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Putting the Puzzle Together: Who is Kathy McGraw

Updated on May 4, 2015

Everything starts from within

I have been described many times as being an Intense person that thinks "a million thoughts a minute". I am also an optimistic and sentimental person that tries to find the good in everything I see, or experience. Oh, I'm a realist too, but finding the beauty in what others see as "less than" is a big part of my personality.

Louie Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" brings tears to my eyes, and Frank Sinatra's "I did it my way" is the song I have told everyone to play at my funeral.

I cry with sad movies, and get angry when people take advantage of others. I am opinionated, outspoken, and loyal to those that I choose, or who have chosen me. I am complicated, yet simple, and love the simple things in life. This is a part of who I am, and the following are more pieces of the puzzle that makes up "Who is Kathy McGraw.

Broken Children finding a place in the Puzzle

Children have always played an important part in my life. I am not only a mother and Grandmother but I have been a Foster Mother at various times for over 20 years, both here and overseas.

As my children were growing up I got involved by being a Cub Scout Den mother, then later coached little league and was involved with the Pop Warner Football program as first a mother then a Commissioner.

My biggest challenges and absolutely the most rewarding parts of my life was working with, as well as being a Foster Mother to the children no one wanted: the Gang kids, the emotionally disturbed ones that had been kicked out of the school systems, etc. I only wanted long term care as it is very emotionally draining working with children that have so many problems. It also takes time to undo the negative behaviors they learned as survival skills and this is best accomplished without the influence of dysfunctional family members. I am proud to say that all my long term foster children became productive members of society.

Nothing feels better than seeing children that were marginalized find a place in society, and actually learn to overcome their problems.

After raising my children, I went overseas and worked with the Romanian Orphans. I would take the AIDS children home on week-ends to help integrate them into the civil society. They had lived a life of seclusion, and one in which I could barely contain myself at the deplorable conditions they suffered. These children were half starved and were emotionally, physically and developmentally delayed.

After the fall of communism in 1989 the world got it's first glimpse of these "Orphanages" where children were supposed to be taken care of by the State, but at what cost? Romania had the highest number of Pediatric Aids in Europe for many years,but is now surpassed by Russia. Poor Medical Care was the main cause of the Pediatric Aids, and while I was there it didn't seem much better. In fact the "Hospital" I helped close down was akin to a pigsty, and the term "Hospital" seemed almost criminal to use, according to my values, and those of the host country nationals that I worked with to help move these children into long term family oriented care homes.

Photography is another piece of the Puzzle

Some of my Photos

Click thumbnail to view full-size
HawaiiCalifornia PoppiesLizardSmokey BearOld Spanish Style BuildingTide pools at duskMill in OregonTrain StationMain Square in PragueValley of Fire
California Poppies
California Poppies
Smokey Bear
Smokey Bear
Old Spanish Style Building
Old Spanish Style Building
Tide pools at dusk
Tide pools at dusk
Mill in Oregon
Mill in Oregon
Train Station
Train Station
Main Square in Prague
Main Square in Prague
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire


When I was younger I wanted to grow up to be a WRITER of children's books. This has remained in the back of my mind, and I always say I will write one before I die. To be truthful I have a manuscript in my file cabinet that I have never done anything with, it's a cute story I wrote for a 3 year old Foster Child.

Update May 2012 : I took that story out of the file cabinet, and published it on Amazon. It's called Ryan the FIREMAN .

I also have ghost written many speeches, articles, and training materials. I also have my own blog, and blog on a Real Estate network.


I am an Honorably Discharged Veteran ...of the last Group of the Women's Army Corps, before it was assimilated into the regular Army in 1978. We were the last group that was not required to qualify on the Rifle Range, but I did anyway, earning my medal for Marksman, and later going on to join the Pistol Team.

My Grandmother had served in WW 1 and at least one person from every generation has served in the Military, including my son who served more than 8 years as a Pershing Missile Crew-member (also the last group).

Gee Mom I wanna Go Home was one of my favorite marching songs. I can visualize this one even today as we marched in the summer heat at Fort Jackson South Carolina. Many of us really did want to go home.

The Army taught me discipline, but mostly it taught me that I could do anything I wanted if I wanted it bad enough. It also taught me how to use anger for positive things instead of negative.

Travel is another of my favorite things and a big piece of the puzzle

Peace Corps Volunteer

I always wanted to join the Peace Corps, but life and responsibilities got in the way. Then in 1997 after my youngest had turned 18 and was safely in college, my nest was empty......

Romania, where was that???? I had never even heard of Romania......But this is where they wanted me to go. I became part of what is known as Romania 7, the seventh group of volunteers to enter the country after the fall of communism.

Nice to meet you

I hope you have gotten a little idea of who I am, so when we meet online you will feel a little more comfortable in our interactions. Down to Earth and simple.....that about sums it up.

Anyone remember the ending to the 50's Loony Tunes Cartoons..."That's All Folks" now it's your turn:

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    • coolaunt profile image


      7 years ago

      Love the puzzle theme and the brown bag blog. I always enjoy reading what you write anywhere. Suppose I need to follow your twitter to keep me laughing and inspired.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      7 years ago from Colorado

      I sure felt a kinship as I learned more about you. I think our hearts and minds are in many of the same places. I always wanted to participate in the Peace Corps. Most of my career has involved a passion for supporting the marginalized as together we work on moving from surivival mode to a place closer to thriving. We also share many of the same interests. I appreciate all that you are and all that you give. You have a beautiful spirit and essence. I'm always grateful to cross paths with you here.

    • Morgannafay profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice to meet you Kathy! I've seen you all over my forum lurk travels and when I came across this lens I figured, hey let me get to know who this is. :)

      I really loved your photography, the building in Prague was most spectacular! I also enjoyed your adventures, you really seem like a big hearted person. HUGS.

    • DANCING COWGIRL profile image

      Dancing Cowgirl Design 

      8 years ago from Texas

      You've had a most interesting life. I love the way you put it all together with the puzzle theme.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Such an interesting journey, I enjoyed finding out more about you Kathy. Beautifully put together too :)

    • yayas profile image


      8 years ago

      Well, Kathy McGraw, I am very happy to know more about you. This is such a great page. I love all the different ways you've found to relate the puzzle pieces to life. I've often thought of life in the same way because I love making puzzles, but it never occurred to me that anyone else might think of life as puzzle pieces. Thanks.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great to get to know you better, Kathy. You're a very special lady with a lot of love in your heart. Yes, I remember well the Loony Tunes sign-off. :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I don't know what impresses me more, the creativity of this lens or the life you've lived! Thank you for spending so many years of your life in service to others. What an inspiration!

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      9 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I am impressed with your success in long term foster care with the most wounded children. God bless you.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 

      9 years ago from UK

      Who is Kathy McGraw? A very special person, who has a big heart and has clearly done a great deal of good in helping the vulnerable, abused and forgotten of this world. Thanks for being a friend.

      Angel Blessed.

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathy McGraw 

      10 years ago from California

      @Richard-H: Richard- Thank you so much...and what a treat to get a Blessing from you :)

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathy McGraw 

      10 years ago from California

      @poptastic: Cynthia....thank you my friend, and what a journey we had :)

    • Richard-H profile image


      10 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      It's been wonderful getting to know you better, Kathy. And many thanks for your always helpful advice. It's a pleasure to leave you a Squid Angel blessing :)

    • poptastic profile image

      Cynthia Arre 

      10 years ago from Quezon City

      You are such an amazing person Kathy and I loved getting to know you better through your lenses and through our Squidoo journey. I'm back to leave an *angel blessing* on this impressive lensography.

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image


      10 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Wow ~ I'm impressed! It's a really cool idea how you compared yourself to a puzzle with many interesting pieces. :D Thanks for visiting my Bird page and for the surprise "blessing"!

    • rewards4life info profile image

      rewards4life info 

      10 years ago

      It is my pleasure to meet you, Kathy. You are definitely a person of many talents. Really enjoyed your lens.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Very nice lens, Kathy. I, too, love the puzzle pieces angle and learning some of what makes you "tick". May the rest of your life be as fun-filled and interesting as the beginning. Blessings to you.

    • LisaDH profile image


      10 years ago

      Nice to meet you! Great lens. I've always wanted to join the Peace Corps. Maybe some day after my kids are grown I'll follow your example. :-)

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      10 years ago from Central Florida

      Hi, Kathy, it was an interesting and colorful view of your life. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 

      10 years ago

      A fun and unique construction - love the puzzle pieces! Nice job on this lens.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      10 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Kathy, I've read many of your lenses, but the word 'Puzzle" in this title drew me in. I think I expected a lensogrqphy of your lenses; instead, I found myself face-to-face with a fascinating person. There is nothing 'basic' about you, my dear. You have done and seen more than the average person will ever see and do in a lifetime - and now I can see how you have become the wonderful person you are today. You've filled in the "puzzle pieces" of who you are -- and I'm delighted to meet the pieces of Kathy I didn't know... and really admire.

    • ZenandChic profile image


      10 years ago

      Wow! A lot of things I did not know about you. I love the puzzle pieces. Great lens! Blessed by an angel!

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathy McGraw 

      10 years ago from California

      @ZenandChic: Thanks Patricia....I thought you had been here before :) I just wrote the basics of who I am as I didn't want to write a novel on here LOL :) Thank you for the Blessings.

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathy McGraw 

      10 years ago from California

      @HorseAndPony LM: Thank You, and I will be back to buy some of those cute Horse things for little girls :)

    • HorseAndPony LM profile image

      HorseAndPony LM 

      10 years ago

      What a great lens. You have accomplished so many amazing things. Thank you for your special visit to my lens and Congratulations on Giant 100 and becoming a Squid Angel!

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathy McGraw 

      10 years ago from California

      @luvmyludwig lm: Thanks go enjoy the fruits of your labor :)

    • luvmyludwig lm profile image

      luvmyludwig lm 

      10 years ago

      Congrats Kathy on your 100 badge and on becoming an Angel, both are well deserved. Thank you so much for helping me reach my goal. You Rock!

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathy McGraw 

      10 years ago from California

      @BenOberg: Hey Ben...glad you found this, I was reading it and thinking of you and your desire to go into the Peace Corps...never too late, just go when you can :)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      You have to be one of the most well rounded people I've read about! Great lens! I love the puzzle theme.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Brilliant, I absolutely love the clever way you've put this lens together!! It was a pleasure learning more about you as person.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      10 years ago

      I love how you've organized this lens with the puzzle piece graphics. Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • profile image


      10 years ago


      this is a great, wonderful and moving lens. I have met you already via Squidoo ning, but after having read this lens I feel honoured knowing you.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Kathy thank you for saying hello on my Angel lens - lovely to hear from you. Yes, I have been on your lenses as I am a member of your Fanclub and I only join Fanclubs of the people who's lenses I like!

      It is great to watch you growing on Squidoo and I love the way you use the analogy of a puzzle to make the bigger picture that is you.

      This is an excellent lens. I love the layout, the pics and the content, so I have no alternative but to say SquidAngel Blessings for you and I look forward to visiting more of your lenses.

    • CherylK profile image

      Cheryl Kohan 

      10 years ago from Arizona

      What a life you've had, Kathy, and what an awesome layout for a lens! The puzzle pieces were a stroke of genius. You really need to get that manuscript out, polish it up and publish your book. I'll buy it :-). I've got eight grandchildren, three of them are the perfect age for you book. Am favoriting, 5 *ing, and lensrolling this. I'm also going to tweet it. Thanks, too, for visiting my lenses and for all your encouraging remarks.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I think I'm beginning to see how this all fits together.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      10 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Kathy, this is wonderful and I sure enjoyed reading more about you. I love the way you created this with the puzzle pieces. Great color, wonderful creativity and an amazing life story. Thank you for sharing.

    • KOrazem profile image

      Seeking Pearls 

      10 years ago from Pueblo West

      This is a beautiful lens. I love the colors of your life and the way you have presented your story. I commend you for your wonderful work as a foster parent and your work in Romania. 5*

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great lens! Beautiful photos. You have done it your way.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 

      10 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Very well done - I really liked the puzzle piece concept right from the start. As well, it was great to get to know you by reading about your personal life. You've lived quite the life and I commend and salute your efforts in helping the desolate! Nice to meet you too, Kathy!

    • VBright profile image


      10 years ago

      What a wonderful insight into Kathy! Outstanding puzzle piece images and a clear description of who you are! I can't wait for the lensography! :)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      You are a very deep and sensitive lady Kathy. I am enjoying getting to know you and truly wish you all the best. I would love to see the orb pictures that you have! Interesting person!!! - I would like to mention that several lensmasters are joining. It is a place where we can earn some extra money on existing content we have created by adding it to that site. I thought about joining for too long, and am having a blast with it. I'm Tipi on there, so give me a heads-up if you decide to check it out and join!!! :)


    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I too think it is great you joined the Peace Corps as an empty nester! I say dust off that manuscript & start submitting it :)

    • verymary profile image


      10 years ago from Chicago area

      I absolutely love that you joined the Peace Corps as an empty nester. I would love to do something like that. 5***** and a favorite

    • annetteghallowe1 profile image

      Annette Geiger 

      10 years ago

      What a beautiful lens! I like the puzzle pieces and great graphics. 5*

    • seashell2 profile image


      10 years ago

      Very nicely done, loved the puzzle pieces effect. Great to get to know you!

    • Terry Boroff profile image

      Terry Boroff (flipflopnana) 

      10 years ago from FL

      Definitely add creativity as a puzzle piece! I really enjoyed learning about all of the pieces that make up you. Just love this!

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 

      10 years ago

      very cool lens :-)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Kathy -- your idea of doing puzzle graphics is quite remarkable -- would be cool to see an assembly of these puzzle pieces to form a whole -- a whole view of you. Bravo my dear!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I enjoyed reading all about your wonderful work with the children -- and the puzzle pieces are brilliant!

    • thepartyanimal2 profile image


      10 years ago

      Wow you are one amazing woman - I also love your puzzle piece creativity that was the coolest. Great job!!! I give you 5 stars to fit in the puzzle.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      You did a great job on this Kathy! Love the graphics!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Kathy! Great to learn more about you. This is a wonderful RocketMoms About Me lens!

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Quick 

      10 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      A great theme! Thank you for fostering children. What an important ministry.

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 

      10 years ago

      Loved, loved your creative. Thanks for the share and putting together the puzzle that is you for me.

    • puzzlerpaige profile image


      10 years ago

      I love your introduction. Feel like I know you.

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathy McGraw 

      10 years ago from California

      [in reply to sandyspider] Sandy...Thank you for taking time to read, and rate this :)

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      10 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Those puzzle pieces of your life are great. 5*


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