Monday, February 20, 2012

waiting on wednesday...

Alright, well....I did pretty good on the cleanse-diet...for the first two days.  The third day was a complete flop.  We had Esteban's birthday party on Saturday.  Who can say no to sushi and a mexican-choco-flan-with cajeta (like caramel) cake that I made myself?  Definitely not me!  So I only cheated at lunch but had great plans to continue on...then yesterday, we went to eat lunch at some friends' house. cream...cookies and cream ice cream! my favorite!...I clearly have no self-control but people, there was really no other option.  And now I am going to Chattanooga on Wednesday, so all the healthy groceries I bought are going to go bad.  I think this is what you call a complete flop.  Oh well...

I feel much more at peace knowing that I will be in Chatt soon with (parts of) my fam.  I just couldn't imagine being here without my family and getting the call that Bobba has passed.  I think I would have a completely embarrassing breakdown that would be unconsolable due to the lack of my family.  Can't wait to see my Meme!  (and of course my mom and Karen and whoever else may be there too.)  I received so many sweet texts and emails last week.  Some of them were the kind that make you go, "How on earth did they read my mind?"  I was really struggling with being so far away at a time like this and so many people said to me exactly, "I know it is hard for you to be so far away at a time like this."  Made me cry every time.  It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord works divinely in and through those around us.  Thanks for praying...thanks for the encouraging words...thanks for the love for me and my fam.  So thankful for the body of Christ that surrounds our family.  We are blessed and I am convinced that God can turn your "mess into a message" and your "test into a testimony."  

Friday, February 17, 2012

just another day

Yesterday, I started a one week cleanse-diet.  I have never done anything like this before and thought why not give it a try.  It's actually called the GM diet, started by General Motors decades ago to help keep their factory workers in shape.  Weird, huh?  Can you imagine your employer putting you on a diet?
Everyday the foods you can eat changes and by the end of the week you could lose 10-17 pounds.  Honestly, I am highly skeptical and kind of doubt it so this is really a test to find out if it really works.  Day 1, yesterday, all melon, all day.  You know, it's a good thing that I have recently developed a love for cantaloupe because for breakfast and lunch yesterday, that's all I had.  I tried to shake things up a little and had watermelon for dinner but could barely choke it down.  I bought from  a "fruteria"  (little produce store) down the road- the man told me the watermelons were very sweet and delicious....this one tasted like grass.  Also, in the states we've gotten quite spoiled on seedless watermelon.  I don't know when the last time was I had to dig/spit out watermelon seeds.  Let's just say I did not enjoy that part very much.
Today is all vegetables but wait, a treat....a baked potato for breakfast!  I wouldn't go so far to say "who eats potatoes for breakfast??"  Because as an avid breakfast lover, I enjoy some good hash browns with my morning meal, but a potato with just a "pat of butter" (which I'm pretty sure I exceeded the normal "pat" size) was rather hard to get down this morning.  I did it and I'm feeling good....we'll see how the rest of this week goes.

On a different note, my family is in somewhat of rough situation right now.  After years of steady decline in the health and Alzheimer's status of my uncle/grandfather, "Bobba"/"Dede"/"Bob", we are now preparing for the worst.  I can't even bring myself to type the real words to explain the situation because I don't want to think about it, but I think you know what I mean.  I am so sad at the thought of really losing him.  Though he hasn't been the "Bobba that we knew as kids" for many years now, we have grown accustomed to this silly Bob who makes jokes and doesn't remember our names, and talks to every woman in public and does crazy things like eat sand dollars out of a bowl on the table because he thought they were candy.  Yes, we love this Bob and the Bob he used to be.  He has been a part of our lives, for our whole lives, and holds a place in our hearts that can be replaced by no one else.  If you don't know my family very well, you might be confused by the uncle/grandfather title.  Bob is technically my uncle, the brother-in-law to my mother.  My mother's sister, Joyce, my Meme, is 19 years older than my mom.  So when my mother's parents passed away when she was just 13, she lived with her sister, Meme & Bobba, for the rest of her growing up years.  Bob is in all respects, her father, and my grandfather.  He's also one of the most fun-loving, silly, goofy, hilarious, and genuine people I've ever known in my life.  I often think back to what it must have been like for him, to not only lose his in-laws within 6 months of each other, and deal with the stress of helping his wife through that, but then the reality that he will now have not only 3 children and mouths to feed, but 4- and another teenage girl at that.  But his heart has always been so full of love and kindness and compassion, I'm sure that he never even thought the things that I sometimes think I would in his situation.  He didn't ask for that and he didn't plan on it but despite all, he loved her just the same and was a wonderful father to my mom and the best grandfather any of us could have asked for.  Please be praying for our family, and especially my Meme, Joyce, as we walk through the next days and weeks.  You are never prepared for situations like these.  But at times like these I am never more thankful for the peace, love and comfort of the Father who holds Bobba in HIS hands.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

It's so easy to get caught up in the negativity and bad attitude of the beloved "Singles Awareness Day", but when I look at this I am reminded that I already have a love so much greater than the love I may think is lacking in my life right now.  How HIGH and how DEEP and WIDE and how GREAT is HIS love for ME!  When I think about this I don't care that I am "alone" on this day of love, roses, candy, cards, gifts PDA and all the mushy sentimental stuff that goes along with February the I don't care because I'm not alone.  I have a family (actually two- American and Mexican) and so many friends who love me.  But most of all I have a Savior who loved me enough even to give His life for me.  Let's remember that today.  

And for all my single's a little note I got from MA today.  (Way to go!  She learned how to copy and paste on her iPhone!  So proud of her. )

Also, just for your personal Spanish today is 'El Dia del Amor y la Amistad'...translated to 'The day of love and friendship'.  That's right!  I think we need to focus a little more on that friendship part in the states.  Just a personal opinion, but it kind of makes me happy.  :)

Hoping that you have a great Valentine's Day, whether you're "celebrating your independence" or the love of your life.  Just remember to celebrate the greatest love of all too...oh, that makes me think of Whitney Houston...enjoy!  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

peanut butter is to tortillas, as....

I was never good at those...whatever you call those confusing phrases that are on the ACT and every standardized test.  I mean I'm good at english and grammar but those are just downright mind-boggling sometimes.  Anyway...I stumbled upon a picture today and realized I forgot to blog about this very important moment in history.  Take a look.

This is my friend, Olga.  And last week she tried peanut butter for the very first time!  It was a couple of weeks ago that Eddie, Olga and I were strolling through Wal-Mart while I did some grocery shopping.  Of course, I had to get some peanut butter because as any good American I can't live without having it in my pantry at all times.  Olga looks at me and says, "What's that?"  At this point, mine and Eddie's eyes proceed to pop out of our skulls and the volume rose increasingly as we replied, "YOU'VE NEVER HAD PEANUT BUTTER??"  We explained to her that just about every child in the US grows up with a peanut butter and jelly/banana/honey/something else sandwich in their lunch box 3 out of 5 days of the week.  It's the stuff that children all over American survive by and we were astonished that she had never tasted it.  We related to her in Mexican terms like this, "In Mexico you have tortillas.  In America we have peanut butter.  You just can't live without it! It's like a part of your culture."  I don't think we offended her with this but we made enough of an appalled reaction to convince her to find out what she was missing and try peanut butter for the first time last week.  As you can tell from the pictures...she was skeptical at first...gave it a brave first bite...thought it over....(what you don't see is she took another bite to re-evaluate)...and then decided it was....okay.  JUST OKAY!  We were slightly disappointed but never faltered from our proud love of the creamy peanut concoction.  She said she was going to stick to her tortillas.  We decided later that it wasn't a fair judgement because we gave Olga her first sampling of peanut butter slathered on a piece of bread with nothing else.  This caused a very dry and sticky mouth and probably lowered her chances of love for our favorite staple.  So, next time you're introducing someone to peanut butter, remember to include one of the following: banana, honey, chocolate, nutella or the always faithful jelly.  Just another crazy cultural experience in my daily life.  

Monday, February 6, 2012

living for the weekend.

It's been a busy and very fun weekend...
Saturday night, I went to my very first Quinceañera.  A friend from the church, Sara, turned 15 and as is customary in Mexico, she had a blow-out birthday party.  It's almost like a wedding.  The girl has a huge, beautiful ball gown, everyone her family knows is invited, there's a ceremony, dancing and a presentation of the quinceañera, dinner and cake are served, accompanied by a toast to the lucky birthday girl too.  For a day, she is truly a princess.  This is not your average birthday party and is quite the extravaganza.  I'm not gonna lie, I would have loved this when I was 15- especially the part where she dances with her 'chambelanes' (escorts that are usually her guy friends).  The dances always include the traditional waltz with a few fancy tricks thrown in there.  Sometimes there are just one or two but sometimes more, like hip hop.  So fun!  I'm jealous I didn't have a 15th birthday party like this.  It was all really beautiful and fun but the sweetest part were the words her father shared.  Sara's father, Horacio, adopted her five years ago.  Though he is not her biological father, you would never know.  He had the whole room in tears as he shared about 'his quinceañera' and though she had only been his daughter for five years, he loved her all the same.  He said that day he understood what it meant for God to adopt us as his children, and the love that He has for us.  What a beautiful picture and story of adoption.  

This little cutie is Sara's cousin, Ester.  Her 3 little cousins were part of the first dance.  They were all dressed as Disney princesses.  Adorable.

The birthday girl.

me and diana, enjoying the festivities.

Yesterday's greatness was two-fold.  First, my sweet friend Tere came over to eat lunch with us.  She's a sweet older lady who owns the little store down the road, where we go to buy tortillas or other last minute items.  I usually stop by on my way to or from Zumba most days.  I would say I'm not sure how we struck up a friendship but I know that it's because of the Lord.  From the first week I was here, she took notice of me (is it that obvious i'm a gringa- white girl?)  and started to ask me questions about why I'm here and what I'm doing.  She was quick to share with me that she too is a believer and from the very beginning we had a connection.  Sweet Tere works at this store, which takes up the entire lower level of her tiny apartment, all day, every day and hardly ever leaves or gets a day off.  Tere is desperate for relationships and friends.  It was such an honor to invite her over yesterday to eat lasagna (which I made in the crock pot!).  She was so nervous at first and said she didn't get invited to people's houses much.  As I sat and listened to her share with us about her struggles and rough life experiences, I kept thanking God for this sweet friend that He brought into my path and for the opportunity to serve and love on her.  

And then...we watched the Super Bowl!!  Yes, it was in Spanish and no, we didn't get to see any of the fun new commercials BUT we did have a complete supply of the super bowl munchies.  I got busy with some pinterest recipes - homemade salsa, samoa cookie bars and herbed crackers.  Everything was de-lish and I think everyone had fun.  Go Giants!  I'm not really partial, I'm just saying that since they won.  It was a fun night piled up on the couch with my Mexican family all together.  I love introducing them to these classic American celebrations.  By the time the game was over, it had been a long day since 7:30 am lasagna prep and a full morning of Club Neón and I was ready to hit the hay.  

Also, on a sidenote, I am now a driver in Mexico.  Please pray for me as I take to the streets of Puebla.  haha It's actually kind of fun with less can drive as fast as you want (basically) and you don't have to stay in your lane or really a lane at all...there's so much freedom!  Here's to another step in becoming 'a real resident of Mexico'.  

Friday, February 3, 2012

it's been a while...

So, in making over my blog (more) today, I used photoshop for the first time in...I don't know how many years.  Yes, sadly and unfortunately, this very expensive program (which included the whole Adobe design program set) has been sitting idle on my computer since my days of interior design when I was forced to use it.  The thing is that I don't really feel like I was taught or trained how to really use photoshop back in the studio era.  It was so rushed and of course because it was homework, I avoided it at all costs.  But using it today to make this fun new banner (look up!) and add my name to my photo (check it out...) I think I have a new-found love for photoshop.  Maybe I'll watch some tutorial videos because I don't remember all the tricks anymore.  Maybe I'll leave my powerpoint-for-everything days behind and move forward into the much more advanced realm of photoshop.  So exciting!  I'm sure there will be more to come from this...stay tuned.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I have a countdown app on my phone and I absolutely love it.  I keep only the most important upcoming events on it...

I CAN NOT WAIT to see the FSM team coming in March (which includes my loving cousin, Kate, Alexia, Kyle McCarthy & Dick Nelson...just a few people who make me smile.)

April 19th, my mom comes to visit!  (I think she's anxiously counting down the days too!)

Wahoo! June 13th I will meet my fam in Tampa.  Probably my most favorite time of year.

June 23rd, my oldest friend (like we've been friends the longest, not she's the oldest) is getting married.  So excited for this wedding!

And on April 23rd I will turn 25...I'm not so much anxiously awaiting this one as I am dreadfully holding on to every day of 24.  I don't know why but 25 just seems so much...older.  (No offense to you who are older and wiser than I.)

Even though I think it's all good and well to look forward to these events with anticipation...I sometimes have to remind myself to LIVE FOR TODAY.  It's not that I'm worrying about tomorrow or the next day all the time (although sometimes I do) but I just don't let myself enjoy a day to its fullest when I'm focused on how much I'm going to enjoy future days.  Matthew 6:34 (Message version, of course) is a great reminder for me today: 

"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, 
and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. 
God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."

I have to "give my entire attention to what God is doing right now" because if I don't, I not only miss out on the good and wonderful things He has in store for me today, but I'm probably not hearing his voice as clearly and following him in obedience of the plans he has for me today.  What a wonderful thing that our Lord and Savior "will help you deal with whatever hard things come up WHEN THE TIME COMES."  Just another day I have to remember to rest in the promises of God and not worry about my own petty thoughts.  He's already got it under control.  Praying that you can enjoy this day to the fullest that God has planned for you!