Friday, October 29, 2010

"Through the Valley"

I like this song by the Isaacs. The words are relevant to me at this time in my life.

V.1
So you're looking for a way to quench your thirst
To ease your mind, to cool the burn
It's hard to face the road you're going down
And your tempted to turn around.
Don't give up, just keep on putting one foot in front of the other,
and just keep walking

Cho.
Through the valley , up the mountain,
Toward the river of sweet redemption.
It's a measure of strength, a shadow of grace, a matter of faith
That'll keep you going.
Just gotta keep on, gotta keep on movin'
Through the valley

v.2
Love is waiting on the other side
It calls your name, don't break your stride.
Freedom is gonna taste twice as sweet
When you get to where you need to be.
Don't lose hope, just hold on with all of your heart
And just keep praying

Cho.

Bridge:
It's a measure of strength, a shadow of grace, a matter of faith
That'll keep you going just gotta keep on, gotta keep on, gotta keep on movin'
Through the valley.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Crutches

"Hey Stacie...wha-what?"

Michaela stood in the doorway to Stacie's room, staring at her younger sister. "What in the world? I thought your leg was better!" Stacie hobbled toward Michaela on a pair of crutches. "Yeah," said Stacie, looking at her crutches, "it is, but I just got so used to walking with these that I decided to use them again."

Okay, a little ridiculous, right? But how often do we act the same way?

When the Lord Jesus saved us, He gave us a new life, a fresh start. We are chosen, adopted, redeemed, and forgiven (Ephesians 1:4-8), but somedays we forget who we are. We go back to crutches, allowing our sin to cripple us. Yelling at our siblings, rebelling against our parents, succumbing to peer pressure, living totally opposite to God's Word...we almost go back to "crawling" sometimes.

Consider the man sentenced to 35 years in prison. When his time was up, he hesitated at the door to his cell, and then turned back, reluctant to leave the cold familiarity of the jail he'd lived in for so long.

Your friend hands you an ice cream cone (vanilla for me, thank you!). You push it away, saying, "Ah, not right now. I've got some delicious dirt I'd rather eat instead." What! Your friend may call the insane asylum! Yet we reject the freedom of new life in Christ for old ways of living and stubborn sin.

Many Christians today reject the freedom of Christ by continuing in their former lives. But though we come just as we are, sister, we can't stay the way we are. God is constantly beckoning us to higher places, to Himself, calling us to leave our crutches behind. "...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." (Hebrews 12:1b) He gives us the Holy Spirit Who works within us to say "no" to sin.

With the power of God, we can bite our tongues when we feel like yelling at our younger siblings. Through the strength of the Holy Spirit, we can submit ourselves to our parents' authority. And, reminded by God's Word, we can say to friends who encourage us to sin, "No way, I'm not who I was, I'm a child of God. I cannot do that anymore." God will provide what we need to stand. There is no need to use crutches any longer.

So say "goodbye" to crutches. You can walk, girl! Step outside your prison cell; you aren't locked up anymore. You are free, free to be a child of God, what you were meant to be.

"Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; lives as servants of God." (1st Peter 2:16)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Surrendering My All

Our family posing at Arby's in Iowa.

We just returned from a trip to the Midwest Quartet Convention in Des Moines/Altoona, Iowa. What fun! Visit our family's blog to see pictures and read the stories.

Life continues to be busy, thank the Lord! We are doing well, free from health issues-finally!-and God is providing for us in this time when Dad does not have a job. God is opening doors with Great Adventure in ways we didn't think possible and we look back amazed at seeing His hand so intricately involved in our lives. The adventure continues!
I am still trying to utilize all my Adobe programs. Trust me, it's a little overwhelming! More news on plans for Lacheln Designs later.
It's been interesting to see all the lessons I have been learning these past monthes since my graduation. God has been revealing areas in my life that need to be polished. A servant attitude, going the extra mile, singleness of heart, trust in the Lord, ministry in my own home, and most importantly, surrendering my all.
After graduation, I unconsiously slipped into the mindset that, since I was done with school, I could have the free time to do anything I wanted. Are you shaking your head at me yet? It's totally the opposite that I should be doing! I need to be seeking how I can really help my family out! Serving, sacrificing...surrendering my all. This is truly what a young woman of the Lord should be doing. It's time I pursue ministry in my home, focusing on others. I believe this is a battle all of us Christians have to face (the dying of self), but I know I have to personally fight hard. Selfishness is a sorry sin, unbecoming to a girl striving to be a "true beautiful" woman.
Well, enough said. Life is quite the learning experience. I am grateful to see how God has been changing my life over these years. I know I have come a long way, thanks to Jesus Christ, and know I further still to go.
"Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." Philippians 2:4
Surrendering My All,
Taylor

Friday, October 22, 2010

Oh, To Be a Kid Again!

> Decisions were made by saying "eeny-meeny-miney-mo."
> Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, "Do over!"
> "Race issue," meant arguing about who ran the fastest.
> Money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in Monopoly."
> Catching fireflies could happily occupy an entire evening.
> It wasn't odd to have two or three "best" friends.
> Being old referred to anyone over 20.
> It was magic when Dad would "remove" his thumb.
> It was unbelievable that dodge ball wasn't an Olympic event.
> Having a weapon in school meant being caught with a slingshot.
> Nobody was prettier than Mom.
> Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better.
> It was a big deal to finally be tall enough to ride the "big people" rides at the amusement park.
> Getting a foot of snow was a dream come true.
> Abilities were discovered because of a "double-dog-dare."
> "Oly-oly-oxen-free" made perfect sense.
> Spinning around, getting dizzy, and falling down would cause giggles.
> The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team.
> War was a card game.
> Water balloons were the ultimate weapon.
> Baseball cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle.
> Taking drugs meant orange-flavored chewable aspirin.
> Ice cream was considered a basic food group.
> Older siblings were the worst tormentors but also the fiercest protectors.

Taken from the Gospel Greats Weekly E-newsletter

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

True Woman Story: Part Two

This is part two of my "Journey to Freedom".

The young woman’s inner anger and disillusionment with herself began to show in intense rebellion against her parents and outbursts in her family. She planned to run away on a cold, dark night, never to see her family again and to throw away life as she knew it. She later changed her mind, but still the emptiness grew and the hidden sin gnawed at her heart. Satan had a stronghold, and the young woman was trapped. But, there was something she could do, and it was the only thing she could do: to start tearing down the walls.

The young woman knew the great distance between her and God, and her and her parents, had come about because of the secret idols in her heart. She had been trapped in a secret fantasy life, mastered by lies, and had been self-serving for many years. The young woman realized, with dread and shame, she had to confess her idols and sin to her parents. It was the only way to overcome the distance.

Through notes, long talks, and many tears, the story came out to her parents. They forgave her, encouraged her to delve into her Bible, reminded her of God’s promises, and supported her. This began a path of healing for her heart.

The young woman took steps to purge her heart of idols. The only thing to conquer her thoughts was to put new thoughts into her mind: God’s thoughts and words. She had to keep reminding herself that she was God’s child, a follower of Jesus Christ, and couldn’t go back to her former ways.

The young woman is me. This is my journey into freedom.

Some days I have victory, other days I relapse. But I have learned to live in God's grace and forgiveness daily. God teaches me new lessons in life and my relationship with my parents and siblings is growing. I am learning to be a servant and that life is not about me. I am learning to treat young men as "brothers" and cultivating "singleness of heart". I am learning to tell myself the truth always. I am grateful to Lord for showing me mercy and bearing with me through the years. He is continually smoothing the rough spots in my heart and making me a young woman of God.

I have embraced Ephesians 5:1-2 to be my life verse: "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

Sisters, never give up hope. If you let God take total control of your life, you will see amazing things happen in your personal life and the lives of those around you. I can look back and see how the Lord has been changing my life. God is faithful. I wish for all of you to experience the peace I know now. I am praying for you and know God is working on your hearts. What's your journey to freedom? I'd love to hear how God has transformed your life!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

An Undivided Heart

{From earlier this year}

"I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." Psalm 119:10-11

Do you ever have problems concentrating on one thing, and one thing only? I do! When I was still in school, my mind constantly wandered: I was always thinking of what I could be doing, or dreaming about the future. Or while I am doing work around the home, I’m liable to leave it unfinished as I scurry off to do another pressing task or write a brainstorm. In fact, I am writing this thought while I should be doing dishes!

In Jeremiah 32:38-40, God speaks of giving His people "singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them." Our hearts and minds are easily swayed and we get distracted from what we should be doing. Our thoughts often wander into worry, fear, bitterness, or impurity. We need new hearts, as our old, sick and dying ones are too weak to withstand temptation and the troubles of this world. We need to be focused on the one thing, the right thing. "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 11:19

Are you ready for an undivided heart? I wasn’t, at first. I stubbornly held onto old thoughts and old ways. There were days I chose not to even try to battle myself. The lies I believed and sins I committed were difficult to shake because of their familiarity and comfort.

Honestly, God’s light of truth hurts our eyes and His Word cuts through our hardened hearts like a double-edge sword. Ouch! When the Master chips away at our sore and sinful hearts, the pain can be excruciating. This is why we like to avoid change in our hearts-it hurts! But until we lay our hearts bare or God wakes us by calamity, we will never become who He wants us to be in Him.

God knows we will never be satisfied apart from Him. He wants us to be focused on Him; He wants to give us an undivided heart. He wants our full attention! Our Loving Father desires to show us the way to go, but we often miss it because our thoughts are preoccupied with our own way.

Be aware this is not a easy road and the battles are long and difficult. But don’t get discouraged! Patience and perseverance pay off in the end. What takes your focus off the Lord? Lies? Stress? Guys? The past? Trace it, face it, and erase it. The Lord wants your "undivided attention". Are you paying attention?

Friday, October 15, 2010

ADOBE MASTERSUITE!


The time of waiting is done, the time for learning has begun! Through my sweet aunt Janelle, I was able to get a WAY discounted price on the Adobe CS5 MasterSuite. This includes Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash Catalyst, InDesign, PremierPro, Soundbooth, Acrobat, etc. etc. This thing is "huge"! I am so excited to delve into all the cool programs and to start creating!
Can you imagine the big smile on my face?
Another goal for 2010 accomplished!
Lacheln, Taylor

Go Eagles!


Last night, Mom, Leesha, Jayme, and I were able to attend my cousin Ashley's last "at home" volleyball game. I have attempted to play volleyball, I think, once. I say "attempted", because I know NOTHING about volleyball compared to Ashley, her team (The Eagles), or even my mom! What talent and stamina it takes to endure sports-that's something I don't have! It was fun to watch the Eagles play and to see my aunt and uncle and several cousins again.
Ashley
Leesha, Jayme, cousin Danielle, and I.
Ashley on the court-a fabulous player.
THE EAGLES WON!

Danielle and the ball she caught from the game. She got all the players' signatures. :)


Sisters! Mom and Aunt Janelle.


Me and my "little" cousin, Ashley. (I am several monthes older than her, but she is 6 ft and I'm 5' 6 1/4"!)
Lacheln!
Taylor

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Join Me at LinkedIn!


Hey Friends!
If any of you have a LinkedIn account, feel free to connect with me or our family!
Lacheln,
Taylor

You've Got Mail!

You’ve got mail!

You know the feeling: opening the mailbox and finding an envelope addressed to, of all people, you! You snatch it up quickly and tear it open, only to find it’s an organization asking for money or a bank statement. Your heart sinks and your excitement dissipates. But, then it could be a response from a famous celebrity, or a note from your grandma, and perhaps a letter from your fiancĂ©. Your heart beats even faster as your eyes scan the page to drink in every word and pen mark.

Consider the last example of a letter: a letter from your fiancĂ©. The man whom you adore. The guy who you are always dreaming of. The man who loves you more than anything else in the world. This guy who is always seeking to win your heart. And he just wrote you a letter! Faint! Sigh! :) Don’t we all dream of that day when we find a love letter, for us only, from the "one and only"? I do! (Don’t mind the pun.)

Think with me for a minute. Don’t you already have a love letter, written just to you? The life story of your Prince, the who is so in love with you that He sacrificed His life so you could live with Him, forever? Now you are like, "Oh, I know what you mean. That story. But it’s not the same." No, it isn’t. It’s much more amazing, because Jesus’ love will always be forever. You may never get married, may never have "Mr. Right", and your man will not last forever. Jesus Christ will always be there with you, always wooing you, beckoning you to read what He has to say in His Word, to spend time with Him in prayer and conversation.

Get your Bible out and open it up. Feel the breath of God on your face as He speaks to you. Read the story of your salvation again, and soak in the promises of heaven and the marriage supper of the Lamb. Love has written you; you’ve got mail!

Lacheln,
Taylor

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pick a Few Flowers


"Mom, we have some flowers for you!" my youngest brother called out to our mom. He and my other little brother stood in the foyer of our home, each boy carrying a flower in his hand. Because of their dirty shoes, they got down on their knees and "shuffled" to where our mom was in the kitchen. They proudly lifted their flowers to Mom and gave her one of the greatest gifts kids give their mothers.

It has always been touching when people gift me with flowers, whether it was the nine roses from my grandma on my ninth birthday, or the bouquet of daisies and wildflowers my parents gave me for my eighteenth birthday, or the dandelions my siblings give me occasionally. Each time I receive these beauties of nature, I am thrilled that someone cared enough to give me that gift.

Though, often times, I overlook the "flowers" my Heavenly Father sends my way, whether if it’s actual flowers spread out on the lawn during summer, or the little blessings throughout the day. We so often walk by flower beds of God’s goodness and don’t even realize His gifts. And if we do, how often we thank or praise Him for what He has done?

I challenge you today to look at the flowers around you and thank your Father and Creator for His provision in the small things of life. Also, pick a few flowers for someone today.
Lacheln,
Taylor

Monday, October 11, 2010

Countdown Till Thursday!

I am counting down the days until...I GET MY SOFTWARE!! Adobe Master Suite CS5; photo retouching, graphic designing, web building, Flash creating, video editing, here I come! WAHOO!

Can you tell I'm excited?

Lacheln,
Taylor

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wish I Was Crafty...

This Sunday, the church we sang at held a silent auction, and I participated, just for fun. :) There was a cute, silver crocheted/knitted scarf and hat set, and my bid was the winning bid. Yeah!

Aren't they pretty? Anyway, as I examined my new scarf and hat set, I began to remember when I crocheted. My grandma, aunt, and sister all taught me this art and I used to dream of starting my own crochet business. I created a special doll hat pattern, and wanted to someday market doll head-wear. I wanted to make baby blankets like my older sister and make clothing as well. But somewhere along the line, I lost my interest and now we have a basket, filled with yarn and needles, collecting dust.

Somedays I wish I was more "crafty". As I type, a warm, fleece blanket, a graduation gift from the women of our church, surrounds me. I wouldn't know how to make one for myself. Sewing, while I can do minor mending, is a nightmare to me, and knitting is a foriegn language. Is there something wrong with me?

On the other hand, I love to doodle and draw with pencil, pen, or mouse.











(These are some of my cartooning doodlings. :)

Well, I guess God has gifted me in other areas, though it is good to have knowledge in handywork. :) I admire and am truly amazed by the talents many women display through crocheting, sewing, knitting, quilting, etc. God has blessed them greatly!

Just some random thoughts for the day. :)

Lacheln,

Taylor

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Spotlight on Visionary Daughters

The most life-changing book I have read, except for God's Word, of course, has been So Much More by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin. Filled with amazing encouragement for today's young women, So Much More offers challenging principles from the Bible for Christian daughters and sisters.

Here's the review:
This book is not another Christian-teenage-girl “survival guide.” So Much More shows how Christian girls can wage war with the world and win. The Botkin sisters focus on how young women can rise above their God-hating culture and change it for the better.

Today, countless young ladies face difficult problems and challenging questions. While many long for godly purpose in their lives, their bewilderment mounts when they observe broken homes, distant fathers, overwhelmed mothers, degrading college courses, and a lack of spiritual guidance — both at home and at church. As hope for security and stability fades, it is no wonder that many young ladies feel orphaned, unprotected, and without hope for their futures.

Within the pages of this book, discover practical, biblical solutions for the young woman who wants to do so much more than just “survive” in a savagely feministic, anti-Christian culture. Find the answers a girl is not likely to get from her church, her peers, or her culture.


Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin

The Botkin sisters started a website several years ago and it is just as inspiring as their book. I love checking it out from time to time and finding an article that meets me just where I am. Their desire to present a picture of godly womanhood to all women is evident through their writings. The sisters are not afraid to stand on God's Word and clearly share their opinion on many subjects.

From the website:

In this new website, we would like to present a brave new vision for daughterhood. In light of the two views of womanhood subduing young Christian women — womanhood dedicated to useless ambition, and womanhood dedicated to useless langour — both leading girls to squander their youth — we would like to recall to daughters’ minds one of the defining aspects of biblical womanhood: useful womanhood.

The purpose of this site is to condone practical, purposeful, productive, dominion-oriented femininity.

Young ladies need to understand the significance of these years before marriage, because this unique season of life is a special gift from God.

You have but one lifetime to spend in our Lord’s service. How you spend these years of your life will touch the course of history and change it forever. We hope this site will give practical advice on how to be good stewards of these very important years.

So Much More was not a survival guide, and this site is not a service to provide survival tips to teenage girls. Visionary Daughters.com is dedicated to helping young unmarried women understand how they can wage war with the world and win.

We want to provide resources that will encourage and equip young women to do God’s work God’s way; in particular, to become greater blessings to their families, more effective arrows in the hands of their fathers, and better ambassadors for Christ.

I encourage you to visit their website and be inspired to be the visionary daughter you have been called to be. (Also check out the documentary, The Return of the Daughters; my sister and I just love it! What a encouragement!)

VISIONARY DAUGHTERS
www.visionarydaughters.com

Friday, October 1, 2010

Reflection Creation Revealed

This post is for Miss Kathryn at www.maidensofvirture.com (and for anyone else who is interested), revealing the steps to creating yesterday's random Photoshop example. Enjoy it, Kathryn!
First, I put some text down on my canvas, choosing a bold font, Impact, for my artwork. Looks kind of boring, don't you agree?
Then I added from the Effects Palette on the right two effects: Translucent Glass and Drop Shadow. Makes the font come alive a bit, right?
Next, I added a gradient, using the Gradient Tool on the Tool bar to the left.

Using the key-shortcut "Control-J" or ("Command-J" on a Mac) to duplicate the text layer, I then flipped my new text layer upside down, below my original font.

I changed the opacity level (found in the Layers Palette) of the new text layer to 37% (you can tweak it to whatever fit your preferences).


Then, taking my Eraser tool, I erase the bottom (or top) of the new text layer, making it look like a reflection. Again, erase until you get the result you want. Wah-lah! The finished product!


I was not able to do it exactly as the book says, as I don't have the big program and the actual method requires layer masks, but I came close!
Any questions?
Lacheln,
Taylor