Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving in London

I love Thanksgiving in London!  The weather is cool and crisp.  This year it was also amazingly dry! I went for a run Thanksgiving morning and it was hard to breath with the cool air but I found myself smiling with my music blaring as I took in the scenery.

We also get together and have a potluck dinner with our American friends and their families.  This year we were fortunate and celebrated Thanksgiving 3 times!  Jason missed both potlucks with our friends so we took him to Sunday roast.  It is so much fun to have a range of dishes that people would eat at their Thanksgiving dinner back home.  The kids love getting together and running around.  The house is loud, the food smells wonderful, we eat way too much and it actually feels like we are back home as we talk about what we are thankful for.  The hostesses this weekend were so gracious in opening their house to us.  The flowers and turkey looked so beautiful together!  The mulled wine and egg nog were delicious too.  These get togethers also make me nervous and anxious.  I'm always worried that my kids are going to break something, hit someone, or destroy someone else's house.  It is a blessing and a curse all wrapped up in one but sipping on my adult beverages definitely helped keep my nerves in check.



One of our friends was a teacher back home and she read Thanksgiving books to the kids.  My kids loved it and loved how animated storytelling could be.  She also shared poems with the kids.   My kids have never heard reading like that.  We read to them but usually by the end of the day all enthusiasm is gone and there are not multiple voices in our story telling.  Taryn loved it so much she asked if Sabrina could read at her birthday party while they are eating.

Taryn also received her first love letter.  It was so cute as Ollie professed his love for Taryn.  Taryn explained to me on our walk home that she thinks things will work out between the two of them but she is going to play hard to get.  Plus, she is a little young to get married so they will talk about it again when they are in high school. (Ha, still too young, sweetheart!)  She said that it made her feel special that a boy could be so sweet to her.  It was precious!



We finished our Thanksgiving weekend by going to Sunday roast at our favorite pub.  We all talked about what we are thankful for and it was all very similar.  Sebastian is thankful that we are living in London.  All the kids mentioned that they are thankful for their schools.  Taryn is thankful that we have money so we can buy things like food and clothes.  She is also thankful for money so she can go shopping at Tiger.  Jillian was thankful for Taryn.  Jason and I were thankful for our family and for living in London.


We have been blessed over the last 14 months of living in London.  We have made friendships that are going to last a life time.  We have learned so much about the British culture and how to adapt to others.  We have travelled all over Europe and will continue to travel.  We are always surrounded by history and culture.  We have learned to depend on each other as a family.  This time of year also makes us miss our families and friends.  It is hard to see everyone together eating turkey and being so far away.  We are thankful for technology so that we can share the holiday with each other.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Thursday, November 10, 2016

What to Write....

There are so many ideas in my head and so many things we have been doing that I have tons to write. The blog posts should be flowing out of me.  However, every time I sit down to write, I can't get out what I'm trying to say.  I am struggling with expressing myself.  So today is going to be a random post of all the things going through my mind.

Topic #1 - I have a love/hate relationship with fall.  I love the trees changing colors, I love wearing boots, I love putting on scarves and hats, and I love the crisp cool air.  I hate the rain and not being able to go to parks, I hate the dark, I hate the wind blowing through your body, I hate the time change, and I hate all the leaves that come into my house.  All of this leads to my crazy moods in the fall.  I am happy one moment and cranky the next.  Oh fall, one day I will learn to embrace you better!  As I wrote this I was thinking of the following Bible passage:

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend; and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Topic #2 - Politics.  Brexit.  Presidential election in the states.  In the past, I would read and watch everything having to  do with politics and I loved debating it.  I would argue for hours with anybody who wanted to.  As I have gotten older, I have found myself straying away from these conversations and not being interested in politics.  I have kind of quit following them until the last few months where I have been forced back into educating myself on political issues.  I refuse to form my opinion without looking at the facts but the facts seem so hard to find.  My Facebook feed is full of hatred and such strong opinions.  I am sad that Brexit is happening and I am sad that Trump won the presidency in the states but I want to move forward.  I want to find a way to have hope for the future of the world.  I want to teach my kids to be compassionate and to love all people.  I want them to be open to different opinions and different views of the world.  I'm just finding it hard to have hope for the future right now.  I remind myself of two things, 1. God has a plan and I have to trust in Him and 2. throughout history there have been changes that have had major impacts on the world.  The verse that continues to come to mind is Jeremiah 29:11:
     
"For I know the plans, I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope an a future."

Topic #3 - I love living in London and all the experiences we are having but I'm missing my friends and family terribly.  We have been here 14 months now and I have not been back to the States.  I was doing ok until Jason headed back to San Antonio this week for work.  The first day he was gone, I cried because he got to go back and reconnect with friends while I continue to miss them.  My niece was a baby when I left and now she is almost 2!  She is walking and talking and growing so quickly. My nephew and Taryn are the best of friends and miss each other so much.  Taryn's best friend is in San Antonio and she often talks about when is she going to see her again.  I would talk to my dad every morning on my drive to work and now we only have time to talk a couple of times a week, I miss those conversations.  My mom has been awesome at coming to London but the months in between visits are brutal.  We are sad when she leaves and are anxiously awaiting her return.  We cherish those moments with my mom but I wish they could happen more frequently.  I have friends who have been going through tough times and my heart breaks because I'm not there for them.  I have friends who have exciting things happening in their lives and I'm not there to celebrate.  On a happy note, I have made some friends here who are amazing and will always be a part of our life.  I cherish the time with my friends and appreciate their support.  I love how we pull together when times are tough and how we celebrate each other's successes.  I know that these friends have had a major impact on me and that many of them have become my family over here.

Proverbs 17:17

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

Exodus 20:12

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

Topic #4 - The kids are doing amazingly well over here!  We had parent/teacher conferences yesterday and they are performing at high levels.  Taryn doesn't know it yet but she is going to get writer of the week!  I am so proud of her and what she has accomplished.  The favorite thing that her teacher told me yesterday was that Taryn is no longer afraid to give things a go and that she is embracing her mistakes!  I seriously shed a couple of tears and was beaming when I walked out of her classroom.  My little girl has grown up so much in the last 14 months and has achieved so much.  Sebastian is talking so much more and trying so hard with his speech.  His teacher shared a story that I will treasure forever, Sebastian was asked to come to the front of the class to read a word and work on blending his sounds.  She said that he said all the letters perfectly then was able to blend them to say hat.  I was so proud of him for standing in front of his friends and not just talking but reading!  I am so proud of him!  I hold onto this verse for my children every day:

Proverbs 22:6 

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Topic #5 - Thank you for reading my blog.  It is one way that process what is happening with me and my family.  It is also one of the things that I do for myself.  I pour my heart and my thoughts into my blog.  It helps me to let things go or to celebrate what we have accomplished.  It allows me to share our travels, which is one of my favorite parts of being over here.  As I finish up this crazy post, I feel so much better.  Thank you for indulging me and thank you for letting me ramble.  I hope each and everyone of you finds your outlet.  I hope that you have a way of letting things go or processing what is going on in your head or celebrating all your successes!


Cheers!

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