This holiday season I am counting my blessings. This has been a special time for us. For thanksgiving we got to spend a surprisingly really special evening with some fellow missionaries at our Mission. We contributed a couple homemade dishes, corn bread stuffing, and sweet potato casserole. I invited a friend I made at the women’s retreat a couple of weeks ago, from Switzerland… so fun!



It can be a little tricky bringing several hot dishes and kids across town by taxi in busy traffic, but I can now tell you that it CAN be done! The Saturday after thanksgiving we celebrated with my brother’s family. I had been cooking all week in preparation. Everything was complicated, but it was sort of a dream come true and excuse to make every single dish from scratch. I made my own broth, which turned into cream of mushroom soup for the green bean casserole, and went into the stuffing. I made my own corn bread and toasted it into crumbs, bought bread from the bakery, made crumbs out of that, I bought celery for $8 from a local grocery store (usually we get fresh stuff from the Market (outdoors from local people, kind of like a big farmer’s market).


$8 Celery (Necessary for stuffing of course)


I fried my own onions for the green bean casserole.




We used pumpkin from the US for our pumpkin pie, I used Leah Cherry’s amazing pie crust suggestions and it turned out so flakey and delicious! I made an apple pie from the Pioneer Woman’s cook book.


I made my own creamed corn for the corn pudding and, we used the hibiscus flowers her to make “cranberry sauce”, and I made my own cardamom rolls which reminded me of Mormor.


Last but not least, I made 2 citrus herb buttered chickens… I didn’t really mind not having turkey, I like chicken better anyway. Oh how wonderful and fulfilling to make so many things and have them turn out so yummy! Anna made a buttermilk pie, cheesy mashed potatoes and a creamy pretzel strawberry jello.


Arielle and Del brought there own side dishes and desserts… we had a feast and spent the whole day resting and enjoying each other. I feel confident that our thanksgiving food was better than most of yours…. LOL JK!





We made a thanksgiving tree this year which I think will be our new tradition. We made leaves for it and daily put more leaves on it with things that we are thankful for, it was fun and good for our souls.


There are a 1,000 things I am thankful for, but it caused me to stop and think what I am truly thankful for right now!! I am so thankful that God communicates and for how he is communicating, I am thankful that I am turning a corner in my relationship with God and seeing him again for who he is, and how he sees me. I am SOoooo thankful for my two girls and their individual personalities, I’m thankful for Penny’s spice and cuddles and Ava’s BIG heart and care for others wellbeing and whether or not they know Jesus.

We got to watch some friend's girls for the evening... Ava and Penny LOVED having friends over

Penny actually let Ava brush her hair… these girls were being sweet together.

I am thankful for family in Africa and the blessing they the been to us. I am thankful for Anna being here, we are gonna miss her so much! I am thankful for “M” (our house) help and for the answer to prayer that she has been. I am also thankful for a new friend in “M”, and for friendship in our language helper Marie Claude, I am beginning to feel blessed with friends. I am thankful that even though expensive there is cheese in Africa, cream, butter, and (even more expensive) 1 good coffee roaster in the city. I am thankful that God has exceeded our expectations with our support level both financially and spiritually. He is so good! We are so thankful for everyone who is behind us!

We have just started French phase 2B which mean we are beginning to study and listen to stories in past tense, our brains are continually getting stretched, but it is encouraging to know that we are progressing. We have been here for 3 months, and the other day was my first phone conversation in French. I even dream in French, usually it’s the same word and it’s a frustrating dream but it is french :).

Like I said I am really grateful for our maid. I feel like God desire’s her heart, and I can see all over the place that he loves her and is pursuing her. She and her spice fits our family really well… of course both those things would fit well in our family :).  What I love about her is that she will sit and eat with us and sometimes struggle through french conversation for sometimes hours at a time, she doesn’t rush out when she’s done with her work. My desire is to show her Love, and build a relationship with her, which is definitely happening. I want her to know that when she’s in our home, she’s a part of our family.  We are hoping as time goes on, and within all of our own human mistakes that God would give us the grace to show  his love and compassion, so that those around us will want to know the God who gave his life for us.

some pretty baskets I found

some pretty baskets I found

Last week was sort of a momentous day. Arielle, Annalise, Anna and I were all going to be going to the fabric market, and I invited “M” to come with us, not to work but to just hang out with us, she asked me why? I said “because I like you” she smiled and to my surprise she said yes! I instantly felt nervous, like what had I done? Was this going to be weird? We wouldn’t all fit in a taxi, what were we going to do? It turned out to be a really fun time, and LOVED getting to spend time with her as just a friend rather than just her boss. She took us on car rapids (Rap-eeds) there, and as we looked for fabric, she helped and left stores when she didn’t want to stay anymore dragging us with her, she was cracking us up the whole time!! It was really fun though and wouldn’t have been the same with out her. Arielle, Annalise and Anna were all saying how fun she was! I came home with a happy heart and grateful I had stepped out on a little limb in asking her to come with us.

We have been here for 3 months now, and the reality is starting to sink in that this is our new home. I still struggle (not physically, but mentally) with not eating gluten free/grain free, and very limited refined sugar. This is a hard area for me because I LOVE cooking with healthy ingredients, and even though I can get a lot of stuff here, there is a lot that I can’t get. I catch myself thinking “when we get back to the states I’m gonna make this, this and this!” When the reality is that this stuff we have here, this is what we get and this is what I can learn to cook with. So I do recognize that it won’t be so hard forever, it will get easier/normal to eat the way we eat here, and I look forward to when I stop thinking about the ingredients I WANT to use. Right now it has to be a conscious choice to choose joy, and I’m hoping that in time I won’t have to choose joy so often it will come a little more naturally… lol, that sounds funny, I hope you know what I mean.

I made potstickers this week... they took hours to make, but turned out really yummy!!

I made potstickers this week… they took hours to make, but turned out really yummy!!

I was so grateful we brought our Christmas box with us, it makes it feel like home!

I was so grateful we brought our Christmas box with us, it makes it feel like home!