Gathering Courage

A Life-Changing Journey Through Adoption, Adversity, and a Reading Disability

Christian - Non-Fiction
222 Pages
Reviewed on 02/07/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

T. A. “Terry” McMullin, author of Gathering Courage knows as well as anyone that hard times are a part of the journey of life. During Terry’s journey, she was an orphan, an adopted child, and then made a foster child by her parents. Terry learned how to turn rejection into success as she struggled with a reading disability.

In her book, Gathering Courage, Terry tells how she turned her struggles with
 dyslexia into strengths as she taught herself how to read and study while working her way through college. Walking the stage to receive a diploma at Texas A&M University was not only a dream but also a reality.

Terry’s life transformed from a broken-hearted child who could barely make out words in elementary school to a distinguished teacher who encourages young people to work hard and achieve their greatest aspirations.

At crucial points in Terry’s life, she found people who cared and understood, who became her encouragers. The encouragement from others made Terry’s life better so she vowed to be a champion for others who needed help.

Terry wrote the story of her life to encourage each of us to live a life of compassion and purpose. The compassion shown to her as a lonely, broken hearted, child changed her life and gave her a purpose to make a difference as an adult.

Terry has earned two degrees from Texas A&M University and has served as a 4-H Leader and FFA Advisor. Her professional career involves teaching agriculture, science, developing material for science and science fairs, working with students in an alternative school setting, teaching students with visual impairments, and mentoring students with dyslexia.

Today, Terry lives on a small ranch in Texas, a forever home, with her horses, donkeys, and rescued Border Collie dogs.

The writing of Gathering Courage was a three-year project of reminiscing from the heart and hurts of the past for the sole purpose of encouraging others.

Encouragement puts love in the heart and direction in the dream. Encouragement and kindness does make a difference, encouragement made a difference in Terry’s life.

What started as a thought then words on a napkin set the dream in motion to form sentences on paper. The dream grew and the formation of a book developed into a purpose, a mission - “To Make Life Better.”

In 2015, Gathering Courage became a first place award-winning book in the North American Book Award and T.A. McMullin became an award winning author.

In 2016 Gathering Courage became a 5 STAR award winner with Readers’ Favorite.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Faridah Nassozi for Readers' Favorite

Gathering Courage: A Life-Changing Journey through Adoption, Adversity, and a Reading Disability by T.A. McMullin is the author's incredible memoir describing her journey, the endless challenges she had to face, and the people that touched her life along the way. Terry was adopted by a family that never made her feel fully loved or accepted. When she was just nine and they discovered that she had learning challenges, they sent her off to a foster home instead of showing her support. Without anyone she could fully count on to be there for her unconditionally, she learned to turn to God at a very early age and to be self-reliant. But no matter how many misfortunes and challenges she faced, which were endless, she never gave up on her dreams. With a few acts of kindness offered to her along the way, Terry went on to travel one of the most inspiring life journeys.

Gathering Courage: A Life-Changing Journey through Adoption, Adversity, and a Reading Disability by T.A. McMullin is a deeply touching read meant to inspire all those who are going through tough times. There are many lessons to be learned from Terry's struggles and her never-give-up attitude. Her journey sends a strong message; no matter how many times life beats you down, get up and fight back; yes, the tough times will keep coming but as long as you have not given up, you have not lost the fight. And always turn to God and trust Him to guide you through even your darkest hour. Her story also honors the selfless heroes that open their hearts and touch the lives of others; your kindness is not in vain and Terry's story is true testimony to this. Gathering Courage is a truly moving read that will touch many hearts and positively inspire them to touch the lives of others.

Rabia Tanveer

Gathering Courage: A Life-Changing Journey Through Adoption, Adversity, and a Reading Disability by T.A. McMullin is the story of the author. Terry had a hard life. She started her life as an orphan. A couple that loved her adopted her, but she was put in a foster home and her adopted parents gave her up because of her reading disability. In the 1960s, disabilities like dyslexia were not widely known, but Terry fought her way through and made a life for herself. Through her struggle, she made her way through high school and enrolled in college. She passed one class at a time and took things day by day. She learned to read and write herself, and at the same time, she supported herself. Her life took a great turn when she took charge of her life.

This is one inspirational novel. I loved reading about her life and her struggle. People like her give me hope that there is something for all of us in this world. Her hard work, her ability to cope with hardships, and her determination are very enlightening and interesting. It is truly amazing how she is a teacher right now and changing the lives of people around her. The way she writes is moving. You feel an instant connection with her. After reading this book, I feel like I know her. If I ever meet her, I would give her a warm hug, because it is people like her who make changes in this world and help others.

Tracy A. Fischer

In a truly amazing story of redemption and strength, Gathering Courage: A Life-Changing Journey Through Adoption, Adversity, and a Reading Disability by author T.A. McMullin treats readers to an emotional and insightful look into the struggles of her life. Adopted as a young child, then placed into foster care at the age of nine because she continued to struggle with learning disabilities, the author's journey is one that will both break your heart and convince you of the power of the human spirit. As a girl dealing with dyslexia before much was known about the disorder, she struggled with reading, comprehension and spelling, and no one seemed to know how to help her. She finally was able to teach herself to read in college, eventually earning a Master's degree, and vowing to help others who struggled with issues similar to her own.

I so enjoyed Gathering Courage: A Life-Changing Journey Through Adoption, Adversity, and a Reading Disability. Author T.A. McMullin has written a book that her readers will be enthralled with from the very start, and it will keep them turning the pages until the very end. The story of the author's journey from a broken hearted little girl to a dynamic and successful woman with a passion for helping others is a true inspiration. Any reader who loves a true story with a Christian focus about a person that was able to achieve a great deal through their own hard work and perseverance should definitely read this book. I highly recommend this book, and certainly hope that I will be able to read more from the inspirational author T.A. McMullin in the very near future!

Kathryn Bennett

Gathering Courage: A Life-Changing Journey Through Adoption, Adversity, and a Reading Disability by T.A. McMullin takes the reader on an emotional journey of the life of Terry who was born in an orphanage and then adopted and made a foster child by her parents. Terry struggled with reading and spelling - it was because of this failure in school that she was placed in a foster home at the age of nine. No one knew how to help her succeed in school in the 1960s because no one really knew how to deal with the issues that come with dyslexia. Follow Terry as she shows determination and a desire to learn as she teaches herself how to read, and see how she transformed her life and became a teacher.

It is not often you get to read a story such as this, a story that is real life and truly inspirational. T.A. McMullin has written a wonderful story that flows well with the prose, but is also such an inspiration it will make you laugh, cry and want to do better. Terry had to overcome things that most people don't even think about in life, from being in an orphanage to how her adopted parents treated her when she had issues in school, and everything else. I cannot imagine how she found the strength to not only overcome those odds in life, but excel to become a teacher. When you read it, this story makes you want to be better. It makes you want to look at your life and wonder why you haven't gone further (in a good way) and done more. This is a truly wonderful and inspirational read and I recommend it.

Samantha Dewitt (Rivera)

Terry’s life has not been easy, even from the start, but she’s determined to accomplish her dreams no matter what anyone says. When her family tells her that she will never be able to make anything of herself, she pushes forward with strength and perseverance. When her life becomes difficult and she’s not sure how she can manage, she puts her faith in God, reaching out to Him to help her overcome. Growing up nearly alone, with few friends willing to help and support her, Terry continues to do whatever it takes to become a college graduate and to work with horses, despite her difficult upbringing and, even more importantly, her dyslexia in a time when very few people even knew what it was. Gathering Courage is all about overcoming adversity and striving for success.

Gathering Courage: A Life-Changing Journey Through Adoption, Adversity, and a Reading Disability by T.A. McMullin is an inspirational story. I was amazed at how much Terry really went through in her life and still managed to stay strong and brave. I would definitely be proud to have a friend like her, going through the things she did and never giving up. This is a story that can help other people because there are a lot of people out there, suffering in homes where they feel unloved or unwanted, but that doesn’t have to define you. The boundaries and limits other people set are their limits, not yours, and Terry proved that throughout her life. I would definitely recommend Gathering Courage by T.A. McMullin to anyone who’s feeling lost in their own lives.