the New Year is fun, don't you think?
I'm not really prone to make insanely long lists of goals at the turn of the year.
(ok, fine . . . I'm not prone to make any list).
But still, I think that new beginnings are awesome;
a fresh start makes me happy.

I think that the joy and hope of a new start every year is
of the joy and hope that God gives us when we embrace his grace, find forgiveness in him, and delight in knowing and following him.  

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17


One of our closest metro stations is metro Tacuba - - we use it often, since it takes us almost anywhere we want to go.  People warn us about Tacuba; they say it's infamous for robberies, and that we - being foreigners, should be particularly careful in Tacuba.

So we are cautious when we go - - we are keenly vigilant about our surroundings, we keep the kids close and don't carry anything too valuable with us.

We walked trough Tacuba last week, and as we passed a mama and her boy, I heard her scold him - "if you don't catch up, the white people are going to rob you and take you home with them!"

It made me cringe a bit, but it also made me laugh.
there we go, all worried about the bad guys . . .
and  there goes that little boy,
all worried about us.
(this picture has nothing to do with metro Tacuba ; it is the little market down the street from us - - all decked out for Christmas;  isn't it colorful?)


Also:  My kids have been begging for new school supplies for weeks now (apparently, Malachai has lost all but five of his coloring crayons, Selma's pencil is about an inch long, and if Josu has to erase something in class, he has to borrow an eraser from a classmate.) 

I was able to hold off long enough though, to fill their stockings with with all sorts of school supply delights!

You may call it stingy . . . I call it clever.


Our Christmas was quiet and sweet.  We had Christmas Eve dinner with Barry and Karla. Karla brought over the most amazing scalloped potatoes to eat with our Costco purchased spiral cut ham (salute to our American tradition), and we splurged and bought some jamon pata negra  (salute to our Spanish tradition).  My Spanish friends will be happy to know that I had to force my children to eat the American ham, and I had to make them stop eating the pata negra (uy! no sabeis lo que nos cobran aqui en Mexico por el jamon!)

We spent the last few days reading a lot from The Storybook Bible; have you read through this children's bible yet? It's our absolute favorite  . . . and if you haven't read it yet, you really, really should! (it's available in English and Spanish, so go on! you have no excuse not to buy it!)  We have been marveling about how The God of the universe drew near to mankind by actually becoming one of us . . . and wondering how we should draw near to those around us to let them know about God's amazing rescue plan. 

So, how was your Christmas?  Really, how was it?!  I missed so many of you - - from Spain to California;  I want to know about your Christmas - - who you spent it with, what you ate, what brilliant and thoughtful conversations you had . . . tell me all about it!

Christmas Eve:  we took the metro downtown with Barry and Karla.  We didn't go to see anything in particular  . . . we just went to see.  After lots of walking, and lots of seeing  I proposed that we go eat tacos, but Barry had a hankering for scrambled eggs and suggested we eat at Sanborns.

(goodness, how do I describe Sanborns?  It's maybe like the Mexican equivalent to Macy's?  I can just envision my classy grandma Billie wanting to lunch at Sanborns after a long morning of Christmas shopping!)

So we ate at Sanborns, and I was very glad we did (oh! The light! The tiles! The planet sized pinata hanging from the ceiling!)  I'm wondering if maybe we need to turn this into a Mexico City team Christmas Eve tradition . . . Karla, what do you think?  


On Friday Selma helped me make some sugar cookies to take to the posada we had this weekend; as we floured and rolled and cut she chatted with me:

Selma: "you can cook and Papa can't" 
me: "um, yep"
Selma: " well, Papa can do other things that you can't do"
me: "you bet!"
Selma: "like wrestle . . .well, you can wrestle, but you wrestle calmly"

That girl's got us nailed.


Joshua and I participated in a parent/child Christmas tree craft at Josu and Selma's school last week.  We cut foamy stuff and used hot glue guns and twisted sparkly pipe cleaners into miniature candy canes to hang on miniature tree branches.
The trees were as ugly as all get out,
But I didn't mind coming home with two gaudy miniature fake trees in my arms because I got to meet several moms for the first time, and we had some really good conversation!

We talked about Mexican Christmas traditions; We talked a lot about the posadas - - Mexican Christmas parties in which the the guests reenact Mary and Joseph's search for lodging in Bethlehem:  there is singing and and eating and pinatas, and at some point everyone sings a lullaby to a doll representing baby Jesus.

I'm particularly interested in understanding posadas;  they seem to be one of the prominent elements of Christmas celebration here;  we go to our first posada this weekend  . . . I'll let you know how it goes!

Also . . . it should be documented that yesterday I overheard Josu saying to Malachai:
"what if I was in heaven, and I saw Jesus.  I would probably fall over because he is so beautiful!"

True, Josu; he is beautiful;
so, so beautiful.


I took this picture four months ago, on the Saturday morning after we had finally purchased a dining room table. We had a bit of a celebration breakfast (i.e. I actually cooked something), which I had prepared primarily for my tender Josu, who had been begging me to buy  furniture for two solid months, and who was thrilled that we finally had a real table.

Since that first family breakfast at our big table, both of those glasses have broken and that plant has died. (I'll wait to expound on those details in another blog post)

Really though, I mostly want to stop for a second and marvel at the fact that we have been in Mexico for six months;
six months!
(go on now, marvel with me!)
and I want to tell you how good our God has been to us, because every single day has been filled up with these truths:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

Lamentations 3:22-24


Aren't these ladies cute?  Judith is the sweet face on the right - - she is a member of a small church plant that our team has been interacting with over the past year. 

Yesterday we spent time with Judith and the church . . . and as the service began four young guys came in - - high on something.  I've never been in a church service quite like that one.  these guys were crazy and stinky;  they danced in the aisles; they called out song requests in the middle of the sermon; they tried to wrestle the microphone out of the teacher's hands so that they could rap . . .
We all fumbled our way through the service;  trying to respond appropriately to the unfamiliar scenario; and at the end of the service Judith wrapped her arm around the most obnoxious one (oh, I don't think this wiry little guy could have been older than 16);  she held him tight and stroked his cheek - - as if he was her own, and she prayed for him.  That boy stood still for the first time all morning; he stopped twitching and his face relaxed; he stood still until Judith finished.

I have been thinking about Judith for the past couple of days; I want my heart to be as bold and  tender as hers.
(please, please God . . . make me bold;  make me tender)


We went to the park last week to collect sticks and rocks to build a lodging of sorts for the nativity set.  It's all a bit precarious, held together by some twine and glue and strategically placed forked sticks; surprisingly, it hasn't fallen down yet (I wouldn't go so far as to call it a Christmas miracle . . . but close!)


a few things:

1. Oh! I forgot I took these pictures of our Saturday morning bible study . . .  we all liked Gaby's ponche, but I think that maybe Josu liked it more than anyone; sheesh, that kid is cute!

2. My next door neighbor knocked on our door yesterday, and told me that the previous tenants in our place had moved out because of the guy that lived in the lot behind us - - every night he would scream and break glass.  Ever since we moved in, she said, he stopped.  She wondered what little stars and angels we had brought with us to make him stop?
I told her that I don't think that we brought any little stars or angels with us . . . but that I do know that God is with us all the time.
(I'm thankful for this poignant glimpse into the ways that God cares for us)

3. I'm feeling like I would like some candles this Christmas season.  My floors are all tile, and my walls are all concrete blocks . . . if I'm going to bring fire into the house, it seems like this is the right year to do it, don't you think? 


Aaaah. Monday;
So, how was your weekend?
We spent Saturday morning with our bible study group.

Did you know that we had a Saturday morning bible study group? Edgar and Gaby introduced us to a group of their friends who had just gone through a marriage study together. A couple of them proposed that - since the marriage study was over,  we lead them in a parenting class of sorts . . . but then, after a rousing discussion over dinner, they put it to a vote and decided that what they really wanted was a study on the church and its purpose in the world.  We readily complied (um, of course we did . . . Jesus, his grace, and his plan for the church is what makes our hearts beat!)  

This sweet group has been a highlight of my week for the past couple of months. This weekend was no exception: Thank you Gaby for bringing ponche (I think ponche is like the Mexican equivalent of mulled apple cider); thank you Joshua for thinking to offer ponche to the guys outside who are painting our building; thank you Soco and Jorge for coming even after you had a flat tire; thank you Miguel Angel for asking the question "how can we know when it's the right time to plant a church?"; thank you Tania and David for being so disappointed that you couldn't make it to the meeting that you arranged a meal with us later on this week so that we could talk about the study; thank you Jackie and Pedro for hanging out for an extra hour after everyone left to wash my dishes and to provide interesting conversation!

(do you see why I love these guys?)