Giving It All Away!

There is a home we love that’s only a few hundred thousand dollars out of our price range. We haven’t counted ourselves out, because a girl can dream. It has acreage. It has trees. It has a river. And the cutest wood fire kitchen stove I have ever laid eyes on.

There are a few ways we could get this home…. one is an outright miracle from God. Another is, well, an outright miracle from God.

Short of a couple of miracles, we’re not getting this house.

But I’m not going to stop dreaming and planning and doing whatever I *can* do to get my family into a home, and onto a property, we long for. It probably won’t be this particular one, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up and settle into this apartment for the long-haul.

Really, though, wouldn’t it be something if someone would give it all away?

I can’t give you a house. Or acreage to put one on. But here’s what I can do!

A while ago, in a total lapse of judgement, I planned a small-scale surprise party for my husband’s birthday.

My husband hates surprises. Like… really, really hates them.

In an attempt to clean house without really cleaning so he wouldn’t catch on to what I was doing, I took a stack of books that was on our countertop, and I shoved them into the back of a bottom kitchen cupboard.

Because…more judgement lapse.

These books sat there for almost two months, because I completely forgot what I did with them. In the meantime, I ordered books from Amazon. And I ordered a book I had already purchased.


There are a few lessons to be learned here.

One: Don’t try to show love to your spouse by doing something they absolutely abhor. It doesn’t go well.

Two: Don’t put books in a kitchen cupboard.

Three: Check your order history once in a while before you click that “checkout” button.

This works really well for YOU, though! Everyone who is on my mailing list (hint: if you get an email from Val’s Mind Mumbles every Saturday, you’re on my list. If you don’t get that email, you are not on my list yet!) will receive an entry in three upcoming giveaways!

I’ll be giving away three books between now and Christmas, and the only way to enter is to be a subscriber to my mailing list. (See at the top left of this page [or bottom, if you’re on your mobile] where it has a form to enter your name and email to get my newsletter? Submit that!)

The first drawing will be held Thursday, December 1st, and I’ll announce the winner then.

And no, I’m not giving away any of our Little House series books. I’ll be giving away the following:

  • The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals by Chris McChesney
  • Undone by Michelle Cushatt
  • Happy, Happy, Happy by Phil Robertson

They’re all awesome books, and if you’ve already read the one you’re drawn for, it would make a great gift for someone else.

Make sure you’re entered (all it costs is your email address!) and best of luck!

So I Want to Write a Book…

“Spit in one hand, wish in the other, and see which one fills up faster.” That was what we heard every time we “wished” for a new toy, or new clothes, or something new and exciting (read: fleeting and forgotten about ten minutes later) while we were growing up.

My entire childhood, I took it to mean something along the lines of, “You’re better off wasting your time than your dreams. Don’t bother chasing them. It’s just messy, and you’ll end up with a handful of spit.”

Story of my life. I hear a phrase and my default is to interpret it as a convincing argument on why I can’t do something. It’s my out. It’s my default-defeat. I’ve always been this way. More often than not, I’ve quit before I’ve had a chance to start.

Until right now. You know what that phrase means to me now? Think about it, or do something. See which one gets results.

So I’m done wishing. I’m done stopping at the edge of my dream. It’s time to start doing, and see if I can get results. I’m going to write my book. My first book.

So I Want to Write a Book...

I have so many ideas about topics I could cover in writing, but for my first book, I’m sticking to one I’m pretty passionate about. It will hopefully be easier to formulate, create, and organize, and will keep the inspiring fire going for me to write more books about other stories I want to share. My first book will be a book about marriage.

That might surprise some of you. Why not about Harlynn? Why not about what we’ve been through with her? So many reasons. The first is, her story is still unfolding. If I put it into book form now, there would be so much left untold. Secondly, the emotional weight it bears. I don’t have the words, or frankly – the strength – to write an entire book about losing our daughter. A blog post as I’m experiencing a moment or emotion is more forthcoming than a book encapsulating what losing her has been for us. Is for us. Means to us.

“But your marriage is still unfolding too, isn’t it?” Yes. It is. But I’m not writing a book about my marriage. Will Brent and I be main characters? Yes. Those are the stories I know. And there are so many of them that illustrate some great points I want to touch on. Storytelling is what I do. Sharing (over-sharing, some may say) is far easier for me than it might be for others. While there will absolutely be several stories about Brent’s and my marriage specifically, the book won’t be about our marriage.

Still with me?

I hope so, because I’m going to need your help. I need a team of people partnering alongside me through this process. I need people to read what I write. To provide feedback. To make sure what I’m saying makes sense. To catch typos and horrendously offensive grammatical errors. I need people to idea-share and brainstorm with.

I need people to hold me accountable. To make sure I’m actually writing. To follow up with me about progress I’m making, struggles I’m running into, or hurdles I can’t seem to overcome. I need people to cover this in prayer. To cover me in prayer. I need my schedule, my family, my work, and my writing all covered in prayer.

You know when Brent and I have the most intense moments of intense fellowship? Usually right after I publish a post about how wonderful he is. The devil loves to toy with us. And me, writing a book about marriage? Oh mylanta is he laughing right now, scheming of all the ways he could derail this! We need your prayers.

I’ve set an audacious goal for myself to have a first draft written and submitted before 2015 is over. I’ve given myself four months to research, create, write, and produce a product (an entire book). I don’t have a title. I don’t have an outline. I don’t have a plan. But I’ve got a dream and a desire to not simply spit in one hand, but to do something to make that dream come true.

So here I go.

Will you partner with me? Where do your talents lie, and how would you best fit on this team? Shoot me a note and let me know. And thank you – in advance – for not getting sick of me being needy during this process, for not growing tired of my mistakes or my meltdowns, for holding me accountable, and for covering me, my family, and this book in incessant prayer.