January 27, 2009

Life without T.V.

The kids ALWAYS do a sign - occasionally there are tickets and programs if they get really into it. They decide the whole thing and then Mr. Santos and I are invited to watch. For most of their plays, I am the only live audience member (can't count the rows of stuffed animals as true attendees)
Two damsels in distress. The fearless knight attacking the fierce dragon.

The knight bowing to the princess after receiving his payment of "Gold" (a little bag full of pennies)


All the players - including the dead dragon.



We don't have a television - but this doesn't keep us from getting distracted with movies or being online too much. It truly takes discipline, maybe even a schedule, and definitely a clear idea of Priorities to stay away from this sort of amusement.

I read in another blog an article highlighting the literal definition of AMUSE.

A: negative, against (as in atheist)
Muse: to think or consider. So to be amused is to not think or consider...hmm.
Websters says: Amuse: Occupy in an agreeable, entertaining or pleasant fashion.

How much time does our family spend each day in amusing ourselves? I don't know. Let's see, what do we do just for amusement?

Play games
Put on plays
Read
Watch movies
Bake
Paper Crafts
Listen to music
Dance
Sew
Make/design costumes
Write stories
Read blogs
Write blogs
Crochet
Eat - should I admit to that one?

These things aren't so bad, are they? I mean the kids are learning skills. We are tying strings. They are using their imagination in most of them if not actually learning. We are creating family memories, traditions and heirlooms. But, I think we could go further - It would be so much nicer if even our amusements could be for the sake of Building God's Kingdom.

Play games - to help us memorize scripture or to build character
Put on plays - that share the good news
Read - the Bible
Watch movies - does the movie help you to draw closer to the Lord, be a better mother, parent, helper, etc.? Is it really worth 1 - 3 hours of our time?
Bake - for the neighbors, to bless another family.
Paper Crafts - to give to friends, to mail to grandparents, to decorate a lonely persons' refrigerator.
Listen to music - to praise the Lord (He inhabits the praises of His people)
Dance - to praise the Lord, to draw closer to my husband, to make the little ones happy
Sew - for the glory of God and not for my own glory.
Make/design costumes - in the same way - for the glory of God and not for our own "look at me!"
Write stories - that lift up and praise virtue and strong biblical principles - not just adventure or romance.
Read blogs - We can pray asking the Lord which blogs He would have us read
Write blogs - from my heart with love for our readers
Crochet - for the glory of God, or for a gift.
Eat - just for fun? No - not a good thing at all.

January 26, 2009

Leftovers


Have you ever noticed how the word 'leftovers' makes some lips curl? Some people refuse to eat leftovers and lots of us have good intentions to eat leftovers but end up throwing them away (hopefully) before they become unidentifiable green monsters in the back of the fridge.


What I have learned about leftovers is that the only way to get the most and the best out of them is to turn it into something else. In other words - don't serve leftover spaghetti - serve a nice tomato/noodle soup with buttery garlic bread. Main ingredient: leftover spaghetti.


Here's what we did with our leftovers the past couple weeks...


We started with one whole cooked chicken. The meat was picked apart and I made a thin gravy. For Dinner we ate the chicken gravy over brown rice with a salad. The bones from the chicken I simmered with veggies and garlic for a few hours. The next day - for lunch - we used the broth (tossed all the bones and soggy vegetables) in a vegetable soup where I added carrots, zucchini, potatoes and corn. We put a spoonful of the leftover brown rice in the bottom of each soup bowl.

Alas, we ate the leftover rice but then we had leftover vegetable soup. So, for dinner that night, I added some browned beef and tomato sauce with some spices and turned it into a totally new soup. We ate this with some warm french bread. There were no leftovers.


Another time...


We start with a big pot of cooked beans. I season my beans with salt, cumin, cayenne, and garlic. We usually like to just eat the beans (like soup) with warmed tortillas and the usual fixings - sliced avocados, a little sprinkling of feta cheese, jalapenos, and chopped red onions. Leftovers? The next meal I will "refry" the beans. Warm your iron skillet with a little oil and spoon the beans with lots of liquid into the pan. Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese over the top and smash them as they cook. Bake your corn tortillas in the oven until crispy (we don't add anything - just put them on the rack until crispy) and dip into the beans (like chips) with the usual fixings. If we still have leftover beans - which we undoubtedly do - then I add ground beef, tomatoes, tomato sauce and seasonings to make chili. Serve this with a nice salad.


The key to stretching food is to not eat the "same" thing two times in a row...Happy leftovers to all you frugal minded cooks out there. I would love to hear what you do with YOUR leftovers.

January 20, 2009

Brown Sugar Box

We follow a lovely blog called HomeLiving. One of the girls' most favorite things to do is to cut and paste and Lady Lydia at Home Living always has beautiful craft ideas. While the following pictures don't do her any justice, she is the inspiration for all their work.


Sophia made two books - one on Love, each page an item listed from 1 Corinthians 13 and another of the Fruit of the Spirit.


Here are a couple pics of the great, horrible, fun mess they made.

They cut and pasted from a bunch of old magazines we picked up at the Thrift Store.


Ta Da! A beautiful gift bag made from a brown sugar box. Sophia put her book in the box as a gift for a special little girlfriend. Thank you Lady Lydia.







January 19, 2009

Today's Spurgeon - so good

"I sought him, but I found him not." — Song 3:1
Tell me where you lost the company of Christ, and I will tell you the most likely place to find Him. Have you lost Christ in the closet by restraining prayer? Then it is there you must seek and find Him. Did you lose Christ by sin? You will find Christ in no other way but by the giving up of the sin, and seeking by the Holy Spirit to mortify the member in which the lust doth dwell. Did you lose Christ by neglecting the Scriptures? You must find Christ in the Scriptures. It is a true proverb, "Look for a thing where you dropped it, it is there." So look for Christ where you lost Him, for He has not gone away. But it is hard work to go back for Christ. Bunyan tells us, the pilgrim found the piece of the road back to the Arbour of Ease, where he lost his roll, the hardest he had ever travelled. Twenty miles onward is easier than to go one mile back for the lost evidence. Take care, then, when you find your Master, to cling close to Him.

But how is it you have lost Him? One would have thought you would never have parted with such a precious friend, whose presence is so sweet, whose words are so comforting, and whose company is so dear to you! How is it that you did not watch Him every moment for fear of losing sight of Him? Yet, since you have let Him go, what a mercy that you are seeking Him, even though you mournfully groan, "O that I knew where I might find Him!" Go on seeking, for it is dangerous to be without thy Lord. Without Christ you are like a sheep without its shepherd; like a tree without water at its roots; like a sere leaf in the tempest--not bound to the tree of life. With thine whole heart seek Him, and He will be found of thee: only give thyself thoroughly up to the search, and verily, thou shalt yet discover Him to thy joy and gladness.

This one or that one? The truth or the lie?


Once upon a time there lived a good man with a good wife. True, they were sinners, but they were a "little bit good". The man worked hard. He stayed away from evil - no smoking, no drinking, no filthy entertainment. He provided for his family to the best of his ability and played with his children often. The wife also worked hard and she was quite frugal, doing her best with what she had. She raised her children to love the Lord and looked for ways to be a help and a crown to her husband.
But there was one thing that they struggled with immensely. Like a dark cloud hovering over the little family...or like a sinister, prowling wolf in the shadows...a crumbling foundation under them with a facade of strength...was their enemy: PRIDE.

Wonderful promises from God would come their way; great rays of sunshine and hope. Always there, almost like an unseen battle waging , Pride would come and point out all the reasons why the promises were just shallow, empty, nonsense.

God would promise to the hopeful wife that her husband would be changed by a meek and quiet spirit - but Pride would tell her that a meek and quiet spirit was for fools who wanted to be taken advantage of. Pride would show her the hardness of her husbands heart and say - "That little old promise - are you kidding me - nothing can penetrate that heart. What you need to do is take charge! Show your foolish husband what is right and wrong - that is the only way. You are much smarter than he is and more spiritual."

again,

God would promise to the hopeful husband that he would be saved and that the Truth would set him free. Just as he would hold up his shackles for the Truth to unlock them, Pride would come along and say such things like "Hah! Only wimps take that route. You've got a brain. You've got determination. You can save yourself. You know what is right and wrong. Just, stop doing the wrong and everything will turn out all right."

And so, Pride would get the best of this little family.

One preacher puts it this way. 'Everyone has faith. Some have faith in Jesus Christ and that He saves them from their sins and the rest believe that they will not die today and stand before a just and Holy God.'

This little family believed the lies behind Pride: The Father of lies rather than the Truth and the Life.

Isn't it so natural to justify everything?...but that doesn't make it right...doesn't make your 'justified' actions righteous. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9

Once the little wife went to put on a sweater and noticed that the hem had been cut several times with a pair of scissors. Knowingly, she asked her children who had just received new (and very sharp) scissors about the damage. With slumped shoulders and a hung head, one of the children confessed. The mother scolded and rebuked the child and was about to toss out the sweater. The good husband however, picked up the sweater and noted that it was still perfectly good and there was no need to toss it out. Pride jumped out of his den and circled the little family. His yellow eyes glared and drool dripped from his sharp fangs. He growled painful whispers into the ears of the little wife and the good husband.

"She's so quick to throw things away - wasteful woman," he thought.

"How can he expect me to wear clothing with tears and rips? - he doesn't love me" she thought.

The prideful justifications began...the thoughts came first and then the indignation and then the words - words that were darts and bullets in the waging battle. If only they would listen to God's promises instead.

A gentle answer turns away wrath.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

A life of obedience to the Lord cannot be had without FAITH: Faith in God's word - His commands and His promises. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin. James 4:17


For every Truth that God speaks, there is a lie to oppose it. What do you believe?


Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Psalm 37:3

January 15, 2009

School Funnies


TEACHER: Maria, go to the map and find North America

MARIA: Here it is.

TEACHER: Correct. Now class, who discovered America ?

CLASS: Maria.

____________________________________

TEACHER: John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?
JOHN: You told me to do it without using tables

__________________________________________

TEACHER: Glenn, how do you spell 'crocodile?'

GLENN: K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L'

TEACHER: No, that's wrong

GLENN: Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.

__________________________________________

TEACHER: Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?

DONALD: H I J K L M N O.

TEACHER: What are you talking about?

DONALD: Yesterday you said it's H to O.

__________________________________

TEACHER: Millie, give me a sentence starting with 'I.'

MILLIE: I is . . .

TEACHER: No, Millie . . . Always say, 'I am.'

MILLIE: All right . . .'I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.'

_________________________________

TEACHER: Clyde, your composition on 'My Dog' is exactly the same as your brother's. Did you copy his?

CLYDE: No, sir. It's the same dog.
Noah's chubby hands were in the raisin bag.

"Mom, can I have some raisins?"

"Si, mi amor - una."

"MOOOOOM, what are you saying? Can I have some raisins?"

I held up one finger. "Si, mi amor - una."

"No, mom - cuatro." and the little chubster grabbed a big handful. He was gone before I could squeeze those little cheeks of his. I guess he WAS paying attention to those Spanish lessons.



January 12, 2009

Michelle at Whatsoever things are lovely often shares great quotes. What do you think about this one?

"Do not take pride in offensively expressing yourself on every occasion, under the impression that you will be admired for your frankness and plain speech. Speaking your mind, is an extravagance which has ruined many a woman.

"Twentieth Century Etiquette: An-Up-To-Date Book for Polite Society, copyright 1900.

January 07, 2009

In the evening

Saying Grace by Norman Rockwell
Mr. Santos has decided to go back to school to gain some skills and some certifications. So, this means our schedule has now flip-flopped. Instead of seeing Daddy at the end of the day we only see him in the morning. It feels a little lonely putting the kids to bed and Mr. Santos is not there - turning off all the lights and locking all the doors and windows by myself. Sure, he'll be home later, but still.
Tonight we ate sandwiches for dinner and drank hot chocolate. We read a couple Proverbs and then did some of our school work. It was strange doing school work after dinner...after dark. Later, the kids and I got online because we wanted to see an episode of the Duggars new show...(you know, the family with 18 kids) We saw a few clips and then we watched a few clips of "Jon and Kate plus 8" We don't have a television and we got a little carried away with this show watching SEVERAL clips. They have twins and sextuplets and the show is a little bit about their life and struggles. They seem like a very sweet and normal couple with normal kids and normal issues - it's all so normal, yet people watch it - we did. I kind of cringed when I saw Kate disrespect her husband so much and then when the children were being disciplined I wondered what I would do if the whole world was watching me.
We turned it off - did some "dancing" around the house to 'World Wide Message Tribe' jumpin in the house. Naomi didn't like the song so she started to pout and demand her own song. I imagined movie cameras rolling. She was sent away until she could choose to be happy and thankful. This didn't change anything...only turned into a tantrum...which turned into a spanking...(would they allow that on T.V.?) When she was ready to come out and be happy, loud jumping music time was over and the music had changed to classical piano and gentle twirls and leaps by Sophia. Noah was just spinning in circles making himself sick. I was in my room sorting papers by this time. Naomi was not going to be happy. Nothing was turning out right for her. More foot stomping and pouting and tears. Again, I imagined the cameras rolling. What would America think if they saw me now?
But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. 1 Peter 4:7


Who cares what other people think? Lord, what do you think? What should I do with my kids when they misbehave? What should I do Lord when I don't know what to do?

T.V. or not - our lives are a testimony to others. In the private moments when you think noone is watching - the Lord is watching and we reap what we sow. Help me Lord to be diligent in TRAINING and LOVING my children...

January 03, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Whenever I put something in the Lord's hands, He usually gives me back what I would never expect. And so it goes again.

"Lord, what New Year's resolutions should I have? What is it that you want me to work on this year? I thought I had the answers before I even asked him. (Be a kinder mother, be more consistent in your reverance for your husband) But no - THIS was his answer:

For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 2 Cor 8:9

My husband is a very generous man and I enjoy being hospitable. But usually we give out of our "abundance." If there is enough we will gladly share. If there is not enough, well we have to take care of our family. We need to think of the future. What about tomorrow? If there is more than enough our thought is usually some new thing that we can buy or some trip that we can take. I believe it is called "Sacrificial Giving" - when you give out of your need and not out of your abundance. Jesus said about the widow:

Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. Mark 12:43-44

Paul writes about the Corinthian church "How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality." 2 Cor 8:2

After I started dwelling on this I realized that in "sacrificial giving" - basically putting others ahead of myself - that I would be a kinder mother, I would reverence my husband more. Can I be content no matter what my circumstances? Can I give even when I have needs? One day Paul is talking to governors and the next he is sitting in prison. In prison we find him singing praises to God.

One day I have the energy and creativity to give to my kids, the next day I may have "urgent business" or a headache. Does this give me an excuse to brush them aside? to be curt or rude? One day my husband is listening gladly to my suggestions and the next day he is giving orders with no care at all for my opinion. Does this give me an excuse to be offended or to retaliate? Giving sacrificially involves more than just money. It is a state of mind...from your heart. This year, I resolve with the help of the Lord to give even out of my need and not just my abundance. Pray for me and let me know how I can pray for you and the resolutions the Lord has for your life.

Our pastor shared a sweet story at our Christmas service. It is a bit long - but I think it clearly illustrates the state of mind I want to have towards my family and my friends. I hope you enjoy it.

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