It’s Thanksgiving in the United States today. Last year we had Thanksgiving with Grammy and Pampa and Uncle Curt on our back porch in sunny Fallbrook. I was sick and depressed. Tony was between jobs again. Grammy mostly cooked the whole dinner herself. I don’t remember if I even did anything besides feel tired. This year things aren’t quite back to normal, but they are better. A lot better. At least I can picture them getting back to normal, which was hard to do last year. So this Thanksgiving I feel thankful for some really big things, and a lot of little things.
I feel thankful that we are back in Italy. What a miracle to somehow end up here again, in spite of the disaster our life has been for the past couple of years.
In conjunction with that, I’m thankful that Tony has a solid job with a solid company here in Italy. It lends a lot of desperately needed stability to our life.
I feel thankful that the moving saga has slowed down. We’ve spent this year in three different countries, and I fall so short of describing those moves was when I say that they were hard.
I feel thankful for my U.S. visiting teachers who listened to me tell them how crazy my life was, month after month, and my inlaws, who came and cleaned my house and watched my children every couple of weeks when I was sick. I feel thankful for the strangers who gave us goats and chickens without even knowing how much we wanted them, and the ward member who gave us enough firewood to last the whole winter. I feel thankful for a Greek business acquaintance who took us out for pizza when we were alone and lonely in a city of ancient monuments, and a lovely Peruvian woman who understood what it was like to be far from home, and told us every Sunday how happy she was to see us, even though she knew we wouldn’t be there long. I feel thankful for excursions in the countryside, pavlova, and rides home from church in Ireland. I feel thankful for the missionaries everywhere we went, who made us feel so welcome even though they knew very well we weren’t investigators, and for a series of caring bishops and branch presidents who really took the time to get to know us. I feel thankful for four bags of hand-me-down winter clothes from Switzerland. I feel thankful for roasted chestnuts, precious Argentine candy shared with us, and that little cyclamen flower that’s somehow still alive.
I feel thankful for all the wonderful friends who have done so much to help us when we really needed it. I can’t even count the many different ways we have needed help during the past year, and every time we needed something, someone was there. To those of you who helped, whether it was baby-sitting our children, helping us find somewhere to live, inviting us for dinner, welcoming us at Church when we were new, or any one of a hundred other big and little things, thank you. Please know that you have made a difference to us. We will be forever grateful, and no doubt will spend the rest of our lives passing on all the acts of kindness we’ve received during this past year.