Category Archives: Interview

Prepared for that Moment: Interview with Sue Cato

At eighty-three, cancer-survivor Sue Cato is the one of the oldest active real estate brokers in the United States.

She has been in business for forty years, and she is one of the most fabulous women I know. She is a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother to many. She can bake a pie with one hand while closing a million dollar deal on the phone in the other. Her nails are always perfect, and her fashion sense, forever on point.

I adore her. I look up to her in myriad ways. It is my honor to introduce her to you.

Enjoy our conversation that follows in this short interview, filled with a lifetime’s worth of experience and advice on faith, ethics, business, finances, and the power of prayer.

LADY:  Forty years is a long time to do the same thing! How did you know you wanted to work in real estate? How does a person decide on a lifelong career?

SUE:  I stayed home with the kids for twenty-five years. But, one thing led to another–I planned events for friends, church, the kids’ school, the United Way, and the local college. Running a household as a purchasing agent, managing money.

Nothing I did was wasted. The good Lord was preparing me for my future.

The bank president needed commercial properties sold. A friend at church thought I would be good at it and suggested I go to work for the bank.

Everything I had done until then prepared me for that moment.

The good Lord was preparing me for my future.

 

LADY:  What do you recommend as a key to success in life?

SUE:  Pray.

Praying to do right is hard. I did everything above board. Even when you see something that if you ignored it you could make twenty thousand more dollars, you can never let money be your guiding light.

One thing, early on–I realized that the big boys in the corporations would try to eat me alive. I went into business for myself so they wouldn’t know what I was doing.

Work ethic.

Work hard.

I’ve never earned a penny I didn’t work for. Nobody’s ever given me a thing in my job.

Work ethic is part of who I am. I’ve always had a desire to be a winner. And where I could work hard, I did.

Never let money be your guiding light.

 

LADY:  What keeps you going?

SUE:  When I got sick (with cancer) I didn’t know what was going to happen.

I prayed a lot. I continued to study the hospitality industry. Stay current.

If you have food to eat, if you have a roof over your head, even if it’s someone who’s feeding you a meal or will take you in, then you aren’t poor–you’re inconvenienced.

 

LADY: How do you handle challenges in the workplace?

SUE:  I had a client that had a horrible tragedy, and the sale fell through.

You send flowers.

You suck it up and go on.

Because what can you do?  What can you say?  You don’t waste a penny. You may have to borrow money to eat, but you pray, and you tell yourself this too shall pass.

And you keep going.

I’ve made mistakes in my career. I assumed I would make a sale, and I’d be committed to something else before having the money.

Know your abilities before you commit yourself to responsibility.

If you have financial trouble, pray to God to show you priorities.

If you have food to eat, if you have a roof over your head, even if it’s someone who’s feeding you a meal or will take you in, then you aren’t poor–you’re inconvenienced.

Keep going.

 

LADY:  What does courage look like for you? 

SUE:  Courage is faith in action, believing that Jesus is the son of God and that He came for my redemption. Knowing that I have Jesus gives me a reason to get up in the morning, a reason to care about others, a reason to tolerate.

Knowing that the sparrows and the lilies of the field, He cares for them so well–and He still loves them less than He loves me? He will care for me. And if the whole world falls down, I can still be joyful because Jesus loves me.

When I face challenges, the times when I let Him live through me, those are the times that I am forced to get out of the center of the universe and just let God be God.

Courage is faith in action.

Just let God be God.

***

Thanks again, Queen Sue!

Nothing was wasted. The Good Lord was preparing me for my future…Everything I had done until then prepared me for that moment.  ~Sue Cato

Pray. Work hard. Keep going. Let God be God. ~Sue Cato 

Crazy in Love with God. Interview with Chana Keefer, Bestselling Author. {WATCH}

You are called to something.

We all are.

I love connecting people with each other, especially the ones I know who are courageously pursuing that call.

In this interview of six short questions, meet Chana Keefer, best-selling author of several books and a great friend of Lady the Fearless.  Chana encourages, inspires, and shares tips for any of you who are pursuing that thing–whatever it is–that you feel called to do.

Check out her new book, Annabelle:  A Ghostly Texas Tale, and her other books here.  Great additions to any Christmas list!

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-12-33-57-pm

You’ll also find a heartfelt video response to these questions at the end–watch when you can!  You will be lifted up and leave with practical applications from this interview.

LADY:  Hi, Chana, my friend!  Thanks so much for being here today!  First question, simple and sweet!  What inspired you to be a writer?           

CHANA:  Growing up, some of my favorite moments were getting lost in a good book.

Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Lucy Maude Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, and others had that gift of making me forget my troubles at the same time I was learning huge life lessons such as empathy, courage, kindness, and even God’s character.

I always wanted to write a book–it was an item on the ol’ bucket list–but it wasn’t until I went through intense personal battles, that at their core were spiritual battles, I unwittingly put a foot on the road of writing.

Desperation led me to prayer for an hour every morning which led to vivid dreams that led to a story I HAD to get down on paper. As I grew closer to God, the NEED to write burned me up so much I would get up way-early in the morning to pray and let the words pour out. Connection and flow.

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-12-52-19-pm
Chana’s first book, an answer to prayer. Click image to read reviews and novel summary.

 

 LADY:  Amen!  Tell us a little bit about your latest book, Annabelle: A Ghostly Texas Tale.                                                                                                       

CHANA:  Annabelle has been very patient. I actually started writing the story in the spring of 2007 but learning about publishing and juggling life in general kept this wonderful story on the back burner. My family, especially my hubby, always said it was their favorite of my stories and every time I cracked the manuscript open to edit, I would always end up crying, kinda dazzled by the beauty of it.

On the surface, Annabelle sounds like a simple ghost story but the themes are much deeper. Who hasn’t felt a bit like an old house, past its prime, glory days gone by, gutted and abused by life? I know I have. The young family in the story are decimated by harsh circumstances when they limp into the tale. It’s a beautiful, timeless story of restoration and redemption.

Who hasn’t felt a bit like an old house, past its prime, glory days gone by, gutted and abused by life? 

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-12-57-32-pm
Alternative cover art for Annabelle, by the talented Disney artist, Scott Seeto.

 

LADY:  What’s it like to be a writer AND a mom AND a homeschooler AND run an online jewelry business AND work in the prayer ministry at church? How do you juggle it all and stay filled so that you have something to give?        

CHANA:  (Laughs) GREAT question for which there is no easy answer.

The hardest thing to juggle as a writer, wife, mom, etc. is my own self-defeating inner dialogue–something, with God’s help, I continually work to improve.

Do I EVER feel that I’m doing all those roles well?  VERY rarely.

There are little victories that arrive hand-in-hand with more challenges. I try to stop and celebrate the victories, at least a moment, before turning to the next flub or challenge. Kind of like popping your head up to breathe while swimming, taking a moment to notice a victory, no matter how minor, gives me the breath to keep on going.

What’s funny is, on a day when I might feel like, “Wow, I am totally killing it! Yes!” whether in writing, homeschooling, keeping house, whatever, I tend to hit a wall later that evening.

Basically, my expectations and reality don’t really mix therefore I constantly feel I’m not doing enough. (Anyone relate? Perfectionists, self-floggers, over-achievers?) It’s a constant struggle but thank God for His grace and His perspective to help me kick Chana off the throne to remember it’s all about HIM anyway.

In a practical way, I have to remember to give myself permission to enjoy something once in a while. It’s amazing how laughter, a chat with a friend or even reading a good book will re-boot my energy.

The hardest thing to juggle as a writer, wife, mom, etc. is my own self-defeating inner dialogue–something, with God’s help, I continually work to improve.

 LADY:  What other advice do you have for aspiring writers and creatives?          

CHANA:  I was never a very disciplined person until I had to be.

When the prayer and writing became as vital as breathing, discipline followed–at least in committing to them every day.

Therefore, find your WHY and go after it. The best place to discover meaning and purpose is in God’s presence since He made you and knows what will fill you up. I feel all true art is spiritual in nature, therefore we must connect in a spiritual manner with the Creator of all.

Again, connection & flow. Out of that will flow the passion that will keep you going day by day, where real life works hard to knock you off-track.

 Find your WHY and go after it.

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-1-01-08-pm
Chana writes what is known as “speculative fiction.” Her books don’t fit neatly into a genre or category because of her unusual story lines, which she would say are God given.

LADY:  What is your hope or prayer for anyone who reads Annabelle, or any of your books?                                                                                              

CHANA:  With all my books, whether inspirational romance, epic spiritual warfare, memoir, etc, my deepest prayer is for the reader to be ushered into God’s presence–to “taste and see the Lord is GOOD.”

Just like a song embeds words and messages in our hearts, so I pray these stories plant vital seeds of being crazy-in-love with God. That’s the start. Open heart, mind, and spirit to our loving, healing, inspiring, empowering Father, then He takes it from there.

I pray these stories plant vital seeds of being crazy-in-love with God.  

LADY:  What does fearlessness look like for you? And what do you do to grow in courage and to fight fear in your career, life, and faith?                                                                                                                                     

CHANA:  I love Joyce Meyers’ advice to “Do it afraid!”

God does not bring me into a comfort zone.

Every single time I speak or share stuff online or unveil a new book, there’s trepidation. I’d like to say I never waver, that my eyes are so fixed on God there is zero fear and I don’t mind if people say negative things, but that just ain’t so. It has to be a choice of “Who will I serve: Fear or God?” The one I obey is the one I serve.

Courage, for me, is looking fear in the eye, taking God’s hand and plowing through it. I may gulp big and quaver a bit, but it’s not my power anyway that’s going to accomplish something of eternal value.

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-12-51-40-pm
Lady the Fearless reads Chana Keefer!!! Don’t know which one to read first! All proceeds from “Servant of the King” go to Kemper Krabb’s international ministries.

 

Courage, for me, is looking fear in the eye, taking God’s hand and plowing through it.

***

Thanks again, Chana!  

Who will I serve: Fear or God?” The one I obey is the one I serve. –Chana Keefer

WATCH Chana answer questions in person at the link below.  Wisdom, transparency, and prayers from the heart.

For the Underdog: Interview with Chikk. {FREE DOWNLOAD}

A life well lived is encouragement and example to the rest of us.  A vision at Lady the Fearless is the feature of different courageous women and true brothers from time to time.  In that vein, I’m happy to give you the FIRST of many interviews and biographies today, with the incredible singer/songwriter, Chikk.
Already a K-Pop songwriting star in South Korea,  Chikk is rising in the LA music scene.  She is a passionate professional.  And a lover of God.  And my dear friend.
I interviewed her with five short questions this week, and I think you’ll relate to her story and be inspired.  She is a powerhouse of energy, and is vulnerable and honest about the challenges of creativity, emotion, work, life, and faith.

And follow this link for a free download of the song as a gift from Chikk.
Be energized, encouraged, and enjoy!!!
***

LADY:  Chikk!  I love this EP! So amazing. Thanks so much for being here today!  Can you start by sharing the inspiration for  the song, War, and the rest of the album?

CHIKK:  There were so many inspirations behind War.  One huge inspiration was actually Rick Joyner’s book, The Final Quest.  It changed my perspective on what type of War we were, and still are, really fighting.  My song, War, is about the fight against darkness, the fight for Truth, and the fight within self.

LADY:  Of course, there is no way you could have known in advance what would happen in Dallas and around the country in terms of shootings and racially charged protests immediately before the scheduled release of War. How do you feel about the song War being born into the current atmosphere?

CHIKK:  That’s a great question!  I could have never predicted that within 3 days of each other, our country would go into such mayhem & the release of War would fall within that same week!  I believe Dallas was only a reaction to other actions.  Baton Rouge’s Alton Sterling and Minnesota’s Philando Castile were the immediate actions that led to the Dallas reaction.  At first I was scared out of my mind! I didn’t know if I should even put it out anymore… But after doing research on the events and the history that preceded these events, I knew it was God.  And I also knew it was bigger than me.

LADY:  What is your prayer or hope for anyone who listens to this album?

CHIKK:  I hope and pray that whoever listens to this song, and the EP when it comes out, hears VICTORY! That they hear a voice that has overcome the darkest of moments, a voice that now stands in the redeeming Light.  I want anyone who hears this to KNOW that they are worth it!  That they are good enough, and if anyone ever tries to tell them different, instead of backing down or giving up, they will rise! They will start a War unlike anyone has ever seen before. That they will fight with their knowledge, with their pain, with their rejection, and with one of the most precious weapons we could ever use, forgiveness. This project, this song, it is “For the Underdog,” which is the title of the EP, set to release this fall.

Can you share a few of your favorite lyrics and where you were when you wrote them, or any other outstanding memories of songwriting for this album?

Some of my favorite lyrics! I love this question.

And all the talk about you’re not good enough. Forget about all of your broken hearts, because I bet…It was good for the both of us

It’s a lyric that reminds me that none of the hurt was in vain. It was all working in my favor, even when I couldn’t see it.

I wrote these songs in my car actually.  I either started them or finished them in the car while working a job to make money & live. During that process, I was ready to give up on my dreams altogether. It just seemed too hard to keep going, but I did. And I’m so glad that I did! This project was birthed from a place of pure confusion, shame, doubt and low self esteem. So I would have to say my favorite moment, was when I no longer felt ashamed. Doubt had left and I loved every single part of myself. I wondered what had happened, to change all of this.  And it was because I had told a part of my story.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I was healing while I was writing.  And now I look back in amazement at it all!

LADY:  What does fearlessness look like for you?  And what do you do to grow in courage and to fight fear in your career, life, and faith?

CHIKK:  Fearlessness for me, is accepting that you will have fears. Strange right? I find that I am more courageous when I have made peace with my fears. Anytime I deny myself of the reality of being human & having real fears, I shut down. Or I run. Looking whatever it is I am afraid of, in the face, is the first step to me being fearless. It takes the fear from my mind, body and soul, and puts it in front of me. Now I have no attachment to it. Now I can strategize how to overcome it. I can not overcome fear, until I let go of it. I can not let go of it, until I admit I am actually holding it.