Sunday, December 30, 2007
I Thessalonians 4:13-14 (NIV)
"Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him."
This morning I learned that Dr. Verdi, (the surgeon who performed my abdominoplasty a few weeks ago) passed away on Friday. Dr. Verdi was no mere surgeon, he was a kind hearted person and had become a dear friend. Words will not be able to express how much he will be missed. When I was in his office this past Wednesday, I watched all of the children, teens, men and women who were entering and exiting the office. You could tell that by the expressions on their faces, his work was not only changing people for the better on the outside, but on the inside as well.
When he examined me, he indicated that he had a doctor's appointment, but wanted to stop in and see me for himself. He commented on how well, I was progressing then took the time to tell me about his Holiday with his family. During my previous appointment, I had promised to bring in some before pictures (when I weighed 400+ lbs.) as well as my recent before surgery pictures. Since he was in a hurry, I didn't want to bother him so I just left my pictures stacked on my clothes (I was sporting one of those stylish paper gowns). He noticed the pictures on his own and asked to take a look at them. He was very complimentary and continued to talk to me about my final weight loss goals. As he was preparing to leave, he said that he wanted to see me in 3 to 4 weeks and thanked me for the kind note that I wrote to him in the Christmas Card that I sent to him. I thought WOW, out of the 1,000s of cards that he received, he took the time to read mine.
Later while one of my favorite nurses was removing my stitches, Dr. Verdi called to see how everything was going with me and he asked her 21 questions as to how things were going with the stitch removal. When the nurse hung-up, she commented on how thorough he was. I added that not only was he thorough, but he was thoughtful. I was amazed that even though he had his own doctor's appointment he called back to check on li'l ole me. But that's just how he was. The Saturday night after my surgery, he and his wife had dinner plans. On their way to dinner he asked his wife to stop by the hospital and to keep the car running while he ran into check on li'l ole me...WOW!
Dr. Verdi will be sorely missed. His work was not just a profession, but a ministry (his obituary is listed below). Even though I have been crying my eyes out, I don't weep as those who have no hope...I KNOW that I will see him again!
VERDI, GERALD, 72, passed away on Friday, December 28, 2007, at Suburban Hospital. Born March 8, 1936, in New York, son of James and Ann Verdi. Dr. Verdi graduated cum laude from both the University of Pennsylvania Dental School in 1960 and the Albany Medical School in 1965. Following medical school, he received a Navy commission and served in Vietnam from 1966-1968 on the hospital ship, the USS Repose. He received the Navy Commendation Medal, in 1967, for his performance as a surgeon. Dr. Verdi was a clinical professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Louisville Dental School and a clinical professor of Plastic Surgery at the University of Louisville Medical School. In 2006, he was recognized by Louisville Magazine as the area's best cosmetic surgeon. For many years, he was very active also as a reconstructive surgeon, performing thousands of cleft lip and palate procedures, both in the US and abroad. He organized the Louisville regional cranial facial anomalies team in 1977, which was then the 9th full service cranial facial team in the world. Dr. Verdi's professional accomplishments, outstanding as they were, were surpassed by his love for his wife and family and by his generosity, friendship, and courtesy he extended to everyone he met. Dr. Verdi was a proud member of the National Italian American Federation and of the Order Sons of Italy. He was preceded in death by his father, James Verdi. He is survived by his wife Charlene Verdi; four sons, Michael, Sean (Karen), Marc, Chris (Lizzet) Verdi; three grandchildren; mother, Ann Verdi; brother, Richard Verdi. Funeral services will be 1 p.m. on Monday at St. Boniface Catholic Church. Family will receive guests from 2-7 p.m. on Sunday at Pearson-Ratterman Funeral Home, 12900 Shelbyville Road, Middletown. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Home of the Innocents.
Published in The Courier-Journal on 12/30/2007.
Friday, December 28, 2007
As this year is drawing to a close, I am in complete and total awe at just how AWESOME GOD is!!!
First of all, my RECOVERY is going well. I am sore and swollen but not in pain. In all, Dr. Verdi removed 12 lbs. of excess skin from my stomach and back...WOW!!!! I weened myself off my pain medication more than a week ago, my stitches were removed on 12/26/07 and I have been approved to increase my activity, but I am NOT allowed to do any form of cardio. To be honest, that has been the hardest part of my recovery...IMAGINE THAT! But thankfully, I am allowed to do some in-home walking and light lifting.
Ocassionally, I find myself feeling a little blue, but my spirits are lifted when I journal/post about my REFLECTIONS for 2007. GOD has been sooooooo good to me and He continues to make a way out of no way. Listed below are just a few things that I am super duper grateful for...
1. Keeping and blessing my family (biological and SP family)
2. My sister's release from prison and our new more sister-like relationship
3. Forming and developing a bond with the members of DIVAs Gettin' Down
4. Being introduced to Spark by my niece NEWBEIN and the relationship that has been formed with her
5. Losing over 60 lbs. this year and over 180 lbs. in all (okay...Deondra hold on finish this posting...)
6. Upper management accepting my proposal to create a new job for me and being able to transition into the job before my surgery, which allows me to work from home...Ain't GOD Good!!!
7. Being selected as a testimonial in the Core Rhythms Infomercial and to further learn that it will air all of 2008 and will be shown internationally.
8. I am so thankful for the friendships that I have forged with the members of BBQ and the CARDIO CONNOISSEURS. I am also thankful for having more than one true friend and those TRUE friends have really proven their loyalty and dedication during my recovery!!!
9. Finally accepting who I am and learning that people love me for who I am on the inside
10. I could truly go on and on, but I am just thankful for ALL of the doors and windows that GOD has opened in 2007 and I am waiting with tip-toe anticipation to see what He has in store for ALL of us in 2008!
Which brings me to my RESOLUTION. In 2008, my main goal is to deepen my relationship with Christ. There are many "THINGS" that I would like to accomplish and acquire, but as it is written in Matthew 6:32-33 KJV
"(For after all these THINGS do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of these THINGS. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these THINGS shall be added unto you."
Amen and Amen...Enough said...or Enough Blogged!!! (SMILE)
Thursday, December 06, 2007
It's hard to believe, but in less than nine hours I will undergo surgery to have the excess skin removed from my stomach and back...WOW! And I have such a calm and peace about everything, even though within the past week I have run into one roadblock after another. Through it all I have witnessed God move in ways that have completely blown my mind...AGAIN!
Then this past Sunday, my Pastor preached a sermon entitled "I Bet on God." The gist of the sermon was about completely having faith in God no matter what the circumstances look like.
He went on to talk about the Exercise of Faith, the Evidence of Faith and the Elevation of Faith. At the end of his sermon he stated one promise and affirmation after another from the Bible then in his ecclesiastical closing comments he said, "I don't know who I'm talking to, but somebody has to go to the hospital this week and I want you to know that you will not die and all will be well." As TJOI214 would say, that was a wrap for me. Thank goodness my ponytail was secure otherwise it may have ended up in the baptismal!!! At the time, I so needed that reminder (God always gives you what you need when you need it.)
This has been such an incredible year and I really feel like I'm in the Elevation of Faith phase...and I cannot believe that I'm getting ready to have a real waist line...WOW!
Then I am so overwhelmed by all of the love and support that I have received, especially from my Spark Family.
For those who truly believe in the power of prayer, I ask that you keep the surgeons, anesthesiologist, nurses and me in your prayers. I will be offline for the next few days, but trust me I will be thinking about you guys.
This year is drawing to a close, so let's end it with a bang by ELEVATING to the next levels emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically!!! Like I tell the members of the CARDIO CONNOISSEURS team. Rest, Stay Hydrated, Refuel, and do something good for yourself GET IN SOME CARDIO!!!
I love you...yes YOU!!!
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Phillipians 4:6-7 KJV
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Where do I begin? This past weekend in San Diego was SUPERCALIFRAGILICIOUSEXPEALIDOCIOUS a/k/a the THRILL of a liftetime!!! I'm still pumped and am trying to stop jumping around long enough to type this blog, but get ready because this is a long one (smile)!
First of all, every single member of the production team was absolutely incredible. Not only were they good at what they do, you can tell that they have a passion for what they do (i.e. the gifted hands of Doris the make-up artist...that girl is bad!!! [she is pictured on my left]).
Out of all of the THRILLING moments that took place this weekend, there are three things that standout that I just have to blog about.
THRILL #1. Meeting Jaana and Julia.
When I arrived on Saturday for my interview and photo shoot, I had my one of my favorite DVDs (Salsa Blast) and Sharpie in hand. Now oddly enough the cover of the Salsa Blast matched my red dress, so I already had my photo opp' in mind for my Spark Page (smile). On the trip over to the studio Melissa (my Core Rhythms Angel) informed me that Jaana and Julia had previous commitments and would be unavailable, but she promised to hang on to the cover (I can't afford to be separated from any of my DVDs) and would have them to autograph it for me...Well, that sounded like a plan to me. I just felt blessed to even be there.
The next day (Sunday) I was scheduled to do a shoot of me doing an "in home workout". Out of the four testimonials I was selected to do this second shoot, because I had lost the most weight (AIN'T GOD GOOD!!!). So anyway, we start doing some practice shoots of me welcoming the production team into my 'home'. Then it was time to do the actual shot. So they knocked on the door, I answered and guess who was standing there?
YEP, JULIA AND JAANA!!!
So me being the analytical person that I am in less than 10 seconds this is what ran through my mind and the events that took place after I had opened the door:
* I stopped breathing
* I said to myself, "this isn't Steve (the producer) standing here, there are two women standing here"
* Not breathing
* "And they look like Julia and Jaana"
* Still not breathing
* "This can't be Julia and Jaana, they are both out of town"
* Nope, not breathing yet
* "But this must be Julia and Jaana, I'd know those abs anywhere"
* Deep Breath
* THIS IS JULIA AND JAANA!"
* Scream and Seizure-Type Shaking all over the front porch, followed by a huge group hug with Me, Julia and Jaana!!!
Then they touched my abs and commented on how small my abs are and how good I looked!!! AIN'T GOD GOOD!!! Then they said, "Wow she does look like Oprah!"
Once we came into the house and got settled down we started doing the taping and it was incredible. They had seen all of my pictures and had read my testimonial. We started talking as if we were old friends. Julia and Jaana are such beautiful people both inside and out!!! We got to dance together, took pictures together, almost cried together (we had to get that under control...our make-up was too flawless [smile]). Then they said that I inspire them and wanted to know if I was a motivational speaker or was a part of a support group...hence my opportunity to spread the Spark! I told them about my local support group (DIVAs Gettin' Down) and Spark, which they thought was amazing. They asked for pictures of the DIVAs and I will be sending them a link to my Spark Page as well...IMAGINE THAT!
Then I learned that the Core Rhythms fever is spreading like wildfire (of course I'm not surprised) and is a big hit abroad, especially in Japan. So not only will the infomercial air from January through December of 2008, it will be shown here in the States and internationally! Again, AIN'T GOD GOOD!
THRILL #2. Fulfilling one of my Goals and meeting a FUTURE Spark Friend.
So on my Spark Page one of my goals is to "motivate those who I love to lead a life full of healthy habits." So that basically includes anyone I meet. I will NEVER forget how I felt when I weighed 407 lbs., so anytime I get a chance I try to encourage someone to get on this journey with me.
Hence me meeting a future Spark Friend.
On my last day (Monday), I decided to have breakfast in one of the hotel's exclusive restaurants. I bypassed the omelette bar and decided to just get some of the regular stuff. Then "Something" told me to go back and so I did...and I'm glad that I did (plus that omelette was DA BOMB!). So, I got in line and struck up a conversation with the chef (which just so happened to be a beautiful full-figured woman, my guess is that she's probably a size 24).
Although her lips were smiling her eyes weren't.
While we were talking she asked me if I was there on business and then of course I started sharing my Core Rhythms THRILL of a lifetime experience with her as well as a brief snippet about my weight loss journey. From there we began to talk about her exercise and weight loss frustrations...well, some other people got in line, so we cut our conversation short. I promised her that before I left I would give her some information on my program....this was my chance to SPREAD THE SPARK...Imagine That!
So before leaving, I wrote down a few words of encouragement, told her where she could buy the Core Rhythms program, gave her the link to the SPARK people website then gave her all of my personal contact information and asked that she keep in touch and let me know how she's doing, which she said she would. I've been praying for her every since and anxiously await the day to get the email message that she has added me as a Spark friend.
THRILL #3. The airport experience.
For this thrill, I'll just have to explain it with a gratitude list. While flying I was thankful and thrilled that I...
a. could fasten my seat belt.
b. only sat in one seat.
c. could get in and out of the bathroom on the airplane.
d. was able to run up the escalator stairs to catch a train for my connecting flight that I was running late for.
e. my hip was not hanging off the edge of the seat and that the flight attendant didn't keep banging my hip with the service cart.
f. that I had a window seat on the way home.
As I gazed into the atmosphere I could not help but to feel overjoyed. I remembered the time that I was so miserable I wanted life to be over, but the one thing I held on to was my faith. From there I began worship God for EVERYTHING that He has done and is doing through me.
Plus, I weighed in today and I have lost 2.4 lbs. since last week. I now weigh 222.8 lbs. That's 63.2 lbs. lost this year and 184.2 lbs. overall....AIN'T GOD GOOD!
Psalms 92: 1,4 ~ It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to the Most High. You THRILL me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
There's an old expression that says something like the ones who are closest to you can hurt you the most...HOW TRUE!!!
So, with all of my recent breakthroughs, I cannot help but to be ecstatic and just plain ole' happy! Even in the midst of my excitement, I am careful not to brag and am quick to give all of the credit to God for everything that He had done and is doing in my life.
Well, tonight I visited a CLOSE family member to get this person's opinion on one of my outfit selections for the Core Rhythms shoot this weekend. The producers have requested that we wear a clingy outfit (which I am not accustomed to wearing clingy clothes, especially since I'm so self-conscious of my excess skin).
Anyway, boy was I sorry that I made that visit!
What should have been a decent visit turned into a "Jill Scott, 'The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3' , Track 3, Hate On Me" Moment!!! I got one negative comment after another and I won't even try to describe the facial expressions I got!!! And the kicker is that the negative comments weren't even about the clingy dress!!! YEESH!
Anyway, I tried to dismiss it and release my hurt feelings on the elliptical machine and stairmaster when I got to the "Y". Well that worked for at least 55 mins. BUT when I got in the car, before I realized it the tears began to roll.
Well here it is several hours later and I finally pulled myself together (thanks to prayer and "Amazing Grace: The Complete Recordings" by Aretha Franklin).
And I have made a decision: I REFUSE to give ANYONE that much control over my emotions ANYMORE.
The ones who are closest to you can hurt you the most...but only if you let them!
I know who I am and I know WHOSE I am. Plus, I need to recognize that the enemy is crafty and will attempt to use anyone or anything to discourage God's people. I need to pray about EVERY decision that I make (the big ones and the little ones) and trust that God will guide me. In the meanwhile, I am trusting God and believe that everything will go well this weekend. He has not brought me this far to leave me.
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3: 5,6
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