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Tuesday, November 29

Thanksgiving, Love, Gifts, and Prayer

Part of me feels like counting blessings like barbecue pizza and candles is trivial, in light of some bad news I received yesterday, that I'll get to later in this post. But really, all is a gift from God. And in times like these, I have to focus on finding beauty, even in small, trivial things, to remember that God is good.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I was thankful for...

Family
We had Thanksgiving dinner with some of our church family; our senior pastor, his wife and kids, and his extended family, as well as some of their friends. Later, we played games and socialized until my SIL arrived. 
Brian's older sister drove over from LA to spend Thanksgiving weekend with us. She probably doesn't appreciate this sort-of candid shot, but it's the only picture I took all weekend with her in it. 

Food
Barbeque Blue Burger, Garlic Fries, and  Baked Potato Fries
Buffalo Chicken Sandwich and Beet Salad
Pumpkin Pie Shake

Barbeque Chicken Pizza
Originally, I was going to fix a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner for the three of us on Friday. Instead, we decided to do some errands and go shopping, and eat at Joe's Farm Grill. I think we made the right choice!

Sales and Coupons
So we did do a little shopping on Friday, at about two in the afternoon, so all the early morning crazies had gone to bed. Andrea gave me a coupon for a free signature item at Bath and Body Works with a purchase. Well, Brian had told me weeks earlier that he really wanted a peppermint scented candle. Bath and Body Works candles were buy one get one free, a really good deal considering that one usually cost $20.
   
So, I got Brian the peppermint candle and myself the evergreen one, and a lotion for free!
I also got good deals on some other things I wanted. While I don't like the idea of going crazy on Black Friday and buying a bunch of stuff right after we were supposedly so thankful for all we had, it was a gift to be able to get good deals on some things that had been on my list for awhile. 

Relaxation
From Thursday to Sunday, we slept in, and I wore my pjs most of the morning. We also watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 and 2, and the special features. After those movies, we transitioned into the Christmas spirit with Elf, White Christmas, and A Miracle on 34th Street. 

While watching White Christmas, Andrea baked an apple crisp, and I made a pumpkin pie.



I read in Better Homes and Gardens that baking is a great stress reliever because it makes you focus on one thing at a time. Plus, eating the dessert is a good stress reliever too.

I'm also thankful for...

  • Christmas music, and that I can now play it loud and proud.
  • The Christmas decor strewn around the dining room, waiting to be put up.
  • Brian allowed me to go shopping, however unwillingly.
  • Brian told me at random times over the weekend that I looked cute, or "cute as a button." How sweet :)
  • Getting to meet a high school friend of Andrea's who lives in Phoenix. We all met up for lunch, and she was a super sweet girl and fun to talk to. Plus, it's always nice to meet fellow Iowans, especially those who attended Iowa State University. 
  • I'm thankful that Brian is skilled at fixing cars. Not only does he keep our cars in good shape, but he was able to fix Andrea's broken door handle over the weekend.
  • Brian mailed my residency application. It's been a long time in the making, and I so appreciate that he's handled the paperwork, putting it together, and getting it sent. 
  • Brian and I have had several good talks about life, work, and what we as a family should do. I love his heart for people and for serving God. 
  • When I emailed Brian yesterday to tell him that I was going to be very busy with final projects this week, he readily offered to help with dinner, dishes, and house cleaning this week. 
  • He is also doing a great job at finding potential houses and analyzing our finances.
  • Yesterday he got us pre-approved for financing. 
  • I'm very thankful that Brian understands how loans, credit scores, etc. work. Because when he tries to explain to me how they decide how much money to loan us, I don't understand a word.
I'm most thankful that I have Brian to lean on. Last night I got a phone call from my dad, which usually isn't a good sign. My Aunt Joy, who, as I've told you about before, was diagnosed with brain cancer, was in the hospital in critical condition. Her brain is swelling, and the doctors are trying to get it under control. 

My dad and my older sister said she has gone downhill fast. She's very swollen from the steroids she's been taking for the pain, she's losing her short term memory, has difficulty speaking and walking, and started having seizures last week. 

I'm afraid that this might mean that we have less time left with her than we thought. 

When I got off the phone with my dad, Brian was there to hold me. I'm very thankful for him. And, I'm very thankful to those of you who follow me on facebook and let me know that you were praying. Thank you so much for your prayers. Please don't stop. 



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