I overheard Selma talking to Joshua today; she was reflecting on friendship.
"Friends are good" she said "but not as good as parents"
Joshua was touched. "thank you, Selma" he said tenderly
"yeah . . . " Selma finished off "parents are better because they do your laundry!"

(oh yeah.  we're raising them right . . . )

(conversation from today . . . pictures from a long time ago)  
          Our Friends Dona and Lalo came over for dinner this weekend.  They brought us three bagfuls of pambazos*.  "The best pambazos in the city" they told us.
They told us about how the pambazo stand has been there ever since they could remember. They told us that when it started out, the owner would make the pambazos in a basement that had a tiny window that sat just above the sidewalk. Clients would crouch down and place their order through the basement window, and then the pambazo would be handed out through that same window once it was prepared.   
They told us that you don't have to crouch down to make your order anymore, but that everything else is basically the same. Pambazos keep being cranked out; people keep buying them.
We tasted the pambazos, and Dona and Lalo were right:  the best pambazos in the city.
But, this post really isn't about the pambazos. 
It's about Dona and Lalo - -  about how dear they are to us and about how much we need them:  we need them to share their city with us; we need them to tell us what they love about their city; we need them to knock on our front door laden with their favorite treats and tell us how their story intertwines with the pambazo stand; we need them to hug our kids when they go to bed and then stay late into the night talking with us - giving us culture tips, helping us evaluate our plans for this next year, and reflecting on how the hope of Jesus applies to their own lives and to their neighborhood.
These times are sweet for us; we need them.
  *you have probably never heard of a pambazo before, have you?  It's one of Mexico City's favorite street foods - a bread roll stuffed with potatoes and chorizo, and then deep fried.  oh dear.  my description really doesn't do it justice; you really should just come and eat one with us;  now we know where to get the city's best . . . . 
and these pictures - are not of pambazos and not from this weekend;  I was so busy licking my  pambazo greased fingers that I didn't even glance at my camera.  These pictures are from a different weekend - when Dona and Lalo took us outside of the city to their favorite zoo and country eats.  


We are still trying to wrap our minds around the splendor of a God whose heart is so much for his creation, that he would actually join himself with humanity to offer us a peace-filled relationship with our God.
God with us: this is Christmas joy.

pictures of our Christmas day; it was a good one!


1. This year's Christmas story cut-out:  the shepherds by Josu, the kings by Malachai, and Mary and Joseph leaning over the manger by Selma (please, please notice that Mary and Joseph have hearts hovering over their babe.  Thank you, sweet girl, for that lovely detail.)   last year's cut-outs here.

2. we pulled mistletoe off the tree just outside our window.  Josu crouches underneath the doorknob until I smooch him.  Selma crouches there too, but then runs away so that I can't kiss her.  stinker.

3. Risk: world domination is becoming Christmas tradition.  (seems kind of anti-Christmas, huh?)

4. the best ornaments:  the ones that remind us of people dear to us

5. We decorated gingerbread houses with friends from our old neighborhood.  These friends teach us how to be more Mexican, they care for our hearts, make us laugh, and don't complain about holding a conversation over the ruckus of 8 crazy kids tearing through our tiny apartment.  I'm so thankful for them! 


We went to the market to buy a tree.  The tree man asked us if we had a car to tie the tree to.
I said - I don't need a car;  I have three guys to carry it home for me.
They did; well done, guys.


Mexican manners

On Wednesdays Selma goes to a local school to participate in their dance classes.
On our way home we stop for tamales.
We stop at the stand on the corner.
The one with the blue umbrella.

The first time we stopped there, Selma said to the tamale lady:
"Señora, sus tamales de salsa verde son riquísimos"
"Señora, your green salsa tamales are delicious"

Now Selma gets the royal treatment.
every time.


This week:
  • A friend took my boys to a monster truck jam. Malachai got his favorite shirt autographed;  we have amazing friends
  • We are giving and getting extra love
  • We sent off an important letter 
  • I took my flat-footed Malachai to get fitted for insoles. Apparently you can also buy avocados at the Orthopedic office
  • Sometimes Josu gets very, very angry. I have been sending him to read in my room for 15 minutes when I hear him explode.  Then we snuggle and talk.  It's been so good


Oh good.  He's home;  we are complete again.


Joshua texted me from Acapulco the other day - "take the kids out for hot chocolate, and tell them that I love them"  Gasp!  their very own drinks?  That's kind of a big deal in this sharing-obsessed, stingy thrifty family! So this morning we loaded up our art journals and our current read-aloud and headed to a nearby Starbucks.

An accordion player/singer made an appearance soon after we sat down and started our read-aloud.
He planted himself behind us and and sang his heart out. So we put down our book, gave him our rapt attention, and  slipped him a generous tip (important elements of cordial musician/photographer interaction)

I'm not totally sure,
but . . .
I'm pretty sure my Starbucks is way cooler than your Starbucks


We were walking home from the library today when it started to rain.  "uh-oh" said Selma "I bet Papa is getting super wet right now in Acapulco; do you think the water is up to his middle?"  

My girl is trying to wrap her brain around what it means for her papa to be in flood-ravaged Acapulco.  It makes sense; Even Joshua and his team didn't really know what exactly they were headed into when they packed up Barry's truck with canned goods and tools on Sunday and drove to Acapulco. They knew that there was need, and they knew that there were churches on the ground - looking for ways  to care for their devastated communities. That was enough for them. Off they went.  

Joshua has been texting me with their news: It's hot; there are so, so many mosquitos; but it's all so good! He has spent time shoveling sticky, stinky mud out of homes, and hearing the stories of the families who are hurting. He has been sitting in on the meetings of the local pastors who are assessing the needs of their neighborhoods, strategizing how to implement care, and dialoging about how the richness of God's love is uniquely expressed both physically and verbally during times like these.  

We didn't make it to Acapulco with Joshua and his team this time around. 
Maybe next time.

For now we are cozy at home - - we cook dinner; we water the plants; we learn to spell and add.  
And we pray:
for a strong, healthy back for Papa as he shovels heavy mud;
for rich, meaningful conversations as the church leaders figure out what the needs of their neighborhoods are and how they can help;
for God's abundant care to be poured out on the needs of his people, and for his name to be displayed as radiant and beautiful as his people care for their communities.

We pray;
we are part of his team too.


first you choose your broth (red? or white?)
next, you add your shredded meat (do you want pork or chicken?)
then you pile it high with condiments (I take my pozole with shredded lettuce, radishes, onion and lime)
make sure to ask for seconds (otherwise you might offend the cook)

I took this picture at our Independence day party. The party was fantastic. But. I only took pictures of food. You would understand if you had been there. (Look here or here, though, for some pictures from friends who are quicker with their cameras than I was.) 


My Friend Gaby has been coming over once a week to tutor the kids in Mexican history and culture.  This week, in preparation for independence day, they stuffed eggs with confetti (to crack over the heads of poor, unsuspecting victims . . . Selma has been scheming for three days now about who she'll attack with her given eggs), tissue paper chains (to tear in half as a symbol of the chains of Spanish oppression being broken) and Mexican flags (because all the other buildings in the city are sporting their red, white and green - it's about time we joined in!)

So:  today's the big day. In just a few hours, we'll all head out to celebrate with our friend Bruno and his family:  we will all be dressed in our finest Mexican garb; we'll eat pozole, and toast to this great country.

first though, I have to hit the streets to see if I can find a fake Mexican mustache for Joshua and some hair ribbons for my braids

¡viva Mexico!


so, so good

Two weeks ago when we were visiting a friend, Malachai and Josu went up to her rooftop to see her two German Shepherds. I was in the garden when I heard screaming and barking . . . I flew (flew!) up the steps to the rooftop and was able to pull the dogs off of Malachai. Although Malachai's leg was covered in deep scratches from the dog's teeth, there was no significant damage.

This week as we walked to the library, the kids stopped at the street corner - 20 feet ahead of us - and waited to cross the street. A car lost control and crashed into the corner opposite where my kids were standing.

On Sunday we ate lunch with the church. We were eating inside as Malachai, Josu, and Selma were eating outside. My friend Martha was sitting near the kids and noticed Malachai's face going blue; she had the insight to realize that he was choking, and was able to dislodge the chicken bone in his throat just in time.  

I know that God cares tenderly for my family; I know that he cares for us even in the gentle, mundane course of life.  These poignant reminders, though, have urged my heart to pause a little more than usual and to thank him.

He is so good!


Our building owner is changing out all of the apartment's rusty, paper thin windows for some shiny, modern, fancy ones. I hear that the new windows will keep out the noise and dust, and be much easier to clean, but I can't help but feel a little bit like they are ripping out the beautiful old soul of the building;  sigh.
plus. someone told me that the new windows don't have windowsills . . . where will I put stuff?


Welcome, September!
and so we enter the month in which you can find a mexican flag on any given corner of the city. Why?  because Mexico it pretty excited about its freedom from Spain's tyrannical rule.   (that's a gross over simplification.  I suggest that you go ask your favorite Mexican friend to explain the significance of September 16th. You don't have a Mexican friend?  go find one!)

Last week we were sitting around the table with Sam - - giving her an intro to the city, and we asked the kids what Spanish word they thought Sam should know.

Josu threw his fist in the air and shouted LIBERTAD!

Aaaah my boy is becoming Mexican.


We noticed seeds dropping off of our nasturtium  last month; we picked them up and held on to them for a couple of weeks until we finally got around to planting them.  I didn't know if it was really that easy - popping freshly picked seeds into dirt.  It worked (this time, at least) 


My mama has four girls, three daughters-in-law, lots and lots of grandkids, and a whole slew of friends across the world.

and my mama still finds time to email me;  I'm so thankful:

We are thinking about you today with company and school. Last night Papi and I watched the movie "The Way" about the father who walked the via de Santiago after his son died on the road . . . we liked the movie a lot and I'm still thinking about it today, thinking about worship, how we're created to be worshippers. . . thinking about how everybody has a story to tell and how sometimes we can know people but not really know their story, kind of like passing in the night with a polite hello.  Anyway, just a few thoughts for a Monday. Hope you're delighting in God's goodness today.


We welcomed Sam to Mexico City (and our team!) last week;  she is here to help churches think about how they can use English classes to love and serve the city, to partner with a safe house that cares for hurting girls, and to be all around pretty awesome.  

To say that we are excited about her arrival is a serious understatement.

(and I'm not just saying that because she keeps washing my dishes and providing delightful conversation while she chops any vegetables I pass her way during dinner prep)

See? I said she was awesome . . . and she's just getting going!


Have you read The Gardener by Sarah Stewart?  Sheesh, I love this book.  It's about Lydia Grace, country girl who loves to garden with her Grandma. When her papa can't get work and no one is asking her mama to make dresses, is sent to the city to live with her grumpy uncle. When Lydia Grace finds a secret spot (the building's abandoned rooftop) she devises a plan to make her uncle smile, and fills the rooftop with a beautiful garden.

(sorry for the spoiler;  I could't help myself)

It's lovely:  the sort of book that makes me want to abandon all my responsibilities for the week, fill my windowsills with seedlings, and scour the streets for empty paint cans and buckets to fill my rooftop with a garden like Lydia Grace's.
So, I won't do all that, but we are scheming with our downstairs neighbor about planting some plants - -  maybe some flowers, maybe some herbs - - up on our rooftop to bring a little more beauty and life to this crazy city.  

here we go!