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Plenty of reasons to be thankful

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Most Bermudians don’t have a day off from work to celebrate the American Thanksgiving holiday however many mark the occasion by getting a takeout meal from the grocery store, or going to a restaurant. The Royal Gazette Lifestyles section polled some of our sources and found that despite increasing economic concerns and sometimes personal sorrows, Bermudians are still counting their blessings today.

Renee Carter, cancer survivor and Bermuda Cancer and Health fundraiser, said she was grateful just to wake up each day.

“Having the courage to take on what life offers, makes me most thankful,” she said. “To know that I am giving a part of myself to help others, makes living worth its weight.”

Belcario Thomas is the project manager for Upper Crust restaurants, and a well known party planner. He married seven months ago.

“I am most joyously thankful for my unconditionally loving and supportive wife Jennifer Thomas,” he said. “Though, that wouldn’t be enough thanks. I’m grateful, simply to be alive, to live with deep breaths, taking in awesome moments.” He said this year, he and his wife will be attending a friend’s dinner party to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Patrina Paynter, radio personality and fund development marketing communications director for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Bermuda, said she has a lot to be thankful for this year.

“I am thankful for absolutely everything,” she said. “I am thankful just to be alive and to see my son Jaquari’s smile is the ultimate blessing. I am thankful for my family. I am also thankful for the struggles and challenges I have faced in life. They have helped to build me into a stronger more humble person and made me realise God’s call on my life.”


Ami Zanders also said she had a lot to be thankful for this year. She recently joined a local artists’ collective, Bermudian Artists Rise Up (BARU).

“I am thankful for meeting such wonderful, open-minded people [in BARU], all of whom are willing to help me and work with me on all these art shows and art projects. Without them none of these things would be possible. I am thankful for having the loving support of my children, Esmeralda and Bishop, my niece, Quinn and my sister Karla. Without their help I would not be able to do anything.”

Cheri Henderson, a mother-of-three, said it had been a tough year for her family. They dealt with cancer and a traffic accident that saw her son, David, rushed overseas for treatment. He is now back in Bermuda, recovering, after being knocked off his motorcycle by a car travelling on Pitts Bay Road.

“Wow so many blessings to think about,” she said. “Despite cancer and a traumatic accident, we still have each other and a new life. Sometimes dancing in the rain feels so incredibly good. We are thankful for everything that life brings and the chance to learn the lessons that come with the bumps.”

Deborah Narraway of Bermuda Cancer and Health, said she would be spending Thanksgiving at a friend’s home.

“Being Bermudian, my children and I have been lucky enough to spend the last several Thanksgivings at the home of one of my closest friends,” she said.

“We have been embraced by her family and share their traditions such as a wonderful dinner together. Thanksgiving always renews my belief in gratitude. I am grateful for the people I am surrounded by, the joy and innocence my children bring to my life, the unwavering support and love my family provide, and the guidance and experiences shared by true friends which aid me physically, emotionally and spiritually.”

Deputy Governor David Arkley’s wife, Melissa, died suddenly in January.

“I would say I am most thankful for the support of family and friends in what has been a difficult year personally,” he said. “I am also thankful for being given the opportunity to work and live in one of the most beautiful locations in the world.”

Diana Gilbert, mother-of-two, said she is very thankful for her life.

“I am thankful for my husband, James, who has been with me through good and bad times for almost 21 years,” she said. “I am thankful for my daughter, D’Jae, who teaches me to have fun, go clothes or toys shopping and shares notes with me. I am thankful for my son, David, who shows me that I can fix a broken toy and mend a sore finger.

“I am thankful I have my children together as they teach me to stop, sit down and watch [children’s television programme] ‘Max and Ruby’ for the millionth time. I am thankful for my parents, for showing me what life is all about and supporting me in all my dreams and goals. I am thankful for the rest of my family for watching me grow from a little girl to a young woman I am today, with all that I have had to deal with during my 36 years of life.”

Radio host

Nikita Robinson is known for bringing listeners of HOTT 107.5 positive affirmations each day. She said: “I am thankful to God for waking me up this morning and giving me another chance to get it right.”

One Bermuda Alliance Senator

Toni Daniels, owner of Down to Earth health store, said she also had many things to be thankful for.

“I am especially thankful for my professional colleagues,” she said. “Their enduring support in taking on more responsibility at my shop has allowed me the freedom to consistently spend quality time parenting my daughter. Also, most recently, they have been very supportive of my political involvement and as a result, I have been able to expand this interest by recently accepting a role as a senator. I am blessed with such an incredible daughter who is a daily joy to parent.”

Marilyn Steede recently walked for 24 hours to raise money for the Family Centre. She said: “I am extremely thankful for six basic elements of life. Thankfully, all six remain in excellent condition today, after functioning over a span in excess of half a century. They are: good health, good sight, good mobility, ability to speak, ability to hear, and good intellect.”

Patrina Paynter and son, Jaquari, 11 at a fashion event. Jaquari agreed to go with the understanding that they would go somewhere afterward and buy GUY stuff.
Belcario Thomas and wife Jennifer on their wedding day in April.

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Published November 24, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated November 24, 2011 at 8:15 am)

Plenty of reasons to be thankful

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