Friday, April 28, 2006

Hafta smile but you wanna scream!

Today has been an interesting one so far. I woke up earlier than normal to get things ready for the coffee shop since we open for breakfasts on Fridays. I was baking cinnamon rolls, preparing little sandwiches, cutting fruit - all in good time...when I hear the pitter patter of little feet and a smiling Reece coming around the corner into the kitchen. He is up early - I think he just has the ability to know where to be when he is not exactly wanted. There is no "good morning" just "oooohhhh, I wanna help!" I decide to forget the attempt to distract with a better option or say "no" and have to explain it away. Instead, I send him to the bathroom to wash up and save him a little dough to roll out and make his own pan. Of course, he is elated! And it becomes all worth it to me that I chose to include him as this dialogue unfolds...

Reece: Mommy, I am gonna make one for Chaser.

Me: Reece, you are such a good brother. He will really like that.

Reece: And, I am gonna make one for God and Jesus too - because He is my brother too. I have 2 brothers.

Me: Well, that is true.

Reece: And one for Daddy, and Stephen, and Maddi..... These ones aren't for the coffee shop.

Me: I think everyone will be happy that you are making them special cinnamon rolls.

Okay, sweet moment of my son wanting to do something for others. A few hours later. Reece is still trying to help others (and himself) but at a little different angle - and not as fondly received by his Mom this time.

I have left the room for a moment - called back into the kitchen by the ringing telephone....and I come upon Reece, up on a chair - with his back to me but giggling as he feeds Chase...du-du-du-du-du-duhhh CINNAMON ROLLS! But not the ones he made. No, it could never be that easy. He has managed to get his little fingers all over the tops of almost the entire tray of rolls, picking out the middles, and the icing off the tops.

This is the "I want to scream" part. But Chase is so happy, mouth full of sweet icing and Reece has that "I got caught but ain't I cute" look. I try to hide my smile and sternly address him...

Me: Reece, what are you doing?

Reece: (innocently and obviously) Eating cinnamon rolls.

Me: Yes, but why are you eating off of every one on the tray?

Reece: Because we're very hungry!

Me: Reece, those were for the coffee shop. Now what are we gonna do?

Reece: (plainly) You can make more.

So, lesson learned for me: remember that just because toddlers might be short - they can climb or find a way to get to whatever they shouldn't!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Our Creative Creator!




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Our last hurrah for Reece's birthday was a trip to Mexico's Zoofari - a drive through safari like zoo - (thanks Grandma for the birthday $$ which we used for this fun time!) Yes, these are animals we've seen before, but seeing them again reminded me of our creative God! Animals with very interesting features, colors, shapes and sizes. Really, very amazing! Where did He come up with some of His ideas?!? This place is a little unique because they allow you to get close to the animals - feeding the elephant, touching the giraffe, holding a tiger (which we didn't do - but our friends Bryan and Stephen did!). Reece had a few moments of fear, like when the giraffe approached our van, curious to see who we were or what we had to offer. But we had a lot of fun - the kids enjoyed the animals, especially so close in time to our zoo-birthday party. And the playground at the resteraunt was also a hit. Bryan and Stephen, our AIM guys, came along with us. They both have been really good buddies to both Reece and Chase so it was fun to have this special time with them. I loved the day!


Monday, April 17, 2006

Celebrating Reece's Life!

Our busy weekend included a very special birthday celebration for Reece's 3rd birthday! We had a small party since many Mexican friends were out of town for Easter vacation. We were thrilled to have a last minute weekend visit from Auntie Betsy! And we partied with a ZOO theme and set up a splash pool in the backyard, played safari games and of course, had a pinata! Reece was more than excited about this birthday and I can't count how many times since that he has already said - "but, I am 3 now!" He helped design the "mixed up zoo animal cake" and especially enjoyed the game of stealing zoo tails from his friends. I, of course, enjoyed the day too -and had a few quiet moments of sentimentality as I watched him. As I always try to do, I watched a bit of home video of Reece and was filled with gratitude for the child he is! The pictures below will show how much he has changed and grown in the last 3 years. He is such a huge blessing to our lives - and I praise God for his life, his health, his personality and boyishness...and the relationship we share with him.

 "I'm 3!"

 "Auntie Betsy came just for me!"

 "My liongiraffezebraelephanttiger cake"

  "My friends and I getting ready to play our zoo tail game"

 "Taking a whack"

 "Cooling off in the pool"

 "A happy family that feels pretty blessed!"

A look back at time - lots of growing has gone on!

 Reece is born!
 Reece turns 1! Posted by Picasa
 Reece turns 2!

 And...Reece turns 3!


My thoughts this weekend have been scattered - but thankful - for Jesus and what He means to me. Music has a way of speaking to me when I am sometimes too distracted to think of higher things through my own meditation or reflection. Lately, I have been listening to Casting Crowns, and have loved the words of these two songs. They have reminded me of the greatness of Jesus and His relationship to me - my unworthiness, yet my desire to please Him by responding to His grace and goodness. Is it not the journey of each of us in life - to figure out who we are and to dedicate our lives (and the lives of our children) to worshipping Him? I love the concept that when we please God, our lives can cause Him to smile. My prayer is that my family and the way we live today will do just that.

Who Am I?
Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and watch me rise again
Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me

I am Yours
Whom shall I fear
'Cause I am Yours
I am Yours

Empty hands held high
Such small scarifice
If not joined with my life
I sing in vain tonight

May the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to You

Let my lifesong sing to You
Let my lifesong sing to You
I want to sign Your name to the end of this day
Knowing that my heart was true
Let my lifesong sing to You

Lord, I give my life
A living sacrifice
To reach a world in need
To be Your hands and feet

So may the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to You

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Let my lifesong sing to You

Egg Hunt

We enjoyed our tradition of coloring eggs, and having our egg hunt with friends. Chase was funny because his focus of the day was to throw the egg as soon as it was in his hands. Reece had a much clearer objective - grab and eat!

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Grand Opening

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  Thanks for all your prayers! Posted by Picasa

Good morning! Considering all of the encouraging notes and prayers that we have received over the last week, I thought I should give you the details of last nights Grand Opening for Cafe Y Algo Mas. The preparations list is always longer than you really think is, so there wasn't much of a calm before the 4:00 storm - in fact, we were finishing up just in time to open the doors at 4:00 when we realized we hadn't yet turned the coffee pot on! Oops! But the first few hours were pretty slow and the storm didn't hit until 6:30 or 7 (we are quickly learning that we are going to have to "revisit" our hours of operation....Mexicans eat late and get home from work late so we think we'll have much better interaction with people if we stay open till 9:30 or 10. We had intended to close at 8 last night, but we were too full to even think about that!! Ya, it was an interesting and successful evening! At first we were tracking our sales per hour - and that went out the window once business picked up because it was a bit too chaotic to worry about it by then. We were handing out free samples to people on the street and a few came in to purchase something - but only "to go". Around 6 or 6:15 we had a large family sit down, then a few sat at the bar...some bought and said they were going home to get their family and return, one lady came back 2 or 3 times throughout the evening. It was a whole lot of fun! We had a selection of 5 desserts - banana bread, brownies, carrot cake, cinnamon rolls, and pound cake with strawberries and cream. I thought we would have plenty to last through last night and tonight as well - but it is back to the kitchen! We ran out of carrot cake, pound cake, almost out of brownies and banana bread, but have enough cinnamon rolls, I think. Another suprise - I didn't think the carrot cake was going to sell and it was the hot item. Another great thing is the shop right next door to us just opened up too - and it is an ice cream store - good stuff. The ladies there are sooo nice - this whole past week they've been giving us free ice cream and my kids are in heaven. Yesterday afternoon I told her Reece didn't need any and she just marched on behind the counter, scooped him up some bubble gum ice cream and gave it to him. Guess what has become my son's favorite thing in the world?! We told her that they can buy ice cream at her shop and come and sit in ours! It only supports our purpose in getting to know people! And that is what happened last night. The adults drank coffee and ate dessert at our tables with their kids eating ice cream from next door - perfect! We enjoyed some good laughs as we tried to work in our little area of space also. One evening of operation teaches you a lot more about how things should be set up behind the bar than all the pre-planning could do. But we have stuck to our idea of simplicity - even using my kids' large, empty Crayola Marker box as a cash box (since it already had compartments to separate out our change).

We have a lot of thanks to give to our friends from Westport Road! There is absolutely no way we would have been ready to open without their help...and the shop wouldn't look as good as it does either. We were blessed with Danny, Arnis, and Randy - all very gifted in carpentry skills. Thank you men for your hours and hours of work and service. We hope that you feel our gratitude and appreciation. The teens - Bryce, Amber, Ann, Mary, and Heather painted, cleaned, passed out flyers, and put on a VBS for all the missionary kids during our grand opening (as well as other great things throughout the week such as passing out food boxes to the poor, painting and cleaning a park, visiting children in a cancer hospital). Thank you teens for using your spring break to serve God here in Mexico City. And of course, thank you again to all of you who donated coffee cups - they are not only practical but as the pictures will show, they serve as decoration as well.

We really feel as though everything has come together nicely. We want to hang a few pictures and maybe another shelf, but it looks great, we like our location and have faith that great relationships will be formed from our time spent there. Thank you for all of your prayers - we have felt them and ask that you continue to ask God to give us eyes to see where He has gone before us and is preparing moments for us to be Jesus to our community.

I am posting a few random pictures of us getting the shop ready to go...and from our opening night.

 Getting ready to add some color!
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 Building the bar.

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 Reece washing the plates - quite a lot of fun to have his hands in water!
 Getting set up!

 Tonight's staff! Benjy, Carolyn, Stephen and Bryan.

 "Para llevar - to go."

  Handing out samples to people passing by.

 People sitting down - an answer to many prayers. Thank you! Posted by Picasa

And after that we got to busy to snap any more photos!