Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
--This has been week two of a pretty nasty infection that seems to be feeling perfectly at home in my lungs (yesterday it was choosing wallpaper and picking out a china pattern) so I hope you aren't expecting much in the way of deep thought or witticisms. I haven't had something that put me down like this in ten years, so I am not used to this. I am woman. I'm invincible. I am...absolutely full of it.
--I did manage to get to the theater and catch the new Star Trek flick which I absolutely loved. My dad is a huge fan so I pretty much grew up on the U.S.S. Enterprise. Given my extensive background in all things Star Trek, I thought it was a great movie and even though I didn't get to see Ricardo Montalban bare-chested wearing a really bad wig, it was a total Trek experience. You still won't catch me anywhere near one of those freak show conventions of theirs but I will love James T. Kirk until the day I die.
--Fav quote of the week: "It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." ~J. K. Rowling
--I am headed to my annual youth group reunion weekend on Jekyll Island. All of us who were in Youth Group together meet every year and act like we are sixteen again. I love good friends that are there for a lifetime...what a gift! Have a big weekend. See you Monday.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
What do you do when your faith has been stretched to it's perceived outer limits?
How do you wrap your mind around a dead end when you have been walking down a path of obedience?
Are there Christians with superhero-like faith that never doubt and never feel crushed by the way things appear?
What does a Christian do when they are exhausted by the unexpected turns in the road and they think that just one more will push them over the proverbial edge?
What do you do when all of your questions directed to God go unanswered?
My good friend, Oswald Chambers, has this to say: "Unless we can look the darkest, blackest fact full in the face without damaging God's character, we do not yet know Him."
Psalm 73:25, 26 & 28 "Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides you, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. But as for me, the nearness of God is my good.
Hosea 6:6 "I don't want your sacrifices, I want your love. I don't want your offerings, I want you to know Me."
It all comes back to trust which is rooted in knowing. And this "knowing" is a lifelong pursuit. When we feel that we have no strength left with which to pursue, to desire, to know Him...well, He becomes that, too. In our weakness, He is strong.
Today, I need Him to be strong.
Monday, May 25, 2009
I have spent the past week on my couch watching movies and trying to get well. I cuddled up with my youngest son yesterday and we watched "National Treasure 2-Book of Secrets." The second "National Treasure" flick was about finding another enormous treasure but it was also about clearing the Gates family name after false accusations threatened to ruin it. I love both of these movies because of the rich history and the love of country. And I also love Ben Gates' determination to preserve the good reputation of his family's name.
In my family, we have taught our three sons that wherever they go and whatever they do, they do not just represent themselves. They also represent the Taylor family, and our God whose name we all wear. One way we have made that concept more tangible is by developing a family purpose statement which we have posted on the wall in our family room. It is crucial to establish a family identity while your children are young so that as they grow up and other people become increasingly more influential in their lives, they have something to fall back on. A strong family identity gives kids a sense of belonging to something larger than themselves and also a sense of stability. If we are going to have a purpose statement in our business plans, in our governments, and for our churches, how much more important is clearly laying out who you are as a family and why you exist as a unit? What about your family? Who are you and what do you stand for? If we don't give our kids a sense of purpose, someone else will.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
--This week at Giant Perspectives, one of the leadership blogs I read, Jeremie Kubicek had a great, short video perspective on Followership. I have always said that an effective leader must first become a loyal and faithful follower. But he says it better. Take two or three minutes and check out what he has to say about it.
--Fav quote of the week: "I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult." ~Rita Rudner
--It has been a fun-filled week at the Taylor house. Our van broke down. Again. Our lawnmower completely bit the dust. We bought a new lawnmower. And one of the computers crashed. My big man fixed the computer. I love my big man. And I have been sick with a yucky cold most of the week. My friend and lover, Nyquil, has totally let me down every single night and I am remembering fondly the days when I could breathe through my nose. Return to me, dear, open nasal passages, return to me!
--Even worse than the above events of the past week is the fact that I just learned that our dead lawnmower was self-propelled. SELF-PROPELLED! This little piece of information would have come in handy years ago....
--My youngest son turned 10 this past Wednesday and I was suddenly jolted by the reality that I can no longer blame this extra twenty pounds I carry on the fact that "I just had a baby." Great! Now what will I say.......
Do have a lovely holiday weekend. I will most likely spend mine at the pharmacy looking for a new decongestant. Thank you and amen.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
How do you measure the worth of what you do for God?
Do you count the number of souls you have won?
Do you count the number of trips you have made to the nursing home or the prisons?
Do you measure it by the growth you see in the life of the one you are mentoring?
Do you measure it by the positive feedback you receive from those to whom you minister?
Is it measured by the amount of your private giving and secret service to others?
Is it measured by how you feel about what you do to serve God?
Oswald Chambers had this to say about it:
"The measure of the worth of our public activity for God is the private, profound communion we have with Him." (emphasis mine)
I have to agree with him. And I cannot get away from this verse that I have quoted so many times.
"I don't want your sacrifices, I want your love. I don't want your offerings, I want you to know Me." Hosea 6:6
And so I ask myself, "Am I giving Him what He wants?"
Monday, May 18, 2009
When we afford another person grace in the face of their obvious imperfections and wrong-doings, we are being merciful. We are extending them pardon and affirming them in our love for and acceptance of them even when they disappoint or hurt us. The dictionary defines grace as mercy; clemency; pardon.
But grace is not just about mercy. It is also about beauty. The word grace is further defined as beauty of form, manner, motion or action.
This kind of physical grace is most obvious in the dance. The movements of a trained ballet dancer appear fluid, effortless and astounding in their beauty. The passion and heart of the dancer are translated through his or her movements to those who are watching, and their hearts are pierced.
Spiritual grace, when lovingly extended to another, also appears fluid, effortless and astounding in its beauty. And the passion and heart of God is translated through such obedience to the lost world who is watching, and their hearts are pierced.
James 4:6 says that "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble." The grace of God is poured out on those who chose to live a life of humility, and it is a choice. Further down in James, verse 10, it says, "Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you." Humility is a choice. Every moment of every day. The correlation between humility and grace is unmistakable. It is impossible to extend grace to others if you are walking in pride. God is in opposition to those who live in pride and only pours out grace on the humble. If He is unable to pour out His grace in your life, then you won't have it to extend to others. At all. Ever.
When I find myself devoid of grace for another, I can only assume that pride is at work in my life, and God cannot cooperate with me in that state. He opposes me. And we see this reality spread like cancer in churches everywhere. But He is calling us, wooing us, to return to Him in humility and confess our sin of pride that we might be healed, cleansed and filled with His beautiful, tender grace. And as our lives reflect this intimate dance of beauty with the Father, the gaze of the world will be inextricably drawn to Him. Just as it should be.
Friday, May 15, 2009
--I am committing to keep my video camera charged at all times from this day forward. Last night after dinner, my middle son started dancing to some techno song that my older son was playing on the desktop in the kitchen. It was a moment in time that I am sad to say I will never witness again. We were all doubled over laughing, especially when his head slammed into the refrigerator as he was spinning in circles. A dancer he is not. But oh, so funny he is!
--For all of my "Office" friends out there, can you believe they ended the season last night with Pam finding out she is pregnant?? The odd thing is that she was taken to the hospital to have an ankle x-ray so how did they discover she was pregnant??? Hmmmmm.....
--Fav quote of the week: "Beauty isn't worth thinking about; what's important is your mind. You don't want a fifty-dollar haircut on a fifty-cent head." ~Garrison Keillor
--I started not to post this quote, although it is a great quote, because it sounds like something an ugly person would say. There- I admitted it. I can be shallow. Amen. Oh, and I ripped this quote from my friend, Joylene's, blog. I am a lowly worm.
--If you do not have teenagers, perhaps you are unaware of the decline in the attention span of the American teen. On an average trip across town with my kids, we will listen one third of the way through to about fifteen different songs. My oldest son calls it iPod ADD. I do not understand this phenom. In the '80s I would listen to Van Halen sing "Jump" from beginning to end. Of course we did not have CDs so you couldn't "jump around" on a cassette tape. Sigh. I am suddenly feeling really old.
--On that note, I am heading off into the bright, sunshiny weekend. Have a big, fat, wonderful time but do come back here next week. You know you need me.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
What's that you say? It's May 13th??? I do not care. I am making a resolution anyway. It's my blog, I can resolve if I want to.
Sunday was my second Mother's Day since my Mom died and these past few days I have been looking at pictures of her when no one is looking. I do this when no one is looking because pictures of her make me cry, especially around special days, and I just like to cry by myself. That way no one sees the snot drip off of my nose and into my lap. Very sexy.
I am sad to say that there just aren't very many pictures of my Mama and me together. For that matter, there aren't very many pictures of her at all. And then I started thinking about the pictures of my own family and I think I might be scarce in those pictures. Why do we take so many pictures of our kids and so few with us in the pictures with them?
I know why. At least for me, anyway. It is because I hate how I look in most pictures so I only make my way into a few of the family shots. And I haven't been letting the boys post pictures of me on their Facebook pages if I think I look yucky in them, which I usually do.
But I don't want my boys to look through the family albums one day, searching for a shot of just them with me and find nothing. I would give anything to have a few pictures of my Mama and me together.
Just being together.
And even though no picture could ever fill the vast void left by Mama's death, it sure would help my heart to just see her. With me. A long ago moment, forever captured, that would wrap itself around me like a blanket and comfort me a little when I miss her.
I want to leave my kids with lots of pictures of all the fun we are having now and all the laughter. Oh, we do laugh. And they know what I really look like. They won't care if my tummy pokes out or my roots need touching up in a picture. I don't notice those things when I look at pictures of my Mama. All I see is the woman who gave me life and only occasionally threatened to take it back. And my boys will one day (a really long time from now) look at pictures of me and remember-not what my hair looked like or how much I weighed, but rather who I was and how I made them feel.
So, my resolution is to jump in all of the pictures and not worry how I look, but instead just enjoy how I feel. Because life is so good and so full and I really do love every minute of it. Go check out your own photo albums....are you there? It really will matter one day.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Two of the Gospel accounts have Jesus coming into Jerusalem for His triumphal entry riding a donkey and the other two have Him riding a colt. Choose your gospel account and choose your beast of burden, the lesson to be learned from His vehicle of choice is complete and utter humility.
Matt 20:28 "...the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
This verse displays the very essence of who Jesus was and is and who we, in turn, should strive to be. Servant. Plain and simple. Sadly, many men and women come into places of leadership in the church and then completely forget this verse of Scripture. I have observed a strange culture that has insidiously crept into the church, one that places the leaders in the church on high and exalted pedestals. These pedestals take on the appearance of preferred parking spots, attention to every personal need in a diva-like fashion, and regular verbal accolades from followers that can only serve to envelope the leader in a dense cloud of pride and arrogance. God, help Your church, Your bride!
Church leader, you MUST cast off this "rock star" mindset of leadership that looks NOTHING like the model of servant-leadership clearly demonstrated in every breath Jesus Christ took on this earth. Leaders in the church must model lifestyles of humility and servanthood if we ever expect to see such behavior in the church as a whole. You teach what you know but you reproduce who you are.
Abraham Lincoln once said, "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." It is a naked truth. Give a human being power, position or applause, and you will see what he or she is made of. Unless the glory is thrown back at the feet of Jesus, we will wrap ourselves up in it and marvel at how soft and comfortable it feels to the touch. But garments of glory were never intended for human flesh and it is our responsibility to refuse them.
Purpose to live in humility. Crucify your flesh every time it rears its' ugly head. Grab hold of selflessness, with your gaze locked on His face, and refuse to live any other way. It is the key to intimacy with the Father and thus, the key to true, Biblical leadership. Grab hold of your jackass and don't let go!
Friday, May 8, 2009
--Fav quote of the week: "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." ~Bill Cosby
--Since I know you all are dying to know, I found my prized recipe collection. It seems that in my packing frenzy I thought it a good idea to put them all inside my huge stock pot. After I wrote my post for last Friday, I had a sudden epiphany and went to check inside of it. If I am this absent-minded now, I shudder to think what I will be like when I am 85.
--This week, Tim Sanders wrote a great post on selfishness. Please check it out here. It is short, direct and very enlightening...a little wisdom snack that you cannot pass up.
--Someone who lives in my house recently educated me as to the origins of mankind. It seems that the woman was not taken from the man's rib as I had been led to believe but rather she evolved from a dinosaur. More specifically, the Vaginasaurus Rex. I also was enlightened to learn from a different someone who lives in my house that the historic line that separates the North from the South is the well-known Winn-Dixie Line. As a parent who has homeschooled my children for the past twelve years, I couldn't be more proud than I am in this moment.
--I love the way outside smells in early May. There is Confederate Jasmine growing in my yard and it smells so good that I jump at the chance to take the little pooch out for a walk. I am pretty sure that heaven is going to smell just like Jasmine. That or warm chocolate chip cookies.
--And finally, I know I don't say this enough so I am just gonna say it. I really heart you people who read this blog. I may not have the largest readership out there, but that is really not important to me. I love getting to know you. All of you who leave comments allow me to see who you are and and then I can check in on your blogs or websites or what have you...and I just love that. What a great bunch of folks you are! I am so proud to know you. Don't ever hesitate to jump in there with your opinions (the good, the bad and the ugly). I love a big opinion. I have a few of my own. In case you haven't noticed.
Have a spectacular weekend!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
If you have stopped by here even just once before, you know that much of my inspiration for writing comes from the things that happen in the everyday. This week, life has prevented me from putting the necessary time in to write a good post for today. I would apologize, but my family must come first, especially when they are sick. I just wonder why humans cannot find the time to get sick during daylight hours and, instead, find the middle of the night a beautiful time to ache, have fever, yack, or any other entertaining activity the sick body finds to do. This is a great mystery. I will be back on Friday....hope you will, too.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Eph 4:29 "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear."
Do the words that you often speak extend grace to those around you?
Do the people that live with you find themselves set free by the grace your words bring or are they constantly imprisoned by the chains of negativity and unmet expectations that flow freely from your mouth?
Are you even aware of the steady flow from your lips and what your words mean in the life of those around you?
These are questions I am asking myself these days.
I deeply desire my words to leave a wake of life, hope and grace that can bring beauty and freedom to the people that surround me.
Our words should lift people up on the wake they leave behind and move them to a higher place rather than causing them to capsize.
Have you checked the wake of your words lately?
Friday, May 1, 2009
--Fav quote of the week: "Solitude brings me back to a simplicity of spirit, an inner poverty that I need in order to clear room inside. It allows me to empty myself out, so there is gracious space within where I can receive myself, then God, and eventually others." -Sue Monk Kidd
--If you usually ignore links to other blogs/websites, please don't ignore this one. Click here and go read what Bruce Goddard wrote this week. It is beautiful. I don't actually know Bruce, but I do know his sister, Kikki, and her three kids that all hail from my hometown in South Georgia. He has such a special way of describing small town life and the commonality of the human experience. Do check it out.
--I know I have said it here before, but it bears repeating. Please get your heart right with God because if you do not, I am pretty sure that you will spend all of your hellacious eternity raking leaves and spreading mulch. I can't find it in Scripture, but I am 97.6 % sure that it is true- eternal damnation involves any lawn tool with a long handle and something heavy at the end of it. And I don't say this because I just spent two full days working in my yard. Sheer coincidence.
--I am sad to report that I have lost something very dear to me. Because I am a bit of a neat freak (those who know me can hold their rude comments, thank you very much), I seldom lose anything. Except occasionally my sense of decorum. But let's face it... you don't live as the only female among three large, hairy males and one small, prepubescent male and come away unaffected. I digress. I have lost my recipes. I know I packed them when we left Georgia (or did I ????) but I cannot find them anywhere and now I feel lost. Alone. Hopeless. Whatever will we eat? My grandmother's fudge pie recipe, my great grandmother's biscuit recipe, my high school Health Occupations teacher's chocolate chip cake recipe....all gone. *sigh* All this on the heels of having to spread two truckloads of mulch! I may need an intervention.
--And finally, I will be spending this weekend with an incredible team of people down in Bradenton, Florida putting the finishing touches on plans for the 2009 Kids Aflame Camp. If you have never heard of it, then click here and check it out. You won't find a better kids camp anywhere so if your church is looking for somewhere to take kids that will change their lives, this is it!
Now go forth and have a restful weekend. Love from Taylortown!