life is a long and difficult journey…be sure to stop now and then for a little snack

Where Have I Been?

Where Have I Been?

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.” ~ Anne Lamott

Aside from my previous post (about my recent “vaca”)  I have still been trying to physically recover (SO time-consuming)…and while doing so, I have been literally sitting on the edge of my sofa, intensely reading another blog; that of my friend, Deanna.   Such kindred spirits, we are.   She’s an amazing lady with an amazing story…HER story…why don’t you join me in reading what she has to share…you will never be the same – I promise.

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Genuine Happiness Ahead

I saw this picture on Facebook and absolutely love it so I had to share it with ya’ll!  Out of all of these choices, which will you choose to start YOUR journey to genuine happiness?  Mine started with “J” for Jesus and I am always incorporating the others…and don’t you know my “R” would have said “ReeCreate”  🙂

(Hint:  I am going to print this out and put on my fridge as a reminder 🙂 )



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Never be Ashamed…

I can’t tell you how much I love this saying!  Not only because some of our invisible “inner scars”…but our very visible, outer scars, disabilities, etc.

After I got all of my scars through my many surgeries in 2010 (my torso gives Mapquest a run for it’s money), I was very self-conscious of them because they start from my neck down and are very noticeable, as is the lymphedema, a side effect of the tumors/surgeries that without God’s healing, I will have the rest of my life.

My insecurities all started after my first shopping trip and I saw the cashier staring at my chest (and she even asked me what happened to me).  At first, I thought I should take the advice of many who suggested creams and lotions that would help “diminish” their appearance…and of course, no more open-neck shirts for me, no more shorts, or Heaven forbid, bathing suits.  It’s one thing to be able to hide my inner scars, but now, these are right out there for everyone to see.   I always wished I could wear a shirt that said “Yea, I am the only person ever that gained 100+ pounds having a body riddled with tumors and now I am left with lymphedema, so that is why I have the scars and body shape issues”.  How many of us want to wear a shirt that would “explain” ourselves so that we would not have to address the ugly looks, snickers, stares and comments of strangers, even though we know that it their problem, not ours, it doesn’t always make it easy to deal with.

Heart Scar

Where my visible scar starts…

After a month or so, it finally dawned on me that the visible scars on my body from the surgeries should not be something of embarrassment, but an opportunity to (literally) “show off” and tell folks about how God saved my life by sharing the testimony of my tumors!  I was able to share God with people in a way that I have never been able to do before and it was awesome – my own, unique witnessing tool!  I truly praise God all the time for what He’s done for me, my family and others through those tumors!  I no longer wanted to wear “cover up” clothing or miracle creams, etc. because I WANTED people to see them ask me about them!  Actually, I am sad that many of my scars have faded, even with my light Irish skin tone, but the one that is most visible to everyone has remained the darkest, the one in this picture.  I am so happy that God has allowed that scar to be so pinky/purple because I don’t want to lose my opportunity to share with others and SHOW them what He has done for me and give them hope….what tried to kill me only made me stronger and brought many blessings with it.  Go figure.  My hubby, Jon, said that one of the reasons that God allowed my tumor removal/healing to come through the surgeries (and not just merely a snap of His fingers or something) was because He knows what a chatty little chick I am and that I would share what He did for me to help encourage others; I have such a wise hubby.

But no worries, folks…I will still spare everyone the vision of me in a bathing suit 🙂


Love Makes it All Better

Yes…it has been a challenging week for many folks in our country…2 national tragedies that still need our prayers…for those who have lost precious loved ones…for the people who are on the front lines in search/rescue/medical personnel…and those of us who are “on the outside looking in”.  While in weeks like this, we might wonder where God is in all of this…well..His heart is grieving, too, and He wants to show us His Love.

I saw this Snoopy cartoon and it reminded me of our week…but how God would love to just love on us during this time…and not just with a kiss, but with His Love, Peace, and Compassion.  The question is…will you let Him?


Photo: Charles Schultz – Snoopy

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If they only knew…

I love this for 2 reasons…one, is because I love fruit – de-lish!  The other, on a more serious note, is it reminds me that don’t we all think about ourselves this way, not realizing just how wonderful God made us – inside and out… ♥


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Enjoy your journey…

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What Tried to Kill Me Made Me Stronger…

Three years ago today, my life was forever changed.  Many people get to have a life-changing day and each is unique.  As usual, since I can’t seem to do anything under the radar, mine was “right up there”.

Three years ago today, God saved my life; physically (spiritually, He did that back on March 21, 1989.)  The (very) short version of this day was that I went into the hospital with a major bowel obstruction and came out with open heart surgery, removing a very rare tumor that was inside of my heart.

Yup.  I felt like a celebrity; I was “the one with the tumor” that everyone in the hospital talked about.  Apparently no one, not even my renowned thoracic surgeon, Dr. Bartley Griffith, had ever seen someone still living with this type of tumor; he’d only seen it in a few folks in his 30+ years of practice and they were all in autopsy because the tumor killed them before it could be found.  There are no real symptoms to this kind of tumor; it was “accidentally” found when the MRI tech took a picture of my entire torso and not just my lower half, when trying to find out what was obstructing my bowels.  We all know that it was no accident  🙂  (side note – The bowel obstruction was caused by 2 very large tumors in my abdomen, which resulted in a surgery 4 months later, including a hysterectomy.)

So…now I am famous…in the medical journals at University of Maryland hospital and doctors and other medical personnel learn from the operation that Dr. Griffith did to my heart.  That is awesome and I am glad that others can learn from my experience. But, wow…I was the one fixin’ to learn the biggest lesson of my life…

God completely changed my life; inside and out.  Even with all of this trauma over a year of 5 hospitalizations, major surgeries, etc., I still felt a lot of inner peace like never before.   Jon had peace and I felt it from him; he is such a rock for me and the boys.  You can’t imagine how thankful I am for him.  God gave me exactly what I needed, who I needed and when I needed it/them.  No surprise since that’s what His Word says He will do; but for me, it was as if He was laying there right next to me that year – taking all the pain – physical and emotional – and that was not something I had ever experienced before.

Pain that I should have felt, I did not.  Extended medical issues I should have experienced, I did not.  Many, many signs of God literally taking my burdens from me.  Jon and Richard never left my side (and even though Tim was away at school, he didn’t miss a beat.)  Even my faithful Golden Retriever, Cody, laid right next to my recliner with me 24/7 and wouldn’t let anyone near me; my furry protector.  My friends stopping by (no small feat since I live in the boonies) bringing good wishes and meals to give my mother-in-law one less thing to tend to.  My amazing parents-in-law dropped everything and flew up from Florida to take care of me and tend to Richard, etc. so that Jon could go back to work.  My dear mother-in-law is a saint, that’s all I can tell you.  And my father-in-law, an absolute gem.  I don’t know what we would have done if they didn’t come for that first month to go through the worst of it with us; they are my angels and I love them immensely.

While I was living in my recliner for the year, God did some incredible work in me (I was finally sitting still long enough!)  In this time,  I went through psychological and spiritual steps toward healing, some quite painful, both inside and out.  Part of that healing included finding the rest of my family.

After finding out that my tumor was hereditary, and knowing how deadly it was, I just could not live with myself if I didn’t at least make an effort to find them and warn them – and yeah – would be incredible to “meet” them too.  Oh, I forgot to tell you…I am adopted!  Knowing what little I knew about my first family (born to young teen parents in 1964) in the past, I didn’t want to disrupt their lives, cause problems, etc.  Besides, I was not really anxious to open myself up to get rejected, again, from people that my adoptive mom told me didn’t want me.  But somehow, now I felt like it was time to open that door of my life, regardless of the outcome.  So with my husband and boys blessing, as well as love and support from 2 of my closest friends (who have always encouraged me to do this years ago), I started my journey…to find my former self.

My world was blown out of the water and will never be the same, in so many ways.  In a circumstance that I can only describe as God’s hand literally opening this door for me, I found them in about 15 minutes!  After the shock wore off and I stopped shaking, the subsequent months – and now years – have been full of love – and change – and acceptance – and rejection…nothing short of a Hallmark movie!  A great story for another day.


Although I usually wear the silver heart that Jon gave to me every day, this was taken on St. Patrick’s Day, and well, I was wearin’ my green 🙂

For me, today is a deep reflection of the chain of miracles that God did for me; beginning with the tumors, which satan meant to destroy every part of me.  Apparently no one told the evil man that I am 1/2 Irish and 1/2 Sicilian = very stubborn.  In more ways than one, God dug deep inside my heart filling a hole that only He can fill.  Now, I am stronger than ever, not physically (as I was left with some disability because of the tumors and surgeries) but more importantly, emotionally and spiritually.  To tell God “Thank You” is nowhere near sufficient…so I choose to thank Him by striving to make my life count for His Purpose even more each of these “borrowed days” that He has graciously given to me – to enjoy and love my husband, sons and extended family – and to love and serve others as I have always done but now with a new stride.  And I wear my “badge of honor” scar with pride.  I like to show it off because it gives me an opportunity to tell people what God has done for me…and I love to brag on my Heavenly Father ❤

(The words to this song bring on a whole new meaning for me know…I LOVE it…enjoy!  .  )

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I Will Be…  ShastaDaisies7-14-05

LOVE the words (and music) to this song by Wynonna…completely describes my journey this past year…<3  Hope it encourages you as well.


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Don’t Be Stopped!


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