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"There's one thing I know - God exists."
At age nineteen, MaryAnne McMillen severed two vital nerves at the base of her skull when she suffered a near fatal fall. This was followed by an out-of-body experience, life after death, in which she heard the words, "It's not your time."
When the two nerves fused together, MaryAnne was left in unrelenting, excruciating pain. Being the mother of a young son and married to a philandering brute of a husband when the accident occurred, the family disallowed the use of any medicine because it was against their religion. After fourteen years of agony, doctors were finally able to perform a unique surgery known as extraspinal rhizotomy.
This story weaves together the idea of family and faith, while also creating a sense of longing in the reader's own life for something bigger than themselves. Mommy's Writings is the extraordinary memoir of the love between a mother and her young son, and a great-grandmother whose intense devotion to the two of them kept their little family together. It is a story of faith in God, of forgiveness and acceptance, and of gratitude.
When defining who she is, Suzanne McMillen-Fallon writes, "Mother of Chad C. McMillen and author." In her younger years, she was an artist. After the 1983 surgery, she is a published writer of poetry and prose, and co-authored the book Shadows of Yesterday with her late second husband, Gene Fallon. Her next book, Parallax Crossroads: Finding My Way continues the Mommy Writings Series. The author's son Chad C. McMillen is shown at nearly five years of age. As an adult, he is a PMI Project Management professional.
Book Review: It takes a special type of person to share their deepest and sometimes darkest life experiences in a memoir. It also takes a special type of reader to set aside their own life experiences to read, have empathy and sympathy for the trials and tribulations of others.
This must have been a hard book for author Suzanne McMillen-Fallon too write. I imagine writing it caused her to relive the years written about; like it did for me, when I wrote my memoir. I find a certain component of therapy in reading non-fiction. Non-fiction memoirs allows some readers commonality.
I am moved by Suzanne’s strength and courage, while speaking about her near-death experience that happened on February 14, 1969. Controversy in the medical and religious communities, over this topic, makes this book and Suzanne’s interview, in ‘The Documentary: One A Guide to Enlightenment,’ by Dr. G. J. Link, MD, PhD. on November 21, 2016 (found on You Tube), both, insightful and intriguing.
As a mother of a son two years older than her beloved son Chad, I relate to and admire her maternal instincts to love, cherish every moment, protect and raise Chad under the most difficult circumstances. The influence of her in-laws and their extended family had massive sway over her life, to the point of studying under their religion. It is evident that this religion doesn’t agree with much in the medical community.
Through physical, mental and emotional pain, Suzanne holds onto her deep faith in God, as he reveals himself to her. She uses poetry and scripture to help explain her thought process to the reader. I am convinced that it is her faith and deep connection to her son Chad, that kept her alive thus far.
‘Mommy, Would You Like a Sandwich?’ is the first book in her ‘Mommy’s Writings’ series. This book is two books in one, as she takes us from 1969 through the pre-teen years of her son, Chad. Suzanne (formally known as MaryAnne McMillen) has endured more than most and still has a positive attitude and grateful heart.
As we wait for the next installment in this series, let me quote the author, “I’m joyful in having watched Chad grow into a man of integrity and, most importantly, having understood why we’re blessed. God is love, and my priorities are the same: God’s first, then my family, Chad, friends, and then, of course, the writing.”
I, Theodocia McLean, endorse “Mommy, Would You Like a Sandwich? (Mommy Writings Series Book I, Mommy's Writings)” by Suzanne McMillen-Fallon, as a deeply honest account of her near-death experience and the years that followed. I purchased this book in print, and this review was completed on October 23, 2017.
Genre: Non-Fiction, Religion & Spirituality, Worship & Devotion, Faith, Parenting & Relationships, Biographies & Memoirs
View This Near-Death Testimonial by Ms. Suzanne McMillen
(in the center of this video)
Message From Author Suzanne McMillen-Fallon: “Let me share this specific Mommy’s Writings’ query, of so long ago, for Book 1. I wrote: “They’re so many words to write about a true story that inspires the love of God, but I use Mommy’s words to best express Mary’s thread.
In 1983, while sitting at my bedroom desk in Warren, Ohio, I understood that I’d write this story. I heard words then as if someone had clearly spoken them, and I paused for the longest time. After all, I did just have a unique head surgery. Fourteen years of unbearable nerve spasms which often left me unconscious, especially in the days approaching the surgery. I did not question then that I heard the words. I questioned, how can this be?
My son Chad is my life. But who’s Chad’s Mommy? I glanced about the room and then through an enormous bay window, whose light is comforting, as I gazed into the distance. I closed my eyes to feel the light’s warmth which so often helps to sift out the harshness in an all too real world that demands perfection. With thoughts then ended I returned my attention to a desk and to a typewriter that stares back at me, but I didn’t know if I could even type. I had been swallowed whole then spit out in pieces that are to somehow fit together once again into a world that doesn’t recant in missed time. Others told me that I had typed, and my resume implied that indeed I was quite proficient in this skill. Still, I felt lost in the resume words that claimed who I am as I surely didn’t recognize Mary. In these moments I realized then that I did not remember me; so alone in my home, MaryAnne McMillen cried. I have a very, very long road ahead if I’m to salvage fragmented pieces which left me humbled by God.
Just like Mary’s name is part of who I am, so are these words then clearly heard by me. ‘You will write this story.’”
What does this mean? Well, for me, since 1983 I continue reading theologian Bible research; more recently, an interest in quantum physics brain research on consciousness. Enough said, because everyone’s time is valued and respected.
I just had business cards made, seeing myself: for book-signings and readings and still writing and research; in spite of a poor medical prognosis. As I continue recouping from a 2015 major surgery, with complications slowly going away (I advocate the shingles’ vaccine for anyone whose had chicken pokes and is of the age sixty and over); to another, future, major operation for me, having been informed by physicians. But more importantly, is in knowing now God’s plan is fulfilled for my life, with Book 1’s 2015 Literary Marketplace entrance, and yet to be, if the Lord will (In the Bible: Hebrews 4:13-15 (AV); Rom. 8:28; James 4:13-15; 1 Cor. 13:12-13).
Author Suzanne McMillen-Fallon has a background in the performing arts in theatrical production; with both film and television experience. I am a published poet (sixteen anthologies). Collaborator of plot development, and Co-author for Shadows Of Yesterday; a fictional story based on proven facts about the first human clone.
Joint seminar speaker for Valencia Community College, Orlando, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, (Jeff Atwood, dean at both); extra for Universal Studios Florida, through Stevie Lynn Productions, Orlando. Associate Director and instructor, Television Workshop, Inc. and Center for Communication Arts, Cleveland, Ohio and Center for Communication Arts in Orlando, Florida)
Mommy Writings Series Book 1 is entitled Mommy’s Writings: Mommy, Would You Like a Sandwich? A True Story.
I’m qualified as a reader and speaker at book sellers and on radio and TV talk shows, and will go anywhere I can to sell and promote Mommy’s Writings: Mommy, Would You Like a Sandwich?”
Resume: Suzanne McMillen-Fallon was previous business owner and CEO of the Center for Communication Arts, Inc. in Orlando; having been associate director of Television Workshop, Inc. with Gene Fallon in Cleveland, Ohio. Past business experience includes apartment house ownership and management and a family-owned business affiliation in the oil and gas industry.
Ms. McMillen-Fallon has a background in the performing arts in theatrical production at the famed Youngstown, Ohio Playhouse; developing an amazing role-playing ability than used as a teaching technique in Florida, where becoming the instructor's protégé, she acted out parts audiences easily related to:
1992 – 1996 - (DBA) doing business as Center for Communication Arts, Inc. in Florida State: joint seminar speaker with Gene Fallon for Dale Carnegie Productions in their Central Florida Division; with Ken Roberts, as principal.
DBA-CCA, Inc: Team instructor with Gene Fallon at Valencia Community College in Orlando, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach; with Jeff Atwood, dean at both.
DBA-CCA, Inc: Contracted public seminars for the Fallons at Orlando Universal Studios through Stevie Lynn Productions.
What had made the Center for Communication Arts teaching style so valuable was that anyone who could read from a workbook could also be taught effective communication techniques. Thousands were taught from top executives to mothers and even grandmothers.
CCA, Inc. was licensed for teaching, speaking and writing purposes.
CCA, Inc. closed March 23, 2008
Her Current Read: For, one chooses to believe, or not, Albert Einstein’s thinking on the quantum theory and its weirdness, which bothered him during his lifetime. In the enigmatic implications, which physicists call “the measurement problem,” and is cited in the publication, “Quantum Enigma, Second Edition,” by Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner. In simple words, human perspective – in quantum mechanics – encounters consciousness. (This book is absolutely the best read, if one seeks proven knowledge. Thank you, Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner, for the Second Edition, which reveals, and enables humankind to understand more clearly physics encounters consciousness.)
What makes you proud to be a writer from (Toledo, OH)? This is the second time living in the State of Ohio, in a different locale – my beloved son Chad McMillen is here – having previously relocated from Mukilteo, WA in 2010; with my formative years lived in Warren, OH. Perhaps, it’s the challenge whenever being asked, “What are you writing, when you’re working?” It brings a smile to my countenance. Because their question’s truth is surreal. As I grasp the reality of the words, as any writer probably relates to. Writing is what one does. Anyone may write. But it’s the writer who continually scribbles down thoughts simply because it’s a part of them. Sometimes, writers are given inspired writing, creativity flowing through them, like an artist’s canvas, to manifest something bigger than themselves. It’s those moments of true inspiration, which has me a writer; an individual, accessing a divine stream of consciousness. Prayerfully then, in a cognitive ability to then share it with everyone.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? Becoming a writer, a sense of it, manifested in a poem entitled, “Watching Chad Grow.” In 1990, while residing in Warren, Ohio; when son Chad was in Howland Middle School – Class of ’97 – where I attended an open house for parents.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? Yes, I believe so. As I lived a peaceful life, while living on an Ohio farm with my beloved grandparents’ Pansy M. Holmes and Clyde L. Holmes and with Uncle Ralph B. Hodge, whose presence is just as loving and introspective as gramma Pansy and grampa Clyde; who gave me Smokey, a black stallion Shetland pony to pass the time together. As well as our family’s good-sized Holy Bible – the Word of God – with its beautiful color prints, being clearly in view for reading; or just glancing at the amazing pictures, when one is little and cannot read. But always present is our family’s reverence to God.
The farm home is small, and I still recall our address: 2634 Ridge Road, Southeast, in Warren, and our phone number is Express 45012. Funny how things stay with you. The place you once knew as home, the only house on the old road that borders Warren’s outskirts, until passing years bring neighbors. It’s a quiet country home, and stepbrother Richard C. Limber shared it with me – until age thirteen.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? Some months later, following a rare and unique head surgery known as an intraspinal rhizotomy. In autumn 1983, when clearly hearing the words “You will write this story.” Although, it would be decades later, in 2001, when the Mommy Writings Series Book 1, entitled “Mommy’s Writings: Mommy, would you like a sandwich? would flow through me, and into written words; copyright JAN 04 2007. Literary Marketplace entrance: JUNE 18 2015. Publisher: dba Strategic Book Group, LLC.
Back then, “in 1983, while sitting at my bedroom desk in Warren, Ohio, I understood that I’d write this story. I heard words then as if someone had clearly spoken them, and I paused for the longest time. After all, I did just have a unique head surgery. Fourteen years of unbearable nerve spasms which often left me unconscious, especially in the days approaching the surgery. I did not question then that I heard the words. I questioned, how can this be?
My son Chad is my life. But who’s Chad’s Mommy? I glanced about the room and then through an enormous bay window, whose light is comforting, as I gazed into the distance. I closed my eyes to feel the light’s warmth, which so often helps to sift out the harshness in an all too real world that demands perfection. With thoughts then ended I returned my attention to a desk and to a typewriter that stares back at me, but I didn’t know if I could even type. I had been swallowed whole, then spit out in pieces that are to somehow fit together once again into a world that doesn’t recant in missed time. Others told me that I had typed, and my resume implied that indeed I was quite proficient in this skill. Still, I felt lost in the resume words that claimed who I am, as I surely didn’t recognize Mary. In these moments, I realized then that I did not remember me; so alone in my home, MaryAnne McMillen cried. I have a very, very long road ahead if I’m to salvage fragmented pieces, which left me humbled by God.
Just like Mary’s name is part of who I am, so are these words then clearly heard by me. ‘You will write this story.’”
So decades later, residing in Washington State, with retired second husband, Gene D. Fallon, our focus is on writing; Fallon being twenty-four years my senior, I worked part time for Hallmark Retail, Inc. (Andrews’s Hallmark, and then Amy’s Hallmark), and attended to Fallon’s failing health. He was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; with our commuting for his care at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance building, shortly after moving to Mukilteo, Washington in 1996.
It’s in Fallon’s latter days, when his strength was little and he slept mostly, that the novel “Mommy’s Writings: Mommy, would you like a sandwich?” flowed through me. It was inspired. As I could see his resting form, a body slowly weakening from a fatal disease, but never removing away from him his loving nature. The injections I gave him finally were of no earthly use, and Gene David Fallon died on 12-1-2003; but not before his reading of my creative work, Mommy Writings: Mommy, would you like a sandwich?
It’s in my marriage to Fallon, during those years, when the dear Lord had me learning the writing process. “Would I have accomplished this work without my patient husband’s support for his Suz? Let’s just say, with his love and respect that his Suz finds strength in two hearts now released as one.”
Yes, I knew I’d someday write this story. In spite of the head injury, and the permanent brain impairment, I live with. Yet, it’s like author Darrell Laurant shared with me in his October 15, 2015 e-mail, “…there are also the wild cards of prayer and personal determination.” And it’s true, this I know.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? It’s understanding the power of the word “I am” (the Holy Bible: Exodus 3:13-15, AV) to be most rewarding for me. As a writer, planting the seeds of curiosity, courage, consistency – the family of God – and creativity. In retrospection, I learned Walt Disney combined what might be called the four “C’s” that give him the power to do the things he did. Think about it.
In my perspective of what is, I continue theologian Bible research (AV), by means of Peake’s Commentary on the Bible, edited by Matthew Black and H. H. Rowley, since 1983. “I’m not religious. I do not proselytize. I believe in God.” With a present read on Physics Encounters Consciousness, entitled “Quantum Enigma,” Second Edition, by Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner.
In defining who I am then in the literary industry, I am Suzanne McMillen-Fallon, “Mother of Chad C. McMillen and author.” In my younger years, I was an artist. After the 1983 surgery, I became a published writer of poetry and prose, and co-authored the book “Shadows of Yesterday” with late second husband, Gene Fallon.
Since the 2015 Literary Marketplace entrance of the Mommy Writings Series Book I entitled, “Mommy’s Writings: Mommy, would you like a sandwich?” I continue to write, and to be part of the literary world. I’m joyful. Still, more importantly, I am more than this, as is everyone. Because humanity’s instilled with infinite possibility – attributes – of its creator. No matter, one’s faith; in being something bigger than themselves (Matt. 17:20). In principle, I am everything, and I am no-thing.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? As written in the Conclusion, p. 453, in Mommy Writings Series Book I, it is: “Psalm 143:8 (AV). With this novel, I’ve fulfilled what I perceive as a heavenly Father’s purposed plan for my life. It gives my soul rest (Ps. 139:13–14). Laus Deo. Amen (2 Cor. 1:20). Selah.
While there are words to write, it materializes only through inspiration, as are all things belonging unto a universal source (Acts 17:26). For me, the gift of writing continues in a heavenly Father’s time and in his way, as I’m forever humbled in a divine creator’s gracious consciousness whose compassion is infinite (Heb. 13:8). The invisible things one doesn’t see are the evidence of the things that are made by a universal creator, known as God, whose creation is forever unfolding in one’s journey of perpetuity (Rom. 1:20). There’s one home, which is eternal (Eph. 1:4–5). Our God-given blessing is omnipresent and omnipotent for his creation, of whom we are his own (Rom. 8:29–30).
I know so very little, but for what I’ve written, and it’s as follows:
“There’s one thing I know—God exists. If you have an open mind, you never know where God is going to lead you.”
How many published books do you have? One book; as well as, published in eleven poetry anthologies.
Please list the titles of all your books:
Do you come up with your title(s) before or after you write the manuscript? With Mommy Writings Series Book 1, it’s before. Being entitled, “Mommy’s Writings: Mommy, would you like a sandwich?”
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? Nonfiction. Mommy’s Writings: Mommy, would you like a sandwich? is inspired. A True Story. This story flowed through me, and then I read it.
What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book (one book) that you are seeking promotion for? Believe it or not, in knowing God exists.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Write for something bigger than ego. Write, because it’s a part of you – a reflection of what is – divine consciousness – being expressed through its creation – joyfully at work. Bringing another facet of life too light for everyone.
Who is your favorite author and why? Hmm. It is J.K. Rowling. “For, in joyful hearts, open-mindedness, one sees: beyond earth’s realm and the heaven’s stars lies the gift of imagination – possibility – the mind’s gateway. In desire and passion’s flight, keeping hope alive and promises fulfilled. Its rainbow treasure is but a thought away.” Qtd. by a.smf