Jill Viggiano spoke at Inspire+Aspire,™ a women’s conference focused on both personal and professional development. You could hear a pin drop as Jill drew us into the quiet, courageous stories of the women in her family who came before her. As she then recounted her own story of sacrifice and commitment, Jill connected the generations and the faith that sustained them. Jill challenged the audience to reflect on our own stories and ask “Do the women who came before you matter today? Will you matter tomorrow?”
Life-altering events can happen to any one of us at any moment, although we often forget this truth. Jill’s story showed us the power of the human spirit and how commitment, courage and faith can see us through. I recommend Jill for any audience seeking perspective, inspiration, and appreciation for the people in our lives.
Mental 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?
I had the honor of speaking at a fundraiser for Wilderness Journey Ministries this weekend. They 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.
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.
Recently, I was walking through the hospital where Gordon spent his first few weeks post-stroke. As I walked through those familiar halls, I noticed that the hospital’s gift shops offered many books for sale, none of which dealt with recovery, hope, or encouragement. I was shocked!
Gordon and I immediately decided to pursue getting “Painful Blessing” into a hospital gift shop. After all, we cannot be the only people who need encouraging words and hope to get through those awful, early days.
As of this week, “Painful Blessing” is available in the gift shop at OHSU! I pray copies of the book get into the hands of people who need it, whoever they may be. I pray that they will be encouraged to face their challenges and to hope for the blessings that God has for them.
In March at the recommendation of our friend David, I entered my book (at that time, still unpublished) in the Oregon Christian Writers Contest. Last week, I received notice that I am a finalist in the competition! The winners in all categories will be announced August 6. I am honored to be considered and excited to see where all this will lead us.
In the meantime, I am constantly encouraged by people who have read Painful Blessing. It is important to me that the book be meaningful to anyone who reads it, not just those affected by stroke. It is a wonderful experience to listen to people’s reactions and feelings and then to hear their stories.