Dear Friends and Family,                                                                                                 December, 2017
What is trust?
A firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
Do we trust our boys? Let’s consider each part of that definition.

Reliability-performing consistently well or trustworthy
isn’t something we have with phones where we live. Jacob (18) dropped his phone in a stream. When Joey asked if he needed a new one, Jacob said, “Sometimes I lose calls or get cut off, or can’t call, but it’s ok.” I said, “Sounds like my phone.” Jacob said, “But mine’s the phone’s fault, not the users.” When he did buy a phone, he used Jonas’s information to join his plan. The Verizon woman asked, “Are you twins?” Jacob wisely said, “No, but we’re close.” Joey corrected him later, “Close, but sooooo different.”

A tree fell on the pig pen where the boys’ calves sleep. Before I even knew about it, the boys were cutting down the tree and fixing the pen. Often, James is behind the scenes quietly fixing things. That’s reliability.

Jeremiah (11) dreamed his fish was “almost dead.” The next morning, he cleaned its water. Sometimes being trustworthy may only be a dream.

James (16) was in charge of the yard-care business this year. Josh said, “My boss let me sleep until 5:31 AM instead of 5:30 AM.” He thanked his boss for the extra sleep. (This was in contrast to hearing how the other baseball players on Josh’s team slept till 11 AM.) The boys’ work exists by word-of-mouth and repeat customers. Reliability means being on time and doing the job well.

During the weekly argument over whose turn it is to haul the trash to the roadside, Jonas (20) told Josh (13), “If you don’t take it out, I won’t take you to volleyball.” Jonas would honor his word. The trash was taken out. I like that reliability. I can trust the job was done.

Jacob asked me, “When did you skip a class in college?” I answered, “You’re asking the wrong parents. Dad was never sick enough to miss any class and I had to be almost dead not to go.” Reliability means no excuses are acceptable. You stick with your commitment.

Truth-a quality or state of being true (accurate, exact)
Joey drives over 30,000 miles/year for work and the army. He often used Jonas’s car. When it wouldn’t go in reverse, Joey felt badly he’d used it so much. Jonas responded, “You did me a great kindness.” And he meant it. Jonas posted his Pathfinder on Craig’s List when the junk yard would only give him $100. Someone offered $300. When he looked at it, he said, “$200.” Jonas gave him that look, “You said, ‘$300’” The guy said, “But look at it.” Jonas responded, “I would have sent pictures.” They settled for $250. Jonas assured me, “Mom, I told him it didn’t go in reverse.” He spoke the truth. The guy got what he was told.

Without the Pathfinder, Joey needed a car. Josiah’s talents helped find one. When negotiating the price, Josiah said, “The guy was impatient and nervous. I just had to wait. He lowered the price without me saying a word.” Does speaking truth give confidence?

Jonas sold Anne, one of his cows. When I asked, “Did you tell how ornery she was?” He said, “Mom, I tried to discourage her. I told her, ’She wasn’t nice—especially to women and children. You need a firm hand and a stick.’ But the lady was convinced before she even saw her.” She now lives the truth of his words.

Jonas commented about one of their drop-calves dying. Jeremiah told him he should’ve put it in the kennel. Jonas said, “It would’ve died at the barn and at the kennel.” Josh, wants words to mean what they say, said, “It could only die once.” By stating truth, we listen and trust.

Ability-talent, skill or proficiency in a particular area
was recounting a story about the man who created erector sets for boys and a washboard for girls in the 1920’s. He was blamed for keeping girls from studying science and math. Josh was deeply puzzled, “Laundry keeps you from doing science?” On reflection, he said, “If girls were into science, they would’ve designed a better way to do laundry—at least they would have taken the washer apart.” Now why would he know that?

Josh was justifying his huge pocket knife—because “it fits in my pocket.” Jonas asked, “And a smaller one wouldn’t?” Josh said, “A smaller knife’s like a wad of dirt; it sinks to the bottom, lost.”

Josh volunteered to sharpen everyone’s knives. He commented about one knife being “sharp enough to shave his legs.” Josiah asked if that was why Josh’s legs were bald. Josh replied, “No, that’s why people think I have no eyebrows.” His skill got the job done. But should we trust him with a knife?

Jacob showed me a picture of a job they were doing. The tree had grown into the house’s roof. The carport roof shifted under their feet as they cut and shifted limbs with pulleys and ropes. I told them “to be extra careful.” Hours later, Jacob text me, “Mom, I’m going to the emergency room. I can’t see…” New text “when I close my eyes.” He finished the job without mishap and was able to see with his eyes open. By using their abilities, people trust them to get the job done.

While Jacob was taking Spanish, his Spanish tutor said he was VERY organized. I told him to put that truth in perspective of “Central American culture” where mañana is on time. (Mañana means tomorrow.) Sometimes ability is in the sight of the beholder.

Jacob’s list of what he wanted to do when he turned 18 included getting his CDL license, and buying a gun. He’s also become skilled playing the guitar. He followed through with his word. We’re proud of him.

Josiah thrives in his academic and hospital environment. He’s not bashful to try new skills or talk with patients. In his psych rotation, the nurses have asked him to stay longer. He has his dad’s gift: listening with his heart and bringing calmness to stressful situations. He’s not afraid to tell people what they need, not what they want to hear.

In spite of their own desire to stay in the background, Joey John and Rachel have trained Emma well to reach out to people. While visiting, Emma asked us, “How do you like my neighborhood?” When we do hangouts, Emma doesn’t just talk about herself. After asking all of us our favorite color, we asked Emma hers, “Shiny.” When she asked her dad, Joey John said, “It’s still black.” Her expression showed how unhappy his color made her. I’m now looking for “shiny” things.

Emma (4) communicates her feelings well. Rachel heard her girls weren’t getting along. When she asked what the problem was, Emma said, “I don’t know what happened, Mom, but whatever did, it wasn’t my fault.”

Joey John was teaching Emma not to call her dinner “gross.” After trying other unacceptable words, she finally said, “Well, it’s unlikeable.” Trust a child to say it like she thinks.

Emma asked Jonathan what he was doing. He said, “Just chillin’” He asked her, “Are you chillin’?” She said she wasn’t too cold and there wasn’t much snow. Still concerned to get him warm, she said he could turn up the heat and put on a sweater. Idioms don’t always say what they mean.

Grace (1) isn’t talking too much, but she makes her wishes clear. Often Emma interprets for her. When Joey mimics Emma’s accent, she whispers to her dad, “Papa can’t say things right.”

When Emma explained how tired she was, we asked how Grace was feeling. She said, “Grace has lots of energy all the time.” Trustworthiness means consistency.

Grace’s laser treatments continue to lighten her facial birthmark. She recognizes the doctor’s office and cries when they enter, but heals quickly, a testimony to God’s trustworthiness.

Jeremiah shares a different perspective on life, attributing to God’s varied design. He asked if there was a hole in the sky to see the sun and moon through the clouds. When he asked, “Why can’t you see all the moon?” I explained the scientific reason. He said, “That can’t be right.” I said, “You’re right. It’s made of invisible material, so we can’t see it.” He was relieved. Sometimes telling the truth doesn’t help.

Jeremiah is observant. He informed us, “Blue-bellied lizards were boys.” James asked, “How do you know?” Jeremiah replied, “Because boy lizards show off to get married.”

When Jeremiah was wishing for something, I told him, “Wishing doesn’t make it happen.” He said, “I wish it did.” Then laughed for 15 minutes about his wish.

When I was instructing Jeremiah about subtleties (and thinking guys don’t have the ability to get them), I told him, “If someone shuts the door on your talking lips, it probably means they weren’t listening.” He didn’t get it. Blunt truth may still not be understood.

Someone told us, “Jeremiah’s the Jonathan you use to have. He’s Jonathan’s replacement.” When we told Jonathan, he responded, “There’s no replacement.” I agree, but there are similarities.

After a long list of what Jeremiah had to do to be ready for bed, I asked, “What part of that don’t you understand?” He answered, “All of it.” I sighed and told him to get ready for bed. Too much truth at one time is hard to take.

While going to town to prepare Josh for hunting, Jeremiah said, “At least, I don’t make Mom make a special trip to town.” Josh defended himself, “I bring home the meat.” I wondered, since he hadn’t gotten a deer yet, what meat he was talking about. “Yea, we enjoyed that squirrel meat.” He again defended himself, “I brought home trout last time.” If it’s hunting, trapping, or catching, Josh does have the knack.

Jonas and James were branding cows. James’s horse stumbled and rolled over him. James’s breath was taken away for a few long moments, but Jonas and their friends made sure he finished the day. A trustworthy man is worthy of his hire.

Not too long afterward, Jonas was thrown on his head from a horse he was training. He said he was fine. Is that a trustworthy saying, or one to appease the mother?

Joey took Josh and Jeremiah to a shot-gun course. The instructors pointed out Josh to be watched for his speed and accuracy. During their class, Jeremiah shot, climbed ropes, and excelled in a children’s class. After each day, the instructors reminded the parents, “Please remember to pick up your child from their class.” Their skills and abilities were honed.

Jonas found why he wasn’t getting many horse shoeing jobs. A school ad posted beside his ad said $5/shoe. Joey suggested running another ad, “I’ll fix $5 shoe jobs.” In spite of his slow business start, Jonas’s farrier business is growing. His stories make us laugh, but also make us proud of his business savvy.

Jonathan receives comments about his age when they talk about being a crane operator. He’s one of the youngest in the country. God’s given him a gift for machines and leading people. Although proud of his accomplishments, a mom can’t help but worry when he lives his life on a precipice, hanging by a piece of metal.

Many of the construction workers are Mexican. They asked Jonathan, “With a name like Contreras, why don’t you speak Spanish.” Jonathan tried answering various ways, but they were always confused until he said, “My mom’s white.” They finally understood.

When Jonathan dropped his phone from his tower, a co-worker returned it, unharmed, in his bucket. He could advertise the reliability of his phone case. Other mishaps he’s shared remind me our safety doesn’t depend upon ourselves alone. I continue to give Jonathan to Someone Who protects him regardless of where he is.

Joey John has been working with Google to design, manufacture and send off satellites to increase internet accessibility everywhere. He commented, “Doing Google Hangouts with Google was like being in the same room with them,” although they, too, had problems with the internet. He enjoyed the challenge. Once that project was completed, he returned to designing forklifts to move boats and ships from the water to storage units—impressive feats that Rachel, his wife, keeps us informed. We appreciate her and her updates. Abilities that establish trust.

Sometimes it’s knowing what abilities you don’t have…
Jonas had been attending a Spanish church in the valley. After attending several months, he said, “I’ve got to ask people their names.” Josiah, who knows no strangers, shook his head. When asked if he greeted everyone with a hug [he likes his personal space], he said, “Only when I have to. But really only the pastor’s wife, because I have to.”

Jonas decorated his church room for VBS. When he asked for help, he was asked, “You’re not an artsy-person?” Jonas admitted he wasn’t. Knowing your limits help people know what you say you can do, you will do.

During VBS, he helped 5-6th graders through their stations and told them their story. One boy, typical 5th grade style, asked Jonas, “Are you married?” Jonas said he wasn’t old enough. “Well, do you have a girl friend?” The boys haven’t attained all that’s needed for life. Gives me time to prepare.

After Jonas moved out, he noticed his cupboards had the same things we did, but “it’s not the same.” Joey noticed the same thing when he lived alone. He called what was missing, “love.” Some abilities can’t be achieved, only given.

I asked Jonas if he ate frozen burritos while at farrier school. Thinking they were gross, he wouldn’t even try them. Josh, always full of suggestions, said, “You don’t eat them frozen, you know, you heat them.” Josh does have the ability to cut to the problem, even without his knife.

Other times, responsibility requires more than anticipated. A trustworthy man still honors his word.
The boys see this as their dad daily fulfills his commitments, in spite of difficulties. Joey finished his course for the army after many long hours, no sleep and attention to minute detail. He’s a man worthy of our trust.

Jacob bought a car so he could drive to school without putting miles on his truck. When James asked to use his truck, Jacob said, “That’s the secret. Don’t buy any vehicle, so you can borrow your brother’s because your backpack doesn’t fit in the Excursion.” He is generous, allowing us to use both his vehicles. Helps us be reliable at our jobs when vehicles are at the mechanics. And our trustworthy mechanics keep all our wheels moving.

James continues to search for his truck. His questions for the seller increase as he’s coached by Jacob and Jonas. After James made plans to look at a truck in Redding, Jonas asked the seller three different ways to find he didn’t have a clean title. James made the hard decision to cancel the trip. How do you know when to trust someone else?

Jonas commented, “I didn’t know Mom’s rules were universal until someone outside the family told me, ‘Don’t put anything metal in the toaster.’” Truth works at home and away from home.

Jonas told us to remind him, “not to buy another mare. She’s worthless for half a month.” James said, “But she’s not herd bound.” (Our male paces himself into a sweat if the mare’s gone.) Jonas said, “I’d deal with herd bound any day over worthlessness for 1½ weeks every month. And we can’t put her in any other pasture during that time—last time we got bigger problems.” He gestured to Ralph, James’s mule. (Last year, remember a donkey jumped a neighbor’s fence where our mare was pastured, thus Ralph appeared a year later.) Jonas does tell it like it is.

We could write stories of Ralph’s escapades. He chewed the tails and manes off our horses. He even climbed Trooper’s back, unbuckled his bridle and untied him. After finding his time limited, James sold Ralph. A trustworthy man knows where to spend his time.

Jonas acquired a cattle-pup. When he moved from home, he was enjoying his meal alone, when the doorbell rang. He wondered why his dogs hadn’t barked. [They even bark and attack his roommate.] He answered the door. It was his puppy Goose. Jonas didn’t let him in. He’s consistent with training. His word means the same thing every time.

Jonas came home for medicine for Goose. Goose didn’t make it even with the treatment. Responsibilities cost.

James received Sadie, a cow-pup. She was nervous and skittish. After two days, she disappeared. We searched the neighborhood, putting up ‘LOST’ posters. Two months later, James found her in a neighbor’s yard. James bought two sheep to train her, so, as Jonas puts it, “She won’t be worthless when they round up cattle.”

Jeremiah watched Sadie catch and spit out a meat bee. Later her lip swelled. Maybe she’s learned bees are better left alone. Sometimes training is hard.

When James brought home another cow-pup for Jonas, I sighed. It was an eight-week-old. Jeremiah is loving having a puppy to clean after. I’m tired of Jeremiah’s hair smelling like dog spit. I’m also not enjoying getting up in the middle of the night by his cries to go outside. Being trustworthy sometimes takes help.

When Ty, Jonas’s cow-dog, defended his territory (our neighbor’s yard), he was attacked by two German Shepherds with puppies. The damage couldn’t be fixed. Ty was put down. A trustworthy dog is hard to replace. And business sense doesn’t always eliminate heart pain.

Jonathan proposed to Mckenna. Their wedding is planned for May, 2018, reflecting the trust in each other to be faithful till death. Being a good husband takes work. Jonathan must learn a new kind of responsibility.

Joshua’s baseball season was in the valley this year. He made all-stars. Always enjoy watching him give his all, all the time.

Jacob graduated this year. I’m always glad when that final grade is finished, like I’ve graduated again. Each one takes me a while to process and accept. We only have three left to homeschool. I soon won’t be pushing any of them to be trustworthy, they’ll show it on their own.

Strength. Trust involves believing in the strength of whom you place your trust.
is getting pretty good at hauling 60 pounds in his backpack. During this year’s archery hunt, Josh took down his first deer. Don’t ask Jacob whose is bigger, he’ll tell you his venison two years ago was “fresh” and Josh’s was “gamey.” Because many of us struggled to “enjoy” this year’s venison, Josh informs us almost every meal that this meat tastes “good, except that it’s gamey.” Trustworthiness means you’ll share the weight and remember the truth.

We were talking about using pig valves in heart replacements. Josh said, “If I ever need a heart valve, I’d want a wild boar valve.” Does wildness give more strength?

Josh’s strength was tested when he broke his wrist while rollerblading and had to have his bones pulled apart and reset. He passed without even a grunt or a whimper without pain medicine. He’s got that quiet strength.

Sometimes it’s that staying strength. When Josh was asked if he was going ice skating. He was hesitant. James piped up and encouraged him, “You don’t need your arm for ice skating. It’s just like rollerblading.”

Gaining strength involves a break (no pun intended) from the normal to re-gather our strength. While visiting friends and family, Josh, Jeremiah and Josiah tested their ability at rock climbing and ice skating.

We went to the Sequoias for sledding and snowshoeing.

Going to Pismo Beach for the day helped us get some sun and more sun.

Camping at Huntington Lake before the boys returned to school also helped renew our strength. The boys tried paddle boarding and kayaking. Josiah loved the hikes with views only few see, while Jonas came for the food, cooler weather and a chance to rest. We all returned refreshed.

The boys met Joey and me for a day at Yosemite. Although half of the boys were sick, they still persevered through the hikes and smiled for the annual family picture. Doing what is necessary even when you don’t have the strength.

Trust. A firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.Do I trust my boys? I do and I can because they have proven trustworthy. They know and follow truth. Their abilities and strength don’t come from themselves, but from God Who promises to give what they need. When they don’t acknowledge God and forsake truth, their lives become empty, without meaning and purpose. Trust is gone.

Trust is only as good as the thing or person you trust. What do you trust? Money doesn’t last. Houses won’t stand. Whom do you trust? Will friends stay when the fun stops? Will a spouse remain when the good is gone? Are you strong enough to keep yourself safe?

The “paths of all who forget God…his trust is a spider’s web…He lays hold of it, but it does not endure.” Job 8:13-15

There’s only one place where trust is perfect, secure, and safe.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” Proverbs 3:5-7.

Trust? I have it in God Who holds me to His heart and will never let me go.

May your trust be in Him Who is trustworthy and cannot fail,


Joey, Sonya, Josiah, Jonas, Jacob (18), James (17), Joshua (14), and Jeremiah (11)

Trust. When I read the Bible, I know it’s true, because God’s Words are true. In Genesis when He tells Adam lived 930 years. And Seth lived 912 years. I believe it, although incomprehensible because of my experience. In Isaiah 65:20-22, God says of the future, “No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his days; for the youth will die at the age of one hundred and the one who does not reach the age of one hundred will be thought accursed…. for as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people.” God will bring those long ages again.

Over the past thirty years, Dr. Aardsma, Ph.D. has researched using Biblical truth in conjunction with scientific research to study the aging cause and cure. He has found the supplement that stops the aging process and brings perpetual youth. The “Fountain of Youth” has been found. Of course, it isn’t forever, we’re not in heaven yet. But it is longer than what we know.

Although sounding like a hoax, testimonials present measurable facts. I have tried the supplement since October 17, 2017. So far, noticeable effects include: elimination of some pain, (My hands don’t hurt when I play the piano or cramp when I type. I’ve stopped taking pain medicine for them. I use to take it several times a week), renewed energy, and deeper sleep. Joey can lift more weights with no soreness and has deeper, restful sleep.

Read my article here for further updates:

Read Dr. Aardsma’s book he’s written to explain his findings is available free as pdf here:

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 Instructions for paying shipping is explained. Donations for the supplement are accepted.

Hard to trust? Not when my Savior says, “Come, I want to give you life, more abundant and free.”

I’m not sure I want to live forever. But I know with my Lord, He will hold my hand for as long as I live.


For those interested, I’ve published three books this year, details available at my website:

I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Click on book cover for details.




Tell of My Kingdom's Glory
Three Book Series