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When women get a quiet moment to contemplate, it's a miracle! When we finally carve out a minute, we ponder what's going well and what's unraveling. We look up and look for wisdom. Other creative men and women have amazing ideas we can make our own.

For Truth with a Texas Twang, join Fireside Talk Radio, the show where women ponder the things we store in our hearts.
Host Cathy Krafve invites experts to share their personal stories and talk openly about all the things women care about. How to create life-long companionship? Dealing with mental illness in our families? Bullying at our kiddos school? No topic is too tough. All women have things we want to know about creating tender fellowship, but are afraid to ask. You name it, we talk about it.

Thank you for downloading our shows and sharing them with your friends. Whatever else you do today - whether you are on your recumbent bike, walking your neighborhood, or traveling - thank you for joining us.

When women courageously talk about the tough stuff, we call that a conversational adventure! No taboos here. No dumb questions either. Your comments and input for future episodes are joyfully welcomed at 
CathyKrafve.com.

Fireside Talk Radio, where Truth and Twang meet. Join us for our next conversation adventure!

Unexpected Parenting: Finding Joy When the Sonogram is a Diagnosis with Katie Butts

 

Sonogram and diagnosis are not two words any of us want to hear in the same sentence.

How do you handle the fear that comes with a sonogram diagnosis? Katie Butts knew her child had “limb differences” before she knew he was a son. Even before she knew the right lingo for limb differences, she and her husband determined to celebrate the arrival of this child they loved already while he was in her womb.

Now their family fields honest questions from curious kids with joy and humor. Of course, kids have questions. All moms know this truth.

“Will’s blades have flames on them, so we’re not exactly subtle,” she laughs. Blades are fancy prosthetic legs that athletes use. Her active, joyful son puts them to good use.

Change of Plans, Change of Prayers

“My mom will tell you it was an answer to prayer for her because, standing outside our room, she heard laughter. Of course, that was after the epidural,” Katie laughs.

Katie posted a sign on the hospital door warning people not to offer sympathy. “This is a baby we’re celebrating,” the message went.

A Second Sonogram Diagnosis 

With their doctors’ assurance that the condition was not genetic, they prepared for the birth of a beautiful second baby, only to be told that she, too, had unrelated medical conditions.

“She does not have limb differences. They’ve never been able to find links between their conditions.”

The Power of Celebrating

With hearts filled with gratitude for their adorable children, over ten years later, their family is still celebrating. She handles their family’s differences with unity and humor.

With experience that includes children’s hospitals, diagnosis, surgeries, travel, appointments, and insurance, how does this busy mom find energy to encourage other moms? “I’m a professional napper,” she claims.   

You might assume that their double surprises would overwhelm and discourage their family, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Instead, their two beautiful, active children find ways to connect with others in all walks of life. They both do so with their own unique brand of graciousness.

“If its Will, he’ll usually challenge them to a race and beat them,” she says of her son’s ability to start a friendship in almost any setting. Ellie’s approach is less dramatic, but every bit as loving.

Oh, the Stories!

Katie shared some hilarious stories in a recent broadcast of Fireside Talk Radio. Like the lady at the airport who scolded her harshly for putting her baby in a bag upside down before realizing it was just two baby prosthetic legs. Oh my!

Mainly, though, Katie shares great advice for all moms. She names beloved women who came to comfort her when she was on the floor vomiting with grief. She counsels all moms to seek out women who understand their journey.

Community and Companionship for All

“We allowed people to come into our sorrow and heartache and our celebration. Let people in,” she says, adding, “They’ll carry you when you can’t stand up.”

Katie may know the world of children’s hospitals, a world most of us never want to know. In the process, though, her family epitomizes the daily decision to celebrate life with joy.

Happy Mother’s Day to you, dear reading friend, with joy to all.

May I pray for you?

Dear Good Father, who knows our every need and loves us: When life surprises us with the unexpected, we can find ourselves hurting. We want to isolate and lick our wounds, even turning away from You. We often find it hard to imagine how You can turn sorrow into joy in our present circumstances. Give us patience and stamina, O Lord, as we trust You today. Teach us to laugh and find joy in the unlikely places. Surround us with companions who hold us up. Fill our heart with gratitude as we mirror the Savior in our suffering. In His name, we pray. Amen.

We love to hear from you…

Have people stepped up at the just the right moment in your parenting journey? How were unexpected needs met? When crisis hits, how do you find comfort?

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Suicide and Comfort for Siblings with Marcie McSwane

 

Marcie McSwane View to the Future CathyKrafve.comMarcie McSwane was home from college when she got the call that changed her life. “You need to get home,” her dad said urgently, “Patrick’s threatened to kill himself.”

Mental illness often strikes a child without warning, leaving families reeling in their search for answers. But, how do you find comfort after a sibling’s suicide? 

A Sibling’s Suicide

For almost a year, her parents worked diligently behind the scenes battling for their oldest son’s mental health, while shielding their younger children from trauma and bewilderment. But the day came when her father had to warn Marcie as events unfolded.

With so many unknowns, police officers met the family at their home for Patrick’s safety as well as theirs. Marcie will never forget the sorrow of seeing her beloved older brother led away in hand cuffs. 

After a year of protecting the other siblings, their family switched gears, preparing to fight the long battle together. Fortunately, by telling their story, families like the McSwanes shed light on mental health for all of us.

Terminal Stage Schizophrenia

For a heroic nine years Patrick fought the battle against the disease of Schizophrenia with the loving support of his family. Finally, though, his disease progressed to terminal, ending in suicide. Marcie searched for ways to process the pain, compounded by confusing emotions like grief, guilt, and anguish. No one wants to be an expert on sibling suicide, and yet, she found that talking about her experience helped others.

How can a family stick together and initiate loving communities in the battle for mental health? Now she offers practical ideas based on what helped her family, including how her parents helped the “other” siblings.

Comfort for Siblings

“You’re grieving for your first friend,” she explains tenderly when I interviewed her recently for Fireside Talk Radio. She encourages parents to find the balance of protecting young siblings, while respecting their perspective as they grow into adults.

“It took the whole family to battle the disease. That’s why God gave us families,” she says.

Since mental illness can preoccupy many years, the siblings roles change. As she and her brother, Ryan, became adults, their parents included them, often making joint family decisions. Noting how difficult a child’s mental illness is on the parents, she adds “You have a front row seat to watch your parents walk their child through it.”

One example of their unity and support for each other came as they waited for news together on the night Patrick died. “My dad asked Ryan to lead us in prayer,” she says tenderly, in a reverent whisper.

More Information and Help

For more of Marcie’s wisdom and insight, go to CathyKrafve.com for Marcie’s podcasts: Her Wisdom: Celebrating the Beautiful Life of A Sibling and Her Story: How Siblings Suffer and Heal.

In addition, each fall, Tyler hosts the Peace of Mind Conference, in conjunction with Samaritan Counseling Center of East Texas. Tickets go quickly, but you will find videos and encouragement at PeaceOfMindTyler.com.

Don’t Forget to Celebrate

Marcie encourages families to remember the blessings of their sibling’s life. For example, on Patrick’s birthday, Marcie celebrates “Sibling Appreciation Day,” gathering her closest friends to laugh, cry, and share about the wonders of growing up with siblings. Together, her family and friends honor her beloved brother and his beautiful life Marcie remembers with joy. 

May I pray for you?

Dear Father, You call us into a loving relationship with You. You surround us with loved ones. Sometimes our relationships are pure heaven and sometimes they hurt, often simultaneously. We don’t understand when life gets confusing and painful. In the midst of our pain, we turn to You. We bring our wounds to You and ask You to have mercy on us. Help us, O Lord of heaven and earth. Open our hearts to receive the comfort You pour out through Your tender servants. In Jesus name. Amen.

More Adventures to Come. Up Next

With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day around the corner, I’ve got some special surprises coming up. I’m so excited, I can hardly keep the secret! Stay tuned for more adventures….

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A Child’s Mental Health and Suicide with Doug McSwane

A star athlete and scholar, his friends called him Patch in high school. As he graduated, his family celebrated his coming adventure to Texas Tech, a family tradition. 

Mental Health, Mental Illness, Suicide?

His battle with mental illness struck without warning. Two weeks after a perfectly normal call from college, Patrick called his dad again in a frenzy. This time, the conversation would change their lives forever. Micro chips, aliens, paranoia, and all kinds of hallucinatory imaginings; something was wrong.

Doug McSwane speaking on behalf of Mental Health CathyKrafve.comA Parent’s Nightmare

A devoted father, Doug McSwane (pictured left) raced the eight hour trek to Lubbock. When he got to Patrick’s apartment, things were worse than a parent could ever imagine.

“It looked like a tsunami had hit the place, food wrappers everywhere….” Doug says, “That began our dark, dark journey down the world of mental health.” Now, Doug graciously shares his wisdom on mental illness and suicide for all of us.

Mental Illness Means the Body is Malfunctioning

“Mental illness is a function of your body, specifically your brain,” explains Doug. For instance, like the schizophrenia that Patrick heroically battled, all mental disease is caused by malfunctions between our chemistry and our brains, he explains.

“Dopamine is what washes over the zebra’s brain when he sees the lion. He has a split second to decide if he is going to run away or become lunch,” Doug says. Both schizophrenia and bipolar disease involve malfunctions of dopamine, he adds.

Support from Community

Unprepared for the tempest of mental illness, the McSwanes initially withdrew from friends. Being isolated only meant they didn’t get the support they needed at first, though. Now they strongly recommend that families seek out trustworthy friends and advisors immediately. The best help is in creating a community of compassionate friends and advisors.

Peace of Mind

Since Patrick’s suicide, their family makes it their mission to call attention to the resources needed to combat mental illness. One terrific resource is Peace of Mind Conferences, an annual event that brings together experts and families. At PeaceOfMindTyler.com you can find information, videos, and stories about how others combat mental illness.

Doug created two podcasts with Fireside Talk Radio to help other families. He shared so much more than I have room for here. Go to His Story:  A Father’s Story of his Son’s Suicide or His Wisdom: When Mental Illness Strikes Your Family. You’ll be glad you did.

The Beautiful Life of Patrick McSwane

I remember Patrick as a tot. I’ve known his family for over 35 years. Their family motto is “trying to live a beautiful life.” I’m deeply grateful to the McSwanes; they make life better for all of us by sharing their experience. With that in mind, today’s blog is dedicated to the beautiful life of Patrick McSwane.

If you or someone you love is battling mental illness, I hope you will search out the support you need. 

May I pray for you?

Dear Good Father who designed our bodies to reflect Your glory, we don’t understand what we need to about our minds, souls, and spirits. We turn to You because You offer comfort and hope when life seems hopeless. Have mercy, O Lord, on us, Your beloved children. Give us grace for this day. Surround us with others whose hearts are filled with compassion and understanding. Thank You for Your people who lovingly share their heartaches so we know we aren’t alone. Give us courage, stamina, and grace, Dear One. You are the source of our strength. In You, we trust. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Upcoming Adventures, Prayer Needed

Next Up: Marcie McSwane shares her beautiful heart and life with us. On Fireside Talk Radio, she talks about how to comfort siblings dealing with mental health and suicide. Please share her wisdom with your friends, so many will be blessed. Following that, we’re bringing some more amazing moms and dads to share their experiences. Always tenderly, often hilariously! And, as always, please keep praying!

Let us hear from you!

Never forget that we love to hear from you. You are the reason we keep writing and sharing. You are dear to our hearts.

Cathy Krafve, Texas Author, Columnist, Speaker, and Radio Host, focusing on fellowship in Christian Marriage and Family, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at CathyKrafve.com. Truth with a Texas Twang.

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Creating Multi-Generational Wealth with Marina Schroeder

Marina and family CathyKrafve.comToday, her family epitomizes the idea of life-long fellowship. Yet, the hardships of her childhood helped prepare her for success now, claims Financial Advisor Marina Schroeder. 

Multi-Generational Wealth

So, what’s the most common mistake young families make when we think about future multi-generational wealth? “Failing to plan,” she told me. Oh dear, I thought, that’s still my own most common mistake.

The child of immigrants, Marina joined me recently on Fireside Talk Radio to share about starting from scratch to create sustainable multi-generational wealth. Yep, Marina encourages folks to plan two or three generations ahead.

“‘I want to send my kids to college,’ we can all say that, but at some point you have to put pencil to paper and develop a plan,” she says.

Respect and Family Business

I couldn’t wait to get her wisdom about multigenerational businesses, since she partners with her own son, T. J. Mathis, a Certified Financial Planner.

The secret to successful family businesses is respect, according to Marina. “If you treat others like a king, you ought to treat those closest to you with respect, too,” she says.

Sometimes, folks “assume that our kids shouldn’t work,” however, Marina says her background of hard work inclined her for success. “We didn’t waste anything,” she laughs, remembering paper routes and lawn mowing as a youngster.

Family Conversations

With tenderness Marina advises us to have open conversations within families, so there are no surprises. For instance, often when one spouse dies the other one doesn’t know how to pay the bills, much less what investments are available. Single moms can beat the odds, too, by saving and investing with a little careful planning.

Openness in families fosters a kind of respect that prepares our children to be better stewards, she says. “Have a plan. Develop a plan. Be a blessing,” she adds.

Blessing Others

In keeping with the blessing theme, Marina advocates committing to “first fruits” giving. There’s accountability and freedom in tithing, it turns out. By planning our budget and looking closely at income and spending, we free ourselves, according to Marina. In our freedom, we have the chance to bless others.

“A basic principle within me is that I know I am so blessed to be cared for by God,” she says, explaining the value of knowing God as our companion in life. “Ask this: How can I be a blessing to other people?”

Benefits of “First Fruit” Giving

In Marina’s explanation, I found a whole new level of accountability built into the concept of giving. What a fun conversation with this talented and thoughtful financial guru!

“It’s easy to look back on (childhood trials) now and see how God brought me through. He has been with me throughout my life,” she says. Allowing Jesus to heal the parts that hurt made Marina the successful person she is today. Plus, embracing a lifestyle of forgiveness and freedom means she now draws on her compassion to generously bless others.

May I pray for you?

Dear Father, we all want what is best for our families. We may have trials left over from our childhood that require forgiveness. Sometimes, we struggle to find the right ways to start conversations about money. We have kids we want to encourage. We may be caring for beloved elders. Our lives get hectic. We need You. Help us push pause, pray and make the plans that honor You. Give us freedom financially to focus on Your plans for our families. Bless us in the ways You choose as we trust You because it’s Your pleasure to do so. Thank You for work. Thank You for allowing us to pass along Your blessings to others, too. Surround us with wise counsel. We love You. In Jesus name. Amen.

I have a prayer request…

I sent out three book proposals this month. Two are finished manuscripts with sequels on the way. Please pray all my books will find the right publishing home.

Special Shout Out

A special shout out to my friends at the Lake Palestine United Methodist Church. What a blessing to hang out with such godly and fun women! All united around such a worthy cause! Thank you for the innumerable ways you inspire me last, even letting us film my speech at your amazing annual Ladies Luncheon. I can’t wait to see us all on You Tube, especially those table decorations. You are dear to my heart! (Hi to Linda, Lillian, Debbie, and Pastor Taylor!)

You can sign up for my Newsletter by clicking here.

Cathy Krafve, Texas Author, Columnist, Speaker, and Radio Host, focusing on fellowship in Christian Marriage and Family, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at CathyKrafve.com. Truth with a Texas Twang.

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Living the Dream, the Desegregated Life with Stanley Cofer

Stanley and Christy Cofer at CathyKrafve.comIf you’ve ever wondered what you could do to help put an end to ongoing self-segregation, just ask Stanley Cofer. (Pictured left with his wife, Christy.) Want a desegregated life for you and your family? With a dynamic family to back him up, Stanley isn’t letting man-made lines divide his relationships.

The Desegregated Life

“I’m not pro-black, I’m not pro-white. I’m just pro-human,” he laughs.

So, what does he say to folks who are uncomfortable with his willingness to talk about race issues in a way that spreads unity and grace? What about when white folks distrust his motives? What about when black folks label him as an Uncle Tom?

“I just try to get funny with it,” he chuckles. He’s heard it all, from friends of every pigment, “You’re not black or you’re not black enough.” He doesn’t take it personally.

Drawing Mixed Crowds and Respect of Others

At every community event, Stanley and the team at Empowerment Community Development seem to draw a mixed crowd. You name it, they show up. I’m talking folks from all walks of life, all ethnic backgrounds, all socio-economic groups, and all ages. With so many churches searching for ways to attract the younger generations, for instance, this is no small feat. What’s his secret? He took a minute and educated me on the power of relevance in an episode of Fireside Talk Radio we called Racial Unity: The Desegregated Life.

Wise Parents and Freedom

Stanley credits his parents with teaching him to value himself and respect others.

“They placed the word of God as the top authority. I never heard my parents downgrade a caucasian person, nor did they exalt their own race.”

He also thanks God for his wife Christy, whose openness matches his own. She makes it easier to accomplish God’s plan for their family to break down barriers to unity among God’s people.

“I don’t think I could have been more blessed with a better woman than Christy. She has always had my heartbeat.”

Living the Dream

Stanley strongly states that African Americans “need to quit living in the shadows. We’re not in the 50s and 60s (any) more. Are we going to live out the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King?”

He advises young parents of any race to keep “the Bible as the center of your life…. If Christ is the center, you can’t help but be an agent of love. You will see the world as God sees the world.”

In Racial Unity: the Empowered Community, Stanley explains how we can all make a difference.

Jesus Privilege

“I don’t believe in white privilege. I believe in Jesus privilege. There’s a God who loves us all. There’s a devil who hates us all.” he says, adding, “I just thank God for other friends we have. We are going to make the difference.”

To learn more about upcoming events or to make a donation, go to Empowerment Community Development or to the Tyler Chamber website.

One Other Personal Thought

For those of you, my dear readers, who understand my interest in post-abortive ministries, I want to mention that Christy and Stanley show up year after year at CARE events. CARE stands for Christ-centered Abortion Recovery and Education. Ever true to their hearts, Stanley and Christy speak openly about their concern that abortion among African American women is a growing heartbreak. As is often the case, the Cofers show up at many community-wide events even when others don’t. I just wanted to mention this because it means so much to me personally, along with my deepest thanks for their leadership.

May I pray for us?

Dear Father in heaven, You love Your children and rejoice in our variety. We are each unique because You intentionally made us to be so. What a blessing to come together in loving unity! Yet, how could we ever put aside our differences, our past hurts, our insecurities, and our prejudices without Your help. Help us now, O Lord, to be children who honor You by loving each other. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

We love to hear from you…

What ways have you found to cross over self-segregating lines? How has someone’s unexpected kindness blessed you this week? What do you wish we could try in our community?

You can sign up for my Newsletter by clicking here.

Click here to find more of Stanley’s amazing wisdom in podcasts.

Cathy Krafve, Texas Author, Columnist, Speaker, and Radio Host, focusing on fellowship in Christian Marriage and Family, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at CathyKrafve.com. Truth with a Texas Twang.

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Connect with Cathy


A Semi-retired Mom, Queen of Fun, and Coffee Cup Philosopher Cathy Krafve pulls in exciting guests from all walks of life who rejoice in deeply spiritual truths.

Warning: You may feel guilty pleasure for listening in on these sparky conversational adventures.

With her never-met-a-stranger attitude, Cathy asks "Why learn stuff the hard way, when experts want to share wisdom with us for free."

A columnist, speaker, writer, small business owner, education connoisseur, and middle class philanthropist, Cathy brings all her experience together to ask the questions we all want to know.

Like a friend you met for coffee, Cathy's guests share practical strategies for marriage, family, community, and life.

Why? Because all women deserve a break. By a break, we mean a minute alone with a strong cup of coffee and good podcast. For more great shows go to CathyKrafve.com.



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