Jill continues to be my hero!

We spoke at a Professional Development Day at a local hospital.  Here are some of the comments:

It helped me remember why I became a nurse.

Thank you for bringing the speakers Jill and Gordon—Painful Blessings.

Please tell the Viggiano’s thank you for sharing their story.  Really puts everything in perspective.  I so admire both Jill and Gordon.  I honestly would not be able to do what they have done.  I’m on a redeye flight tonight, so their book will be a good read! So inspiring!

The Painful Blessing was an amazingly inspirational motivating share.

I liked the slides that were presented with the talk.

I like the patient perspective.


Great Q & A.


What a place!

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 4.59.44 PMMental note:  Favorite hotel is now The Allison in Newberg.  No detail is overlooked–free snacks in the room, down pillows, fireplace, stunning bathroom, views of the vineyards.  Really impressive.

I had the privilege of speaking at the Inspire & Aspire Women’s Conference at the hotel. I talked about the quiet courage and sacrifice of the women that came before me in my family and pose these questions:  1) Do those women matter today?  2) Will we matter tomorrow?

The answers?  1) Yes they matter!  And 2) Gosh, I certainly hope so.

Our survival story has been playing out in our book, our speeches, and our ongoing recovery.  Your survival story will be different.  I encourage you all to ask these same questions of the people in your life.  I also encourage you to consider your impact.  How will you answer?

Jill Viggiano

We are going on a field trip!

How exciting!  Jill is speaking at Inspire + Aspire Women’s Leadership Conference this weekend.  She will be giving a presentation on the women in her family who came before her and asks “Do they matter today?  Will I matter tomorrow?”

How will it go?  I am guessing FLAWLESS…but I will tell you more after the weekend. She will be joined with 14 other speakers.

THE GOAL of Inspire+Aspire™ is to focus on personal and professional development while being surrounded by likeminded women who are interested in leadership, inspiration, and meaningful discussion.

Love the Library!

IMG_0431I had the great privilege of speaking at our public library last night.  In the audience was my wonderful social worker from the rehab hospital, stroke survivors, cancer survivors, caregivers, friends, and people who just love the library.  My speech went well but it was the Q&A that really stood out for me.

Once I stepped away from the podium and into the middle of the audience, stroke survivors who struggle with speech began asking questions and telling their stories.  Cancer survivors and caregivers told their own stories of teamwork and overcoming.  We talked about books and support groups and other resources that helped us.  We laughed and encouraged each other for nearly an hour!

Interaction with the audience is always my favorite part of being a speaker.  Last night was another example of the power of sharing and being vulnerable and acknowledging our weaknesses.

Jill Viggiano

Talking about IMPORTANT things

I had the honor of speaking at a fundraiser for Wilderness Journey Ministries this weekend.  IMG_0424They do the wonderful work of helping families and loved ones communicate effectively and lovingly when a life-threatening diagnosis is received.  I love their slogan: “Helping families face a life-threatening illness holding Christ’s hand.”

It seems a bit surreal sometimes to be the person offering perspective and encouragement to others in need.  It just wasn’t that long ago when I was the one in need.  I am so happy to offer hope by being an example of successful, ongoing recovery.  With each story of not-so-successful recovery, I am reminded how important The Team is!  No one recovers alone.

Hearing stories of families who needed a terminal illness to finally learn how to talk about the important things was an eye-opener.  I guess we put off those important discussions because we assume there is always tomorrow so why rush it?  Every story included the realization that having the important conversations brought them closer and they were sorry they waited so long.  Good lesson to learn.

Jill Viggiano

Help me understand…

One of the chief reasons I wrote “Painful Blessing” is to give hope and encouragement to caregivers, survivors, and generally those who are struggling.  Our story happens to be about stroke but there are many common threads with a variety of challenges.

We have observed that hospitals do not carry books of hope and inspiration in their gift shops.  This doesn’t make sense to me.  Honestly, I can’t think of a place where more people are struggling than in a hospital.  There are cookbooks, comic books, best sellers, classic literature and even a few “bodice rippers,” but no Bibles or books of inspiration.

What do you think about that?  Help me understand…

Jill Viggiano

The #1 question is….

“Is it SCARY getting up in front of people???”

When I tell people Gordon and I are inspirational speakers, that is the very first question people ask.  It isn’t.  In fact, it is actually a lot of fun.

Perhaps it isn’t scary because we talk about a subject we know so well… us!   My speaking career began answering questions at the end of Gordon’s speech.  That was fun, meaningful, interactive, AND I didn’t have to prepare anything!

After every speech we have given, Gordon and I talk about what a great experience it was and how nice the people were.  Hearing our story of hope, faith, marriage, and family seems to bring out the best in people.  Perhaps getting up in front of people isn’t scary because the audience embraces our story and therefore embraces us.  We all share a moment of vulnerability and for that moment, we all feel like family.  And that isn’t scary at all.

Jill Viggiano

Was I ok?


Jill spoke to Speech Pathology students and faculty at Pacific University Wednesday night.

Usually, we give the speeches as a service to those who want to further their careers in helping those who have trouble communicating.   We feel this is a good service to let them know that what they do matters.

What made this audience so special?  The questions they asked Jill at the end of this presentation…and all the feedback they gave her.  There was a line of people, who purchased the book, and wanted Jill to sign it.  Some had family members who were struggling, some wanted a better understanding of their patients, and others just wanted to talk to us.   Jill had a great time and said it was one of her favorite audiences.

God Bless Pacific University and all that the students there are working to accomplish.  Seeing this made us happy to keep speaking and spreading the word.

Helping is a two-way street

Everyone struggles with how to help another person in need.  We might know someone in crisis and we want to help but we are afraid to ask questions and we don’t want to be nosey or impose.  We end the conversation with “If there is anything I can do, please let me know.”  The offerer and the offeree end up looking at each other with nothing to say and no help happens.  I have been on both ends of this conversation and am writing now to offer some insights.

In our stroke experience, we had the good fortune of knowing people who offered specific help–I’ll mow your lawn; I’ll clean your house; I will organize meals for you; etc.  People were amazingly generous and helpful and we are so grateful.

The experience highlighted the fact that helping is a two-way street.  People were willing to help us and we were willing to accept help.  By being open and communicating effectively, we were able to receive the help we needed.  Nothing was wasted, every effort was appreciated.  I shudder to think what would have happened if I had rejected offers of help and tried to do everything on my own.

Click here for:

  1. a list of items to have in order BEFORE a crisis happens, and
  2. a practical list of how to be helpful when a crisis occurs.

Jill Viggiano


That was Jill.  Truly amazing!  I hate to gush…but I will.  It is Sunday night.  Your probably preparing for your Monday as you read this.

I head this speech a lot…but this time it was different. As she addressed the group, I could “FEEL” each slide.  Does that make sense?  Her presentation was spot on.  Her annunciation….her pauses…. her timing….her jokes….were perfect. I can’t praise Jill enough.

Jill’s presentation is about MY recovery…from HER perspective…not MY perspective.  In her speech, she covers:


  • How bad I really was
  • Risk of raising our 2 children
  • Long, long road of recovery
  • My crazy path of recovery and all the different stages
  • Changes she faced
  • What she learned as a result of the experience
  • How she is different now

Jill completes her talk with:

I am ok with my weakness! I am a better person for it.  I am wiser and more compassionate.  I try to live with gratitude and a cheerful heart.  Reaching this place of peace in my life has been a Painful Blessing, but a blessing all the same.