Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Take a real good look at these words: Happy Thanksgiving
Happy     *     Thanks     *    Giving

Giving     *     Thanks     *    Happy

GIVING THANKS to the ONE and being HAPPY, realizing just how BLESSED you are!

A friend of mine gave me this great idea to dedicate each day in November to give thanks to God for the blessings in my life. While I do spend time – usually at night before I fall asleep – giving praises to God for the special blessings He gave me that day and for those I continue to be so grateful, I thought this would be a good blog to keep up each morning for this month.

I am challenging you to dedicate several minutes each day to GIVE THANKS and discover how HAPPY you are and how many BLESSINGS you have in your life already.

Please feel free to share with me in your comments below or if you’d prefer to keep it personal, I’m HAPPY that you’re doing this with me and I’m willing to bet God is too!

Happy Giving Thanks!

Day 30 ~ On this last day of November and my 30 days of giving thanks, I realize that I am not even close to finish thanking God for my blessings.  I’m not sure how many more days I would need to thank Him for all He has done and continues to do for me!

About half-way through this amazing journey, I began to feel more joy and happiness in my heart and the excitement growing in my spirit as I reflected and offered thanksgiving to God.  Even though I shared my 30 days of giving thanks with my Ride On! fans on my website blog and with family and friends on Facebook, I will continue to give my thanks and praise to God privately.

Thank you for joining me on this adventure.  I hope you discovered many wonderful emotions and experiences through your 30 days of Thanksgiving and I pray that you will continue to give your thanks and enjoy the many blessings in your life.

Ride On!

Day 29 ~ This number, 29, is one of those numbers I’ll never forget.  It is part of the date of Chris’ Going to Heaven day: January 29, 2009.  I am dedicating this 29th day of the month to my husband who was my true love and best friend.  Thank you God for blessing me with such a wonderful man who taught me how to live with strong perseverance, optimistic hope, humor, unwavering faith, and above all how to love deeply, compassionately, unselfishly, and unconditionally.  God answered my prayer through this man who became so much more than I could ever imagine to have spent a part of my life with.

I will always love you, my beloved Christopher.  Ride On!

Day 28 ~ I couldn’t help noticing God’s amazing natural wonders of the full moon rising against the eastern darkening skies as the sun sets below the horizon last night and again this morning seeing the mixture of morning hues of the sun as the moon dips in the western hemisphere.  I love these two times of the day when I imagine God up in Heaven painting the skies for us to enjoy as I watch in awe of His creativity within His own creation.

Thank you, God, for creating so many living and nonliving things that help beautify our planet.  They are such wonders that are beyond comprehensible words to express the awesomeness of his creations!

Day 27 ~ I’m thankful for God’s mercies each morning.  I know I can start over and try again if the day before wasn’t to the best of my ability to do the things I was supposed to do, should have done, or didn’t do as well as I think I could have done.  I now understand why it’s so important not to go to bed worrying, angry, or upset.  It interferes with the peacefulness of my sleep and then I’d wake up feeling exhausted from those thoughts and emotions.  I’d rather enjoy waking up to a new day filled with new possibilities by the grace and mercy of God and feeling blessed for getting another chance… again.

Day 26 ~ I’m dedicating this day to thank our doctors, nurses, and paramedics who work tirelessly and unselfishly to help us.  Where would we be without their care?  They are always there, whether it is just to give us advice or suggestions to heal our ailment or to treat us.

I’m especially thankful to the doctors and nurses who refuse to give up on their patients who still want to keep fighting for their lives.  It’s a very difficult career but I know it also comes with many rewards and celebrations.  Most especially, thank you to Dr. Needles (Chris’ oncologist) and Dr. Chehval (Chris’ urologist) who persevered along with Chris in his fight against the cancer.

May God bless our doctors and nurses with wisdom, patience, courage, and grace.

Day 25 ~ Today, I am feeling the joy of Christmas discovering the songs, decorations, and reminding myself the true meaning of the holiday – Christ Jesus.

This year, after three very silent seasons, I am celebrating Christmas.  Already, the lights are up on my house, wreathes are on the doors, red ribbon encircling the white poles on my porch, and pine wrapped around my pine mailbox with red bows on each side.  Inside my home, the tree is trimmed carefully in gold, red, and white beautifully arranged against the pine and white lights and the dining room table is decorated and ready for my dinner guests next week.  I still have a few more items to put out, but right now I’m savoring what I’ve accomplished, thanking God for putting love, laughter, smiles, and happiness of Christmas back in my heart again!

Day 24 ~ I am very grateful to Catholic Supply Store for inviting me to two of their stores for author appearance/signing during the busiest shopping weekends of the year.  I met some wonderful people and reunited with a colleague of mine whom I admire so very much!  I believe God puts us where He wants us at the most precise time to be there for others or to meet someone.  That was my experience at both stores today and I’m blessed!

Day 23 ~ Today, I am thankful for several things that is not of great importance in my life however, it feels so nice to be able to enjoy the little things.

  1. Left-overs from Thanksgiving dinner.  I can make lunch or dinner to repeat the meal again and not have to cook anything today.
  2. Being able to sleep in and still be in my pj’s at 8:30 on a Friday morning.
  3. Freedom of choice today: To Stay In wearing my comfy pj’s for the day or Shop on Black Friday (that is if the Armageddon rush is over)?

Day 22 ~ As I prepare the last of things to do before going to my sister’s house to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, I am especially thankful to God for blessing me with my family.

Thanks mom and dad for adopting me and giving me a sister, two brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins, a sister-in-law and a brother-in-law, nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews.

Thank you to my special friends who included me into your family – making me like a daughter, sister, and auntie to you.

And thank you to Chris’ brothers for reminding me recently that I’ll always be your sister.

I’m truly blessed on this Thanksgiving Day.

Day 21 ~ Inspired by a video I just saw, I want to dedicate this day thanking God for the gift of hearing through my hearing aids.  Born with sensorineural loss in both ears, I heard my parents’ voice for the first time when I was two years old and then discovered a world of sounds.  I remember that day as if it was yesterday and still have tears recalling my excited emotions.  Even though I had to overcome the many challenges of my hearing disability, my parents always reminded me of this: “Stephanie, never, ever make an excuse of your hearing disability that you can’t do something.  You can do anything you want to do as long as you put your mind to it, do the best you can, and not let anyone tell you otherwise.”  I’ve lived my life following those words that has helped me to be successful in many areas.

Thanks mom and dad for encouraging and supporting me in all of my endeavors.

Thank you God for the gift of hearing!

To see the video, go to: http://www.wimp.com/hearingaid/

Day 20 ~ As I plan my day, figuring out my route to the places I need to go for my book, Ride On!, I am very thankful that I have a reliable vehicle that can take me where I want to go. In this car, I feel safe, can turn on the heat when I get cold, and I can enjoy the drive comfortably while listening to the radio, a CD, or to my I-Pod. I know it is a bit silly to be thankful for a car, but today, I am especially appreciative of having my own vehicle, the freedom to move around when I want to and wherever I choose to go, and the ability to be able to drive safely.

May God bless all the drivers on the road to be safe, focused, and courteous of others – especially during this Thanksgiving week when many will be eagerly traveling to their families.

Day 19 ~  As I think about my niece’s confirmation tonight, I can’t help but be in awe of feeling a part of God’s Spirit within me.  Jesus told his apostles that He would send His Helper to each one of them (us) so that they (we) can share His message with others.

His Spirit is a part of me (and you) with gifts He’s given to me (and to you) to do His will.  His Spirit shines a light of His wisdom and grace so that we can handle difficult challenges with His courage.  His Spirit guides us how to deepen our faith – trust in God, hope – without ever giving up, and love in Jesus through it all.

Thank you Lord Jesus for sending me (us) your Helper to do all things through You who strengthens me (us).

Day 18 ~  Today, I am grateful to be able to do many things physically: crawl, walk, run, ride, dance, sit, lie down, write….  I can go on and on thinking of all I can do.  So many are in a prison of mobility, but they find ways around it that is so awe-inspiring to me.  They are one of the most courageous people who can persevere through their own personal race day after day.  It’s so amazing how they do it!

I pray that I always be thankful for all of my physical capabilities and for God to bless all those with physical challenges with strength, grace, and hope. 

Day 17 ~  I’ve spent some time earlier this morning to remember some very special people God blessed me who are no longer here, but I know are with Him.

My parents, Bill and Helen DuFour, who adopted me and gave me a home, clothes on my back, food in my belly, education and most of all their  unconditional love for me.  Dad has been gone for 27 years and now my Mom for 3 ½ months.  It gives me such joy to know they are together again.

My beloved husband and best friend, Christopher, has been gone for 3 years and 9 months.  I know he is riding on, still looking over his shoulder with that smile of his that made my knees quiver and watching over me.

Today as I remember my loved ones, I thank God for blessing me with them.  I know my life would have been completely different without them.

I love you Mom and Dad.

Chris, I will always love you!

Day 16 ~ Today, I am feeling so very blessed to have a job.  But it’s not just the job in itself I’m so fortunate to have, it’s the people there who makes coming to work so wonderful.  Even though I’m part-time, I am so welcomed there as a part of the staff that makes you feel like you are one of them.  I am deeply humbled to be among people who are passionate in what they do and love doing it!

Day 15 ~ Today marks the half-way to thirty days of giving thanks.
When I started this two weeks ago, I knew how blessed I was, but seeing it on paper is making me realize just how fortunate I really am and I’m not even finished yet.  I’m overwhelmed.

On this day, I am deeply thankful to God for blessing me so much. Above all this, I thank God for His amazing love to send his Son, Jesus, to teach us how to live with faith, hope, and love and for His incredible self-sacrifice for our sins so that we will someday live eternally with Him.

Sigh…

Such an Amazing Love.   Thank you God! Thank you Jesus!

Day 14 ~ Today, I am so thankful to be alive.

Over the last several days, I’ve been thinking a lot about my physical and mental health. I know many people are battling cancer or other type of illness, stress and anxiety, depression, and grief. My heart goes out to you!  Seven years ago, it started with that dreaded diagnosis of Chris’ cancer that led to everything else I’ve endured. Now, after what feels like a very long time, I am healthy again, I am able to handle many physical and mental tasks again, and I have finally found stability and happiness within my heart. It has been a long, struggling journey but I couldn’t have made it here without God putting the right people in my life, for giving me the strength to keep riding on no matter how hard or painful it was, and for His love, grace, and mercy to persevere through it all.  This day is the day the Lord has made for me and I’m giving Him praise and glory for giving me another day.

Day 13 ~ Today, I am deeply thankful for all my friends, but most especially to those who were there for me during the happiest time of my life AND stayed by my side during what was the hardest period of my life.

My dearest, closest friends ~ Thank you so much for holding my hand, lending your shoulder to cry on, and for being with me during what was the greatest sadness of my life.  I struggled a lot through it, but you refused to let me go.  You patiently and tenderly supported me in all the ways I needed and above all  you’ve done for me,  you let me feel your love that brighten the tunnel of darkness I was in.  God put the most special people in my tight circle knowing you would allow His love to flow through you to share with me.  Two weeks after I buried my husband, I knew God was the only One who could heal my grief so I prayed for His help, mercy, strength, courage, and most of all to feel His love.  He answered my prayer by surrounding me with His special angels.  Thank you.  I love you.  God Bless you!

With love & hugs, Stephanie

Day 12 ~ Today, I am thankful for my pets: D’Artagnon and Bridget.  D’Artagnon was Chris’ dog – a purebred 8-year-old Alaskan malamute who exhibits the goofiness learned from him.  After you get passed the 90+ pound caliber, you fall in love with those big brown on such an adorable face.  I can’t help but smile whenever he brushes his cold, wet nose along my cheek to wake me up in the morning no matter how early it is and I look forward to hearing his greeting every time I come home.  Bridget was my mother’s dog and she definitely exhibits that feisty personality of my mom’s.  She’ll be 15 in December and is still going strong even though she has a tumor in her spleen and cannot hear anymore.  She’s an amazing little 9-pound Yorkie who loves big.  She still plays with her favorite toy “The Cowardly Lion” even though she can’t hear it growl anymore.  She’ll snuggle up next to D’Artagnon and they both sigh deeply in such content to be so close to each other.  There’s a reason why God created animals to be your pets – as another way to share His unconditional love for you that you feel from them.

Day 11 ~ I will be forever indebted to our United States Veterans who gave their lives selflessly to protect our precious Freedom.  Many were sacrificed.  May God Bless them and their families who are missing them so.  Many were wounded physically, emotionally, and mentally and trying to live their lives as best as they can.  May God Bless them with strength, mercy, and grace and their families loving them through it all.  I am proud of our Veterans and I want to say Thank You! 

Day 10 ~ On this beautiful day in St. Charles, I am thankful to Main Street Books for hosting “Ride On!” signing.  I am excited to meet new readers.  It’s amazing enough to hear my family, friends, co-workers, and church members want to read my book, I can’t imagine how much more incredible this will feel when customers come into the store to browse around, actually pick up my book to look through it and then purchase it.  I know God will bring in people this afternoon and do great things for us all!  For more information, click on this website: http://www.mainstreetbooks.net/event/2012/11/10/day

Day 9 ~ Over the last two days, I’ve subbed in a preschool classroom full of 3 to 5 year-olds and as stressful as it was at times, there were moments of pure joy that lightened my heart and just made my day.  Some of those priceless few minutes were when a child grabbed my hand to hold onto and looked up at me with their big, adoring eyes while smiling as big as their little mouths would let them.  It’s no wonder how an adult can get wrapped around a child’s finger!  I am truly grateful for the innocence of a child who is so eager to love, to accept, to laugh, to trust, to hug, and to hold hands with you.

Day 8 ~ I am thankful for music that can stir emotions deep within my soul from tears to smiles.  During a time of great sadness in my life, a dear friend gave me a CD binder full of beautiful songs to awaken my soul again.  Most were worship and praise albums with several relaxation CD’s.  Even though my heart didn’t feel any joy to worship, I did listen to some of the CD’s and eventually, the songs began to stir my soul.  Now, I can’t get through a day without listening to Christian music.  Thank you, God for bringing music into our world!

Day 7 ~ Today as I honor one of my niece’s birthday, I thank God for all of my nieces, nephews, great-nephews, and this year great twin nieces!  Even though I may not get to see them as much as I would like to, I think of them often and hold each one close to my heart.  My gratitude goes even deeper – I wouldn’t have nieces and nephews if my parents hadn’t loved me so much to adopt me into their family, making me a daughter, a sister, a niece, and a cousin.  Thank you, God, for my family!

Day 6 ~ I am appreciating my freedom here in the United States of America – especially my freedom of speech.  Today, on this important Election Day, I am thankful for my voice to be heard.  I am indebted to the men and women of our military who has fought, suffered, died for all of my freedom rights ~ thank you!

Day 5 ~ I am thankful for my house where I always feel its warmth, security, comfort, and joy.  I love my home and am truly thankful to have one.  In my prayer of thanksgiving today, I pray for God’s special, supernatural blessing on everyone on the east coast and all those who are without their lovely homes.  May we all join in the efforts to pray and support them in the best way we can.

Day 4 ~ In this morning’s church service, I listened to Jesus’ Words: “[L]ove the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”  After hearing these words during church service this morning, I am feeling overwhelmed and deeply thankful of God’s love for me.

Day 3 ~ I am thankful for my neighbors, whom I call “Cul-de-Sac Angels.”  They were there for Chris and me in so many ways that took away some of the stress and made life easier for us.  Then they were there for me with so much support and love.  They are the best neighbors who have become my friends.

Day 2 ~ I am so thankful for the freedom in United States of America to pray, worship, and learn God’s Word at my church.

Day 1 ~ I am thankful for the beautiful weather here in St. Charles, MO on the first day of November.

Ride On!

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