Friday, November 6, 2015

September Sadness

September 2015 will go down as one of the hardest months of my entire life.  I'm 51 years old, so that's a lot of life.

My work in non-profit requires exceptional amounts of fundraising.  One of our biggest and most financially dependent events of the year is our annual banquet.  This year it was scheduled for September 15.  We had a sold out crowd, a great speaker lined up and a wonderful evening of entertainment.  This is the time when I can shake hands and personally thank our donors, share our vision for the future and report the great work we've done throughout the year.  I always look forward to this event, but this year, for the first time, I missed it.

One of my favorite side jobs is decorating, designing and staging properties for my daughter's property management company.  As I was driving to meet with one of my newest client's the Thursday before our banquet, I received a phone call from my Uncle Alan.  It was September 10, 2015.  The tone of Alan's voice worried me.  I was right to be worried.  He was calling to give me some very bad news.  My Uncle Leon and Aunt Neda, who were like parents to me growing up, had been in a car accident on their way to a Classic Car Show in Gatlinburg.  The semi in front of them had blown a tire and in the hopes of avoiding the debris, my Uncle Leon swerved to miss it.  He lost control of the car and they hit the guardrail and rolled several times.  My Uncle Leon, the man I'd respected and loved my whole life was gone.  My Aunt was and is still devastated.

Needless to say, my banquet became less significant, yet I was still torn because I knew so many were depending on me.  But, I had to get to N.C. for his funeral, which was held the same day as our banquet on September 15.   Thanks to the incredible staff I lead and I'm privileged to work with and a supporting board, they took care of everything and the banquet was a huge success.  They really don't need me that much after all.

Our family was heartbroken over the loss of Uncle Leon.  This was supposed to be a happy time! Kendra, my daughter, and Brandon's Wedding was coming up in just two more weeks!  Uncle Leon and Aunt Neda had already RSVP'd and now it was not to be.  There would now be two empty seats. The morning following his funeral, I had to fly to NY to speak at another fundraising event and then returned back to Nashville to prepare for Kendra's wedding, which was taking place in N.C. on Friday, September 25.

I did my very best to check on my Aunt Neda daily and in keeping my feelings under control.  I didn't want to take away from Kendra and Brandon's wedding festivities.  This should be the happiest time of their lives and I was determined to do my very best to keep it that way.

The week of wedding and family fun went well.   We were all together.  We loved sharing memories of Uncle Leon, even though we were still in shock.  During the week, I made the hour drive back to see my Aunt in the midst of  "wedding week" because she was struggling badly.  Kendra was so gracious to understand this.

On Thursday night, Brandon's parents hosted a beautiful Rehearsal Dinner.  All the parent's were given the opportunity to speak.  I was able to talk about what Kendra means to me and how happy I am that she'd found a man as perfect for her as Brandon, who absolutely adores my daughter.

The next morning, the day of the Wedding, was now upon us.  It was raining.  We realized their dreams of an outdoor wedding were not to be.  This broke my heart for them.  Kendra and Brandon had wanted to be married outside in the woods, surrounded by nature and had already chosen the perfect spot.  She cried when she realized it wasn't going to happen.  I reminded her it didn't matter where the wedding took place, as long as she was Brandon's wife.  She agreed. We had no choice, so the decision was made to bring the wedding inside.  The venue was gorgeous regardless, although the venue hostess caused Kendra too much unnecessary grief over the simplest things.  Kendra cried more than she should have.  That woman's job was to make her feel secure, not an emotional mess because "that can't go there" and "I don't know if I'll allow you to do this" kind of crap.  I thought I was going to have to go "mommy crazy" on her!  Tawni and Teryn, instead, took care of it for me. They asked her to only speak to them and stay away from Kendra.  She was stressed out enough. There was some drama with robes not showing up, people arguing, etc.  Regular wedding day stuff.

We arrived at the venue around 9 am to begin the wedding preparations.  The make-up and hair people would be arriving at noon.  I would be the first in the "chair".  Hair took around 30 minutes. Now, it was time for make-up.  I proceeded to sit in the make-up chair and was so excited! Everything was coming together.  It was my daughter's wedding day!  Kendra would be marrying the man of her dreams.  She'd had had such a rough week with the venue hostess that I just wanted this day to be perfect for her.  Everyone did.

The make-up artist and I shared a conversation about the wedding and how much I loved Brandon and was so excited about him joining our family.  After a few minutes, while she was putting mascara on me, out of nowhere, I felt a sudden sharp pain in my side.  I thought I'd pulled a muscle while decorating tables for the reception.  I told her I needed to take a break for a minute and catch my breath.  I decided to walk down the hallway and find Teryn and Tawni, who were outside.  Each step I took, the pain increased.  What the hell was happening to me?!  This was just the beginning of the worst thing I've ever been through.

By the time I reached Teryn and Tawni, I could barely walk.  I begged them not to say a word to Kendra, who was in another room getting ready.  I was convinced I could lay down for a little while, take some Tylenol and I'd be fine.

Tawni, who's a nurse, and Teryn, brought me into the bathroom.  Almost immediately, I began vomiting from the pain.  It was not letting up.  By now, it was around 2:00.  The wedding was at 6:00.  Tawni called a friend of ours, who is also a doctor, who called in some pain medicine that she thought could get me through the wedding.  We still believed I'd pulled a muscle.

Tawni drove to the pharmacy to pick up the pain killer.  When she returned, I immediately downed the pill.  She informed me it should start working within 30 minutes.  Thirty minutes came and went, then an hour went by. Nothing.  There was no relief, as the pain grew more intense.  It was unbearable, yet I was going to do everything in my power to push through it.  Around the same time, I began convulsing and passing out on the bathroom floor of the bridal suite.  I was sobbing uncontrollably and begging the girls' not to let me miss my daughter's wedding, but the vomiting continued and the pain worsened.  I truly thought I was dying. I'd never experienced such pain, even during childbirth.  I continued like this for hours, praying it would subside.  I longed to watch my daughter walk down the aisle, to experience the moment when I saw her for the first time and then put her veil on.  I wanted those memories that every mother wants at her daughter's wedding.

But, nothing we did was helping my situation.  Tawni gave me the news that I'd dreaded, but knew was coming by this point.  She said we had to take me to the hospital.  I begged her not to.  I pleaded and sobbed at the thought of missing Kendra's wedding.  Tawni promised she'd do everything she could to get me back in time, but her profession told her something serious was going on.  She knew nothing could keep me from being with my daughter on the most important day of her life and she'd never seen me or anyone in that much pain.  I knew she was right.  I had to go.

I was unable to walk on my own to the car, so was carried by my daughters and a couple bridesmaids. During the ride to the hospital, Tawni informed me later, I kept passing out, as she continued to slap me, trying to keep me conscious.  I truly believe both of us thought I was dying.  At that moment, I wanted to, but I begged God not to take me on my daughter's wedding day.  Tomorrow, the next day, but not today.  "Please God, if this is my time, don't let it be today!"  I couldn't bear the thought of dying on the most special day of her life.

When we arrived at the hospital, by now, it was around 4:45.  I still had time.  The venue was 30 minutes away.  Maybe they could just drug me enough so I could make it back in time.  The wedding was at 6:00.  Still determined to make it, I begged and pleaded with the doctor to give me something so I could go back.  By now, Kendra knew it was bad.  Tawni promised to call from the hospital with updates.  They would postpone the wedding until they heard from her.

The news came.  The doctor told me there was no way I was going to make her wedding.  So, my sister, Brenda, met us at the hospital and promised to stay with me so Tawni could return to the wedding.  Tawni had to be there.  She was a bridesmaid.  More importantly, she's the bride's sister. She was very emotional and didn't want to leave me, but I insisted.  I told her she had to be there. There was no way I would allow her to stay with me.  We couldn't do that to Kendra.  It was bad enough, her own mother was missing her wedding day.  

After blood tests and a CT Scan, the doctor's suspicions were confirmed.  My body was passing four kidney stones, one of them was "stuck".  I've never had them in my life and pray to God I never have them again.  Out of nowhere, my body was attacked.  It failed me and I felt I'd failed my daughter.

The wedding ended up being postponed for 45 minutes when it was evident I wasn't going to make it. It's very difficult for me to see the pictures and their wedding video because it's a reminder I wasn't there.  I'm not in any pictures, not one.  I'm so thankful it turned out as beautiful as I knew it would.  My daughter was a beautiful bride. Thanks to my brother-in-law, my sister and I were able to see Kendra walk down the aisle on FaceTime from my hospital bed before the phone died.  After they released me from the hospital, Kendra and Brandon, my daughter's and Brandon's parent's came to the hotel and performed their ceremony again in the lobby of the hotel just for me.  In between the vomiting in a trash can, I sobbed.  I cried for a week straight and couldn't comprehend what had happened.

So many have asked why I'm not in wedding pictures or their wedding video. Well, now you know.  I know it wasn't my fault what happened.  I couldn't stop it.  Trust me, I tried.  There is literally nothing but death, and apparently kidney stones, that could keep me from anything as important as one of my daughter's weddings, but it still hurts.  More than I can explain.  I cry when I see pictures. I cry as I watch their wedding video.  Sometimes, I sob.  I know time will heal, but right now, it's still too fresh.

I don't know why things happen.  There are others who've gone through much worse than I ever have or even did this month.  Yes, I questioned God so many times this month, especially that day.  Why?Why today? Why did this have to happen to me on that specific day?

I'm so proud to say my four daughters rose to the occasion.  The wedding went off without a hitch (well, you know what I mean) and by the end of the evening, Kendra became Mrs. Brandon Murr. The joy on their faces is evident of the pure happiness, respect and love they have for one another.  I could not be more proud they each call me Mommy.

Most of my life, I've been a single mother, even when I was married.  So, I won't apologize when I tell you these young women are the four best things I've ever done.  God helped me raise these incredible human beings and He entrusted me with each one of them, when so many others had let them down.  I haven't done everything right in my life, but they don't fit into that category.  I've prided myself to be there for my girls' in every area of their lives in a way no one was for me growing up, so on this day when there was something happening beyond my control keeping me from such a significant moment in one of my daughter's lives, it was hard to take.  It hurts so much.

There may come a day when I'll understand why my Uncle Leon was taken in the prime of his life in a freak accident.  Or, why I was laying in a hospital bed, rather than on the front row of my daughter's wedding.  Then again, I may never know.  But, I do know this.  God is still good.  I am still who He says I am and my daughter will live happily ever after.

My body has healed from the experience of that day, but it will take much longer for my heart.

Friday, January 23, 2015

I loved you too late.

Yesterday was the 42nd Anniversary of Roe v. Wade.  On this day, I can't help but reflect on what the life of my own aborted child would have been like. Would he have found a cure for cancer? Would he have been the politician that truly made a difference?  An artist that painted masterpieces? Maybe a missionary, who shared God's Love with millions? I'll never know.

My child, along with 57 million others, have lost their lives through abortion since Roe v. Wade was passed into law. That's a generation of people, who've been legally slaughtered in this great country of ours. I thank God for His forgiveness and when I meet my child in Heaven, I will ask him for his forgiveness as well. Unfortunately for my child, I loved him too late.

Had the Planned Parenthood Clinic I visited informed me that my child was a living, breathing person, rather than the lie that he was a "blob of tissue" or "you're young, you'll get over this" "you're so early, it's not a real baby", he would be here with me, enjoying his life with four amazing sisters and being an Uncle to Salem and Shepard.

I take full responsibility for my decision. God has healed my heart and brought beauty out of ashes. But, men and women need to know the truth about the effects of abortion, rather than being lied to for the sake of a dollar.  And contrary to the flippant attitude of some, who perform or participate in an abortion, it's not the same as having a tooth pulled or your appendix out!

Like a reformed drunk still craves the drink, I will forever long to hold the child I never met.  In the meantime, as I'm still breathing, I will continue the exhausting work of (sometimes) begging for your financial resources to keep our centers thriving, show our clients love and support, without judgement, and bring awareness to others about the 3000+ human beings, who lose their lives every day to abortion. I refuse to allow my child to have died in vain.

You can make a difference! Get involved, volunteer, attend fundraisers, or consider making a tax-deductible donation today through our website, in memory of the innocent lives that have been lost. Our Pregnancy Centers Middle TN thanks you on behalf of our clients and the children that we save everyday.

If you or someone you know had had an abortion and you're struggling with that decision, please reach out to me. There is hope and healing available to you. I promise. I'm a witness.

Friday, August 29, 2014


Our family has been busy, busy, busy. With the birth of my grandson on July 20th to the engagement of my daughter, Tawni and Matt, to getting Kendra and Brandon off to Hawaii to begin an adventure in ministry and Kolby's music, we have been blessed!

So many of you are asking about S3 of "Preacher's Daughters". I apologize that we haven't responded, but we aren't at liberty to make any announcements at this time. As soon as we're able, we'll let you know what's next for us!

In the meantime, we are so thankful for your love and support!

Much more news to come soon!  If you'd like to see the latest pictures of Shepard Milo Chapin and our family beach trip or Tawni and Matt's engagement, be sure to follow me on Instragram at Victoria Koloff. 

God bless you all!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

One of the most important roles on this planet, in my opinion, is that of a Father. My father did the best he could with what he knew, but he would admit that he failed more times than he succeeded at being a father to me and my siblings. I missed out on that special Father/Daughter relationship throughout my childhood and well into my adult years. Through forgiveness, I'm thankful that I made peace with him and we were able to enjoy a mutually respectful relationship the last 5 years of his life. I truly miss him. If you're a Father, be sure your children know you love them, that you'd die or fight for them if you had to.  Be their hero. 

And if you're a divorced Father, that's not an excuse to neglect your children. They need you.  Any man can make a child, but that doesn't make him a Father. Take your role serious. Your child's identity and well-being depend on it.  My two oldest daughters' biological Father was never around for them. He's caused them more pain throughout their lives than any man they've ever known. He abandoned, ignored and neglected them. It wasn't only their loss to have not have known the love, protection and respect from their biological Father, but it was his loss as well.  I've seen first hand the effects the lack of an earthly Father's love has on the future decisions of their young and adult children.  I've lived it myself.  

Towards the end of my Dad's life, he would often say he wished he'd done so many things differently, mostly the kind of Father he was. Although I knew he genuinely meant what he said, it didn't change the past.  Even though we came to a healthier place in our relationship, of which I'm forever grateful, it couldn't change what could have been. I truly believe that haunted him and proved to be the greatest regret in his life.

If you didn't have a Father that loved, nurtured, protected and honored you, that's no excuse to be that same kind of Father to your own children! Change the legacy and break the cycle. Your children are depending on you! They are rooting for you! No matter what kind of Father you've been up till now, you have the power to change it! Ask The Lord to help you. Ask Him to show you how to be the Father He's called you to be. Seek forgiveness, even beg for it, if you have to! I would bet that no matter what you've done, your children will run to you with open arms! Even as an adult woman, I never stopped praying, hoping, wishing and longing for my earthy Father to accept and love me.  I never stopped desiring that special relationship a daughter longs for with her Father or his approval.  I desperately wanted to know he was proud of me. So, pick up the phone, drive to their home, walk down the hallway. Wherever your children are, go to them and make wrong things right.  Pride will destroy you. Humble yourself before them. 

On your death bed, I don't believe you'll be saying "I wish I'd spent more time at work".  If you're still here and you have children, it's not too late . Make things right. Make things better. Be the Father that God called you to be. Your children will inherit the rewards of your decision. Or they will suffer because of them. It's your choice. You decide. 

Happy Father's Day. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me!

This was a wild, crazy fun weekend, filled with parties! It started with Teryn's baby shower on Saturday (it's a boy!), followed by Salem's 5th Birthday Party on Sunday afternoon and my party on Sunday night! It started out with my younger sister (pictured in the afro!) flying in and surprising me from Orlando, Florida on Friday morning.  It was awesome!  She's my best friend, confidante, cheerleader and one of the most incredible women I've ever known. 

Yesterday was my actual 50th Birthday, but the partying started on Friday!  Yes, I'm 50!  There, I said it.  Some people are very uncomfortable sharing their age with others. Not me. Age is relative.  I truly believe you can be in your 70's or 80's, yet still feel much younger inside! I look in the mirror sometimes and think, "Who are YOU, and what have you done with ME?!"  I thank God for one great thing that come with age.  Wisdom.  I have more knowledge and wisdom about life than I ever had when I was younger.  Sure, I've made many mistakes in my lifetime (I'm sure I'll make more before I'm done here), but each one of them taught me something.  OK, I admit, there are some things I wish I could have a "do over".  The last serious relationship was a nightmare, but all in all, I am who I am because of the decisions I've made. As I've matured, I've come to truly like myself.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not where I need to be yet, but at least I'm not where I used to be! And, I call that progress!

For the past few months, my daughters have been planning a surprise birthday party for me.  And, was I surprised! In our family, this is a milestone, but, they pulled it off.  I am a 70's MUSIC FANATIC!  I own the Time Life 70's Collection and I listen to Hippie Radio Nashville practically every day. My girls' know me well.  They grew up on Barry Manilow, the Eagle, Chicago, Helen Reddy, ABBA and so on.  And, they love it almost as much as I do.  So, I was beyond excited when they told me we were dressing up in 70's garb and going out on the town! 

My birthday was on June 2, but Salem, my granddaughter, turned 5 and the day before on June 1! So, it was an incredible weekend of fun, fun, fun it was! I was able to spend it with not only all four of my daughters, but my sister as well!

After Salem's gymnastics birthday party on Saturday, my daughters informed me that I needed to go shopping. They told me I had to put a 70's outfit together and show up at Teryn and Chad's house no earlier than 7:30 pm the next day. The story was that there was a limo coming to take us out on the town. I thought that was awesome, considering how much I LOVE 70's music.

So, my sister, Brenda, (who'd actually gifted me with my first surprise when she flew in from Orlando the day before), and I made a quick trip to Good Will! It took us literally 10 minutes to find my outfit and we were ready to partay!!

So, the next day, Sunday, around 7:20, my sister, Brenda and daughter, Kolby, blindfolded me, put me in the car and drove us to Teryn's house (she lives exactly 11 minutes from me). They said they wanted to surprise me with the kind of limo they rented.  In reality, they didn't want me to see all the cars surrounding Teryn and Chad's house!

As they guided me in, I was filled with excitement. I just assumed they wanted to surprise me with their outfits! But, to my delight, when they took of the blindfold, the house was filled with so many people I love. It was the best birthday party I've ever had!

Doug Griffin, my good friend, is a radio DJ here in Nashville, who also DJ's weddings and parties on the weekends. He brought his music, board and even the disco balls.  We danced as he played my favorite 70's music all night long!  Literally. My feet still hurt from dancing the night away, but it was well worth it!  If you ever need a GREAT DJ, call Doug!  He's the BEST!

Here are just a couple pictures from the night. It was wonderful being with people who mean so much to me. I missed those who couldn't make it, but they'll come next year.  I've already decided this will become a yearly tradition! Thank you to my amazing daughters for pulling this off, to my sister for flying in from Florida and to my wonderful friends who shared the evening with me, some driving hours to be here!  I'm felt so loved and truly blessed.

I've already started planning next year's party and looking for my outfit.  I'm thinking GoGo Boots?!:)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Bachlorette Party!

Our family started with Chad and Teryn deciding to renew their wedding vows!  Whoohooo!  You'll see some of the beautiful ceremony during next week's Season Finale.  Don't miss it! 

Filming tonight's episode was a blast!  We had so much fun!  And, we literally knew nothing about the "pizza guy"!  You didn't see this on camera, but when I saw how my girls reacted when they realized there wasn't any pizza in his box, I laughed so hard that I almost peed in my pants!  Kolby jumped behind the couch, Kendra couldn't take her hands away from her face, Tawni was screaming and Teryn ran to her room.  After I stopped laughing and realized how upset Teryn was, I took action.  You may be into the whole "stripper" scene, but we aren't.  We won't judge you if you are, so don't judge us because we're not! 

Our family absolutely loves being together.  We always have a blast.  So, this night was no exception.  It's hard to believe that Season 2 is almost over.  Whether there's a Season 3 or not, (we don't know), or which families come back, we've had a great time the past two years.  For the most part, it's been a fun experience.  You've only be able to see minutes from months and hours of filming.  There's absolutely NO way to see everything, which is too bad because there were so many tender moments you didn't get to see.  My most favorite scene was sharing my abortion testimony with Kolby.  It was so powerful and to this day, I believe it could have helped so many men and women who are dealing with the decision to have an abortion.  You can see my testimony online on YouTube if you or someone you know needs encouragement.

Too many times to count, so many of you have written to express your appreciation for our family, our vulnerabilities, honesty and raw emotion that we've shown during both seasons.  Thank you so much for letting us know how blessed you've been by our family.  We appreciate it more than we can ever say.

Well, next week is the final episode.  You won't want to miss it.  Our family has some beautiful moments.  Can't wait!

Be sure to visit our website, and check out Kolby's "Be Free" EP on ITunes!

And be watching next Wednesday night at 9/8c on Lifetime for "Preachers Daughters"!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Season 2 Catch up!

Please forgive me!  I haven't blogged for the past couple of episodes and I apologize to those of you who are faithful readers.

Can you believe that there are only 2 more episodes to go?  Season 2 has flown by!  All in all, our family has been loving how the season has played out.  There's still more to come!

Last week, you witnessed Teryn and Chad dealing with marriage struggles, which everyone goes through and in the next couple of episodes, you'll see that everything works out fine.  I loved that Chad told Teryn, "Divorce is not an option."  I can say from experience that we give up on marriage too soon.  I did.  It's too late for me to go back, nor would I want to, but it's not too late for them.  What you weren't able to see on the show, are the issues they've been dealing with, but the bottom line is this.  Marriage is hard. And it takes hard work and dedication.  I'm so proud of how they fight for their marriage, each other and their daughter and future children!  Good stuff coming, so keep watching!

This week you witnessed one of those consequences of divorce.  I didn't think Kolby should be going to the beach with 2 other 16 year olds alone for a week, but Nikita allowed her to, since it was during her visitation with him.  I told him I didn't think it was a good idea for her to go without him or another adult, but his words were, "It's my decision to make."  So, he made it.  To this day, I still disagree with him on this parenting choice.  In no way will anyone convince me that three 16 year old girls should be at the beach, four hours from home, without adult supervision.  This never had anything to do with not trusting Kolby.  I trust her 100%.  It may not seem like it sometimes by what you see on the show, but I trust all my girls explicitly.  It had everything to do with her safety and the safety of the girls' she was with.

Thankfully, Kolby came home safe.  I was disappointed that Kolby knew I didn't feel her trip to the beach was a safe or good idea, yet went anyway.  But, I would have done the same thing she did, I'm sure.  If one parent says yes and another says no, I would have done what I wanted to as well.  I was angry with Nikita.  You just didn't see that conversation on camera.

All in all, everybody's safe.

Two more episodes to go, so be sure to be watching Wednesday night at 9/8c on Lifetime.

If you haven't already, be sure to check out our new website, and Kolby's new EP on Youtube!  It's so good!