Archive | December, 2008

Purposeful Planning for the New Year

2009As we enter a new year, consider the idea of using great reflective questions to chronicle God’s Providences to your family over this past year. This is a wonderful tool for writing down all that God has done in and through you and your family as a means of reminding us of God’s goodness and sovereignty in every aspect of life, which in turn provides us with strength and motivation to press on to know the Lord over this new year (Hosea 6:3). We like to store this in our annual photo album for keepsake.

Another great resource is the 10 Questions to Ask Yourself at the Beginning of A New Year. These are extremely beneficial for seeking to take time to stop, look up, and get your bearings for a new year. It is truly profitable to sit down with your spouse, friend, or accountability partner and write down your responses. How will you keep each other accountable this year?

Aaron and I just used both of these resources again last night as we did last year to prepare for the new year and feel more equipped to keep Christ central and continue to grow in our faith and service of Him this year.

“Consider your ways (Haggai 1:5)!” May we all strive to bring God further glory as we live out our days over this coming year!

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Cranberry Candy Canes


The Edmonds side of the family makes these traditionally on Christmas morning, and I wanted to continue the tradition as Aaron absolutely loves these little canes! I did find them quite scrumptious, and they should be for all the sugar they have…but splurging a little is okay with me for such special occasions! I share this recipe just to show that I am not a healthy cook all the time, although they are free of additional preservatives, and have fresh nuts, cranberries and raisins, so that counts for something. Additionally, keeping my hubby happy is an important priority! ;) A little sugar keeps life exciting!

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A Refreshing White Christmas


Christmas morning at the Edmonds

We hope you all were blessed with a refreshing, relaxing and Christ centered holiday. We celebrated Christmas Eve with Aaron’s side of the family and Christmas day with my side, while reserving Christmas morning to continue our own family traditions. Christmas morning included Christmas Cranberry Canes for breakfast (a delicious un-healthy pastry passed down from the Edmonds side- but the recipe is so good I just had to share it! ;) , completing our Jesse Tree Advent readings, and enjoying the opening of a few small gifts for each other, while watching the beautiful snow fall all around outside. It was perfect!

Here are some pictures from our celebrations…


Karis is enthralled with her new doll stroller – a $5 craiglist find! She loves pushing around anything and everything she can find…


The view from our back window


Aaron & two of his brothers – Stephen & Ben


Karis with her cousins, Alita & Eva, and Uncle Simon (yes that is Aaron’s youngest brother at 4 years of age!)


Christmas dinner around the Taylor table (my side of the family)

I received a few wonderful books that will be added to my 2009 book list, a new Bible,  in addition to a wonderful eco-friendly safe griddle pan, that I can’t wait to show you! Okay, so it’s a pan, but I love homemaking!

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Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!


Christmas greetings from our house to yours! I am enjoying the first white Christmas I have ever experienced. We have had record snowfall…more snow than we have received since 1980! I will be taking a brief break  and will come back later next week with a few announcements of upcoming events to kick off the new year here! God bless you all!

“For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

- Isaiah 9:6

(Left: Our Christmas family photo 2008)

With much love,

Aaron, Lindsay, Karis & Junior ;)

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Christ-Centered Christmas Dialogue

Do you desire to have some focused Christ-centered conversation during your Christmas festivities this year? As our family looks to include our international students for the last time before they return home to Belgium, we are especially earnest to be able to share the hope of Jesus Christ with them. Here is a wonderful list of questions for any type of environment, from Christmas parties, to work gatherings, to gradually draw the conversations to a deeper level. You could use these around the Christmas table or in one-on-one dialogue, with friends and family, strangers, believers and unbelievers alike. I will even be using some of these at the  ladies Christmas tea I am hosting this Saturday to reach out to our neighbors.

10 Questions to Ask At A Christmas Gathering – by Donald Whitney

  1. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you since last Christmas?
  2. What was your best Christmas ever? Why?
  3. What’s the most meaningful Christmas gift you’ve ever received?
  4. What was the most appreciated Christmas gift you’ve ever given?
  5. What was your favorite Christmas tradition as a child?
  6. What is your favorite Christmas tradition now?
  7. What do you do to try to keep Christ in Christmas?
  8. Why do you think people started celebrating the birth of Jesus?
  9. Do you think the birth of Jesus deserves such a nearly worldwide celebration?
  10. Why do you think Jesus came to earth?

Above all, remember to pray that the Lord would go before you and provide “divine appointments” to enter into God-glorifying conversation this Christmas!

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Our Jesus Gift


Jesus Gift included: homemade raspberry jam, applesauce, peanut brittle, fresh fruit and a variety of good books and CD’s

One of my favorite Christmas memories while growing up I will never forget…it was the year we surprised a needy family with Christmas gifts. The joys of giving that Christmas stick vividly in my memory. I remember the excitement me and my siblings experienced while we picked out fun Christmas toys for the kids. I remember the enthusiastic response we received from our recipients as they opened the door to our surprise – a basket full of treasures. It was amazing! To this day I know this event had a serious impact on my life and was another seed planted in my heart with a passion for generosity.

This Christmas we had the joy of seeking out another such needy family to which we could provide a little Christmas joy this year. We don’t have much to give, but it is the gift of Christ’s love that makes each small gift a fragrant aroma before Him and to the recipient. The thought of ministering mercy – the thought of experiencing the true joys of taking part in being His hands and feet to a needy world – fills me with such wonder and awe! It’s not about us! It’s all about Him!

We heard of a needy family behind in their mortgage payments, experiencing multiple health issues amongst their children and the father suffering under severe shortage of work opportunities. We called them up, asked for a wish list of specific needs and desires, gathered a few other families alongside us to meet the needs. Just last night we brought our Christmas baskets of goodies to their home and joyfully praised the Savior together. It was heaven! After experiencing this I really felt like this is what it is all about! Just one more encouragement and motivation for me to continue striving to live on less in order that we might give more generously!

I share this not to boast in our giving, but rather to plant the seeds in your heart…to testify before you that it is indeed more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35)! How can we cut back on our living rather than our giving even in the midst of this economic downturn?

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Let it Snow!

Yes, it has been some wild weather over here as of late. It snows, melts, snows some more, and melts again. Now we are supposed to get 5-6 inches before the weekend is out. That may not sound much to you, but to us here in the Northwest…it is actually pretty significiant! Anyway, we are enjoying it and Karis loves it! She calls it “doe” as the “s” sound is not quite working yet. ;) We may even have snow for Christmas – which would be incredible! I still laugh to see how much everything shuts down here in the Northwest after we experience some snow. All events lately are being canceled…Alas!

12/22 UPDATE: Wow! We are 12 inches here now! This is the biggest snow storm we have had in 10 years! It is so beautiful!

Merry Christmas to you all! May you be filled with the joy of our Savior’s birth!


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Natural Insomnia Help

insomniaPraise the Lord I have been able to sleep well the last two nights, thanks to some helpful tips from some of my readers and my midwife. These are helpful suggestions for those who deal with insomnia in or outside of pregnancy. The top two suggestions are what I have been doing primarily and seeing a vast improvement!

1. Calcium/Magnesium – regulate relaxation, especially with muscle tension and physical restlessness. Take approximately 2000 mg of calcium and 1000 mg of magnesium before going to bed (they are usually balanced properly in a cal/mag supplement). Best in a liquid combination form. If you take in tablets you will have to drink a large glass of water to swallow that many pills which results in an increased amount of times having to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night (at least for the pregnant ladies).

Foods rich in magnesium include: legumes and seeds, dark leafy green vegetables, wheat bran, almonds, cashews, blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, and whole grains. Food rich in calcium include: dairy products, canned fish with bones, nuts, fruits, vegetables, dried beans, rice beverages, molasses, and some leafy greens.

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Frugally Re-using Greenery


My neighbor inspired me with this cute idea. Rather than throwing out her old wreath from last year, she kept it and reused it this year. Her wreath was actually real greenery. Yes, it was a bit dried out. Her solution? Spray paint it and hang a few cute ornaments on it! Looks brand new! What a great way to get a new and fresh look to any decor item whether real or artificial! I might just keep my Christmas tree around till next year and spray paint it! ;)

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Homemade Pasta!


Pictured L-R: Brooke, Kelly, Christa, me, and my lovely mother, Donna

My sisters, mom and I enjoyed the afternoon making homemade pasta yesterday which we made into ravioli’s. This is one of our fun family traditions for our Christmas dinner celebration – bringing out the Italian side of us! It has been a delight to establish our own unique traditions and especially in ways that help build and strengthen our family relationships! So many fun laughs together!


Want to make your own pasta? Pasta Makers work wonderfully! We use unbleached white flour as it is a special treat in the first place, but I have heard it is possible to also make whole wheat pasta with these machines.  It’s a fun family event to make together! We have also had several fun parties in the past inviting others to make pasta with us and enjoy it over dinner. The recipe comes with the machine and is actually quite simple to do, but a similar recipe with instructions is available here. Unfortunately, I don’t think you can make soaked pasta with this machine or at least I have never attempted it, but probably pasta from sprouted dough (for a soaked pasta or sprouted pasta recipe read here).

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