June 29, 2009

Just a regular day

This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

After a morning full of chores and a bit of school, we ate our lunch in the back yard. It's a sunny day with a gentle breeze blowing - not too hot, not too cold.

A simple meal is always so much tastier when served with love and attention. We ate our favorite ham and cheese appetizer served on a crystal platter. Instead of the Tupperware bowl, I put some fresh fruit on a pink floral plate and served it with a silver spoon. We drank glasses of cold raspberry-lemonade and enjoyed a beautiful basket of flowers from a secret friend.

Sophia's picture of a friendly bumblebee.
Another picture she took of the hatched eggs. The eggs do belong to a Thrush and not a Robin as we previously thought. Every morning will find Sophia visiting the birds and trying to communicate with the mother. She sits still and sings a song or gives a few quiet whistles. What fun to be a little girl! She has started her own special "nature journal."

She wants a better camera - I don't blame her. Her father says that three months of work will earn her $100.00 towards her own camera. "That's forEVER!" However, she is a little excited over the challenge. Her new job will be to iron...since I sure never do it. I don't even have an ironing board. We will pick one up for her this week. Yesterday she ironed everyone's clothes for church. What a treat for me. She was all smiles doing her work - dollar signs shining in her eyes.

Speaking of Sophia: She was outside doing some gardening - pulling weeds and moving the sprinkler around. Seeing that her brother and sister were inside reading books, she came through the house and declared, "You guys need to come out and help me. I'm not the only guardian around here!" LOL.

Quizzing Dad before a big test.

Trying to figure out a problem in Mr. Santos' Technical drawing class.

Our days are filled with school again - helping Mr. Santos to study, being the sounding board for ideas and proof reading all the papers he has to write. He has a very full load this quarter. In fact, three days out of the week he is in classes more than twelve hours without a break! He has been able to maintain a 4.0 so far - we are hoping and praying he will be able to continue that. Either way, Mr. Santos always does his best. It has been so nice to see how God has knit our family together during this 'season' of the Santos Times.

Oh, and I was given an award today! It's the True Heart Award. Judy, at A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings gave it to me. Between the beautiful flowers from my secret sister, the freshly mowed lawn from my hardworking man and the blog award, I'm just bouncing around full of thankfulness. God is so good to me! I keep humming "Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise him all creatures here below. Praise him above ye heavenly host. Praise Father Son and Holy Ghost.

Be sure to visit Judy and the other winners. How fun!

June 27, 2009

The King

So, the king of pop, Michael Jackson has died. It's big news in the Santos house. He was such a big part of our teen years and for Mr. Santos, Michael Jackson's death is a little like Princess Diana's death was for me. What a shock. We shake our head and say, 'Wow'.

Yet, as we get older and every year meet with more and more death, it becomes a reality that creeps closer to our own door.

Mr. Santos was listening to some of Jackson's old songs online - you know, all the one's we heard growing up. Beat it, beat it - da da da da da da - Beat it. I was in the kitchen washing the dishes and I couldn't help dancing around a bit. I was smiling as I listened. The children were so curious. Little Naomi sat on Dad's lap and watched the video with him. Noah was enthralled with the beat and Sophia just watched us all. She came up to me in the kitchen.

"Mom, you're smiling. Do you like this song?"

"No, not really. It just makes me remember a different time in my life." I had to really think about why I was smiling.

"What time, Mom? What time in your life?"

Big sighs. My children had never even heard of Michael Jackson until yesterday. They had never heard any of his music. They have never been a part of worshipping a fellow human being. But I have.

I used to go to concerts all the time. I would drive for hours to see the Cranberries or Ten Thousand Maniacs play. I worshipped Bono in U2. It was thrilling for me to be in the auditorium with 60,000 other people, holding my lighter high and swaying to his music. I used to read People Magazine and stay up on all the news about "my people." My best friends were musicians - MALE musicians. A tingle of dread creeps up my spine just remembering. I lived a life that I would never hope for my own girls.

I was playing with fire. Temptations were all around me to engage more in the world. I sat on the edge with my feet in the water so eager to jump in all the way. Yikes, I was a fool - Thirsty for something - Hungry for something. But, God in his mercy, would not allow it. He preserved me. I have a tattoo I wish I never got. I have regrets. Even now, I remember all the words to the music I used to listen to. When I hear them in the grocery store I am automatically drawn back to another time.

"But Mom, didn't you know the Lord?" Sophia wonders.

That is the worst part. Like the Israelites in the dessert, I carried around my idols while following the Lord. And just like the Israelites, I was getting nowhere.

But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. 2 Thess 3:3

Once, I was sitting in the living room of my friend's house - an unprotected and foolish young girl with two men. We were listening to music, eating food, and being "enlightened" by our conversation of the latest novels we were reading. There was a brief moment of silence and quietly, from somewhere far away, I heard a different song. It came closer and got louder and louder.

"Do you hear that?"

The men I was with shook their heads. "Hear what? - just the CD."

The sound came from deep within my soul. Gently, the familiar tune played, for my ears alone, 'Great is thy Faithfulness'. My God, always faithful was drawing me unto Himself. I pushed the sound away. Thankfully, he persisted. How he loves me. How he loves you and me. Thank you, Lord.

I was just reading this morning "There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength...Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him...to deliver their soul from death." Psalm 33:16-18 So, the king of pop has died. But the KING of Kings lives.

...choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15

The Israelites chose God, but there was more that they had to do. They couldn't choose God and keep dangling their feet in the water like I did.

Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel. Joshua 24:23

June 26, 2009

Peace to you

The Santos Times have been different lately. I don't know what it is. I am a little wary of it all being careful to remember "the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer." 1peter 4:7. What is the difference? PEACE. Peace that passes understanding.

When I was at the Ladies Retreat recently, one of the speakers quoted from a little book called "The Indwelling Life of Christ" by Major W. Ian Thomas. (I have not yet read the book, but hope to soon) The quote was "Our life should demand a supernatural explanation."

This comment really struck me and I couldn't get it out of my mind. How does my life demand a supernatural explanation? Am I just living my life with Christianity as an extra thing? The family across the street plays baseball. Our other friends are really into music. And us, we go to church. Is is just a thing we do or does it encompass my whole life? Is there any difference between me and the next gal who doesn't know Jesus like I do? Does the 'supernatural explanation' only come in light of trials and suffering?

Constant thankfulness - especially in light of trials and suffering - is what will demand a supernatural explanation.

I am tempted every day to worry and fuss. I have to clean this or that, we need to drive here and there, I've got to call her and them. Not to mention all the BIG things that come into our lives: illness, financial stress, loneliness.

The Bible tells us to "rejoice in the Lord, always, and again I say rejoice." It's kind of like the 'glad game' in Pollyanna. I can almost always find SOMEthing to be glad about. But the verse says rejoice IN THE LORD. No matter what it is I have to face, I can rejoice in the Lord. This demands supernatural explanation.

When life is hard or overwhelming how do we rejoice in the Lord?

Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philipians 4:6-7

"Lord, I don't know what to make for dinner. Will you help me to figure it out? Thank you for all that you provide. Thank you for our table and the pretty tablecloth I own. Thank you for those green branches and the roses growing outside. What a pretty centerpiece it will make as I set the table."

"Lord, I miss my husband. He is always busy and distracted. Will you help me to connect with him? Thank you that he comes home every night. Thank you that I can look forward to sleeping next to him. Thank you for the children we love and that he works to provide for us."

"Lord, this mess is so big and smelly. I feel I will never get it all cleaned up. There are other things I want to do. There are other things that I NEED to do. Help me Lord. Thank you for the water and the dish rags and the soap. Thank you for my hands and arms and legs to get this done. Thank you for the sound of the rain and all the green that surrounds me because of that rain. What a beautiful day it is Lord."

"Lord, I am hurting. I can hardly move. My back hurts, my shoulders hurt, my head hurts. Please take away my pain. Thank you Lord for this time that we get to be together. I know that I never forget about you when I am in pain. Thank you that you never leave me or forsake me. Help me to think about the things you want me to think about since there is nothing I can actually do at the moment, but lay here."

"Lord, they hurt me. I don't want to forgive them. I am so mad. Please help me. Lord Jesus, thank you for enduring the cross. Thank you for submitting even to death on the cross for me. Thank you for forgiving me and taking my place. Thank you for helping me to forgive."

Little by little, as we take it all to the Lord, giving thanks, our lives eventually demand a supernatural explanation. It is a peace that passes all understanding. Praise the Lord.

On the menu

For those days when I don't know what to feed my family it is good to remember what Jesus ate:

In the meanwhile his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. John 4:31-34

June 23, 2009

Movie Review

Here is one man's review of the movie Food, Inc.. Great Perspective!

June 22, 2009

Busy Weekend

We had planned to go camping for Father's Day weekend - but it rained. So we did some other things and what a full weekend it was! First, we went berry picking - Fourteen pounds worth! I think we went a little overboard. I will make some jam later today.

On the way home, we stopped by the Civil War Reenactment. Noah was very keen on getting a gun - but they were all sold out. Talk about a disappointed 4 year old! But these things are all good lessons I guess. I reminded him about my shoe rack experience and we prayed to the Lord to help us be thankful and patient for His blessings.

See the big army behind the kids?

We had front row seats for the battle

A picture with one of the "players"

The next day we skipped church and drove to Mount Rainier for the day. It was beautiful and cold - not what you would expect on the first day of Summer. It was a nice day though. One minute we were driving in beautiful yellow sunshine and then next we were in the middle of a rain shower complete with thunder and lightning!

You know how opposites attract? Well, Mr. Santos is VERY cautious - and I am not...that is good. I need him to protect me. This is a picture of all the pretty scenery that we are not getting out to explore because of the threats of land and rock slides.
I did get this shot though of the Nisqually River - just a thin but powerful rushing creek compared to the size that it sometimes swells to. What a mighty river it can be - I'm glad it was only a creek this day though...the top begins somewhere up in those wet clouds.
Me and my man - we did get out a few times - where it was safe of course. :)

Goodbye beautiful mountain!

We ate lunch at a restaurant near the Hobo Inn. (these are for the viewing pleasure of Auntie Cheri) We were the first customers in the overflow section - in only a moment this side of the train was also full of customers.

This was the full side - lots of visitors for Father's Day

Just a few miles from the gate of the park

We stopped at a metal scupture park - naturally - Mr. Santos is a great welder

Playing in the band

What would a family vacation be without a few stops at those crazy sculptures along the way?

June 21, 2009

Happy Fathers Day!

As arrows [are] in the hand of a mighty man; so [are] children of the youth. Happy [is] the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:4-5

To my Luigi:
Thank you for taking care of our family
Thank you for loving our children
Thank you for teaching Noah how to mow the lawn and hammer a nail
Thank you for the high standards you set
Thank you for always taking us for a drive
Thank you for making us laugh
Thank you for watching cartoons with the children
Thank you for being so generous to us
We love you

Happy Fathers Day

June 20, 2009

Foxgloves and Birds Nests


The other day we were driving down the street and Sophia commented "Sure are a lot of foxgloves growing."

"Huh?" I said

"I SAID, there sure are a lot of foxgloves growing around here."

"What are foxgloves?" I asked.

All three of my children laughed. "Mom, they're flowers!"

How do these kids know so much? Later on in the week when we were picking berries, Sophia was identifying different plants. I just kept scratching my head, "really?" I would say. I wish I could say that I was the one imparting all this knowledge to them, but they seem to be learning so much on their own.

When I was young I don't remember going for walks - at least not for fun. We walked a lot but it was because we didn't have a car. I don't remember learning anything about nature and I know for sure I never ate anything off of a tree or bush until I was a mother picking blackberries with my children...and I did it tentatively.

Now there are these little scrappers around me pointing out flowers and herbs and berries and we are competing over who knows the name of them.

"Mom, betcha don't know what this one is."

"Yes, I do. I just have to look it up."

They laugh and revel in knowing stuff I don't know..."Hey, I'm still the mom!"

Goose eggs found on a hike near the river.

The mother goose.

Chickadee nest in our parking area.

Robin's nest found near the children's fort - we are keeping an eye on this one.

June 15, 2009

Sprinkler fun

Noah playing "Fireman" in the sprinklers - as you can see our grass really needs the water.
Here are the girls modeling their new summer swimming clothes. They were also playing in the sprinklers. We found these cute little outfits for $5.00 each and they do not get heavy when wet (a cotton/lycra blend). We're going swimming at the lake later this week so I was very pleased to find them something to wear.

What are you wearing this summer? Here's some great verses to read or memorize when you just don't know what to wear.

~ And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye PUT ON the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Eph 4:23-24

~ PUT ON the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Eph 6:11

~ PUT ON therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Col 3:12

~ And above all these things PUT ON charity, which is the bond of perfectness. Col 3:14

June 06, 2009

Thoughts of Children

So we were sitting around the kitchen table, just me and the kids. Mr. Santos was at school. We had just finished our scripture reading and memorization. We had sung songs to the Lord and then I gave a short but brilliant little message on the morning Bible reading. The children were staring at me enthralled with every word I said, soaking up every word: the spiritual food I wanted to feed their soul with.

Sophia scrunched up her nose and said, "Mom, may I ask you a question?"

"Of course, my love." My Bible was open and I was ready for anything.

"Mom, how many worms would you eat for a brand new bike?"

June 04, 2009

Ladies Retreat

Last weekend I had the AWESOME privilege to go on a ladies retreat. What a special time it was. The theme was "Highway to Holiness." It really served to set my mind on the things above and to see that the pursuit of Holiness is a series of choices I make - not just annually or daily, but moment by moment.
I have been refreshed and filled up and I have a renewed commitment to walk worthy of the Lord.

That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Col 1:10

The view from my room. We were in Canada - near or in Surrey - I'm not sure, but the weather was beautiful.
One of the best parts of the retreat was meeting all the wonderful ladies there - everyone from Canada except for our small group from the states.
There was one lady there, a sweet older woman named Frieda, who writes poetry and makes greeting cards. I bought a few of them to share and just to keep for the sake of her words.
Surrender what you've got
Have you just one small jar of oil?
Then pour out for Him
He'll increase its flow to overflow
and not just to the brim.
He will add His multiplying grace,
which all the difference makes...
But you must surrender what you've got,
for that is what it takes.
It may be insignificant
and to the crowd seem small...
But God's great power will be at work
if we give Him our all.
~ Frieda Hait, 1996 ~

I will be posting a link to the retreat messages soon - I know that you will be encouraged should you choose to take the time to listen.

June 03, 2009

No Wanting, No Wishing, Just thankful

We have a new rule in our house and it is hard to live by. However, if this Santos clan can get it down, so that it becomes second nature, I think there will be a lot of good fruit growing from our family.

~the rule~

You may not use the words "I want..." or "I wish..." These words are little friends that take our hands and lead us down the road of discontent. Instead we say "May I have..? or "wouldn't it be nice to...?" or "I really like..."


I want to decorate my little apartment - I mean, I like to decorate my apartment. I am always rearranging and trying new things to make this place feel bigger and more inviting for my family and guests. Most of our friends have large families and I want - I mean, I hope to make them feel at ease and not cramped.

So anyway, I moved our computer into a little coat closet that we have. We don't have enough floor space for a desk so it works to be able to close it off - out of sight. This meant finding a new place to hang coats and store shoes and accessories. I put the coats in our room closets (kids in their room and ours in our room) That worked out fine, but where would I put the shoes and other stuff? Each room closet also had a dresser in it so there was no neat area for shoes.

Well, I had the perfect answer. I saw the cutest, most adorable, antique piece of furniture. I don't know what it is called. It's one of those thingies with a mirror and hooks and a little table for putting your keys and mail, a hole for umbrellas, a few shelves for shoes. PERFECT. I loved it. I told my husband, "Husband, I want this thingy. Come look at it with me." He came and while we looked at it, I also saw a cute entry way bench (with storage). They matched! Of course, we don't have an entry way - our place is too small, but I could see great possibilities. "Oh husband! I want that too!"

Together they would have only cost a couple hundred dollars, (maybe more) but the cuteness and the space savings was worth it. I know he wanted to buy it for me. But he rocked back and forth on each foot and I knew that I had to choose...I couldn't have both. I prayed to the Lord, the giver of all good things. "Lord, you know what I want, YOUR will be done. Help me to be a good steward of the money you give our family." I decided to wait until the next day. I would go home, measure the space and see what would work best.

The next day, I walked into the store with my three children. I had decided on the bench because it offered the most storage, plus extra seating. I was so excited. I love getting new things. NO! The bench had been sold! What a disappointment. I really wanted that bench. Well, a little upset, I went to go buy the thingy - but it turned out it didn't fit the measurements I made the night before and offered very little storage anyway. I would not be a wise purchase - a fun one, a cute one - but not a wise one.

I got back in the van and in front of my children and everything I wailed "I just want my house to be CUTE!" Am I not the good example of thankfulness or what? I took the want out of my statement. "It would be nice if my house was cute."

From the back of the van three voices called out in unison "It IS cute mom. We love our house!"

I came home, took an old vinyl bookshelf I was going to toss and painted it with some left over white paint. I found a pretty scrap of material in my quilting bin, sewed it up into a curtain and stuck it across the front with some heavy duty Velcro. It turned out to be a great place for our shoes - clean and neat and cute too.

I am VERY happy with the results and learning to be content - it's much easier when I don't say those deceitful words "I want..."

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Col 3:15


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