Church, humility

Part of my holistic recovery is getting back into church. What does it matter if I’m physically and emotionally healthy if I’m spiritually dying? So, today, I went to church. 

Today’s sermon was on…drum roll please…HUMILITY. You see…I’m a slow learner, so God had to really drive the lesson home.

I’m going to be really honest. When I normally walk into church, I put off the vibe that if you talk to me, I may eat you alive. I’m not proud of it…but my porcupine quills are real. Today…something really strange happened. People spoke to me. I let my defenses down a little. It felt good. 

I’m learning that I need people in my life. More than that, I need God in my life…to be the center of my life. I can’t afford to be an island any longer, and I can’t afford to hold onto things that were never mine to hold. 

Don’t get it twisted. I still have a backpack full of crap. Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s taken me 41 years to get to this place where my life looks like a war torn country. This week, some of the rubbish has been cleared. The storm is over. It’s time to tear down the broken down edifices and allow a season of rebuilding to occur. 

I’m pretty excited to see what is to come. I know that the breaking down is going to be painful…but the reconstruction that God is about to do is breathtaking. 

Posted in random | 6 Comments


This week has been a truly humbling experience for me. And it has helped me to understand my mom and a lot of people in my life more deeply than I ever could have. 

Yes, I have an autoimmune disease or two. As annoying as they are, unless I’m having a pretty bad flair up, they are not debilitating. This colitis thing…it makes my flair ups seem like a walk in the park. 

The exhaustion from a major organ being inflamed and infected is no joke. A short trip to BJ’s…or to the ATM…that’s enough to take me out for 12 hours. I have to pace myself in a way that I never have before. I mean…I’m no ball of fire 🔥 but now I have to choose how to spend my energy even more precisely than before. 

¿Dondè esta el baño, por favor? I have to re-learn what I can and can’t eat and drink. Today, I learned that diner food and coffee are on the banned list. I don’t know why that’s shocking…lol…but I won’t be testing those waters again. I can also tell you where the bathroom is anywhere in Philly. Who knew that would be in my wheelhouse? 

I have also learned that I need my tribe. We’re a motley crew…but even I need support. I’ve cried a lot. I’ve snipped a lot. Man have I issued a lot of apologies. I’ve also learned that until you walk in someone’s shoes, you truly don’t know what they’re feeling. 

So…for all of the times I got frustrated with you mom, for being tired and cranky because you don’t feel well…I am sorry from the bottom of my heart. 

Until next time…God bless you! 

Posted in random | Leave a comment

The Best Laid Plans…

Have you ever had a plan set up, in your mind, only to have all he’ll break loose? Yeah…that’s the story of this week. 

You already know about the wheel chair trip to the ER. That was a hoot, hopefully never to be replicated. 

Today I met with my GI doctor. I really like him. He is really nice, not at all condescending, and has a great bedside manner. I wish we weren’t discussing my colon…lol…or the enormous bruises on my arms from Cujo. 

But I digress. I have a colonoscopy scheduled for August 2. I was hoping for July, but I have to wait for my colon to chill out. That means I’m going to be eating nothing fun for a month! A whole month! 😭😭

Aside from no-fun July, I am afraid of having anything done in August. Since 1993, August has been a month that has a black cloud over it. I won’t go into the depressing details…I have to find a therapist for that…but, if you’re a praying person, please storm the gates of heaven for me. God is bigger than all of my fears, and on the rock of that truth I shall stand. 

Until next time…may God bless you. Thanks for reading. 

Posted in random | Leave a comment

Self care

I had a scare on Monday. I’ve not been feeling well for a while. 

A few weeks back, I couldn’t hold door down. The mere thought of food caused a tidal wave of nausea. I honestly thought, despite the high odds stacked against it, that I was pregnant. I’m not. 

This past weekend, I started having bad diarrhea. TMI, I’m sure, but it’s part of my story. Then I ate and got extremely nauseous. Sunday I spiked a fever of 102.7. I usually run around 97.5. I got the fever down and thought I was through the woods. 

Monday, I was heading into work, sitting, waiting for the bus, when I got nauseous and a bit lightheaded. No work for me. I slept a bit, then went to the doctor, expecting to be poo-pooed and sent home with a note to return to work. 

The next thing I knew, I was in a wheelchair, crying, heading to the ER. I was getting IV fluids, electrolytes, and pain meds. Then a Cat Scan. Then another bag of fluids. I thought…ok…time to get rid of the useless appendix. 

A doctor came in, asked me a bunch of questions, then told me I have a severe case of colitis. She asked me if I’d ever been diagnosed with any inflammatory bowel disease. I was so taken aback, I didn’t know how to answer her. That’s one area of my body that I thought was in good working order. Joke’s on me, eh?

Why am I telling you all of this personal information? Why should you care? Why is the title of this blog “self care” instead of “Deneen’s sob story?”

This whole story began a long time ago. It is a tale of a woman who didn’t take care of herself. She has a long history of putting herself, her mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health way behind the health of others. 

You see…where I am today is totally preventable. Whatever my diagnosis, had I taken care of my needs instead of neglecting myself, I wouldn’t be laying in med in pain, feeling my colon, instead of living my life.

If you’re still with me, you and I are embarking on a journey of self-care. I’m going to take whatever the doctor tells me tomorrow and after the inevitable colonoscopy as a clarion call. We are going to learn to truly, holistically take care of ourselves. 

Do you want to take this journey with me? Do you have a similar story? Let me know! 

Posted in random | 5 Comments

Sufficiency in God alone

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭9:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Do you ever feel like there isn’t enough time in a day? I wake up at 0430, I’m out the door to work at 0515-0530. I get home at 1700. Over 12 hours of every day, M-F are dedicated to commuting and working to support someone else’s vision, someone else’s purpose. By the time I get home, I have to cook dinner, clean up dishes and collapse onto my couch. 

I’m not trying to make you feel sorry for me. That schedule pays my bills. But…it doesn’t make my heart sing. I enjoy my actual job…I help people feel less scared of the dentist. But…it doesn’t make my heart sing. 

God’s promise above is that He will give me the grace to be sufficient in all things at all times, that I may abound in every good work. 

Over the next few days, weeks, that is going to be my touchstone verse. If it is in God’s power to give me the grace to abound in every good work, who am I to stand in his way? 

Posted in random | Leave a comment

What makes your heart sing? 

Real talk. I’m 41 years old. By some standards, I’m young. By other standards, I’m old. I’ve been on the search as far as I can remember formsomething, anything that makes my heart sing. 

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a teacher. In high school, I wanted to be a pharmacist. In my 20’s, I wanted to be a missionary. In my 30’s, I didn’t know. I worked in 2 start up companies and a handful of dental offices. Throughout all of these things, I always liked writing, but I never had the confidence to pursue that. 

I’ve learned a few things. I’m not a team player. I work best independently. I’m more productive when I work on my own. I love helping people realize their dreams. Aside from being a pharmacist, everything that I’ve ever dreamed of being included helping people. 

In my 40’s I’ve dabbled in MLM’s. I was a Beachbody coach and a Direct Cellars rep. I learned that I love to workout, though I’ve been on a hiatus since Thanksgivng.  I love wine…and I love working for a company that helps to expand my palate. What my 40’s have shown me is that I want to be an entrepreneur.

As I write this, I’m watching Shark Tank, and I’m in the process of reading four books…three on entrepreneurship and one on forgiveness. (That one is necessary because I’m Italian and a damaged Christian…but that’s a topic for another blog post…lol!) I have finally found that thing that makes my heart sing. 

I shan’t be quitting my day job yet…but now I have something for which I am working. 

Have you found the thing that makes your heart sing? What is is? How are you working toward making it your full time gig? Let’s talk…share ideas…connect. 

Posted in random | Leave a comment

Why Hello There!

Hello there! Long time, no blog, right?

Well, tis the new year…and hopefully a lot of reading material for the few of you who having been sitting on the edge of your seat awaiting me to put my fingers to the keyboard of my laptop.

What’s new? Well, it’s been so long since I’ve written, I don’t know where to start. I don’t even know if I have any followers at this point. If not, we’ll start fresh 🙂

I have a few goals for this year. I refuse to call them resolutions because resolutions generally fall to the wayside faster than you can say January. Here are a few things that I want to accomplish:

  • One round of Core de Force with the 2.0 workouts
  • One round of Core de Force with the deluxe workouts
  • Hammer and Chisel from start to finish
  • Build my wine business to the point that I can take a real vacation and pay everything in cash. (Yup…a wine business. Don’t worry–you’ll learn more about wine than you ever wanted to learn!)
  • Find a church here in Philly so that I can delete “church-phobic” off my about me section.

So, what’s new with you? Are you still there? Talk to me! I promise, I shan’t be a stranger any longer!

Posted in random | Leave a comment

Transformation Tuesday

People love to post pictures for transformation Tuesday. In a few weeks, I’m sure I’ll be amongst them. Today, however, I would like to discuss a mental transformation that has occurred in me. Before I can begin to describe what has changed, I have to tell you my story.

Since I was about 7, I have been “chubby.” I joke that I’ve been overweight since I discovered how to read. I’m an avid reader—but I digress. I wasn’t a completely sedentary child. I did ride my bike, play in the neighborhood with friends. In high school I played tennis and was in marching band.

I discovered also that I love to cook when I was a child. As long as I remember, I’ve been cooking for myself. My father and I bonded over cooking together, and still do to this day. Oh yeah—I also like to eat the food that I cook. A lot. I am a foodie. I enjoy foods from all different cultures. The more flavor food has, the better.

A few years ago, I learned that I have hypothyroidism, Hashimotos disease and adrenal fatigue. What this means, in the simplest terms, is that I have a sluggish thyroid that is being attacked by my immune system. On top of that, because of my personality and continual stress, my adrenal glands are worn out. This trio means weight gain, lack of energy and a bunch of other fun side effects.

To say that I’m fighting an uphill battle with my weight is an understatement.

A few weeks ago, I signed up to be a Beachbody coach. What? I know, right? I was so excited. I got my 21 Day Fix program. I took pictures of the cool containers, the pretty dvds, and the Shakeology. I popped in the first dvd, excited to start my journey. I nearly died. I was exhausted for a few days. I automatically admitted defeat. I’m too sick to work out. I’m too out of shape to workout. Why did I sign up for this stupid program? I hate strawberry shakes….why didn’t they flipping send me the chocolate that I wanted?!?! I told the person who signed me up all of my excuses and got depressed. I’m pretty certain that I’m the only person who has ever had this experience, right?

Part of being a Beachbody coach for me means that I am part of a team. The team on which God placed me is amazing. They are supportive, loving and challenging. I sat back and watch them, interacting a bit here and there because I can’t not interact. Watching them, reading their posts, being a part of the weekly team meetings inspired me. I got to the point that I thought, heck, if they can do it, I can too! In an instant, something clicked in my brain. I had a mental transformation. I went from a depressed, chubby, sick woman to a motivated, excited woman on the road to good health.

Last Monday, 9 days ago to be exact, I popped in that first DVD again, at 4:30 AM. My body was too asleep to know what happened to it. I may have had trouble walking up and down the stairs, but I did it. The next morning, I woke up again at 4:30 AM and did an upper body workout. Same thing that Wednesday. Thursday started my five day staycation. You know what? I pushed play every day and worked out.

I know that I have a long journey ahead of me. I am taking this journey step by step, one day at a time, one minute at a time when I’m working out. In the process, apparently I’m even inspiring people.

If you’ve read this far, talk to me. Tell me something about a transformation in your life. What was the catalyst to that change? If you are interested in joining me on this journey, hit me up!

Posted in | Leave a comment

Everyday I made made more aware of the fact that my heart has to be cleansed…I need to learn to respond in love. I have to remember that hurting people hurt people. Today my heart aches for so many families that I’ve never met whose lives have been destroyed by hate. My nephew is graduating from high school tonight. How many kids are robbed of that pricelege? Today, I am excited for the class of 2015 but my heart aches for those whose lives were cut short and unable to hear their names announced.

Posted in random | Leave a comment

Lessons in peace

In the depth of who I am you’ll find a caretaker…someone whose deepest desire is to heal hurts and protect those I love from hurts and disappointments. When I am unable to do that, I feel helpless. I know I’m not Jesus. Moments like this make me all the more aware of how He must feel on a daily basis.

Last night, I ran into a situation wherein someone I care about was deeply disappointed. I had no idea how to comfort him, and it caused me to be very restless. However, I know the One who is more than able to be his comfort. As I prayed for his peace, God gave me peace as well.

May today be a day in which we rest in the One who is the author of our peace…and may we bring those around us peace.

Posted in random | Leave a comment