Thursday, October 19, 2017


So, for those of you who don't know, I recently started a new adventure and I couldn't be happier.  AND it only get's better!  I was featured on the official LE-VEL FAN PAGE!!!!!

My name is Gina Marie Schafer, and this is my Thrive Experience.
I'm a 48 year old mom of three adult children (23, 21, and 20) and my adorable grandtwins who are about to be 2, CJ and Justin and married to my amazing husband, George!
I've been Thriving officially for 8 weeks! I watched my friend Sheila post about Thrive time and time again. I watched Sheila's posts talk about mental clarity among other things so, I said 'let's do this' and contacted Sheila.
Truth be told, I was a little nervous. Would I be jittery? Would I feel like I was going to burst out of my skin? Happily, the answer was "no.” I'm an all day person (versus being a night or morning person), however, by the time I get home at 4:00 I'm exhausted and ready to be a couch potato. That did not happen! I came home and was doing laundry, not only that, I FOLDED and PUT IT AWAY!!! Who does that?!!! Not me, that's for sure! lol All I drink now is water, it's all I want these days. My favorite thing has to be the mental clarity! I heard about it, but didn't know what to expect. It's not like the clouds part and angles sing and all of a sudden I have an IQ of 170. No, this is SO MUCH BETTER! I didn't realize I had mental fog until it was gone! I can focus a lot easier now!
I haven't even mentioned how I get up before the opportunity clock goes off, how my stress is just about I'm able to better focus and handle a situation with less emotional stress, and how my energy level is through the roof!
I can't thank Le-Vel and Thrive enough for giving me, 'me' back!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Thing About Cisterns

Over the course of the last few months I've really taken the ten commandments to heart.  Specifically, the not killing one.  If it weren't for spending eternity away from Jesus, in hell, with a lot of people I've avoided during my life, sweating, quite a few people would not be here.

As most of you know, if you are my friend, I love you unconditionally.  You hurt, I hurt.  Then, I want to hurt the people who hurt you.  But, I don't (see paragraph above).  Over the past few months, a few people I love were the victims of mean people.  And, while murder isn't an option, what's a girl to do?  We'll, I did some biblical thinking (rare I know).  And, what came to me were cisterns!  I was so excited!  See, Joseph's brothers didn't like him very much.  So, basically, they threw him in a cistern and went on their merry way.  They didn't kill him.  So, for the past few months I've joked around "we should buy a cistern!" "You can get cisterns on Amazon!" "Another person for the cistern!".  Then last week, God in His infinite wisdom reminded me of the rest of the story.

In case you don't remember, Joseph ends up becoming the rulers right hand man (so to speak) and in the end, he reunites with his brothers, holds no grudge, and tells them basically, what they meant for bad, God used for good.  So, if I get a cistern, dump all these people in it (I'm up to 3 now) then with my luck they'll form a singing group, will be rescued because some record producer heard their sound, and make a gazillion dollars.  So, no cisterns.

What then, is a wearing her heart on her sleeve, let me help you with the vengeance God, my friends/family have been wronged and must be avenged girl to do?  Pray.  Pray for these people (that they stay far away from me lol j/k not really).  Pray for their happiness.  That's a hard one.  Pray for God to soften their hearts.  And, even mine too.

So, as fun as it was to imagine throwing people in the Cisterns, that's the problem with them.  What I was using for bad, God will use for good.

Until next time, pray for those who persecute you (and everyone else).

Joseph, you are truly missed.  Thank you for being a part of my life.  I am blessed to have known you as shared so many memories with you.  Thank you for giving me your family.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Abide With Me.

I knew it was a while since I last posted, but almost a year?  Wow, that was a bit shocking.  I promise, I won't stay away so long again.

For as much as things have changed this past year they have stayed the same.  My weight (ugh), my patience (or lack thereof), and my heart (still loves deeply).  I spent the last year letting go.  I let go of familial relationships that only serve to hurt me.  That have never built me up.  I finally had enough of chasing parked cars, of wishing things were different.  I was tired of the phone only going one way.  I finally said to myself that I matter and just because I was born into this group of people does not mean I have to stay there.  That I can choose me.  So, I did.  At first, it was jarring, the day after Christmas when I realized the card never came.  Then again, after my birthday this year when I realized the same thing.  And you know what?  I'm still here.  I still matter and while slightly hurt, I am happy.  They say God provides what you need and boy does He, in big ways.  While I don't have the familial relationships (except for my Mom, God bless my Mom), He gave me a Dad in my father-in-love.  I have had the pleasure of knowing him for 18 years and being his daughter-in-law for 16 (in October).  After going through Christ Renews His Parish 12 years ago, He gave me a big sister in my Carol.  My bunco group (the Happy, Hugging, Holy Bunco Group thank you) are my family.  Sometimes we argue (with that many women, it happens.  Rarely, but it happens) but we protect, love, and serve each other.  We fight fiercely for each other and woe to the person who hurts one in our group!  And, my OLA sisters.  I spent the last nine months with these women.  And I love them all.  There is an unexplained bonding that happens when you spend nine months with someone let alone 20 women.  These women are more than  church friends, they are my heart.

Sure, sometimes I get jealous when I see a familial bond that I don't have, but at the same time, I know God has provided more family for me than I could ever have hoped.

My baby boy grew up this spring.  He has a great job, a lovely girlfriend, and a place of their own.  It happened rather unexpectedly, the moving out.  I was unprepared.  It hurt.  A lot.  But watching him grow and mature has been a joy to watch.

I no longer have kids in high school.  My two girls are in college and living at home.  I'm okay with that.  I like to tell them "I can't miss you if you never leave" but I am happy they are still here.  They'll leave when they're ready and I'm okay with that.

Big Daddy as always is my rock.  Loving someone with anxiety, panic, depression, and low self esteem isn't easy but he sure makes it look like it is.  He is such a great source of support.  He takes such good care of our family and is truly a gift from God.

I love that no matter how I change, the people that God has blessed me with, stay.  They love me even at my most unlovable times.  That, people, is love.  The forgive me, they mentor me, they challenge me, they guide me.  They abide with me.  And I, with them.

I am #oneblessedgirl.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Among the Thorns

I met my friend Mary Boyle over a decade ago.  She is a wise and wonderful servant of God.  And, she is my dear friend.  After years of friendship, we were at a gathering and she pointed out that I was a type A personality aka control freak.  I thought about it and laughed.  How had no one ever told me!  She wanted to know how I never knew! lol  That was an important day for me.  Certain things began falling into place, like how I know how things should and need to be done and when they need done! lol  Over the years, I would like to think I've mellowed a bit.  I said a bit, people, not a lot.  I've not mellowed when it comes to me or to God.

There's a saying "If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plan".  I've stopped telling Him, however, I haven't stopped wanting things my way.  Sure, I pray.  I pray for all of you and I pray wondering why they cannot go this way instead of that way.  I know, I KNOW God's plan is better than mine!  However, for some reason, I think maybe this time, this ONE time, our plans will align.  I can look back over my life and thank Him for all the unanswered prayers.  Prayers where most of the time, He has saved me from my worst enemy, myself.

I like to think I'm going to Heaven, even though I have said many times that I am the tour guide to hell.  I have a weird/goofy personality and way of looking at things.  Not bad.  Just different.  Mine.  I want to be one of those women who can quote scripture on demand and tell you the book and verse where it can be found.  Instead, I'm the "I know it's in there, I'm not sure what book, and it goes something like this" woman.  I want to be the one who spends time meditating on His word and just being with Him, not thinking about the kids or what's for dinner or how I felt slighted that particular day.  I want to pray the Rosary everyday and not find an excuse to stop after a year or two again.   I don't want my wrote prayers to feel wrote, I want to feel the meaning in them.  I want to look in the mirror and see Jesus, not the overweight woman battling menopause with low-self esteem, and the little voice in her head telling her she'll never measure up to her own standards let alone anyone else's.  Not too long ago, I shared my concerns about how I pray with someone.  They asked why I felt I had to pray that way?  I truly didn't have a good answer.  They reminded me that when I talk with Him throughout the day, that's a prayer.  True.  Nice to know.  Still I want the other way.  Type A much?

Today's reading is the Parable of the Sower.  You know the one I'm sure.  Seeds are scattered different places and yield different results.  I never really thought about my place in the scattering.  I always thought "I hear His word, I come to church every Sunday, I help where I can, I'm the one one good ground."  Then reading it today, something struck me.  I'm not really on the good ground.  I move between the grounds.

This is the meaning of the parable.
The seed is the word of God.
Those on the path are the ones who have heard,
but the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts
that they may not believe and be saved.
Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear,
receive the word with joy, but they have no root;
they believe only for a time and fall away in time of temptation.
As for the seed that fell among thorns,
they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along,
they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life,
and they fail to produce mature fruit.
But as for the seed that fell on rich soil,
they are the ones who, when they have heard the word,
embrace it with a generous and good heart,
and bear fruit through perseverance.”
- - -
How many times have I been choked by my panic and anxiety attacks or want 'riches and pleasures of life' (mainly, just to have our bills paid off and a nice place to live.  Okay, okay, and to travel and have a new car (paid off of course) and new shoes.  I need the new shoes.  Oh, and did I tell you about the purse I saw)?  How many times have I fallen victim to the devil and his snares and temptations?  And how many times did I bear fruit through perseverance?  I think we all move between the grounds, not just me.  Sure, I hang out among the thorns for a while, but next think you know, I'll be persevering again!

In two weeks I am beginning another spiritual journey.  Some of the women I know, some I do not. I'm looking forward to the next journey with them and growing in His word and doing His will. Please pray for me and all of these women.

Until next time,
Know I am praying for you.


Saturday, July 11, 2015


Yes, I know it's been a while.  Depression is like that.
I could tell you how over the last ten months how my life has been affected by cancer.  No, not me, two people I love dearly.  I could tell you how I watched my last child graduate and how that broke something inside of me.  I could tell you how I watch my husband go to work everyday at a job he loves and is respected and appreciated and how envious I am.  I could tell you how since my last post, I've had bronchitis.  Twice.  I could tell you how I've cut toxic people out of my life and how while it's very freeing, part of me feels bad about it.  I could tell you how I'm in menopause and it is just like being pregnant, except you don't get a cute baby at the end.  I could tell you how in an office full of people, I feel alone.  I could tell you that while I promote how healthy it is to ask for help from your friends, I do not practice what I preach.  How do you ask a friend to hold you while you cry and you don't know why you are crying?

No.  I am going to tell you none of that.  I'm going to tell you that today is a bittersweet day for me. Five years ago today, one of the greatest loves of my life, my Mema died.  She left me.  She had no right.  I needed her then, and I need her still.  Yes, I am selfish, this is not news.  I know she's happy, I know she's in heaven.  I'm happy she's not in pain.  I *know* all of that.  I also know that I belong with her and she belongs with me.  I know that some days it feels like yesterday since she's been gone and others, it feels like decades.  I hate that she left me.  I hate that she left me here alone.  Without her.  Without her laughter.  Without her joy.  Without her music.  Without.

Yes.  I know I'm blessed.  I know all these things.  But, if you know anything about me, you know how fiercely I love.  Not just with my whole heart, but with my soul.  That's why when season friends leave, it cuts me to the quick.  That's why I feel so helpless when I cannot help those around me.  That's why I hold so close my family and my bunco sisters.

So today, I will be sad.  Today I will cry.  And, today, like everyday, I will love, especially all of you.

Until next time,
Say a prayer that my friends parents house sells.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

It is What it is

It is not about what it is.
It is not about what can happen.
It is not about what it is going to be.
It is about Him.

It is not about what I want.
It is not about what you want.
It is not about our wishes.
It is about Him.

It is not about our gain or loss.
It is not about our joy or sorrow.
It is not about the outcome.
It is about Him.

It is not about giving.
It is not about receiving.
It is not about sharing.
It is about Him.

It is about His will.
It is about His plan.
It is about His love.
It is all about Him.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Of Music, Spock, and Wonder Woman.

Yes.  I know it's been six months.  I'm truly sorry.  I'll be better.  That said, grab your drink of choice (lately mine is water) and let's begin.

As some of you know, my early years weren't the best.  Heck, some of my older years weren't that great either but I digress.  From about sixth grade throughout graduation I didn't have many friends.  Actual 'come over, let's hang out' friends.  I was different and I was weird.  As a teen girl this isn't great.  Now, (well it took me to my mid thirties actually) I embrace it fully.  My friends were Joe, Natalie, Tootie and Blair, Mallory and Michael Keaton and of course most (obviously,not all) of the residence of Pine Valley, PA.  Erica, Mona and dear Aunt Phoebe, Greg and Jenny, just to name a few.

These people/characters became my friends and teachers.  They are the ones who liked me unconditionally. They came into my home every week.  They taught  how to be a friend that, goofy and different were okay, and that no matter how good you try to be, sometimes you just do stupid things so you learn from them and move on.  My husband understands this part of me.  So much so that one day about 10 years ago, he called from work to tell me to log on to the computer because he just couldn't break the news to me.  It was the day Aunt Phoebe died.  I cried.  Yes, I know that to you they're just fictional characters, but Ruth Warrick (of Citizen Kane) exuded class and love and she and I had been my "aunt' 35 years.

Yesterday was similar to that.  Another dear friend, a mentor, passed.  Leonard Nemoy passed away.  Spock was a great role model for anyone but especially for me.  We have many similarities.  We're both 'different' than what the norm suggests we be.  We are both strong willed.  We are both smart (although I down play mine all the time.  I still don't know why at 45 1/2 I still do that).  We both had to learn about grey.  That life isn't just black and white.  That somethings really are 'illogical' and we just have to accept that.  I was so sad I texted a friend "I feel like Khan has won".

I was a nerd but not the ones that are now cool.  I had a love hate relationship with math.  I was good at math but school bored me.  I wasn't in to comics.  Sure, I loved the superheros and cartoons, but music was and still is my passion.  I grew up in a house full of music.  Anything from the 20's and up. I fell in love with my mom's 50's and 60's music (can anyone say 'wolfman Jack?!)  My sister was the 70's.  My dad was big band all the way.  Mema was Croation music on Sunday's and 40's and below any other day.  I loved it all.  How many sixth graders can say their first concert was Sha-Na-Na!  And, you see my point.  Nerd.  No friends, only tv and music.  However, I was okay with that.  I didn't know till junior high how weird I truly was.  At the end of the day, it didn't matter.  I would go home to music and my tv friends.

It took a long time, but finally real people friends came into my life.  My senior year in high school, I met Joyce and Sherri, we've been best friends to this day.  It was just them for the longest time.  Then, over a decade ago, God placed my family at St. Jude's church where I met the loves of my life (Big Daddy will always be the greatest love of my life after God of course).  He also blessed me with friends through different jobs I've held (Sarah K, Rob S., Will H.  Chris McD, Mandy, Shortie, my podmate Jules, my bunco group) to name a few).  While I don't see all of these people very often, we stay in touch and get together whenever possible.  These real friendships mean everything to me.  I have Sally Field moments often when after a particular get together I realize they like me.  They really like me.  Not just that, they love me.  For a nerdy girl with only tv and music for friends, this constantly amazes me and something I never take for granted.  Big Daddy says he doesn't understand why I am amazed at how people like/love me.  He'll never understand because he was never me.  I tell him I'm amazed every day I wake up and realize he is not running for the hills.  I never said I was perfect, I said I was me.

Aisha Tyler (who is someone I just adore and look up to and who would totally be my friend in real life if she ever had the pleasure of meeting me) has a book called Self-Inflicted Wounds.  It's about epic humiliations we ended up doing to ourselves.  My whole life is moments like that, but then again, whose isn't?

At my current job, I work with people who have comic nicknames (Batman and Night wing are just two).  So a few weeks ago, I took on the moniker of Wonder Woman.  I thought "Hey, Wonder Woman is awesome.  I am awesome.  She's Amazonian, I shop of Amazon.  lol.  Actually, I took stock at all the crap I've over come.  At the walking miracle I am (dude, you just don't outgrow Epilepsy and not have to take medicine for the rest of your life.  I did among other things) and decided 'yup, I am a wonder.  I am woman.  Hear me roar.".

So to all the sportos, motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies and dickheads-I think you're all righteous dudes.

Until next time,
Live long and Prosper and remember I'm here if you need me.  Always.