"Congratulations on your book. I read it last fall and truly enjoyed reading your personal story. Miracles are happening all around us; it was a joy to read and take in your personal experience. Best wishes for future success and for your cross-country bike journey this summer."
--Sirrah Medeiros 04/01/2009
====================================================================== "Estimado Rafael: Acabo de leer tu libro "Blessings Given." Maravilloso. You have a great command of the English language and you write so well! It was gripping. PLEASE, keep writing. Consider this only one chapter. We're waiting for stories on Galicia, Czechoslovakia
"Yours is an inspriational story and definitely one that our community should know about...Thank you for bringing your story of survival to us. It does show us how even an unexpected twist of fate can be the huge difference between life and death."
--Lou Ellen Kramer, Program Coordinator, Broward County Library - Weston Branch
A poignant memoir, forcing the reader to touch the tentacles of terrorism through the experience of a young Colombian university student, who, in his own words, soulfully reveals passion for his country, even through tumultuous times.
Opening drawers, the drawers of your life, requires courage, energy and compassion.
Opening the drawers of your life exposes you once again to the raw, the unfinished, the real.
Opening drawers may seem a painful step backwards, yet it is a rebirth, not without pain; a look at the you you were, unfinished, and an appreciation of the you you have become, more complex, yet still incomplete.
Opening drawers reveals experience.
Experience alone cannot effect change.
Experience, combined with a desire to expose, share, and therefore, improve the human experience, transcends.
Rafael opened drawers, and with his book, BLESSINGS GIVEN, transcends his experience, sharing within the covers of this book an intense love for his country of birth, Colombia, the will of its people, the tightly woven fabric of “lo nuestro,’ the timeless beauty of an innocent child and the dedication of humble friends, contrasted with the stark injustice of terrorism and the coming of age of a young man.
The words of Anais Nin, serve us well to understand Rafael’s perspective: “we write to heighten our own awareness of life….we write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection….we write to be able to transcend our life, to reach beyond it,….to teach ourselves to speak with others, …to expand our world…”
Blessing Given is a heartfelt, thought provoking short story that captivates you with each turn of the page. As a United States native having never experienced such fear, it was truly an eye opener. Blessings Given evokes strong appreciation for this country 'USA', and puts into perspective the struggle for freedom and security endured by some and enjoyed by others.
Kara came home with the copy of your book that I could not put down! I must tell you when I saw the cover that is so beautifully done, I was so curious about moon and the boots. Then, I read and read the amazing story of such perseverance and reverence for Entrecaminos and how it reminded you of Santiago de Compostela…The photos provided an important element that makes the story even more vivid for the reader. There is no doubt you titled it most appropriately as there truly were blessings given.
Just finished reading Blessings Given. Cannot tell you how impressed with it I was. Your words captured the environment at the time and through your experiences pinpointed the emotions that clearly were pervasive. It was visual, complete and tantalizing. It is a piece that is expressed personally and informatively giving the reader something very inspirational to leave with. Good luck with your endeavors with Blessings Given.