wrong. There is so much solace in believing that we will meet all of our loved ones once again. My thoughts are that if there is a God, he will understand my doubts. In any case, all of that did not in any way diminish my interest in your story. You are a brave, thoughtful, creative, accomplished woman. Your strife was a human one and you overcame amazing conflicts. You went on to grab life and blossomed by your efforts." -- Syd, Roslyn Heights, NY
Your book was an absolute treasure. I loved every word.
I finished reading "The Scent of God" this morning, and I wanted to write and tell you how much your book moved me. I've read many "ex - nun" memoirs over the years, but never have I read one as filled with faith and hope as yours. What an amazing story! Thank you so much for your book." – Msgr. Tim Stein, PA
I enjoyed your book very much. This is my favorite line: "She only knew that from deep within her a strong and vital spirit was trying to break through the numbing crust of uncertainty, to pursue what was "right" as she saw it, which was to seize this love and give thanks." The story ended like I hoped...I am a strong believer in love. You are such a beautiful person. May the grace of God be with you always. THANK YOU!!! – Marco G.-- San Francisco CA
"Love wing'd my Hopes and taught me how to fly."Author Unknown This phrase from a calendar now bound for recycling resonated with me when I finished reading The Scent of God a few days ago. Thank you for kindly sharing the story of your life with and without Vittorio. The two of you made such a wonderful team, and I feel sad that the Church would have preferred to suffer a great loss rather than allow Vittorio to remain a priest and marry you. Such hardness of heart does not reflect either God or our Christ. I'm not Catholic yet have often wondered how priests and nuns, men and women who I thought surely after spending so much time with God must know/recognize love when they experience it, were not able to have a love of their own. Your story assured me that despite obstacles, some of them do indeed experience God's gift. Hopefully your son has learned by now that his mom and dad were simply two human beings to whom love came, unbidden as it always does, and who confident in God's grace embraced it and each other. J'aimee, Columbia, MO
Hi Beryl, After visiting your blog, I came here and learned what I never did in gather. Reading your biography, I am in owe of you and your strength. Your path was not easy but your soul found the light which you are sharing with others. You have a beautiful web site and I love the red writing shed. I will come often to find more of you. joy and light all the way from Greece. Marinela http://marinelakotsina.webs.com
I just read your book the scent of god. I am very sleep-deprived as I could not put it down for hardly a minute. It is beautiful. -- Anne S, MN
Wow! I just finished reading your wonderful book, I started it yesterday morning and was not able to put it down until it was finished! Thank you for such a candid memoir and your insights into monastic life. I was very naïve to the life of a nun until I read your book, I have not stopped talking to people about it. I am an absolute book worm, we were just away for Christmas – I read 6 novels. Even though it is only January, your book will go to the top of my best reads for 2009 list. -- Tara W. Surrey Canada
I've had [your] book for well over a year...but it just seemed that everyone who visited the house over the past year, saw the book and asked to borrow it. At times "the scent" has boarded, somewhat like you, in various houses for months. It went to Ireland with my sister Fran, then to China with my sister Anne, off to San Francisco with my cousin Terry. He just returned it the other day.....so today, I decided, after hearing all these positive reviews from my relatives, it was about time I, too, read it. -- Elizabeth E., Boston
Beryl, I just finished your book about 3 hours ago. I was deeply touched by it. I feel that God put your book into my life at this time because your faith and truth spoke directly to my heart. Some books will stay with you forever, and yours truly is one of those books for me. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing journey with us. I wish you much love and joy in all the days to come. With great tenderness, --Gina
Loved your book,, just knowing we have a great author right here in Minnesota. God Blessing to you. --Jan Schroeder, Waseca MN
A reader's update: When I started reading your memoir, I was riveted instantly by the narrative. You write beautifully and with such emotional honesty. I nearly missed my subway stop that day because I had become so immersed in your story. The day I finished your memoir, I was left with such a heaviness in my heart. I had fallen in love with you and Vittorio and found myself cheering you both on. By the end, I was in tears. I kept thinking that Vittorio would have loved your book and the tenderness you show in your writing. I experienced grief for what both of you and your children had lost, but also exuberance over what you and he had triumphed over. I look forward to your next book. Thank you for sharing your story. --Delia www.girlssentaway.com www.redroom.com/member/deliacabe
In my search to find authors who have written about their experiences at a girls' Catholic boarding school, I found your site online. I am eager to read your book and will look for it in Cambridge, MA, where I've noted that you've done a reading. Now a freelance writer, I was sent away to St. John's Villa Academy on Staten Island in 2nd & 3rd grade. I'm chronicling that experience on my blog, "Girls Sent Away," which you can visit at girlssentaway.wordpress.com. I hope you'll drop by! Meantime, I look forward to reading your book, "The Scent of God." Best, Delia redroom.com/member/deliacabe
I just finished your book sitting on my deck, in the sunshine, with a big gray cat on my lap. I wished your book would go on and on - I miss it already. You hit the nail on the head with the many gray areas of spirituality, faith, church and self. You wove all of these beautifully, while speaking to the heart of a woman. Life is so full of blessings and sorrows. Your book reminded me and filled me with peace that we are all on a similar journey - searching, finding, losing, loving, laughing and crying...and through it all, God is always there is his many, many forms.-- Molly Peterson, Northfield, MN
I can't begin to say how thrilled I was to find your memoir during an Amazon.com search - I rushed out to buy it and read your entire story in one day. I'm a former cloistered nun myself, and your story so accurately explores the feelings and emotions as well as the desires and the longings that motivate a woman to give her life to God that I could not stop crying the entire time I read it. The desire for perfection that you experienced as a religious woman seems like such a good thing, yet as you tell us all in your story and your life, the thing that makes life so beautiful are its imperfections. Thanks for sharing how your own struggles, sufferings, and humanity have made you the admirable and beautiful woman that you are. --Mary C., Peoria, IL
I have read over 400 memoirs and yours was one of the very best. It is an amazing experience to see life through another's eyes. I was caught off guard by the ending and was sobbing when my nine year old daughter got up from the computer and wrapped her arms around me. I am deeply sorry for your loss. When it comes to our children the pain can be overwhelming. My seven year old son has autism and the pain and the love go hand and hand every day. Thank you for having the courage to share your story. I hope you are working on your next memoir, I know you have much more to say!-- Deborah Fordin Long Island, NY
Your book was truly mesmerizing and emotionally moving as I sat up until 4:00 a.m. one evening. It was sculptural and textured in a way that made it visual for me. And, of course, I identified a lot with the strivings and history of perfectionism and fears that I learned as a child as well." -- Jackie S, Bovie MN
I recently read your book and could hardly put it down. It is so well written. I love your use of the English language. I can't wait for you to finish your next book.-- Katy G, Sun City West
I just finished reading your book (while on vacation in Arizona) and couldn't put it down. It is so full of life, passion, self-reflection, etc. I really learned from it and enjoyed it and can't wait to read your articles. – Shawnee K., MN
Hello beryl, I wanted to say thank you for writing your memoir. I have enjoyed it so very much. I have been touched and blessed reading you and Vittorio's story, I found myself suspicious of him, wondering if you were going to waste your life loving a man who wanted it all. What a wonderful story of your journey through life with the lord, indeed throughout your story there is the scent of a loving and unfathomable god. Thank you for sharing your story beryl. – Vicki C, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Your book was so moving, I loved it and will read whatever you write from now on. I wonder sometimes how you and Vittorio kept your faith through it all.
The Scent of God lived up to and surpassed every glowing comment I had read about it beforehand. I felt as if I had walked with you every step of your remarkable journey. Your sensitive and honest portrayal of such multi-faceted emotional and spiritual issues, and the paths down which God took you and your family, have blessed my heart. --Christine H – Little Rock AR
I just finished your unbelievable book The Scent of God. I could not put it down. Neither could my two girlfriends who recommended it, so you're now making the rounds in Summit, NJ. I just wanted to write and tell you how touched and inspired I was by your story. I actually think it's made me think about my relationship with God a little more as well." – Julie M, Summit NJ
Being Catholic, and now just discovering the content, and yes I waited till I mailed my entry to find out, (Catholic upbringing would not let me cheat, Loretto nuns, whom I adored) has let me know this is a "must read" for me. I almost became a nun, until hormones over took me as a Freshman in High School, and I determined my "calling" was all a romantic notion in my mind, and in reality it did not exist. I did not ever have the shared love of faith with any man I met, and soon lost all hope of sharing it with anyone due to life and the situations in it. Including the kidnapping of my youngest son, by his father. I have tried to write of it, and maybe this book will give me the courage to do so. And finally publicly express my faith, without the guilt I feel for what happened in my life, although many could have helped, due to who his father was, no one did. He remained gone from the time he was three, until he was almost in High School. And I again had to seek God to deal with what his Father had done to us, my children, his brother and sister, and myself, Mother and "lost woman", whom all suffered at the hand of this man. Maybe I will win a copy of the book. If not, I shall try to procure it in the city, when I get there, or off the net as I can afford it, as I am now a disabled old lady, with many memories, but a very active soul, still connected to our Maker. He is the only one that can repair my heart, and I hope your book opens a new door to finding Him. Thanks, --Ellen B from Gather.
I am one of the fortunate women you spoke with at Jessie's book group. Your thoughts have been rolling around in my head since Thursday night and I know I'll carry many of them for a lifetime. I don't know when I've been so inspired...both by your book and then by your "presence" with us. You were truly "there" for us. It was hard to believe, that through that simple telephone in the middle of the table, we could all share such an intimate experience. I felt myself swept up in your soothing voice and beautiful words, almost as if I was being carried along with you on that river you described. I've been telling everyone about you and your book. Your message is truly enriching lives." -- Tammy B, White Pine, MI
Couldn't wait to finish it, but didn't want it to end! -- Peggy S. of Green Bay, WI
I just read your book and I believe God meant for me to find that link and read your beautiful, courageous and thoroughly inspiring story. It captures all of the elements of your experiences so exquisitely: your faith, despair, struggling to divine God's will for you (pun intended, I think!), and your ability to find joy and peace even in those moments of heartache. I truly admire you and your journey."– Laura G, New Brighton MN
Your story has freed my heart from the cage of my own experience. Imprisoned feelings fly like flocks of white doves into the healing light. This is a turning point for me. How can I ever thank you. -- Natalie N.
What a treasure your book is. I finished the book in two days and will pass it on to my daughters and my mother to read. As Catholics we tend to put those in religious life on a pedestal and expect perfection from them - and we can be quite unforgiving when there is failure. Your book reminds us that even those who may appear to fail in their vocations can still have great faith and love to share. I also think you did a wonderful job of helping readers understand the real purpose of cloistered life - I have never been able to answer that question for myself or others before reading your book." -- Susan, Superior WI
Last night I finished your book, The Scent of God. I was grateful that this one time I was not sitting on a train snatching a few pages. Last night's conclusion left tears streaming down my face -- an emotion I was earlier on able to control by swallowing and averting my eyes away from the pages. I felt my faith in God elevate as I saw such a loving Being through your life. I wish with all my heart that many who see the church as scarred and thus turn their backs on God will find the reality of your message -- flawed humans doing their best to lead others into His arms. Flawed humans doing God's work. -- Heather B
I have just such a respect for your ability to open up and give us such an insight into a life that is most foreign to my own staid Lutheran Scandinavian upbringing! With all of life's twists and turns, sorrow and joy, I still felt that I could relate to you--again my thanks for your sharing with us your story -- Marlys C
I found myself riveted by this story which moves in and out of Puerto Rico, New York and Italy, through a long search to define the meaning of faith and to work past the many obstacles encountered along the way. This remarkably fast-paced book, for all its emphasis on a contemplative life, is jammed with intense experiences all lived before the age of forty, and it is so well-written that it immediately establishes common ground with any reader. I give it my highest recommendation. -- Gerry W
Thank you and God bless you so richly. Amidst the flood of emotions I have felt for the past 2 weeks while reading your story, I fell in love with Vittorio along with you, Beryl. And... I fell in love with his country, His God and His children through your eyes. You are the Potter's clay..... thank you for sharing your journey. I'm passing your story on to my mother. She's about your age and has heard me speak of you.
I recently read your memoir and was blown away. It was one of the most intriguing and inspiring books I've read in quite some time. -- Jennifer S., PA
I was so thrilled with your book. Your prose is pure poetry. -- Anne B., Florida
I was much taken by your concise and straightforward simplicity and economy of expression. It was truly a lovely, lovely book, and I'm so glad I read it. There was no slant, no agenda, just a simple, honest and beautifully told story. –- Martha G., Kentucky
I finished Scent of God a few nights ago--it is so charged with energy that it's been keeping me up! Especially the last fourth of the book I found rich and evocative of change and loss and love and ITALY and of course Italians. Lush writing, but honest too. Your portrayal of your mother in all your empathy and concern does not hide the difficulties she created in and around you. This certainly strikes a note of similarity in me, my own mother being the same (actually I suspect much worse) mix of demanding criticism and necessary guidance. But it is your love for Vittorio and the life you made together in the midst of his dying that I can't get out of my mind. Like the way a dark sky enhances and deepens colors, his illness and dying intensified into jewel tones your surroundings, the adorable childish moments, and your passion for this man. Splendid portrayal. Thank you so much. -– Margot Galt, Minneapolis, MN
I just read your book, "The Scent of God." I was so surprised. It is hard for me to find books that I really want to read all the way through. Yours captured me. I am so glad you wrote it. So many of your experiences spoke to me. I laughed and cried with you on your journey. Thank you for your book. --Lesley M, Washington
I had not heard of your book until it was selected for or neighborhood book club. I could not put the book down. I am what I describe as a liberal Catholic, and I felt so moved by what you and Vittorio had to go through. Then when I got to his illness and death, I could barely finish. I lost my dad in February to Pancreatic Cancer and the description was so vivid that it broke my heart. You are such a survivor! I hope never to experience the heartache you have had to endure and the guilt I'm sure you have suffered, despite the happiness that it all may have stemmed from. I look forward to your next book and wish you much joy!
Thank you for The Scent of God. You wrote so honestly about the illusions and devotion of a young but serious faith, the struggles of spiritual and psychological growth, the realities of natural human longings for love and for all the joyful pleasures this world offers. The very best part about reading your book is the witness it is to the faithfulness of our loving God. It was so good to read about your confidence, even on the roller coaster, that we are cherished by our Maker just as we are, no matter what. -- Donna-Jean B., Toronto
I just finished reading your book that I selected for our neighborhood women's book club this month, and I can't wait to meet with the group later this month and share our thoughts about it. I'm happy to find your website today and discover the discussion questions, the follow up on the convent sale, and your blog. Your book has held me captive for the past week, and I highly commend you on your skill as a writer, your honesty, and your devotion to your family and your God. Your words brought me to tears many times, and I feel as if I have truly walked in your sandals!" -- Sonna R.,TN
Dear Beryl, I went to Borders on my day off and I browsed through the books when I came upon your "Scent of God". I read the back cover and it mentioned that you lived in Puerto Rico and I, being Puerto Rican and having lived in Puerto Rico, was immediately captured. I found a comfortable seat in the Literature section and began to read and read and I couldn't put the book down. Thank you for sharing your story and for the courage to share it with all the details. I am going to recommend your book to my sisters who usually pick a Book to read during their Reunions.-- S. Colón, NYC - CT
A friend of my mother's gave me your memoir to read. I just started it today. I also went to Airmont School. In fact, I have a brick from it. They were giving them away. The place were the school once stood is now a strip mall and the town (or village) I live in is known as Airmont. Small world isn't it?
I have lived your book. I have gone back to Italy, I have felt what you were going through. You are a great story teller. -- Rita R. , San Juan PR
Beryl, I loved your book! I couldn't put it down... I read it in two days, neglecting my own work and I'm afraid, my dear husband. You have a wonderful way with words and an incredible story to tell. Thank you for sharing it with the world! It ranks among the best memoirs I've ever read. I included a mention of it in my blog on March 16. (http://rachellegardner.blogspot.com/) Thank you for an amazing reading experience! -- Rachelle
What a wonderful book -- I literally could not stop reading till I finished. Thank you!
Thank you for sharing your story of God's amazing love. I didn't want this book to end. -- Paulette, Northwood, ND
It is 10:00 pm and I just finished your book. What a wonderful journey to share. Your journey feels like mine, as I'm sure others have said as well. I so appreciated your openness concerning anger and frustration with the church and how we somehow can still reconcile with and accept it. The dying you experienced with Vittorio reminded me of my caring for my wife during her final months and at being with her in the last minutes of her life. Once one has had the "opportunity" to experience those moments, life can never be the same. Thanks for the inspiration to tell our own stories. -- Steve L., MN
Beryl - I just got through reading your book. It's such an inspiring story of faith and love. I myself have am still discerning the call to religious life. I'm a pre-novice for the Marianist Order, and your book is such and encouraging story of perseverance, faith and unconditional love. I will treasure it. Peace -- Brandon A
I have just finished reading your book 'The Scent of God' and had to write and tell you how much I enjoyed it. Your writing style had me captured from the first page. I felt as though I was reading a beautiful touching novel rather than a true story. Your writing had a way of absorbing me into each location, event etc. The honesty with which you wrote about your life was breath taking - thank you so much for writing such a wonderful book. I didn't want it to end. -- Felicity W., Ontario
Your book moved me to tears many times and on two occasions I had to just put it down for a day or two (it's too difficult to read through eyes welled with tears and a lump so big in your throat that swallowing felt like a meatball trying to slide down a straw!) My sister came to visit from L.A.. She's an avid reader and finished her own book two days before she was to leave. I gave her your book for the night. She said memoir wasn't really the type of book that she enjoyed, but it was the only option I offered so she took it. She ended up taking it home with her to finish and called and told me she loved reading it! I easily turn an e-mail into a tome and I apologize for that. I just really want you to know that I loved "Scent of God", plan on re-reading it and will pass it on to 3 more sisters of mine. I love how you write, express yourself and how you make visualizing things so easy. -- Olga B., NJ
I was number 54 on the 160-person Hennepin County Library waiting list for your book when a good friend loaned me her parents' copy. (We were going on a hiking trip together, and that book was my one desire for reading in the mountains. Having read it, I'll be buying my own copy next paycheck!). I hope that everyone who's read your book has not besieged you with emails, as I am doing, but I wanted to ask that you add me to your newsletter email list. And also to tell you that of the thousands of books I've read, yours is one of the very best. Thanks for your book; it was truly a journey and joy to read. -- Denise H., Minneapolis
Both my husband and I read your most interesting book and neither one of us could put it down. It was so well written! You have accomplished a very sincere portrayal of an exquisitely sensitive soul in search for love. Never in a million years could I have imagined all the grief you have suffered in your life. Thank you for writing your story with words that genuinely came straight from your heart. It will surely help many people to carry the burdens that they must bear in their lives. -– Eileen C., Puerto Rico
Well I must say reading the sent of god was a delight. Thank you for sharing your story. It is comforting to read that others share similarities in life, God bless you and those so dear to you. -- Mike P.
Sometimes you meet the right person, hear the right words, and read the right book at a time when part of your world has caved in. When I met you heard you speak , I had just learned that my oldest son had been diagnosed with cancer. I read your book straight through, and found your courage throughout your husband's illness and alter your beloved daughter's death more than inspiring. Your constant faith and joy in living struck a chord in my own soul. This is just a note to thank you for writing this book, and for your brilliant expression of human emotions which are part of all of our lives.-- Jinny H., MN
I stayed up half the night last night finishing your book, "the Scent of God". I could not put it down. I ordered my copy only a very few minutes after I read David Rochester's blog post regarding your book and I am so glad I did. I want to thank you for sharing the intimate details of your life with your readers. What I found the most remarkable about your book was how I was able to visualize so much of what was going on, as if I was there. I think that is the mark of a truly gifted writer. I commend you for your courage in giving this book to the world with such dignity, honesty and beauty. This book is one I can say will live with me as if I had heard the story from your lips to my ears. -- Rachel H., Edmonton, Alberta
Beryl, I wanted to say how much I thoroughly enjoyed your book. I was so very touched by your story. I was captivated by your love for Vittorio and could not stop trembling with tears as I read through the pages of his death, and was then devastated to read about the death of your daughter. I cannot imagine the pain you have endured, but what joy must have come as well from these wonderful people in your life. You are a wonderful writer and I hope that you continue your story. -- Alesha, Georgia
Beryl: I loved your book and am anxiously awaiting your next work. Thank you for graciously sharing your time and talent with our book club. -- Stacy Broman, Inver Grove Heights
I finished your book, and found it to be one that I couldn't put down…didn't want to do anything but read last Saturday morn. Your honesty and at times raw emotions, I found very powerful. Your book was one that gave me thought to my own family dynamics, life decisions that I have made, and my (our) relationship with God. You put yourself out there-completely I think. Thank you for sharing yourself. -- M Johnson, Taylor Falls MN
Ten minutes ago I finished reading your memoir. Though I am not Catholic, your honesty, so candid and refreshing, reminded me of a time when I too was exasperated and furious with God. This incredible journey of love, forgiveness, suffering and joy, for me, is often inexplicable; yet you managed so eloquently and simply to convey these deep sentiments in less than 300 pages. What a wonderful and anointed read!! -- Judith, Canton MI
Your book was recommended via e-mail by my local library under "Religion and Spirituality" books. I picked it up yesterday and finished it in a day. It is such an extraordinary memoir. I have about fifty friends that will relish it as I did! I, too, am the product of Catholic schools and toyed with the nun vs. marriage choice, and opted for the latter. Your writing is so readable and your love of God so apparent that it was an inspiration to find someone who expressed what all "good" Catholic girls experience. Really, I cannot say how impressed I was with your writing and how much I loved the book. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. -- Yvonne H, Cupertino CA
After reading Cornwell's "Seminary Boy", and Armstrong's "Spiral Staircase", and a number of other memoirs by priests and nuns, yours struck me as particularly touching. Just wanted to know how your story touched me. It was told with candor, without the idealization and revisionism that the past tense often brings to the present tense. "Scent of God" is a book that stands in chiaroscuro, shining its whiteness of hope, in stark contrast to "The Year of Magical Thinking" and its blackness of despair. –- Terry S. IL
I am OVERCOME. The Scent of God is such an overwhelming adventure of love and loss and love and ongoing revelation. I cannot believe you have survived it and then were able to tell all of it. It is a story all grown up Catholic Girls should read and all 40-90 year olds should read for it tells the story of God's love and how it is always there, always teaching us where to lean, where to learn and where to live and how to live. I think this book needs to be in every parish book club and be discussed chapter by chapter." –- Janie J, MN
"The Scent of God" really touched me very deeply. I reminisced about my education in a convent school in Quebec, and relived the loss of my husband and son. Thank you for a very moving experience. -- Pat Ciochetto, Grand Marais, MN
Thank you for the most wonderful book I have ever read. For your honesty and most of all, sharing such love with me and so many. For months, I have been wishing for a book such as The Scent of God. I have been spending time wishing, praying, talking while running along, and not really believing I would find this book I longed to find (but knew was forthcoming and yes, we always have reasons and there are reasons for my longing!). God gave me much more than I expected when He said, "here you go, read this..." Always being active in the church in one way or another and desperately seeking the to understand the love of God (I was raised Missouri Synod Lutheran, I am also half Red Lake Indian and half Finnish - caught in two worlds per se), for the first time in my life I believe I caught a real, true glimpse of what God's unconditional love really looks like in someone, really feels like ... this because I felt such love for God and people emanating from your heartfelt words. I was never left feeling hopeless, covered with guilt, surrounded by my own weaknesses and sins...I felt good and full of love myself! This is unlike most other Christian works that I read. Those focused on sin and weaknesses, fear and my doomed reality ... I have so many ongoing questions about God and real love, what it looks like, whether I am wrong to hope and pray for the truth as it really exists ... To you, thanks for being a part of the ongoing answers that I find as I journey along. You touched my life in a way you will probably never fully know, as I am sure you have done to so many. I am grateful and have been telling everyone to read your book! -- Annamarie, MN
I heard your interview on MPR a few weeks ago and rushed to buy your book. I have just finished devouring it this weekend, and I am writing to thank you for sharing your story. I appreciate that you shared it with such candor and humility, and that you framed such a beautiful picture of God. Sometimes I need reminders such as your book to remember that indeed the scent of God is evident in every aspect of my life, not least of all in its struggles. You're not the only one who tends to see a sign in everything . . . I believe that finding your book was one for me. A reminder that life is more than it seems. Thank you again. -- Ann S, Milaca