Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Uniting of Family by Amber Leigh Williams

Sweet Potato Casserole
Thanksgiving is about family. For me, it's as simple as that. As my family is spread over the states of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, and Oklahoma, it's difficult to celebrate with the whole gang. As the years have gone by, however, and the family has spread further and further apart, Thanksgiving is the holiday that I love most because it gives family a chance to gather and give thanks for one other.

My favorite Thanksgiving tradition isn't the meal itself, but the moment that everyone joins hands around the table and announces what it is he or she is most thankful for. Aside from our country's troops, most everyone is thankful for one thing above all - the people around the table. It's easy to lose ourselves in personal or economical problems - and there have been all too many of those throughout the last five years in particular. But this tradition gives everyone the chance to reflect and realize that the strength of our family is not diminished. And not only are we thankful for those around the table but the family members spread across the south who are gathered around other tables as well.

2007 - Three Generations - My Sister, Me,
My Mother & Grandmother

We have other Thanksgiving traditions in the Williams house including a round of horseshoes in the backyard. I'm the shortest competitor and my gracious family members give me an eight-foot advantage. Despite this, I always manage to lose. In my opinion, there is still nothing better than a little friendly competition between loved ones. And everyone seems to laugh when I announce in the pre-game warm-up that this is my year....

2009 - Three Generations - My Mother,
Me, My Grandmother & Sister

Not everyone likes marshmellows baked on top of their sweet potato casserole so a few years ago my sister and I decided that instead of preparing a separate casserole without marshmellows, we would leave marshmellows out of the center in a fun and/or meaningful pattern. One year we used our family's favorite college football team's emblem. Last year, we used a "W" for Williams, which turned out to be a popular choice. Next week, I look forward to another marshmellow challenge....

2010 - Three Generations - My Husband, Me, My Father & Grandmother
This is the first year I will be spending Thanksgiving outside of my hometown, Fairhope, Alabama. My husband and I will be traveling to the Florida Panhandle to celebrate the holiday with my mother and grandmother. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone there. I wish, however, that we didn't have to give up another Thanksgiving tradition. This one involves walking the Fairhope Pier overlooking Mobile Bay on its picture-book beautiful eastern shoreline after dinner. Usually, we finish the meal just in time to catch the sunset. Fairhopians and their visitors travel to the pier around this time and gather in silence as the sun descends from the sky. It's a breathtaking experience and though I don't live far enough away from Fairhope to give up walking the pier altogether, I'll miss the chance to do so next week and cherish those memories of the years we could do so before for the rest of my life.

Sunset on Mobile Bay - Thanksgiving 2008

So here's again this holiday season to family - Thanksgiving would not be the same without it! And because next week marks my favorite time of year, I'm giving readers a chance to win a good holiday read. By commenting to today's post before midnight EST tomorrow, you'll be in the running for a chance to win an ebook of your choice from my backlist. Be sure to let me know which title you would like to win and leave your email address so I can contact the winner directly Monday morning! (You must be 18 years or older to enter. Chances of winning depend on the number of entries.) For a look at my backlist, here's a link to the BOOKS page on my website! Thanks for letting me share!


Jannine Gallant said...

Some terrific photos, Amber. It sounds like you have a close and loving family. Thanks for the peek into your traditions. My vote - no marshmallows!

Mona Risk said...

Beautiful pictures, Amber. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Thanks for a lovely, lovely post about family love. How nice to share your family with us. Have a safe trip to Florida.

Calisa Rhose said...

Can I vote no sweet potatoes? I know. What kind of southern girl doesn't like sweet potatoes? Um- this one. But I love the idea of making it a fun tradition, Amber. And that sunset is wonderful! Thanks for sharing pictures of your family. What a lovely family.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Amber Leigh Williams said...

Congrats, Calisa Rhose! You're the winner of the giveaway. Just let me know which title you would like from my backlist by emailing at!