Nancy's Reviews > In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving

In a Heartbeat by Leigh Anne Tuohy
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's review
Jul 09, 2010

it was amazing
Read in June, 2010

On October 1, 1962, James Meredith became the first person of African descent to attend University of Mississippi, affectionately referred to as "Ole Miss." In Fall, 2006, Collins Tuohy, rich white 110 lb. athlete started college at Ole Miss with her brother, Michael Oher, rich black 300 lb. 6'4" athlete. That same semester, the two further crossed racial lines by having Michael and his teammates lunch at the Kappa Delta sorority.

"The Blind Side" is a delightful book about NFL Ravens right tackle, Michael Oher. One child out of a gaggle, a drug addicted mother had lost custody of Michael and her multiple other children. Once in the custody of the state, CPS lost track of him in his early teens. Cared for by a smattering of helpful people, nobody took responsibility for his well being besides Michael himself. Still, Michael did have enough connections to often find himself a warm couch or floor to sleep and someone helped Michael gain entrance to a private school on scholarship. It was at Briarcrest, the private school, where Michael caught the eye of Sean Tuohy, a father of two students.

Eventually, Sean talked Michael into coming over after school and studying. Michael started staying over on the sofa, folding his sheets and blankets with military preciseness. For Leigh Anne Tuohy, mildly OCD (mildly may be exaggerated here), it was love.
Leigh Anne is a force to be reckoned with. When Leigh Anne barks, a person does not argue but jumps right to it. When she tells you that church starts at 10:00 a.m., you'd better be dressed and shined by 9:30. Frankly, the woman scares me senseless and, strangely enough, I want very badly to meet her. Her no-nonsense ways leave no doubt that I could learn much from her. Her husband and children may not necessarily fear her (although they should), they respect her.

Both Sean and Leigh Anne were born into modest means. Sean's were much more bare bones and appreciated the kindness of others who reached out to him, giving him a chance to attend good schools and find success as a businessman. Together, they decided very early on to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. Charity did not begin with Michael Oher. It began much, much earlier.

Although philanthropic, the Tuohys did much more than give of their money. They currently earmark 25% of their income for charitable causes. They also give of themselves. Collins, now in her twenties, volunteers at a high school as a coach because the school didn't have one. Sean was volunteering at Briarcrest at the time that Michael first caught his eye. They offered their home as a haven for many students until their parents came home from work. The difference between them and Michael is that Michael didn't have any parents and didn't have a home. He was strategically splitting his time between sofas and other warm places so as to not wear out his welcome when he was invited to stay at the Tuohy's home. My guess is Leigh Anne informed him he was staying and showed him his bed.

The point of the book is to give a glimpse into the lives of the family. Michael Oher was going to be successful. Sean and Leigh Anne did not save him. However, they made his saving himself a whole lot easier.
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Gina Rago If you are a Tuohy fan, or have been touched by this story, sign up to register for this free live webinar where you can type in your own questions that you want to ask Sean Tuohy as he discusses cheerful giving. This is not just a shameless plug (I'm a marketer for Christianity Today). You will be blessed by hearing more of the story behind the story! I was!! Here's the link.

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