(Issue #549) Aunt Philomena

When times turn difficult, it benefits us to remember what is working.

Thanksgiving nudges us to remember the abundance in our lives.  The experiences, the opportunities, the words, the music, the animal companions, and the people who add to our lives.  At first this blog post was going to list a few gratitude quotes—reminders for a positive mindset.  But as happens with most of my writings, my my muse took me in another direction toward the words of one person in particular. My Aunt Philomena.

As a child I learned about safe places. Those spaces for retreat from chaos and dysfunction.  One such pace was my Aunt Philomena’s home. Aunt Phil, as I knew her, was a giant of a woman in a 4-foot-9-inch body (give or take an inch). She always greeted people with a large smile and hearty hello. Whether you walked into her home or met her in public, she was the embodiment of someone for whom a stranger was merely a friend she had yet to meet.

Aunt Phil

To be sure she had struggles in her life but her strong Italian Catholic background gave her strength and purpose. She constantly gave back. Like the nursing home (down the street from her house) where she volunteered up until her death. And no matter what life tossed at her, she sallied forth undeterred.

So, in my mind’s eye I saw her standing at the stove, reaching up to stir the sauce and meatballs. Then tending to the pot with calamari before continuing the preparation of the antipasto.  Every so often she would put the spoon down, pick up a glass of wine (homemade red wine, thank you), raise it and say, “Who’s better than us?”

Aunt Phil Dances at Steve & Laurie’s Wedding (1976)

That is the quote that raises to the top of the list for me.  Not an arrogant or self-indulgent question but, rather, one that asks us to remember the goodness we experiences. When times turn difficult, it benefits us to remember what is working, the gifts we enjoy, the life-affirming experiences we have had, and the people who extended a hand of love. Like Aunt Phil

Instead of a video recommendation for the week, I offer the following quotes and their attributions:

  • “‘Enough’ is a feast.” ~Buddhist proverb
  • “If you count all your assets, you always show a profit.” ~Robert Quillen
  • “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” ~Willie Nelson
  • “This a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.” ~Maya Angelou
  • “Most folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” ~Abraham Lincoln
  • “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” ~Bob Marley
  • “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” ~Dr. Suess
  • “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

I raise my glass and toast you with a hearty, “Who’s better than us?”


Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My new book has been released.
eBook ($2.99) Paperback ($9.99). Click here.

Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.

Well, actually, my dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story.
Click here for more information about the book.

In the meantime, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • My book, Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019), (print and e-book) is available on More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
  • Check out my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). It has been adopted for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. I conducted (September 2019) a half-day workshop for a community college’s new faculty onboarding program using the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network®.

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.

©2020. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

About stevepiscitelli

Community Advocate-Author-Pet Therapy Team Member
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3 Responses to (Issue #549) Aunt Philomena

  1. marianbeaman says:

    I had Aunt Ruthie and you had Aunt Philomena. Lucky us! Good genes flow into our stream of energy! Great post, Steve, with some quotable lines too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Who’s better than us? 🙂


  3. Pingback: (Issue #553) A Blogger’s Retrospective for 2020 | The Growth and Resilience Network®

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