Once upon a time in the literary world …

On October 2012, I picked up something that would drastically change the existence of who I would become. I picked up a book. It was one of the first few I had ever truly fallen in love with. It was the very first to spark an interest in something I never knew I could dive into. It was the beginning of a personal romance I never thought possible.

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Reading had never been on the top of my to-do list. As a matter of fact, I loathed it. I dreaded everything that had anything to do with reading. Why? Because I had never been able to focus long enough to experience anything other than misery when following lines of words on paper. Often I re-read paragraphs so many times it discouraged me. I wanted to pull my hair out thinking about reading. How in the world do people actually read for fun? That’s what movies are for. Right?

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Within this story, I found myself teetering on the edge of despair through each heart wrenching plot twist. I felt my heart literally skipping beats at each redeeming quality revealed within the heroine. I wept through the sorrows. I clung to the hope. I ripped through pages so quickly I thought I was dreaming. The ability this author possessed to invoke such strong emotion within my soul, completely baffled me.

Because it had never happened before …

I was gasping for air by the time I finished the book. It rung my bell so significantly, I stared at my reflection in the mirror in shock at the image staring back at me. This couldn’t be the same girl walking inside my body for the 30 years I had been alive. It couldn’t be. Because that girl; she didn’t care about reading. That girl turned her nose away from literature. But, this girl was rejuvenated. She was changed by intensely powerful words of one lone author and her ability to shake the ground I walked on. I became something different. I became more aware, more enriched, more alive.

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So I read it again; taking my time through the bends in the road. I read it slow enough to feel the shifts in the wind reverberating in my pounding chest. I let myself fall hopelessly and helplessly in love with the reckless emotional roller coaster of love imbedded within the pages I turned. I let it infiltrate my system. I let it swirl throughout my veins replacing the stagnant flowing blood with an extreme curiosity recharging my weakly beating heart.

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How in the world can one person put so much commanding emotion, confined in a prison of excruciating angst, formed along the shattered walls of mind blowing tension all to be redeemed by the powerhouse of love …

In words

Forming sentences

Within paragraphs

On pages

Of a book

How. Is. That. Possible?

It more than intrigued me. It blew me out of the water.

The closest thing I could relate it to, were the years of performing I experienced in my own life. I spent so much time learning about my God-given talent of singing. I rehearsed, practiced, and then re-rehearsed. When I was finished; I did it all over again. And, I did this for years. Why? Because. As a musician, it’s my job to effectively relay the emotion I’m singing to the audience. I want people to FEEL the depths of the lyrics from my lips. If I can’t, I’m not doing my job very well. When I sing, “Love Takes Time” by MC, I want you walking away raw from the heartache and the amount of time it takes to recuperate from it. When I sing, “Respect” by AF, I want you walking away with a little soul burning in your own soles; maybe even making you bust out in a little James Brown jig. When I sing, “I Have Nothing” By WH, I want you to know within the deepest parts of your soul, that I have absolutely nothing without you; nor will I ever. I’d like to think I’ve done an okay job of this …

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But, can I do the same thing on paper?

Could I possibly be one of the hundreds of thousands of people that could actually evoke the same emotion through a story on paper?

Could I?

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In a single moment of bravery, I decided to open my laptop and jot down a few thoughts on a trip I took to Florida when I was 16. I became so engrossed in writing over the next 2 months, my simple thoughts turned into a 75,000 word novel.

I HAD TYPED SEVENTY-FIVE THOUSAND WORDS. FROM MY BRAIN CAME SEVENTY-FIVE THOUSAND WORDS!

Seventy

Five

Thousand

Words

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I went from no interest in reading to writing my first novel.

Holy flippin cow.

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I found a new love in life. I clutched this desire so tightly to my chest; it became a part of my being.

I became a writer.

And, not just any writer … But, a writer determined to master my craft; a writer inspired to push myself to greater lengths; a writer on the (hopeful) road to becoming a successful author.

I spent the following year plugging into the reading/writing community. I met some pretty fantastically awesome people. I learned from some of the greats. I paid attention to the failures. I took notes on every aspect of the book world while silently plugging away at my own work. Very few people knew what I was up to. Very few people still know.

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Because I want to earn my spot in the literary world. I don’t want it by association. I don’t want it by begging. I don’t want it by nonchalantly asking for favors. I don’t want it by any other means than earning it of my own accord. I’ve learned there’s payoff in hard work. There’s honor in accomplishment when you fly from your own set of wings, instead of within the shadow of someone else’s success. There’s respect in building relationships based off of honesty instead of “what you can gain”. I understand everyone has their own road. Everyone’s journey is different. I’m slowly learning what exactly mine entails. I might be an ornery mess but, the foundation instilled within me is one of integrity.

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I’ll continue writing and plugging away at this book adventure until I know the time is right to publish. Right now my focus is on perfecting and practicing. Having literary geniuses review from all facets is invaluable. Honest feedback, direction, critiques and edits can only push me into another dimension of greatness. It can only make me better.

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Now … Who is the original inspiration behind my writing, you ask?

What is this book that magically catapulted me into the crazy world of writing?

Even she doesn’t know it’s her.

But she will now.

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Yep.

You’re seeing that right.

It’s none other than Jamie McGuire.

And, the epically fantastical love story is her NY Times Bestselling book, Beautiful Disaster.

If you haven’t read it, GO GET IT NOW!

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Jamie,

Thank you. Thank you for just being you. You’re an insanely talented writer. You have a beautiful spirit as well as an honest and kind heart. I respect you more than you realize. You’re a true inspiration and a wonderful person I call friend. I heart your face to the moon and back.

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Check back next week for my top reads of 2013 and the women behind the stories! You won’t want to miss it.

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One simple act of kindness

Close your eyes and envision a time in your life where things haven’t been so great.

The lowest of low

Discouraged

Depressed

Disgruntled

Defeated

Deflated

Abandoned

Alone

::::sigh::::

Often those moments we bring upon ourselves because we’re what???? WE’RE HUMAN. (Don’t jump my ace. I said often as in sometimes. NOT ALWAYS.) And, we make terrible, reckless, thoughtless, selfish decisions that, at times, impact our lives drastically.

But, somehow in the deepest, darkest hole of the well we’re trapped in … Someone walks in love, reaches their hand toward you and helps you up off the ground. They’re like your breath of fresh air. Your oasis in the desert. Your warm embrace of sunshine when you’ve felt so frigid cold for so long.

Now, think about who that might have been. Think about the smallest act that may have saved you from your circumstance. Think about the most generous thing bestowed upon you when you knew you deserved nothing.

THINK ABOUT IT, SOAK IT IN, LET IT RESIGNATE THROUGH YOUR SYSTEM. (Because we’ve all been there even if you say you haven’t. I just happen to be open and honest enough to admit it.)

There are so many situations within my life where I can pinpoint gestures of kindness that have significantly helped redirect my crummy circumstance. A friend offering a ride, a family allowing me a place to stay, a random stranger paying for my meal, my extended family paying for my gas, an employer giving me an extra bonus, a church leader listening and understanding my imperfections, a mother silently crying but face 2 face, boldly praying over my life.

Which leads me to this …

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At the beginning of November, I was asked by a friend for a favor. A pretty extreme favor. A favor not to be taken lightly. A favor that could radically impact a young girls life as well as the life of her 18 month old daughter and the child soon to be born within her womb.

A favor for a young girl who was so close to the age of a child that it took my breath away.

She was a baby, with an 18 month old baby and she was about to birth another baby.

Oh, sweet Jesus.

She had nothing. Absolutely nothing. No clothes. No blankets. No food. No diapers. No place for this baby to sleep.

NOTHING. NADA. ZERO. ZILCH.

In that moment, the rational “human nature” side of my brain could have started spinning like a rabid hamster wheel. It could have started throwing accusation, blame, and condemnation in the direction of this young girl. Questioning every bit of reasoning on why “I” had to help. Why it was “my” job to fix this.

Afterall, it’s not my problem, right?

WRONG.

It only took a few seconds for the tender voice on the inside to silence any confusion I had. It wrapped my stirring turmoil and all my troubled thoughts in a blanket, stilling the whirlwind of irritation with peace. It reminded me of this one simple fact:

Who are you to judge?

Didn’t people help you when you felt like you didn’t deserve it?

How many hands were extended to you in your time(s) of need?

Don’t harness blind judgement.

Let go of accusation. 

Walk in love, Kim.

Love never fails.

That’s it. That’s all I needed. That gentle nudge catapaulted me into overdrive. I quickly messaged my friend, letting her know that I would utilize every single resource available to me. Every cotton-pickin’ source I had, to find things for this girl.

I mass texted, I plugged multiple posts on facebook, I emailed, I called. Whatever I could do, I did. Because, although I may not have all the money in the world – I could at least use my big mouth to gather things for this poor girl.

And, ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh did the donations pour in.

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We ended up with so much stuff, it brought tears to my eyes.

Hundreds of diapers

40 plus cans of formula

Boxes and boxes and boxes of clothing

Boxes and boxes and boxes of blankets

Binkies

Bottles

Toys

Bath products

And, we even had some extra resources to wrap some of the new stuff so it made this young girl feel like she was getting her own presents.

WOW

And then … On, November 16, I received the sweetest picture with the sweetest caption:

“She says thank you”

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Oh my GAH!

::::Cue tears::::

Big fat torrential downpour tears

Look at that sweet little face.

I knew. I totally without any tid bit of doubt, knew what I did was right. And with the help of so many generous people, we provided a step within this sweet young mom’s life, a bridge for these young babies to cross, when things seemed so grim for them. And, it was all because of a decision to follow the Voice of Love on this inside instead of my natural judgemental human nature.

LOVE WINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BUT, WAIT …

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Shortly after this lil’ munchkin was born, I received this short message from the friend who organized and put this plan in motion:

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OH

EM

GEE!

I’m completely blown away. Utterly Mindblown. And, this isn’t even about me. This post isn’t even about MY abilities. This post is about the decision to follow that “Nudging Voice” on the inside that continually accepts you regardless of your short comings, continually stills the storm with peace, continually reminds that His love is Perfect Love and if we choose to walk in THAT love, we’ll see through people’s imperfections. And, we’ll focus on their need. This is the Love humanity needs to thrive. This is the Love the world needs to touch so many lives.

Read between the lines, folks.

It IS hard because it naturally is dang near impossible.

But, it’s not impossible if you follow Your inner voice.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 8Love Never Fails.

****This post is dedicated to the community outreach done within the walls of the http://www.streetschool.org/.

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Their ability to see beauty through ashes is changing the lives of so many discarded young teenagers.

Please visit their website and contact their donation department if you feel compelled to help.

OR reach out within your own community to something you feel tugging on your heart. It’s never too late. Never. Especially during the season of giving.

LAST TIME I CHECKED, HATE NEVER WON THE RACE. BUT IN THE END, LOVE CONQUERED ALL.

Ask and ye shall receive!

I remember this moment so vividly, like it was only yesterday …

It was early morning, the sun barely peeked through the drapes of my bedroom. I sat on the edge of my bed gently rocking the teesiest tiniest life within my arms. I clutched his soft skin against my chest breathing in every bit of his sweetness. He warmed me with such an intense love. An honest love completely untouched by the dark and twisted perversions of the world. Something I had never in my entire life experienced before. I trailed my fingertip along his face lightly touching his nose, cheeks and pouty little lips. I stared in amazement at what God had given Tyler and I. I was flabbergasted He could entrust me to carry, birth and raise something so extraordinary.  So absolutely perfect when I was so far from that word.

But, He did.

He gave me a son

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I had watched so many around me starting families. I had spent years sharing in their joys and investing in their lives. But, never could I have ever imagined a love so profound, so deep until I experienced the joy of motherhood for myself. I was in a whole new level of heaven.

Tears welled up in the corners of my eyes. I made no attempt to blink them back as they fell shamelessly down my cheeks. Sobs slowly escaped my lips and I absorbed the mega-journey laid before my feet. I vowed to not only accept it but embrace the ride humbly and graciously.

In that moment I looked up to the sky, tears still streaming down my face. And, I had a very simple conversation with God:

Please give me more time with him, God.

Please.

He’s it.

My one shot.

My one and only.

I’ll never get a redo.

I’m not having any more children.

And, I’m putting my desire out there on the table.

And, I’m asking you to find me a job that lets me work four days a week.

I’m asking you to give me just as much money as I make now so I can still contribute to our family.

I’m asking you to send me somewhere to work for someone great.

I’m asking you not because I deserve it but, because I know You love me.

And, I don’t know how you’re going to do this.

I just don’t know.

But, I won’t be discouraged. I know you’ll orchestrate this perfectly.

I trust You …

I dried my tears, wiping them from my chin and cheeks. I kissed my sweet lil’ man on the forehead brushing my lips against his baby soft skin. I hugged him tightly against me as peace fell over my mind, body and soul. I swept my hand over the peach fuzz of his head and whispered in his little ear,

“Mommy’s gonna be home more, real soon, monkey. I promise.”

(fast forward 3 1/2 months)

I sat alone in my living reading (as always) while Parker and his daddy slept the morning away. I had no idea what was about to take place …

I received a sweet little message from a family friend asking a smidgen of a favor. When I informed this person that I could actually do that for them …

The whole game changed

The rug of reason got pulled from beneath my feet

The universe shifted on its axis

And, they offered me an opportunity I absolutely couldn’t turn down.

No. Freaking. Way.

Did that just happen?!?!?!?!

::::Cue tears of joy::::

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I-Could-Not-Believe-What-Had-Just-Happened. At all. Like seriously, ARE YOU FLIPPI’N KIDDING ME?!?!?

Four days a week

Money wasn’t a problem

Flexibility when it came to my son

Bonuses

Perks

Raises

Holidays off

Not to mention, I LOVE MY BOSS!!!!

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And, the job was something rewarding. Something I could be proud of doing. Something where I was investing time and care into someone’s lives. I would be taking care of someone’s family, assisting in whatever they needed my help with. And, I couldn’t be happier.

I accepted. Without even blinking, I TOTALLY accepted!!!

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I SCREAMED YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS FROM THE MOUNTAINTOP!

I danced around my yard like a giddy five year old thanking God for being faithful. Always faithful. Thanking him for blessing my life.

So, there you have it …

I HAVE A NEW JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Blueberry Coffee & Unicorn Cats – FTW!!!

Now … I’ve got some super interesting, totally awesome, fan-fricking-tastic news to share!!! It’s so awesome in fact, it’s hard for me to contain myself.

Like, at all. In any spectrum. Of any timeframe. Within any world. For any reason.

But, I’m totally prepping your letdown. I’m totally gearing you up to stomp on your Cheetos, your Fritos and your Doritos. I’m totally saddened to tell you: IT’S NOT TIME TO REVEAL THAT BIG SHE-BANG JUST YET.

I’m so so sorry. More sorry than you could ever imagine. Because I definitely want to divulge this oh-so-cool information.

But, I cant.

I just can’t.

And, I won’t.

I just won’t.

But, stay tuned … It’s coming MUUUUUCH sooner than you realize.

So, let’s do a random “Mindblown” post this week.

I need my mind blown away

Eh? (<—-This. Just for my Canadian family in Toronto. Hollaaaa!)

Speaking of Canadians, eh?? My brother and his wife came to visit (from Canada, in case there was any confusion which tends to happen when I rant because I talk so much. But, I’m completely okay with the fact that I talk so much because I’ve had thirty-one years to get used to it. Man, that’s a long time. Thirty-one years. Did I seriously just out myself and give my age?! Dangit! Wait … I think we were originally talking about Hosers and Canadians, right? So, in the famous words of Billy Madison, “I’m here to learn, everybody, not to make out with you. Go on with the chlorophyll.”) …

Hmmm mmm ::::clears throat:::

Like I was saying: My brother and his wife came to visit a few weeks back. We had so much flippin fun! And, there really was some flippin’ going on, in the form of my brother body slamming, contorting and wrapping my husbands’ body up like a pretzel whenever he pleased.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu FTW!!!

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Anyways, one of the great adventures we embarked on was a fantastic little coffee shop in downtown Tulsa called Topeca Coffee.

Say it, repeat it, say it again, repeat it again, burn it into memory and never forget it. T-O-P-E-C-A Coffee.

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I had the BEST cup of coffee I’ve ever had in my entire life! And, you already know I’m old so, that’s a LONG time. And, I had NO idea this quaint lil’ shop existed. I had no idea I was minutes, I mean seconds, I mean within walking distance of my daily life. (Ok, that’s a bit dramatic. It’s actually a few miles. but, who’s counting? Definitely not me. And I’m sure you’re awesome enough to do the same. Not count. Don’t do it.}

Their daily special was a cup of “Ethiopian Blend Coffee”. I had NO idea what that meant. Like, at all. I was used to generic Folgers, Maxwell House or Starbucks. And, I’m not knocking the day to day cup-o-joe. I’m just sayin’ there’s something super exhilarating about a special cup of REALLY good coffee. And, I now know what that means thanks to Topeca Coffee.

My first sip was mind boggling. It made no sense. How could coffee taste like a berry. And, I’m not talking about cheap flavoring … I’m talking about a sweet berry infused into a robust coffee bean. Absolutely authentic. It was always meant to have been there. Coffee was always supposed to taste like this. And, I was deprived my entire life for not knowing this information.

I was mindblown.

The taste was so rare, so sweet, so refined, so beautifully crafted … It couldn’t possibly be real.

Add a dash of real cream and a half packet of Splenda and BOOM!

Holy Cow-bells of Oklahoma. I was in love.

So, I took another sip, then another, and one more. Until I had to ask for another cup because I had successfully devoured the contents of my first treat, thoroughly enjoying myself more than anyone could imagine a person could enjoy themselves while drinking a single cup of coffee.

Yeah. That all happened within 10 oz of liquid awesomeness.

I got my second cup to go and raved about it as I equally had the first. With each sip, my lips and tongue melted into pure bliss. I left the coffee shop that day with a new appreciation for a great cup of coffee.

So, if you’re ever in Tulsa. Please check out Topeca Coffee. Here’s a quick link for your viewing pleasure. But, be careful … You can SMELL, literally soak into your taste buds, the robustness of their coffee. YUM.

http://www.topecacoffee.com/

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After this little adventure and my brother and sister-in-law headed home, I was bummed thinking about how I would only get to drink this coffee when I made a visit to their shop. Because my scatter-brained mess of a mind forgot to think about buying any to take home.

::::cue mom walking in with the most brilliant invention ever thought of::::

There stood my mother with a bag of Dunkin Donuts Blueberry Muffin Coffee in hand. She simply shrugged and smiled. And, my return grin ate my face up with beaming delight! I would have never even contemplated testing this flavor of coffee prior to my trip to Topeca. Never.

Because it doesn’t make sense.

There’s no way a berry could taste good in coffee.

That would be disgusting.

Right?

WRONG!

Now, let’s talk about a little thing called …

BLUEBERRY MUFFIN COFFEE!

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Heck. Who am I kidding?! It’s not little. It’s so big, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man cringes in fear at the thought of it’s appearance.

Like, for REAL.

This coffee has changed my life. Literally. Unequivocally. Changed-My-Life. (And, that’s not a dramaticism … That’s plain TRUTH.)

Once my mom brewed that very first pot:

I

Was

Sunk.

To say I exploded with excitement would be the understatement of the year.

1.) Because I found something that closely matched the Ethiopian blend from Topeca!

2.) Because it literally is the best everyday cup-o-joe coffee I’ve ever had. And, I love coffee just in case you missed that.

I was totally ecstatic to weave this delightful treat into my daily routine. Because, coffee has always been an “event” in my family. And, when I say, “event”, I mean just that. An event (just so we’re clear.) We have our “morning coffee” just as you would watch your morning news or take your morning shower. We have our “afternoon coffee” just as you would take your afternoon nap or watch your afternoon soap. And, sometimes we even have our evening coffee just as you would … well, you get the point.

I have successfully drank this coffee since my first experience with it. Not to miss a single serving. And, it never gets old. I’ll never be rid of it. I should probably buy stock in it.

So, head on down to your local grocery store and pick up a bag! I promise: you WON’T be disappointed. Ever. I mean E-V-E-R.*

*Disclaimer: Please be aware that the brewing strength varies when brewing this deliciousness within a Kuerig reusable K-Cup. It depends on the size of your Kuerig and the brand of your K-Cup. I find the industrial size Kuerig’s work fantastically with the “MochaMate” brand which I use daily at work.

ENJOY THIS MOST AWESOME DISCOVERY EVER!

AND, YOU’RE WELCOME!

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Now, don’t get mad at my Unicorn Cat just because you didn’t come up with it. I’d like to thank my anonymous friend for introducing me to Facebook stickers!!!! They’re hilarious and ridiculous and fun and make no sense but, I don’t care!

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And, yes, I’m very well aware that I have a case of the “random weirdness”. I embrace it whole-heartedly. And, I hope you do too.

HAVE A SUPER FANTASTICAL WEEK!