December 24, 2009

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. 2 Cor 9:15

December 21, 2009

Frugal Christmas Gifts

I picked up this set of blocks at Goodwill a couple nights ago. It was, with tax, $1.08. We have enjoyed it sooo much - just playing and stacking next to the Christmas tree. I don't know what is so special about these blocks, but it seems like you can make ANYTHING with them; they stack so well and they don't fall down. I decided to research how much they were brand new...OH MY here if you are interested in seeing how much I saved by going to my local thrift store. It makes me laugh out loud! Thank you Lord, for good gifts.

EDITED: I just went to the link and the price is no longer listed - it is $179.00 normally. HAHAHA I'm still laughing over my 'steal'

December 18, 2009

The last weekend before Christmas

Christmas as a day in the calendar comes in its season, whatever our response may be. God sends it, like his sunshine and his rain, on the evil and the good, on the just and the unjust. But Christmas in its divine meaning will become real to us only as it reenacts itself in our own experience. An old seventeenth-century poet, Angelus Silesius,

“Though Christ a thousand times
In Bethlehem be born,
If he’s not born in thee,
Thy soul is still forlorn.

“The cross on Golgotha
Will never save thy soul,
The cross in thine own heart,
Alone can make thee whole.”
(from Christmas Making by J.R. Miller - one of my new favorite authors)

December 17, 2009

Keeping up on our Homeschool

This is one of my favorite school books. It always serves to get our hearts and minds on the "Right" things for the day. This is how we used it today.
First, we read the story about the author of the hymn "This is my Father's world." It is so good for the children to read happy biographies about men and women who LOVE the Lord. There are so many people in our culture praised for their own looks or accomplishments. These biographies encourage devotion to God and a Godly lifestyle. Then we listened to the hymn and sang it. We also read a devotional about the different things God created. This was fun because it led right into our next activity.
Secondly, the children each took a turn to tell us all about three things that God created - being sure to mention the color, size, smell much detail as they could. There was a little bit of competition as they tried to come up with something different and more unique than their siblings. I thought this was O.K. because it gave glory to the creativity of our God. We kept a little list going every time something different was mentioned...for instance all the colors God used in making fruits.
Then, we memorized the verse that was included in the book and made it into a little song.
Tonight we are going to buy one of each apple that is sold in the grocery store. Our nephew, Beris, who is an apple farmer, is staying with us a few weeks. We are going to do a taste test (to God's glory) and also a little quiz for Beris to see if he 'knows his stuff'.
Here's a link to the wonderful hymn: This is my Father's World.

December 14, 2009


(click on icon if you want to participate in the daybook meme)


December 14, 2009

Outside my window...

No more Ice - the cold spell has passed and we are back to rain and grey skies. I think I will miss that icy sunshine.

I am thinking...

It is not so important what I do, but who I am.

I am thankful for...

My Church Family

From the kitchen...

Sausage/Pea Soup, chocolate chip cookies and extra Body Balance - seems there are a lot of sick people lately and we want to build up our immunity.

I am wearing...

Brown Pants, a green and brown checked shirt, and a cream colored sweater - brown mary janes

I am creating...

A Christmasy home today. Our nephew is in town helping Mr. Santos at the I get to stay home and be a favorite thing. I will set up a tree and some paper crafts for the children...Can't wait.

I am going...

To mail a few little gifts and cards I have ready

I am reading...

Christmas stories with the kids.

From the school room...

Snowflakes, paper chains and paper angels.

I am hoping...

To be a blessing to someone family? It seems there has been a lot of grumpiness around here lately - I know that I have the power to change that - Sometimes, I just get sucked up into the negativity and complaints, but I AM the I am hoping to make my home a peaceful happy place. First item on the list, SMILE.

I am hearing...

Quiet. Makes me feel rested.

Around the house...

An empty corner for a Christmas tree. A bare space for the Nativity. A blank wall for a Christmas quilt to be hung.

One of my favorite things...

Grateful children and a smile from my husband.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:

Memorize with the children the song "The First Noel" - they have to sing it Sunday and are far behind...At least they know by heart, Luke 2

Here is a picture thought I am sharing…

I am in awe of how our Lord is in charge of all things.

December 13, 2009

A cute skirt

Every year at Christmas, some of the ladies in my church take part in a one-year commitment to be a Secret Sister. For one full year we commit to praying for and encouraging our Secret Sister. We give gifts and cards and, most especially, pray for one another. I was extremely blessed by my Secret Sister last year. So many times a card from her would brighten my day; a kind gift would make me SO happy. On my birthday, last month, she bought me CLOTHES. How Fun! She originally got me a cute brown courduroy skirt, but, unfortunately, it didn't fit.

Last night, I exchanged it for the skirt above...isn't it CUTE? I love it because it goes with EVERYthing. It is long enough that I can wear leggings underneath in this cold weather. It is also very slimming...which is always good - doncha think? Today, I wore it with a grey turtleneck sweater, tights, and my red Mary Janes (they have a small heel) In the warmer weather it will look good with a tee shirt and pretty sandals.

Just wanted to share my new favorite thing.

December 12, 2009

Tis the season for...lying and stealing?

She must have been waiting for her chance because I am rarely out of the shop. She needed a stool to reach it; she needed me to be out of the shop; she needed enough time so as not to get caught. This was most definitely premeditated.

Somehow, someway, her chance came. Doesn't it always come? The Bible says, No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. Her temptation came and she succumbed. The pink bubble-gum flavored candy stick - the one with the blue stripes - went into her pocket.

But when would she enjoy her prize? She would need to work out just as many details in order to eat it. The temptation comes easily enough, but with it comes MORE temptations. Only these temptations are different. It seems they cannot be avoided. Now she MUST lie. Now she MUST hide and deceive - deceive not only her mother, but now her sister and brother too. If she didn't, she would get caught.

She hid the prize in her desk. Sometimes she would sneak into her room and lift up her desk to feel under the papers. Yep, it was still there. The smooth, hard bubble gum stick. Oh, she could just taste it. If only she had some free time where she could get away to enjoy it. Occasionally, she would want to tell her sister...but would her sister share her joy or turn her in? Sometimes she would smile thinking of her brother asking for a lick and giving him one...but would they enjoy it knowing it was stolen? The item in her desk consumed her thoughts.

A few days later, I came in to help clean her room. Everything needed to be spotless and in order. Overnight guests would be arriving soon. "Here, let's put this in your desk," I said.

I walked towards the desk with the little book. "NO MOM!" the child shouted. "I have special cards in there for Noah, uh, and uh, I don't want him to see them."

It was too late, the lid was lifted. I was curious. "What special notes, my love?" I lifted the papers to reveal the stolen candy stick.

Heavy sighs from mother and daughter.
I could have just let this go. After all, the candy came from our own shop...and she hadn't eaten it yet...and it's just a little bit of candy...But no. This is where the rubber meets the road. "be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless." 2Pet 3:14
Character is built brick by brick. We didn't let it go. We knocked out a few bricks and boards and laid in some new ones. No matter what we have to do is more important who we are.
I had the same temptation just yesterday. I printed some pictures at Walmart. When I got to the checkstand, I looked at my black and white photos and noticeed they were very BLUE. Oh, how disappointed I was. $13.00 for THESE? Yuck. Well, I unloaded my purchases. The unpaid photos I held behind my notebook. Wow, the pictures were the same size as my notebook. Hm? If I just held them there, I could walk out of the store without paying for them. No one would know. Hey, it's not like I would enjoy the pictures anyway. I couldn't add them to my Christmas cards like I hoped. Sure, there were three or four that I liked, but the line was long and those pictures only amounted to a dollar at most. Yep, she tallied me up and I kept the pictures behind my notebook. I put my bags in the cart and off I went...
BACK to the photo department. I waited in line, gave my ugly black and whites back and paid the $1.85 for the pictures I did like.
No, I didn't steal the pictures...but I almost did.
Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD. Jeremiah 23:24
And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. Job 28:28

December 07, 2009


So the low tonight is 18 degrees...the high tomorrow...a whopping 30 degrees. No snow - yet. Clear skies and frozen toes and fingers. We could hardly warm ourselves today and all for the sale of one tree. A man and his son came by the farm. They cut down their tree and were gone all in about ten minutes...WOW...Probably because they were freezing. Some good friends came to visit breaking up the cold monotony of the day. We drank peppermint tea and chatted with icy toes around the wood stove that was never hot enough for me.

The children memorized their Christmas verses. I organized my purse. We ate chicken soup that I warmed in the crock pot for lunch, and other than that, we were COLD. I have been home for almost two hours now and I still have not removed my coat...Should I go to the farm tomorrow? NAH! Mr. Santos has tomorrow off of school...maybe he wouldn't mind going to the farm alone? We'll see.

I shouldn't complain. Here are some highlights of our December life:

Free Spice Drops for the Shopkeeper

A walk across the farm every morning.

My little Noah man bringing in the wreaths.

The littles doing their school work.

Naomi Baloney putting the reader board letters away - and learning how to alphabetize at the same time

Wreaths actually selling (smiles)

Pony rides and good friends

December 05, 2009

Failures and Fix-its

What a busy week we have had! I don't think I will have time to post much until the new year if things continue as they are. On one hand, we are exhausted! We get up and get out to the farm, trying to leave the house is some semblance of order, come home after a long COLD day, eat and prepare for the next day. On the other hand, it is so fun and not TOO much work. Sometimes all we do at the farm is sit by the wood stove and read stories or practice our recitations for the Christmas Program. People come into the little "shed turned shop" and share conversation or troubles and it is very relaxing...but it is still time away from home...I am glad for Sundays, when the farm is closed and we go to church and come HOME.

Here are some highlights from our new adventure:

~Runaway Twine ~

On our first day we were very busy - plus we didn't know WHAT we were doing. It's not like we went to a class to learn how to run a tree farm. It's not like we had a supervisor to give us orders. We have employees - but they are young - A beautiful yet bossy eight year old, a feisty and giggly six year old and a happy distracted five year old - The Santos Children.

Mr. Santos was on the far end of the farm helping a wholesaler load and cut trees. He sent the "employees" back up the hill with a giant ball of twine. There were some customers waiting for it in order to tie their tree down. Well, the employees made it to the top of the hill...Not before stopping along the way to pick up a very good walking stick and winding through the trees in figure eights.

At the top of the hill waited the customers (three young people in their late teens or early twenties)- very patiently - which was a blessing. Suddenly the huge ball of twine fell out of the hands of the oldest employee and went rolling down the hill leaving a nice long trail of twine. There were shouts and fusses and the twine, now a tangled mess, was slowly brought up the hill only to be dropped AGAIN. Fifty miles of twine stretched out over the parking lot and hill. The kids, ahem employees, were overwhelmed. I came out of the shop because I didn't know why the customers were just hanging around. I also wanted to know what they were looking at (why they didn't help the children is beyond me)...I quickly ran to cut some twine and gave a piece to the customers. Unfortunately, the customers didn't know what to do with the twine, so I helped them tie their tree down. Then the children and I began gathering and rolling the twine before the next wave of people came in.

The Failure? Mr. Santos was ANGRY at the employees. There were lots of tears, slumped shoulders, and stress. The Fix-it. Twine is ready and available at the shed where the customers can get it easily and Mr. Santos acknowledges the limitations and gifts of the employees.

~Welcome to the Farm~

It is very exciting to the Santos Family Farm Employees when a customer comes in. There is an invisible "bell" at the gate entrance. When a customer drives in the bell goes off. It sounds like three voices yelling "Mom, someone is here, someone is here!" On the first day, maybe the second day too, (it's all such a blur) the children would run out to the customer's car and open their door for them.

Oh My.

We have now trained the employees that some people don't LIKE children. Some people don't like valet tree service. Some people might be on the phone when they drive up to the farm and don't appreciate noses and fingerprints pressed into the glass of their car windows.

We now welcome all our visitors with waves and welcomes from the shop, allowing them time to get out of their car - OR not.

~That's an ugly tree~

A lovely family came in - good friends - and picked out a unique tree. That is what is so wonderful about a tree farm, all the trees are unique. Well, one of the employees commented on it. "That is an ugly tree. It looks like a Charlie Brown Tree. You sure like ugly trees."


Thankfully, these were good friends with a sense of humor. The employees really are so helpful and these little things are funny and no big deal. What IS a big deal is the prideful stress the bosses experience and pass on to the employees. The Failure? Pride. Lack of a sense of humor. Tension. The Fix-it? Relax and smile. What a fix-it. We laugh a lot more and come home much less fatigued.

Well, I could go on and on, but I've got to get breakfast on the table...maybe if I stop blogging I will have time to clean the kitchen before we dash out to the farm. Happy day to you!

November 29, 2009


Monday, November 30, 2009

Outside my window...

A cold grey day, green grass and yellow leaves. The soccer ball waiting to be kicked by the kids. They will bring it to the farm today for fun.

I am thinking...

How much relief a Sigh brings. Maybe it is the oxygen or the time taken out to slow down. I am taking lots of deep breaths this morning...a lot of stress.

I am thankful for...

The Lord, my God, my Friend. He is not ashamed to call me His friend - oh How thankful I am for that. Thank you Lord, for holding my hand and listening to all my woes and for being the lifter of my chin. You are such a WONDERFUL friend.

Sing today the song "What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear."

From the learning rooms...
Do not return evil for evil. Hard to learn. Pop quizzes at every turn.

From the kitchen...

A picnic basket to take to the tree farm. PB and J, fresh fruit, almonds and cranberries, and thick macaroons.

I am wearing...

A brown skirt, brown tights, little ankle socks that are not the right brown...they either add to the outfit making me look a little hip, or they make me look like a funny lady with no style...can't tell, but I don't want my feet to be cold...brown tee and cardigan...which no one will see under my big coat and a red hoodie to add color.

I am creating...

An environment for my children...a place for them to feel safe and comforted and where they can LEARN.

I am going...

To the tree farm, of course. I am also going to smile and be thankful for this unique opportunity to serve the Lord, even though I would much rather stay home. I am also going to be thankful that I can bring my children with me...that though I will be spending the month working outside the home, it will be with my family...what a blessing.

I am reading...

Romans 12 - over and over and over...Also, Luke 2 - the children will be reciting it at the Christmas program.

I am hoping...

For sunshine. I feel a little down today...But God is so Good...There may be weeping in the night, but Joy comes in the morning.

I am hearing...

The Children loading up the van to go to the farm...better get out there.

Around the house...

The laundry is DONE. Thank you Lord, for small victories.

One of my favorite things...

Going out with my girlfriends and talking with no interruptions.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

Work at the tree farm on Monday, then the tree farm on Tuesday, and then on Wednesday we will work at the tree farm, on Thursday we have decided that we will just go to the tree farm, But Friday and Saturday we won't go anywhere else except the tree farm. (smiles)

Here is a picture thought I am sharing:

The view from my Gift Shop Window...That would be my Luigi driving up in the truck.

go to read more "daybooks"

The Gift Shop

Well, The Santos Family U-Pick Farm is officially open. We opened the day after Thanksgiving and it has been nothing I expected. So many new experiences and thoughts to share...but for now, here is the transformation of the shop.

The shop BEFORE we decorated for the season.

The Beginnings of a transformation starts with Christmas Candy!

The back wall with candy to sell. Button Candy, Candy Sticks, Spice Drops and Twirly Pops.
There are now Collector Dolls on the top shelf above the candy.

Jewelry, Handmade Cards and wallets, Crocheted Hats and Battery Operated Candles (which so far have been a huge hit)

Body Balance and Good News stuff - some Bibles and tracts.

Here's the rocker I sit in when I have a chance, if I have a chance.

Ornaments and Toys.

Handmade aprons, soaps, ornaments, jams and jellies.
The inventory is already changing here and there with lots of shuffling around. For such a tiny place, I am constantly moving and working, organizing and cleaning. The children are helpful. We try to keep the fire going and the music playing when people come in. Sometimes it feels like "playing store" and other times it is so much work I just want to go home...
Mr. Santos has been working hard selling trees to wholesalers and getting the property looking good. He has also picked up the slack on the wreath making...YEAH! His wreaths are perfect of course. We'll keep you posted as the season continues.
Yesterday, we had a lull in business and I sat down in the rocker by the fire. The children pulled up their stools and we read some stories from the Bible. It was so nice. The story was about Elisha and God's great protection. I have really had to be DILIGENT to find - no - to MAKE time to meditate on God's Word. It's easy, when you are in the middle of a thousand things to forget...but we mustn't. Take time to remember, to spend time with your creator today.

November 25, 2009

More of our favorite "Noah-isms"

Pride of Parenthood
by Norman Rockwell
(one of my favorite artists)

After a long day of hard work, the Santos clan relaxed at the dinner table with some comforting meatball soup.

Noah lifted his spoon to his mouth. He asked, "Does anyone know what 'injured' means?" then slurped his broth loudly.

Sophia blurted out "Yeah, it means 'hurt'".

Naomi echoed, "Yeah, it means you got an owie."

Noah replied, "Nope." He took a bite of meatball. All eyes were fixed on him as we waited for his definition. Confidently, he shared, "It means 'knocked down by a missile.'"

Of course.

November 21, 2009


"Build it well, whate'er you do;
Build it straight, and strong, and true;
Build it clear, and high, and broad:
Build it for the eye of God.”

Some people have a great deal of trouble looking after their rights, seeing that
no one wrongs them, that they always get proper honour and attention from
others, and that no injustice is ever done to them. We hear echoes of this human striving breaking out from the heart of certain great and splendid pageants, where the grand participants contend for precedence in rank, for degree of nobility, at the table or in the procession. We find it in much lowlier places, in society, and in the common walks, in the clamour for the highest distinction or for honour among men. We are spared all such trouble if we have this law of serving deep in our hearts. Our only care then is that we do not ourselves wrong others, even if they have treated us unjustly or unkindly.

Life does not come to us in lifetimes; it comes only a day at a time. Even tomorrow is never ours till it becomes today, and we have nothing whatever to do with it, but to pass down to it a fair and good inheritance in today’s work well done and today’s life well lived.

It is a blessed secret, this of living by the day. Any one can carry his burden, however heavy, till nightfall. Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day. Any one can live sweetly, quietly, patiently, lovingly, and purely till the sun goes down. And this is all that life really ever means to us — just one little day. “Do today’s duty, fight today’s temptation, and do not weaken and distract yourself by looking forward to things you cannot see, and could not understand if you saw them.” God gives us nights to shut down the curtain of darkness on our little days. We cannot see beyond, and we ought not to try to see beyond. Short horizons make life easier,and give us one of the blessed secrets of brave, true, holy living.

~J.R. Miller, Secrets of a Beautiful Life 1908

November 17, 2009

The neighbors dog, Suzie, was yelping. Noah assumed she was calling him. He stepped out onto the back porch and yelped with her for about five minutes. Back and forth, they sounded off. It was hard to tell which yelp belonged to a five year old and which yelp belonged to a big brown dog.

After a while, the little boy came in, pushed his hands deep into his pockets, kicked the side of the table, and explained,

"Welp, Mom. Suzie and I had a good long talk. We were 'ruffing' together."

November 15, 2009

Someone to talk to

"You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." ~ C.S. Lewis

I was flipping through the radio the other day and heard someone say..."You should do less listening to your soul and more talking." I didn't hear any more. I think I flipped the channel or the children got my attention. But this thought has stuck with me all week. Talking to your soul? Even here, lean not on your own understanding.

The Bible tells us what to say to our soul.


Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God.

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.

Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God;

Victory in Jesus

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57

Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
2 Corinthians 2:14

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
2 Corinthians 9:14

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
1 John 4:4

O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.

If we have victory over death, do we not have victory over pride? What about irritation or depression? We say such awful things against our God, our friend and saviour, when we say "This is just how I am." This sort of talk is merely us resigning ourselves to SIN. We don't want to change. We don't want to be kind when they are mean to us. We don't want to do our best work, just what will get by.

Today, when he irritates you, pray for him and do something KIND. Today, when they disobey, correct them quietly, firmly, and with a smile. Today, when everything seems overwhelming, remember your God and his Power and that He gives us victory. We don't have to sin, we don't have to languish. We have VICTORY!

SHOUT IT OUT and be thankful.

November 10, 2009

Mount Everest

It was cold. The rain pounded on the roof of the little shop. There was only one small place to stand amidst all the branches - right in front of the wreath making table. How did this happen? It came on so suddenly. There she stood, a mountain of branches behind her, a stack of metal rings on the table, and yards of red ribbon waiting to be turned into bows. An expectation hovered over her head casting a shadow on her countenance. It hovered and spoke in a booming, commanding voice.

"YOU, CHOSEN ONE, will turn that pile and that stack and those yards into beautiful wreaths. If you make them, they will come. The people will ooh and ah over them, the people will buy them, the people will send their friends to do the same. YOU WILL DO THIS."

She sighed heavily, resenting the voice. She resented the cold. Her fingers were numb. She looked at the branches and all she could see was a fresh smelling pile - a perfect hiding place for spiders and mice.

She sent a prayer up. Like an arrow, it cut through the cloud hovering over her head and lightened the load on her heart. "Help me, Lord."

Determined, she placed the metal ring in the machine and fiddled with some branches. A clip here, a clip there. Bit by bit she lined up the branches, hoping in the end it would look presentable. The rain fell and, in spite of the cold, she continued her work. FINALLY, the last hand of the ring was closed. She hung the wreath up on the nail for inspection. Sadly, the full and floppy mess only slightly resembled a wreath. Another heavy sigh.

"C'mon children, let's go!"

The three children, wet with playing in the rain and branches, piled into the van. She turned the ignition and the heater blasted her with warm air. Yet another heavy sigh. Gently, she rested her head on the steering wheel.

"I can't do this. I have made three floppy wreaths and I can't imagine making any more. I'm cold, I have a thousand other things to do, and I just CAN'T DO THIS!" she prayed.

A still small voice..."My grace is sufficient for you, You can do all things through me who gives you strength. I will never leave you or forsake you. Besides, there is tea and banana bread waiting for you at more wreath."

She smiled, got out of the van, and went to stand in "her spot." She made a fourth wreath. Now this one looked round at least. In fact, with a few pine cones tucked here and there, someone might even buy it. She clapped her hands with joy.

Happily, she lifted the wreath off the nail, but one, then two, then twenty little sprigs of pine fell away from the wreath. Her shoulders slumped as she was left with what could only be called "The Charlie Brown wreath."

SIGH! Well, we will try again tomorrow. Only 15 more days till "Opening Day" at the tree farm.

November 09, 2009

Take Care of Yourself

I hope you all are staying well this Fall and also as we move into winter. We don't have a television so we miss out on a lot of the hype that is out there - I'm so glad for that. While we were on our little holiday we saw, on television, a lot of hype about The Flu. Wow.

This is what we are doing to keep all those winter sicknesses at bay (Lord willing):

Get plenty of fresh air

Limit meat, dairy and processed food

Get plenty of rest

Supplement with vitamins and minerals

Drink fresh ginger tea often

and finally Exercise - your body and your soul

And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men. Acts 24:16

But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. 1Timothy 4:7-8

Even the Lord God 'exercises'. (of course the meaning of the word is different as God does not need to improve or strengthen himself)

But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. Jeremiah 9:24

A quick holiday

My Mom and my Don came up to spend a week with us. They reserved a week at one of their timeshares - just forty minutes from our home in Discovery Bay. We had a beautiful and peaceful visit. Driving up to their condominium unit, Noah said, "Mom, I thought California was a lot farther away." (smiles)
This is the view from our deck in the morning. It would have been so nice to eat breakfast out there, but it was raining and cold. Guess we will have to go back again, lol. We still enjoyed the view, though.

The calm after the storm. See the lone fisherman on the dock? It was so quiet when I took this picture. The only sound was a few chirping birds. The day before the wind roared loudly.

We spent the one stormy day watching some divers. We watched the whole process as they put on their gear. It took about 45 minutes to get all that stuff on. And then they were gone...under the deep.

They came back an hour later with a big bag of crabs and a giant starfish.

We felt we had to get a little taste of the storm too. This picture doesn't really show how the wind is blowing hard, but it was. There was a little boat hitched to the dock behind the children and the wind tore off it's roof as if it was irritated by the looks of it. I guess it was a little irritating, such a flimsy floppy roof it was.

The quiet warm glow of the fire back at 'home'.

Naomi and Mr. Santos having fun in the *indoor heated pool* while the cold rain fell outside.

It was Great Fun!

The girls were SO excited to have their own beds - it was like living in "a castle" they said. Plus, they had their own view of the moon shining on the water each night.
Thank you Mom and Don for giving us your love and time. We miss you so much! and had a great time.

November 05, 2009

Stormy Day

Here I sit, the wind howling, the waves crashing, the trees bending in the storm. The fire crackles in the fireplace.

Upstairs, is another storm. The brows furrowed, the fists shut tight, the teeth clenched. She is fighting her will. "O.K. Mom." That's all she has to say. No, not with a sneer. No, not with a stamped foot. Just a peaceful "O.K. Mom." The storm rages.

I hold my head in my hands. My heart is heavy for the souls of my children. How do I lead these little ones?

How does the Lord lead me?

If ye love me, keep my commandments. John 14:15

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: vs 21

Jesus answered..."But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do." John 14:31


I trust in the Lord with all my heart, and lean not on my own understanding, in all my ways I acknowledge him and he makes my paths straight.

"Turn right."
"O.K. Lord."
"Come this way."
"Yes, Lord"
"Don't do that."
"O.K. Lord."

My will stands up, slams down the fist, "I object! NO! I will go left!" A storm rages, loud, fierce and scary.

"Forgive him."
"O.K. Lord"
"Give it away."
"Yes, Lord"
"Tell them"
"O.K. Lord"

My will quietly questions, "Yeah, but..." "What about...?" "It's mine..." The wind comes up, the sky darkens, the thunder crashes.

Whom do I love more? The Lord God or myself?

Psalm 106:15 "And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul."

If I give her what she wants will she be O.K.? Where do I draw the line? Are my expectations too high? What does she want? She wants her will at all times. She wants to question and argue. She wants to prove that she can see things more clearly than Mom. No, I cannot give her what she wants. It is dangerous out there. "My son hear the instruction of your father and do not forsake the law of your mother" Proverbs 1:8

Romans 1

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, v22

God didn't force them to obey. Eventually, he let them have their way.

Wherefore God also gave them up...gave them up to what?

He gave them up to uncleanness (vs 24) to vile affections (vs 26) to a reprobate mind (vs 28) NO! I don't want that...for myself or my children.


Lord, please don't give me up to my own will. Help me to be more like you, more like your Son, Jesus, who did and does only Your will. Help me to be diligent and patient and kind to my children and not to give them up to their will - at least not yet, while they are still in my care, while they are still young enough to train. Show me how to love them, that we would enjoy one another. Please calm the storms in our hearts and in our home. Thank you for the storm outside. Your Word says that you ride on the wings of the wind...even in all that 'gloominess' you are there. You are in control. Thank you.

November 02, 2009

Monday Daybook

(click on icon if you want to participate in the daybook meme)


November 2, 2009

Outside my window...

A bright grey morning. The pumpkins are wet with the morning dew, the yard is COVERED with yellow and brown leaves, the grass is green and too tall.
I am thinking...

of Malachi 3:6 "I am the Lord, I change not" God's will for us never changes and will never is the culture that moves us to think this way and that way.
Be not conformed to this world, but be ye TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind...we can't do this until we present our bodies to him...So much to think on with this...

I am thankful for...

The songs that rise up in my heart. They make me bounce around the house.
"Sing unto the Lord a new song, sing unto the Lord all the earth!"

From the kitchen...
Chicken - my frugal staple. One baked chicked gives me meat for quesadillas or burritos, appetizers, soup, and sandwiches.
I am wearing...

A green and brown plaid skirt - which you have all seen in past pics of me - with a white shirt, brown cardigan, brown tights and brown mary janes.
I am creating...

fresh wreaths. I want to have a bunch made and ready by opening day at our tree I have some votive candles I need to figure out what to do with...IDEAS? Please let me know.
I am going...
to spend the week at Discovery Bay with my parents and my children.
I am reading...

Ephesians and Hebrews

From the school room...

No "school" this week. We will be doing crafts and making cookies and walking on the beach looking for critters.

I am hoping...

To have a restful and happy week with my family.

I am hearing...

the children begging Sophia for more honey in their oatmeal.

Around the house...

vases of fresh flowers ~ a gift from my mother. She just loves me so much.
One of my favorite things...

colorful fall leaves against the backdrop of a bright blue sky.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:

Help Mr. Santos with some of his school work, relaxing at Discovery Bay, and maybe (if my 'gals' come through) a midweek ladies luncheon.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing…

Vintage Santos girls just a few months before Noah was born...aren't they so LITTLE? This proves we have always loved the beach ~ even in the fall and winter ~ the air is so clean and fresh.

October 29, 2009

Kiss your Tax Payor Advocate Today

We just have to share that after one WHOLE year of corresponding back and forth, back and forth, back and forth with the I.R.S. ~ we have finally reached a resolution in our tax audit. They have reversed all the charges. YIPEE! YAHOO! and HIP HIP HOORAY!

Praise the Lord with me and Thank Him for His Wonderful Mercies! Thank you also for all of your prayers for us.

October 28, 2009


Have you read any good stories lately?

I've got one for you - full of beauty, drama, and suspense. It starts off in Psalm 104. Everything is glorious. The Lord is creating the world. He is walking on the wings of the wind and making the clouds His chariot. All of creation - even the great leviathan playing in the ocean - waits upon the Lord for their food. By Psalm 105, the drama begins. There is a covenant made. The Lord proves Himself through his great and mighty deeds. But what's this? Oh NO! The story continues in Psalm 106. His people, the ones he has cared for and proven himself to...They forget His mercies. They forget His works. They forget God their saviour. Soon they are lusting, then complaining and then turning to other gods. Oh, I cringe to read about their murders and whoring with their own inventions - all the blood, all the filth. Of course, His wrath was kindled against his people...NEVERTHELESS...

Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry; and he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies. Psalm 106:44-45

Notice they forgot...he remembered. He repented; he turned from his wrath when he heard their cry. Because they were worthy? No. Because of the multitude of his mercies.

Take time out to remember the mercies of God in your life.


~God's Mercies in my life~

My marriage ~ what a rocky path we have travelled, but God has kept us together and day by day, year by year, we grow as people and in understanding of God's goodness to us.

My three healthy children ~ Sometimes I feel like such a failure with these littles. In spite of all my failings, God allows me to be their mother, and not only that, but to spend every single day with them home schooling.

Healing ~ through fevers, seizures, broken bones, surgeries.

Providing for all our needs ~ it has been one year of 'unemployment' so far ~ yet we still eat every day, the bills get paid, and we even have lots to share with others...God is MERCIFUL.

Truth ~ there is so much stuff out there to listen to and worry about...yet God, in His Mercy, has given us his Word - we don't ever have to be confused. He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what [is] in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. Daniel 2:22

A Church Family!


Peace that passes all understanding ~ even in the face of rejection, criticism, fearful situations...such peace.
Friends that love the Lord and Truth
Salvation ~ for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord

Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; Psalm 105:5

October 26, 2009

Monday Morning Daybook

to participate click on icon


October 26, 2009

Outside my window...

Pouring rain - I have been listening to it off and on all night.

I am thinking...

of the verse

But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Heb 5:14

Isn't this interesting? Seems we should be exercising our sense of taste, smell, hearing, touch and sight to discern good and evil...just thinking on this.
I am thankful for...

The beginning of a new week. I am always 'energized' on Mondays. It seems like it is a chance to start fresh.

From the kitchen...

Oatmeal for breakfast ~ again. I will put some walnuts, honey and raisins in it. Leftover chicken soup for lunch...For dinner? Help me somebody - I have no idea.

I am wearing...

A black dress with white polka dots, black tights and black clogs.

I am creating...

Candy topiaries for a little "candy land" I am going to have at the shop on our Christmas tree Farm.

I am going...

to stay home today ~ don't want to go anywhere in this pouring rain.

I am reading...

The Gospels and a little bit of Romans

From the school room...

We will watch the movie "Winged Migration." It is a French film with subtitles that follows all kinds of birds on their migrations. The music and the birds are beautiful. There are a few evolutionary comments in it that we ignore or point out as error - but, all in all, a beautiful watch. We will map some of the migrations on our World Map.

I am hoping...

For so many things...things that only God can for now I will just hope that I can figure out what's for dinner.

I am hearing...

the girls in the shower and Noah playing with his soldiers and sword...I already gave him a shower.

Around the house...

all the lamps are on. Even though it is well into the morning, the grey day makes it dark in here.

One of my favorite things...

Going to church. Psalm 122:1 "I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord."

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:

Meet with a good friend who has decided to pull her grandson out of Public school - YEAH! I hope to help her get started on home schooling.

A picture thought I am sharing:

I can dream, can't I?

October 24, 2009

New Mercies every day

Greg Gawlowski -

Today is an absolutely BEAUTIFUL day! It has been gray and wet for a while now, but today the sun is shining. The bright rays shining through the browning yellow leaves is so nice to look at. The apartment is warm and cozy and spic-n-span. The children are working at the tree-farm with Mr. Santos. I stayed home, cleaned the house and piddled here and there enjoying the quiet.


The phone rings and startles me.


"Hi Mom. It's me, Sophia."

"Hi babe."

"I miss you."

I smile. "I miss you too."

"We're coming home for lunch."

"K. See ya soon."

Like a tornado gust - three wild and happy children come traipsing through the house. I yell, "Hey! I just vacuumed! Keep your boots outside!" The husband lumbers in a few minutes later. He had to stop off at the shed first. "Well. Where's lunch?" he asks.

I quickly set the table with our blue and white china then served thick slices of fried ham and warm soupy beans topped with feta cheese and red onions. Mr. Santos had his customary jalapeno and corn tortillas. In the middle of the table was a big bowl of hot french fries for everyone to dig into. I seasoned the fries with garlic, cayenne and parmesan cheese. We enjoyed them dipped in ranch dressing.
We washed it all down with Kombucha and hot coffee.
Sophia started a conversation on how she is giving up her endless finger signing for snapping. Naomi said, "What if I become blind, Sophia? Who will talk to me in sign language?" She got mad when we all laughed, poor thing.
Mr. Santos took one last swig of his coffee, poured the rest in his to-go cup and shoved his chair from the table. "Let's Go! We have to paint that wreath-making machine!" Everyone ran to the door, cramming on their boots as fast as they could, and yelling with mouths still full of fries, "Bye, Mom! We love you mom!"

So, here I sit. The table full of empty dirty dishes, the entry way littered with mud and grass, the house very still and quiet. What a BEAUTIFUL day!


This is a mini-advertisement. I wish I could get paid for it, like I do with Lifeforce - even so - I just HAVE to tell you about the Kombucha we drink. First of all, it is a luxury. We only buy it when it is on sale. It is usually almost $4.00 a bottle - RiDICulous! - but recently, they were on sale for $1.50 a bottle, so I bought a bunch. Someday, I will make my own, but for now we enjoy Synergy. It comes in all kinds of flavors. My children and I usually split one bottle. We each get a full tea cup's worth. It's great for digestion and boosting your immune system. Kombucha is an acquired taste - a little like vinegar - but the Synergy brand adds fruit juice to it to make it more palatable. During the Fall and Winter, it is harder to eat raw - maybe this will help you.

October 23, 2009

Just say No - to Halloween

In the past, we have been wishy washy over celebrating Halloween. Sometimes we have passed out tracts with candy...other times we turned out all the lights and played games in the back room. Sometimes we dressed up and went to 'harvest' parties. Other times we stayed home doing nothing.

I'm done with being wishy washy. We will not and we will never celebrate Halloween. Fine. Said it and done.

But why? Well, here is our scriptural reason why...

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among [them]. I will be their God, And they shall be My people." Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you." "I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty." 2 Cor 6:14-18
Halloween is obviously a pagan has nothing to do with honoring the Lord God.

When two animals are yoked together they are working towards a common goal. The world (unbelievers) celebrates Halloween with fear, and ghoulish goals in mind. What does that have to do with me or anything I want for my children? Plus, trick-or-treating goes against everything I try to teach my children. It is "Love your neighbor as yourself" not "Give me candy or get some tricks." The Bible teaches 'you don't work, you don't eat.' Going door to door asking for candy just doesn't line up.

Anyways, just our own personal views.

Lately, we have felt the sting of rejection and criticism when it comes to standing up for Biblical truth. How appropriate it would be to focus on the Reformation this year. It was on October 31st, 1517 that Martin Luther nailed his thesis on the wall of the church beginning the Protestant Reformation.
Seems there is a growing trend within home school families to celebrate the Reformation instead of Halloween - since it is on the same day. Some families really get into it with costumes and games and events...for us, we'll probably do some Thanksgiving crafts and enjoy some popcorn. Mr. Santos and I will likely watch the movie "Luther". I have never seen it, but heard it is a good representation of the Reformation.
It's not so much that we are followers of Martin Luther or John Calvin - we are followers of Jesus Christ. It's the standing for truth in the face of adversity, which I believe the Reformation was about, that we want to focus on. Much better to focus on that, than to try to cover up witches and goblins with harvest parties and cutesy costumes.

This past Sunday, we were talking about how blessed we are to be taught from the scriptures every week - with nothing deleted and nothing added. I mentioned to the children that there may come a day when they have to choose between the truth of God's Word or prison - maybe even death.

What would we choose?
THREE times the Bible asks us this question:

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26

October 22, 2009

picture from

The house is full of autumn smells today. Oatmeal-raisin cookies are cooling on the counter. A big pot of apples are bubbling on the stove; cinnamon and cloves filling up this warm and tiny apartment.

It seems like discouragement and lies are around every corner - People who want to make you feel like a villain for standing up for truth or righteousness. They attack you with their logic and their criticisms.

So, what do you do? Well, what I do is go to my room and cry. Then I pray. Then I read my Bible. And, finally, I do something fun for myself or someone else.

Today, I cancelled school - except chores of course - The children are playing mayor and cowboys. I am making yummy things to eat and to share with the neighbors. One neighbor just had a baby girl born to them and another is an older couple who are house bound. Sophia got on the phone and called a bunch of people on our list - the grandparents, a friend from church, her cousin. They were happy to hear from "us".
The discouragement fizzled. The heaviness of the criticism faltered and failed. And now, as I type this out, my apron smudged with cinnamon and flour, I am at peace and thankful for the Grace of God and His kindness to me.

Are you discouraged? Are you struggling under the weight of criticism?

Here are some handy tips:
~ Make sure you have the tools you need to get things done. I am so thankful for the mixer my sister gave me. If it wasn't so easy to just dump the ingredients in the bowl and let the mixer do the work, I probably wouldn't have made cookies...Cookies make EVERYone happy - it might not make them be nice to you, but it will make them happy. The tools you need might be a working vacuum or some knitting needles.

~ Make a list. Write down some fun things you can do for yourself. Then DO the ones that don't cost money and don't take you away from the home. (curl your hair, knit a sweater, make a card, etc.)

~ Don't dwell on your feelings. Just because you feel bad, doesn't mean life is bad. Just because you feel alone, doesn't mean you are alone. Take every thought captive to the Lord.

~ Memorize and apply God's Word to your life. A verse I just learned this week that I am memorizing is:

For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.

Isaiah 54:10

~ Be thankful.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Well, I better pack up some cookies. I also put some extra batter in the freezer for future 'emergencies'. The applesauce is warm and chunky. I think we may even splurge and top it off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Yummy.

October 20, 2009


Marian called it Roxaboxen. (She always knew the name of everything.) There across the road, it looked like any rocky hill -- nothing but sand and rocks, some old wooden boxes, cactus and greasewood and thorny ocotillo -- but it was a special place: a sparkling world of jeweled homes, streets edged with the whitest stones, and two ice cream shops. (from Roxaboxen)

Below is a little video I took of Naomi Baloney and her big giant mess. It looked like any mess -- pillows and blankets and books tossed all about --but it was a special boat: full of every modern convenience, floating, and useful for hauling in the days catch of fish. I don't like my voice in the video. I think I sound condescending to my baby girl, but she was so cute and excited about her mess that I decided to post it anyway.

Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try! ~Dr. Seuss


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...