The First Thanksgiving...

Friday, November 28, 2014

...without my mom.

It has definitely been harder to anticipate the holidays knowing it won't be enjoyable. I've spent every Thanksgiving of my entire life with my family and now whenever my family gathers, my mother's absence only intensifies. It makes the harsh reality that much more real. But...even with her gone, I know I still have so many things to be thankful for. And they are definitely worth celebrating.

1) This is something I will always be thankful for for the rest of my life: the last moment I had with my mom before she had her stroke...was full of happiness. It was before midnight, on January 26th this year, that she texted me and asked if I had fed the dogs. I was up in my room and came down as soon as I got it, and when I saw her, we both just started laughing (she had just recently learned how to text so it was exciting for her). After I fed our dogs outside, we played with our indoor puppy, Gigi, smiling and laughing because Gigi's such a weird little puppy. And then I said goodnight and went up to bed, not knowing that in a few hours my life would change forever. My memories of what happened after are still so vivid that it is so difficult to speak about it. But I am so thankful that, in that last moment, I got to see my mother smile and hear her laugh. It's a memory that I will cherish forever and will always thank God for.

2) Months after my mother's funeral, my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 Thyroid Cancer. To say that 2014 has been a horrible nightmare is a complete understatement. Nobody wants to hear that a loved one has Cancer, especially after they had just experienced so much heartache months before. I prayed for healing for my family, but life took us down a different path. My dad had to undergo surgery to completely remove his Thyroid as well as swollen lymph nodes on the left side of his neck and had one treatment of Radioative Iodine Therapy. Fast forward to over 3 months later today, my dad is Cancer free and I am more than thankful for that. We know there's always a chance it might come back. But we'll cross that bridge when, or if, that happens. For now, I am just simply thankful he is still alive and well.

There are obviously so many more things I am thankful for, but those 2 things are at the top of the list. I've always been someone that's been grateful for everything I have and for the people in my life. But these painful events have taught me how to be grateful on a whole other level. Love those you care about every single day and create as many happy memories as you can. Because at the end of it all, that's what you want to remember.

Now with all of that out of the way, here's our Thanksgiving feast! A mixture of traditional Thanksgiving food and Filipino food :)

And I baked! Pumpkin cupcakes with Pumpkin filling and topped with Cream cheese frosting. Yum! 

Also made Oatmeal cookies with white chocolate chips and toffee bits—my family always seems to enjoy these! And I attempted to make Snickerdoodles...they weren't the best "Snickerdoodle" cookie out there but they did come out perfectly shaped :) And of course, can't forget the pies! The Custard pie disappeared before I could snap a photo lol.

And that's a wrap for my 2014 Thanksgiving! Time to shop ;)

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