Things I Learned in August {Book Update Edition}

After taking July off from these end-of-month roundups, I thought I’d double up this ‘Things I Learned In” post to give an update on where I am with Re’and (you remember, the YA novel I’m releasing soon!) Thanks, as always, to Emily of Chatting at the Sky for being a lovely linkup hostess!


  1. “Friend-itors” are amazing. I wouldn’t be releasing a book in a few weeks were it not for some amazing friends, who also happen to be amazing editors. Thank you to author Kenneth Scott Harris, online mag editor Julie Marston, and my coworker Katie Johnson for lending an eye to the manuscript!
  2. Book editing is demoralizing. Truly. I used the incredibly redundant phrase “immortalized forever.” I’ve misspelled basic words. Though the task of revising a book is daunting, I am truly anxious to dig in and get to work. My aforementioned ‘frienditors’ offered phenomenal feedback on how I can get Re’and in tip-top shape.
  3. Tacking down cover art is tricky. Thanks to some advice from author and publisher Melanie Young, I’ve been working at getting the cover to Re’and just right. You already know that the cover image is sweet, but laying out the words has been a bit more tricky. Through trial and error, I’m slowly finding what works and what doesn’t.
  4. Self-named domains are in. Soon, you’ll be able to find me at Self-named domains seem to be the trend nowadays. Though, at the moment, I don’t have the energy or brain power to move my entire blog to a new domain - reserving the online real estate is a start. I’ll be sending people there as my “author page” (as completely weird as that sounds) soon.
  5. Getting closer to publication is beyond exciting! My posts will hopefully be shorter these next few weeks because I will be feverishly making edits and gearing up for publication. Thank you for your patience! Maybe I should release a sample chapter as a teaser? Let me know what you think! It’s getting close y’all, I can taste it.


Why I Can’t Just Give My Baby A Bottle – Ways To Help Out A Nursing Mother

It’s 0-dark-thirty hours. You’ve been days without sleep and you’re exhausted; a bit of rest here, a bit there, never enough to make a dent in the deprivation you’ve accumulated since your assignment. Yesterday’s grime from the trenches clings to your skin. Your body aches, your chest especially – which feels as if tiny bullets have been lobbed at the most tender and vulnerable part of yourself. Wailing pierces the still night, but you can’t tell if the sound is your own or from some unearthly, helpless creature camped outside your bed. You stumble to investigate, wondering if there’s an end in sight.

No, I didn’t just describe a scene out of [insert war movie here]. I described the life of a nursing mom. “But Victoria! I thought you’re all breast-is-best and crunchy I-didn’t-want-an-epidural-thank-you-very-much. What happened!?”

What happened is reality hit me smack-dab in the forehead.

Breastfeeding can be tough. One of my favorite sound bytes from the recent documentary Breastmilk is a woman who claims “you have to almost be mean about it” when describing the determination to breastfeed. I get that. It takes heart.

But, listen. If anyone knows they are in need of some TLC, it’s nursing moms.

You don’t have to tell a nursing mom she needs a break.

She knows.

What she doesn’t know is how to take one.

Breastfeeding moms often hear the refrain, “Can’t you just give that baby bottle?” Sounds simple enough, but the reality is a bit more complicated. First off, a nursing mom has to produce a bottle. Pumping is no fun. And, believe it or not, it’s difficult. In some cases a mom might pump for several session before she produces enough milk to make a bottle. Then there’s the issue of whether or not her nursling will even take a bottle (many don’t). If a mom does pump enough milk to seize a getaway and if her baby’s down with it, then there’s the issue of expressing milk while she’s gone. Breastfeeding moms have to express milk often, or serious complications could happen. If nursing in public remains controversial, you can bet your darn skippy that pumping in public is unthinkable. And another consideration, some babies experience particularly clingy stages. If baby has a meltdown every time mom leaves the room, separating the two might be painful for everybody. Remember, babies have only been doing this Earth thing for a few months. And, frankly, how would you feel if your refrigerator sprouted legs and walked out of the room? You’d probably be a bit upset yourself!

Nursing moms know they need a break. They appreciate you offering to give them one. But it needs to be on the right terms. I’ve been very blessed with friends and family eager to help as I breastfeed my daughter. It takes some planning, but there are many ways to help out a nursing mother.

ways to help out a nursing mother [Read more...]

Keegan – My First Car

Linking up first car stories on Carla’s blog, This Messy Heart.

1970 VW Beetle

“Keegan”, my 1970 VW Bug

My first car was a 1970 Volkswagen Beetle named Keegan.

He was as epic as his name suggests.

I first met Keegan on the eve of my 16th birthday. Dad and I drove to Charleston, SC – in response to a Craigslist ad, I believe – to rescue Keegan from certain death-by-junkyard. We paid $300 in cash. I took the driver’s seat and placed my hands on the steering wheel with all the glee of a newly-licensed driver. Shortly thereafter, the floorpan fell through and left a gaping whole where my feet should have rested. I knew it was going to be love.

Needless to say, we towed Keegan back to my family home in North Carolina.

After giving ol’ Keegan some TLC (and couple hundred more dollars in auto repairs) he was ready to drive.

myfirstcar [Read more...]

When Your Blog Blows Up


Y’all. My blog blew up.

You blew it up!

Can you read that number? 1,096. And we’re still counting. This morning we were at 1,300+

This post resonated with more people than I ever imagined.

Thank you.

Seriously, thank you so much.

When I read Samantha Pugsley’s thoughtful article, my heart dropped. Something didn’t sit right. I tried to go on about my day, but I just couldn’t. Inspiration nagged at me. WriteAnd so I did.

And you read it.

And commented on it.

And shared it.

And pretty soon I had to catch my breath at what God had done. [Read more...]

To The Girl Who Waited And Wished She Hadn’t, From Me

Dear Girl Who “Waited Until My Wedding Night To Lose My Virginity And I Wish I Hadn’t“,

Firstly, thank you so much for your post in Thought Catalog. True to its name, I’ve been thinking. And I want to thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. We need more of both, especially when discussing intimacy.

I’m not writing the first open-letter response to you, but I want to carry on this important conversation you began in my corner of the blogosphere.

Your words struck a chord with me because I’m all too familiar with the church environment you describe. An environment that speaks loudly about avoiding sex, rather than about the God who created sex. I can remember many youth group lessons preaching the message of “Sex is dirty and dangerous – so save it for the one you love.” Our sex talk went something like, “Here’s a picture of syphilis. Trust us, you do not want to get syphilis. Don’t have sex until you’re married.”

A friend of mine and fellow blogger put it well,

“I think the issue is just as much that sex isn’t truly viewed and taught as being a good thing. It’s viewed as something to be avoided before marriage rather than as a very good thing to anticipate within marriage. I think people do this because it is easier to make rules about what we can’t do than it is to have a heart devoted to God and have our desires and actions spring from that devotion (including the desire for sex within marriage.)”

From someone who also “took the virginity vow”, I want you to know that saving sex for marriage doesn’t have to end in pain and regret. And I want to offer a better reason for enjoying sex within biblical marriage.

To The Girl Who Waited And Wished She Hadn't, From Me [Read more...]