Thursday, November 22, 2007

Feliz Dia de Ação de Graças!

Yes, that is the best Portuguese translation available of Happy Thanksgiving! (I just confirmed it with my tutor about an hour ago!)

This is our first major American holiday outside of the good ole US of A. It is kind of weird that Eric got up and went to work this morning. We both have been talking this week about what we wanted to do to celebrate Thanksgiving tonight, and, then somehow this morning, we both forgot it was here already.

This might be the first time since we moved that a little twinge of homesickness is upon us (well, I guess I can't speak for my husband, but for me at least . . .) All afternoon the only thing I can think of is how hungry I am for some of Grandma's homemade noodles with mashed potatoes, a slice of turkey, cornbread dressing, sweet potato souffle, greenbean casserole, some pumpkin pie . . . Yeah, this is pretty much torture right now typing this! ;) And actually, all my family is probably gathering around right now snitching little pieces of turkey and ham anxiously awaiting the rolls to come out of the oven so Grandad can ask the blessing and everyone can start piling their plates full. My brother, Travis, is probably making some awful pun or telling an 'ughhhh' joke and my cousin, Lindsey, is no doubt ready to fill her plate above the rim with nothing but noodles. These are the moments that make living in Brasil not quite paradise - it's hard to be so far away from the people we love (especially during the holidays!)

BUT, we have an awful lot to be thankful for this year and no longing for a chunk of gobbler can diminish that! This year: I married the most incredible man in the world who also happens to be my best friend, I got to wear my wedding dress twice!, we are making wonderful new friends in Brasil, the paperwork is almost finalized and we will get our apartment here real soon, we have been kept safe and healthy, we have the most incredible friends back home, we spent a relaxing week in Jamaica on our honeymoon, our families have been so supportive of our move, we were given this wonderful opportunity to come to Brasil, we are learning Portuguese fast enough to get around, our families have been blessed with good health (even though some have required a little attention to keep them that way), we have many good friends who have given birth to healthy babies (even if a couple of them did come too early!), we have been surrounded by lots of family and friends, our relationship and now our marriage has grown stronger with each passing day, I survived my first Iowa winter, I don't have to go through another winter for awhile ;), we got our house rented and all vehicles sold before we moved to Brasil, I got to retire! hehe, I finally got to take the cake decorating classes I have been wanting to take for a long time, we got to help our 2 nieces celebrate their 3rd and 1st birthdays, oh, I could go on forever and still not be able to count all the things I am thankful for this year . . .

Maybe the one thing that stands out in my mind as the greatest blessing for me this year though, and for what I am most thankful, is the wonderful peace that the Lord has given me this year. I started off the year a little disappointed 1. because I felt certain Eric would propose to me sometime before Valentine's Day, but he didn't and 2. because I was searching really hard for a permanent job (I was in a temporary, grant position) and was not having much luck finding something in my area. But as frustrating as those two things were for me from time to time, I felt some amount of peace about it all, like everything was going to be okay. And then, as the year progressed, Eric and I made the biggest 2 decisions of our lives to date: he (finally!) proposed and we decided to accept the offer to come down to Brasil. And have I mentioned that because of the latter decision I only had 4 months to plan our wedding??? In a matter of about 48 hours we made 2 huge decisions that would play a pretty big part in everything that comes later . . . and I never once had a doubt that it was exactly the right thing to do. I never got cold feet or wondered if I was marrying the right man, I didn't question the ability to plan a wedding in 4 months, I never wondered if Brasil was the right place for us to be going, I didn't even freak out when 5 weeks before we were supposed to go to Brasil we hadn't sold a single vehicle or got our house rented. (And then there is the part where everything has happened with such perfect timing this year, even when we didn't know it at the time, but anyway . . .)

All of my life, I have had to have control of every situation and this year, for the first time ever, I feel like I haven't had a lot of control of much. Normally, that would totally freak me out. But I believe that God has had a hand in everything that has happened this year and He has given me such peace about it all. Ever since I was a little girl, I've prayed for all the things I want and think I need, and then I'd finish with, "but Your will be done." To be totally honest, I am not really sure how much I always meant that last part though. What I really wanted to say was "please let my will be Your will and let that be done." But for the first time this year I think I've really meant it when I've asked for Him to guide my life. And strangely enough, ;) I have felt really good about everything happening in my life this year. Not to mention how smoothly things have gone!

So, yes, I have an awful lot to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving, but more than anything else, I praise the Lord for the peace that He has given me. I hope everyone has a wonderful day, please eat some turkey for me, and be thankful for all the many blessings!

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