Saturday, December 29, 2012

Thankfulness Day 20

Nov. 20
I am thankful for hubby coming home.

One of the reasons I fell behind was (along with school), hubby came home. He left the 5th of July. I am thankful that he was only gone for 4 1/2 months instead of the expected 6 months and he got home before Thanksgiving. When he left, I was expecting to spend the winter holidays with just me and our dog Belle. For reasons I won't post here (security after all is more important), his group left and came home earlier than expected. He came home free of injuries and in one piece...yet another thing to be thankful for.

Thankfulness Day 19

Nov. 19
I am thankful for about three websites for TV shows.

I know it sounds like an odd thing to be thankful for. Let me explain why it's legit. Having been born and raised in America, there are shows that we all tend to get attached to and want to see how they play out. Living overseas, most of the websites (like CBS and FOX) don't accept an IP address that is from a country other than the U.S. Being close to a military base, it's possible to get AFN (Armed Forces Network), but that will only take you so far. What about the episodes you missed? I don't want to buy random episodes from iTunes...that can get rather expensive. So what's a viewer to do?

Fortunately, there are folks out there that have created TV show viewing episodes that users upload via certain sites and other users can stream. Nothing is downloaded, which means no viruses can attach their dirty little selves to that missing episode and hitch a ride to my innocent little laptop. As long as you have internet, it will load. Once it loads, you can view the episode even if you "get kicked off" for random reasons. The episode won't stay on your computer forever, but will last long enough for you to get caught up. I'm thankful for all three because once you get caught up with one, there may be shows from the past that have since been cancelled you've wanted to you can. I currently watched a show that has since been cancelled, but was able to watch it from the pilot through to the series finale. Although I love living in Europe, there are somethings that I do miss...and a few beloved shows is one of them. :-)

Thankfulness Day 18


I am thankful for my church family. The above isn't a picture of the people because I'm not sure how they would feel about their images being posted, so a picture of our church is the next best thing.

We started going to the above church October 2010. We had been back in America visiting family and my dad made the comment that we needed to find a church to go to. Thinking back, there was almost an urgency to it....something he never did before. We said we would...he made us promise. Hubby had heard about a church that we decided to try find before Sunday. We found the above one. We ended up going on a Sunday night. Our plan was to go to this church the following Sunday and Sunday night, then go to another one Sunday and Sunday night, etc. until we had "hit up" all the churches we had heard about. Then we would sit down and make a decision about which one to go to. didn't go that way. We went on that first night, then the following Sunday/Sunday night. The next Sunday morning, we go up and as we were getting dressed, hubby made the comment, "We're not going to that chapel (next on our list) are we?" We didn't and never looked back. We discovered later on that this church wasn't the one that his contact was referring to....that church was across the street. It was God's hand. We went to the church that we were meant to go to. And I am soooo thankful we did.

July 9th, 2011 I broke my leg (story in a later post). If it weren't for that loving church family attached to the above church, I literally have NO clue on what I would've done. One lady broke into the house to get to me (all the doors were locked and I couldn't get to them) and stayed with me until I finally got to my hospital room...she also stayed that first night and then the day of my surgery. One lady brought toiletries and drinks. Two families stopped by and brought flowers. One lady came to visit and to cheer me up (took 2 buses to do so). One lady picked me up from the hospital and helped me up the 24 steps to my house. After I got home, most of the church stopped by at one time or another....half the time bearing something for me. Two or three of the ladies took me to run errands when I needed to get out of the house as well as to church. One of the guys took me to church and helped carrying things up or down the stairs. Oh! I forgot to mention....hubby was deployed during this whole time.

While my church family was there during a very hard/trying time of our stay here, that is not the only reason I'm thankful for them. I say family because it's true. Just because most of us are Christians doesn't mean we're not human. We all have failings and character traits that aren't perfect. We all make mistakes and do/say the wrong things at times. If we learn there's an issue, we try to make it right and at the very least apologize for our particular role in it. We are there for one another through the hard times and cheer the good times and celebrate victories. When the military ones of us have upcoming tests (PT or the next rank), we pray. When the test is passed or the rank is made, we cheer and celebrate. When the military member is deployed, we pray. When they return safely, we celebrate. When there is an issue in a family, we come together, pray and close ranks against the enemy. The church family that is found within the walls of that little church have helped families in financial need so they won't go hungry; an orphanage last Christmas have a Christmas; an orphanage this year with shoes and boots and toys. We are currently helping a pastor that was pastoring a poor church (his family could live comfortably on 250 euros a month) that had to come to Pisa in order to get a new liver...we're sending 50 euros a month (through donations from our attendees that want to give) along with other church in order to support him while he waits for his body to fully recover from the surgery.

The outpouring of love and support from my church family is humbling. If there is a need, they/we will find a way to meet it. I don't say type all of this to brag on us as a group of human beings. I say type this to brag on God's love and work through us. We as a human race tend to be rather selfish. The Lord taught us to love Him and to love our neighbors and to give. Everything that our little church does is not to make us proud as peacocks, but to give Him the glory. We do everything in His name. When a need arises, there is prayer. When the need is made known, the abundance of giving would amaze Scrooge himself. People that don't even know where the church is have stopped by to give. Is that us? Not one bit. That is the Lord working through them. There is not. a. single. thing. that is impossible with Jesus Christ. And I for one am thankful to be part of a church family that loves the Lord and follows Him and His Word.

Thankfulness Day 17

Nov 17th
Thankful for my parents. Although they weren't "teachers" in the normal version of the word, they did teach me a lot. I learned through actual teaching (do this, don't do that, instructions, etc.). I also learned by just watching what they did and/or how they did it. I learned about the love of Jesus Christ from them. They took me to church from an infant on. As a teen, I chose where to go to church and most of the time went to a local church (that I walked to) without them (they went to a church farther away). I walked in the heat, the rain, the snow, and the mud. 16 and going to church on a Wednesday night was not something most teens my age were doing.

I learned to give. My parents never "taught" me to give to others, but I learned by watching them. If someone was in need of something, they usually "have {insert item} laying around's yours if you want it....I won't need it." Sometimes that item wasn't that old, but they never wanted that person to feel like they were receiving charity. The response from the grateful receiver was mostly "Well, if you're not going to use it, I would be grateful for it." The saying to give them the shirt off your back certainly fit(s) with my parents.
They also help others in need. They believe (just by living with them then and watching them) that charity begins at home. I'm not talking about home as in their house, but home as in locally. They seem(ed) to have a calling to help the elderly. If there was a widow woman that mom had gotten to know that needed help, they would. From cutting her grass to taking care of her flowers to just sitting with her "having coffee".

Did I learn the "basics" in life from my mom like cooking or cleaning? No. But I did learn some of the most important lessons in life. Cooking and cleaning and other "basics" can be learned anytime, but everything they taught me can't be learned in a classroom. The "basics" they taught me should be fundamental in every house. Put God first, help others. If I do just those two things, I think that everything else will fall into place. And that everything else I need to know will be taught to me when I need it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thankfulness Day 16

16 November
This day being thankful is about modern conveniences. My hubby is on one of his business trips required by his job. If this were back in the 50s or even 70s when I was born, I could hope for a letter (eventually) or maybe (if I were really blessed AND we had the funds) a phone call once in a blue moon. Thanks to the internet and the cheapness of computers, we can IM on a daily basis and he can call through his work once a week. Those little bits of joy are totally worth it.
Think I'm reaching for straws? Imagine pre-modern days. Your significant other is away for....2 months. I'll be nice and put this in the 50s. Phones were modern, but not as widely popular. If you didn't live in town or close to it, the closest phone might be a pay phone or the local drug store. Even if your family did have one, it was short corded and this was (GASP) before answering machines and cellular phones. That meant, you had to be home in order to talk to the person that was trying to reach you. And calls weren't $0.05 a minute. Noooooo. More like a long distance call was dollars for a short amount of time. Computers? Massive and housed in large buildings that were kept very chilly because the processors might overheat if not (nope, didn't make that up....learned that little tid bit in one of my college courses). The telegraph was widely popular and relatively cheap. Well, that is as long as the person trying to get ahold of you was close to one. Mostly though, it was the postal service. It was as fast as it is today either. Think it's slow now? Ask an "elderly" person who was at least a teen back then. Microwaves? Big and expensive and not in every home. Air conditioner? Ha!

Many times it's easy to take all of what we have for granted. That annoying cell that rings at the worst times is actually a blessing. You can "Ignore" the call you don't want; put the phone on "Vibrate" if you don't want to be disturbed; can be reached by that All-Important-Person whether you're at home, at the store, or out walking Spot. Dinner can take 10 minutes from frozen to table. Missing that bestie? Skype.

Thankfulness Day 15

I've been gone a while and still haven't gotten caught up. Why? School. Not the teeny-bopper HS kinda school. University. I've been taking classes forever (or does it only seem like that?). My on-line class (how I'm taking these fine classes) required the usual textbook...which I ordered. Problem was I'm in Europe and Sandy hit. Soooooo the "snail mail" got pushed back...which meant a month waiting for said book. My teacher posted the first two weeks of chapters, but after that I was on my own. Which meant waiting for said book to arrive (thank God for nice and understanding teachers!!!) and then working reading overtime to get caught up. Which I did....the final day of class....this past Sunday. All assignments (including my final, the conferences, and case studies) turned in. My final grade (found out yesterday evening) A. Pwew!!! 1 more down....2 left until my Bachelor's is done. Buuuuuuut while my lovely winter break occurs, I'll be catching up on To Dos...including these posts.

I was/am thankful for many thing. The 15th thankful was Facebook and a particular page I'm a part of.
Living overseas, it's hard to keep up with friends and family. Being part of the military family, we have friends just about around the world. Phone calls? Waaaaaay too expensive. So, thanks to technology and a young, curly-headed guru, I can catch up on the lives of my friends and family without leaving the comfort of my home office. No, this isn't a service announcement....just a "Glad it was created and opened to the general public".
Living different places over the past....well, let's just say more than a decade (not a typo) and "collecting," we have had quite a few items housed within our walls. The problem is, the curtains you get for this house doesn't fit the next house. So what to do? Do you collect items around the house in hopes that they'll fit a future house? Yes. Well, more to the point of yes, that's how I used to think. After quite a few de-cluttering blogs and minimalizing blogs, I now say No. So.....what to do with all of that extra stuff. That's where my second thankful comes in. One of the pages created on FB is a local (to me) page. This particular page is for us Americans-living-abroad to offer our personal items for sale or to buy others' personal items. It's a great page (there are many similar). I've bought quite a bit, but haven't spent nearly as much as I could've. I've also sold quite a bit and learned where to get certain items from. Another plus is that every item bought/sold is one more item kept out of the landfill as well as one less new item "needed" and therefore made. Win, win, win. Buyers de-clutter; sellers get items wanted/needed; environment doesn't have to supply another new item.
A technological thankful, but a grateful one none-the-less.