April 23, 2013

Spring in the meadow



 
Inspecting the pond.

 
Why, hello there!

 
Naomi caught it first. Noah wants his chance.


 
"Maybe I'll shoot it," he says

 
"Nah, let me catch it."
 
 
He Got Away!
 

 
Sibling Love





 
A lovely gift from a secret friend. Trillium from her yard.
 
 
The fragrance was very strong. I just love a thoughtful gift!


 
Our first attempt at homemade pizza. Not a pretty sight.
The first batch of dough was a heavy lump of brick.

 
But we persevered and the ingredients were good.
 
garlic
spinach
tomatoes
ham
Italian sausage
three types of cheese

 
So, in spite of the big mess...

 
It was a tasty meal

 
My tulips are in full bloom!



Happy Day to you. We are so thankful for Spring

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
 
Genesis 8:22
 
 
 
 

April 21, 2013

Debts

Warning: This post may not make any sense. I have had a lot of thoughts lately, too many, so jumbled I haven't been able to see straight.

It has been very noisy here at The Times.

So many things have been calling my attention away from the Peace and Joy I have in Christ Jesus.

"Be still and know that I am God..." Psalm 46:10

I won't list all the callers, they are mostly negative. Well, that's not true. Some were fun, like the temporary T.V. show addiction. (over now since every episode has been watched) But all the callers are loud and demanding.

The biggest caller has been DEBT. Not money debt, forgiveness debt. As in, "...and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors."

This is a big issue for me. Debt and forgiveness. I suppose it is for everyone, only some of us don't LIVE it so intimately day in and day out. Or maybe we rationalize or sweep things under the rug and call it good.  I don't know, but I feel like every day I am faced with my own debt that I owe and the debt that others owe me.

Usually, an apology cancels all debt owed to me.  It is easy for me to forgive, usually.  Sometimes, there is no apology but I understand the "why" behind the debt and I freely and happily cancel the debts owed to me.

But other times, especially lately, especially this whole-entire-very long-when-will-it ever-end year all the debts owed to me have not been paid.  The offender denies the debt. I don't understand why he/she has hurt me. The offender doesn't care about my pain.  The debt looms large.  With each day or with each new offense, the debt grows.

I feel cheated, robbed, violated, etc.

I pray.


~oOo~
"Lord, I know you paid the debt I owe you. Thank you. I know you paid the debt they owe you. Good. Lord, can you see that  I have attempted to pay the debt I owe them?  Please show me how I can love them more.

But Lord, I was wondering about the debt they owe me?  Have you taken care of that debt too?  It's a lot, Lord. A LOT. Oh, you know? Then you must know they don't want to pay it.  They are NOT sorry.  They don't even acknowledge the debt. In fact, Lord, they say that I am the debtor. How can this be Lord? I am in so much pain!

What? You want to take care of the debt they owe me too?  But Lord, they are the debtor not you.  They owe me!"

"Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord." (Romans 12:19)

"It doesn't seem like it, Lord. It looks like they are getting everything for free.  I'm the one left with nothing. I'm the one hurt and humiliated."

"My beloved child, don't look for payment from your offenders. Walk with Me. Delight yourself in me and I will give you the desires of your heart."

"Lord, that sounds so wonderful. But what about my humiliation? I hate it!

"Remember Me, Laura, who for the joy that was set before me, despising the shame...I hated the shame of the cross too. I know your humiliation and now you have a glimpse of mine.  I endured the cross." (Hebrews 12:1-2)

"Yes, Lord."

~oOo~
So, once again, at The Times, debts have been paid.  The slate is clean.  The noise has stopped and I am amazed, in awe, that God is God and what a Great God He is!

Did any of this make sense?

April 11, 2013

Red quilts

I wish I took better pictures.
 
I wish the RED popped out better in these photos.
 
My mom loved quilts and giving gifts.
 
Knowing I like the color RED, she gave me two beautiful red quilts.
 
She was also working on quilts for my children which incorporated RED.  Unfortunately, she was only able to finish the piecing before she died.  We paid a lovely quilter to finish the quilting and binding so that we could enjoy them. I knew that if I attempted the job myself it might never be done.
 
The first two quilts you see are the gifts from my mom.
 
 
This is what my bed normally looks like.
The quilt is on back-side up or upside down ~ however you say it.
 
 
This is the pattern on the back.  I received this quilt about three or four years ago.
 

 
 
If I turn the quilt around you can see all the hearts.
 
 
This red and white one was hand quilted.
This was a very special quilt given to me almost ten years ago.
 

 
Here is the quilt my mom pieced for Sophia which we paid to have finished. 
 
 

 
This horse themed quilt Mom pieced for Naomi.
 


 
Even though these quilts were finished by another, they were entirely pieced by Mom. So, I bought these labels to sew on to the edge in remembrance.  We are blessed to have such special treasures from such a special person.
 

April 04, 2013

15 years!

Today marks the 15th Anniversary of the Santos Family.

All I can think of is my dear mother.

Perhaps you don't know that Mr. Santos and I eloped?

Is that what you call it when you decide to get married without your family's consent or approval or presence?

We were working in a fishery on a small island in Alaska.

Mr. Santos was my supervisor.

We met February 15th, and married on April 4th.

Every mother's worst nightmare?

I know it would be for me, now that I have children.

Only many years later did I realize what a selfish thing I had done.  

It was no coincidence that even though a sunny Spring day was forecast for our wedding 15 years ago a blizzard blew in with full force.

I remember calling my mother and telling her about the wedding, oblivious to any council she offered.  I remember her saying "Are you really going to do this?"  "Yes, of course Mom, that's why I'm calling you. To tell you the wonderful news!"

Do you know what she did?

She rushed by FedEx a gift box to me.  In that box was a wedding dress and many cards full of all her good hopes for me.

My heart aches as I look back at how much I took it all for granted.

I was thankful, but I was clueless.

I had no idea the piercing pain I was causing to my poor mother by marrying a stranger to her and by not including her in my wedding.  On top of all that, we excitedly told her that after the wedding we were immediately moving to Washington, which was 1000 miles away from her.

What a blow.

I have learned a lot in the last 15 years. God has been gracious and extremely merciful to me and my family.  I will always be thankful for my mother, that through all  of my rebellion she loved me.  She prayed for me and visited me far more than I ever visited her.  My mother was there for every birth of my children.  She sent packages to them regularly. She accepted and loved Mr. Santos as a son right away.  She never spoke negatively to me about my husband, or our decision to live so far away, though I know she struggled. 

My mom was always, ALWAYS, a blessing to The Santos Family.

I believe that we have been able to overcome so many obstacles and stay married because of her constant prayers, love and support.

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of my mother.  Thank you, Lord, for this Anniversary.







But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.
Psalm 86:15

April 03, 2013

Great Read!

 
I love biographies and this is one of the best.
 
I don't know if it's because Mr. St. John was such a wonderful person or because his daughter did such a fine job of portraying him.
 
I found myself wishing I could spend REAL time with him.
 
Here are some of my favorite passages:
 
~oOo~
 
'Yet there is no doubt that at this time he underwent some experience too sacred to speak about, that lifted him into a radiance and freedom that he had never known before.  The rather solemn, self-conscious holiness gave way to a sort of uncalculating joy, as though he no longer had to watch his step in the heavenlies; he was at home there, self-forgetful, absorbed in Christ.'
 
I wish I could talk to him about that experience.  There are some Christians that have such a confidence in their Savior.  They never waver, in the dark or the light to delight in the Lord. I want to know God like that.  From reading about how he lived his youth and early adult years, I believe God blessed his constant seeking and obedience with a revelation of Himself.
 
I was encouraged, to never stop seeking.
 
Like Paul, to say "For me to live is Christ..."
 
In one chapter Mr. St. John is writing home about some of the people he served in Argentina.
I love his perspective on one man.
 
'One of the Christians we met was a certain Don Enrika; he had been a publican with a good business, but when the grace of God conquered him he gave up his calling and when I met him he was earning a very few shillings a week, working in winter up to his knees in mud, cutting down rushes for basket makers.  As may be supposed, he and his large family were radiantly happy in their deep poverty.
 
Christ has many shining jewels in this land, who shame me with their self denial and their realization of the demand and the appeal of the Cross as motives for self-consecration.  With them, an elementary sense of justice will not allow them to offer less than all to the Son of God.'
 
Do I offer all I have to Jesus?
 
I like how he called this Christian a 'shining jewel.'  The world wouldn't say that.
 
I was especially delighted in how his children were influenced by his relationship with God.  It wasn't what I expected.
 
'His influence over his children must have been largely unconscious, for he very seldom actually taught them anything at that age.  Although he could speak delightfully to Sunday Schools on occasions, he did not consider himself gifted with children, and he left all the simplification of spiritual matters to his wife, of whose patient, thorough Bible teaching much could be written.
 
She could come down to the level of the smallest, but he would retain his own level, only sometimes opening a door and allowing a little child to catch a glimpse of mystical glory far beyond it, and yet the more beautiful for being only vaguely understood, as when he lifted a seven-year-old daughter on to his knee and almost shyly, in a voice that sometimes trembled with emotion, read aloud all nineteen verses of Mrs. Cousin's hymn based on Samuel Rutherford's last sayings, "The sands of time are sinking, the dawn of heaven breaks."
 
...'To Mr. St. John's children, the knowledge of God was essentially an adult destination, beautiful as a golden sunset, where Father had arrived, and to which they might attain if diligent in the means of grace and lines of conduct which Mother had stayed behind to map out for them.'

 
What a contrast to everything I have seen or been taught.  It is so easy to fall into the trap of giving out do's and don'ts to our children (or to anyone) rather than sharing the wonder and hope of knowing Jesus Christ personally. 
 
A couple more to whet your appetite:
 
"It's for every man to settle that question first - is it to be heaven or hell? - but when you've settled that question, the second one steps on the threshold and you cannot push it away.  Not 'Is it heaven or hell?' any longer; 'Is it heaven or earth?'  Are you going to live for time, and give your poverty to Jesus at the end, or will you say with simplicity and trust, 'Lord Jesus, I died with Thee, and I seek the things that are above; I set my heart on these things'? And if you do, you will find that all your life will be nourished by heavenly springs; Christ, your life, will be closer to you than breathing, nearer than hands or feet."
 
And I love this about him..."In his mind people did not go to an idle heaven, but passed on into a life of unbroken service. 'Faithful over few things...enter thou into the joy ...I will make thee ruler.'"
 
"Abraham, the friend of God," he once said, "and if God esteems His friends, has He given us any? If so, how have we treated them?  Have we held them, or carelessly allowed them to be lost?  If so, what answer will you give on the day of accountability? If He gives you what He himself esteems, treasure it."
 
 
If you are a Christian or just want to spend some time with a True and Gracious person, I highly recommend this book.
 
"Many preachers knew their Bibles, but Mr. St. John knew his Lord." 

April 01, 2013

Blue Skies

It all started with...
 
~oOo~
 
 Brunch with our church family
 
followed by a
 
Great message from God's Word.
 
He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!
 
~A day at the park~
 
 
Daisy Chains

 
Flying Kites
 

 
Naps in the sunshine and sweet bouquets

 
That is the true color of the sky on Easter Sunday. Gorgeous Blue!

 
Mr. Santos

 
Mellow Jello
 
 
 
 
Reeling in the bird.

 
A full day!

 
I think blue is my new favorite color ~ blue water, blue sky
 
 
Birthday Treats!
 
 
Naomi Baloney is now TEN years old.
 
and
 

 
Sophia Lou is now TWELVE years old.
 
Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say REJOICE!

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