The book table looks just right with my maternal grandparents’ framed photo, the small pot of Christmas cactus, the wooden sign that says “Family Forever”, the Dove chocolates in an Italian candy dish, and the mandala tablecloth I brought back from Japan many years ago. All were chosen to express the love letter to my Italian immigrant grandparents that is my chapter in the collaborative book, Voices of the 21st Century: Bold, Brave, And Brilliant Women Who Make A Difference.

The book’s concept is the brainchild of my friend, Gail Watson, who is also founder of The Women Speakers Association that published our book. With 50 different chapters contributed by 50 women, readers are likely to find at least one chapter that will change their life. I hope my chapter inspires other women to recognize whose shoulders they stand on that have enabled them to find their place in the world so they can reach for the stars.

I am discovering that each book signing has brought me into contact with many wonderful people. I have met kindred spirits striving to make a difference in the world through their work, their charitable donations, and their compassion for others. I have met new friends and allies equally committed to giving time, talent and treasure to make the world a better place. I will be writing more about them in future blog posts so that you can meet them, too.

Each book signing affords me the opportunity to donate 15% of my book sales, in honor of my grandparents, to support the work of the Immigrant Welcome Center in Indianapolis. Their work connects immigrants to people and resources so that they can build successful lives that will help create a better, stronger Indianapolis on the premise that “When immigrants succeed in Indy, we all succeed.” I am grateful to help bolster that philosophy.

When I come home from a book signing, I feel so deeply grateful for these encounters that I shine with a lightness of being, and the world is renewed in my eyes. This wise quote by Dr. Robert Holden about gratitude expresses how I feel, “The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to such an extent that it changes the world you see.”

I am grateful for the world I see, and grateful for the kindness I meet, and grateful for my Italian-American family of origin where love was the language spoken.