Inklings and notions review of Flowers from Afghanistan

“The first part of this story was so heartbreaking! I can see why Mac runs away from his life by accepting a training position in Afghanistan, since it would be hard to work through the loss of a little one, especially when you feel like you are the one at fault. I thought that Suzy did a wonderful job of bringing the story to life, with Mac and Sophie working through their grief and learning to move past the tragedy of losing their son. This story is a beautiful one.”~Inklings and Notions

Thank you for the review! http://amandanicolle.blogspot.com/2020/07/flowers-from-afghanistan.html?m=1

Book Giveaway! Please leave a comment at the end of Inklings and Notions Blog.

 

Celebrate Lit Blog Tours Continue!

“The story reflects not only marriage but the undeniable need to trust God. Mac faces danger several times but each time God was there to cover him and keep him safe. Sometimes we have to go through trials for God to get our attention. I loved how well the author was able to communicate through words the emotions that each character goes through. She lets us see what life is like in Afghanistan and the hardship they encounter each day.
I finished the book as tears ran down my cheeks with hope that others will experience God’s love and His forgiving spirit. Nothing is impossible with God. We need to be open to receive Him like Mac experiences and be able to forgive ourselves.”

Read the entire review on Deana’s blog and be eligible for a give-away. http://deana0326.blogspot.com/2020/07/about-book-book-flowers-from.html#comment-form

Celebrate Lit highlights Flowers from Afghanistan

Flowers from Afghanistan is featured on a blog tour by Celebrate Lit!

The first stop on our tour is Patti Pierce from Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy. Patti writes:
“I am the wife of a soldier. We have other family members and friends who have served in the military. So this book was one I knew I had to read since we have known people deployed to the Middle East. The story starts off with a tragedy no parent should have to live with, and that is the death of a young child. The story grabbed my attention from the beginning. Mac and Sophie were people I wanted to get to know.
I found myself unable to put this book down.“

You can read more at:

https://truthandgracehomeschoolacademy.wordpress.com/author/pattipeanut/

What’s It Like To Be Traveling Robert? (A Year Of Travels)

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I caught up with Traveling Robert at the Micro Minnies on the Mountain rally on Monte Sano. This was the first big rally for Winnebago Micro Minnie owners in Huntsville, Alabama. The weather started off chilly, but by Sunday the skies were a vibrant blue with very low humidity. It was a perfect day to catch up with Robert Morales and ask him how life on the road had treated him this past year. I was thrilled that his wife Ileana was along for this trip and I was able to chat with her. Ileana is the wind beneath Robert’s wings.

Q. Ileana, we honored our military veterans this weekend for Veterans Day. Many military spouses experience times when their husband or wife serves overseas or away from home for extended periods of time. You have been away from Robert for periods of time this year. What special things did you do to stay in touch?

A. “I watch all his videos. Also, we call each other to say good morning and good night. That never fails, we do it every day.”

Q. Ileana, do you hope to join Robert full time on the road at some point? What is your favorite thing about traveling?

A. “Yes, I can’t wait to join him! Once we got the RV I don’t see myself going back to a hotel. In an RV you have your own bathroom, your bedroom, just so many things. I love seeing new places, meeting new people and trying different food.”

The link below will take you to a video interview with Traveling Robert. The video runs 10 minutes:

 

You can subscribe and watch Traveling Robert on YouTube

Traveling Robert’s videos are available on Amazon Prime Video

 

The Perfume of His Presence

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This morning we are driving to the Hollansburg Cemetery in Ohio.

A precious grain of wheat for Christ is planted here.

John 12:24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

Chet and I are going to pay our respects to someone we have never met, though this person significantly shaped my early walk with Christ. Through his music and observing his life, Richard Wayne Mullins demonstrated it was possible to be a Christian and still be “real.”

Here is his bio, as posted on a grave location site:

Singer, Songwriter, Musician. Born near Richmond, Indiana, Rich was into genealogy research of his family’s history and revered and honored the memory of those who came before him and made him who he was. He began writing music at an early age. Talent with musical instruments came naturally to him. One song he wrote was made famous by Amy Grant in 1982, “Sing Your Praise to the Lord.” He recorded an album called “Canticle of the Plains” in honor of St. Francis of Assisi but based it in the American West. His song “Awesome God” has been the most well-known and loved by more people. He spent the last couple of years of his life teaching music to Navajo children on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Windrock, NM. He was devoted to the Navajo Nation and considered his teaching more important than making money. He also believed serving God, with his music and ministry, were above fame and fortune. He gave most of his earnings to charity. A quote of his from a question about how to stay strong in the faith – “Read your Bible, pray every day, and you’ll grow, grow, grow.” When he would sign autographs, he would always write “Be God’s” above his signature. Nine days before his death, he went to an old, abandoned church with a cheap cassette recorder and recorded nine songs with just his guitar. These songs became “The Jesus Record,” and they reveal the inner peace he was finally feeling. Mullins was killed in an auto accident.

This bio, though carefully written, seems dry compared to the impact I have witnessed of this artist’s music on the world.

I have seen an entire community of believers touched and encouraged by the “shoeless man,” as Amy Grant called him.

As I come to know and love believers who have been affected by his music, I see an ever-widening ripple of faith. That legacy has continued even now, twenty-two years after his death.

During our drive yesterday, reflecting on Rich’s legacy, Chet and I were discussing how the impact of one person can affect so many lives.

There was another person whose action still has an impact, thousands of years later.

John 12:1-3

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. 

And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

I don’t think Mary had a clue how poignant her actions were, nor that they would resonate thousands of years later. She just acted out of love.

Lord, let my actions fill the area of responsibility you have given me with your perfume.

Standing Together: The Inspirational Story of a Wounded Warrior and Enduring Love

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A true story of hope and courage in the face of astonishing challenges
 During his fourth deployment, US Marine Corps Sergeant Carlos Evans stepped on an IED–and the loss of both legs and his left hand was just the beginning of the struggle for his life.
 For the next two years, he and his wife, Rosemarie, went through the rehabilitation process together. As a nurse and mother of two young children, Rosemarie was used to caring for people, but the task of taking care of her triple-amputee husband brought new challenges every day. In addition to his limb loss, Carlos faced PTSD and developed an addiction to painkillers. He was sure Rosemarie’s life would be better without him–and that it might have been better if he hadn’t survived at all.
 But unlike the majority of marriages put under similar strain, Carlos and Rosemarie stayed together. With the help of family, friends, and–most importantly—a strong faith, they’ve built a solid marriage and discovered a ministry they never expected. By the hand of God, their story, which began in devastation, has turned into one that draws in and lifts up more people than either of them would ever have dreamed.
 Not only will disabled veterans and their loved ones find help here, Carlos and Rosemarie’s captivating journey also speaks to those who long for stronger marriages, care for loved ones with disabilities, or are facing a new normal in their own lives, small or large. It is a powerful resource for leaning on God in the midst of life’s great difficulties–and for finding ways that, through faith, profound loss can bring incredible blessing.
 
My Review:
 
No matter how much you study a situation, or how close you are to a couple actually going through this, it is impossible to imagine the amount of grit, faith, and determination it has taken for Carlos and his wife to triumph.
 
Carlos has willingly given us a window into his winding journey back to health. His honesty and that of his sweet wife, Rosemarie, is an example of a different kind of heroism. The hero, in this case, has taken off the cape and allowed us to see his Clark Kent side.
 
Carlos and Rosemarie Evans bring refreshing transparency in the telling of their struggles after Carlos is wounded in battle. I especially liked the give-and-take format where each took a turn describing events. It reinforced the fact that men and women do indeed experience the same event in drastically different ways.
 
The challenges they faced seem insurmountable. Carlos and Rosemarie related memories of the dark times but balanced them with the unfailing hope of Jesus Christ. 
 
This book reminded me of the way David crafted the Psalms. He was honest about his struggles but always ended a Psalm with his trust in the Lord. 
 
The stories of Carlos participating in races using his handcycle are breathtaking and encouraging, while the community coming together offers hope that there are still kind and giving people in this world. I highly recommend this book.

Behind The Scenes

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I want to give you a little behind the scenes look into what made Flowers from Afghanistan. My husband retired after 26 years as a police officer and then an investigator in our city. He immediately was accepted as a trainer for police in Afghanistan and flew out months after retiring. It was something he had dreamed of doing for a few years. It was very hard to tell him goodbye. I knew when he left that a book would be born of this adventure and it was. I wanted to honor our police families and our military families, as I know what sacrifices they make on a daily basis. I wanted to show people what that consisted of. In the creation of Mac, I was doing what we call a character interview with him. It’s where you sit down with your imaginary character and ask him or her about their life. It sounds a little crazy, but it works! Anyway, when I got to the part where I asked Mac why he went to Afghanistan, and he told me. I said no, I will not write that. I had no desire to write about the death of a child. I tried to argue the character out of it, but he was adamant. And when I tried other approaches, the character just clammed up. So, dragging my heels, I wrote that scene. In my research, I read many mother’s tales of loss. It broke my heart and I wanted to write this to represent them also. So, to my dear mothers who have lost a child, I send you my highest respect and deepest sympathy. To all military families and police families, my love and prayers go out to you, as you serve in a very deep way this day. Purchase Flowers from Afghanistan

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