Notes of thanks from YES! Weekly contributors

by YES! Weekly staff

Chanel Davis

After being asked to write what I’m thankful for, I spent a good 30 minutes attempting to think of something that wouldn’t be cliché and would fit into the mandated word count.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m most thankful for opportunities. That answer covers a wide range and I think it should. The opportunity to see another morning, be in good health and have a chance to love and care for my family should be included. The opportunity to work in a profession that faces its own set of challenges, to share those experiences with professionals who have the same passion and dedication that I have for the industry and to continue to uphold the integrity of that legacy along the way.

Most importantly I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to impact the lives of others. Whether that’s inperson, through print or online, it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to give one knowledge about what’s happening in their governments, schools and communities.

It’s an opportunity to be an advocate for those who don’t have a voice or a seat at the table and an opportunity to be a bullhorn for those who can’t speak loud enough.

Rebecca Harrelson

I have been having more and more meetings lately with businesses that are interested in a marketing specialist; someone on the ground and community based. This excerpt is not about a particular business or person but the amount of people I have met in the past year who are dedicated to making their community business a reality. Those people have options outside of Greensboro, but they chose to open their box of dreams here in the Triad. Against all financial and administrative hurdles, against racial discrimination, they push the boundaries. Starting a business takes a lot of guts, money, and time away from family and friends but they do it because they would not be fulfilled any other way. There is something about letting your hard work speak for itself, and supporting other like-minded individuals, rather than tearing others down. I’ve seen many people shoot themselves in the foot because their negative egos enter into a room before their positivity; those folks never last long in this city.

I have friends in their twenties considering staying here in Greensboro because the arts are finally giving back to the community. Those young people can see themselves living here, and creating an artistic life here. That to me is one of the most beautiful things I could ever hope for the place I now call my home. If someone tells you there is no space in Greensboro to make your dreams a reality tell them they are simply wrong, because there is space for all of us and I am utterly blessed and thankful to be supporting and surrounded by those people who believe it to be true.

Lenise Willis

It’s odd to say, but this year I am thankful for my break-up. Just a few months ago, after four long and loving years, my boyfriend broke up with me. It wasn’t your stereotypical heart crusher. It was loving, caring and supportive, just like our life together. He realized that in order to truly be ready to spend forever with someone, you have to first explore yourself. And I have come to realize that, too, and I greatly respect such a wise perspective.

Not only do I admire my ex-boyfriend for his wisdom and courage””to risk losing something incredible, in an effort to make it even better””but I’ve also found so many wonderful things in the process. Grieving with acquaintances who witnessed me spontaneously burst into tears at my desk have become close, enriching friends. The process of healing a heart is long and arduous, but also elevating.

I’ve come to realize that happiness is independent and comes from within, that I have an amazing and loving support system, that I have room for self-improvement to be a better person, partner and eventual mother, and that I’m a strong woman. I know that good endings lead to good beginnings. And for that I’m thankful.

Kashif Stone

Thanksgiving is a time of year to recall all the things you are grateful for. I absolutely love to gather around the dinner the table with family to feast, laugh and joke about “the good ol’ days.” Yet even more, I enjoy thinking about what I am thankful for. This year has been a year of many victories.

In February, I finally turned 21 after anticipating this birthday for many years. Now I can legally go inside the ABC store! Also, I traveled up-and-down the east coast this year, visiting Myrtle Beach multiple times, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and my family’s hometown, New York City. I began my final year in undergrad at UNCG and starting applying for graduate schools across the country. And above all, after living with roommates since freshmen year in college, I finally have my own apartment to self – let freedom ring! Although there are more things I am grateful for, such as family, life, health, and strength, these highlights of 2015 validate my ultimate appreciation.

Mark Burger

Recently I was introduced to an Oscar-winning film editor as “the resident film encyclopedia.” Living in Winston-Salem, the “City of the Arts,” I hardly take such a compliment for granted. Indeed, these days I take very little for granted. In a world spinning faster than ever (out of control?), it’s never a bad time to take a few moments to realize just how good you’ve really got it.

Certainly I’m thankful for family and friends, especially one who reconnected after years of silence between us. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to express my opinions in-print, on-line and on the radio, and the reputation I’ve built as a result. When I meet people, they ask if I mind talking about movies. Absolutely not. It’s my favorite topic. I’m delighted to talk movies. (And if it’s a pretty girl asking, so much the better.)

And, yes, I’m thankful I don’t have to sit through any more Hunger Games movies “¦ although, of course, a sequel is in discussion. That’s Hollywood. That’s movies. Film is my mistress, and she is a fickle bitch.

Kristi Maier

There are so many things to be thankful for. I wish that someone would ask me to write something every day “¦heck, every week”¦.so that I will sit down and remember to be grateful out loud.

First, I am thankful to God for all our blessings. I am blessed with an awesome husband, Mark and two lovable kidlets, ages 9 and 6. They drive me crazy but they are adored. I’m thankful they can make me laugh in the midst of chaos and sometimes sadness when we see what is going on in our world.

I am thankful that I still have my parents with us, my husbands’ parents and our siblings. We love our area and our school and we are very thankful indeed for the privilege of freedom. I hope we never forget that ours is a truly blessed land and it didn’t get that way without sacrifice. Those great sacrifices allow us the right of worshipping together, gathering together, playing games and breaking bread together. The events of the past weeks remind me to be thankful and hold our loved ones near.

Jim Longworth

Ever since I turned 60, whenever someone asks, “How are you doing?”, I answer, “Getting older, thank you.” Most people then reply, “Yeah, but it beats the alternative.”

True enough. Of course, there are drawbacks to getting older. It seems like just yesterday that female cashiers would flirt with me while bagging my groceries. Now they just look at me and ask, “Do you need help carrying those bags to your car?” It sucks that I’m now old enough for those women to think I need help. But it beats the alternative.

Not long ago we had an oven fire in our kitchen, and it took me several attempts to put out the soaring flames. Hours later when I went to wash up, I noticed a bunch of orange particles falling into the sink. They were pieces of my burned hair. I confronted my wife Pam and asked if she knew that my hair had been on fire. “Yes,” she responded “But I thought it would just burn off the gray.” It sucks that I’m now old enough for my wife to have cause to make a smart ass remark like that. But it beats the alternative.

Truth be told, I’m thankful to be around to hear the jabs and jokes about my age. It beats the alternative.

Rich Lewis

More than anything, I am thankful for my wife and family. They’ve lifted me up, pushed me on and cheered for me throughout. There is an element of Grace to them, as they are surely blessings beyond what I could have ever deserved. They’ve given me strength, taught me understanding and never have they left me behind as they have grown and soared on their own. We’re just a decade and a half in at this point, but sometimes it seems just a day or two has passed. Other times, it seems like this is how it has always been for me. I’m happy with this, and thankful for something stronger and better than my words could describe.

It’s joyful, it’s silly and some days it veers over to crazy, but those days are good, too. The runny noses, the skinned knees, dinner on the fly, refrigerator art, cold feet under the covers and hour six of a nine hour journey… it’s all so grand and I’m blessed to have it. I thank all of those responsible for it. !