While all the world awaits the latest news from the World Health Organization (WHO) on the Swine Flu (will it or will it not become a pandemic???), I am busy living my life and trusting in God. I know, I know...I should be cowering in a corner of my living room lit only with the glowing light of a 24 hour news channel that gives me a moment by moment update of the state of our economy and the possible annihilation of the human race by the dreaded swine flu. But I am not. I simply do not have time to worry, panic or otherwise freak out. Call me simple-minded or naive, but I figure if He could align the planets, keep Earth from creeping too close to the sun, and figure out how to get 23 feet of intestines into the human abdominal cavity, then I can only assume He can handle the state of the world today. I cannot, so I will just handle(with His help, of course) what He has put on my plate today and trust Him with the periphery. You should try it. It is better for you than bran flakes. And no pesky bloating.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Do you remember the pull-back cars that you played with as a kid?
You would pull the car backwards on the floor and then let go to see how far it would go.
The further back you would pull it, the farther it would go.
God does this to us sometimes. It feels as though He is pulling us backwards and, frankly, most of the human race prefers the forward motion of life. I know I do.
But it is this "pulling backward" that sometimes propels us forward into what He has for us.
The important thing to remember when in the midst of this process is that His hand is on you.
And that matters so much more than where you are headed.
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord; plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
Friday, April 24, 2009
--Fav quote of the week: "All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." ~Anatole France
--Here is yet another installment in the embarrassing self-disclosures that I seem to find necessary to put in print (and why is that?). I like some of the shows on the Disney Channel. I have watched Hannah Montana so much with my little boy that I actually couldn't wait to see the new episode where Lily and Oliver became more than friends and Miley accidentally found out. (I have my head buried in the crook of my arm right now in shame!) And, if that weren't bad enough, I laugh out loud at old reruns of Even Stevens. They should make a pill for this....
--Okay, here is what happened on Monday that I have been dying to write. I took my three sons to a hair salon in town, you know one of those chain salons that is like a heart-shaped box of generic chocolate candy and you have no idea if the candy or the hair dressers will be any good. They each had someone different and only one was any good. So I went back in to make another appointment with the one who was good so that she could cut all three boys' hair only she wasn't in and I couldn't remember her name and it is rude to say, "You know, the fat one that talks really loud with the strange, spiky hair...yeah I want her." I tried to discreetly describe her and the girl behind the counter seemed sure I was asking for Angela. So I made the appointment. Well....on Monday I took the boys in and who should be cutting their hair but Angela- a woman I had never laid eyes on who had a pair of shears tattooed on her neck behind her ear and who was wearing a t-shirt that said "Fart Now Loading...Please Wait." I am not even making this up!!! I couldn't make up material this rich if I tried! And I could swear that I heard the faint sound of "Dueling Banjos" playing in the background. So then I had to coach the youngest child on how he is NOT to laugh in her face, ask her where she got her t-shirt, or stare at her tattoo and I vowed to them all that next time I would just take them downtown and let some homeless person who lives out of the back of his van cut their hair because, honestly, it just couldn't get any weirder than this.
--I should get an award for the number of runon sentences in this post. Have a happy weekend and for the love of all that is good in this world, be careful where you go for a haircut!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
....I have decided to post even though I have NOTHING remarkable to write. You see, I have this issue with committing to something and then not sticking with it. I am not saying that I am high and exalted and never let things drop. Au contraire! But it eats at me when I do, so I avoid doing so if at all possible. I wouldn't say that I have writer's block-I am too full of you-know-what for that. Exhausted is a better word. My personal life is a bit of a tornado right at this moment and, while I usually enjoy a good thunderstorm, I am really just longing for a slow, sunny day. About a thousand of them. Anyone know a good travel agent??
I did have something happen this week that I can't wait to tell you about on Friday when I post my weekly pile of useless information and "can this really be happening to me?" moments. I comfort myself when these things do happen because it is pure, unadulterated blog fodder and for that I am deeply thankful. I probably enjoy all of this blogging too much and I should be harder at work on the book that lives in my head so that it might one day find a home on a nice shelf in a Barnes and Noble. All in good time. In the meantime, I do enjoy this odd form of communication with you all and I can even relish a few moments of mindless rambling. So sorry I dragged you into it with me.
Thanks for playing along! You get a thousand extra points if you read to the end. See you Friday...and have a lovely "hump day". ( I really hate the phrase "hump day")
Monday, April 20, 2009
"The essence of friendship: the 'unbuttoning' of oneself that invites intimacy, followed by the ability to step into that close, vulnerable space."
--Sue Monk Kidd
I cannot fathom life without my truth-tellers. Truth-tellers are intimate friends who love you enough to enter into the messiness of your soul and tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. Many are the leaders in the church who have no truth-tellers in their lives and for most of them, failure is an inevitability because for those who have no one to hold a mirror up to the soul, pride becomes a constant companion.
I spent this past weekend with two women who are truth-tellers in my life and I came away from their company with a clearer understanding of the largeness of the Love of God and the graciousness of His Holy Spirit. To see who you really are through the eyes of intimate friends that love you enough to speak uncompromising truth is a gift and a privilege.
Do you have such people in your life? Are you willing to make yourself vulnerable to another that they might see you as you really are? Have you given anyone permission to examine your messy interior and help you set things right? If you lead in any capacity, find at least one truth-teller and put them on speed dial. Allow them to help you tend the garden of your heart and then watch and see the bountiful harvest that follows.
Friday, April 17, 2009
--Fav quote of the week: "When a business or an individual spends more than it makes, it goes bankrupt. When government does it, it sends you the bill. And when government does it for 40 years, the bill comes in two ways: higher taxes and inflation. Make not mistake about it, inflation is a tax and not by accident." -Ronald Reagan (I know, more Reagan...I loved the man)
--I pretty much ignore everything in the margins of my Facebook page, including all the stuff you can "become a fan of", but I am not gonna lie...I feel so bad not becoming a fan of the Bible or of Jesus. How can you ignore the Jesus icon in the margin??? But I do. Because I don't like things that are cheesey and religious. I might need therapy.
--Just in case you are interested, our little weekend debacle ended in a new radiator for the Taylor family van. The fun continued on Tuesday when the one magical belt that apparently causes the van to run, shredded into a million pieces while we were driving on the interstate. Lucky for us, we were less than a mile from yet another mechanic that had the amazing capacity to look at us as if we were the dumbest creatures on the planet for not having anticipated this problem. Silly mortals that we are....
--If you haven't seen this clip from Britain's version of American Idol, you have to click over and see it. Extraordinary, I promise!!! I have never seen Simon look like this.
--I have been thinking about risk and the absolute absurdity of doing something that has no guarantees and no predictable outcomes and you know what I think? Even if you fail, it is worth trying. There is no chance of touching any deep waters when you only walk along the shoreline. Even so, there are times when I would like to just curl up on the shore for a short little nap. Oh, the enigma that is me!
And do have a wondrous weekend!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Do you obey God because you were taught to, because you are afraid of not obeying Him, or because of how you were raised?
What do you do when life takes unexpected turns and things do not turn out as you thought?
Are you willing to be misunderstood by others who only see what you do but do not see who you really are?
Are you truly content to follow a course of action that you know God is orchestrating even though onlookers may call you crazy?
In his book, "The Seven Longings of the Human Heart" Mike Bickle writes, "A life characterized by affection-based obedience is a life in which a person knows that he or she is so loved by God, and so loves God in return, that obedience is the only reasonable response to anything God wishes."
It is one thing to say that you love God and want what He wants in your life when obedience is easy. But when following His plan proves costly to you or to others, it is necessary that you are living out of an obedience that is not driven by fear, or habit or even proper upbringing. When obedience is costly, it must be pure, unabashed love for God that motivates, for it is that and that alone which will carry you through the fallout of following Him.
This question haunts me and I long to be able to say that every day of my life I will not just follow obediently, but that I will dance down His path for me with a heart so full of fascinated love that I see no other way but His.
How would you answer this question?
Why do you obey God?
Monday, April 13, 2009
So, I try to write posts with valuable content, offering helpful or at least encouraging information. But I can't be helpful all the time and I really just want you to see how awesome I look on the back of a tow truck.
I made 40 deviled eggs and my husband made a huge dessert to take to a family gathering on the other side of Georgia. We had all of that, our luggage, three boys and one small dog crammed in our little van and we were headed out of town. Until.....
Until our van started running hot, the engine began smelling like waffles, and smoke billowed out from under the hood....miles and miles from civilization. And why not? So that was when the nice police officer pulled over and asked us what was the problem. As if we looked like people who would have any idea what they are looking at when peering under the hood. Puh-lease! The kind officer took pity on us and called a towing service because clearly we were in danger of blowing up our engine. Uh, sure, we were aware of that. It seems that it is illegal to do what you see pictured here, but the four out of five Taylors that would NOT fit in the cab of the tow truck voted and decided walking 30 miles back to town was clearly not an option. I, of course, did what I always do in situations like this....I took pictures and cracked jokes. I made my oldest son jump off the tow truck and take this picture while my husband was inside paying the nice tow truck driver a small fortune. It seems that jumping off of the tow truck once you have been "attached" is frowned upon. Who knew?
Here is a picture of what it looks like to ride down the highway from the bed of a big tow truck. I realize that many of you may never have this important life-altering experience and I feel it is my responsibility to allow you to "see" from this perspective. I do what I can to broaden your scope of experience, people.
And, finally, here is a picture of two of my little punks enjoying the ride. Okay, they really weren't thrilled about the turn that the day took, but I try to teach them to find fun in any circumstance. Except a root canal. No fun to be had there, my friends.
So that was my exciting weekend. We find out today if we have a cracked radiator or if a resurrection occurred and our van was miraculously healed. A girl can dream...
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
--Fav quote of the week: "Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels." -Bob Thaves
--I murdered a big, fat, juicy cat this week. Actually, it was involuntary cat slaughter. His family decided not to press charges. It seems the feline was suicidal since it ran out in front of my van that was going 65mph. I felt pretty bad about it, but my van full of teenage boys found it highly entertaining. I don't really foresee any of them becoming animal rights activists.
--I watched "Sweet Home Alabama" the other night for the thousandth time and finally decided that I need to know what "baloney cake" is. So I looked it up and, if you are curious, you can go here to see the recipe. I will refrain from giving my opinion on this unusual concoction, but let me just say that I was born and raised in the South and I have never eaten this! I had never even heard of it until I watched this movie.
--Click here to read a really great post on the ultimate goal of a leader. It is a tremendous little morsel of encouragement to leaders at this time in our nation's history. Check it out.
--If you have never heard a thirteen-year-old boy, whose voice is still changing, play and sing The Allman Brothers' "Ramblin' Man" at the top of his lungs then I question if you have really lived. Just for the record this was not one of my boys but I will still refrain from using his real name to protect the not-so-innocent. I tried to get him to let me video his "performance", and I use that term loosely, but he said no. If his mom is reading this, take heart...puberty is just cruel that way. It is running positively rampant here at my house and this is why I sometimes just leave and go to the mall. We who have already fought puberty and won must, at times, seek out comfort and solace. And silence. Have mercy...
--And finally, I have a burning question that I would really like answered. I love all things Christmas and especially Christmas trees with the beautiful ornaments and twinkly lights. That all makes perfect sense to me. Even the reindeer and snowmen, which have nothing to do with the birth of sweet baby Jesus, are endearing and decorative. However I do not, for the life of me, understand hanging plastic eggs from long strings on a tree in your front yard in celebration of Easter. I realize that I might be offending someone and Lord knows it won't be the first time, but I just have to know WHY??? This isn't a religious statement I am making here. In fact, it would fall more in the home decor category if anything. I just need answers, people.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
This is a picture that my Daddy took recently while standing in his backyard on the St. John's River in St. Augustine, Florida. It would have been pretty beautiful to have one Bald Eagle land on his dock, but two, well, that just doesn't happen every day.
Or does it? Actually, the American Bald Eagle, our National Emblem signifying our freedom as a nation, mates for life and so, if you pay attention, it is not unusual to find two together. I love that. Because Jesus mates for life with His Bride and, if we pay attention, He can be found near His Bride. Near you. And near me. I love that our Father in Heaven is with us always. And because He is our freedom, it, too, is with us always. Sometimes we just don't see it. We lose sight of Him and Who He really is. But because He loves us so desperately, He will land beside us, His mirror image, and remind us that the freedom we wrestle with was already extravagantly paid for and ours for the taking. Freedom wasn't won on American soil in one quick battle...it took our forefathers much sacrifice and many years. And though our freedom in Christ has already been won, it takes years sometimes to see it, to embrace it, to live in it fully. And it is worth every moment. Don't throw down your hat and walk away defeated, friend. If you have been searching for freedom in an area of your life and you just don't see it, cease your striving and land somewhere and wait. And when you turn your head and look, you will find it right beside you. He is there. He is always there.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Last week I wrote about the importance of mentoring/discipleship. I touched on the command in scripture to do so and the qualifications necessary to accomplish the task. Click here to check out that post. Today I want to share the most important lesson my mentor taught me and what you as a mentor should teach your young Padawan (sorry...didn't mean to go all Obi-Wan on you).
"Give me a fish, I eat for a day. Teach me to fish, I eat for a lifetime." This is the old "proverb" of unknown origin that my mentor used to illustrate the most important thing he would ever teach me-to feed myself. He showed me how essential it is for any Christian to become a life-long student of God's Word. He provided me with both a steady diet of quality books and teaching tapes (it was cassettes then...back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth), and with a consistent example of how this "habit of learning" should never, ever end. Ray Owens was and still is always, always reading, learning and growing and it is just such a posture of humility that has qualified him to lead. And I know no other man or woman with as much fruit as he has. This is not because of his "greatness" but because of his great humility and his example of being the "learning leader."
The great leader knows that her primary purpose is to learn, not to teach and that when she does teach, she should teach first and foremost how to learn and how to pass this passion on to others. To be a disciple is to forever be a student and the key characteristic of a student is a posture of humility. Not coincidentally, this posture of humility is also the key characteristic of a great leader. Beware of the "leader" who no longer learns and no longer views themselves as a humble student but rather the wise teacher. Run away, Forrest!! Run!!! To be unteachable makes a person unfit to lead and a danger to all those in his or her path.
When I think of all the people I have ever heard complain about their local church and the fact that they "are just not getting fed", I thank God for the man who mentored me and taught me that it is not the church's job to feed me. It is my responsibility and my great privilege to press into God and know Him for myself. And it is also yours, dear friend. Now go and teach this to someone else and change their life forever.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
--I learned this week that if I eat 569 Hershey's Special Dark candy bars at one time, the amount of caffeine in that much chocolate will kill me. There most certainly are worse ways one could meet their demise.
--FYI-my hubs and I are thinking of buying some canoes since it now rains more here in Georgia than in Mt. Waialeale, which I read this week gets more rain than just about anywhere. But I am sure you already knew that. If this keeps up, we might just load up the fam and move to Seattle. I have always wanted to see the Space Needle.
--Fav quote of the week: Fish is the only food that is considered spoiled once it smells like what it is. -P.J. O'Rourke
--I nearly caught our kitchen on fire this week. It seems that you are supposed to turn on the burner UNDER the tea kettle and not the one in front of it that is covered with the cute burner cover. My oldest son, who coincidentally nearly caught the kitchen on fire the week before, was good enough to point out, as he passed through the kitchen, that the burner cover was on fire. Ever quick on my feet (NOT), I whacked the burner cover and sent it flying across the kitchen, sending a shower of sparks every which way. Oh, it was exciting. Not much happens in Columbus.
--And finally, did you know that the two people who started and operate Snopes.com are a husband and wife team (Barbara & David Mikkelson) whose headquarters is their double-wide just outside of Los Angeles? And they run it by themselves. Incredible! This is where I confess that if I had an enormous internet business of that size, I would hire a staff. And buy a house. Made of bricks. Just saying.
Have a great weekend. And take a nap!
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
2 Tim2:2 "The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."
I began my relationship with God when I was fifteen years old and when I was sixteen I met my mentor. He was our new youth pastor, just moved up from Tarpon Springs, Florida to our small southern Georgia town and little did I know then the lifelong impact he and his wife would have on me. Most youth pastors are loved and admired by their students and many go on to maintain relationship with former students, but few understand mentoring and the eternal impact of reproducing themselves.
I learned from my mentor that mentoring was simply the truth found in the above passage from Timothy. You allow your protege to shadow you and learn from you that they might in turn do the same. He taught me that the real fruit of discipleship is when the sons and daughters you have taught have their own sons and daughters to teach and train. If it stops, then you didn't do your job right.
What has always troubled me is the obvious shortage of Christians who are willing to mentor others. Surely this lack is due in part to insecurity deep within a man or woman who feels unworthy or unqualified to mentor, but this need not be. One only needs a pulse and brain waves to mentor another person and the willingness to give of their time. This is how the church was intended to propagate itself, not through programs and classes. It is each man and woman's responsibility to reproduce and to disciple the next generation of the Church.
Monday, I am going to share the number one lesson I learned from my mentor and "father", Ray Owens. You don't want to miss this. I would love to hear your thoughts on mentoring and discipleship. Don't be shy...jump on in.