Those that paved my way…ma familia…

After conversing with my mother several weekends ago and others in my family, it only seemed natural that this blog post would follow…

Before I start out let me just say I love both sides of my family equally… However, I’ve always felt like I identify more with my Italian side, I don’t really know why though–maybe it’s because I love Italian food, maybe it’s because I was intrigued by the Italian Mafia and spent endless hours scouring the internet looking for familial surnames in Italian Mafia history, maybe it’s the warmness my family always displays when I come to visit although I don’t visit that frequently we always pick up where we left off…or maybe it was because that part of my family is so large and intertwined, the stories passed down never become old or mundane, or maybe it’s because my grandfather who can speak Italian is one of the best story tellers I’ve ever known, or maybe it’s because I’m only 3rd generation American and can pretty much trace my family roots. My great grandpa was born in another country so I can’t help but be intrigued.

My German and English side–well I don’t know much about my German side as my grandfather passed before I was born, and my English side well I’ve lived that life everyday for the last 28 years and I’ve studied American History, in addition to the fact that I live in the town my family has lived in for years as well– so there was nothing new to learn.

My grandparents on both sides have been nothing but amazing, supportive, and loving.

My maternal grandmother passed away when I was in 4th grade. I have fond memories of my grandmother who kept crayons (she pronounced them crowns) in a tin and coloring books for me to color (she pronounced it keller) in. She had a rotary dial phone. Pots and pans that hung from the ceiling. Trees planted for my cousin and I in her backyard. My grandma hosted Thanksgiving dinner, we went to her house every Christmas Eve– on the way home my Dad would point out “Santa” in the sky. My grandmother served wine for special occasions in her “Naked Lady Glasses” which were wine glasses in which the stem was a silhouette of a nude woman. She charted my cousin and my heights on the wall. Grandma drove a big ol’ Buick. Before I could really build a relationship with my grandmother, she’d been diagnosed with Breast cancer and I’d lose the first of my loved ones.

My maternal grandpa, is the best story teller I’ve ever known. He knows no stranger. He hugs everyone whether he knows them or not–he’s a Baptist minister so I feel like that is part of Gods way to spread love to those that need it. My grandfather can comfort people in ways I can’t explain. He was a carpenter in Philly, and worked very hard to support his wife and daughters. My mom has told me numerous times about the time she saw my grandfather carry a washer machine by himself on his back. There’s no way I can convey how genuinely loving and caring he is. My grandfather was far from wealthy in his wallet, but he is wealthy in love and that’s where it matters. I could listen all day to mom recount memories of she and her dad, maybe it’s because I also know what it’s like to have such an incredibly deep love for my parents. My grandpa used to play guitar, and my mom has recounted on several occasions how she’d stand in my grandfathers guitar case as a little girl and smell the crushed red velvety lining. My grandpa is a true Italian, when my mom and I go to visit there’s often fine cheeses and olives… He and nanny blue eyes have a beautiful garden, it’s such a skill to be able to grow such beautiful plants.

Up next: My dad’s side…


A full life…

So I have this sign in my home office and it reads:

“Find a passion and pursue it.  Fall in love.  Dream Big.  Drink wine, eat great food and spend quality time with good friends.  Laugh Everyday.  Believe in magic.  Tell Stories.  Reminisce about the good old days but look with optimism for the future.  Travel often.  Learn more.  Be creative.  Spend time with people you admire.  Seize opportunities when they reveal themselves.  Love with all your heart.  Make time to enjoy the simple things in life.  Spend time with family.  Forgive even when it’s hard.  Smile often.  Be grateful.  Be the change you wish to see in the world.  Follow you dreams.  Be thankful.  Be nice to everyone.  Be happy.  Live for today.  And above all…Make every moment count.”

This sign is how I intend to live this next year.  So let me tell you why each piece of this is important, and what it means to me–and let me challenge you to tell me what it means to you…

~Find a passion and pursue it:
I have found my passions and they are writing (hence this blog), my crafts (hence my craft business), baking, and cooking.

~Fall in love:
Fall in love with someone who compliments you and I don’t mean compliments you by saying nice things (yes they should do that too), but someone who balances you out.

Fall in love with yourself, you are worthy of love and respect. You are beautiful, you are a creature of God and he doesn’t make ugly things.

Fall in love with life, life is beautiful. Life is too short, so laugh, love and live life to the fullest.

~Dream Big
Dreaming is one of the most beautiful and most affordable things to do to–it’s free!!!! It doesn’t cost to dream, now putting your dreams in motion that costs…but dream away, dream everyday, let your mind wander, and bask in your dreams they are beautiful!

~ Drink wine, eat great food and spend quality time with good friends
Drink wine–expensive or cheap…spend quality time with friends–good friends are far and few between, I only have a handful of good friends and they are rare gems. Real friends are family! Break bread together, enjoy a drink, and be merry!

~Laugh everyday
In my opinion a laugh a day helps keep the doctor away. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Marry someone who can make you laugh even when tears are streaming down your face. One of the reasons I fell in love with my husband is his ability to make me laugh! Some of the best laughs I’ve shared are with my husband, family, and friends, and those laughs have gotten me through some of my worst days!

~Believe in magic
Magic… Well I don’t believe in magic, but I believe in miracles. If God brings you to it, he will bring you through it! Miracles happen, and they happen because of the big man upstairs. So give thanks, pray, and rejoice in our Lord… Miracles are real!

~Tell Stories
Share stories with your loved ones, stories of your life, the good, and the bad. Perhaps your story can provide insight to someone else struggling. Perhaps your story can provide a laugh. We are messengers of God, sent to help our fellow brothers and sisters–sometimes help can be in the form of sharing an experience we’ve had with someone else who is in a similar situation.

~Reminisce about the good old days but look with optimism for the future
Don’t forget where you’ve been, but don’t lose sight of where you are going. It’s important to reminisce about the good old days, sometimes a simpler time. It’s also important to remember that there are good days ahead, days in which you should look at your glass as half full and look forward with anticipation of great things!

~Travel often
Travel often… That doesn’t mean you have to get on a plane once a month and visit some place new (while if you can, go for it)… Travel often by visiting new places, you’d be amazed at what’s in your back yard no matter where you live. As a child my parents and I took many day trips, and a few awesome vacations–but the day trips…that’s where a bulk of my memories were made. We didn’t stress about packing, or catching a flight–we just got in the car (well truck in our case) and drove. My mom and I played Roadside bingo, we sang together to the radio, my mom, dad, and I talked without a distraction of a television, or a smart phone, the biggest distraction was either a magazine or my Walkman. Visit breathtaking places, visit places where you can blend in with the locale and live like they do, only then will you truly get the full effect of your travels. When visiting new places, I urge you to eat at local eateries instead of chains–so much is said for eating food indigenous to where you are visiting, you can get that chain food at home…

~Learn more
Never stop learning!!! Learn a new word, fact, hobby, beauty technique, savings technique, patience, whatever you do….learn something new…

~Be creative
Write. Draw. Craft. Woodwork. Bake. Cook. Invent. Whatever you do, find a way to be creative. Creating stimulates your brain and it gives you such a sense a accomplishment!

~Spend time with people you admire
Surround yourself with people who you can model yourself after. You don’t have to be exactly like that person, but if they have a trait you admire–my golly spend sometime with them, pick their brain, learn how they think, ask questions, and let them know you are thankful for them!

~Seize opportunities when they reveal themselves
There’s an old saying the early bird gets the worm… If someone is waving a worm in your face you better bite it, unless of course you are a fish. If it’s too good to be true it usually is, so be cautiously optimistic…and if determined legitimate seize any opportunity to better yourself and help others when you can. I don’t want to be left asking 20 years from now “what if”. Take chances, and remember if God brings you to it he will bring you through it. When you have the opportunity to spend time with those near and dear to you take it!

~Love with all your heart
If I love you, I will love you with every ounce of my being. There’s only one way to love in my opinion and that is unconditionally. When you love with all your heart, forgiveness and acceptance come much easier. When loving with all your heart, don’t forget to love yourself, loving yourself will help you to determine who is and who isn’t worthy of your love.

~Make time to enjoy the simple things in life
Make time to feel grass between your toes, lay in bed for hours snuggled with a loved one, feel the warm sun bask your face, the simple things don’t come with a cost and they are truly the best gift of all.

~Spend time with family
Family is important! My definition of family isn’t those related by blood, but it’s the people who stood beside you and never left. It’s your rocks, the people who help break the storm from your shores. It’s the people who love you, when you’ve forgotten how to love yourself, and the people who have loved you when you were unlovable. Spend time with family. We are only on this earth for so long, and we must take every chance we get to let those we love know they are important to us. Additionally, your pets are your family too, they might only be a piece of your world, but you are their whole world–enjoy the wet noses and puppy kisses!!!!

~Forgive even when it’s hard
Forgiveness can be hard, but really life is too short to hold grudges. Not one of us walking this earth is perfect, we mess up. If someone says they are sorry, accept their apology and move on. While you should forgive, don’t allow yourself to become a doormat. Just because you’ve forgiven someone doesn’t mean you need to continue to have them in your life, if they aren’t good for your mind, body, or soul, forgive them and let them go.

~Smile often
A smile can turn your day around and someone else’s too, so smile big and smile often. A smile a day helps keep the stress away!

~Be grateful
Be grateful for all you have, there are many with less than you.

~Be the change you wish to see in the world
You don’t have to fit in with society’s expectations, be the change you want to see in the world. If you want more kindness, practice being kind. Do good, and you’ll never falter.

~Follow your dreams
Put your dreams into action. You are in control of your destiny. It’s your life–own it!

~Be thankful
Be thankful, you weren’t owed anything unless you worked for it. Be thankful for opportunities, chances, family, friends, and experiences good and bad. Be thankful for everything because it helped you grow in some way.

~Be nice to everyone
Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. You don’t know what people have going on at home, so be nice to everyone.

~Be happy
Life is too short to be anything but happy!!! Look at every obstacle as an opportunity, and every glass as half full.

~Live for today
Today is called the present because it’s a gift, tomorrow isn’t promised. Almost everyone that died yesterday had plans for today. So live in the moment, don’t live for the past because it gone, and don’t live for tomorrow because it is not promised.

~And above all…Make every moment count
Life is not measured by the breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away. Make the most of each moment and make every moment count.

So what does all this mean to you?!?! I hope if nothing else it’s made you think about life, and all that is important to you.

Warm wishes,