How might a Heart Warrior use her adversity to become a poet? What might bring a woman to accept Jesus Christ into her life and thus change her future forever? What can we learn from this gentle spirit who has come close to death herself and lived to bring hope to others?
Today’s show is Lisa Colvil: Heart Warrior Author and Poet and our Guest is Lisa Dang Colvil. We’ll start today’s program by learning a bit about Lisa, then we’ll actually hear Lisa reading her poetry and at the end of the program, we’ll talk to Lisa about the book she had published in 2019.
Lisa Dang Colvil was born in Pennsylvania in 1979. A CHD warrior, she was born with double outlet right ventricle (DORV), severe subpulmonic stenosis, and patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). She had her first surgery at 3 months of age in her home state, and second surgery at 6 years of age at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, which was complicated by bilateral chylothorax. As a child, she felt different from others and did not fully understand her congenital heart defect and what it meant for her life.
Lisa spent much of her childhood writing poems and short stories and has honed her passion over many years. Now in her 40s, Lisa has recently published her first book, a 50-day devotional called Through the Beauty of Grace I Will. Lisa is also a devoted Christian wife and mother of two children aged 8 and 10.
To see Lisa's book and other CHD books and resources, check out The Heart Collection Bookstore
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Lisa Colvil: Heart Warrior Author and Poet
Mon, 3/8 8:51AM • 25:39
chd, devotional, book, heart, cardiologist, write, read, darkness, mother, poem, Vietnamese, pregnant, congenital heart defect
Lisa Colvil and Anna Jaworski
Lisa Colvil 00:00
Honestly, I wrote that poem because Jesus Christ entered my heart, and he's the light for me. But now looking back, he was also the light for my mother who was struggling when I was going through this. So my mother gave me that light through her love while I was going through CHD.
Anna Jaworski 00:28
Welcome to "Heart to Heart with Anna." I am Anna Jaworski, and the host of your program. I have also a Heart Mom to Alexander, who is 26 years old, and who was born with a single ventricle heart. He is my inspiration, and the reason that I am the host of this podcast. Today's show is 'Lisa Colvil: Heart Warrior, Author, and Poet,' and our guest is Lisa Dang Colvil. We'll start today's program by learning a bit about Lisa, they will actually hear Lisa reading her poetry. And at the end of the program, we'll talk to Lisa about the book that she had published in 2019. Lisa Dang Colvil was born in Pennsylvania in 1979. A congenital heart defect warrior, she was born with double outlet right ventricle, or DORV, severe subpulmonic stenosis and patent ductus arteriosus. She had her first surgery at three months of age in her home state and second surgery at six years of age at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, which was complicated by bilateral chylothorax. As a child she felt different from others and did not fully understand her congenital heart defect and what it meant for her life. Lisa spent much of her childhood writing poems and short stories and has honed her passion over many years. Now in her 40s, Lisa has recently published her first book, a 50-day devotional called "Through the Beauty of Grace, I Will." Lisa is also a devoted Christian wife and mother of two children, aged eight and 10. Welcome to "Heart to Heart with Anna," Lisa.
Lisa Colvil 02:08
Thank you, Anna, and thank you for having me on your show.
Anna Jaworski 02:11
Well you are so welcome. I am so excited to be interviewing an author. I'm excited to have you on the show. And I can't wait to hear you read one of your poems to us. Do you think that you could please read 'Light of Love' to us?
Lisa Colvil 02:26
Yes, Anna, it would be an honor to read to you and then our guests.
The Light of Love
All beautiful things is what the soul holds.
In darkness strength arise,
Sky fills with hope as the ray of light hits our hearts.
Always smile for faith is the light of love.
Recognize the wonder of blessings, and never give up.
The light of love will defeat all battles you face
For with every struggle, the end spell victory.
For within us lives the light of love.
Anna Jaworski 03:04
I just love it. What inspires you to write the poem? And what does 'light of love' mean to you?
Lisa Colvil 03:11
Honestly, I wrote that poem because Jesus Christ entered my heart, and he's the light for me. But now looking back, he was also the light for my mother, who was struggling when I was going through this. So my mother gave me that light through her love, while I was going through CHD.
Anna Jaworski 03:30
That's so beautiful. It seems to me you have a very close relationship with your mom.
Lisa Colvil 03:35
Yeah, I'm her only child.
Anna Jaworski 03:37
So you were her little light, weren't you?
Lisa Colvil 03:40
Yes, I was her little miracle.
Anna Jaworski 03:43
You mentioned in your poem that the light of love conquers darkness. What kind of darkness have you suffered in your life, Lisa?
Lisa Colvil 03:51
While going through CHD, I really didn't have darkness because growing up, my parents didn't talk about it. So to me, it was normal. But as I got older, I got married, had a family. That's when the darkness hit me is the whole marriage life, family life. And when my husband and I went through two separations and then I found God. So the light of love hit me while I was in the darkest spot.
Anna Jaworski 04:00
Right. It's really hard to go through that kind of challenge in your marriage. What brought you back together?
Lisa Colvil 04:23
God. My trust and my faith in God and when I submitted my soul to God.
Anna Jaworski 04:28
And does your husband share the same faith that you do?
Lisa Colvil 04:31
He was already that faith. He's a Lutheran and I baptized my kids Lutheran, but when I grew up in a Vietnamese home, my parents believed in Buddhism, but they never pushed it on me. So they let me be open to my own religion and faith, and I didn't really understand it until I was in the dark myself.
Anna Jaworski 04:50
Lisa, you told me in a private message before we started recording the program, that your mother was a Vietnamese refugee. Can you tell me a little bit about how she came to the United States and how she met your dad?
Lisa Colvil 05:04
Yes, I'm glad you asked. She came to the United States through the fall of Saigon in... I don't remember the year! They brought people over. They stood out and adopted those people. She went to the island for a while, like a camp. And then from there, she came to America.
Anna Jaworski 05:22
Now, how old was your mom when she came?
Lisa Colvil 05:24
She was 24, 25.
Anna Jaworski 05:27
Lisa Colvil 05:28
She came by herself because her village got bombed. She ran first before it got bombed. That's how she made it over here.
Anna Jaworski 05:37
Wow. So your poor mother really has seen some darkness, hasn't she?
Lisa Colvil 05:42
Yes. Then when I became ill with CHD, I think also that hit her. Because she's new to America, she doesn't understand English and back then, honestly, they didn't have the Vietnamese - or even the American - support system we have now and I'm grateful for what you're doing, what others are doing. And what I'm trying to do. Because for people like my mother, they had no one so they were in the dark.
Anna Jaworski 06:08
Yeah, absolutely. Now your mother came to this country all by herself. She didn't know English. Her city was bombed. Has she been able to reach back out to her family that's still in Vietnam to find out if they're safe?
Lisa Colvil 06:24
Yeah, now we talk on Skype. We talk on Viper and she's been back three times to visit already, which I haven't yet. And I'm planning to one day.
Anna Jaworski 06:32
Oh my goodness! Yes, you definitely have to go! It would be so awesome if you could go with your mom and she could actually show you the village she grew up in. Of course. I'm sure it looks different now.
Lisa Colvil 06:43
I've seen pictures. They messaged me the pictures.
Anna Jaworski 06:46
Okay, so your mother was a war refugee?
Lisa Colvil 06:50
Anna Jaworski 06:51
But you haven't told me how she met your dad.
Lisa Colvil 06:54
Oh, she met my dad when she lived here. She went to work at a little diner that the people who brought her over, took care of her, they're American and they own this diner. So she worked there. And then my dad and his friend went into a diner one day. That's how they met.
Anna Jaworski 07:10
Oh, that's a sweet story. And how long after she met him was it before she married him and had you?
Lisa Colvil 07:18
She married him about '77, '78 because I was born in '79.
Anna Jaworski 07:23
So it was a couple of years before she actually fell in love with your dad and married him?
Lisa Colvil 07:28
Baby Hearts Press 07:29
Anna Jaworski has written several books to empower the congenital heart defect or CHD community. These books can be found at Amazon.com or at her website, www.babyheartspress.com. Her best seller is "The Heart of a Mother," an anthology of stories written by women for women in the CHD community. Anna's other books, "My Brother Needs an Operation," "The Heart of a Father," and "Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome: A Handbook for Parents" will help you understand that you are not alone. Visit babyheartspress.com to find out more.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The opinions expressed in the podcast are not those of Hearts Unite the Globe, but of the hosts and guests and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to congenital heart disease or bereavement.
You're listening to e"Hart to Heart with Anna." If you have a question or comment that you would like to address on our show, please send an email to Anna Jaworski at [email protected] That's [email protected] Now, back to "Heart to Heart with Anna."
Anna Jaworski 08:48
I'd like to start this segment by having you read one of your other poems to us, Lisa,. Could you please read 'Falling Apart' to us?
Lisa Colvil 08:56
In the dark
When you are lost
Alone in the moment.
You don't know if
Tomorrow is worth it.
Life is never in one scene,
Through space and time...
The trials are too strong
Don't know where to go
To only be lifted up
And comfort by
The love of the Lord.
Anna Jaworski 09:22
It's a powerful poem. Tell me what inspired that poem, Lisa. Was there a certain event that inspired that?
Lisa Colvil 09:30
Two: one was, of course, me my husband. And the second was when I first got pregnant with Serenity. I was deathly scared to go see a cardiologist. When I had my son, I had an emergency C-section. We both almost died. What I went through with my heart condition and then also when I was pregnant with the kids, I was scared about both of my pregnancy that for Serenity, I hid it for seven months until I went to see a cardiologist. I was scared what they would say. Then for, Sean, I had an emergency C-section. And then I was also bleeding inside afterwards and they were afraid that the blood might back up to my heart and give me an infection.
Anna Jaworski 10:11
Wow. Okay, so hold on. Let's back up just a second. Because you just gave me a lot of information. I'm feeling a little bit overloaded. So first of all, the darkness or falling apart happened when you and your husband were separated?
Lisa Colvil 10:24
Anna Jaworski 10:25
Okay. But then the second time you felt like you were falling apart was when you knew you were pregnant, and you were afraid something might be wrong with the babies. Had your doctors told you it was not a good idea to get pregnant?
Lisa Colvil 10:38
I didn't really talk to a cardiologist about it. I never actually brought it up with them on my appointments. So I just kind of got pregnant without their knowing until I was already big, and then they found out
Anna Jaworski 10:49
Oh, my goodness.
Lisa Colvil 10:52
But that was with my first one. Then after I had her, then I knew it was okay and that's when I had Sean.
Anna Jaworski 10:57
Okay, so let's talk about Serenity. How many months pregnant were you before you saw your cardiologist?
Lisa Colvil 11:04
Okay, so for Serenity, it's because she was my first pregnancy, my first baby. And then also after I had her they had to test her too and I didn't know! Honestly, they didn't tell me they would have to test her. But they test her three days in after she was born, and then six months later, they test her again. And then they were done. But that's what I was going through; it's because I was also worried about her. And because I thought I gave this to her and if she had it, I would feel bad.
Anna Jaworski 11:33
Well, of course that all makes perfect sense. So how long were you into your pregnancy before you actually saw your cardiologist?
Lisa Colvil 11:41
When I was seven months,
Anna Jaworski 11:42
You were seven months pregnant? Oh, my goodness, there was no going back.
Lisa Colvil 11:47
That's why I kept that long. I was afraid of if I went early, and they told me I couldn't have a you know what would happen? Then I would be falling more apart, I guess.
Anna Jaworski 11:56
Okay, so when did you find God?
Lisa Colvil 11:59
I found God... after all that I still didn't really understand what I was going through until the actual separation of me and my husband, and then I was alone with my two kids.
Anna Jaworski 12:10
Oh, wow. So your separation happened much later in your marriage.
Lisa Colvil 12:14
It happened when Sean was a year and a half.
Anna Jaworski 12:17
Okay, so you're a poor cardiologist. You come in seven months pregnant. And your cardiologist looked at you. I'm assuming it had been maybe a year and what did the cardiologist say?
Lisa Colvil 12:29
"Well, I'm glad you made it this far without complications."
Anna Jaworski 12:32
Oh, my goodness. Yeah, I bet! Considering the severity of your condition, the fact that you had double outlet right ventricle...
Lisa Colvil 12:42
I didn't know it was that until recently. Remember my mom, she was Vietnamese. She didn't read all that paper. And during the follow-up, I never really asked anything. In my mind, I have a heart condition. That's why I'm going to do these things, right? I never talked about it. So I never knew of my condition until I met the group Conquering CHD online. And I talked to these people, and they were telling me and I looked back on my paper like, 'Well, I have the same thing they do.' I started Googling and everything fell apart.
Anna Jaworski 13:07
Oh my gosh, Lisa! So within the last few years, you've had quite an education and quite an awakening, haven't you?
Lisa Colvil 13:15
The last year until now - 2017. The end of 2017 - that's when me my husband were talking about the divorce or no divorce. Then I started looking at CHD stuff.
Anna Jaworski 13:25
So you've been on a bit of a roller coaster ride?
Lisa Colvil 13:27
Yeah, by myself. Like I hid all this from people. I had concerns. I never brought it up to the cardiologist. I had concerns; we never talked with my mom, never told my husband my concern. I just kind of went along.
Anna Jaworski 13:37
So what made you start looking information up online.
Lisa Colvil 13:41
When I started talking to these people online, and then I felt I had a connection. I felt that there's someone out there that would understand. And then I started wondering about myself. So I dug out my old papers, my doctor papers, reread them, and then started circling the key words like the diagnose words, Googled them and then realized other people that I've talked to on the Conquering CHD were having them. And that's when I felt, 'Oh, this is normal, yet it's dangerous at the same time. I don't know what I was thinking.' And at some point I told one of the girls, "Oh, if I'd known all this, I probably wouldn't have kids!"
Anna Jaworski 14:15
So maybe in a way, it was a blessing that you didn't know because Serenity and Sean, it seems like, are a very important part of your life.
Lisa Colvil 14:23
Yes, they are. Thank you.
Anna Jaworski 14:25
I think sometimes things happen for a reason, don't you, Lisa?
Lisa Colvil 14:28
Now I do, since finding God I truly believe in that.
Anna Jaworski 14:31
Do you think that to be enlightened, maybe we have to fall apart? Because I sometimes feel that I am who I am because of the adversity that I have faced in my life. How do you feel about that?
Lisa Colvil 14:44
Anna, I totally agree with you. Honestly, if I had to go back and do everything, I would do it the same. Because if you change one thing, you wouldn't be where we are today. And everything is the plan and a purpose already set out by God for us. So we had to have done it that way. Wait, there was no other way. I believe in that wholeheartedly. That you have to go through everything - the good, the bad, the messy - to be who you are.
"Heart to Heart with Anna" is a presentation of Heart Unite the Globe and is part of the HUG Podcast Network. Hearts Unite the Globe is a nonprofit organization devoted to providing resources to the congenital heart defect community to uplift, empower, and enrich the lives of our community members. If you would like access to free resources pertaining to the CHD community, please visit our website at www.congenitalheartdefects.com for information about CHD, the hospitals that treat children with CHD, summer camps for CHD survivors and much, much more.
Home. Tonight. Forever. by the Baby Blues Sound Collective. "I think what I love so much about this CD is that some of the songs were inspired by the patients." (Anna Jaworski "Many listeners will understand many of the different songs and what they've been inspired by. Our new album will be available on iTunes, amazon.com, Spotify." (Dr. Gil Wernovsky) "I love the fact that the proceeds from this CD are actually going to help those with congenital heart defects." "Enjoy the music!" (Dr. Gil Wernovsky) Home. Tonight. Forever.
Anna Jaworski 16:31
Lisa, I understand that you're a born-again Christian and that you have published a book of devotionals. How has spirituality been a part of your congenital heart defect journey?
Lisa Colvil 16:46
Honestly, and when I was little, it wasn't - up until recently when I found God and when I started researching more into my CHD. I'm rewriting these spiritual poems about it because I want to help and encourage others CHD that their journey is worth it, even though it might be hard, but it spiritually it's worth it - where we are with our journey - and should take it one day at a time.
Anna Jaworski 17:09
How are your devotionals different than the poetry that you've read to me?
Lisa Colvil 17:13
The devotional I took off of while I was writing quotes like, quote here, quote there. And then I took the quote, and I made it into a statement. So like in day one, it says 'Today you will get closer to God.' And then I will explain how to get closer to God and why we need to get closer to God and what to do to get closer to God.
Anna Jaworski 17:35
Well, that sounds really helpful.
Lisa Colvil 17:36
Also, you'll explain things like if you're troubled, why are we facing it? Like in this one day, it talks about things we can't control - instead of fighting it, we embrace it.
Anna Jaworski 17:48
I love that. So I'm curious - when I saw your book of devotionals on Amazon, I wondered why 50? That's not a month, it's not a year, what made you decide on the number 50?
Lisa Colvil 18:00
I will be honest with you - 49 was too short and 100 was too long. I was running out of things to say. So I thought '50' because it just rounds off the number 50. So if you can do 50 days, then you're halfway there to God to be your own spiritual person. However that book reads to you, if you have a different God of your own or spirituality. You've been through it 50 days, you have 50 days more to go. It's like life. You're halfway there. Keep going.
Anna Jaworski 18:30
Okay, I'm glad I'm not crazy, because I was just thinking to myself, 'Is there some important, some significance, with the number 50 that I don't know about? But no! It's just Lisa's decision. It's just what makes you happy to have 50. I think that's great. I was expecting 52 - one for each week, or, like I said, 30 for everyday. 50! I kinda like that, like you said, it's half of 100. You can always start back at the beginning after you finish #50. It sounds like these devotionals are things that bear repeating,
Lisa Colvil 19:03
I hope so! When people read it, they have told me that the first time they whizzed by it, then they stop. And they actually go back day by day and contemplate on what they read so that whatever resonates to them, they will actually try to achieve it. By doing that day,
Anna Jaworski 19:19
I think you should make a new devotional workbook that has 52 - one for each week. And each week, they can contemplate a different devotional, especially since you're giving them instruction in your book on what to do. Then at the beginning of the week, you can give them the devotional, and then they can focus on that all week long. And at the end of the week, they can see how focusing on that has helped their lives.
Lisa Colvil 19:42
Oh, good idea. And then also I can give them spaces that they can write to see what they can do to achieve those things.
Anna Jaworski 19:51
I love that because I'm a journaler. I'm the kind of person, like you! I love to write. And it's interesting, isn't it? When you buy a new car, that's when you see that car on the highway everywhere; when you get a new idea, or something new happens to you like that, that's when you will experience something. And it will be heightened because of that new idea or that new thought. And I think that having that devotional to think about every day for a week, and then write about it, that's a way for you to enhance everybody's lives with your teachings and with your profession of faith.
Lisa Colvil 20:26
Oh, thank you. And then I might make it for CHD families too one day,
Anna Jaworski 20:31
See? See? That's what we should do. We should do it together, Lisa! We'll make a book a devotionals. For CHD families. What do you think?
Lisa Colvil 20:38
Beautiful! perfect! And I'm thinking of it, but right now I don't have the time or the money to do the marketing
Anna Jaworski 20:44
Yes and it does cost some money to publish a book. It is not free for the most part, although some people will publish bits and pieces of a book online and that doesn't really have to cost you anything. But when you get it in a book form, then it does cost some money, doesn't it?
Lisa Colvil 20:53
And then running to try to promote it and marketing it. And if I don't have the right money, it doesn't get everywhere.
Anna Jaworski 21:07
I know! I know! it's a challenge to be an author, especially if you want to make money at it or if you want to get the word out about what it is that you're doing. But it sounds like you've got a plan. It sounds like you have some ideas about the marketing and everything. How did you find the time to write this book, when you have two small children?
Lisa Colvil 21:27
When they were going to school and it wasn't COVID, every time I go pick them up, and I'm in that long line, I don't know if you remember that line, I would sit there and write by hand, like journaling. And then when I come home at night, and they're asleep, I will type it on my laptop. It's a very efficient use of your time. While you were waiting in the line, did you sometimes have things that came to you? Or was your brain set that it knew 'Okay, now I'm going to write' and things would just magically appear in your mind? Both. Because for one, most of those quotes I already have out on my journaling another book. So I would take that book with me. And then a pencil and pad. But as a question comes out, and I don't know what to write and I see something like a parent, a kid, some idea might jumped me to how to write into that quote and make it something for people to do, something, you know, that type of thing. So it's both for me, I already had the idea what to write. And sometimes I don't know exactly how to tell it. And I'm sitting there, then I go, "Oh, okay."
Anna Jaworski 22:25
You said that some of the quotes were quotes from another devotional that you had, and then you just kind of made it your own but did you give credit to the first person who...
Lisa Colvil 22:36
Oh, no! It was mine. It was my my own thoughts to quotes. Yeah, but I wrote it on a separate piece of paper, like a journaling book a long time ago, like I started towards 2016. So I just use that and idea came to me towards the end of 2017, to turn it into a devotional.
Anna Jaworski 22:56
Oh, so you've been working on this for quite some time?
Lisa Colvil 22:59
Because I used to write quotes, and poetry, short stories. So I just gathered all my quotes together.
Anna Jaworski 23:04
That's amazing. I love that.
Lisa Colvil 23:06
Sayings I gave credit for is the Bible. Verses that I include at the bottom of each of my saying. Quote, then what I talked about, and then at the end, I put a Bible verse.
Anna Jaworski 23:16
So who published your book, Lisa?
Lisa Colvil 23:18
Page Publishing. It's a publishing place in New York City. Page was the first person to contact me. So I went with them.
Anna Jaworski 23:26
Can you tell my listeners how they can find your devotional book?
Lisa Colvil 23:29
Yes, you can go on amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Walmart, Target, and then all the other little bookstores, you just type out the title or my name, and then it should pop up on Google. And then you guys can search from there. I think that's the easiest, because a lot of them is sold on Amazon. And Barnes and Noble would be the easiest. My name or the title of the book,
Anna Jaworski 23:51
Say the title of the book again, Lisa.
Lisa Colvil 23:53
Through the Beauty of Grace, I Will
Anna Jaworski 23:57
Perfect. and your name is spelled a little bit differently. I have never seen this name before. So it's C-o-l-v-i-l, if any of you are looking for it. Lisa Colvil. And Lisa, it has been a delight talking to you today. Thank you so much for coming on the program.
Lisa Colvil 24:14
Thank you, Anna, for having me. And thank you for having a show like this so everyone can have a voice. So I thank you for letting me have my voice day.
Anna Jaworski 24:22
Oh, it has been so much fun. I've really enjoyed it. And I can't wait to read more of the things that you've written and folks, you will be in for a surprise because Lisa is actually contributing to a book I'm putting together called "The Heart of a Heart Warrior." So stay tuned in 2021 I plan on publishing the book and with the grace of God, we will have some works by Lisa and lots of other amazing Heart Warriors. Thanks again, Lisa.
Lisa Colvil 24:48
You're welcome. And I thank you too. Goodbye, Anna.
Anna Jaworski 24:52
Well, that does conclude this episode of "Heart to Heart with Anna. Please come back next week at noon Eastern Time for a brand new episode. Until then, please visit us at www.Heartsunitetheglobe.org to find out more about the nonprofit organization that supports this program, and remember my friends, you are not alone.
Thank you again for joining us this week. We hope you have been inspired and empowered to become an advocate for the congenital heart defect community. "Heart to Heart with Anna" with your host Anna Jaworski can be heard every Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern Time.