Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Thankful Turkey

On our bulletin board at work, there’s a Thankful Turkey. He’s colorful and bright and has two rows of feathers making up his tail. Each feather has something written on it. The first row has a name of each person in our office and why we’re thankful for that person. The second row is made up of feathers that represent why each person is thankful to work there.
Really, he’s just a piece of clipart that was printed out and pinned to the board. Really, it is just simple words that are written on his fanned out tail. Yet, really, the Thankful Turkey is a whole lot more. He’s a reminder, a lot like the holiday he represents, to stop and remember why we care, why we love each other, why we’re so blessed.
For the entire month of November, my Facebook page has blown up with updates from friends and family of reasons why they’re thankful. Thankful for family. Thankful for friends. Thankful for the simple things. ‘Tis the season to be thankful, no doubt, and it warms your heart to see so many people counting their blessings.
I didn’t participate in the 30 days of thankful on Facebook, and the Thankful Turkey at work barely skimmed the surface of my gratitude, so I wanted to share a few of the things I’m thankful for this year with you, my readers.
Now, I could easily do the standards. I’m obviously thankful for my amazing parents, my loving husband, my wonderful sister, and darling nephew. I’m thankful for my extended family, for my cats, for having a job and a roof over my head.
But I’m also thankful for the details.
I’m thankful for waking up to warm blankets on cold mornings. I’m thankful for long, deep-into-the-night, philosophical discussions with my husband. I’m thankful for friends who are diverse and different and who bring new opinions and experiences into my life.
I’m thankful for the experience of walking on the beach in November and watching the sun set over the waves and for the sight of a Magic Kingdom stretching towards an impossibly blue sky.
I’m thankful for the memories of grandparents now gone and for the stories and hugs shared by the one still here. I’m thankful for the sticky kisses of a three-year-old nephew who lights up the world of everyone he meets.
I’m thankful for the taste and warmth of potato soup in the winter and the chills of ice cream in the summer. I’m thankful to be Southern and to know my history and to know that I live in one of the friendliest places on the planet.
I’m thankful for the words that flow easily from my fingertips and for the ones that stick and keep me up at night. I’m thankful for the storytellers who came before me and who made me love to weave a tale and to pour my heart out on paper.
I’m thankful for spending four fun and sometimes difficult years in the English Department at the University of West Georgia. I’m thankful for the lessons learned there and at Bremen High School and in the school of life. I’m thankful for the student loans that will allow my husband to earn his degree within a few short years.

I'm thankful for hard-earned experience and for an amazing team of coworkers for the last four years. I’m thankful for new beginnings and the new journey I will embark on starting December 3rd. I'm thankful for unanswered prayers and for opportunities that you don't always see coming. 

I'm thankful for so much, for the little things and for the big things that fill my heart. 

Happy Thanksgiving from Chicken Noodle Gravy!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Stormy Weather

“When it rains…”

“…It pours!” My friend finished my sentence loudly and with tons of feeling.

We’d both been having a rough couple of weeks: those types of weeks when nothing seems to go right and when everything closes in on you. The domino effect of bad luck had invaded our lives, and we were in one of those dreaded funks.

Looking back, the things that were bothering us weren’t really all that bad. They were simple things, the bumps and turbulence that life hands you sometimes…just to make sure you’re still paying attention. It’s those kinds of times, those kinds of bad days and frustrating moments, that make the good days that much better. It’s important to keep things in perspective, to not get bogged down in the bad, and to always appreciate the good.

It’s easy to say all that now, looking back, having watched a week of devastation on the East coast from Super Storm Sandy, having heard about the countless tragedies affecting those around us, tragedies much worse that the simple problems I had been facing. But even those facing tragedies and bad days today will surely have a brighter tomorrow…that’s just the ebb and flow of life.

And I sincerely hope that that’s also the ebb and flow of government and the future of our nation. Let’s face it, y’all; America is in one of those funks I described earlier. Our nation is having a “bad day.” We’re still the greatest nation in the world, but the beauty of America, the beauty of freedom and democracy, there’s been a shadow cast on it lately.

We used to be united; a country full of opinions and differences but that was ultimately cohesive: a team, a family. We’re not united anymore, though. Opinions and differences that were once respectively shared now only seem to tear us apart; the politicians leading us jump on those differences, highlighting them, driving the wedge between us further and further down.

The last few weeks have been a blood bath. Television, Facebook, Twitter: everyone’s been abuzz with election commentary and mudslinging. On Facebook and Twitter alone, I’ve witnessed countless personal attacks over whose voting for whom and whose opinion is “right.” Friends fight with friends, and the division between us is driven even further.

But like I said, maybe this is just a funk, a rough period for America. Maybe one day soon the economy will turn around and relieve some of the stresses Americans have been feeling. Maybe one day soon politicians will reach across the aisle and join together on making important changes. Maybe one day soon we’ll be a great nation united once again, with respect and love for each other and all of our freedoms.

On Tuesday, I will vote. I will exercise my right and freedom as an American citizen. I will do so among countless fellow citizens, citizens who may not be casting the same vote as I but for whom I have nothing but the utmost respect. On Tuesday, we have a chance for a new beginning, no matter who is elected. We have the opportunity to start fresh and come together once again. We will vote for different candidates; we will never see eye-to-eye. But we will always remember that we are a nation, a nation of diversity and unity that has the potential for greatness.

Stormy weather will pass, and the sun will shine once again.

Author's Note: This was written in response to The Lightning and the Lightning Bug's prompt "Storm." Hope you'll join us!!

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