‘Beyond Being Good,’ by Katrina McCain — A Five Star Author

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Today I’ve had the pleasure to interview Katrina McCain on Beyond Being Good, her first breakout non-fiction that tackles the ‘trying to be perfect as an imperfect person.’

Katrina

Claire: Hi, Katrina. New author, how exciting! You’re from North Carolina, right?

Katrina: Yes–I grew up in Charlotte and attended college there. My younger brother lives in Texas, and I am married (5 years, now). My husband, Jarrett and I have a 2 year old daughter and another on the way!

Claire: You’re a busy mom, and congratulations. You have a fascinating past as a fashion model ~ what a different world than your ministry, Pearls of Hope. What is your ministry about?

Katrina: Pearls of Hope Outreach, is a nonprofit organization in North Carolina. We have 16 members between the ages of 20 to 35 years old. We engage in Bible Study and outreach ministries. It’s a wonderful way to connect with other Christian women in the area. I’ve really grown personally from the experience.

Claire: That’s terrific, getting young women involved in studying the Word and in outreach ministries. So, tell me a bit of your testimony, coming to Christ?

Katrina: It’s been a long road to Jesus. My parents are ministers and I admire them greatly, but I always felt like I was missing something. I knew right from wrong, but I struggled. Once in college, I reinvented myself, launching into a 9-year fashion career. I began to compromise for the sake of having friends. I did things I knew displeased God, yet did them anyway. I became hypocritical, because I lived one way around friends, but portrayed the “good girl” to family and church. It became exhausting.

Claire: Exhausting is a good way to put it.

Katrina: I guess you could say I was a “goody two shoes” type of person. People thought I was a Christian, but I knew I wasn’t. I had a lot of head knowledge, but not a relationship with God. Because of my upbringing, I determined to maintain my virginity, which by the grace of God, I did. But I found my friends’ lifestyle to be a huge hindrance on my dating life. I cut corners in my dating, which led me into a relationship with a boy with his own issues. Ultimately, he lost his life over his choices. He was robbed and shot 9 times and died in the summer of 2007. We were only 21 years old. I was devastated!

Claire: How heartbreaking!

Katrina: I felt so alone, ashamed around family. Even though they extended their love to me, I wasn’t sure if God was still there. For a long time I believed God was punishing me, but Scripture tells us that God is close to the broken hearted (Ps. 34:18) So, one night, I prayed this really sloppy prayer. I was so remorseful. I asked the Lord to forgive and change me, and though I wasn’t really sure what that meant or even what it entailed, I believed with all my heart that He could do it. That prayer was my first step to salvation, and I’ve been on this journey, ever since.

Claire: Very powerful testimony. A lot of heartbreak, too.  Who would you say was the biggest influence in your life’s path?

Katrina: My mother. Hands down. She has a heart for people and whatever you’re going through, she finds ways to understand with compassion. Nothing is off limits. She’s open to listening and discussing anything with any one. I desire to be like her.

 

Claire: It sounds like she really grounded you. Quite the variety from Mother Teresa type talking about Betty Crocker to Jerry Springer! I would love to meet her.

Your book is for every woman. But tell us a bit about Beyond Being Good.

Katrina book cover

Katrina: In the fashion world, the image of perfection can be debilitating. The expectations are outrageous. The same can be said in our personal lives. The pressure of perfection is one that God never put on us to carry. Salvation is a gift, not an object we have to work or prove ourselves worthy of. In Beyond Being Good, I share my mistakes and failures. People need to know that they are not alone in their imperfections. I’m very transparent, because pretenses only perpetuate the myth that perfection is necessary to live in abundance. What a lie!

Claire: Again, amen. Once we drop the veil of self-secrecy, we can live out ‘carrying one another’s burdens.’  

Katrina: Beyond Being Good is my gift to anyone who is in a place where she is tired of her past year, past week, past cuss word, past abortion, past lie, past drink, past mistakes holding her back from truly experiencing the fullness of God’s perfect love over her.

Claire: Well said. And you’re quite open and real in Beyond Being Good.

Katrina: That’s exactly why Beyond Being Good is my message to women of all backgrounds, that our goodness is not required for God’s love. I think church culture, subconsciously, teaches this error and many of us have been deeply wounded with confusion regarding God’s grace. But the Bible is filled with imperfect people who have been used by God in very dynamic ways!

Claire: –Oh, amen, amen. Who are some of your favorite authors, non-fiction and fiction?

Katrina: I’m not much of a fiction reader—there are movies to curb that crave. But my favorite nonfiction authors are John Piper, Beth Moore, Kay Arthur, Gary Thomas, Gary Chapman and, believe it or not, Malala Yousafzai (the youngest woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize).

Claire: Great authors, all. Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you?

Katrina: Jess Connolly, writer of Dance, Stand, Run, and Wild and Free. She has such a heart for women that I find captivating. She’s about my age, writes to women in our Millennial generation, but is still very relevant to older women, as well. Also, Stasi Eldridge. Stasi’s book, Becoming Myself, is a staple in my personal library! Each time I read it, I re-discover new aspects of myself as a woman and Christian. I hope to write books that produce similar reactions in others.

Claire: Something we can look for, reality in our lives, not shame. I love Dance, Stand and Run! Jess Connolly helps us ‘get’ that grace isn’t cheap indeed. And Stasi Eldridge is a terrific author with a difficult past. I read Captivating and believe it to be one of the most spiritually-awakening books I’ve read. Know you are on this edge is really exciting. What are some great books you’ve read recently?

Katrina: Recently, I’ve completed Fierce Hearted by Holly Gerth, And We Are Changed by Priscilla Shrier and Still Waiting by Ann Swindell.

Claire: Nice! Priscillar Shrier’s book is so raw, real, it is tear-provoking. And Holly Gerth reminds me of a 21st century Brother Lawrence, in Practicing the Presence of God. Great choices! So now, what do you do in your downtime?

Katrina: Ha, downtime! When I can steal a moment from mommy life, I love getting dinner with my friends! I love getting dressed up, going into the city and having a great meal with extra giggles! For family time, Jarrett, my husband and I, enjoy doing quiet things, like walks in the park or visiting a museum before dinner. Any time spent with him is great!

Claire: You definitely deserve rest! What sort of research did you do to write this book?

Katrina: I studied the scriptures, particularly Romans and James. I wanted to be sure that the words I spoke aligned with God’s Word. I believe, just as the human heart is flawed, so are human opinions. If my writing doesn’t line up with God’s Word, then I don’t want to risk being at fault in giving untruthful information.

Claire: Agreed. Too many opinions not backed by Scripture, and so many people fall for it, not testing the scriptures What are you working on now? Any chance of a follow up?

Katrina: Right now, I am working on carrying my baby girl, full term! She’s due in July Also, I am focused on sharing my book, loving my family and being available to my readers who reach out to me.

Claire: Oh, groan and excitement! I bet you are counting the minutes. Congratulations coming in July– and congratulations on your very well-received book.

I have so many more questions for Katrina, that we are going to follow up with more interviews on living for God’s glory, fully in His grace. Thank you, Katrina

*If you want to purchase Katrina McCain’s book, it’s available through Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Being-Good-Perfection-Imperfect/dp/1595557598/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524007800&sr=1-1&keywords=beyond+being+good

*Katrina lives in North Carolina and blogs every Sunday on relationships, faith and her personal life lessons. To connect with Katrina and learn more about her, please visit http://www.KatrinaMcCain.com

 

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Demystifying, Debunking Dubious Diets, and Detoxifying. Snark ahead…

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 March 14, 2018

Claire O’Sullivan

 Anyone who struggles with weight, cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension… etc., can tell you two things: been there, paid for the book, I suffered ***and gained the weight back, my sleep apnea returned, my diabetes worsened … I’ve lived through this. Weight, cholesterol, sleep apnea.

Every day I hear/see a new diet/health book on television.

 

*Follow my program, my book, my recipes and you can lose 150 pounds in less than six months! In less than one month!*

No, dear. You will be in the hospital. Or dead. Order premade? How will you know how to cook when it’s done? What about ‘lose the belly fat diet?’ Good grief. Fat is fat is fat.

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And today I heard about another one. Yes. The woman made two dishes on the show (er, showed one, and everything prepped for the ‘simple’ sandwich).

First, ‘Detoxifying isn’t hard.’ She launched into the explanation. Sounded difficult. Then, onto the easy prep of the sandwich. Time passed. These were ‘easy’ (and all the difficult work already done). Not one ingredient was anything I would eat, nor inexpensive. All recipes  just  500 calories. Wow. Amazing.

Quick question: what if your dietary needs to lose weight are 1200 calories?  Unless you are exercising your butt off to the tune of 600 calories you will gain weight. That nets you a loss of a total 100 calories. What if you want side dishes? Dessert? You can’t have any.

What do you have to lose? Time, money, at the very least. You can however, keep your butter in spades. But no sugar. Fewer carbs. Where have we hear this before? Lose foods you love, get foods that go straight to your arteries. No, thanks. Been there with several popular diets.

But, but, what about the blood type? The Creation diets (they contradict one another, by the way)? The hunter gatherer diet? The steak and grapefruit diet? The zone? The Beach? Atkins? Um, no.

Am I shamefully hawking my book? Yes and no. I will not give up taste and balance for sheer bunk. Well, not any longer. I won’t starve through detoxifying. I will not give up pizza. I  will not give up my comfort foods. I will not spend a thousand dollars looking for bizarre ingredients. Most of my meals are ‘after a day of work,’ easy. Some are ‘make it on your day off. You will thank me. Inexpensive. You get three meals and two snacks (dessert). Might you have to decrease sugar, or gluten? Sure. Easy. Are you a vegetarian? Easy. Do you like black beans instead of kidney beans? C’mon. Use them. Do you want it spicy? Go for it. I have a few recipes posted in my blogs. Try them. Fiddle with them.

Then, click the link on the home page. My cookbook is small but mighty. And as Amazon removes stars and reviews (they do this on purpose, they don’t have to pay smaller authors royalties), please leave one. Oh, and I lost 90 pounds, no sleep apnea, and cholesterol down 60 points. This took me 11 months to get into a healthy goal. Patience is key. Another few months and I was there. 125 pounds. This, eating carbs, protein, fats. Desserts. No special ‘sugars.’ And maintaining, because I like food. That was 2004. Do I waiver? Sure, from time to time. Then I stand up, dust myself off, and continue the right path.

 

fabulous foods

Fabulous Foods: Enjoying Healthy Comfort Foods. Click link below. Not a fad diet. This is it:     https://www.amazon.com/Fabulous-Foods-Enjoying-Healthy-Comfort/dp/1496053621/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1521069007&sr=1-1&keywords=cynthia+mahoney+fnp 

Secs Sells …

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innocentMy works are not filled with sex scenes or erotica. On purpose. Yep, I know sex sells, but I would rather NOT sell at all than pander to the worldly view of voyeurism. Image, well maybe not that ‘cute,’ but you get the idea.

Passion is different. Fighting the battle of not falling into sex is a battle (a subplot) but the main plot is that which grabs. I have read good writing and must skip the erotic scenes because it’s simply a turn-off.

My main characters are flawed, angry, worldly, physically flawed, and emotionally damaged. Once they accept Christ, they backslide. Are we perfect? St. Paul bemoaned his imperfections. At the end of his life he says, ‘I fought the fight, I ran the race’ … what in heaven’s name could that possibly mean? It’s an easy thing to accept grace. It’s a battle to walk, even pray or read the Bible.

I read/write Christian suspense/romance. I want readers to know the plot and the subplot of walking the talk of faith, stumbling, battling the worldly enemy as well as the physical enemy. Asking for help understanding Scripture. It ‘is’ realistic. It is attainable in real life. Using sex to sell is an easy copout.

What do you think?

 

 

Interview… Tonight!

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Hi friends of the written word. And food. Etc.

I was invited for an interview regarding my (healthy) cookbook on an internet based radio show, one I’ve never been on.

PR is PR. Right? It is exposure, and I will be donating a portion of my proceeds to disabled vets.

The radio show is Republic News Radio 101 and you can tune in here: http://tunein.com/station/?StationId=287184

It begins at 9 PM EST and I will also be chit-chatting about my fiction, my website and how to purchase the cookbook.

Hope to see you there! Well, with internet vibes ….

Here is the link to my  website because I KNOW you’ll want the cookbook… http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan

Just click on the URL next to Fabulous Foods.  After Oct. 31, click on the book.. it’s confusing yes. I know.

 

 

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Because We All Wanna Be Wonder Woman

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Well, I can’t speak to her magical, mysterious, curious powers. Or her work out (if she does), but I can tell you about a balanced diet.

Wonder_Woman

OH wait. I think I have, however, I have made ordering ridiculously simple. You can click on it here, or on my website, facebook page OR on twitter.

My promos for the paperback and KDP have disappeared.

PHTTP, however, if you love me, even a little …  you might order from this URL: https://www.createspace.com/4686721 … OK fine. You don’t have to love me.

But if you LOVE food, good food, healthy food, easy-to-make and great for newbies, this cookbook is for YOU.

I can guarantee you will like the recipes. Like PIZZA.

That is what said.

And STICKY ROLLS. Again, not a mistake.

Adapt any recipe to YOUR diet style (vegetarian, vegan, meat-lovers, gluten free, lactose free, sugar free, ADA, AHA, etc), add/subtract spices, meats, and other goodies, and you have the workings of food for life.

Food should be fun. Easy, affordable, taste great, for any cook, any age — and any level.

Fabulous Foods, Enjoying Healthy Comfort Foods …  because, besides being Wonder Woman, we still want to have our cake and eat it, too. cake.jpg

My link is different these days… okay, today. But if you want to see reviews from others, please check out the KDP version, and the other versions under Cynthia Mahoney FNP. Don’t forget, puhleeez review.

Please be Safe!

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Short, sweet, to the point. Be safe from east to west, north to south. More hurricanes on the way. Please give this information to all you know out there, in another path!

Strengthening Hurricane Maria a threat to Irma-hit Caribbean

How Can I Offend Thee? Let me Count the Ways. Or show from one beggar to another.

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Christ the Reedemer.jpgYES, this may very well offend some of you. Well, darn. But it needs to be said, shared, because we do not live forever.

I hear all the time these are the End Times. Feels like it. But… they said that every age. Crazy people actually name the day and time. Maybe not insane, just misled, overly hopeful, not to mention, arrogant. Sadly, this causes such disappointment in those who believe that, they fall away. Others mock, rightly so.

Today is a come to Jesus moment. In actuality. Not because of hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, economic distress, crazy plagues.. okay. Maybe a bit. It’s throughout the Torah. The Bible. Most folks say Jesus was a Christian. Not. He was 100% Jewish. Born in Bethlehem. Others believe He wrote the Gospels. Not. He taught everything from the Torah. Every. Last. Word.

Which brings me to the point. Jesus freaked everyone out. First, he told everyone they had to be perfect, better than the Pharisees. Then, He claimed to be God. OH the elite religious went nuts!

Can God become man? That’s sorta like asking how many angels can dance on the end of a pin. Or, can He create a rock so big He can’t move it… The Torah says nothing is impossible for God. So then. He is the only perfect man, not a shell with God inside, but fully man, fully human. Gave himself, not ‘one for the team.’ Not (as the Pope says) just be good enough…(works), but Jesus (Yeshua) the Messiah gave us, covered us with His sacrificial Passover blood of the perfect lamb. Freeing us. 

There is no other religion that frees us from our wrongs (sin) with the one time sacrifice for us on the Cross. Every other religion relies on works. Work hard enough to be good to make it. 

Here’s an analogy. The best swimmer in all of the world stands on the beach with you and a 99 pound weakling. Your goal? Hawaii. Everyone jumps in. Yet, will anyone make it? NO. You and your swimming buddies will have to dodge the sharks, the cold, the lack of food. The desire to get to Hawaii desperately, hoping, not sure. Eventually realizing they need a ship to save them. Take them to Hawaii.

That is all of us. We all fall short of the glory of God. What does that mean? We don’t got no chance, because we don’t have a clue, nor the capability.

     

 A lot of folks say it’s crazy. How can a Trinity exist? Oh, really this is so simple a child can understand. From my point of view.

Pretend for a moment you have never read the Bible. Not even Genesis. But in the first book of the Bible, Genesis,  He said… let us make man in our image (man is also woman…). OUR. Let’s go on.

Angels cannot be God(s). There is only ONE God, not many. So, if One God is US, what does that mean? First, let me start here. I ask you, you want an egg? You say, sure… I say, which part? The yolk? The white? The shell?

So what’s with the egg? The yolk is ‘like’ the Father. The white is ‘like’ the Holy Spirit. The shell is ‘like’ Jesus, and the shell holds all of the egg together, the fullness of the egg when I show it to you. HMM. Because the Bible says Jesus was with God in the beginning, and then … lived among us, the fullness of God, His very image. As an aside, some believe Satan was his bro. Ah, no. A fallen angel. Became the devil.

Let’s move on. He said in Genesis, let us make man in our image. Take the egg concept. Our most inner soul or spirit was created to be an image of the Father. Our brain is our mind, in the image of the Holy Spirit. And our body is what you and I see … yet without all three, we aren’t there. That may not be perfect but it is the best I can do.

So … why do we need a Savior?  Well, there’s that whole apple (persimmon tee hee?) debacle. Woman wasn’t standing there all alone. Mmm, mmm. Adam stood right next to her. They didn’t die… but they were booted from the garden and their spirit died, laid dormant, and that has passed onto us.  

The Exodus of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt was a picture of the future. The blood of a perfect lamb on the doors of those who believed. They were saved. The death of Christ was on the day of Preparation for the Passover. Sunday, He was alive. Death and the law nailed to the Cross.

My final point. We don’t know anything about the date or time. We recognize only the signs. We don’t know if we will live through tomorrow. We don’t know if our friends or family know. Time is short because our years are limited. So.. if you don’t know, if you don’t believe, here’s the short version:

1. Admit you believe in yourself as a god (idolatry, which is a sin), that you have lied even once … or stolen … even a pen … have lusted … wanted someone, something not yours … have hated/murdered (war doesn’t count, different Hebrew word). Have not loved your neighbor as yourself (the Golden Rule). Have not respected your parents… !

2. Believe that only Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is the only way to saving you from your sin.

3. Confess with your mouth (speak it out loud!) that Jesus (only) and believe in your heart (not lip service) that Jesus is Lord, and you will be saved. This is NOT by works. It is by FAITH – the belief  in what we cannot see that He gives you through GRACE, so no one can boast.

Then, grab a Bible. Recognize that mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we do not deserve. This is your salvation.

Want some verses to prove that Israel is the land of the Jews, that in the Torah Jesus is there? Where in the NT Jesus is the only likeness of God Ask me. Get into a good church. Ask me. There are some that lose sight. Blind leading the blind. Get a Bible, not one specific to a religion. You can ask me that, too. Want to know where to start? Ask me that one, too!

Reaching the GOAL

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Today, I am not writing about writing. This is reading and doing.

This. Is. Personal.

I have battled ups and downs with weight control for YEARS. I have yet to reach my goal–however, I am much closer to the goal than where I was at. Am I going to tell you? Heck, no. Geez.

(Am I pushing this? Yes.  http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan/book-inner-page )

You see, I love food. Seems to be, I love food that is not particularly healthy. Like… pizza. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy. Hamburgers, hot dogs. PIE. Sticky buns. Italian food. Name something. Except lutefisk.

( http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan/book-inner-page )

Over the years (and I mean many years) I have been on every single diet ever touted on the face of the earth. Name one. Been there. From vegetarian to the Zone (and weirder diets), like the grapefruit and steak diet …

Been there.

The Zone demanded tuna for lunch every day. It might have well been an entire fish for all I was concerned, I hate tuna. I managed the Zone one … day.

I would stand in the cookbook aisle of healthy foods, well. Not so healthy. I lived vicariously through pictures. It didn’t help me lose weight by the way.

After so may failed attempts I WROTE A COOKBOOK. With…good…food.

( http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan/book-inner-page )

Pizza. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes. Apple pie. Sticky buns. HEALTHY! Tastes great. Easy to make. From BBQ to crockpot, and everything in between. Mexican food, easy comfort foods. Pumpkin pie. Lasagna. LASAGNA!

Best of all–every recipe can be tailored to your diet needs. Gluten free? Swap the wheat noodles out for your favorite alternates. Need soy or rice milk? Go for it!

A lot of folks did great with simple changes. Other diets, lifestyles — many too austere, can cause a person to … fall away, like I did. Within days. I’ve spent scads of money on diet books, only to hate the food, eat something bland, disgusting or just plain stupid.

Once I figured a few simple changes, my weight went down. My cholesterol stunned my doctor. My joint pain eased. I had obstructive sleep apnea. It’s gone. I had acid reflux. THAT’s gone. So, hence the book. ( http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan/book-inner-page )

Don’t get me wrong. Every now and again, I fall into a temptation. But it’s not like falling off the wagon. It’s more of a stumble. If you hit the ground, you get up, brush off the dirt and continue on.

I hope you (diabetic, hypertensive, high cholesterol, weight control, heart disease folks) who have been told to be vegans and can barely choke it down (no knock on vegans, they do pretty well, those who like it), find refuge and health in my book. Go ahead. Shock your doctor/practitioner. Tell him/her what you have done. Good PR for me 🙂

I address food. Not so much exercise. I’ll do that here. I used to be a cross country runner. Then I took up karate. After a disastrous knee accident, it’s has never been right, so I started walking. Then more problems arose. Head to toe type. I started boxing (yes, in the comfort and safety of my own home). Best exercise ever. Until the arthritis took over my wrists and hands. I am still looking for the perfect exercise. Swimming, no. Water walking – sorry, I won’t do it. Sure, I’m gray. But I ain’t water walking.

Lifestyle changes come easy when you change one thing at a time. Don’t swap out all of your foods, you may find yourself in the welfare aisle. Changes should be reasonable. Cooking should be short and savory. Food should be like my fettuccine –to die for. Desserts must tickle your tongue. Enjoy your food! Do not go hungry or stand in the cookbook section vicariously living through pictures …

This is a lifestyle I can live with. Visit my web page and click on Fabulous Foods Enjoying Healthy Comfort Foods. It will take you directly to the Amazon page. You can find it on Kindle also.

Why am I pushing it then? Because I have met with authors who have since passed away, succumbing to a lifestyle disorder. Because I know authors who are limping along trying and falling for months. I know scads of people who want good food, including family.

It. Is. Personal.

I continue on, battling the same as you. I don’t wish to be in the ICU or cardiac care unit, thank you.

http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan and click on the book’s picture and hit ‘buy.’

This is not a money-maker for me, royalties are in the dirt. I used to buy boxes of books -print on demand- and had a captive audience, but lives were changed. To me, that makes it worth it.

It’s under the name (real) that I work under, so don’t be terribly confused 🙂

5 to >100 pounds IT IS DOABLE.