What would you do if you suddenly found yourself facing life as a single mother with a baby and a toddler—and no means of support? As if that scenario isn’t terrifying enough for many of us—imagine that you have unexpectedly become a Vietnam war refugee—with two small children--on the way to a foreign country half way around the world with no money, no home, no formal education, speaking little English, and no friends or family to turn to for support. Rosemary Tran Lauer’s memoir was presented similarly when I was asked to review Beggars or Angels--and I had to add it to my reading list. What did I think of Beggars or Angels: How a Single Mother Triumphed Over War, Welfare and Cancer to Become a Successful Philanthropist? You can enter to win a copy of the book at the end of this post!
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own. I may sometimes receive slight compensation from affiliate linking within my posts.
A Quick Summary of Beggars or Angels. Imagine waking up tomorrow in a foreign land with no home, no money, no grasp of the language, no formal education, no friends or family for support, and with two kids under age 3 depending on you. What would you do?
Beggars or Angels: How a Single Mother Triumphed Over War, Welfare and Cancer to Become a Successful Philanthropist tells the inspirational story of Rosemary Tran Lauer, a mother who found the will and a way to survive when faced with this overwhelming scenario. Drawing on her strength, bold resourcefulness, and sense of humor, Rosemary was eventually able to give her family a wealth of opportunities they wouldn’t have dared dream about in the war-torn homeland they left behind. A courageous welfare-mother-turned-philanthropist, she was willing to sacrifice everything but her self-respect for the sake of her children’s futures … and for the futures of thousands of families around the world.
Beggars or Angels is about one woman’s dare to care and her persistent search for a reason “why.” Once she discovered it, Rosemary transformed her years of struggle into an altruistic ambition and purpose: The child care advocacy nonprofit Devotion to Children.
Readers will be hooked in the first few pages of Beggars or Angels. I’m not sure if it is the writing style of the book or the author’s touching story itself—but, it is impossible to put the book down from the very first chapter. I simply had to read more of Rosemary’s trials, continue to cheer for her successes and stand in amazement of her persistence, courage and strength.
Beggars or Angels is such an inspirational story. Rosemary Tran Lauer faced, and conquered, so many struggles during her life! It’s not easy to battle through, and rise above, life’s extreme challenges. Rosemary tells her story in a way that inspires others to take on the impossible—to push forward in spite of the many obstacles blocking the way. After reading Beggars or Angels—I think it will very difficult to look at life in the same light….whether your own or someone you know.
Would I recommend Beggars or Angels? If you have time for only one book this year—read Beggars or Angels. Rosemary Tran Lauer and Scott Beller put together an amazing story of struggle, soul searching, strength, and accomplishment. This is truly the best book that I have read in a long, long time--and I read all the time! Throughout the book, I just wanted to give the author a hug—I felt so connected to her and to her story. Later in the book, I decided that I would love to meet her. By the end of the book—I found myself hoping that I will find my own purpose and accomplish, in my life, a fraction of the things that she has with her life! It is a truly a must read book!
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About the Authors
Rosemary Tran Lauer
Rosemary Tran Lauer is an American success story. When she escaped from war-torn Vietnam in 1975, as a single mother of two young children, she had no college education and spoke little English. Striving for financial independence, she depended on the kindness of friends to help care for her kids while she worked multiple jobs. She relied on welfare benefits to make ends meet when she went back to school. After cosmetology school, she spent more than 20 years in the beauty industry, where she often brainstormed with her salon clients about how to one day help children and families like hers break the cycle of poverty. In 1994, she founded the nonprofit Devotion to Children to make her vision, and the dreams of thousands of needy families, a reality. In 2001, she earned her commercial-real-estate license and joined Long & Foster Realty, where she’s been a top producer ever since.
Rosemary serves on the Board of Directors for Northern Virginia Family Services (NVFS) and the Board of Advisors for Virginia Commerce Bank, and is active with the Vietnamese Realtor Forum. She's been honored by NVFS’s We Are America Now initiative and has received SmartCEO’s 2010 Spirited Service Award, the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 2010 Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer Award, and The Asian American Chamber of Commerce's 2011 Public Service Award. In 2012 the Connected International Meeting Professional Association presented Rosemary with the Asian Leader Award. The Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce also recognized Devotion To Children as the 2012 Small Nonprofit of the Year. Now a philanthropist, business leader, commercial realtor, life coach, and happily-remarried mother of five, Rosemary lives in Oakton, Virginia, and works tirelessly with her husband Bill to give disadvantaged children and their working parents a brighter future.
Scott Beller is a 20-year, public relations industry veteran, writer, independent consultant, and work-at-home dad. During his PR career, Scott has held leadership positions with some of the world’s top agencies—including Fleishman-Hillard, Weber Shandwick, and Manning, Selvage & Lee, where he honed his writing skills and developed a number of public-information campaigns supporting the improved health, nutrition and quality of life for children and families. His talents have been frequently called upon by some of the most recognized brands—including Nike, SBC Communications Inc., XM Satellite Radio, Dell Computers, Anheuser Busch, Exxon, the American Public University System, and NASDAQ.
As a consultant Scott helped launch DADS Unlimited and REEL FATHERS (www.ReelFathers.com) and is part of Devotion to Children’s Advisory Board. He was named 2003 Volunteer of the Year as a youth mentor for New Hope Housing, Northern Virginia’s largest provider of shelter, transitional and permanent housing to homeless families. He lives in Arlington, Virginia, with his patient wife Elisabeth and two brilliant, kind, adorable and exhausting daughters.
Learn More about Devotion to Children