Sunday, November 24, 2013

What are you thankful for?

By: Joelle Charbonneau

Thanksgiving is perhaps my favorite holiday.  There are no gifts to buy.  No major holiday decorating is required.  Instead the day is about something simple, but incredibly profound.


When the first pilgrims landed here in the new world, they were ill equipped to survive in the harsh environment.  Food was scarce because they didn’t know how best to hunt the animals in this land or understand what food would grow best in the soil.  They needed help.  Thankfully, the nearby tribe of Native American Indians were willing to teach them better hunting skills and provided them with knowledge of how to tend this land.  There were language and cultural barriers, but they overcame them.  Because of that, there was a feast of thanks.  (Can you tell I’ve been talking about the holiday with my five-year-old?)

It is easy to think about all the things that are wrong in life.  Busy schedules.  Lack of sleep or money or things.  We forget to look for the good in life and be happy for the blessings we have. 

So, today, in this space, I’d like to talk about what I’m thankful for. 

I’m thankful for my family – my son, husband, mother, nephews, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins and beyond. Families have their ups and downs, but I wouldn’t trade any of the branches of my family tree.  I am thankful for the laughs and love and the support they have given me. 

I am thankful for the friends I have been lucky to have in my life.  I only hope I am as good a friend to them as they are to me. 

My students are one of my greatest blessings.  Watching them flourish and grow into amazing performers and even more wonderful people is something that brightens my darkest hours.  They are a true gift in my life and I will consider them mine no matter how old they get or how far they go. 

I am beyond grateful for my agent, Stacia Decker, and the entire team at Donald Maass Literary.  More often than not, I doubt my ability to succeed at being a writer.  Stacia never fails to believe in me when I falter in believing in myself.  She is there for the good, the bad and the strange.  And trust me when I say she doesn’t get paid near enough for what she does.

I am thankful for all of my editors and publishing teams, but especially my editor, Margaret Raymo, at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and the entire HMH team.  They are superstars in the publishing world and their strength of conviction about my work takes my breath away.

I count each member of the writing community that I have met as a huge blessing. 
I am grateful to all the booksellers who have given me your vote of confidence by stocking my books.  And I am thankful for each and every reader who takes the time to pick up a book.

And yes, I am grateful to have enough food to eat and a car to drive and a house to live in.  But while those are important, it is the people in my life that make me glad to wake up and see what the new day holds.

So when you are sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner and passing the cranberry sauce, know that on that day I will be thinking of you and how grateful you are for being a part of my journey.  I can’t wait to see where that journey takes us from here.

And please, in the comments, let me know—What are you thankful for this year?  I would love for all of us to celebrate this season of thanks together.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very true Joelle.....thankful for over 30+ years for your Mom (& dear Dads) friendship & how it has
flourished w/ you, Andy & your dear Max
Wishing you a lifetime of thanksgiving!! love, Mrs.B