Looking back, October was a busy month of transition that made me realize the true meaning of gratitude and thankfulness.

I had the honor and privilege of attending the Stevie Awards in Rome, Italy and accepting a Woman of the Year International Award. It was a such an honor to be among so many talented and gracious people and companies from around the world that were accepting similar type awards. Yet, here I was, with my adoring husband, anxiously waiting to hear my name, yet wondering if it was still really true and it was not a dream. It was a magical night filled with laughter, beauty and awe surrounded by the sights and sounds of the Eternal City.

I received so many loving notes from friends and colleagues near and far congratulating me, yet, it’s hard to accept all of that praise without acknowledging my fantastic team and loving family. While Bella was not able to join us in Rome, I know she too was cheering from home as she was thrilled to announce to anyone around that her momma won an award. I think that was the most humbling moment of all, as she was so proud of me and all that Carl and I have accomplished so far.

We ended the month by leaving our dream home in Texas to start a new adventure. It was finally time to branch out and expand the firm and open a studio in a suburb west of Chicago. The month was full of celebrations, packing and saying good-bye to friends and family. Again, it was humbling to receive so many kind words, notes, hugs and tears as we left the place we had called home for a very long time. As our trucks headed out, we were excited about our new town, our new home and mostly for the new sense of adventure that it would bring.

So I think I have a new understanding of what this word, gratitude, really means. While I am thankful for my family, my friends, a loving husband, a daughter I adore, a sweet puppy that knows just how to snuggle at the absolute best time…I learned that it’s far more than that. It’s perfect strangers that welcome you with open arms. It’s close friends and colleagues that make a point to make you feel special, loved and missed. It’s parents who rearrange schedules and provide unconditional love and support and it’s that moment when you truly realize that your life is truly perfect just the way it is. As long as it’s one filled with grace and love, it provides joy in all forms, which is something to be thankful for.

I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving season full of love, joy and grace.