Friday, December 30, 2011

Banner Year

2012 is right around the corner and I am so excited for what God has planned. Jared and I were talking tonight about all of the things that have happened in 2011. We smiled about the adventures we've shared and laughed about all of the crazy challenges we have had to face living here in Switzerland. We can laugh now because we survived it....but there were many moments that at the time we were definitely not laughing...we were praying. We prayed often for for sanity, clarity and strength.

Visiting a foreign country and LIVING in a foreign country are two totally different things. This is my second round of living overseas (I lived in Brazil, South America as a teenager) and neither experience was easy. I am not at all ungrateful for this experience. I realize the tough times were necessary for my own personal growth, but I don't want the "pretty pictures" to fool anyone into thinking that living in foreign lands is picture perfect. Yes, it's beautiful...but with that beauty comes a price. And in Switzerland it is roughly DOUBLE the price of everywhere else. Not too mention the challenge of communicating, transportation (or lack there of) and the most challenging thing of all....being so far from loved ones.

I could go on for hours - even days - about the contrast between America and Europe but the one thing I want to emphasize is that Americans are more privileged than they realize. This week I want you to go through your days and think about all of the things you have that make your life easier or better. Your car, your ability to communicate, your affordable groceries and unlimited choices, your central heating and air, relatively hassle-free housing, your family and friends...anything and everything you do and experience in your day, I want you to imagine how much tougher life would be without those seemingly "expected" things and give thanks for them. When you feel a desire to complain...replace those thoughts with gratitude of what you are already blessed with. This whole experience has made me realize that while we think we have it tough...there are others who have it even tougher. And there's always something to be thankful for thankful.

My hope for you is that this new year is filled with continued blessings and a renewed spirit. We're looking forward to seeing many of you in 2012! Let the countdown to homeward bound begin! :)

Oh...and Jared started his own blog too. You can read his first post here: Immanent Survival. It shares a little bit from his perspective. Staying true to himself it is thoughtful and purposeful with a side of sarcasm! :)

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