About Me

Author headshot/book

i am in this vessel of me. new and old. old and new. contained in yesterday’s stories. uncontainable in today’s glories.    karen draper

Hi, I’m Karen. Welcome!

It’s been six years since I started my blog, and I can’t believe how much has changed. Six years worth of molecules floating inside and outside of me in this universe we call home; trying their best to rearrange or right me. Isn’t it funny though, how everything changes while still remaining the same?

I’m still the same philosophical, intuitive, sarcastic woman. Still a mom, who in 2006, lost a son. That of course, did rearrange me. Time, in all its subtle and obvious ways, leaves indelible marks in our lives. Forever altering future milestones. When a life-changing event happens, nobody tells you what to do when your script is torn up and re-written. Eventually our family learned the art of adaptation. The loss of our son at age twenty-three taught us that love and grief are absolute in their power. That they are one in the same. That grief is love with nowhere to go.  My husband and I had to work hard to figure out what to do with all that love earmarked just for our son. But how we interpreted our life story is what made us come alive again.

While I had to grow into my writing, I fervently believe the writing gene was imprinted into my being at birth. Storytelling is crucial to me. Allow me to explain…

Storytelling: the art of taking your heart and placing it on a table for examination. Wandering and wondering around it. Watching it in the bright, truth-telling light and again in the soft, forgiving shadow of night. Listening to the diverse beats and what makes them so. Dancing to an illuminating drum of love and courage. Then writing what you’ve learned. So others can dance too.  jkd

As Oprah tells us,Β everyone has a story. For me, words are the soul’s expression that our eyes see. Five years ago I told you that I was working on my book. And now I’m thrilled to announce thatΒ my memoir, THE PLACE OF US, is available to ORDER NOW at widopublishing.com. Amazon, or wherever books are sold.

My memoir isn’t just a story about a boy with disabilities. It is so much more…a philosophical rendering on what it means to be totally and unapologetically human. It’s even got a phantom character, a real life angel, and, yes, a real life witch that came into our life through a friend! Seriously! What’s that saying – Truth is stranger than fiction. Yep. Welcome to my life!

This life tale of ours is many things, all of which play well together. It’s a book about being celebrated for exactly who you are. It’s also a real life workbook for anyone whose experienced loss. And a grief anthem told from a mother’s perspective that I hope will help a lot of people.

At its core, the book is about what we do when life surprises us. And who reading this has never been surprised by life.

I feel as if my life has been an exploration in learning because of those surprises, preparing me for this point in time. To realize. To feel with all my senses. And to grow.

BACKSTORY – My husband, Sam, and I had two amazingly, different and beautiful children, together. Our firstborn, a son, changed our world in the most unconventional of ways. Born with hydrocephalus, (which resulted in a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy) we were stretched and twisted and enlightened beyond our wildest imagination. “There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun.” And such was our life with our son. He helped us to see the world through a different set of eyes. His life and love was miraculous. Literally. Our daughter, born four years later, healthy and happy, was the yin to his yang. Through her exquisite typicalness, she showed us a world of lightness and laughter. She has always been my “resting place” when the world is too much. Beautiful, easy and brilliant. Her love is pure and true. And I couldn’t love her more.

About Me (in 30 seconds)

  • I love all things Chanel and pearlish.
  • Working in the flower garden is my breathing space.
  • I consider sarcasm an emotion.
  • Humor should be a required course.
  • I can’t live without bacon.
  • Dark  chocolate is a necessary food group.
  • Red wine is considered medicinal.
  • My morning cappuccino is as important as breathing.
  • Joie De Vivre is my mantra, most days.
  • I’m a wanna-be interior decorator who loves refinishing and rearranging furniture.
  • If left to my own device, I would and do spend hours reading, writing and taking photos of life.
  • And I consider Imagination crucial to my existence. Whew!

I hope you enjoy my poetry and prose on this blog culled from the totality of my experiences while on this awesome adventure. It is with great passion, love and consideration that I put a pen to paper. It comes from a place of brokenness, wholeness, and of pure intention sitting in the deepest, truest part of my soul. It will be my greatest wish if you are inspired by my book, THE PLACE OF US. And most of all, I hope you feel compelled to dance, too!Β 

Please be neighborly and leave a note so I can thank you for stopping by and pay you a visit, too.

38 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Welcome to the South! Hope folks are being hospitable. I live in Virginia which is hardly the south, but close enough! I love your bio; you sound like an amazing mama and a delightful person. Group intros make me nervous too. Also, I love the word that you made up… absoposilutely…one of my favorite hobbies! I look forward to reading more! πŸ™‚

    1. Well thank you for the hospitality! And much thanks for your kind words. We moved from Frederick, MD and now live in Richmond, Va. And have been surprised at how ‘south’ it can sometimes be.
      Here’s to more made up words! Be well. ~Karen~

      1. Ooohhh…Richmond is VERY southern. I taught there for a year and have friends there. It’s a beautiful city. Maymont is a great place to take pictures.

  2. Hi, Karen. Cool blog you’ve got going here. And I second your motion about wine–probably a little too often. Thanks for checking out my blog. Peace and best, John

    1. And thank YOU for visiting…new friends (and fellow wine enthusiasts) are always welcome! Be well. πŸ™‚ ~Karen~

  3. Glad to find your blog- so sorry to read about the loss of your special son. Writing is so cathartic isn’t it- what a wonderful way to capture the highs and lows of your journey and to process it all. I used to write more often when I was younger and had more time to dream/ be by myself. Your blog is an encouragement to me to stick at it and not worry about whether it becomes a published work

    1. Hi Merryn! And welcome! I look forward to getting to know you and your blog. Yes, writing is very cathartic. Most writing starts out that way as we try to figure out or document one of life’s moments. Then it morphs into an involuntary flow of consciousness.
      Keep writing, my friend. I seriously cannot believe how fast the words are flowing into my head, since I gave myself over to the “shadow.” (The most imperfect part of us.)
      Don’t worry about being published – worry dampens down our thoughts. I’m not quite to the middle of my book and I won’t even think about how, when or where or if I’ll be published. Remember you have the right to write! Be well. ~Karen~

  4. I came here through another blog you commented on and I’m so glad to read your story. I’m a full nester still, and sometimes overwhelmed by the challenge of managing to work, manage illness and be fully present to my girls. Writing falls into the laundry pile too often. You’ve inspired me. And I’m truly sorry for your family’s loss.

    1. Aww…you’ve made my day! As I sit here catching up on answering comments the.single.most.important.thing. is to be told that I inspired someone else through my storytelling. So thank YOU for inspiring me to keep going my friend! Have you read the book The Right to Write/Julia Cameron – it’s a must read! And thanks for your condolences, they are most appreciated. I’ll be over to visit soon! πŸ™‚ ~Karen~

  5. Brilliant and beautiful…just as expected. Thank you for this.

    1. Thank YOU, Kim – you are very kind. It’s wonderful to know you on this journey that we’re on! ❀ ~ Karen~

      1. πŸ™‚ Never, “Alone.”

  6. I also love Chanel, chocolate, humour, sarcasm, red wine and coffee! Alas, I love and admire flower gardens ( and the people who make them bloom) but have a brown thumb.

    I’m glad that Jen from Ramblings from a Mum lead me to your lovely blog! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Lynette! Well it sounds like we are kindred spirits, indeed! Could we live without any of those things…I don’t think sooo! I look forward to getting to know you. Jen is a wonderful, sweet woman and an amazing writer. Glad we found each other! πŸ™‚ ~Karen~

  7. Oh Karen, I want to hang out with you and drink red wine and eat dark chocolate and share our stories. And then I want to give you a huge hug. For so many reasons. I surely do hope that our paths cross frequently here. What a pleasure to meet you – Sherri πŸ™‚

    1. Aww- A huge thanks, Sherri! Well let’s go then…I never pass up an offer to drink red wine and eat dark chocolate! I receive your kind hug and send one back to you, my friend. Now I ‘m intrigued as to what else we have in common and will be hopping over to your bio. I look forward to getting to know you Sherri and wish YOU all the best! ❀ ~Karen~

      1. Dear Karen, I’m back to say that I have nominated you for the Butterfly Light Award. I hope you will accept, but no obligation. I know we’ve just met but I do feel you are already a friend and I love your blog and your writing. I just know that if we met we would be firm friends and would talk for hours…so we can do the next best thing here and share our stories and our journey, along with the red wine and dark chocolate!!!
        This award shimmers with beauty and light as does your spirit and heart…many congratulations to you – Love & Hugs Sherri ❀

      2. My dear Sherri, thank you oh so much! This is special coming from YOU! And I humbly accept! Sorry for the delay (I’ve been laying walnut flooring) can you say – oh my aching back!!! πŸ™‚ I feel the same way too! Our life’s layers are eerily similar. I look forward to unearthing them all. You’ve truly touched my heart with your words. ❀ ~Karen~

  8. I am so happy you saw my scenes from the shore…for you brought me here! I can feel your beautiful energy πŸ™‚

    1. Aww – shucks! You’re very kind. Thanks for stopping by, I hope to see you again. All the best. πŸ™‚ ~Karen~

  9. Karen, I’m just 45 minutes outside of Richmond and consider it “my” city. I hope we can meet someday possibly with our Westies for a play date?

    1. Well hello neighbor! What town do you live in? We’re in the final phase of building our house (6-8 weeks). So after that I’ll be able to breathe a bit and would love to meet. All the best. ~Karen~

      1. I’m in Amelia County, just west of Chesterfield. Takes me 45 minutes to get to the heart of the city. Good luck on your new house construction.

      2. Thanks – it’s the 3rd house we’ve built and the one with the most problems, unfortunately. Oh my goodness! I’ve been through there many times antiquing. All the best. ~Karen~

  10. Great intro & great blog. Looking forward to reading more from you πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Amanda! That makes two of us, my dear! All the best. ~Karen~

  11. I love your about page and I feel like I know you already. I’m a speech pathologist….been one for years…was a coordinator of special education for a school district for 3 years and then went back to doing what I love. I’m trying to get to the place where I can say I’m in menopause. Haven’t hit the magic one year mark yet…the process has been long and eventful for me. I love sarcasm and I’ve been told that I can be too direct. I love to laugh and make others laugh. Back to you. You write beautifully. I’m interested to know where you are in the whole book writing process? Wishing you much success and I look forward to reading your future posts. ~Becky

    1. Thank you so much, Becky! YAY for speech pathologists! I served on a state technology board as a parent consultant and was always in awe at the creativity of the SP’s I worked with. I read the book, The wisdom of Menopause, and I’m sorry to say I have yet to find the wisdom! LOL But good luck anyway, she says with great sarcasm. Well I’d rather have someone be ‘direct’ (aka honest) with me than to use false words or sentiment. Sarcasm rocks! I seriously doubt that I would’ve gotten through all the muck without it.
      I need to write a little ditty (page) on my blog as a lot of people have asked me about the book. I’m currently 1/4 of the way through. I wrestle with the blog and book all the time…I know what I need to do eventually (soon) in regards to this ridiculous juggling act I’m not performing so well right now. Check back as I will write page in a week or so with more detail. Feel free to email me anytime with questions. I truly look forward to getting to know you and reading your posts, Becky! Sending you All The Best! ~Karen~

  12. Thanks for stopping in at summercrowphotos.com! I will enjoy following your interesting blog!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, as well. Your photographs are truly show-stopping, Patty! All the best. ~Karen~

  13. Thanks for finally writing about >About Me |
    NESTpirations ~from our not so empty nest <Loved it!

    1. Thank you for stopping by and for your kind words! All the best. ~Karen~

  14. Hi Karen – glad you stopped by Beauty Along the Road today, so I could follow you here and read a bit of your amazing life journey. It seems like you have experienced the highs and the lows, both, very strongly. I also moved from the DC area to Virginia, although quite a bit west of where you are, Highland County. And, like you, I am trying to make sense of this midlife transition! So glad to have found you. I already met Barbara (SIlver in the Barn) who lives near you and it was great to make face-to-face contact. Maybe one of these days, we’ll get a chance to do the same…Annette

    1. Hi Annette and thanks for stopping by, as well. I’ve discovered several VA bloggers. I would love to get together with you and Barbara, as I live about 40 minutes from her. I look forward to getting acquainted. πŸ™‚ All the best. ~Karen~

      1. Let’s make it happen! πŸ™‚ The Virginia Women Bloggers Convention in the hinterlands of Richmond!

  15. Thank you for stopping by my blog. We have several blogger friends in common! I miss the VA bloggers–having moved to DE. Love your bullet points on About Me.

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