Please welcome to Dark Glass Ponderings, Cathy Bryant, author of Texas Roads and A Path Less Traveled. To read Cathy's devotionals and find out more about her and her work, visit Word Vessel.
Does your family have any special Christmas traditions?
A tradition that my family picked up from Hubby’s side of the family is to take turns opening gifts, starting with the youngest and moving to the oldest. Then we repeat the process for subsequent rounds of gifts. I really love this tradition for so many reasons. First of all, it takes the focus off “What did I get?” and puts it on enjoying our time together as a family. It also prolongs the joy and excitement of Christmas and allows each person to see the joy others have in opening their gifts. When we’re able, we also attend a special Christmas Eve celebration at church to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and the best gift ever.
(This is the same thing we do at my hubby's mom's house. It's lots of fun).
What is your favorite type of gift to give?
I love it when I’m able to find a gift that allows the recipient to know I’ve paid attention to what they like and found that one thing they’d love to have, but would never buy for themselves. I also enjoy making gifts, though I haven’t had the time to do so in the past few years.
Do you have a favorite holiday recipe?
I love No-Bake Oatmeal Cookies! (In fact, I’m about to make a batch for the holidays.)
Here are the ingredients: 2 c. sugar, ¼ c. cocoa, ½ c. milk, 1 stick butter, 3 c. oatmeal, ½ c. peanut butter
Mix all ingredients except oatmeal and peanut butter. Boil for 1 minute. Add oats and peanut butter. Drop by teaspoons onto was paper and let cool.
Easy, huh? (And it’s easier for me to justify the chocolate and butter when it also has oatmeal. Fiber!) =)
(Oooh, yum, you've convinced me. I'll bet my kids would love this!)
How and when did you feel the Lord’s call to begin writing?
I’ve written since I was a child, but in 2004-2007, I went through a series of “circumstances” that brought me to the place of realizing that writing was yet one more avenue for me to share my faith. Call it a mid-life crisis of sorts. I recognized that life is brief and that I needed to make a difference in whatever way I could.
Do you have any special writing related rituals?
Yes. BICHOKTAF. (Butt in chair, hands on keys, typing away furiously.) =)
I see you were a teacher, how does that influence you in writing your novels?
Great question! Teaching is done for the purpose of passing on learning. In other words, as a teacher I simply passed on what I had already learned. Everything I do in some way is a lesson. I can be digging in my garden and learn something (or learn something all over again). Every book I read, every person I meet, every life experience can teach me something. When I write a book, I feel a HUGE burden of responsibility for passing on to others what I’ve learned. And I hope and pray that God uses my books to make a difference in the lives of others.
(I love this and probably one of the reasons I enjoy your devotionals so much, Cathy!)
Many people struggle through the grieving process , especially during the holiday season. Do you have any thoughts or verses for those who might be grieving the loss of a loved one?
There’s no pat answer for this question. Grief is a very personal experience, and it seems, from my perspective, that everyone grieves differently depending on all sorts of variables. The best answer I can give is to try to view the ordeal from an eternal perspective rather than an earthly one. (Easy to say, not necessarily easy to do.)
Our days are ordained by God, meaning that He knows our birth date and our death date. It’s all a part of His plan. Our God is good, and everything He does is right. I don’t enjoy getting stuck in traffic or having a flat tire, but God may be using those circumstances to protect me from something worse down the road. If we can trust God’s goodness, any terrible ordeal can be endured and even conquered in a way that brings glory to Him.
Here are a few verses that might help:
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proven genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
“The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.” Isaiah 57:1-2
“For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love, for He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.” Lamentations 3:31-33
“…weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5b
“Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13
(Thank you so much for sharing those rich verses with us. I know His word was a great comfort to me in times of grief).
Do you have a favorite person in the Bible?
Other than Jesus, it would be a toss up between so many. Maybe it would be easier to list a few and say why. Enoch-he walked with God; Abraham-his faith was credited to him as righteousness; Joseph-patient in affliction and didn’t hold a grudge; Moses-God spoke to him face to face, as a man speaks with his friend; Joshua-he followed God’s commands to the T; Caleb-no grasshopper mentality for him; Ruth-she gave up her life for another; Hannah- persistent in prayer; David-a man after God’s own heart; Daniel-determined to live for God in hostile territory; Mary, the mother of Jesus-humble and willing servant of God; Peter-brash fisherman who yielded his temperament to the spirit of God; John-the disciple Jesus loved.
I also notice that horses play quite a role in your novels. Have animals played an important role in your own life?
I’ve always loved horses and hoped to someday have one of my own. I’m not sure that will ever happen on this earth, but I still think they’re one of the most beautiful and intelligent animals. Animals have played a big role in my life. I’ve always had a pet of some sort, except in college (unless you count the dust bunnies under my bed). Animals love unconditionally. We humans could learn a great lesson from them.
I notice you also teach music and serve as a church accompanist. Do you have a favorite hymn or worship song?
I love them all, and have several favorites. “How Great Thou Art,” “Redeemed,” “How Great is our God,” “In Christ Alone,” “What A Friend We Have in Jesus,” the list could honestly go on and on.
Would you be willing to share a favorite excerpt from A Path Less Traveled?
Sure. This passage comes from the middle of the book, and is really the heart, or theme, of the story.
can be a good thing, unless we shove God’s way aside in favor of our own paths. Independence
Trish nodded and gazed into the distance. “I used to think I had a lot of trust, but since Doc died I’m not so sure.”
Andy opened a can of pop, the fizzy liquid tickling his nose and quenching his thirst. “Not sure if you trust yourself or God?”
“Both. I think I know what I’m supposed to do, but nothing seems to be working out the way I thought it would. Did I hear Him wrong?” The words grew husky.
“I can’t answer for you, but I’ll say this. In my own life, there’ve been times when I followed my own way only to reach a dead end.”
She removed her hat and leaned against the gnarly bark of an oak. “I’m not following my own way. At least I don’t think I am.” Her eyes grew dark. “What do you think?”
His neck hair bristled. Red alert. Danger zone. How was he supposed to answer her question without landing himself in a heap of trouble? He sent a quick prayer for help. “From my perspective, you seem mighty determined to exert your independence.”
Her frown morphed to a scowl. “There’s nothing wrong with being independent. I think God expects us to do our part.”
“I agree, but independence can be a real hindrance to trust. I mean, if we can handle it ourselves, then why do we need God?”
Thanks, Julia! I really enjoyed answering your questions. Thanks for the opportunity to share my humble thoughts on your blog.
GIVEAWAY: Cathy has generously offered a copy of her newest book, A Path Less Traveled to a reader.
(1) What is your favorite type of gift to give others?
(2) Please include your email address in this form for readability:
This giveaway will end Wednesday, December 8th!