Post #122 – Aug. 25, 2018
Saturday is for Sharing
Series of Guest Authors – #8
Miss Opal & Lynda
Welcome YOU to
Saturday is for Sharing
Meet Amy Bovaird
Seeking Solace: Finding Joy After Loss
Hi Amy, I am so pleased to present your books and hear your thoughts today on SCAN.
Your life-long love of travel and your humorous adventures abroad, teaching English as a Second Language, seem to be the backbone of your writing. No matter what the story is about, we get an excellent view of the world as you experienced it. You bring us along wherever you are, in your writing. I’ve been reading your stories for a number of years.
Recently, I listened to the Spring/Summer issue of “Magnets & Ladders Literary Magazine.” This magazine was recorded on digital cassette by the Perkins Library. I really enjoyed hearing your essay, “The Sweet Breath of Africa,” which won an Honorable Mention for non-fiction. This story is about an African nurse who took care of you while you were alone, in a foreign country, in a hospital. It is a beautiful and sensitive story. I have listened to it twice because it is so compelling. You are a natural storyteller, Amy. Read this story here: https://www.magnetsandladders.org/#the-sweet-breath-of-africa-memoir-nonfiction-)honorable-mentionwzxhzdk47by-amy-bovaird
Q_ What do you think about your name and do you use a pen name for your books?
Amy_ There is so much to a name, and over the years, I have learned not only to appreciate but also to cherish mine. My three siblings are named after other respected family members, but my mother said she chose my name simply because she liked it. That is so sweet, all by itself. As I traveled overseas to teach, having a small three-letter name like ‘Amy’ fit just right. My last name—French in origin—posed problems so my overseas students called me “Miss Amy.” This made me feel close to them; it facilitated stronger relationships and forged cultural ties.
In one class, which focused on teaching strategies for TOEFL, a college-entrance exam needed for non-native students to enter western universities, we came across the word, “amicable.” My Indonesian student said, “This is you, my teacher.” His observation filled my heart with gratitude. At some point, I heard the term, “Bon ami,” French for ‘good friend. and added that on to the lovely nuances of my name. It also has roots in Spanish, “amistad,” which means “friendship,” and “amor,” which means love. That described me well as I loved to make new friends. Later, I learned my name meant “beloved.” At that time, my walk with Christ was deepening, so my given name became even more meaningful.
I think it’s amazing how God ensures we have the tools we need to succeed in our careers—and that certainly includes the name we go by. I went by it as a teacher and I also use it as a writer.
Q_What have you done recently that really made you feel good about yourself?
Amy_ In the 90s I had the most wonderful job ever—teaching specialized English terms (think map reading, tanks, helicopters, etc.) to international military personnel at the Defense Language Institute at Lackland Air Force Base. I even helped set up language programs overseas. I left my job to marry an Egyptian Captain and teach in a civilian women’s college in the Middle East. I could never duplicate the unique teaching environment I had at Lackland.
About three weeks ago, one of my former colleagues and I met up in San Antonio and reunited with past co-workers. It was a whirlwind of excitement, beginning with an unexpected stop at the base from the airport and two full days of meeting up with memorable colleagues. It was also the best thing I could ever do for myself – to reconnect with the bold, daring teacher and intrepid traveler I once was in the days before the huge drop in my vision. It was good to remember I was still that person.
Q_ Are you a “Mountain,” “Valley,” or “Beach” person?
Amy__I am definitely a mountain gal. Give me a backpack and I’ll climb high! I have a couple of humorous anecdotes in my second book, Cane Confessions: The Lighter Side of Mobility, about climbing mountains in Scotland and Japan. You can probably guess the challenges of climbing the Scottish mountain named Goatfell! There’s something about the high altitude that goes hand-n-hand with adventure.
Q_ What is your most notable achievement or accomplishment to date?
Amy_ I am quite proud of my second book launch. I collaborated with the Sight Center of Northwest Pennsylvania to unveil Cane Confessions. We found a great location to hold the launch, a large senior center in our area. We put our heads together to create a strong line-up of speakers for our program.
The CEO of the Sight Center was our emcee. She introduced each speaker for the event. Other speakers included the director of the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services. This organization provides counseling, training aids, rehab and orientation and mobility to those who are blind or have low vision. Another speaker was on the Board of Directors for the Sight Center but also represented Pennwriters, a state-wide group of writing professionals of which I am a member. It also included the head of the Lions Club (of which I belong), followed by a leader dog (guide) trainer with her leader puppy. The keynote speaker was a laser eye surgeon, who I asked to speak on gene therapy. I also spoke and read a humorous passage from my book. The line-up ended with my pastor, who prayed for the outreach of my memoir, and also for the food.
While we served cake and punch, and I signed books,
we had a fabulous new group perform some original music,
including one song they wrote specifically tor the launch. One of the group members was from Pennwriters.
We even had someone to take the money for the books, so I only had to focus on signing and connecting with those who came to purchase them.
I don’t think any of us expected such an incredible, comprehensive program to unfold without a hitch! We were thrilled! Unfortunately, although we sent out a slick press release to the media, they failed to show up. What a shame as my launch showcased so many facets of assistance available to the visually impaired community. We certainly put up a united front. It is still one of my fondest memories.
Q_ Tell us more about how you began to write books.
Amy_ The first professional paid writing job I fell into was a ghostwriter job. I wrote a memoir my client termed as “the greatest love story ever told.” It was an upbeat story of my client and his wife (the love of his life) as they dealt with her ovarian cancer. I was so proud of it when I finished it.
That prepared me to write my own memoirs. I have written two books about mobility (using a white cane), which includes elements of fear, faith, humor and adventure. (I am currently working on my third and final mobility book. I plan to finish the series by December of this year).
Seeking Solace: Finding Joy After Loss
is the memoir I want to share with you today. This new book combines my faith and experiences in a devotional format. It consists of forty-five devotions where God met my needs at desperate points of loss during my time in the Middle East. The first section focuses on loss in childbearing. The second section focuses on getting through divorce. The final section focuses on coping with the discovery of my father’s stage-four cancer while I was in the Middle East.
Writing these devotions helped me better understand how God carried me through my heartbreak. My devotions reminded me how God had ministered to me in the past, which, in turn, helped me recall who was in control of my life. Certainly not me. I was deeply grieving over the loss of my mother, who was eighty-seven. One day she was fine; the next, she suffered a massive stroke. You think you’ll be prepared when an elderly parent passes away but few of us truly are. The loss of a loved one causes grief no matter what the age of the one you love or of the bereaved.
The greater purpose in writing this memoir was to reach out to others facing similar losses. When I go to speak, not everyone can relate to challenges of my sight loss. However, many can relate to losing a child or a parent. Additionally, one out of every two marriages end in divorce nowadays. There is a great need to know God will remain firmly at our side in those frightening moments when we face our biggest fears, failures and disappointments. All devotionals show testimony and mine does the same, only thematically.
If I could pick a page that would sum up of the message of my devotional book it might be found in this devotion.
LOVE TRANSCENDS TOUCH
“‘I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow,’ declared the Lord.”
–Jeremiah 31:13, NIV
When Noor died, everything happened quickly. Nadir completed the legalities for her birth and death at the same time. I received no birth certificate or inked footprints to remember her. Nobody brought Noor to my bedside, so I could hold her and say goodbye. Nadir carried her shrouded body away. He placed her directly into a gravesite somewhere in a Dubai cemetery I would never see. Losing a baby in utero devastated me. It left me without even a photograph—as if conceiving her never happened. My second twin’s heart beat together with mine. I nurtured and sang to her, fought and prayed for her. After I delivered Noor, the nurses whisked her away to an incubator. Most of the time, my emergencies kept me from going to her. Except for One. Special. Moment. I reached through the incubator holes to stroke tiny legs—my first touch. One time to last forever.
My lack of input and involvement in the burial left gaping wounds. I cradled a single Polaroid the doctor snapped of Noor shortly after birth. Nadir hid the photo. He believed it unhealthy and wanted me to move forward. But I had no closure.
That summer, I wept for the missing rituals and mementoes that typically accompany motherhood. To fill that gap, God gave me a beautiful song about love being deeper than touch. The lyrics slowly filled the void, like rays of hope seeping through a heavy black cloud.
The words seemed penned for my twins and me. When I listened to that song, I thought about how beautiful it was to have those hearts beating inside me for even a short time. I believe one day I’ll have that privilege again.
Heavenly Father, thank you for scripting special words to heal our unique pain.
Name: Amy L. Bovaird
Book Title: Seeking Solace: Finding Joy After Loss
Book Description: https://amybovaird.com/seeking-solace/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/amybovairdauthor/
*Book is available in regular, large print, ebook and audio.
Audio is available at Audible.com, iTunes, Amazon and my website.
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