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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. 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.

Your comments and input for future episodes are joyfully welcomed at CathyKrafve.com, where women courageously talk about the tough stuff!

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Musically-Challenged Mommy? Inspiration for Music Loving Kids with Anna Krafve Pierce

If, like me, you’re a musically-challenged mommy, there’s no need to give up in hopeless disharmony. Even the most musically-challenged mommy can inspire music loving kids. There’s no happier time for music loving kids than the holidays.

Anna Krafve Pierce co-hosted special holiday podcasts of Fireside Talk Radio, so we could brainstorm ideas for inspiring music loving kids. Then, we bounced to freedom from stress. Freedom is a big theme with our family. We want mommies everywhere to get the gift of freedom from stress from Santa this year. 

Inspired by Good Music

During the holidays, when so many people struggle to join in the festive merry-making, it’s especially important to remember each one of us is dear to God’s heart. Even with carols praising God all around us, it’s easy to feel like failures as we work through very long Christmas checklists! Anna is a great example of a music-loving kid who grew into a sweet, silly-song kind of mommy.

The Soul Felt its Worth

Quoting from “O Holy Night, Anna emphasizes that “Christ’s very existence enables us to know that we’re valuable.”

“Think about this line ‘Long lay the world in sin and error pining,’” says Anna. Then with true artist perspective, she describes the visual scene inspired by the lyric, “I can just see dull gray clouds, the longing, the hopelessness, and the looking forward to future things.” Concluding her thought, she quotes the next lines from French composer Adam Adolphe, “til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.”

“The very next line,” says Anna, “is a short one, ‘A thrill of hope!’”

Yes, hope is inspired by Jesus’s arrival, signaling God’s seal of approval on us. We are valuable enough to Him that He sent His own Son to claim us. Oh, that we would but claim His gift!

Hope is the feeling we want to grab ahold of during this time of year, no matter what else may be weighing on our hearts. With that in mind, here are just a few of the other ideas Anna offered in these holiday extravaganza interviews!

Inspiring Your Own Music-loving Kids to Sing for Joy
Go Caroling.

“Forgive the mumblers one more year,” says Anna, about the push back moms get whenever we try to talk the rest of the family into caroling. “I’m so thankful for the people who forgave me one more time and pushed me out the door.” Every teenager has a year or two when they exert their independence from family traditions, she laughs. Instead of caving, she says to insist on singing together anyway.

“Now I have those consistent sweet memories of all of us together. Whoever did that for me, I’m thankful for them.”

Sneak in Your Favorites.

Be Thou My Vision is not a Christmas hymn, but somehow it consistently makes it into our photocopied Christmas Carol booklet each year. At Camp Krafve, we believe that whoever is organized enough to pull together caroling, gets to pick the hymns. Also, we lavish praise on the person who has the skill set to herd cats. (Confession: it’s not me; I’m a cat.)

Hymnals as a Gift.

Young people might not even remember when churches sang out of hymnals, a thick book of fabulous songs! A gift of a hymnal could be the beginning of a whole new appreciation for the old poetry set to music. I might even go so far as to spontaneously put carols to beatbox rhythms, so my grands get the fact that good poetry is timeless! (In case you want to be a hip grandmom, “beat box” is that funny, rhythmic sound hip-hop artists make.)

You can find a bunch more of Anna’s ideas on Raising Musical Children for Musically-Challenged Mommies with Anna Krafve Pierce. She also shared stuff that happens at her house (and some old family stories) that will make you feel a lot better about trying out some new, relaxed traditions. Especially if your favorite tradition is giving yourself a break, you’ll love Christmas with Small Children? The Gift of Freedom from Holiday Stress.

The Gift of Freedom from Holiday Stress

With small children in the home, the holidays can be overwhelming. How do we inspire a meaningful holiday without burdening mommies with expectations of perfection? We all want the gift of freedom from holiday stress under our Christmas tree this year.

Anna offered a few relaxed suggestions for creating a meaningful, family-friendly holiday at your house without burdening mommy.

Advent In the Bath Tub

For instance, Anna and her husband take a relaxed approach to advent. She had to explain the advent ritual to me because I only vaguely remember it from church formalities of my youth. Their approach is very effective and tons of fun for all. In fact, on nights when the kiddos are tired, you can even move the wreath, candles, story, and song time to the kids’ bath time. We highly recommend multitasking bathtub magic by advent candlelight!

Only Giving Good Gifts

In another example, Anna explained how her new perspective on gift giving brought down her stress level. She shared how, she prayed a new prayer this past Thanksgiving. Little did she know the epiphany that prayer would inspire!

Epiphany is a word sometimes used in church tradition to celebrate the three wise men arriving with gifts for Jesus. In Anna’s case, her revelation was a new way of understanding God’s nature of only giving us good things.

Thinking of the stuff she would be picking out for Christmas, she felt her stress level rising. However, inspired by the thoughtfulness of her grandmother and another beloved friend, she decided to pray.

“Please make me a person who only gives good gifts,” she prayed. 

“Then, I realized I’m asking to be more like Him. He’s the great good gift Giver. He only gives good gifts. If you ask Him for good food He’s not going to give you an icky reptile.” (I love the way Anna paraphrases Matthew 7:11 and Luke 11:13, especially knowing my grandson finds reptiles fascinating!)

“Here’s the side effect in my life: I’m not worried. Asking God to be the person who only gives good gifts has given me the freedom to relax and just wait on people to tell me what they need. Then, give them the thing they need, which is the good gift.”

Give of Yourself First

Of course, in this culture we live in, everyone feels excitement about giving a few well-chosen gifts. But, remember to give the gift of yourself first. There are so many ways we can give our heart to others. A homemade gift from our kitchen, a visit to see a friend’s aging parent, time spent over a cup of coffee listening, the gift of forgiveness, making a long-overdue phone call, a kind word to a stranger, taking a day off to spend time with someone special, the list is endless.

Surprise Packages

Anna calls her new perspective the great big mommy gift God gave her when she thought she was asking for a small thing. I hope this Christmas you ask our loving heavenly Father for some small things and He surprises you with great big blessings in surprise packages!

May I pray for you?

Dear Father in heaven, this is such a beautiful time of year. In the sacred stories, we understand that a fulfillment of Your promise and love has arrived on earth in the birth of Your Son. But, the tinsel and the shopping can often distract us from appreciating the truth, He came to establish a relationship with us by buying our freedom. He paid for our sins, with His own life, the greatest gift ever offered to mankind. When we receive Him, we become Your children forever, destined to spend eternity in Your company. Thank You for the good gift of Your mercy and loving forgiveness. We ask You to bless us now, so that we can gift mercy and loving forgiveness to all. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Shout Out to Our Listening Friends in Houston

On the show I mentioned Douglas Loomis and my beloved niece (who help write jingles for my grandchildren), but, I couldn’t think of the name of the school where he teaches music. For any Houston or Woodland listeners who want to get in touch with Douglas, it’s Ethos School of Music. (By the way, having Douglas teach your children music is a double gift; music and the presence of another dear family in your child’s life.)

We love to hear from you!

What Christmas traditions make your holidays easier and more fun? How does your family find ways to give themselves? When it comes to hymns, which ones are your family favorites and why?

More Stories and Wisdom to Bless Our Hearts!

If you are spending holiday time with little ones, don’t miss these episodes on inspiring creativity: Sandra Merville Hart, Sarah Cumming, Neita Fran Ward, and Anna’s Thanksgiving episodes. Coming soon: Parenting Your Parents with Charlotte Canion and Open with Your Broken with Dana Goodrum. Plus, we have some fun give-aways planned starting in the new year. I can hardly wait!! You can sign up for our blog by clicking here (and we sure hope you do!!!)

Cathy Krafve, Columnist, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Christian Writer, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at CathyKrafve.com. Truth with a Texas Twang.

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Passion and Purpose with Alise Cortez, 5 Tips, 3 Questions

Finding a path to passion and purpose can be challenging. Alise Cortez found her path to passion and purpose in the most unexpected way.

Unexpected Path to Passion and Purpose

One day, her boss fired her from the job she loved. Only nineteen, until that moment, she was feeling every bit the little country girl making it in the big city. His reason for firing her? He saw something bigger for her life than anything she could imagine for herself.

“You have to get out of here, see the world, do something with yourself. But, before you go, hire your replacement,” he said as he left for lunch.

“I was devastated,” she says now with a chuckle. But, he was right. To find her passion and purpose, first she had to become less complacent. 

With the holidays opening up some time away from the office, it’s a great time to grab ahold of our big life goals before the New Year slams us with the usual activity.

A Clearing for Myself

Once she was free of her preconceived lifestyle, Alise more than fulfilled her boss’s expectations for her future. In fact, she went on to earn a bachelor’s degree, two master’s, and a doctoral degree. She lived in two foreign countries, traveled all over South and Central America and has delivered professional work to almost every continent.

Alise recently shared on an episode of Fireside Talk Radio how unexpected events can unleash us to pursue our passion and purpose in life. In another example, when her marriage came to an abrupt end, she determined not to waste the opportunity. Her divorce was a “getting fired, you can go now, kind of thing,” she says. While unwanted, the divorce, proved to be a hidden blessing.

“It rocked me out of that place of complacency that comes from having a comfortable life.” Or, as she puts it, the change in her circumstances “yielded a new clearing for myself.” She began to re-calibrate her life in the most beautiful way possible. Now she travels the globe offering help to those who are “asleep at the wheel.” We’re not talking country music here; Alise delivers insight that allows people to create meaning in their work and life, instead of just going through the motions.

One Precious Life

“What will you do with your one precious life? You just get one shot at this thing,” says Alise, “It’s really up to us to cultivate meaning.” Interestingly, she’s noted refreshing tendencies for people who’ve embraced a life of creating meaning.

“When leaders find their own purpose, they’ll be much more authentic, interesting, and irresistible,” says Alise. “At the same time, those kind of purpose-driven leaders become really good at being able to acknowledge the value of any contribution that their team members provide to the organization. That is incredibly enticing for people.”

For those who feel like they are just going through the motions, what advice does Alise have? She says purpose takes time to develop and recognize, but we can reconnect with our passion pretty quickly.

Discovering Passion – 5 Tips

To reignite passion in your own heart, Alise suggests trying these simple tips:

#1 Look for awe in your day. What do you admire and appreciate? Train yourself to be alert for it.

#2 Look for a human and say something beautiful. “I look for and intentionally tell them something amazing, like ‘You’re beautiful’” she says, “It blows them back; they hardly ever hear that. I want that ripple effect. I want her (a stranger) to have a better day.”

#3 Be playful. Alise endorses letting ourselves be gleeful, like small children. She shared an example of pretending the trees drop leaves for us to catch, using our imaginations the way children do.

#4 Gratitude is enormous. Alise suggests keeping a “Gratitude Pad” next to the bed and writing down three things that you are grateful for at the end of each day.

#5 Cultivate our senses. Making use of all senses – sight, smell, taste, touch and audio – will help us get back in touch with our interests and passions, according to Alise. Rather than feeling like “the walking dead,” she emphasizes cherishing and honoring our own pleasure in small things.

“I like languages, it’s stimulating for me to hear the human voice rendered in different languages,” Alise says, as an example of ways we can learn to relish the things that fascinate us.

Discovering Purpose – 3 Questions

Alise shared so many amazing ideas, I heard myself saying, “I love this!” throughout the interview. I really wanted more time with her. Please go to our podcasts and listen in for yourself!

On the topic of finding purpose in our lives, Alise says purpose takes time to discover. But, she offers three questions that can tune you in when it comes to cultivating a life of purpose:

#1 Is there a nasty problem in the world that you want to help solve? Look for service to something bigger than yourself, she adds.

#2 In the process of serving a bigger purpose, Alise asks (referencing Erin Hurst), “Are you growing and stretching yourself?”

#3 Finally, are you creating a community as you serve?

“You are completely in control of how you perceive the moments that happen, how you let them inspire you to live a life of passion to touch other people to make them better,” emphasizes Alise. “What will you do with your one precious life?” You can find much more wisdom from Alise on her podcasts and radio program, Working on Purpose.

May I pray for you?

Dear Father in heaven, You designed each of us for a unique purpose. Sometimes it feels like we are just going through the motions. Yet, You designed us to cherish this time on earth and then, to cherish eternity spent in Your presence. Help us tune in to the pleasures and interests that spark our imagination, especially the ways we can serve others. For this dear reading friend, I ask that You would spark a child-like playfulness today. Allow us to enjoy the air we breath, the quietness in our hearts, and the company of others. Open our eyes to ways we can serve a bigger purpose to Your glory. We are Your grateful children. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

We love to hear from you!

How does your imagination inspire you to delight with child-like joy? When do you find time to carve out a clearing for yourself? What are your favorite tips for focusing on passion and purpose in your life?

More Stories and Wisdom to Bless Our Hearts!

If you’re interested in sharing the wisdom of women who’ve walked the path to passion and purpose, you may want to check out the podcasts we’ve done with Sandy Bristow, Suzy Shepherd, Marina Schroeder, Sandra Beck, and Darlene Marshall. Don’t forget, Anna Krafve Pierce is returning soon for more creative fun with kiddos. Or, you can sign up for our blog by clicking here (and we sure hope you do!!!)

Cathy Krafve, Columnist, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Christian Writer, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at CathyKrafve.com. Truth with a Texas Twang.

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Hide the Squirrel, Find the Nuts, and TWO Million: Family Thanksgiving with Anna Krafve Pierce

Hide the Squirrel Two Million CathyKrafve.comOne million Fireside Talk Radio downloads this year? Nope...drum roll please...we just passed TWO MILLION!! No one is more surprised than me!

Speaking of nuts, I thought every one was crazy who suggested I should podcast. I have a million reasons why an old lady like me should never try anything so hip. (In my age bracket, we worry more about hip injuries than being hip!)

Boy, Was I Wrong!

Anna, our beloved artist daughter, agreed at the last minute to co-host a spontaneous Fireside Talk Radio show with me for Thanksgiving. My idea was get this extremely creative human to brainstorm about Fun Thanksgiving Ideas. We all want harmony at the holidays, even if our family includes a few squirrels and nuts, right?

We've been doing Fireside Talk Radio a year, so I thought I should announce our one millionth download, assuming it had happened. Right before the show, I asked Roy Bryan, our genius tech guy at Toginet, exactly where our numbers stood.

Not One, But TWO MILLION!!

Imagine my surprise when Roy tallied our numbers and whispered in my ear right before we went on that we've had more than TWO MILLION downloads!!!! I'm still in shock. (This is where Sandra Beck gets tons of credit. Please see below for more on her wonderfulness.)

High Energy and Other Family Traits

I hope you'll click on that show and listen in. It's pretty hilarious because Anna and I are both so high energy and, honestly, I was so flabbergasted about our numbers, I totally forgot what we were supposed to be doing. So, Anna shares some fun family stories. It's always a little scary when my kids start telling stories. But in fairness to the commitment we've all made to be authentic in life, I held my breath and turned her loose.

Hiding the Squirrels, Finding the Nuts

Now, if you're wondering about hiding the squirrels and finding the nuts, here's a list of activities we intend to share with our family this Thanksgiving. Especially if you're thankful for toddlers this year, as we are, you'll love the games. We'll probably set up all over the house, like stations in a kindergarten. That way the introverts, (yes, there are a few Krafves who aren't extroverts)Thanksgiving Kits as Gifts CathyKrafve.com can take a break from all the excitement. Pictured right is the stash of goodies I put together to create a Thanksgiving Kit.

Hide the Squirrel

I bought a small plastic squirrel to hide around at eye-level for the toddlers in our family. Children love to play hide and seek. Many people (I won't say who exactly) like to sit still and digest their food, so this will be the perfect distraction for the little ones. It's sure to produce belly laughs for us all.

Find the Nuts

Walnuts are too big for toddling helpers to swallow. We put whole walnuts out for the squirrels on the windowsill outside. Imagine how many mouth and fingerprints there are on my windows when the squirrels are brave enough to collect their bounty.

Hug Ball

All the grown ups find a chair or couch in a circle. All the little ones stand in the middle. A small ball is tossed across. Any child who wins by grabbing the ball, gets to hug the person of his choice as his prize. (Yep, this is genius. Anna's not sure it will work, but I'm counting on getting lots of hugs. I'll keep you posted.)

Coloring Books, Chalk, and Crafts

We have a couple of darling new Thanksgiving books. Plus, there's a child's table with colors and chalk for little creators. Kids love thank you notes with envelopes. They can hand deliver them to loved ones gathered or send in the mail with a little help. Helping the little ones is a joyful activity for older cousins.

Another tall table will have a special craft that involves glue and scissors for the big kids. This year we're making Native American headbands. (And anyone who shows up dressed as a Pilgrim or Indian gets a special prize, probably a hug.)

Silly Songs and Hymns

I confess, I'm musically challenged. Consequently, I invent all kinds of creative ways to introduce music into our family. This year I got the Veggie Tales Silly Songs DVD because screen time is a treat that will enthrall the little ones, letting the grown ups relax. Anna thinks I'll be the grown up most tempted into the dance party that is sure to result. She's probably right!

Oh, the Joy of Sharing Life

Anna emphasized that it's important to her that we always include others in our family at every holiday. Sometimes, it's just our family because folks have other places to be, but we always keep the door open. Some of our most sacred family memories resulted because we invited a guest who blessed us by saying yes. We are thankful for our adopted (chosen) family members!

We are thankful for you!!

You are our reading and listening friend and we are thankful for you. We say it that way because we mean it. Two million downloads is a big number, but that never would have happened if you didn't care about the same things we care about: family, companionship, conversational adventures, authenticity, prayer. Thank you for passing along our stuff/blog/podcasts to your friends!! We are truly grateful for you and blessed to be in this together with you. What joy and fun!

Speaking of fun, Anna's has already committed to a Christmas show! We had so much fun co-hosting Fireside Talk Radio together. We'll spend more time at Christmas on the way hymns permeate our family, in spite of my knack for getting the melody wrong. And I'll turn her loose again (that sound you hear is me biting my nails as I wonder what stories she'll think of spontaneously!)

Then, speaking of things I should never do spontaneously on air (sing!!), Anna wanted you to have the words to the song we couldn't remember on the show.

Be Present at Our Table Lord

Here are the words with blessings from our family to yours!

"Be present at our table, Lord. Be here and everywhere adored. These mercies bless and grant that we may strengthened for your service be. Amen." (For those who are musically talented, go to the Lutheran Service Book Pg #755  for the music.)

We love to hear from you!

What Thanksgiving and Christmas ideas will you share with us? In what ways has someone surprised you with a "blessed yes" to your invitations? What are your favorite holiday memories?

On a Personal Note:

Finally, to my dear friend and media consultant Sandra Beck: this is a shout out for all the marvelous ways you've had faith in this project from the beginning, even when I had serious doubts! Who else would have spent a year telling me podcasting would be fun, if I would just try? Not to mention doing a word-by-word edit on my first manuscript. You are a genius and no where is it more evident than in the patience department! No one else had the experience and media savvy to know the best topics, best guests, and best way to get me to relax and get real. If I could afford TWO MILLION red roses, they'd be on your doorstep today, dear one! I'm thanking God for YOU!

You can sign up for our blog by clicking here.

Cathy Krafve, Columnist, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Christian Writer, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at CathyKrafve.com. Truth with a Texas Twang.

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Dense Breast Tissue and Henda’s Law with Henda Salmeron

Henda Salmeron, Henda's LawTen years makes a big difference in the life of children, especially when their mom has cancer. Ten years ago, Henda Salmeron was diagnosed with breast cancer, hidden on the mammograms due to Dense Breast Tissue. Almost immediately after the diagnosis, she had a heart attack. Life seemed bleak, but she wasn’t done yet; thank you very much!

Dense Breast Tissue Victory

She is perhaps best known for Henda’s Law, a Texas law that requires health care providers to inform patients of their risk due to Dense Breast Tissue. Along with the victory in Texas, many states have similar laws, but not all. Still, after all she’s been through, the sweetest victories is the additional time spent with her kids.

“I am looking forward to next year when I celebrate my 10-year survival,” says Henda, 

Women with a Mission

She understands how it feels to get slammed with an unwanted diagnosis.

“I felt like a preprogrammed robot each morning: shower, dress, feed the kids, do the laundry, show houses, sell houses, shop for groceries, smile, smile, and smile. (Yelling, shouting, and screaming were not algorithms allowed in the code),” she says in her book, Grit Under My Nails. Now, Henda is creating momentum for a mission on behalf of women across our nation, especially in the Armed Forces. If, like me, you’ve been notified of your status when it comes to Dense Breast Tissue, we can thank Henda and all the women and men who have stepped up to help. But, the work is not finished.

For example, since the Armed Forces are not governed according to state law, but national laws, health care providers are not required to notify women in the military if they have a greater risk of breast cancer due to Dense Breast Tissue. (This really bugs me, since they defend our freedom.) So, Henda is taking making the case for national laws, in order that standard of care becomes notifying all women of their status.

When Your Body Betrays You

Victory and joy are two words that describe Henda’s life now, so I was fascinated to ask her how she combatted the anxiety and depression that followed her double health crisis. Henda shared vulnerably about surviving when your body has betrayed you on recent episodes of Fireside Talk Radio.

Accidental Lobbyist

Determined that no other women would be surprised by a diagnosis, Henda devoted herself to getting the state laws changed. This became on way she fought back to live a full, adventurous life. She bought a whole new pink wardrobe, think “pink lady.” As an accidental volunteer lobbyist, she wandered the halls of the Texas capitol, which ironically, is made of pink granite, cornering anyone who would listen.

“I was so angry that someone’s lack of care might cost me my life. That’s when I swore I would change the standard of care,” Henda says. Another part of her personal recovery, physically and emotionally, was running a 100 mile, 5 day race in the Himalayas. Training gave her a way to process within herself.

The Therapy of Being Alone with Her Thoughts
Henda Victorious, CathyKrafve.com

“I learned to be patiently alone with my thoughts. All of them. After about three months and lots of miles together, we became somewhat friends. Not close friends,” laughs Henda now, “I was still mad at them for disintegrating to where I had to go run 100 miles in India to restore our togetherness. But we were making progress.”

Self-Advocates

If you search Henda’s social media, you’ll discover her success as an author, serial entrepreneur, real estate broker, lobbyist, philanthropist, just to name a few. So what advice does she give other women?

“We need to be advocates for ourselves, not depend on others to advocate for us.”

Joy: Life is Best When Shared

With so many accomplishments, what gives her the most joy?

“More than anything I’m my kids’ mom. They are the kindest most wonderful people,” she says, “By being their mom, it healed so many wounds with my own mother. They humble me every day with their love and acceptance, warts and all.”

She adds that she opted out of reconstruction because she loves her scars, calling them her “medal of overcoming.” For a free excerpt from Henda’s book, go to Henda’s Law and sign the petition to make notification of Dense Breast Tissue a national standard fo care.

May I pray for you?

Father in heaven, I know some folks are reading this because they are facing a breast cancer diagnosis. Maybe they searched Dense Breast Tissue. Perhaps shock has turned their brain to fog, wondering how they will make it through today. I pray now that Your great love would be their comfort; that they would experience Your presence in the place where crisis tries to claim our hearts. Today, I pray they would find courage and strength as my friend Henda did. Show them the personal mission You have for them and the ones who love them. Give them a vision for how their life can be filled with victory and joy in their new reality. Heal their bodies and give them hope. Thank you for all who surround them with help and comfort. Give their doctors wisdom and exceptional skill. In Jesus name we pray. Amen

We love to hear from you!

How have you pressed through to victory? What tips do you have for someone facing a crisis? How has a friend offered you the simplest, most loving help?

You can sign up for our blog by clicking here.

Cathy Krafve, Columnist, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Christian Writer, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at CathyKrafve.com. Truth with a Texas Twang.

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Mom, Daughters, and Breast Cancer, with Sasha Vukelja, Care Giving

Her original plan was to treat lepers. Mom, daughters, and breast cancer were not words she ever thought to hear in the same sentence.

“When I realized that there was no more leprosy. What else? In many ways, cancer is like a modern leprosy. You have something no one wants. It disfigures you,” says Sasha Vukelja, or Dr. V, as her patients lovingly call her.

Moms, Daughters, and Breast Cancer

Sasha came on Fireside Talk Radio recently to talk to me about how we can comfort friends who are diagnosed with breast cancer. (For those podcasts, click here.) Breast cancer can seem especially threatening for the whole family since daughters may also be subject to risk. 

“The first things that go through the daughter’s mind: Is mom going to be alive? Would I get breast cancer?”

Facing the Truth with Joy

Since breast cancer affects the whole family, not just the patient, Sasha coaches her patients to live joyfully now. Also, she always counsels women to hold onto their identity.

“They are who they are. This is an extra part of the journey that can draw so much out (of life),” she says, emphasizing how important it is to stay in this moment with joy. Tell the truth to family members, especially young children, without minimizing, she says, because, “if you don’t tell them, their imagination will carry them places you may never go.”

Sasha's Own Mother's Courage and Creativity

An immigrant to America, Sasha credits her own mother with setting a high standard of dedication, courage, and joy. 

“She (Sasha’s mother) always said, ‘Art is a medicine and medicine is an art.’” Sasha developed a deep, life-long reverence for her amazing mother, a gifted artist.

“Her biggest desire was to express her belief; freedom of speech. So, she packed up and brought me to this country through many, many other countries because she wanted me to enjoy freedom of speech; to be free to express my beliefs. She was a tough woman to do this, not knowing any English and not knowing anyone here.”

How to Respond When Your Friend has Breast Cancer

Sasha says that those who want to comfort a friend can respond to the news in three ways: 1) they can talk about it, 2) they can change the subject if the patient prefers a welcome distraction, or 3) sometimes, they may choose to say nothing. 

“Just give a hug. Just be there. Don’t minimize it. How can you minimize it? Let’s face it, (cancer) is there,” she says, adding that sensitivity is the key. “There are times when they want to show you their scars.”  

Join the Team

Sasha, part of Texas Oncology, likes to think of herself as a medical coach. She recommends letting everyone, family and friends, join the patient's team by giving them a way to help. Small children can wash their hands, keep their rooms clean, and be flexible since they will probably have more babysitters as mom goes in for tests and treatments. 

Adults can find ways to help, too, especially with the changes the patient will be facing with her own body. For instance, since feet often need special care during chemo, one family member can rub Mom’s feet frequently.

Celebrating Victories and Soft New Hair

“People love to laugh,” which Sasha calls inner jogging. Shown in the picture as she "wins" a cake at a 

recent fundraiser supporting Bethesda Health Clinic, Sasha epitomizes living joyfully in the moment and making life fun for everyone around her.

With zealous fervor, she encourages physical exercise, too. She’s also devoted to prayer as a mandatory part of her patients’ treatment plans.

“Prayer is inexpensive, actually it’s free. You don’t need special equipment. It doesn’t cause nausea, vomiting, hair loss.” Celebrate the little victories together, she says, like when hair falls out (“that means the treatment is working”) and when it comes back. 

“Sometimes you may want  touch their hair,” she laughs, adding, “Once you touch their hair, it’s impossible to keep your hands out of it, it’s so soft!”

Six months or a year from now, they’ll still be on the journey, so pace your attention and remember to check back in, says the good doctor. Most of all, cherish the small victories all along the way together. 

 

May I pray for you?

Dear Father, especially when we feel afraid, You love us and hold us close. You are a constant source of comfort, and yet, sometimes we wonder if You care at all. Today, we ask for You to open our eyes to see the good people You put in our path on this journey. Help us identify the ways You find to surround us with Your love, expressed through the kindness of others. Give health and strength to those who need it as they fight the battle of cancer. Surround their family with those who will pray and laugh and find joy together in the moment. We ask for Your blessings today because it is Your heart's desire to pour out blessings on us. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

We love to hear from you!

When has someone said or done the perfect thing to help you in your journey? How have you faced down fears about cancer? What sacred story would you like to share?

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Cathy Krafve, Columnist, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Christian Writer, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at CathyKrafve.com. Truth with a Texas Twang.

 

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