Gratitude: A Good or Goofy thing?

One Thanksgiving Day, I asked everyone gathered around the table covered with turkey, wild rice stuffing, green bean casserole and both mashed and sweet potatoes, to say one thing they were thankful for.

Rockwell, Thanksgiving.jpg

“Awww, No.  C’mon.”

“This is cheesy.”

“Let’s just eat.”

Although I was met with immediate resistance, finally, reluctantly, my request was fulfilled and each person seated at the heaping table named one thing for which he or she was grateful.

But I wondered.

Why was giving thanks considered “cheesy?”


Was it the call for public declaration? Is it perceived as too soft or weak?  Is it embarrassing to utter thankfulness? What?

I don’t know. Maybe it was a combination of those things.

But, don’t worry.  You won’t have to interrupt your Thanksgiving meal – or if you’re not American, you won’t have to interrupt any meal, because I won’t be making this table-side request again.

Gratitude is personal and something you can only freely give.

I am in no way a perfect person, and admit there are times when I am grouchy and not at all grateful.  But right now, during November – when the US sets aside a day to give thanks – I would like to list just a few of the things for which I am thankful.

  1. Family – My daughter Lulu and my husband Scotty are here with me and I get to enjoy them  every day.  The rest of my family I see only occasionally through visits, Skype or their words on cards and letters. They all mean so much to me.??????????
  2. Italy – This wonderful country has welcomed us with open arms and given us a seemingly unending stream of enriching experiences including food, culture, music, language, and red wine!???????????????????????????????
  3. Friends – Italian, expat American, British, Romanian or Czech. You know who you are and I love each and every one of you!

    My friends are not limited to the "squadra" but I love these girls a lot!
    My friends are not limited to the “squadra” but I love these girls a lot!
  4. Clients – A job I love and clients who grow and become friends is truly a rich
  5. Health –  If you have your health, you have everything.

    healthy and happy!
    healthy and happy!

That’s only my top five. The list goes on and on.  Every ancient door I see in Arezzo‘s medieval town center.

Basilica San Francesco

A smile from a dog each time I pass by.

Before the smile..
Before the smile..

The sun on the duomo as I walk home in the afternoon.


In short: I am grateful for life!

And this month especially, I am not too shy or eager to dig in to the turkey (which is a few weeks away anyway), to let you all know!

With gratitude,


P.S. If it’s not too much trouble, tell me, what are you grateful for this Thanksgiving season?



Yes! It’s a Thankful at Thanksgiving Time Post!

All righty, fellow Americans, it’s that time of year again to gather around the table to give thanks.

Even if you’re not American, you’ve probably heard of it:  It’s our fun-and-family-filled (do these two really co-exist?) annual event in which we all eat a little too much and perhaps drink a little too much:  Thanksgiving!

Tradition has it, it started waaay back in the 1600’s when the Pilgrims gathered in Plymouth, Massachusetts; thankful for a bountiful harvest. But for us,  when the dozens of us – Mom, Dad, Grannie, Grampa and assorted aunts, uncles and cousins arrived at Aunt Neatie and Uncle Dick’s house in Fish Lake, Indiana – we thought less about any harvest and more about eating, playing and, of course, football.

Here’s Aunt Neatie and Uncle Dick serving up the turkey at a family Thanksgiving… 😉

But, in the spirit of Thursday’s holiday and because it’s the obvious hook for this week’s blog, I am hereby going to tell you a few of the many things I am thankful for.

First, the most obvious: Family.  They say you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family.  Maybe they also say something about your nose, but that’s gross.  Anyway, I am so grateful for my family. I have a mom and step-dad who have steadfastly loved and supported me over the years. We haven’t agreed on everything – but we always have kept the concept of “unconditional love” in the forefront.

Here’s our little family – before Lulu when we lived in Egypt.

My sister Andrea and my brothers Brad and Jayson all get along.  We have completely different lives and we don’t talk every day. But I know that if I ever were in dire need, they’d do whatever they could.  I’m confident they are assured of the same from me.

My husband, Scotty, is my best friend and partner.  In our seven years together, we have lived in Denver, Cairo, Seattle, Paris, Baltimore and Tuscany.  That’s more than some couples do in a lifetime!  And, of course, there’s Lulu.  I never knew what I was missing all those years before she came along.  What a joy. Frustrations too, but mostly, mostly joys.

I’m thankful for family

Health.  Second, or maybe even tops on the list, has to be health. You can have everything, but without your health to enjoy it…  this year has been a trying one for too many of my friends.. battling illnesses or dealing with the fallout from the struggles of family members.

Humor.  That’s it. The third and final thing I’ll list here today, next to health, is humor. The number one thing I believe your must have to fully experience well-being.  I don’t mean the ability to tell a great knock-knock-joke or leave ‘em crying at a comedy club; but the grace to find a silver lining or funny moment in the midst of despair.

Life’s short.  Soon we’ll be back around the sun again and looking inward at yet another Thanksgiving time.  Maybe we’ll have remembered to spend more of the trip being thankful the rest of the year too!

Okay, now who’s going to be in the big football match-up this year?

(Not that I’ll be watching from here in Tuscany, mind you!)

But happy Thanksgiving y’all and hug your family!


P.S. We’ve all got something to be thankful for, right? Share it!