September, 2013 – 30 Days of Gratitude


30 Days of Gratitude

A Journal for Getting Through Tough Times and Loss

By Krista Martinelli

Ok, I’ve decided to do 30 days of gratitude. Like a little Journal, Right here online. I strongly feel that if I can find one thing to be grateful for each day, And if I can just make it through the next 30 days, I’ll be in good shape. Good to go forward.

Day 1. I am grateful for Paul, who was my Traveling companion and copilot on the flight over here. He is wearing gold junior officer badge, so I guess he will know what to do if anything goes wrong. But it won’t. Nope, not today. He’s so cheerful. He knows that my brother died. He knows that our whole family is hurting. But he is brave. The night before we left on the trip he said, “mom, This is going to be the best trip ever!” It’s so funny that I laugh out loud. “Yes, Paul. Maybe it will be the best trip ever!”

My co-pilot on the journey
My co-pilot on the journey

Day 2. I’m grateful for my mother. If she only has $10 to her name, she might give $5 to a homeless person and spend the other $5 on gifts for her grandchildren. But that’s just how she is. Anyway, she loves children. Especially her grandchildren. Thanks for the many gifts you bring, Mom. Not just the kind that you get at a store either.

Nonni with her grandkids.
Nonni with her grandkids.

Day 3. I’m grateful for Stella. She is such a beautiful girl with so many talents. She’s a terrific big sister to Paul. She does things like encourage him when he’s struggling with a math problem and compliment him when he does something good (like reading on his own). She’s always amazingly creative. About three weeks ago, she got an idea for a short movie she wanted to create. Without consulting me at all, she took 501 photos of her American Girl dolls, posed in different positions. She found a way to create stop action animation (old school style). Then she put the whole thing to one of her favorite songs, “Red” by Taylor Swift. She did every step of this on her own! Check out her movie. It’s quite a lovely show! 


Day 4. I’m grateful for Joe, my husband…my main traveling companion in this journey. This photo (from when the kids were younger) shows how crazy-happy you make our kids, me and our whole family…I love you! Thank you for taking great care…in the way that you care for me. Thank you for “handling my business” – more specifically- building the website, Thanks for being fun! “You are the sunshine of my life.” I loved you from the first day we met.


My husband Joe and the kids (when they were younger)

Day 5. I’m grateful for the ocean. We had a day off from school yesterday (and a big thank you to my Jewish friends for making this possible). We spent a couple of lovely hours at the ocean – the kids, my sister-in-law Mary Joan and me. It was a beautiful day! The kids tried riding the waves on their boogie boards for the first time. A lot of laughter. A lot of salt water up the nose (a very healthy thing for my bronchitis, which is almost done). It was healing. Every aspect – the waves, the sand, the sounds, the giggling and the splashing. And a guaranteed good night’s sleep for all of us!


Day 6.  I’m grateful for my sister-in-law Mary Joan. She is here for a week, taking good care of me and taking good care of our kids. Without going on and on, I’ll say that a death in the family, bronchitis and insomnia had brought me to my knees. And it’s great to have a kind, loving, caring soul sister, who happens to be a nurse, to help me get up and get going again. Along with my other wonderful sister-in-law Sharon (you’ll hear about her soon), Mary Joan is making sure I get enough rest, the main priority right now. Tonight she gave us a “date night.” We had a great time going out to Sweet Tomatoes (not fancy but lovely) and we got to see “The Butler,” a fantastic film! THANKS, MJ!


Day 7. I’m grateful for my sister-in-law Sharon Martinelli! She is such a great help in my times of trouble and such a soul sister too. (Here she is with Joe – in the below photo). She recently ensured that I had all the right doctors caring for me (and not just any ole’ doctors). She also helps me do things that are difficult – like “setting boundaries” and speaking up. She’s been cleaning out her beautiful closet lately, so if you see me wearing really lovely, new-looking clothing from Ann Taylor and Nordstrom’s, etc…just know that Sharon is the reason. I’ve gotten an upgrade! She’s a survivor in many ways. And she’s shown me how you can proceed, even if you’ve survived cancer and the pain of it still hangs around. Do you give up? Not Sharon – she keeps traveling, organizing, writing and inspiring. She just booked a trip to the Galapagos Islands. Because, why not? Life is short and life is good.


Day 8. I’m grateful for orchids. I’ve never had orchids before and now I have two, one in the house and one hanging from a tree in the front yard. One is a lovely sympathy gift (pictured here) from the nice folks at Village Music in Wellington. The other is a sweet gift from several months ago from my friend Jeannine Carr. The outdoor orchid is a testament to resilience. When it’s been windy, it’s been knocked out of the pot completely, maybe as many as 8 times. But instead of dying, it choose to bloom with surprisingly beautiful purple flowers about 3 days ago. The other “indoor” orchid is actually three orchids and bamboo potted together…and it makes me smile. It makes me think of Donna Barron-Willey and Steve Willey…and how maybe my daughter makes them smile when she comes in for ukulele lessons. Anyway, they are an amazingly musical couple with quite a love story. If you want to read about them, visit this link (, “AW Spotlight” from May, 2013). – PS Orchids are easy. I’m happy to say that I haven’t killed either of these lovely plants!



Day 9. I’m grateful for terrific teachers and (luckily) a great public school system in our area. Also I’m grateful for the extracurricular activities teachers in our kids’ lives. If you are a teacher, please know this – I realize you could probably be doing something else and earning a LOT more and getting longer lunch breaks, but you make a huge difference in our children’s lives! So thank you! Starting with preK (when our kids’ started school)…you have all been so wonderful! THANKS also to the great teachers at That’s Dancing, Village Music of Wellington, and our awesome Girl Scout troop leader Amber Pepellashi! Extra thanks to a fantastic teacher Mrs. Kris McGuire Leto – who is always looking out for Paul & Stella in the hallways at school. Thank you!



Day 10. I’m grateful for sleep…Which was hard to come by for a while, but now I’m getting better at it. It’s so important! “There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.” – Homer.



Day 11. I’m grateful (and tired) from a much-needed Girls Night Out! Thank you, Monica Kallas, Rollin McGrail and Andrea Von Eitzen! Thanks for turning my sadness into a lot of laughing!



Day 12. I’m grateful for my tennis team, the “Quail Queens!” You have been so supportive individually, as well as a whole team effort. After five ridiculous weeks of acute bronchitis and other non-fun stuff, I’m finally better and cannot wait to get back on the tennis courts with you all! THANKS to the team for making a donation to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (San Diego chapter) in remembrance of my brother…it’s a very good organization. (There are a few “queens” not pictured here… Dawn, Jill, Halena, Peg, Kathy & Annette). Thank you, ladies! XOXO


Day 13. I’m grateful for Maroon 5. And Kelly Clarkson. Great show! THANKS for going with us, Elien and Marije!


Day 14. I’m grateful for church…and I’m grateful to God. Here was the very helpful message from church today – Rest and recharge…without guilt. And pictured here (below) are the recommended ways to “stress less.” This is only my 2nd time going to this church. Thank you to Stephanie Koca for bringing me the first time and to Kirsten Mastro for inviting me there today! Meanwhile, the kids really enjoy the bounce house, bubbles, games and other kids. Some might say it’s “too fun.” But I say why not make it fun?


Day 15.  I’m grateful for Grandma and Grandpa Martinelli, Joe’s parents. These are two amazing, peppy, strong people – over 90 and still doing well & doing a lot of things on their own. As for Grandma, she is so sweet and loving! When my daughter Stella was a baby, we called Grandma Stella “the closer” because she was the expert (better than I was) at getting her to take a nap. And Grandpa – he showed a very fun and funny side of himself when our kids were born. He created his own special language to communicate with them. And only they understood him! We called Grandpa Larry “the closer” when Paul was a baby, because (once again) he was better at getting Paul to take a nap than I was. I also got to see what a fantastic, loyal, honest and persistent employee he must have been when he was working for different companies in his career…since I asked him to help me for a while with Around Wellington Magazine. (He was in charge of distribution and collections for a while and he was the best!) I love them both!! (Here they are watching our kids play in the pool in Fort Myers).



Day 16.  I’m grateful for massage…healing hands. After my trip to San Diego (which was worse than ever imagined), I had my sister-in-law Mary Joan in town, helping me out to get “back on my feet” again. She treated me to a much-needed massage. It was absolutely wonderful! We went to the Massage Envy in Wellington (Whole Foods Plaza). The owners are folks I already know & love – Josie, Bob & Kevin (thanks to our connection through my business The massage therapist, Erin, was just perfect. After going through a unique sort of hell, it was a little slice of heaven. (Pictured here are Josie Kern, owner, and Erin, massage therapist).



Day 17. After an extremely difficult day (for a number of reasons), I’ll keep this simple… I’m grateful for these amazing people! THANKS for what you did for us in our time of need – Sara HewittMonica Kallas and Marty Ross! Love your smiles!



Day 18. I’m grateful for my younger brother Jason. And I’m sorry he left us too soon. In our growing up years, he was funny, fun and so talented. Here’s the poem I wrote in his honor, posted on under “Poem of the Month.” I also included a track from one of his original music CDs. It’s called “War with Yourself.” He probably wrote this at about 12 or 13 years old. It was the mid-80s, and he was spending a ton of time in our basement in Massachusetts. He had two keyboards hooked up to an old Apple computer. While I was busy with my friends and doing a lot of sports, he was creating new sounds, layering sounds, experimenting and recording music. Sometimes he didn’t even do his homework – sometimes he didn’t even eat. He never got serious about voice lessons, so with his singing he was just trying to emulate his favorite singer at the time, Ric Ocasek of The Cars and sometimes Prince (his 2nd favorite). I’ve also included a music video to his favorite “current” song from just about a month ago, when he took his own life. It’s called “Safe & Sound.” He told my Mom he loved the song and it made him feel “safe.” This kill me, sometimes when I hear the song, but I also love the song. Carry on, Jason! I hope your no longer tormented by the demons (called paranoid schizophrenia), and I hope you’re making your own amazing music again!


Day 19. I’m grateful for my work. I’m grateful to have my own small business,, the online magazine. And to be able to meet amazing people who work and play in our area. I’m also grateful for terrific writers, photographers, ad sales people, website design help, readers and advertisers! I have to admit that my job is fun! And I loved being at the 8th Annual Wellington Wellington Rotary Peace Park and Peace Ceremony today! “May peace prevail on Earth.”



Day 20. I’m grateful for good news, after our share of bad news! Well I was barely aware of what she was doing (thanks to a combination of grief and bronchitis), my daughter was busy being creative and making her 1st animated short movie. On a whim, (and since I thought it was a pretty good short film), I submitted it to a film festival. Check this out! (This picture is the logo for the L-Dub Film Festival, happening September 27, 28 & 29th, 2013 at the Lake Worth Playhouse/ Stonzek Studio Theater). Stella will be interviewed on Wed. night at about 7:30pm E.S.T. on the WEI Network Internet Radio Station (


Day 21.  I’m grateful to my Dad and his wife Connie. They are so supportive of me, and so helpful to our family. My Dad visited on Thursday of last week, spending time with the kids and allowing me to catch up on a little work (since I was “out of commission” for two weeks). He helped Paul with his homework and danced with Stella. It was great! And Connie is amazingly talented, bright and caring. I like to brag that she practices law in five languages – well – because it’s true. Anyway, she started a terrific website for people who need to find resources when caring for their aging parents. Actually it’s for anyone who’s a caregiver of any sort – She’s been a terrific help to me personally. Anyway, thanks to you two for all of your recent help. We love you!


Day 22.  I’m grateful for Boy Scouts (his first year) and Girl Scouts (her second year). Lots of fun! And my husband Joe is very ready and willing to work on building a car for the annual Pinewood Derby, a Boy Scouts tradition.


Day 23. I’m grateful for very fun and funny neighbor kids! Thankful that our kids can almost always walk outside and have someone to play with in this neighborhood! (Sorry, not all of them are pictured here).


Day 24. I’m grateful for our neighbor Katie. She’s 13 and she’s awesome! She recently came over and brought her sewing machine. She showed our kids how to make sleeping bags for their dolls/ stuffed animals. She’s also inspired our kids to make creative videos, make crafts and do other cool projects. Actually I wrote an article about her a few months ago for, 



Day 25. Grateful for family. Also, I’m grateful that my daughter had such a fun day with her “film debut,” and my son had a nice first day of soccer season. I’m also grateful to my friend Elien Boes, who calls herself the “Mamarazzi” – for this nice photo!


Day 26. I’m grateful for “right here, right now.” This was a special night at South Shores Tavern in Lake Worth. Congrats to Stella who won an award for “Best New Talent” from the film festival directors at L-Dub. Fun with Emma & Karen Janis-Brown and Steve & Donna Barron-Willey and Sophie. Also Paul had a great day going to his first Marlins game.


Day 27. I’m grateful for yummy food! I have discovered a couple of places this month that are great. Top pic below: “Pholicious” – this is the best Mall food court food I’ve ever had. Pronounced “fuh” – Pho is a healthy, wonderful Vietnamese soup, and you can make it as spicy/sweet as you’d like. This is at the Mall at Wellington Green. Bottom pic: The other is Lanna Thai restaurant in Jupiter…the best Thai food I’ve ever had. We discovered this place – Sharon Martinelli, Mary Joan and me. Together we’ve tried – red, panang, massaman and green curry…all excellent!



Day 28.  I’m grateful for my Aunt Shirley. Here she is on a trip to Thailand with her traveling companion Jackie, and Shirley is on the right. She was a teacher and a school administrator in her career. She also has a PhD in Education. After semi-retiring and then retiring, she succeeded in traveling to almost every country in the world. I’m so in awe of her! I interviewed her for my online magazine a few years ago – because I wanted to find out more. About a year ago, she had some kind of a stroke. At first she was only able to speak a handful of words, which must have been so frustrating with someone with such a terrific vocabulary. Today she is 99% better. We were able to see her on Saturday for Stella’s debut and she was doing wonderfully! Here’s that article. Check out the map of her travels!



Day 29. I’m grateful for some terrific times with friends and family – which followed an intensely bad time (just about a month ago). THANKS for making me laugh again!

Day 30. I’m grateful for my life. Sometimes terrific, sometimes difficult, sometimes funny…but overall “It’s a Wonderful Life.” (Oh and that 1946 classic is one of my favorite movies too). This is the last day of doing this gratitude journal. I’m grateful for all of you too – for being so supportive!

“It’s a Wonderful Life!”