It was a routine cardio stress echo test on a treadmill and I felt good about taking it. I had been going to the gym on a regular basis and images-1felt confident I would do well. The general procedure is that they take pictures of your heart before and after your time on the treadmill. The pictures and corresponding graph show the cardiologist if there are any abnormalities that need attention.
Within 48 hours  a cardiac catheterization was scheduled and I was told I would need a triple by-pass and an Aorta reduction!!! Lucy and I looked at each in disbelief! The thought of our life together ending frightened us and after the shock wore off, tears began to gently fall.
albuquerque_56I wasn’t as afraid of dying as I was of leaving Lucy. I knew she is strong and could go on without me but….something inside didn’t want her to. We are a team and I wanted it to stay that way forever.
 After being kept in the hospital an extra day to consult with various members of the cardiac by-pass team, we got educated as each doctor and nurse took their time in explaining the procedure and answering our questions.  We were also encouraged to watch videos on how to prepare for surgery and how to prepare for the recovery period. Recovery period?  Maybe I wasn’t going to die after all!
Lucy stayed in the hospital with me for two nights and when we woke on the second morning, we both felt better. In our eyes the circumstance was growing smaller and our GOD was becoming bigger! Lucy suggested we read stories of healing in the Bible and we opened up the book of Mark and started to both read and discuss the miracles of JESUS. It was beyond therapeutic and soon GOD impressed upon us that I was not sick, I just needed repair and there is a difference.
Sometimes when we are told we have a health issue,  we jump to conclusions and start telling ourselves the very things we don’t want to happen and start looking for symptoms we never noticed before. It was important for us to watch our words and start talking more about the recovery than the surgery; focus on the healing that would take 6-8 weeks rather than the heart repair that would take only 6 hours.
Although the by-pass surgery was being done on me, the recovery period would be as much work for Lucy as it would be for me. She would be doing everything for me at first and we were cautioned that this could depress me and overwhelm her. I am to be as gentle with her during this time as she is with me. We will both be recovering.
photoRight now we are preparing.  Because they deflate the lungs and a machine breathes for you during the surgery, I am on breathing exercise now to make my lungs stronger later. We needed to purchase a recliner so my feet will be elevated and get a tray for meals. They want me to start walking 2-3 days after surgery and as you might guess, I am looking forward to that!
Each day the dark ravens of negativity appear at different times for Lucy and I but we simply notice them, open the door of our mind and release them. We can’t stop black birds from entering our mind but we can stop them from building a nest there!
Lucy is a rock. She told me she locks eyes with JESUS and does not look to the right or the left.  We believe that life often flows into the form we dictate and so we listen to upbeat music, speak what we desire and stand on the Word of GOD.
Thousands of heart by-passes are successfully done every day in America.  It just becomes a big deal when it’s my heart!  A friend told me that the difference between major heart surgery and minor heart surgery depends on whose heart it is!!! The truth is we live in a wondrous age and in a magnificent nation and we belong to a Glorious Kingdom where we serve a loving GOD.  
And….SURPRISE!…..Nothing changes that!!

Hurt People Hurt People

A bully in the schoolyard and a bully in the home or the office are the same. One intimidates his classmates, another harasses his family or associates.  And so it follows, that our remedy in the past for both issues has been the same.

Harbor the victims and punish the perpetrator.  That hasn’t worked so well. Bullying is an ever increasing epidemic in both the playground and the workplace and we can’t seem to build shelters fast enough to house our battered women and children.

We have focused our efforts on the offended and neglected the offender!  If we wish to cure the sickness, we must identify, attack and eradicate the virus causing the disease.  We all know that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting the results to change and yet….we continue applying the same band-aid to an ever-bleeding wound.

The dictionary defines a bully “as someone who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people.” The unspoken cultural connotation is that a bully is stronger, bigger or more powerful individual and because he exerts this power through aggression, he is unlikeable.

The bully often doesn’t care about being unlikeable but he does desire attention, control and power. In his own bizarre way he is seeking respect. He believes if others fear him, they respect him.  What we believe drives our behavior.  To eradicate bullying we must change the rewards we unconsciously give to that behavior. Stop telling bullies they are strong and their victims are weak. There has to be a change on our part before there can be a change on their part.

Tell them the truth; bullies are people who emotionally damaged, socially ignorant or both! They are weak people who have been hurt and they seek to hide their feelings of inadequacy by hurting others. They think, “If I pretend to be an angry bear, you will never know I am a defenseless cub.” They are weak… but…they don’t have to stay that way!

What to do:

Bullies have misguided minds not malignant spirits. They are to be affirmed for their intellect not their physical prowess or intimidating tactics. We are to teach them to be mentally sharp by evaluating the risks and rewards of their behavior.

Mistreating people may give them 15 minutes of power and victory but it will also result in consequences that cause them days of detention or months in jail and as well as financial loss due to loss of job or financial penalties. Our conversation has to center on them winning. The only way they can do that long term is to take responsibility for their behavior.

People can not exist without oxygen. It’s everywhere, we don’t have to like it but we  need it to thrive and flourish. The bully needs to learn that he doesn’t have to like people, the weather or his circumstances but like oxygen, they’re always going to be there. He may not be able to change “them” BUT  he does have the power to change his emotional reaction into an intelligent response.

It will be his attitude and intellect, not his muscle or machismo, that will determine whether he flourishes or fails. Our society does not tolerate the tyrant!

The bully has been injured in some way. That is not an excuse for poor behavior but a obvious observation.  No nonsense straight forward education is the answer and it begins by saying to the one who is acting out:

“This cannot continue. You are smart. You are strong and I care about you.  You are a winner and I refuse to let you sabotage your own future!”


20 big ones!Nick Della Valle is a co-founder of Breath of CHRIST Ministries  ( and author of the book “3300 Miles for Christ.”  He and his wife Lucy are missionaries to America; storytellers for

At 4’8” tall and 98 pounds, Nick knows what it is like to bephysically intimidated.  He gives a first hand account of not only  overcoming those situations but also understanding what drives the intimidator.

How we choose to respond to situations and circumstances affectsnot just the moment, but the pattern for dealing with difficulties that may await us in the future.

What You Say Is

I’m trying to be more aware of the words and phrases I use. At one time, I didn’t think it made any difference what I said. I thought everything was based on how I acted. Was I polite or rude? Did I work hard or slough off?  Was I on time or always running late?

Although all that matters, words matter more.  What we say impacts how we act. What we say to others is important but what we say to yourself is life changing!  Phrases like “I’m sick and tired” or “I can’t afford THAT” add no value to our life.

Words we speak, make inroads into our minds and shape our spirits. Using the name of GOD (I AM) before certain positive conditions strengthens the core of our being.

I AM a strong, healthy, energetic, flexible, pain free body from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet.

I AM a sharp, sound, disciplined, clear thinking, clean thinking mind!

I AM wealth, abundance, riches and prosperity; my GOD, my Father causes good things to come to me.

Take a moment this week and listen to the talk around you. Repeat the positive; delete the negative.  Now listen to the words that are coming out of your own mouth.  When you catch a gripe,  a groan or  a grumble, remind yourself that you are blessed and highly favored and deeply loved by GOD….and we kinda like you too!

Let’s practice speaking the things we want as if they had already arrived. “Thank You, Lord, for our brand new Rialta.”  “Thank You, Father GOD, for that 15 pound weight loss.”   “Thank You, JESUS, for directing us to that three bedroom townhouse.”  Begin to see life as you want it, thank GOD for it and know that what you say…!