It’s time to meet another fun, dedicated FaithWriter member. So, how about the lovely, sweet, and silly Catrina Bradley! Heeeere’s Cat!
JOANNE: Cat, tell us a bit about yourself.
CATRINA: Acres of woods and pasture were my back yard growing up on an Iowa family farm. I think it was the hours of wandering and exploring and sitting in trees dreaming that is the root of my love of the outdoors and my preference for being alone. I had six brothers and sisters, and I preferred the company of the birds and crickets. A desire to experience the world outside of my small town motivated me to join the Air Force, where I met the man who would become the other half of me – the Bradley to my Catrina. Awww – so sweet!
I’ve worked at a variety of jobs in my life, but the Air Force confirmed every other aptitude test I’d taken – I was meant to work in electronics. God had other plans for me though, and no matter where I was, in an avionics shop tweaking resisters and capacitors or on the flight line replacing parts on fighter jets, I gravitated toward administrative and secretarial tasks. After 20 years and a return to my Savior, the time was right and God called me to the ministry he had prepared – a church secretary. HE’S been my boss for five years now, and, seriously, who could ask for a better one?
JOANNE: You’ve definitely got the best boss ever. Have you always enjoyed writing? When did the interest first spark? What do you most like to write?
CATRINA: This may sound strange, but what I’ve always enjoyed is pen gliding over paper, creating words and sentences and paragraphs and pages – physically writing. One of my earliest memories is realizing that the marks my big sister was making on the page were WORDS! And a whole new world was opened to me. I’ve always been more of a reader than a writer, but characters who wrote inspired me to try it from time to time. Laura Ingalls Wilder is probably my biggest inspiration, but there were many others. I wrote in journals and diaries sporadically as a child, and my little sister and I started a newspaper once.
My first writing success was in 2nd grade – I came in second place in an essay contest. My parents must have known that I’d either be a writer or a secretary (or both!), because they gave me a typewriter for Christmas when I was nine. It was my favorite present. I like to write fiction, but nonfiction comes much easier for me. I love to write devotions. When God speaks to me or reveals a truth, I want to share it with the world! And a good ranting essay can be cathartic. I also have an insane craving to write poetry—I have no idea why; I don’t even LIKE poetry as a rule–but have been told I have talent.
JOANNE: You DO have poetry talent, by the way. Anyhow, brag on your family a bit. Are they supportive of your writing?
CATRINA: My husband is the best! He would love me to write more than I do, and gives me nudges when he notices me getting complacent. He’s a meticulous proofreader and an honest critic. We’ve been together for 25 years, each day of which has been a blessing. My daughter is a writer herself and she’s thrilled that we share a gift and a passion. She’s searching for a position as a middle school drama teacher, and most recently has become an aspiring stand-up comedienne.
My puppy, on the other hand, makes every effort to thwart my attempts to write, going as far as leaping over the arm of my chair onto my laptop when I ignore her. Lucy is a year-old, cute-as-a-button, rambunctious, loving chiweenie (dachshund/Chihuahua mix). She doesn’t bite, but she will lick you until you say uncle.
JOANNE: I think NO pet wants people to write. What are your other interests/passions besides writing?
Reading, of course. Anything outdoors, including reading (and writing). My favorite place to be is in the middle of God’s creation. That could be why I like camping so much. I’d like to go more often but life gets in the way.
I’m very passionate about tanning–I take my sunbathing seriously. God was kind enough to bless me with good skin and I’m responsible enough to protect it with sunscreen, don’t worry. And don’t hate me because I only need a SPF 4. Could NEVER hate Catrina!
I like to dabble in photography, then editing, cropping, and perfecting my photos digitally. I might be a graphic designer in an alternate universe (if such a thing were to exist).
KIDS! I love kids! I feel I can relate to them so much better than most adults. I teach Sunday School, and it’s the best hour of my week. I keep candy, toys, and coloring books in my office, and the kids know where to look when they come to hang out with Mrs. Cathy.
The BEACH. My dream is to live at the beach on a tropical island. I’ll rent chairs while Brad tends a little Tiki bar. I’m thinking St. Croix, but I’ve heard Curacao is nice.
JOANNE: I know the answer to this question, but many others may not. How did you find FaithWriters?
CATRINA: Funny you should ask, Jo. For you “others,” it was Joanne herself who introduced me to FaithWriters in 2006 (and I am forever indebted.) We both belong to a Yahoo group for Christian wives (theexcellentwife2 if you are interested). Jo posted there a few times about FaithWriters, and shared a couple of her challenge entries. I checked it out, thought, ‘Huh. I can do that,’ and joined. The challenge was on break and I used that time to read tons of entries and of course check out the message boards top to bottom. It didn’t take long for my newbie shine to wear off.
JOANNE: What is the best part of FaithWriters, in your opinion?
CATRINA: The community, for sure. I joined FaithWriters basically to practice a hobby, but found I what amounts to the best church home away from home you could ask for. I found true communion – with God and each other – and that’s what I think Jesus had in mind when He established His Church. We not only share our writing, we share our lives with each other.
JOANNE: What are your goals as a writer?
CATRINA: That’s a great question!! I wish I knew. My immediate goal is to figure out what in the world I want to do with this gift God gave me. My writing is all over the place and I can’t decide on a focal-point to work toward. My husband is encouraging me to put together a book of my short stories and devotions and have it self-published. My brother-in-law just happens to own and run a book bindery out of his basement and would be overjoyed to do if for me, I know. My goal for 2½ years has been to submit my writings to magazines. I can’t seem to work up the gumption to do the work involved though.
I do have a few published devotions, poems and stories scattered around on-line, and my first PAID work will be published this fall—a devotion in the book The One Year Devotional of Joy and Laughter: 365 Inspirational Meditations to Brighten your Day by Mary Hollingsworth, from Tyndale House. I still haven’t cashed the check. It’s sitting with the acceptance letter, propped against my collection of classics. Seeing the name Catrina Bradley every day alongside the likes of Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Somerset Maugham and Edgar Allen Poe gives me inspiration.
JOANNE: Congratulations on that paid devotional! Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
CATRINA: It wouldn’t feel right to tell you all of this about myself without giving the glory to God. He is, after all, the One who created me, gave me Life abundant, and gifted me with all I have—physically, mentally, and spiritually. He is my doting Father, who never fails to provide, but (for my own good) doesn’t let His precious daughter get away with any shenanigans. He is my Jesus, who loved me enough to suffer and die for me. He is my Holy Spirit, who comforts, leads, guides, and corrects me. He is my inspiration. My All in All. I wouldn’t be me without Him.
Thanks so much, Cat, for sharing with us. I’m so excited to hear about your devotional getting published, and know that God will lead you to just the right writing projects, and plans.