Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas in Guatemala!

This is our second Christmas in Guatemala. Last year we were blessed to be in the States for 2 weeks before Christmas, so we got to keep some of our annual traditions: like drinking a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha as I shop for stocking stuffers in Target, or driving around in pajamas to look at Christmas lights and of course time with family and friends. Then we returned to Guatemala for a very quiet and peaceful holiday.

This year is very different. I have missed the mochas and shopping and colorful lights. It has been hard getting used to new traditions and giving up some of the old traditions. Please do not mistake missing home for a desire to go back to our life or a complaint about our new life. I look back at our life in Atlanta and realize I took some things for granted. I will always appreciate and recall our life there with fondness, but I do not wish to be anywhere else this Christmas. I am HOME for the holidays.

Here are a couple of neat things we are up to this week as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Lago Atitlan at sunset - beautiful!

On Sunday evening, we had a cookout down by the lake. We saw an amazing sunset and had a toasty bonfire. We invited Katarina and her children to join us. I was AMAZED to watch 12-year old Maria build and maintain two fires better than my boy-scout husband. She stuck her hands in the fire to adjust the coals, she tended the meat and tortillas, fanned the flames. I kept thinking, "We would NEVER let our 12 year old stick her hand in the fire and move a log or coal." It was painfully obvious that this was not her first cookout, she has many responsibilities for such a tender age.

As hard as it was to realize some of her life responsibilities, it was a delight to watch her and her siblings devour the food. Her reward for her hard work was a meal of grilled meat, vegetables salad, chips, cokes and chocolate bark for dessert. Most likely, they haven't eaten like that in a long time, if ever. After dinner she ran and played and chased her brother, just like any 12 year old should.

Another fun blessing this week - MIMI is in town! YEAH!! We are having fun making Christmas cookies and cooking up a storm. We are all thrilled to have Lee's mom here as we celebrate and show her the sights.

Making cookies with Mimi - a Christmas tradition!

This morning, we took Mimi to visit some families and deliver Christmas gift baskets. Gifts baskets in Guatemala are a bit different than gift baskets back home. It's common in the States to get a gift basket with fruits, cookies, chocolates, cheeses or Hillshire Farms sausage. In the Guatyland, they are a little more practical. You might find cooking oil, beans, laundry soap and marshmallows all packed in one plastic bucket - which is also multi-purpose. Many people use the new bucket for cleaning dishes or carrying things on their head. I'm just not sure how I would feel if my husband gave me a basket with cooking oil and laundry soap in it....

Well, we made our gift baskets both fun and functional! They included rice, beans, oatmeal, powdered milk, toothbrushes, and soap, as well as hot chocolate, marshmallows and homemade cookies. 

Hygiene, Health and Chocolate - all very important for a happy life!
Very Guatemalteca!

As we bless others, we are blessed. Isn't that why Christ came in the first place? He came to bless and serve others and in turn was raised to glory. As we serve and bless others, Christ still gets the glory. How are you blessing others and bringing the Christ child glory this year? We would love to hear about it....

Feliz Navidad!

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