December 31, 2008

Waiting for Spring

The snow has melted and we are all ready for Spring - for the flowers to come up and the air to get warmer and the trees to bud. Unfortunately, we still have at least two more months of winter and anything can happen (weatherwise). Isn't that just like life?

O.K. I'm done with this trial. I've learned my lessons and I am ready to move on...but no, we are still in the thick of it with the end (if it is even in sight) is miles away.

Where are you Spring?

My brethren count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:2-4

Whatever you may be facing today - the cold, the grey, the rain, the dark - The Lord is working, always working, that YOU, my friend, would be perfect wanting nothing. Trust in Him.

December 24, 2008

Happy Christmas Eve

The house is clean, the christmas cards have been mailed (albeit a little late) the table is laid out with snack-all-day foods.

A couple plates of Christmas cookies (peanut butter and strawberry shortbread)
A crystal platter with dried fruits and raw nuts
A bowl of peeled pop-in-your-mouth satsuma oranges
A tiny dish of little candies left over from the gingerbread houses
A small cheese platter

There are tamales and pupusas for warming for dinner - easy.

Hopefully the weather won't keep us from church tonight...and friends have invited us over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. We are truly blessed. We even have a box full of presents for the children hiding under my bed...God is so good to us.

I pray that you are full of joy and Peace. I was just thinking about how when Jesus came the angels announced "Peace, good will toward men". How amazing that God has good will towards us...we look around at the rushing or the loneliness of those around us...maybe our own hearts are full of loneliness or fear or anger...God's will is good towards you. He wants Peace for you. That is why He came. That is why we celebrate.

Peace, Good will towards you, Merry Christmas!

December 21, 2008

Little Pink Riding Hood

Mr. Santos went for a drive in the snow - always looking to "conquer" something. Sophia and Noah would not be left behind when there were adventures to be had. So, it was just Me and my Naomi at home. She spent quite a while outside alone. In the quiet snow it was just her and the birds and the crunch of her boots as she made trails. I watched through the window while I wrapped in wax paper some treats that I whipped up for the neighbors. (whew- how bout them w's)

Then, I asked her to go and deliver them to our neighbors. (of course she would be within sight the whole time) She was so excited to do such a big girl thing all by herself.

Doesn't she look so small walking all by herself to make her deliveries?

Naomi was jumping up and down when the family came home. "Guess what I did, Guess what I did! - and all by myself!" She's still glowing from the pleasure of it. It doesn't take much to make her happy.

December 19, 2008

Peace on Earth

"Suffering is having what you don't want or wanting what you don't have." ~ Elisabeth Elliot

Have you ever had one of those days when everything is steely gray? It's not dark, but it's not light. It's cold and you long for cheerful warmth. You have been treated unjustly. You have been hurt. Your fists tighten at your sides, your face scrunches in a scowl, your nerves are on edge and every sound becomes a prick provoking you to rudeness or unkindness.

Suffering. You have what you don't want: the pain of injustice. You want what you don't have: Vengeance or Defense - maybe what is really wanted is affection and acceptance - either way, you don't have it.

What to do?

'God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.' James 4:6,7

What a wonderful time of year it is. CHRISTMAS! A special time to decorate the house, to eat special foods, to give gifts to loved ones - why? Because the creator of the universe humbled himself to become like us. He came to give us life. Ah, but I can't think about JESUS right now - too consumed with my suffering.

'what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?' Mark 8:36

I think what if I did have what I wanted? I could fight for my own way. I could confront or justify my anger and the very least I could let it be known that I am not happy.

'Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16'

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Matthew 7:14

If you are suffering right now - do as it says in Hebrews - 'lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.' Hebrews 12:1-4

It could be your mother, your father, your husband, your children - your hurts or your wants...Submit to God. He loves you.

'For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace' Isaiah 9:6

This is great news - and while you may have forgotten as I often do - there is an unseen battle we wage. There is an enemy that would have you be distracted with the things of this world.

Don't be distracted. Look unto Jesus.

December 16, 2008

A little paper, a little snow

And you have all you need for happy full days.

Winter fun!
Sophia and Noah slip sliding away - if only you could hear the squeals.

Naomi sliding down the "hill" in our back yard.

The view from my kitchen window - It was too cold for me! :) But at least the kids came in to some warm honey pancakes and hot peppermint tea!

" Winterscapes" - made with contruction paper - what is life without construction paper? :)
Here's Noah shining the flashlight for us. The electricity was out so we made paper chains by candlelight - can't really tell because of the flash of my camera (or my poor picture taking skills).

Other fun paper creations

A few of the 600 trillion snowflakes the kids have made.

December 13, 2008

All I want for Christmas....

I already have.

We've heard and we say "I want my kids to have all the things that I never had growing up." Wow - This hit me big today. I said it to myself, I prayed it and I now see what a blessing it is to be at home with my family. There are times when worry (mostly comparing myself to others) sets in.

With two kids reading and one well on his way to reading I get a little overwhelmed. Now what? Now what do we study? What curriculum? What kinds of lessons should we do? Will they be smart enough? Will the new administration take my kids away like they are doing in Germany - forcing public school on us? Today it hit me that through homeschooling, I CAN give my kids all the things I never had growing up.

With homeschooling I can give them MEMORIES WITH ME. My own mother worked so hard and so often that she isn't even IN most of my childhood memories. (This is not a criticism of her - but a comment of how thankful I am for the opportunity to stay home with my own). I remember classes and teachers and experiencing things I wish I had never experienced - but getting along with my sisters? working with my sisters or my mother? - no - very few memories of that.

I don't want my children to struggle with pride or selfishness or being easily provoked like Mr. Santos and I do. I want them to know how to handle criticism and even hatred by others - basically TO LOVE THEIR NEIGHBOR AS THEMSELVES. This is something they can learn and practice on a daily basis because they are home schooled.

I can give them a FOUNDATION of Biblical knowledge that I never had growing up. Sometimes Sophia will sigh and ask "Why do we always have to find out what the Bible says about it?" I can answer her like Paul tells Timothy because, "from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

What about HOSPITALITY? I was so impressed the other day when a young newlywed couple invited our family (basically strangers to them) over for dinner. It was not a burden or stressful thing at all for them to have a family of five over to their house. It was nothing to cater to children even though they had none. Even knowing what to talk about with strangers was a skill I wanted for my children. The cleanup was a breeze - not a thing to sigh over and keep them from inviting another family over the next week.

The things we want for our children cannot be bought at the mall. They cannot be wrapped up and put under the tree. They have to be lived out and seen day in and day out. We can only give it to them if we spend time with them. So, thank God, we have the privilege to home school and we have God's Word and we have a hardworking, sacrificial Mr. Santos to provide for us.

The next time I am dealing with bickering children, or selfish children, or big messes I hope to remember this: My children are receiving what I never had growing up - training in righteousness.

December 03, 2008

Our Newest Distraction

I wanted a chalkboard. I needed a chalkboard. I tried getting things done with a dry-erase board and somehow ended up with marker all over our walls. Dry erase marker does not come off of walls very well and since we are renting now - I didn't want to deal with that sort of mess. BUT, I also didn't want something ugly and institutional looking either. So I shopped around...What beautiful chalkboards I found!

Isn't this pretty? Only $146.00
This is my favorite - $200.00

This is pretty, but too small - $80.00

As nice as all those are, I had about $20.00 to spend on a chalkboard. I scoured the thrift stores and junk shops with no success, so I decided to make my own. I bought some board, the cheapest, fanciest border I could find and some chalkboard paint. Mr. Santos put it all together for me. When all was said and done, I spent about $30.00, but it is just the right size. I still have the "tweak it - decorate it some more - itch" but it will do for now.

Below is a little video of our Noah writing on the board. Usually, I am the one writing on it and the kids are answering questions...but I think Noah's chubby hands writing his name are so cute. Mr. Santos is in the background studying. If it seems like I am rushing Noah in his writing, I am (smiles). I knew the video of him had to be under one minute long...

Just some more silly santos times.


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