Cheesecake and Bittersweet Tears of Joy…


My husband an I are just days away from being “empty nesters.” Our baby boy, Christopher, has signed a contract on his first home and my emotions are running wild.

So two nights ago, he asks us if we have a springform pan and Nana’s recipe for cheesecake. Peter, my husband searched the house and the shed and found Nana’s  pan, then handed him the recipe box filled with Nana’s prized family recipes and within minutes he had found it! 

We had no idea that he would want to execute such a huge undertaking at 9:00 at night.  But he was intent on creating a masterpiece, so the adventure began. 


His daddy and I are usually headed to bed by this time, but his excitement to keep a family legacy alive tugged on our heart strings so we moved out of the way and sat on the sidelines to cheer him on.

By 10:00, the cake was ready to enter the oven where it woul bake for 1 1/2 hours and then need to cool in the oven for another hour. We lost Pete at this point. Off to bed he went.


As for me…my heart was melting and I was faced with the reality that in a few short days these opportunities would become few and far between, so I was committed to yawning my way through.

My thoughts kept focusing on the fact that Peter and I were entering in to a place we had never been before. For 25 years we have been busy raising our children and then caring for both of our mothers, eventually in our home, and we are, now for the first time, going to be alone–just the two of us, in our home.

It is bitter/sweet, while we are thrilled to see our baby boy buy a home and then in a little over a year, marry the wonderful woman he loves, it’s also hard to think that my son, my best “bud” and my IT guru, lol, is moving out and beginning his own chapter. I will miss the daily interaction greatly. I am proud beyond words, excited for his future and ready to step into the next season of change with my husband. 

Oh, back to the cheesecake… He did his Nana proud!! It was nothing short of perfection and the Giordano tradition of culinary art is alive and well! 


Train up a child in the ways he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it… Thank You Lord for Your Word that guides our path

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www.monagiordano.com is changing my life!

WOW! I cannot believe that a year has passed since I sat down to write a new blog. It has been a year full of new beginings, hardships and hurdles…but moreover, God’s mercy and grace.

I am a self-professed “Serial Entrepreneur” and for many years I have struggled with how to represent myself having so many things alive and active in my life.

I am a state certified pest control operator and own and operate a Do Your Own Pest Control Store with my husband, Peter.

I am an event coordinator at an adorable private event center right next door to the pest control store (that’s why it works–so close).

I own a fashion-forward jewelry and accessories boutique (located inside of the private event center.)

I am the founder of a women’s ministry with weekly Bible studies, monthly girls-night-ins and now coming in January, a Christian women’s networking group.

I am in the process of writing my memoire, a Reverend, Speaker, Singer/Songwriter, mother of 3, grandmother of 2, a wife and a lover of Jesus Christ!

Whew! Can you imagine? It’s no wonder I was having an identity crisis, but that’s just how I roll.  I wonder how many women out there can relate? It’s sometimes overwhelming, but I have to say… I wouldn’t have it any other way!

So you may be wondering why I’ve titled this blog “www.monagiordano.com is changing my life” Well allow me to explain. With all of the social media and digital media marketing that it requires in this day and age to have even ONE successful business or ministry, you could imagine how overwhelming it could be to keep  up with THREE businesses and a growing ministry.

My problem was, that I didn’t know how to effectively market ALL of them being only one person. I had too many business cards, Facebook pages, Twitter handles, and other medias like Periscope and Pinterest and…. it was making me crazy!

So, I finally got wise and decided to brand “Myself.” Now I know that it is not such a unique idea for someone who has a service business like Social Media Experts or Attorneys or Authors, but when you have several brick and mortars and ministries it’s a brilliant way to have everything you do all in one place!

It has made such a tremendous difference in my life and the way I live it, that I just had to share. You just never know, there may be someone out there in Cyber Space that is struggling with the same issues and needs a little insight to “simplify” the Social Media Chaos!

By the way, I have learned SO much about Social and Digital Marketing along this journey that I’m now getting certified in several of them to help others with their pain points!  I know, I know, the last thing it would seem like I need is another job title, but, I live to help people. It’s just how I roll.

Check out the site if you’d like. I’m still in the “learning” mode of website building and would love to hear your feedback.

http://www.monagiordano.com

Peace Out!

MoIMG_4914-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Violated, yet BLESSED!

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I left for work yesterday, like any other day, and within 20 minutes of arriving our alarm company called to say our alarm was sounding. My husband quickly left our store and made his way to our house to find that we had been broken into. Armed with his handgun, he cautiously entered our house to discover that 2 men (we assume), had broken in both of our sliding glass doors. One in the master bedroom on the upper level, and one in the dining room. He went into the house like a detective on Law and Order opening every door, checking under every bed, and closet to insure they were not still in our house. The imagery, brings a smile to my face, and a chuckle to my mouth, but also sends chills down my spine thinking what could have happened if they had been inside.

Being violated, in any way, is a very uncomfortable feeling and an extreme reality check! I was violated so many times in my past, from physical to emotional to home and business and no matter what the violation–it stinks! It messes with your head thinking of all the “what if’s” or “what could or should I have done different,” when in fact, there is probably no answer to those questions. Things just happen. We live in a world of lost and hurting people who are capable of every unimaginable thing, but if we allow, God will take those things that the enemy intends to steal, kill or destroy and turn them into something that brings Him glory–If WE let Him.

I am feeling extremely BLESSED, this morning as I sit in the comfort of my home, safe, warm and happy, but…the fact is, we are always at risk of being attacked in one way or another. As a Christian, I give all of the glory to God. He had our back and we were spared the anguish, inconvenience and monetary loss of what “could have been,” and even more so what could have happened to my husband as he protected our home. Desperate times cause desperate actions. So today, I ask you to join me in praying for those men who attempted to cause us loss and/or harm. While my mind wants to curse them, my heart wants them to be blessed with the Love, peace, joy, provision and assurance that can only come from Jesus!

John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Show Me The Way….

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I have started writing the book that I’ve felt I needed to write my whole life long. It’s kind of scary, because I don’t know how to write a book and I’m not really sure if people are necessarily interested in the “sorted details” of my story…

This is going to be a HUGE step of faith for me, but I feel like the time has come to finally put it all “out there” and answer this call.  Please keep me in your prayers if you happen to think about it.  This journey is going to be a long one, and one that will bring back so many memories that I remember choosing to forget. And so it goes….

“I was born a poor black child” Oh no, wait, that was Steve Martin’s line in the movie, The Jerk. Sorry, I couldn’t resist! I hope that brought a smile to your face and I hope even more that I just didn’t blow it and loose your readership, lol.

So, where do I begin? I guess I could begin by telling you that I am a Miracle. Actually, the truth be known, I am a “Perpetual Miracle,” if there is such a thing. You see, by all odds I should have been dead many times throughout my life. The most recent near-death experience, being liver and kidney failure due to Hepatites C that I contracted using IV drugs back when I was fourteen.

On October 7th of 2010, I went to work feeling a little “off kilter.” It had been a crazy morning. I remember laughing with my son about how much I was shaking trying to put on my makeup. I didn’t give it too much thought, however, because the drugs I was taking (Interferon) for the Hep C made me shake all the time. This time was different.

When I arrived at work (don’t even remember driving there) my husband took one look at me and asked if I was ok. He told me to go home, but I said “I can’t drive” and went and laid on the floor of our break room and went to sleep.

He called my doctor, who instructed him to check my vitals and keep a watch over me since I was due to see her the next morning. I don’t remember getting up or going home–or even going to the doctor’s office with my son. By the end of the day, I’m told I did not even know who my husband or my son were. They were terrified!

Once I got to the doctor’s office I began to get violently sick and was taken to a local hospital, where they discovered that my ammonia levels where through the roof and my liver had totally stopped functioning. I was dying.

At this point I was totally yellow, unable to eat, drink, walk, or go to the bathroom on my own. The only words I could say were the occasional “okay” in a soft and childlike tone. It was also at this point that my kidneys failed and my chances of survival grew dimmer by the hour. But, God had other plans…

I had three doctors at that time. One was my Primary Care Physician, one my Oncologist/Hematologist, who had seen me through a year of blood transfusions and at times, daily shots of Nupagin  to try and keep my white blood count above 0.04! Finally there was my Liver doctor, who was of the opinion that I was not even a candidate for a Liver Transplant!! Things started happening when the Oncologist and my PCP went over his head and demanded I be taken to Tampa General Hospital, which was the closest Transplant Hospital in the area. This call saved my life.

Once at Tampa General they had to stabilize me and go through the phases of testing to qualify me to be a Liver Recipient. This process seemed endless. By this time, my kidneys were also in extremely bad shape and the Kidney Dialysis began on a daily basis-I was swelling up like a water balloon and my body was so full of toxins that I vomited so violently and so much my eyes were and blue and purple (which did not match my skin tone of yellow) I was a mess. They thought that I would probably need to have a Kidney Transplant as well.

I went from total immobility to learning to talk, eat (clear liquids only), walk and write again. I remember how hard it was to even sign my name to the never ending volumes of forms and releases I had to sign. It was terrifying to read all the disclaimers and potential things that could go wrong–pretty scary stuff!

It was at this time that my faith reached levels beyond my belief. You see, I was already a Christian. I had said the “Sinner’s Prayer” and was living my life for the Lord. My very being revolved around serving God and helping people. I attended church, served in many areas, tithed, and prayed like a warrior, but my faith was being tested to the max and I’m happy to report that I passed the test! I had told so many people that being a Christian is not about “Religion, but instead, about a “relationship” with Jesus and my relationship with Him had become more real and tangible than ever.

It’s a very surreal feeling to know that you are dying. To know that they only way that you will be able to live is for someone else to die. The emotions that swirl through your mind are extreme. I remember feeling like a “murderer” at one point, just by asking for a liver–emotions run wild when you are close to death.

The “over-the-top” change for me came about in a prayer when I pleaded with the Lord to “Not just let me lay there and die” I knew that I was going to Heaven, but selfishly, I wanted to live. I wanted to see my “baby boy” get married and have children. I wanted to grow old with my husband and play with my grandchildren, and oh how I wanted to just be with my kids and my mom and…. The reality of it all was that it may not happen.

That prayer changed everything! It was my moment of surrender. My moment of complete abandonment to self and my desire to serve Him even in what may end up being the final days of my life. He answered that prayer. It no sooner left my lips when He started sending me people to pray for, people to encourage and an opportunity to be “Jesus with skin on” to the patients and medical community at that hospital in Tampa. I chose to look at this experience as a short term mission trip, and that, it ended up being!

There is so much more to this story, but I’ve been told that “blogs” are supposed to be short and concise. I’ve far exceeded that already–it’s just who I am. So, I’ll stop here and continue this journey again later. If you’d like to see a Miracle with your own eyes, go to You Tube and search for Mona Giordano: Miracles Still Happen. It will give you a visual on how amazing this story really is. And I hope you’ll join me for….”the rest of the story”

My family--2 years post transplant! Thank You, Jesus!

My family–2 years post transplant! Thank You, Jesus!

Peace, out!

Mo

A Little About the BLING…

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ImageSo, I’ve shared about my desire to become relevant in the social media world, and about how I’ve been a little lax in keeping going, well now, in an attempt to find my true identity,  I’ve even deleted my old name “The Bag Lady Chats” and I’m just going to be me! Mona Giordano. I guess you could say I’m a “blingy-bug lady” lol!

I think I told you that by trade I am a Certified Pest Control Operator who does NOT do Pest Control, but rather, I own (along with my husband, Peter) a Do Your Own Pest Control shop in Holiday, Florida called “PEST CONTROL GENERAL STORE” I’ve been doing that for the past 26 years, and while I love helping people get rid of the “pests” in their lives (the creepy crawling kind, that is), I have to admit that it just doesn’t satisfy the girlie girl side of my entrepreneurial spirit! Twenty six years of roaches and rats has gotten just a tad stagnent.

So now about the “blingy” part of me…I just have that kind of personality. I love bling, the blingier the better, as long as it’s not tacky. I have been wearing inspirational jewelry for the past 17 years. When I became a Christian I wanted a way to show people that I was a believer, but without beating them over the head with a Bilble. I think it’s how we live our life that makes people form their opinion about you, not necessarily what you “say.” So, I started wearing cross necklaces and bracelets to match my outfits and people always seemed to comment on them. I guess my subtle expressions of faith were being well received. Anyway, fast forward to about 6 years ago and that’s when I started dabbling in selling the jewelry that people commented on. Not like a full scale store, but just a bit, in the corner of my Christian Coffeehouse. It did well, and would have done better, if I hadn’t nearly died of liver failure and had to undergo a Liver Transplant (that’s a whole other blog)! I ended up closing the Coffee Spot House of Praise, due to health issues and the next couple of years were a time of sickness, surgery and miraculous healing, which brings us about up-to-date.

I have been back at my Pest Control Store since January of 2011, having completed the transplant in only November of 2010, but somehow, after going through that experience, I felt like there just had to be more than “rats and roaches” to my job–hence, the beginning of my Thirty-One Gifts Business and more recently, the opening of Inspirational BLING! Now, I am fully content in my business(es).

I have come to the conclusion that there are only so many hours in a day, and I can’t possible be the best of the best in three full time businesses, but…I can do very well with one vocational business (Pest Management Consultant), one share my heart business (Inspirational BLING!) and one hobby business (Thirty-One Gifts consultant). I don’t think I’ll ever not have that entrepreneurial spirit going on, but at least I am learning how to prioritize the order of the time I’m spending on each as I continue my journey in blogging and trying to become social-media savvy!!

Take a look at some of my BLING!

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And if you like what you see, check out my FB page at http://www.facebook.com/inspirationalbling

If you need some pest control or lawn care advice: http://www.pestcontrolgeneral.com

Or, Fun and Functional totes and homegoods: http://www.mythirtyone.com/monalisa

Until next time! This is the “Blingy-Bug Lady signing off!

Be blessed!

Mona G

My response to a fellow-bloggers post…

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So…as I said in my previous two blogs, I am new to all of this and in my quest to learn (from scratch) how to do this, I’ve read that one way you start making yourself “relevant” is by reading and responding to other blogs. I have found a couple that I really like (that’s all my time schedule allows for right now) and today I was reading a post from “Eyes Wide Open” and the Author, Annie B responded with an encouragement to post the message i had sent to her in a blog post of my own. Hmmm, it was an ah-ha moment! The advice that I had read was actually happening…
Here is how it went…
This is what I was talking about when I said "boot bling....

This is what I was talking about when I said “boot bling….

WOW! Talk about a “Word in due season!” This message was spot-on to what I have been walking through for the past, oh, about 8-10 weeks. I am a super-busy woman, like most women are!, and between my family, (Husband, one son at home, 2 aged mothers to care for, housework, cooking, shopping, etc.) my 3 businesses, (Pest Control General Store (floridabugexpert.com), Thirty-One Gifts (monagiordano.wordpress.com / http://www.mythirtyone.com/monalisa), Inpirational BLING! (a sideline business selling adorable, affordable inspirational jewelry to share your faith (FB Page: Inspirational BLING!) the ministries I serve in (Women’s Ministry Director and Praise & Worship Team), church woes, (our pastor left to start a new church plant, the interim pastor is leaving to start a new church plant, we don’t even know who our new pastor is going to be, and many have left the church altogether!) tax return preparation (for 3 businesses and personal), gathering data to obtain health insurance (the payroll leasing company we us changed their requirements to companies must have 5 employees to participate in the group plan, so as of April 1st we will have not health insurance AND I AM A LIVER TRANSPLANT PATIENT!) Whew….and I’m sure I’ve left something out!

This one thing I know: I’M BELIEVING GOD! I will NOT be moved. I will NOT be shaken. Even in the midst of all this chaos…I know the enemy is on the prowl trying to do his “seeking whom he can devour-thing, BUT I know the “Spiritual Authority” I have in Christ and I’m usin’ it!! I’ve got my “boots on” and I am armed and dangerous with my weapons of destruction, namely; the Helmet of Salvation, the Belt of Truth, The Breastplate of Righteousness, the Sword of the Spirit, and my “feet of peace” are protected by those “boots” I’m sporting (and they are even adorned with “boot bling!”

It seems that the Lord has been speaking the truth of Joshua 1:9 to me every time I turn around! Most every message I’ve been preview to, every networking group I’ve attended, even through friends, music, girls-night-out events….EVERYTHING! So much so that it just blows my mind to think how clear He is speaking, not only to me, but to “ALL of His children that hear his voice!”
He tells us not once, but over and over again within that scripture to Be strong and courageous, to be “very” strong and courageous and gives us the assurance that He will be with us wherever we go!! That’s good enough for me. I’m going to make it to my promised land and I am “honored” that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is the one and only one I need to lead me there!

Thank you for your post! The Holy Spirit has used you (along with many others) to fan the flame within me and not only am I not backing down–I’m going to lead the way for others to be able to make it through “their wilderness experiences” to reach their “promised land” as well. After all…if you call yourself a leader and no one is following you, then you’re just out for a walk, right?

Be Blessed, my Sister!

Aah, I am so blessed by you today…thank you so very much. You need to place all that into a blog post sister! I will read it for sure. I love the bling on the boots thing too! Blessings to you, dear lady. I shall pray specifically for you in these things. Be blessed as you do all of these things for Him. He loves you!

There you have it. My response to a fellow blogger.

I hope you, too are blessed. And, be sure to check out Annie B’s Blog! I would also encourage you to check out For The Girls International (ftgi.org). They are an amazing group of women, no, make that “world changers” and I just know you are going to love them, as I do…

strong brave beautiful

Wild Ride Not So Wild!

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Hmmm, so as it would be, I have not followed through on this test !! Honestly, I got sidetracked–again.

In my desperate attempt to become “social savvy” and up-to-speed on all of the trends, I fouled myself up out of the gate with trying to do too much too fast and the result? “Jack of all–master of NONE!”

I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m old. I’m going to be 55 this year and the memory, well, I think it must be semi-retiring before its time, lol. Sounds like a cop-out to me…in reality, there is a LOT to this and unlike my children and even my grand babes I have not grown up in the “technology generation” and it’s a little complex, honestly. I used to think I was a cool middle-aged Mom. Truth is, my son was cool and because I had fair representation (My Space, Shout Life,website, multiple Facebook Pages & Groups, email, a MAC and a smart phone) I was pretty proud that I was keeping up. But then my son grew up and all of a sudden he isn’t there at my beck and call to update this or upgrade that and I realize I have much to learn and I am sadly behind the times!

So…I can whine about it, or I can do something about it. I’m choosing the latter, so this “old dog” is learning new tricks!

When I think of what I have accomplished since my last Blog, I guess I should really be happy, after all, I have managed to set up another Twitter account AND write down the password and handles so I can actually find them! Soon I’ll actually “tweet.” I’ve also created 2 Savvy cards (I bet some of you might not even know about these new online business cards that put ALL your info in one easy and very professional place) I even have a QR Code for 2 out 3 of my businesses! How’s that for techy? Oh…and I added more Likes to my FB Page as well as created another which has already received enough “Likes” to be able to be “analyzed” (look at me finding my way! LOL)

This journey has just begun and it’s sure to be a long one, since it seems to change by the day (Google+? FB changes? Savvy cards? Claiming Authorship?….yea–I guess I’m doing ok!

L

So…here we go

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So…just what is a “bag lady” and what in the world does she “chat” about? I’m glad you asked! My name is Mona Lisa (seriously) and I’m a wife, mother, grandmother (though not an old one, lol) a Women’s Ministry Director at my church (Baypointe) a Certified Pest Control Operator AND a Thirty One Senior Consultant! Whew–and that’s not all the hats I wear either. BTW I just adore hats (and boots and gloves, jewelry, makeup…yes, I’m most definitely a “girlie-girl”!

Now that that’s out of the way, let me just say that this blog is a test (not of the Emergency Broadcast System). I’ve tried to blog before, for my “real job”–you know, the one that pays the bills…but I found myself to be rather inconsistent because my real job is all about BUGS! Yep, the crawling, stinging, yucky ones. Anyway, I went to a Networking Luncheon (shout out for FTGI For the Career Girls, and there was this amazing speaker named Kim from “Boom Social.” WOW!!! This woman is an absolute gem and a wealth of information on Social Media! I learned A LOT of interesting (and, according to her, imperative) information about surviving and thriving in your business by getting on the bus with blogging, Tweeting, Linking, Pinning, newslettering….well, you get the idea. So here I go!

Like I said; this is a test. For the next sixty days my life is conducting a test of the “getting on board with the social media system.” I hope this is NOT only a test, but a life-changing, business-changing, ministry-changing new way of life!

Stay tuned. It’s gonna be a wild ride and I’ve got a lot to learn, so it should be an interesting journey ’cause I’m about as computer/device savvy as a ROACH (ok so…bugs have been my life for 26 years–this dog needs to learn some new tricks)

Wish me luck and….stay tuned!

By the way–if you’ve got something “bugging you” check out my other blog at floridabugexpert.wordpress.com!