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

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

AdisonPR

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…

MomandLittleA

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

An Open Letter To The Glitch Mob From a Grateful Mother In Dallas

Life has a way of moving at lightening speed. And as it moves, you move with it, leaving you hungover with irreplaceable memories.

In the past week, I have been incredibly humbled by a number of things, including an inbox full of emails and comments from people around the world in regards to my previous blog post, An Open Letter To The Glitch Mob From a Tired Mother in Dallas. Whoa. 168 hours ago I was sitting in my home office drinking coffee, wiping the sleep from my tired eyes, wondering what to fix for lunch…leftover pot roast or boxed macaroni and cheese…leaning more towards the macaroni option, in case you were wondering…when my world became yours.

I went from fuzzy house shoes at home, to black boots in The Glitch Mob’s dressing room at The House of Blues in Dallas in a matter of hours with my oldest son. Rock on, chili dog. Totally.

My left ear had an annoying “buzzing” sound for three days after the concert. Totally worth it! I must have said, “Huh?” a thousand times last week though. I’m going to continue using this tactic when my middle child asks me what’s for dinner each night…

GlitchMobMoments

The Glitch guys are beyond sweet, totally down to earth, and incredibly generous. I have to admit, I wish more bands were like this today.

Fans frame your future.

These guys get it, and they take it to a higher level than I ever expected. That REALLY says something. I genuinely mean that.

I wanted to share a few comments that were sent to me over the past week that did NOT make the “approved” list from fellow #GlitchMom goers. These are ACTUAL questions/comments I received, yes. They deserve an answer, but in a more filtered environment.

1) I want your phone number. – Send me your phone number first, and then I’ll send you mine. Mine starts with, 555-xxxx. Is yours the same?

2) You’re hot. – My husband agrees with you…

3) Have you ever considered asking The Glitch Mob for a PR job? Ask for Donny if you do. I’ll make sure he knows you’ll be in contact. – No, actually… and who’s Donny? I’m guessing it’s not a “Donny” that any of the band members or their staff knows considering the email address this comment was sent from started with, hustlepictures@…Thank you for playing (air quotes) “Donny”…

4) Will you write my collage literature paper for me please? – Do you mean college literature paper? Or, do you want me to make you a collage of literature on a piece of paper? Get back to me on this and we’ll talk…

5) Would you be willing to tell Josh “hello” for me?! – Sure. Hello Josh! <—- Sent from Stephanie in Idaho

6) You’re lame. Not really. You’re awesome! – Thanks! I mean, not really. I like cats…no, birds…fish!…trees…Christmas presents!!!!

If this wasn’t enough, my youngest son’s 10th birthday is today. He is a child with a very giving heart, and one that insisted adamantly that my husband and I didn’t need to buy him a birthday present this year. There was no way we were going to let the dive into double digits pass by without a present.

So, we took his greatest love, Imagine Dragons, and turned it into something he can hold onto forever. This video is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.

 

My middle child…the quiet one. The one with a creative mind like his mother. I owe him. I hope Linkin Park is available for dinner sometime next month. I bet their number starts with 555-xxxx also….I’ll give’m a ring…

Grateful #GlitchMom ~

VSK

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

An Open Letter To The Glitch Mob From a Tired Mother In Dallas

momswholoveTGM

@editbeats, @ooah, @boreta ~

The above is how I refer to you three sweet guys. I am an Instagram fanatic, so “@” symbol names are as good as royalty titles. Word.

I use “sweet” loosely since I don’t know any of you personally, but when motherhood hits you in the face everyone becomes “sweetie”, “love”, “sweetheart” and “pookey bear”. Seriously. Just go ask your moms…

I am attending your concert tonight in Dallas at The House of Blues. My oldest son is quite enthralled with your music. Never in a million years did I ever think I’d be telling the ladies at book club, “Yes Beverly, I heard the Elton John concert was incredibly amazing!” (Takes a looonnnnggg sip of wine…) “I am really looking forward to seeing this epic concert on March 24th though. I mean, sheesh,  Elton John is the bomb, but The Glitch Mob, girl you don’t know what music IS until you’ve heard these beats!” <—-I’m sure this sentence just aged me 20 years in your eyes.

GlitchMobSetup

I admit, you are on my repeated playlist on my iPhone. Secondly, I even have a Spotify station dedicated to you. You are quite special to this mother who sings “Beauty of the Unhidden Heart” in the car on the way to Target to buy dog biscuits and hydrating shampoo…

This morning, I told myself I was going to sleep in. Your concert starts at 9pm tonight. Who scheduled this? An 18 year old? I go to bed at 9:30 each night to watch one re-run of Modern Family, and one re-run of Friends. This is my schedule, and I don’t like changing it. Tonight I will be forced to miss my old person motherhood schedule to drive 45 minutes to bring my 13 year old son to see his favorite group ever. When you are a parent, you do crazy things; things you used to do as a teenager. Except instead of binge drinking, you stay out late to take your teen to see The Blades. I don’t know what The Blades are, but I’m guessing it doesn’t have anything to do with a Skintimate commercial…Just a hunch.

There is a trip planned to 7-Eleven to buy a Red Bull before tonight’s venture. The only time I drink these carbonated beverages from Hades is when my husband and I go to Vegas each year. Alone. Without kids. To do things without kids. Like, sleep in late and play The Wizard of Oz slot machine. Because everyone knows that Dorothy’s red shoes means the bonus round is commencing and you might win $20 bucks even though you just wasted $60 WAITING for the bonus round…I’m getting off topic…

It is also Monday. I hate Mondays as it is. Although your concert this evening will make my Monday a little brighter, it is going to cause my Tuesday to stink like spoiled chicken. I am convinced tomorrow night my old person motherhood bedtime will be closer to 7:30, thus forcing me to miss my re-runs. I’m not sure how I feel about this yet. Maybe The Blades will convince me otherwise. We’ll see, sweet ones…

My children and I saw Imagine Dragons last month in Dallas. We also had the pleasure of meeting Nico Vega, and spent a bit of time conversing with Aja Volkman. When my oldest son told her how much he loved her vocals on your new album, her sincere nod and, “Nice. Thank you so much! You’ve got great taste in music, my friend…seriously,” has been the topic of MANY conversations at the dinner table ever since. So much so, I want to tape his mouth shut at times. I’m kidding, not really…(clearing throat)

So, I am already aware that I will probably be the oldest person attending your concert this evening. I am okay with that, I suppose. We’ve been listening to you since before the dawn of time, so it’s only right that we come and experience who you are in person. No, we will not wait for you in the back alley standing around like weirdos, wishing to scream, “Oh My Gaw, it’s The Glitch Mob! Like, you guys are totally freakin’ awesome, here, can you please sign my forehead for me?”, but we will come and support your music.

Because you’re kinda cool… Not “kinda”, you’re cooler than a fat kid in a candy store, let’s keep it real. I will be a zombie tomorrow for you with pupils the size of dinner plates because of the amount of coffee I will inhale, literally, to stay awake. But more importantly, I’ll have a kid who got to experience the explosive encounter of hearing The Glitch Mob live. And for me, that’s enough. Because this is what moms do for their kids. At least, I do. Please don’t forget that I’m missing my old person motherhood bedtime for you though. There is true meaning in this. Dedication and respect, right there. This is incredibly important. I expect The Blades to keep me awake…

P.S. I hope you don’t have any future encounters with noisy refrigerators. They are quite annoying, aren’t they?

T.G.M. (otherwise known as, The Good Mother) –

VSK

 

** FOLLOW-UP**

I am so honored, and so immensely blessed to have received so many comments, posts and emails pertaining to this blog post from all of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am truly humbled, amazed, grateful, and genuinely thankful for The Glitch Mob. I owe them the world, and then some. My son and I were so blessed to get to meet the members of the Mob in person before their set this past Monday night in Dallas. They were incredibly sweet, and truly kind in every way possible. A night my son and I will never forget. Ever.

#GlitchMom for life,

Val

GlitchMobMom

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.

Holiday Songs

Politically Incorrect Christmas Carols – Day 1 – “Baby It’s Cold Outside”

kilt

Today I was listening to Pandora while putting up Christmas decorations with my kids. Yes, it is only November 13th. Yes, perhaps that’s a little crazy, but I decided to roll with it.

I LOVE Christmas music. Let me get that straight upfront before you accuse me of being a holiday hater. As a woman of words who feeds off of books, song lyrics and scripts I started listening. Like, REALLY LISTENING, to the lyrics of some of the holiday songs that we sing like well-trained carolers every year for roughly two months, before tucking them away and turning back to Roar by Katy Perry.

For the next month and a half, I’d like to break down the lines to some of our favorites. Humorously. But I think we owe it to ourselves to know WHAT exactly we are singing about as we stand in a 4 mile long line to check out at Walmart, a cart full of cr@p (you came in for two gift baskets, and you’re leaving with a box of 4800 candy canes, a Santa Claus dressed in a hawaiian shirt, reindeer slippers that jingle when you walk, and an angel dressed in camo holding a rifle), with a credit card in your hand while humming Jingle Bells as the lady in front of you picks her nose, and wipes it on the flannel sleeve of her plaid shirt. Welcome to the holidays. 🙂

Let’s break this down shall we? Up first…

baby-its-cold-outside

I really can’t stay (Baby, it’s cold outside) <—- Where is she in a hurry to? The grocery store, to donate blood, another date? I think we need this information upfront before singing about it.

I’ve got to go ‘way (Baby, it’s cold outside) <—– It’s AWAY, not ‘way. This is not 1995. No way! Way…

The evening has been (I’ve been hopin’ that you’d drop in) <—– Has been….delightful? Magical? Horrible? Weird? Awkward? Why didn’t she call before coming over? I smell a sinful secret here.

So very nice (I’ll hold your hand, they’re just like ice) <—- If your hands are ice cold, I refuse to hold them. Warm them up, then we’ll talk.

My mother will start to worry (Hey beautiful, what’s your hurry) <—-33 and living with your mom. It’s sweet of you to leave without telling her in the first place. Apparently you don’t own a cell phone.

And father will be pacing the floor (Listen to that fireplace roar) <—-My dad would have already called the cops by now. The fireplace doesn’t roar, it crackles. If it roars, apparently you are talking to Sirius Black in Harry Potter.

So really, I’d better scurry (Beautiful, please don’t hurry) <—-Rats scurry. I skip. If you scurry away, apparently you have no sense of direction. 

Well, maybe just a half a drink more (Put some music on while I pour) <—-Let’s keep drinking so I can get behind the wheel. Sounds like a stellar idea. Music? I’ll put some AC/DC on….

The neighbors might think (Baby, it’s bad out there) <—-Alright, you two are definitely cheating. It is bad out there. Especially if his wife comes home early.

Say, what’s in this drink (No cabs to be had out there) <—-Xanex. Enjoy.

I wish I knew how (Your eyes are like starlight now) <—-How to what? Tie your shoes, ride a bike, kill a cockroach, juggle oranges? Your eyes look like starlights because you’ve been drinking for the past hour. Duh.

To break this spell (I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell) <—-Okay, now I’m beginning to think we are dealing with Mary Poppins. Yes. It’s Mary Poppins and Harry Potter. I KNEW it.

I oughtta say no, no, no sir (You mind if I move in closer) <—-She said no, bro! What up? She didn’t invite you to “move in closer”. She said, no, no, no. That usually means…NO.

At least I’m gonna say that I tried (And what’s the sense in hurting my pride) <—-A slap across the cheek usually works. Or yelling. Or running…running is good.

I really can’t stay (Oh baby, don’t hold out) <—-You’ve been saying that for a while, but you are still here. I bet your mother is hysterical and your dad is fuming by now. Just a guess, sweetie.

Oh, but it’s cold outside <—-Put a coat on. Just a suggestion. Or a Snuggie.

My sister will be suspicious (Your lips look delicious) <—- I knew it! It’s your sister’s husband! Ah-ha! 

My brother will be there at the door (I ain’t worried about you brother) <—- Whoa. What kind of family IS this?!

My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious (That ol’ biddy, she ain’t gonna bother me) <—- Is this an episode of Downton Abbey? Or maybe an episode of Real Housewives of Orange County? I think we’ll go with Jerry Springer on this one.

Well maybe just a cigarette more (You don’t need no cigarette, it’s smokin’ plenty up in here) <—- Smoking, drinking, canoodling, cheating….if this isn’t the perfect picture of a happy holiday family, I don’t know what is…

I’ve got to get home (Baby, you’ll freeze out there) <—- Seriously, put on a coat. Should I spell that for you? Or better yet, have you ever heard of a jacket? Sweater? Housecoat?

Say, lend me a comb (It’s up to your knees out there) <—- You need to brush your hair? What if he has lice? “Say, this has been such a romantic evening I feel like brushing my hair.” Best turn on line EVER. 

You’ve really been grand (I thrill when you touch my hand) <—- You’ve been a jerk and pushed her boundaries. Please don’t call her tomorrow.

Oh, but don’t you see (How can you do this thing to me) <—- See what? Oh wait, yikes…things are getting a little too personal here. Cue the chorus….

There’s bound to be talk tomorrow (Well, think of my lifelong sorrow) <—- Ya think?! You had it coming. Your mom is worried and your dad is pacing. You’re cheating with your sister’s husband, your brother is about to show up, and the neighbors are spying.  I assume it will sound more like yelling than talking though by the time this is over…

At least there will be plenty implied (If you caught pneumonia and died) <—- Happy thoughts. Way to end a song. With death after a fantastic night. Warms my heart like lumpy gravy.

I really can’t stay (Get over that hold out) <—-Get over that hold out? Apparently you need to put the bottle down, sweetheart.

Oh, but baby it’s cold outside <—- {sigh} We’ve discussed this. We. Have. Discussed. This.

Happiness All Around ~

VSK

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

What It’s Like To Punch A Credit Card Representative

operator

I’ve developed a low tolerance for people lately. Perhaps my standards are just too high, or I’ve been eating too much Halloween candy out of my 9 year old’s bag when he isn’t looking. This could also have something to do with the individuals who tested my patience last week. (See last week’s post!)

So my husband has a cracked credit card. Perhaps it’s related to his back injury, and the Hunchback of Notre Dame lean he’s had for the past two weeks. Plastic can only tolerate so much “leaning”. Whatever the reason, I told him I’d order a new credit card for him. I’m a great credit card orderer after today. Let me know if you need my services. I’m quite costly though…

Rep: “Thank you for calling **** today. Can I have your first and last name?”

Me: “Sure. Valerie King.”

Rep: “And how are you today, Voldemort?” Did she just call me Voldemort?! Alright, I’ll roll with it…

Me: “I’m fine, thanks. You?”

Rep: Looonnnggg sigh “I’ve been better. I have a cold, and I have a sick baby at home.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that.”

Rep: “Yeah, me too, Voldemort. My mind is a little foggy today. Took some NyQuil.” Do you mean DayQuil? Oh geez, this is going to be a stellar conversation…

Me: “Okay. Well, um, hope you feel better.”

Rep: MONSTROUS Sneeze “Wow, that came out of nowhere. What’s your social security number?” Do I give this to her in her condition?

Rep: “How can I help you today, Voldemort?” Blowing nose

Me: “Well, I need to order a new credit card for my husband. His is split down the middle, and needs a new one. Can you send one out please?”

Rep: “Oooohhh, well no, I’m sorry. You’re not the primary on the account. So, your husband will need to call in and say he needs a new one, unless he’s there so I can speak with him.”

Me: “We are married with a joint account. We have the same credit card number, and pay the bill as a couple. Why can’t you just send out a new card?”

Rep: “Well, I’m sorry Voldemort, but although you are his wife, he has to request a new card. Company policy. A spouse can’t ask for a new card replacement for their husband or wife.”

Me: Seriously? I’m not asking for a kidney, I’m asking for a new card! “Really, well that’s an interesting policy I’ve never heard of before.”

Rep: Coughing “It is kind of a weird policy, but I have to follow it or I could risk losing my job. We all know we need our jobs these days! I’m sure you understand since your husband is primary on the account.”

Alright smarta$*, he may go to work, but so do I. I homeschool my kids, I’m a Social Media Director for a large corporation, I write books, I clean toilets, and I wipe snotty noses aside from yours. You wanna play, credit card rep in Rhode Island?! Well then, let’s play….

Me: “Can we request a new card online through your website?”

Rep: “Oh yes, YOUR HUSBAND, can request a new card online.”

Me: Laughing “Perfect. I’ll just log into our account online…here we go…with my husband’s user name and password to request the card then. Done and done! You’ve been a big help. I’ll let my HUSBAND know that I’ve ordered HIS new card.”

Rep: “Well….Is there anything else I can help you with Voldemort?” Cough, cough

Me: “I’m not sure ‘helping’ is the right word, but I hope you feel better soon. I need to get back to work. I have a very busy job. We all know we need our jobs these days!”

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This also goes along with the woman talking on her cellphone, windows rolled down, driving 45mph when she suddenly decides she needs to throw out the contents of her full plastic cup that consists of water and large ice cubes. What possesses someone to think, “Geez, this water is bugging the he!! out of me, so I better throw it out before it grows arms and strangles me while I jabber on about glue sticks to Sarah!”

It lands on my $16.99 carwash that I had just gotten several hours earlier. If only I would have had a wand…..IF ONLY.

Caution-This-Sign-Has-Sharp-Edges

Now where is that bag of Skittles I stole out of Little A’s bag earlier….

Patient, but Intolerable At Times ~

VSK