Category: Transformed – Healing and Renewal – Romans 12

When my friends abandoned me after my rape, I just couldn’t seem to get my bearings. I was going to church, building a new friendship group, and studying His Word. I was trying to pull things back together and to heal, but something was missing—it didn’t quite work. My friends had been my world. More than my family, they had been my source of strength. I was trying to make that new Power God, Jesus Christ, but it wasn’t quite working so I sought out therapy.

What my therapist did for me, I can never explain. She validated me. She gave a voice to my pain. She was the first person who clearly, without wavering, told me I’d been wronged. First by my rapist, next by my friends. She illuminated how I was gaining my identity from others around me and until I got that identity from God, I really couldn’t heal.

She asked me, “What is your identity in Christ?” I rattled off a bunch of things—He loves me. I’m His creation—uniquely made—blah, blah, blah. I knew these things in my head. The problem was I didn’t feel it. What I found was I had to remove the things from my life that were blocking me from the Healing Power of our Creator.

I started changing things in my life, or really, He started moving me to where I needed to be. I began exercising and while doing so, listening to some of the best preachers and inspirational messages. I was like a sponge and it started to fill me. I quit smoking. That was a tough one. I took me two years and MANY quit attempts to let that go.

Then came the drinking. This one I did not want to let go. In fact, I would pray, “Lord, I know you want me to give this up (I felt the pull), but please, not yet.” Now that I’m free of it, I look back and I don’t know why I hung onto it. It was miserable drinking. I’d routinely go too far, stay up too late, and ruin the next day with a horrible hangover. It came between me and my kids—it was this sick vacation to hell—and this was the final block I had to let go to truly let God in. Maybe in future blogs I’ll share the story of this transition.

Now, today, I can feel God’s influence in my life like never before. When asked, “What is your identity in Christ?” I can’t come up with the words because it’s a feeling. It’s a confidence, a perspective, an understanding that defies reason. I am renewed, restored, and now God can really come in to help heal me. The healing isn’t done. It’s a process—probably life long. Part of that healing is in this writing. Come with us…


In All Those Old Familiar Places – Mom

The day I left New Jersey, I went back to my mom’s old neighborhood to visit “all those old familiar places.” I took her with me, a small urn of ashes, to spread near her childhood home. When I told her I would make this trip as she lay inRead More


I’ll Be Seeing You Too

While I was out in New Jersey, hunting down some of my mom’s old stomping grounds, her cousins from my grandmother’s Bennetto side, Joan (Joannie) Maly and Veronica (Roni) Belmont, were helping me to figure things out. They still are because I have so many questions I wish my motherRead More


Mom – Photo Mystery Solved

Wedding photo mystery solved! It turns out the colored photo of my mother was taken at her brother Hank’s wedding. Her cousin Roni thought so. We’ve all been excellent mystery sleuths. Right now, I miss my mom so much; I’m having a hard time breathing. I am headed home, andRead More


Mom’s Old Neighborhood

Today, my cousin, Lisa, and I went on an adventure to find our parents, Carolyn Mary and Hank Lariccia, family home in East Orange, New Jersey. Their cousin, Joannie Maly, had told me it was near the corner of North Park and Dodd Street. We arrived at the corner, andRead More



This morning at breakfast, I saw a woman with a Billie Holiday t-shirt. For those unaware, I had a unique experience around her song I’LL BE SEEING YOU and my mother. The lyrics say, “in all the familiar places.” The parts of NYC my mother ever really mentioned was RADIORead More


Mom-Gates of Heaven Cemetary

Today was an emotional and moving day. I took some of my mother’s ashes to the gravesite of her parents, Henry & Elizabeth Lariccia. While there, we also found her grandparents, Frank and Mary Monica Bennetto. Frank would be the gentleman with the giant mustache in the 1907 picture belowRead More


Mom’s Eulogy

Carolyn Mary’s full celebration can be watched here: At first, when I sat to write this, I had just a bunch of random thoughts in my head. Memories and funny stories, things my mother had told me. It all seemed like a hodge-podge of various quotes and stories, andRead More


Miss You, Mom

Grief is a funny thing. Most times, when I cry about the death of my mother, I’m not crying because I miss her. I most certainly miss her, but what gets the tears to flow are thoughts for and about her. Like, did she know what was happening as itRead More


Mom – You Did This

For the first time since my mother passed last Tuesday, I feel to the center part of my being that she is both with me and in a better place. I no longer worry that she’s lost and afraid. I know she is grounded in a Holy Wisdom that letsRead More


Looks Like You, Mom

My sister found this in my mom’s things. I am to the left, my sister to the right. Please note what is written in the corner, “Looks like you, mom.” My mother must have sent this to my grandmother (Nanny), and when my grandma died, it was returned to myRead More