December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

We have simple plans in store for today:  Eating Mr. Santos' favorite snack - crab and artichoke dip  - and sipping sparkling cider from fancy stemware we picked up at the thrift store.  We'll probably play a few rounds of "Go Fish" and watch It's a wonderful life. Santos Times tradition is to pop a few firecrackers before we go to sleep, but we don't always make it to midnight, (LOL).  I wonder, will this be the year that Jesus comes back?

2010 was a hard and miraculous year. First, it was miraculous in seeing how God provided for us.  It was an adventure working at a farm for four seasons - daffodils, berries, pumpkins then Christmas trees.  But it was also a hard year.  Life was often heavy and dark.  It wasn't really our circumstances.  It was my heart. 

Looking back, I believe most of my struggles were because of my pride and because my main concern was MYSELF. 

What a long list of resolutions I have for this new year. But the real important ones, I think, all fit under one word. And that is to DIE.

My new years resolution is to die. Die to myself that is.

I don't want to live for my own wishes anymore. I'm tired of serving myself and seeking my will and trying to do all the things I want to do. It gets tiring to be so self serving. Me, me, me. I'm tired. I'm sick. I'm lonely. I'm happy (now). I want, I need, I like, I hate...etc. It's nauseating.

What if I took this year and didn't care about my wishes as much as my husbands? What if I cared more about my children and their character than satisfying my desire for quiet or order? What if I loved my neighbor more than my schedule?

It's exciting to think about.  It's exciting to look forward to.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it Luke 9:24
He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 10:39

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. Mark 8:35

He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. John 12:25

(all chickadee photos from

What are you looking forward to this year?

December 29, 2010

Tea Time

Please join Ruth and others here for Tea Time

I am having...

Chamomile tea in a large Christmas mug - a gift from my mother.  It is antique white with raised white poinsettias.

I am feeling...

Fat.  HA! Well, I do feel fat. I am not technically fat, but that is how I feel and I KNOW that I am out of shape.
On my mind...

New Year's resolutions and my Sophia. She is sleeping on the couch next to me with mustard rubbed all over her chest and arm.  She spilled boiling water on herself when she made tea tonight. The mustard is drying and the burn will be better by morning.  I am glad that she is sleeping peacefully and I thank God for dependable and natural remedies for all of life's problems.

A quote to share...

"Grant me a wish now, O bonny New Year,-
What do you wish me from far or anear?
Show me your gifts and your treasures rare,
Read me your prophecies, dark or fair!
What lies before me of loss or gain-
What is awaiting me, joy or pain?
What is my portion of bale or bliss-
Fate's cruel frown or fortune's kiss?
Whate'er you wish then O bright New Year,
Whether that wish bring a smile or a tear,
Message and token it still shall be
Sent by my Father through you to me."

(Excerpt from New Years Wishes by Martha Oliver, pub.1905 Mershon Co. New York.)

December 22, 2010

The Perfect Christmas

Searching and Expectation are in the air.  Can you feel it?  Can you see it?

Are you disillusioned by the commercialism of Christmas?  Don't be.

God is great and mighty.  He can take the distraction and greed of consumerism to bring about His good purposes.

If we take time out, get off the "hustle and bustle" train and look around we can see something great.  Look around you.  All the shopping and shipping and decorating and traveling.  For what?  What is it all for?  The perfect Christmas, of course.  Searching and Expectation are in the air.  It is not just one person, either.  It is a whole country...maybe many countries.  I don't know how it is outside of the U.S.A.

Most of us think that once we get to Christmas Eve, or Christmas Morning this magical peace will light upon us.  "Ah," we will say, "I'm so glad it's Christmas!"  Then the next day comes.  Some may have regrets.  Too much money spent, too much alcohol drunk, a disappointing gift, far from home and family.

A 'perfect' Christmas, if it can be found, is fleeting.  It is over the next day.  Instead, Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.

The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you  Luke 10

The kingdom of God is within you  Luke 17:21

The kingdom of God is near  Luke 21:31

The kingdom of God is...righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Ghost  Romans 14:17

The kingdom of God power  1 Cor 4:20

And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward menLuke 2:12-14

What if you were far from family and friends? What if you had no money and no place to stay?  What if there was no yummy feast or pretty treats?

So it was for Mary and Joseph and the Babe.  What a Merry Christmas they had!

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered [them] in her heart.  Luke 2:19

jennifer pugh

December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas Daybook

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Outside my window...

Winter greys and the sound of the horses braying coming through the forest next door.

I am thinking...

that sometimes, when a person is offended, it could be because something is revealed in themselves that they don't like.

I am thankful for...

This wonderful time of truly is.  Calling "Merry Christmas" to strangers and neighbors.

I am learning...

That just because a truth is revealed to me, doesn't mean I am to reveal it to others.  Sometimes, it is better just to be quiet and wait and pray.

From the kitchen...

For a welcome home treat for my Mr., peppered goat cheese with crackers and sparkling cider.  Do you think he'll feel welcomed? I hope so.  For dinner spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread.  I made two giant trays of meatballs a few days glad I did.  It is so easy to toss them in a soup or make a gravy and mashed potato...yummy
I am wearing...

a denim skirt and a sweater.

I am creating...

caramel popcorn Christmas gifts.
I am going...

to enjoy this week and reflect, ponder, meditate on, sing about, and share the birth of my Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ.   

I am remembering...

The Wonderful Christmas Program at church last night.  What a blessing to spend time with other believers rejoicing.

I am reading...

Philipians, Good and Evil, by Michael Pearl, and library books with the children

I am hoping...

To cut my hair this week.  I am feeling like I should color it too...but I have never done that before and want something natural.  I don't like all the grey that has been showing lately.

I am hearing...

Sophia reading to her brother and sister.

Around the house...

Clean house, candles lit, appetizers ready, expectation to make Mr. Santos feel like a king.

One of my favorite things...

thoughtful presents!

A few plans for the rest of the week:

Order the tamales and pupusas for Christmas Eve.  Listen to lots of Christmas hymns.  Clean out my van (or maybe not) Make lots of yummy things...coconut chews, chocolate chip cookies with walnuts, cranberry pumpkin bread, caramel corn, the family's favorite cheese bread.  If only these plans included YOU.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

Merry Christmas!

December 18, 2010

The Truth shall set you free

When I was driving to the farm yesterday, I pulled up behind a white sedan at a red light.  The back of the car was plastered with vulgar pictures and bumper stickers.  Before I knew better, I had read almost all of them: ugly sayings about the driver's body parts and what evil things he wanted to do to the driver behind him.  Oh! It was awful and I looked away humiliated.

I looked at the driver in his side view mirror.  He was sitting low in his seat and his face was puffy and red.  He looked angry and proud. He caught me looking at him and gave me a smirk that made me check to see if all my doors were locked.

My first reaction was disgust.  I clucked my teeth and shook my head.  I started to talk to myself (being alone in my car) about all the evil people in this world.

But then, as if someone was whispering in my ear, I remembered that God is in control of ALL things. I thought, "I wonder if anyone prays for that man?" I started to pray for him.  I prayed that this Christmas he would hear the story of Jesus and his heart would be pricked.  That he would turn from his prideful ways toward the Lord.  I was full of confidence in my God and I started to laugh with joy as I thought of that hard man laying down all of his hate and anger in exchange for the peace of knowing Jesus.

While Christmas bells are ringing, rich and poor, their voices raise, And a simple carol singing Wafts to heaven grateful praise.

"My soul, there is a country afar beyond the stars,
Where stands a winged sentry all skillful in the wars.
There, above noise and danger, sweet peace sits, crowned with smiles,
And one born in a manger commands the beauteous files.
He is thy gracious friend, and (O! my soul, awake!)
Did in pure love descend, to die here for thy sake.
If thou canst get but thither, there grows the flower of peace,
The rose that cannot wither, the fortress, and thy ease.
Leave, then, thy foolish ranges; for none can thee secure
But One who never changes, thy God, thy Life, thy Cure."

~Henry Vaughan, Christmas Poems, pub. 1897

December 16, 2010

Tea Time

Please join Ruth and others here for Tea Time

I am having...

Nothing. Just taking a break with you before I hit the hay. But I would love to have some blueberry tea.  I tried it at a friends house this was like dessert. Lovely.

I am feeling...

Tired and convicted. I don't like it when I make bad choices. I am thankful for God's forgiveness, but I wish that I didn't do or say the things I do sometimes...the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

On my mind...

Training my children. I must be what I want them to be. Lord, help me.

A quote to share...(two of them)

"The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only - and that is to support the ultimate career. "

~ C.S. Lewis
"Mom, can I have more mushrooms in my hot chocolate?"
~  Noah Santos

December 15, 2010

I Wonder Wednesday

Hello! Anyone out there?! Anyone notice I've been gone a week? Maybe not.  I'd like to say I was in Hawaii being romanced by Mr. Santos, but he and I have just been selling Christmas trees and sipping hot chocolate.  This is our second year.  Perhaps it will become tradition.

So many times I have sat down to start blogging and the phone will ring, or the children will beckon, or all the inspiring posts I have thought of will fly right out of my head.

I was wondering...

What are you up to lately?

I was also wondering...

How are you focusing on the true meaning of Christmas?

I'm wondering why some Christians don't like Christmas?  Some friends have even encouraged me to not celebrate it at all...something about it not being commanded in the Bible, etc.  Perhaps they get irritated or dismayed with the commercialism and the stress of all the events.  I think it is natural to have the enemy distract anyone who might focus on the truth.

But Christmas is simple "Glory to God in the highest and on earth PEACE, goodwill toward men."

That's how we celebrate it at The Santos Times.  Simply.  Lights. Hymns. Quiet moments of reflection. Yummy treats.  Giving.

I was wondering...

Is there anyone I should invite to our Christmas program at church?

I'm wondering if I will meet my nephews before they are too old for me to "eat them up." (with hugs and kisses)

I'm wondering what I should give my Naomi for a Christmas gift.  I've got a gift picked out for Sophia and Noah...but what for Naomi?

I'm wondering who will visit the farm tomorrow?  Every day is so interesting.  I love our customers.  I always remember that quote you've all read here know the one...

"You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." c.s.lewis

It reminds me to pray for them.  It reminds me to smile and to see if there is any way I can go an extra mile with them.

I'm wondering if my children will be able to memorize their verses by Sunday night...I hope so.  They are going to recite them in the Christmas program.

I'm wondering when I should order the pupusas and tamales for our Christmas eve dinner?

What are you wondering about?

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14

December 08, 2010

Tea Time

Please join Ruth and others here for Tea Time

I am having...

Earl Grey tea with a slice of toast.  The kids have just gone to bed, the Christmas tree lights are still on.  It is quiet.

I am feeling...

Tired after a long day.  Content with a little quiet time.  A little distracted with thoughts of friends and family and their suffering.  I know that prayer is good and effective but sometimes I wish I could just fix things for people myself.  But here, and now, I can only pray.  I am glad to pray for them.

On my mind...

Tomorrow.  Another day at the farm.  It is a mixed blessing to be there.  No computer, no phone, just a wood stove, my children, and a customer here and there to chat with.  A simple and pleasurable day.  But there is a lot of preparation for a day away and work left undone to come home to. Thankfulness for whatever comes is the key to enjoying it all.
A quote to share...

Noah (six years old) got a tip from a customer today - 50 cents in the form of two quarters.  Tell me if this little story doesn't make you want to squeeze the loveableness outta him? 

Me:  "Whatcha gonna do with your money, babe?"
Noah: "Welp, with this one," he holds up one quarter, "I'm gonna buy a candy and with this one," holding up the other quarter "I'm gonna buy a real horse.  I bet Mrs. Wallmark next door has one I could buy."

(we live next door to a horse ranch)

I Wonder Wednesday

I wonder...

If anyone will visit the Tree Farm on this stormy rainy day?

I wonder...

What would be a good gift to share for my diabetic friends?  I can't give them the homemade caramel corn I am making.

I wonder...

What my sisters are doing right now?

I wonder...

Why they make and sell toothpaste with flouride in it?  There is so much evidence that it is poison.

I wonder...

What I will make for dinner tonight?  Oh, I have some cooked chicken in the fridge...chicken tacos!

I wonder...

How long it will take me to get a fire started in the wood stove at The Farm?  So far, an hour and a half is my record.  My littles can do a better job than me.

I wonder...

How I can show Mr. Santos today how special he is?

I wonder...

What you are wondering about?

(My dear friend Lady Rose is the one who came up with wondering wednesdays.  Why don't you go and visit her and see what she is wondering about.)

December 06, 2010

Three Parts to the Story

~Part One ~

Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Mat 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Luk 1:34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

Luk 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Gal 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

Blessings this week

~ Listening to Christmas hymns and hearing my littles proclaim,  "Momma, it's so pretty and cozy at home." "Mom, if I make my eyes blurry, the lights on the Christmas tree look like stars." 

~ Sharing homemade Peanut Butter Bars, Pumpkin walnut cookies, and Blueberry cheesecake squares with our neighbors and tree farm customers.  We don't usually have so many treats around...yum.

~ Meeting a kind older woman who took my cold hand in hers.  With a twinkle in her eyes she said,  "Oh, honey your hands are so cold! But you probably have a warm heart." That is how I want to be...kindness on my lips.

~ Watching Charlie Brown Christmas with my family.  I love Linus' answer to Charlie Brown "Doesn't anyone know what Christmas is all about?!"

~ Finding Madame Alexander dolls for my girls at the thrift store.  We got "Jo" from Little Women and "Switzerland" from the international collection.  Both dolls brand new are upwards of $60.00 U.S.  Ours were only 99 cents. 

~ Selling 135 Christmas wreaths to a local nursery.  Mr. Santos worked long and late to make them and God blessed his labors.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.  James 1:17

December 03, 2010

Would you recognize a blessing if it came your way?

I know I have quoted it before, but I'm going to quote it again.

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

It is so easy to forget this.  We go about life taking things in through our eyes, ears and mouth, living for what our senses experience.  It is so easy to forget that this is not our real home.  That is why I am thankful for suffering.  NO! I'm not looking to suffer.  NO! I don't think we should live our life in order to suffer...but suffering helps us not to forget.  It makes us look up.

What is suffering? "Having what we don't want or wanting what we don't have."

We were at The Farm the weekend after Thanksgiving.  It is the busiest weekend of the year for Christmas tree farmers.  Well, our farm is small.  We only have a few acres of trees to choose from.  We haven't been in business for long and we are also in the process of changing the farm to produce more food than trees.

I, however, showed up at the farm full of high hopes.  But they were soon dashed.  We sold some trees, but most of Saturday we were waving good bye to families who could not find what they were looking for.  I suppose the selection wasn't good enough.  How discouraging!  With a smile, we referred them to our neighbors who own several acres of beautiful Christmas trees.  The cars and trucks loaded with trees poured in and out of their property all day.  We watched them drive by while we twiddled our thumbs and made wreaths.  No sales for us. 

The temptation arises, to worry, to envy, to change the prices and compete with more force. 

But then, quietly and gently, that familiar Scripture song played itself in my head.

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God."

Yep.  We will remember the name of the Lord our God.  This is the time to focus on the birth of our SAVIOUR.  EMMANUEL which interpreted is God with us.

And so, I am back on track.  This is not the season to profit, but to give.  When my children start to say what they want for Christmas, I am quick to remind them it is not what they get, but what they give.  The only reason they do get is because someone else is doing just that...GIVING.

For God so loved the world that He GAVE...John 3:16.  What can I give today in honor of my friend and Saviour, Jesus Christ?

November 29, 2010


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Monday, November 29th, 2010

Outside my window...

Cold grey day, a little fog, and a van with almost 220,000 miles on it.  The transmission is going out and everytime that green machine takes me somewhere, I smile and give thanks.
I am thinking...

God is good.
I am thankful for...

A happy and peaceful birthday celebration yesterday.
I am learning...

That when we choose to obey God, even when the way seems dark and unpromising, the result is ALWAYS, always, peace and joy.
From the kitchen...

Tuna sandwiches, granola bars and whatever else we can pack quickly to take with us to the farm.
I am wearing...

lots of layers under a green sweater and denim skirt.  It will be cold at the farm today.
I am creating...

memories with my children that will shape their future. 

I am going...

to order some Tru Greens and Amino Charge from Lifeforce today.  I have been feeling heavy and sluggish lately.  I know this is because I am not eating as much raw food as we usually do.  Every winter this happens. The LORD is so good.  He provided some extra funds (and it is 50% off right now) so I will be able to give my family their "salad in a jar" every day for the rest of the season.   

I am remembering...

That I am a servant of the LORD Jesus Christ.  What does He want me to do today?
I am reading...

By Divine Design, by Michael Pearl and tidbits of Knowing the Heart of God, by George MacDonald.  These are books I always refer to and read and reread and read again.

I am hoping...

To have a peaceful and meaningful Christmas month.  We are taking everyday to focus on the choice and gift that God made in sending Jesus to be born.
I am hearing...
The children running around packing their bags for a day at the farm.

Around the house...
Everything picked up for the most part.  There is a mountain of clothes waiting to be folded on my bed...something to look forward to when we come home tonight.
One of my favorite things...

Happy, obedient children who trust their momma.
A few plans for the rest of the week:

I don't know.  I know I have plans, but lately, all my plans seem to fly out the window for what comes up that day.  So, I will just say my plan is to be thankful.

"Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."  Proverbs 27:1

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16

November 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Cheri!

We've lived in different states for 13 years, but you are always in my heart.  Your children are my children.  Your problems are my problems.  Your joys are my joys.
  I was blessed to be born with a sister and a best friend on the same day.

Loving you today and wishing you a Happy Birthday.

Can we agree that we are 29 again?  Someone said I was almost 40 and I was shocked. ME?
I don't think so.




November 25, 2010

Some Word Pictures

No camera! So much to show you!


Tufts of green grass popping up through the melting snow. 2 little snowmen on the picnic table outside, each with little arms made  of twigs. One twig arm is folded, hand on hip. The other twig arm is holding a staff.  The heads are looking up, carrot noses pointing to the sky. Little shepherd snowmen looking up at a bright star.  They are chatting, "It's bigger tonight, and closer.  I wonder what it means?  I have a feeling something awesome is about to happen."


Blue and white china plates on a snow white table cloth.  A bright orange mandarin in the center of each plate. What a beautiful way to begin Thanksgiving Day! The pedestal cake plate full of warm gooey cinnamon rolls.


The lamps lit, the heaters on, the family sitting in the living room without coats and gloves enjoying the pleasure and convenience of electricity.

(did you know we had a great storm over here and lost power for a couple days?)


Off to the farm this afternoon. The picnic baskets filled with bowls and spoons, crackers and cheese and nuts and dried fruits. A large pot of chili soup wrapped in a towel to keep it warm.  I will leave it on the wood stove to emjoy at noontime.  We will spend the day making wreaths and decorating the shed for tomorrow's opening day at the Christmas tree farm. 


The hearts of a small family hoping to come home to simple but satisfying meal full of Thanksgiving for God's great kindness. On the menu: chicken and gravy, mashed potatoes, green salad, cranberry sauce.  A perfect pumpkin spice cake for dessert.


Who are WE to enjoy such blessings?  Choose gratitude today.  Choose gratitude always.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.  Thank you for looking at my pictures.

November 22, 2010

Thankful Today

It's snowing! The children are outside playing, before breakfast even. All the better, no food wasted as they will be hungry when they come in. Isn't the Lord good to take what could be unpleasant - a cold grey day - and make it bright and happy and full of fun with SNOW?

How he loves us! How the Lord God loves you and me! I hope that you can see this today.

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Psalm 122:1

Church services went late yesterday. It was our Thanksgiving Service and the congregation took turns giving thanks.  There wasn't a single "I'm thankful for" that didn't bless me. But what blessed me most was that no one was anxious for the service to be over.  I was not aware of any stress over missing the football game.  No one rushed out as soon as the service was over.  It was like a bunch of family members sharing stories around the table. 

Later that day, everyone returned to church with big pots of soup and bread and desserts to share a meal together.  I was a little sad to have missed it.  I am so thankful to be a part of the body of Christ.  I am so thankful to be a part of a church that loves one another with their actions and their time.  I am so thankful for other believers who encourage me and love me.  I hope to be an encouragement to them too.

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Heb 1-:24-25

Pastor mentioned in the message that Thankfulness follows humility. We cannot be thankful really until we acknowledge a need.

There are some people in my life that I have a hard time expressing thanks to. It isn't that there is nothing to be thankful for, it is that I have a prideful heart. Thank you Lord, for revealing this to me.

November 20, 2010

Stand firm

Does the majority rule? 

For 120 years Noah built the ark and preached a message that was rejected. 

It was his little family, the minority, that was spared in the world flood.


November 18, 2010

Tea Time

Please join Ruth and others here for Tea Time

I am having...

Jasmine tea in a blue mug. Are you bored with my same old, same old? Sorry. My tea cups just don't hold enough tea and my pot (pots) have broken or chipped. The tea set above looked so sunny on this grey day.

I am feeling...

Thankful. Even though life is hard, God is Faithful. I never go through any hardship alone.

On my mind...

The busy weekend ahead. We will be cutting boughs and making Christmas wreaths like crazy. It will be cold and wet with rain and snow. I am not looking forward to it. There is only one more week until opening day at the tree farm. However, we have been invited out for Thanksgiving Day. I am so glad that we will have a day of rest before the children and I are required at the farm every day.

A quote to share...

We would limit God to the painting of perfect clouds in an unchanging sky. Yet for wise reasons that are filled with life, He tossed His clouds up and let the winds carry them over the horizon. Glory comes to the overcomer through contest and triumph, not through the routine of the fixed and limited.

~Michael Pearl, By Divine Design

November 16, 2010

Opposites Change Us

The children and I sometimes play "The Opposite Game."  I say a word and they tell me the opposite.

Momma: "IN"
Children: "OUT"

Momma: "UP"
Children: "DOWN"

It struck me the other day that we would not even know what "in" was if we had never been out.  We would not know light, if we never experienced darkness.

And so it is with our character also.  Kindness is never more obvious than in the presence of meanness.  Love shines next to hate.  Strength towers over weakness.  Wealth is extreme next to poverty.

Do you have struggles in your life?  Could it be that God is trying to change you into the opposite of your experience?

I couldn't sleep last night.  I laid in bed for hours, my eyes closed, but my mind wide awake.  I was so tired but just couldn't sleep.  I turned to look at the clock glowing in the night.  It was almost 2:00 in the morning.  I started to panic.   I had to be up at 4:30 a.m.  Even if I fell asleep that second, I would only get two and half hours of sleep. I imagined my headache.  I imagined my sore muscles.  I felt overwhelmed with weakness. 

But then I thought, "What is the opposite of weakness?"

Strength.  "The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places." Hab 3:19.

How can I know that God is my strength, if I am never weak?  How can I know that God is my provider if I never have a need?

Am I a kind person?  I find out when I run into meanness.

Am I generous?  I find out when there is a need presented.

If you are struggling or suffering take courage.  Have hope.  God loves you and wants you to know Him and His Greatness.  The question you have to ask yourself when suffering is "Do I want to know Him and His Greatness? or do I just want to stop suffering?"

These truths help me.  May they refresh you too.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2 Cor 12:9-10

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: Romans 5:3-4

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory; 2 Cor 4:17

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Heb 12:11

November 15, 2010


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Monday, November 15th, 2010

Outside my window...

It is a blustery day...dark grey skies, fast moving clouds, tall trees swaying forcefully.
I am thinking...

How good it is to be loved.  A mother loving her child...his head resting on her shoulder and the heavy warm weight of him in her lap.  There is so much peace in that.  The man embracing his wife.  The little notes and poems on the refrigerator.  The calls from long distance relatives. 

But how can we give and receive love without forgiveness?

I am thankful for...


I am learning...

How to be organized.  I have been married over 12 years, homeschooling for 4 years, growing older and I am finally...yes, believe me it can happen, I am finally learning how to be organized.

From the kitchen...

Hot buttery popcorn and hot cocoa.  The best snack for my lovies on a blustery day.

I am wearing...

a soft brown skirt with a light blue button up shirt, a brown cardigan sweater and extra thick brown socks.
I am also wearing the softest, warmest, "long-johns" underneath.
my "cat" clothes...good for curling up on the couch.

I am creating...

a habit to have kindness be on my lips.  This doesn't become real unless you are met with situations where kindness is the LAST thing you want on your lips.

He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete the mean and the lazy and the provoking are always around.  What to do?  Practice kindness.

I am going...

to fold and put away the laundry.  On a cold day, it is nice to fold warm clothes out of the dryer.

I am remembering...

The great debt that I have been forgiven. 

Was reading today in John 20, Jesus says three times "Peace, I give unto you." Thank you, Lord.

I am reading...

Christmas stories and the book of John.

I am hoping...

To finish our Scripture CD before Christmas.  Coming along...coming along.

I am hearing...

the children reading their new stash of library books in the fort they built.
Around the house...

a child's fort, built with sheets and blankets and overturned chairs.
One of my favorite things...

a new dress 

A few plans for the rest of the week:

Fine tune our chore packs (AWESOME).  Post a blog about our chore packs.  Work on my new blog design.  It isn't happening like I planned, but then nothing ever does.  All in God's time. 

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

One of my favorite paintings.  Eugene de blaas, "The knitting lesson" I love the woman's involved in the lesson. The child's hands and posture are sweet...makes me want to scoop her up to look at her work.  I just love it...the textures of the materials and the clothes...

There's nothing more enjoyable than beautiful paintings to admire on a blustery day.

Loving the Unlovable (repost)

Who wants to be blind? Not me - no one does.

I wish I could see everything. I want to see the end of the road. I want to know what's going on. If only I could see answers to my prayers. But we are called to walk by faith and not by sight.  What does that mean?

Sometimes this FAITH stuff is hard and heavy.

The Bible says that "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Eph 6:12

But when your troubles always seem to come through one person, this is hard to believe.

If "so-and-so" was out of my life, then it would all be so much easier. We see this person. We see his actions and hear his words. Surely, he (or she) is the enemy - the in-laws, the neighbor, the boss, even 'the government'...But no, God says that the real fight is not against a person - not against 'flesh and blood.'

Will I believe?

I take a big sigh, settle down in my chair, shoulders slumped. Am I not acting like a child?

A disobedient child? A rebellious child?

I can't see over the edge and my Father says, "Don't go there, trust me." "But I wanna see! I wanna see!" I stomp my foot and glare at my Father. "Let me see!" I demand.

A wayward  and prideful child?

"I see it! I see the problem! Just put some more air in the tire and we can keep going." But my Father can see that there is a tiny hole in the tire and that no matter how often I fill it with air, the tire will always flatten. I continue to pump the air in and try to make it on my own...confident in the solutions I come up with.

George MacDonald says "A man's real belief is that which he lives by." The Bible says, "Faith, without works, is dead."

Do I believe in what my Lord tells me? Will I trust Him? If I trust Him, then I should demonstrate it by how I live...right?

But there is a battle.  The LIES. The INJUSTICE. The AUDACITY. Do you know what he did? Do you know what he said?

"Faith without works is dead."

I pray for him. I give him something to eat when he is hungry. I give him something to drink when he is thirsty. I forgive. I forgive. I put my trust in God and remember that my fight is not against flesh and blood. The Lord sustains me. I walk by faith, not by sight. Who am I anyway? Just another sinner, just like him.

I have a Redeemer and my redeemer lives. He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way. Wherever I am, He is with me and He never leaves me...never.

I take a big sigh and settle down in my chair - Only this time I am at Peace. There is rest for my soul. I can't see, but He does.

November 12, 2010

Just thinking

Satan hides himself with lies.

God reveals himself with the Truth.

Those who would reject the truth attack it because it is the Truth. Only a fool turns his back on what is true, and even a fool knows this. So, the fool attacks truth in order that he may reject a "lie" instead.

I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2

November 10, 2010

It's a miracle!

Was it only a few days ago? Is this for real? Will it last? 

~ Introduction ~

It seems for the longest time The Santos Times has been battling an attitude problem.  The children have been fighting and hating one another.  Mr. Santos has been a bear.  There is a deep crease in my brow from a constant frown.

For many nights, I have cried myself to sleep over the state of my family.  Why is everyone so mad all the time?  Why are we so ungrateful?  My deepest prayer is that we would love the Lord, love each other, love our neighbors.  Instead, we've been surviving one another.  This hasn't been constant, but it has been daily.  The tone of our family has not been loving.

Was there any proof in my life that I was a Christian?  On the outside we looked like Christians. We talked like Christians.  But something has been missing for a while. Maybe it has been the two years of 'unemployment' or the death of loved ones or all the little things that go wrong every day that leave one feeling defeated.

I prayed, "God you are so big. My family and our life is so small. But our problems are too big for us. Everything seems impossible and nothing goes right for us.  Please, Lord, please help us.  Help us to live the way you want us to live."

Do you know that there is no way that you can be good on your own?  It's impossible.  The Bible says "There is none righteous, no, not one" Romans 3:10

No amount of complaining, or discipline or scheduling could change my family.  We were a mess.

But guess what?  Our mess is not too big or deep or ugly for God.  He makes all things new...and so...

It's a miracle.  Only God could have done it and He continues to do it in us every day.  Hear me! If it can happen at The Santos Times, it can happen for you.

~ The Game ~

We picked up this book at the library the other day.

The stories in it are very sweet and they really turn one's heart to loving each other.  The story of Christmas, Jesus coming to earth to be born, the angels singing "Peace on earth, Good Will towards men;" it all just melted us.

We were excited to celebrate Christmas and suddenly we found ourselves swept up into a 'game' that has changed my family.

Every Monday, we draw a Santos name and for a week we do 'secret' good deeds for our person.  For each good deed done, we add a link to a paper chain we are making. The chain is supposed to go around our Christmas tree, but it may be too long for that.  We might just string it across the house.

Instead of rushing around and complaining in the morning, Sister is laying out clothes for Sister.  Brother is setting the breakfast dishes before anyone gets up. Daughter is making Mother's bed. Husband is closing the window because Wife is cold.  And we are all adding to the chain.  The tone of the house is giving and loving and exciting.

Perhaps you don't see this as a miracle.  But I do.  For so long I tried to MAKE it happen in my family.  When I let go of trying to do it on my own, God gave it to me as a gift.  I have nothing to boast about. 

Thank you God for good gifts.  Thank you for sending your son to save us.

November 08, 2010

We've been tagged

My good blog friend Judy tagged me.  This means I am to write 30 things about myself and then tag 30 other people. It is always so much fun to read other people's tags, but I confess, I do not like to play.  I love it that people want to know about me, but I can't think of anything to list. Besides, if I wrote 30 things about myself, you would probably fall asleep by number 8.

So, since this is The Santos Times, I thought our family would do this tag together.  In this way, we hopefully won't bore you to death and you can get to know us a bit better.  Also, if no one reads this list, then the five of us can look back and reminisce.


1. I am allergic to red ants and most metals (all except platinum and gold).
2. If I could have anything in the world, I would have a cook, a gardener and a diamond ring.
3. I cut my own hair.
4. I would rather be hot than cold.
5. I pretend I am organized, but I'm not.
6. Good manners are very important to me.  I think it is a simple way to love our neighbor.

(If this list didn't kill you, you might be interested in this tag or this game.)

Mr. Santos: (written by the family)

1. Does not like bread - prefers tortillas.
2. Works hard and drinks lots of coffee.
3. Loves his children.
4. Enjoys learning and is always reading or watching documentaries.
5. Relaxes by going on long drives.
6. Has a very handsome smile.

Sophia: (age 9)

1. I want my own blog.
2. I love to play games. My favorite games, so far, are Rummikub and Monopoly.
3. I like taking pictures of nature. I would take pictures all day, if I could.
4. I like Salvadorean food.
5. I would like to go to Italy someday.
6. My worst chore is washing dishes and my best chore is cleaning the chalk board.

Naomi: (age7)

1. I run really slow.
2. I would like to go on a cloud.
3. I love hearts.
4. Noah is my best buddy.
5. I like flowers.
6. My favorite candies are chocolate and bubble gum.

Noah: (age 6)

1. I run really fast.
2. My favorite dinner is spaghetti.
3. My favorite drink is Kombucha.
4. My favorite movie is "The Iron Giant"
5. My hobby is pulling out Sophia's hair.
6. My best chore is closing the dresser drawers.

November 07, 2010


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(typed on sunday night)

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Outside my window...

The vegetable garden. It is a MESS. Well, not really. It just needs to be cleaned up and put to bed for the winter. I plan on doing that today.

I am thinking...

about a quote by C. S. Lewis: "You do not have a soul.  You are a soul.  You have a body."  I'm thinking that most of my struggles have to do with my body and not my soul. For example, being tired, or worried, or provoked are flesh issues and do not affect the state of my soul.

This really gives me peace.

I am thankful for...
My grandmother. She is old and sick and dying. She lives far from me, but she calls me often and shares with me little "secrets" that are just between us.  I miss her so much. 

I am learning...

How to persevere. (learning is the key word here)

Perseverance: n. persistent determination or continued pursuit of...

From the kitchen...

Two big steaming pots.
Beans and Chicken Broth.
We have a busy week ahead. I plan on packing burritos and fruit for lunches and tossing this and that in the broth for dinners.
I am wearing...

a black dress with white polka dots.
I am creating...

chore packs for my kids. I look forward to giving this project a blog post all it's own.

I am going...

To write a letter to my grandmother.
I am remembering...

I was "tagged" and I should respond.

I am reading...

Poetry with my children - W. de la Mare and Little Britches by Ralph Moody.

I am hoping...

My family comes through that door soon.  They have been gone all day on a "pine cone" hunt. We have a large order for Christmas wreaths and need them for decoration.  I MISS THEM.

I am hearing...

the very loud silence of an empty house.  I think I will turn on some music to drown it out.

Around the house...

it is clean and uncluttered.  The groceries are put away. The pots are simmering and I can't wait for some mud and dirty socks to be littered all over the place when my family comes home.

One of my favorite things...

cinnamon rolls.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

More work on our scripture CD.  Help Mr. Santos make wreaths. Kiss my kids a bit more this week. Smile at my husband a bit more this week. 

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

How did this little girl turn into....
this big girl so fast?

November 04, 2010

Tea Time

join Ruth and others for tea, HERE.

I am having...

Peppermint Tea. It is late at night
I am feeling...

Tired, but glad. I am going to bed with a clean house and all the laundry folded. At first, I thought I would leave it 'til the morning...but I stuck it out, and I am so glad I did.

On my mind...

All the impossibilities in my life...things only God can do.   It is hard to wait on the Lord.  

A quote to share...

Naomi (age 7) to Noah (age 6) yesterday: "She is a pessimist, but you are an octopus."

Meeting Mr. or Mrs. Difficult

Since I was a child, there have always been "hard to please" people in my life.  No matter what I did, it was never good enough. 

I wish someone would have told me this is a fact of life, because it is.  We live in a fallen world where selfishness rules and from the day of birth we will meet the "hard to please", the "always grumpy", and the "never happy."  Their name is Difficult.

Travelling down life's road, with all our plans laid out, one of these difficult people eventually cross our path.  When this has happened to me, (for most of my life) I just got on another road.  For a long time, I commonly turned left onto Self Pity Lane.  I met lots of "why's" on Self-Pity Lane: Why-me, Why-now, Why-not. These "why's" seem friendly enough. But, they are wolves - ravenous wolves. They take all of your food, your time, and your energy.  In the end, I found myself hungry, tired and in tattered rags.  One day, I realized that Sef-Pity Lane was circular and there was no exit - only an entrance.  I cried out, and a strong arm reached down and put me back on My Life's Road.

Once back on track, I would still meet with difficult people.  A few times I tried using a big heavy stick to  get rid of them.  Guess what happened?  The whack came right back on me.  Every time I lunged out to strike, I would get hurt.  I'd lick my wounds and the "why's" would call me back to Self-Pity Lane.  NO. I won't go back!  I'll get rid of this person more gently, I thought.  Getting close to Difficult, I would gently push. When that didn't work, I would push harder. But he (sometimes she) would not budge.  So, I would turn onto another road again.

Are you like me?  Do you just want to get going down Life's Road and forget about these Mr. or Ms. Difficult's?

I've gone down Bitterness Boulevard, Hate Street, Anger Drive.  They all lead to nowhere.  Then, one day, back on My Life's Road all I could do was find a resting spot.  I couldn't pass.  Difficult was there again and she was causing all sorts of ruckus in my life.  I happened to be sitting beside some still water.  I looked down and saw my reflection.  I started back in shock!  Who was that in the water? It looked just like Difficult, only it was me.

All the qualities that made Difficult so difficult were in me.  I was overwhelmed, humiliated, and confused.  I had lived so long thinking of myself as a victim of these difficult people. I had thought so long that My Life's Road would be a great place to be if I never saw another Difficult again.

Without a solution, I cried out!  This time, it was not a big strong arm that saved me, it was a still small voice - strong and clear and kind.   

He said unto me, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

"I don't know how to do this," I said. "Look at me, I am Difficult."

"I will help you. I will never leave you or forsake you.  Let's go down your road together."

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it." Rev 2:17

October 30, 2010

I just saw this

today. I know that it has been circulating the web for a while, but I thought it was hysterical. I struggle so much with English and it is my ONLY language. How do all of you multilingual people out there do it?

October 29, 2010

Pine Needle Beds & An Evening Alone

Wonderful News! We sold all our pumpkins!

Without even taking a breath, we are now on to Christmas trees and wreaths. We have already started cutting boughs and lining up orders for the season.

The children helped to fill the back of the truck full of boughs and then they laid across the pile as Mr. Santos drove the load up to the shed. "Mom, this is the softest, best smelling bed in the world! Can we sleep here tonight?"

My answer was "no," but Mr. Santos said "yes." So the clan is out at the farm (without bathrooms, showers, bed or me - and NO, I don't feel a bit guilty) camping out in the shed. That means I am home alone...What to do? What to do?

Well, I cleaned the house. I can't enjoy being in a messy house. Then I made some comfort food (scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, toast and tea), put on some warm jammies and turned on a Video.

It was a sermon by Charles Ware. He's full of life and intelligence. The message was really for young people - college students - but I learned so much.

These are some of my favorite quotes from the sermon:

"Christianity is the only thing I know where the people wanna be on the team but they don't wanna get in shape, don't wanna get hit, don't wanna play."
"Most Christians are fans and not players. They don't understand the game, and can't play the game because they are not in shape - no discipline."

I hope you watch it sometime.

I am off to bed now. With a song in my head (from the sermon).

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red, Brown, Yellow, Black, and White,
They are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

October 27, 2010

Content or Contentious?


Are you Content or Contentious?

~ CONTENT, n. ~
1. Rest or quietness of the mind in the present condition; satisfaction which holds the mind in peace, restraining complaint, opposition, or further desire, and often implying a moderate degree of happiness.


Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Hebrews 13:5-6

But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6


1. Apt to contend; given to angry debate; quarrelsome; perverse.


It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman. Prov 21:19

A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike Prov 27:15

...the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Romans 2:8-9

October 26, 2010


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Tuesday, October 27th

Outside my window...


(If I take time to LOOK a little while I can see that the grass is very green, that the trees are yellow and orange, that brown leaves have littered the driveway and I have a red wicker chair and table by the garden. But you really have to LOOK - hard - to see anything other than grey.)

I am thinking...

That matter how much truth may be behind it...never brings about positive change.

I am thankful for...

The compass. Isn't it amazing? God did not intend for us to wander about aimlessly. He gives us direction and enables us to find our way.

I am learning...

That being still is not being lazy. Sometimes much more is accomplished in quiet stillness than a flurry of activity.

From the kitchen...

Hot tea. Burritos. Hot tea. yogurt and granola. Hot Tea. and finally, another pot of Hot Tea.

(can you tell it is a cold grey day?)

I am wearing...

Long denim shirt with a white button up blouse. My blouse has big ruffles on the front and on the sleeves. I also have on a sloppy red hoody...because I'm cold. But I will take it off if I leave the house or have company.

I am creating...

A new blog look. Can't wait for the reveal.

I am going...

To figure out how to include exercise into my life.

I am remembering...

A poem my children came up with after another homonym revelation.

"I was chilly in Chile where I grew chilies for my chili."

I am reading...

The classifieds.

I am hoping...

To participate in a new meme that my friend Lady Rose started on her blog. "Wondering Wednesdays." I thought it was such a great idea and a wonderful way to include my children in The Santos Times.

I am hearing...

The children whistling while they piece a puzzle together on this grey day.

Around the house...

shadows and dark corners. I guess I should turn some lamps is only 1:00 in the afternoon.

One of my favorite things...

The chubby cheeks and short neck of a baby.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

I plan to set my affections on things above and not on things of the earth...

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

(photo by R. Gehman)

The beauty of a grey Autumn day.


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