Where you go, I will go; where you live, I will live. Your people will be my people for your God is my God.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Guest



After spending a week together in the mountains, my sister lovely sister Ashlyn returned to my {new-ish} home with me.  We love having her here and know that Tuesday will come all too soon. 

Further Up and Further In


Last week was spent high up in the Mexican mountains where I spent my first several months of my time here in Mexico.  Words cannot describe the pure joy of worshipping with and being with those people again.  It was not my plan for the week {I was packing at 2 in the morning and we got up at 6 to leave} and I am so thankful life does not revolve around my plans, but His will. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

La casita {Part 2}

Yesterday we were given a list of the last few things that need to done to our house before we move there.  

  • Flooring put down
  • Kitchen tiles
  • Bathroom and Kitchen Installation (think sinks, toilet, shower head and hot water heater.
  • Electricity Installation

Yes, you read that last one correctly  One of the last things to be done at our  house is to put in the electricity.  Our whole house up to this point has been put together without electricity or power tools.  Check out the picture below that Rafa took a few months ago when they were pouring the roof..


Oh. And we would normally think that the foundation should be first, but because it is a concrete house, the walls where built first, then the roof poured, and it was not until after the walls were mortared that the floor was laid; just a couple of weeks ago.  

Interesting, no? 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

{A portion of } Real Life

It is nearing the dinner hour on a Thursday afternoon.  Halfway through the workweek for us {meaning my husband}.  I am sitting on our bed looking out the window.  Almost.  The horizontal bars that cover the window are filled with socks, washcloths, and unmentionables.  Today was laundry day. One of many more to come this week.  {Note to self:  of all the chores to slack up on, when *you are* the washing machine, laundry should should *not* be the one. ‘Cause the pile keeps growing, leaving you less motivated and there is only so much clothes line, thus limiting how much you can wash in a 24 hour period.}  Thunder is rolling in slowly but surely.  Part of me wants to run out and pull my clothing off the line, but sometimes if it is not quite yet dry enough and we hang it up inside to finish drying, it gets a nice moldy smell.  So if I am unsure if it has passed that point or not, it is better to let it go through the rain and wait another day to be able to do another load.  Dishes are done, the house generally in order, the fish bowl cleaned, dinner waiting on the stove, and the room we refer to as our closet, has been reorganized, cleaned, and on its way to being ready for a series of overnight guests we are going to be having.  {Yay!}

Why is it that the water bill, internet, and rent all have to be paid on the same day that the construction workers want their pay, and my husband who is supposed to be paid is not because of a holdup with the paperwork,  all come up on the same day we run out of toilet paper, detergent,  and sugar? 

Aww.  Life. 

We are learning and growing.  And giving thanks.  A water bill means we have running water {not something everyone in our community has}.  An internet bill means that even though some things here still make me think we are living 50 years earlier than our time, I still have modern day communication with my family and friends and access to the world. The rent means we have a warm cozy apartment to live in and *together*… and after being apart for so long, that is not something to take for granted.  Having to pay the construction workers  means we are one week closer to being in our own house.  A husband who was delayed in being paid means he is a man with a job.  Lack of toilet paper, detergent, and sugar means  we have a bathroom, {clean} clothing, and sweet things in our home.  It also teaches me how to better prepare and stock up.  And at the end of the day,  we can look back and see once again the work of our God.  His abundant provision and blessings. We do not serve a God who does things half heartily!   He can only do great things.  Over the past several months I am recognized more and more how much I still have yet to learn.  I am still a little girl, seemingly thrown upon an adult world, and there is so much I do not know.  Sometimes we can only see part, if any, of the picture of what He is doing, but because we know Him bills, hard decisions, waiting, personal failures, and everyday life do not bet us up, but instead we rest.  We rest in Him.  

But I have trusted in Your mercy, me heart while rejoice in your salvation.  I will sing unto the Lord because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalms 13:5-6

The Fruit and Veggie Bowl




They are part of the basic kitchen in just about any Mexican home.  The are clay pots, and any woman here will tell you that the food that comes out of them just simply tastes better.  A richer flavor.  When I first come a few months ago, I was given two little ones.  Those casulas have seen a lot of loving since then. Except for the fact that they take longer than a standard pot to heat up, I would use them exclusively.  Last  week Rafa an I were walking hand in hand when he said, “I see something you are going to like.”  And what can I say, he knows me well so he was right!  Coming towards us was a man pushing a wheelbarrow.  The wheelbarrow was full of casuelas!  And big ones!  I selected the largest two and the man said 100 pesos would be enough.  {That’s under $10 people!}  My suegra who is as frugal as they come and loves dishes, said she would have paid 80 pesos each for them.  I was proud.  These gals have already served me well these past few days.  I am thankful to have them. IMG_0456

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

One thing I miss…

I am asked often from people here and in the States, what it is that I miss from “home”. 

The people—family, friends, and other dear relationships is the the answer I give most consistently, but that is just something I happen to miss about the US because that’s were most of the people I love are.  It really has nothing to do with the country itself or the way of life there.  But on the whole, I like living here, and do not usually think about the grand things the US has to offer.  Until the other day…

Rafa was about to leave for work after lunch the other day when I said to him, “You know what I miss?”  “What?”  “Books.” 

Yes people, I miss books and libraries.  I have a few books here, but they are mainly language books, a couple kids’ books, devotionals, and cook books. I also bought Rafa a Spanish version of the Chronicles of Narnia, and I am planning passing through the wardrobe once again with Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy.   I miss being able to go to the library once a week and pick out books to read simply because the look interesting to me.  

I *love* getting lost in a good book, seeing and living life through another’s eyes, and going on adventures from centuries ago.  Laughing at their jokes and crying with them in their sorrows.  One hot summer week in July when I was no more than 10-years-old, you could have found me up in my bed under a heap of blankets, reading “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingles Wilder.  I was there with them living under a snow drift, eating only two meals a day, twisting hay into bundles to use as kindling, and wondering when the sun would shine again.  Yes, I was living all that in July in Georgia at the end of the twentieth century.   

I have a couple  e-books that I have enjoyed, but it is not quite the same as holding a book between your fingers and wrapping up in a blanket  to read my lamp light on the couch.   Just not the same. 

One year while living in Michigan, I lived above a used book store and walking distance to the library, not to mention the school library. Oh heaven came down!  I was a bit spoiled.  The sad thing was, I did not even recognize my good fortune!  

So the next time you see your library card or are enjoying a cup of coffee at a bookstore and pouring over a new treasure, think of me {almost} bookless in Mexico, say a word of thanks.  ‘Cause there is nothing quite as sad as not counting a blessing you have until its gone. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

You know you are in Mexico when….

….around the dinner hour you hear a knock on the door.  The neighbor.  Instead of asking for a cup of sugar or an egg as one might expect, she asks,

“By any chance, do you happen to have a chili you could give me?!” 

Three or four {different} meals. One jar.

IMG_0420As I mentioned in the post about the pizza we had this past weekend, when I came here at the end of February,  I brought a couple jars of my dad’s homemade spaghetti sauce.  I used the first one the first week we were in the apartment, but had been saving the second jar.

Over the past several weeks, I have learned a lot about living with refrigeration, making correctly portioned meals, and using the  same ingredients to make new and different meals.  Most of my learning has come through trial and *many* errors.   I would be ashamed to tell how much good food has gone to waste because I failed to use it on time.  I have learned that some things must be used immediately {like milk}  but other things can last a couple more days {like chicken broth}.  For example, if I buy milk for a baking, I know I am only going to use a cup or two of the one liter package, so I also plan to make Chai Tea Lattes as a special treat when Rafa comes home from work. 

So when it came to the final jar of precious spaghetti sauce, I knew I wanted to use it well, but having spaghetti five days in a row did not sound appealing.  Here’s how it’s gone thus far: 

  • Friday:  Spaghetti with ground pork added to the sauce and severed over  pasta shells with a side of garlic bread.  There was a little left over, so Rafa had it as a side to his eggs that night for dinner. 
  • Saturday/Sunday:  the pizza. 
  • Tuesday {it would have been Monday but something else came up}:  I made a version of a recipe a friend gave me at one of my wedding showers.  It included strips of onions and peppers mixed in with the sauce, then poured over chunks of chicken and baked.  Rafa came home, looked around for what we were going to eat, and I told him to look in the over. (when I first started cooking for him, he was skeptical about the oven.  his mom, after all, uses her oven as a pantry and cooks solely on the stovetop.  Rafa, however, has been converted! :)  He said it smelled great, but I was still a bit hesitant, because I had to deviate from the original recipe quite a bit.  We both liked it, and Rafa so much so that when he got a call from work and had to leave quickly, he told me to save the little that was still left on his plate. 
  • Wednesday: A little and this and a little of that.   Chicken broth {from yesterday's chicken}  with a couple quesadillas  {with the leftover cheese from the pizza that I kept in my suegra’s fridge}  on the side. Chicken Bake {leftover from yesterday} sandwiches.   I also pressure cooked some black beans that we will use for different things over the next several days and made agua fresca out of the few oranges we had left. We also have peanut-butter oatmeal cookies, but those will be gone quickly through sharing ;)  If there is any chicken left, we will use it to make tacos for supper.  Then that should be the end of the spaghetti sauce. 

So there you have it.  Nothing spectacular, but we have had good, fresh, filling food to fill our tummies.  And nothing has gone bad this week….that’s a plus!   Being the head cook at our house has been a challenging and fun {sometimes disappointing and stinky} experience thus far. It has taught me just how blessed we are and how to use our resources better.  It’s a process, but one I’m enjoying.   It’s a job I will be keeping! 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

La casita


So nuestra casita (our little house)  is coming along.  Between holy week, days off just because, and Construction Worker Day, it has not been coming along at *my*  pace, but what ever does?  We know that God has us in the neighborhood and house we are in now for a reason, and we love seeing Him work.  On HIS own timetable. 


That being said it *should*  only be a few more weeks until we move into our own home.  We have guests coming at the end of this month and the first part of next, so we have continued our rent through that time.  Nothing like saying “Welcome to our home!” when we are in the middle of painting, moving, and the like!   We decided to go the more peaceful route, and stay were we are a but longer. 


Above:  Standing in the front doorway.  Living/Dinning Room and behind the brick wall is the kitchen. 

We took a walk this afternoon to check out the progress.  I snapped a few pictures  for prosperity's sake and for those in far off lands.  


Above:  still from the front doorway, but looking off to the left a bit to the back door. 

It is small, but will more than met all of our needs. And it is ours.    It is 64 sq. meters or about 690 sp. feet.  The house takes up less than a third of our land and has been designed to build up, so there is plenty of room for expansion. 


I am excited about getting in here and adding a lot of TLC. 

Above:  Standing in front of the brick wall.  Front door is to the left and Rafa is in the back doorway.  The doorway in front is the bathroom, and the door to the left is the bedroom. 



Above:  Looking from the bedroom out to the backdoor. 


I love Rafa.  And I am so proud of all the work he has and is putting into our house.  He works hard and long hours, has many other responsibilities, but still has set aside the time to pour lots of time, planning, errand running, and wisdom into this house.  We are excited to be close to living there!  

Above:  Looking from the backdoor to the front door.


A unique day of the week for me.  It is the only workday that Rafa usually does not come home for lunch.  A fair portion of my day is usually spent on the mid-day meal.  It is the largest meal of the day, and the other two normally consist of leftovers, sandwiches, IMG_0422or some type of eggs.  On Saturdays, Rafa and his co-workers do not leave until after all the work is done.  That way they not have to go back until Monday morning.  Saturday is also the only day that I do not have other commitments.  It is a “free” day if you will.  I like to take it easy, go to the center of town with the females of the family, and try something new for dinner.  Cause even though Rafa won’t be here for lunch, when he does come, we will come hungry!  I also like to have something prepared for Sunday, because who wants to cook on their husband's only day off of work?  Not I said the Kat!   Yesterday I made pizza.  I am not sure why, but I am always a bit timid when it comes to using yeast.  {Note to family, there is no need here to bring up some past cooking disasters of mine involving yeast!}  And since the day I came home with baking soda *instead* of yeast {thanks to my good ol’ Español}, I had been even more hesitant to get my hands into any dough except for quick breads and masa.  Well, along with spaghetti sauce from I dad I brought down and a couple of dollars worth of Hawaiian toppings {Rafa’s favorite}  we ended up with two good looking pizzas.  And as of 5 p.m. Sunday afternoon, there was none left.  I say it turned out okay.  :) 

A night at home….



Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Mexicans like a good party.

And they often find random reasons to throw one.  It seems like we are in the holiday season already….and its only spring!  

The first day of spring is celebrated in schools with a party, cake, and plays.  The past two weeks were vacation weeks and all the kids had off of school.  There, of course, where many festivities surrounding “Holy Week” for many weeks leading up to THE week.  This past Saturday, was “El Dia de Nino”  or “Kids’ Day”.  A celebration much like Father’s Day or Mother’s Day, except in celebration of kids.  Piñatas, new toys, lots of candy, and of course, parties, where all in order for the big day. Next week is Mother’s Day, always celebrated on the 10th of May here, so it will fall on next Tuesday. 

Oh, and then there is today, “Construction Worker Day”.  Um, say what?!   Don’t ask me what it’s for, I have not done the research. The construction workers of course do not work.  I was told this morning that it is customary for people who are building (aka Rafa and myself)  to place a cross at the construction site  and provide a meal for the workers.  And of course, there is a party.   Today hoards of people (construction workers and non)  are going to a state park here.  My husband has very found memories of going as a kid with his whole family.  These days, nothing special happens with the family on “Construction Worker Day”, so our Tuesday is pretty normal, quite and peaceful. 

So Happy Tuesday! 


Seasons change.  And I love it. Especially when thee fruit and vegetable seasons change.  It is delightful to go into the local market or walk down the street and see new, bright, fresh colors popping everywhere.  We are blessed where we live.  It is a central location geographically speaking, so we often have produce from several different climates at the same time. Right now in our home we have squash, onion, garlic, lemons, avocado, potatoes,  and oranges.  I finished up the mango and bananas  yesterday. We of course always have black beans, rice, and other lentils and dried goods on hand as well. 

One thing that I have been waiting for is the blackberries.  They have been around here and there for several weeks, but a bit expensive at 40 or 50 pesos a kilo.  I was looking for more of the price that I bought strawberries at 10 pesos a a kilo when I first moved here.    The price of the black berries has slowly been going down and I ask often, but the price still has not been right. Until yesterday evening….

I stopped by the suegra’s place.  The first thing she did was run to the fridge and pull out  a heaping bowl of blackberries!  She had gone to the open-air market and found them for 20 pesos for an overflowing bucket. I ate a few of the beauties, but also noted that a couple of them were still a bit bitter.  We talked about the possibilities as I snacked away. Blackberry pie, frozen and eaten like ice-cream, jam, and blackberry and peach cobbler.  Yum!  Or so I thought…..

Later that evening I felt a rumbly in my tummy.  I knew that feeling.  To spare the details, I will just say that my evening was spent in the bathroom and all the blackberries I had eaten found their way to the Big Sea.  I saw blackberries again today, but for *some* reason I am not cravin’ them any more!

{Note:  In the 7+ months I lived in another part of Mexico, the several times I visited Rafa while we were dating, and the time since we got married, I have not had the above issue.  The food here, I have found, with some extra precautions taken, (like  disinfectant drops for berries, which my suegra did use on the blackberries)  is quite yummy, fresh, and safe. So no worries to want-to-be-visitors.  Come on down!}