March 31, 2009

Faith as a child

On our recent 'vacation' the children took turns sitting in the van with me. It was the coveted seat. For them, sitting in the front of the van, especially with the added height of a car seat, is like sitting on top of the world. The children can pretend they are driving, open the windows, and chit chat with Mom face-to-face instead of through the rear-view mirror.

When it was Noah's turn:

Mom: "Noah, I'm tired of all these grey skies. Will you blow them away for me?"

Noah: "O.K. Mom." He blows with all his might.

Mom smiles and pats her boy's leg. "Thank you, Noah." A long pause.

Noah: "Look Mom, I see some blue sky!"

Mom: "Cool! Ask the Lord if he will let you blow some more clouds away so that we can have some sunshine."

Noah: "K." A long silence and then a loud blow - his rosy cheeks puffed out like a blow fish.

Mom smiles broadly enchanted with her sweet boy. The van continues it's way up the windy road, through a forest covered in grey skies. Up ahead there is a sharp turn to the right. As the van nears the curve the trees clear, a bright blue ocean is revealed and warm, yellow sun beams shine all over the place creating little diamonds on the sea.

Noah: "K. Mom. Now you have sun."

Mom incredulously: "Wow! The Lord answered your prayers!"

Noah looking out the window with satisfaction: "yep."

Four year old Noah brushing his teeth - cape and pop gun always available in case of an emergency.

March 29, 2009

Spontaneous Expedition

I knew I was in for it when he got the map out. Mr. Santos and Sophia had their heads together poring over the map. I walked in and they both looked up with beaming grins. "We're going on an adventure!" they exclaimed in unison.

"Uh oh." I said.

"Wife, pack the bags and get ready! We are going west!"

After eleven years of marriage, I have learned that if I ask for details the adventurous spirit of Mr. Santos dampens. It is much better to just say "O.K."

So, as he and Sophia took the van apart (He did let me know we would be sleeping in the van for a few nights), the little ones and I packed some clothes, cleaned the house, and tied up loose ends at lightning speed.

I knew that this week we would be doing something. Mr. Santos really doesn't like to stay home. Being unemployed has been very difficult for him and going to school every day has helped to give him something to do and work towards. We had a week between school quarters and I knew my visionary man would not be able to handle staying at home with no place to go. I had been trying to make plans. That is how I am. I love to plan things out. All of my plans, however, met with a frown or curled lip. Perhaps they were just too planned. Thank God I had all the laundry caught up in anticipation, though.

By 3:30 in the afternoon, I was in the van with one child and Mr. Santos led the way in our small Honda with the other two children. We headed out - going southwest.

Our first night we spent at Pacific Beach. It was very COLD and WINDY and LOUD (the ocean surf). But it was beautiful. We were the only ones on the beach. The stars overhead were amazing - so many that the sky didn't even look dark.

Psalms 121:1-8 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

We huddled together under down comforters in the back of the van and slept with someone's elbow or foot jabbed in a convenient place. In the morning, we ate pancakes at the only restaurant on the beach and looked through our binoculars for the migrating grey whales.

Mr. Santos gathered his troops. "Let's keep going! Northward!"

We did try to stay at Lake Quinnault. It is so beautiful there: A clear glass lake surrounded by wooded mountains with a rugged yet extravagant lodge for enjoying a cup of coffee near a great roaring fire. The trails were open for walking, but there was no place to camp. (camping season won't start for much of western Washington until the end of April) So after the twins -that would be Mr. Santos and his daughter Sophia - reviewed the map, we ended up at Kalaloch Beach.

Our site had a wonderful view. There was no wind and, even better, we didn't have to pay to camp. We walked the beach and enjoyed our campfire, the view and each other. We spent a better night in the van since now everyone knew exactly where to put that spare body part without starting world war III.

In the morning, I figured out how to get everyone scrubbed and washed and looking clean and neat. This helped me (immensely) to enjoy the adventure. We ate doughnuts and drank tea by a nice fire that Mr. Santos had prepared while I was doing all my "scrubbing and nesting."

The air was so fresh and clean. The grey sky, the hugeness of the ocean, and the crisp white surf filled us with a lively energy. There was to be no dawdling, however. We were on an adventure.

"Pack up and let's head out," Mr. Santos commanded.

We continued north toward Neah Bay but, because of car and weather concerns, ended up in our beloved Sequim. We found a spot early on the Dungeness Spit. We drank hot chocolate and roasted hot dogs over a great fire. The wind was blowing hard here, but our site was protected by a small hedge. Noah and I led the way on an invigorating hike. The trail wound through some tall grasses (taller than Noah) and the wind blew hard in our faces. Naomi enjoyed getting to use her new birthday flashlight. The cliffs towered high above the ocean and "The twins" wasted no time in using their binoculars to spy out Canada and any passing ships. We never did spot the migrating whales. We logged another cozy night in the van.

The morning brought me a great blessing - a cold and heavy rain. This meant we were homeward bound - and soon. Don't get me wrong, I like adventures. But, I'm the sleep in a bed and enjoy a warm shower (or at least a daily shower ;)) adventurer.

Ah! But this little story doesn't begin to tell you of all that we enjoyed and learned on our brief expedition. I am thankful for an adventurous husband and for the memories he is giving to me and to our children. I am thankful that the Lord is teaching me to just go with the flow - as uncomfortable as it may be sometimes. If you want to see more pictures of our trip you can head over to my facebook page.

March 22, 2009

Spring! A day at the River

I spread our picnic lunch out on a red and white checked tablecloth:

Smoked Turkey slices
Pepper Jack cheese
flavorful cherry tomatoes
large handfuls of raw cashews
plump dried apricots
crisp and sweet Fuji apples
salty crackers with yummy jalapeno/garlic hummus
Hot coffee and tea

As we ate, we warmed ourselves by the roaring fire Mr. Santos made in the pit and listened to the flow of the Dosewallips river. Huge cranes walked and flew nearby. Sophia gibbered away in a British accent. Naomi wiggled and ate while standing up, then sitting backwards, then straddling the bench, then standing up again. Noah chomped away quietly and said with a full mouth several times, "Please pass the...."

Mr. Santos and I sat close on the same side of the table.

After a happy lunch, we went on a long hike. Mr. Santos led the way with his binoculars in tow. Now and then we would stop and wait while he stared through his favorite gadget. Noah insisted on pushing aside any thorny branches for me. He called me his 'princess' for the day. (I love having a son) The kids made little boats out of tree bark and watched them float away. We looked for river patterns in the banks and on the trees and in the grasses. We found deer tracks and followed them. We hunted for beavers at each little dam along the way.

Such a pleasant day! So simple, so relaxing - a real gift from God.

The only bummer - we forgot batteries for the camera! At least we got a few pictures to share with you.


It's so easy to trust the Lord. He is always faithful. He is great and mighty. It's when people get involved that it is hard.

Wives submit to your husbands. The Lord says it - easy enough. O.K. Lord! But then you look at the husband and it becomes difficult.

Children obey your parents. The song Jesus loves me plays in your head. O.K. Lord! I'll obey. But then your parents ask, or worse, they command you to do something you don't want to do.

Husbands love your wives - alas, this is the wife you are to love.

Parents train up your children in the way they should go...Here they are, the little munchkins.

It would be so much easier to obey the Lord without all these people! Not True. Really, it would be much easier if we were more thankful...Thankful for the husband, the wife, the parents, the kids.

Come into his presence with thanksgiving in your heart and give him praise!

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

March 20, 2009

Hello Again!

It's been a whole week since we posted last. How is everybody? Did you miss us? We were on a tropical holiday somewhere warm and colorful...NAH - just kidding.

Some of the things that have kept us busy are ~

~ Cooking ~

On top of preparing (and cleaning up) our regular meals there were two other events I cooked for. Mr. Santos had a potluck for the end of his classes so I made him some yummy appetizers and a chocolate cake. Also, a good friend was in need so the girls and I made their family dinner one night this week.

~ Audit ~

We spent the month of January answering and dealing with a tax audit. Our dear friends, the Internal Revenue Service, decided they didn't like our answers. Perhaps they are friends of yours too? So now, the Santos Family is spending the month of March, again striving to make them happy and hoping to keep our little savings in our own pocket.

~ Parties ~

It is spring! Seems like everyone we know has a birthday in Spring. My girls do. We have had a couple parties to prepare for and attend. Good fun.

~ Body Balance ~

The whole family attended another great Body Balance event in Seattle. It was great! We learned a lot and met some really wonderful people. Every person on the planet needs Body Balance.

~ Organizing ~

Living in such a small place has it's challenges, like being a small place. I have one cupboard for my pots and pans and appliances. It is a low, dark, small space. My current method is to push, shove, and slam everything in there. When I need anything, which is five or six times a day, I just take it all out, (picture piles on the kitchen floor) find what I need, and then shove it all back. I decided this is not a very good system.

There was also the hateful job of filing. It's amazing how things pile up when you put it off week by week. (smiles) I did transfer all my files to a cute wicker filing cabinet (yard sale $3.00). Perhaps this will help inspire me to file our bills and papers more regularly. A tax audit is really inspiring too.

There was the school 'shelf' to organize also. One shelf to keep all school supplies - now this takes skill (and prayer for creativity). It also helps to be a little ruthless - if we are not using it, then I pass it on to someone who will.

~ Listening ~

Finally, our family has been dealing with unemployment and El Salvador elections and extended family hardships. These things have taken most of our thoughts and energies. It is our desire that the Santos Times would be a bright spot to visit, only it has been raining cats and dogs over here. This week we thought it better to be quiet and listen instead of posting.


So there you have it. What have you been doing all week?

March 13, 2009

Friday night - movie night

Have you seen this movie? I love the scene when the Israelites are crossing the Red Sea - the music, the torches, the way they included the shadows of whales and fishes when the lightning flashed - so cool.

This was really an amazing event - not only because of THE PARTING OF THE RED SEA - but because of the response of the Israelites and the Egyptians. After seeing the waters parted, the Israelites still didn't believe that God would care for them. After seeing the waters parted, the Pharoah and his army still didn't believe that God could and would kill them all.

Faith. Sometimes we believe more in ourselves than anything. Fear. Sometimes we fear man more than God.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

But without faith, it is impossible to please God.

March 10, 2009

Get Ready! Here He Comes!

What are you looking forward to at this time of your life? What is your hope for tomorrow? What are your plans? Are you looking forward to the day that the Lord Jesus comes back?

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Matt 24:30

1 Timothy 6:13-14 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:

2 Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

2 Timothy 4:7-8 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Titus 2:12-13 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Favorite Chocolate Cookie

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1/2 cup raw cacao powder (or cocoa)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (or regular)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 raw milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 unsweetened coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar and butter; mix well. Beat egg and add to creamed mixture; mix well. Stir in cacao. In a separate bowl, measure flour and baking soda. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk to egg and cacao mixture. Stir in vanilla and coconut. Drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.
These are sweet enough for our family - but they would be good frosted or decorated with a dusting of powdered sugar too.

Our Sophia - Our Reader

All books are divisible into two classes,the books of the hour, and the books of all time. ~ John Ruskin ~
It is not enough to simply teach children to read;we have to give them something worth reading.Something that will stretch their imaginations-something that will help them make sense of their own livesand encourage them to reach out toward peoplewhose lives are quite different from their own.~ Katherine Paterson ~

March 07, 2009

Bear Adventures

These are a couple of bear books we have loved...more so now that we have seen some bears up close and personal.

We like the humor and the pictures of 'The Biggest Bear'

The kids have almost memorized 'Bear Snores On' - it has a nice rhythm to it.

A gift from a friend allowed us to go visit the Olympic Game Farm in Sequim, WA this weekend. We had a beautiful day. Packed a picnic of apples, bananas, avocado slices, chips, oatmeal raisin cookies, and some hot tea and coffee. These are just a couple clips of the bears.

We were able to pet and feed almost all of the animals.

We did feel sorry for the rhinoceros - being the only one at the park - We thought he looked a bit lonely.

The Big Buffallo were a bit scary for me.

The llamas were so sweet and friendly

March 04, 2009

At the Back of the North Wind

The children and I are reading one of my favorite authors - George MacDonald. I am so happy to share him with them as he has had such a huge impact on my life. In fact, it is because of him that I visited Scotland all by myself (at 22 years old) for two weeks. I visited the highlands he wrote so much about and sat at the cliffs and felt the wind in my hair. While I was sitting on the cliffs one morning in Scotland, I saw a huge yacht come around the bend followed by a great navy ship. It was the Queen of England coming to the small Scottish village on her annual 'rounds'. How fun! I was there in the receiving line and got to shake her hand and the Queen Mum's hand as they left their yacht to come 'be with the peasants'.

Anyways, I haven't read this great book all the way through and I am having a hard time with just one chapter at a time...I want to read ahead! Even the children want to keep going, but the language is heavy and so we are going slow so that they understand.

The book is about a young boy named Diamond and his adventures with the beautiful and mysterious North Wind. Here is an excerpt:

He trembled so at the thunder that his knees failed him, and he sank down at North Wind's feet and clased her round the column of her ankle. She instantly stooped and lifted him from the roof - up - up into her bosom and held him there, saying, as if to an inconsolable child: "Diamond, dear, this will never do."

"Oh yes, it will," answered Diamond. "I am all right now - quite comfortable, I assure you, dear North Wind. If you will only let me stay here, I shall be all right, indeed."

"But you will feel the wind here, Diamond."

"I don't mind that a bit, so long as I feel your arms through it," answered Diamond, nestling closer to her grand bosom.

"Brave boy!" returned North Wind, pressing him closer.

"No," said Diamond. "I don't see that. It's not courage at all, so long as I feel you there."

"But hadn't you better get into my hair? Then you would not feel the wind; you will here."

"Ah, but dear North Wind, you don't know how nice it is to feel your arms about me. It is a thousand times better to have them and the wind together than to have only your hair and the back of your neck and no wind at all."

"But it is surely more comfortable there?"

"Well, perhaps; but I begin to think there are better things than being comfortable."


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