Friday, January 6, 2023

La Befana

One of the way we preserve our heritage is to keep our traditions alive. 

When I was little I always looked forward to the Befana.. 

In Italian folklore, La Befana is a witch who brings good children treats on the morning of the Epiphany, January 6. while noty children could end up with a lump of coal.

The witch has been in the Italian tradition at least since the eighth century, as part of the Epiphany.

In Italy, the Epiphany marks the official end of the Christmas season, commemorating the day when the three Wise Men arrived at the manger bearing gifts. Every year, the occasion is celebrated with living nativity scenes, a great procession through the city center, and finally the arrival of La Befana.

According to the story, the four figures’ fates were intertwined when the Magi happened upon La Befana early on during their quest. She charitably hosted them for an evening in her humble but cozy cottage; the next morning, they invited her to accompany them to Bethlehem. Busy cleaning her home, La Befana declined at first – but then, after they carried on their way – she had second thoughts. She quickly filled a basket with gifts for the baby Jesus and set off alone. Although she followed the same star, she was unable to find the manger before the Wise Men did on January 6, the Epiphany.

Today, La Befana continues to travel the world on Epiphany Eve, searching every house for the child and leaving candies and chocolates for the good children – just coal for the bad – in her wake. 

Being born in Italy, this was what I always looked forward to: that stocking full of candy and sugar coals, and sometimes gifts. 
My parents budget was very limited, so we would often end up with a few candy and soap. 
As I would grow up, wishing to have toys like my friends, I would go up in my attic the night before and take some of my old dolls and go hide them in different places of the house, so that the morning of the Befana I could be "surprised" to find those gifts. 
As I got older the stocking tradition kept being a must; once I came to America, almost 20 years ago, I knew I wanted to keep this tradition for my future children.
So, every year, I would look for the best candy, and hide them until the night  of the Befana, when I would stuff all the stockings for my kids to find in the morning.

Being blessed by a Nana that would give them plenty of toys for Christmas, I did not feel my kids needed more toys for the Befana, so I started adding the tradition of putting socks inside their stockings.
This new tradition has become part of our heritage, now every year with the candy, they get their socks. 
My husband always loved to support me in keeping my Italian traditions.
He immediately made them his, and enjoyed his own stockings while watching our boys emptying theirs with bright eyes.
This year he won't be with us, at least not in his mortal body, but I still keep a stocking for him, because he will always be in our hearts and minds, and because I know he is watching over us.

I hope my kids will keep this tradition alive, as one day they get to have kids of their own, and tell the story of the Befana and how this tradition evolved with us.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Before you say "If you need anything"

Have you ever been going through a difficult trial, and had good friends and family tell you "Let me know if you need anything!".
How many times have you actually let them know?
Have you been the one saying the same phrase to someone going through a difficult time?
How many times have they actually gotten back to you to let you know what they really needed?
When we learn that a friend or a loved one or even somebody we don't know so well is going through a trial (loss of a loved one, loss of health, loss of means of income...), we would love to do something.
It is natural to say " Let me know if you need anything!".
This is a really nice phrase, but before we say it, especially if we really mean it, we should think about the effect it can have on the person in need.
When you are overwhelmed by grief, by medical bills that need to be paid, by sleepless nights worrying how you are going to survive, how you are going to make it better for your kids, if you are going to loose your job/business and by any other troublesome thought coming from your trial, having someone asking you to think:
"What can my friend do for me" and also find the strenght and the firmness of mind to actually ask, no matter how much they mean it, it is just another burden to bear.

So how do you let your loved one(s) know that you REALLY are there for him/her/them?

First of all, Pray.
Pray like you really mean it. Ask the Lord specifically how He can use you to lift the burden that has been placed on that person, and then be ready to act on any prompting you might have"
Second, let them know you have been praying for them, even more, let them know what you have been praying about.
(If you are not a religious person, you can always think deeply about them, and let them know that they have been in your thoughts)
Third, just be there. Have your eyes, ears, mind, heart open so that you can see a need, fill a need.

Need some ideas?

Whether you live closed to them or far away, there is something in this list that you could do:

- Send a card. Send more than one.
- Write an email. Write more than one.
- Make a phone call (but make sure the person has the desire/strenght to talk with anyone)
- Offer a shoulder to cry on (litterally or figuratively)
- Hug them (but don't overwhelm them!)
- Are they or their loved ones in the hospital? Go visit them, and if they could use the company, play cards with them, bring a movie, share a story, make them laugh. Take care of their mail.
- Is someone having surgery? Be with the loved one in the waiting room, or watch their kids. If you are far away or that person prefers to be alone, send text messages, inspiring thoughts on facebook, keep praying for them.
- Stop by the house and offer to bring groceries (food might be the last thought when you are filled with worries)
- Offer to get the kids out of the house (sometimes you need time to be alone and think, or to be with your spouse and figure out things together without kids being kids, and the kids need time to just be kids and not worry about what the family is going through; knowing that there is someone beside their parent(s) that cares about them can be such a comfort for them!)
- Do their yard work (who has time to mow, trim edges and/or water a garden when there are much higher priorities?)
- Is there anything broken that needs to be fixed? Fences, doors, windows, roof, driveway, if you have the ability and the tools to do it, or if you know who to call for it that could volunteer some of their time and talents, take care of it... Chances are, if that trial has been going on for a while, there was no time to take care of anything else (not to mention the burden that nasty HOA letters bring to the family in need)
- Bring a meal (make sure you know about any food sensitivities/restrictions, and if possible opt for freezer friendly meals and/or fresh fruit and vegetables, and make sure to gather efforst with other people and spread the help through several days/weeks if needed).
- If the person is ok with it, do their laundry, wash their dishes, sweep their floor, change their baby's diaper or anything that might be needed (please respect it when a person kindly declines this kind of help. Some people are just private about their homes, and they might just feel uncomfortable having someone else go throught their dirty dishes, clothes, etc especially if they had not been able to properly take care of them for a long time).
- Put together a care package (if you can, try to tailor it to specific needs: Is your friend a health freak? Is anyone in the family allergic to something? What is their favorite treat/snack? Do they only use natural products or they like anything that smells good? Do they collect something? What books do they read? What kind of movies? Do they like flowers? Do they like them cut or in a pot? Is there any food that is difficult for them to get where they are? Is there anything that could remind them of home? Could a trip to the movies, zoo, cultural even brighten their day? )
- Do their children need a ride to school, to practice, to the dr? If you can, be around enough to know when such needs arise.
- Do the kids need any school supplies? Offer to get them for them, or get the kids to come out with you and get what they need.
- Does this person or any other member of his/her household have a business? More than likely during this trial they have not been able to focus on it, they might have been loosing customers, or publicity: support them in that business, in any way you can think of (buy their products, bring referrals, share online etc).
- Can that person drive? Maybe because of health condition or car accident that person cannot drive: offer to give them rides, to the store, to the beach, to their job place.
- Is there any burocratic stuff that needs to be taken care of? There is nothing worst, when you are grieving or worrying about your sick loved one, or your own health, than having to deal with medical bills, payments, documents, or any other similar things. If you have any kind of experience with it, offer to do it for them.
- If the person is ok with the publicity, you can start a fundraiser for them. If not, you could collect money and then privately bring it to them, or bring it to their church or community leader (a thoughtful card is always a great addition, and allows the receiver to feel better about receiving money that they did not work for).
- If there is a funeral involved, chances are there are going to be lots of family in town. Bring a meal, bring plastic paper and cups, bring toilet paper, diapers, wipes, toothbrushes! If the house is not big enough for the amount of people that are going to be there, offer to host some of the family members. Offer to go pick them up at the airport! Do you have extra air miles? Offer to get the ticket for a family member that could not otherwise be there.
- When things seem to be getting better, don't forget about them. The situation might be improving, but it could also happen that the person(s) is tired to talk about the trial.
- Offer to run errands for them or watch their kids and/or pets while they get back on their feet, or while they take a much needed break.
- Show that you enjoy their company, they are not just a charity case.
- Don't judge! You will never be able to completely understand why someone is in the  situation they are in. Everyone's trial is their own, we only need to be there for them with a open heart, (and closed eyes, if needed).
- Ask: "Can I do anything else?". Chances are, if the person you have served has been able to see how much you have enjoyed serving him/her, they might actually ask you for help next time.
- If you say that you are going to do something, do it! If for some reason you can't anymore, explain it, and if you can do something else to make up for it, do it. When you are in need, it is pretty heart breaking when you trust someone to help you and then they bail on you.

There is so much more that can be added to this list, and I will probably add to it as my life experiences grow.
And remember, we might not be able to help everyone, but we can ALWAYS help someone.

Serving someone in need will not only benefit the receiver, but will bless the giver ten times fold.
A person might not feel like asking you to do a mile with him/her, but if your eyes are open and you are going the second mile anyway, your heart is going to be bigger, and you will be one of the amazing people that make the world a better place by being God's hands in action.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Essential oils for genealogists

Since I have discovered the therapeutic properties of essential oils I have been using them for every aspect in my life, and since genealogy and family history is a big part of my life, I have figured out which essential oils and essential oils blend can help making our research endeavors more pleasant and rewarding.

A real genealogist will stay up at night when on the path to discovering a new ancestry line, to decipher documents or even just to organize their research.
I found that these 2 essential oil blends really help me stay focused and energized:
Elevation - joyful blend
InTune - Focus blend

I put Elevation in my diffuser and roll InTune on my temples and back of the neck, and literally they keep me going.
I used this combo one night when I had to finish the transcription and translation of several vital records, and needed the quiet I only get when my kids are asleep. I was able to get all my translations done, thanks to the clear mind InTune was supporting and the energy and good mood I was getting by smelling Elevation. I was also keeping myself hydrated and keeping my blood sugar balanced by drinking water with a few drops of Slim&Sassy metabolic blend.

Another oil that I love to use while researching my ancestors, is Frankincense.
Frankincense is the oil of truth, and I feel that it helps me keep in touch with those ancestors that want to be found.

If like me you find yourself among piles of old, dusty and moldy parish records, you know how you could have some unpleasant consequences.
I put a drop of lemon, lavender and peppermint under my tongue, and it helps me keep going through dust and more. Now, the taste is not the best, so if you can't stand it, I suggest you put the drops in a capsule and ingest them, or take the already prepared Triease softgels, which contain lemon lavender and peppermint.
If breathing in all that dust and mold causes me an occasional sore throat, I will take a spoonful of raw honey with a drop of Onguard and while it feels strong at first, it quickly gives feelings of numbness to the area, and helps my body take care of the problem fast. Sometime I will also put 1-2 drops of melaleuca essential oil on the outside of my throat, especially if I feel that the books might have been exposed to mold.
If I have breathing distress, I will use Breathe respiratory blend, applied on my chest and then inhaled directly from my hands.

I have had situations where touching ancient records brought some kind of redness  on my finger. I used Onguard and melaleuca on site, and took the Onguard+ softgels  and was able to take care of it in a couple days. I have no idea what was on those records, but I am glad I solved the problem with natural solutions!!!

Another problem that seems to be recurrent among genealogist is stomach upset: we are so busy researching that we forget to eat or we eat food that we shouldn't eat just because it is convenient...
Thank goodness for Digestzen, digestive blend, applied on the area of the digestive tract where we feel discomfort, ad it helps bring relief fast.

How about occasional neck and back soreness from all those hours spent looking at the computer or going through microfilm or original records?
Deep blue soothing blend to the rescue!!! This little bottle has been such a good friend for me, together with the deep blue rub.
At times I have also used AromaTouch, the massage blend, layered with peppermint, on my neck, and it has really helped.

Ever gotten occasional tension in your head? Past Tense Tension blend has saved me in many occasions! Just a little bit on temples and back of the neck and I have been able to feel relief in few minutes!
Also, drinking water with a couple drops of lemon essential oil helps keep us hydrated and flush those toxins that might bring occasional headaches.

Naturally, I need to keep myself healthy to keep taking care of my family and be effective when doing my research, so I always make sure to have these essential oils and blends on hand:
Onguard protective blend
Digestzen digestive blend
Breathe respiratory blend
Deep blue soothing blend

As you can see most of the essential oils I use for overall wellness in my home are also amazing for the specific needs of a genealogist, which is simply perfect!

Want to know where to get these oils?
Message me so I can help you get a wholesale account and save you 25% or more on your essential oil necessities!
You can learn more on my essential oil facebook page:
Once you have tried these oils you will be wondering why you did not find them before!!!!
They have improved my family wellness and been a valid support to my research endeavors, and I know they will help my fellow genealogists!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Preserving the past, healing the present, improving the future

Hello everyone!
Long time no see! :)
Well, while I have not been posting on the blog for the past couple years, I have not stopped helping others preserve their heritage, and have been answering anyone that would write me with any question.
Why I have not been posting?
The reason is simple. I have been focusing more on my family's present and future.

There is a time for everything, and these past 2 years have been a time of evolution.
I have discovered how much I enjoy helping people not only preserve their past, but also heal their present, thus improving their future.
I have learned that we can change our family's negative patterns, if we really want.  We can be the happy and healthy people we were born to be!
We can improve our health at any time in our life, even for ailments that we believe are hereditary.
We can always learn from our ancestors, and we can put new exciting chapters in our family history that will really help improve our family patterns for generations to come!

I have dedicated these past 2 years to educating families to empower themselves with natural solutions, and am loving every aspect of it!

You can read about my family experiences with essential oil by clicking here:
My family experience with natural remedies

My blog is already full of creative ideas to help you preserve your past, and I think it is time that I start sharing ideas to help you with your present.
If you are curious, just stay tuned, I will not be posting often, but I promise you will be happy when you read my new posts! :)

Feel free to message me if you want to start now on your path to healing your family history!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Finally a Family Tree Bag!

I love my Heritage so much that I want to be able to have and show off my Family Tree with me wherever I go...
With this passion of mine I have made books, cards, calendars, flipbooks and more, but while I can bring some of these with me in a bag, I really have to have a "reason" to show them off.
When I saw that Heritage Makers was offering a bucket bag, my heart jumped: I could make one with my Family Tree!!!
I started creating it as soon as I could, and thanks to the import feature, I didn't need to create a tree from the beginning, so I took one of the projects I had made in the past, and modified it to suit the size and shape of the bag.
I wanted one side to have pictures of my kids, my husband and I, and the other one to have our whole 5 generations family tree, so this is what I came up with:
It took about 3 weeks to receive it, but oh what joy when I could finally have it in my hands!

Isn't it gorgeous?I have had it for less than a week, and I LOVE it!

I Love how people will stop me to tell me how much they like it, and ask me if I made it, then we start talking about the similarity between my kids or my husband and their ancestors...
I think this is one of the coolest family Tree projects I have created!
Now I can really say that I have my Heritage with me everywhere I go, and I don't need to really find an excuse to talk about my passion, people come and ask me about it!


I also love that because I am a Club HM member I was able to get a pretty nice discount on this bag, plus, since I had been accumulating publishing points, I did not have to spend my money all at once!

If you would like to create a bag like this, just contact me or make a comment below, and I will be happy to help!
It can be made with any of the Family Tree Templates I created, any background, and can be customized to fit your family tree needs.

You can get a free Publishing account by signing up at and start creating unlimited projects at once!
Love my Creative Genealogy templates and ideas
My HM club members can have their favorite template transferred to their account for personal use, or  can have it completely personalized by me for them  for a reasonable fee.
Want more for less? Check out our incredible host rewards and My Club HM!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Healing the family history

When I do genealogy research, whether it is for my own family, a friend or a client, I like to look at every possible bit of information.
One of the ones that are usually overlooked, is the information on the health condition of a person.
This is one of the family history data that can bring a descendant closer to his/her ancestors and can benefit the whole family in so many ways...

As an example, when I was doing research for this client/friend, I found out that one of her ancestors couldn't go to the town hall because of a very bad case of arthritis, so the mayor had to go to her house to officiate the wedding. When I presented my client with this piece of information, she was amazed at how this health condition had been passed down the family tree, since both she and her mom suffer from arthritis. Even if not a happy thing, knowing about her ancestor's health condition brought her closer to this particular relative.

Have you ever looked at your family history from a health point of view?
Do you know how your great grandma died? Do you know your family health history?
Would that be important for you to know? Would this info help you heal your family history?

I am surely trying to heal mine. 
Let me tell you how and why.

My family health history is pretty complex. Looking at it, I feel like my chances of having a life threatening disease is very high, and when I couple my family health history with my husband's, I really feel the need to protect my children from the  list of health conditions that has affected our ancestors that could be genetic, or family tradition related.

We all know about genetics, so let me explain how a condition could be family tradition related with another example.
I remember when I was little, my mom used to slather these bread slices with lard and then fry it in a pan, making some kind of "piadina". To us it was the most delicious thing on earth, but let's face it, it was not the healthiest option for little kids. Thing is, she learned this from her mom, who probably learned it from her mom; especially during time of war, this was something "special" that they used to make. My grandma died of stomach cancer. I was only 12 when I watched her suffer so much, and I heard her last words: "Look what I have become".
This was the first time (that I remember) that I was faced with a death in the family, and to make it worse, she was the only grandma I knew, since my dad's mom had died before I was born.
I remember, beside the pain of losing my dear grandma, the fear of the possibility that I would have to suffer and die like that. I was still young, so I did not know a lot about cancer, beside the fact that it could be genetic. Thinking about the diet rich in animal fats my grandma used to eat, I now feel that I could have experienced the joy of having my children listen to their "bisnonna" Michelina's stories if she had known how she could have prevented or at least lived longer through such a disease by watching her diet, and possibly looking into some natural remedies.
Her husband died 6 years later, he had been suffering of senile Dementia and it was really sad for me to see him going down hill... With the knowledge of today, I could have helped by having him try some coconut oil in his food, to help "nourish" his brain, and more than likely with some changes in his diet, he could have been sharper till the end.
On my father's side, my granddad died of colon cancer. I know very little about his diet, but I know that he worked in a tobacco factory. More than likely it was the exposure to such highly cancerous substances that caused his illness, and death. You can be sure that I keep my kids away from any tobacco product.
My dad's mom died of childbirth, together with her little one. I know very little about her condition, but since she had already given birth to 5 children,  I wonder what could have been the reason for her death... At the same time, this has brought me to be very health conscious (even more than usual) during each of my pregnancies.
My dad died when I was 13. He had 2 heart attacks while doing one of his dialysis sessions.
We used to joke that the list of his health conditions was much longer than a grocery list for a big family.
He was diagnosed with diabetes when he was young, but he didn't take any medicine for it, nor did he really triy to check his diet. By the time I was born, my dad's health was going down hill. He still had diabetes, but was checking his diet by  having sugar free, whole grain meals, and was  taking medicine for it, but these medicines had countless side effects.  He also had  arteriosclerosis, myocarditis, arthritis, and had to have laser surgery since he was going blind.  Additionally, he had bronchial asthma and ended up in kidney failure by the time I was a teenager, thus the dialysis since he was not eligible for a kidney transplant because of his diabetes. Each of the medicines he was taking for these conditions brought up lots of side effect, so he had to take more medicines to limit them.
My memories of my dad are of the many times I would go visit him in the hospital, the times he would put an IV in his arms by himself, hanging it on the dining room lamp, while we were doing homework right by his side, and the last memories are of him in his warm jacket sitting by the wood stove most of the time because he was always cold...
 I  do have happier memories, like his being very proud of our school achievement, and always defending our right to education over everything else, but his health really limited his ability to play with us and do anything that required energy and strength.
He was a very strong person, both physically and emotionally, but all these illnesses took a lot from him.
I have also been wondering where the diabetes came from in my dad's family tree, since all of his siblings were diagnosed with it also. My thought is that it came from someone further back in time.  Talking with a long lost cousin on my dad's side, I discovered that her mom died of child birth, from complications due to diabetes. Could diabetes have been the cause for my grandma's death too, since they descended from the same family tree? I wish I had more info, but for now, this is a plausible hypothesis. As a prevention, I do watch my kid's sugar intake, and offer them whole grains most of the times we have bread or pasta at our table.
My mom suffers from bipolar disease, not sure where in her family tree this came from, but since my cousin is bipolar also, my brother suffers from depression, my sister has suffered from post partum depression, and probably I did too (was never diagnosed though), it must come from someone up in the family tree. The only info I have is from word of mouth, since many in my family say that my  great grandma Margherita (nonna Michelina's mom) killed her self jumping from a balcony from this mental facility, where she was put because she tried to kill her husband when she caught him cheating on her. Whether this story is true or not, I do know that there is mental struggling in my family history, so this is another concern for me and my children.
Because of her smoking habit, my mom has struggled all of her life with asthma, episodes of bronchitis, and ended up with an emphysema, which never improved because she keeps wanting to smoke. She also suffer from arthritis.
Because of all the medications she is taking for the other illnesses, my mom has developed diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney problems.
I have had quite a few health problems myself in my "short" 40 years of life on this earth (hoping to at least double them - the years, not the health problems :)).
I believe that some were genetic, some due to family habits and tradition, some due to prescription drug side effects and some plain environmental.
I was diagnosed with rheumatism at age 6. Back then people knew very little about children's rheumatism, and I remember being made fun of by my school friends because they believed I was lying about my condition, and how it hurt to sit on the hard chair in my class after all those penicillin shots I had to have for weeks if not months. To limit the side effects of penicillin, I would be given high doses of vitamin B, but I think that  was not sufficient, because I ended up not growing as tall as my sister or brother, I have been facing periods of anemia during my whole life, and experienced many other side effects.
Later in life I have been dealing  with respiratory problems, like asthma and chronic bronchitis, first because of my mom's smoking habit which exposed me to second hand smoke, then I experienced even worse asthma attacks  after a round of steroids shots I had to have because of a highly painful neck and shoulders condition which kept me out of school for a year.
I have had tachycardia and also suffered from ulcers and reflux in my college years. I was vegetarian, didn't smoke nor drink coffee or alchool, my only weakness was chocolate, so the doctors were very surprised I had all those health problems. Their only thought was that stress was a definite factor, together with the pain killers and the steroids I had to take for such a long time in the past. It goes without saying that I have stayed away from pain killers and steroids since! I was doing all I could to the best of my knowledge to eat healthy and exercise, but the effect of the many prescription drugs I had to take were very difficult to overcome.
It was also possible that I was dealing with the side effects of whatever OTC or prescription drugs my mom was taking when she got pregnant with me, since I was not planned, and she always smoked, and she did like to drink wine and other alcohol drinks.
By the end of my 20s, I was going to the hospital every 6 months to try and fix stomach, heart and other problems that kept coming. Every time I was prescribed new drugs, and the only ones I would say no to were painkillers and steroids.

Once I came to America and married the love of my life, I knew I wanted to give my children the best chances possible at having a healthy start in life, so I decided to stop taking the few medications I was still taking for my stomach because one of their side effects is birth defects.
I also learned about high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated fats and stayed away from them. We gradually took soda out of our home and introduced even more vegetable and fruit in our diet.
While I had lots of pain from my back because of a degenerating condition in my spine that would get worse with the progressing pregnancy, I did not have any ulcer or related symptoms during each pregnancy, besides the occasional heartburn or nausea.
I never took pain killers, and took as little prescription drugs as possible for a couple very bad asthma attacks.
Besides my first child (for whom I ended up having to give birth in the hospital because after 24 hours from my water breaking I was not having real contraction, and was given drugs even if I did not really want them to), my children were all as healthy as they could be when they were born (naturally, with no drugs!), and I have worked hard to help them avoid or at least postpone as much as possible, any of the illnesses in their family history. My first born child has had behavioral issues, and I can't help but think that the drugs I was given might have had a part in this.

I am not going to analyze my husband's family history in detail, it should suffice to say that his "family health heirlooms" include diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, sleep apnea, Alzheimer, stroke, skin cancer, periodontal disease, kidney disease and more, so you bet I am constantly searching for ways to heal our family history, and with all the experience I have had with conventional drugs side effects, I am continually looking for a more natural approach to healthcare.

I do realize that my natural approach is something that also comes from my immediate family history. One of the reasons my dad did not take medicine for his diabetes in the beginning was that he thought he would be able to take care of himself. I still remember the many books in our house talking about healing with herbs, studying the human body, and much more. I think he was on the right path, just did not have enough information to completely heal himself naturally. Nowadays, I not only have many more books I can read, but also a huge source as the internet and many more natural healing experts and practitioners to ask counsel to than my dad ever had.

I have been searching even more after last January, when both my husband and I ended up in the hospital for a surgical procedures within 8 days from each other. I had shoulder surgery, he had to have a stent placement to save him from a heart attack due to a clogged artery. We later discovered that he had kidney problems that would only get worse, and each and every prescription he has to take will just speed up the process.
For a moment I felt like I was living my mom's life, and I got a greater understanding of all the suffering she went through both while my dad was still alive, but sick, and after we lost him.
Thankfully, my husband is still alive, and I am doing all I can to keep him with us :)

My research has brought me to discover the benefits of essential oils , and we have started using them on a daily bases for our family.

They have helped me recover from my surgery and gain the use of my shoulder back. They have helped take care of seasonal illnesses and allergies, and keep us healthy when there were viruses going around.
I find myself wondering how using essential oils could have changed my family's health history, especially fantasizing to be able to meet my grandparents on my father's side. Could they have lived longer? Would their quality of life be better?
While I cannot go back in the past, I surely can learn from the past.
Knowing my family health history helps me learn what the illnesses are that we are genetically predisposed to, and knowing the environment and family traditions of my family also help me get a better picture.
For example, my rheumatism could have been due to living in a cold and humid environment, also, since I remember a good bunch of baby bottles in my home, it is possible that my mom did not nurse me for long time (she wouldn't tell me, and even if she did, sadly it is pretty difficult to get much truth from her anyways...)
Bronchitis and asthma were exacerbated from being around smokers, but also around a not so well ventilated fireplace, or just in a room with the heat turned on. 
I have learned that most times taking care of pain is not really worth the many side effects of a drug, and there are many natural alternatives to conventional medicine.
With this piece of information, I know I need to keep my kids away from humidity and at the same time to limit the heating in our home especially at night. We prefer to use extra blankets.
I have nursed all my kids until they were 15-18 months old, which should have strengthened their immune system. They don't get sick so often, and when they do, I now use essential oils to help them overcome their illness, thus avoiding undesirable side effects.

I know there are things that even with all my efforts my children will still have to deal with, but I feel confident I am giving them the best chance and the best tools I know to face and possibly overcome any health issue that they may encounter in the future.
I not only love to preserve our heritage, but our health also. I will always do all I can to preserve and heal our family history.

No matter how you feel about healthcare and natural remedies, knowing your family health history can be a great help in preserving your health and that of your loved ones.
If you don't know much about the health issues in your family, I encourage you to do your research. Start by asking your parents, their siblings, your grandparents. You will not only add pages to your family history, but will be on your way to a better health.

If you would like to know more about the essential oils and natural remedies mentioned in this blog post, you can check this facebook page.

You can get a free Publishing account by signing up at and start creating unlimited projects at once!
Love my Creative Genealogy templates and ideas
My HM club members can have their favorite template transferred to their account for personal use, or  can have it completely personalized by me for them  for a reasonable fee.
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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Family Reunion idea from the Template Gallery

Summer is just around the corner and many of you are going to have a family reunion soon.
If you are the one that is helping putting it together, I have found a project in the Template gallery that you might want to try.
 It's a really well thought 8.5x11 booklet/magazine that outlines events and shows off a little of the family heritage, it even gives space for notes and family recipes and might  help you increase your family reunion attendance.

You can give a look at the whole template by clicking here , it will also give you the option to make your own.
As with any other template, you can change it any way you want it, to suit your needs.

You are going to love it!

You can get a free Publishing account by signing up at and start creating unlimited projects at once!
Love my Creative Genealogy templates and ideas
My HM club members can have their favorite template transferred to their account for personal use, or  can have it completely personalized by me for them  for a reasonable fee.
Want more for less? Check out our incredible host rewards and My Club HM!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

40 RAOK (Atti di gentilezza casuali) per il mio grande 4-0.

Sabato scorso e' stato il mio compleanno il mio grande compleanno 4-0, e volevo che fosse diverso.
Da un sacco di tempo stavo pensando di far si che il mio compleanno fosse un giorno di "dare" invece che di "ricevere"...
Dopo gli svariati problemi di salute che sia mio marito che io abbiamo dovuto affrontare all'improvviso, e praticamente allo stesso tempo, dall'inizio di quest'anno,  e dopo tutti gli atti di gentilezza che abbiamo ricevuto da familiari, amici, persone che conoscevamo solo un poco, ed anche completi sconosciuti, sapevo che dovevo assolutamente fare qualcosa per ricambiare.

Ho deciso che il mio compleanno sarebbe stato un giorno di RAOK=  "Random Act of kindness", il che vuol dire appunto atti di gentilezza casuali, possibilemte almeno uno per ogni anno della mia vita.

All'inizio volevo che fosse giusto qualcosa fra me, mio marito e i miei figli, poi ho pensato che sarebbe stato ancora piu' meraviglioso se amici e familiari potessero unirsi a noi in uesta avventura.

Un paio di giorni prima del mio compleanno, avevo deciso. Ho creato un  evento su facebook  ed ho invitato quanti piu' amici e familiari potevo, o almeno coloro che pensavo sarebbero stati piu' disposti a farlo.

Ho proceduto a dire a tutti che non volevo una festa, non volevo regali, quel che desideravo veramente era che compiessero almeno un piccolo atto di gentilezza (RAOK) nel giorno del mio compleanno.

Delle 300+ persone che avevo invitato, solo 50 circa hanno accettato l'invito, ma io ero contenta lo stess che almeno loro erano disposti a farlo!

Avevo iniziato un paio di atti di gentilezza qualche giorno prima, perche' non sapevo se sarei stata in grado di portare in giro i miei 4 super-energetici bimbi per tutto il giorno, cosi' ho fatto qualche "consegna", giusto nel caso che mi ritrovassi a corto di tempo.

Ancor di piu' visto che sono nata in Italia e stavo invitando anche i miei amici italiani, ho considerato l'inizio del mio compleanno alla mezzanotte italiana, che erano le 6 di sera del girono prima qui in Florida.

Dal momento che avevo promesso ai miei amici e familiari che averei dato un resoconto dei RAOK che fossi stata in grado di compiere, eccolo qui:

1) Ho scritto una lettera di ringraziamento per la mia meravigliosa terapista, per tutto cio' che ha fatto e sta facendo per aiutarmi a recuperare l'uso della mia spalla.

Anche i ragazzi hanno creato delle dolci cartoline di ringraziamento:)

  (Ho inoltre ringraziato in modi diversi la mia dottoressa chiropratica, il mio chirurgo e la mia amica che mi ha fatto conoscere gli  oli essenziali  doTerra perche' insieme hanno contribuito alla mia continua guarigione).

2) Proprio mentre stavo preparando la cena, la mia cara zia dall'Italia, mi ha chiamato, ed io ho offerto "le mie orecchie" (e il mio cuore) per ascoltare tutto quello che desiderava dire. Era passata la mezzanotte in Italia, lei non poteva dormire. Sono stata felice di ascoltare le sue storie su suo marito (il mio caro zio...) che ci ha lasciati quasi 2 anni fa, e anche riguardo i suoi figli. Mi manca infinitamente! Abbiamo parlato per circa mezz'ora. La  cena e' avvenuta un po' piu' tardi del previsto, ma ne e' valsa la pena.

3) Abbiamo messo un piccolo regalo per la nostra postina nella casella della posta, con una cartolina per ringraziarla per tutto il suo duro lavoro:)
 Anche il mio bimbo che ha 5 anni ha voluto creare una noticina per lei.

4)Ho portato biscotti alla stazione di pompieri piu' vicina, per ringraziare queste persone meravigliose per mantenerci al sicuro.
5) Ho ritagliato queste piccole cartoline per le insegnanti dei miei bimbi, e loro hanno scritto quanto sono fortunati ad averle come maestre.
6) Ho incartato varie cartoline di Natale direttamente dalla mia collezione di cartoline e le ho lasciate davanti alla porta di una amica, con una nota, che ogni membro della famiglia poteva usarne una il prossimo Natale.
7) Ho messo delle piccole note di ispirazione/conforto su varie macchine nel parcheggio del supermercato.

 8) Appena mi sono svegliata la mattina del mio compleanno, ho iniziato a scrivere messaggi individuali di una buona giornata a 40+ amici e familiari su facebook. Ho prestato particolare attenzione nelle parole, perche' avessero un significato per ognuno, e non fossero giusto 4 parole casuali.

Sono rimasta piacevolmente scioccata quando ho capito che molti di loro hanno veramente apprezzato questo gesto, ed alcuni sembravano aver veramente bisogno di quelle parole in quel giorno.

9) Abbiamo portato del pane e cereali alle paperelle nel laghetto del vicinato.
Le paperelle non c'erano, cosi' abbiamo dovuto tornare la sera, ma ci si siamo riusciti!

10) Abbiamo portato delle belle bottiglie di acqua fresca con noi al parco, da passare a chiunque fosse accaldato o assetato.
C'era una signora anziana che stava lavando la macchina, lei e' stata molto felice di ricevere la bottiglia d'acqua. Un altro signore stava scavando forse per aggiustare qualcosa, sembrava esausto, ma ha rifiutato l'offerta. Povero il mio bimbo di 3 anni, era molto triste che quell'uomo non avesse accettato la sua acqua.

11) Al ritorno dal parco, c'e'ra questa intera  famiglia che sembrava molto stanca dopo una mattinata di lavoro nel loro giardino. Tutti avevano bibite fredde, quindi non avevano bisogno della nostra acqua, cosi' abbiamo dato loro una busta piena di biscotti. Che sorpresaper loro quando hanno capito che potevano avere l'INTERA busta, e non ci conoscevano neanche!:)

12) Ci siamo anche fermati alla casa di un poliziotto nel nostro vicinato, e abbiamo consegnato la nostra ultima busta di biscotti, per ringraziarlo per il suo servizio. Non era a casa, ma abbiamo trascordso un po' di tempo a parlare con suo suocero, che aveva recentemente ricevuto un trapianto di fegato. Sono stata contenta che stesse relativamente bene.

13) Ho pregato per ogni persona che ho visto sulla strada all'andata e al ritorno dal parco.

14) Ho portato il mono pattino del mio bimbo di 3 anni sulla spalla al ritorno a casa, anche se gli avevo detto che se sceglieva di portarlo, avrebbe dovuto usarlo sia per andare al parco che per tornare a casa, poiche' dovevo gia' spingere il triciclo del suo fratellino. Il poverino sembrava cosi' stanco, non me la sono sentita di lasciarglielo portare fino alla fine...  Fortunatamente la mia vicina mi ha vista a meta' strada, ed ha offerto di portare il monopattino nella sua macchina fino a casa. :) Anche lei ha fatto il suo  RAOK:)

15) Una volta a casa, visto che i miei tesori (specialmente il bimbo di 3 anni) avevano chiesto che facessi una torta per tutto il tempo, anche se non era nei miei piani di farne una, ho fatto la torta di compleanno.

16) Poi ho deciso di farne un altra da portare a qualcuno che avesse bisogno di esser tirato/a su!

17) I bimbi ed io abbiamo scritto 40 note per il papa', le abbiamo attaccate sulla porta della nostra casa, cosi' da fargli una sorpresa quando sarebbe tornato dal lavoro.
E' stato decisamente sorpreso e si e' commosso quando le ha viste :)
(Questo tesoro di marito ha poi proceduto a sostituire alcuni dei bigliettini gialli con dei bigliettini rosa, per me, mentre io ero praticamente in sonno profondo dovuto allo sfinimento dei primi 2/3 di giornata:)... Li ho notati all'uscita dalla porta quando ci stavamo accingendo a compiere altri RAOK tutti insieme. Mi son dovuta sforzare di mantenere le lacrime prima che scorressero dai miei occhi!
 Questo in particolare, mi ha fatto sorridere:)
(Sembra che i miei tagli di capelli siano apprezzati:p)

Dal momento che mi erano rimasti bianchi d'uovo dalle due torte, ho cercato una ricetta che ne richiedesse l'uso, e ho fatto i miei primi pasticcini al cocco. Son venuti decisamente piu' grandi del dovuto, ma erano buoni, per cui ho deciso che avrebbero potuto ravvivare la gironata di qualcuno.
18) Ho portato questi pasticcini (oni) al cooco ad una cara vicina (la stessa che mi ha aiutata con il monopattino del mio bimbo.).

19) Abbiamo portato questi pomodori biologici coltivati nel mio giardino ad una degli amici di uno dei miei bimbi e la sua famiglia. Son rimasti piacevolmente sorpresi :).

20)Abbiamo portato i pasticcini al cocco ad un altra familgia di amici di scuola. I bimbi si son divertiti a fare tutte queste consegne:)

21)Ho lasciato dei buoni sconto su alcuni prodotti al supermercato

22) Abbiamo lasciato qualche dollaro nascosto fra giocattoli del valore di un dollaro o meno in una drogheria.

Mi piace pensare che saranno altri bimbi a trovarli ed immagino la loro faccia sorridente:)

23) Ho rifatto il letto dei miei bimbi, anche se quello e' compito loro. Meritano un RAOK anche loro ( a parte la torta!)

24) Abbiamo sorriso a chiunque abbiamo incontrato, e ci siamo sforzati di salutare e/o chiedere "Come stai" e dirlo sul serio.

25) Ho chiamato il Tempio per avere il nome di due persone che stanno avendo seri problemi di salute sulla lista delle preghiere del Tempio stesso.

26) Ho cliccato "mi piace" sulla pagina facebook commerciale  di un amica, per mostrarle il mio sostenimento.

27) Abbiamo tolto le erbacce dal prato di un vicino. Son sicura che qualche altro vicino avra' pensato che il nostro prato aveva molto piu' bisogno del nostro lavoro :)

28) Abbiamo portato delle lattine di aranciata rossa ad un amica che mi aveva chiesto di comprargliele, cosi' non ha dovuto venire fino a cas amia per prenderle.

29)Abbiamo raccolto immondizia per terra ovunque siamo passato: parco, negozi, chiesa ecc.

30) Ho riportato alcuni carrelli che erano stati lasciati in giro per il parcheggio, nell'apposito spazio all;uscita del supermercato, cosicche' non fossero un pericolo per altre macchine.

31) Ho chiamato mia mamma per ringraziarla di avermi dato la vita. Lei e' stata particolarmente felice di sentire i miei figli sforzarsi di dire in italiano:" Grazie per aver fatto nascere mamma!"

32)  Mi sono assicurata di riconoscere ogni singolo atto di gentilezza che la mia famiglia ed io abbiamo potuto ricevere. A volte tendiamo a far passare sotto il radar le piccole azioni che altri fanno per noi, and non ci rendiamo conto che anche le piu' piccole cose possono richiedere tanto alle persone che le offrono. Far sapere a queste persone che le apprezziamo fa bene a tutti.

33) Ho dato alcuni dei miei oli essenziali ad alcuni amici per alcuni problemi di salute che avevano.

Si stava facendo tardi, e in piu' un insetto fetentello mi ha punto proprio sull'occhio destro, cosi' ho deciso di estendere il mio compleanno all'intero fine settimana. Siamo tornati a casa, e direttamente a letto!

34) Ho lasciato una borsona della spesa piena di pagine di buoni sconto per una buoni sconto-dipendente come me.

35)Ho lasciato dei pannolini e tovagliette imbevute nella stanza delle mamme in chiesa. Se c'e' anche una sola mamma come me, sara' felice di scoprirle quando si accorgera' di aver finito pannolini o tovagliette!

36) Ho datto un "buono per babysitting per un giorno" ad un amica che penso possa trarre beneficio da un po' di tempo sola con suo marito, specie durante un momento difficilissimo per la sua famiglia.

37) Ho portato una piantina del mio basilico biologico ad un amica in chiesa, visto che aveva espresso il suo desiderio di averne una, ma non era ancora riuscita a venirsela a prendere a casa mia.
(Non era questa, ho dimenticato di fare la foto, ma questa e' una delle mie tante piante di basilico:))

38) Siamo riusciti a portare la cena (e la torta) alla cuginetta di 3rzo grado dei miei figli. LEi ha 3 anni ed e' in una clinica per la riabilitazione a 30 minuti di macchina da casa nostra. Ha avuto un operazione al cervello per risolvere il suo porblema grave con le convulsioni. Questa e' stata la cosa che abbiamo amato di piu' fare, ed eravamo tutti particolarmente felici che avevamo l'opportunita' di vederci senza che dovesse essere un funerale, una volta tanto! La sua mamma e la sua nonna erano proprio felici di vederci e i bimbi si sono innamorati della piccolina, infatti continuano a chiedere quando torniamo a visitarle, e presto torneremo.

39) Al ritorno a casa, ci siamo fermati ad una stazione di servizio e ho lasciato delle tovagliette disinfettanti  nel bagno delle donne. Qualcuno sicuramente ne avra bisogno!
 40) Ho fatto delle tortine all'ananas per il bisnonno dei miei piccoli, che e' in una casa di riposo e che ha perso sua moglie, con cui e' stato sposato per 63 anni, 2 anni fa. Lei faceva queste torte all'ananas buonissime, quindi sapevo che le mie tortine gli avrebbero fatto piacere.
Abbiamo trascorso un po' di tempo con lui il "giorno della memoria" . A lui fa piacere vederci, specialmente vedere i pronipoti, e va da se, noi amiamo fargli visita!

Anche se non sono riuscita a compiere tutti i miei diversi atti di gentilezza in un giorno solo, e non sono riuscita a fareproprio tutti i vari atti di gentilezza che avevo previsto, per un motivo o  per l'altro, credo di essere stata in grado di toccare almeno 40 vite il giorno del mio compleanno, e questo mi basta per essere felice.

Ho anche cercato di fare atti di gentilezza che non richiedessero di spendere chissa' quanto, poiche' volevo ispirare proprio tutti, e in questi periodi di magra, a volte si puo' pensare di non avere nulla da donare, mentre invece ognuno di noi ha cosi' tanto!

Voglio veramente ringraziare mio marito per il supporto che mi ha dato, e i miei figli per il loro buon cuore, e perche' no, per le piccole sfide che mi hanno presentato mentre cercavo di dare vita a  questo progetto.

In particolare voglio portare l'attenzione dul alcuni dei RAOK con cui mi hanno benedetta:

ha ordinato il soggiorno
Ha donato un suo dollaro

Jacob(5 anni):
E' venuto nel mio letto e ha aspettato che dessi segni di vita prima di dire " Buon compleanno mamma!" ... alle 6:10 del mattino!
Ha donato un suo dollaro.

Luca (3 anni)
Ha cercato di essere extra gentile con i suoi fratelli
Mi ha dato un sacco di abbracci

Mattia ( 1 anno)
Mi ha dato tanti abbracci, ha condiviso il suo bicchiere e la sua copertina-giraffa con me.
Mi ha donato dei sorrisi enormi.

Chris (mio marito)
Ha cercato di rassettare la cucina per me prima di andare al lavoro
Mi ha scritto una lettera meravigliosa
Ha messo i bigliettini sulla porta.
Mi ha lasciata dormire quando ero sfinita
Mi ha aiutato con i miei RAOK, senza mai lamentarsi, pronto a fare qualsiasi cosa fosse necessaria
Mi ha dato parole di conforto quando mi stavo stressando troppo poiche' non tutte le persone per cui volevo fare un gesto carino volevano accettare il mio aiuto

Non so cosa ho fatto per metitare questi "tizi", ma il Signore ha deciso di benedirmi con loro, e spero di riuscire a benedire la loro vita ogni giorno di piu'.

Sono inoltre grata per i miei meravigliosi amici e familiari che hanno condiviso questa avventura con noi, e voglio menzionare alcuni dei RAOK che mi sono stati riferiti:

Nilla: "Ho portato la cena ad una famiglia la cui madre ha appena avuto un operazione"

Mary Lou: "Ho fatto dei brownies per dei vicini"

Mariantonia (mia sorella): "Ho portato il cane di una amica a spasso"

Heidi: " HA! L'ho fatto! Ho donato 7 bottigliette di olio essenziale di arancia selvatica e ho detto loro che era per il tuo compleanno!

Sabrina: "Ho trascordo gli ultimi 3 giorni ad aiutare due mie cognate a pulire e riorganizzare il loro appartamento. C'e voluta un sacco di fatica, ma ne e' valsa la pena, e alla fine loro erano felicissime del risultato!"

Timalee: "Qualcosa di molto semplice. Mentre passavo, ho notato una persona che sembrava aver bisogno di aiuto, e l'ho aiutata.".

Phil: " Ho spalato la neve... il che e' una cosa triste da fare con l'estate cosi' prossima, ma l'ho fatto comunque!"

Una lontana cugina: " Mia figlia vuole fare i 40 RAOk per tutta la sua estate... e scriverle tutte in un diario durante tutta l'estate." ("Cosi' dolce...)

Alessandro :" Sono andato a prendere una vecchietta e l'ho aiutata a fare la spesa e poi l'ho riportata a casa. E' un buon RAOK?" (Certo che lo e'!!).

So che ci sono stati molti atti di gentilezza silenziosi, e sono immensamente grata per ognuno di essi.
Spero che possano essere contagiosi, cosi' come sembrano esserlo per i miei figli, poiche l'ho visto compiere dei RAOK ogni giorno, dal pulire la macchina all'improvviso, al donare il proprio palloncino al fratellino disperato che aveva perso il suo, al pulire il bagno, all'essere semplicemente piu' gentili l'un l'altro.

Basta veramente un piccolo atto di gentilezza casuale a migliorare la giornata di qualcuno, e quel qualcuno potrebbe esserne cosi' felice da essere gentile con qualcun altro, e questo potrebbe iniziare una reazione a catena che beneficera' molte vite!

Il mio compleanno e' stato il piu' lungo, il piu' estenuante, il piu' impegnativo, il piu' pazzo che ho mai avuto, ma e' stato probabilmente il compleanno piu' memorabile, e spero che possa restare specialmente nella memoria dei miei 4 ometti per gli anni a venire.



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