Joshua loves a good party.
Poor guy is married to me - - world's worst party planner.

This year though, I had enough wits about me to start planning a whole month before his birthday (was there some divine involvement there?  very possibly )

We sweet-talked SeƱora Aida (remember her?  we first met her here) into pulling her street grill up onto our rooftop and making tlacoyos and quesadillas for us.  This was absolutely perfect, because I didn't have to cook a single thing, and I spent all night long introducing our guests to each other, which is exactly what I wanted to do because one of my favorite things ever is bringing together all of our friends from all of our spheres of life and making them realize that they should be friends too.

and it was perfect.

p.s. you wish you had been there yourself and you just can't get enough pictures?  (I thought so; I wish you had been there too!)  look here

Happy Birthday Joshua!
your passion for friendships,
your love for Jesus,
your tender care for our family,
your laugh,
your thoughtful questions,

make every 
more beautiful; 
and you are worth celebrating.


Papi (my dad) finds things.
It's true! I'm pretty sure that when I was in high school, he built his entire tool collection by spotting loose tools on the side of the highway, pulling over, and running back to pick them up (this may not be legal;  please don't report him)

Ever since he started riding his road bike a million miles a month, his RTPW (roadside treasures per week) has reached new highs.

Last week Papi sent us an iPod - rescued off the side of the road during a recent ride.
the screen is cracked,
and we can't see any images on it.
the sound usually works . . .

So we're pretty happy.
(thanks Papi!) 


We had a group of YWAMers over for lunch today, they were a lovely group that openly shared how God had directed their life paths to Mexico City, acted like homemade bread was the best thing that had happened to them all week long, and graciously waited a long hour while the lasagna finished cooking.

After lunch was over, the conversation continued around the table (just the way I like it) and I went back into the kitchen to put on the coffee.  One of the sweet young ladies slipped in after me - her arms piled with dirty dishes.  I almost pushed her back to the table, but I'm glad I didn't.  As I made multiple pots of coffee, she washed my dishes and told me her story:

She was a young adult, and had found herself aimless, disappointed with life and completely and helplessly addicted to drugs;
she was hopeless - - a walking corpse - - a shame to her family.  On the day her mother had scheduled to check her in to a rehabilitation center,  she tried to run away;  she left her home and sat on the curb outside of her front door.  The day was beautiful . . . the sky was bright and the colors of the world around her were vibrant;  the sun was shining . . .
"why?" she cried out to God,
"why can the sun be so bright and my life be so dark?"
And as she pleaded with God to show Himself to her, a van drove by her;
a hippie van, she said.
On the side of the van were painted the words Jesus es el camino.  
Jesus is the way.
So she jumped off the curb, and she chased that van.
she chased the van until she caught up with it!
She begged the driver to tell her what the sign meant, and he shrugged and told her that the van belonged to church across the street;  she was furious:
"what do you mean you don't know? How can you drive a van that says something like that and not know what it means?!" she yelled at him.
he sent her to the church to talk to someone there.

she went;
but the person that was supposed to talk to her was not there.
They sent her to another church.
She walked
and walked
and walked
until she found the other church.

It was there that she heard the story of the gospel - the story about how God's perfect love meant forgiveness and hope; she heard that her broken relationship with both the world and God could be made right.

and she was so relieved that she cried an ocean of tears.
(really!  she said that! - she said that she cried an ocean of tears;  sigh.  I love the way latinos talk about feelings!)

I was almost crying an ocean of tears by the time she finished her story.

My God is tender.
He relentlessly pursues us with his love.
He gives us purpose
and hope (the eternal kind;  the kind that never, never fails us)

do you know Him?


There is a fantastic little restaurant named Volver down the street from us;  they serve a good cup of coffee and great plate of chilquiles (every Mexican's favorite breakfast).

We've made this place our own;  We've made it our business to find out the life stories of every waiter, to wave to the cooks and baristas whenever we walk by on our way to the park,  to pet every dog tied to the table of every hipster that eats there, and to dote on every baby that shows up.

And sweet Diana (restaurant owner-turned-friend) is lovely and accommodating;  She greets us with a kiss every time,  lets us spread out with our school supplies for as long as we want, and has never once complained about the scooters and helmets that my kiddos leave piled at her entryway.

we make a good pair, I think - Volver and the Smith family.

So I wonder - do you have a place to call your own?  A place to know and to be known?  I know that every family has different life patterns and different activities that they enjoy (mine just happens to involve food almost every time) I'm fascinated to hear about your place;  come on now - tell me!


Joshua had the day off yesterday, so we did speed schooling, loaded the kids up on their scooters and made the trip to Chapultepec park (it's maybe - a one hour walk?)

apparently Chapultepec has botanical gardens.
who knew?
(I think that pretty much no-one, since we were the only ones there)