'One Call Away' Brenda Warner's new book

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PHOENIX – When Brenda Warner first started writing her book, it was for her children, to help them better understand her. “One Call Away” is that and so much more.

Warner told Tara Hitchcock, who she counts as a friend, that the hardest part was setting the scene.

“I had to give all the feelings that I was feeling at the moment I was going through it,” she said. “So whether it was when my son was injured and remembering his little body in that hospital bed and tubes coming out, and remembering the feeling when they told me he wasn’t going to make it -- really processing that again.

“You know, he’s 22 now,” she continued. “You kind of forget. You forget where you’ve been. That’s what this is for me is to remember where I’ve been.”

About a year after her ex-husband accidentally dropped their child, Warner learned he was cheating on her.

“At that point, I had already been a United States Marine so I think I kind of pulled that type of character through,” Warner said. “I realized that I was living with honor, courage and integrity as a Marine. When I stood in line for food stamps or WIC or Section 8 housing, I was still that same person. I really got that then. It was just my circumstances changed. I’m still that strong woman. It just doesn’t look like I want it to look like.”

In April 1996, a tornado in Mountain View, Ark. Killed Warner’s parents. Where there once stood a home filled with her mother’s knick-knacks, there was nothing but a cement foundation. “There was nothing,” she said. “They found my mom’s quilts 10 miles away.”

As hard as it was to relive that time, Warner said it was necessary.

“Those are the things people relate to,” she explained. “They relate to losing people. They relate to getting a call that changed the course of their lives.”

Now, all these years later, Warner says she can see the good that came out of tragedy although it wasn’t clear to her at the time. “When I was going through it, I didn’t see any good,” she said. Warner has an extremely strong sense of faith and while she would like the “tough stuff” to be over, she knows that’s not how life works.

“Life just keeps going,” she said. “We’re in a fallen world. We’re not in heaven so why do we think that it’s going to be all easy now? And yet, when you can look in someone’s eyes and say, ‘I’ve been where you’ve been,’ … it makes a difference.

Warner said her husband, former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, has been incredibly supportive.

“He would always tell me, ‘Your story is better than mine,” she said. “He had to kind of step in and take care of the seven kids while I was spending all the time doing this book.

“When he was able to see the finished product, I remember watching him read it and tears went down his cheeks. I said, ‘You already know all this.’ And he said ‘Not this way.’”

In addition to several book signings, Warner will be speaking when Women of Faith present "Over the Top" at US Airways Center, 201 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix, Sept. 23-24. For more information, call 602-379-2000 or log onto www.womenoffaith.com.