March 30, 2014

A full heart.

The last petal has been plucked.

"He loves me not."

I drop the stem and smile at the three pairs of eyes looking to me for comfort and guidance.

It wasn't just my flower, it was OUR flower.

Oh but the sky is sapphire blue!
The clouds are giant puffy white dreams!
My dress has the perfect twirl and flow to it.

Let's dance!

I am feminine and pretty today.
A swipe of the exact shade of lipstick to match my sweater, a bright cherry red to complement the sky.

A breeze sweeps by and grabs me, twirling my skirt and tossing my hair. I am wrapped in His arms. He loves me. He loves us. My heart is full of gladness. My smile turns to a giggle.

Moment by moment I’m kept in His love;
Moment by moment I’ve life from above;
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine;
Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine.

Never a trial that He is not there,
Never a burden that He doth not bear,
Never a sorrow that He doth not share,
Moment by moment, I’m under His care.

I am misunderstood. They think they know me. They think I am glad for the loss, that I am glad to be free from him. I am glad to be free, free In Him. The loss of the man is great, the consequence far reaching. Yet the loss does not compare to the large Hand of The Man that holds me.

I am my beloved's and He is mine.

It may be at morn, when the day is awaking,
When sunlight through darkness and shadow is breaking
That Jesus will come in the fullness of glory
To receive from the world “His own.”

It may be at midday, it may be at twilight,
It may be, perchance, that the blackness of midnight
Will burst into light in the blaze of His glory,
When Jesus receives “His own.”

O Lord Jesus, how long, how long
Ere we shout the glad song,
Christ returneth! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Amen. Hallelujah! Amen.


March 29, 2014

Still a boy, but not for long.

There was one last bag of the Summer blueberries in the freezer. A little flour, cinnamon, a splash of vanilla. I chopped some walnuts and tossed them into the batter.

"Are we having pancakes for breakfast?"

I looked up at my skinny boy, his wide grin full of teeth too big for him. 

"Yes, Love. A little different today, I added blueberries."

"Oh, Boy!" I smiled, thankful for his innocent exclamation. His skinny arms came around my waist and squeezed. "Don't forget your secret ingredient, Mom! It makes everything taste so good."  

I will miss these innocent days. 


March 24, 2014

Eleven! Let's celebrate!

 Did eleven years just pass by in the blink of an eye? 

Where did you go my Naomi Baloney? 


Always working on a project


Or giving gifts,


You notice all the details,


and enjoy life.



You were a good farmer, Lovey. Wanna do it again?


I haven't seen one of your fairy houses for a while. Are those days over? 




You used to crawl out of that tunnel, into my lap, onto my shoulders and then up to sit on my head.

Your father and I would laugh and laugh.
What a delight you have been! And, oh, how I love you!


A delicious baby, absolutely lip smacking!


Happy 11 years old, Sweet Girl!


Some gifts for your pleasure!


Thank you Noah, for my ball and gum!




Thank you sister, for all my pretty things!



Thank you Lord, for eleven years with the most wonderful Naomi you ever made!

A Blessing for Naomi:

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

March 21, 2014

Glimpses


Lemony sunshine on emerald grasses.


Bella, our neighbor's pony. 

"Hey kids, when ya gonna bust me outta this joint!"


This is my little kitchen, all clean and sparkly especially for you Joluise!



My morning seat, the sunniest spot in the house, that's if I beat Naomi to it. 
Sometimes our race for The Chair turns into a wrestling match...I usually win. 

My secret weapon: tickling.  

Always go for the jugular, works every time.


Sophia, checking her daily stats...no not Facebook...weather.

"Mom, it's 45 degrees in Paris right now. It's warmer in Italy. Do you want me to check China?"

My future world traveler.


A view of the promise.


Walking towards the promise, just a few blocks from our home.


The promise realized! "Our" beach.


Naomi Baloney took this shot...pretty good, huh?

And what a beautiful girl!


We are abundantly blessed with God's beauty so readily available to us.

This is the day which the LORD hath made; 
we will rejoice and be glad in it.

March 11, 2014

Sunshine at last!

Cherry blossoms are blooming.

The beginnings of happy leaves are popping out on the rose bushes.

Spring is in the air.

I am having...

Jasmine tea with steak quesadillas...it's what's for dinner.

I am feeling...

Content with a day of sunshine and simple pleasures.
  
On my mind...

For me to live is Christ.

Is it only now, in my forties, that I am finally getting to know this Great Person?
Jesus Christ is a person, alive, and I have a relationship with him.

He delights my soul...I have so many longings that He wants to satisfy...will I let Him?

I see that at times I have treated Him like an ATM machine, pushing buttons to get my money - my answered prayers. When the money wouldn't come, I'd bang on the machine with frustration, fear and finally, despair. Maybe I should find another ATM machine?

No wonder the Lord says, will say, to many professing believers
 "depart from me, I never knew you." (Matt 7)

Some pictures to share...


The children had a pleasant romp with their friend Max and 
the Lord gave me another gift of diamonds today. 
He knows how much I love their sparkle. 



Max swimming in silky cold water.


Hunting for treasures.


First "dip" of the year.


The view from "my property."

(Not really, that is my pet name for a small parcel of land for sale. 
This would be the view from the quaint cottage in my dreams. Perhaps, someday?)


I'm currently leasing "my property" to some friendly locals.

(all photos taken by Sophia, as usual)

March 9, 2014

Love is patient

I could hear the rumble of a storm brewing upstairs. Here we go again! I quickly prayed for wisdom to handle the next case in my courtroom.

"You can't tell me what to do! You're not the boss of me!"

"Hey, that's mine! You can't just take it!"

"Ow! That hurts! You can't do whatever you want!"

"MOM!"

I'm trusting these are common statements in your home if you have children. If not, welcome to the Santos Family.

She stood on the hearth and presented her argument to me. "Well, Mom, she can't just tell me what to do and always take my stuff without asking!"

"Yes, she can." I answered.

She looked at me with a look of disgust, and fear...fear there is no justice to be found. Her eyes seemed to say "If Mom is against me, I'm doomed."

"Lovey, people choose to do what they want. If they choose to do evil, that is their choice. God has given us all a will. It's a gift and we can do with it whatever we want. You have the same choice, to do good or evil."

Poor child. She looked hopeless.

I continued. "Now, there are consequences for bad choices and there are rewards for good choices...but it's not always immediate. However, in the end, God is just and He is the judge of all."

There was a pause as I let her think about this.

I said, "This injustice that you are experiencing is not so much a chance to judge your sister as a chance to love your sister."

"Mom! You never understand! I hate her!"

"Do you think I have never hated before?"

I proceeded to share one or two of my own injustices and then, more importantly the injustices of our Lord Jesus Christ. I suggested how she might handle the next one that came along and, of course, I talked with the offender also. Somehow, we got through that case - for the moment.

It will come up again. These things are not learned all at once, but rather "line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little."

I'm reminded of the words of Jesus, "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."

Ain't that the truth!

There is so much evil and perversion in our world, in our own circles, even in our own homes.

I think our love grows cold because we are impatient. Sure, there are probably a thousand other reasons, but this is a big one, the main one in my opinion. Everyone seems to be making bad choices, we are hurt,  we think "let's just take care of ourselves...forget everyone else." We are self-centered and believe the lie "I'm the only one that matters!"

The first quality of Love is long-suffering, patience. We don't want to wait on our children to learn. So, the result is that we deny grace and give out criticism and punishment instead.

We don't want to wait on our husbands to love us, so we nag, manipulate or complain. I'm living this first hand. In a safe place where I no longer endure certain hardships, however,  I am still waiting. Until there is a divorce, or death, I am his wife.

Would that I could cut the rope and find love elsewhere! Isn't that the common solution...why more than half of all marriages end in divorce?

Is it really love if we have not endured an injustice from another? Beloved, let us love one another for love is of God.

"By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, by your love for one another." John 13:35

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13


waiting, waiting, waiting.


At last!

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:9

March 3, 2014

Marching on...

For Today

Monday, March 3, 2014

Outside our window...

Sunshine and wet grass from the recent rains.
Naomi is out splashing in it as I type.
She looks happy in her pink paisley rain boots.

(ah, I see Noah snuck outside too. He just pedaled fast down the street on his bike.
That means his schoolwork is finally done...I hope.)

I am thankful...

For healing!

(not everything, but some!)

What once brought pain and shame is all better.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3

I am wearing...

A long sleeve sweater and a suede skirt.

I should do something with my hair...resembling Medusa right now.

From the kitchen..

Salmon
Salad
Fruit

Caramel ice cream

I am learning...

To say Yes to the No's in my life...

God says No, and I say "O-key Do-key"

All Christians practice this daily, don't we? Some no's hurt less than others.

Key word - learning.

This is evidence of God's kind faithfulness. He can be trusted.

I am creating...

Pages...doing a lot of writing.
I missed my deadline, but that's O.K.
I am still writing and there will be other opportunities.

One day at a time...

I am going... 

To get the tires aligned on my car
(is that how you say it? or realigned, or switched around? whatever)

It's very new to have to take care of EVERYTHING now...the car, the garage, the repairs. I am thankful that our little cottage comes with gardeners...I don't have to worry about the yard and the trees. Thank you, Lord.

I am remembering...

I have an important letter to write.
Why do I keep putting it off?

I also have an important call to make.
I keep putting that off too...

At least I am remembering...right? I'm remembering, isn't that good enough?

I'll get to it!

I am reading...

Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis

A Hidden Life and Other Poems by George MacDonald

I just realized the other day that I was reading.
For so many years the demands of wife-ing and mothering did not allow time for reading.

...a benefit to this season in my life.

I am hearing....

Sophia's History teacher teaching in the background.

Naomi and Noah collaborating

The fire crackling in the wood stove

Around the house...

Muted light streaming in from a sunny day.

The house is clean and the laundry is put away.

I had to do something to avoid writing that letter or making that call.

A quote to share...

"Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned."
~ Peter Marshall

Is he talking to me?

Some of my favorite things...

A long walk

A clear mind

Flitting chickadees

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

The girls have solo and class adjudications for violin.

Orthodontist appointments...every month,
(bleh! I am, however, becoming a braver and better driver in all that traffic!)

Naomi's birthday...eleven years old this month!

I am hoping...

and praying for healing for our Sophia Lou.

Will you join me in praying for her?

A picture thought to share:


Enjoying the sunset in California last month.

(You can enjoy other daybooks HERE)

March 2, 2014

A story

This is a story I began a few years ago over at The Santos Times. I've decided to continue with it...would you like to come along?

Once upon a time there was a young woman named Joy working hard to please her family. On this day she was making cookies. Oh they smelled delicious! Out of the oven they came and they were perfect.

She was so happy and thought joyfully how her family would relish the cookies. She also tried to think of who else might benefit from a plate of them.

But lurking in the shadows was an enemy. He was a dark and sinister liar. He wanted to destroy this woman AND her family. For many days he had been watching her happy service and it made him sick...all that smiling and peace. How he hated her. She was so bright and shiny...He wanted to snuff her out.

He knew just the trick. He dialed up a local gang he knew - some tough guys who could get an ugly job done quickly. The enemy didn't want to waste any time. All the light flowing from this young woman was drawing people closer to the True Light that lighteth all men. The sooner he snuffed her out, the better.

He called up Criticism. "Hey, I got a job for you. I need it done quick. Bring whoever you need. She has a lot of protection and I think you will need some back-up."

Criticism called his buddies Anger and Hate. They loved doing jobs with Criticism. The three of them together were very successful. The people they snuffed out were often so injured they could hardly look up.

The gang showed up and attached themselves to Joy's husband. He was tired that day and not aware of the dangers lurking about.
"Hi honey. Welcome home." Joy said, full of joyful anticipation.
"Yeah. I'm tired today."
"How 'bout some tea and cookies?"
"Whatever. Thanks."
Joy made a pot of tea and brought out a little dish of cookies. She placed them on the table for her husband to enjoy. He sat down at the table heavily. True, he was tired, but he also had the extra weight of the "gang" on his shoulders.
"What's this? Are these chocolate chip cookies?"
"Yep." Joy replied with a smile.
"You know I don't like chocolate!" He spied the platters that Joy had prepared to share with the neighbors. "What are you doing? Feeding the whole neighborhood? What do you think, I'm made of money? I wish you would just think once in a while!" He shoved the plate away and went to take a shower.
Joy had taken a big hit, low and hard, right in her stomach. She fell back and tried to catch her breath. Criticism and his gang gave a sinister laugh.

Anger and Hatred were ready and waiting to get their claws into Joy. If they could, then they could easily attack Joy's husband and children. But, unfortunately for them, Joy was wearing the belt of Truth. While it was a heavy hit, the belt protected her and she was able to stand up again. Joy quickly unwrapped the platters and put the cookies in the cookie jar, submitting to her husband.
Dinner simmered on the stove, so she called the children to set the table and got her recipe book out. She had used all the butter, but there were a few bananas in the fridge and she knew that her husband would enjoy some banana bread. She set to work right away.

Anger and Hatred were frustrated. "Hey Criticism, we are gonna need a lot more help. She's wearing armor!" Criticism thought for awhile. "I know, call up Murmurings and Disputings...hey get Unthankful to come over too. The boss wants this job done quick. We don't have any time to lose."

Unwittingly, the children hummed while they set the table. Joy made banana bread with a humble heart. When her husband got out of the shower and saw her submission, he was convicted by his harsh behavior. He kissed his wife and tousled the children's hair. Peace reigned in the home.
But reinforcements had been called from the dark side...would the light be snuffed out? The shadows loomed...

(...to be continued)