December 28, 2013

Happy New Year

GRANT me a wish now, O bonny NewYear,—
What do you wish me from far or anear? 
Show me your gifts and your treasures rare. 
Read me your prophecies, dark or fair

Wealth will you scatter, or fame, or power.
Sympathy, knowledge, or friendship's dower —
Gems from the Orient, pearls from the sea, 
Pledges and promises. Love's low plea?
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?
Mysteries sacred, and sweet demands —
Ministry, sorrow, and toiling hands?

Lift back the curtain, that I may know
Whither my footsteps, this year, may go
Will there be fountains along the way, 
Cooling my thirst by the night-time or day?
Pillars of cloud through the day, and by night
Pillars of flame that will guide me aright?
Balms that will soothe me, or darts and stings ? 
Sandals for pilgrimage, soaring wings? —
Wings are for angels; if mine should grow,
Life everlasting I then would know

Whate'er you wish then, O bright New Year,
Whether that wish bring a smile or tear,
Message and token it still shall be
Sent by my Father through you to me. 
Lead where my path will from day to day,
Still He will guide me along the way;
This is His covenant, tried and true —
"As is your day shall your strength be, too;" 
This is the word which my doubt shall soothe,
"Crooked made straight, and rough made smooth.''
Naught will I question as on I plod —
Whatever comes is the gift of God

Martha C. Oliver 
New Year's Wishes, 1905

December 24, 2013

I remember...

There was lots of noise in the Christmases of long ago. Pinochle cards being passed. "Renege!" Trivial Pursuit and Password. The Little's gathered around Christmas videos, trying to hear above the clamor of competition and laughter, and stories. There were big - super sized - bowls of potato salad, macaroni salad, fruit salad, white rice, adobo. Always cookies, candy, Pepsi.

Someone new just arrived! Loud shouts of "HEY! It's Gina!" or "HEY! It's Uncle Gords!" or "HEY! Laura's here!"

"Merry Christmas! Mele Kalikimaka!"

Hugs all around and "Puh thing!" which meant, "you're special, we're glad to see you, you look nice, we're proud of you" all in one. If there was a baby, he or she was passed around and kissed and tickled and fed.

"It's 11:30! C'mon you guys. Quiet down!"

When Grandpa was alive there were songs on his guitar or his ukulele.

We squished ourselves on the couch, cousins on the floor leaning on one another; uncles stood in the back with a Pepsi ready to duck out for a cigarette. Someone would be appointed the reading...The Christmas story from Luke 2 and then carols sung. What a joyful noise, a happy sound. Finally, it's midnight. We belt out the tune Mele Kalikimaka, followed by a gentler "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. Someone prays. We are Thankful to God.

The quiet starts to pick up to a low din. Time to get up and stretch, grab a piece of fudge or a bite of chicken and rice. "Oldest to youngest or youngest to oldest?!" someone shouts.

It's decided - youngest to oldest. The baby is first. One by one we all open a gift. No one is left out. There are ooh's and aah's over each one, with the unspoken goal of every giver to make the recipient cry. Tears bring a chorus of "Puh thing!" from every auntie and uncle. We could count on at least one person, if not several, opening a Green Bay Packer this or that.

Those were the days, the Christmases of long ago.

It's different now. A Glariada Christmas is a mother's memory to my children. They don't know the comfort of those precious times.

What will my children remember years from now of their Santos Christmases?

Will they remember visiting the Christmas tree farm to find the perfect tree? Tamales and pupusas and sparkling cider? Sleeping under the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve?

Will they remember that Sophia did the gift wrapping resorting to pillowcases and scarves when the paper ran out?

I'm sure they won't forget hanging the Nativity quilt every year, and wishing for snow, wishing for snow, wishing for snow. Most likely they will think fondly, I hope, on playing their violin, or singing or reciting at our Church service.

I hope that they remember Christmas is a time to reflect on GOD WITH US, that the lights, gifts, music, food - all that makes up our celebration is not about us, but in celebration of HIM.

Thank you Father, for sending your Son, Jesus.  This is indeed, a Merry Christmas.

December 20, 2013

A Comfortable Day.

A herd of elephants woke me this morning 
in the form of three children.
Here they are on the balcony of my room...
"It snowed! It snowed! It snowed!"

Not quite enough for a good snow angel...

But enough to make the woods behind our house 
mysteriously beautiful.

The road to our neighbors pony.

The Cozy Santos Cottage welcomed these rascals with 
a full breakfast: ham and eggs, cinnamon bread straight from the oven, 
and two full pots to warm their bones; creamy hot chocolate and jasmine tea.

Idyllic? Yes.

Yet, Middle Skittle complained. 
She didn't notice the warm welcome. 
Focused only on her loss, she came in with a protruding lower lip and furrowed eyebrows. 
"The snow is melting! I didn't get to finish my snow fort! I don't want to do school."

"Naomi, didn't you pray for snow last night?" I reminded her.


"And didn't the Lord answer your prayer?"


"Did you have fun playing in it? Did you have fun on your walk to visit the pony?"


"Are you hungry?"


"Wouldn't you rather be thankful than complain?"

"Yes. But I want more!"

And there it was. Me. I was looking in a little mirror at myself.
Aren't we all like this at times? Focused on our "losses" rather than the constant provision of our Father?

Sophia commented on how cozy our house was with the snow and the nice breakfast.

God is the one who created us with emotions.
He made us to enjoy comfort and coziness.

When we feel these, Thank God. 

A little cottage and a warm breakfast is not the only way to experience comfort. 
It can also be a smile from a friend, the sun shining, sitting in a chair, 
closing our eyes and taking a deep breath in the midst of conflict. 

Can you see the comfort of God in the details of your life?

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights,
with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

He comforts us.

Let us also comfort others. 

December 17, 2013

Difficult days.

 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

2 Timothy 3:1-5

This is a hard verse.  How do we, as Christians, love these people if we are to avoid them?


A jury in Washington has awarded a whopping $50 million settlement to a couple that says, if they had known their five-year-old son would be born with a genetic defect, they would have aborted him.

The mother with the "defective" little Oliver.

You can read the full story by clicking on the photo.

What a heaviness. A parent bitter about the hardship of raising a child with disabilities is one thing. The courts deciding that compensation is required for the inconvenience is another. 

Who decides the value of another person? The courts?

Is there no fear of God?

These truly are difficult days. I am so glad to have a Father full of Wisdom to depend on.

December 14, 2013


"You have had a hard day at work. It is almost time to head home. You are frustrated over the events of the day.This is how you feel: Frustrated. There is no problem here. In fact, if you are aware of God’s prompting, you may even know how to take that emotion, that frustration, to Him, and tell Him all about it. He wants to connect with you, He wants to hear you be authentic with Him. Remember Cain? “Cain, why are you angry?” God asked. He knows how we feel and He wants to meet with us in it.

However, let’s say that you don’t go to the Father. Instead, you think about what would alleviate the emotion of frustration. What whim could you pursue that would replace the frustration with something that feels better? Alcohol? Pornography? Spending money? Eating? Working out? Achieving? There are so many ways we can try to replace emotion (authenticity), with the pursuit of whims (falsehood).

This, my friends, is what is desperately sick about our flesh. It is not what we feel that is the problem, it is our response to it that can lead us into a life of folly. King Solomon himself experienced all of these whims, and he makes no pretenses about it."

Read the rest of this great article HERE.

December 10, 2013

December Daybook ~ 2013

(You may like to enjoy other daybooks)

For Today

Tuesday night, December 10, 2013

Outside our window...

There is no snow.  You can imagine how the children are taking this tragedy.

Gloom and doom all over their faces.

Joy and thanks all over mine.

I am thankful...

for chocolate covered coconut almonds.

Aren't you?

I am wearing...

A black turtleneck sweater, a soft woolen skirt, and black tights. Baby, it's COLD outside!

From the kitchen..

Many pots of tea,


Grilled chicken and pasta for dinner

I am learning...

that God invites us to fellowship with Him rather than commands us to.

I am creating...

a list and checking it twice...

gonna give the kids a present that's nice.
I am going... 

with the children to a nursing home tomorrow.

They will join with their class to play Christmas music for the residents.

It should be a fun time.

I am remembering...

My sister in prayer. Her baby is due any time now. We are waiting expectantly.

I am reading...

The Holy Spirit of the Bible, by Brandon & Desiree Elrod

Various Christmas stories from the library


Around the house...

Our Christmas quilt has found a home on the wall

Red and gold bulbs are hung with sparkly ribbon.

Candles are lit and the tree lights are on.

A quote to share...

“Man finds it hard to get what he wants, because he does not want the best; God finds it hard to give, because He would give the best, and man will not take it.”
― George MacDonald

Do you think this is true?

Some of my favorite things...

Warm socks

Warm sweaters

Hot tea


Soft pajamas and a comfortable robe

A crackling fire

Have I told you that it is COLD out there?

A few plans for the rest of the month...

Sing Christmas Carols, eat chocolate, give thanks, give gifts, wear my red sparkle scarf, stay warm, read books, pray, go to church, enjoy my children, reach out to Mr. Santos.

Perhaps some tamales...maybe Mr. Santos would like to share some tamales.

Do not grow weary in well doing for in due season you shall reap if you faint not.

Pray for us.

A picture thought to share:

A new Tea Pot with matching cup and saucer!

(a gift from a friend who knows me well.)

December 07, 2013

Cousins and Cottages

We enjoyed a short visit to Portland this week ~ 
A half-way point to visit with my twin sister.

This, of course, meant...

"Between the innocence of babyhood and the dignity of manhood, we find a delightful creature of a boy."

Auntie Cheri insisted we get a Christmas Tree to decorate.

Sophia added "Christmas Roses" from the front yard.

Naomi supplied the garland.

But, between playing ninjas and firemen,
I don't think the boys noticed their masterpiece.

I spent most of my time eating "Punkin Pie."
Isn't he scrumptious?
This handsome boy melted my heart by calling me "Mama."
(one of the perks of being a twin)

 ~ oOo ~ 

The new Santos Cottage is beginning 
to look a lot like Christmas.

“For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.” 
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

December 01, 2013

First day of Advent

The children and I spent the first night of Advent
enjoying a beautiful presentation of  
Handel's Messiah.

I wore my red wool coat with a matching scarf that sparkled. 
What a festive night, with the cold blustery winds outside, and the overheated church stuffed to capacity.

We were happy to get single file seats in the aisle because of the overflow of people. 

The minister gave thanks that the most beautiful music ever written was about our God and Savior.
I agree with him.

My favorite part was the Tenor performing "Comfort Ye My People."

The reality of the scripture being sung truly filled my soul.

 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned:

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, 
Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:

As he sang, I thought of walking in the valley; 
sometimes such low times.
The mountain tops are far off, so high, impossible to reach.

Every valley shall be exalted!

I thought of being on the mountain; at the top. 
It will be made low. 
The heights are brought down for something, SOMEONE, greater.

It is so good to give thanks...for the good news of Christmas.

The fudge and cookies afterwards were also very pleasant.

Happy Advent!


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