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Last Friday, Diana of Creative Structures challenged her fellow bloggers to write about gratitude. This, I thought, is an excellent idea. I focus far too much on things that aren't going well in my life; in fact, I tend to obsess about small slights, or problems, or misunderstandings -- even small annoyances like rainy weather -- to the exclusion of all the good things in my life. This is actually becoming a serious problem, because I'm forming a deeply entrenched habit of negativity.

So, I'm going to focus now on just a few of the many, many things in my life for which I am grateful.

1. I'm so grateful that last month, I was finally able to visit Ravenna, in north-eastern Italy, and see amazingly beautiful mosaics that date back to the 6th century. Mind-boggling. The photo above is from the ceiling at the Basilica of San Vitale. I was truly gobsmacked by the incredible mosaics, exploding with colour even after 1,500 years.

2. I'm very grateful that my ceramic dishes arrived from Italy yesterday in perfect condition. They are stunning, and as soon as I can find my camera, I'm posting brag photos!

3. Coffee and wine. I'm so grateful these exist and are fairly free flowing.


4. I'm really grateful that I made it to the top after climbing 4 kilometers straight up, passing through the 666 porticos leading up, up, up to Bologna's Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca!


5. It was a wonderful experience to visit Ferrara and its medieval Duomo.


6. I'm so grateful for my family -- including my Mom (on the left) and my two aunties. What a trio.


7. Italian food and Italian cooking classes with a great teacher and friend like Letizia, from Alla Madonna del Piatto near Assisi -- what could be better?


8. In fact, friendship is something that I am especially grateful for, and for friends like Mary of Genius Loci near Bevagna (top of the table) who hosted a fantastic Umbria dinner one night last month, with her son Michael (manager of the Genius Loci) and daughter Marica (closest to the camera) and Mar's great friends Art and Joanne.

Such a short list when I have so much to be grateful for!

Comments (14)

Well said,Sandra. It is so easy to get sucked into the negativity of things, and it does take effort to look at the glass half full.
Great list, and I love your photos.

Such a lovely post. It's always so interesting to see photos too - such delightful ladies who seem full of living.

Ah, Letizia! I don't know how I happened on her blog (from Slow Travel) but I have mentioned to her that her recipes remind me of my mother's cooking. Gratefully, menehune

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Sandra, wonderful post. You have a great list of people and things that you are grateful for. Diana's blog idea is such a great idea. Life really is so much more enjoyable when we are able to focus on the positives.

Thank you for sharing your wonderful list and beautiful photos.


Candi, that is it exactly! It seems so easy to focus on the half-empty part of the glass. I wonder why?

Thank you, Menehune. I think I've seen your comments about your mother's cooking on Letizia's blog. You must be a wonderful cook, too!

Hi Kathy! I think you make a great point -- life is so much more enjoyable when we simply remember all the great things we all have in our lives.

Sandra, thank you so much for including me in this wonderful post, I am so proud! I am sending you a virtual slice of tiramisu and lots of hugs!


I'm grateful for your blog :-)


Ciao Letizia! Next year I must get more clear photos of you!

Kathryn, I'm grateful you've made the effort to stay in touch!


What a great post!

We would all be happier if we could focus on the positive things in our lives rather than the negative ones.

I know exactly what you mean about focusing on the negative . . . I've been working on that myself. Your list is a great way to help remind you of the good thinsg that are likely far more plentiful than the annoyances!

Barb Cabot:

Sandrac, this is very very lovely and I'm impressed about the climb straight up
4 kilometers. BRAVA! Your mom and aunts are wonderful too!


Thanks Nancy!

Hi Jerry, good luck with your efforts to focus on the positive. I don't know why that seems to run against human nature, but I'm determined to keep trying.

Barb, thanks -- the ladies can be a lot of fun. And I'll have to do a proper post on my adventures in Bologna, including the climb up to San Luca (which was very beautiful.) I've been sluggish in my blogging.

Wonderful post. When I remember to switch my focus, it's amazing how many things I can think of to be grateful for. Need to get better about remembering to do it. :)

Sandra, what great challenge Diana has proposed to the blogging community. You have such a great list of people in your life to be grateful for. I love the photo of your mom and aunties. They remind me of the Golden Girls. :)

With so much negativity circulating around during this hard times, it is very refreshing and encouraging to see the positive in everyones life. I've been trying to stress this to my children as they see only hard times ahead of them. I have to remind them what their grandparents and great-grandparents had to endure and they managed to overcome the hardships.

Beautiful post. Great list of things to be grateful for.

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