By Niki Spears, Founder and Chief Culture Creator of Culture Cre8tion
The Neighborhood of Life – A Thanksgiving Journey
Growing up in a small neighborhood in East Texas, I eagerly anticipated the holidays, and Thanksgiving was a time of great joy. It was the season when many of my relatives from out of town would come to our home for a visit. I cherished these moments, as they allowed me to spend time with my aunts, uncles, and cousins, creating new memories together. But what stands out most vividly in my memory is the food. My mom and her sisters could throw down in the kitchen! They would start cooking at least two days before Thanksgiving, and the entire house would be filled with the delightful aroma of delicious desserts, turnip greens, and other mouthwatering dishes. The moments we shared during those holidays still hold a special place in my heart. Looking back, I believe it was during those gatherings that my love for bringing people together and nurturing community bonds was born.
“Always have an attitude of gratitude.”
The essence of those East Texas Thanksgiving celebrations lay not only in the food but in the profound sense of gratitude that filled my spirit. As the Thanksgiving turkey roasted and the pies cooled on the countertops, we were reminded of the beauty of the simple things- getting together with those you love. Gratitude, it seemed, was an appreciation of life itself and all the people who were part of it. It was a time when we didn’t take anything for granted, from the warmth of a family gathering to the laughter shared around the table.
Creating Memories Together
Those Thanksgiving gatherings weren’t just about the food; they were about the love and laughter we shared. As children, my cousins and I would play and have fun together, while the adults would engage in their own lively conversations. Music and dancing were always a part of our celebrations and I’m not just saying this because it’s my blog, but I was by far the best dancer and entertainer in our family (Smile). These moments of togetherness created bonds and memories that have stayed with me through the years. It was during those holidays that I realized the power of bringing people together, of cherishing relationships, and of creating a sense of belonging.
The Neighborhood as a Family
In our East Texas neighborhood, Thanksgiving wasn’t just a family affair; it was a neighborhood-wide celebration. The sense of community ran deep. Our neighbors were like extended family, and the spirit of brotherly love extended far beyond the walls of our own home. It was nothing to see unknown cars pull up in our yard and have others visit us during these times. It could have been old friends that went to school with my parents or other relatives dropping off a dish for our family to enjoy. No matter who showed up, we appreciated all the people who were part of our lives, not just through blood ties but through the shared experiences of our neighborhood.
Let’s continue to build these bonds and celebrate gratitude. For the entire month of November, join us in the #GratefulHeartsChallenge as we flood our social media platforms with gratitude. Every day throughout November, share something you’re thankful for. It could be a person, place, memory, quote, or anything that fills your heart with gratitude. Let’s make it a daily practice to spread appreciation and positivity throughout the month. Post daily and let’s celebrate the beauty of gratitude together
In the “neighborhood of life,” Thanksgiving isn’t confined to a single holiday. It’s a year-round celebration of life, love, and community. As you gather with your own loved ones this Thanksgiving, take a moment to reflect on the gratitude you feel and extend that spirit to your neighborhood. The bonds you create and the kindness you share will enrich your life and the lives of those around you.
! Call to Action!
We invite you to share your own Thanksgiving memories and experiences with us at Region 9, please send pictures or simply share your messages through email and we will post them in our next newsletter. Don’t forget to participate in our Thanksgiving challenge by spreading kindness in your neighborhood. Let’s make every day a day of thanks and giving.
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