Growth

2013 is here! I have many resolutions but one of them is to blog more often. I’m tempted to say ‘write a blog post every day’, but I think I’ll give myself some grace and say ‘often’ as I realistically know myself.

My delightful friend, Carrie , wrote a blog post mentioning that each new year her family prayerfully considers a single word to define it. I thought it was a wonderful idea. So I talked to TJ about it and asked him to pray about a word for our family for 2013. I had a word that I felt like the Lord had placed on my heart, but I wanted TJ to seek the Lord about it also. Amazingly, we both came up with the same word (well actually TJ had two, the one we both heard and family).

Growth.

Hands Holding a Seedling and Soil

It’s an exciting, yet unnerving word all at the same time. Because growth usually comes at the cost of pruning and refining. But I’m excited to see what Abba has in store for us this year. I felt led to also find a scripture to memorize and pray throughout 2013 that had ‘growth’ in it and I don’t think I could have found a more perfect one.

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
and to you shall vows be performed.
O you who hear prayer,
to you shall all flesh come.
When iniquities prevail against me,
you atone for our transgressions.
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple!

By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas;
the one who by his strength established the mountains,
being girded with might;
who stills the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples,
so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.

You visit the earth and water it;
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide their grain,
for so you have prepared it.

You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.

The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.

- Psalm 65

I pray that God be glorified more in our lives this year than ever before. I pray for less of me and more of Him. I am excited for what this new year brings and I’m thrilled to grow in my relationship with my creator! May 2013 be a year filled with the richness of the Almighty One!

 

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013 1 Comments | Filed in Family, God

Central Texas Fires

This is absolutely devastating and heartbreaking. I’m constantly on the brink of tears. I went outside today and it looks like there was a fog and it was about to rain; but it wasn’t. It was smoke. They’re advising people to stay inside as much as possible today to avoid smoke inhalation. Please pray for rain and for all those who suffer loss.

 

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011 1 Comments | Filed in Family, People

The Invisible Woman

A while ago (June), I was playing my guitar and worshipping the Lord when I felt he laid something on my heart. I felt as though our homeschool group should have a women’s retreat. We’re all believers and followers of Jesus, though we do not all attend the same church. The goal of RRHOME this year is to build and cultivate community outside of our bond of homeschooling. What better way to get to know one another than to worship alongside one another! Leadership was gracious enough to let me lead the discussion time as well as a little worship. It was such great time to get together with lovely ladies to relax, refresh, and get to know one another better before starting the school year.

I was so very stressed out planning it. I didn’t want to offend anyone. I didn’t want to look like a fool. I prayed and asked the Lord what He would like to speak to us about. A few days before the retreat, I still didn’t have a topic to discuss. I was browsing YouTube and came across this video and I knew the instant I watched it; this was what we were to talk about.

How often do you feel this way? I feel like this a lot. I feel like no one hears me. No one cares. No one sees. I remember making pancakes for my kids early one morning. I remember thinking “I’m such an awesome mom (pride! yuck!). I’m doing such a good job! Way to go, Melody!”. When I put those pancakes down in front of my children, they complained. They didn’t want pancakes. Pancakes are gross. I remember taking it so personally. I can see now that my ego was hurt as well as my feelings. But how many times do we serve out of a sincere and humble heart only to have it go ignored or unappreciated.

Everyone likes to be acknowledged. It makes us feel good to be told “Thank You” and “You’re Awesome”. But what about the heart? If all we’re doing is fulfilling a function (cook, clean, chauffeur, teach) then why does the heart matter? It doesn’t. But if we’re serving the Lord and answering a call He has placed, it does.

God is so sweet. He sees when we feel invisible. He knows our hearts. It really changed my perspective. I no longer try to do the laundry, cook or homeschool our children with the expectation of gratitude or immediate result. I do it because the Lord has called me to. I understand that I am helping to build something that I may never see finished. I try do it with joy in my heart because it is pleasing to Him. And He sees it.

Thursday, September 1st, 2011 1 Comments | Filed in Family, Homeschool, Kids

1st Grade and Kindergarten

We started our homeschool year last week. We were pretty excited about 1st grade and Kindergarten.

This will be our first year to homeschool the entire year. We schooled Lakyn at home for part of her kindergarten year. I was so excited to get started. I planned our calendar year, made a daily schedule, and planned our first week. We’re using Sonlight curriculum for our Bible, History, Science, Language Arts, and Reading. We using Alphabet Island for our phonics program and Handwriting without Tears for handwriting (obviously). I selected Saxon for our math program because of it’s heavy use of manipulatives in the early years. I haven’t gotten these manipulatives yet, but soon. Really soon.

Holden is four years old and will turn five in February. Technically, he’s got a year before he should start Kindergarten. But he’s totally ready. He knows all of his letters (both visually and phonetically), numbers, colors, days of the week, and shapes. He can recognize rhyming words and words that “sound alike”. I figure we’ll take our time with it. No rush.

The kids were really excited to start school. They kept asking me when we were going to start all summer but I wasn’t ready. It takes a lot of preparation and honestly, I was a tad overwhelmed with all that needed to be done to prepare. On Monday, they awoke with a mixture of anticipation, excitement, and anxiousness of the unknown.

 

This week we learned about creation, the earth and its rotation on its on axis as well as around the sun, the continents, and hemispheres. We spent time learning about the Nomads, where they lived, what they wore, how they hunted and what they ate. Lakyn read a book about Pat the fat rat. It’s mostly three letter words but she’s getting so much better and sounding the words out and she’s thrilled to be reading. We spent time writing our names and practicing our grips. We learned about Noah’s ark, Abram and Lot, and the tower of Babel.  Of course, there was a lot of coloring, cutting, and pasting!! TJ has been reading a chapter a night of “The Boxcar Children” to the kids at bedtime. They love it and always ask him to keep reading! It was a pretty full week.

Monday went really well. The kids were very attentive and excited about learning. Tuesday…..sucked. I actually called TJ in tears because it was going so badly. I lost my temper, the kids would not sit still long enough to let me even blink! Somehow we muddled through the day but it was rough. I spent most of the evening seeking the Lord and asking him to reveal things to me to make this process easier. I got up early Wednesday morning and prayed for our day. It’s a hard realization when you see that your children are given to you to edify you and make you more like Christ. Through them, I see how flawed I am everyday. I’m thankful for my kids and feel so blessed to be able to educate them and spend time with them. The Lord revealed to me that I need to “lighten up” a little and not be so rigid about everything. I need to have fun and remember the benefits of being able to educate at home. Jesus was so sweet and comforting to me. Needless to say, the rest of the week was much better. Friday, our homeschool group RRHOME had it’s annual “Not Back to School Party”. It was a swim party and the kids had a blast! I’m so thankful to have these lovely ladies in my life to influence and encourage me.

All in all, I’m excited about this school year and the many memories and  blessings that will come from it. And I think they are too.

 

*Note – Lakyn keeps holding up one finger for 1st grade.

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011 2 Comments | Filed in Family, Homeschool, Kids

The mother of swings

Our friends have this hammock that is really comfortable to lie in, as hammocks are. But every time we’re over there it becomes something far greater, it becomes the raddest of backyard swings. The kids live in this thing, constantly yelling “higher, higher!”

photo by our friend Zack Russell

Saturday, May 21st, 2011 0 Comments | Filed in Family, Friends, Kids

35 weeks

Well I’m about 35 weeks now. I made the rounds with all the doctors yesterday to find that I have another (that makes 13) UTI infection and I’m still only dilated to a 1. Yesterday really wasn’t a good day.

I knew I had another infection by the way I was feeling. It’s the usual trend. I get towards the end of a round of antibiotics and I feel pretty decent. I feel like I could handle this a little bit longer. I’ll have energy to do the normal, required things around the house like laundry, dishes, taking care of the kiddos and still have a bit left to do something crafty. But then after a couple of days, I relaspe. I feel feverish, have burning when I pee, my back hurts in the kidney region, and I’m lethargic. Lately, I’ve felt nauseous too. Throw all that on top of the normal “pregnancy sucks and I’m sick of this crap” symptoms and you might get and idea of how I feel. Seeing as this is the 13th infection I’ve had in 35 weeks, I’m getting pretty good at recognizing the symptoms. Needless to say, I wasn’t suprised.

I was disappointed that I hadn’t progressed at all. I know it’s still early but try to put yourself in my shoes. I’m exhausted and I’m tired of feeling like this and I just want some relief. I’ve been having contractions for a while now and some are getting to bring tears to my eyes. I just want it to be over.

I told TJ yesterday that it’s still hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that a baby is coming from all of this. I can’t seem to grasp it. I feel all the movements and kicks and I know there’s a baby in my belly. But at the same time, it’s all a little surreal.

I think I’ve just been so distracted by the health issues that I haven’t been able to “enjoy” this experience if that’s even possible. None the less, my heart knows there’s a life in all of this even if my mind can’t comprehend it. And I think that’s what helps keep me going each day. Relying on my heart and not the things I know.

Friday, April 16th, 2010 0 Comments | Filed in Family, Kids, Pregnancy

ONE

Well, I went to the OBGYN on Thursday last week and I am dilated to 1. Whoo Hoo!!!

Maybe all this pregnancy madness will end soon. I sure hope so. This is what happened with my other two kiddos. I started to dilate at 34 weeks and then they were born at 36 weeks. Hopefully, the third child will follow suit. I’ve been having some yucky contractions, some where I can’t talk, but nothing regular or consistent yet. We’ll see…

The energy burst that I had pretty much went out the window. I finished up yet another round of antibiotics and was feeling pretty great for a couple of days only to return to feeling yucky  and having no energy. I see my urologist this week (Thursday) and I’m pretty sure the infection is back. They’re pretty confident at this point that I do, in fact, have a kidney stone stuck and it will have to be taken care of after the baby is born. I’m not sure exactly how soon after the baby is born, I’m going to ask at my appointment. Either way, I’m anxious to just feel “normal” again.

I’m also a little anxious about having 3 (THREE!) little ones. It’s always a little scary when you add another member to your family. My mind is constantly racing with different scenarios and what our life will look like being a family of 5. I know that it’ll all be okay. I just hope that I can divide myself into enough parts that everyone can feel just how much I love them – TJ, Lakyn, Holden, and our new addition – and still manage to maintain a part of myself.  It might take a little practice but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

Monday, April 12th, 2010 0 Comments | Filed in Family, Pregnancy

I have my password!!

I love my husband dearly and he does so much for me but one of the those little things that annoy the fire out of me is his use of passwords. Rather than having a consistent “uncrackable” password, he is always changing it. Which wouldn’t be a problem except he can never remember what password he’s used and is always having to request a password change and well, you get the idea.

So my darling and talented husband did a site re-design for me but in the process changed the password and then proceeded to forget it. Yes, I know it’s not really a big deal but due to his busy schedule, I just got my password reset and am able to post again.

Now, I can’t blame ALL my delinquency on my husband. This pregnancy has had a LITTLE to do with my inability to post. So for the sake of time and to relieve you of reading a novel of a post, I’m going to bullet point the main events that have happened since my last post.

- My sweet little bubby boy turned 3! I can’t hardly believe it. I have every intention of writing him a letter to post but as you’ll see I had other events that kept me from doing so. The guilt is crummy.

- If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that I’ve had a bit of trouble with infections with this pregnancy. Well I started having intense pain that lasted for over a week. My urologist did a repeat renal sonogram and found that I had hydronephrosis of both kidneys (which basically means my kidney’s were swollen and not draining properly) and my left kidney (the side I was having all the pain) had debris.

- I had emergency surgery to have a stent placed from my left kidney to my bladder on Feb 12 to help my kidney drain. It was pretty scary. They put me completely under and when I woke up I was having contractions every 2-3 minutes and they were concerned they were going to have to transfer me to labor and delivery. I was only 26 weeks pregnant at the time. But the contractions calmed down and I was able to go home, only to return a couple days later to be re-admited to the hospital for a couple of days of IV antibiotics to combat a nasty infection.

- My sweet mother-in-law came to stay for a week while all this happened and I honestly don’t know what I’d do without her. She was a godsend. Not only did she help to watch the kids, but she completely cleaned my house and did all my laundry. And trust me, that was not easy. The appreciation I have for TJ’s family reached a whole new level through this process.

- I’ve had yet another infection since my stent was placed. This brings the total count to 11!

- I have been a Craigslist fool! I have gotten so many amazing deals for our baby off craigslist and I feel very thrifty. I got a stroller/carseat combo for $40. I got a bassinet for $10. I got 23 Avent bottles, bottle warmer, and bottler sterilizer for $50. Heck Yes!!!

- TJ found a drop-in daycare in our neighborhood called KidSpace. I’ve used it for the kids a few times and it is AWESOME! Not only are they open late (12:30 on the weekends) so that TJ and I can go on a date for once, but it comes in handy with all these doctors appointments I’ve been having to go to, or if I just need a break.

- I took Lakyn to register for kindergarten. She is more than thrilled and excited about starting school. I, on the other hand, have mixed feelings. I’m excited for her to learn, make new friends, and flourish as I know she will. But it’s a little scary throwing your child into “the real world” where she’s no longer shielded by my filter.

Well, I think that about wraps it up for now although I’m sure I left something out.

HOLY UPDATE!!

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 2 Comments | Filed in Family, Kids, Pregnancy

Goodbye 2009

2009 was a pretty rough year around the Taylor house. I can’t necessarily say that it was all evil. We did have some amazing moments and as a result of such a tumultuous year we have learned to take note of what’s really important. It’s not the money, bills, or work. It’s the valuable time spent with family, friends, and loved ones. It’s the laughter shared over a couple of drinks or the tickle sessions shared at bedtime.

I contemplated writing a timeline of our year, outlining all the many highs and lows, reliving each event. But in the end I decided I would focus more on the lessons learned.

Even when you haven’t been able to pay rent in 3 months, you’re on the verge of having all utilities disconnected and you’re not sure when you’ll be able to buy milk, it’s important to take a step back. Disconnect from reality. Give yourself a timeout. And think about all the things you have to be grateful for.

I’ve learned to slow time and really look at what’s going on around me. I take mental photographs for my treasured scrapbook that I keep filed away in my mind. I try to capture the little things. Those moments when the kids don’t know you’re watching them and they’re playing together lovingly. Moments where TJ is talking to the kids or hugging on them. Times when Lakyn is giving a concert to her stuffed animals. Rare instances when Holden is caught in a daydream. Those little moments that I always seemed to take for granted before because I was so concerned about when the next paycheck was coming.

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I could go on and on about the financial struggle we endured and the strain it put on my marriage and my family. But at the end of the year, I have so much to be thankful for. We had amazing health. We love each other. We’ve learned to laugh through miserable situations and thank God for our life together. Because at the end of the day, that’s all we have…. each other.

Monday, January 4th, 2010 2 Comments | Filed in Family, Kids

Motherhood

I’ve been a little out of commission these past few days. We celebrated Lakyn’s 5th birthday, went to the Parade of Lights at Zilker Park, and various other things that have kept me busy.

Lakyn had a wonderful birthday. I had a sense of guilt because every year she’s always had a big extravagant party with tons of friends and family but since we’ve recently moved away from said friends and family, she had a small birthday this year with us and her two cousins that live here. She kept asking when her “party” was. But all in all, I really think she had a wonderful time. We went to Jungle Java which is her new favorite place. She asks to go there everyday. We had lunch with daddy downtown and I took her to Walmart and let her pick out all the stuff for her birthday cake which she helped bake and decorate. It was a great day.

Then we went to the Parade of Lights at Zilker Park and it was amazing! It was like going to the fair but with Christmas lights galore. They even had funnel cake. Yum! The kids really enjoyed themselves and I felt like a kid while we were there. I think it’s good to let your inner child that’s filled with imagination surface every once in a while. It’s good for the soul.

Several things happened this weekend that made me really appreciate being a mother but also value motherhood in general. I know that I never truly understood my mother until I had children of my own. Since that time, I have such a great respect for her.

While we were at Jungle Java, a little girl fell on one of the slides. Fell hard. Like the entire place heard the thud followed by the cry of the hurt girl. I found it absolutely fascinating that simply from the sound of the cry, the mother instantly knew that it was her little girl who was hurt. I think to most, crying just sounds like crying. But to mothers, each child has a distinct cry that makes them recognizable. The mother immediately rushed over, picked up her little girl and began to caress and comfort her and I was in complete awe of this beautiful, raw moment. She possessed the correct touch and soothing voice to comfort her child instantly. It was pretty impressive.

Then I read a blog, themommyblog.net, and was amazed again. She talked about how they were really hard on money right now and how she had gotten a disconnect notice from the water company and she hadn’t eaten all day as to “preserve” the food for the kids since they were out of school for the holidays.

I could totally relate to her situation. Lord knows we’ve had our share of financial difficulty and my heart went out to her because I know exactly how she’s feeling. And I thought about how remarkable it was that she would deny herself nourishment to save it for her children. Completely selfless.

These things just got me thinking about how truly honoring it is to be a mother and sometimes we don’t even know it. Sometimes, actually more often never, are we acknowledged for it. It’s just what we do. We beat up on ourselves and wonder if we’re really doing whats right by our kids but I think it’s the little things that matter. It’s us recognizing our child’s cry in a room full of 100 children. It’s the little sacrifices we make so that our kids can have the absolute best we can offer.

Watching and reading about these mothers this weekend just made me proud to call myself a mommy and put myself in the same “boat” as these amazing women. They are inspirational. They are mothers.

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 0 Comments | Filed in Family
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