December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas from the Santos Times. 
We pray that God would bless you as you consider His great gift to us in giving us a SAVIOR which is Christ the Lord.

~oOo~



For us?

Tamales (of course)
Ham and garlic potatoes
Salad and green been casserole
apple pie and cherry pie ala mode

Sparkling cider and cocoa

Christmas Eve service
Board games and hymns
The Christmas story recited by memory. (Have you memorized the story too?)
Open gifts at midnight (or thereabouts depending on whether the old people can make it)
Happy Happy Christmas to you all.

December 21, 2012

Dear Mom

The world was supposed end today.  But no, not yet.  How are things where you are? Say hello to Auntie Nina and Grandpa for me.

I hung the nativity quilt you gave me. It's on the same wall as it is every year and the children said they can't imagine Christmas without it.  We've been having different people over for tea and refreshments to share in the decorations and the season.  You would be delighted. Wish you could come too.

We received a big box in the mail. Don and Lisa sent gifts to the kids. It was so surreal, as if you were still here.  I was very thankful for the kids sake, who can hardly contain themselves for the excitement.

Sophia and Noah are going to play bells in the Christmas program at church. How pretty it sounds! I will try to record it for Don. Naomi isn't in the show.  Why not? It's a long story that I wish you could help me with.  I really don't know what I am doing when it comes to being their mother. I should've asked you more questions while you were here. I should've listened more and not tried to prove how well I was doing.

Luis and I are doing better, Praise God.  We came so close to divorce. It seemed like the only answer. Thankfully, many people were praying for us.  God's grace is so abundant!

I know you meant the inheritance to be a blessing to us all.  It was a blessing, but not in the way you intended.  It revealed so much, like a big spotlight on our character...everyone's.  You know how you have to pull all the junk out of the closet before you can really say it is clean?  I didn't know how much junk there was!

I ended up giving up my share. At times I feel angry. I was robbed. It was so amazing, Mom.  When I asked the Lord, "What should I do?" He led me right to 1 Corinthians 6:6-7 "But brother goes to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another.  Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do you not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?"  And then I remembered "I have been crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I; but Christ liveth in me."

Luigi has been really into chess lately.  He plays against the computer and even reads books on how to win.  I asked the other day, "Would you like me to learn how to play chess so that we can play together?"  He said "yes" and promptly assigned me "chess tasks" LOL.  Everything is a project to him.

I paid a woman to finish the quilts you made for the girls. We will pick them up this weekend.  Now I can hardly wait for that! I hope they turned out well!

Sophia is improving in violin and will soon begin piano lessons.  She is so amazing how she can just pick up a tune by hearing it.  She is also pittling around with a guitar.  I hope to get her more established in her music studies.  Naomi is reading! YEAH! She writes a weekly newspaper called "3 Kidz Newz".  Most of the words are misspelled, but it is very creative and fun to read.  It has everything: ads, comics, weather, even a column called "Mom's corner" where I contribute.  Noah and Sophia also contribute with different articles.  If you were here, we would mail them to you.  For now, I just collect them in their portfolio.

Noah is eight years old now.  He continues to be a blessing.  What a talker! Everywhere we go he engages people in conversation - the checkout guy, the chiropractor, the receptionists.  I was overwhelmed when he commented on one woman's looks the other day.  He said, "Are you sick?"  She said, "No, that is just my birthmark" (half of her face was purple).  "Oh. I was wondering what was wrong with you.  Guess nothing IS wrong with you.  You were just made that way." I thanked her for being so gracious.

Oh, I forgot. Auntie Rhoda came up for a visit.  It was like fresh water.  I didn't know how much I wanted and needed a part of you.  She really blessed us and helped the children to deal with missing you so much.

Uncle Gordon  posted all his old pictures on facebook. They are wonderful!  I love seeing pictures of you with the family.  Little by little we are getting used to life without you.  God is good and He is doing good things in my life.  I will miss you always.  Until we meet again,

Your Laura 

December 18, 2012

Cancel Christmas?

I wonder why when something tragic happens people want to cancel Christmas?

I say, "Thank God it is Christmastime!" 

It reminds me that there is Hope. 

"And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."

It is a scary time.  Everywhere we turn in this world something tragic is happening.  A flood, an earthquake, a war, a shooting, cancer, corruption.  I am tempted to fear. 

I look around the house at the decorations and they remind me, It's Christmastime! 

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."

But perhaps you are not looking for a Savior.  Maybe all we want is more money, no suffering, everyone to do the "right" thing according to our own philosophies.  If we had that then there would be nothing to fear.

Maybe that is the problem.  We fear the wrong things - the external stuff. 

"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Matthew 10:28

We fear the stuff we can see and touch, but not the Living God that made us.  Do we remember that we are created?  We are born with a purpose. 

If we did fear the Lord, we would know that we are sinners in need of a Savior.  We would know that it is impossible to make ourselves good.  Every day we fail.  Every day people fail around us. 

THEN we would despair for what hope is there?

We would look around at the lights and anticipation and perhaps...

We would remember...

"Oh YEAH! It's Christmastime!"

"Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."

ALL PEOPLE!  For unto you is born this day, in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."

"O fear the Lord ye his saints for there is no want to them that fear him." Psalm 34:9



November 28, 2012

It's my birthday! YEAH!

~ A Prayer of Thanks ~
 
Dear Lord,
 
Thank you so much for giving me forty years on this earth.
Thank you for giving me a husband and three BEEEEutiful children. Thank you for the good health and the bad health, for the ecstatic moments and the heavy sad moments. 
Thank you for the full pocket days and the empty bank account days.
 Thank you for the births and for the deaths.
 
Through them all, you have become so Real to me and I have gotten to know you better.
 
Thank you for saving me from my sins and giving me the gift of eternal life in heaven with You.
 
I pray that I can spend every day knowing You more and serving You better.
 
Love, Laura


~oOo~

My birthday cake!  Sophia decorated it!
 
The top layer is banana cake with coconut filling.
The second layer is chocolate cake with peanut butter filling.
 
Oh My! Can't wait to eat it. Want a piece?
 
 
 

 
She knows that I love birds! This was a little Christmas ornament she put on top.

 
The children made a Wonderful paper chain to decorate the house. Each chain is decorated with different designs. How special!  Do you see the picture of the sun on the window? It rained all day today, but the children said,
 
"Mom! We made sure you had sunshine on your birthday!"

 
The girls above.
And Me below wearing my "Queen Mom" crown and drinking tea out of
a new birthday cup.


 
Now, THAT sounds wonderful!

 
We spent the afternoon at the Clay cafe painting platters.  Mr. Santos took the children shopping and bought me some candy, flowers and beautiful red pajamas.
 
Aren't they Great?

November 21, 2012


Happy Thanksgiving from the Santos Family!
 
We have so much to be thankful for. 
 
~ First and foremost for so great a salvation we have through the Lord Jesus Christ. We are thankful for the work He is doing in our lives.  Though we are weak, He is strong!
 
~ We are thankful for all our physical capabilities.  We are able to see and hear, walk and talk, eat and sleep.  It is amazing how more and more people we know are losing these that we take for granted.
 
~ We are thankful for a WARM home without any leaks.  It has been raining cats and dogs the last few days.  We have heat and running water, indoor plumbing, electricity and so much food.  Thank you, Lord.
 
~ We are thankful for a good running car.  Lately, as we've been running errands in the rain, we have noticed several people with their hoods wrapped tightly around their necks and their heads bent low into the wind, walking to get where they need to go. 
 
~ We are thankful for good friends.  With family far away, and especially with this being my first holiday season without Mom, I am so thankful for loving friends that have opened up their homes and hearts to us.
 
~ Thank you Lord for music and good books and crafts and embroidered pillowcases and all the other things that make life so beautiful and pleasant.
 
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







November 20, 2012

No Thankfulness without Forgiveness

 
 
Our human relationships are the actual conditions in which the ideal life of God is to be exhibited.
~ Oswald Chambers
 
Do not wait for some ideal situation, some romantic difficulty, some far away emergency; but rise to meet the actual conditions which the providence of God has placed around you today....Down in your secret soul unseen and unknown by any but Jesus, there is a little trial that you would not dare to mention, that is harder for you to bear than martyrdom.
~ Selected (Streams in the Desert)
 
That second quote reminds me of the times when I have said, "I'd rather die than do that!"  Is God calling you to obey Him in something hard?  Is your response to God, "I'd rather die!"
 
Perhaps, like me, He is asking you to forgive someone.
 
Perhaps, like me, He is asking you to be quiet when you have a lot to say.
 
Perhaps, like me, He is asking you to give it ALL, not part, but ALL.
 
Just think. Faith without works is dead.  Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments."
 
Do I really believe that "It is no longer I who live, but Christ in me?"  How do I prove that?
 
This is Thanksgiving Week. What a beautiful time!  At church on Sunday we were talking about what gets in the way of our Thankfulness.  So many things.  But what gets in the way of being thankful for the people in your life?  Unforgiveness.
 
Can I, with Paul say, "I thank my God upon EVERY remembrance of you?"  Not if I need to forgive.
 
Join me in making sure you have forgiven the people God has brought into your life.
 
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.  But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
~ Mark 11:25-26

November 14, 2012

November!


Isn't this picture beautiful? I found it under fall landscapes on google.

(click on the picture above for more daybook fun)

FOR TODAY

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Outside our window...

Biscuit is wildly pacing, wondering when we will bring her in for the night.

Yes, we bring our chicken in for the cold nights! LOL. She sleeps in a pet carrier that is lined with paper and hay. Spoiled rotten is that little chicken.
 
I am thankful...

for glimpses of sunshine today and the Lords work (painful though it is) to change me.

I am wearing...

A comfy black sweater and plaid skirt.  I love this sweater so much I even take time to wash it in cold water and lay flat to dry...HA!

From the kitchen..

A salad for dinner. Some of the leftover grilled fish from yesterday's fish tacos over some greens.  What would YOU do with leftover fish?

I am learning...

That God's blessings are not the same as what "the world" counts as blessings.

 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Matthew 5:1-12

I am creating...

Holiday cards and pictures to send out soon.
 
I am going...

to be 40 this month!

I am remembering...

When I turned 30! What a FULL ten years it has been!
 
I am reading...

not much...just my Bible along with my favorite daily devotional books:

My Utmost for His Highest and
Streams in the Dessert
 
Around the house...

The children are watching a movie. The dishwasher is on.  Mr. Santos is working late so his dinner is staying warm in the oven.
 
Some of my favorite things...

Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce

A few plans for the month:

Celebrate my birthday with my family.  I am hoping that they will take me to the local Java and Clay cafe.  There, I can enjoy some Jasmine tea and paint a platter for my kitchen wall.
Give thanks.  Sometimes it's hard to see past all my struggles this year and be thankful.  But God says "Rejoice and be exceeding glad!" I just pray that I would struggle for
His sake and not because of my own bad attitude or poor choices.  Lord, help me.
 
A picture thought to share:
 
 
There was a dragonfly! Can you see it?
 
This picture was taken by my good friend and photographer, Charlene Cary.
 

November 05, 2012

Some Fall Delights

 
The last of the summer flowers. This bouquet lasted a month!

 
Some of our garden produce.
 
 
Carrots anyone? We also have onions!
 

 
There they go - walking to the meadow to fly a kite. Sophia took the pictures.
I stayed home that day.

 
There goes Noah...

 
And Naomi with the "eagle" flying high behind them.
 
 
 It's raining, it's pouring, but no one is snoring!
 
Kindly keep your muddy boots outside
 

October 23, 2012

Cast all your Cares on Him

Grey skies today. And a bit of rain, too.

But Sunday the sun was shining. I drove home from church amidst the bright orange and red trees, the sky a bright blue with puffy white clouds gathering. What a lovely Fall Day it was.

I should have been rejoicing and praising God, but instead tears rolled down my cheeks.

I complained to the Lord because of the conviction I felt from the message given at church.

"But Lord! Your hand is so heavy on me! Again, you are pointing out where I am wrong.  Again, I see my sin, but what about THEM? They are so mean! They think it is O.K. to treat me cruelly.  They are unreasonable."

"Do you really want me to turn the other cheek? Do you really expect me to pray for them and love them?"

Hate threatened to bubble to the surface as I thought, "The injustice of it all!"

How Patient and Kind my Lord is with me.  He reminded me of what He endured on the cross.

"Yes, Lord."

I made a pot of tea and a piece of toast when I got home. The house was a cluttered mess around me.  A little butter, a little blackberry jam.  I warmed my hands on my mug and noticed the worn copy of "My Utmost for His Highest" on the side table.

Opening it, I read:
We do not need the grace of God to withstand crises—human nature and pride are sufficient for us to face the stress and strain magnificently. But it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours of every day as a saint, going through drudgery, and living an ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God—but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the mean streets, among mean people—and this is not learned in five minutes. ~ O.C.

While this settled my mind to obedience, I still felt overwhelmed with the heaviness. 

How Patient and Kind my Lord is with me! He gently comforted me with the reminder that He is coming soon.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.  1 Thess 4:16-18



I thanked Him for the reminder and set myself to cleaning up the house.  Soon after, I came across this little bit from "Streams in the Desert."

The words often on Jesus' lips in His last days express vividly the idea, "going to the Father." We, too, who are Christ's people, have vision of something beyond the difficulties and disappointments of this life. We are journeying towards fulfillment, completion, expansion of life. We, too, are "going to the Father." Much is dim concerning our home-country, but two things are clear. It is home, "the Father's House." It is the nearer presence of the Lord. We are all wayfarers, but the believer knows it and accepts it. He is a traveller, not a settler.  ~ R. C. Gillie

Sometimes life is overwhelming because I am seeking satisfaction in the here and now.  But this is not my  real home and the trials put me in remembrance.

Whatever your cares are today, cast them upon the Lord. He cares for you and will answer all your questions.  Trust Him!

October 13, 2012

October Daybook


(click on the picture above for more daybook fun)

FOR TODAY

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Outside our window...

yellow, orange and brown leaves all over the yard; a gentle mist falling, and my colorful zinnias still hanging on to bring a little cheer.

I am thankful...

for the lovely visit I had with my Auntie Rhoda this week. What an unexpected pleasure!

I am wearing...

A "foresty" green plaid skirt with a wine colored long-sleeve tee and a "foresty" green cardigan. I have on matching pumps and a cameo necklace to tie it all together.  When I walk out the door, I will also wear my wine colored wool coat.

"looking good, Mom!" from the lovies.

From the kitchen..

Fresh salsa from our garden produce.  What will I do with all these cherry tomatoes?

Also, a sweet mandarin orange cake full of walnuts.  It is perfectly paired with Jasmine tea on a cool Autumn day.

I am learning...

That insight or understanding is sometimes meant to produce in us long-suffering - PATIENCE - and not necessarily an opportunity for speaking our mind.

Some verses on my mind...

"Measure thy life by loss and not by gain,
Not by the wine drunk, but by the wine poured forth.
For love's strength standeth in love's sacrifice,
And he who suffers most has most to give."

 ~ Streams in the Desert, Oct 10

I am creating...

An organized closet! Yeah!

I bought a few pretty storage boxes to put my papers and pictures in. Now I can take them out of my ugly plastic bins. Also, sending a big bag of unused clothes to Goodwill. It is nice to clean things out.

I am going...

to make a big batch of meatballs for freezer.

I am remembering...

The children trying so desperately to fly their kite earlier this week.

Not a breeze to be found, yet they never gave up. Finally, running with all her might, (and me praying at a distance) Sophia got that kite up in the air.  It stayed up for about 5 seconds - a GLORIOUS five seconds.

You would have loved the shouts of excitement.  Can't wait for a windy day to really see that kite fly.

I am reading...

My Bible, and some children's books by Patricia St. John. Going to start soon her biography on her father.

Around the house...

The lights are on during the day now.

The sounds of Christmas carols are being practised on the children's violins.

Some of my favorite things...

Donuts

Warm sweaters

A place for everything and everything in its place

A few plans for the month:

Continue with my neck and back treatments.  They are making a difference. Little Naomi has been diagnosed with scoliosis so she will be doing regular therapy with me.  This is a big part of our schedule every week.  Lots of time and money being spent, but it is necessary.

We have found a board game we love - Blokus.  And the children have discovered Charades. Two fun things to do in the quiet evening hours.

Pray about how the Lord would have us celebrate the holidays this year.

October 06, 2012

Saturdays Seekings

Wisdom
~oOo~

Get wisdom, get understanding:
forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.
Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee:
love her, and she shall keep thee.
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom:
and with all thy getting get understanding.
Exalt her, and she shall promote thee:
she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.
She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace:
a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.
Proverbs 4:5-9

~oOo~

For the LORD giveth wisdom:
out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous:
he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
He keepeth the paths of judgment,
and preserveth the way of his saints.
Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment,
and equity; yea, every good path.
Proverbs 2:6-9

~oOo~

Say to wisdom, "You are my sister,"
And call understanding your nearest kin.
Proverbs 7:4

~oOo~

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God,
that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not;
and it shall be given him.
James 1:5

~oOo~

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom:
and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Proverbs 9:10

 

October 02, 2012

Hello Again


It has been a lifetime since I've blogged at The Times. Spiritually speaking, I have climbed a few mountains, nearly drowned in deep watery pits, burned hot and long in a fire.  Just when I thought I was lost forever in a dense jungle, the Lord "leadeth me beside the still waters and maketh me to lie down in green pastures."

I am so glad that I don't "run the race that is set before me" alone. He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way.

The pain of the last few weeks has been deep. But, the result has been real change in me and my relationship with my Lord. He gives us beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning. I'm sorry I can't share with you more specifically all that I have been going through. It will probably come out in drips here and there throughout the future Times. Surely though, and only because of our loving Lord Jesus, I can say confidently,

"It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes."  Psalm 119:71

~oOo~

What's going on now?

Back to school doing our Math, Reading, Writing, and Music

Children are busy memorizing scripture.  When they have reached their goal, then they get to take lessons.
Noah wants to take Karate, Naomi wants to take Horseback riding, and Sophia is undecided.  She wants to learn everything.

I have started cooking again. I'm sure the family is happy about that. Went grocery shopping the other day and thought, "Guess I should do something with all this food!"

I started seeing a new chiropractor using the Pettibon system. Interesting.  I'll let you know about any progress.

Fall is coming. I guess it's here already. I'm not looking forward to it and yet it is a season I love.  I think I don't want it to come because it is such a family time and with family comes SO much.  A heavy much.

Biscuit (our chicken) is still alive and kicking and being spoiled with fresh veggies and tid bits from our table. We, in turn, thank her for her fresh egg every morning.

Mr. Santos continues to work hard. He is doing much better from his injuries earlier this year.

I am at the library. We took internet out of the house for a while. It has been a different life without it. I don't know if it is good or bad.  Anyways, the timer is about to go off so I can let someone else use the computer.  I'm off! "See" you again soon.  Leave me a comment. I miss you all!


August 10, 2012

August Daybook



(click on the picture above for more daybook fun)

FOR TODAY

Friday, August 10, 2012

Outside our window...

Wildflowers overtaking the garden

Flies buzzing

A little table with a blue bucket full of lemonade.  The lemonade is free, but the tip jar is full.


I am thankful...

just thankful. God always takes care of me. In my sorrow, in my confusion or fear, He is always there with an answer and comfort. I am so thankful for that.

I am wearing...

A brown skirt and a pink tee-shirt.  It's a beautiful sunny day and the grass is soft on my bare toes.  The children and I will walk to the meadow after I finish posting this.

From the kitchen...

A gift from Grandpa, a blackberry pie!

Grilled fish tacos for dinner.


I am learning...

That God is my defender. I don't have to fear what anyone thinks of me.

"He hath shown thee, o man, what is good and what the Lord requires of thee. But to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God."  Micah 6:8

Some verses on my mind...

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,"  1 Peter 1:3-4

I am creating...

Thank you notes to some of the many people who shared their love and kindness over the last month.


I am going...

to rest today.

I am remembering...

My mother.  I suppose I will think of something else someday.

I am reading...

A book on Prayer by E.M. Bounds.  Exciting stuff!

I am praying...

That I would want what God wants me to want.
That I would do what God wants me to do.
That I would say what God wants me to say.
That I would go where God wants me to go.

Here is my life, Lord.

Around the house...

A new hutch I brought home from California.  It is so lovely.  It makes my  house feel like a little cottage. It was a gift from my mother. I remember the day she called and said "Laura, I bought you a hutch! You're gonna love it. Oh!say you will love it, Laura."

"I do. I love it, Mom."




Some of my favorite things...

Wildflowers in a jar on a checked tablecloth.

Peanut M&M's

The way Biscuit (our pet chicken) runs across the yard when I call her.

A few plans for the month:

~A visit with Grandpa.
~Re-size my mother's wedding ring so that I can wear it.
~drill my children in Bible verses for the Bible Bee. I don't think we will do too well this year as we took two months off for Grandma. In any case, we will do our best.
~See some good friends get baptized
~Celebrate my sister's birthday


Here are some picture thoughts to share...


We were very blessed to visit with Mama Tina, Luis's mother. She was visiting California all the way from El Salvador while we were losing Mom.  
What a sweet and cheerful woman she is!
God is intimately acquainted with all our ways. How thankful we are for this amazing "coincidence" in the timing of her visit.



Noah, riding a go cart. This was his belated birthday present from me.


Along with a round of miniature golf - boy, was it HOT.


We followed it up with a ride in some bumper boats and water slides. Cool Fun!


It had been a long time since I held Mr. Santos's hand.  He didn't scold me too much when I wanted to pull over every two hours on our drive back to Washington -- just to take a walk.  God bless him.


A back yard picnic after church surrounded by TREES!
God bless Washington and all it's beautiful trees.


I love my little family!


Later we (actually, just them - it was too cold and slimy for me) took a walk down a little brook near our home. 

July 31, 2012

It's over and it has just begun



Regina G. Atkins

February 21, 1952 - July 24, 2012

It has been a week since Mom went home to be with the Lord.  Her memorial service was yesterday - so beautiful, so healing.  I will be going home, finally, after over a month of caring for her and her husband.  What a lifetime it has been.  My sisters and I spoke at her service.  I wanted to share with you my part.  

At the end are some pictures of the family.  It was a happy and a sad time.

~oOo~


Mom loved the Lord and lived her life to glorify Him.

One of the wonderful things about Mom was that she was very generous.  Anyone who knew her knows this.  She was generous with her smile, her love, her time and money.  But in my puffed up way, I thought she was too generous.  I was a prideful daughter and criticized her ways.  I covered this pride up by telling her and myself that I was “protecting her from her own foolishness.”  I thought she gave unwisely.  It was too abundant, too extravagant.  Sometimes, I thought the people she gave to did not deserve her gifts.  They were ungrateful. They didn’t know the sacrifices she made and took advantage of her.  I even thought they weren’t needy enough.

The Bible says to do all things without murmuring and disputing.  When we do murmur and complain we are making ourselves out to be “wiser” than God.  We are just to obey, even if it doesn't make sense.  That is what Mom did.

I remember as a child, very poor, Mom sitting my sisters and I down and telling us of a family that had lost everything in a fire.  They had nothing.  The house they owned had burned down and they were living in a  rental home, but it was empty.  She asked us if we would be willing to give them our blankets and pillows.  They were sleeping on the floor.  I thought, “So are we. That is asking a little too much!” I don’t know if I said anything, I was just a child.  But we packed up our trunk with our newly washed and folded blankets and pillows and drove our beat up car to their rental house.  It was a very large house overlooking the water in Pacific Grove, CA.  It was true, their house was empty.  They had nothing and the woman who received our offering cried from gratefulness.  But there was also a BMW in the driveway.  I just thought, “this doesn't make sense.  They have a nicer house and car than us. Why would God have US give to THEM?”  We went home and I don’t know what we covered ourselves with.  God provided, as He always did, but I was angry and the seeds of prideful rebellion were growing.

At times, many many times, I was the recipient of her generosity.  I would think “But I don’t need this!” or “I don’t want this.”  Or, I knew that it was beyond her means to give the way she did.  She would always say “Laura let me take you shopping. Laura, let me buy you this.”  But I didn’t want her to.  I didn’t let her be herself or allow her to give to me the way she wanted to give. “It’s too expensive, mom.”  Maybe at times that was true.  But the bottom line was pride. In my mind, I knew the best way for her to give and she wasn’t doing it right.  My way was wisest and best.

Thank God, my stingy, prideful ways did not keep her from giving.

Mom’s generosity was a picture of how God loves us. He loves us Extravagantly.  We don’t deserve it.  We are not grateful enough for it.  It even seems unwise at times.

The Bible says that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  That doesn’t sound like a very wise plan.  Give to the people who are not sinning.  Give to the ones that deserve it.  But All fall short of the glory of God.  There are none that doeth good, no not one.

Even so, in light of this God gives to us so abundantly!

He wants to give us “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation… that we would know the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,”  Eph 1:18

“My God shall supply all my needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:19

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Eph 2:7

I don’t know if it was deliberately in Mom's mind to show how God loves me every time she wanted to take me shopping, but that is what I see now.  How often do I dishonor God in the same way?  "God, I don’t need this."  Or, "God, I don’t want this."

Because of Mom and how she loved me, I am closer to knowing and understanding God.  I don’t want to tell God how to love me or how to give to me.  I just want to receive.  And now, I also want to give.  I want to give like my Mom gave, abundantly, lavishly, and without expectation for a return.

I thank God for using my mom to teach me this lesson.  Thank you Don for giving to Mom and allowing her to be so generous. Thank you, Mom, for giving to me even though I was so ungrateful for your many sacrifices.  I love you. I will always love you and I look forward to seeing you again.


The Santos Family


Sophia playing "Come thou Fount" at the service


The family left behind. 


Don, my three beautiful sisters, and me.



July 19, 2012

God is my Rock!

I am so thankful that there is more to life than how I feel because

It feels like...

Mom will continue dying forever.  The end will never come.

It feels like...

I will never see my children again.

It feels like...

I will never have another civil conversation with Mr. Santos. There will always be tension.

It feels like...

I will never sleep through the night. 

It feels like...

I will be waiting and waiting and waiting forever.  Waiting for what?

It feels like...

All I do is exist.

I am overwhelmed.

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalms 61:2


Eight years old!

Happy Birthday Noah!


Enjoying Shaved Ice with Cousin Mo.


Pet Cougar!


Always giving his momma flowers


It's time for church! Don't get dirty, my boy!


Go, Noah, Go!



What a cutie!


I used to love watching you sleep.


Remember when you used to collect handfuls of "roly poly" bugs?


I wish you were here to make me laugh with your laugh!

It has been the most wonderful EIGHT years
knowing you!

I can't wait to see you again!


Hard working little farmer


One of my best playmates


My knight in shining armour.

I thank my God upon every rememberance of you...Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

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