Monthly Archives: November 2014

Some Goings On


I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is tomorrow! How did November whiz by so fast?! We are hosting this year again but it will be a much smaller group. I am just excited to spend time with both of our parents, and get geared up for Christmas decorating…my favorite!

Since I don’t have anything really profound to share with you right now I thought that I would just give you a peak into some goings on here recently.

  • Isaac gave blood at school yesterday for the first time. I didn’t even know it was happening, but he heard about it and being 18 and all, he went ahead and signed up. I seriously just love his heart. I am so proud of the man he is becoming. And I get a little twitchy when I think about the fact that in a few short months he will be moving out.
  • I did a bunch of my Thanksgiving prep in advance this year. I have worship team practice tonight so I won’t be at home to do it then, so the cranberries and applesauce are ready, the elements of the stuffing are ready to go and the turkey is all set to be put in the roaster early on Thursday morning. I will do the mashed potatoes before I leave tonight and will rewarm them in the crock pot. The other dishes will be made in the morning tomorrow. The only thing I haven’t figured out yet is a bread product. Not sure what will happen there, I need to figure that out! 🙂
  • Speaking of stuffing, next week I will share the recipe that I am using. It is a recipe that I have changed and doctored for the past 2 years and it is AMAZING. I am more excited about the stuffing than anything else. This year I am making it in individual muffin tins to try that…I will let you know how it all turns out!
  • I was invited to speak at our local MOPS group next Tuesday. The speaker they had lined up went on unexpected bed rest and they needed someone short notice. Heather, who takes our family pictures, sent me a text 2 nights ago asking if I would come and share with them about hospitality and why as women we often feel we have to have it perfect to invite people into our spaces. Since that has been something that has been on my heart since Allume, I felt confident that I could come up with something. I have been praying that God would give me His message to share…I haven’t written anything down yet though. I better get on that!
  • I have most of my Christmas shopping done, even found a couple of deals early that I thought I would have to get tomorrow so that is nice. Although I am one of those crazies that loves being out on Black Friday…I try to be extra friendly to the people working and make it a fun experience. So I will probably go out just because! 🙂
  • It is snowing here today, and I am not happy about that. My parents were supposed to head to our house today…but that may be delayed. Snow before Thanksgiving should be banned. It has been a COLD November and I am nervous about how the remainder of the winter will be!  Sometimes I think living in the south would be nice…but then I hear stories about leeches in bathrooms and roaches in microwaves, and am thankful that because of the cold we don’t deal with that here!
  • Most of all I am thankful this week. God has blessed our family in so many ways and while we don’t always live in full gratitude, our hearts seek to acknowledge the blessings on a daily basis. My prayer for you is that your Thanksgiving would be safe and happy and full of wonderful food and time with family!

When Anger is My Expected Response

Last week I shared a little bit about my struggle with anger. Of course when I open up and share the ugly and my hopes to overcome the struggle…I have to anticipate that I will be given plenty of opportunities to “practice” a different response.


This past week I have had some failures and some successes. For a bit of light today, I want to share a success and why it was a reminder once again that my attitude and response to my kids can make such an impact.

On Wednesday last week, Dominic and I took Isaac back up to SDSU for a college visit. Becky (Dominic’s mom) was in Marshall and picked up the kids from school for us because we weren’t going to be back in time.

Usually the after-school pick up is the time that I have with just me and Gabriel to ask how his day was. Depending on the day he usually has a good, or a bad point to share. 🙂 It is less than 10 minutes really that we have together, but it has become an important time for both of us.

We got home from the college visit right before it was time for Gabriel to go to Awana. So he and I jumped in the car and drove the 15 miles to our church.

I took the time to ask Gabriel about his day and he paused, sighed really big, and said that he just had to tell me the truth about something. He seemed stressed, so I told him to please go ahead.

He said that he lost his folder. His main folder that holds his homework, contains his reading log…it is kind of a big deal. He was unable to participate in math class because he didn’t have his homework…and he feared telling me because he anticipated that I would be angry.

You see when anger is my first response, I teach my kids that anger should be the expected response. (<====Click to Tweet)

When Gabriel told me about his folder, I honestly wasn’t angry about it…but he was afraid that I was going to be. He said that he didn’t want to tell me, but he remembered once when I told him that I would rather know the truth and deal with a situation right away, then not be told the truth.

I said that I was sorry he had lost it, that it had caused stress during his afternoon. I asked if he wanted to pray about it and he did. We prayed over his finding his folder. We prayed a prayer of thanks that God forgives, and I reminded him that we all make mistakes. I said that he could learn from this and work a little harder about checking to make sure he had everything he needed when he left his classroom.

After it was all said and done he thanked me.

It honestly broke my heart, but he thanked me for being comforting and not getting angry.

You see he has experienced me being angry at him enough, that when my response is one of compassion, he thanked me.

It was a reminder why this journey is such an important one.

I want my automatic response to be one of compassion, not anger. (<====Click to Tweet)

Yes we will all make mistakes, and while there are consequences, my attitude doesn’t have to make the consequence worse.

Such a stronger reminder to me that my response can have such an impact.

And the next day Gabriel found his folder in his block 2 class. Praise God.

Lord, I thank you for giving me opportunities to “practice” at being a better responder. My prayer is that my response will not be one of anger, but of compassion and patience. May my life be a reflection of all the patience and compassion that You have shown to me. In Jesus Name, Amen

A Golden Birthday – Celebrating Isaac

Isaac 18

I think I may be in a bit of denial over this one – but my baby turns 18 today. Can you believe that?! 18!!

18 years ago we found ourselves in a hospital anticipating the arrival of our firstborn. We didn’t know what we were having, but I was sure it was a girl (ha!) I labored for what seemed like hours (oh wait, it WAS HOURS) Long, slow hours that may have been filled with me being angry with Dominic because he could eat and walk and not be in pain. 😉

And then late that evening the doctor said it was time and Isaac Immanuel joined our family of two and everything changed.

He was perfect, and huge (8lb 15oz)…my doctor at the time told me she didn’t think he would be bigger than 7 1/2lbs….little did she know! But he was strong and adorable and we were in love.

We left that hospital a few days later, right after a terrible ice storm, and spent our first night as a family at my parents house because it wasn’t safe for us to drive home. I was terrified at my responsibility, I was a mother but I had no clue how to do it right.

We spent many days and nights those first few months, Isaac and I, crying together. 🙂 He had colic and I was a nervous wreck. I was sure I had messed him up and done something wrong because he cried so much. But then a few months passed and he was all smiles.

He had the biggest grins and he made us laugh. Fitting as his name means “he laughs.”

When people say that time goes fast and it will be gone in a blink of an eye, they aren’t kidding.

I feel like I blinked and he was walking, blinked and he was starting preschool, blinked again and he was starting elementary school.

Each moment, a blink and then on to the next.

Isaac has always been a good student, but 2nd grade was a tough year with a teacher that didn’t enjoy the boys in her classroom – that year could have paved a negative path for him. But in 3rd grade, Mrs. Bonte, saw that he was bored and needed more of a challenge so she started giving him “extra math assignments”. She made it fun and encouraged him to work hard…He excelled and I credit her for how that encouragement shaped a path that he continued on until today. (Mrs. Bonte passed away unexpectedly last year and I never had the chance to thank her for how she changed Isaac’s path that year – teachers you can make such a difference!)

When Gabriel was born, Isaac was so excited to be a big brother. He was so helpful and couldn’t wait until he was old enough so that they could play together. It was the same with Elijah and Karlena too. Isaac’s siblings adore him, and while they don’t always get along they all love having Isaac around. I am not sure how we will all handle it when he moves away next fall!

We moved to Marshall when Isaac was a freshman. Talk about life change. I know the first year wasn’t easy for him and even today a big part of him wishes he could be back in Beresford with his friends. But he took it in stride, adjusted well and continued to work hard at everything he does.

He continues to amaze me.

He works 2 jobs and gets great grades. He has a plan (for now) for college next year and it is exciting to see where God’s path will lead him.

For a lot of years I know I really failed Isaac as a mother. I didn’t always manage life well and he likely saw and felt the consequences of that. But he is a strong, brave, kind man today and it is a testament of how God can take our brokenness and in spite of us, make something beautiful out of it.

I am so blessed to call Isaac my son. I hope that this post (if he reads it) isn’t too embarrassing. 🙂 Maybe today it will be, but my hope is that someday he will read this and be reminded at how much he is loved. How thankful I am to be allowed the great honor of being his mom.

My life was forever changed 18 years ago, and I have been blessed to overflowing because of you Isaac. God bless you today and all the many years ahead. I am excited to see where God will take you and will always be here to cheer you on.

I love you son.

The Song {And a Giveaway!} #awakenlove

The Song 2

I have shared before that Dominic and I spent way too many years struggling in our marriage. We just weren’t equipped to handle marriage well and we were far from God…it was not a good mix.

Unfortunately we built up a lot of bad habits during that time and learned how to fight well and love poorly. Today I am so grateful for the grace that has been poured out on our marriage and the restoration that we have seen take place.

It isn’t easy and it takes work and a lot of prayer – but God is faithful!

Today we work together and spend most of our days and nights together. There have been “interesting” moments for sure, but for the most part we both feel blessed that we have this opportunity now.

But the one thing we are the worst at is finding time for just the two of us.

Date night? What is that?! 🙂

In fact a few weekends ago we had some clients to visit in the afternoon and decided to get dinner out together afterwards and Dominic felt guilty that we were having a nice dinner and the kids were a home eating leftovers. (They survived if you can believe it!) 😉

Time together just the two of us, not doing work, is so important though. 

It is easy to get busy, make excuses and not participate in things because there is always something else that needs our attention.

Recently we started hosting a small group from church at our home every Sunday night. It has been so good to fellowship with other couples, even if all our kids are upstairs.

But even more than that I want us to learn more about each other, so when I was asked if I wanted a copy of THE SONG: Awaken Love Couple’s Devotional  to review, I was excited. I love having resources available that help encourage strengthening a marriage.

The Song 3

This devotional is based on the Song of Solomon in the Bible. It is a 6 week devotional with short lessons for 5 days of each week.

Short stories and some discussion questions to get the couple talking, this is an easy way to increase communication and look at how God’s Word views marriage.

The Awaken Love devotional is a great resource for any couple to have!

I would encourage you to check out this website. It has links to materials you can purchase as well as links to other free resources. These were my favorites. Rekindle your Marriage Resource and 10 Ways to Pray Protection over Your Marriage.

As a part of this post FlyBy is offering the devotional for free to one of my readers. So if you would like to win a copy please leave a comment below and I will pick a winner on Friday November 21st!


"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

When Anger is My First Response


There are times when there are posts and ideas in my mind that I’m really excited to write about. And then there are times like today that I feel God is calling me to write and I don’t want to share the words.

Because if I’m being honest, this isn’t something that I want you to know about.

It reveals a part of my soul and my character that are difficult. Areas in my life that God is working on me, refining me… you see I have a problem with anger.

Anger itself reveals my lack of self-control and the ability to find the good in situations. When my first response is one of anger, nobody wins.

And I can feel it. I can feel myself getting angry and once I am there it seems that my natural response is to yell.

I want to be a place of safe harbor. A place of comfort and trust. But a mama that explodes when she is frustrated is no safe harbor. (<====Click to Tweet) When my kids know that mom is mad they don’t come to me…they go the other way.

It is a harsh and painful reality.

The majority of this post was spoken when I was in the bathroom. Okay maybe that was too much information for y’all…so sorry! I was just getting ready one morning, and I just felt very strongly that these words needed to be written.

So I used my phone and my notes app and I spoke these words into being.

I want more for me. I want more for my children. I want my more for my husband and my friends.

I don’t want my legacy to be one of anger. (<====Click to Tweet)

I know it must have been God’s prompting to read Heather’s post that morning.  In this season of busy I haven’t been able to keep up on his many blogs as I would like to. But for some reason I clicked through and read her post.

Heather was brave and shared her own story of struggling with yelling at her kids. Of putting on that face, that mask if you will, for everyone outside of her home. But not having that same attitude towards those closest to her.

And unfortunately her post struck a nerve because I can relate so well to what she was saying.

So as I got ready that morning I could just feel God convicting my heart.

“I called you to be a light.”

“Yes that light is important when you share it with the outside world. But even more than that Kristin, you need to be showing that light to your family.”

So I come before you broken, stripped bare and humbly asking for your prayers.

I am going to be circling this in prayer. I can’t make this type of transformation on my own. God has to do a work in me and through me. I just need to be willing to do the hard things to see change.

I want to use this space as a place to remain accountable.

You have all blessed me with my own safe harbor. Your words of encouragement and not judgement help me to be more transparent. So it may get raw and real around here but I need to be able to take off the mask…even if just in this space first.

It is my prayer that as I walk this road, God will mold me into the woman, the mother and wife He created me to be. Thank you friends for walking with me!

In Him, Kristin

Photo Credit: Rasmus Zwickson

Crockpot White Chicken Chili

We are always looking for new recipes that we can use to feed our family quickly and easily. I especially like soups/stews in the winter that I can prepare in my crockpot and set and forget it.

Dominic was recently visiting a client and he was persuaded to stay for dinner. He was served white chicken chili and raved about it. We searched for a recipe that would be similar and tried it yesterday.

White Chicken Chili 2

This recipe was so easy and I adapted it from one we found on Betty A link to the original recipe is here. We changed it just a bit so I will share my updates.

4 lbs boneless chicken. The recipe says you can put the chicken in the mix uncooked, but I just didn’t like that idea so we browned it with onion before we added it in. Also we basically doubled the recipe from the Betty Crocker site to make a full crock pot.

2 cans white beans. We used 1 can of Great Northern beans and 1 can of Cannellini beans. Make sure to drain and rinse your beans. I personally think the “sauce” they put on beans tastes like dirt (I know I am weird) so I always rinse my beans off.

2 cans fiesta corn, drained. And 2 cans Rotel. I used original Rotel, but in the future I may use the mild Rotel so it is less spicy. Dominic and I enjoyed it but the younger kids thought it was a little spicy.

2 16 oz jars green taco sauce. I originally only bought 1 jar and when we set out to make the recipe I thought it really needed the second jar so we searched our cupboards and found a green salsa verde so we added that instead of a 2nd taco sauce.

The last ingredient was chicken broth. The original recipe called for a 1/2 cup …but that wasn’t nearly enough. I bought the organic chicken broth that is found in those boxes and used at least half the box. I wanted it to be soupy…not too thick. But you could adjust it based on your liking.

We put everything together over the lunch hour and then put the crock pot on high. It was hot and ready by the time I picked the kids up from school. If you started it in the morning I would just cook on low for the entire day.

We served it with cheese, sour cream/plain greek yogurt and corn chips.

White Chicken Chili

It made a lot, but with 6 of us it won’t last long. Fast and easy and oh so yummy! What is your favorite crock pot recipe? I would love if you shared it below because I am always looking for new recipes!

God Creates Us

Adoption Awareness

It is an honor to have my friend Kristin here today. She and I were both on the God-sized Dream Team together and she also is a writer at the GSD website! Kristin recently launched a new e-book called Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & Family. It is a beautiful story filled with God’s redemption and Kristin’s transparency. I am so excited that she has agreed to share a little of her story here today!


“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)

God surprised me over and over again in the best ways throughout Cate’s adoption process, but one of the biggest visible surprises was Cate herself. With an Iranian birth father, we expected her to have olive-toned skin.

Instead people debate whether she looks most like Greg or me. We both have blue eyes; she has gorgeous brown eyes that soak up details. She’s always had defined eyes, which seem to have come from her birth father who we’ve never met. Cate tans well and has always had dark hair. It’s lightened some in recent years, making it closer to her birth mom’s hair color.

When people comment on how she looks like me, I pause for a moment because I want to tell them her story, our story. We may not share DNA, but I’m raising a mini-me who was meant to be my daughter.

The similarities go beyond looks. Cate and I are both stereotypical first-borns. She is stubborn, tells detailed stories, likes crafts, loves her friends, wants to have a plan, and has perfectionist tendencies – just like me.

And yet she’s not like me, especially as a child. She’s not afraid of most new things, speaking in front of people doesn’t scare her, she laughs easily, and she wants to play sports. I’m more adventurous as an adult than I ever was as a kid. She makes me proud the way she faces life.

I welcome the similarities because I didn’t expect them with adoption. Maybe it’s our common dark brown hair that prompts people to say she looks like me. Perhaps it’s the skin tone. But it could be the way she responds like me. She likes to make her friends cards, especially when they’re sad or sick. She likes to help me in the kitchen. She likes to take (and plan!) road trips. And each night before she goes to bed, she asks me what we’re doing the next day.

Sometimes I catch myself scolding her for behavior that’s just like mine. Ouch. I see my weaknesses in her and cringe, not because she disappoints me but because I disappoint myself and I know she’s watching. We both get cranky when we’re tired and have been known to break when our plans break.

I watch her live and laugh and write and play and imagine and worry and ponder and plan. And I know that even in my imperfect perfectionist-leaning mothering ways, this girl is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.

God knew when I cried out to him to become pregnant that we would have this story. God knew he was going to make us a family through adoption – through THIS adoption. God knew her brown eyes because he created them. He created every single one of her eye lashes and every hair on her head. He knew how she would laugh and that her stories would be long. He knew how we would fit together.

She’s taught me nurture trumps nature because biologically speaking she wasn’t created within me. But I know without a doubt she was created to be my daughter. I understand her. I yearned for her. I learn from her every day. Her story is my story because through it God rescued my heart. (<====Click to Tweet)

His works are indeed wonderful.

Kristin Hill Taylor

Kristin Hill Taylor tells about the two adoption processes that followed a hard season of infertility in “Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family,” which is available at Amazon. She believes in taking road trips, living in community, and seeking God as the author of every story – many of which she shares at She lives in Murray, Kentucky, with her college sweetheart husband and their two kids.

Always A Warm Welcome

Parker FBC

When Dominic and I were first married, church wasn’t top on our priority list. Even though we were both raised in church and had Isaac, we were both stubborn and selfish and didn’t feel like we “fit” in any of the churches we visited. It was just easy to stay away.

Besides I was pretty sure that everyone was judging us anyways…

For years we made excuses. The more we made, the easier it was. 

Then one weekend sometime in 2002, Dominic’s mom called and invited us to come to a family lunch on Sunday afternoon and invited us to come to church as well. We figured we could handle that and so we drove the 45 miles from our home to their community and went to church.

At that time the church was located in an old building but they were working on their new location (pictured above). Dominic’s dad helped with some of the projects that got that new church completed. His parents were one of several that were very active in the church. And when we would visit we were always made to feel welcome.

And so a “habit” was born. Dominic’s mom would call and invite us to dinner and if we were coming, why not church as well?! 🙂

We came to a place, after much struggle and difficulty…and our 2nd son on the way that we realized we really wanted to have a better foundation for our kids. While we had failed early on with Isaac, we could start making some changes and become a part of a church family.

It just made sense to join First Baptist in Parker because we were already attending most Sundays…and when we did visit other churches closer to home we never felt the welcome that we did at FBC. It very quickly began to feel like home.

Our church family walked us through more dark times. Times when others might have walked away, the families at FBC surrounded us. They offered encouragement and prayer, shared their stories and kept telling us to get involved and keep coming back.

In 2011 when we started to talk about the possibility of moving, our church was one of the big reasons we had to stay where we were. How could family like that be replaced?

But during those months of decision making, they prayed with us and reminded us that we were always welcome back…we would still be a part of the FBC family.

This past weekend we went back to Parker for a visit after months and months away.

We arrived late (because of course) 😉 and Pastor Aaron was just getting ready to start the service and called out a welcome to us from the podium. Hugs and handshakes, smiles and “we will catch you after the service”…once again we were home.

After the service people came up to visit with us for just a moment, the kids had been long sent to the car and yet we remained. One of the last people to leave, we were surrounded by love.

It is a church that practices hospitality on every level.

It isn’t like an old job where people forget your name 6 months after you leave and blame you for all the mistakes they find…no this community at FBC is one that welcomes you in with open arms, no matter the time in-between visits.

As we walked to our van Dominic said “Always a warm welcome when we come here….”

It is a legacy that church is leaving in its community.

You don’t have to be perfect to walk through the doors, or have it all together. No, FBC is filled with believers that seek Christ, work to be a light and pray for and encourage one another regardless of where you are at in your faith walk.

We spent 7 years as members at FBC and our marriage, our family, are forever changed because of it.

It was a reminder to me again that we need to be welcoming…even the little things can make a big difference.

I thank God for allowing us to be a part of such an amazing community of believers. I hope that at our new church Dominic and I can seek and find ways to offer that same hospitality to others that come through the doors.

Because we want those that leave to say that they always get a warm welcome, don’t we?!

Celebrating A New Beginning {Virtual Shower Fun!}

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to a special young woman. But first before I do that, I need to give you a little of the back story!

I met Holley Gerth 2 years ago. I had the honor of being a part of her God-sized Dream team book launch. Several of us gathered at Allume again this year and celebrated all the places God has taken us in the past 2 years.

Holley and I!

God is just so good.

During this past year Holley and her husband Mark saw their own God-sized dream come true when they adopted their 20 year old daughter Lovelle. It is a beautiful story of God’s redemption and you must go read all about it!

When Lovelle got hitched to her fiance David I knew that I wanted to do something special to celebrate their new beginning. Holley has been a mentor and friend, but really is family to me, so I wanted to help her celebrate this incredible journey she is on as a new mama! Being miles and states away proved difficult. I had hoped Lovelle would be able to attend Allume so we could have a shower there, but that couldn’t happen so I got to thinking outside the box!


I came across a site that posted about a Virtual Shower and they created a website  to use as the landing place for all the celebratory goodness.

I knew that was the route that I needed to take and so Lovelle’s Wedding Shower Website was born. Now let me be clear about one thing. I am not responsible for the adorable site design. (I wish I had that talent!) My dear friend Lisa, and master designer of my site here, volunteered to help and I just love it!

The idea behind a virtual shower is this…it gives those who want, the access and ability to celebrate with David and Lovelle, even when we can’t all be together in person.

So the “official” party time is November 1st through the 8th. I chose a week so that there was opportunity to share the site and people would find some time in the next week to join the fun.

Of course you will find a link to their gift registries, if you feel led, you can order something and send it their way. But even more exciting is a tab to read more about the happy couple with 20 questions answered by them…did you know what their answers would be?! A tab where you can leave a comment with advice/encouragement for David and Lovelle, and a tab to leave your favorite recipe to share! As a new wife I needed all the help I could get…so let’s fill up their virtual recipe box with some yummy goodness!

And no party should commence without some sort of party favor…so Lisa designed two amazing prints that are downloadable/printable! (I told you she was awesome!!) Each print is designed around David and Lovelle’s favorite bible verses. Love love!

It is my heart that we will shower Lovelle and David in a HUGE way. They are starting out their new life together in such a Godly, honorable way and as a community I hope we can cheer them on together.

So join me over there won’t you? Leave some advice, a prayer…maybe a favorite bible verse or recipe. I know that Lovelle and David will be blessed by your support, so thank you in advance for loving on them in this way with me!

In Him, Kristin

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