Dear Deb: A Woman with Cancer, a Friend with Secrets, and the Letters That Became Their Miracle by Margaret TerryDear Deb: A Woman with Cancer, a Friend with Secrets, and the Letters That Became Their Miracle by Margaret Terry

Dear Deb: A Woman with Cancer, a Friend with Secrets, and the Letters That Became Their Miracle

byMargaret Terry

Paperback | October 8, 2012

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"I want you to know that if my illness inspired you to write these stories, the cancer was worth it."—Deb

What stories could possibly make cancer worth it?

Stories that represent a miracle—a lifetime of miracles. Stories that changed the writer as she wrote them and stories that will touch the heart of the reader, one by one by one. Stories that are not just stories.

They started out as words of encouragement to a dying woman. They turned into a collection of sparkling and intimate moments, pulled from the past to finally be understood and shared with new meaning.

Story by story, letter by letter, Margaret Terry uncovered powerful pictures in her own life of the one truth that could help carry her friend Deb from this life to the next: God is at work.

Together, Deb and Margaret found renewed hope in all the ways God shows up right to the very end. Which is where they found the miracle they'd been praying for all along. In each other.

Margaret Terry and her sons live in Ontario, Canada, where she still stops by the side of the road to pick the Queen Anne’s lace. Her favorite thing to do is cook for family and friends and sit around the table telling stories.
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Title:Dear Deb: A Woman with Cancer, a Friend with Secrets, and the Letters That Became Their MiracleFormat:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 8 × 5 × 0.7 inPublished:October 8, 2012Publisher:Thomas NelsonLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1400204372

ISBN - 13:9781400204373

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Joy of Sharing our Story with Another Many of us have experienced the struggle of knowing how to help in time of crisis. Margaret Terry used what she had, the gift of sharing her stories, to bring hope and encouragement. What a great reminder that the truest form of friendship is sharing our lives, in all their imperfection, with one another. Book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and Thomas Nelson publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Date published: 2013-09-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly Recommend Dear Deb, by Margaret Terry, displays the power of vulnerability in brilliant colour. When faced with the difficult task of supporting a friend battling cancer for the second time, Terry offered her only treasure: herself. With transparent honesty, in letter upon letter to Deb, Terry shares her own heartache and the faith that found her. As Terry writes of an unexpected divorce, the pain of growing up with broken parents, the pain of loneliness and her struggle to believe, Terry's vibrant stories emerge with beauty and courage. Dear Deb offers the reader an invitation to enjoy Rooney Lake where you can frolic with the boys at the end of the dock, snorkeling with glee. Shiver along with Terry in frosty Minnesota and experience the relief of finding home at your kid sister's table after a disorientating move back to Canada. With vulnerability and purpose, Terry offers stories of the heart with an invitation to do likewise. Dear Deb is a treasure to read and enjoy. I highly recommend you spend a pleasant afternoon enjoying the rich currency of this author's heart
Date published: 2013-09-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Spilled Box of Photos I dreamed one night that as I walked, I bumped into a woman, spilling a box of photographs she was carrying. I quickly stooped to help pick them up. Many were pictures of lake and sky, kids huddled under a blanket with a book, lemonade on a cottage veranda, a child with a five dollar bill looking at a Barbie doll in the store. The kinds of things you might expect. But some were odd. One picture was a field of small white flowers. “A picture of weeds?” I asked, attempting to joke with this stranger. “”Queen’s Lace,” she explained, naming the flower. “They look so delicate, so fragile. Yet they are strong. They can grow anywhere. When I see Queen’s Lace, I remember that people who look weak are sometimes quite strong, and that what at first glance appears to be a weed, is in fact a beautiful flower.” She reached for another picture. “Uncle Bill’s church!” she said with a smile. All I saw was a pine tree that had been felled long before the picture was taken. She picked up a picture of a white porcelain cereal bowl that still had milk and grape nut cereal in it. She stared at it, lost in thought. I was going to joke, “You must really like cereal,” but I saw a tear starting to form in the corner of her eye. I pretended I didn’t notice, and let her put the picture back in the box without comment. One was an incredible action shot, taken from the inside of stone bouncing off a window. “Quite a picture!” I said. “Yes,” she said. “It is amazing what good friends will do.” She didn’t say more, but her look softened warmed as she looked at, as if the sun had come out from behind a cloud. I picked up one picture and could make no sense of it. Muffin crumbs, a crumpled napkin, and a pink pacifier on the floor of a coffee shop. “I am always pressing the button and taking pictures by accident,” I said, wanting to bond over an obvious blunder. “Oh, it’s no mistake” she said. “You never know what you will be looking at when your life." I imagined what it would be like to sit down with this woman and hear her tell the stories behind the pictures. Some of them, I was sure, would get a laugh. Others would bring a tear to my eye. Through these pictures, I would get to know this woman from the inside, through her joys, her pains, her fears, and her triumphs. Reading Dear Deb was exactly that kind of experience. Getting to know Margaret Terry through her letters to Deb was a heartwarming experience that left me with much to think about. I would encourage anyone to read this book.
Date published: 2013-08-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Darling Little Blessing Dressed In Blue! Just beautiful. I'm pretty sure I cried no less than 10 times during the reading of this! It's tender and honest. The vivid descriptions and vulnerability left me craving more of Margaret's stories. This is not the type of book I'm normally drawn to (I tend to loose myself in campy fiction rather than pick up something that might pull at my heart strings) but it's a darling little blessing dressed in blue! A beautiful reminder that there are miracles all around us all the time!
Date published: 2013-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Honest and Inspiring "Dear Deb" has touched the hearts of myself and many or my friends. Margaret's honest, inspiring and heartfelt stories of faith, hope and love took us on a journey of the miracle of friendship and sharing that grows and inspires beyond our wildest dreams.
Date published: 2013-05-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Chicken Soup for the Soul? This is a hearty Beef Stew for the Spirit! If you enjoyed reading the stories laid out in the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, you will absolutely LOVE Dear Deb. Each and every story in this book is real, honest and heartfelt. The difference? Dear Deb is written by a singular woman; Margaret Terry opens her heart and shares her life in a series of letters that are each an individual stand-alone story that together allow the reader to explore a life lived. A life lived with joy, sorrow, hope and grace. Dear Deb is a gift to readers who enjoy strong character based, easily relatable books that have you hooked on the first page.
Date published: 2013-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I Loved this Book! These letters touched my heart, making me both laugh and cry. Loved reading the stories and the miracles that shone through.
Date published: 2013-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A BOOK TO LOVE AND SHARE! I have read and re-read Dear Deb over and over and never tire of it. It is the kind of book that you can open anywhere and be inspired and touched no matter how often you pick it up. If you are alive and breathing, this is a must read! It's a great gift to everyone you know, and even those you don't know. I bought two extra copies as 'loaners' to lend out to friends. The messages of Dear Deb of facing down fear, surviving life's terrible disasters and trials, the wonder and joy of children, and growing in faith every day are universal. It is medicine to the soul. Margaret Terry is an amazing wordsmith who writes with such intense honesty and beautifully vivid imagery, it touches your heart in its deepest places. This book is a real gem! enjoy!
Date published: 2013-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from the BEST book of letters and a real life "I learned the most tender, private things in our heart's have the most universal appeal..." (fr. the book) This describes exactly why I loved this honest, courageous book! I could relate to almost everyone of Terry's 55 letters to her dying friend. From stealing a pair of sunglasses at Target because she was so angry at her husband for abandoning his family to lighting candles for her sick mother at Westminster Abbey, Margaret knows how to weave a story and make the reader feel they are right there with her. Her letter about forgiveness packs a punch without being preachy or forced. This is a writer who is first and foremost a storyteller. What a gift these letters must have been to her dying friend. They are sure a gift to me. This is a book that will be around a long, long time.
Date published: 2013-03-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thank You! What a wonderful tribute to Deb! Loved the book!
Date published: 2013-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A keeper! This book is like a good friend. You attach yourself to the stories. You become connected to the people. You might put the book away for a short while, but then quite quickly feel a strong desire to pick it up again, just to reacquaint yourself. And, like an old friend, you just pick up where you left off.
Date published: 2013-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A book that I will always keep close. I just finished reading Margaret Terry's "Dear Deb". It was such a beautiful collection of eloquently written stories. I honestly couldn't put it down (just ask my family). I always measure a good book if it makes me laugh or cry and this book made me do both! I recommend this book to all. Thank you, Margaret, for touching and enriching my life and the lives of so many with your beautiful writing.
Date published: 2013-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dear Deb This was an amazing collection of letters. I couldn't put it down. I looked forward to reading each next story. As I read each story, I looked more forward to the next. Margaret, you are an amazing author, and I look forward to many more stories to come.
Date published: 2013-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Extraordinary Ordinary Life is profoundly beautiful no matter what, and Margaret Terry knows this in her very core. She sends letters to a woman dying of cancer and believing in a miracle, creating a tapestry of intimate , ordinary, and redemptive stories. She shares her struggles, her humour, her loss, and her love. Her belief in love and gratitude and grace radiates from each letter. I read the book in an all night visit with something powerful and redemptive and will no doubt revisit some of the letters again. Having the honour of meeting Margaret in person made me feel wrapped in the faith she is anchored in and exudes. Deb knew where to turn to find her miracle .
Date published: 2012-12-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Move over Tuesday's with Morrie! I bought Dear Deb at an author signing in the Burlington Chapters when I saw a crowd around the author. I usually don't take a chance on an unknown author but the excitement drew me to her and her book. I am so glad I bought it! It's full of hope and humor and honest stories about the author's life. Her life stories were a gift to a dying friend. Her style reminded me of Mitch Albom my favorite author, like Tuesday's with Morrie but this wisdom comes from the author instead of the sick person. I loved Dear Deb and I emailed Margaret Terry to tell her I am buying a copy for all my friends and this is the first time I did that since Tuesday's with Morrie. I hope Margaret writes another book because I want to read more about her life!
Date published: 2012-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A True Literary Gem! I thoroughly enjoyed reading Margaret's book. Her writing style is superb and it's a great book to use as a daily devotional too! Dear Deb is based on letters that Margaret wrote to her friend Deb to help her through her cancer journey and became part of her miracle. Days before Deb's passing she told Margaret that her cancer was worth it if these letters were written as a result. You can't help but fall in love with the stories and relate them back to your own life. My favourite story was "Candle Love" which struck a particular chord in me. My kids are always claiming that I love one more than the other and I loved Margaret's ease with how she demonstrated a mothers unconditional and undying love to her two boys by lighting candles - it made we want to borrow this wisdom and demonstrate the same idea to my 3 children. Kudos to you Margaret for opening up your heart and persevering through tougher, difficult times and enlightening me with your words! Looking forward to reading more of your letters and books in the future!
Date published: 2012-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Our book club LOVED this book!! Refreshing! If you’re looking for the perfect book club pick, or Christmas gift, this is it! If you are tired of the deep, depressing books and have been searching for something lighter, personal and real, look no further! Our book club just finished it, and EVERYONE loved it! Dear Deb is a memoir told in letters. 55 letters, one for each year Deb lived. Although we discover in the prologue that Deb died, the stories are personal and remain uplifting, hopeful and completely relatable. The author is a natural story teller who drew me in immediately. I felt like I was her best friend hearing her secrets for the first time. Her life wasn’t easy, but instead of focusing on despair and loss, Margaret sees only hope and opportunity – that hope became infectious for me! Deb must have loved the gift of these letters – our book club sure did! We all ran out to buy copies to pass on at Christmas! Get yours before they’re all gone. I predict this will be a book that goes FAST!
Date published: 2012-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stories painted on our Hearts This story has touched me in so many delicate places of my own life with such simplicity and conversely, complexity. I am so thankful I was able to see into the true life of an author who endured similar trials, celebrations, heartaches, and a search for a ‘new place’ of personal growth and understanding of her own spiritual journey. Dear Deb paints onto our hearts a vivid and colourful illustration of courage (to face cancer), wisdom (found in everyday life), forgiveness (to truly move forward in life), strength (to endure life’s storms and to grow personally), imperfection (God is perfect), hope (in every letter), peace (serenity), and grace (what everyone is granted). We all have our own colour palette inside and out and with a brush in hand, a personal story to tell. Reading Dear Deb has given me a canvas to write my own story with conviction and speaking the truth in love. I pray that others can live in relationship with one another and share at any moment in life, the wisdom that comes with any trial and find the silver lining of learning and courage that empowers us to keep moving forward – like Dear Deb!
Date published: 2012-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Uplifitng, inspiring and a great book to share with a dear friend! Beautiful, heartwarming and heartbreaking stories written to a friend dying of cancer. Terry is a superb storyteller, weaving emotions and vividly recalled details of her life to share and create a miracle for her friend. The details are of the writer's life but the feelings they evoke are universal as are the lessons learned.
Date published: 2012-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully honest stories of family... I loved reading Margaret's stories about family and relationships. Her honesty and vulnerability is remarkably refreshing. I was drawn into the delights of her experiences as a mom, the pain of severed relationships, and the joy of friendships. The storytelling is delightful - it draws you in and makes you want more! Buy one for yourself...and extras for your friends!
Date published: 2012-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Book Like No Other A unique memoir. This is a book like no other. Margaret Terry takes us on a journey to faith in her letters to Deb with stories of hope and miracles. Her writing is tight, no wasted words and insightful. There were 110 letters written over 6 months, with 55 included in Dear Deb. This book will uplift anyone who receives a cancer diagnosis..... I felt that Margaret could have written these letters to me and many of them caused a strong emotional response. I highly recommend this special book. It would make a wonderful gift to anyone who has experience with cancer, divorce, addiction....i.e. life’s challenges.
Date published: 2012-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read and a must share!! This book is a true miracle. The letters reach deep inside and bring out something special from within. I loved the raw honesty the author showed and can only imagine how Deb must have felt reading these letters. I'm not ashamed to admit a few of these letters brought tears to my eyes.
Date published: 2012-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from full of hope I loved, loved this book! A memoir via letters to a sick friend - some so tender, I wept, some laugh out loud. It's easy to see why the letters traveled the world & why so many people related to the author's life. What a storyteller! Thank you, Margaret Terry for sharing your roller coaster life & your hope - thank you Deb for asking her to believe in miracles.
Date published: 2012-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary! What would YOU say to a friend who has been diagnosed with a serious illness? Margaret Terry said a lot. She told her friend about her life. Secrets, mistakes, wonder, and love. In a beautiful memoir told through letters to her dying friend, Margaret shares pivotal moments of a life well lived. Her stories are deeply human, yet in her wildly messy, imperfect life she never loses sight of hope. I loved this book. It's one I will read over and over again. It made me think about things I've put on the back burner - things like forgiving a family member & spending more quality time with my children. Dear Deb made me want to be better at being me.
Date published: 2012-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unique and Inspiring! Probably one of the most unique books I have ever read. The premise is simple: letters written from one friend to another while she struggled in the remaining months of her life. Over the course of 6 months, more than 100 letters were written to Deb from Margaret. Letters that started out as encouragement quickly turned into stories from Margaret’s life and pain as a single mother, estranged from her own dad. Each chapter is a letter~55 in all. Short stories is what they are. Each one carrying a theme of redemption, grace and hope. Simple stories that we all have but sometimes miss the point. Margaret, through her letters, is showing us all that our stories have merit. There is a purpose. ” I kept writing. She was too sick to eat, but not too sick to read. Deb’s illness gave me the chance to press my face against the window of my life, and what I saw was startling~ I saw miracles that had been waiting for me to give them a voice.”‘ ~ xviii (The Inspiration~Foreword) ” Grace has always been a mystery to me, how it appears when I least expect it. How it sometimes makes me feel unworthy instead of grateful.” ~Page 19 Letters like “When God Shows Up” gave me chills. Or when Margaret talks about her son’s drug addiction. Or the one about her dad coming to visit after a 20 year absence. Stories of hope for everyone. Touching. Inspiring. Full of grace. And she has a great sense of humor too. This book is a gem. It is a great gift book but such an easy read , it is perfect for those days when you just need a lift. I would recommend it to anyone, regardless of age or circumstance. Who can resist peeking into someone else's life and struggles and finding redemption and joy? ~~ Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Date published: 2012-11-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspiring Read What an inspiring, heart-tugging book! Laid out in a series of brief chapters -- each one a letter to Deb -- the author allows us into her past. "Deb's illness gave me the chance to press my face against the window of my life, and what I saw was startling." What did the Terry see? Miracles waiting to be given a voice. These life snippets are filled with the ordinary and transformed into the extra-ordinary by the power of her words. A beautiful, blessed read that will lift you up and spur you on to write your own life letters too. "Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson".
Date published: 2012-10-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dear Deb Story Description: Thomas Nelson|October 9, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-4002-0437-3 “I want you to know that if my illness inspired you to write these stories, the cancer was worth it.” – Deb What stories could possibly make cancer worth it? Stories that represent a miracle – a lifetime of miracles. Stories that changed the writer as she wrote them and stories that will touch the heart of the reader, one by one by one. Stories that are not just stories. They started out as words of encouragement to a dying woman. They turned into a collection of sparkling and intimate moments, pulled from the past to finally be understood and shared with new meaning. Story by story, letter by letter, Margaret Terry uncovered powerful pictures in her own life of the one truth that could help carry her friend Deb from this life to the next: God is at work. Together, Deb and Margaret found renewed hope in all ways God shows up right to the very end. Which is where they found the miracle they’d been praying for all along. In each other. My Review: Margaret Terry wrote 102 letters in six months to her friend Deb who was dying of cancer. She said “I only saw her three times during those six months, but a lifetime passed between us that created a bond that defied time.” Deb was fifty-five when she died and the letters that Margaret wrote to her kept her filled with hope and a message that God was always there. Some of the letters were serious, others were comical, while others were meant as a lesson to be learned. Margaret uncovered powerful pictures in her own life of the one truth that could help carry her friend Deb from this life to next: God is at work. Dear Deb is a beautiful testament to the bonds of friendship and what can happen when one friend chooses to step into another’s journey. "Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson".
Date published: 2012-10-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Why Your Story Matters The first lines that went straight to my heart in Margaret Terry’s book Dear Deb, a collection of 55 letters written to a friend dying of cancer, came two pages into the book. In the introduction, called The Inspiration, Terry relates that she was surprised to have been asked to pray for Deb, and “believe in my miracle.” Terry admits that she was a church friend to Deb, but they weren’t close. She knew that Deb was a capable and energetic woman, she loved Motown and hockey, but outside church she and Deb didn’t socialize. Terry goes on to say, “I’m not sure why this happens in churches. We hug the same people every Sunday for years, we watch their children grow, and we share their trials and joys, yet for some reason we limit our friendship to church.” “True, so very, very true,” I marveled. “And if Margaret Terry is able to nail down that situation in two sentences, what other treasures are in this book?” Well, there are dozens of treasures in Dear Deb! I have several favorite stories in the book, but I love the story of Crowning Mary, probably because I can recall similar May celebrations from my own days at St John’s Catholic Elementary School in Seattle, Washington. Crowning Mary is a beautiful story full of innocence and faith, and it includes a miracle that will make you smile for days. The old-fashioned name for a book made up of letters is epistolary. This being the 21st century, Terry’s letters were originally composed as emails, and were sent daily to Deb, who had been diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. They were a form of encouragement which Deb asked her friends to send her as support while she endured cancer treatment and waited for her miracle. Over time, as Terry’s letters went beyond platitudes, she found that sharing her moments of failure and fear were, paradoxically, a way of sending strength to Deb, and they also were an avenue for Terry to unburden her own secret past. Through that process of letter writing, Terry shares with us the great truth that God doesn’t abandon us when we and our world break apart, but He comes close, and cares for us through it all. Here’s is my take away from Dear Deb – maybe the broken pieces of your life aren’t meant to be put back together the way you think. Maybe a jagged piece of your story is meant to heal the brokenness of someone else’s life. But that won’t happen if you don’t share your story and let the Master Potter use it as only He can. I believe that in Dear Deb, a book that touches both your heart and your funny bone, you will see this amazing process at work. Review of Dear Deb in 140 characters or fewer: “You’ll need Kleenex, you’ll laugh out loud, you’ll be stunned, and you’ll be inspired. Read it!”
Date published: 2012-10-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely GREAT - Run don't walk to get this book! Dear Deb is the true story of: `A woman with cancer, a friend with secrets, and the letters that became their miracle.' And, I would submit, so much more. The book is a series of 55 of the 102 letters written to a friend. Why 55? To borrow Terry's phrase: "One letter for each year Deb graced this beautiful world with her presence." The writer, Margaret Terry, a storyteller from a very young age, has a writing style that will have you fully engaged from beginning to end...even wanting more. The impetus for the letters is in response to Deb's request for encouragement. Deb has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer, and her only request is for encouragement. No food, no chores, rides, etc...just pure and simple encouragement. It seems, though, that Deb was an encouragement; she had an unwavering belief that she would see a miracle. A belief that was contagious and inspiring. Terry's letters are not a series of motivational phrases that we have all heard. She sets out to go deeper by sharing intimate details from her life. And as you read through these letters, you will discover that she had no intention of ever publishing or even sharing these letters. It was Deb who decided to share the letters as they were written and, in what can only be viewed as a courageous move by Terry, she was not deterred from continuing to share her intensely personal stories and life lessons. Each letter closes with a bible verse that just punctuates the message and encourages. You will find that Dear Deb is encouraging to you as well. Many of the letters will feel as if they were written specifically for you. What are you waiting for? Run, don'twalk, to purchase this book!
Date published: 2012-10-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Moving, honest stories that share life's deepest joys and sorrows Every day, Canadian writer Margaret Terry felt compelled to reveal her heart through writing stories, the only way she could think of to transfuse grace, strength, and encouragement to her friend Deb who was facing life’s biggest challenge, a diagnosis of terminal cancer. Little did Margaret know her stories would start to circulate and resonate with many other readers—because every one of us needs grace as we walk our own path. Reading the letters in Dear Deb is like having a cup of tea with a close friend, sharing a transparent conversation about our lives’ deepest joys and sorrows, discovering meaning in our common human experience, and coming away feeling love, hope, and affirmation.
Date published: 2012-08-15