Love Against All Odds

Love Against All Odds

My cousin, author Farifteh Robb, shares the third of her blog entries on her remarkable book Unexpected Grace in this post titled A Love Against All Odds. Read her earlier posts HERE and HERE. We’ve added some pictures for you to enjoy viewing, as well as providing links to some pages from the book itself so you may get a good sense of some of the things she has written about!

 

A Love Against All Odds

 

When I told my husband that I had decided to write a book about my life, the first thing he said was, “That’s nice—go ahead but keep me out of it!”, a typical response from James who values his privacy. That was fine by me however, and undaunted I began to write, progressing rather well for a few chapters until I realised it wasn’t going to be fine by my publisher, Jim Holmes. Given my husband’s natural reticence I knew that spilling the beans on our marriage wasn’t going to be easy, but Jim was gently persuasive, and in the end the love saga became my book’s central theme.

 

James and I met as postgraduates at the University of Nottingham in the autumn of 1976. Friendship quickly blossomed into love, but after just a few blissful months we were obliged to part: I had to return to Tehran to fulfil the conditions of my academic grant, while James had  to remain in the UK to complete his training as a surgeon. We didn’t foresee the imposition of martial law in Iran, nor the bloody revolution which would overthrow the Shah and turn Iran into an Islamic Republic. In the ensuing civil unrest James and I completely lost touch with one another. More than two years would pass before we would meet again.  And during all that time each one of us assumed the other had married and moved on. However we were reunited—almost by chance! With God all things are possible.

 

Soon after our wedding Britain severed its diplomatic ties with Iran. As years went by the political stand-off between our two countries worsened rather than improved. Iran was lambasted in the press and became the target of many international sanctions. It became increasingly difficult for me to connect with my family back home.  Having been raised in a culture where family is all-important, I sympathised with the unspoken criticism but it was not easy to bear.  I often felt caught in a conflict between my loyalty to Iran (“axis of evil”) and pride at becoming British, my joy at being a free Christian and fear of castigation as “betrayer of Islam”, my happiness as wife and mother and lingering guilt about relatives seemingly trapped in Iran.

 

Relations between our countries remain precarious, and while I have accepted it may no longer be possible for me to return to Tehran, James has to bear the implications of this on the dynamics of our life together: there has been compromise on both sides.   After the years of separation we were lucky to have found each other, but we are two very different people and our commitment to marriage was a leap of faith.  You  may read about some of the hurdles* we have faced  in Unexpected Grace: A Life in Two Worlds.

 

We have now been together for nearly forty years, still blessed with the amazing gift of unconditional love. That love, which once seemed impossible, has deepened, forgiven faults, borne frailties, and endured despite the odds. With God’s grace it will remain with us for the rest of our lives.

 

 

*Read a few pages from the book in the link HERE (Chapter 10 [Marriage] pages 190-193 and Chapter 11 [Motherhood and a Scottish Mullah] 209-212); note: these are part-chapter renderings, so keep scrolling to view the relevant sections).

Table of Contents

Introduction
Baba and Mami
Childhood Memories
In the Shadow of the Shahs
Academic Interlude
Love
The Secret World of God
Perfect Joy
Chaos
Rising from the Ashes
Marriage
Motherhood and a Scottish Mullah
Four Last Things

 

See the author’s informational / promotional pages [HERE] and [HERE]

Buy a copy from Amazon UK [HERE]

Buy a copy from Amazon USA [HERE]

Read an excerpt (Chapter 1) [HERE]

 

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Living with Cherished Secrets

Living with Cherished Secrets

A note from Jim Holmes, Founder of BuyReadGrow: If you missed the earlier post [HERE] let me repeat the introduction I gave her: Farifteh Robb happens to be my cousin, a gifted writer. In many ways, we are opposites but, as is so often the case, opposites complement each other remarkably well. Farifteh, or Frith as she is often known, was born of Persian parents in Geneva. It’s a long and wonderful story how she began to become conscious of the love of God in Christ–a story which traverses Switzerland, Iran, the British Isles, and France as she relates her most unusual life “in two worlds.” In this post (and a couple more to follow) I will let her tell her own story and how it was that her book came to be written.

In Frith’s Words. . .

Unexpected Grace is the memoir of my life in peaceful, cognizant Europe, and cosmopolitan but volatile Middle East.  It is a journey with unforeseen twists and turns which may perplex, astonish, and sadden, but at times it is also sure to make you smile.

I was born into a Persian Muslim family in post-war Europe, lived in Iran as a teenager, and later in England as a postgraduate, returning to Iran during the last decade of the Shah’s reign to live and work as an academic. My decision to be baptized in Tehran on what turned out to be the eve of the Islamic Revolution was not undertaken lightly, but followed many years of soul-searching. The Revolution unleashed civil unrest, and it changed everything—life in Iran was never the same again. As a Christian convert in the new Islamic Republic I became a silent apostate, covertly suppressing my inmost joy in deference to deeply-rooted Muslim loyalties.  Jobless and adrift in a wrecked country, I eventually escaped to begin a new life as a student nurse far from home. And in this new life I kept silent about my past.

The pivotal tenet of my life has really been my ‘Two Loves’—one spiritual and the other earthly—each of which has brought me immeasurable happiness. Firstly, the love of God (‘Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest/I am He Whom thou seekest!’*), and secondly my love for the man who became my husband. The course of this earthly love did not run smoothly—miles, years, and yes, even a Revolution came between us! But it ended well—the Persian girl wed her Scottish surgeon.

Of course, marriage is only a beginning, and we have been truly blessed with our four children.  However, I became a mother far from the support of my own family, and a bittersweet event during my childbearing years will resonate with the experiences of many women.

And there’s more to my undisclosed past: Read about the bureaucratic idiosyncracies we encountered in seeking to legalize our intercultural marriage in both countries—the union of a Muslim-born woman to a Christian man had its own unique obstacles—it may not be what you might expect or think….

Secret no longer:

My book describes some of the problems of living with a secret dual identity deeply rooted within two cultures.  The personal and social implications of heritage, faith, ethics, and family loyalty loomed large in my ongoing struggles to ‘fit in’, and for decades I managed to keep them hidden as I continued unscathed in my parallel worlds.

But after years of silence I have told my story, and it has actually turned out to be a number of different stories. Revealing All has brought me unexpected grace and peace and it has finally set me free.

*  *  * 

If you have enjoyed reading this blog, keep an eye out for my next one—’A Love Against All Odds’.

(* From The Hound of Heaven, Francis Thompson  [1859–1907]); full poem HERE)

 

Table of Contents

Introduction
Baba and Mami
Childhood Memories
In the Shadow of the Shahs
Academic Interlude
Love
The Secret World of God
Perfect Joy
Chaos
Rising from the Ashes
Marriage
Motherhood and a Scottish Mullah
Four Last Things

 

See the author’s informational / promotional pages [HERE] and [HERE]

Buy a copy from Amazon UK [HERE]

Buy a copy from Amazon USA [HERE]

Read an excerpt (Chapter 1) [HERE]

 

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How 1,000 Emails Became a Book

How 1,000 Emails Became a Book

A note from Jim Holmes, Founder of BuyReadGrow: Farifteh Robb happens to be my cousin, a gifted writer. In many ways, we are opposites but, as is so often the case, opposites complement each other remarkably well. Farifteh, or Frith as she is often known, was born of Persian parents in Geneva. It’s a long and wonderful story how she began to become conscious of the love of God in Christ–a story which traverses Switzerland, Iran, the British Isles, and France as she relates her most unusual life “in two worlds.” In this post (and a couple more to follow) I will let her tell her own story and how it was that her book came to be written.

In Frith’s Words. . .

I’m a Scottish grandmother from Edinburgh.

Two years ago, following a tenuous family connection, I received a letter from a hitherto unknown cousin of my husband—a Jim Holmes in South Carolina, USA.  At the bottom of his letter was a link to a blog which began thus:

“Are you considering writing a book…would you like me to be involved with you in the editing and production of your work….?”

Well actually for many years I had wanted to tell the story of my unusual life—a somewhat epic journey which had eventually led me from Islam to the foot of the Cross.  I wanted to record it for my children so that they might not forget their mother’s roots, and remember their Middle Eastern heritage. However, I didn’t think I was capable of writing any books—I lacked confidence, I hadn’t published anything, my computer skills were hazy, and my knowledge of the publishing world was zero.

In an impulsive “it’s now or never!” moment I decided to respond to Jim. Something in his blog exuded a certain aura of kindness as well as knowledgeable editorial acumen—and if you’re a tentative mouse with a story to tell, then kindness is key.  I had struck lucky.

Little did I realise when we began corresponding that Jim and I would eventually exchange over a thousand emails!  At the start he was obliged to send me ‘screen-grabs’ of a computer keyboard with arrows pointing judicially towards the keys I needed to press in order to get somewhere.  Yes, the scenario was that elementary! But not once did Jim make me feel incompetent—in fact he was never anything other than encouraging, courteous and supportive.  From early hesitant scribblings to final publication my project took two years to complete, though I wrote the initial draft in just seven months.  Little by little, with Jim’s encouragement, I inched my way forward, until eventually I had written and revised all twelve chapters of the Memoir that I didn’t think I ever could, or would, write. For this alone I owed him a huge debt of gratitude.

We have it covered. . .

When Jim said, “Now we need to think about your book cover,” the fun really began. I was to discover what goes on behind the scenes in book production, and I’ll never again underestimate all that a publishing consultant needs to do! With his intuitive knowledge of the parameters of self-publishing as well as the requirements for online marketing, Jim had great ideas about images for the front cover of my book, though it soon became apparent that we had divergent notions.  One of his suggested images was  not at all what I had envisaged, and I nearly had a fit when I received that email! We still smile about it today.

Above: Some of the cover ideas we conceived, discussed. . . and rejected!

The reality was that all such decisions had to be sorted out electronically, crossing and re-crossing the Atlantic over a five hour time-zone difference.  I received many of Jim’s emails in the middle of the night in Scotland, and would work on my laptop well into the early hours of the morning in order to send something back within US working hours.  In the process we both burned lots of midnight oil.

That Jim made my book happen is due entirely to his astute editorial and publishing expertise.  But being the consummate professional that he invariably is, he ensured that every decision about the book was mine and mine alone.  Therefore, I can finally say that Unexpected Grace is truly MY book.

What more could any author want?

See the author’s informational / promotional pages [HERE] and [HERE]

Buy a copy from Amazon UK [HERE]

Buy a copy from Amazon USA [HERE]

Read an excerpt (Chapter 1) [HERE]

 

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Press Release: Edgar Andrews on Galatians

Press Release: Edgar Andrews on Galatians

Robert Dickie Writes by Way of Endorsement. . .

“This commentary by Dr. Edgar Andrews on the book of Galatians is a clear, concise and practical exposition of the apostle Paul’s great letter. Dr. Andrews addresses the massive issue of Galatians with a clarity and relevance that will be appreciated by all who have an interest in promoting the true gospel of Jesus Christ. …This is must reading for those whose chief concern is to preach Christ and him crucified. I highly recommend this book to preachers, pastors and lay people alike.”

—Pastor Robert L. Dickie, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Read the full press release HERE or activate the graphic below

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Matthew Henry and the Wisdom of the Word

Matthew Henry and the Wisdom of the Word

Dave G. Becher Recounts How He Came to Write a Book. . .

Dave Becher was referred to Great Writing Publications by another publisher friendly to the mission of GWP. He was in email contact with us, and sent in his manuscript. A couple of months later, a beautifully produced book was in print! Here is what Dave has written about what it was like to work with us:

It’s been a great pleasure for me as well to work with you. I never thought that it would turn out so well. In fact, I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to get it published at all. So, from the bottom of my heart, Thank you!!!

I laugh when I think back on the whole process–from reading the text, to printing a book of quotes. It all started out as just back-of-the-book notations that were basically meaningless in themselves. I then looked each of them up and started categorizing them, first, into two general categories of good vs. evil, and then into the subheadings that are now the current chapter listings. After that, I began to write out BY HAND each quote, just for my own use. I decided at that point to include a copy for my wife, so I had to type everything up instead, in order for her to read them more easily.

Once typed, rather than scrolling back and forth through all the pages, I printed up each chapter individually. Then I manually cut each quote up into strips of paper with a scissor. Having laid them all out on my dining room table, I began to organize the flow of each chapter by arranging and numbering each quote. Quite a primitive process, I’m sure. But it worked! It’s funny how the Spirit inspires by steps.

We’re so grateful to Dave for sharing his heart in writing these paragraphs, providing insights, as he does, to the writing process. We love to encourage people to write, and then to get the message of their books to a global audience.

Read an excerpt of Dave’s book HERE.

Read more about the book HERE.

 

 

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Press Release

Press Release

Keeping You Updated. . .

View the press release HERE  to read the press release announcing the availability of the books in My Coffee-Cup Meditations series so far.

We encourage “fair-use” quotations from this series of books; you are welcome to make use of materials from this site and the sister site HERE in sharing information about these wonderful books!

At a Glance…

[Book 1] A Dog and A Clock …
978-0-9988812-9-4
Date of Release: May 2017

[Book 2] The “Thumbs-Up” Man …
978-0-9988812-5-6
Date of Release: August 2017

[Book 3] When God Blocks Our Path …
978-0-9988812-4-9
Date of Release: August 2017

Trade Inquiries: Ingram Distributors, or please contact Great Writing Publications, info@greatwriting.org

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Versatile Series: “My Coffee-Cup Meditations” Are So Useful!

Versatile Series: “My Coffee-Cup Meditations” Are So Useful!

Excellent Devotionals!

We love the way the My Coffee-Cup Meditations books are produced, and their fine emphasis on:

  • the greatness of God;
  • the relevance of the good news of the life, death, resurrection, and coming-again of Jesus;
  • enabling readers to be better equipped for life in this world and well prepared for the world to come.

In our family, we have used the texts of the books in their pre-publication phase. We’re a small family, dad and mom and a teenager, and each time we have finished a reading, I have found myself saying, “Wow, this puts it just right!” We love the way the gospel is so naturally and engagingly brought to bear in these easy-to-read, easy-to-digest books. The page layout is easy to navigate (a bible text quoted, then short paragraphs over a few more pages, and with plenty of illustrations and lines of application), and there is never any sense of their having been “too long” or “too short.”

In a future blog, we will share one of the readings in its entirety!

We think you could use these books in a variety of ways, such as

  • in your family and with friends
  • in schools
  • as gifts to neighbors and work colleagues
  • as a gentle way of evangelistic outreach (the book titles and chapter headings really do engage interest right from the start!)

The series ethos is highly intentional, and defined thus:

My Coffee Cup Meditations are short, easy-to-read, engagingly presented devotions based on the Bible, the Word of God. Each reading takes a single idea or theme and develops it in a thought-provoking way so that you are inspired to consider the greatness of God, the relevance of the good news of the life, death, resurrection, and coming-again of Jesus, and are better equipped for life in this world and well prepared for the world to come.

For more information on the series, visit a sister website HERE where you can find out a lot more about the series.

 

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Online Coupon System Benefits Everyone!

Online Coupon System Benefits Everyone!

How the Coupon System Works

We want everyone to benefit from the way we sell books on this site. Of course, you may already have your favorite place to buy books from, but if you wish to order from Buy Read Grow, please be sure to use the online coupon system. Here are the key points from the coupon page [HERE]

  • Free Coupons for Everyone! Use Your Coupons Again and Again!
  • Always get the best deal when you buy from this site; use your discount coupon code. Coupons do not expire and may be used as many times as youwish.
  • The more you buy, the more you save!
  • Mix and match your titles in order to get the best deal. Order with a friend or family member to get more critical mass into your order and save even more!
  • Free shipping applies to all orders.

Be sure to use the coupon that is best for your needs and the amount you wish to spend and save.

  • Order $25 retail, get 10% off your price = COUPON CODE “10-25” (Enter 10-25 as your coupon code when you check out.)
  • Order $50 retail, get 20% off your price = COUPON CODE “20-50” (Enter 20-50 as your coupon code when you check out.)
  • Order $100 retail, get 25% off your price = COUPON CODE “25-100” (Enter 25-100 as your coupon code when you check out.)
  • Order $300 retail, get 30% off your price = COUPON CODE “30-300” (Enter 30-300 as your coupon code when you check out.)
  • Order $400 retail, get 40% off your price = COUPON CODE “40-400” (Enter 40-400 as your coupon code when you check out.)

We love the principle of simplicity. Use whichever is best for you and your needs. Enjoy shopping!

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Words of Welcome

Words of Welcome

From the Founder

Jim Holmes Writes . . .

Welcome to the occasional blog of Buy Read Grow.

I chose the name for this site as it says exactly what I believe ordinary people should be doing:

Buying books–of course, only the best kinds of books

Reading books–that is, engaging with the content and being challenged by it

Growing by reading these books–that is, bring transformed by the words that they read. And especially when they read the wonderful spiritual truths of God’s Word, and the words of books that we are involved in publishing and promoting

Buy Read Grow has a very special relationship with Great Writing Publications (more about Great Writing HERE). Great Writing emphasizes “excellence in the written word.” Great Writing started a few years ago just as an editing service, but it quickly outgrew that function. My clients wanted to get their books published now that they had been carefully edited, so I said, “No problem; I’ll find a way to publish them for you.”

John Lehman was first in line. I loved the way he wrote It’s Apparent … You’re a Parent. And it turned out that he had another two books lurking inside him, and it was my delight to help him bring these to birth. I’ll write more about these in future.

Using the Right Books

Richard Baxter, a man who lived a long time ago, made the very good point that it’s not the reading of many books that makes a person wise and learned, but that it is the reading of the right ones, if only he could be sure which the right ones were. You will find some of the right ones right here!

I warmly commend to you the service of Buy Read Grow to this end. Your choice of buying is as wide as you might like it to be. There is an online shop HERE, and in each of the book pages, we generally post a link to Amazon (USA and UK) for your buying convenience.

For a quick view of all the books available, check out the book-list HERE.

Oh, and one last thing: Everyone loves a bargain, so we have some special online coupons for when you buy your books here. Be sure to see which coupons will work best for your purchases when you order online HERE!

So, please go ahead and do what the site’s name directs and guides you to do. The use of the imperative is intentional: Buy, Read, Grow; you and your family will be all the better for it!

 

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