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“Odessa tried to shove back the wave of fear as the slow suffocation began.” And so begins the story of an unlikely heroine living on the brink of death from consumption (now known as tuberculosis) and chasing the cure to Colorado Springs.

Her father is busy running the family publishing business back East while her surviving brother and sister open a bookstore. She used to dream of writing her own stories, but now her entire world revolves around getting better. Having recently lost five siblings and her mother to the grip of the disease, all her focus is on taking just one more breath. It’s only as she gains strength and stamina that she is able to savor each breath as a gift and expand her focus to the surrounding scenery, people, and revived dreams. (Of course, there’s also a love story thread, unsolved murders, a mystery, and a creepy villain to hold your interest.)

I absolutely loved Breathe: A Novel of Colorado by Lisa T. Bergren because it reminded me to focus on the simple, yet vital, gift of breathing. Each moment of my life is a gift from God and another opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those around me. Some day there will come a time when my life here on Earth will be over. But until then, I’m thankful to be breathing in and out.

Am I so focused on my own problems that I cannot see the beauty around me? That I cannot see the needs of others? Am I truly thankful for another day or weighed down by a loaded to-do list? Am I aware of how fragile life is and how precious each moment spent with loved ones?

Do I appreciate the breath of life?

What about you? In this season of life, is your focus more on your own problems or on those around you? Do you take breathing for granted?

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