Posts Tagged thankful

Independence Day 2014

12989702-waving-usa-flagEvery day of my life I give thanks for being an American. I had nothing to do with where I was born, but I am grateful for this accident of birth. I mean no disrespect for any other country. I was born into a working class family in upstate South Carolina. My parents were the salt of the earth. They worked hard to earn a living and to make a home for my sister and me. They were the kind of people who made this the great country that it is. They believed in the American dream and they instilled that belief in the two of us. They taught us that all honest work is honorable. They taught us to respect ourselves and that all people are God’s children.

My wife was born into poverty in West Virginia. Most would have said that she had no chance for a successful life. A caring public school teacher saw her potential and inspired her to want more for herself. Both of us received good public school educations. Both of us enjoyed wonderful, successful careers and after different paths we found each other later in life. Neither of us could have had the lives we have enjoyed any place else in the world.

I am proud that my country is still striving for that more perfect union. I am proud that we elected an African/American as president, but I will be just as happy when we elect a woman or a Hispanic. I will be even happier when those qualifiers are not even mentioned. Freedom and opportunity still ring from every hilltop and valley

I am thankful that we are free to worship or not to worship as we choose. I salute the flag. I proudly recite The Pledge of Allegiance and my spine tingles with the sounds of our national anthem, America the Beautiful and God Bless America. In the words of the country song, “I am proud to be an American.” My heart aches when our government abandons out time honored values of just treatment of our enemies.

I pray without shame, God bless America. I pray for our leaders and for those who protect us at home and abroad. I pray that we will always be that land that proudly proclaims, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” We are a nation of immigrants and our society has profited from the contributions of all those who came.

As we celebrate Independence Day, give thanks for all of those who gave their lives that you and I could enjoy this great land of freedom. Give thanks for those who strive every day to make this a more perfect union. Give thanks for those whose political opinions are different from yours because that means that we are still free to disagree and to express those disagreements. I did not ask anyone’s permission to write or publish this article and there are no guards outside my door. I can read whatever I choose to read and I can travel whenever and wherever I choose without interference. I will spend the day celebrating with my family the blessings we enjoy but too often take for granted. We must learn over and over again it seems that freedom isn’t really free.

On this Independence Day and every day of my life, I am blessed to be an American and I am grateful for the privileges and responsibilities that go with being a good citizen.

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Thankful Thursday – Thanksgiving 2012

On this Thanksgiving Day my heart overflows with gratitude. I am thankful for my faith that sustains me whatever the circumstances of my life. I am thankful for my family immediate and extended. My late wife, Liz, was a blessing to everyone who knew her. Carol gave me my life back. Suzanne and Michael are constant sources of blessings and joy. No one has ever been blessed with a more wonderful sister than I have with my sister, Jean. Her husband, John (Bunky), is more than a brother-in-law. He’s my brother.

I am thankful for the church I attend that has guided people of faith for 330 years. I am thankful for the United States of America. I had no part in being born here and I have no disregard for any other country, but I am eternally grateful for my good fortune. I am thankful for my hometown of Woodruff, South Carolina and the values I learned growing up there. I am grateful for the people of Northside Baptist Church who encouraged me in all that I attempted to do. I am thankful for my teachers. All of them gave of themselves that I might have a better life. I am thankful for the influences of Mars Hill College, Furman University, the University of Alabama and Louisiana State University for their part in lifting my vision for what could be.

I am thankful for my friends who are truly gifts from God to my life. I am thankful for those with whom I have disagreed over the years. They have helped to sharpen my thinking. I am thankful to the many that served on the Board of Directors of the Charleston Speech and Hearing Center. They allowed me to have a career that was fulfilling and meaningful. I am grateful to the many staff members over the years who helped me grow and forgave my failures. I am thankful for my colleagues and students at Webster University where I have taught for 34 years. I am grateful to the contributors to my book, Christian Civility in an Uncivil World. They are a remarkable group of extremely dedicated and talented brothers and sisters in Christ.

I am thankful for all the committee members and speakers for the John A. Hamrick Lectureship for their devotion to a cause that honors the life and work of this great servant of God. I am grateful for all of those who have helped to make Say Something Nice Day and Say Something Nice Sunday successful movements that continue to gain support. I am thankful that at this point in my life that God has given me a new vision for helping people of different faiths, the same faith, and no faith talk with each other in a more productive and respectful way. I am thankful for my adopted city of Charleston, one of the most beautiful and hospitable cities in the world. I join with the psalmist in singing, “My cup runneth over.”

On this Thanksgiving Day of 2012, I am more aware than ever and humbled by the realization that I cannot count my blessings. They are too numerous. As I recount one, ten more spring to mind. Join me as I strive to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Celebrate this Thanksgiving Day with joy, gratitude and peace.

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168 Ways To Communicate Better Now Plus Two – 49 – 50 – 51

49. Be thankful.

Say thank you often and mean it.

Send notes of appreciation.

Share your ideas and your network. 

50. Be thoughtful.

Look for ways to be helpful.

Give assistance before being asked.

 Be inclusive.  

51. Be thorough.

Uncover the facts.

Do more than expected.

Plan ahead.

Check your work then check again.

 

 

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Thankful Thursday – Carol Carnell

On this Thankful Thursday and every day, I am thankful for my wonderful wife, Carol. Most of you think that this is St. Patrick’s Day, but it is much more important than that. It is Carol’s birthday. Carol grew up in Huntington, West Virginia and attended Marshall University before moving to Charleston, SC. She graduated from what is now Charleston Southern and then obtained a Master’s degree from USC. She then went back to USC for thirty more. She taught at Brookland Cayce High School for many years before I came onto the scene. We were introduced by Germaine and John Carney. She bakes an out-of-this-world almond pound cake, which is off limits for us now and her macaroni and cheese is fantastic. She is the proud mother of Tawnya who is married to Chris Pike.

Mitch and Carol

                                                              Carol and Tawyna at Magnolia’s

After coming back to Charleston, she taught at Morningside Middle School and West Ashley High School. In nine years in Charleston she had three brand new computer labs. She is the only person I have ever known who received a larger grant amount than she requested. She sings in the choir at First Baptist Church and loves it. A few years back, she was invited back to the annual Brookland Cayce Foundation’s annual banquet as a guest speaker. That school’s foundation is a fantastic idea. Carol didn’t like traveling until she met me. Our Alaskan cruise solved that problem. Since then we have made many wonderful trips all over the world. Carol gave me my life back. She is my reason for getting up every morning. On this Thankful Thursday, I know that God brought Carol into my life and she is a blessing beyond belief.

Thankful Thursday is a day set aside to recognize the importance of someone to our lives. Let her or him know of your gratitude. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Say Something Nice; Be a Lifter. You will be glad that you did.

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