Tag Archives: God’s gifts

The olive branch

The olive branch

My sweet Joseph and I feel as if God showers us with His blessings with these amazing little gifts He sends called babies. Two of our boys had blessed us with five special angels. We loved watching them grow and develop into little humans with individual traits that distinguished them from one another. Slowly time slipped past us and they were no longer infants or toddlers. We missed that innocent stage where each new discovery was met with awe and increased curiosity. While we watch with amazement at their accomplishments in sports and academics and social skills and see their faith life growing we are thankful and proud. He continued to gift us as we watched them grow.

Suddenly our younger children began to marry and we knew it wouldn’t be long before they would experience what true love really is all about. Since 2014 God has sent us three love gifts, and our hearts are exploding as we watch with eager anticipation each small development, a grin, a smile, a belly laugh or the moment when their eyes connect with ours. It is all so surreal. We count these days as some of the happiest of our lives. Days that transform our lives. Days that will bring us through the difficult days.

These tiny infants, completely dependent upon their Mother and Father for food, warmth and love have stolen our hearts and teach us once again that life is precious and fleeting and so very special a true gift.

January 1st we were blessed again with Olive Adelle Zitiello, weighing just 6 lbs. 9 oz. and 20 inches long. Finally a pink bundle to dress in soft pink and bows. We are thrilled beyond belief, every one of us.

She came quickly and naturally and perfectly formed..thank you Jesus.

Her name held great significance. Adelle is Tommy’s Mothers legal name and beautiful. She was the greatest Mother, Grandmother. We are so pleased Olive’s parents decided to honor her in this way.

We realized shortly after we heard it, her first name Olive evolved from early planning of Louis and Emily’s wedding. The theme was chosen by Emily – Olive branches, simple and full of meaning. The leaf signifies the truth of faith and it’s fruit, the olive is the good of charity. From Emily’s shower to Louis and Emily’s wedding the olive branch was used to decorate the wedding cake, the tables and even the crown on our brides head. It was a single 5 letter word that held great significance for these two parents. Emily’s push present from her husband, a delicate Tiffany olive branch necklace. But, the true gift was this little pink soft being…Olive Adelle Zitiello.

A Mother’s love

The family began to pour into the maternity ward to meet the newest member. We gathered to share our thanks and wonder at the miracle of birth.

Little Jude was amazed when he saw Olive for the first time.

We had told Jude for many months that baby Olive was in Emily’s belly. Now he could see her.

Joseph and I have realized how fleeting life truly is. This is what age does for us. We know that God sends us these miraculous gifts to perpetuate our existence here on earth. We are blessed beyond our belief and truly thankful.

In search of my God-given gifts…

In search of my God-given gifts…

Mediterranean Dinner for our friends

God lovingly grants each of us personal strengths.

For many of us it takes years to discover those skills while many pass without ever realizing all or sadly even one. I was never told that God had graced me with special talent of any kind. My parents taught that my report card dictated the areas I excelled or fell short. They stressed the need for good grades but even more important, good citizenship. In their eyes if you tried your hardest it did not matter what the grade as long as the citizenship mark was the highest given. While this is a  measure of the use of our skills and effort it is not the only yardstick. They never shared the existence of the ultimate present or asked me to search for it. They never told me I could be anything I wanted to be.  They never taught me to pray about it.

I didn’t hear of the concept until much later in life. Perhaps that is why I had to work so hard throughout my life striving to be the best at something God never had in mind for me in the first place. But, the good news is, around the age of 45 , I realized one gift was that of hospitality. Actually, the realization came in the form of a compliment from a dear friend. Later that day, when I happily reflected on the comment, I agreed that was truly my gift from God.

Tom and I love to open our home to our friends. We have done this since the day we met by often throwing neighborhood parties. When we moved north to Ponte Vedra Beach, we designed our home to be “party central”. Tom redesigned the original plans in the back of the house to include a summer kitchen and large pool deck that was used frequently for a DJ or band and still left plenty of room for dancing. As friendships grew along with our families and the small town became our home….so did the house grow and the backyard party area…and our parties evolved too.

Over the last 15 years or so I have held Prayer Coffees and Bible Studies for my “sisters”.  When we tore down the wall between the family room and expanded our kitchen to double the square footage to accommodate a buffet on our long kitchen island, it called for a huge sectional around the fireplace and flat screen TV. We now call this the “Bible Study couch” because we can gather at least 25 ladies on and around the back to view a DVD. Since then, we have held a regular Wednesday Morning Bible Study for a growing number of friends of all ages. We gather to study His word and pray for any and all. This has to be the biggest blessing our family has ever received because as we read in Matthew 18:20, “For wherever two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

So, I still search for my gifts. I am zeroing in on a few more areas I think have potential. Once I have confirmed them, I will share them here as well.

One thing for sure, I constantly remind my children and my grandchildren about a wonderful present God has for them. I know how happy He must feel when it is revealed and we acknowledge that gift with a “thank you Lord”. Always give the glory to God.

Thank you Lord for Tommy and my gift of hospitality. We love you .

Our Bible study sofa