Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

25 Reflections for 2014

2014…What a ride!

1) I published a book this year. To this lover of words, it was a huge accomplishment. “A Cradle of Hope” is embedded with a piece of my soul, no doubt.

2) Took my three boys to see Imagine Dragons in concert in Dallas this past February. Without a doubt, it birthed the bubbling fire of love for the art of music in my youngest son. Can’t wait to see where this takes him.

3) Started drinking coffee every single morning. I was always a tea drinker in the mornings, but I’ve been driven to the dark side by coffee grounds and caramel creamer.

4) Went to Daytona Beach Florida. Watched it rain for three days straight. Grew to love Bloody Mary’s because of it. Rain at the beach = binge drinking.

5) Universal Studios Florida this past May. Harry Potter is, and will forever be, a love of mine. There is something so electric about visiting this extraordinary world in person.

6) Butterbeer is sinful. Particularly when drinking it while standing in Diagon Alley.

7) Three words: THE GLITCH MOB

8) A viral WordPress post with over 90,000 views this past March thanks to The Glitch Mob. I dig you boys to the moon and back again.

9) Meeting “The Mob” twice this year. Because frankly, we consider them family. They’ve not only changed the lives of my kids, but mine.

10) A pretty spectacular friendship was birthed because of “The Mob”. She knows who she is, that I adore her, and that fate is real. I love ya, soul baller. Mean it.

11) Chocolate truffles are wicked. I will NEVER tell how many I’ve eaten this year. NEVER…

12) Fell in love with the Mara Dyer book series by Michelle Hodkin. Have you read them? You should. They are amazing.

13) New York City with my sister in law for a long weekend. This city…I will never grow tired of it.

14) Realized the beach is my calling. Someday I must live on one. There is something that stirs my soul when I’m there.

15) Was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. That was extremely devastating to me. I had a hard time coming to terms with it, but with the help of family and close friends, I’ve prevailed and will continue to.

16) Got my first tattoo. I’m pretty sure I’m now infinitely hooked to ink. I’ll be back in the chair before long. 🙂

17) Made crepes for the first time this year. I will never do it again. Why? Don’t ask.

18) Realized that daily “quiet time” and meditation makes a huge difference in my life. As a busy mother and wife, I never realized how much I internalized my stress. We should all take some time each day to release.

19) “The Art of Stillness”. Incredible book gifted to me by a friend. Will change your life. It certainly changed mine. Add it to your 2015 reading list. Mean it.

20) Am now pen pals with the author of “The Art of Stillness” Pico Iyer. Amazing man. He has a true gift with words. We’re tight.

21) Discovered Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey. Word.

22) Went another year of having to show my ID for purchases, whether it was for alcohol, markers, or spray paint. Considering I’m 15 years past the age of 21, I’ll take it with a side of awesome sauce.

23) A new avid collector of vinyl records. My childhood has come alive, and all the memories of days spent going through my father’s records has risen. My kids are now fascinated with vinyls.

24) Mother of the Year for #23.

25) Booked a dream vacation. One that I have dreamt about for years. Hubby and I finally took the plunge, and surprised our kids. April 2015. Bucket list item checked off.

Turks
Turks & Caicos

 

Una Vita. Vivat. – One Life. Live It.

Cheers to 2015 ~

V.S.K.

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author, Uncategorized

NOWHERE is somewhere

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That moment in time when a book changes your life…

It’s kind of liberating to step forth and proclaim the realization that literature can truly leave a mark on your being in a way you never thought possible. Before I step too far into this puzzling pool of wonder, let me elaborate a bit on how this came to be.

Books of all shapes and sizes have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Even as a young child, they meant a great deal to me.

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I never read because I had to, I read because I needed to. My strength is bound in the power of words.

For as long as I can remember, novels were always my bounty, my hiding place, because I live inside my mind more than I could ever explain. When I read books, I see them vividly in torrents of color without boundaries. I read to “see”. When I write, it is the exact same way. I’m not one to map out or diagram a novel before diving into it headfirst. Instead, I take a simple idea and work forward as I watch each scene, from the curve of a character’s face, to the color, type and wonder of each bounty that surrounds them from all sides, unfolds. As they step forward, so do I. I’ve found over the years that most authors don’t write like this.

Many of us live internally in our own world of wonder. And that eclectic world of magnificence is embedded deep within our visual thoughts.

Recently a wonderful friend of mine sent me a book. One she said her son had recommended to her, and after she read it, her perspective on life changed. She wanted to share the same sense of power with me to see what I thought, and how I felt after reading it. I devoured it in a day, curled up in my home office, away from family for a few hours as I let it seep into me. I walked away with new eyes, and the ever growing urge and prompting to learn to find NOWHERE and visit it often.

TEDBooks

Finding the corridor of peace in the state of NOWHERE is hard for me. I am a busy, highly devoted wife and mother, and my days begin with a rushed feeling, and end with that same feeling as well. Raising three boys is demanding…raising kids in general is a 24 hour responsibility, yet my kids reside here at home with me all day, every day. We homeschool. Homeschooling is a calling. I felt called 5 years ago. I still feel that calling, and so do my husband and kids. But it doesn’t go without saying, that I do neglect things. And the biggest thing I neglect is myself. Not out of purpose, but out of performance.

Social media is my life. It’s what I do for a living, literally. I own my own social media company. My phone is glued to my hand, my tablet is sitting on my lap, or my computer resides in front of me all day, every day. It’s how I’ve learned to exist, to make a living, but all the while, I’ve forgotten what it meant to simply live, to just be, to find the comfort of NOWHERE.

In the past year, my life has changed dramatically in a number of ways. From health issues to relationship woes, to a finished novel and several new clients, yet somehow instead of meditating on how to cope and change with the ebb and flow of life, I’ve fled to filling up my schedule instead of filling up my often neglected spirit. I fled from NOWHERE to somewhere.

When I speak of NOWHERE, it means something much greater than the seven letters it’s composed of. It doesn’t mean staying put, it means putting down. And by putting down, I mean stepping away from the highway of life that moves at lightening speed every now and then. To exist. To be still. TO BE.

My middle child, who is 14, lives within his mind too. Just like his mom. I handed him the book when I was finished and gently said, “Read this. Today. Not tomorrow, not next week, today.” He took the book from my hands and instantly knew what I was saying. I found him a half an hour later, laid up in the corner of our living room with our dog in his lap, fully engulfed in the very same journey I had just taken a few hours before.

I’ve got a very in-tune connection with all of my kids, but my middle and I share a deep level of understanding that is often hard to explain to others. When he was three, he was diagnosed with high spectrum autism, often labeled as Asperger’s. He is wise beyond his years, and always has been. He still struggles in some areas, particularly with social skills, but I honestly think the culprit is the expansive mind he encumbers. There are times he trumps me in how he peels back the layers of a book, a song, or a simple sentence. He sees the core of things much deeper then most of us. I knew this book would speak to him in even bigger ways then how it spoke to me. I was right.

He finished. We talked. He uncovered the meat of the book in a few simple sentences, yet in a profoundly unbelievable way far beyond that of most teenagers, and I quote, “Speed is addictive. I’m not talking about drugs in this context, I’m talking about the need to embrace the empowerment it lends us in today’s society. When we slow down, we suffer from withdrawal and a sense of pain. When we are not a part of the structural highway of fast paced life, we find ourselves lost, and many of us, unaccepted. I think the real problem here is, we’ve learned to only accept ourselves when we are headed somewhere; a pinpoint. To say you’re going NOWHERE sounds superficial. Like you’re a loser. When, after reading this book, NOWHERE is where each of us should strive to be.”

I think my son summed things up better then I ever could. And more importantly, we’ve both walked away with a sense of searching for NOWHERE instead of somewhere. In the deepest crevices of NOWHERE, you find yourself, and the art of simply living.

Changes are being made over here. I’ve yearned for NOWHERE for way too long, and just never knew it. Or better yet, maybe I didn’t want to know it until now. I’m no longer pushing it aside, but embracing it instead. You should too.

~ VSK

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

The World Through A Little One’s Eyes ~ An Interview With A 10 Year Old

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Me: So, thanks for letting me interview you today, Little A. Are you ready to answer these tough questions?

Little A: {Rolling eyes} Yes, Mommy. You said I could have a bowl of jellybeans after this though. You promised. Don’t…forget. {Leaning in REALLY close} Sometimes you forgettttt. (Touche’ Little A, Touche’)

Me: So, tell me, what has been the greatest disappointment in your life? Please elaborate.

Little A: {Laughing} Something fake, like a fake disappointment? No wait…I’m a little disappointed the Easter Bunny didn’t bring me Pokemon cards. But, that’s okay. I forgave him already.

Me: A monkey, a ghost and a horse with tap shoes on walks into a movie theatre…who sits down first, and why?

Little A: Whattttt, are you saying?! Well, the monkey because the ghost and horse are too slow, but the monkey is fast. Like, REALLY fast.

Me: What’s your take on the rising gas prices in the US?

Little A: Seriously?! Well, I guess it’s because the world makes dumb rules sometimes. That’s why.

Me: Please spell LACHRYMOSE, and provide me with the definition as well.

Little A: L-a-c-a-m-o-s-e. A wizard’s spell that makes you feel stupid when you shouldn’t feel stupid. You should feel smart, but I don’t, because I can’t spell this word right…

Me: Why do you think Chick-Fil-A misspells the word “chicken” in their TV commercials?

Little A: Because the cows didn’t go to college…

Me: Do you know what it means when someone says, “Don’t toot your own horn, Billy!”

Little A: Does it have to do with passing gas? If so, it means walk away before you pass gas to be polite to others in your realm.

Me: Do you know WHY the dish ran away with spoon after the cow jumped over the moon?

Little A: They ran away together because they loved each other. Silverware has a tendency to do that, or in this case, I think they do…That’s my take. {shrugs shoulders}

Me: So, I know how much you love Imagine Dragons. If you could have dinner with Dan Reynolds, what would you wear, where would you go to eat, and would you hug him or offer him a handshake? I don’t think he believes in cooties…

Little A: I would wear normal clothes, of course. Like shorts, and stuff. We would go to Chick-Fil-A, and I’d give him a handshake. I’d hug him after dessert. I think the time would be right then.

Me: Who’s your favorite? Mom or Dad? Wait…don’t answer that. Your Dad might read this, and it would make him sad…

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Me: Tell me, what is the meaning of life?

Little A: Can I ask Siri this question? No? Well then, life is just life. Live it, and live it good because we only get one.

Me: If Hogwarts was real…and I’m not necessarily saying it isn’t, but it might not be, but we like to believe that it is…what house do you think the Sorting Hat would choose for you and why?

Little A: Ravenclaw because it’s EPIC.

Me: How old do you think you’ll be when you get married? What do you think her name will be?

Little A: I’ll be 92 when I get married. Her name will be…{hanging upside down in the chair out of boredom}…

Me: If you could be invisible for one day, what would you do? It has to be legal, by the way.

Little A: It has to be legal?! Darn it…I would go knock on people’s doors and scare them. Maybe give them chocolate…melted chocolate…

Me: Luggage is to vacation, like tools are to…?

Little A: What? Say it again? Work, I guess. Tools are to work, because I don’t know of anyone who uses tools to play with. You shouldn’t play with tools. Especially if they are Dad’s tools…

 

Mom Love Times A Million ~

VSK

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

Every Stranger Has A Story – Post #1

EveryStrangerHasAStory

Every single one of us has a story to tell.

To begin 2014, I’ve vowed to bring the invisible stories of strangers among us to life through their own words, with tough questions to make you think.

My first perfect stranger is Susan Van Volkenburgh. A woman of great faith, a talented author, a kind spirit…with the eternal will to survive unthinkable heartbreak.

She is a child of 9/11.

A wounded bird who lost a piece of herself as terror tried to take hold of our nation. Yet through the bitter tears, the unanswered questions of WHY, and the travesty of learning how to move forward, she reflects the sincere grace of extreme humility.

Allow her to fill your world for a moment. She is a stranger to you now. Yet once you read her words, you’ll connect with her on a level that will leave you with a dear friend. One that you’ll feel like you’ve known for a lifetime and then some.

NAME & AGE (29 AND HOLDING IS PERMISSIBLE): Susan Van Volkenburgh 49

QUESTION 1: WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING? Homeschool mom, musical evangelists, and author

QUESTION 2: WHAT DRIVES YOU TO CLIMB OUT OF BED EVERY MORNING AND FACE THE DAY?

My family; I want to be there for them, to be an example to my children. Even at my worst, it was my love for them that kept me going, fighting through terrible circumstances to reach a place where I could stand.

QUESTION 3: A SECRET PASSION…EVERYBODY HAS ONE. WHAT IS YOURS?

Well, I don’t know how much of a secret it is, but what really drives me is the will to touch the lives of others with my words, my talents, my life. I owe so much to others who have reached out to me through difficult times:  by simple statements or words to a song, by a musical score that caused my heart to soar. I want to build on what they have started, to make my existence count for something.

QUESTION 4: TRAGEDY IS A PART OF LIFE THAT EACH OF US ARE FACED WITH AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER. SHARE A TRAGEDY YOU’VE ENCOUNTERED IN LIFE. HOW DID IT CHANGE YOU?

September 11, 2001. That day marks a change in my life. Everything I am pivots around that terrible day.

It was a beautiful morning. The sun shone brightly. A faint breeze brushed through leaves painted with gold and red, whispering of autumn.

As always, I began the day in Bible study with my children. The morning’s subject was Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. (Daniel 3) In discussing the three who were placed into the fiery furnace for their unwavering faith in God, I made the cryptic statement that no matter what happens in our life, even when we go through the fiery furnace, still we must follow the Lord. I did not know at that very moment that my own life would be put through the furnace and my words tested. For it was at that very moment, as I spoke to my children, that my own dear father was ripped from this world as American Airlines Flight 77 plummeted into the Pentagon in Washington, DC.

In the stillness that followed September 11, the silent emptiness filled us with the stunned awe of disbelief. How could anyone do such a thing, such a terrible thing? How can we live in a world so full of hate?

I had always felt God’s presence around me, keenly aware that He was with me. But now, when I needed Him most, I felt an empty silence that followed me everywhere I went. I was in the desert and God was silent.

How do you look into the eyes of a God who let you down? How do you speak the thoughts that are in your mind? Wasn’t He supposed to protect us? Didn’t He promise to look out for us, to keep us safe under His wing? How then did we get caught up in this event?

Living with grief is hard. Just the breath we take in can become a burden. There were days when all I could do was focus on the next moment, for to look beyond that next moment was overwhelming. It was all I could do to get out of bed. As I struggled under the burden of loss and trauma, words my father had spoken came to me.

When I was in high school, my father and sister were in a terrible car accident. Thankfully, they sustained only minor injuries, but my sister was traumatized. She told my father that she was never getting behind the wheel of a car again. What he said next has stuck with me, has helped me carry on.

He said, “I will give you three days to heal, then you are back behind the wheel of the car. For you will not let anything or anyone have dominion over you but God.”

I was determined to live up to this statement, to demonstrate this courage for my children. Yet still I struggled.

December of 2001, my husband took me to see Peter Jackson’s cinematic rendition of Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. Seeing this movie was supposed to take my mind off the thought that the following week we would be laying my father’s remains to rest, three months after September 11, God spoke to me through the movie trilogy The Lord of the Rings. He spoke to me across time through the words of J. R. R. Tolkien.

As I sat in the theater, I assumed I was about to watch an adventure drama geared more to men than to me. I sat there amazed. As the Fellowship entered into the Mines of Moria, Frodo, the main protagonist of the story, who being an unlikely candidate to hold the future of Middle Earth in his hands, confronted Gandalf, the wise old leader of the group, with tough questions, the questions I had avoided bringing before God. It was surreal. As he spoke, the audience in the theater melted away. It was only Gandalf looking at me as a beam of light leapt off the screen, alighting me in its illumination, a tunnel between the screen and myself, as though no one else was in the room. Frodo stated to Gandalf, “I wish this had never happened, I wish the ring had never come to me.”

Gandalf looked full upon me, his eyes boring into my very soul as though the words written by Tolkien fifty years earlier were written for me. “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide, all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

I was jarred to the core. It seemed so simple. Yes, that is all I have to do. God had spoken to me through Tolkien, reaching out to me to address the issue at hand. When I would run from the dispute, He sought me out, taking me by the hand in His overwhelming Love. It all began to make sense. God had not really let me down. A great weight lifted from my shoulders and I began to look up. My ears began to hear the voice of God. I do not have the power to change what had happened … all I can do is go forward. I did not have control over what occurred on September 11. However, I do have control of how I respond to it. This is all I must decide.

Suddenly, I could see how God had been speaking to me all along. The floodgates now opened, and I drew in water that filled my soul with wonder. But there was still work to be done. I started asking God those tough questions. I sought out the answers. I devoured all the works I could find of Tolkien to see if there was more in the pages of his books to help me understand this God of mine. And most importantly, I began to read God’s word with new eyes, eyes that looked Him directly in the face, unencumbered by the shadow of fear.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the story does not end with the furnace. But I think the key is in the word through, for we do go through, we do not stay in the furnace. There is an end to our trouble if we stand firm. The fire had no power. For even as the three young men stood within the flames of the furnace, they were not alone, but a fourth stood beside them. They were delivered from the fire, their clothes were not singed, and there was not even the smell of smoke upon them. We are not alone. The Lord is not a God who hovers on the outside. He steps into the furnace with us.

I am not the same person I was, but I will not allow anything or anyone have dominion over me but God. I have taken what the enemy has given me and use it as an arsenal for the cause of Christ. In the integrity of my father before me, I stand firm in my resolve.

QUESTION 5: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE VERSE, QUOTE OR SAYING?

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandlaf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

~Tolkien

QUESTION 6: SHARE SOMETHING UNIQUE ABOUT YOUR FAMILY. WHAT MAKES YOU, YOU?

Probably not something that makes me, me, but this is what comes to my mind. Every Christmas, we gather together and watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but we do this with a twist. Each of us dig into our supply of second-hand clothes and dress outlandishly, modeling our ensemble after the attic scene where Chevy Chase’s character wears old clothes to stay warm after being trapped in the cold attic.

QUESTION 7: FINISH THIS SENTENCE – ”WHEN MY TIME ON EARTH IS THROUGH, I WANT PEOPLE TO REMEMBER ME AS…”

A woman after God’s own heart –

QUESTION 8: THE SECRET TO LIVING A FULL LIFE IS… to be in the will of God in all things. Be true and walk in uprightness, and remember to not take yourself too seriously. Capture the small, quiet moments and carry them in your heart. Stay grounded; do not forget what really matters, what lasts for eternity.

QUESTION 9: WE INTERACT WITH, LOVE, HONOR AND CHERISH MANY PEOPLE IN OUR DAILY LIVES. NAME ONE PERSON WHOM YOU RESPECT, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, FEEL LIKE YOU OWE THE WORLD TO, AND WHY.

Wow, that is a hard question. There have been so many people that have influenced me in my life. To choose one is like saying he are more important than any of the others. Yet, I suppose my father has influenced my life the most. He taught me so much: a love for God, research, learning…He demonstrated an honorable and noble life, a life that was honest and firm in his beliefs. He was definitely the strong stoic type. My father exhibited to me the quality of never giving up, to keep going when the fight is right, no matter the cost. I have tried to live up to his example.

QUESTION 10: STRENGTH & WEAKNESS. BOTH LIVE IN EACH OF US. NAME ONE OF YOUR STRENGTHS, AND ONE OF YOUR WEAKNESSES.

My weakness is that I am impatient. I do not like to wait.

My strength is my creativity: in writing, music, and art.

QUESTION 11: IF YOU COULD TRAVEL TO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD WITH A SINGLE SUITCASE AND ONE COMPANION, WHERE WOULD YOU GO, WHAT WOULD YOU TAKE, AND WHO WOULD ACCOMPANY YOU?

I would go to New Zealand and travel through “Middle Earth” – I would take a sketch book, a journal, a pair of hiking boots, and, of course, a copy of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. I would bring my husband for he has been my companion through many adventures, and even though this may not be his favorite place on earth, I know he would go there, because it is important to me.

QUESTION 12: WHAT IS YOUR BEST QUALITY?

My tenacity. I can stick to things like glue. If I cannot see a way to complete a task, I will create a way. I believe if you think about a problem long and hard enough, you can find a path through to the other side.

QUESTION 13: MEMORIES MOLD US. SHARE ONE MEMORY IN LIFE THAT YOU REFLECT UPON OFTEN.

When I was very young, we lived in the woods in Maryland. My father would rake up a mountain of leaves. It was a huge job. Yet he always mounded the leaves in front of our swing set, just in the right place for us to jump off the swings and into the pile of leaves. How fun it was to fly through the air and land, not always so gracefully, into the soft tor of leaves. Of course, this caused the leaves to disperse. He would then have to rake the leaves again. The fact that this busy man would take the time to allow his children this simple pleasure amazes me. He had to be exhausted after raking the entire yard, yet he did this for us. What great love.

QUESTION 14: THIS BROKEN WORLD COULD USE A LITTLE HEALING. HOW CAN WE BEGIN MENDING FENCES AND NURTURING THE WOUNDS WE’VE INFLICTED ON ONE ANOTHER AS A SOCIETY?

Christ said it all. The greatest commandment is this: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-38

Only with the love of Christ in us can we bind the broken. With empathy, or looking at circumstances through the eyes of another, can we fully understand what others are experiencing.

If our true motive in this life is to do the will of God, then everything else falls into place, for to love God is to love others. If we love, we are not selfish, and the needs of others weigh on us.

We cannot control what others are doing, but we can start by doing what we know to be right, and kind, and good. We may not be able to fix everything, but we can mend our part of the wall.

QUESTION 15: “I BELIEVE IN __________ BECAUSE…”

…a loving and benevolent God. For when I was lost, He found me; when I was in the dark, He gave me Light; when I was without hope, He lifted me.

** Visit Susan’s website here.

** Purchase a copy of Susan’s book, “Silent Resolve and the God Who Let Me Down” on Amazon.

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

Flour Tortillas and Text Messages From A Grateful Mother

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I just ate two flour tortillas with shredded cheese and tabasco on them; a handful of grapes on the side. This is the outcome of the debilitating day I’ve had. Or dayssss…that I continue to have. Isn’t summer supposed to be restful? Like, hang out by the pool while the kids get along, reading a good book, listening to iHeart radio while sipping on sun tea?

I’m beginning to realize this fictional montage I’ve concocted in my head is simply that. Fiction. Sometimes a little non-fiction in my world would be welcomed.

Today was, what a good friend of mine calls, “Chair Day”. This means, you sit your arse in a salon chair and allow them to shadow the gray that has seeped into your world at lightening speed, causing you to reminisce about your youth.

I’m convinced the “Silver Linings Playbook” movie title was actually written by a woman who’s rear end was in a salon chair covering her “silver lines” while she played Candy Crush that had become more of a habit then bottles of Poppy wine.

One of my 13 year old sons (I have twin boys, remember), whose fingers are permanently attached to his cell phone with a screen the size of a chocolate poptart (yes, I’m still hungry), spent his morning texting me while I was at the salon. Most of his text messages consist of one of two things.

1) Can I/May I call my friends, go on a bike ride, buy a puppy, ask you to take me to Hollister to buy a $65 tee shirt that looks like it’s been worn five hundred times before you hand them your Visa, ask you to take my girlfriend and I to see a movie, and before you ask Mom, yes you can come to the theatre too, but you can’t sit with us.

2) Little A won’t do what you asked him, has a flat tire on his bike, hit Middle A with a spoon on the side of the arm, called me dumb because I wouldn’t rub his feet, spit on the floor to see how big of a puddle he could make and I stepped in it.

But this morning was different. This text will go un-erased for the rest of my time here on earth. There are moments in the life of a mother that makes the world stop, and you know you have the right to pat yourself on the back for raising a child that not only loves and respects you as their parent, but the world in general even in grave times when the world turns its back on you and I. You know it happens. If you don’t, then perhaps you’re afraid of facing the reality that this world has forgotten what respect, trust and honor really is.

We were in a deep discussion. Deep for texting, might I add. He answered one of my questions with the word “indeed”. That’s my line. He stole it from me. Thief.

Better yet, I think he inherited it from his awesome mama with beautiful highlights to cover the gray he’s given me.

Mind you, this child’s response was way above his level. More along the lines of a 25 year old’s answer, not a 13 year old.

And for the record, no I am NOT smarter than an 8th grader. I misused “your” instead of “you’re”. Crud. I hate when people do that, and today, I did just that. {smacking forehead while looking for chocolate chips to eat to chase down the dry tortillas and cheese}

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When I received two more rejection emails today for my latest manuscript, they were overshadowed my oldest child’s words from earlier in the day. There are times that I regret choosing to walk down the path of trying to become a published author in the mainstream world. But then I remind myself, what have I always taught my boys? To follow their dreams.

You can’t preach what you don’t teach.

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So in that, I must continue to climb the treacherous mountain of writing novels that more often than naught, leaves me clinging to the side of a steep cliff for dear life, and at times, utter regret for ever choosing to do this.

When my hairstylist today asked what I wanted done, I responded with a simple, “Color up the dadgum gray.” That’s when numbers started flying, and when I cringed as I uttered “almost 35”, she replied with a “NO FREAKING WAY! Nooooo. Really? What?!”

Yes, I left her a good tip as I sauntered out into the sunshine with my hair touched up, and my heart on my sleeve as I greeted my kids at the back door when I arrived home. I’ll take the rejections and I’ll take the gray. But I’ll never take no for an answer. Because if we have nothing to fight for in this life, then why is life worth living?

Valid question with a valid answer. Because of its worth.

Entangled In Gratefulness ~

VSK

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

Voices In My Head ~ The #KillingMonsters Movement

“Sorrow will seek you. Reaching out its infuriated claws, it will hunt you down with the famished hunger of an angry lion. As human beings, we never allow ourselves to seek the depths of affliction, but even when we hide from it, run from it, at some point in our life it will capture us, binding our brokenness within its chains. Bathing yourself in bitter tears feeds its filthy soul. Heartache will one day acquire you. And when the darkness clenches the breath from your lungs, it’s you who ultimately chooses whether or not it devours you fully…or simply gives you a legitimate reason to survive.” – Excerpt of “A Cradle of Hope” by Valerie King

I’ve joined hands with an amazing movement. The movement of #killingmonsters. Gaining control of our lives, while overcoming the darkness of disappointment, self-doubt, hate, hurt, and disobedience that we all encounter at some time or another.

I have a monster. Not a monster who lives under my bed and taunts my fears, but one that rattles my belief in achieving a dream. A dream that I know has been God given, but even so, that I often find myself questioning more often than not. Let me back up a bit…

“I am an old soul in a young body.”

My father always used to say this about me. It’s true. I chose marriage over college at the ripe old age of twenty. I married a man who is older than I am, but who owns my heart and everlasting love. He is my better half, my best friend…my everything. A year after we were married, New Year’s Eve 1999 to be exact, I saw those two pink little lines. Those two little lines that cause an ugly cry and a “down on your knees” prayer of thankfulness…grace…LOVE. Eight weeks after that, I gazed at the sonogram machine. Two heartbeats greeted me. Not one. TWO. Tears found me once more. I was going to be a mother. He was going to be a father. To twins.

Fast forward…10 years later, and a third son that looks so very much like his handsome father, I found myself.

I have always known WHO I was. Or so I thought. Until the voices began to speak, radiating from my mind, and floating effortlessly onto the keys of my computer. I had words to share. Not by mouth, but by fingertips. And I followed.

He answered me over dinner one night. My Father spoke to me, and the voices in my head came to life, bringing me to where I am today. Our life is not our own. Especially when you have a husband, and when children cling to your hand. You are filling a roll, a void that many may not ever experience in life. I was given the roll of wife and mother at a very young age. I am extremely grateful for that, but God wanted more from me. He whispered his wants in my ear, and I followed.

I have always had a love for writing. Yet I always pushed it aside. Time. There wasn’t enough of it. And honestly, I never thought I was good enough.

My husband has always been very supportive of my dreams in life. When I raised the question of writing my first book, and whether or not to make that dream that I had kept hidden for so long a reality, he immediately said YES. That was all it took. God’s prompting to follow a dream, and my husband’s relentless support and belief that I did hold a gift, not just a hobby. That I could move the world with the voices that spoke to me so often in my mind.

The day after my life-altering talk with my husband, I started my first novel. Less than six months later, I was finished. “The Gift of Fate” was born, the very first book in the Fatum Saga, brought to life. The very first time I held my book in my hands, I wept. Not because I was pleased with myself, but because God told me to do it, and I did it. I was working part-time, homeschooling my three boys and running a busy household. But despite my crazy life, I listened to the voices in my head, I followed His lead, and because of it, I published my very first novel on February 29th, 2012. Leap Day of all days. A moment in time that I will NEVER forget.

Since then, I have published two more books, and just recently finished my fourth. My wish is to find a publisher. To see my book on the shelves of Barnes and Nobles, to attend book signings and meet my fans. To thank those that have been so supportive to me up to this point and then some. But finding a publisher is very difficult. Time consuming, expensive, exhausting.

The monsters started to speak. The hum of their voices rising over the character voices, thoughts, ideas that normally rumble through my mind on a daily basis. They spoke hateful things. Hurtful things.

“You’ll never reach your goal. You simply aren’t good enough. There is bigger and better talent in the writing world.”

I began to believe these things. The wound opened. I let my emotions take over, allowing the tears to fall as I told my husband that perhaps trying to find a publisher wasn’t worth it anymore. Maybe writing really isn’t for me. I’ll never make it.

I’ll never forget the look on his face, and the words that washed over me as he spoke softly, “No. You will regret it. You don’t want to live with that regret, Val. You are too good of a writer to walk away. I won’t let you. There I said it. I WON’T LET YOU QUIT.”

The monsters were immediately silenced, pushed aside. I have a purpose in this world. To write. To share my words with others. For madness overtakes me when I can’t write. He has gifted me with this madness. Yet it is a beautiful madness of unquenchable thirst. One that will never die, for He has given this thirst for His glory.

As life travels forth, I know the whispers from those monsters will rise again. Yet with faith, I must allow the melody of His majestic words find me again. To remind me that I write because He wants me to. For if I didn’t, I would allow the monsters to win. And they don’t deserve to, nor will they ever.

I pour out my thoughts for Him, and Him alone.

Deuteronomy 28:12 – The Lord shall open unto thee His good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.

~ VSK

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

When Mama Goes Missing, And Why Pocket Watches Are Cool

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Recently, I have had way too many posts about being absent from my blog. Dude…here’s another one! That’s me in the picture above…kidding, but I wish I owned a pocket watch. I think they should bring pocket watches back. For heaven’s sake, they’ve brought back the styles of the 70’s! I think I’ll pass on the acid washed jeans with white hearts that I saw hanging on the clothing rack at Target today. Seriously…has the fashion industry run out of ideas so we’re just resorting to “recycling” styles from the past? I wonder if they’ll bring back powdered wigs…

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I did buy this t-shirt at Target yesterday. EPIC. It is one of my favorite movies EVER. I may be old school, but so are they. Point made.

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Life has swallowed me. Not in a bad way, but time is not usually a friend of mine theses days. It seems just like yesterday that I was decorating the Christmas tree. Now I’m marking my calendar to remember to “spring forward” for daylight savings time this weekend. Boo! I hate messing with the clock. It’s pointless. That’s my opinion. I also think grilled salmon tastes like boiled newspaper…

I have been incredibly busy finishing up the final touches of my latest manuscript. There are so many hoops to jump through, people to please, red pens to use, to ever bring a novel to fruition.

I’m still working on trying to catch the eye of a literary agent. I need it. Want it. See it. Taste it.

Recently I had a dream that my goal to see my book sitting on the shelf of my local book store came true. Mind you, Sheldon Cooper and Mary Tyler Moore were cashiers at the book store. I wish…

I have a deadline to meet. A deadline that could potentially alter my current lifestyle. I LOVE my life. I feel blessed to do what I do, know who I know, and interact with who I interact with. Talking with an author friend of mine recently, there are some deep, reflecting occurances that have been handed to both of us. When your current situation leads you to questioning whether or not you are doing what you feel like you’ve been called to do, it is more than reassuring when instances arise prompting you forth. In comparison, we are both right where we belong. This may seem like a jumbled bit of nonsense to all of you, but it was an eye opener for me.

I am right where I belong.

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The blessed countdown has begun! In less than two months our family will be taking a much needed vacation

Homeschooling perk #822 – We vacation when the rest of mankind doesn’t. LOVE.

Nine days of uninterrupted bliss. Me. My husband. My three boys. At an undisclosed location somewhere spectacular. A place that drives me to close my eyes, imagine myself there, pen in hand as I write while spending a memorable time with those that I love more than life itself. Our destination won’t remain a secret forever. I will share with the world where we are headed once we get there. I. CAN’T. WAIT.

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P.S. I just finished watching season 3 of Downton Abbey. This has been my guilty pleasure for the last several months. I got on the Downton train, waaayyy later then the rest of the public. But, I am so glad I climbed on!

I won’t spoil it for my fellow friends who have yet to finish this amazing series, but…

SERIOUSLY? I mean, really? Why in the world would they end it the way they did? I was honestly mad for the rest of the afternoon after finishing the finale. Good gravy Masterpiece Theatre, I am appalled! That is all.

Crazy For Downton & Pocket Watches ~

VSK