My friend Marta came over this week (If you don't know Martha, you wish you did!) We had coffee, and she played about a hundred games of Spot-It with Selma. Then we found out that it was her mama's birthday and Selma and I dragged her with us to the flower market so that we could send her with a handful of flowers to take to her mama.

I don't think I'll ever go to the flower market again without my 6 year old girlie; we got the royal treatment from every flower vendor that we crossed paths with, and Selma came home with a bouquet of her own.

This afternoon we head to the north part of the city for the wedding of two dear friends.
So I'm off to iron our fancy clothes. 


This morning, when I read my bible, I tried to apply all those really awesome proverbs* to my heart instead of to my kids' hearts

because I desperately needed it.
(it's been that sort of a week)

Also, I thanked God for my Malachai
who finished reading Charlie y la Fabrica de Chocolates to Josu and Selma,
gave me more smooches than normal,
and whipped up a batch of salad dressing when I called him from the flower market in a panicked frenzy because I had forgotten to make it for our lunch date.

*Proverbs 10:19 When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who restrains his lips is wise.
*Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger 
*Proverbs 19:11 Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.  


If you were to look out our window on any given Sunday morning, you would likely see my neighbors suited up in their sportiest outfits, riding their bikes towards the city center. . . because every Sunday morning, the city closes down traffic on one of its main streets, and invites its city dwellers to exercise (I love this city!)

Being the church-loving family that we are, we rarely have our Sunday mornings free, but this week we did, so we packed up our wheels and our helmets, called our neighbors and invited them to join us*, and headed out to sweat with the rest of the city. Once my kiddos realized that they could ride on the edge of the street to avoid being run over by aggressive cyclists and skaters, I stopped yelling at them, and we had a pretty good time.

Added bonus: we found a taco stand just around the corner; we'll be going back to that one.

*Ah, but one neighbor's girlie got sick and she had to cancel, and the other neighbor had errands to run, so we went alone. If we ever go again, though, we'll work harder to make sure that a neighbor joins us- because this is the sort of event that no family should do alone - it's really done best in community.


Sometimes, (when my kitchen is clean)
I walk by my kitchen, and I notice how pretty my windowsill is.


You prayed for me, didn't you? you prayed about our schooling situation, right?
I know you prayed for me, because you keep asking me about the school down the street.

and I know you prayed, because our meeting with the principal went so well: better than I could have imagined. We got a tour of the school grounds; we peeked in on kids working diligently at their desks; we saw the amazing pool facility; we spent a solid hour with the principal, dialoguing about what we would need to do to sign our kids up for the next school year.

There was a rough patch in the meeting - after the principal scolded us for the fifth time for doing something as ridiculously irresponsible as homeschooling - when I bristled and tried to explain for the the fifth time that my kids schooling had indeed been legitimate and . . . and Joshua's hand slid over to my knee and firmly, gently squeezed it. (Do you know this love squeeze? the warning love squeeze? the "whoah, settle down and I'll take it from here" love squeeze? It's a life saver for me.) 

And then there were those ten minutes on the sidewalk outside of the school building when I cried the ugly cry, and Joshua held me close and reminded me tenderly that my value is not dependent on what people think about our schooling choices  - that my value is firmly rooted in being created in God's image and being loved by Him - things that no one can take away.  

But, I told you the meeting went well, didn't I?
It did.
It looks like the school - despite its full school roster - is willing to open their doors to the Smith family. We were given a verbal commitment that the school would make space for all three of our kiddos. We will take them in the day before school ends (mid July!), when they will be analyzed for grade placement.

That kind of freaks me out.

Now we're frantically preparing for the placement tests. . . in spanish.

On my best days, though, I'm honestly pretty excited.


Our father's day was pretty low key*:
waffles and foot rubs,

and an email to my Papi (who can be largely credited for the quirky and awesome in me)

I'm so thankful for these men:
Men who have loved their families generously;
who have invested deeply into the lives of their children.

Men like this change the world;
 they start in their homes.

 *well, low key for me, anyways. . . because Joshua preached this morning, and then, when we came home, he took all the kids (with the new read-aloud tucked under his arm) to our local ice cream shop. They shared a banana split while I lounged on my bed for an hour and read my book in peace.  


This weekend we are:

waiting: for Selma's front tooth to come out.  This will change things forever.  I'm not gonna lie;  it makes me kind of sad.

finishing up: The last of the Gregor series with the kids.  This has been Joshua's read-aloud with the kids.  Hmmm . . . now what?

hoping: to spend some time walking through our neighborhood - stopping for a coffee at a local cafe and pausing in a park to let the kids play; maybe we'll run into someone we know or make a new friend.  

remembering: last Friday when we joined some friends to set up a flash mob party for the prostitutes on one of Mexico City's prostitution hot spots. The kids and I (plus a couple of sweet neighbors, plus a few dear friends) spent our week baking and decorating cookies to hand out at the party.

"Let's put the cookies  in our basket," Selma said "I think it will look nice like that."

When we arrived, we paused as we watched the party unfold: Someone was carrying a box of pink umbrellas - readying them to be passed out (everyone always needs an extra umbrella during Mexico City's rainy season).  Behind me, several individuals were setting up a makeshift nail salon - prepping the water buckets, the clippers, the towels, the polish. To the left I caught sight of Malachai on someone's shoulders, tying party banners up on a nearby pole. As the musicians set up their equipment, one woman kept coming off the curb and urging them to start up the music.

Then we were drawn into a circle to pray.
We are individuals who keenly recognize that we have experienced God's love in sweet, profound ways, and so we prayed  for every individual that we would come into contact that night - - that we would have opportunities to communicate to them that they too are created by God, and are therefore deeply loved, deeply valuable.

The party began. . . and we ventured out to invite our guests. 

I grabbed Josu's hand, hooking the basket of cookies onto my arm.
We went from woman to woman.
We paused in front of each one of them, looked them in the eye, and told them
"We made cookies for you."

this is not the end of our journey to care for this community of hurting women in our city.
It is just the beginning
part of the bigger picture.



About that jalapeño salsa:

Grab a handful of jalapeños.  Give them a good scrub; cut off the tops and then slice them down the middle.  Pull out the seeds (and membranes - especially if you want to reduce to the heat). Then slice the jalapeños into long, thin strips and put them in a bowl. Squeeze in a few limes and add some salt (2 teaspoons?  maybe 3?) 

Salsa making fact: you always need more salt than you think you do.

Serve it up with whatever taco you are eating - especially if your taco is stuffed with flank steak.

worth noting: If you don't want your hands to be on fire for the next 24 hours,  don a pair of rubber gloves for this entire process


We spent our Saturday hanging out with some friends from all over the world: Some live here in Mexico; some in Europe; some in Africa.   These friends care deeply about their cities, and are thinking strategically about what it means for their love of Jesus to transform their communities. 

We hung out for hours. 
It may have had something to do with the five different cuts of meat that kept coming off the grill (and the lovely jalapeño salsa that paired so perfectly with all those meats)

But I think that mostly, it was because they kept asking each other questions like:
What characterizes your city?  Where do you find beauty in it?  How does the message of Jesus redeem the brokeness that you face in daily life? When you are worn down by your city - what do you do to renew your love for it?

So - What city you you live in? Have you ever thought about the cultural complexities of your city and about how the message of Jesus can transform and enrich the people that fill it?  how do you keep caring about your city - even when it wears you down?


I spent some extra time with my boys yesterday afternoon.  They were hanging out in the kitchen with me making cookies.  I like it when they hang with me in the kitchen because I hear interesting information from them.

Like yesterday, Josu told me that when food falls on the floor, Mexican kids say that it has been licked by the devil.  Malachai says that he thinks that a more accurate translation would be that it has been sucked by the devil. 


Unrelated to our kitchen chats, but still interesting:
On one of our recent walks, we ran into a woman who had just rescued this mangy, one-eyed kitty from the street.  Everyone got a turn petting it (because what else would you do with a feral cat, right?).  


And now we are home.  We are slipping back into the routines that are our own - - waking up in our own beds, making our own breakfasts, checking the chores off our own charts,  planning dinners at our own table to catch up with our Mexican friends, taking walks in our own parks.   

I have missed our home - - the people and routines that fill our Mexican days. My heart urges me on to engage fully in the days that we are living. 

And yet I find myself still needing to process some of the conversations and experiences that we had during our travels;

simultaneously comforted and overwhelmed.


We traveled a bit.

We slept in countless beds,
and ate at so many tables 

We shared our stories,
and heard theirs.
(sometimes laughing, sometimes crying.  always loved)

We read their books,
and played with their toys;

Snuggled their babies,
while they snuggled ours.

We had a good trip.