Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Pics

Here is the link to the Christmas Pictures I promised:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=23448&l=a317f&id=607147099

Also, here is a link to some other miscellaneous pics:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=23447&id=607147099

Enjoy and thanks for the prayers!
Take care,
Terra

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pray for Our Health

I posted this on our family blog but wanted to copy it here to let you all know what is going on. I will try my best to post as I can, though it will be a bit harder for the next week or so. In addition to the following post issues, my in-laws are in town until Saturday so there's not a lot of extra time available to me.

------

First I want to thank everyone that reads this blog for their time. You may have noticed several of the last few posts have been regarding medical issues and this one is no different. In the past, our family has had very few medical concerns so all this is out of the ordinary. I'm asking for prayers for the following individual concerns.

James:
Pray for his arthritis. Fortunately, he's only had a couple of flare ups so far this winter and even those have been short lived. Pray specifically that his wrists, elbows, and knees continue to be okay.

Hannah Mai:
Pray for her allergies. I'm not even sure where all of her food allergies are going to take us in the future but I know it will not be easy. Children can grow out of many of them and I pray she does. If not, I pray the Lord continues to give grace.
Please also pray for her health and/or teeth cutting. For the last three days she has been an extreme handful. She is crying for no apparent reason and only satisfied when I pick her up. She's not even being happy with James and that is unusual. On the surface she appears to be okay. The only "sick" symptom she has is a stuffy nose. Everything else is good. She's been very, very needy and the stranger anxiety is only escalating. Please pray that I have great patience with her as sleep and free time have become rare commodities.

Terra:
Pray for my reproductive system. I got a call from the O.B. today saying that my pap came back "slightly" irregular. Again, they said it was likely not serious but would like to see me again in 6 months instead of the usual year. They said it did not show cancer or anything like that but is still a small concern. This is in addition to the ovary cyst that I have an ultrasound on Jan. 10. I've been extremely tired lately and having stomach cramps but who's to say it's not lack of sleep from dealing with an unhappy baby or maybe even a nice winter virus?
Pray also that I continue to get over this little bug I have. Each day I think it's over and my nose gets more stuffy or my throat starts to hurt again. All of you moms out there know how much harder dealing with a baby can be when you don't feel well yourself.

So I know that's a lot but I covet your prayers. These last few days have been extremely stressful and tiring for me. Pray that I have an overabundance of grace and patience with Hannah Mai. Pray that I seek the Lord during my times of discomfort. Pray that I grow in my steadfastness towards Christ.

Thank you all in advance. I pray your added Christmas memories were a blessing!

Take care,
Terra

Please Pray for Our Health.

First I want to thank everyone that reads this blog for their time. You may have noticed several of the last few posts have been regarding medical issues and this one is no different. In the past, our family has had very few medical concerns so all this is out of the ordinary. I'm asking for prayers for the following individual concerns.

James:
Pray for his arthritis. Fortunately, he's only had a couple of flare ups so far this winter and even those have been short lived. Pray specifically that his wrists, elbows, and knees continue to be okay.

Hannah Mai:
Pray for her allergies. I'm not even sure where all of her food allergies are going to take us in the future but I know it will not be easy. Children can grow out of many of them and I pray she does. If not, I pray the Lord continues to give grace.
Please also pray for her health and/or teeth cutting. For the last three days she has been an extreme handful. She is crying for no apparent reason and only satisfied when I pick her up. She's not even being happy with James and that is unusual. On the surface she appears to be okay. The only "sick" symptom she has is a stuffy nose. Everything else is good. She's been very, very needy and the stranger anxiety is only escalating. Please pray that I have great patience with her as sleep and free time have become rare commodities.

Terra:
Pray for my reproductive system. I got a call from the O.B. today saying that my pap came back "slightly" irregular. Again, they said it was likely not serious but would like to see me again in 6 months instead of the usual year. They said it did not show cancer or anything like that but is still a small concern. This is in addition to the ovary cyst that I have an ultrasound on Jan. 10. I've been extremely tired lately and having stomach cramps but who's to say it's not lack of sleep from dealing with an unhappy baby or maybe even a nice winter virus?
Pray also that I continue to get over this little bug I have. Each day I think it's over and my nose gets more stuffy or my throat starts to hurt again. All of you moms out there know how much harder dealing with a baby can be when you don't feel well yourself.

So I know that's a lot but I covet your prayers. These last few days have been extremely stressful and tiring for me. Pray that I have an overabundance of grace and patience with Hannah Mai. Pray that I seek the Lord during my times of discomfort. Pray that I grow in my steadfastness towards Christ.

Thank you all in advance. I pray your added Christmas memories were a blessing!

Take care,
Terra

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tis the Season for Sickness!

Oh the joys of Christmas! Celebrating the birth of Christ, enjoying family, eating good food, and let's not forget.....the opportunity for illness!

Friday night, I fed Hannah a little cereal before putting her to bed. Eventually, I crawled into bed as well. I awoke around 5 to a crying baby AND a sore throat and congested nose. Where did that come from? After getting Hannah back to sleep and taking some sinus medicine, I also fell back asleep. Later that morning, I fed Hannah some more cereal and her bottle. I was not feeling well at all by this point. Within hours, my mom pointed out that Hannah's neck looked red. I assumed she had been laying on it for a while...no big deal. About an hour later, I noticed her neck was still really red. I decided to take off her clothes to reveal her entire back was covered in a large rash. I freaked out trying to figure out what could have caused it. We were all thinking of everything we could. Finally, we discovered the culprit - her breakfast.


For those of you that keep up with us, you know Hannah is allergic to dairy and soy. Well, time to add one more to the mix: oat/wheat. This was the first time I had introduced oatmeal cereal to Hannah (she usually has rice cereal). And I know for sure it had no soy in it as I'd already checked the packaging before I bought it. It was organic (considering that's the only stuff I can find without soy). The packaging's only listed ingredient: oat flour (and in bold, capitalized letters - Contains: Wheat). After going to the pharmacy and talking to Hannah's pediatrician, she was "prescribed" Benadryl every 6 hrs. The first dose did nothing. Her rash continued to spread until she looked like a little lobster. It covered her back, bottom, neck, arms, head, part of her chest and started to spread up her cheeks. The picture on this blog was taken at the very beginning of the rash, it got much worse. However, as pitiful as she looked, you would have never known anything was wrong by the way she was acting. Hannah was just as cheerful and happy as can be. Fortunately the reaction was not bad enough to cause breathing problems or an E.R. visit. I praise God for that.

I'm still trying to get over the little cold that I got, though I'm feeling much better than before. Hannah is a bit congested now too but not overwhelmingly so. If you're curious about my P.Rosea rash (see previous posts), it's still spreading but not covering my torso yet. Regardless of all the sick happenings...we praise God for safe travels and an enjoyable time back home. It was a sweet time of reflection and joy in Christ. I'll post a link to a ton of Christmas pictures once I have them available online.

Take care!

Terra

Friday, December 21, 2007

Away Until After Christmas!

Just wanted to leave a quick note to let you all know that I will not be posting again until after Christmas. It's time for me to spend time with some family and celebrate the birth of Christ! May God bless you all and I look forward to writing again after Christmas!

In Christ,
Terra Santos

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thanking Our Soldiers

I thought this was cool. I'm assuming it's all valid.

If you go to this web site, www.letssaythanks.com, you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print and send it to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq. You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.

Take care!
Terra

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Plans

After James gets off of work Friday afternoon, we'll be making the trek to Murray, Kentucky to spend some time with my side of the family. We spent Thanksgiving here in Louisville with James' family (and my sis'). I'm looking forward to relaxing a bit and enjoying those I don't see often. It's weird, though my family lives closer, we've seen the Santos' more often in the last few months. ;) On the 25th, we'll be headed back to Louisville to welcome James' mom and dad for a few days. It should be a great time for us all.

We will likely not use the internet when we're back home because of both time and effort. My mom has dial-up and it drives me nuts after being used to cable internet. ;) Call me impatient, you would be accurate. If you need to reach us, please contact us on our cells.

We wish everyone a blessed Christmas and safe travels!

In Christ,
Terra

I Chose to Sin

For whatever reason, before bed last night, Hannah Mai decided she was not going to take her full bottle. I cringed as this more than likely meant she would wake up earlier than usual because she was hungry. I told myself, I'll just let her cry herself back to sleep. That always works in theory but then after hearing her cry for a while, it breaks your heart AND you just want to go back to sleep. I was blessed this morning when James volunteered to feed her since he was already up getting ready for work. So where am I going with all of this?

When I woke up and realized she was crying, more than 2 hours before she should be waking for the morning, I got irritated. Or maybe I should even go so far as to say I got angry. It wasn't simply that she was up early, though that was a big factor. Yet it was also because she did not eat as she should have last night. If she was sick or something, I wouldn't have minded so much. Anyway, back to the point, my heart was fuming.

"For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." - Matt 12:34 (ESV)

I don't know that I actually said anything sinful (maybe my husband would remember otherwise). However, I do know that I was thinking many sinful thoughts.

"Why didn't she eat like she should have last night?"
"Can't I just lay here and let her fall back to sleep?"
"All I want to do is get some sleep! Is that so much to ask?"

Anger. Idolatry. What is an idol? Anything that I'm willing to substitute and worship instead of God.

"And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it." - Isaiah 44:17

What was my idol? Sleep. Oh how I struggle in this area! Sleep is a gift from God. It reminds us that we are human and need rest to rejuvinate us. However, like any good gift, we can obsess over it and substitute it for God.

"Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty" - Prov 20:13 (ESV)

"How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man." - Prov 6:9-11 (ESV)

I chose to sin. Even as I got angry over my disrupted sleep, I knew it was wrong. Yet, I chose to sin. How evil our hearts can truly be! I need to remember that nobody else causes me to sin. The circumstances only bring out what is already in my heart. I praise God for His great forgiveness and new mercies each day! May I draw nearer to Him in my struggles.

In Christ,

Terra

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Thyroid Test Was Normal

Just thought I'd update you all, the thyroid test was normal. I don't know if my doc will want anything else done regarding that issue or not. I'll keep you posted if so. Praise God for good results! ;)

Terra

Monday, December 17, 2007

My Saturday Morning Retreat

This Saturday, I had a wonderful opportunity to retreat with the Lord. My husband blessed me greatly by caring for Hannah Mai the entire morning while I retreated to my beloved Starbucks for four and a half hours. I was encouraged to retreat after listening to a message by: you guessed it, Mrs. Caryolyn Mahaney. And what a great time it was!

I began the morning by reading my daily scripture line-up and journaling my morning prayers. Afterwards, I pulled out a book I was given a while back entitled "Feminine Appeal" by Mrs. Mahaney. This book deals primarily with the calling of Titus 2 and each chapter is devoted to specific aspects of the passage. Considering I had a limited amount of time, I chose to read the first four chapters. After reading each one individually, I took the time to reflect and work through the study questions in the back. Then I listed specific areas I needed to grow in and specific ways I could do just that. I particularly prayed over my relationship with God first, my husband second, and my child third. I also dealt with the issue of self-control.

It was such a blessing to be able to steal away for a few hours and reflect on my calling as a Christian wife and mother. To have uninterrupted time of prayer, encouragement and reflection was a great renewal. I pray God reminds me of the points I listed and grows me with the wisdom and knowledge from above. I would highly recommend other ladies retreating (if only for a few hours like I did) so they can seek the Lord and His calling in their lives. If it is not reasonable for your husband to watch the kiddos, ask a friend. Maybe they'll be encouraged to do the same. ;) What a joy it is to meet with the Lord!

In Christ,
Terra Santos

Also, if you're interested, I updated some info on some current health struggles on our family blog.

So NOT a Dream - And Other Concerns

So I'm pretty much sad to say it but I'm 99.8% sure the P.Rosea is preparing to reclaim my body (read my last blog for details). I'm leaving .2% for error: .1% for the fact it's a self-diagnosis and .1% for the fact it's not yet dominating by body. It can take up to 20 days to begin multiplying rapidly and it's only been about 10. I'm mostly concerned with the physical appearance and potential for scarring (again, read my last post). Two of the spots are already very dominant. Considering the rash lasts for about two months, it takes a great toll on your skin. But that is nothing...

...Today I had my yearly "ladies exam." I'll refrain from further explanation of that one. ;) Two potential problems: swollen thyroid glands and a cyst on my right ovary. I say potential because they could be relatively insignificant or they could be really big problems. I did not know until speaking with my mom tonight that ovary cysts are very common in my family. My mom, grandmother and great-grandmother have all had frequent issues with them. My mom was told at the age of 19 that she needed to have children as soon as possible because the scar tissue from her bursting cysts was already on it's way to destruction. By the time she had her last child, she had only one working ovary and problems with it.

Most of you all know that James and I desire to have a large family. We've discussed having 5 or 6 kids. *feel free to catch your breath after that one* However, we also have a love and excitement for adoption. If something was to prohibit our natural ability to have children, we would definitely go that direction. Yet I'm not hoping for that right now of course - as I would love to re-experience pregnancy and childbirth. *catch your breath again if necessary*

I sometimes have the ability to freak out over things that turn out to be petty. This may or may not be one of those times. Please pray for me and my physical issues. I had a blood test today for the thyroid issue and I have an ultrasound scheduled Jan. 10 for the cyst. I'll keep you posted. Thank you in advance for your prayers!

In Christ,
Terra

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tell Me It's a Dream!

Aghhhhhh! Sorry, had to get that out. This is Terra and for those of you that may remember, last winter I had a 2 1/2 month long, obnoxious rash known as P(ityriasis) Rosea. It didn't hurt or itch (much). More than anything, it was an annoyance. At last count, I had over 180 red spots on my body, primarily on my torso.

About a week ago, I noticed a small, scaly looking spot on my right leg. But before I could dwell, I told myself I must have just scratched my leg. Then tonight, I noticed another two spots on my chest. I REALLY hope that it's just a coincidence and my body is playing tricks on me. According to one source, only 3% of people who have had P. Rosea will get it again. You've GOT to be joking me!

Please pray for me over the next week or so as I'll likely be able to tell more within that time frame. Again, it's more of a nuisance than a medical concern. I just don't like looking like a cheetah and the potential for scarring (I have a nickel sized scar on my leg from the last go around). May I keep my eyes on Christ and thank God that even if I do have it again, it's so much better than it could be.

If you're curious and would like to read a short snippet about P. Rosea, check out the following link by Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pityriasis_rosea.

Take care,
Terra

Such a Short Season

Do you ever have days in which you just wished everything you were currently dealing with was over and done with? If you tell me you never have, I’ll ask you if you’re lying. ;)

Seriously though. Maybe you’re a teenage girl and you just don’t understand why your parents won’t let you date yet. “Oh, I can’t wait until I’m older,” you dream. Maybe you’re single and you just can’t wait until you’re married. “Then everything will be perfect,” you assume. Maybe you’re a mother and you can’t wait until your child is walking. “Then things will be easier,” you think. Are you kidding yourself?

During church this week (and by no means for the first time), Hannah Mai and I got to spend our quality time out in the lobby. Yep – during the sermon. This week it was because she had a cold and I did not want to spread it to all the other babies in the nursery. Most other weeks it is simply because she has some serious separation anxiety and I get paged e-v-e-r-y , single week because she won’t stop crying. As I sit in the lobby, nursery or listening room, I struggle with self pity. “All I want to do is listen to an entire sermon”, I tell myself. “Why does she have to be so difficult? Why do I have to deal with this?” Don’t get me wrong, James helps and tries to alternate who sits out with her. But naturally, she is usually more comfortable with mommy.

This past Sunday I think I struggled more than most. Even when I got home, I was angry that I didn’t get to hear any of the message (unless you count the intro!). First off, I know it is ridiculous to be angry that I didn’t get to hear a message at church…contradictory to say the least. Nevertheless, that is how I felt. So I decided to do a quick search on Sovereign Grace’s website and I stumbled across an audio message by Carolyn Mahaney titled In Every Season of Life . It sounded intriguing so I listened to the entire message while straightening up around the house.

Carolyn drove home the point that there is a season for everything. Every season will pass in one form or another. But I’ve heard all that before, why did this particular message touch me? Well, I believe the Holy Spirit wanted to convict me for starters. Then Carolyn used an example – the perfect example for me to hear. She mentioned how she used to get frustrated and irritated when her daughters (she has 3) were babies and she’d have to miss church events. Then, when her youngest daughter was 12, she gave birth to a son. After witnessing how fast her season with her daughters had happened, she grew to cherish every little “inconvenience” and need her son had. God knew this example was so perfect for me at such a perfect time. I was brought to tears as I considered my heart issues. Do I really want my little one to grow up fast so I can hear all the sermons? No way! I need to cherish these moments knowing that this season will one day pass and I don’t want to regret things like this.

I won’t say that I’ll never struggle again with this particular issue or even others that may be similar. However, I do have a bit different perspective now and trust the Lord will continue to grow me in that area.

Praise God for grace and patience!

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” – Ecc. 3:1


My little Santa - doesn't she look like trouble? :)


In Christ,
Terra Santos

Saturday, December 8, 2007

26 Reasons Why I love My Wife, Terra Mai


In celebration of 26 years of God’s grace, I write 26 Reasons why I love my wife, Terra Mai

1. Terra Mai is God’s precious gift to me this side of eternity (Prov. 18:22).
2. Terra Mai loves her Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. She is reminded very regularly of God’s love for her in Christ Jesus (Lk. 7:47; Rom. 5:8).
3. Terra Mai strives to grow in her knowledge of Christ in the Scriptures and seeks to apply it in her marriage and parenting (2 Peter 3:18)
4. Terra Mai loves the body of Christ. She has given her time, gifts, and resources (Eph. 4:16)
5. Terra Mai loves her mom and siblings. She constantly thinks about them and prays for them.
6. Terra Mai esteems my interest as her husband much higher than hers (Phil. 2:4-5).
7. Terra Mai loves her daughter Hannah Mai very much. She feeds her, bathes her, changes her diapers, reads to her, talks to her constantly, hugs her, and many other things.
8. Terra Mai loves to pray for people (Eph. 6:18).
9. Terra Mai is compelled every evening to transfer glory to God for every faith-prompted purpose and gospel obedience that day (1 Cor. 10:31).
10. Terra Mai loves to encourage people through her writing (Heb. 10:24).
11. Terra Mai is always quick to admit her sin struggles and ask for forgiveness (Eph. 4:29).
12. Terra Mai loves to sing (Ps. 149:1).
13. Terra Mai loves to cook.
14. Terra Mai is one of the most creative people I know. She loves sewing and decorating.
15. Terra Mai has such a hospitable heart (Rom. 12:13).
16. Terra Mai is serious about putting to death sin in her life and looking to Christ for hope (Col. 3:5, 12.
17. Terra Mai pursues a heart of patience (2 Tim. 2:24).
18. Terra Mai has a heart for the nations (Ps. 67).
19. Terra Mai loves taking a lot of pictures. She loves to capture memorable moments in life (Ps 145:5).
20. Terra Mai loves to be organized.
21. Terra Mai values the time of others.
22. Terra Mai loves children. I have seen this when she has volunteered in the nursery and those she babysits (Ps. 145:4).
23. Terra Mai loves my Filipino culture. When we got married, she recited our vows in Tagalog (National language in the Philippines)!!!
24. Terra Mai has a teachable heart (Prov. 9:9).
25. Terra Mai strives to adorn more the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of and gentle and quiet spirit (1 Pet. 3:4).
26. Terra Mai loves life!!!

Happy 26th Birthday!!!
I Love You,
Your Husband

26 Years of Grace

In honor of my birthday today, I wanted to share 26 things I’m thankful for in my 26 years of God’s grace. If you’re curious about any of these, feel free to message and ask me.

1. My salvation in Jesus Christ. I was bought at a great price and one in which I can never repay. I praise God for this greatest gift of all.

2. My husband, James. Never in a million years would I have dreamed God would give me such a wonderful husband. Need I say more?

3. My daughter, Hannah Mai. To be a mother is a blessing. To be a mother so soon after marriage, an even greater blessing (honeymoon baby). To be a mother of Hannah Mai, my perfect blessing.

A. My other family.

      4. My mother, Darlene (& hubby Kenny). She is one of the a greatest examples of sacrifice to her children I have ever known. To this day, she continues to do so. I praise God for her life and love.

      5. My sister, Sheena (& hubby John). What a joy it was to live with her again (even if for only two weeks)! She’s a beautiful women who wants to grow in her love for the Lord and her family. I pray God leads her well.

      6. My brother, Jimmy (& wife Jamie). Though we rarely talk anymore, I still love him and pray for him regularly. He and I have always had similar personalities and with that, I pray harder for him! ;)

B. My in-laws.

      7. My Mama Tess. After passing initial differences, I’ve grown to know her as a woman of love. She’s a great example of Christ-like hospitality and is growing beautifully in forgiveness.

      8. My Papa Ben. If I could use one word to describe him, it’d be the word I’d want people to describe me: Joy. He’s always so vibrant and full of joy – especially when seeing his pride, Hannah Mai.

      9. My sis, Natalie (& hubby Todd). With a sweet spirit and insightful heart, I always enjoy my conversations with her. I love the way we’ve grown with one another.

10. My reconciliation with my father. Six years ago I was reconciled to my father after years of issues. Nine months later, he passed away from brain cancer. Yet God blessed me with reconciliation before he took him home.

11. My church. James and I have recently become members of Sojourn Community Church. It has been great getting to know our new family and seeking ways we can serve those around us.

12. My friends. I’ve made many wonderful new friendships this year and I’m so excited about growing in those relationships. A special mention is my neighbor Amy…she is such a blessing to me! I’m also thankful for old friends that continue to be there year after year.

13. My chiropractor. May sound odd but he and his office (Brownsboro Rd. Chiropractic) have been such a great blessing to me and my family this year! I have many neck problems (and some low back) and my visits are looked forward to each week!

14. My daughter’s pediatrician (Dr. Amy Bindner). She, as well as the rest of the office staff, are so incredibly helpful. They never treat me as an idiot (even when I feel like one) and help in any way they can. She is a sweet as can be and has really encouraged me as a first time mom.

15. My provisions. Though James and I are still struggling in finding him a new job (and me some part time at home work), God continues to provide. We have a home, 2 cars, electricity, heat, running water and then some. We cannot complain even in hardship.

16. My blog. Sounds silly but I’ve been blessed by taking the time to write blogs. Not only do people frequently express their encouragement towards my blogs, I get encouraged by meditating on the topics beforehand.

17. My health. As far as I know, I’m in good health. I know this is not the case for many people and I pray I use my good health to help those less fortunate.

18. My senses. Along with health, something I don’t think of often is my sense. Praise God for my vision, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling abilities! How much more enjoyable life is as a result.

19. My schooling. Even though I’m now a stay-at-home mom, I do have both a B.S. in Business Administration and a M.A. in Theological Studies. I’m so grateful for the “real” world degree of business but even more so for everything I learned at Seminary. My faith was pushed and grew so much during my time there.

20. My quiet times. I’ve been blessed so much in my times with the Lord. Though 6 or 6:30 am rolls around way too quickly, I always end feeling blessed.

21. My Facebook. Ha. Seriously though…it’s allows me to reconnect with friends that I haven’t spoken to in years. What a great tool!

22. My computer. I absolutely love the internet – sometimes too much. ;) I also love being able to communicate easily online as well as sending tons of baby pics to friends and family.

23. My cooking skills. Hehe, so now I’m getting goofy. Well, seriously though… I’ve never cooked so much in my life until these last few months. Thank God for the motivation and my husband for patience.

24. My camera. I love, love, love taking pictures. It will be a sad, sad, sad day when my camera dies.

25. My job opportunities. At this point in my life I’m convinced that I need to be at home with my daughter. However, I’ve had many at home opportunities thanks to people around me. A special thanks to my friend Debbie for the babysitting opportunities and others around us who continue to make opportunities available.

26. My life! I can only be thankful for the things I have as long as I’m living. After that, my thankfulness will solely be towards the first thing on my list – my salvation in Christ!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Christmas is Not About Family


Whoa. Before anyone accuses me of heresy, remember that I often use bold titles to accent a point. :) Please read the entire blog before you start thinking too hard of how you will confront me of my great error.

Some of my favorite Christmas memories involve spending Christmas Eve with my Mom’s family, surrounded by loved ones and food galore. Christmas Day would be spent waking up early with my sister and brother, tearing into gifts and then having a huge Christmas breakfast with my cousins. As a matter of fact, my most miserable Christmas was in 2005 when Kentucky got enough snow and ice to keep me from seeing my extended family at all. All that being said, Christmas is not about family.

I stumbled upon the following couple of statements regarding what Christmas is supposed to be about:

  • Christmas is about giving.
  • Christmas is about family.
  • Christmas is about kids.
  • Christmas is about the poor.


If taken conser-vatively, none of these statements are inherently bad. There are aspects about Christmas in which we should remember to give, love our family, share the wonder with our kids and assist the poor. However, as Christians, we must remember that Christmas is first and foremost about Christ.

Though we cannot be sure as to the exact date that Christ was born, we do know that this day has been set aside every year for us to more specifically remember that birth.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

- Luke 2:8-20 (ESV)

As Christmas continues to become more and more commercialized and the debate between “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas” rages, let us slow down and think about the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus Christ, the son of God, born of a virgin, came to seek and save the lost. By His incarnation and later crucifixion and resurrection, we actually have something to celebrate about. Share that with those who don’t know Christ!

Christmas is a great time to celebrate family, friends and even food, especially chocolate. :) just wanted to encourage us all to not forget the real reason we celebrate. Praise be to God and glory in the highest!

In Christ,
Terra Santos

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Bride of Christ


In honor of my friend Jennifer Hsin preparing for her December 15th wedding, I post the following. These were my thoughts a few months before my own wedding. This, aside from the day of my salvation, was the happiest day of my life. I hope you are blessed.

The Bride of Christ

“and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you” - Isaiah 62:5 (ESV)

For weeks I’ve been putting off altering my wedding dress. It seemed like a daunting task and one I was not yet ready to take. Why didn’t I get it done professionally? Because I have better things to do with my money and I was pretty sure I could do it myself anyway. Little did I know what a joyous time I would have…

As I placed each stitch in its necessary place, I began to pray. I prayed that I would put one-thousand times the effort and more into the marriage itself than the wedding. I prayed that my family would seek and serve God in every way possible. I prayed for the kids I hope to have. Then my mind started leaning towards even greater thoughts…

Revelation 19:6-8 says: “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure.” (my italics)

I started thinking about the bright white color of my dress. How pure…how unstained…how perfect. Then I thought of how undeserving I am to wear such a dress. Apart from God, I can do no good. I’m undeserving of every good thing I’ve ever been given. I’ve trampled over top of the beauty of such purity with muddy feet.

“…though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;” - Isaiah
1:18 (ESV)

How very blessed I am! God is good and He chose to make me white as snow. While I was stitching my dress, I managed to prick my finger a few times. Twice it drew blood. I suddenly remembered that it was because of the blood of Christ that I was white in the first place!!! Jesus Christ died on the cross, rising again on the third day to save someone like me! How do I thank him?

“Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number” - Jer 2:32 (ESV, my italics)

All to often, it’s as if I’ve forgotten Him. Sometimes I may look like I have everything together and people will call me a “really religious person.” Yet in my heart, I struggle to love like I should. I’m ungrateful. I’m disobedient to the Lord. I shy away from proclaiming Christ as I should. It’s as if I’ve forgotten Him.

The New Testament refers to Christians as the bride of Christ. In John 3:29, John the Baptist calls Jesus the Bridegroom: “The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.”

As I prepare for my wedding in September, I think about how I’ll prepare myself the day of. I’m sure it’ll be something like this. I’ll begin with a shower, then makeup and hair. We’ll go to the church and get dressed. I’ll put on that beautiful, white gown and veil. People will help me look as beautiful as is possible - after all, it’s a special day! After all the preliminaries, the wedding will begin. James will be waiting for me at the end of the aisle. I am convinced he’ll be smiling and joyful when he sees me walking toward him. Have I prepared myself in such a way for my ultimate Groom, Jesus Christ? Oh how I pray I’ll learn how!

“…and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” - Isaiah 62:5 (ESV)

As blessed as I’ll be to have James as my husband, in the end, only one marriage will matter. Help me to be the best bride I can be…

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” - Rev 21:1-4 (ESV, my italics)

I’m not completely finished with my dress alterations but the most troublesome parts are complete. I hope to finish the other small adjustments tomorrow. Isn’t that how our lives with Christ is? He’s not finished with me yet, but the most troublesome part is complete - my salvation. I praise God for His great love!

By Terra (Rogers) Santos
July 24, 2006

The Golden Compass

For any of you who have children or just want to be prepared for the discussion opportunities that may follow, please read the following blog about the upcoming movie "The Golden Compass."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Dress Your Age?

The other day I stumbled upon a link on MSN’s website entitled, “Dress Your Age.” Intrigued by what it may have to say, I clicked on the link. It began by saying that the “sexiest thing you can do for yourself” is to dress your age. So how does one dress her age according to MSN? Here is my summary of the main points (and most of these comments are exact quotes from the video):

If you are in your:
20s: Be trendy and have fun; virtually anything goes (i.e. short skirts, daring necklines); take fashion to it's edge.
30s: Try a sophisticated look; you want to look more adult, tailored and sophisticated; pay more for higher end clothing.
40s: Look smart and refined; never a need to dress like a granny; wear uncluttered, clean lines and classic cuts


Let me give you a quick test (from a radio broadcast by Nancy Leigh DeMoss beginning June 16, 2003).

*There’s a women coming down this church aisle in a long, white, formal dress. What would you say was the occasion? Probably a wedding, right? Clothing communicates.
*There’s a teenager bundled up in a snowsuit, mittens, a wool hat and a scarf. Probably not going to a picnic! Clothing communicates.
Alternatively, the MSN video suggested that a lady will only look “sl*tty” if she is too old to be wearing what she has on. So a woman can’t look this way if she is young?! I disagree vehemently here. I regretfully say that early in college, I thought dressing this way made me more attractive. According to MSN, I would have been “age appropriate” in my clothing choices.

Kim Alexis (who was a very popular super-model in the 80’s) speaks about what she learned from her past. “Many women are playing with fire in the way they dress. Dressing like a floozy tells the world, ‘Look at me, want me, lust after me. I’m easy and you can have me.’ Displaying intimate parts of the body is a form of advertising for sex” (excerpt from A Model for a Better Future, by Alexis).

Many of us think as long as we are dressing more appropriately than those in Cosmo, we’re being modest. I want to challenge us all to look at what we are wearing. What are we communicating about ourselves? What are we communicating about God? After all, if we claim to be Christians, people are watching us. They see a direct influence between the way we live and who we say God is. Again, I’ve been on the flip side of this coin and I’m grateful for the forgiveness of Christ. Though I’m not perfect, I do try to watch what I’m wearing. Please, if you ever see me in something that does not express the glory of God, let me know (lovingly of course). Let’s encourage one another in this area.

I’m not saying be frumpy and unattractive in what you wear. I am however calling us to consider what our clothing communicates, whatever our age.

Grace to you,
Terra Santos

Here is the link to the MSN video I was speaking of: http://lifestyle.msn.com/stylestudio/default.aspx?page=home&tab=episodes§ion=weekend&contentid=200

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Excuses, Excuses

Many of you have probably been wondering where I’ve been lately. It’s been almost a full week since I’ve written and I’ve actually been pretty good about writing when I should. So when I was deciding on a topic to blog about, I debated whether or not to include an excuse for why it’s taken me so long.

“I’ve been too busy.” (Really? Any busier than usual?)
“I haven’t thought of any topics. (Yeah right, I’m never at a loss for topics.)
“I’ve been tired.” (Yes but could lazy be a better word?)

All that thought and I decided to blog about my excuses themselves! Hmmm… So what could I actually have to say about excuses that would be the least bit interesting?

After the Lord called Moses to lead the exodus from Egypt, we read the following. In Exodus 4:1, Moses says, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you.’” And then in 4:10, “But Moses said to the LORD, ‘Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.’” (ESV) Looks like I’m not the only one good at coming up with excuses!

When I began this blog, I said my goal would be to write at least twice a week. I did give my self the lenience of writing less on some weeks. I’m not going to say I will certainly write “X” amount of times per week. “But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your "yes" be yes and your "no" be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.” - James 5:12 (ESV) I will try my best and during the days I have not written, pray for me. Occasionally during these times I do have a valid reason to be refraining.

I will try my best not to come up with any more excuses in the future. An excuse is only a good way to make myself look better (or make you feel sorry for me). Where is the godliness in that?

Until next time…

In Christ Alone,
Terra Santos

P.S. I forgot to mention – for those of you that have wanted to comment on my blogs in the past but didn’t have an account, I’ve changed the setting. I didn’t realize it was set up the way it was. It no longer needs any sort of account or password. So please, comment away! I’d love to know your thoughts and ways I can improve this blog! Thanks!