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Trades of Hope Giveaway!

One out of seven people in the world are hungry. Women around the world are forced to put their children to bed hungry every night. Many times these children sleep on dirt floors. For most of those children, there is no hope that they can go to school the next morning. Can you imagine your child hungry and lacking hope for tomorrow?

Trades of Hope is a unique business structure that helps partner with these women. Some have been forced into the sex trade. Some have been acid attacked. Some are just in the unfortunate circumstance of being born in a desperately poor country. Each of these beautiful women has a gift.

They don’t want charity, they want an opportunity! They have handcrafted unique works of art that Trades of Hope is marketing on their behalf giving them the opportunity that they need to improve their own lives and the lives of their children. It is sustainable, long term, multi-generational change!

There are two wonderful ways you can support this ministry as a business model. You can help support your family, while helping a family in Haiti, Uganda or Peru by joining the Trades of Hope Team of like-minded, motivated women!  Become a Compassion Entrepreneur promoting Fair Trade products by women around the world, and you earn an income.

And secondly, by purchasing any of the lovely assortment of handcrafted jewelry, scarves, journals, bags, candles, and other home decor you are helping to support impoverished women around the world.

Today, we are excited to give away a few items that have been handcrafted by these precious ladies around the world. We will have three lovely winners, one for each of these prizes that are being offered.

1.  Multi strand silver necklace from India (pictured at top of post – $20 value)- This beautiful necklace is simply stunning and classy. Through the sale of these necklaces,  children in three poor villages in India can go to school.

2. Capiz Feather Earrings from the Philippines (pictured just above – $16 value) – I am in love with these earrings. They are beautiful and large, and very elegant. Help abused women in the Philippines gain opportunity.

3. $20 gift card  - the final prize is a $20 gift card for you to use on any product of your choice!


1. Visit Trades of Hope and browse their product line. Come back and share your favorite item in the comments below. Also, pick which of the three prizes mentioned above would be your choice if you were to win.

2. For a second optional entry, sign up for the Trades of Hope newsletter (sign up through the link on the bottom of their homepage), and come back and let us know in a second comment. If you have problems signing up for the newsletter, you can also text TRADESOFHOPE to 22828 and follow the instructions there to sign up for the newsletter.

You can also follow Trades of Hope through Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest to stay informed on this wonderful ministry.

Giveaway Closed.


1. Necklace: Deanna (dmfitzpatrick16@…)

2. Earrings: Alicia (scrugglenamp@…)

3. Gift card: Jessica (jessicamumford@…)

Giveaway open to US participants only.

Winner will be randomly selected and contacted on the Wednesday following the completion of the giveaway. The end of this post will be updated to announce the winners. 
Email subscribers: You must click through to the original post on Passionate Homemaking to be entered into this giveaway.
No purchase necessary.

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Springtime at Our Home

It has been awhile since I have shared a family update with you all, so I thought it was high time. Spring has been gradually peaking through the clouds here in the Northwest. We have had a few days of glorious sunshine which is a blessing after months of indoor cold rain weather. Spring brings beautiful colors and allergies all in one. The springtime has included celebrating my son Titus’ third birthday, hosting a baptism at our home in our backyard hot tub, hosting Easter dinner with family and friends, celebrating Lent and Easter in our home with passover and other fun readings and activities, starting some flower and veggie gardening in our backyard, spring walks, and a weekend getaway to the Oregon Coast to rest, walk on the beach, play games, and simply be together as a family.

We are in the final stages of launching my husband’s new business, but I believe the end is in sight. We can finally tell you all what he has been working on! The business is called Bourbon and the mission is to provide mobile websites for small businesses – restaurants, retail stores, etc. Aaron has set up the launch page for the business, which you can view here. We are super excited and praying fervently that it would take off over the next few weeks. Our prayer is that it would be able to financially support us and give our family more freedom to start serving more actively in our church and missions. It has been an intense 4+ month period as he has been working days and most nights. It has certainly been taking its tole on our family, but by God’s grace I am holding on and trying to enjoy the ride.

We have been prioritizing our family and keeping our schedule pretty free and simple. My blogging has been minimal as you might have noticed. ;) I have felt bad for all the times I have had to say “no” to various invitations, but I know it is paying off in the long run.

During this transition, I have really been seeing the value of just being a helper to my hubby. As wives we play such an important role in keeping our men going strong. We can tear them down through discouraging words, or we can help them flourish and succeed through loving support and cheering them on in our words and actions. Guys seem to be pretty simple. They need us to believe in them. I have been amazed at how just a simple text message or email expressing my love or telling him how proud I am of him sometime during the day can make a world of difference on his spirits. It’s easy to forget about our men while taking care of the little ones around us…but honestly, when we plant those seeds of expressing love and admiration, our love will only grow and flourish all the more. Write him a note, make a love message board that you can update regularly, plant post it love notes in his car, on his desk, or wherever he visits frequently. Let him know you are behind him…and you might just be surprised at the results. Care to join me in striving to just write or speak one little message each day to encourage our men?

Enjoying our first passover meal

My sister, Christa, and her fiancé Dan

My younger sister got engaged in early February so we are in the preparation process for a wedding in mid-June. I’m so excited! We are all involved in the wedding, so I have been searching high and low finding appropriate attire for all of us. In my spare time, I’m planning a shower and will also be hosting the rehearsal dinner. It has been a joy doing some spring cleaning here and passing on some household items to help my sister get started well.

Eden girl has an awesome army crawl mastered and is cruising around all over the place at 9 months of age now. Karis is starting Kindergarten work, and my Titus man is my sweet helper watching out for his sisters (amidst some challenges with his potty training :( ). They all keep busy taking walks with Daddy, unloading the dishwasher, reading lots of books, playing dress up, and romping around outside as sunny days start peeking through the clouds. We are looking forward to a full summer with my Karis girl turning 5 this week (which we are celebrating with a small mommy/daughter tea party), Aaron and I celebrating our 6th anniversary this month (which will include a day outing to the Columbia Gorge – yah!), my sister’s wedding, summer outreach projects in our community, and a family vacation to the beach! Praise the Lord. He is good.

Springtime Reading

What have I been reading lately?

Books on my nightstand over the last few months have included: Jane Eyre, The Scarlet Letter, and Madam Bovary (which I am currently reading) as I continue in my goal of reading more classics to further my own personal education (thanks to inspiration from The Well Educated Mind). I have also been inspired to more intentional generous living through the life and testimony of Katie Davis in her book, Kisses From Katie and her adventures in her early twenties adopting and caring for children in Uganda. I want to be active in the care of orphans and children around the world. I want to be able to live a radical life of generosity in all that I do. Such an inspiring story!

I also have been reading off and on Comforts From the Cross and Overcoming Fear, Worry and Anxiety, which are both by one of my favorite authors, Elyse Fitzpatrick. She has such a powerful way of turning my heart and mind back to the truths of the gospel. Highly recommend her books! Aaron and I are reading The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller and this book is by far the best marriage book we have ever read. It is so rich, meaty, thought-provoking, and challenging us in the truth of the beauty of God’s design for marriage.

The Thankfulness List continues…

I am continually working on my thankfulness list…one by one God is continuing to draw my eyes to focus on the beauty around me. I forget about it here and there, but each time I come back to it, my soul is encouraged and lifted up to rejoice in the goodness of the awesome God that I serve. Here is a sneak peak at some of my recent blessings…

1151. The delicious meals concocted from leftover ham
1156. The delight of bare feet on sunny days
1158. The warmth of socks on freezing toes
1162. Diapers drying in the sun
1164. Overflowing laundry baskets displaying we are well clothed
1165. The blessing of one stop shopping at consignment sales to cloth all the kids for the next season
1167. Baby girl sleeping in my arms
1169. Daddy cuddled up with kiddos reading the Bible
1170. My daughter’s delight in reading The Boxcar Children together
1172. Tickling fest with little underarms, feet, and bellies
1176. A good classic movie to enjoy with the kids
1178. Creating a garden space for my little ones
1180. Spring robin birds created from sweet foot prints
1186. The simple joys of making new friends through hospitality
1188. Buttoning up three little jackets

Thank you so much for all your continual support of this blog! I want to give a hearty thanks to our faithful sponsors – Paula’s Breads, Sweet Bottoms Babys Boutique, The Fertility Flower, Savvy Teas and Herbs, and the Willow Store. These companies have supported us for multiple months at a time and it has been such a blessing working with these awesome people! Check them out!

May the Lord richly bless you all!

Comments { 19 }

January at Our Home

There has been a mixture of sweet and challenging moments this month at our home. As I mentioned previously, we have had a few bouts of sickness and I had some very difficult nights sleeping as insomnia has plagued me off and on over the last few years. I have been crying out for grace to embrace each moment no matter how weary and tired I am. I am desperate for God’s continual grace. I feel so blessed to have such a peaceful infant in my little Eden Joy. She is nearly 6 months old but has been the most joyful and laid back baby I have ever experienced. She is a true delight in her sweet smiling easy going nature. Most of the time she sleeps through the night, which provides sweet relief to me. My other sweet babies are growing well…Ty loves to sing and help Mommy. Karis is continuing to love learning and we have been reading through the Little House on the Prairie series and truly loving it.

We are going through a lot of transition as we welcomed my hubby back to work at home on his new business launch. It has certainly taken some adjusting. We set up his own little desk space in the basement with a room divider to give him a little more privacy. Now I just have to learn not to interrupt him. ;) With all our toys and school materials in the basement as well, we are learning to protect his work space. We also welcomed my cousin to live with us this month, to help provide a bit more income and cover some of our ongoing expenses. It has been very peaceful having her live with us thus far…so we are thankful for God’s multiple provisions.

We are doing well dressing ourselves to begin our day and the kids are joining in on the challenge! ;) It is very helpful for getting me started well for the day. I am finding short moments to take prayer walks and get fresh air and exercise on a regular basis while the kids rest. It does wonders to my joy and constitution. If you are feeling weary, tired, or depressed, I recommend you stop, get out and get some fresh air. I can testify that it will encourage your spirits immensely. Even 5-10 minutes is so sweet.

January Reading

I was blessed to receive a Kindle Touch this month so I am finding myself being able to read so much more in each little spare moment. I love it! I find such joy and encouragement in seeking to invest at least 30 minutes in reading each afternoon during my daily pause and before I go to bed at night.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett – I was so greatly moved by this movie so I knew I had to read the book, and I have certainly not been disappointed! I couldn’t put this book down. I love hearing from the perspective of these sweet black ladies serving in the South before the civil rights movement. It was challenging and beautiful and brought tears to my eyes multiple times.

Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian – I have LOVED this book! Such a powerful refreshing read on living in light of the gospel. We need to be washed in the gospel daily, hourly, moment by moment. It was a challenging reminder that I have been redeemed. I am “In Christ” and therefore do not need to struggle with my identity, comparison, fear, or condemnation. The more I seep myself in the truth of the gospel the more joy we will truly experience. Highly recommended!

I started participating in the classics book study group (with other friends in our church) that I had determined to participate this year to complete my goal of reading more classics this year (thanks to the inspiration of the Well Educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer). We read The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and found it quite intriguing. Now I’m on to Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte! It’s so cool that you can read so many classics for free with the Kindle!

My Thankful List

Even in the struggles and pains, there are so many glimpses of sweet graces in my everyday life. I am continuing on my journey to reach 2,000 gifts by the end of the year. I still need grace each day to be faithful in looking for the gifts that each day brings. I am loving the Joy Dare thanks to Ann Voskamp and highly recommend you join us in this pursuit! Here are some of the sweet blessings I experienced this past month.

932. Tea parties while reading aloud
933. My 4 yr olds initiative to start dressing herself first thing
934. My hubby rising at night to care for a needy child
935. An infants enthusiastic laughter while big brother throws a ball around
936. The gift of my Kindle to dig deep into the wonders of books
937. Extended insurance care to get all our health needs covered
938. The sound of soggy grass beneath my feet as the earth is watered with nourishing rain
939. The fresh revitalizing nature of an afternoon walk 
940. The colors of fall leaves lingering through winter
941. Sweet community of sisters fellow shipping and giving thanks while enjoying pedicures
942. The gospel bringing fresh light and deliverance to my struggles with self identity
943. For the versatility of my hair
944. For the gift of administration and organization that the Lord has given me
945. Chocolate dipped pretzels
946. For the warmth and welcoming nature of a glorious fire in the fireplace 
947. Karis’ delight in holding baby sister 
948. Titus pretending to be a monster with a blanket over his head
949. Reconnecting with an old friend
950. Delicious zuppa tuscana soup
951. Craft project in the mail to delight my girl
952. Tableware brought down to the kids level to make my life easier
953. Candlelight dinner with red apple scented tea lights
954. Little billows of smoke floating off a candle saying goodbye
955. Impromptu dinner guests over hearty chili and cornbread
956. Getting drenched during a revitalizing walk in the rain
So thankful for our continuing sponsors: The Willow Store, Sweet Bottoms Baby Boutique, Paula’s Breads, and our new February sponsor, Jenuinely Pure. Check out the wonderful collection of homemade natural care for your home and body. With your help we are supporting a sweet little orphan home in India. Join us in praying for these precious children!
Comments { 33 }

Paula’s Bread: NutriMill Grain Grinder Giveaway!

Today we are excited to offer a fantastic giveaway from Paula’s Bread, our longtime sponsor and supplier of wonderful kitchen equipment. Paula would like to offer a NutriMill Grain Grinder to one special reader! This grain mill is valued at $269.99 and is a wonderful tool for your natural kitchen.

Paula’s Bread is a sweet family operated business offering a wealth of natural kitchen supplies to equip you for making your own homemade goodies. They have been a longterm distributor of the Bosch Universal Mixer and NutriMill grain grinders which are powerful reliable tools for any whole foods kitchen.

Paula shares, “It has been my passion to help the harried cook feed their family nutritionally while not overtaxing the cook. The kitchen products I carry are kitchen tools I personally use to help/enhance getting the finished food product done. I love helping others make great bread, saving the cook time and saving family’s money with all the wonderful things they can do to stretch their budget with a simple batch of bread.

I have owned a NutriMill for nearly 6 years now and it has served me faithfully in grinding all my grains into fresh whole grain flours to make our own baked goods.

It has a very trim design and is not huge and awkward making it easy to store on my kitchen counter tucked in the corner for easy access. It produces fresh flour very quickly providing me with a nice batch of flour in a matter of minutes. It actually stays relatively clean while grinding flour and does not have a huge off spray, thus providing easy clean up. Its works very well for grinding fresh flours for all your baking needs. It has a twenty cup bowl capacity, so you can prepare a lot of flour at once or any smaller amounts as well. The Nutrimill keeps your flour at temperatures (typically around 118 degrees) that protect the nutrients in your grains. Its new airflow design makes it the world’s coolest-running impact mill. It has a lifetime warranty including the stainless steel blades.

For my complete review of the NutriMill, visit here.


1. Visit Paula’s Bread and check out their line of products. In the comments below, share your favorite product that they offer and how you would use the NutriMill if you were to win this product.

2. For an optional second entry, sign up for the Paula’s Bread newsletter (located on the lower right hand portion of the side bar) and let us know in a second comment below.

Giveaway Closed.

AND THE WINNER IS…Therese – Artistta!!! Congrats!

Check out Paula’s Bread on facebook to stay informed on future sales and updates!

Paula’s Bread is offering a special discount of $5 off any order of $25 or more with a stainless steel purchase. Enter “Stainless Steel” at checkout. Expires 1/31/12.

Giveaway limited to US participants only.
Winner will be randomly selected and contacted on the Wednesday following the completion of the giveaway. The end of this post will be updated to announce the winners.
Email subscribers: You must click through to the original post on Passionate Homemaking to be entered into this giveaway.
No purchase necessary.

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Stepping Forth in Faith in a New Year

Within a three week period we decided it was time for my husband, Aaron, to quit his job and begin a whole new business venture. It has been ruminating in our hearts for several months now. My husband has been working tirelessly. There is so many initial fears that resonated in my heart. I like the security of a regular paycheck. I am comfortable. I like paid vacations and health benefits. We have lived the self-employed lifestyle previously and its hard work. I wasn’t ready to step out again. I had my five year plan in place. But God is graciously reminding me that he doesn’t work in my timetable.

I have been mediating on the life of Rebekah from Genesis 24 lately. Abraham’s servant has been sent to his hometown to find a wife for his son, Isaac. Abraham’s servant asks this young lady to come with him to marry Isaac. Rebekah simply says, “I will go.” In a moment, she was willing to say farewell to all that she had ever known. She knew that potentially she would never she her family and home country again. She was willing to marry a man that she had never met. That is amazing faith. I want that faith. To be so at rest in my Father’s arms that I could willingly walk the unknown path before me.

I don’t know what lies behind the next corner of our lives as we let go of my husband’s job and walk by faith and not by sight. We simply don’t know what it will look like this year. The only thing we can do is strive to be faithful in the knowledge that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Am I willing to take a leap of faith into this unknown? For it is in the unknown that fellowship with my Lord is sweetest. It is in the unknown that God’s mercy is most beautifully manifested. It is in the unknown that our faith is refined and comes forth shining more brightly. Am I willing to simply say with Rebekah, “yes, I will go?” Am I willing to follow my man, to faithfully stand by his side, as I committed to at the altar nearly six years ago?

We can be confident in one thing. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He holds me by the hand and walks before me. I am not alone.

I am excited about the new adventures that life brings with it as we set forth in this new year. We will certainly be living more frugally until his new business gets off the ground. Our budget is being trimmed down significantly. I love how God seeks to stretch our faith and get us out of our comfort zone so we can see His beautiful majesty in a whole new light.

Life is full of new adventures saturated with God’s gifts to be observed and recorded and if I stayed in my comfort zone I surely would not be able to experience them.

In addition to it all, during these past few weeks, I have honestly been really struggling and wrestling with the future of this blog. At the start of a new year I want to get all my ducks in a row, have a wonderful inspiring plan for my writing. I wanted to have amazing themes for this new year. I felt pressured that I need to be this professional, organized blog. But the Lord wasn’t opening these doors. No amazing creative ideas. Was this a sign that this season of blogging was coming to an end? I was willing if God wanted to close these doors. But then I felt the Lord speaking to be gently: “Lindsay, I just want you to be faithful in sharing your messy self with these women. I just want you to share My messages. I don’t want you to be about overwhelming women in all the little things they “should” be doing, but rather encouraging them to press in to know the Lord right where they are at.”

I believe in the importance of sharing my real life messes with you. I’m far from perfect. Daily I must cry out for grace and mercy to walk this rode of mothering and homemaking. I want our team of writers (many thanks to my awesome contributing writers) to be about encouraging you in your homemaking, mothering, and wife-hood. We want to see you grow to see the beauty of your work. It is a glorious task that we have been assigned. We need each other in standing strong even when our culture seeks to make us seem invaluable. But ultimately this is all about Jesus. Everything here is for Him. I want this new year to be flowing with His Spirit in everything that is shared here.

So there you have it. The dawn of a new year. You will still find practical simple living tips and healthy recipes sprinkled here and there. These are part of my day by day passions to live by our family mission to live simply in order to give generously. We’ll be sharing practical ways that you can live a generous missional life in the sphere that God has placed you. But ultimately, our writing will be Spirit led, sharing the day by day struggles to kneel humbly before our Master and offer up our hands and feet to his service.

Will you join us and step into the unknowns of God’s amazing grace for you today?

{Photo credit}

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Merry Christmas!

The Edmonds Family 2011

We want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a blessed holiday season as we celebrate the beauty of Christ’s birth together! We will be enjoying the fun of family celebrations, stockings, cranberry candy canes, caroling to neighbors and friends, and building other sweet memories. I also can’t wait to help bring my newest niece/nephew into the world any day now! Life is full but God is so good. We pray you would have a lovely Christmas as well!

We will be taking a blogging break here for the remainder of the month and plan to return in early January. Be blessed!

Comments { 19 }

November at Our Home

I have been laid out on my back this last week sick with a nasty stomach flu. I don’t recall ever being this incredibly sick before. All things went on hold. Mommy could do absolutely nothing. Helpless. It was a fresh reminder of the importance of rest. Rest is a beautiful necessity. Sleep. Sabbath. Since all I could do was nurse my baby, I felt a sweet rekindling in that baby bonding time. Tis so sweet. Moments slip by and my little Eden girl is nearly 4 months old. She has been a rich treasure and joy to our family. It’s hard to imagine what a happy baby she is. She is so peaceful. Such a refreshing blessing after the first two were a bit on the challenging side. Growing in my motherhood does encourage so much more of a flexible and laid back attitude which I appreciate.

Titus, Eden & Karis - my three special gifts

In an effort to be intentional about adopting an attitude and demeanor of rest, I began scheduling in a 15 minutes rest period every afternoon (with a daily alarm on my phone set to remind me as well!). I consider it my “daily pause” in the day. A time to sit down, light a candle, drink a cup of tea, and simply read for just 15 minutes. A moment to stop, think, listen, and glean. To fill my soul after the rush of the morning activities. To renew me again to embrace the rest of my day. Imagine how much you could read if you would stop for 15 minutes? It’s sweet to this soul.

Me and my studly husband

My toddler and preschooler are thriving well at our studies. We have admittedly cut back quite a bit from our more aggressive original preschool year 2 plan as we figured out what was going to work best for us.

We have been focusing on memory work primarily, seeking to establish a broad foundation of language, and I am truly loving it. We are memorizing Scripture, poetry, catechism questions, the continents, the books of the Bible, and the kids are picking it up so fast. Even my two year old just loves reciting for us all that he has learned together with his sister. I love Language Arts for Little Ones. It gives my Karis such fun exercises in narration, storytelling, art work, and poetry (which is the source of most of our poetry memory work).

In November my husband and I took a quick beach trip retreat with the leadership of our church, as Aaron is serving as a Deacon in training at our church right now. It was a sweet time together. We had our three little ones dedicated to the Lord surrounded by our church family this month as well. We were excited to partner with the body of believers in striving to raise them for the glory of God. Thanksgiving was celebrated as a family at home in the peace of our own intimate family. We barbecued a turkey and made our own fixings for the first time. We really enjoyed the sweet family time together followed by a lovely dessert at extended family’s home. We couldn’t beat having some great leftovers for once!

A Beautiful Day to Give Thanks

I look out on this cold December day and see a beautiful partly clear sky with the sun shining brightly. It fills me with delight and reminding me of the importance of continuing my pursuit of recording the daily blessings that God has poured out in my life. Making my way up to 1000 and beyond.

746. Honey and lemon to soothe a painful cough
747.for sweet drawings crafted for children around the world
748. Blessing my hubby with a clean car
749. Finding help for the management of my blog
750. Inspired to simply study God one verse at a time
751. For cleared draining boards at last
752. Seeing our kids immensely enjoy an old classic Disney movie that we enjoyed as children
753. A quick coffee break
754. The sweet rest as a family over pizza, games and a movie
755. Capturing the sweet smiles of kiddos nested in leaves on camera
756. Heart to heart with my hubby
757. Little people helping daddy rake leaves
758. New jeans to replace the wholly that have seen better days
759. Crockpot freezer cooking day 
760. Exploring advent ideas for a fun holiday season
761. For sagging pants on the sweet skinny bottom of a toddler
762. For the love of a husband to live life together through the thick and thin
763. Peace and serenity through a cup of tea and candles
764. Overhearing the children’s giggles while playing with daddy
765. Meditating on the nature and beauty of God
766. Crafting our own thanksgiving celebration
767. Fun ideas for a month of Advent
768. Blessing a sister with a shower of goodies as she prepares for a little bundle of joy
769. Finding inspiration through pinterest
770. An adorable family photo captured
771. Love notes tucked away in car dashboards
772. Enjoying real life tools with my munchkins
773. The glorious splendor of fall leaves
774. A thankful tree to cherish sweet thanks from our little brood
775. Dinner table devotions over sweet candlelight
776. Ironing clothes with two helpers- one with starch and the other with lint roller in hand
777. A doctor within a 5 min drive
778. For a lovely nap
779. Leaves blowing in the wind
780. Daddy playing instruments with the kiddos
781. The creative ideas of kiddos playing with blocks
782. Snuggling with my baby as we talk back and forth in our own language forms

As we prepare our hearts for this holiday season, may we continue in this reverential spirit of thanks and rest. May we seek to focus on the building of relationships, of giving generously rather than receiving. May our hearts be in tuned to the Creator’s leading. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!


We want to give a hearty thanks to our sponsors this month! Stubby Pencil Studio offeres unique and creative gifts in all different realms of non-toxic art supplies, drawing, and crafting. NaturoKits offer wonderful naturopathic kits for first aid relief for families. Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique continues to faithfully sponsor offering an awesome supply of cloth diaper and natural home supplies and Willow Pads as well offering natural menstral care, wool dryer balls, and more.

Family photos taken courtesy of my sweet sister, Christa Taylor Photography.

Comments { 19 }

Unity of the Sisterhood

Babywearing with Gretchen & Trina

I have just returned from a fabulous weekend retreat at the Relevant conference and find myself at a loss of words. My spirit was so refreshed and revitalized by the fellowship I shared with the wonderful gathering of sisters from all over the country. Ladies from different walks of life, different cultures, different standards, and yet we shared one core value of uniting together in being a writing force that builds the Kingdom of God. It was truly beautiful to see the community that blossomed in our midst.

This is the message that came loud and clear to my heart. You and I are together in the fight to be women that build our homes rather than tear them down with our own hands. We each have been gifted uniquely to bring something different to compliment the meal at the table before us, in our homes, our churches, and our lives.

I am just as messy as the next, as I battle to be a joyful mother and yet stumble once again in anger in response to my little boy wetting his pants (shouldn’t we be done with this?), or when these two little people fight over who gets to pull the silly suitcase from mommy’s trip around the house while they play camping. Or when I groan and complain because my body craves sleep and God has other plans for me.

I can’t remember the last time I made my own bread or toothpaste. We had canned soup last night for dinner. I sit here with a tangled mess of hair in my bathrobe. I don’t have my act together. We each have a voice…we each have a unique story. We are called to encourage one another. To tear down the masks of perfectionism. To admit that we are messy.

A fun reunion with my fellow sisters and bloggers from the Philippines trip: Stephanie, Tsh, Kat & Emily

I can compare myself to another and seep in bitterness and a fruitless life, or I can rejoice when another succeeds and together we can be fruitful in our own mission field in the home, church, work, and community. It is easy to compare yourself when you only look at yourself. But when you look at God, there is such freedom. (Thanks Joy for that message!) Comparison steals our unity.

Remember, our God “rejoices over you!”

“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (Zeph. 3:17)

HE rejoices over YOU, just the way you are.

Can you tell I like to laugh?

Am I willing to be honest in showing my messy self before others? What is my greatest hindrance to being real with others? Am I finding my identity in Him?

Let’s overlook our differences. “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” (Eph. 4:2). Let’s embrace the fact that we are truly loved by an amazing God. Let’s give grace to one another. Let’s be humble and honest to share our stories and encourage one another in our faith.

When we let go of comparing ourselves, throw aside our own insecurities, and simply embrace the way God has created us…beautiful, unique, and loved by an awesome Father, we can make a huge difference for His kingdom. Hand in hand…heart to heart. Let’s go!

These are the truths that have been ruminating in my heart…and I can’t help passing them on, my dear sisters.

Eden and I with my sweet friend Kat

Hear more about what others gleaned from the conference here.

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August at Our Home

I sit outside enjoying a beautiful sunny day here in the Northwest and I rejoice at the blessings and challenges this last month has held for our family. All my sweet little ones are amazingly resting peacefully together at least for a few short minutes. We welcomed our sweet third baby, Eden Joy, into our little fold, extending our family to 5 members. Now we have three lively little ones to keep us on our toes. There is far less time for our own and yet this is truly kingdom work. Back full time into the world of diapers, balancing a colicky baby with more adventures working through heart issues, as my little 2 year old has been more clingy and weepy since the new arrival, and back tracks in his potty training. It has surely been stretching and yet I find myself more peaceful and relaxed than I have ever been. Eden is nursing very well and growing like a little weed – weighing in at 10 pounds this week as we pass the 1 month mark.

Am I growing in my ability to flex and simply enjoy the ups and downs of motherhood? I find myself being able to embrace the challenges in a new way. When I asked one sweet friend of four little ones how she managed it all, she smiled and laughing said, “someone’s always crying.” The realization struck me. We can embrace and laugh at the challenges or we can fight and whine. Which should I choose? God has assigned me to this role.

It is easy enough to focus on the difficulties…but how much better to realize that they come with the territory and God has designed them to sanctify and purify our hearts. This is reality. Or as another mother said, “I’ve come to realize that I will always be tired.” She spoke not in a negative way, but in an embracing way. Motherhood is tiring. Why complain about lack of sleep? Does it get me anywhere? Is my home more peaceful as a result? No. But when I chose to rejoice that a sleep deprived mother can depend upon the full bountiful strength of a good God, then my heart is at rest.

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Eden’s Homebirth Story

Eden Joy Edmonds
“Joyful Delight
August 7, 2011
9:05 pm
7 pounds 14 ounces, 20 3/4 inches

We have been blessed with another girl to raise to be a godly young woman for the Lord! I really wanted to have a daughter and companion for my Karis girl, but had fully convinced myself that it had to be a boy, considering it was extremely active in the womb, everyone predicted it was a boy, and I felt the Lord had confirmed the name of a boy in my heart. I had become really excited for a boy too. Well the Lord must have been laughing! Especially when we were confused over the gender for an hour after the birth! ;) Wait till you hear that part…

Waiting for the arrival of my little Eden was a very challenging time for me. Having delivered my first two at least a week early, I struggled with patience over the delay, intense heat of summer, and very difficult physical pain and nausea in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Labor began late Saturday night, August 6th. I was already physically tired from lack of sleep the night before, but I was also eager to have my baby. Contractions were consistent at 5 minutes apart and pretty painful from the start. After two hours they stopped altogether and my husband and I attempted to get some rest. I experienced contractions off and on through the night along with a lingering nauseated feeling.

Sunday morning arrived and I remained sick and tired but nothing was really happening, so we all decided to go to church and conclude that baby was not coming. Surprisingly though, contractions started again as soon as I arrived. They were consistent but mild. I gently swayed back and forth with each contraction as we worshipped. It was a great distraction but difficult to keep my composure. I really didn’t want people to know I was in labor just in case this was not the real thing. ;)

After the service, I quickly called the midwife and headed home. By 1:00pm, my midwife and birth team arrived. I began my normal labor routine of placing my arms around my husband’s neck, hanging limp, and swaying my hips side to side (my favorite labor position), and walking all around the house and yard, and up and down the stairs, letting gravity do its thing. At 3:00 pm, my midwife checked me and discovered that I was 6 cm dilated. We were all excited to see such good progress and were assured that it would be coming soon. In my mind I estimated that baby would arrive around dinner time. Hmm…that was not a good idea.

Contractions increased in intensity but continued at roughly 5 minutes apart. I went into the hot tub, and while it was relaxing it really slowed down my labor. It was a pleasant experience though being outside with midwives and mothers relaxing on our patio furniture while my little ones played in the yard. What more could you ask for? After nearly two hours in the tub without any real progress, trying to relax and rest unsuccessfully, I got out and started aggressively walking up and down the steps (two at a time) and around the house. I loved having the freedom and space to move around as needed. I was determined. But as it lagged on, I began getting pretty discouraged. The pain was extremely intense…more painful than I had ever experienced before with my previous two births. I felt like I went through transition three times with lots of tears and desperation. My midwife tried to check me on two separate occasions but couldn’t reach my cervix. What did this mean? The dinner hour came and went. The mystery of consistent contractions that were still 5 minutes apart but very difficult continued.

I returned to the hot tub around 7pm and experienced the most intense emotions. I was desperate. I came to a place of complete brokenness. I had always been strong and prideful in myself. I was an empowered homebirth mama. I could handle pain. Haha! The Lord really used this birth to humble me in more ways than one.  I came to a place of complete desperation and dependence upon the Lord because only He could truly sustain and uphold me. I clung to my husband as I labored on my hands and knees in the hot tub. It was nice being in water but not really helpful in managing the pain as I had hoped. I would look into my husband’s eyes and cry…”I can’t do this!” My sweet husband patiently and graciously held on to me and encouraged me to the best of his ability.

At long last things kicked into gear. It was nearly 9:00 pm. I was so thankful for a quick finale. With two major contractions and several pushes, baby arrived. The pushing stage in water was a refreshing experience.

Baby arrived at 9:05 pm and was placed right into my arms. It turns out baby was delivered with her hand right by her face, which may have caused the extra pain in my labor. I was so incredibly weak at this point that I could barely hold my child. It was dark outside with just one overhead light on and for the first time I was the one appointed to identify the gender. Previously, my husband had always identified.

I looked at the baby…it looked like a boy. I looked down and saw the cord between the legs and swollen parts and mistook it for a boy. Hilariously enough, I had convinced myself it had to be a boy. I didn’t put much thought into it…nor was I really all there mentally after such an exhausting experience. So we all were crying once again thinking we were welcoming a boy. Because it was getting chilly outside they quickly moved us inside to shower off. Baby was wrapped up quickly without a second glance. ;) I actually fainted on the bathroom floor from the quick transition and they carried me to the couch. The afterbirth contractions were very hard. I could hardly feel any part of my body from the loss of blood. Baby’s cord was cut and delivered again into my arms for our first nursing experience. Baby lached on immediately and I felt I had such a sweet bonding experience with my supposed son.

After over an hour from delivery, my mother-in-law offered to get baby dressed. She carried baby upstairs to clean her up a bit more. By this time my husband had announced to the world (via facebook ;) , that it was a boy. As my mother in law cleaned up the baby getting ready to put a diaper on, she discovered that it was really a girl. She called my husband in to show him the reality. Aaron came back downstairs and said, “It’s not Eli, it’s Piper (because those were the names we liked at that point).” I was so frustrated at him since I was in such pain. “That is not funny.” I said in response. “I am in no mood for joking.” “No really…it’s a girl.” He insisted. I was in complete shock. How could I incorrectly identify my child? I felt like I had bonded with my son. For nearly two hours I was in a state of shock. Everyone was laughing. Aaron returned to facebook and announced, “Scratch that…it’s a girl!” All in all, it was an hilarious experience and I can look back now and retell the story with laughter. I had completely convinced myself. I am determined not to be the one to identify again…or maybe we will just get an ultrasound next time to avoid such confusion. ;)

So we had a girl! I’m blessed beyond words. After two days, we finally decided on her name. Eden means “delight, paradise, luxury” and I felt it was such a good reminder of the beauty of God’s creation and His original design for mankind in the garden of Eden. We were fashioned in His image to display His glory. My vision is that my little Eden would passionately adopt God’s design for her and find her “delight” in the Lord and that He would give her the desires of her heart (Psalms 37:4). We chose “Joy” because we want her life to be characterized by a spirit of joy and thankfulness. She has brought such delight and joy to our hearts, but even more so, we pray that she would be a gift of joy and delight to others and pass on the gift. I pray that she would find her complete delight and satisfaction in our great God and Savior and live her life to make His glory known to the ends of the earth.

As I look back, I am thankful for such an intense labor. While it was the most difficult thing I have endured, God was so faithful to me. He broke me. He humbled me. I have been changed. I feel such a greater sympathy and compassion now for others. I rejoice in the fact that it was such a smooth and safe delivery and it was all accomplished in the comfort of my own home and hot tub with wonderful mothers, midwives, and my husband around me. What a huge blessing! The grace has been given to cling ever more to my Savior and Lord. And now my arms are full…three precious gifts. Each given to me to be prepared to send forth as an arrow for the Lord. God is good!

Thank you all again for your thoughts, prayers, and support! It is such a blessing having such a wonderful community of women here to love and care for one another despite the distance. 

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