January 28, 2013

Names

I go by the name Mrs. Santos, but my first name is Laura.
 
It means "laurel tree" or "laurel crowned" and is symbolic of honor and victory.  I wonder if that describes me? Do I live a life of honor and victory? 
 
Not always.
 
 Many days I walk around "defeated and far from honorable."
 
I am thankful for my name and I must remember to live up to what I am called.
 
 
 
Sophia means "Wisdom"
 
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Psalm 111:10
 
 
Naomi means "Beautiful and Pleasant"
 
Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely. Psalm 147:1
 
 
Noah means "Rest and Comfort"
 
"Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied."
Acts 9:31
 
I love that verse. The churches had been persecuted and scattered. But then they had rest and comfort.  With the rest and comfort they were edified and multiplied.  How wonderful!
 
 
It is with great joy and hope that my children are surely growing into their names. 
 
Of course we have our growing pains, but God is faithful and kind.
 
I wanted to share with you how Noah brings rest and comfort to the Santos Times. 
 
 First, nine out of ten times, he is immediately obedient.
 
If that isn't rest, I don't know what is!
 
Secondly, he is a faithful intercessor and defender.
 
A little story...
 
One day our middle skittle was particularly naughty. 
I felt at my wits end and poor child, she was also at her wits end. 
It seemed to me that she was constantly making poor choices.
With poor choices comes negative consequences.
 
The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
 
God used Noah to remind me of this truth.
 
I was tired. Naomi was overwhelmed.
 
With every consequence came her faithful brother.
 
"Mom, can Naomi come out of her room now?  She will be good."
"Mom, can Naomi have a snack? No? May I give her my snack, then?"
"Mommy, Naomi would like to play this game with me. Can she play now?"
 
He was continually coming to me on her behalf.  He didn't argue or beg.
His actions made me look twice at Middle Skittle and reevaluate my own actions.
My heart was softened.
Noah's love for her gave Naomi hope. She repented and was "saved" from Mom's consequences.
 
There was rest and comfort again at The Times.
 
"Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger." Psalm 8:2
 
Children truly are a blessing from the Lord.

January 24, 2013

 
What shall we then say to these things?
If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:31
 
 

January 18, 2013

A peep behind the scenes, chapter 19

The lost sheep by Alfred Soord (1868-1915)

“You’ve got a picture like mine,” said Rosalie, after a time, when she saw that Jinx seemed inclined to talk.

“Yes,” he said, “have you one like it? I got it at Pendleton fair.”

“And so did I,” said Rosalie. “The same old man gave one to me.

“Has He found you, Mr. Jinx?” said Rosalie, in a lower voice.

“Who found me? What do you mean?” said Jinx, with a laugh.

“Why, haven’t you read the story about the picture?” said the child. “It says where it is underneath.”

“No, not I,” said Jinx, laughing again. “Thinks I, when the old man gave it to me, ‘It’s a pretty picture, and I’ll stick it on the wall’; but I’ve never troubled my head anymore about it.”

“Oh, my mother and I—we read it nearly every day,” said Rosalie. “It’s such a beautiful story!”

“Is it?” said Jinx. “I should like to hear it. Tell it to me; it will pass the time as we go along.”

“I can read it, if you like,” said Rosalie. “I have it here in a book.”

“All right! Read on,” said Jinx graciously.

Rosalie took her Testament from her bag. But before she began to read, Jinx called out to the woman, who was leaning out of the caravan talking to her husband.

“Old mother,” he called out, “come and hear the little ’un read; she’s going to give us the history of that there picture of mine. You know nothing about it, I’ll be bound.”

15 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
And he spake this parable unto them, saying,
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance
Luke 15:1-7

But Jinx was wrong, for when Rosalie had finished reading, the woman said, “That will be the Bible you read out of. I’ve read that often when I was a girl. I went to a good Sunday school then.”

“And don’t you ever read it now?” said Rosalie.

“Oh, I’m not so bad as you think,” said the woman, not answering her question. “I think of all those things at times. I’m a decent woman in my way. I know the Bible well enough, and there’s a many a deal worse than I am!”

“If you would like,” said Rosalie timidly, “I’ll find it for you in your Bible, and then you can read it again, as you used to do when you were a girl.”

The woman hesitated when Rosalie said this.
“Well, to tell you the truth, I haven’t got my Bible here,” she said. “My husband sent all the things we wasn’t wanting at the time to his relations in Scotland, and somehow the Bible got packed up in the hamper. It will be a year since now. I was very vexed about it at the time.”

“Has the Good Shepherd found you, ma’am?” asked the child.

“Oh, I don’t know, child; I don’t need much finding. I’m not so bad as all that. I’m a very decent woman, I am. John Thomas will tell you that.”

“Then, I suppose,” said Rosalie, looking very puzzled, “you must be one of the ninety-and-nine.”

“What do you mean, child?” asked she.

“I mean, one of the ninety-and-nine sheep which don’t need any repentance, because they were never lost. And the Good Shepherd never found them, nor carried them home, nor said of them, ‘Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ ”

“Well,” said Jinx, looking at Rosalie with a half-amused face, if the old mother’s one of the ninety-and-nine, what am I?”

“I don’t know,” said Rosalie gravely. “You must know better than I do, Mr. Jinx.”

“Well, how is one to know?” he answered. “If I’m not one of the ninety-and-nine, what am I, then?”

“Do you really want to know?” said the child gravely. “Because if not, we won’t talk about it, please.”

“Yes,” said Jinx, in quite a different tone. “I really do want to know about it.”

“My mother said one day,” said Rosalie, “that she thought there were only three kinds of sheep in the parable. There are the ninety-and-nine sheep who were never lost, and who need no repentance, because they’ve never done anything wrong or said anything wrong, but have always been quite good, and holy, and pure. That’s one kind, My mother said she thought the ninety-and-nine must be the angels; she didn’t think there were any in this world.”

“Hear that, old mother?” said Jinx. “You must be an angel, you see. Well, little ’un, go on.”

“And then there are the lost sheep,” said Rosalie, “full of sin, and far away from the fold. They don’t love the Good Shepherd, and sometimes they don’t even know that they are lost. They are very far from the right way—very far from being perfectly good and holy.”

“Well,” said Jinx, “and what’s the third kind of sheep?”

“Oh, that’s the sheep which was lost, but is found again!”

“And what are they like?” asked the lad.

“They love the Good Shepherd. They listen to His voice, and follow Him, and never, never want to wander from the fold.”

“Is that all the kinds?” asked Jinx.

“Yes,” said Rosalie, “that’s all.”

“Well,” said Jinx thoughtfully, “I’ve made up my mind which I am.”

“Which, Mr. Jinx?” asked the child.

“Well,” he said, “you see I can’t be one of the ninety-and-nine, because I’ve done lots of bad things in my life. I’ve got into tempers, and I’ve sworn, and I’ve done heaps of bad things: so that’s out of the question. And I can’t be a found sheep, because I don’t love the Good Shepherd—I never think about Him at all. So I suppose I’m a lost sheep. That’s a very bad thing to be, isn’t it?”

“Yes, very bad; if you are always a lost sheep,” said the child. “But if you are one of the lost sheep, then Jesus came to seek you and to save you.”

“Didn’t He come to seek and save the old mother?” asked Jinx.

“Not if she’s one of the ninety-and-nine,” said Rosalie. “It says, ‘The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.’ So if she isn’t lost, it doesn’t mean her.”

The woman looked very uncomfortable when Rosalie said this. She did not like to think that Jesus had not come to save her.

“Well, and suppose a fellow knows he’s one of the lost sheep,” said Jinx, “what has he got to do?”

“He must cry out to the Good Shepherd, and tell Him he’s lost, and ask the Good Shepherd to find him.”

“Well, but first of all, I suppose,” said Jinx, “he must make himself a bit ready to go to the Good Shepherd—leave off a few of his bad ways, and make himself decent a bit?”

“Oh, no!” said Rosalie. “He’d never get back to the fold that way. First of all, he must tell the Shepherd he’s lost. Then the Shepherd, who has been seeking him a long, long time, will find him at once, and carry him on His shoulders home. And then the Good Shepherd will help him to do all the rest.”

“Well, I’ll think about what you’ve said,” Jinx replied. “Thank you, little ’un.”

~ taken from A peep behind the Scenes by O.F. Walton

January 16, 2013

For ME?

There is nothing more humbling, heart wrenching, painful and wonderful as being a mother.
 
At times I am overwhelmed with my failures.
 
At times I am overwhelmed with the failures of my children.
 
God's grace is sufficient.  How thankful I am that He says in Hebrews 4;16
 
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
 
Some days God's Grace in my life is so SWEET, and wonderful.
 
Last night was very cold (in the 20's).
Mr. Santos maintains his rule to sleep with the windows open even in the middle of winter.
 
He is my hot blooded Latin husband.
 
It was no wonder that all the children begged to sleep with us for warmth.
 
We said "yes." 
 
After all, they won't be children for long.
 
I didn't sleep too well, not for the elbow in my ribs or the toes near my ears, but because I was sick.
My stomach was churning and I felt yucky.
 
In the morning, I sent everyone off to shower and get ready for the day.
 
Inwardly, I sighed heavily.  The mundane tasks ahead of me seemed too much.  The potential conflicts, the chores, the grey winter made me want to just stay in bed.
 
I prayed "Lord, thank you for this day that you have made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it."
 
It is the LORD that makes me glad!
 
 
 
 
This was the note that greeted me in the bathroom.  What a smile it put on my face! 
 
While I was singing my heart out in the shower, someone snuck in and exchanged the notes.
 
More smiles, of course.
 
Thank you, lovies.
 
 
I walked into my room to get dressed and found my bed was made!
 
Oh my! What kind of day was this going to be?
 
 
I passed the children's room and found it clean and neat.
 
 
The front room was warm and comfortable.
 
 
Naomi made that sweet pillow in her sewing class and placed it on my chair as a gift.
 
Is it Mother's Day?
 
 
A get well message met me at the breakfast table.  I didn't think anyone noticed I was sick!
 
What lovely children!
 
 
The kitchen was spotless and ready for me to make breakfast, which I did GLADLY!
 
 
Especially since I could enjoy tea and toast while I worked.
 
The note reads:
 
Mom~
We love you so much, you
are a very special person.
 
You are a good mom.
 
We hope you are better.
We couldn't decide which toast you
would rather have so we made both.
 
Love, Sophia, Naomi, Noah
 
And guess what else?  My Great and Loving God has filled this cold winter day with SUNSHINE.
 
It is a happy day!  Trust in the Lord.  Delight thyself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.  He loves us so intimately!

January 12, 2013

Homeschool and Humiliation

Sometimes the Lord brings lessons into our lives that throw us for a loop.

All of a sudden, everything we thought we knew, all that made us so confident, is turned upside down and we are HUMBLED.

This happened in a small way to the Santos Children earlier this week. 

~oOo~

It was supposed to be fun; something to get them out of the boring routine of filling in their books and memorizing facts.  I read about a home school project in a parenting magazine and thought "That sounds like fun! Bet the kids would love it."

So we put away the books and played a game that would prepare them for the project.

One child, blindfolded, stood at the front door.  A second child gave instructions to him/her to get to a place in the house (i.e. the kitchen).  The goal was to get them there without any mishaps and to avoid all obstacles.

It was fun. We laughed. We learned "Go straight" was not as effective as "Take one step forward."

Then, the assignment was given.

Draw a map to a local destination and write out written instructions. Once completed, we would pile into "Old Faithful" (our van) and drive to the place by strictly following the directions given. I decided to add something special.  IF, I repeat, IF we got to the destination by following the directions EXACTLY, then there would be a reward.

Noah was to draw a map to A&W. (reward: a root beer float for everyone)

Naomi, the library (reward: borrow a movie for the family to watch that night)

Sophia, the fabric store (reward: buy one notion or package of stickers for each child)

That was when we were all thrown for a loop.

Or, maybe it was just me.  I was thrown for a loop.  I was expecting my children to learn how to give good directions, but, instead we were going to learn about our Character - or the lack of it.

Before they even began to use their pencils their hearts were exposed.

"But I don't want to go to the library!"

"I don't like that reward! I want something else."

"I don't remember the street names. I can't do this project, it is too hard!"

"How come he gets to go there? That's where I want to go. Can we trade?"

Then MY heart was exposed.  I was angry.  This teacher was tempted to call it quits, to say, "Never mind! Get the books back out and forget it."

This reminded me of how we respond to God's assignments and His blessings. 

We persevered.  After some rebuking, and exhorting, we got to work.

Noah's map looked promising. Unfortunately, when we followed it perfectly, it led us in the opposite direction.

Yelling from the back of the van, "Mom, you're going the wrong way!"

I replied, "The map says 'turn right at the exit. This is the closest thing I can find to an exit, so I turned right."

"No, Mom, back there was the exit, where the road curves at the blue house."

'Old Faithful' turned back and I clarified that what he called an 'exit' was only a curve in the road.  We adjusted the map accordingly, but feelings were bad.  Success was expected.  Their thoughts ran thus, "We know how to get there! This was supposed to be easy.  Maybe, Mom doesn't want us to get a reward?  Maybe she wants us to fail?"

This scene was repeated with the girls. In the end, It was MOM's fault we didn't get to the destinations.  After all, she was driving.  She knew what we meant. We didn't have to be exact in our directions. She WANTED us to fail.

Isn't this how we all are?  We blame others for our failings.  At times, we blame God for them.

The Bible says, "All we, like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way"  There is no one to blame for our failings but ourselves.  It is God's desire to give us GRACE just like it was my desire to give the children a reward.

The children wanted to quit.  They had determined that this was going to be unsuccessful.  I tried to persuade them, "Let's just fix our maps.  We have learned that we aren't as good at giving directions as we thought.  Maybe next time we'll get there and the reward will be waiting!"

How often I have found myself in the same place! Would they admit their shortcomings and learn, or would they continue to blame me and give it up? 

"But He giveth more grace, wherefore he saith, God resists the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." James 4:6

When we find ourselves in a humiliating place of failure or need, that is when we are given GRACE.  When we are perfectly capable of doing 'it' ourselves and doing 'it' perfectly, we tend towards pride.  God resists the proud! 

Homeschooling is such an adventure.

January 04, 2013

2013 Daybook #1




(click on the picture above for more daybook fun)


FOR TODAY

January 4, 2013

Outside our window...

Sunshine, blue skies, eagles soaring, Happy trees free of any snow or ice.
 
I am thankful...

For good health! The flu has been making its rounds. By God's grace the children have stayed well!

I am wearing...

Some antique earrings. They are round and iridescent and go well with pink or purple. AND, since I am wearing a purple sweater...

From the kitchen..

just wishes.

I need to go grocery shopping!

But two days ago you would have been so proud! I was in the kitchen from 2p.m to 5:30p.m. slaving away. The kitchen was full of broken egg shells, spices, empty cartons.  The results?

A mandarin orange cake,
Banana bread,
Apple oat muffins
Sausage/green chili quiche
Shrimp scampi with noodles

I am learning...

to talk a little less and listen a little more. God help me...

I am creating...

a new habit...

 To ask "How will this benefit the Lord? Will this build His kingdom?"
 
I am going...

to the chiropractor this afternoon.

I am remembering...

some friends and family in prayer

"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you." Phil 1:3

Do you give thanks for the people in your life?
 
I am reading...

Several little novels that have been downloaded onto Sophia's new Kindle.

Many books that we have wanted to purchase in the past, we can now download for free. WONDERFUL!

I just enjoyed The Lamplighter. I learned so much from Gertrude's and Emily's example.
 Last night I read The Probable Son. Excellent. I will read this one aloud to Naomi. I think she will enjoy it. It will be our own special story.

Isn't it kind of Sophia to loan me her Christmas gift? I try to only borrow it in the evening after she has gone to bed.  Maybe Mr. Santos will buy ME one too!
 
Around the house...

The Christmas decorations are coming down slowly.  The tree is still up.  It is a living tree in a pot, but the decorations have been removed.
We will probably keep it in the house through the month of January.

I like it.
 
Some of my favorite things...

My eight year old son's cheeks.  They often require kissing which he promptly wipes away with an "AWWW Mom!"

I guess he is getting too old for such treatment, but sometimes I just can't resist.

A few plans for the month:

Get back to school. We started Wednesday, but have had a few interruptions.  It will be good to get into a routine.

I also hope to put together a good working budget and menu. Oh the thought of such tasks is daunting! But, I can do ALL things through Christ which strengthens me.

Funny how one thing can be a 'mountain to climb' for one person and a skip in the park for someone else. 
 
A picture thought to share:
  
Sophia and Noah recently played the bells at our church Christmas program. 
It was a festive celebration.
 
 

January 01, 2013

2013, here we go!

I was sick on New Year's Eve. I didn't get out of my pajamas the entire day and stayed in bed most of the time. Occasionally, I came out and added words to Sophia's Bananagrams, or clicked on facebook to like someone's greeting.  Early in the evening, I sat with the family to watch a movie.

At 11:50 p.m. we all piled into the car (in our pajamas) and drove to the dock where we watched the countdown and explosion of fireworks over the Seattle Space needle. That was fun. 

But, mostly, I laid in bed.

Since, I'm not a good sleeper, even when sick, I just spent that time in prayer. It was so wonderful! I loved it. I think I would like to be sick every New Year's Eve!

It was a good time to get everything hashed out with my Lord.  I didn't realize how afraid I was of the coming year. 

God doesn't tell us to "TRY not to be afraid."  He says, "Fear Not."  He doesn't say "TRY not to worry."  He says, "DO NOT worry about tomorrow."

How often I have said "Well, I'll try." 

Sometimes I have said, "I would, if you would just fix this, or if you would just get this 'thing' or this  person out of my life."

If those are my responses, what am I really saying?  I'm saying that I know what is best for my life, that I am wiser than God. (Forgive me Lord).

One of the things the Lord and I talked about were my New Year's Resolutions:

What do you want me to do this next year Lord?  What would you like me to concentrate on? Is there anything you want me to change?

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.
First. Before anything else. Before being more organized, before exercise, before seeking to be a better wife and mother, Seek FIRST the kingdom of God.

When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray he said, "After this manner pray ye, 'Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done...

After coming to the Lord, realizing who He is (Our Father which art in heaven, whose name is Holy), we are to ask "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done..."

Not MY kingdom, not MY will...

Secondly? "...and His Righteousness."

Oh my, this is where I get caught every time! I seek my own righteousness. I try to be good and kind and patient, but the next thing I know, I am snapping at the children or being a nag to Mr. Santos. Jesus says, "Apart from me you can do nothing." He is the vine and we are the branches. A branch is nothing in and of itself. The fruit grows on the branch only because of the goodness of the vine. "There is none good, but one, that is God..." Matt 19:17

So that's it. That is my New Year's Resolution.

To Seek First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.  Wonder what it will be like? Wonder what I will find? and How it will change my life?  Can't wait to see!

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