***A bit of blog-keeping: today bloggers from around Ohio are participating in the Ohio Blogging Association’s November blog swap. Today’s post on Why CLE? is written by the inspiring Janie from Love You More Than You Know. Much thanks to her for a fantastic post!
Good morning from Janie at Love You More Than You Know. Thank you Jen for having me as a guest blogger from the Ohio Blogging Association‘s All State Blog Swap. Thanks to Alicia for organizing today’s swap. For a full listing of blog swap participants, please visit Poise in Parma.
I would like to share some exciting news! My book, Love You More Than You Know Mothers’ Stories About Sending Their Sons and Daughters to War is now an eBook. My publisher is Gray & Co., Publishers right here in Cleveland!
Click here to enter a raffle for free eBook copies of LYMTYK (Nov. 11-25, 2012).
The title of the book came from a letter my son sent me. He was in Iraq for six months and had six more to go. His letter asked questions: Will I make it back? Will I be the same? Will I be happy? He said, “ All I know that is certain is you, and I rely on that fact alone to get me through the sweltering reality I live in.“ He signed his letter; I love you deeply, more than you know. Your son, Joe.
Jim Vickers at Cleveland Magazine wrote the first review for the anthology.
A piece of cardboard arrives at home as a soldier’s makeshift postcard, a lone blue heron crossing the sky reminds a grief-stricken mother that everything in life is fleeting and connected —the stories are packed with images and moments that resonate with the reader long after the stories are told. As a whole, the book offers a powerful statement about the sacrifices made not only by those who serve, but also by those left behind.
Amy Kenneley’s chapter, “Time Will Start Again” features the cardboard message from her son: The mail came, and in the roadside mailbox was a piece of cardboard. I found out later it was the end flap from a box of Meals-Ready-To-Eat, or MREs. One side of the cardboard had his name and military unit in the top corner and our name and address centered. Where a stamp should have been, he had written “FREE-OIF,” and the postal authorities had dutifully acknowledged that stiff brown flap’s right to free postage in a combat zone by postmarking it.
The familiar writing, scrawled across the bumpy corrugated lines, told us he was okay. We passed it around in amazement to our children and friends, as though it was some kind of holy writing, when it was really just a piece of cardboard that had traveled half-way around the world to a little corner of Ohio. The message read, “I am alive and well.”
In the chapter, “Perchance to Dream,” Mary Jane Kashkoush, a gold star mother writes:
As the first warm weather came, I walked every day, my thoughts being with my Mike. There was a proliferation of monarch butterflies, unlike I’d ever seen since I was young—they were his messengers. I’m learning to relate. I try to retrieve something of value from the unique flavor of each day, a treasure—a shell, from my walk at the Headlands beachfront today, or the blue heron traversing the sky as I drove home. I embrace endless natural life, images evoking a connected oneness through time in this place and the other side.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to charities benefiting wounded veterans:
ReMIND.org, a Bob Woodruff Foundation initiative for injured service members and their families.
The Semper Fi Fund will also receive donations.
I am committed to continue bringing you true stories of our heroes in uniform, sharing with you the bravery and sacrifices that our troops and their families make everyday for all of us. You are invited to share your story about your soldier here at www.loveyoumorethanyouknow.com as a guest blogger. Send stories to email@example.com
About Janie Reinart
As an author, teacher consultant, National Writing Project Fellow, storyteller, and poet, words are my tools. Janie seeks ways to give people a voice to tell their own stories through prose and poetry. She and her husband, Ed, are grateful for their five children and 10 grandchildren. Most weekends, you will find Janie praying and singing with the choir at Holy Angels Catholic Church.
Janie’s chapter, “Boots to Ground “ in Love You More Than You Know, won second place in the National Federation of Press Women’s 2010 Communications Contest in the category of a chapter/essay in a nonfiction book. Her chapter won first place in the Ohio Professional Writer’s Communications Contest.
Janie’s blog Love You More Than You Know is a finalist for the 2012 Milbloggies (6th Annual) Best U.S. Military Parent Blog Award.
In these stories, 45 mothers of U.S. service men and women open their hearts and share what it feels like when your son or daughter leaves home to fight a war.
Some were stunned when they learned that their “baby” had enlisted. Others had long been familiar with military life. But all of these mothers knew their world had just changed the day their child called home and said, “Mom, I’m being deployed . . .”
They discovered the strange mix of pride and fear. The anxiety of not knowing exactly where in Iraq or Afghanistan your son is, whether your daughter is facing mortar fire or enduring heat and boredom. Elation at the arrival of the briefest postcard or email message. The daily dread, when returning home from work or a trip to the grocery store, of seeing a government car in the driveway and two soldiers at the door . . .
Anyone who reads their stories will admire their faith and courage–and better understand the sacrifices made by our U.S. service men and women and their families.