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 allposters.com)

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 is...in 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



(click on the icon for more daybook fun)


FOR TODAY

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 year...it 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 ago...so 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 week...it 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 before...you 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?

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