Friday, November 30, 2012

Grateful and Thoughtful

This last month has been a diffiult one! Its been great at the same time!

cockroach infestation, locking the keys out, losing 100 Euro worth of transportation tickets, having my wallet stolen...TWICE.....Sigh

One of the most difficult things of this fall has been being far from home. Christmas is difficult to be away from home but maybe Thanksgiving is worse. I think with the focus on Christ at  Christmastime and roughly the same amount of "time off" makes the Christmas holiday somewhat more bearable. But Thanksgiving doesn't exist here! Not one reference! Of course I don't expect it-- but I missed it. I feel like Thanksgiving is about celebrating family more than anything. We meet together and serve each other food, share memories, enjoy games together.  And I missed all of that! On Thanksgiving day I worked a 10 hour day and missed talking with my family on Skype because I was caught in an unexpected English lesson. I kind of became emotionally unstable..... So Ulises and I called my family after they had eaten and I was able to recover composure. My dear Ulises was so sweet. When he saw how sad I was and how much I was missing my family he went and bought a turkey ($$$$$$) and we held our very own thanksgiving here in Spain! This is how it went down:

The night before our "Thanksgiving" Ulises studied his engineering for 5 hours as I made 2 pumpkin pies and 6 mini apple pies. I know that seems like a lot of time but I used my Grandmother Rose's secret pumpkin chiffon pie recipe that not only uses EVERY dish in the house, but also requires a lot of mixing and waiting and icing and fluffing and whipping. I also had to do a lot of clean up. But the pies turned out GREAT!

We held our celebration the Sunday after Thanksgiving and it was also held at 9:30 at night--typical Spanish dinner time. That left little time to 'relax' before having to get up for work the following morning at 6:00. not fun. But better than not having Thanksgiving at all!

Also, although my mother in law is more than completely capable of making savory, delicious meals-- I suppose I didn't leave a strong enough impression on either her or my sister- in-law that Thanksgiving is a time to PULL OUT all the stops! So for their respective assignments of Mashed Potatoes and Vegetables (what I deem pretty simple versatile options) they arrived with a box of patato flakes and a bag of frozen veggie bits.... and then proceeded to cook them on my stove. That was a little disheartening since I spent 5 hours the previous day on pie crusts and filling, and more time the next day on the turkey itself.... But it all turned out well! I was just happy they came. And that they enjoyed it!

I also was really happy that I could finally impress them with some culinary skills. The few times I have made things for the entire family I haven't really "shined." -- Not that I pride myself on being a good cook, but I would like them to think I'm not completely inept at everything... which is what it seems like most of the time!

So here, Enjoy some pictures of THANKSGIVING! Be jealous-- the pie is DELICIOUS!

We also took time to make lists of what we were grateful for. Ulises list was sweet, It included me, his motorbike, his family... and the one item that brought him to tears (note that it was not me....) was his childhood dogs.... which is actually really sweet!

IOh-- and I wont forget-- Ulises made rolls with a scripture rolled up and baked inside. When each person opened their roll they read a scripture about gratitude.

I thought it was a great thanksgiving!

But this thanksgiving also brought many tears...

My 'Uncle' Richard died the day after Thanksgiving. He was at his home in Utah when he collapsed when brushing his teeth. I'm not sure I understand the details, but because they were unable to resuscitate him quickly, his brain did not receive enough oxygen and it died. After the prognosis was given to my aunt-- that her husband was brain-dead, she chose to let nature take his course and about 2 days later he died. The family is of course grief stricken. He was only 59. He was a great advocate of family values and worked in various governmental positions supporting and advocating family values. He spoke at international conferences and at UN counsels. He was a dedicated law professor and political writer. Aside from being the smartest man I have known personally, he was jolly! He was a talented actor! He had a laugh that you could recognize across a crowded room. he had light  in his eyes. he will be sorely missed. I feel bad that I can't attend the funeral on Saturday but I know there will be hundreds there to support his family.

here is an article about him:

and photo gallery:

But arent we grateful that the last day he spent on earth was surrounded by family and that he spent the day giving thanks to God? Is there a better time to go than after living a day entirely in Thanksgiving, surrounded by those who you love? Now of course the real mourning should be for his Family whom he left behind. They will be in my prayers continually. I hope they cling to the hope of the glorious resurrection and faith in God's plan of salvation. We are so blessed to be children of God!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.... and please, turn on some Christmas Music!


  1. I enjoyed this post a lot. Our condolences for your uncle.
    The food looks delicious. I def think it was a success!!

  2. So sorry to hear about your uncle, Mary. Prayers for you & your family!

  3. Mary you are so talented! This is a great post and I'm happy you were able to have your own Thanksgiving in Spain! :) I'm sorry for your loss though. Especially at this time of the year that must be hard! I'm praying comfort comes to you and yours. God bless!