So why is it that having someone you love come and walk along side of you is so, so sweet?
I can't even begin to tell you how comforting it is to have a friend
go with me to drop my kids off at school,
spend the entire day baking a seven layer birthday cake with me,
see the parts of the city that make me sad,
see the parts of the city that make me happy,
grocery shop with me,
sometimes watch me be a really lousy mama (and every once in a while - a super awesome one),
meet the people here who have been kind, generous friends to me,
tell me all about what she has been learning about God and the church (and even more than that)
and ask me about what I have been learning about God and my new city (and so much more)

have you ever had this happen to you?  why is it so sweet?
 . . . . .

We had to send Gabrielle back home to her family (I guess they need her even more than I do) a few days ago,
but my thoughts are still spinning from the conversations we had,
and my heart is still warm from the love we shared;
and I am I thankful
that God has created us to be made richer and more complete when we are in relationship with others.


Do you ever look at your child
and feel like you just caught a glimpse of what they will look like in ten years?

I keep coming back to this picture of Malachai;  I think it is a glimpse. 
(a nice one)


What better way to welcome Spring than to put ruffles on your sleeves and then sing and dance?
No better way, I think . . .

(also: I'm sorry, Josu, for only giving you three layers of ruffles . . . I didn't really realize that all the other boys would have at least four layers;  I promise that next time I'll give you more)


This week we've been to the pharmacy (and the gratuitous pharmacy medic) more times than I like to in a seven day span.
we're ok:
just coughs and sore throats and some throw up.
no big deal.

I am pampering my family, maybe even a bit more than normal,
and I did take the prescription for antibiotics without putting up a fight;
because next week Gabrielle is coming for a quick visit;
we will be
exploring the city
trying new recipes
drinking multiple cups of coffee every day
and staying up late
talking about:  the books we have been reading, what it means for us to be the church, what we can do to embrace and love our cities, what pictures I should hang on my wall, how we can love our husbands better, the beautiful ways that God is challenging us to know him better, and the gentle ways that he is showing us that his plan for his church - his family - is even bigger and more amazing than what we previously thought.

(in fact, it's possible that we won't even sleep)

 I will pamper this family back to health! 

The horse is prepared
for the day of battle,
the victory belongs to the LORD
Proverbs 21:31

(certainly, this verse has implications for me, don't you think?)


Thursday:  Today is March 8th.  March 8th  is an important day for us because it is Rachel's  birthday.  Did you know that my older sister Rachel lived with us for five years in Spain?
it was awesome.
Rachel's birthday was a big deal in the Smith household.
It usually involved us taking the entire day to celebrate - we would take her downtown to a fancy coffee shop in the morning, then walk through a park in the afternoon, and then cook her dinner of choice in the evening, and give gifts, of course.

I kind of think all that celebrating may have been more fun for us than for her (crazy but true)

it's been two years now since we celebrated a birthday with Rachel,  but it's still weird for March 8th to come and go, and  not spend the entire day trying to make this year's birthday celebration be even better than the last.

So Rachel,  today Selma and I baked an apple tart to celebrate you.  We all cut your tart into slices and talked about the things we love about you and about how much we miss you.
We know you probably had an amazing celebration with that smokin' hot husband of yours by your side, but we sure do wish we could have tagged along too.  Our March 8th was a little drab without you!
Happy birthday, from your family in Mexico!


Aye, we had a busy Saturday;
we started the day hanging out with some of my favorite people in Mexico, discussing questions like:

What might be the contemporary equivalent of the accusation that Jesus was 'a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners' (Matthew 11:19)? 
 (from this crazy awesome book)

We could have gone on for a few more hours,
but we had a time limit;
so we ended the study,
and then everyone jumped into my kitchen and whipped it into shape,
just in time to transition seamlessly into the 6 hour theology course that Joshua would be teaching at our place.

By the time we said our last goodbyes to the theology students,
the sun was beginning to set, and we had just enough time to pick up some tamales from the shop down the street, eat them on a park bench, and head back home to tuck my sweets into bed.

(busy, but good)


Yesterday Joshua took Malachai and Josu out for a man date.
It's something manly that they do every once in a while.

I think I've got a pretty sweet deal because Selma is convinced that the girl's equivalent to a man date is a tea party, so whenever the guys have a man date, Selma and I have a tea party - which essentially means that I get to do whatever I want with her, and then I tag on a tea party at the end of the afternoon and she's as happy as can be.

I've been wanting a few new plants, so before we tea-partied we went down to the market to pick some out.  It went kind of like this:

me: Selma, pick out a plant for us!
Selma: picks out a plant
me: don't touch the edge of the sawed-in-two beer can!
me: sweet plant! now stand there so that I can take a picture
Selma: stands there so I can take a picture
me: don't touch the edge of that sawed-in-two beer can!

we made it home with all fingers intact
and we even had time for a tea party (proof here)


On Tuesday Joshua and I went to pick up Selma from school.  We stood in the schoolyard and watched her.
She went from friend to friend
calling out their names:
she put her arm around Alejandra and walked her to the gate;
she gave Diego a hearty pat on the back;
she crouched down by Mateo's baby brother and stroked  his head . . .

I laid in bed that night thinking about Selma - there is a bright light that glows inside of my  girl;
it radiates in her smile, it shines out through her eyes.
She thrives on relationships.
she is a lover.
I thanked God for the amazing way that he created her:
(He made her that way on purpose;
 He delighted in forming her that way)

and I asked God to please, please, enrapture her heart with Himself; 
to captivate her with his own divine love.
Because her light will shine brighter,
and her love will be sweeter
if she loves him most.