Saturday, July 4, 2009

Giving Thanks

By Kirsten Scott

It's the Fourth of July, and most of the folks in the United States will spend some portion of the day 1) having a picnic; 2) setting off firecrackers; 3) relaxing with friends and family. Even if you aren't in the USA, I hope you're doing one of those three things, or perhaps all three (even better!).

We usually set aside Thanksgiving to think of things we're grateful for, but since this is Independence Day, and I'm grateful as heck for my country, the military folks that sacrifice and work to protect it, and all the people who make this a remarkable place to live, I thought maybe we'd try a mid-year day of thanksgiving. No sense waiting until November, right?

This Independence Day, I'm grateful for my family. I'm grateful to have a job. I'm grateful for the Banditas, the BBs, and people who appreciate a good chicken joke.

I'm grateful for the teachers and social workers and everyone else who make huge sacrifices to care for others. I'm grateful for my husband, who cooks and cleans and takes care of the kids while I'm working, or writing, or doing yoga. I'm grateful to my editor, who makes my books better.

I'm grateful for the baristas at the coffee shops I frequent who make it possible for me to get some writing done without being interrupted by my family, the piles of laundry calling for my attention, or the dirty kitchen floor. I'm grateful for the beauty of nature, the chance to save it, and the opportunities I can provide for my kids to explore it.

I've got a lot to be thankful for this Fourth of July. How about you? What do you have to be grateful for?


Helen said...

Is he coming to my place on the 4th of July

Have Fun

Helen said...

I will try and make it a party atmosphere here for him even though it is really cold here today and a bit windy a great day for reading or playing around on the computer.

I too am thankful for my family and friends and the wonderful places I get to visit on the net especially the Bandits I have made so many friends here and my TBR has just grown (which I love).

Tomorrow I am meeting some of the friends I made at the Romance Readers conference that I went to in Melbourne last Feb and we are going out again for lunch and visiting a bookstore that has heaps of romance books who could ask for a better day discussing great books and of course choosing more to buy LOL.

Happy 4th July to everyone in the States I hope you all have a fantastic day.

Have Fun

Louisa Cornell said...

I think the GR was afraid of all the fireworks or maybe all of the fried chicken that will be consumed at those 4th of July picnics! That's why he ran down to Oz!

I'm thankful that I have the day off from work today and tomorrow!

I am thankful for all of the brave men and women who stand watch at the gate all over the world so that I can sleep safely in my bed every night.

I am thankful for all of the men and women who have gone before, who fought and died so that this nation, while not perfect, came into being and continues to grow.

I am thankful for ALL of my writing buddies who cheer me on, cheer me up, and help me on this writing journey every day.

I am thankful I have a job. I am thankful my house and land are paid for! Not bad for a 50 year old dame forced to take of herself all alone.

I am grateful for my family. They drive me nuts sometimes, but I know they love me and are proud of me.

I am grateful that my nephew's pre-paid tuition plan came through and that he got grants and scholarships so that he can achieve his dream of going to college and study engineering.

I am grateful for my pets who make me laugh, keep me safe and sane and make my life so much brighter.

I am grateful for books and all of the fabulous romance authors who write them. Thank you all for giving me comfort when I was at the very end of my rope. For giving me hope and the ability to believe in love, laughter and happily ever afters that go on forever. Thank you for keeping me sane and entertained for all of these years. Keep writing!

Joan said...


Happy 4th of July, everyone!

I too am grateful for living in a country where freedom of speech is prized and upheld. Like this blog where....chickens love vegans?

Always on this holiday my heartfelt thanks and support and respect go the servicemembers and their families who endure so that we can keep this most funtamental of rights.

For my brother, though he would roll his eyes at my sentimentality, for my BFF Mary and my (god)daughter Lauren. For Tonyia and Lisa and Karen my critique partners.

For the BB's who make this blog so much fun.

For the Banditas. I can NOT wait to see you in one short week!!!

Caren Crane said...

Helen, have a wonderful time with the GR! It's probably a good thing he's NOT in the USA today. Too many fireworks and alcohol for him to act like a gentleman. *g*

Kirsten, today I am grateful for so many, many things. I was dreading going to the grocery store this morning (because I've already been FIVE TIMES this week) and then I realized how lucky I am. I have a car to get me there, money to buy food, a family to feed and friends coming over to my (messy) house. How lucky can a person get?

I have been richly blessed with a busy, crazy, too-full life. I am very thankful!

Cheri2628 said...

Family, friends, my home, my paycheck, my freedom, and my country!

Happy 4th, y'all!!!


Nancy said...

Helen, have fun with the rooster. A quiet day will do him good. He seems to be still a bit revved up whatever those chickens did here last week.

Caren Crane said...

Hey, I didn't even get to my writer friends yet. I am profoundly grateful to have found the Banditas, my wacky, brilliant soul sisters. All the Bandita Buddies have been cherries on the top of my Independence Day sundae!

I am grateful that RWA brought me ALL of you as friends, because God knows I would never have met any of you otherwise. RWA and my awesome local chapter, Heart Of Carolina Romance Writers brought me some of the best friends I have ever had and will ever have: Deb, Claudia, Sabrina and Liz.

A huge smoochy smooch to all of my writer peeps! I'm off to the grocery store. Again...

Nancy said...

Kirsten, a good post to think about on our country's birthday. This morning's paper has articles about the difficulties the Marines face in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. I'm grateful for them and for all the past and present members of our armed services.

I'm grateful for the men who, 233 years ago, risked "lives . . . fortunes . . . and sacred honor" to give our country birth. And for their families, who had just as much at stake and supported their efforts anyway. I wish a wider swath of our society still considered honor sacred.

I'm grateful for our Constitution, which lets me say what I jolly well please without fear of official reprisal and for friendships that thrive despite disagreements.

For friendships generally. I've been lucky to have some great ones that have lasted through joy and sorrow, harmony and clashes, success and struggle.

I'm grateful for the banditas and even for that nutty bird. I was talking to the dh about seeing everyone in DC (NEXT WEEK!), and he said, "that group really seems to have become important in your life," and I can honestly say joining the group was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Without our buddies, though, the banditas wouldn't have nearly as much fun, and our blog wouldn't be as active or reflect such a wide range of subjects. So I'm grateful for the buddies who do so much to make this site what it is.

I'm grateful for books, for the information and entertainment and thought they provide. And to the dh for carrying them suitcase loads of them back from the UK for me.

And for my family and everything we've done together in good times and bad.

Got a little carried away there, Kirsten. Didn't start out to run so long.

Happy Fourth, everyone!

Nancy said...

Caren, you're one of the ones who actually got me to join the banditas. I'm not a joiner, in general, and not especially internet-savvy. At TGN two years ago, you gave me a button and told me about how much fun the group was having.

Then I sat next to Joan and discovered a shared love of ancient Rome and ended up sitting behind you and next to Anna Campbell at the awards ceremony, and it seemed like fate.

But it's your button that started it all. :-)

Just FYI, the dh goes to the grocery store every day. He likes to.

Joan said...

A quiet day will do him good.

A well rested chook?

Plus Banditas at conference?

Oh. My.

Joan said...

Just FYI, the dh goes to the grocery store every day. He likes to.

Could he pick me up some good, homemade potato salad? With Ruffles potato chips to pile it on?

Dang, I'm having a craving....

Nancy said...

You know, it's not much of a stretch to say the GR is all of our imaginary friend.

A scary thought.

Nancy said...

JT, the dh makes good homemade potato salad. And really, really good cream cheese-amaretto-chocolate chip brownies. He takes a box mix and embroiders it.

Too bad they don't travel well. :-(

You have a point about a well-rested bird in DC. Could be trouble. After all our efforts last year failed, I suppose there's no hope of keeping him away. (I suspect his success is blowback from his training with p226, who surely would not have intended to help him plague us).

Helen, run that rooster until he drops!

Pat Cochran said...

Happy 4th of July, Kirsten! Will be enjoying at least two of the three suggestions!

I'm thankful for my life with Honey, our family and friends! I'm also thankful for all our freedoms and for all those who protect us here in the U.S. and far away. God bless and keep safe all of our military personnel, especially in Iraq/Afghanistan.

Pat Cochran

Nancy said...

Caren wrote: Too many fireworks and alcohol for him to act like a gentleman.

Hmm. Someone shooting off fireworks in our neighborhood woke us up around 4 or 5 a.m. The dog went ballistic, too. I wonder . . .

Nancy said...

Louisa, I see that you and I have a lot of the same things on our lists. Looking forward to seeing you and rooting for you next week.

Happy 4th!

Nancy said...

Pat, thanks for stopping by. Have a great 4th!

jo robertson said...

Great post, Kirsten. Those have got to be your darling boys! They look like you. Please tell me they're not the pix that came in a picture frame LOL.

I'm grateful for Pepsi-Cola, since I don't drink coffee. In fact, I think they should make me their spokesperson, don't you?

I'm grateful that, in this serious economic depression, we're fairly stable and have the means to help those less fortunate.

I'm grateful for my husband of 43 years, even though he does still climb into the giant elm to cut off dead branches and makes me want to smack him upside the head!

Donna MacMeans said...

Great post Kirsten, it never hurts to count one's blessings.

As all have mentioned I'm grateful for the miracle and good health of my family, friends, and banditas.
I'm grateful for romance (grin), not just the industry - but the real thing as well. I'm grateful for having the opportunity to share my stories with so many people. I'm grateful for Jack Daniels and Tennessee (big grin). I'm grateful for a daughter that likes to cook and a working grill that makes everything taste fabulous. I'm especially grateful for the cortisome creme that's getting me through this blasted poison ivy on my hand!!!(no more weeding for me). And Nancy - I'm grateful you took a chance and joined the Banditas (smile).

Helen - I think after that reunion the GR is grateful for the same haven at your place. I can smell chicken frying as I type.

Happy 4th of July to all!

Nancy said...

Jo, I do think Pepsi should make you their spokesperson.

And pay you. *g*

I hope Dr. Big is being careful up in that tree.

Nancy said...

Donna wrote: And Nancy - I'm grateful you took a chance and joined the Banditas (smile)

Thank you, ma'am. I'm so sorry about the poison ivy. I hope it'll clear up quickly.

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Helen.

Happy July 4th. We're thankful for our jobs and our health. We're also grateful for our family and friends like the Banditas.

jo robertson said...

Ah, Donna, how sweet to be grateful for real romance as well as the reading and writing of it!

Nancy, I'd be PC's spokesperson for free!

Joan said...

imaginary friend.



Actually, I fear him slipping free and trying to take over Congress. Gives a new meaning to "a chicken in every pot."

No More Meat! said...

Hi everyone! I'm "borrowing" internet access from a neighbor, as I'm out at the lake and don't have internet or cell phone service here!

It's a beautiful, warm, sunny day, and we've got friends coming to camp at our place, water to swim in, and a beach to lie on. What could be better?

Kirsten said...

Helen, have a great time with the chook on the 4th! I guess his brother No More Meat hijacked my blogger account. Isn't that just like a chicken?

Kirsten said...

Oh, and Helen, I'm so glad you made such good friends through your Romance Readers conference. I have made such wonderful friends through RWA. It only seems natural to bond through a shared love of romance!

Kirsten said...

Louisa, I'm glad you have the day off as well! And having a home, a job, and time and space to write are about the most important things out there. I'm just waiting until I can get one of your books off the shelf. It's not going to be long, I'm pretty sure!

It's good to hear one of those pre-paid tuition plans working out, by the way. Oregon's looking at starting one, and since my kids are little, we're probably going to take advantage of it. I'm glad it's helping your boy achieve his dream!

Kirsten said...

Joan -- how can it be only a week away!? Amazing! I will be all alone on the blog while you all are enjoying each other in person. WAH!

And I second you on the freedom of speech. We're lucky to be living in a country that works so hard to allow for dissent. They read the Declaration of Independence on the news yesterday and it sent chills down my spine. It's really an amazing document.

Kirsten said...

Caren, I'm the same way with the grocery store -- it's only 5 minutes from our house, so I have no motivation to be good and really get everything on the list. But that just means I'm there all the time!

And by the way, we're all really glad to have you around. I adore my Bandita buddies and all the BBs who hang around the site here. We've got quite a community going, don't we?

Kirsten said...

Hey Cherie, right back atcha -- Happy Fourth of July! Glad you stopped by today. I hope you get out and enjoy the day and enjoy some time with the family and friends. :-)

Treethyme said...

I'm a genealogy buff, and this holiday has had me thinking about my ancestors who fled first France, and then England, Ireland and Scotland, mainly so they could practice the religion of their choice.

A couple of my ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War (one is buried in Pennsylvania with a marker confirming that on his grave) and many others fought in the Civil War.

My grandfather served in both World Wars (he was a doctor, so he didn't fight but he worked as a medic in the trenches of France in WWI)and an aunt and an uncle served in the Navy in the 40s and 50s.

Since I married a Brit, I feel as if, in a way, we've come full circle. While a lot of people want to make it harder to get into this country, I'm reminded that I wouldn't be here if America hadn't opened its arms to my ancestors when they fled oppression overseas.

I'm very thankful for the sacrifices my ancestors made so I can take my freedom for granted.

Kirsten said...

Hey Nancy, you can get carried away any time on this blog! :-)

I'm glad you mentioned the Constitution, a document that's always near and dear to a lawyer's heart! I'm always amazed that a small group of brilliant men were able to fashion such a powerful document, strong enough to stand the test of time, but able to evolve and adjust to the times. It's something everyone can learn from.

And I hope you have an amazing time with everyone in DC! I just wish I would be there as well!

Kirsten said...

Nancy, great story about joining the blog! I take personal responsibility for strong-arming Susan to join the group. :-) By hook or by crook, right? It was meant to be...

Kirsten said...

Pat, those are lovely sentiments, and I'm glad to hear you'll be out enjoying the day! I am definitely sending up prayers to our Marines today. What a tough time to be in the service, and what a time to be proud to be an American.

Kirsten said...

Oh Jo, I'm cringing to think of Dr. Big up there being such a MAN -- my dh is the same way. I know he'll be doing stupid things and almost getting himself killed thirty four years from now. And I expect I'll be fretting and trying not to nag him then, just like I do now...

You should definitely get in touch with Pepsi about sponsoring you. Maybe you could get a Pepsi shirt and hat that you wear when you're at RWA. ;-) I'm sure they'd pay the big bucks for that.

Nancy said...

Kirsten, your comment on the Declaration reminded me of the weekend I finally made it to Philadelphia to see Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Independence Hall was empty due to remodeling, but the upside was that we could actually walk into the room where the Continental Congress met, not just peer at it over a rope.

What amazed me, though, was the number of people who weren't from this continent who'd come to see both. A Chinese tour group was jammed into the Liberty Bell enclosure when I was there, and I heard a medley of languages while waiting for the tour at Independence Hall. It's a World Heritage Site, and the principles it stand for do seem to speak to people across the globe. Gave me goosebumps!

Kirsten said...

Donna, great list of thankfuls -- I'm thankful for romance as well, in fiction and in real life. :-)

But ow'ie on the poison ivy -- hopefully it isn't spreading past the hand. Last summer my niece got it in her throat. I guess if someone burns it you can inhale and get the oils inside your mouth/nose/etc. She had to get cortizone shots just to keep breathing! Ouch!

Kirsten said...

Hi Jane! thanks for stopping by so we can wish you a personal happy independence day! :-) We're grateful for all the friends who stop by the blog and make this fun. You're our reason for being here.

Nancy said...

Kirsten, thanks. We all wish you were going to be in DC, too. Someday we're going to have Perfect Bandita Attendance at National!

I'm very glad you strong-armed Susan into joining. :-)

Kirsten said...

Treethyme, what a lovely post and such a great sentiment. I also hope we are able to keep alive that spirit of welcoming that has made this such a unique country. And how interesting to be able to trace your geneaology that way. My mom and her family escaped to the USA during WWII (when she was 6) from Latvia -- my grandfather was on a Russian blacklist and probably headed for a concentration camp in Siberia if they'd caught him. Amazingly enough, they got stuck in a labor camp in Germany, but were aided by a German soldier who happened to be a Baptist -- my grandpa was a Baptist preacher. The soldier helped them escape because my mom was sick, and it seemed likely she'd die if kept in the camp.

Anyway, it seems everyone in this country has a great story to tell about being welcomed at some point. That's what makes us strong, right?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Kirsten! Hey everyone! Happpppyyyyy FOURTH! It's a beautiful day in the Nation's Capitol and revved up for the holiday celebration. :>

Kirsten, how wonderful to use this day to consider what we're thankful for.

Health, happiness, the ability to easily and openly laugh at things like Achmed the Dead Terrorist, as well as Tina Fey and all those who make fun of Obama. There are about four Amendments and Bill of Rights things involved in that one statement alone. Ha!

I'm grateful for streets that are paved, cars that work, clean air and water acts, the FDA, coffee from Starbucks that makes my blood system hum. I'm grateful for the right to bear arms and to arm bears. I'm grateful that no one has yet regulated the number of dogs I can have.

I'm grateful for swimming pools, for baseball in summer, skiing in winter, and for fat, juicy watermelon and corn in the summer.

I'm grateful that someone figured out how to transport California fruit eastward, and Florida oranges northward.

There are no words to describe how humbly grateful I am for my delicious husband, my charming, healthy, happy sons, and the fact that we're gainfully employed, and our sons understand how lucky we all are to be so.

I'm grateful to be free, to have those who, as Louisa said, guard the gate, and as Crash in Bull Durham would say, "I'm grateful for long, slow, wet kisses that last three days..."

Oh, and chardonnay. I'm really grateful for chardonnay.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Becke! I'm a genealogy buff too! And I"m grateful for the same reason.

And I'm grateful that several of my husbands ancestors had the guts, the courage, and the sheer pig-headedness that had them picking up their quills and scrawling, sweeping, or cramp-ed-ly penning their names on the Declaration. (Oh, and the ancestor of mine, delegate from SC who died before he could get there to sign. There's a blank on the doc. in his honor.) Grins.

Cassondra said...

Kirsten, what a GREAT way to celebrate Independence Day!

I, too, am thankful for the BAndits, who won't let me quit, even when I try really hard to quit.

Thankful for the Buddies, who read what we write, and respond so warmly.

Extra thankful for the service people who sacrifice so much--even their lives-- to keep the country safe so I can go where I want and walk around freely and without fear.

Treethyme said...

Kirsten - What a great story to pass down through your family!

Jeanne - It gives me chills to think about your ancestor and the blank space in his honor. I only know of one of my ancestors who died while fighting in a war, and that happened at Shiloh -- well, actually, a week later, when he died from wounds he sustained in the battle at the Hornet's Nest.

Even my ancestor with the Revolutionary War marker on his grave didn't die until 1826. Can you imagine what it must have been like to live during that period? Takes my breath away.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Becke said: Can you imagine what it must have been like to live during that period? Takes my breath away.

It does mine, as well. The women who had 18 kids and only saw 3 or 4live to adulthood, the men who went to war and never came home, or came home dreadfully changed. We've mostly had someone in every war or conflict and one unfortunate footnote from the Civil War - 7 brothers lost on the same day in one battle - There's even a footnote about it in the book Lees Lieutenants. Imagine, some towns (both Southern and Northern) lost nearly an entire generation.

Barbara said...

I too think about how fortunate I am to have a home, a job, a nice car, good health, and freedom on a day like today. I'd also like to mention that I'm grateful for all those men and women in the armed forces (including my grand-nephew who is in Iraq) whose sacrifices are allowing me to have the freedom to enjoy this holiday.

PinkPeony said...

Hi Kirsten! Congrats, Helen!

A friend sent me Thomas Jefferson's recipe for vanilla ice cream this morning. :) And, I received emails from my military contacts in Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan this morning wishing me a Happy Fourth. Their thoughtfulness was humbling and I felt bad thinking they will be spending another holiday away from their friends and families (in 120 weather...but it's "dry" heat). Happy Fourth to all those serving our country and to all of you. Sparklers for everyone!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

PinkP said: ...but it's "dry" heat). Happy Fourth to all those serving our country and to all of you. Sparklers for everyone!

Snork on the "dry heat" Heehee.

And whoohoo! Sparklers! Thanks!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Lovely post, Kirsten!

I'm thankful that over 200 years ago some of my family members decided to jump on a ship and sail to the colonies and helped forge a new nation.

I'm thankful for my parents who had the foresight to insist that their daughters get an education to support themselves or family members even when economic times grew tough.

I'm thankful for my husband and children and the new grandchildren expanding our family both physically and emotionally!

I'm thankful for baseball in the summer and football in the fall. Swimming pools and air conditioning that make Texas bearable in the 100+ heat!

I am thankful for my boss and all the nurses who work so hard, side-by-side with me every night! Couldn't do what we do without them. I'm also thankful for the nurse anesthetists who place such fantastic epidurals!

I'm thankful for RWA and all it means for the romance writers in this world. I'm thankful for every board member who serves on the National board and every small chapter's board. They give unselfishly for all of us.

I'm thankful for my friends here that I made through my chapter of Dallas Area Romance Authors. The Foxes are my sisters, as well as the Banditas. How can one woman be so lucky to have so many good friends all over the world? And the BB's just spice things up even more!

AND I'm thankful for Gerard Butler, Clive Owen, Sean Bean, Daniel Craig....wait, those guys are all Brits or Scots! Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds, Mark Harmon.

Anna Campbell said...

Helen, that rooster is positively unpatriotic coming to Oz for Independence Day! I think our American girls will have to have a stern word with him. Tim Tams or his homeland? And clearly he's chosen Tim Tams!

Kirsten, what an absolutely lovely post. Actually there's lots to be thankful for, isn't there? I think it's human nature to dwell on the things that aren't so good in our lives. OK, five things just off the top of my head - I'm thankful for my wonderful Banditas who I'll see in a week (that's kinda two but I need to cheat!), I'm thankful for beautiful music, I'm thankful for the rich natural environment, I'm thankful for readers and I'm thankful that I'm having roast chicken for lunch (sorry, GR! But it had to be said!).

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Good thing we're a melting pot country, isn't it Suz? Grins. How 'bout Patrick Dempsey, Christian Bale, Noah Wylie, Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford...

Oh, and those of us with children are awfully grateful for you who choose to be L&D nurses and for those nurse anesthetists too! :> Epidurals RULE! Grins.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

you're so right, Anna, we DO tend to focus on the negatives more than the positives. Social training, I guess. ;>

But not today! Today, we celebrate freedom and one another and roast chicken...


Keira Soleore said...

I'm grateful to the Banditas and Buddies for their friendship.

limecello said...

Friends, family, and a day off studying! Well, I shouldn't have taken the day off, but did :P
and fun with sparklers. Sadly I managed to get two blisters and a bloody thumb from it :X