Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Broken Bridges

Recently someone I love let me down, went back on her word, and left me hurt and numb to her constant rejection. How many times must my heart break? Words don't mean a thing when there is nothing to back them up. "Sorry" doesn't build broken bridges when there aren't actions to repair the damage.

I have to step back, though, and look deep at this person. There is hurt, confusion, self-loathing, emptiness and disillusionment. What can I expect from such a hurting individual? More of the same. Because I can see this person's own hurt, I can rise above mine and forgive her. There are times I haven't desired to forgive, but I must. Healing begins with me. We may never have a relationship like we had before, but I must forgive.

I can have compassion on her because of her struggles. "Lord, give me the eyes of Jesus to see beyond my near-sightedness, and to see the heart." She has a large, God-shaped hole, and I can continue pray the Lord would soften her heart and lead her to Himself, for that's Who she needs.

A while ago, I wrote a poem dedicated to this particular person.

"Seek, but you won't ever find someone just like God;
Who can take you in His arms and calm your hurting heart.
You may search your whole life long, but God will always remain the same.
He will love forever, reject you never.
Seek, but you won't ever find someone just like God."

Just some thoughts for the day.

Lacheln,
Taylor

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all my dear friends:
Just a quick post to tell all of you...HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Blessings and Joy in the Journey!
Taylor

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Created for Him

On Monday, Mom presented me with a sweatshirt she found at our local thrift store. Pink, with brown lettering, warm, and cozy. Fits my criteria for a comfy sweatshirt!

But the thing that made it an instant favorite were the words. Written in swirly (oh yes, another immediate selling point; I love swirlys!) letters are the words, "All things were created by Him and for Him" and Colossians 1:16: "For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him."

Earlier that morning, Mom and I had been discussing how I am to use my talents, and this was a perfect reminder for me. My whole self-mind, body, soul, talents-was created by the Lord, for the Lord. I am to use what He has given me wisely, and for His glory, not my own.

Now, when I wear my pink sweatshirt, I am reminded of who I am and Whose I am. I am created for Him, and for Him alone.

Lacheln,
Taylor

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Healing Touch

He staggered along the road, pulling his cloak tighter around his face. "Unclean! Unclean!" The man's disfigured form was covered with a dirty, black robe, and at the sight of him, people turned their faces in horror, children ran or hid in their parents' robes. Detested. Shunned. An outcast.

It hadn't always been this way. Once the man was part of a family, an active partaker of society, worshipping freely at the temple and mingling with the people in the streets. Now he was experiencing a living death.

The white patches on his skin had started innocently enough, but when the priest later announced the dreaded word, leprosy, all his dreams, plans, and life fell apart.

For years, he was exiled into a community of "unfortunates", dying with those who were infected with the same disease. The man watched as fingers, toes, and skin rotted and fell off. Yet, he felt nothing. All sense of touch and feeling had died long ago, and perhaps that was the worst thing of all. He could barely remember his mother's touch, a friendly greeting in the street, the rocky sand under his bare feet, the sting from a slight cut. All feeling was gone, and so his hope for life.

When he heard of the Miracle Maker, a curious hope rose within him. The others saw his eagerness and laughingly scoffed, "It's impossible; stop your dreaming." They turned back to their living graves, while the man continue to hope.

He left quietly in search of the Healer. No one would miss him, and what did he have to lose? He had lost it all already. For days he traveled, hoping he would somehow find this Jesus along the roads of Judea.

His rotten feet bled from the stones and long walks, but he felt no pain. He pressed on, filled with desperate hope.

One day, a cloud of dust rose above the horizon. The man's heart jumped within him. They said great crowds followed the Healer. They said people brought their sick and demon-possessed to the Healer. He quickly picked up his stumbling pace. Then the man stopped. Crowds. Would the Healer have time to see him? Would He heal him? The man almost turned in humilation. What would make this Jesus different from everyone else? Why, leprosy was the most dreaded disease! He probably wouldn't even allow the man to come close to Him. Would He want to heal him?

But lo, the crowds were almost upon him. There was no turning back. He staggered forward. "Unclean!" he yelled in a raspy voice. His courage faltered as he saw the horror and fear. Where was the Healer? Then he saw Him.

He had to be Him. He stood still as the crowds receded in terror, His eyes watching the man with deep feeling. The leper made a few more unstable steps, then fell to his knees, covering his face. "If You will," he croaked, "You can make me clean."

With his face to the ground, he could not see the amazing expression of pity that spread across the Healer's face. The overwhelming silence continued, except for the crying of frightened children. The man's heart sank. Tears came to his eyes as embarrassment filled his inner being.

Suddenly, he felt it.

A touch. A human touch. Nerves that had been dead for years tingled at the hand's imprint on his shoulder. A warm flow swept through his rotting, decaying body, and he was immediately aware of the rocky stones underneath his knees and hands. He felt a dry breeze twist around his humble form. Feeling. Touch. A healing touch. He heard a soothing voice say, "I will; be clean."

He raised his face, his eyes wide. The Healer stood in front of him, compassion and love on His countenance. Quickly, he looked at his skin, his arms, his hands. He touched his face, feeling the stroke of his fingers against his smooth face. "I'm clean," he said softly, shocked. "I'm clean!" he said in a raised voice, unbelievable joy filling his heart. "I'm clean!" He danced on the road, soaking in the warm sunshine. "Clean! Clean!"

"And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, 'See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.' But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter." Mark 1:43-45

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Snow, Snow, Snow!

On Saturday, we all awoke to...a winter snow storm! While the child inside of me was excited to watch the big snowflakes tossing about in the wind, my mind knew it was too early for snow! Thankfully, we didn't have much snow, but our power did go out. We were a little worried as the power did not return all afternoon. God graciously provided for us, His children, when the power finally came on about 6:00 p.m. The adventures of a Minnesota winter!

Sam's snowman.

Meet Frosty!
"Merry Christmas!"
Lacheln,
Taylor

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Request...

Hi Blogging Friends!

GodlyGirlhood has been under construction for quite a while, as I have waited for the opportunity to design GG in the way I have envisioned, using my own design and graphics.
At long last, I am now creating the new GodlyGirlhood.org! If you click on this link, http://godlygirlhood.org.previewyoursite.com/, you can view snippets of the upcoming website, and learn how you can be a part of the new GG.

Yes, I need your help. GodlyGirlhood.org is to be a website for girls by girls, filled with encouraging stories and articles from those who "have been there before". Sister to sister, inspiring each other to seek after God in every aspect of their lives. I want you to share how God has changed your life, how He has convicted you, and how you are still growing.

Young women of today need to hear the great things Jesus Christ has done in our lives; they need hope, refocusing, and encouragement. And who else is better equipped than godly young ladies like yourselves? Let's minister to a broken generation of young women!

GODLY GIRLHOOD IS LOOKING FOR ARTICLES ON TOPICS SUCH AS, BUT NOT LIMITED TO:

Faith
-Your Relationship with your True Prince
-Conversing with the Father (Prayer)
-God's Word: What's the Big Deal?
-Lies and Truth

Modesty
-Why Modesty is Important
-Fashion Reformation
-Femininity in Dress and Manner

Purity
-Crushes/Emotional Purity
-How God Changed Your Prespective from Dating to Waiting
-Cultivating Contentment in the Single Years
-Boundaries with "Brothers"

Relationships
-Honor Your Father and Your Mother: Honoring Parents
-That's What a Gentleman Would Do: Encouraging Brothers
-Princess: Being a Role Model to Sisters
-Corner Pillars: Transforming Your Role in Your Family
-On the Subject of Friends

Femininity and Reformed Womanhood
-Graceful Girlhood: Refining Your Manners
-Homemaking: An Lost Art
-Becoming a Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 Woman

Ministry
-A Servants' Heart at Home
-The Least of These: Serving Your Church and Community
-Unexpected Ministries

Trials
-When Death Comes
-Handling Rejection
-Standing Strong for Your Beliefs

Submission Guidelines

Send your articles submissions in a Rich Text Format (.rtf) document (otherwise known as a WordPad document) to godlygirlhood@localnet.com with "GodlyGirlhood.org Articles" in the subject line. Articles should be at least 400 words, but no more than 2,000 words.

Articles may be edited for grammar and clarity. GodlyGirlhood.org may not use all submitted writings.

Writers must be mature Christian young women who agree with the below statement of faith. Older, married women who desire to encourage young women are certainly welcome to contribute as well. Writers may include a short bio about themselves and a JPEG/PNG picture of themselves.

Statement of Faith
We believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth;

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

We believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy Christian church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; and the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. (Adapted from the Apostles' Creed)

We believe every word of the Bible is God's Word, and therefore the Bible is without error. God gave us the Bible to make us "wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus," and to train us in godly living (2nd Timothy 3:15-17).

We believe marriage is instituted by God (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5) and between one man and one woman. Children are a blessing from the Lord, and the family is the foundation of society (Psalm 127).
GET THE WORD OUT
If you are not comfortable with writing, but know of others who would, please share the word! Use the below button and above banner, write a blog post or email to friends, link them to http://www.godlygirlhood.org.previewyoursite.com/ or this blog post. I'll also have more contribution ideas coming soon.



Thank you for your help!
Lacheln,
Taylor Garms

Monday, November 8, 2010

GodlyGirlhood.org in the Works!

Now that I have my long-awaited Adobe Dreamweaver, I have commenced work on GodlyGirlhood.org!

Wahoo!

If you have noticed, GG has been "under construction" for a long time, as I have been waiting to design it the way I have envisioned it. It's taking a lot of work and I have had to start over from scratch multiple times, but I am finally figuring out how to build my very own website.

Here's a snapshot...



How do you like it?

At this time, I am still liable to totally redesign it. I have so many drafts of GG on my computer; it is hard to decide what color scheme and layout I really want...and am I able to do.

FYI: All of the components have been designed on Photoshop CS5 (except for the menu bar, which is a Spry widget.)

Let me know your thoughts!

Lacheln,

Taylor

Friday, November 5, 2010

SPIDERS!

My heart jumped slightly as I opened the cupboard: Eek! A spider! A nasty, icky, spindly, brown spider! It had made it’s home right inside the doorframe of the cupboard, and it started to squirm away from the light. My sudden fright turned into indignation. How dare a spider invade our cupboard and destroy the comfort and security of our home! I rushed to get a paper towel and swiftly exterminated the invader, proud of my victory. (Wasn’t I brave? :)

As I threw the dead spider away, my mind raced to the cupboards of my own mind. How many spiders could I find there? What spiders have invaded my heart and mind? As I searched my inner self, I could see the webs of bitterness, impurity, selfishness, and pride covering the corners of my heart. Eek! They had subtly invaded my mind-no, wait, I had subtly allowed them to invade my mind. Through careless guarding of my heart, I had given access to the spiders of sin and filth.

And what should be my attitude to these, these vile spiders of filth that affect my thoughts, words, and actions? Destroy them! Throw them away! Get rid of them!

I can’t help but think of Hebrews 12:1: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 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." I am often entangled by the webs of sin and hindered by the spiders of shame. But, praise be to God, I DON’T have to live in fear of the invading spiders; I can tell them to leave and claim the victory through Jesus Christ. In fact, I don’t only have to, I can’t live with the spiders anymore. I am a child of God, saved, and set free from sin and shame (1st Peter 9-10)!

"Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded." (James 4:8b ESV).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Surrendering My All Series: Trust in the Lord

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.

In this process of "surrendering my all", I have shared with you how God has shown me my most important "sphere of influence", ministry in my own home. Now let me share with you my learning to trust in the Lord. Here's a portion of an email I sent to a friend whose father lost his job a while ago in which I recount what I have learned during my own dad's job loss...

Thanks for your encouragement. Now I can sympathyze with your family's
situation even more! As you said, at first, it was really scarey, and I am sure
we will have more uncertain times ahead for our family, but I KNOW God will take
care of us, as He always has and always will. The day after Dad lost his job, I
went outside to spend time in God's Word. Feeling frightened at the future, I
opened up my Bible to Zephaniah 1:7 and found this verse, "Be silent before the
Lord!"
I stilled my heart and just listened to the beauties of God's creation.
Hearing birds singing all around me, I was suddenly reminded of Matthew
6:25-34:

"Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather
into barns and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value
then they?"

"Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What
shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these
things, and your Heavenly Father knows you need them all. But seek first the
Kingdom of God and His righteousnessm and all these things will be added to
you."

"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be
anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

What promises and reassurance! I am confident we will get through this
trial, and am looking for what to learn in it. Also, we are excited to see what
God has in store! Just another part of our "Great Adventure!"

I've learned to trust in the Lord, no matter what comes our way, whether it be chicken pox, unemployment, or some unforseen change for our family. God takes good care of us and always has our hearts in mind. Looking back on the journey of our lives, I see the provision of our Father scattered all over the path. Life is not easy, nor will it ever be, but I know God has a better plan.

I love this encouraging song by the Greenes, "When God Has Another Plan":

Vs. 1
Forsaken by his brothers didn't fit the scene,
Being made a slave, was not what Joseph dreamed;
The coat of many colors was stained with blood and lies,
But from this divine appointment, a ruler would arise...

Ch.
When God has another plan - walk on and just say yes
When God has another plan - be assured that He knows best
If all your dreams are shattered, rest in His sufficient grace
We don't have to understand - when God has another plan.

Vs. 1
Alone and broken hearted, questions fill your mind
Changes can be hard, but come by God's design,
But if you could see tomorrow, with a view from Heaven's throne,
Every unexpected struggle, has led you closer home.

Ch.

Tag
If all your dreams are shattered, rest in His sufficient grace...
We don't have to understand - when God has another plan.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Lacheln,
Taylor

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day - November 2nd, 2010

This is my first year to participate in our country's greatest freedoms: the freedom to vote and make my voice heard. But sometimes I wonder if my voice counts...

Earlier this year I was filled with political fervor as I entered grassroots politics, but the more I was involved, the more disgusted I became with our country's politics. The mudslinging I saw in the campaigning was disheartening and the low standards of some so-called conservative and even Christian candidates dampened my enthusiasm. The more I learned about our country's problems and darkening future, the more helpless I felt to do anything but stand and watch it crumble around me.

Is my voice important? Is there hope for our nation?

I'm only one voice, but I am a voice. I can still call for justice, godly morals, the protection of life, and the sanctity of marriage. While I have the ability to stand up for the Lord's ways, I will stand up. It is my duty as an American and a Christian to vote and protect freedom. The cry for freedom minus multiple"one voices" will slowly die out. Yes, my voice is important.

As for our nation...if we turn to the Bible as our guide and allow the Lord to rule our everyday lives, our families, our churches, and eventually our government, we can regain ground given to the devil. The revival of America needs to start in the individual lives and the home. Our government and country is made up of individuals who have homes, and if the heart and home is right with God, then our nation will be as well.

The future is unclear for America, but we can make our voices heard and start revival in our own lives and homes. That is where it all begins.

VOTE!

Lacheln,
Taylor

Demo CD Design and More

We completed a demo CD for our band this month, and I had the privilege to design the insert and label. Want to see them?


Here's the CD insert. This, by far, is my favorite CD cover design for our group.


Here's the CD label. This was fun to make, but frustrating to print!

I created both of these on Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 (before I really made the transition from Elements to CS5). The whole package turned out nicely.

Here's some other designing projects I've done recently:

This is a poster I did for an upcoming Fundraiser concert with our friends, the Alzen Family. I did this on Photoshop CS5. Note the reflection techinque.

A CD cover I did for my brother Ben, who wanted a picture for his Lord of the Rings music on our Apple IMac. Again, this was done with Photoshop CS5. By the way Ben, PC is better than Apple! (We're love arguing about which computer is better.)

My most recent designing project. I created this header for the new Godly Girlhood website last night. I think I am satisfied with this color scheme and I like how the header turned out! (Photoshop CS5).

I love designing!

Lacheln, Taylor

Monday, November 1, 2010

Surrendering My All Series: Your Sphere of Influence

Walks are the perfect time to think, refocus, pray, and of course, get some exercise. While I do not walk enough, I do enjoy strolling down our Quail Street and clearing my mind. It is so refreshing!

A couple of weeks ago, I needed to refocus my brain...and get some fresh air. Heading outside, I took off on our gravel road. As my feet moved swiftly, so did my mind. Engaging in "self-talk", I began, first quietly in my head, then gradually, outloud for the silent country road to hear.

"Who am I?"

"I am a daughter to my father and mother, a sister to Whitney, Ben, Uli, Leesha, Sam, Jayme, and Caleb, friend to Mal, a grandaughter, a great-grandaughter, a niece, a cousin, a friend, an acquaintance, an influence. This is who I am."

I then reminded myself of my responsibilities to each relationship, mainly, my immediate family relationships. Going through each member of my family and considering their individual personalities, needs, and love languages, I thought of ways to encourage them, to fulfill my duties as a daughter and sister, and to minister to them. It was rather overwhelming looking at how I have been, well, not failing, but lacking in my role as a daughter and sister.

These are the golden years of my life. Newly graduated, at home, unmarried, with many opportunities to grow and learn, healthly, able-minded, and impassioned to serve my Lord. All great ingredients to be the best corner pillar I can be for my family. Why waste these years dreaming of when "Prince Charming" stops by?

I may never be married and have a home of my own. But I am okay with that. "Seriously?" you ask. Yes, seriously. I am a daughter and sister to seven siblings! What a fertile field for me to work in! I dare not squander these precious years. Sam, Jayme, and Caleb will not be the tender young ages of 10, 8, and 7 for much longer, there may not be much time left with Ben and Leesha, and Whitney and Uli are already away from home. I have already wasted away years by not investing in my siblings lives. No more!

Also, what a great chance to assist my mom! After the many years of sacrifice and hard-work she has done for our family, I can step up and be a servant to her. Not a minute to lose!

And, I need to help bring my dad's visions to life, using my gifts and talents to further his goals for the family. It is my purpose as a daughter to be a blessing and joy to my parents.

What is your sphere of influence? Are you wishing your days away, while ignoring the greatest relationships in your life? Challenge yourself, examine your relationships. What's lacking? What do you need to be doing? Be who you are today. Just do it.

Lacheln,
Taylor