BUCKHANNON — Writing a book about her life story was not something a retired doctor wanted to do.
Despite the persistent urging of her husband, Dr. Greenbrier Almond, who had already published several books filled with his stories, Dr. Araceli Almond felt no such calling to write her own.
Sure, she had shared a few tidbits for “Stories of a West Virginia Doctor for His Grandchildren” published in 2014 but thought that would be the end of it.
“I will not tell my life story in a book unless God will tell me to,” she told her husband in March 2015.
Three days later, Araceli Almond came to the breakfast table and her eyes lit on a passage from Greenbrier’s Bible study from Isaiah 30. The Message paraphrase could not have been any plainer: “So, go now and write all this down. Put it in a book so that the record will be there to instruct the coming generations….”
“My eyes got really big,” Araceli recalled. “I felt God was telling me what he wanted me to do, so I had to obey. It’s like the song, ‘Trust and Obey for there is no other way.’”
But Araceli said she knew she was not a writer. That is when the Almonds called on their friend, Rev. Gary Mallonee, a pastor and a veteran. Having worked with veterans in her career and Greenbrier having Mallonee as a lifelong friend, Araceli felt the book writing process come together.
Even the title of the book evolved through inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Originally, Almond thought the book would be called “The Golden Cage” when she recalled a conversation with a Chinese suitor but the title “God’s Boot Camp” came to her shortly after that as she thought about how she had joined the Lord’s Army and learned so many lessons in her life’s struggles of patience, forgiveness and love.
Although Araceli had shared these stories with her husband, putting them to print would mean that her children, extended family and friends would learn them for the first time.
“My family didn’t know about everything,” she said. “They have a vague idea about what I went through.”
Araceli began the book with a glimpse at her arrival in America but then backtracks to her upbringing in the Philippines where she was born on the small island of Tablas as the middle of nine children.
She talks about her family’s Protestant roots and how her relationship with God grew, her pursuing of a medical degree and her desire to have a “great adventure” in America.
Later, there are stories of her meeting Greenbrier, their marriage and starting a family and even how they came to live in their home on South Kanawha Street.
“It’s new to the kids,” she said. “They have read my book now. They were surprised about what I went through. They said, ‘I’m glad you never gave up.’My parents have died and they didn’t know everything about what happened. I never told them.”
Children Ronce and Maria wrote a forward for the book as they have for many of their father’s books.
Now that the book is done, Araceli said she is glad that the stories have been preserved for her grandchildren and future generations.
“It’s very interesting; I’m reading about my own life,” she said. “I’m amazed at what happened and it happened for sure to me.”
Copies of the book can be purchased at Artistry on Main.