Back when I was still working at Starbucks, one of my co-workers kept talking about this Sandra Bullock movie that she really liked. Finally, as she kept mentioning it, the title stayed in my head: The Blind Side.
As I browsed through the movie rental store one day, I saw it on the shelves and decided to grab it. I’m not a huge football fan, but it sounded like a good story, and besides, my co-worker really recommended it.
Blind Side was a really good movie. One of those great stories of unlikely success, a boy making the most of the chances given to him, one family making a difference in another person’s life. So when I saw that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, the couple in the movie, had written a book, I jumped on the chance to review it. It turned out to be just as good as the movie.
In a Heartbeat: Sharing The Power of Cheerful Giving by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy tells their story, from their childhoods to the movie coming out. The book traces the influences of their parents—equally generous people—in their lives. How they knew what it was like to live in poverty and to wonder where their next meal was coming from. And how, as they both grew successful in business, they began looking for ways to give back and to help others as they had been helped.
In a Heartbeat spells out Sean and Leigh Anne’s strong faith—something that Hollywood, of course, left out of the movie. Sean shares how one of his pastor’s sermons really influenced him to consider tithing. In one chapter, Sandra Bullock talks about her “distrust of organized religion. People use their faith or their religion as a banner and then they don’t do the right thing.”
She soon saw, however, that Sean and Leigh Anne were nothing like that. She says, “I realized, ‘Wow, I’ve finally met someone who practices but doesn’t preach.’ So I’ve had the blessing of having my… not a restored faith, but I now have a faith in those who say they represent a faith.”
Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy take turns telling their story. Interspersed through that story are shorter chapters from Sandra Bullock (who plays Leigh Anne in The Blind Side) and Tim McGraw (who plays Sean), as well as the Tuohys’ three children. There’s also a section of family photographs in the middle. At the end of the book, the Tuohys invite readers to “discover the joy of cheerful giving for yourself” and suggest their website as a starting place. You can also read more about their “Popcorn Theory” in a Q&A posted on my blog earlier.
Besides being a very good story filled with lots of humour, In A Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving really challenged me to think about my attitude toward giving. So often, we think that giving involves money and requires a huge effort. The Tuohys challenge us to consider other ways to give. They give of their time by tutoring and coaching just as much as they give of their money. Instead of trying to feed all the starving children in Africa, we can help the child next door who also doesn’t have enough to eat.
I hope this book will help me to notice those around me who need something—and to do something to meet that need, rather than walking on.
This book was provided for review courtesy of the publisher. This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.