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Thankful Thursday – Thanksgiving 2017

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!  Today, I’m joining up with Rebecca for her weekly Thankful Thursday post!

This Thanksgiving has some special significance to me because I remember the way I spent last year’s holiday – three days post-op, dog sick from the side effects of my pain medicine, unable to eat, and plain old miserable.

You shouldn’t find it any surprise when I list, as the first thing I’m thankful for this week, the ability to walk and, so important to me, work out.

I am so thankful for the essential oils that keep my ankle pain and emotions at bay . . .

There’s a roll on bottle inside. The combination of oils in this blend is so soothing!

For the baths I’m planning on taking after I get my stitches out after my surgery

For my migraines. I hope the hefty price tag proves worthwhile.

I love the rewards program through Young Living.  I’m earning points for my purchases, and when I spend a certain amount, I get free items with my order!

Free!

That Christmas Spirit you see?  Oh my goodness!  It’s amazing!  I have it in a USB diffuser that I run in my car.  ❤

Also free – The Pine oil will be perfect in this ornament diffuser!

I am thankful for my fur babies.  Molly took a piece of my heart with her when she passed away this summer.  My boys keep me grounded and help me remember to keep loving even when it’s hard.

I am thankful for a husband who didn’t mind that our Thanksgiving meal wasn’t all that fancy given our lack of company this year.  He went with the flow, ate the spaghetti squash and spaghetti sauce that I prepared, and never complained.

I set a fine table, don’t you think?

I am thankful for those who create vegan recipes so people like me can still eat good food, like this dish – Cheesy Lentil Bolognese Casserole – from Oh She Glows.

It took a couple of hours from start to finish to put this together – mainly because I accidentally dropped the carrots and potatoes I’d cooked for the “cheese” sauce in the dirty side of my sink and had to boil more.  :::Slaps forehead:::

I used this marinara sauce, which I found at Publix.  It’s one of the few I’ve seen that doesn’t have added sugar or other unnecessary additives . . .

The smell coming from the oven reminded me of an Italian restaurant.  Seriously.

The “cheese” sauce is absolutely divine and MAKES this dish!  I’ll be eating on it for days and days.

Another recipe I made for Thanksgiving is this Vegan French Silk Pie, by Detoxinista.

I’m fairly certain that it’s the most decadent dessert I’ve ever made.  It’s that good (and deceptively quick to assemble).

I am very, very, VERY thankful for technology that allows me to see my babies’ faces when we talk on the phone, should they choose.  The Mr. and I chatted with Rooster and his sweet wife for forty five today.  Seeing the smiles on their faces, the little nuances when they cracked jokes, their raised eyebrows at the sarcasm thrown digitally across the miles – well, it made our hearts swell with love.

I hope you have a wonderful day and that, if possible, you’re able to spend it with loved ones.

Giving Thanks for the Hodgepodge

Happy Almost-Thanksgiving, y’all!  I’m very impressed, but not at all surprised, that Joyce put together another fun list of questions given her precious company this week.  ❤ ❤ ❤

Thanks for visiting, y’all, and have a wonderful holiday!  Oh, and if you’re new to this, link up with Joyce to play along!

1.  Traditionhow tightly do you cling to tradition when it comes to holiday gatherings and celebrations? For instance do you always do the cooking, never eat at home, always go to grandma’s, never miss the parade, always watch football, never change the menu, always eat at 2 PM, etc.? Have you ever celebrated Christmas or Thanksgiving away from hearth, home, and family? How did that feel?

I used to cling to tradition like crazy.  I am a creature of habit and do not do change well; however, my life became rather chaotic from the moment that Rooster announced that he was enlisting in the Air Force.  I quickly learned that I couldn’t hold onto traditions quite as tightly; rather, I’d have to adapt.  So, I’m trying.

As far as traditions that we’ve observed down in these parts, the Mr. and I have hosted Thanksgiving ever since we lived in Miami.  Our family used to drive down, and I’d do most of the cooking.  When we moved closer to the family, we continued to have them over.  That changed last year when I had my ankle surgery four days before the holiday, and the Mr. and I spent that week alone, except for a quick visit from Chicky.

This year, the Mr. and I are on our own, unless Chicky drives up, which I’m still not sure of.  I won’t be cooking this year either for various reasons.  It will be a rather nontraditional day for us.

We always watch football on Thanksgiving, so that won’t change.

The only Thanksgivings we haven’t celebrated at home have been the ones when we were on cruises.  What a fun way to celebrate the holiday!

As far as Christmas, we have, for the most part, gone to the Mr.’s parents’ house.  The only exception was the year that Chicky had knee surgery.  We spent Christmas getting her back on her feet.  It was very strange to be away from the rest of the family.

Last year, we were fortunate that Rooster and his wife were able to be here.  Actually, they had their big wedding right before the holiday and spent the week after visiting us and her parents.  It was heavenly.  I knew that this would be one of our last years observing so many of our Christmas traditions.

This year, the Mr. and I will be home, with Chicky, because he is on call, and I’m having another ankle surgery on the 21st.

It’s a year of firsts for us.

2.  Help...is it easy for you to ask for help or are you a do-it-yourselfer? How is that a good/bad thing?

Well, prior to this past year, it was difficult for me to ask for help because I am definitely a DIY kind of gal.  After breaking my ankle, I had to rely on everyone for everything.  Then, the Mr. got super sick in January, and the asking kept on going.  I’ve tried not to ask for help too often because I don’t want to be a burden on anyone, but the good thing has been that I’ve learned that most people really will help if asked.

3.  Abundance…what is there an abundance of in your kitchen?

I have an abundance of flour – so many types of flour.  I am so grateful that the internet is a plethora of vegan recipes; however, I often plan to make something, buy the flour, and then forget which recipe I’d bought it for.  The struggle is real, y’all!

4.  Namethe smallest thing you’re thankful for? the biggest?

The smallest thing I am thankful for is having the week to nap . . . every day . . . (click the photo to play)

The biggest thing I am thankful for is a loving, gracious God whose plan for my life is perfect, even when I don’t understand the reasons for some of the things He allows into it.

5.  Key...What do you think is the key to living a more grateful life?

I think that the key to living a more grateful life is having a humble attitude.  When we get too big for our britches, we become ungrateful and begin to take things for granted.  Things can change in a nanosecond.  This is a lesson I’ve learned this year both with my struggle to recuperate from my ankle injury, my husband’s illness, and the passing of our beloved fur baby, Molly.

I am not strong on my own, and I sure as heck cannot do life with the grace of my precious heavenly Father.

6.  My Random Thought

I could make a list of all the things I am thankful for; however, I’m sure they’re the same things that most of you would include as well.

Instead, I’ll share this adorable video, which I took the other night.

This year has been one of the toughest I’ve ever had.  As mentioned above, I lost my buddy, Molly, this summer, and my heart just hasn’t healed yet.  I don’t know if it will ever be the same.

However, I am finding so much solace with my two boys.  I recently splurged and bought two more dog beds, which stay in my room.  I’ve been leaving the door open in the afternoons, after the Roomba has run, and the other night, I discovered that they’d gotten tired of waiting for me to go to bed.  They took matters in to their own paws.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Marking Time

Last week, I wrote about the one year anniversary of my ankle injury.

Well, today marks one year since I underwent the surgery to fix my broken ankle.

I had to wait a week from the day I broke it because I’d broken the skin when I’d scratched my leg after they took off the splint that the ER had put on it the night I broke it.  The doctor couldn’t operate until that scratch healed because of the risk of infection (the incision was going to be right where I’d scratched my leg).

It had been a long week of waiting filled with a lot of pain, boredom, and tears.

When that day finally came, I was more than thankful.

Chicky made the long drive to be with me and to support the Mr., who was more than a little stressed.

I woke up in comfort; the medical staff was incredible, their tenderness so evident in even the smallest details of my care.

I was dismayed, however, to learn that the surgeon had discovered that my bones were in bad shape, thus making the surgery extremely challenging.

I went home with what I’d like to call a bionic ankle, minus the superpower abilities that should accompany such hardware.

 

My surgery, a mere four days before Thanksgiving, made for a less-than-holiday(ish) week as I struggled through the initial days of extreme pain and sickness from my medicine.

The Mr. was such a trooper and doted on me, patiently waiting out my frequent burst of tears in between decorating the house for Christmas.

I don’t know that I’ll ever approach Thanksgiving the same way that I did before breaking my ankle.

I am so very thankful for the smallest things – things that most people take for granted – being able to walk (ok, so this isn’t a small thing), taking a shower unassisted, and being able to sleep under the covers (I spent over two months sleeping on my back with my right leg laying on top of my blankets and sheets).

I’m still learning to go with the flow and not feel resentful when things don’t work out like I planned.  That word “plan” makes me chuckle because clearly things can change in an instant.

#findingjoyinthejourney isn’t just my hashtag.  It’s my mantra.

I constantly remind myself to find a reason to be happy in whatever circumstances surround me.  Even when I’m disappointed or hurt (physically or emotionally), there’s always a reason to be joyful.

The Struggle is Real

Sometimes, the struggle is real.

Can you identify with any of these?

Why isn’t “oreo” considered a word?  I mean, it screams Americana!

Ankle swelling . . .

Every.

Single.

Day.

Hence the reason for my surgery next month.

Life is tough around these here parts, y’all.

Speaking of ankles, take a look at the next picture.  Will my ankle ever look normal again?

When the universe feels your pain and sends you something to help alleviate it . . .

Still crying . . . at least once a week . . . or whenever something reminds me of her . . . which is ALL.  THE.  TIME.

Tired.  All the days.

The good news?

One.

Week.

Off.

That puts the struggle into perspective.

Shopping, Taste Testing, and Cooking

Is it Friday yet?

This was me, on Tuesday, after I got home from school . . .

I needed groceries.  So badly.

I needed a nap even more.

Wednesday, I pulled up my big girl pants and went to the store on my way home.  That was after I spent my entire lunch break, my planning period, and a half hour after school inputting about 400 grades.  I’d taken up three assignments this week but had figured out a more fair way to grade the third . . . only AFTER I’d put grades in for three or four of my classes – because I suck at math and like to do things the hard way.

And no, I did not go to the grocery store with my hair in a wrap, thank you very much.

I am not that much of a redneck.

Ahem.

I am glad, though, that I pushed through my fatigue and made it to the store.  Look what I found . . .

When you play the video, it will right itself.

But y’all . . . look at all of the options!  I had a hard time deciding which one to buy, so I didn’t choose at all . . .

Can someone please explain to me WHY my videos are sideways?  Ugh.

Anyhoo, I decided to do some taste testing to compare.  I felt a bit like Goldilocks.

The Original Silk Nog is thin but tastes most like what I grew up drinking (before I became lactose-intolerant and a vegan).

The So Delicious Coconut Milk Holiday Nog is the thickest of the three and has a distinct flavor that I can’t quite put my finger on – maybe it’s a subtle hint of coconut. It’s almost as though I’m drinking a version I’d find on a Caribbean island. Delicious!

The Califia Farms Holiday Nog seems, on first appearance, to be the second thickest, but after going back and forth, I think it’s actually more watery in flavor.

While I was taste testing, I was also hard at work cooking up a new-to-me recipe from a blog I follow.

This recipe is called Meatless Meatloaf Cups.

I used black beans instead of the white ones suggested in the recipe.  I also used my food processor to mix everything together.  I think I’ll try mashing up everything with a fork the next time I make this for a chunkier texture.

Still, the flavor was amazing!  My house smelled like I’d been cooking real meatloaf.

The cooking didn’t stop there though.

Well, okay.  So I actually had a break . . . say a seven hour sleep break 😉 . . . and woke up with the plan to make one more dish I’d seen in an email . . .

That is Snickerdoodle Mug Cake, a recipe created by A Virtual Vegan.

Preparing it was super easy.  I used almond butter and almond milk.  I did NOT use my microwave – I quit using this appliance quite a few years ago.  Instead, I baked this in my toaster oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

The texture came out perfect!

I snacked on it all morning at school!  Since I haven’t been baking lately, the treat was especially delicious.  My taste buds were not complaining one little bit.

In the Zone With the Hodgepodge

I’m joining up with Joyce and her Hodgepodge this week!  Thank you so much for visiting as I share my own answers to her fun questions.

1.  What takes you out of your comfort zone?

Going out and socializing with people I don’t know is definitely something that takes me out of my comfort zone.  I don’t know that I do small talk very well.  I’m more of a let’s-have-a-deep-conversation-so-I-can-really-get-to-know-you kind of gal.  Plus, new situations get me nervous.  I tend to be a bit awkward and worry about the impression I’m giving people.

2.  Your least favorite spice?

I cannot think of a spice I don’t like.  I’ve discovered, in the last year or two as my cooking prowess has increased, that most spices, when combined properly, can be quite delicious.

3.  What’s a small change you’d like to make?

A small change?  Really?  You’re talking to Ms. Overachiever here.  I don’t do small anything.

Hmmm . . . if I had to choose something, though, I guess I’d change is the footwear I’ve been wearing of late.  Ever since I broke my ankle last November, I’ve only been able to wear my Vionic flip flops and sneakers.  I am longing for the day when I can wear boots.  Hopefully, after my surgery next month and the ensuing recovery, I’ll be able to stand something like boots rubbing against my ankle bones.

4.  Do you enjoy visiting historic homes? If so, of the homes you’ve visited which one was your favorite? What historic home near you is open to visitors? Have you been? Southern Living rounded up eleven of the best in the southern part of the US and they’re as follows-

Monticello (Jefferson’s home in Virginia), Nathaniel Russel House (Charleston SC), Swan House (Atlanta), Ernest Hemingway’s home (Key West), The Biltmore (Vanderbilt home in Asheville NC), Mount Vernon (Washington’s home in Virgina), San Francisco Plantation (Garyville, Louisiana), Windsor Ruins (Port Gibson Mississippi), Longue Vue House and Gardens (New Orleans), Whitehall (Palm Beach FL), and Pebble Hill Plantation (Thomasville GA)

Have you been to any on the list? Of the homes listed which would you most like to visit?

I actually do like visiting historic homes, although I haven’t done so in a number of years.  When I was seven or eight, we drove from Colorado to Washington D.C. and toured some famous homes such as Monticello and Mount Vernon.  Looking back on that experience, I’d bet you that this trip planted a love for history in my heart.

I’d love to visit the Biltmore if given the chance.

5.  What’s something you think will be obsolete in ten years? Does that make you sad or glad?

I think home telephones (i.e. land lines) will still be around given the cell phone world we are living in.

Hopefully, Urban Dictionary will be a thing of the past as well.  😛

6.  My Random Thought

One thing that will never be obsolete is yarn . . . because people will always need such finery such as socks, scarves, shawls, and hats.

Speaking of yarn, Rebecca posted this on her blog a couple of weeks ago (or was it a week ago).  Hint to my family: I want this for Christmas.  Thank you.

A Weekend of Pampering

Y’all, I just love my weekends.  Now that I’ve gotten used to leaving work at work (except for one evening a week to lesson plan), I am finding myself more relaxed.

This past weekend was so wonderful, ushered in by having Friday off in honor of Veteran’s Day.

I do love getting to turn off my alarms.

After I worked out, I took Gambit to Petsmart for a bath.

He was a smelly boy, y’all!  I hadn’t really noticed his funk until the day before when I’d taken him to get his yearly shots.  Mercy!  He was a bit freaked out and stuck to my leg with what could only be likened to a toddler’s death grip.

He was such a wuss.  He didn’t even want the treat offered to him by the vet tech . . .

He was a happy dog when we got home . . .

Not to mention a tired guy . . .

But he was stinky, so I made an appointment online the night before and headed out first thing Friday morning.  The sweetest groomer met me at the counter and assured me that Gambit would be fine.  I wish I’d gotten a picture of him as I walked away.  It reminded me of the days I used to take the kids to daycare, and they would look back at me sadly as I left.

When I returned home, Pele was depressed.  He missed his brother and didn’t understand why Gambit hadn’t returned with me.

I called a couple of hours later to check on Gambit’s progress and then headed over.  He was one happy dog, let me tell you, and he even came home with a “Pawgress” Report.  He’d done good except when he’d growled at the gal when she tried to grind one of his back paws.  Sigh.

Pele checked him over to make sure nothing bad had happened to him.

Don’t tell Pele, but he’s getting his turn at the puppy spa on Saturday.  😀

Later that afternoon, the Mr. and I headed out to a going away party for one of his coworkers.  We stayed out late.  I guess we forgot that we aren’t spring chickens any more.  What can I say?  It was hard to pull ourselves away from the fire pit his friends had built . . . so perfect for the chilly night.

The dogs were ready to have our hides for being out past our curfew.  They hadn’t eaten yet and were waiting for us in the dark house.  Oops.  We’d forgotten to leave a light on for them.  Gambit was exhausted by the time he went to bed.

I got up before my alarm clock on Saturday (thank you, time change) and worked out . . .

I spy myself walking past the mirror.

After grabbing a quick shower, I headed out to my hair appointment.  First, though, was a stop at Petsmart to pick up a couple of dog beds that I’d seen the day before – because I didn’t already have enough with three in the house.

My hair appointment was a MUST.  I get foil highlights twice a year, and I was way overdue.

I guess all of those extra vitamins I’d been taking for my bones made my hair grow out faster because my roots were long!  I think I’ll probably get my roots done a little more often.  The above is the “before” photo.

I love my hairdresser and consider her a dear friend.  We laugh so much when we get together.

She went all out and dried and straightened my hair without charging me extra.  I may have padded her tip extra to make up for that.  😉

Here’s the “after” photo . . .

When I got home, the dogs were, at first, a little leery of their new beds; however, it didn’t take them long to climb on them and settle in for the day.

Now, these beds will stay in my bedroom so I don’t have to drag beds back and forth, but I wanted to let the boys break them in first.

As you can see, the boys were quite comfortable, as was I, while we watched our Auburn Tigers BEAT Georgia.

That called for a celebration . . .

Sunday, the Mr. and I went to church, did a bit of shopping, ate dinner out, and then enjoyed a quiet evening at home.  My mood was already turning with the approach of Monday . . .

Who doesn’t love a good Snapchat filter?

I’m already counting down the days until Friday and the beginning of an entire week off!

One Year Ago . . .

It’s funny how you can be be-bopping your way through life, not a care in the world, when all of a sudden, reality smacks you in the face . . . or rather the ankle . . . and your sense of security is ripped from you like the stickiest band aid you’ve ever had . . . and you realize how quickly life can change.

That was me, exactly one year ago today.  I wrote about it here.  I still can’t read that post because it was so traumatic.

Y’all, I don’t think I’ll ever think of November 13th the same way again, for as you know, that’s the day that I broke my ankle.

Twelve months.

365 days.

They say that time flies when you’re having fun.

While this may be true for some, I’d argue that time also flies when you’re busy learning how to do life with one good ankle.

This year will go down as one of the hardest I’ve ever experienced.

The shock of the fall, the discovery that I wasn’t going to be able to step on my right foot as the Mr. helped me to the car, the pain on the way to the emergency room, and the realization that I was down for the count for a good long while after getting the diagnosis of a Trimalleolar Fracture (three broken bones), surgery, and a two-year recovery – well, let me tell you that there were a LOT of tears.

In fact, just thinking about this milestone and the post I knew I’d be writing about it had me an emotional wreck on Sunday.

At church, as we sang “I am Redeemed,” I broke down because the words hit so close to my heart:

Seems like all I can see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me “son
Stop fighting a fight that’s already been won”

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off theses heavy chains
And wipe away every stain now I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed
I’m redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head”
I remember oh God, You’re not done with me yet

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off theses heavy chains
And wipe away every stain now I’m not who I used to be
Because I don’t have to be the old man inside of me
‘Cause his day is long dead and gone

Because I’ve got a new name, a new life I’m not the same
And a hope that will carry me home

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off theses heavy chains
And wipe away every stain now I’m not who I used to be

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off theses heavy chains
And wipe away every stain now I’m not who I used to be

Oh God I’m not who I used to be
Jesus I’m not who I used to be
Cause I am redeemed
Thank God, redeemed

This past year has changed me, for the better I’d like to think.

I used to be so anti-depend-on-someone-else-for-help, but now I realize that I cannot live my life this way – that it’s okay to ask for assistance.

I’ve become more empathetic and appreciative of the little things.

From the moment I realized that I was going to have to operate a little differently – well, okay, a lot differently, I began to look for joy in the small things.  I grasped onto these moments and held on for dear life because the road ahead of me promised to be long and challenging.

I’ve always been a person who had to be in control.  So much of my childhood was about others wielding their authority over me in a negative way that breaking free of their stronghold and becoming an independent woman armed me with a sense of vindication, validation, and victory.

And then I broke my ankle and found out that I wasn’t in control, and that all I could do was sit back, let others take care of me, and wait while God healed my broken body and spirit.

I’d hoped that I’d be one of those “miracle” patients who healed faster than any seen before and was up running half marathons a year ahead of the expected recovery time, but alas, I’m not.

I still have a ways to go, as indicated by the pain I deal with daily with an intensity that varies according to the exercises I’ve done that morning, the weather, or whatever whim strikes it.

The struggle is still so very real and incredibly humbling.  Simple motions like getting out of a chair or stepping out of the car take more time and require more attention in how I place the weight onto my foot – actions I always took for granted before but never will again.

I try not to have pity parties.  My friend, Barb, only allows a person to partake of such indulgences for a minute before moving on.  I love her for this and try to remember that when I find myself sinking into the pit of sadness.

And so, one year later, I’m focused on the blessings from my injury:

  • A closer relationship with the Mr.
  • A renewed sense of family and what it means to take care of one another
  • Friends who pray and can be relied up to help when I call
  • The opportunity to meet some very caring health care providers – the harried but kind ER nurse who took care of me that long seven hours after my injury, my surgeon, his thoughtful nurse and other staff, and my physical therapists
  • Kind-hearted students who remind me not to stand on chairs or my classroom cabinets so I won’t break anything else
  • The ability to empathize with a student last week after she broke her ankle (she’s going to see my doctor, I believe, this week and will have surgery too)

Through this experience, I’ve been reminded that God does not waste anything in our lives – that He uses everything to bring glory to His name.

I pray that as I’ve shared my ups and downs with people, I have, ultimately, honored God and His tenderness and provision in even the smallest details of my life.

While I pray that the next few months following my December surgery to have the hardware removed will be easier than last year, I know that even if they aren’t, I’ll get through them because I have the strongest support system that exists and, more importantly, a foundation built upon God’s love for me.

It’s funny.  When I first got my injury, I figured that I’d be back to my old self after the two year recovery I’d first read about while biding my time in the ER; however, over the last twelve months, I’ve come to realize that the old version no longer exists.  Much like the song I posted above says, I’m no longer who I was before.  God has used this experience to shape me more into the image that He originally intended me to be.  As I’ve cast off various chains – splint, cast, and boot – I realize that some of my chains have been internal as well:  pride, overconfidence, and ungratefulness, to name a few.  In many ways, my spirit is lighter given my renewed reliance on the One who matters most.

It’s been a painful process, both literally and figuratively, but one that I don’t know I’d take back if I could (I’d have to think a bit more on that, but the logical, trust-in-God side of me knows that this would be the right choice).

So I’m walking slowly but with more confidence knowing that I am not alone and that I am not expected to do this in my own strength.

Kind of like this . . .

Thank you for your prayers over the past year.  May I ask that you continue praying as I push forth into the next part of my recovery?  Thank you, dear friends. ❤

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