Kathy Parish headshots 2014 (6 of 6)

My family and I have just returned from a short trip into the great state of Texas. Stopping in Dallas, San Antonio, and then Fort Worth, our trip involved a significant amount of drive time. Riding in a car is when I get lots of ideas for my writing. I see a house and my mind begins to imagine who might live there. Then plots for stories develop, and I’m off!

The travel time also gave opportunity for reading roadside signs. A couple of the billboards struck me as rather humorous. One displayed the photograph of a VERY attractive woman with the caption She Spies! The advertisement was describing her business as a private investigator. I gave her kudos for a catchy name for her business. Another, again graced by the photo of a VERY attractive and professional-looking female, advertised her services as an attorney. She received my congrats for the catchy headline, which read: Ever argued with a woman?, giving her positive marks for turning what can be a negative connotation toward the female gender into a positive attribute.:)

However, it is the third sign I am going to describe which gave me pause and left me feeling rather disturbed. A small church near the expressway displayed a sign sporting this advice:
Considering suicide?
Call on Jesus, the
source of all comfort.

I do believe in prayer, and I am not discounting its benefits to both the sufferer and his/her family and loved ones. However, I do not concede that depression and suicidal ideation are necessarily spiritual problems. The dark pit of depression is known to have origins in abnormal balance of neurohormones in the brain. For too long we have viewed depression as some kind of personal weakness that only needs a little prayer and a little faith and some getting on with life. It’s not that easy, folks. I’ve witnessed both the agony of depression and the tragedy of suicide, as well as addictive behaviors that develop in the effort to self-medicate oneself out of the pain. And many of these victims have had strong Christian backgrounds and beliefs.

I hope we as people are becoming more open-minded, more informed, more sensitive, and more ready to step in with real, meaningful intervention when indicated. I know I’ve learned a few lessons over the past 10 years, and I’m sure I’ll still be learning more 10 years from now. But we Christians need to more careful about presenting Christianity (or any other faith) as the sole solution to suicidal thoughts. We need to pray for wisdom and insight and discretion and love as we try to help those we know who are fighting the battle with the enemy of depression.

The sign scared me. What if someone suffering severe depression with suicidal thoughts reads that sign and stops meds or stops seeing their mental health professional, depending solely on Jesus’ comfort to protect them from harm? And what if that spiritual strategy just doesn’t work? I pray that that doesn’t happen.

A dream coming true. . . . .


Above you see evidence of a dream coming true–the “physical proof” of my first novel. It seems I’ve dreamed of being a writer all my life. As a matter of fact, I guess I have been a writer, but, perhaps now, I’m becoming an author.

The book is NOT the “great American novel” by any stretch of one’s imagination. It is simply an inspirational romance which celebrates life in small southern towns, where life is often centered around the church. It is a love story but very “pure” by today’s standards, reminiscent of Grace Livingston Hill and Emilie Loring novels that I read as a young girl. Those novels proved to me that love stories can be inspirational and pure, yet still entertaining. I hope and pray that there are some who will still find that style of writing enjoyable and uplifting.

But, most of all, as I have seen this project come to fruition, I have become more aware of the very good things that God has blessed me with in this life. A good education, the profession of nursing, loving and supportive family and friends. And, most of all, faith in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As I was kindly rejected by a literary agent, I remember telling him that God would do what He wanted with this story, for it was His. And, it is His. Seeing it come to life has inspired me to try harder, do better, be kinder, be more faithful.

And so, whether it is commercially successful or not, whether it receives positive or negative reviews, whether readers find the characters as charming as I do or not, it is a success. Because dreams come true for very few, and I am one of the lucky (blessed) ones. And this process has made me a better person.

New beginnings………………


Well, hello again, blog friends. You might say I’ve treated friends with little consideration to be so long absent from the blogosphere. I’ve thought of many excuses: a demanding fulltime job, the distraction and time demands of self-publishing a novel, trying to make some effort to be a good wife-mother-daughter-grandmother. All reasonable and true, but not really valid reasons to neglect this part of my writer life!

My contrition was stimulated in part by a devotional thought this July 1 from my trustworthy book pictured above. That day’s thoughts were all about perseverance. Remembering all the times I have prayed for the strength to persevere, my heart was convicted that blogging is a test of that ability. Oh, yes, there are other important areas in which it is important to persevere–one’s faith, family relationships (even when somewhat dysfunctional), the continuous learning required in one’s profession, cultivating friendships–to name a few. But the commitment to contribute to my little corner of the digital world should not be taken lightly. I began this adventure with selfish motives–to build a platform and get my book published. With the decision to self-publish (a process which is well underway and responsible for many of the afore-mentioned distractions and demands), platform slipped on the totem pole of priorities. The past few days I have been bothered by the nagging truth that blogging and the discipline necessary to this form of self-expression is an important measure of my ability to persevere.

“Because perseverance is so difficult, even when supported by the grace of God, from that is the value of new beginnings. For new beginnings are the life of perseverance.” Edward B. Pusey

Therefore, I am embarking on a NEW BEGINNING do not labor under the misapprehension that this will be my last new beginning, for I am sure that sooner or later I will lapse, as is the truth associated with all resolutions, New Year or otherwise. However, I pledge to do my best to do better. So, I was gratified to read a few lines later:

“Be patient with everyone, but above all with yourself. I mean, do not be disturbed because of your imperfections, and always rise up bravely from a fall. I am glad that you daily make a new beginning. There is no better means of progress in the spiritual life than to be continually beginning afresh, and never to think that we have done enough.”
Francis de Sales

I have indeed not done enough, but what an opportunity for improvement! I wonder how many of you might have experienced similar lapses. I hope you recognized and corrected yours more promptly than I have mine! I thank you for your understanding and forgiveness……………