Friday, December 2, 2016

merry and bright

I mean, if I had planned to put him in a Christmas sweater and find a red Vespa, my chances for this cuteness would have been like one in a million, right?

But there we were, walking down a deserted street with a bright red Vespa just beckoning to him. Of course, when I suggested he sit on down and pose for me, he was all, "The moment is over, Mom."

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 1

It's December!

I tried to read the boys the Christmas story at lunch today.  Asher ripped the advent calendar down, threw all the pieces on the ground and tried to snatch the book away from me. When none of those tactics worked, he took off his freshly filled diaper in the middle of the kitchen.

Needless to say, we didn't make it past the entrance of the wise men.

I bet the candle lighting will go really smoothly tonight.

If you are looking for something to help guide you through the season, I highly recommend Ann Voskamp's The Greatest Gift.  This is my quiet moment for stepping away from all the diaper throwing and remembering the story.

With the kids, candle lighting is a favorite in our house.  (Voskamp has a beautiful children's addition, but my honest mom-opinion is that it's not really a good fit for kids under 8. Obviously, we're not yet in that category.)

We'll probably pull the Scripture readings and read a few thoughts from John Piper's Good News of Great Joy this year with the boys.  It's available as a free download here. 

You probably already know this, but in case you don't: there is a new Christy Nockels album.  The Thrill of Hope is so worth your ears if you are looking for a few new Christmas songs this year.

I love advent, the remembering of that long wait for the Messiah.  Enjoy the waiting.

The hopeful expectation of promises made by the unshakable, always faithful Promise Keeper.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Feliz Navidad

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thanksgiving, re-cap

I'm a few days behind on this post, but I know I'll wish I had written in to look back on in years to come.  Our first Thanksgiving in Spain was actually a big success.  Did you know there's a statue of Christopher Columbus in our city looking out over the sea? History stories crossing the continent.

We sent the boys to school. Our kids don't actually know that Americans get off school for Thanksgiving. David and I still hit our language classes, and then we met up at a friend's house for a spectacular feast late in the afternoon.   Not to mention, amazing decor.  She set such a beautiful table!

I wish I had taken more pics, but I got distracted by all that good food. We capped it off with apple cider, pumpkin pie and apple crumble.

SOOOOO grateful that even in a new country, new city, new community, God is giving us community.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Rain or shine

Have I mentioned that we walk to school and home every day in the morning, at lunch and again for the afternoon pick up. It takes about 10 minutes and we love it! 

Except when it pours. We've been drenched twice this week. 

Ok, so maybe the boys love it even when it pours.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

What I have

This season.  Whew.  I should really sit down and write to you about it one day.  Let's just say, this has not been my easiest year.

The dust, both literally from all those furniture parts and figuratively from all these miles traveled, is beginning to settle.  As we move into a routine more and begin to figure out the new life we have here in this place, I've been surprised at how much dust is still floating around in my heart. Sometimes I just about choke on it in the most unexpected places. 

One of the patterns I'm noticing is discontent.  Part of this is my re-entry into life in the consumer-culture of the western world.  I didn't realize how much it would impact me to be surrounded continually by "more." It plays itself out in some really subtle ways, and I occasionally feel like I'm living in a re-written Screwtape Letters. (Side note: If you've never read that tiny but powerful post entitled A Screwtape Letter For The Unappreciated Momlink a cut to the heart, in such a good way.) 

There are tiny strands running all through my mind right now that when I take them out, put them on the table and get out the microscope -- they are teeming with discontent.  Wanting what I don't have.  It's not just stuff either.  It's not living fully the life I've been given, but thinking up the life I might live if this happens…or that happens.  Wondering if I had a little more time or creativity or money or personality if I'd be able to keep up a bit better with everyone else.  Comparing myself, my house,  my clothes, my effectiveness to some vague standard gathered by glimpses into lives that are not mine.

Let's note something here. I like my life. If we sat down and had a conversation about where our family is at right now, I'd probably brim over with tears.  I'd tell you how unbelievably grateful I am that we get to do what we do, live where we live, parent the kids we parent, and that I crawl into bed every night with a man that I not only love and respect, but whose friendship is kind, rich and good.  The discontent isn't about actual circumstances. It's about my heart. 

It's a choice to "want"what I have and name that out loud.  Calling those dusty thoughts what they are - discontent - is helping me.  Thanksgiving, however cliche, is reminding me to take the focus of the perceived lack, and onto the extravagance of the Giver.  It re-orients my heart to speak thanks with my lips. Godliness with contentment is great gain.  

This week, when you are gathered around the table, putting out your little box of decorations, remembering how non-pinterest you are…resist the temptation to listen to the whispers of what is not.  Give thanks for what you have.  Give glory to God with the gifts He gave to you.  Embrace the story that God is writing, these days are tiny threads He is weaving into His glorious epic. He has given us everything we need for life and godliness in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In everything, give thanks.

Monday, November 21, 2016


My days are passing in a blur. Sometimes I have trouble remembering words, in any language.  By 7pm, everything sounds like clanging in my ears.   I'd like to say that I had forgotten this part of language study.  But I haven't.  I'm in familiar territory.  

The good news is, language almost always pushes me to explore outside more than I would have otherwise. 

We headed for the hills this weekend, literally.  

Hubs heard about an inactive volcano toward the foothills of the Pyrenees.  The boys were enamored.  The hike was perfect for them, and the wide green "mouth" of the volcano was the perfect spot for a little lava/magma lesson. 

Mountain air does a brain good.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


It's like springtime in my room all year now. I love yellow. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


My first Christmas purchase was, embarrassingly enough, a mistletoe headband. 

Asher's already feeling festive!

Monday, November 14, 2016


We tried the famed "patatas bravas," and loved them. 

We took the kids to the park that looks over the Sagrada Familia last night for our Sunday evening stroll. 

But I have to face the reality that in some areas of culture, I'll always struggle to adjust. Spaniards will always sound like they have a lisp to me. 

I cannot understand their persistence in this. 

But I've given in for the sake of language acquisition. I have one now too. 

 I really don't think I'll ever overcome my awkwardness at the moment of the cheek kiss though. With ladies, sure, it's like a chic hug. But when a dad from Silas's class leans in, I still feel shocked. Like a strange man just kissed me. 

Because he did. 

He really did.