Giving Thanks

"Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow." ~Edward Sandford Martin

Earlier this month on Facebook, I started writing about the things that I was thankful for each day.  In honor of Thanksgiving, I would like to share them with you.

I am thankful for my husband.  He is my best friend.  A loving husband and a wonderful father and provider.  His playful sense of humor brightens each day.

I am thankful for my children.  I love them so much.  Life with 4 kids is often chaotic, but I couldn't imagine living any other way.  My childrens' smiles, hugs and kisses are all the pay this stay-at-home mom needs.

I am thankful for my in-laws, Hubby's parents and siblings.  Not only did I marry an amazing man, I married into an incredible family.

I am thankful for my friends and family.  My life is richer for knowing them.

I am thankful for the internet.  It has allowed me to stay in touch with the family and friends that I left in the States. 

I am thankful for Facebook, because I have been able to find "lost" family members and re-connect with old friends.   

I am thankful for my health and the health of my family. (Especially this year!)  I have yet to experience any serious problems with  my allergies and asthma. 

I am thankful that we have a roof over our head, clothes on our backs and food on the table.

And I am thankful for my blogs.  I have made many new friends and hope to make many more.

I hope you all had a Happy Thankgiving!

With Love,
Leslie Limon

Let's Talk Turkey

If there is ever a time that I feel a bit homesick for the States, it is during Thanksgiving.  I love Thanksgiving!  It is my favorite holiday of all. 

In the 9 years that I have lived in Mexico, I have celebrated Thanksgiving 4 times.  Not because I don't want to, but because Hubby and I have a niece whose birthday often falls on Thanksgiving.

The few times that I have celebrated Thanksgiving, a very important element has been missing.  Turkey!  Not a frozen turkey in sight!

One year, Hubby drove me and the kiddies an hour away to Tepatitlan, our nearest "city", to hunt for a frozen turkey.  My search was somewhat successful, because I did find a turkey, but it wasn't the kind of turkey I wanted.  It was a smoked turkey.  Forgive me, but I like to add the flavor to my turkey.

Another year, Hubby and I were talking with one of our neighbors about Thanksgiving. (FYI, these neighbors lived in the U.S. for many years and celebrate many of the customs.)  During the course of our conversation, I mentioned my yearning for a turkey.  My neighbor, kindly offered me one of the turkeys from his ranch.  A live turkey!!!  All I had to do was kill it, pluck it and clean it.  No, gracias!  I want a turkey, but not that bad. 

Finally, last year, I got to eat some turkey.  The above-mentioned neighbors invited us to spend Thanksgiving with them at their ranch.  It was one of the best Thanksgivings I've experienced.  And not because of the turkey. 

With Love,
Leslie Limon
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Cañadas de Islas

Our last stop on the church tour was Cañadas de Islas, a large ranch community that belongs to Mexticacan, Jalisco.  The church itself is located high atop a hill that offers a spectacular view of the Mexican countryside.  Cañadas de Islas is a 20 minute drive from Yahualica, but there is an extra 10 minute ride to reach the church. 

At first sight, this church captivates you because it is so different from the more traditional churches around Mexico.  Have you ever seen a circular church?

Believe it or not, this church was built from start to finish, in 2 years.

The inside of the church is simply breathtaking.  My lil' camera doesn't do it justice.

The stained glass windows are made with the images of the Mexican Martyrs, hence the name El Templo de Los Martires.  Underneath their names is an image of the weapon used to kill them. (Click on the pictures for a closer look.)

Amongst the Mexican Martyrs are San Roman Adame, who was killed in Yahualica.  And San Toribio Romo, who baptized my hubby's grandmother.  (She discovered this fact a few years ago.)

If you're ever in Yahualica, be sure to visit El Templo de Los Martires.  Just remember to wear long pants, because "NO SHORTS ALLOWED".

Even the entrance/exit sign catches your eye.

I truly enjoyed our day trip.  It's hard to believe that of all the places we visited, we were never more than 45 minutes away from Yahualica.

With Love,
Leslie Limon

El Molino and San Felipe

Next stop on our church tour was El Molino, another ranch community that also belongs to Nochistlan, Zacatecas.  It was a 10 to 15 minutes drive from where we ate lunch.   

The first thing that caught my eye (and the kids') were the wheel-shaped objects in el jardin (plaza).  My brother-in-law explained that years ago, El Molino was famous for making molinos (millstones). 

The church in El Molino is El Templo de la Virgen del Rosario.  (The Temple of the Virgin of the Rosary.)

 Inside the church.  I liked that there were giant rosaries on the wall in honor of La Virgen del Rosario.

Our visit to El Molino was short and sweet.  And since there is another rancho (ranch community) nearby, we decided our next stop would be San Felipe, which belongs to Mexticacan, Jalisco.

Our visit to San Felipe was even shorter.  The church was closed, as was el jardin.  Surprised us all.

Check back tomorrow for the last stop of our church tour.  You don't want to miss it!

With Love,
Leslie Limon
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Las Huertas

The first stop on yesterday's day trip was Las Huertas, a small ranch community that belongs to Nochistlan, Zacatecas.  Many, many years ago,  Las Huertas was full of orchards of every fruit and nut tree imaginable.  But due to many of the men, and ultimately entire families, migrating to the United States, the orchards disappeared.  There are still many houses and families that reside in Las Huertas.

Las Huertas is a 25 minute drive from Yahualica. 

This is a picture of the wall around the church and the entrance gate.  Upon arrival, we were greeted by a kind gentleman, Secundino Quezada, who acted as our tour guide. Our pleasant experience wouldn't have been the same without him.

The church's name is El Templo del Señor de la Misericordia.  It was one of the first churches built by the Franciscanos over 450 years ago.

I loved the inside of this church.  It wasn't overly ornate and felt so warm and inviting.  Many of the churches that I have seen in Mexico have marble floors, but this floor was made entirely of wood. (Click on all of the pictures for a closer look.)

This shrine/altar to La Virgen de Guadalupe is located outside in the church's courtyard.

The church's courtyard has about 12 orange trees.  The scent of oranges made me feel as if I was still in my hometown of Redlands, California.  A truly wonderful feeling that I can't describe.  (Sigh!)


All of the trees were full of sweet oranges.  So of course my hubby and brother-in-law wanted to pick some oranges.  We were informed that the oranges are sold for a peso each to benefit the church.  Hubby picked 2 large bags and paid 50 pesos.  The kiddies enjoyed catching the oranges and got a kick out of seeing grown men playing in the trees. 

Don Secundino informed us that we could find an ojo de agua a very short distance from the church.  An ojo de agua is like a natural spring of water.  I expected to find a large well of sorts, but all we found was a medium sized hole in the ground full of crystal clear water.  And next to the ojo de agua was what my hubby and brother-in-law called El Periodico (The Newspaper).  This is where all of the women used to gather to do laundry (by hand) and catch up on the lastest gossip news.  Next time we visit, I'm bringing my laundry.  There are enough lavaderos (wash sinks) for everyone to pitch in.

We were all having a good time joking about the lavaderos when we noticed that the entire area was surrounded by these little reddish green plants.  My father-in-law yelled that it was "Caquiste!"   We already had a run in with poison ivy a few years ago so we made our exit post-haste.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow for more on our day trip.

With Love,
Leslie Limon

One Fine Day

This weekend was a 3-day weekend.  This Friday, November 20th is the Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution.  But the Mexican government decided to go the American route and celebrate or "observe" the holiday the previous Monday.  Government offices, banks and schools were closed today.

We had no plans for this puente (3-day weekend).  Hubby worked on Saturday and we spent Sunday with my in-laws.  Our only plan for today was to spend a lazy day at home, maybe watch a movie or two.

Then my brother-in-law and his family stopped by to see if we wanted to join them on a picnic.  The plan was to do some sightseeing at a nearby town, then find someplace to enjoy our picnic.  (More about that town tomorrow!)  

Which we did.  We crossed a few bridges.

Saw some cows. (I heart Cows!)

And a horse riding down the road.

We finally stopped at a little resevoir called La Presa del Molino.

Beautiful!  Not an easy place to get to, but what a view.  We sat under a few huisaches (thorny trees), feasted on Pollo Rostisado (Rotisserie Chicken) and enjoyed the scenery, while the kiddies played.  We sat mesmerized watching the campesinos gather what looked to be hay.  (Click on the photo for a closer look.)

While we talked about the 450 year old church we had just visited, we began talking about the other towns and churches that were nearby.  A new plan was hatched!  We ended up visiting another 3 towns and their churches.  (More about all of them this week.)

What we thought was going to be a lazy day, turned into one magnificent day trip.  (We even crossed the State line.)  Don't you just love last-minute plans?  I do!

With Love,
Leslie Limon

Kitchen Sink Confessions

I have a confession to make, but you have to promise not to tell my husband or children. 

Promise?  Okay.

love to wash dishes!

I cook three meals a day, plus lunches for the kiddies to take to school, afternoon snacks and dessert.  All of this for 6 people.  The dirty dishes just pile up.  And not just dishes,  There's pots and pans, silverware, glasses and cups.  But, I don't mind.

Some might suggest that I make everyone wash their own dishes to lighten my load.  But why would I want to do a crazy thing like that? 

Let me let you in on another secret.  All moms need a break every now and then. 

The reason I take such joy in washing dishes is simple.  It is one of the only times of day that I have all to myself.

On the surface, I appear to be washing dishes.  But I like to take that time to clear my head.  Gather my thoughts.  Reflect on what has happened throughout the day.  Vent a few frustrations.  Pray.  Contemplate world events.  Plan the rest of my day.  Daydream.  Draft future blog posts.  I swear, I have my best ideas while standing at the kitchen sink. 

After a few minutes of washing dishes, I am refreshed.  Its the best therapy and meditation session all rolled into one.  Only it didn't cost me a dime.  Well, maybe I do spend a few pesos on liquid dish soap and hand moisturizer.  But its money and time well spent. 

Now remember...this is between you and me!

With Love,
Leslie Limon