A Spiritual Odyssey

Finding a Path through Crisis

4.95 out of 5 based on 20 customer ratings
(20 customer reviews)

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For anyone coping with a crisis, this book tells the story of finding a spiritual path through the darkest of hours. The author and his family faced an alien world shaped and designed by Alzheimer’s and found emotional, spiritual and psychological healing.

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  1. 5 out of 5


    Carlen Maddux takes us on a journey through darkness and into light, sharing both his struggles and the rewards he found as he sought to make sense of a life turned upside down. At the age of 50, his wife, Martha Maddux, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease, and life as they knew it was over.

    “We were two flies caught in a spider’s web, ready to be picked apart piece by piece,” Carlen says. When there were no medical answers for a disease with no cure, they sought spiritual ones. In “A Path Revealed,” Carlen shares with us his search to know God and to know himself, to let go of resentments and anger and to experience God’s love. His journey took him many places, including Sydney Australia to meet with the late Canon Jim Glennon, who had an international healing ministry, and Kentucky, where he stayed in the little cabin where the late Thomas Merton spent his last years. Carlen reveals both his fears and his joys with honesty and vulnerability.

    Martha didn’t get a healing miracle, but in the 16 years from diagnosis to death, she and Carlen found peace holding hands in Christ’s presence. I have known Carlen for many years as a friend and former colleague at the Tampa Bay Times. I admired the way he cared for Martha and often wondered how he found the strength to carry on as Martha lost her ability to communicate and then even to recognize him. Now I know.

    “God has given each of us the spiritual resources and framework to face a crisis that seeks to crush us,” he concludes. Although this is not a “how-to” book, I recommend it to anyone seeking a deeper walk with God. We can all learn from Carlen’s story.

    I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5


    Take a look through the eyes of someone dealing with Alzheimer’s affect on his life partner. This book will provide you comfort if you too, are facing this and/or empathy and awareness for others if you have not yet dealt with it firsthand.

  3. 5 out of 5


    Inspirational and Beautifully Told:
    A Path Revealed is a beautifully written journey of a family’s coming to grips with uncertainty, illness, and despair with hope, promise, faith and love. The intensity of the family’s support and love for Martha is really at the heart of this page turner. Expect to laugh, cry and feel the tremendous warmth and love of a husband’s devotion to his wife. And as an added bonus, the well crafted inclusion of the children’s perspective and handling of their mother’s Alzheimer’s affliction is truly an inspiration and a wonderful balance in understanding all that the family endured, conquered and survived throughout Martha’s illness. And even though, the book is very spiritual and faith-based, one does not need to be of the same mindset or religion to appreciate the prayers and the strong sense of faith that was so important to the family’s journey.

  4. 4 out of 5


    A Path Revealed is a story about ‘faith’ and ‘healing’ (but not ‘faith healing’). Carlen’s story is about our highest calling: to trust that we are safe in God’s hands, no matter what happens. To trust that we are safe in God’s hands even when deadly forces are tearing our lives apart.

    His story brings to mind Matthew’s story of Jesus’ telling Peter to walk on water during a storm: Peter could do it only as long as he trusted that Jesus is Lord even in a storm. Peter knew it, but then, Matthew tells us, “… as soon as he felt the force of the wind, he took fright and began to sink” (14:30). Carlen reminds us that when we focus on the damage, we are distracted from our calling; healing comes in trusting. We know this is true, but need regular refreshers. Carlen honored me with a copy of his book, asking only for an honest review in return.

  5. 5 out of 5


    Having received an advance copy of Carlen Maddux’s book, “A Path Revealed,” I have, so far, read it twice. My first reading gave me a general lay of the land, and the overall story of the Maddux family’s struggle in dealing with Martha’s diagnosis, at age 50, and her progressively debilitating alsheimers disease. That is the tragic story. The second reading went much slower and deeper. It followed the family’s – mostly Carlen’s – eventually coming to grips with this devastating new reality, and sustaining their new lives through a spiritual awakening, cultivated to become central to their existence. That is the inspiring story.

    “A Path Revealed” is Carlen’s brave telling of how he and Martha came to understand their situation as a “spiritual journey.” It led him to extensive reading, lasting friendships with religious leaders, travels far and wide to monastic retreats, and most important, deep exploration within himself, Martha and the meaning of their lives. Trained as a journalist, he tells us openly about the anger, doubts, conflicts, despair and exhaustion that he experienced, and finding peace by doggedly chasing his spiritual lead.

  6. 5 out of 5


    A Path Revealed by Carlen Maddux pulled me in and welcomed me to stay, learn, and reflect on my identity, family, and relationships.

    I felt invited and comforted by the author’s willingness to be humble and honest about his feelings, doubts, anger, fears and more—he openly shares entries from a journal he kept. I found myself crying, laughing…relating. Relating even though I haven’t lost a loved one to alzheimer’s disease. Even though I’m not Christian. Even though my life is awesome today.

    The author’s journey touched me and though he may not have intended to, he has influenced me by his own actions, and I’ve made the following changes to my life:

    1. I start each day with twenty minutes of meditation.
    2. I’ve done an inventory of things/events/people that have created stress in my and my partner’s life—past and present—and this awareness has made me more patient with and gentle on both of us.
    3. I’m acknowledging my fears: addressing the ones I can do something about and not applying my energy to the ones I can’t fix.
    4. I’m acknowledging the capabilities and limitations of people who have harmed my loved ones.
    5. I value the time I have with loved ones. I’m texting less and calling more. I’m unplugging from technology to be present in person.
    6. And the greatest take away for me is I’m less focused on what I think should happen and more receptive to what will.

    I’ve been receiving this author’s newsletter for several months and when he asked if anyone was willing to write a “fair and honest” review of his book in exchange for a free-copy to help future buyers know if the purchase would be right for them, I jumped at the chance. I’m so glad I did!

  7. 5 out of 5


    Carlen Maddux has written a book about his family’s struggle with Alzheimers. His wife, Martha was diagnosed at 50 with early Alzheimers. During the 17 years they struggled Maddux and his family found hope and peace in a path that took them from conventional religion into meditation and an inspiring journey through monasteries and communion with God that saved his family and helped them deal with the loss of a vital mother and wife who was suddenly enveloped in the horrors of a disease that has defeated many other families. It is a must read for any family in the midst of this dreadful disease.

  8. 5 out of 5


    Very good book on the struggle to deal with Alzheimers

  9. 5 out of 5


    Stones in our Life Path –
    By lois on October 5, 2016
    Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
    The author provided an advanced reading copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.
    A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, a sentence of a future forever diminished but with untold blessings.
    Carlen Maddux and his wife Martha were thrust into a journey not of their choosing as they sat in her doctor’s office.
    This book is a compelling story of a bleak diagnosis, of hope, of searching for answers in unusual places the world over,
    the discovery of beautiful talent only revealed in the depth of a fading mind. Devotion of family united.
    A true love story shared by an aching heart.

  10. 5 out of 5


    As a career criminal prosecutor and former registered nurse, I have spent most of my adult life interacting with, and in some ways “caring” for, people in crisis of one kind or another; those facing sometimes catastrophic illness of themselves or family members or friends, and those who have been, or who love someone who has been, a victim of crime. In addition, my own family has lived with the initially slow, and now hastening, decline of my beautiful, vibrant, funny, smart mother into dementia.
    I grew up, as Carlen did, in “the church” and have felt a close connection to God throughout most of my life. My relationship with God has not been without questions, during crises and out of them, most unanswerable, of course. And my faith has not been consistently “steady.” This book really does reveal practical, usable pathways, not only for dealing with crisis, but also towards strengthening one’s faith. It is equally applicable to those who are on a spiritual journey, who are “seeking,” and to those who are facing a life crisis. For those who fall into both of those categories, this book is a must read.
    I guess the best way I can illustrate the impact this book has had on me, and the impact I think it can have on all who read it, is to share the message I included when I sent a copy of it to someone close to me:
    “Dear One: This book is for you, from God…..through its writer, Carlen Maddux and his wife Martha (who is now in Heaven). It is a book set in the context of Carlen and his family facing and living with his wife’s diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 1997. But it is not a book just about Alzheimer’s…..it is a book about finding a “path” through crisis and, I think, is applicable to just about any crisis one can think of, yours included.

    “I am one of Carlen’s pre-publication “readers.” As I was reading the book, the part that spoke so strongly to me of you is Chapter 9, entitled ‘Martha’s Song.’ I knew immediately that it was also for you. This was a message that was given to Martha by a woman she and Carlen had met through a mutual minister friend. The woman told them that she had been given the ability to speak in tongues and interpret the messages. Carlen and Martha were skeptical of this. Although Christian, their faith tradition, as ours, really hadn’t included this and, he says, they were both sort of “left cold” when she brought it up. The woman apparently sensed their skepticism and moved the conversation to other things. However, she later said she felt moved to “speak” to Martha and asked if it was OK. Martha agreed and the text of the message is in the book.

    “As I read the whole “Song,” knowing it was also for you, I even substituted your name for Martha’s. After reading through it again, I continued with the book and found confirmation that the message was also sent to you…..that it was also meant for you….and for all who find ‘a whisper of meaning” in it for themselves. So……here it is, with love to you!

    While I did receive an advance copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review of it, I have also purchased three copies (so far) to give to people who I believe will benefit from it. I am also providing one for my church library and am recommending it to my book club.

  11. 5 out of 5


    Carlen has been a friend for many years. I received an advanced copy of his book in return for this fair and honest review. He is a devoted Christian, a loving and faithful father and husband. His love of his wife, Martha, and his three children is extraordinary. The trips he took to find understanding are awesome.
    Reading his book felt like he was talking to me, directly. Telling me their story. His personal stories, like rocking like Elvis in front of his father, and walking on his grandfather’s farm near his home town in Cookeville, TN, were graphic and clear. He visited with pastors, nuns, and priests. He learned Christian Meditation. He read countless books, listened to tapes, and watched videos.
    He was searching, seeking, understanding, discovering, and healing. He had to deal with the effects of anger and fear, and the need of forgiveness with children, parents and in-laws. And his attitude changed slowly as he sought thanksgiving for everything.
    Carlen, and sometimes Martha, traveled: to Don Jaeger, Winter Park, FL who was healed from ALS; to Sister Elain Prevallet, Sisters of Loretto, south of Louisville, KY; to Father Matthew Kelty and Thomas Merton’s cabin at the Abbey of Gethsemani, south of Lousville, KY; to Canon Jim Glennon, Sidney, Austrialia; to Mary and Paul Zahl, Birmingham, AL; and to St Leo Abbey, St Leo, FL. All visits clearly detailed; all with significance and meaning.
    Rev Lacy Harwell, after hearing God’s words on the Sunshine Skyway fishing pier, told Carlen, “By His suffering with Martha and you, Jesus is inviting you to enter into an intimate relationship with Him.” Carlen had to either focus on Martha’s symptoms or on God’s kingdom and righteousness, but not both.
    After tearing up while reading Carlen’s account of his last time with Martha after her death, I read his seven take-aways: 1) every crisis carries a spiritual component, 2) focus on what works, 3) every crisis carries a lot of fear and resentment…let it go, 4) embrace your spiritual journey, 5) focus on God daily, not your angst-inducing problems, 6) embrace silence daily, 7) invite other people, trusted friends, to go with you.
    Could I do these? Would I even try? What a book! What a story! What a man! Thank you, Carlen for sharing your story!

  12. 5 out of 5


    A Path Revealed is both intimately personal and transcendently universal. Having faced personal and family crises, but not Alzheimer’s, I found Carlen’s frank descriptions of pain, fear and grief to be authentic. He put words to feelings I’d had but could only express in a limited way. Likewise, the joys and setbacks of his spiritual journey were so well described that I felt we were sharing together in a local coffeehouse.
    I would commend this book to anyone, but particularly to those who are aware of a spiritual longing amidst life’s most difficult challenges.

  13. 5 out of 5


    I don’t often find a book that pulls me to the next chapter, but this one does. Carlin’s honestly told search for answers concerning his wife’s early onset of Alzheimers led me to re-examine questions about the meaning of faith for myself. He wastes not a word in this tightly told recounting of a battle with death that led him (and I suspect most who read this book) to a whole new view and experience of life and God. Carlin and Martha’s story both encouraged and challenged me to go much deeper in my own life.

  14. 5 out of 5


    In A PATH REVEALED, Carlen Maddux describes what he calls “a maze called Alzheimer’s.” As he and his beloved Martha, wife, partner, girlfriend and life’s greatest love, face the ever increasing erosion of cognitive life that Alzheimer’s rains down on its victims. He and Martha find their faith to be a rock in the process of dealing with seeking answers. As the story moves over the 17 years of its time from diagnosis to conclusion, the journey through theologians, physicians, and many other friends and associates lives brings about a deep and clear understanding of what the term “walk with God” truly means. This is a moving account of a family’s many moments of crisis, of confrontation with unspoken issues and with the realization that their bond has become much stronger in their collective journey with Martha as she dealt with this horrible disease. This is a good book, extremely well written and worth the time to read and absorb its many points of life.

  15. 5 out of 5


    * The author provided an advanced reading copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.

    An incredibly honest and unvarnished memoir about an everyday couple forced to face a catastrophic diagnosis.

    Martha Maddux is only fifty years old when she’s diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. In A PATH REVEALED, Carlen Maddux recounts the impact this tragic turn of events has on their family. A seventeen-year journey follows in which no aspect of life is untouched. Beyond the changes to daily life, Carlen, Martha and the three kids face emotional and spiritual challenges.

    The author tells his story–unintentional single-parenthood, becoming a caretaker to his partner of many years, his continuing effort to find meaning in it all–in a warm, engaging tone. He also takes us past his own perspective and makes space for the other voices involved. Through anecdotes, diary entries, and poems we hear from Martha and from the couple’s children. This makes for an amazing reading experience. I read the book in one sitting and got a wonderful sense of the Maddux family as a unit working together to weather a hurricane, and as individual souls each on their own odyssey within the greater landscape of Martha’s illness.

    A PATH REVEALED is a personal story with universal relevance. We will all face our catastrophe–sometimes more than one, sometimes the same one in different guises. We can’t predict them or prevent them. But we can “keep in spiritual shape” and equip ourselves not merely to cope or survive, but to be transformed.

  16. 5 out of 5


    I just finished reading “A Path Revealed” (I had an advanced reading copy and now the published book) with tears in my eyes and a wonderful spiritual feeling. It’s so important that whatever crisis you are facing, give yourself permission to seek help. I wish when we faced the onset of dementia with a family member, we had sought help earlier. This book not only tells a beautiful story but will give you strength to move on to any support you can find. Life is a test but somehow we must strive to be strong and have faith we will be led in the right direction.

  17. 5 out of 5


    What happens when life doesn’t proceed as you expect? Carlen has written about his personal story with honesty and unusual frankness. When a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is delivered for his wife at a relatively young age, Carlen and his wife, Martha, did not avoid the difficult questions. Together they pursued a faith journey that eventually could only be followed by one of them. His story invites hope, but promises none. Carlen delivers a record of an unusual journey, personal discoveries, and moving insights through which we can all learn. I did receive an advance reading copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5


    I had the great pleasure of working with Carlen Maddux more than 30 years ago in St. Petersburg, and the love and devotion he had for his wife was as clear and bright as a sunny day. When I learned that his wife had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, and that he was writing this book about his journey, I was saddened and hopeful. Saddened about his loss and hopeful his book would provide guidance to me and others dealing with the horrible illness. I received an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I also ordered a copy, which I plan to share with friends who are making a similar journey.
    His book, “A Path Revealed,” is something everyone who knows and loves someone with Alzheimer’s should read. It is a hopeful story of their journey into the depths of the disease and a guidebook for those of us who are making their journey with a parent, spouse or sibling. The opening says that Carlen “bounced back” from the horrors of Alzheimer’s, but I believe he did more than that. He “bounced forward,” carrying the weight of his dying wife but earning faith in the future.

  19. 5 out of 5


    Path Revealed is a beautifully written and inspiring story by Carlen Maddux of his family’s agonizingly painful and dispiriting journey through the depths of despair while trying to understand, heal and return his wife Martha to the healthy and vibrantly active person she was before being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Although written through the lens of Carlen’s deep Christian faith and belief’s, this book can be an inspiring example to anyone, regardless of faith, during their own journey through any form of personal or family crisis. The examples set by Carlen, Martha and their three children as they pray, travel, study, meditate and share intimate moments together has awakened in me a new perspective about faith, GOD, spirituality and “willingness vs. willfulness” to meet any challenges my family and I may face throughout the rest of our lives. This story of finding hope, joy and love through this frightening and potentially devastating journey will be forever etched into my mind and spirit.

  20. 5 out of 5


    Carlen begins a quest to restore the health of his wife, Martha, when she is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. However, restoration occurs in ways completely unexpected. Carlen’s mind is opened to spiritual healing that brings him and his family an unexpected peace. They endure physical suffering, but discover Christ is suffering with them. This book opened my eyes to why we may suffer.

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