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Spencer Pride

Director’s Corner – Thanksgiving Edition

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During this holiday of Thanksgiving, we would like to express our gratitude for all who make up Spencer Pride. From our volunteers to our visitors to our leaders, you all are appreciated and a necessary part of continuing the mission and vision of Spencer Pride. Below the board of directors responded to five prompts that are “Thanksgiving” related.

If you could thank one person (living or dead) for their influence on your life, who would you thank?

Elisabeth: I’d thank a former boss that took a chance on me when my skills didn’t quite line up with the job requirements, but he saw my potential. It was a great experience, and I was part of one of the most amazing work teams in my career.

Kim: I would thank my mom. She always treated me like an adult, even as a child. It made me strong and independent. She loved me unconditionally. Even though she has passed away, I still talk to her when I need support and strength.

Judi: My dad instilled in me a sense of morals, ethics and work ethic. He also gave me the best genes?.

Clay: I would thank my Mammaw who has always been one of my top supporters in all of my endeavors and is the one person I have never felt judged by. She has shown me unconditional love and support my entire life, and those are things I hope to be able to provide others through her modeling.

Kate: My mother. She taught me that the only time a person can be brave is when they are afraid. Fact.

Jacob: There is not one person, but a tapestry of people. I’ve been able to glean little things from many different people to make me what I am today. I’ve admired them and have tried to take little nuggets from their examples.

John: I would have to say there is a combination of strong women in my life who influenced me to become the person I am today.

Joy: I would thank my mom.  She has always been a steady, loving influence in my life.  With every endeavor she has always been my greatest cheerleader and support.  She is a great listener and an amazing example of how to act in all situations.  She lives life to the fullest and I hope to grow up to be just like her.

Katie: Margaret Sanger and Katherine McCormick, for their ideas and money that backed research for the birth control pill.

Lisa: My Dad taught me to love music of all kinds, love people of all kinds, and to try the food before writing it off.

Rex: If Bill Cook were alive today, I would thank him for all of his entrepreneurship style beginning the Cook Group of Companies.  Bill had an incredible impact on my life, and I would not be the person I am today without his influence.  There is NOT ONE day that goes by that I don’t think of my friend who taught me so much about business and life – do the “right thing” taking care of the business, patients, customers, and employees.   I miss him so much!!

Nathaniel: I can’t think of just one person. I would probably thank the following people: My Gran, My Granny, My Papaw Frank, My Mamaw, and My Papaw Watson.  I was around them so much when I was little. They taught me how to bridge generations. They also provided resources that have helped me immensely.

Jonathan: There are many people that I could thank.   To keep things unpredictable, I’ll say my high school teacher Mrs. Cory (who has since passed away).  She was a bold, sassy woman who quite literally reminded me of Judge Judy.   She didn’t take crap from anyone, spoke her mind (and stood up for others), was highly intelligent, and managed to be quite funny as well.  She was a very demanding teacher, but I worked hard to try and meet her expectations.   She had a huge impact on the lives of her students, and I would love to be able to leave a similar legacy behind.

What are three things that always make you smile?

Elisabeth: A snuggled up dog on a soft bed; Standing close to water while feeling the sun on my face and the breeze in my hair; Colorful nail polish.

Kim: Babies, animals, and cartoons. I would also add that Kevin Cronin, of REO Speedwagon always makes me smile. I have loved him for 43 years.

Judi: Spending time with Truman; My wife dancing; Pictures of my late wife.

Clay: My dogs Laney & Lady; Farts (Doesn’t matter who you are, doesn’t matter where you’re at… Farts are funny); Other people’s joy and laughter.

Kate: Puppies, a good meal with people I value, and mustaches on babies. The holy trifecta.

Jacob: Number one my family. Nothing makes me feel happier than spending time with my boys. Number two would be nature. In particular trees. Number three are amazing volunteers from Spencer Pride. I love people and we have the best.

John: Harry Potter movies, the beach, and Clay Wright.

Joy: Family, nature, and chocolate.

Katie: Baby hands, fresh air, receiving personal snail mail (bonus if there are stickers attached).

Lisa: Grandchildren, a song to dance to, and a good book.

Rex: The 3 things that make me smile are listening to pipe organ music, singing at the French Lick Resort & churches, and helping those who are in need.   I feel God put us on this earth to help one another – which reminds me of the “Golden Rule”.

Nathaniel: a cinnamon roll, helping people, getting a hug.

Jonathan: Birds, my family, and kindness.

What do you appreciate about the change in seasons?

Elisabeth: I struggle with the transition from fall to winter. I’ll just say that I can enjoy a hot beverage a bit easier when it’s freezing cold outside?

Kim: I love the summer. However, I get bored by the end of each season. I do not love excessive snow and ice. But I absolutely love Christmas music. I love the leaves in the fall and the hope that spring brings. So, in summary, change is good.

Judi: Winter feels like a vacation to me. No outside stuff to take care of. Being retired I can just read, eat and watch tv. And work on Spencer Pride online.

Clay: I do NOT like cold weather, it is absolutely NOT my thing. But one thing I have always appreciated about the change in seasons is when it’s still warm outside but there’s a slight crisp breeze and you look around and see all of the beautiful foliage changing colors.

Kate: I could say that it marks the passing of time as I move through the world but, honestly, it’s just that when fall hits, the humidity goes.  I hate summer.

Jacob: I think the fall colors are beautiful.

John: I used to appreciate Fall and Spring. However, since living in Indiana, the seasons seem to change daily, if not weekly. I like cooler weather, like 70 degrees. Chilly enough for a light jacket and warm enough to need a bit of shade art high noon.

Joy: Each season has its own highlight.  I love spring to watch the new growth. I love warmer weather and the opportunity to be outside more.  I have really enjoyed the colors of fall. I am also looking forward to the kind of day where I snuggle up with a cup of tea and read a book.

Katie: I love the way they each have a distinct smell ushering them in.

Lisa: I appreciate nothing. I would like to live in a more temperate climate. Temps between 55 and 79 with fewer Floridians than Florida.

Rex: I appreciate the change in seasons from winter into spring as NEW LIFE begins with plants and flowering foliage.  Crops are planted and we get to see them mature and grow!!  What a great feeling of nature!!

Nathaniel: That it signifies that things are always changing.

Jonathan: I love Autumn’s colorful leaves and cooler days.  It’s my absolute favorite season, although it’s often the most elusive one as well here in Indiana.   I don’t mind that Autumn indicates the coming of winter, either, as I am always in eager anticipation of snow.

What is your favorite holiday and why is it your favorite?

Elisabeth: My kids’ birthdays. It makes me happy to see them so excited for their special day, and I work hard to be creative when I decorate their cakes.

Kim: I love Halloween because I get to relax and watch old monster movies, such as Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, the Creature From the Black Lagoon, etc. There are no expectations from family on this holiday. I usually need a break by the end of October.

Judi: Thanksgiving, low expectations. Our tradition is to go to West Baden. We have a balcony room so we can leave the doors open, hear the hustle and bustle, see the Christmas tree, and dance to the music in private. We also talk about what we want for our future.

Clay:  Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. It is one of the only times of year where I get to see almost all of my family and we just get to be together, share in camaraderie, and make memories together.

Kate: President’s day. It’s a chance to honor all the white men who have so valiantly stood up for truth, justice and the American way. No. Wait, that’s Super Man. Darn. Guess I have to go with Halloween because I love pageantry and candied apples.

Jacob: Hands-down Christmas. Christmas has always been my favorite. Not because of the day, but because of the season. The colorful decorations, the holiday parties, the fun food – they have always been exciting to me.

John: Christmas, but not for the obvious reasons. Traditionally, Christmas is lame, spending crazy amounts of money on gifts for people. Plus, the commercialization and religiousification of Christmas makes me sad.  I love Christmas in New York City. That’s the only time I tolerate the cold, walking around the city and seeing the beautiful store windows and their displays. I would always go in to the city to see Broadway shows or Drag shows.

Joy: Christmas, because my family, (brothers, sisters, and mom) all get together.  We have many great traditions from baking, to decorating and games.

Katie: Independence Day. A group of family friends gather at our local city park to listen to the community band. Then we take blankets and glow sticks to the creek bank and sing patriotic tunes while watching the city fireworks display. While I don’t necessarily agree with all political/governmental happenings in the United States today, I cherish chosen families and happy traditions.

Lisa: Halloween because it is the best. It is festive in a low-pressure way. It does not have the financial drain or the hellish weather of other holidays.

Rex: My favorite holiday is Christmas as singing Christmas Carols are so much fun, decorations, being with those you love, and celebrating the birth of Jesus, although He really wasn’t born in December, but rather the scholars think it was probably more in the summertime 2,000+ years ago.

Nathaniel: Thanksgiving – It is a time for us all to think about what we are grateful for in our lives. It is a time for us to focus on ourselves and not something out of this world.

Jonathan: In my childhood my favorite holiday would have been Halloween, as I loved the mystery and excitement of scary creatures, dark places, and unexplainable activities.  Since we can now find those things annually in the Indiana Statehouse, I probably now lend more toward Christmas as my favorite holiday.  In a house with a child and a husband who are both obsessed with the Christmas season, I think it’s growing on me, too.

If you could learn a new skill this coming year, what would it be?

Elisabeth: I would love to learn to pour resin. I follow a few artists and I absolutely love their mix of colors, crystals, glitter, etc.

Kim: Patience and keeping my opinions to myself. I tend to lecture people about important issues. Some people do not appreciate that. I need to smile and say, “Bless your heart!”

Judi: Lucie bought us a keyboard a year ago. We both planned to learn how to play but the best we’ve done is happy birthday with a cheat sheet. Maybe I’ll do that.

Clay: I would like to learn how to focus more on self-care and not being afraid of doing things by myself. Being in public alone has always been something that has caused me anxiety, but I would like to work through that.

Kate: I’ve always wanted to play the violin, but I have no ability to focus or practice.

Jacob: I look forward to expanding my knowledge and abilities with pottery, since my in-home studio is almost done.

John: I would love to learn to play the piano or speak French (or Spanish or Italian).

Joy: I would like to work on cooking and baking new things.

Katie: Practically? Rowing. Factoring in nothing but desire? A chin-up.

Lisa: I would like to learn to play a stringed instrument easier for smaller hands.

Rex: If I could learn a new skill this coming year, I would like to play the pipe organ more efficiently than today.  This is a gift I don’t possess, but with practice, I know I could achieve better proficiency.

Nathaniel: There are so many things that I want to learn that I can’t pick just one.

Jonathan: Greater self-confidence.  Believe it or not, I suffer from a lot of self-doubt and that holds me back from my potential.  I anticipate this is going to be a year that will test me professionally, and that self-confidence would likely serve me well.

What pieces of advice would you pass on to the next generation as they establish their own Thanksgiving traditions?

Elisabeth: Learn to turn down the noise and listen to what makes you happy and what gives you peace. Family expectations can cause you to drift from your center, so try to think about the best way that you can celebrate the day.

Kim: Do not feel the pressure of family or friends. Celebrate Thanksgiving exactly as you wish. Do something that celebrates what you are truly thankful for, even if you do it alone. Evey single holiday should be stress-free and spent how you want to spend it. Also, people still really love written notes and cards. Don’t wait for holidays to send cards or letters to people who are important to you. I keep every single card or personal letter that I receive. I have had to clean out my collection recently. I cried and cried. It was a wonderful experience.

Judi: Ease up on yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to make new traditions if the current ones aren’t working for you. Spending time together with people you want to be with is the important thing. If you eat late or the food isn’t the best, it really doesn’t matter.

Clay: Do not feel obligated to spend the holidays with people that do not truly love you and accept you for you who are just because they are the same people you’ve spent the holidays with forever. Don’t be afraid to start your own traditions with your chosen family if they family you were born into doesn’t make you feel welcome and safe.

Kate: Don’t. Thanksgiving is a gross holiday that ignores the genocide of the First Peoples of the Americas and the plundering of colonizers. But, if your mom insists, go to the dinner, hug your loved ones, tell your racist uncle he’s stupid and fall asleep watching the game. Also, help clean up in the kitchen.

Jacob: Traditional holidays can be unnecessarily stressful. It is important to celebrate moments throughout the year, but who’s to say you have to keep it traditional? Create your own stress-free event.

John: That you don’t need traditions. Hear me out. We spend so much time getting to the next holiday. Making the family recipe. Buying a new outfit. And as we get older, those traditions become forgotten, or time gets in the way.  I would challenge people to make that great recipe on a random Tuesday in March, to buy that outfit because you have a date night, to CALL your loved ones more often.  Life is too short to do these things once a year.

Joy: Base your traditions on things you enjoy and on spending quality time together.

Katie: Don’t “should” on yourself. There is no one right way to do things, so don’t limit yourself from the get-go.

Lisa: Have everyone pitch in and bring something or cook it together. Don’t talk about politics at the dinner table, it is bad for the digestion!

Rex: There are several holidays where traditions play a role in one’s life.  Traditions that you set help with fun, laughter, love, and belonging.  It’s a great accomplishment as traditions continue – and making new ones!!

Nathaniel: Do what feels right for your family or chosen family. Be grateful for the great things in your life.

Jonathan: Make every holiday YOURS, especially if you have a partner or have children.   Make your own traditions, whatever they may be.  For example, at my house we venture out every Thanksgiving for nature hikes at parks and preserves around the state.   That means our Thanksgiving meal is usual pizza wherever we can find it around our hiking destination.    We’ve found so much appreciation, especially in this really busy time of year, in getting out in nature and enjoying the quiet spaces and one another’s company.