Thursday, April 17, 2014

True Heroes: O for Osm (Sound that Out)

True heroes are all around us, in our every day lives, but some people stand out. During this A-Z Challenge I hope to share several of my real life heroes, and invite you to share yours in the comments.

lson family, Jeffery and Julie Olson. I met these amazing people shortly after moving to NYC, but they were so important in our lives--more than they may ever know.

In 2006 my husband got a job in New York, on the border of NYC. It was one of those crazy moments where he got in the car, drove cross country, and found work. While searching for housing, he attended church. He had no idea where he was going to stay that night, and we'd mostly dried up the financial reserves. Suddenly, this lovely young lady at church asked if he needed a place to stay. Her father, Jeffery, was the District President and they often invited people to stay in their basement.

That was the beginning.

Over the next year and a half we got to know more about this amazing family, and I have to say, I've never met anyone more inspiring. Nine kids. Living on Long Island. He worked for a Catholic university, even though he was Mormon (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), and frequently took trips to Rome. Julie took care of ALL OF THOSE KIDS, was involved in the community, and you couldn't help but feel her love instantly. I wanted to be exactly like her. She remembered all the little details about our conversations and was instantly invested in EVERYONE she met. Just WOW.

I remember clearly a year after we moved out of the city when she and I ran into one another. There was a big hug, some giddy jumping up and down, and excited chatter about everything that had changed in the last year. Even after we left, she continued to love us. They were the same way with everyone, and I suppose that's what impressed me the most.

I'm sure we didn't make that huge an impression on them, but in a time that was beyond turbulent for me, I was embraced by angels.


This is my week of excerpts, so I hope you like this one:

Kiren extended a hand to help her up, and she took it. Her feet were instantly below her—so quickly that she stumbled and landed against his solid form. An arm rounded her back tenderly, her legs threatening to give at the elation of his touch.

He turned in the direction of the house, pulling her forward with him, moving out of the garden and up to solid brick walls. They halted at a window, the study window. Father sat within, gazing at the portrait of Dana, fingers tracing the details.

“He gave her up.” Her attention snapped back to her breathtaking captor, inhaling his oaken tang. “He could have kept her for his own, and he gave her up.”

His eyes met hers. The azure depths broke in a myriad of lighter flecks, like stars reflected in an ocean tide. They consumed her, igniting a fire within her breast—an irrational hunger for the tremor in his arm against her back, the heat of his side against hers, the feel of his hand vacillating ever so slightly...

He released her and took a few steps back. “You need to go now.”

MOONLESS is on sale now for $1.99, but only for another couple days.


Have you met anyone who instantly loved and helped you? Who is it you most aspire to be like? Do you have alternate parent figures?

98 comments:

  1. Those Olsons sound like wonderful people!

    I work at a Catholic university as well (the library) but I am not religious. Still, they let me work there so that's nice of them. :)

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  2. Nine kids. Wow! I don't know how people handle three or four kids...nine is amazing!

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    1. I know! That pretty much sums them up.

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  3. When you meet people like that, people who make you feel loved and cared about and respected, it's like they make you come out of your own shadow, see your own light. :)

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption
    Minion, Capt. Alex's Ninja Minion Army
    The 2014 Blogging from A-Z Challenge

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    1. Too true. They inspire you to want to be better. =)

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  4. The world need more people like that. Although there's probably a lot of them out there. We just don't know about them because they're not doing it for the recognition, but because they believe it's the right thing to do.

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  5. Sounds like you found some wonderful friends. Got to admire bringing up 9 kids.

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    1. Seconded! I think it's an amazing accomplishment.

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  6. I had a friend like that in college. He was a Presbyterian minister, and he & his wife had a room in their home specifically for college students who needed to get away for an evening, to study, or to just come over and chill out for awhile. It was always open to anyone who asked.

    People like that are so special. I'm glad you have so many wonderful ones in your life.

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    1. That's awesome. I love it when people open their homes and hearts to others.

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  7. Wonderful post, Crystal! The Olson's sound amazing! Throughout the years, I've had several people in my life who have reached out to our family to make us feel welcome in a new area. The Larsen's come to mind from when we were in law school (I say "we" like I actually attended!) They were an amazing older couple who invited the law students and families into their home for dinner, to celebrate special occasions, etc. They were wonderful, giving people who I still think about often even though it's been years since we've seen them.

    Also, loved the excerpt from your book! I remember that one! It has some great tension! :)

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    1. The Larsen's sound wonderful. People like that are needed, and totally make the world a better place.

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  8. "Embracing angels" Love that phrase. Sometimes those little (or big!) acts of kindness are meant for us not only to embrace but to emulate. Great excerpt. I like the "push/pull" of the scene. I love it when things get tense and then the author backs off, but then throws the characters in the fire;-D

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer.

      Acts of kindness go a long way, eh?

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  9. They sound like a wonderful warm family. It's people like the Olsons who help me keep my optimism and passion for llife. They remind me when I meet really unhappy people that there are good people out there and that if I become bitter and just focus on the bad, I'll lose out on meeting them and appreciating them. And it would be such a pity to miss out on that kind of warmth.

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    1. Agreed. We need those lights to keep us going. =)

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  10. LoL O is for Osm is the best kind of cheating ;)

    The Olsen's sound like wonderful people. Can't say off the top of my head that I can think of anyone who was instantly invested in me when we met... but it could just be that I need more coffee ;)

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    1. It was my daughter's invention--Osm, before she'd learned how to spell. =)

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  11. We sure can use more good folks like that in the world. I swear some people are built with more energy than others. :)

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    1. I know! I need some of what they're eating.

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  12. That's so great! It's wonderful they were there to extend kindness in your time of need.

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    1. We might not have survived without them.

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  13. Thank goodness for kind, generous people. :) They truly sound like a lovely couple, the sort of people everyone should know.

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    1. I hope everyone does know someone like them.

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  14. They sound like amazing people. I wonder what made her ask if you needed a place to stay. Wonderful.

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    1. I tend to think she was prompted by a still small voice. =)

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  15. One of the joys of reading your posts this month has been hearing about so many generous people. It's nice to know, not only that they're out there, but that they're appreciated by those they've touched as well. :)

    The Immarcescible Word

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    1. I think we might all be surprised by how many of them are in our lives, if we'd just take the time to look.

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  16. It's great when you meet such wonderful people, they sound awesome.

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  17. What AMAZING PEOPLE! And New Yorker's get such a bum wrap all the time!

    LOVED you excerpt, Crystal! You analogies are gorgeous!

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    1. I know! While we lived there, I was quite amazed by the compassion and kindness I experienced. New Yorkers may be rough, but they look out for one another. That's for sure.

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  18. The Olson family sounds like a great group of people!

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  19. Beautiful writing, and it sounds like you have made some beautiful friends.
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

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  20. What a great story about lovely, generous people! They're definitely keepers in terms of friends/extended family!

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  21. Homeschool nine kids? She is a hero!! :) And I so agree with your take on cheese :) Good luck with the rest of the challenge!

    http://themagicquill.blogspot.com

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  22. What wonderful people to come into your lives at just the right moment. Nine kids? Whoa...

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  23. They sound like quite the couple! Glad you found them when you needed them most :)

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    1. Me too, although I tend to think they were placed in our path.

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  24. Genuinely wonderful people, so nice to know they exist. We get busy with daily chores and life, and as such many times get impatient, but here are those who remind us to take a moment and reach out to someone.
    Thanks, Crystal. Always nice coming in here and reading your inspiring posts.
    Silvia @
    SilviaWrites

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  25. My rabbi and rebbetzin are awesome parental-like figures. I've known them for almost 10 years now, and they've been nothing but warm and welcoming to everyone who comes through their doors. There's a saying that whoever teaches Torah to a child is as though s/he gave birth to or created that child.

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  26. I wouldn't be surprised if you made a huge impression on them too. Kudos to these people who reached out a hand to someone in need. It's always inspiring to read stories like this.

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    1. LOL. Probably not, but I guess you never know.

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  27. I'm always getting uplifted over here with your atozs! What a great family!!

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  28. Such nice people. Whenever I encounter people like this it gives me such hope for the future, to know that there are people out there that genuinely care about people, whether they know them or not. It brings tears to my eyes. The good kind. ^_^

    I LOVE your excerpts. I have this book as #3 on my TBR list, but I'm going to have to move it up. Your writing is so beautiful. I love Kiren already.

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    1. Oh! Thank you Krystal. That's very encouraging, and I need that today.

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  29. I have a step mother that took the place of my mother. She is still my hero.
    My husband and I also drove across country when we were so young with our infant daughter. We were so brave back then, weren't we?
    doreenmcgettigan.com

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    1. For sure! I'd never take a cross country trip with a little one like that. Brave indeed.

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  30. Amazing and inspiring! I live in L.I. I'm not nearly as cool as the Olson family...guess I can try. lol. I can't imagine 9 kids though, yikes! The twins lovingly drive me up the... ahem...cheese anyone?

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    1. I liked Long Island. I could live there, maybe, but I'd rather enjoy the sunshine in FL.

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  31. Wow, what a great story. Some people are just amazing. They remind us of the good in the world.

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  32. I love that you found so much welcome and warmth in NYC, of all places. Beautiful :)
    Also, that excerpt is smokin' hot! Sheesh! I'm fanning myself, here.

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    1. *blushes* Really? Thanks for the kind words, Liz.

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  33. It's always a blessing to have people turn up when you need.

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  34. We had neighbors at one time who sound just like those people. Instant love between our families.

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    1. Awesome. We had some of those once as well. They were lifesavers.

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  35. I knew a couple families when I was growing up that made every kid that came through their door feel welcome and special and wanted - especially the ones who didn't get that at home. They were heroes.

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    1. That's so awesome. You save a child, you save a generation.

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  36. They sound like truly giving people, the kind you'd love to know. Nine kids!

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  37. It's wonderful to have people like that in your life.
    Love the excerpt too!

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  38. Your husband went on faith and God provided those wonderful people. I bet you made an impact on them, too. If not, there's always cheese, right?

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    1. There's definitely always the cheese. =)

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  39. I feel like sometimes people make the world out to be a place full of awful people, when people are still just as loving and caring as they were before, we just have Twitter to hear about the awful ones more. ;)

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    1. It's true. We hear about the awful ones way too much.

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  40. They sound like great people! It's always nice to be reminded that there are heroes among us :)

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  41. It is amazing when people like that cross our paths and manage to make such an amazing impact on our lives. Lovely tribute to them both.

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    1. It is amazing--reminds us who we should be, eh?

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  42. The Olsons sound like an amazing and generous family. With all the craziness you hear about, I'd be too scared to invite strangers to stay in my home, so I admire them for not letting fear stop them from helping people.

    Hope you’re having fun with the A to Z challenge,
    Jocelyn

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    1. I know what you mean. I guess it helps that they met him at church, but they were definitely trusting people, and that trust came back to bless them in many ways.

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  43. Such kind and wonderful people. I'm glad you got to know them.

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  44. Wow. She home schooled 9 kids. That is astonishing. You know some great people, Crystal :)

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    1. I agree. I think we all do--we just have to look around.

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  45. Lovely post, and I bought your book last night before I signed off for the night... great #azchat!

    Mars xx
    Curling Stones for Lego People



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    1. Yay! That's happy news. Thankee much. =)

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  46. What amazing people! True heroes for sure!

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  47. They sound like wonderfully giving people, which seems to be so rare these days. I wish the world was filled with people of beautiful spirits.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings - AtoZ (Vampires)
    FB3X - AtoZ (Erotic Drabbles)

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    1. I guess we have the power to start a moment, eh? ;)

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  48. They truly sounds like awesome people. Their smiles look so very genuine. How wonderful they reached out to your husband...9 kids....I can't even imagine that, let alone home schooling them.
    Traveling Suitcase

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Hit me with your cheese!