Life is put on pause as we have been hit with fevers, tummy aches and snotty noses.
this means more soups, more read-alouds, more naps, more hot drinks.

I found I could buy fresh camomile at my little corner store.
I boiled it up, served it to my poor, sick family, and asked for feedback.

Joshua says - "pretty good"
Malachai says - "tastes like artichoke water"
(I guess I'll make some more tomorrow)   

Our Christmas morning walk: There were no moving cars anywhere;  it was astounding - - we could have crossed the streets without even looking (but we did anyways, because we're western influenced that way)


Christmas:  the kids snuck into our room and climbed into bed with us this morning; we snuggled for a while and then Malachai ran and got the bible so that we could read the story - - the story that was the culmination of thousands of years of history . . . the story of God becoming man to rescue humanity.

crazy stuff, I tell you;
and sweet and wonderful and good and true. 

Jesus is the best gift;
the best gift ever.


Selma and I ran some errands yesterday;  we picked up a leafy branch and toted it home (sorry random man;  my little girl didn't mean to almost poke your eye out with her branch).
we wrapped it into a wreath.
we thought it looked nice.
Josu thought that it looked preeeeetty good, but that it needed something on it to make it fancier.
(I could have told you he would have said that; I need to check Selma's ribbon drawer for a little something fancy)

1. we will pass out christmas cookies to our neighbors
2. I will look for some Kinder eggs to put in the kids stockings
3. we will whip up some cinnamon rolls and pop them in our fridge for our Christmas morning (I think it's been about five years since I made cinnamon rolls;  I'm hoping it all goes right)
4. Joshua teaches at the Christmas eve service of a church nearby (do you want to come?  please do!)


Did we see the world's cutest puppy at the flea market last Saturday?
I'm pretty sure Selma thinks we did:


where should the tree go?
"right here" says Selma.


We walked to the little bakery just around the corner this morning (to get some sun-dried tomato focaccia bread - their Saturday specialty), and then to the flea market - two of our favorite Saturday morning activities.

And on our way home God took the thread of our lives and crossed it with a couple of lovely ladies that we met last year when Joshua preached at an English speaking international church.

They were looking for the flea market;
I told them that we were only a block from our house - that they had to come over for some coffee (the flea market could wait)

so our sidewalk meeting turned into a coffee;
Our coffee turned to lunch;
and somehow
our lunch turned into a fantastic christmas tree hunt.

Not bad for a sidewalk meeting. . . . 

p.s. even though I just blogged about Christmas trees, I reserve the right to blog about Thanksgiving some time later on this week if I want.  


Joshua grew up in Bakersfield.
have you heard of it?
It's located somewhere north of LA and south of San Francisco.
I don't think I had ever heard of Bakersfield before I met Joshua.

I like Bakersfield for two reasons:
1.  the man I love grew up there (even if he does like to playfully boast that he was one of the few who was able to escape  . . .  it is his origin) 
2. Dewars ice cream shop ("a family tradition for over 100 years!")

We stopped by Dewars last month - on our way back from our Thanksgiving celebration at the Smith family cabin.  I got peppermint iced-milk, like I always do.  Selma got bubble gum ice cream with gummy bears on top.   


We are back home.
back in Mexico.

it's our Mexico now.

we've been to our coffee shop . . .
caught up on news from our favorite waiters;
we've walked to our parks,
and shopped for some kitchen basics at our little corner market.

it's good to be home.


Goodness!  was that really a month ago?
We baked up a cake and took it to a favorite neighborhood hangout to share with our friends (and the waiters and the kitchen staff . . . who will soon be our friends too . . . just wait and see!)

the cake may or may not have been leaning to the left;
and I may or may not have sliced the bottom off trying to straighten it . . . only to make it then lean to the right.
I don't want to talk about that right now.

I would rather tell you how my five year old baby hopped on an airplane the next day, and had another birthday party in an other country.  
cheeky girl.

Selma, at 5 you are:
vibrant and alive,
an amazing kitchen helper, 
a little bit bossy (we'll call you "a strong leader"?), 
the first to join in on a song or dance,
a kind friend,

I'm glad to live life with you, sweet girl.


Joshua took this picture of me a couple of weeks ago.
I like it - I look all content (and kind of goofy)
lately, that sums me up pretty well.

I've traveled around the world this month.
I've seen wonderful things and beautiful people . . . shiny, modern buildings and brown rolling fields.
I've loved and been loved;
I've cried out to God and begged him to pour out more grace in the lives of the ones I love . . . and I've rested because I know he's good.
I've snuggled with my friend's children and have smiled to watch them snuggle with my own.
I've eaten well,
and had about a hundred coffees.

see? I have reasons to be content. . .


Mexico has little bananas.
They're not all little, of course
but you can get them that way if you want.

Josu loves these babies;  he can eat about twenty of them in one sitting.

When we got out the little bananas for breakfast this morning, we had a photo shoot with them. 
it just seemed right.


Sometime Josu asks me to race him;
I usually say yes.

Sometimes he asks me if I would rather  run-race or skip-race.

and I'm like - "um skip-race, of course"
because there is very little in life that makes me as happy as seeing Josu skip.
(If you ever saw him skip,
you would totally understand)


Do you ever have those days where you crash into bed late at night  - and you only have 30 seconds of mental awareness left in you- and you use it all to thank God that the bits of your day that seemed out of your control were not out of his control?

And then you wake up the next morning begging God for grace to patiently love your (bickering) children . . . because you are painfully aware of the sin in your own heart, and you are desperate for the help that only Jesus can give?

I think I've had a week of those days.
I'm tired.
but I'm thankful for those days.

They remind me that I can't live without Jesus;
and that he is always enough.


We spent the weekend celebrating Mexico.

We waved Mexican flags,
ate Mexican food,
listened to Mexican karaoke (maybe next year we'll sing?),
and felt thankful for this country that has generously welcomed our family into the rhythms and customs of every day life.


We walked to the grocery store this evening to pick up some things for dinner.  On our way home we found a slimy green fountain (you know, the kind of fountain that's not fountaining any more . . . ) and Joshua and I counted for the kids as they took turns racing down the ledge;

and I am reminded tonight how much I really like not having a car.  There have been about, um, maybe 2.75 times that I have wished for one this past year, but all the other three billion times that I've thought about it, I have only been thankful to live without one;   My list of reasons is probably a mile-long, but tonight it's just because I love the way that it pushes us out into our community - - the way that it forces us to see and to be seen - to know and to be known.

This is our neighborhood.
we are claiming it - one walk at a time.


we planted a bean (two, actually - just in case)
we will water it
and hope it grows


Last week we met Yujin.
she was sent our way by Ariel (who we met 2 weeks ago)

Yujin - we quickly found out - was from Korea and had been backpacking around the world for the past seven months; and she needed a place to stay while she spent her last night in Mexico City.

It actually ended up being four nights (oops, I guess we misread that email . . . ) but it worked out well because Yujin was the best sort of last minute guest:
she told us all about the places she had been, the food she had eaten, and the ways that her trip had changed her life.  We pulled out our globe and she traced out her journey from one country to another.  She went on walks with us, made us a Korean dinner, lent the kids her camera, and introduced Josu and Selma to Korea's favorite pop singers.

We said our goodbye's on Wednesday.
The kids sent Yujin off with their favorite book and about a billion hugs
and she took a little piece of our heart
back to Korea.

(above: Malachai got his hand on Yujin's camera and took this sweet picture of us.  He also took pictures of an ambulance . . .  ) 


Dear Friend,
I hung my laundry up on the roof today;  I wish you had been there with me.

I might have complained to you - just a little - about how gas prices seem to be significantly higher on this side of town, or I may have whispered to you about how there is a rumor going around that one of the neighbors has been switching out their empty gas tanks for our full ones;


mostly, I would have shown you the marvelous sights from our rooftop;

I would have pointed you towards the city center, and then the opposite direction towards Mexico City's gigantic, well loved Chapultepec park (we're only two metro stops away!).

I would have shown you the rooftop across the way with a beautiful garden, and the windows that look like they are straight out of Paris.

We would have heard some of Mexico's favorite tunes being played by a nearby hidden trumpeter, and I would have wondered out loud to you if they were practicing for Mexico's independence day celebration.

I would have shown you the tomato plants growing in the laundry cage next to mine, and we would have dreamed together about planting something beautiful and another something edible for the kids to tend for a school project.

I think you would have liked it!
I wish you had been there with me . . .