Courage & CHOPPED

Courage. Both my kids have it. I can assure you that they did not get it from me. For most of my life I was pretty much protected by a strict Sicilian father and 4 brothers. Since there was never anything to fear, there was no need to develop the coping skill of courage. Life was easy and sweet and I thought it would continue that way, but life doesn’t always turn out as planned.


The first test of strength came in the form of cancer. The outlook was quite grim for my husband. Caitlin was 13 and William  was 10. A two year battle of experimental chemo, radiation, disfiguring surgery…….persisting against the odds, Bill is one of those miracles that gives all cancer victims hope. And through it all the kids persevered overcoming fears and developing a greatness in their hearts. Courage.

Still afraid of my own shadow I watched and marveled at my children as time and time again they chose to step out of the comfort zone accepting risk and going bold. They had a healthy sense of fear and a mental and moral strength that defied anything that I had ever known. They scared the daylights out of me on a regular basis.

And just when life is getting really good…BAM…a mom’s worse fear…losing one of her children. Where’s the courage now and how does one get it? One can’t survive this harsh reality without it. Help me William! Help me step up and be brave like you.


Identifying with William is a healthy way to keep him alive in my life.  It took me a long time to figure it out, but if I am to truly honor William and his memory I must step out of my comfort zone. Following in Will’s light means taking the road less travelled; going bold and being brave. Writing this blog is certainly an example of my new found courage, but it would have never happened without a bit of encouragement.

Encouraged by Caitlin & Sam and supported by Bill I am pleased to announce that I took on the challenge of CHOPPED. A scary TV opportunity to say the least.

Here is the promo announcement.

Premiering Tuesday, May 6th at 10pm – “Mother’s Day”
In this episode, four moms battle it out for the title of Chopped Champion! Mothers who usually rule their home kitchens attempt to stay composed as they cook in a much larger arena. In the first round, the moms are given chicken noodle soup and salsa, along with other mystery ingredients for their appetizers. Then in the entrée round, the moms must contend with a sugary ingredient that kids tend to love, but parents often ban from breakfast. The final two moms find lady fingers in the mystery basket that they must work into their desserts.

At this time I can’t say much more about the show, but I hope you will watch it and let me know what you think. This is a tough week. Thanks to all of you who have supported me throughout. You know who you are. I love you and I know you are grieving, too. Have courage and walk in William’s light.

24 thoughts on “Courage & CHOPPED

  1. Lisa you are an amazing wife, mother and person!! I will be watching! I understand what it is like being raised by a strict Sicilian father, and life does throw some curve balls. But as they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I guess anyway! You look beautiful, exactly as I remember you. Good luck.

  2. Your emotions leap from the page of this post. Thank you for sharing, and reminding me that we are only what we allow ourselves to be. Your courage runs deep.

    Looking forward to watching you on chopped.

  3. Lisa, I am a friend of Peter’s. I have grieved for you from afar and cheered for you every time he posted and boasted about you and your culinary successes. Now I find myself waiting for your next blog post. Your writing has touched me deeply. I’m sure your William is so proud of you! I will be watching if I can get the channel on my oh-so-screwed-up cable TV.

  4. My favorite nurse on my favorite show! I cannot wait!

    I was so sad to hear about William’s passing. I remember him as the sweetest boy… I am so sorry Lisa, and you should know you are hands down one of the most courageous women in my book!

  5. Open a dictionary and look up the word “courage”…there should be a picture of you. In my mind’s eye there is! Peace and Hope…

  6. Lisa, you are a hero. And cannot wait to see you on Chopped! Feel my hug and love, Susan

  7. What a long way you have come my friend. You have had the courage to explore your tragic loss in front of the world. Your self-reflection and self-discovery have now become William’s legacy as all who have read your words now have the opportunity to appreciate and honor William through your loving eyes. I hope that all your followers have become awakened to the fact that if we never come face to face with obstacles, tragedies, losses, we will never truly appreciate the smiles, the laughter and beauty in our lives. “When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, not me.
    The word courage comes from the French root (sorry not Italian) CUER, meaning “heart”. To have courage is to have strength of heart. Oh my goodness…William has been telling you this for quite some time. Thank you for all your courageous posts. You are my hero!

  8. Thanks for your beautiful words and en-Courage-ment. The truth is my brain has “come a long way”… heart is still quite another story, but I could not do any of this without the belief that he is still here with me in my heart.

  9. Dear Lisa, I’ve been thinking of you and Bill and Caitlin all day. I feel like I know and love Will by your happy memories and that is the way to keep him alive in all of us today and everyday. I love this blog and I am going to share it with many friends. I can’t wait to see you on Chopped! I also look forward to seeing you on Easter. Love, Ellen

    Sent from my iPad

    On Apr 14, 2014, at 9:47 AM, Good Grief Cook wrote: lisakeys64 posted: “Courage. Both my kids have it. I can assure you that they did not get it from me. For most of my life I was pretty much protected by a strict Sicilian father and 4 brothers. Since there was never anything to fear, there was no need to develop the coping s”

  10. I don’t know you and your family but I just watched the Chopped episode…. Your family’s story is heart wrenching and an example of how to persevere under unspeakable tragedy… You were a “badass” 🙂 in the kitchen and I hope that your family has moments of joy and peace despite the loss of your beautiful boy…

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