Thursday, November 23, 2006


Don't you love traditions? I like to have traditions with a purpose, focusing my time and treasuring on blessing someone special. This special season, begins, for me, with the American Girl Trip to Chicago. I have gotten to organize this trip each year for the bookstore I work at, and I take a sweet little girl with me each year. I try to choose a little girl who is old enough to enjoy herself, and good enough to endure a bit of a long day. This year, I got a double helping of BOTH! I took 2 precious girls from my homeschool P.E. class. What darlings! What angels! Never "I'm cold". Never "I'm tired". Only "Thank you, Miss Gretchen, thank you so much!" Oh, you precious darlings, I would take you a thousand times!

Last year, I cooked Thanksgiving pies and other treats with several of my pastor's kids, and I wanted to repeat that tradition this year. We had just
gotten our camera last year, and here is picture one of them took that day. Just below it is a repeat picture taken this year. By the way, I'm looking so fab both years in my P.E. ensembles, aren't I? I only wish I could post a couple pictures of these cuties rolling out pie crust (Anna) or covered in evaporated milk (Stephen), but they aren't my kids, so I better not.

I will be leaving these precious friends soon (see how I feel about that on my post My Isaac), but the Lord is so good. He has given me fresh insight into one of His perfections, His Immutibility. While weeping over how nothing could be the same again, it dawned on me that what I truly love about any wonderful event or tradition is HIM! And He is the Eternal One, the Same yesterday, today and forever! Oh yes, we change! Children grow up, I grow older, homes, and families and relationships ebb and flow. But the Great Unchanging One makes it all bearable as He whispers to me "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

I was inspired last year by Noel Piper's book, Treasuring God in Our Traditions, to begin making traditions that turn our eyes on Jesus, especially at Christmas. I recommend this book as perfect holiday reading. Begin a tradition that makes drives your attention upward, and worship the One who remains the Rock of Ages.

Monday, November 20, 2006


I am not too afraid of being sentimental. Gag if you like, but my teenage sisters and their friends all mockingly imitate me talking to my husband in baby talk (it's a family thing -- we all communicate in this dialect about 50% of the time) . And I do LOVE my husband. So I was glad when my friend Sarah tagged me, forcing me to post about him and 13 things I love about him. BTW -- "Jeish" is the way his grandma pronounced his name, so it has just stuck as a nickname. Sets him a bit apart from the multitude of Joshes.

1. He truly is my spiritual leader -- he sets the tone in our home, and calls me on the carpet when I need it.

2. He constantly encourages me. Whether it is my appearance, feeling worn out from all my differing responsibilities, or just cooking dinner or getting the laundry done, he is affirming, affirming, affirming.

3. He is such a great "big brother" to my little sisters. He buddies them and babies them, and tells them they are beautiful. (I think this is a good indication that he will be a great father!)

4. I think he is very handsome. I would know his profile anywhere.

5. He loves to read, like me.

6. He never nags me if I let my housework lie a bit. He gives me time to relax when I am home from work, and lets me read, read, read all I want without feeling guilty.

7. He has no vices, or addictions to things that just waste time. He enjoys sports, but his life is not tempered by whether or not the right team wins or loses. He rarely watches television (and never here!).

8. He has adapted to my style of food (very little meat, open to trying nearly all vegetables) and is game for being adventurous if I feel like it with my cooking.

9. He has a vi
sion for how the Lord will use us together in the future.

10. He likes spending time with me! We mostly like to hang out together!

11. He feels things intensely, but seeks to be led not by feeling, but conviction. He is not a boorish "He-Man". And I'm glad!!

12. He loves childre
n and elderly people. This was one of the first things that stood out to me when I first got to know him. I had never met a man who was good with both.

13. He has a great sense of humor! He can make me laugh HARD like no-one else can. And another good thing is, he is rubbing off on me, so we sort of share a sense of humor.

So . . . Who to tag next??? I think I shall tag my friends Donette and Stephanie!

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Blessings of Faithful Friends

The Lord has blessed Josh and I enormously these past months with some very dear friends. They are the Taylors: James and Christen, David and Sharon, Phil and Mary Ruth. This family is 3rd generation missionaries to go to Brazil. James, David and Sharon grew up as MK's in Brazil, and now are on deputation to go back to serve themselves.

We had David and Sharon at our house last night, on their way through town from Iowa to North Carolina (deputation takes you many miles!) I was reminded of what sweet fellowship one can have with likeminded friends. How great our God is, to create something so amazing as the Joy between two friends when you realize "you have felt that too? I thought I was the only one!" I rejoice when I think of the blessing God has given Josh with friends like David and
James. Not every man is capable of having very very dear friends, but my husband is, and needs encouragement from strong Christian men. Here is a picture of David holding his new nephew, Jeremiah Taylor (doesn't that just sound like a missionary's name?) last night at dinner.

Of course, I wish David and Sharo
n were always around, but the truth is, my relationship with Sharon has been based on a series of visits and late night talks, knowing that we are parting in the morning. There is such a sweet grief to long to be with your friends longer, don't you think? I think it is a taste of longing for eternity, where time has no power or constraints.

James and Christen have lived nearby for the past 11 months. Christen and I became immediate friends, mostly for the immediate need for a friend we both had! I had been wrestling with the Lord over jealousy I was harbor
ing toward other girls around me who seemed to have tons of good friends. The Lord brought my jealousy to light, made me realize that He is the Supreme Friend, and the Affection of my heart, and then gave me Christen. She got me back into running (and then had to quit due to pregnancy), I got her into blogging, we worked together at Camp OUTT, cooked fun meals, shared songs and books, drank millions of cups of tea, told a million stories, and a million praises of the Lord's goodness. I so appreciate Christen for her flexibility, (she and James currently share a bedroom with all 3 of their kids, including their 8-day-old Jeremiah), her simplicity (finding the fun in wearing matching church logo t-shirts to play scrabble), her boldness that shames me (so ready to witness and challenge others in an encouraging and upbeat way). Thank you, so much, Christen, for reading my books and giving me some of yours. Thank you for being such good company, someone I always want to sit and catch up with.

James and Christen are leaving soon, leaving a huge "Taylor Void" in our lives! The absence I believe, will be a bit like climbing up the stairs and thinking there was one more step, and nearly stumbling when the step is not there (to quote Lemony Snicket). I embrace that pain, that small death in my life, as a way to honor the Lord. He gives and takes away. How blessed we have been to be given such friends! Would we really annul His will? Has He been a desert to us? No, indeed. He is the very fountain of blessing!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

My Sisters

A while back I posted some pictures of Josh's family and commented on our relationship, so now I want to post some stuff about my family and how much I love them -- especially my sisters!
Anybody who does not have a sister does not understand the bond that can be there. I have been thankful for my sisters over and over; they are very dear friends to me! After seeing Josh's mom deal with her mother dying and the comfort she took with her sister -- who is SO different from her, but shares that common bond of sisterhood -- I decided that I want to have more than one girl. So let me know how you let God know that . . . anybody got ideas? Sarah? Sandy? Just kidding.

Above is a pictur
e of us all at the Father-Daughter Dinner in June (we are wearing "We Heart Dad" shirts made by Emily and I). My sister Nancy is the girl with short hair in the back row. Nanc is my adopted sister for the past 4+ years. She is growing in her people skills and has an unbelievable ability to memorize every word to songs and movies! Unfortunately, I could not find any other good pics of her! I guess she is not the camera hog the rest of my sisters and I are! Here are some other pictures of my sisters and family that I love!

Josh and Abby at Boyce Preview weekend a couple weeks ago. Abby is 14 and much more tomboyish than Emily. She is sometimes buddies with Josh, though he still wishes I had a little brother! :) Abby is very gifted with children and loves to babysit and hog my little niece, Cede! People always tell Abby she looks like me . . . sorry Ab! I guess if they mean the natural beauty look, then that is TRUE!

Emily is the girliest girly girl in the family. She is also very artistic and talented singer. Here she is singing at International Teen's Involved. What I appreciate about Emily is her love for the Lord! She is WAY more spiritually grounded than I was at 17! Isn't she beautiful? No wonder all those boys are crushing on her!

I couldn't find any recent ones of just Anna and I, but here is one of the 4 of us on my Dad's 60th birthday in September. Anna is my closest in age sister, and she is married and works as a nurse. Anna and I shared a room growing up, and we are a testimony that that can WORK and sisters can still be buddies!

Thank you, Jesus, for my sweet sisters! Please take them from my open hands and use them for YOUR glory!!