I’m a deep thinker, and if we met in person, I’d want to skip the small talk and dive straight into the coffee talk. I’d want to hear about your hopes and dreams, your struggles and fears, and the backstory that has shaped you into the person you are today.
My husband is my best friend, the one who knows me inside out. Learning to be honest and transparent with him has given me the courage to be honest and transparent with others. Of course, this isn’t what I saw coming when I first fell for him at age 23, on one magical day at the beach when I noticed the hot babe driving a red Ski Nautique, but I guess it shows how God meets us where we are. From that shallow beginning, a romance soon evolved.
We have four amazing daughters – ages 17, 15, 13 and 10 – who own our hearts. They inspire us, challenge us, and remind us of what matters. While I adored them as babies, I love them even more in this season of life as their personalities shine and our conversations deepen. Being their mom brings me the ultimate joy. I feel completely undeserving…yet eternally grateful.
In 2006, while pregnant with my third child, I decided to quit talking about writing a book and actually do it. I wrote fiction as an escape at night and racked up countless rejections as I tried, unsuccessfully, to land an agent or publisher for three novels.
In 2010, a door opened when two community newspapers began carrying my column. Growing a local readership gave me the courage to expand online. In March 2013, I launched my blog and had my first viral post four months later. Titled 10 Truths Young Girls Should Know, it caught the attention of Thomas Nelson, a world-leading publisher, who expressed interest in creating a book for teen & tween girls.
That email was an answer to a prayer – but one I’d waited for 7 years. Despite the many tears I cried when the dream of being a published author seemed out of reach, I’m glad I had to struggle. I’m grateful my daughters got to witness the discouragement, perseverance, and grace that played into the story and eventually led to two books that I wrote for them and their generation.
The biggest truth about me is that I’m a work-in-progress. Who I am now is not who I’ll be in 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years. The same is true for you, and my hope as you read my work is that you’ll feel encouraged in your journey and prompted to share stories of your own that may help others, bring healing to your soul, and lead to deep, meaningful, and long-lasting connections.
Kari Kampakis is an author, speaker, blogger, and newspaper columnist from Birmingham, Alabama.
Her two books for teen girls, 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know and Liked: Whose Approval Are You Living For, have been used widely across the country by teen youth groups and small groups to empower girls through faith. Kari’s newest book, Love Her Well: 10 Ways to Find Joy and Connection with Your Teenage Daughter, releases August 2020.
Kari’s work has been featured on The Huffington Post, The TODAY Show, EWTN, Proverbs 31, Yahoo! News, The Eric Metaxas Show, Ann Voskamp’s blog, and other national outlets. She and her husband, Harry, have four daughters and a dog named Lola.