Throwback Thursday: Operation Homecoming

I guess it’s time for my monthly blog post, eh? I’ve been really bad about staying on top of this blog lately. Actually, that applies to writing in general. But we’re still around — just busy all the time, it seems.

Anyhow…that said…every week, I post a photo or two on Facebook for Throwback Thursday. Recently meeting a Purple Heart recipient, and then seeing a friend’s post reminded me of something, and I decided it was too much to say with just a pic and a caption. So…here are my Throwback Thursday photos, and the story.

A lot of people who know me now didn’t know me in 2006. So they don’t know about the one accomplishment I’m most proud of, after my marriage and my children.

It’s my writing having been published in this book: Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, And the Home Front, in the Words of U.S. Troops And Their Families.


As you see on that Amazon link, you can get used copies for just a few dollars now. And I was so stinkin’ proud to notice that this book — seven years later — has still only received 5-star reviews.

If you love history, if you’re a reality junkie who loves real stories about real people, if you love the military, or if you just love me, you have no excuse to not add this fine piece of literature to your personal library.

It’s just an amazing piece of work, one that introduced me to some fantastic people and took me to some amazing places.

I was flown to Hollywood to appear in one of the documentaries based on the book, Muse of Fire. (Click that link to watch it on Vimeo. My main part is at the 24:53 mark.) It was narrated by one of my favorite actors, Kevin Costner. I love that he donated his time to this project, even if I missed meeting him by one stinkin’ day!

But it’s where I had my first limousine ride…


My first professional hair-and-makeup session…


My first time ever feeling like a star…


It was awesome. I blogged about it here.

Donnie, Zach, my parents and I got to go to the book release party at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. I got to sign over 200 books, including one for Laura Bush’s personal library.

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A week or so after that, I attended another book signing at the Atlanta History Center and was interviewed by Wes Sarginson for 11Alive news.

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Being part of this project gave me the confidence to begin writing the column I wrote for The Covington News for six years, as well as the confidence needed to present the “Muse of Fire” documentary to several groups and schools. Public speaking has never been easy for me, but with something this strong behind me, I found I could conquer those fears.

That confidence remains with me today.

War changed our lives in so many ways. My marriage, our family, has never been the same. But this was the silver lining of the experience for me, totally a gift from God that led me to places I never thought I’d go. So I guess that’s why, seven years later, I still want to share this experience. I want my new friends to know where we’ve been and this significant part of the story of who I am today.

So, just go get the book now, OK?

(And if you choose the audio version, know that I, too, couldn’t stop laughing at the heavy faux Southern accent of the actress reading my part!)