From Our Write Side to Yours: Happy Thanksgiving!

From Our Write Side to Yours: Happy Thanksgiving!
November 24, 2016 No Comments » OWS Features, Special Feature Stephanie Ayers

We came together as a team to make a single post for you today. We each share a memory or tradition or something about Thanksgiving to bring you into our family, and make you feel welcome at our table.

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This season gives me more to be thankful for than most. After a long year of mysterious health issues, we finally (we think) found the solution, and life can move forward again.

Something that makes Thanksgiving every year unique for me is the number of Native American faces that greet me when the door opens to the holiday feast. Having grown up in a Euro-American household, it is an enlightening perspective to be able to spend the holiday with my husband’s family (a blend of mostly Cherokee and Choctaw) and learn more about how they tell the traditional story. Despite all the pain and suffering through history, they still welcome this white girl in with open arms and open hearts, reminding me always of the beauty of diversity as well as how much we are more alike than different. While the stories are not always the same as those I grew up with, the values of generosity, caring for one another (including the downtrodden stranger about to starve in the snow), and gratitude for the bounties of the earth remain and are enriched by the legends and myths passed down through the tribes and rarely shared with the outside world.

Whatever your holiday holds for you, I hope it includes good food, good relationships, good feelings, and great stories to cherish for years. Happy Thanksgiving! ~Wendy

This year, as in every past year of my life, I am thankful for all of the wonderful people who came into my life and remained there. I am grateful; however, for the relationships that have changed me for the better. I think that too often, we easily dismiss the people who have positively impacted our lives, and instead focus on the folks who have disrupted our happy existences.

It’s easy to concentrate on people who have brought us down. It’s tough to forgive someone who has injured us- or our reputations. Often, we give the public an illusion of forgiveness, when the rancor we hold just below the surface constantly tries to escape. Half-hearted attempts at resolving our resentments only allows the resentments to build.

So, how do we truly forgive someone who has hurt us?

We truly forgive. We open our hearts and minds and truly let go of resentment. We allow ourselves the time to process our thoughts and emotions, and accept that what is done can’t be changed. We accept that we can change for the better. Of course, change doesn’t often happen quickly. We are creatures of habit, after all. Despite that, we have the innate ability to survive and move forward with whatever accommodations we have to use to deal with the obstacles presented to us.

However, before we can do any of that, we must first be thankful every day for new beginnings, second chances, and third helpings- of pie. May your tables overflow with good food, great friends, and abundant blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. ~Eric

glasspumpkinIt’s a day of families and friends,
Of gratitude and remembrance.
It’s a time to get together, just to get together.
Thanksgiving is tradition, it’s history.
We give of ourselves, not pretty packages.
We share stories, not gifts.
Thanksgiving is when we renew hope
For a brighter future.

~Tara

 

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One Thanksgiving, I think I was ten or something, my cousins and I decided to put on a play about the first Thanksgiving. It was all very cute and grossly inaccurate and we worked hard on it even though it was a very last minute thing. When showtime came around we were very into it and our characters – some of us were natives and others pilgrims. The opening lines were:

Pilgrim 1: I’m hungry.
Pilgrim 2: Me too.
Pilgrim 3: And me too!

I was one of the pilgrims, can’t remember which one. Point is, after the opening lines, my cousin’s dad calls out “Burger King!” And I lost my mind. Started bawling my eyes out because he ruined my play. We all turned furious at him, and they had to spend a long time calming me down before we tried again. This is all on camera. Now, every time someone says they’re hungry, someone inevitably calls out “Burger King!” Longest running joke our family has. ~Katheryn

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15068905_10154566035001327_255431179488569052_oI’m thankful for my furbabies. It’s amazing on how they keep me sane and make me crazy at the same time. They are full of unconditional love and are there when people have found thier petty reasons for walking away. Oh, and you can tell them anything and be certain they don’t mind and won’t tell. So this Thanksgiving, my furbabies will be spoiled rotten by grandma, aunt, and uncle. Come dinner time, Coco and River will go outside to wait for leftovers and Daisy (aka Superglue) will be under my chair.

Light and love to you all. ~Nancy

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The holidays always hold a special time for me. Christmas is by far my favorite holiday, but Thanksgiving runs a close second, and not just because of the food. My grandmother held the best Thanksgivings. Every year the whole family—aunts and uncles, cousins and friends— gathered around her lavish and generous table. She even had a way of making the kids table special, and as her first grandchild, she always found little ways of making me feel special, too.

My favorite Thanksgiving memory is the year my grandma only made a ham. I mean, she made her melt-in-your-mouth stuffing and her out of this world butter glazed carrots, but she also remembered I didn’t like ham. She made chicken just for me, adding that extra touch grandmas are so famous for.

I see this carried over in my family now, as my mom makes sweet potato casserole for her oldest grandchild, my daughter, even though she is the only one who eats it.

Today, I am thankful for good friends, new business adventures, new books, and all of you. Without you, all this work and love we pour into this community wouldn’t be worth it. Thank you for making our first year so fabulous. ~Stephanie

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This year is going to be the hardest for my family. We have lost some very important people in 2016 and this is the first year ever I will not be with my oldest son for a holiday. I am thankful for my family and thankful I get to spend Thanksgiving with Stephanie Ayers and I am so proud of my son, but I am not feeling so jolly. ~A.L.

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When I was young, my dad was stationed in Korea for a year. He was always the one in charge of Thanksgiving dinner. My mom had no idea how to cook a turkey so she asked if it would be okay for her to make chicken for thanksgiving. I could tell she was worried about disappointing us, but I loved her cooking and was even more excited about her chicken than a turkey. She was so relieved and I enjoyed one of the best thanksgivings with her, my sister, and her chicken. ~ J.K.

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One time we held Thanksgiving at our grandparents. Of course us kids were out back playing in the yard. My cousin climbs a tree. The branch he was on snaps and he falls to the ground, breaking his arm.. Grandma comes running. “Kevin! Kevin!” From out of the house Grandpa burst hollering: “My tree! My tree!” ~ David P.

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The holidays were never a positive time for me as I was always stressed up to my eyeballs with traditions in a culture I didn’t care so much about. This past year, I took a stand in my life and made a change. This year will be different and I have new loved ones in my life to spend the holidays with and create new traditions. I am so thankful for that. ~Lilian

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When I was little, we used to sing “Over the River and Through the Woods” in the car on our way to my grandparents’ house for Thanksgiving. It was usually snowing north of the city, and it seemed just right.

I am thankful to not be working a job that I hate, that I am well on my way to finishing two more books in my Cathell series, and that I’m starting a small business finally. ~A.M.

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I am grateful for all the hidden blessings. They are beautifully surprising! Also, thankful for my grandsons, they bring me peace and joy! ~Emma

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I am thankful for a network of awesome and supportive writers, a wife who tolerates my hobbies, and a handsome little boy who continues to grow and change every day. ~David Wiley

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I am thankful for my boys and their health. The only real interesting Thanksgiving I can remember recently is last year. My turkey was so juicy that it was falling apart. My stuffing was ruined and we were all making fun of it since it had tons of turkey bones in it. ~Marissa

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In closing, we offer some writer’s tips for the holidays we’d like to leave with you…

  1. Don’t forget your notebook! All of us have a crazy Aunt Hazel or Cockeyed Uncle Joe in our families. They make GREAT story fodder.
  2. Put the fork down, pick your pen up.
  3. Get there early and keep an ear on the conversations over the stove – those are always the best if you’re looking for juicy potential plot points.
  4. Drink lots of coffee and lots of wine. One in each hand if you have to.
  5. If older relatives (grandparents) are coming, ask them to tell you stories about their youth. Ask to record them so you don’t have to try to remember or take notes, and just listen.
  6. It’s great to eavesdrop for story ideas but don’t forget to get involved and join some of the conversations. People really open up when you’re engaged and being in the conversation helps you remember it as well as lead it to where you want it to go.
  7. Ask about everyone’s holiday traditions, even the smallest or silliest.
  8. Use the sound recorder on your phone to capture random snippets of conversation. You’ll catch phrases and accents you don’t usually think of even if you don’t use the actual conversations (which is not actually recommended if you want to keep peace in the family and out of libel court!)
  9. A few glasses of wine always helps.
  10. Watch people — taking some time to people watch helps you write more realistic characters and setting.
  11. Take a well deserved break.
  12. Always get your writing done first thing Thanksgiving Day. After the mayhem of cooking, eating, and family drama, you’re going to be too tired to write. Start the day off write!
  13. If your schedule is too busy and you can’t get to writing for the day, don’t stress it. Life happens sometimes and a little break never hurt anyone’s writing. Pick it up the next day that you can.
  14. Rather than spending time creating stories alone, pick up a fun storytelling board game to play with the family. Games like Gloom, Once Upon a Time, or Storyline: Fairy Tales can create interesting ideas that can become fodder for unique stories later.
  15. Don’t write at all. Enjoy the time with your family and friends.

From all us to all of you:

happy-tday-2016

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Stephanie Ayers A published author with a knack for twisted tales, Stephanie Ayers is the Executive Creative Director of OWS Ink, LLC, a community for writers and readers alike. She loves a good thriller, fairies, things that go bump in the night, and sappy stories. When she is not writing, she can be found in Creative Cloud designing book covers and promotional graphics for authors.

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