Saturday, September 29, 2007

Our 1st Family Picnic


The weather here in Louisville, Kentucky has been gorgeous, 80, sunny, and not a single cloud in the sky. Every week, I am always challenged to come up with ideas to do with my family. Given that fall is here and winter is just around the corner, I thought the Santos Family would have its first family picnic. The place of choice was Louisville's downtown, out on the river front. I must confess, I really love this spot. One, it was the place I proposed to Terra. Two, it was always the go to spot during Seminary where I could retreat and seek God. The river front overlooks the Ohio river bridges that connects Ketucky and Indiana, and captures the high rise buildings of downtown Louisville. For dinner, we had left over pulled pork, Doritos chips, two sprites, and rasberries. Now, a family picnic is not complete without a digital camera. After dinner, the family took random shots of each other, but the bulk of the pictures was zoomed in on our beautiful baby girl Hannah Mai.

I am praying weekly to give my wife and baby girl memories that they can look back and praise God for. Every day, I realize that I am a blessed Christian husband and father. My wife Terra and my baby girl Hannah are truly gifts of grace. My boasting is the result of what Christ accomplished for me on the cross. "But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ..." (Galatians 6:14).

James

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Desiring to Be a Gospel Centered Family

For the past weeks or so, I've been challenged and motivated to see our family gospel centered. What do I mean by gospel centered? The Bible says, "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Ephesians 4:32-5:2).

As Christians we have been shown kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness when Christ died for us on the cross. Our sins deserved God's righteous judgment, but instead we received infinite grace. Therefore, any sinner who has been shown much kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness through Christ should overflow in kindness, tenderness, forgiveness to others. This is result of the transforming work of the gospel. So, if a bitter word comes out from my wife, the gospel calls me to show kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness. As a husband and a father, I am compelled by the power of the gospel to display Christ, not parade my self righteousness. To return evil for evil is failure to grasp the heart changing work of the gospel.

Three weeks ago, Terra and I celebrated our one year anniversary, and it is my prayer and pursuit to grow in kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness. O may our marriage and family be gospel centered!!!

-James

Time to Brag for a Moment

Today I want to brag. Yet it’s not about myself and believe it or not, it’s not about my baby Hannah either. Today, I want to brag about my husband.

It seems to be common-place these days for wives to talk bad about or down on their husbands when they are not around. Things like: “He doesn’t do such and such,” “He never helps me,” “He always puts himself first,” etc. Though James is not perfect, he does not even give me the opportunity to say things like this about him. James is on a mission in our marriage. He seeks to serve me in his greatest capacity. He truly believes that God has called him to serve our family in as many ways as possible.

For beginners, he works hard to bring us financial stability. God has blessed me with a husband who appreciates my desire to stay at home with my child (and any future children). I feel the leading of Titus 2:4-5 “to love [my] husband and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to [my] husband, that the word of God may not be reviled,” (ESV, my italics).

But he goes much further than that. He brings me flowers. He washes dishes after a meal. He takes the baby out of the house when I just need to breathe. He gives me massages. He encourages me to seek out the Lord in prayer and meditation of the Bible. He writes me encouraging notes. And I could really go on and on. Why does he do these things? Well, in addition to feeling led by the Lord, he says that he loves serving me because he can see that it blesses me. My joy of being served makes him want to serve me more. And what is really neat about this…his constant desire to serve me, makes me seek to do the same for him. Now I’m always on the look out for something I can do to serve him. It really makes for a sweeter marriage when you are not looking for what you can get out of the relationship but instead what you can give. Being a servant can be contagious…I never knew that!

Anyway….I just had to take a moment to praise my husband, aka God’s greatest gift to me (outside of my salvation in Christ).

Loving Him,
Terra Santos

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

You learn something new every day

Whoever coined the phrase "You learn something new every day" was so right. And I never realized it as much until I had a child! Not only does Hannah seem to learn something new everyday, I do as well. Lately, it seems that we've been learning something new about Hannah every day regarding her health. (To say every day is probably a bit of a stretch here but it has been often.)

Last week, after two continuous weeks of fussiness and diarrhea, I took Hannah back to the pediatrician. On top of the cow’s milk allergy, they think she also has a soy allergy. Apparently 50% of the kids allergic to cow’s milk are also allergic to soy. And of course, my daughter has to be one of them. Today I will try rice milk for the first time. You cannot possibly imagine how much food has milk or soy in it until you are not aloud to have it. You start believing you will starve before you can find something you are actually allowed to eat. Some of you may be saying, why don’t you just switch to formula already?! Well, don’t think the thought hasn’t crossed my mind. I guess the main reasons are: 1) I still believe breast milk is better for her, as long as I have no physical problems that prohibit me from producing; 2) It’s easier than dealing with formula, bottles and dishes (especially in the middle of the night); and 3) the type of formula she has to use now with the allergies, is THE most expensive formula they make. But God is good to us and he continues to give me the patience I need.

In addition to the fun we’ve had with feedings, we’ve also been told that Hannah may need to see a children’s physical therapist for her neck. Some of you may have noticed that Hannah has a huge preference to looking towards her left side and bending to the right. She’s done this since she was born but it’s not gotten any better. Now, she’s developing a flat spot on the back of her head from it. My doc is afraid she could develop something called “torticollis” (a painful neck problem) if Hannah does not start correcting the issue now. Needless to say, the physical therapist is supposed to be calling me back to set up a time to evaluate her. Then they will tell us whether or not it is something to be concerned about.

Please pray for us as we deal with these different things. I really must say that God continues to mold me on a daily basis as I deal with a child that fusses more than not. And the scariest thing is that I’m already looking at pregnant women and thinking “I think I’m ready for that again.” Am I? Wow.

Until next time…
Terra

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Pharmaceutical Rip Offs

After about two months of irritated eyes, especially my left one, I decided to make an appointment to get them checked. It was time for new contacts anyway. Lucky me, I have an eye infection. Sounds like something only a kid would have huh? So I went to get the prescription filled and was told that insurance companies will usually not pay for a prescription from an optometrist, only a M.D. Fortunately, James and I have a great network and we happen to know a couple of M.D.’s. He called the prescription in and after our $30 co-pay, the insurance company paid the rest. Aren’t you the slightest bit curious as to how much “the rest” is? $66.99!!! This TINY bottle of eye drops (see picture) costs nearly $100!


I know the pharmaceutical companies have to make money but that is ridiculous.

Anyway…I had to pass on my moment of shock and awe. :)

Until next time…

Terra