Per the prophet’s request, Woo and I posted things we were grateful for to social media. Woo’s posts were all substantial and creative, but also cost him a lot of angst and time. We both had some positive experiences, but we are exhausted and very excited to be going back to spending extremely little to no time on social media. 

My prayers of gratitude were significantly more refreshing, and I was led to several changes there that I will be continuing.

Woo suggested to the kids (who don’t have social media accounts) that they raise their hands in class and express gratitude to their teachers. 

Ruby did exactly that in her Portuguese class. I’m frequently amazed at Ruby’s bravery... this is the teacher that she has a strained relationship with (long story that I’ll probably tell sometime)... I personally would’ve picked a more sympathetic teacher, so I can only assume Ruby was following the spirit.

Anyway, Ruby thanked this teacher for coming to school and teaching them everyday (as some of you know, this is not always a given in Portugal). This teacher just gaped at Ruby speechless. And then didn’t come to school the next day or since! (She’s being super, super safe about a COVID transmission—so safe that doctors told her they weren’t going to test her for the virus when she told them the circumstances—but she’s still taking her two weeks :). 

Penelope also expressed gratitude to her teacher and was rewarded with a big hug as expected. 

Moses started out the week with some beautiful thank you prayers, but we are just tired by the end of the week. This school schedule is wearing us down, by Friday we are barely holding it together.

I’m so excited that the next two weeks have public holidays that would normally mean a day off of school each, but now each have been extended to two days in an effort to “save Christmas.”

Our Christmas is already taken care of. I’m looking forward to REST. 

Herbie finished his poncho in time for surf club. He wore it on Friday and was not believed that he’d made it (until he showed them the inside stitching close up :). Then he was praised for transforming something he already had into something he needed.

This kind of thing is looked upon highly here. There are regularly contests for local artists and school assignments to create things out of trash. Both Ruby and Linus currently have assignments to make Christmas decorations out of recyclables. I do think that increased materialism is something we’ve escaped in moving here. 

To be honest, every holiday season I recognize that being in Portugal is a personal blessing to me personally. So many things that were very difficult for me around this time, simply are not possible or don’t exist here, and I feel like I’m getting a warm, personal hug from my Heavenly Parents, saying: “Remember what we’re sparing you from? We’ve done it because we understand you and we love you.”

All the kids have been making snowflakes for use around the house and on our tree, but Linus and Archie have been especially excited about it. Archie also made this snowman. 

And... that’s our week! Hope yours was great!