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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.

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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 Radiodownloads 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 Radioshow 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 Radioa 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 Beckgets 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 ear, 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.comcan 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. 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!! 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 neverdo 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 tothe 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 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,

“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.”


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 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?

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 Truth with a Texas Twang.


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Generosity as an Inheritance with Dawn Franks

If money is the hardest thing to talk about in  families, like me, you may jump for joy when you hear of resources that take the sting out of that tough topic. Why not start with how generosity could look in your family? 

Generational Generosity 

Generosity is a natural gift in all humans, according to expert, Dawn Franks. If so, the next question is how do we cultivate generosity in our family? Dawn, President and CEO of Your Philanthropyhad a lot to say about how generosity on a recent episode ofFireside Talk Radio. In fact, she says generosity can be passed down from one generation to the next.

Gifting Appaloosas

Dawn credits her grandfather for one of her earliest memories of what it means to be generous. He raised Appaloosa horses, when he wasn’t conducting trains for the Cotton Belt Railway. With a core group of young people who helped him, he modeled dedication. 

“Three of those individuals grew to be so close to my grandfather that he actually gifted them a horse. I watched him give these young adults their horses as they went off to college. They took (the horses) with them to college,” Dawn says. 

She adds it was an incredible act of generosity on her grandfather’s part because “we’re not talking about a family with a lot of resources.” It would be years before she fully appreciated all that it meant to those young people or to her grandparents. Even so, the lesson was not lost on the little granddaughter.

Giving Fingerprints: Maximize Your Impact on the Causes Closest to Your Heart

You know how I love free stuff. So, guess what? Dawn's new book, Giving Fingerprints, is now available at Your Philanthropy and yep, it's free!! One of my favorite things about Dawn: her ideas are always practical. Just like her new book, Giving Fingerprints. In it, Dawn mentions 6 ways a unique brand of giving can help you. Your giving brand can:

#1 Impact your career,

#2 Help position your business,

#3 Strengthen family relationships,

#4 Start new friendships,

#5 Deepen your understanding of community, and

#6 Help you become an expert in specific areas you care deeply about.

Getting Started is Easy

Do those reasons pique your curiosity about your own giving brand? If so, it’s easy to get started. In Dawn’s new book, she spells out a simple step-by-step process to identify the values you most treasure when giving. In 30 minutes or less, you can know the values that are your own personal giving fingerprints.

“We all have a place in our hearts where we know this gift is the one that shoots off the fireworks,” she laughs when asked about recognizing the values that matter most. She loves it when families do the worksheets in her book together, as my own family has done. “When you ask them to identify the values that matter to them, there are always words that are similar and words that are different.”

Conversational Adventure for the Whole Family

By getting the family talking in such a nonthreatening way, each person makes a significant contribution to the conversation. Differences can be explored and esteemed. Plus, helping folks know what they value when giving has a way of boosting confidence, according to Dawn. Of course, confidence and collaboration are values we all want in our families. 

Just like a small child who brings a dandelion in for mom, we can all get back in touch with our natural generosity, that way of giving that gives us joy. 

“Joy is almost impossible to describe,” says Dawn, yet the word has an innate meaning, Our heart recognizes when we give in the way that makes our heart happy.

May I pray for you?

Heavenly Father, You are so different from any earthly father that we must recognize Your generosity is beyond our comprehension. For those whose earthly families enjoyed generous hearts growing up, we thank You. Others may wish to do something different from what they experienced growing up, so we ask for Your guidance now. How does it look to give joyfully, the way You give? Sacrifice is not our favorite word. We need Your help, O Lord. Open our eyes today to the ways You bless us. We want to be grateful, responsive people. Let us be people who pass along blessings as we go about our day. In Jesus name. Amen.

We love hearing from YOU!!

Who inspired your generous heart? What story do you treasure about generosity? In your family, which things seem to be working to pass generosity on to another generation?

Please sign up for my blog by clicking here.

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

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5 Tips for More Energy and the Mindfulness Triathlon with Colleen Long

Colleen Long (shown left with her husband at the recent Bethesda Bash) didn’t set out to change the stigma around mental illness. A mindfulness triathlon was not on her radar. In fact, she was pretty busy being an amazing wife, mom, professional financial advisor, yep, all around awesome human. (My words, not hers.)

Sometimes Depression and Anxiety Find Us

Like most women, she noticed dips in her sense of well-being along the way. But, between college, career, and family, what woman has time to focus on herself? However, life has a way of catching up with us all. 

A miscarriage stopped Colleen in her tracks.

“I wasn’t really sure how to process it (the emotional pain that goes with miscarriage),” says Colleen, “I found myself, or what I should say is, yoga and meditation found me. It was a beautiful way for me to handle my grief and depression.”

The Stigma

Her experience taught her a whole bunch about how important mental health can be. In fact, Colleen discovered, like so many of us, that there’s a stigma attached to truthful words like depression and anxiety.

Five Tips for Renewed Energy

Based on what she’s learned, she offers some great tips for renewing our energy.

#1 Exercise. Stretching ourselves physically has emotional and spiritual benefits, too. Plus, according to Colleen, accomplishing physical goals, even small ones, creates confidence that spills over into all parts of our life.

#2 Take Every Thought Captive. Be aware of the “gremlins” as Brene Brown calls them; those negative thoughts which attack us all.

#3 Practice Self-Compassion. Keep in mind that you are worthy. Treat yourself as kindly as you treat others.

#4 Keep Stretching. Let growing confidence and self-worth inform your desire to step up for new adventures.

#5 Find Community. Stretch into the adventure of finding a new group of people who share your interests.

Hope in Community

“You gotta learn to love yourself. We need each other,” Colleen says, “Sometimes, it takes other people to help us get there. Sometimes, it takes us being okay by ourselves to get there. There’s no perfect way to do it. But hope is available.”

In her personal journey, Colleen learned a lot about compassion and the stigma of trying to talk to others about so-called “negative” emotions. She developed a deep conviction to take on the stigma. Plus, she learned to treasure community. Thus, she’s pulled together a whole team of people to create Tyler’s first Mindfulness Tri.

What’s a Mindfulness Triathlon?

A regular triathlon is a three-part race that includes running, biking and swimming. So, what is the Mindfulness Tri? It’s a triathlon composed of running (walking or rolling), yoga, and meditation. No swim suits, what a relief! In fact, anyone can step up and participate; there are no physical limits, just a loving community coming together.

East Texas’s first Mindfulness Tri, at True Vine Brewery, is Saturday, October 27th from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Vendors will be gathered to help you connect with services for your family or so you can help others.

To Sign Up

Register with this code, KRAFVE5, and you get a $5 discount on your registration. (Thank you, Colleen, for that sweet bonus to my friends!)

“People are showing up. They’re asking, how can we show support? How can we help? What can we do to spread awareness? They want to remove the stigma,” Colleen says.

To Fight the Stigma in Your Community

As soon as the Mindfulness Tri crosses the finish line, Colleen promised to come up with a planning timetable for those who would like to bring a similar event to their communities. When its ready, I’ll have it free on To hear more ideas from Colleen about how to regain equilibrium after a life-event like a miscarriage or postpartum, find her podcasts on Fireside Talk Radio.

I’m so thankful to Colleen for sharing her story and wisdom. To all the heroic people we know, thank you for being true to God’s purpose in your life today! Stay tuned here for more adventures!

May I pray for you?

Dear Father, You care about every cell in our bodies and every pain we experience. You designed us to be in community with You and others. Help us, O Lord, because sometimes we feel we simply can’t go another day. Give us energy for today’s journey. Make us aware of those who are in pain near us. Help us understand how to reach out and encourage ourselves and others. Thank you for this effort to remove the stigma around mental illness and spread compassion in its place. We are Your grateful children. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.

We love to hear from you!

How have you overcome stigma and reached out for health? What tips do you have for self-care and self-compassion? Do you have a story that involves exercise?

You can sign up for my blog by clicking here.

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

Return to the Fireside Talk Radio Show Page
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Recent Shows
Title Date
The Thanksgiving Kit: Hiding the Squirrel and Finding the Nuts
Making Thanksgiving a Family Favorite with Anna Krafve Pierce
Her Story: When Stressful Life Calls for Grit with Henda Salmeron, Dense Breast Tissue
Her Wisdom: Dense Breast Tissue and Henda's Law with Henda Salmeron
Her Wisdom, What Happens When Mom has Breast Cancer? with Sasha Vukelja, Care Giving
Her Story: Seeds of Generational Care Giving with Sasha Vukelja
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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.

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

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