August 30, 2010

A story (part one)

Once upon a time there was a young woman, named Joy, working hard to please her family. On this day she was making cookies. Oh they smelled delicious! Out of the oven they came and they were perfect.



She was so happy and thought joyfully how her family would relish the cookies. She also tried to think of who else might benefit from a plate of them.



But lurking in the shadows was an enemy. He was a dark and sinister liar. He wanted to destroy this woman AND her family. For many days he had been watching her happy service and it made him sick...all that smiling and peace. How he hated her. She was so bright and shiny...He wanted to snuff her out.


He knew just the trick. He dialed up a local gang he knew - some tough guys who could get an ugly job done quick. The enemy didn't want to waste any time. All the light flowing from this young woman was drawing people closer to the True Light that lighteth all men. The sooner he snuffed her out, the better.


He called up Criticism. "Hey, I got a job for you. I need it done quick. Bring whoever you need. She has a lot of protection and I think you will need some back-up."


Criticism called his buddies Anger and Hate. They loved doing jobs with Criticism. The three of them together were very successful. The people they snuffed out were often so injured they could hardly look up.


The gang showed up and attached themselves to Joy's husband. He was tired that day and not aware of the dangers lurking about.

"Hi honey. Welcome home." Joy said, full of joyful anticipation.

"Yeah. I'm tired today."

"How 'bout some tea and cookies?"

"Whatever. Thanks"

Joy made a pot of tea and brought out a little dish of cookies. She placed them on the table for her husband to enjoy. He sat down at the table heavily. True, he was tired, but he also had the extra weight of the "gang" on his shoulders.

"What's this? Are these chocolate chip cookies?"

"Yep." Joy replied with a smile.

"You know I don't like chocolate!" He spied the platters that Joy had prepared to share with the neighbors. "What are you doing? Feeding the whole neighborhood? What do you think, I'm made of money? I wish you would just think once in a while!" He shoved the plate away and went to take a shower.

Joy had taken a big hit, low and hard, right in her stomach. She fell back and tried to catch her breath. Criticism and his gang gave a sinister laugh.

Anger and Hatred were ready and waiting to get their claws into Joy. If they could then they could easily attack Joy's husband and children. But, unfortunately for them, Joy was wearing the belt of truth. While it was a heavy hit, the belt protected her and she was able to stand up again. Joy quickly unwrapped the platters and put the cookies in the cookie jar, submitting to her husband.

Dinner simmered on the stove, so she called the children to set the table and got her recipe book out. She had used all the butter, but there were a few bananas in the fridge and she knew that her husband would enjoy some banana bread. She set to work right away.

Anger and Hatred were frustrated. "Hey Criticism, we are gonna need a lot more help. She's wearing armour!" Criticism thought for awhile. "I know, call up Murmurings and Disputings...hey get Unthankful to come over too. The boss wants this job done quick. We don't have any time to lose."

Unwittingly, the children hummed while they set the table. Joy made banana bread with a humble heart. When her husband got out of the shower and saw her submission, he was convicted by his harsh behavior. He kissed his wife and tousled the children's hair. Peace reigned in the home.

But reinforcements had been called from the dark side...would the light be snuffed out? The shadows loomed...

(...to be continued)

August 26, 2010

Tea Time



I'm having: Earl Grey tea in a dainty cup and saucer. It is blue and white china made in Germany and very pretty. If you look closely though, there is a small chip in the rim and when the cup is empty, there are stains in the cracks from age and use.

The tea is warm and sweet. It "hits the spot" and the cup reminds me of my life...

I'm feeling: Tired.

On my mind: The weight of other people's poor choices. We are not islands unto ourselves. Everything we do affects someone else, everything. Sometimes the choices I see others make GRIEVES me to no end...including some of the choices I make.

Jesus never made his own choices. He never went his own way, only doing what the Father told him to do.

A quote to share:

Father, I know that all my life
Is portioned out for me,
And the changes that are sure to come
I do not fear to see;
I ask Thee for a present mind,
Intent on pleasing Thee.

I would not have the restless will
That hurries to and fro,
Seeking for some great thing to do
Or secret thing to know;
I would be treated as a child
And guided where I go.

Wherever in the world I am,
In whatsoever estate,
I have a fellowship with hearts
To keep and cultivate .

~Anna Waring, 1850~




Head on over to Ruth's to join us for Tea Talk

August 23, 2010

Daybook


(click on the icon for more daybook fun)


FOR TODAY



Monday, August 23, 2010


Outside my window...


Sunshine and a hammock that Mr. Santos brought home from El Salvador. What am I doing here with such things right outside my window? I better make this quick.



I am thinking...

I wish that I could go to my sister's wedding.

I am thankful for...


My Great and Mighty God.
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
Psalm 8:4
Oh and new dresses...which I was blessed with last week...Mr. Santos even took me on a date just so I could wear my new dress. LOL

From the learning rooms...


Cramming memory verses for the Bible Bee this Saturday



From the kitchen...




Strawberry shortcake, breaded and fried zucchini with brown rice, dehydrated zucchini chips with hummus and vegetable soup full of zucchini.
Can you guess what we grew in our garden?


I am wearing...


Red skirt with cream paisleys on the hem, with a cream colored tee and a cardigan. Brown flats and a pearl necklace.


I am creating...




nothing...but the children are creating paper dolls and cards...Cards that look like


Der mom, iluvu

urmibestmom

hawrudoen?

plsrepli

luvnoah


~translation~


Dear Mom,


I love you. You are my best mom. How are you doing? Please reply. Love, Noah



I am going...




To get this house clean and then go sit in the hammock...or maybe I will sit in the hammock and then get this house clean.



I am remembering...

When Sophia used to write me notes like Noah's. Now she writes in beautiful cursive and rarely misspells a word...these kids grow up TOO FAST!



I am reading...




Colossians with Sophia for the Bible Bee.




I am hoping...



That Sophia will remember all her verses when a giant crowd is looking at her...she has worked so hard.


Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee. Psalm 119:11




I am hearing...

The children play...they are planning a trip to Italy. "(Naomi) Where's my spy dog? (Sophia)Don't forget the binoculars! (Noah) I need my gun and holster!"



Around the house...


Sunshine and this and that bought from Walmart that needs to be put away.

One of my favorite things...

Sunshine sparkling on the water like diamonds

A few plans for the rest of the week:

Going to the fair, Bible Bee, Bible Bee and Bible Bee and picking strawberries. Just when we think the strawberries are gone, we go out and find baskets and baskets of ruby red sweetness. God is so good to us.


Here is a picture thought I am sharing...


(from allposters.com)

Look at all those diamonds!

August 21, 2010

Whatsoever things are...lovely

Finally Brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue or if there be any praise, think on these things. Philipians 4:8

No matter what troubles may be going on at The Santos Times...there is always SO MUCH to be thankful for.


Beach Days. You can see I need a tan...


WORK. Weeding the raspberries...this is one way to sleep well at night.


We joke that Mr. Santos was born with a machete in his hand. The work he accomplishes with that simple tool is amazing!


Summer days, summer skies...When was the last time you laid on the grass and watched the clouds go by? Take some time to do it. It is wonderful.





Church services in the park.

Our church family gathering for a photo.

Slip-n-Slide fun.
The children put the slide on a hill...a little water, a little soap suds and WHEEE!


What summer is complete without days of Chalk drawing on the sidewalk?



Strawberries!


Eating up the profits! We were able to open this summer for one week of U-Pick Strawberries. I think we sold about 50 -60 lbs...which is pretty good considering we thought we wouldn't have any strawberries this year.


Zinnias and chamomile in my overgrown vegetable garden.



Drying chamomile flowers for tea. I have dried trays and trays of it and look forward to having tea from our garden this Autumn.


Much produce from our garden...zuchini, cabbages, potatoes, cucumbers, carrots, kale, beans, onions...coming out of our ears. God is so good and generous to us. I hope we don't lose it all from ignorance. How do we store all of this stuff?


Vegetable soup from the garden...this is the bottom of a half eaten bowl...it doesn't look too appetizing does it?


AH! But here they are LOVING it!...of course when you are working hard at the farm all day and starving, you'll eat anything. Do you have picky eaters at home? Try this...it is our solution.


Some of our many many green tomatoes. Just a little bit more sun and heat to turn them red - We'll see.


The pumpkin patch is sprawling and full.



A visit from Grandma and Grandpa


Grandpas are the best!


They both spoiled us silly for a couple weeks. We love you Grandma and Grandpa...so much!


Ferry rides.

Blackberry picking...MMM. A big fat fresh blackberry tastes JUST like cotton candy.





Beauty in the garden


August 20, 2010

Go AWAY!

"Regrets" keeps coming over. She will not go away. She knocks and I won't let her in. So she stands in the windows or gets in the house and hides in the closet. When we least expect her, she jumps out quickly with her finger pointing and her tongue wagging.

"You shoulda, You coulda, why didn't ya?"

OH! Get out! Go away!

She provokes and pokes and irritates. We are left with an emptiness...tired...

I remember something...

a story in the Bible...how Esau had regrets.

For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. Heb 12:7
~oOo~

God comforts us. Our regrets, painful as they are, thankfully do not have eternal consequences. We cannot go back...but we can go forward. There is hope.


Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Phil 3:13-14



While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts,

Hebrews 3:15a

August 18, 2010

Treasure hunting

Investments. Just like planting seeds. You hope for a return. Time. Money. Sweat. Hope. All this investment. Into what?

Chores and other tasks?

The house?

Your job?

Your children?

You hope for a return. A return on your investment. Some sort of fruit in the end.


If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4



I ask myself these questions as I lay in bed at night...when I am worried over financial issues, or upset because I didn't accomplish anything on my list, or provoked by someones lack of attention or kindness to me, or confused....just confused.


Where is my heart? What have I set my affection on? When I think about Christ, who is my life, the financial worries fade. He always provides for me.

Does checking off my list matter more than how I treated my neighbor or my loved ones today?

Did I provoke anyone or act rudely?


For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matt 6:21


But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 2 Cor 4:7
What is this treasure? The Bible calls it the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
When we practice for the upcoming Bible Bee we do the what?when?where?how?why? test to try and memorize scripture.
What is the treasure? knowledge
of what? the glory of God
where is it found? in the face of Jesus Christ
Been treasure hunting lately?

August 13, 2010

Tea Time



I'm having: Iced peppermint tea in a glass. Very refreshing. The sun is shining in my house and I can see all the dust.


I'm feeling: Back at home. It has been just over a week now since I have been home from El Salvador...I think I am back in my mind now too. Starting to get into a routine again, no longer sick, making plans for school...

On my mind: How God wants all of me...my possessions, my time, my reputation...all of it. I am happy to give it, but sometimes it is hard.


A quote to share:

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: Col 1:16

This includes me. I was created by him, and for him...SO here I am. What do you want for me and from me today, Lord?



Head on over to Ruth's to join us for Tea Talk

August 07, 2010

El Salvador Album

~Mr. and Mrs. Santos~

This was the biggest adventure of my life so far. I think there are two things that Adventures can do for you. First, they develop character and secondly, they TEST you for any character.
So. Did I pass the Character Test? All I can say is that the Grace of God is Big and Overflowing. When things were too difficult for me, He was there to help. I didn't go through anything without his loving kindness sustaining me.

There was no need to complain, no need to worry and no need to despair of anything.



This is a picture of me resting as we went down the mountain. Mr. Santos said it was just a short trail to his mother's home ~ about 4 miles. *smiles* and only 94 degrees Fahrenheit with intense humidity. It was like being in a green house. My Slogger hat was a life saver when the sun was blaring down on me like a torch. Also, my Columbia Surf Tide sandals (another $3 thrift store buy) helped me in hiking across the mountain and dried quickly after we crossed any rivers.


My handsome man with his rugged and beautiful homeland in the background. Mr. Santos carries such heavy loads on those broad shoulders. It is a privilege and my highest hope that I could be a help to him.
I'm so happy to have experienced my biggest adventure at his side.

~Family~

Two of my nieces overwhelmed with affectionate Tia Laura.


My beautiful Suegra, Mama Tina with the chocolate cake I made her. It took eight hours to bake! They cook in clay ovens with wood. I learned leaping flames does not necessarily mean the oven is hot. We ate the cake immediately ~ before it melted away ~ and the children licked their plates.



My sweet niece, Teresa, and Mama Tina


These ladies, mi cunada and her daughters tried to take a picture without smiling...Not with Tia Laura behind the camera!



Mr. Santos leaving for the day to tend to the land and the animals.

Mr. Santos marched in one afternoon with his machete strapped to his belt and a heavy bundle of vines on his shoulder. He dropped them on the kitchen floor and mi suegra y yo went to work right away to prepare dinner.

~ Great Views~




I forget the name of this volcano...but it was near the airport and always in view.

"Sensuntepeque"





The road down to Azacualpa - you can see it was a bumpy ride...QUITE a bumpy ride.


The views made it all worth it.


Seemed there was always a river to cross eventually. We were in El Salvador during the rainy season. This means every night there is una tormenta. The dark sky lights up with lightening and then BOOMS with thunder. The rain comes down in torrents. Under a tin roof it is impossible to hear anything other than the rain. You just sit around looking at one another or watching the rain because the sound of the storm drowns out all potential conversation.


My Teresa with her umbrella to guard her from el sol. Below those trees is where we stayed most nights...with the sound of the passing river and the stifling green house air. Though it was very difficult to climb the mountain, at least there was a breeze at the top of it.


The mountain in the background is Honduras.


~Some of the Locals~

There is at least one of these little pericos in every home we visited. They talk and squawk and are very friendly. When Mr. Santos and I were first married, he brought two of them home. I never enjoyed them because we lived in a tiny apartment and they were so LOUD. I didn't know that they were such a huge part of his culture...what reminded him of his homeland. I wish I could take back all my complaints of those little birds. "This one" and "That one" (their names) eventually went to live in a beautiful Aviary with many other tropical birds.

I eventually told her to "go get her own nest."

Can't be out in El Campo without a few dogs.

This black and white pig was cute at first, until he started CHASING me down the mountain. I was terrified! My little companion (12 year old Teresa) laughed her head off when I suddenly screamed, threw all my stuff in the air and ran like mad. She casually picked up a stick and SSSHHDD it away. We took a break from our walk so that she could take time to slap her knees a few times as she tried to stop giggling at her crazy Tia Laura.

Kitchen friends.



This is the oven I made a chocolate cake in and the guest that sleeps in it every night.

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