I learn so much from my 10 month old daughter.

The shift back and forth between worlds is typically challenging but often for different reasons. This time it's been arriving back home to the culmination of many broken things--a faulty alternator that renders our car useless, a busted water heater that means no agua caliente, a broken fan, low water pressure, frequent power outages...and the list goes on. After a while you begin to feel like nothing will ever work again, or that always in process of fixing one thing two more will break.

You can imagine this generally becomes annoying, defeating, draining, and altogether just gets old.

Yet I don't know that I would trade any of it. I fear one day living in a more luxurious situation and everything actually working. I become far too comfortable.

Maybe it's a bit embarrassing to admit that I actually have to fight to  choose joy in the midst of such trivial exasperating circumstances. My life is by no means hard. And lately I've been seeing just how if I can get over myself and my desire for easy, such messes and "unfortunate" conditions yield great blessing. A hike into town with Char in the stroller to get groceries--precious memories made with my daughter as a result of no car. A night of sitting on the porch talking to Tim in the dark--extended quality time spent with my husband because of no power and the distraction of Internet.

Charlotte looks up at me from her pots and pans, banging away to her own rhythm. She is truly just as delighted to play with kitchen utensils as some fancy, high-end baby gadget. She remains beautifully unaware of the disjointed nature of life at the moment. I catch her smiling back at me and I can't help but get choked up at her innocence, her joy, her genuine contentment with life. She claps her hands and I think, I want to be like Charlotte when I grow up.


Easter Bounty

A few weeks back we sent out this message to our email list of faithful supporters, so many of you may have already read this. I received a lot of feedback about it and thought I should share these words with the rest of the blogger community. This has become my prayer, that I could live out of the message I felt was so clearly and heavily laid on my heart.

And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord…” –John 20:13a

I’m sitting here on the floor of my daughter’s room, listening to rain fall hard outside on this Easter Sunday. While our Semana Santa was far from what we had hoped, it has led our hearts to question what we value and where our security lies.  
Earlier this week we got the call that our house had been broken into while away for a family vacation at the beach. We returned to find much of our home torn apart—drawers dumped on the floor, cabinets flung open and emptied out, a trail of our food half eaten and left behind. 
The first question always seems to be, “What all did they take?” I asked it right away. That’s what everyone wants to know. And as I begin to lament and list off the missing items, I hear a voice in my head, They didn’t actually take anything.
We have joked that these past few days have felt so far from a “holy week.” Yet more than ever my fingers have been peeled back from the things I hold onto. I’m seeing that there’s often bondage in stuff. Things weigh us down, keeping us stationary and fearful of what we would do without them. 
We have been praying for the Lord’s redemptive work in this situation. We believe that this was most likely someone who lives close by, a neighbor we may have even invited into our home before. Yet we confess we also want to know. We crave justice immediately, even revenge. We pray that instead of allowing seeds of bitterness and distrust to take root that we would choose to love, give graciously, and continue to invite others in. We ask that instead of allowing fear and anger to fester and cripple us that the Lord would soften our hearts and we would trust in Him fully to protect and provide.  
So as I sit here in Charlotte’s room, I can honestly say that we are lacking for nothing. I hold a list of what was taken, and yet we have an abundance. Both tangibly and spiritually, our cup overflows. They didn’t actually take anything.
Mary wept because she thought Christ’s body was gone. I cry over lost pictures on a hard drive, stolen jewelry, and food missing from my pantry. 
We rejoice this Easter Sunday because all that we truly have as disciples, all we ought to hold dear, can never be taken from us. 


These days

These days are made of...

Hangin' out. Charlotte cuddled with her dad last weekend in a SoCo hammock. Tim is now a proud co-owner of this start-up company. To hear more about how to buy a sweet product for chillin', click here.
Making friends. Neighbors Juan Pablo and Lisett are two kids that come over weekly to play with, read to, and hold baby Char. I've loved building a relationship with their mom, Maria. 
Crafting. Since finding some inspiring pics on pinterest, I've collected cosas around the house to make our home a bit cozier. This wreath was my most recent project.  
Laughing. Charlotte has discovered she can pull her foot up and fit nearly all 5 toes into her mouth at once. She's also figured out she can laugh, and once she gets going she can't stop. It's pretty stinkin' cute.


Food is a bridge builder.

Maybe we bake bread for new neighbors, meet up with someone to get coffee, or bring a side dish for a potluck. We may go out for ice cream, share a bag of popcorn, or just go out to eat at our favorite restaurant with friends.
Whether or not you like preparing food, cooking a meal, or baking bread, you can't deny that food is often what brings people together. It is a basic human need, yes, but, if done right, it is a delightful shared experience as well.
I decided recently why I love baking desserts now more than ever. Of course eating the batter is a perk (forget salmonella), and I love enjoying the finished result with people later, but in this uncharted territory of being a stay-at-home mom and homemaker, it has become a stepping stone to closer relationships with neighbors--an excuse to stop by, a way to meet a need, and even a tool to break the awkwardness when first time visitors come into our home.
And then it dawned on me the other day as I was nursing my baby girl. From birth, food is a communal experience. Even a bottle-fed baby comes to know and depend on the nurturing presence of a warm body while eating.
I'm learning more and more that bread is meant to be broken together. Perhaps we were never meant to eat alone. Maybe food is always meant to satisfy us in the presence of company, to remind us of our God-given need for others in community.


It seems like most things eventually come around full circle.

We used to mock our moms for deliberating over curtains and comparing paint colors. Now I love finding just the right piece of driftwood, arriving at the perfect shelf arrangement.

It feels like yesterday that I was listening intently to the mom's instructions, trying to catch all the little details, worried I wouldn't be able to remember how to fix the bottle or what time the kids were supposed to go to bed.

Now I'm leaving my daughter with babysitters.  Writing directions for feeding, bedtime, how to calm her down, when to let her cry. High school girls. They seem so much younger nowadays, I think. Surely I never looked that young...
I remember hearing the woman's accent at the restaurant, irritated with her difficulty understanding my order, thinking to myself, If you're gonna live here, at least learn the language.

Now I'm the extranjera in a foreign country, the ever learning student of the Spanish language. And even after 5 years of living overseas I still get flustered and fumble through simple questions or statements I've said a million other times, trying to catch the mistakes as they come out, feeling like the fool under the smirk of an annoyed national.
Perhaps this is another interpretation of living a full and complete life.  To live both sides of the same coin means we will at some point be the child and the adult, the giver and the receiver, the prideful and the humbled.  


Right now, we are her heroes.

It's hard to imagine there will come a day when she won't think we're the greatest, when she'll disobey, when she'll be embarrassed of her parents or hurt us with her words.

I heard someone say recently that we can't fully appreciate our parents until we have a child of our own. At first, in the wake of delivery and the weeks of pieced together naps, I could only think in terms of the beating your body takes in the birth process and the sacrifice of sleep. Now I've begun to think about the capacity to love, the unrequited hugeness of what we feel for our children, and the certainty that they will stray in one way or another.
I do feel infinitely more grateful for my parents and their sacrifice. But when I am left breathless at just how big my love is for her, at the depth of what I feel for this little person who has done nothing to earn it, who hasn't thanked us for our sacrifice, I am overwhelmed by what my Heavenly Father feels for me. By how He's ached, rejoiced, wept, and laughed over me. At how undeserved it all is.