Truth or Myth?

As we close out April, let’s look at a few Truths or Myths. I had the privilege to share these words with our Church in honor of Organ Donor Awareness Month.


8,000 folks from PA are currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.

TRUTH!  And nationally, more than 120,000 people are waiting.



Wealth and connections gets your organ quicker.

MYTH!  While You can’t buy an organ.  What your money can do though, is enable you to travel and be listed on multiple registries which can improve your wait time.  Think – Steve Jobs – liver in TN, but also Walter Payton – who died waiting for a liver.



Doctors won’t work hard to save my life if they know I’m a registered organ donor.

MYTH!  Paramedics, nurses and doctors will do EVERYTHING possible to save your life.  Transplant Teams are only notified after all life-saving efforts have failed.



You can be too old or too sick to donate your organs.

MYTH!  Every potential donor is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.



Most people believe in organ donation. 

TRUTH!  BUT, only half of these folks are registered to donate.  How can you help?  Be part of the long-term solution – agree to be a donor after you are done with your body. Organ donors can help up to eight people while tissue donors (bones, ligaments, tendons), can help 50.  Skin, corneas and heart valves can also be donated.



Not everyone is healed. 

MYTH!  We were created in God’s perfect image.  And we will return to this perfect image when we get to heaven. Jesus showed us many examples of healing in the Gospel.  Whether it was a blind man, a demon-possessed woman or even a man who had been dead for days, Jesus healed them.  “Lord, the one you love is sick.” It’s all for God’s glory – not ours.

As John 11 continues this story…Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.  Well, I plop my name in there and read it as…Now Jesus loves Jackie and her dialy-sister Katie and their husbands Bill and Brandon.  This story is all about God’s glory.

In Max Lucado’s book Before Amen, he sums up my thoughts on how I know Bill (and Brandon and everyone of us) will be healed!  Jesus will heal us instantly, gradually or ultimately…upon our arrival in eternity!  “we shall be like Him” 1 John 3:2  I cling to this promise.  I’ll believe it until I see it!

What’s Next? 

Join us on Tuesday, May 15, in Penn Township-Butler, to raise awareness for the need for donors.  All types of donors – organ donors as well as blood donors.  We are hosting a Blood Drive with Food Trucks Event!  Register for the blood drive at Central Blood Bank using Group Code Z0021051.   Blood Drive runs from 1pm-6pm. 

Food Trucks (Donny B’s BBQ, Doce Taqueria, Healthalicious, Ash&Kris Kitchen and Bruster’s Ice Cream) will be from 4pm-7pm. 

Stop in for a chance to win one of the giveaways including a Gas Grill donated by Lowe’s. 

All activities take place at 601 Pittsburgh Road (Route 8 – just north of Dinnerbell Road) at  our GENEROUS SPONSORS:   FYZICAL THERAPY & BALANCE CENTERS / BUTLER YOGA WORKS


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5 am is for the Birds

Before my Mom retired, she started work at 6 am and I thought she was crazy.  For over 30 years, she got up way before the sun and drove into Pittsburgh.  Yes, she finished work and headed out of town long before rush hour, but 6 am?  Not for me. 

If you don’t know anything about me, let me give you some insight. I believe nothing good comes from being up at 5 am.  This time is reserved for a unique group of people such as coffee shop owners, donut makers, snow plow drivers, and insomniacs.  I’m not any of these.   At one point in my life, I worked the overnight 11-7 shift and lived to tell about it.  It’s one thing to end your day at daybreak, but something else to start it in the middle of the night.   But, for some bizarre reason, I signed up for a 5:00 am Prayer Boot Camp.  Five am, five days a week, for five weeks.

When I told MyFishGuy that I was going to get up at 5 am for Prayer Time, he looked at me like I had lost my mind.  I need two alarms and numerous snooze buttons to get up every day.  I mentioned this Boot Camp to two other dear prayer warriors and they both said, “oh that’s nice, not for me or YOU!”  I’m not sure what prompted me to sign up for this, but I just knew I needed to do it.   

As I waited for it to start, I kept thinking about how it was going to be difficult to get up at 5am.  It was going to be rough to stay awake for an hour at that time.  I could picture my head plopping into my coffee cup and dozing on the open pages of my Bible. I could imagine needing a nap before 8am.  And extra hazelnut coffee.  Lots and lots of coffee.  pexels-photo-64775.jpeg

The night before this group started, I set two alarms for 4:58 and 4:59.  When the first one went off, I hopped out of bed, shut the bedroom door, tip-toed out to the dining room and proceeded to turn on every light in the house so that I wouldn’t fall back asleep.  To my surprise, that next hour flew by and I only needed two cups of coffee.  Over the next few days, I realized that this was not really hard.  Did I like being up at 5:00 in the dark morning?  Not really, but it was wonderful looking out the backdoor window and seeing all the morning stars.  Did I like going to bed between 8:30 and 9:00 twice that first week?  Yes, because I certainly was tired early in the evening. 

Spending that early morning hour with God has been incredible.  I’ve written pages and pages in my journal.  I’ve prayed while walking through each room in our home.  I’ve talked, and I’ve listened.  I’ve giggled, and I’ve cried.  All at five o’clock in the dark morning.  Who knew something beautiful could come at this time of day? 


Spending time with God

 I’ve spent quite a bit of time praying in our spare room. Boxes are everywhere.  Boxes filled with life-sustaining medicine for MyFishGuy.  Every 4 weeks, more than sixty boxes of liquid life are delivered.  Boxes that weigh over 40 pounds each.   That’s equal to six 2-liter bottles of pop.  It takes up one third of a room in our home.  He does the difficult thing.  I just come alongside him.  I support him and encourage him to continue knowing that a spare kidney is coming. 


Liquid Life

 I’m more than three weeks into this five-week adventure.  I’ve found that spending time with God very early in my morning is a fabulous way to start my day.    Prayer is essential in my life.  Prayer can be an adventure no matter what time of day.  And today, on Valentine’s Day, my greatest gift to MyFishGuy is to pray for him.  Starting at 5am.


Happy Valentine’s Day

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Doing the Hard Things

Waiting.  Waiting to receive that phone call from the Transplant Team can be overwhelming. We were on high alert last week.

There are multiple ways to receive an organ donation for transplant.  It usually starts with being placed on the Active List for donation.  You are immediately told it’s a 3-5 year wait for a cadaver kidney.   We’re 20 months into that List.

There is also the Living Donor process.  This is where someone donates one of their kidneys to you.  We’ve had two folks go through the process and not quite cross the finish line for donation.  We have another potential Living Donor beginning the process.  We’d appreciate you praying for her and for us during this time of waiting.  When a donor is approved, if they aren’t a match for you, it’s always possible for a ‘paired listing’ where your Living Donor donates to someone else and their Living Donor donates to you.   Allegheny Health Network was part of the longest chain of kidney transplants ever constructed – 34 kidneys donated and 34 received.

Another option is ‘direct donation’ where an organ is directed to a certain person.  I’m now sure this is the roughest/toughest, hardest/ugliest thing.  It’s when someone is going to be with Jesus very soon.  The family has made the decision to donate the organs.  Someone speaks up and says – I know you are grieving, and I know you’ve made the decision to donate, could we honor your loved one’s legacy and receive their kidney?

It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I made that phone call to a grieving relative of someone last week.  I’m hoping it didn’t come across as morbid.   I hope it came through as being done out of love and hopefulness.  I was a mess.  In the end, it was not to be.    So, we wait.  Each day is one day closer to a new kidney for MyFishGuy.

So, while we wait…

Year End donations?  Do you contribute to a charity at the end of each year?  We’d be honored to receive a donation from you.  Please consider helping MyFishGuy and others like him through a year-end donation to National Foundation for Transplants.

Keep Christ in Christmas magnets on sale now!  We are selling these sturdy magnets for your car or refrigerator.  These make great stocking stuffers and grab bag gifts. Only $5 each.  Buy 4, Get 1 Free.  Contact us now for Christmas delivery.

Got your 2018 Calendar handy?  We’ve booked the 2018 Purse Bash & Wine Raffle location.  Saturday, September 22…with seating for over 400! Mark your calendar now so that you don’t miss out on this fabulous Event!

Are you registered to be an organ donor?  Play It Forward Pittsburgh is conducting an organ donor awareness and registration drive.  Part of their mission is to get every eligible Pittsburgh resident registered as an organ donor.  You can sign up here.

Thanks for your financial support during 2017.  Your donations make a difference each and every day.  But most of all, thank you for your prayers.  We could not do the hard things without them.

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Living Donors

We need a Living Donor. Our options have narrowed this week and now we begin the search for a kidney via social media. Who would have ever thought such a thing?

Why be a Living Donor?  Your selfless gift means a renewed LIFE to someone else. A donated kidney can add 15 to 20 years to som0514161607c_resizedeone’s life. It means the end of someone being connected to a machine for 14 hours a day. That someone is the Love of my Life – MyFishGuy. We need your help!

Who can donate?  According to the National Kidney Foundation, to donate a kidney, you must be in good physical and mental health. As a general rule, you should be 18 years or older. You must also have normal kidney function. There are some medical conditions that could prevent you from being a living donor. These include having uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, HIV, hepatitis, or acute infections.

Our next steps?  MyFishGuy is on the active Transplant List for Allegheny Health Network.  We are now considering adding other lists.  He can only be on one list per region.   Look out Ohio – here we come! We are also calling a stranger in eastern PA that a dear friend met while traveling on Amtrak to New York.  He’s part of a philanthropic charity for matching organ donors with recipients.  Who knew about this?

Ready to find out more information?  Call or text or send me a message.  The phone interview happens first with our Transplant Coordinator.

Are you a registered as an organ donor Please take the time to do so.  It can save someone’s life when your time on earth is complete.

Your generous donation to our transplant medical expense fund via National Foundation for Transplants is always appreciated!

We will have a table set up at the Christian Community Church flea market on June 30/July 1.  Stop by for great bargains!  We’d love to chat with you.

Tickets foBashr the Purse Bash are on sale now!  We’d sure appreciate your help with ticket sales.  We know it’s 3 months away, but we want to make sure every gal gets a ticket and saves the date NOW!  This will not be like ANY other Purse Bash you have attended.  This is shaping up to be one wild & crazy event!



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Change takes time and dedication.   

 Waiting is our least favorite activity.  Heading out to a restaurant?  Call ahead seating can solve this wait. We do our best to schedule doctor’s appointments early morning or late afternoon which usually means less chance of waiting.    But waiting for this kidney transplant is teaching me a lesson.

 When MyFishGuy went onto the active Transplant List last April, he was so very sick.  He couldn’t walk unless he held onto something or someone.  He had lost muscle strength and use of his left arm and leg.  His blood pressure showed numbers I have never imagined on top and bottom of that pesky monitor.  His mind and memory were clouded by the build-up of toxin levels in his body from the failure of the kidneys.  His body was literally poisoning itself.  Before the month-long stay in the hospital, I hadn’t expected him to live to see his birthday in May. 

 Once MyFishGuy started on dialysis, things changed. 

 Change takes time and dedication.  In case you don’t know anything about dialysis, here’s what you need to know…it sucks.  Literally and figuratively.  At-home dialysis takes over your life and your home.  We have over 60 large and heavy boxes of supplies delivered each month.  Exceptional care and cleaning is needed around the dialysis machine area which sits beside our bed.  MyFishGuy starts his dialysis routine each day by 4:00 pm and physically connects to the machine no later than 8:00 pm.  This enables him to disconnect by 7:30 or 8:00 the next morning.  He is connected via a tube and can only roam 20 feet from this life-sustaining machine.  Over ten 2 liter bottles of fluid travel into and out of his body every night – taking over and doing the job of his kidneys. We set up the Man Cave (which I affectionately now call the Med Cave) so that we can sit together and watch television in the evenings. We are grateful that the dialysis treatment is working to keep him alive and functioning at a better level.  His doctors and nurses have made all the difference. 

 Change takes time and dedication.  The fabulous doctors and staff at Balance for Wellness worked diligently to help him build up the muscles in his arm and shoulder to regain the use of his arm.  Next, they worked on his balance and leg strength.  When MyFishGuy began physical therapy, I had to walk alongside him to steady his trek up the stairs, opening the doors for him.  Now, I barely slow down the car and he’s jumping out ready to head into the facility.  If you think a year of physical therapy is a long time, come talk to me as I believe they continue to work miracles.  MyFishGuy is a work in progress and he’s headed in the right direction!

 Change takes time and dedication.  Why all these changes?  I’m believing each of the changes that occurred over the last year have a purpose. Each obstacle we’ve faced has given us the opportunity to give all the glory to God.  Every person that asks me how I know that MyFishGuy will be healed has received the same answer.  Healing comes one of three ways – immediately, eventually, or ultimately in heaven.  We trust that God’s plan and his perfect timing are for his glory alone. 

 MyFishGuy is loving life and feeling so much better.  He brought out his fishing poles this week.  He’s thinking about driving again.  He wants to make plans, go places and do things.  Things that would not have been possible without the time and dedication of the last year. 

Change takes time and dedication.  Why is he still waiting for this kidney transplant?  We don’t know.  Maybe so that his body could be healed in some many other distinct ways? We know that every day that goes by, brings us one day closer to the new life that a transplanted kidney will bring to MyFishGuy.

 Change takes time and dedication.  April is National Donate Life Month.  Are you registered as an organ donor?  Does your family know?  Please let your loved ones know your intentions to give life to another when the time comes.  None of us get out of here alive.  As the bumper sticker says:  Don’t take your organs to heaven…heaven knows we need them here.  So, please, Share Your Spare!

Donate here…


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I have a Caterer?


I have a Caterer.  These might just be the strangest words I’ve ever typed.  Why is this so strange?  I love to cook.  Feeding folks with comfort food is my love language.  Have you ever been to my home?  There is no doubt that you were fed no matter when you arrived or how long you stayed.  Did you bring kids with you?  They left with a snack bag for the car ride home.  Just in case you were taking the long way home. 


I have a Caterer.  It’s my favorite local deli where comfort food abounds.  You need a caterer for an outdoor wedding?  Call these folks.  Taking 100 women to an overnight conference in Pittsburgh?  They’ll do Friday night’s dinner as well as lunch on Saturday.  Breakfast or lunch for two?  Stop in and eat.  And take home a goodie bag for later.  Hosting a luncheon?  No problem.  Friends over for dinner?  Chicken Parm to go. 


I have a Caterer.  Makes me think about that scene from the movie First Wives Club.  Shelley (Sara Jessica Parker) has been invited to lunch with the scene-stealing Gunilla Garson Goldberg (Maggie Smith). Dangling that business card back and forth with Shelley almost begging for it! It was for a to-die for designer, but you get the picture.  It’s a must if you want to be somebody!


 I don’t want to be somebody.  I already am somebody!  I’m choosing to spend my time and energy doing the things that need to be done at this stage in my life.  Loving MyFishGuy and raising funds through National Foundation for TransplantsAs we get closer and closer to MyFishGuy receiving a kidney transplant, I’m focused in the proper place.  So, if you are coming over?  I’ll still feed you.  It’s just likely that I will have called my Caterer first.  Give them a call. Sciullo’s 910 Deli  – ask for Mark.  Tell him MrsFishGuy sent you! 








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A Benefit Concert?

Of course!  Music is MyFishGuy’s love language.  He’s always singing some random lyrics from a song I’ve never heard before.  Feeling happy?  Music.  Feeling sad?  Music.  In the car?  Music.  Working on a project?  Music.  Placido Domingo to Zac Brown Band.  Gaither to Third Day.  So it is only natural that Music plays a part in our FUNraising events.

We are so excited to host Randy Stonehill – 2010 Christian Music Hall of Fame Inductee – at a concert to benefit National Foundation for Transplants to assist with Bill’s transplant expenses.

The concert is set for Saturday, January 28, 2017, at Bakerstown United Methodist Church in Gibsonia.  Three levels of tickets are available.  The VIP Treatment ticket is exactly what you would expect from MrsFishGuy.  If you have traveled with me to one of the many events over the past 10 years, you know that VIP is always over the top and filled with surprises!

VIP starts at 4:30 pm with reserved parking, Meet & Greet with Randy & Leslie Stonehill, Dinner and then preferred seating for the Concert.  Pre-show Dinner Tickets include Dinner and a General Admission Ticket. Dinner?  Yes, a delicious dinner served in Fellowship Hall before the Concert.

Tickets are available from iTickets or email

Purchase your tickets now – what a great Christmas present for someone you love!


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