Thanksgiving Day in Germany is just another work day, just another day for almost everybody. When we moved here in 1994, it was important to me that we celebrate Thanksgiving and the 4th of July, so that our kids would experience that part of the USA each year. When the kids were little, we would have our Thanksgiving celebration after school around 1 pm and then had the afternoon to enjoy. The last few years, we have to wait until everyone is home from work which means eating around 6:30 pm. But, I still want to celebrate on the 4th Thursday of November. Turkey is in the oven, pies and sweet potato casserole are made, in a bit I will peel the mountain of potatoes and finish up the stuffing. For now, I sit and reflect.
This year has been a hard year, hard but full of grace and God’s love poured out over our family. Last Christmas we spent a week with our children and grandchildren. God gave us safety for the thousands of miles traveled, provided financially for the trip, blessed us with a beautiful house to stay in, and we made memories, memories, memories.
When Fred, Travis and Erik flew home, Kassandra and I flew out to Minnesota. What a blessing to have time with two of my brothers and their families. I arrived home in time to spend the last week of my dad’s life helping mom care for him. My youngest brother and family planned a last minute trip to see dad, but missed him by two days. Instead they were here for the funeral. I honestly do not know how we would have walked through that week without them.
Travis and Erik both finished their apprenticeships and were hired to keep working where they did the apprenticeship. We found a cute apartment for my mom that is just 3 blocks from our house. My nephew, Joe, and his girlfriend, Saragh, helped paint, put furniture together and much more. Travis and Erik have gone out of their way to help Oma. We sold mom’s house and the inheritance certificate came the day before my trip, which was a huge answer to prayer.
The beginning of the year our furnace started dying. Not a good thing for someone as cold blooded as I am. When the new furnace was installed, we found out we had water damage in Kassandra’s room. Long story short, after a lot of mess, tons of appointments with the insurance and the people who would fix things back up, we finally had things back to normal 6 months after we started the project. But God’s grace carried us through that.
For Kassandra’s wedding, she and I had made a list of all the things that were needed: her brothers to have vacation, flights, a place for all of us to stay, good weather for an outdoor wedding, a job for her, an apartment for her and Arron and much more. God answered every single request!
Uriah and Callen both joined our family this year, there are stories of miracles for both of them. God is good. I could fly over after Callen was born to help Heidi and enjoy time with our girls and their families.
A year ago I would have panicked if I had known everything we would face this year. But, looking back, I see grace instead of hard. Grace upon grace as it says in the Gospel of John. My heart is full. Thank you, God for the hard, but especially for your grace.