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Gerolo is the name of my mother’s family farm located about thirty minutes south of Milan, Italy. I was fortunate enough to spend many long summers on that farm. It is a big part of why I love Italy, my experiences and time spent with my family there are invaluable. Arriving in Gerolo, you quickly find that you have stepped back into time. My brother and I were the only American grandchildren Gemma and Savino had, and to make matters worse, we didn’t really speak that much Italian. Although we were raised by Maria Raffo, my lovely mom, in California (which was a mini-version of living in Gerolo, naps and all) there really was no preparing us for the kind of culture shock that we would experience each and every time we would visit the farm.

We learned very quickly that Gerolo was very different than what we were accustomed to, but it quickly felt like home. Although it lacked some of the basic “necessities” we were used to like, ice cubes, hot water, screens on the windows, milk from actual containers from a store, air conditioned cars, The Price is Right, etc, it didn’t matter. It was a magical place for Glenn and I. We had nothing but time and freedom to roam the gardens and land on our bikes made in 1940, plenty of good wine on the table for our meals, our amazing Italian family close by, and daily events and meals that kept all of us close and connected each summer day. Summers were always amazing, and we always returned with a bit more appreciation to life and the little things that really mattered. Gerolo seems to always put things in perspective, especially returning to Southern California.

The photo above is one of my all time favorite photos. I believe the year was around 2006. Siena, Isabella, and Gemma Raffo walking back from one of the gardens on the property. Both girls have spent time in Gerolo, and both were even baptized across the river from our farm in a church located inside a castle called Roveleto. Gerolo will always be a very special and magical place to all of us.

The Why

So many whys in life.

Some are answered right away, some take much longer to reveal themselves.  It's a beautiful thing when you do learn why, especially, if the journey was a difficult one, and you find that your why paved a road you could have never imagined.  So many people still haven't found their why, and many of those were affected this past week in unimaginable devastation and loss.  I hope that eventually, all of our whys are answered, and in return inspire, heal, and strengthen us. 

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
- Mark Twain

My why...

Thanks to everyone for your continued support and spreading the word about The Passing Coin and Gemma Raffo. 

P.S. The coins featured above are .999 pure silver and available as an Add-On through the Kickstarter campaign!  




Words of the day: Gratitude, evolution, doubt.

Makes for a very interesting pot of stew that continues to simmer in my head lately. Some days there’s too much doubt, other times, gratitude takes over, but no matter which word comes to the surface, evolution is the base, and quietly continues to boil away.

Putting yourself out there, believing that this is meant to be, believing in the process, sharing your personal story, hoping how I feel about Gemma Raffo’s purpose and the mission really comes across in the Kickstarter campaign, there’s so many things in a day that can trigger these moments of doubt.

Fortunately, gratitude prevails...

I’m grateful for my past, it has made me who I am today, it has inspired me to create pieces that will speak to others who may be in need, keeping loved ones connected, even if in the most difficult and challenging of times. It has taught me that I am a survivor, it has given my girls the gift of a strong mother who will teach by example to be fearless and independent, it has given me my true love, Anthony.

I am grateful for the present, it reminds me to breathe, to be happy with the process now-not when…, it surrounds me with people who love and support me, it gives me a business opportunity I have dreamed about for years, it gives me opportunity to learn, it gives me a connection to people and their stories, it gives me the ability to help others and to help myself and heal, it teaches me be driven, and to work hard and stay the course.

I am grateful for the future, it gives me hope and teaches me that the events, situations, hurt, happiness, love, pain, depression, thrill, connection, family, friends, strangers, processes and systems, are meant to help you get to where you are supposed to be in this life.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, and confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” - Melodie Beattie

Years ago, Anthony carved the original coin concept from wax and we had these cast in Bronze.  I loved them but they weren't quite what I was looking for.  After Anthony started working with Shire Post on his projects we knew the direction to take the coin.  Check out the photo below to see the originals and thanks again for supporting The Passing Coin