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


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