I have had the privilege of listening to Rudy Galdonik speak and look forward to every word that leaps form her lips.She has made me laugh, cry and say hmmmm. I have used her scripture "meditation" CD and been inspired greatly by her spiritual perspective and laugh out loud sense of humor. Rudy was the first person I thought of when I wanted to do this Inspiring Women Series- I think she may have even inspired me to want to do it! If you don't know her yet, you need to know her and enjoy her so without further adieu...here is my interview with the bionic, witty, wise and wonderful Rudy Galdonik!
Where do you live?
I live in a very old house in the historic district in East Greenwich, RI. My husband and I downsized 6 years ago, and we love our place.
Married with children?
Mike, and I are married 16 years. We married 2 years after I lost my first husband to cancer. I have 2 kids, Darah, who is serving in the mission field in Haiti and a son, Brad who is married and works as a consultant in Southern California. Mike also has 2 kids but his son and daughter were out on their own when we met so we never lived as a blended family.
I am a professional speaker and writer. I truly believe God has called me to uplift and encourage women through stories and Biblical truth.
I am an avid pet lover. My current brood consists of a Bichon named Pete. Pete is Top Dog in our house. We also have a sweetheart of a black Lab, named Gracie and 2 crazy cats: Moses and Raymond. Gracie, Raymond and Moses are all rescues.
One thing on your "Bucket List"
I don’t have much on my bucket list. As a lifelong heart patient, I see each day as a gift. That said, I would love to travel some more in Europe, especially Ireland.
As a child what did you dream of being or doing when you grew up?
I wanted to be a flight attendant. I grew up speaking German because my mom came to this country after World War II to marry my dad. That was after they had not spoken because of the war for 6 years. They have an incredible love story! I also had the opportunity to spend the summer after the 6th grade in Germany with my aunt, uncle and cousins. That created my passion for travel.
However, being diagnosed with a hole in my heart at the age of 5, my mom was the one who had to tell me I would never qualify to be a flight attendant.
I majored in German and minored in French in college and I fulfilled my passion for travel by owning a travel agency for 5 years in the early 1990s.
Can you share how God gave you a new heart both spiritually and mechanically and which came first?
I grew up in church that was joyless and was led by a hate-filled pastor. Very sad. Despite that, I always held onto a nugget of truth that Jesus was the Son of God and that He loved me.
I was very fortunate to be able to wait until I was 25 for my first open-heart surgery. By that time, surgery had advanced enough to be a real benefit. At the time I was diagnosed, surgery on children with heart defects was only being performed at the University of Minnesota by a pioneering surgeon who used a milk pump from a dairy farm and beer hose from a brewery to hook children up to their parents as their only source of oxygen.
My personal relationship with Jesus began later, in 1987, when a neighbor led me to Christ after I was told I had a blockage between one of my kidneys and the bladder. Days later, doctors had a surgical suite waiting for me when one final test showed the blockage had disappeared! My doctor told me to get up, get dressed and go celebrate. I’ve been celebrating ever since.
What would you say has been the most defining moment or experience that has significantly impacted who you are today?
The night my first husband died of cancer. I was told by the nurses to go home and get some sleep. Shortly after I fell into a deep sleep. A short time later I woke up. A beam of bright-white light came into one of my windows and bathed me with the most incredible, amazing feeling I have ever felt in my life, sort of like a paste. With perfect vision, I looked across the room at tiny photos of family and that helped me understand who I was and where I was. After sitting in that light for several minutes, I lay back down and that’s when the phone rang with a doctor telling me my husband was gone.
You don’t experience something like that and not be impacted by it.
You have authored a book called "Take Heart", are you working on another book?
“Take Heart” are humorous essays that look at life through menopausal eyes. Right now I am working on a memoir. It’s very slow going.
What is the number one thing about heart disease and health you think woman should know and/or are surprised to learn?
Sadly, many women who don’t realize heart disease is their #1 killer. More women than men die of heart disease every year and more women die of heart disease than the next 7 causes combined (and that includes breast cancer.) Women have different symptoms then men. Women experience sweats, jaw pain, profound fatigue and sometimes pain in their backs.
I love your Christian meditation CD; can you explain why you made this and how you use it?
I learned guided meditation as a young adult and it became a very powerful tool for stress management. However, as a Christian I didn’t want to focus on words and sounds that meant nothing to me. So I would focus on the name of Jesus. Then I decided to hire a voice artist and I wrote the script for a guided meditation that uses scripture.
The Christian community can be opposed to anything called “guided meditation”. However, we are called to mediate on God’s Word. With this CD, it not about emptying and finding our own power, it’s about filling ourselves with God’s Word and making ourselves available to the power of the Holy Spirit. My pastor and elders were all a part of blessing this project and I see how God has used it. That’s exciting.
Rudy if I may ask how long were you a widow and how old your children were at the time-
I was 42, my daughter was 12 and my son was 10 when their dad died. It was a horribly difficult time, but Christ was held each of us up and I now see how my kid’s relationship with Christ has been molded because of that loss. It’s an example of how God can create blessing even in our worst times.
Is there any encouraging word for those who may be single or widowed moms you could share?
The most incredibly powerful book I’ve ever read about dealing with loss is Jerry Sittser’s A Grace Disguised. I read that years after my husband’s death and it had a powerful impact on my acceptance of my husband’s death. Jerry talks about how when defining “stages of grief” we suggest there is, an “end” to our grief. Instead, I learned that I will grieve the loss of my first husband until the day we meet again in eternity. By accepting that, I can focus on celebrating the gift of our relationship through Christ Jesus.
What do you do to stay healthy and take care of yourself these days?
I workout at least 5 days a week and my lab, Gracie, is my walking partner. That is critical to keeping as healthy as I can.
Who or what are your biggest inspirations and why?
Both my husbands. They are/were very different people but I have learned and grown through both those relationships so much.
Who is your favorite comedienne(s)?
I LOVE John Pinette. Jerry Seinfeld is also very funny. Neither one uses profanity, which, in the world of comedy, is a cop-out. Clean comedy is much harder to write than relying on profanity for a laugh.
What's in your current book stack?
I try to read a memoir a week (I get them through the library). I read Jesus Calling every morning. I also use YouVersion, an iPhone Bible app, to read the Bible chronologically over 1 year. I read the words as well as use the audio to listen. That really helps me focus. As soon as I complete the Bible chronologically I’ll start up again.
Thank you Rudy for sharing your heart and inspiration here with all of us!
Check out Rudy's site for speaking opportunities, book, Mediation CD info and more!