Friday, August 27, 2010


A typical Taylor dinner is characterized by noise. We have five people who have a lot to say and the volume with which to say it. To add to the activity tonight, Everett is trying to be a "big kid" and sit on the bench with Darla and Hudson instead of strapped into his booster seat. While I understand the desire to be big, he lacks impulse control and focus. Regardless, we let him try and then move him to the booster when he's not staying put.

He made it through the meal (barely) and then S. grabbed the Bible for our family devotional. As S. was reading I noticed Everett kicking Hudson under the table. S. gave a stern, "Everett. Quiet." Soon Everett was poking Hudson. "EVERETT! Enough. Quiet!" Within seconds he was all out smothering and- was that a lick?!- getting removed from the bench.
The booster didn't go much better because it triggered the screaming. S. in between verses, "EVERETT CLIFFORD! No screaming. Quiet."
Trying to help S. out as he was determined to get through the chapter, I pulled Everett onto my lap. Squirming and giggling, the distractions continued. I assume S. finished the chapter because he set the Bible down and excused three very wiggly children.

We were thankful they were eager to go play so we could have a few minutes to actually look at each other over sippy cups and clumps of rice. Just as we were about to begin conversation, the patter of toddler feet returned to the kitchen. Everett picked up the Bible, plunked down on the bench, and opened it. He very seriously furrowed his brow at S. and said firmly, "Quiet Daddy. Bible."
Reverently, he turned the pages.
Then he sat. Quietly.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The vortex of invisibility

I kicked this week off with a long, self-pitying sigh. S. is working hard on Big Oak; a ministry that involves mentoring/training leaders and youth pastors, speaking, evangelism, events & resources. We have yet to raise enough money for a salary. A realtor showed our house twice to a family who is very interested. However, that was 2 weeks ago and no decision has been made. Our foster licensing got held up and is now a month late. I've tried twice to contact the person in the district that can answer my questions about a stipend program when I start homeschooling Darla next month. No answer and the paperwork was supposed to be in last week.

I was lamenting to S. that I feel right now as though I'm in one of those dreams where you jump up and down to get someone's attention. All the while life goes on around you. People are laughing, talking, living, while you yell and no sound comes out. S. laughed at my analogy (I was laughing, too but mine was the "I-better-laugh-or-I-will-cry" type.) He acknowledged, "This is totally crazy, huh?" Things simply seem to interfere with "the next step" in every area of our lives.
My husband is not much for worrying. In fact, he sometimes gets giddy to be able to throw up his hands and wait for God to do something extraordinary. I wouldn't say I felt worry this week. I would say I felt exhausted and beyond ready for the next step in our lives.

Then I got an e mail from a cousin who completely understands my circumstances and me. The line in her e mail that stopped me was,
But isn't it sad that even though our needs are being met in miraculous ways I am still waiting for God to do it in my way?

Bingo. Am I really right back at that place of being like a whiny Israelite who is watching bread fall from the sky? Just wishing it would rain something tastier? I am. I am a weak, tired, whiny person.
"In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul." Psalm 138:3
Later in this Psalm David says, "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you will revive me; you will stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand will save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord endures forever; do not forsake the works of Your hands." Psalm 138:7,8

I recognize that when the Lord "perfects that which concerns me", it might have very little to do with making my life easy (or even bearable). It may have little to do with the superficial answers I want. It may have much to do with being transformed into being like Christ. It may have to do with surrender and hearing the voice of God.
God isn't fooled by the vortex of invisibility. This week someone dropped off a bunch of produce at our door. Two weeks ago S. went to get an oil change. Apparently someone driving by saw his car in line, went into the shop and paid for our oil change. We picked up an extra camp to speak at this month and got paid a little extra. He is answering...even if it's not the way I want.

Once again I pray that I will look back at this season of my life and be able to say, "It wasn't done 'my way' but WOW! Bread was FALLING from the SKY! How amazing was that?!"

Thursday, August 12, 2010

10 yrs. of holy with a dash of happy

When I walked in the front doors of Whitworth College as a freshman, the dorm president (a junior) was there to greet me. He was sitting on an inflatable chair, with a crown on his head, and a boisterous voice that could be heard down the halls. He commended me on my firm handshake. To this day he says that he knew I was the one he wanted to marry at that moment. My thought? My thought was, "Sheesh, that guy is REALLY loud."

Soon I added the trait "persistent" to "loud". This passionate, charismatic guy seemed to coincidentally be everywhere I was. A "coffee date" turned into dinner and eight hours of conversation. We won Homecoming King and Queen for an (exceptional) lip synch act at a football game. I was swept up in his zeal. I admired his obvious love for the Lord and people. While I was still deciding if I was falling in love with him, he told me he was going to marry me. I kind of hoped he was right.

I had begun praying for my "future husband" when I was 14 years old. I recorded many of my prayers and as S. was wooing me, they started to make sense. We were engaged 4 months after we met and we married a year and a half after that.

As a young bride I was naive and idealistic: full of sweet dreams and ideas of Oneness.

Simultaneously I was determined: praying on my knees, and ready to fight for my marriage regardless of romantic feelings.

Many things have changed in the course of 10 years but my grit and relentless prayers have remained constant.

About the time we got married we read Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. His now famous and still profound words were; "What if God’s primary intent for your marriage isn’t to make you happy . . . but holy? And, what if your relationship isn’t as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God?"

We adopted this as our aim thinking, what better than to be holy, close to God, and get to use our companionship as a way to attain it?

At the time we didn't realize that the Lord transforms us into His image through opening our eyes to our own selfishness and sin, through allowing heart break, disappointment in those we are tempted to idolize, and through emptying us of ourselves so He can fill us with Himself. Huh. Not quite the spectacular, romantic, "us against the world" idea that I had... but in God's grace, as we chose to "grow up together" He allowed us to grow into Him, not merely into each other.

S. told me that before his mom died she said about being married to his dad, "I can tell you one thing... it has never been boring." Oh, how I understand!

In our 10 years together we both graduated with bachelor's degrees. We've owned 3 houses but lived in 6 places (7 if you count the trailer in my parent's driveway one summer.) We've moved even more because we vacated one house for 9 months after it was hit by a car and our property flooded. One house never sold (by the grace of God!) so we moved back to it.

S. loves to make statements with his vehicles... and isn’t partial to cars that run. This has also made for some interesting 'adventures' for us.

9 yrs. of adventures have been in doing ministry together. Not only have we remodeled homes and moved numerous times, but we have remodeled youth rooms and moved facilities annually.

We've poured out our lives into students and passionate leaders.

I could fill a book with what the Lord has allowed us to be part of; lives transformed, miracles, families restored, hundreds of people baptized. We've spoken at student's funerals and officiated their weddings. We have sat in the mud through heartbreaks and thrown parties to celebrate breakthroughs. (Oh...and we've spent a ridiculous amount of money on CDs to give away, fireworks, T.P., and other things that youth ministry requires). We've had the joy of hiring people and the pain of having to fire people.

We've had 6 people (other than our children) live with us at various times. We've journeyed through a dad in prison, through celiac disease and debilitating anxiety. We’ve put on events, concerts, and worked jobs from bartending, to berries, to photography and Countless times we have watched God provide financially for our needs.

5 1/2 years ago we had a little baby girl.

17 months later we had a baby boy.

22 months after that came our third baby, a second boy.

At our wedding ceremony my mom sang, “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand”. I vowed, “Whither thou goest, I will go. Whither thou lodgest, I will lodge. Thy people shall be my people and thy God, my God.”

Although I was oblivious to what that would look like, I knew the Lord would go before me. I knew He would give me the power to honor my commitment and hopefully the grace to enjoy the process.

Now at the 10 yr. mark I can say I am oblivious to what the next 10 years will hold. But I am confident that the Lord will go before me. He will give me the power to honor my commitments and hopefully the grace to enjoy the process. Christ is the Solid Rock that I stand on.

So Sean Taylor, my love, “Whither thou goest, I will go. Whither thou lodgest, I will lodge. They people shall be my people and thy God, my God.”

Now I know enough to sit down, buckle up, and brace myself for the ride. Happy Anniversary.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sweet Summer Days

Hands down, summer is my favorite season. My favorite things include strawberries, hammocks, bare feet, shorts, thriving vegetable gardens, tans, and not having to warm up my car in the dark when I work out in the morning. As you can see, all other seasons fall short in the Northwest.
We have been maximizing our sunny days (I even choose to grocery shop at night if it means playing in the sun during the day). Here are a couple glimpses into our sunny moments:

Sean introduced the kids to Chex muddy buddies. We polished off an enormous bowl on the patio...they're hooked. This was followed by an "outside bath". Our genius idea: we hook up the hose to the hot water tank and fill the kiddie pool. We then haul out towels and shampoo. With how dirty our kids get, it ensures that I don't have to bleach the bath every day and it's much more fun to bathe in the sun anyway.
Living in the best neighborhood in the world means climbing apple trees, playing 'pirates', having neighbors over for iced tea, catching bugs and frogs, and continual sword fights. These are our neighbors who have 3 kids the same ages as our 3 (they also have a baby sister which constantly reminds my kids that they need a baby sister, too.)
During our rare moments inside Darla is practicing reading. She wants to do some schooling with her first grade cousin Pearl so she has some catching up to do!
Darla lost her first tooth! She and Hudson told us that Hudson punched it out because she asked him to. After more prodding it turned out that was "just a story, Mom. Really I just slid down the slide and it came out." Apparently that wasn't dramatic enough so she got Hudson to go along with her made-up story. Sheesh... who's kid is this?
Another milestone- we potty trained Everett this week. This may be my least favorite part of being a parent. The initial 3 days of potty training I always think, "Never again! I don't care if they wear diapers forever! In fact, I may stop having children for the sole reason of having to potty train them."
Yet the three days of focusing solely on Everett; swinging, playing trains, reading endless stacks of books, was good for both of us. Plus, I can't get over how cute his little squeezy buns are in underwear.
We've also spent time with the Ellis 7. 6 years ago Jasmine and I were tanning on the patio while baby Pearl napped. Now we are constantly counting heads. The good news is, a coffee that used to last an hour now lasts all day. Who has time to sip a coffee when you have 8 energetic bodies fueling off each other?
Note: These are only Jasmine's kids on the tire swing. It's not a birthday party- it's her every day.
Impromptu pizza at the park with Taylors & Ellis'.
Everett and Jude discovering each other. When Everett says "Jude" it sounds like "a dude." He walks around saying "Hi a dude. Hi a dude" repeatedly.