Archive | December, 2007

10 Questions to Ask Yourself for 2008

I have also found this list of questions by Donald Whitney to be of excellent use for evaluating your spiritual life, friendships, etc. especially at the start of a new year. These are also great questions for leading in profitable conversation as well. I find it very helpful to write my answers in the front of my journal, that way I can look back and re-evaluate throughout the year.

Donald Whitney says:

Once, when the people of God had become careless in their relationship with Him, the Lord rebuked them through the prophet Haggai. “Consider your ways!” (Haggai 1:5) he declared, urging them to reflect on some of the things happening to them, and to evaluate their slipshod spirituality in light of what God had told them.

Even those most faithful to God occasionally need to pause and think about the direction of their lives. It’s so easy to bump along from one busy week to another without ever stopping to ponder where we’re going and where we should be going.

The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to stop, look up, and get our bearings. To that end, here are some questions to ask prayerfully in the presence of God.

  1. What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
  2. What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
  3. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
  4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
  5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
  6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
  7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
  8. What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?
  9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
  10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?

He continues:

So let’s evaluate our lives, make plans and goals, and live this new year with biblical dilgence, remembering that, ‘the plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage’ (Proverbs 21:5). But in all things let’s also remember our dependence on our King who said, ‘Apart from Me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5).

For the full article click here.

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Chronicle God’s Providence for a New Year

How can we begin this New Year off with renewed vision in our calling and also fresh thankfulness at the providences of God over this past year? I found an article by Doug Philipps to be of great encouragement as we prepare for the New Year. He gave three important points, which I am rewriting in condensed form:

1. Chronicle God’s Providence

Ask some of the following questions as a family and record the events of this past year. I thought it would be neat to type these out and keep a notebook as each year goes by. I am going to include this in the photo album I am working on to record the pictures and events of this past year. That way we can treasure the memories we have made together. I am so quick to forget events, my memory is so poor, even at my age. Lord have mercy!

  1. Where did I/we travel?
  2. What were the titles and key texts of sermons I preached?
  3. What books/articles did I write?
  4. What significant household projects did we accomplish in 2007?
  5. What were the most important meetings of the year?
  6. What special friendships were made this year?
  7. Which children lost teeth, and how many?
  8. Who grew in physical stature, and how much did they grow?
  9. Who learned to read this year?
  10. What diet and physical exercise regimen did I maintain to honor “my temple”?
  11. What books did I read? Did we read as a family? Did my children read?
  12. What Scriptures did my family memorize?
  13. What loved ones died this year?
  14. What were the great personal/ministry/national tragedies and losses of the year?
  15. What were the great personal/ministry/national blessings of the year?
  16. What were my most significant failures/sins for the year 2007?
  17. What unresolved conflicts/issues am I bringing into 2008?
  18. What significant spiritual and practical victories did I experience?
  19. In what tangible ways did I communicate gratitude to those who have blessed me and invested in my life?
  20. What are the top ten themes of 2007 for my family?

2. Say Thank You to those who have invested in your life

He continues by encouraging us to make a list of people who have impacted to your life in the past and this year. Those who have invested, taught, encouraged, discipled you. Write a brief and meaningful letter to each of them. Incorporate your children in this as well. Ask them if there is anyone specific they wish to say thanks to. What a wonderful way to encourage those around us and to express our full appreciation for all the blessings the Lord has bestowed on us through others this year!

He concludes:

One last thought: One reason why Christians are often limited in vision, energy, and blessings is that, contrary to the Lord’s command, we are ungrateful, unforgiving, and bitter. Far too many who profess the name of Christ spend more time obsessing on those who have wronged them than rejoicing in those who have blessed them. Letters and tangible expressions of gratitude are not only pleasing to Christ, but an antidote to heart-sickness.

To read the third point and the whole article, click here.

Happy New Year!

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Getting Organized 2008

So my first week off from my teaching break was somewhat of a wash due to our illness, but it was refreshing to just sit around, comfort my little one, and read in bed. I wanted to make a plan of action for this upcoming week to reorganize and refocus for the New Year. I have noticed some of my friends de-cluttering and organizing themselves and their homes anew, which inspires me to pick up where I have been slacking! Thanks Stephanie & Lylah! I want to be able to jump into the New Year with a clean home, refreshed heart and mind. Having a clean home for me greatly allows me to relax and refocus…so that is where I am starting! If you know me well enough organization is one of my gifting, so it is something I love doing! But at the same time I struggle with putting things off and not being motivated. So with the encouragement of others, I have made my list of goals this week and with your accountability, I will get them done (Lord willing!).

Starting the new year off right at the Edmonds:

1. Prepare my heart and mind for the new year

Lylah also encouraged me to re-evaluate the status of my relationships, which I believe is an excellent idea. Each morning this week, I am going to strive to evaluate my present state in each of the following relationship. How can I improve more strategically?

-How am I doing in my relationship with the Lord? How can I improve?

-How am I doing in my relationship to my husband?

-How am I doing in my relationship with others?

2. Make a more specific menu plan (monthly) incorporating more grains, fruits & vegi’s, legumes – limiting grocery store runs to twice a month.

3. Make a reading list for this year - DONE – This helps me keep going with reading and refreshing my soul throughout the year. Want to join me? I would love to see your reading list goals.

4. Begin to work on completing a Blurb book of the past year

I am not a creative person, so unfortunately scrapbooking is not my thing, but I have found Blurb books to be a great resource for compiling your pictures in a fun, simple and yet long-lasting way.

5. De-cluttering the following areas:

I like Lylah’s idea of not throwing anything away…find a better place for it, or give it to someone or somewhere to be reused or recycled. I am going to aim to tackle one area each day this week in my de-cluttering, and put the items that are not in use to better use somewhere else. Donate it, give it away, and recycle!

-Bathroom cupboards & drawers -Monday

-My desk cupboard - Tuesday

-Kitchen drawers & cupboards - Wednesday

-Closets – Thursday

I’M DONE! WOW! That feels so good…I am returning to a simpler way of things. It’s not too late to join in on the organization challenge!

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Christmas at our Home

A shot by Aaron looking up into a well lite tree

We had a very blessed and relaxing Christmas at our home this year! I have delayed in posting lately because we also have been struck with a stomach flu since Wednesday. I am thankful it didn’t hit until after Christmas…but we thank the extended Edmonds family for passing it on to us on Christmas Eve! ;) This is the second year in a row that they have taken ill on the holidays. Alas! I will break from my Natural Living on a Budget series today, but would like to post a few pictures from our celebrations. Enjoy!

The Lord blessed us with the opportunity of really ministering to one of our neighbors this past weekend. Do you remember me telling you how I was struggling with my delay and decided to make some bread at the last minute to give as gifts? Although most of our neighbors were out of town, we did have the opportunity of giving a loaf to an older divorced woman. She was really hurting and opened up to us. We were able to pray for her. She was so blessed by our prayers and by holding little Karis, that she even began to tear up. She expressed interest in going to church with us in the new year. Praise God! This was such an encouragement. We have been trying to reach out to one particular couple in our neighborhood without much success, as we had invited to three different Christmas events and they backed out of each one. God encouraged us to just keep being faithful! I know He has placed us in this neighborhood for a reason…and I don’t want to miss out on the opportunities to minister.

Karis with her Christmas hat & Grandma Taylor (my mom!)

Here we are at the Grotto Festival of Lights last Saturday

Our Christmas Tree with Christmas cards posted on the window

Karis with her stocking (it is as large as she is! Thanks to Grandma Edmonds)

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Merry Christmas!

Aaron, Lindsay & Karis Edmonds


We want to send a warm Christmas greeting and wish you all a blessed holiday! From our family to yours! I will be enjoying the holidays with my family so will be taking a furlough from blogging for the next week. God bless you all!

Picture was taken by our good friends, Paul and Jennifer Hartung at Jenn Lynn Images.

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Natural Body Products on a Budget – Part 1

If I can say one thing…remember to take your time in incorporating a more natural lifestyle into your home. I try to add one new thing on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, so as not to overwhelm myself. It is important to take simple steps towards improving your health and the care of the environment as well. I will not guarantee that pursuing a healthier lifestyle with your food, body products, cleaning supplies, etc. will be a piece of cake, but I will say that it is definitely worth it! Taking good care of our bodies will make us more fit for the Master’s use, and that is an important pursuit!

Now for some recommendations for natural body products!

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has been called the “healthiest dietary oil on earth.” This is the item that I have just started incorporating into our diet. I have been cooking with it, adding it to smoothies, and now I am realizing the benefits to using it as a natural body product. Coconut Oil is a little more on the expensive side, but it definitely extends a long way and can be used for multiple purposes, which makes it a very valuable and worthwhile purchase in my book (I am all for all-in-one products!). Read on!

Take advantage of this awesome oil in the nourishment of your skin and hair.

Hair Conditioner – Using coconut oil for hair conditioner is a great, healthy idea. It not only softens the hair and leaves it shiny, it also leaves your scalp moisturized. It will also absorb into your skin nicely as well without leaving that greasy feeling that some moisturizers have a tendency to do. Applying coconut oil to wet hair is what works best. Make the application after you get out of the shower. Put a pea sized drop in one hand. Better to have too little than too much. Evenly coat hands by rubbing them together. Evenly run fingers through hair and rub coconut oil into hair. Using a comb to distribute oil through hair is also acceptable. Repeat if desired.

Deodorant – This has been the best thing I have discovered lately! It works wonders! I am one that has always had to use very strong deodorant because the natural stuff never worked. I have been blown away by the effectiveness of this recipe. My husband was a little skeptical at first, and didn’t necessarily like applying it with his hands, but the benefits far out way any extra effort. Ingredients: Arrowroot powder (or cornstarch), baking soda, and coconut oil. Combine equal quantities of arrowroot and baking soda (I started with ¼ cup each). Then add as much coconut oil to the mixture till you get the substance that you desire (2-3 Tbls). Replace your empty deodorant containers with the product or store it in a plastic bowl with lid.

Skin Care – Coconut oil is also an excellent massage oil for the skin as well. It is an effective moisturizer on all types of skin.

Read more about the multiple health benefits of coconut oil here.

Bath Soap – I highly recommend Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap bars. I prefer the Baby Mild brand because it works for all of us. Trader Joe’s carries the Peppermint kind for $2.50, but I find it stings the skin greatly. Azure Standard also sells these products for $2.70 per bar. In the future, I will probably try the liquid version, as I believe it would be more economical as it is a concentrate and can be used as regular hand soap, shampoo, toothpaste, cleaning, and laundry. Ingredients include: Saponified Organic Coconut, Organic Palm and Organic Olive Oils (with Retained Glycerin), Water, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Salt, Citric Acid, Vitamin E.

Any other good body product recipes or recommendations? Please share!

Find the best price on coconut oil here at Mountain Rose Herbs!

Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils. Sin

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Daddy’s Little Girl

She is wanting Daddy to buy her lots of things already? Look at that mischievous little grin. She is taking a nice fancy to his wallet.

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Celebrating Christ’s Coming

Christmas is such a wonderful time of year! A celebratory time to reflect upon the arrival of Christ into our fallen human world. He came to establish His kingdom on this earth, and although He is not physically present, He continues His work of bringing about His kingdom and it will be completed at His return. It is interesting how humbly He came. Have you ever thought it funny that the kings came and brought gifts and the shepherds heard and welcomed the Messiah…but then we do not hear of these men any further. As far as we know, they did not go about and declare this good news! It is not until thirty years later that people finally start acknowledging the Savior. And even then He is put to death only three years later. Praise God that although He came and lived in such humility, He is now reigning in heaven as the Lamb that was slain for the sins of the world!

Here are a few resources and ideas that we have found helpful:

Advent Reading – This year we have been reading through Watch for the Light by a compilation of different authors (C.S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, etc.) on the advent and meaning of Christmas. It is very good and insightful. We have our advent wreath as our centerpiece at our table, but we don’t necessarily always read around it. We bring the book with us in the car to read while driving or in our bedroom before turning out the lights. I recommend it! It may be a little deep for little ones, but then it gives our hubby’s opportunity to truly teach and expand upon it. Aaron has had to do this for me many times already. ;) This is a picture of our advent wreath. I bought the wreath and a simple garland that I stuffed in it after Christmas last year when everything went on sale. I like the red and white candle theme, although many people do purple, pink and white.

Jesus Gift – I mentioned this a little while ago. This is a special way to minister to a specific need in your church body this Christmas!

Thankfulness Box – a few year back our family designated a basket throughout the month of December in which we would write down special memories that had transpired throughout the year. Every time a memory came to one of us we would write it on a slip of paper, fold it up, and put it in the basket. As we took turns opening gifts on Christmas morning, we would each read one of the memories and reflect on all the blessings that God had poured out on us throughout the year. It was a time to reminisce and remember times together as a family. It was wonderful!

Neighbor Gifts – Last year, a few close friends and I got together and made cookies for each of our neighbors. It was a fun event to do together and so much easier that way! In the past, my family has also made simple table arrangements with fresh greenery and decorations. A very nice gift for the neighbors and friends. It didn’t happen this year, but I was thinking today that I would still really like to do something, but I was discouraged because I thought it was too late. Never! Even if they arrive after Christmas, it is the thought and love of Christ that we are sharing. I am setting aside some time on Saturday to make some simple lemon bread in little loaves for our neighbors. It doesn’t have to be extravagant…I just want to communicate the true meaning of the season! True joy comes from giving and not receiving. Giving the gift of life!

Local Holiday Events – I love going to different holiday events! This year we went to a live journey through Bethlehem put on by a local church. Tomorrow evening we are going to the Grotto Festival of Lights, which is actually a catholic event, but they have a really neat retelling of the Christmas story as you walk through their beautifully decorated and lighted grounds and hear different groups sing in their large chapel (beautiful acoustics). Powerful! We have invited a neighbor couple to go with us. What events take place in your town? Maybe you can invite your neighbors to participate?

Christmas DayGingerbread Pancakes at our home for breakfast (I used a similar recipe, although I replace whole wheat flour for the white flour and I don’t use the cocoa powder or nuts). We started this special Christmas breakfast last year and the hubby loves them! Make a special family breakfast and read the Christmas story together. We kept our gifts simple this year: stockings only. I loved it and think we will keep this as a tradition for the future.

Ornaments – each year we are aiming to find a ornament that represents a significant event that happened in our life throughout the year (birth of a child, vacation, etc). My husband’s family did this while growing up. Each child would get a new ornament that represented the year or something they did together as a family, etc. to add to their own personal ornament collection. When they got married, they could take their collection with them. So this year we added “Karis’ First Christmas” to our collection.

Check out my friend Kimi’s blog for some other resources for Holiday Ideas.

Merry Christmas to you all!

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Called to be Faithful Not Perfect

Revelation 3:1-6
“‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.’”

Once again I share some of my musings and thoughts from the book of Revelation. While pondering this address to the sleeping church in Sardis, one thing stood out to me. This church had not completed the tasks God had appointed them to do. They were slacking off, assuming that Christ was coming, and they didn’t need to think any further as to the present.

God has appointed each of us with different deeds and works of righteousness that we are to complete before His return or He takes us home. The command is to wake up and remain attentive to the deeds God has predestined for us to complete! For me, He has called me to serve my husband, my baby, and our church at large. He has specific deeds of ministry for me to accomplish in my spear of influence.

Eph. 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

The key to remember is that He does not call us to perfectionism but to faithfulness (not laziness either, or we might miss out on receiving the blessing)! I am a perfectionist so this hits home for me! I struggle with having peace and rest when something is left undone on my list from the day. He does not command that you have a perfect house, or perfectly behaved children, or that everyone must think highly of you in order for you to complete your work. He calls us to reflect Him, to stay alert and attentive to His promptings, meet the needs of those in our spear…and remain confident that He will only take us home when our work is complete on this earth!

So keep up the good work wherever He has called you!

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Kitchen Tip: Draining Board

The draining board! AHH! It has been a source of frustration for me. It sure does accumulate with all sorts of hand washable kitchen items and never ceases to be pilled with stuff! Once I clear it off, another pile fills up. Keeping the draining board cleared greatly improves the appearance of your kitchen, I have realized. When dishes are pilled high in this one area of the kitchen, even if everything else is cleared, my entire kitchen looks a mess. I have never had a drying rack, but have always used a towel, as racks seem to accumulate mold, and do not look attractive at all.

I know that air drying your dishes is supposedly better for you, but when they sit there for a day, they are also accumulating dust and dirt!

This week I have set a goal for myself to keep this cleared off, if all possible. When I wash the dishes after the meal, I am going to just dry the dish immediately after washing and put it away. Do away with the draining board all together! I am often just plan lazy!

Check out Tammy’s Recipes for more kitchen tips!

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