Thanksgiving

Crips fall beauty lingers in the air as people hurry to prepare. Nature adorn in the finest hue crafting an elegant view. Thankfulness consumes each heart uniquely setting people apart.

An individual’s definition of thankfulness is transformed when chronic illness enters their life. Simple things possess deep pleasure. Such as a walk in the park or a phone call with a friend. The delicacy of life is illuminated. Cherishing moments with those they adore is vital. Laughter is treasured.

A person’s list of blessings is as exclusive as their heartbeat, which is especially true of someone with a chronic illness. Generalizing thankfulness in the chronic illness world is nearly impossible, so I will share a few blessings of my own.  I am grateful for my medical team. I have made progress from the time I entered this facility. This is the best hospital I have been at. I am deeply blessed for the chance to be on Remicade. Though I don’t like being on medication, I am grateful to have it and for the help it provides. I am thankful for the friends I have made. The support that I have. The lessons I have learned from chronic illness.  I am thankful beyond words for the chance to continue my education at Liberty University online. I feel spoiled with the resources available to me. Fiction books provide a way of coping with pain and I have been blessed recently by Karen Kingsbury’s books.

These are a few examples of blessing from my life as a chronic illness warrior. I hope Thanksgiving day is a day you can cherish. One that is consumed with love, laughter, joy, and spoons. I pray the pain levels are low and the symptoms are few. Happy Thanksgiving Warriors!

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Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Happy Thanksgiving day, sweet friend! My prayer is that today overflows with joy. I also pray that your heart overflows with thankfulness as you remember all the ways that the Lord has greatly blessed you this year. Try to think outside the box when counting your blessings. There are always more things to be thankful for than you are aware of.

Come face-to-face with God, and give thanks;  with loud and joyful voices, praise Him in songs.” Psalm 95:2 The Voice Translation

Sovereign Lord,

I rejoice in Your name joining heaven in blessing Your mighty name. I am in awe of Your love, grace, and compassion. Your ways are flawless and beyond my comprehension. I adore You. I love You from the depths of my soul as complete as I know how.

Forgive all the ways that I have fallen short of Your glory. I am undeserving of all these good gifts you have bestowed upon me. Thank you for looking beyond my faults and for lavishing me in Your mercy, grace, and forgiveness.

Allow me to focus on You throughout this lovely day because You are the source of all gifts. Without You, I would have nothing to be thankful for. Hallelujah. Worthy are You, Jesus of all honor, glory, and praise. You have been faithful in providing for me and blessing me beyond my understanding.

Let me slow down entering fully into each moment with a heart of gratitude. Help me to cherish each moment. I praise You for the details of this Thanksgiving. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the people that surround me, for the food in front of me and all the hands who helped it reach my plate, the lessons You have taught me this year, all the ways You have provided for me, and for this day to celebrate.

Thank you for giving Your son Jesus Christ, for Your holy and living Word, my personal relationship with You, and for my salvation. I praise you for the opportunity to serve You. It is a joy to worship You.

Amen

Thanksgiving Inspired Kong

I had been in search of a new Kong recipe to let Abby try for Thanksgiving. I was disappointed with the Thanksgiving recipe on the Knong webpage. The recipes are not all bad. However, Abby has allergies. Every dog and their human are unique so check out their recipes to see if the Thanksgiving one is an option for your friend.  I figured I would create my own and share with you.

Don’t forget that table scraps can be dangerous for any pet! Filling their Kong is a special and safe way for them to celebrate Thanksgiving with you. After all, aren’t they what you’re most thankful for?

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Thanksgiving Day Breakfast Kong

Ingredients 

  • Peanut butter
  • Banana
  • Water
  • Kibble
  • Kibble soaked in water

At the moment this is Abby’s favorite Kong recipe. I use a nutribullet to mix the ingredients but a blender would work as well.  I combine than half a teaspoon of peanut butter, two small slices of banana, and cover the bottom of the cup with water. Then mix everything for ten to fifteen seconds. After I pour the mix into a bowl and take a handful of kibble to throw in. I allow this to sit for at least thirty minutes. Last, I stuff the kong alternating between the mixture and kibble soaked in plain water. On top, I seal with peanut butter. Most times, we can get two-three meals out of this.

Bananas are a great source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, fiber, biotin, and copper. Bananas help boost the immune system, replenish electrolytes, and promote skin and coat health. In moderation, bananas can make a healthy, low-calorie treat for dogs. Peanut butter benefits include protein and healthy fats, vitamins B and E, and niacin.

Abby’s Thanksgiving Kong

Ingredients:

  • Sweet Potato
  • Coconut Oil
  • Kibble
  • Carrot
  • Pumpkin
  • I cooked a small piece of sweet potato and then cut it in half. I used half here and the other half later.  I used the nutribullet again.

I combined the sweet potato, water, and a little coconut oil together to make a paste. I do not have actual measurements because I use very little of each ingredient. I take a small tablespoon used for cereal and put each ingredient on the tip. I also added two raw frozen nuggets, which is optional.  Again, mix for ten to fifteen seconds. I pour the mixture into a bowl and add a handful of kibble.

I cut the other half of the sweet potato into tiny pieces. I slice the carrot so that I have three slices than cut again into tiny pieces. I added this to my mixture above.

I stuff about half the Kong with the mixture than I add some organic pumpkin. Then I stuff the other half and top with a bit of peanut butter.

Benefits of what is included:

Sweet potatoes are great for digestive health because they’re high in dietary fiber. They’re also low in fat and contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese. Sweet potatoes are rich in the powerful antioxidant beta-carotene. Beta-carotene converts to Vitamin A in your dog’s body, which is essential for your dog’s vision, growth, and muscle strength.

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Carrots are a good source of fiber, naturally cleans their teeth, Beta-carotene is an antioxidant which helps eyesight, and good for cholesterol.

Pumpkin is amazing for digestion issues of all sorts. Furthermore, it has antioxidants, can help with weight loss, good for the eyes, immune health, and hydrates.

*Note I freeze the Kong from seven to ten hours. Their webpage suggests about four hours.

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Wishing you and your doggie friend a very happy Thanksgiving with Love, Victoria, and Abby!

Good Night Encouragement

Today was far from perfect, never the less it was a blessing. You did your best which is all anyone can expect. Every day you are faced with many obstacles, which you gracefully overcome with determination. You might feel like you are dragging your body through the day like you are going to collapse from all the pain. Yet every day you accomplish so much.  You are doing an amazing job! You might not be where you want to be and that is okay, you will get there in time. You are doing a fantastic job where you are in life right now. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Be grateful and proud of the small accomplishments.

Be compassionate to yourself tonight. Take a few moments to reflect on all your amazing accomplishments and blessings. Do something nice to recover from this long day, take some me time. You need to be nice to yourself it not only benefits you but also those around you.

You are an inspiration and a blessing to many people my friend. Your friendship is priceless and very precious. Everyone you encounter is blessed by you. Bless by your smile or your kind words. The strength you display is yet another blessing to others. Inspiring them to be strong in the trials they face. You bless many people daily.

I pray that the Lord would be with you this evening as you unwind and prepare for bed. I pray that you would fall asleep quickly, stay asleep through the night, dream sweetly, and wake up with a lot of spoons.

Slowing Down in Gratitude

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Hurry has become an addiction in today’s culture. How many times are we rushing through the day? We are in such a hurry, we cannot enjoy any moment, each moment becomes something to check off the to-do list. Overcome with stress.

Many nights before I go to bed, I recite my to-do list for the following day, hoping, that I am not forgetting anything. Hurry, business, and the to-do list becomes an idol if I am honest with myself. Are these idols in your life as well?

Chronic illness has forced me to slow down, but I still need to work on being more present in the moment. “Giving thanks for one thousand things is ultimately an invitation to slow time down with weight of full attention.” Ann Voskamp What if I pursued thankfulness more than anything else? If in each moment I thanked God for something instead of letting my thoughts wander, creating meaningless chaos, or run with emotion.

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Looking back I see serval things I am thankful for, even in situations that were painful. I do not rejoice in the pain or situation but carefully laced in there is a tiny treaure to give thanks for. Thankful for pain as a warning sign when my body threated to shut down, the medication received, and my nurses. Thankful for the closeness of Christ when my friends deserted me. I honestly feel if more often I would give thanks in the middle of the day that I would experience more joy. Like Ann Voskamp shared, I would enter more fully into each moment.

Ann recorded one thousand gifts in a journal. A simple yet genius idea. One thousand seems like a large number. An enormous commitment. However, each individual must begin with one, anyway.  I came to the conclusion that aiming for one thousand could encourage this to become a burden which would defeat the purpose. So, I grabbed a journal with few expectations in mind. Simply writing things I am thankful for from now until this time next year.

Let me share a few of the gifts I have taken note of.

  •  My mother whom is my source of strength, encouragement, and inspiration.The stunning woman she is. Words cannot describe how thankful I am for her or for how many things I am thankful for.
  • The pitter padder of children’s feet. The embrace of little friends.
  • The smell of kitties fur. Their comforting fur.
  • Capturing tiny moments with Abby in photos.
  • God’s presence. Faithfulness. Who He is.

I would be humbly honored if you, my friend, would join me on this journey of journaling gratitude. More than that to live an abundant life of thanksgiving. Taking time to pause and give thanks. Enriching daily life.  There is no better time to start than now. I have crafted three inspiration of gratitude lists; one for those with chronic illness, college students, and mamas. I hope you will print one out. Copy of Wedding Invitation

 

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El Elyon (God Most High),

Your beauty takes my breath away. Every molecule reflects who You are and worships You. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty full of wonder, majesty, and goodness. I witness Your faithfulness daily.

Often, I overlook the blessings in my life. Forgive me, Lord Jesus. I desire to divorce hurry. Enable me to slow down and to enter into each moment fully with a thankful heart. Give me eyes to see Your beauty and glory in the ugly. Cultivate in me a thankful heart.

Amen

Overflowing Kong Recipie

Abby and I enjoy making meal time creative, fun and tiring for her. Each meal is a variety of feeders and games. I purchased Abby’s  Kong Classic on Chewy. Today I want to share a Knog recipe with you.

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First off, if you don’t know what a kong is, allow, me to enlighten you. “The kong is the gold standard of dog toys and has become the staple for dogs around the world for over forty years. Offering enrichment by helping satisfy dogs’ instinctual needs, the KONG Classic’s unique all-natural red rubber formula is ultra-durable with an erratic bounce that is ideal for dogs that like to chew while also fulfilling a dog’s need to play.” If you need more information on the kong visit their webpage.

While it is a toy, personally, we use it for meal time.

A few benefits of this feeder toy include:

  • Mental stimulation
  • Helps in behavior modification
  • Benefits oral health
  • Encourages physical activity
  • Entertainment

Many people stuff the kong with treats, peanut butter, or cheese. But, like I said we use it for meal time, so we use kibble. Once in a while, I make an extra special kong and that is the recipe I would like to share with you.

First, I soak about a handful to two handfuls of dog food in water. I just cover the food with water, not much is needed. I allow it to soak about fifteen to twenty minutes. Then I begin to fill the kong first with a few scoops of kibble (a little bit goes a long ways). If you don’t want to have to hold the kong it fits nicely on a mason jar. Next, I add one tablespoon of organic pumpkin. I use Nummy Tum Tum. More kibble is next. I put in a tablespoon or less of coconut oil. Then, fill it to the brim with kibble. I seal it with a swipe of Jiff peanut butter and put four pieces of regular kibble on top.

Each of the extras (pumpkin, coconut oil, and peanut butter) all have benefits for dogs. Pumpkin is amazing for digestion issues of all sorts. Furthermore, it has antioxidants, can help with weight loss, good for the eyes, immune health, and hydrates. Coconut oil is good for the skin and coat, helps digestion, antibacterial, and muscles. Lastly, peanut butter is tricky. The number one rule is to avoid any product with the sweetener xylitol, because it is deadly to dogs.  Use it sparingly with your fur friend. A few benefits include  protein and healthy fats, vitamins B and E, and niacin,

Our final step is freezing the kong! The longer the better. For breakfast, we freeze it about eight hours. For dinner, we freeze it ten hours. It takes Abby anywhere from twenty to forty-five minutes.

Do you use a kong? If so, share your favorite recipe!

A Prayer for a Life of Thanksgiving

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“How good it is to give thanks to the Eternal and to praise Your name with song, O Most High;  To speak of Your unfailing love in the morning and rehearse Your faithfulness as night begins to fall.” Psalm 91:1-2

Lord,

I adore You, how I love You. Cherishing who you are I offer worship from the depths of my soul to You. I treasure Your living  Word. Your beauty surpasses all words. Magnificent creator. Author of Salvation, through Your sacrifice beyond human comprehension You have brought me by Your blood, calling me Your beloved child. In You I  have everlasting life. You constantly poured out countless gifts beyond what I deserve, furthermore, far beyond what I deserve. All honor, glory, power, and praise belong to You now and forever more. Blessed be Your glorious name.

The to-do list dictates my time. My emotions wildly running dictate my reactions. My pain dictates my thoughts. I hurry- thought scattered- overwhelmed-depleted. Senselessly rushing another day without ever savoring a moment. Neglecting the gifts you have bestowed on me; I take so much for granted. I do not understand the depths of each gift and many I cannot see. Lord Jesus, have mercy. Forgive my ungrateful heart and lavish on me Your stunning grace.

Thank you from the depths of my soul for providing for me. I praise You for my relationship with You, Your Word, and Your character. Thank You for creatively and compassionately knitting me together and for the purpose You formed me for.  I praise You for this season of life. Thank you for investing in me, loving me, and forgiving me. I praise You for the blessings I neglect to see, those I am unable to understand, and the ones I have acknowledged, though not enough.

Enable me to slow down… to pause and reflect on Your goodness. Help me to recognize and say thank you for a few gifts. Fill me with thanksgiving every moment of every day. Let me live by Jesus’ example offering a gift of thanksgiving to You in the midst of unspeakable pain. Allow my thanksgiving to bring glory to Your holy name.

Amen