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In Celebration of Women

Updated: Dec 8, 2018

Buon Giorno Amici!

It’s Lorraine, greeting you with my first blog post. For those who know me it is no surprise I’m communicating in the form of a letter, (and with an Italian flavored opening!). Years of letter writing actually helped me develop my style and express my thoughts, while reaching out to friends and family, creating a constant flow of bright ideas.

Growing up in a family of storytellers, especially my Italian nonna Giulia, I became an avid listener, never tiring of hearing those stories over and over again. I find it exciting to hear the true life stories that happen to real people. As you listen to the experience when someone shares their unique story, you make a human connection and develop a closeness. A bond is formed between the speaker and listener igniting passion, generating positive energy and of course feelings of compassion when intimate stories are revealed. The listener often becomes the speaker. Now a new generation is begging me, “Nonna! Nonna! Tell us a story!”

Yes, I am the new family storyteller and finally writing my true stories in the form of children’s books. As a published author I have great opportunities to share with others at books shows, libraries and speaking engagements, spreading the joy of my own true life adventures. In October I participated in The Ultimate Women’s Expo in Edison, New Jersey, promoting my books and fiber art creations. The Expo celebrates women’s interests and the floor bustled with DIY crafting, book signings, cooking demos, food and wine tastings, massage and beauty treatments and a runway for the latest fashions.

For me, the highlight of the entire weekend was keynote speaker, Melissa Gilbert. We all know her as Laura Ingalls, star of Little House on the Prairie. After years of being on stage, the articulate actress spoke of embracing a life of joy while aging gracefully. Observing her as she spoke, I could still catch that cute expressive halfpint smile. Delightful! As she shared her values and ideas I remembered the years of watching her grow up while my own children grew up watching her show. I bought the Little House on the Prairie books, made old fashioned bonnets and aprons for my daughters and even took the family on a trip to Mansfield, Missouri to see the town where the actual writer, Laura Ingalls Wilder lived with her husband Almanzo.

Melissa Gilbert continues to charm an audience, sharing her philosophy and forming a connecting bond woman to woman with her positive outlook and wholesome image. I could relate to everything she talked about.

She explained the way she chooses a life of joy…not so easy in today’s world. Our sensibilities are bombarded with constant news, graphic photos and intense sounds. She makes a choice each day to stay in touch with the world by reading the news without the graphic effects of sight and sound. This keeps her focused on a more gentle life, a life of family, gratitude, creativity, joy and helping others.

Happy in her marriage, she stressed the importance of family, sharing an appreciation for her supportive husband as he held her purse backstage. When she praised him for bringing her a cup of tea each morning, I let out a little sigh of appreciation for my hubby who has done this for me for many years. How sweet! It’s those little things that bring contentment and make our lives extra special.

She talked of her sons with pride and expressed gratitude for being a mother. Certainly all the moms in the attentive audience could identify with that feeling.

Melissa imparted the importance of the women in her life. The close relationship she has with her girlfriends helps her through the tough times, and in turn she supports her friends through their times of sorrow and heartache. The comfort of friendship makes a pathway for joy and happiness to return to brighten our lives.

This made me think of my dear friend Schuyler who joined me at the Expo on Saturday. Our lifelong friendship has sustained both of us and I know I always have her energetic support in everything I do. Sky is my personal cheerleader, bursting with good ideas and encouraging me in every endeavor. As artists she and her talented daughter Emily illustrated my first Italian book, Bella Figlia della Mamma, Mamma’s Beautiful Daughter. What a great experience to work together on a beautiful project celebrating six generations of women in my family! Friendship is a blessing to brighten our lives.

From Melissa’s words I gathered inspiration. Her message gives my life direction to embrace life, make time for family and friends and to experience the joy each day can bring. I have a renewed appreciation for the intelligence, endurance and energy that women possess. We can make a difference! I come away with feelings of gratitude for all the amazing women who continue to shape my life.

Tante grazie, Lorraine

Italian vocabulary: Buon giorno amici - Good morning friends

Bella Figlia della Mamma - Beautiful daughter of the mother

Tante grazie - Many thanks

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Feb 17, 2019

Tante grazie dear Lorraine! Emily and I were honored to illustrate your books.

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