Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mary: A Different Perspective

For years, one character in the Christmas story I could not stand was Mary. Honestly. She has been so elevated to such a high state of holiness, and so admired by countless numbers of people that I had a distaste for her seeming "perfection". She was one Bible character I could not relate to, and thus, kept my distance from her.

But this Christmas , I have a different perspective.

While reading the Christmas narrative this year, I was amazed at this young girl's maturity of character. We read in Luke 1:29 after the angel Gabriel greeted her: "But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be." Okay, first point of maturity. She thought before she did anything!

We have all heard the old adage, "Think before you speak", and that's exactly what Mary did. Mary considered things, weighed all options, and showed great discernment. Now, if I were in her shoes, and a great white angel appeared from nowhere, saying, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!", I would have probably started saying, "'Greetings?' Me, favored? Okay, what's going on here? Who are you, and what are you doing?" Or I would have been stunned into a complete brain freeze, or perhaps went into hysterics! (Well, maybe that's a little extreme.) Mary waited for the angel to continue, while a million different thoughts probably flashed through her head.

She quietly listened to Gabriel speak, probably feeling overwhelmed about being the mother of the Messiah...and then totally confused. "And Mary said to the angel, 'How will this be, since I am a virgin?'" (Luke 1:34). Mary was very practical. (Wow, she is reminding of my mom!) How could she be a mother to the Messiah if there was no father? Wow, she was practical. :) She had common sense and a good head on her shoulders.

Next, Mary showed the beautiful character qualities of submission, humility, servitude, and love when she replied to Gabriel in verse 38: "And Mary said, 'Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.'" She humbly submitted to her Lord's will, showing her love for the Lord, and a willing heart to serve Him out of that love.

Here was a young teenager, displaying more maturity than I'll probably ever have! I admire her heart and character, and have found a wonderful role model in this young lady.

So in review, Mary was
  • Discerning;
  • Practical;
  • Submissive;
  • Humble;
  • Serving;
  • and Loving.

What wonderful qualities; qualities I continue to work on, and pray the Lord would give me as I grow in His Word and Love.

I must continune to be discerning in my choice of words and actions in the relationships I have; I must continue to think practically (this can be a feat for blonde, you know!) in my home and in public; submission and humility go hand in hand, and I continue to humble my heart to God and my parents; serving, something that does not come easily to me, is a quality I still am working on; and may I always love the Lord and the people He places in my life.

Merry Christmas!

Taylor

Thursday, December 16, 2010

He's a Personal Savior!


In our morning Bible reading time yesterday morning, we read together as a family Luke Chapter 4. It struck me as we read about Jesus healing crowds of people that He actually took time out of His busy life and "laid His hands on every one of them and healed them." (Luke 4:40b). Wow.

Jesus could have stood at the entrance of Simon's house, stretched his hands over the multitude of sick who had gathered, and said, "Be healed!" The crowds would be healed, but something inside of them wouldn't be fulfilled. But what could they expect? Jesus was a busy rabbi, had places to go and people to see. But no, Jesus made a point to go to each individual who was ill or demon-possessed, place His hands upon them, look them in the eye, and establish a personal connection with them. He cared enough about them personally that He went from person to person, touching them, healing them. What a personal Savior!

And Jesus still takes time today to hear us, to heal us, to work on our hearts and intercede for us. He is still filled with the same love and compassion in our modern world He had years ago in the dusty countryside of Israel. He's a personal Savior!
Take comfort in this truth, my friends. I know I do.

Lacheln,
Taylor

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Peace on Earth?



I recently heard a line on a modern Christmas song that went something like this, "What if December looked different this year?" And pondering that lyric, I realized for many people December looks very different this year. Even for our family, December looks different in light of Dad's recent job loss. Unemployment, illness, death, financial insecurity, strife and conflict afflict families across the nation and world. Doubt, fear, stress, worry steal the joy of Christmas and rob us of "peace of earth". Some people feel like they have nothing to celebrate Christmas morning as they mourn the loss of a loved one or face frightening situations.

Where is peace on earth?

Well, to be truthful, there is no peace on earth. Look around you...wars, rumors of wars, divisions in the church, fighting between family and friends, the list goes on. There is no peace on earth.

But there can be peace within our hearts. God, our loving Father sent His perfect, holy, only Son to save us, to become one of us. Jesus gave it all up: all the comforts and honors of being the prize jewel of all creation. He put aside His kingly garments and clothed Himself with...flesh; He joined humanity and became man (yet was fully God) to give us peace on earth. He made a way to the Fatherthrough the cross and "peace that passes all understanding". (Philippians 4:7) He became our peace. "Therefore since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1) Through the gift of salvation purchased by Jesus' blood, the peace Christ gives dwells in our hearts.

When we trust God fully and cast our cares upon Him, truly the peace that passes all understanding is ours. Mom used to have this quote on the fridge: "Look at the world and be distressed. Look within, and be depressed. Look at God and be at rest." Yes, only in God can true peace can be found.

"May the peace of God that passes all understanding guard your hearts and minds this Christmas season and always. Amen"

Merry Christmas!

Lacheln,
Taylor

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

GodlyGirlhood.org is Nearing Completion!

I have finally settled on a website design that I like, and I am truly satisfied with it. It is not the previous design I showed you, but a design I was playing with before it, and finally figured out how to create on Dreamweaver. I have multiple pages completed and more half-way done. I can't show the design right now, but here is a link banner:


Lacheln,

Taylor

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Tapestry"

"I want my life to be a tapestry
Woven by You;
Pictures of Your Grace,
Colors warmed by Your embrace,
Intricately designed by the fingers of Your Love.
Images of patience tender upon my life.
Threads of time and lessons learned
Weaved together to create
A tapestry for Your glory."

Copyright November 2010 - Taylor Garms

Friday, December 10, 2010

Alzen Family DVD Giveaway!

Last month, I had the privilege to be a part of a fun project: The Alzen Family Live in Concert.

Our friends, the Alzen Family are an extremely talented and polished bluegrass-gospel family group from Roberts, WI. They are a wonderful family and we really enjoy listening to and spending time with them whenever our paths cross. We recently did a fundraiser concert with them for the adoption of orphan two brothers from Ukraine. (For more info, visit their adoption blog: www.alzenadoption.blogspot.com.)
Mr. Alzen asked me to design a cover for their new DVD last month, and it was so fun to join them and Hannah Kenney in this project. We were able to finish the whole project in about a week before the fundraiser concert on the 19th of November-whew, talk about time crunch! We love the DVD, and I thought I might share an opportunity to win a copy.
Hannah Kenney, who did much of the filming and all the producing/editing (BTW: wonderful job, Hannah!) and also a new friend, is giving away a copy of the DVD at her blog, Glory and Grace. Click on this link for more details: http://gloryandgrace-hannah.blogspot.com/2010/12/giveaway.html.
If you enjoy bluegrass-gospel music, a lot of fun, and some Christmas music as well, you'll want this DVD. It doesn't get much better than this! :)
Lacheln,
Taylor

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Gift of the Scarf

This past Saturday's concert provided me with a surprise.

After our concert was over, I was downstairs in the church, walking to the stairs to catch up with my family. I ran into a lady who was wearing a beautiful silver scarf/shawl and complimented her on it. She then shocked me by asking, "Do you want it?" I didn't know what to say! The lady said she hadn't worn it for a while, and didn't know if she'd wear it again. "Here you can have it," she said as she took it off and handed it to me.

It was a sweet gift, and I really like the scarf; it adds a classy touch to my outfits. It was a true example of giving the "shirt off of your back"-literally. I was very blessed. Thank you!
Lacheln,
Taylor

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What is Lacheln?


I have had many people ask me what "lacheln" means, as I often fail to make some mention of its meaning. No, it is not Russian, nor Welsh for "sincerely", nor an acronym for "Lost A Crazy Huge Earmuff Last Night" (these are true speculations by confused friends :).

Lacheln is German for "smile". Let me explain.

My family is very German. In fact, my dad's grandfather immigrated from Germany when he was about 16 years old, and came to America through Ellis Island in New York. Many of my parents' relatives also came from Germany and some still reside in that nation. Yes, we have other nationalities mixed-in, most interesting is our Cherokee Indian-but you can see the prominent German influence in us kids (take my blonde hair and blue eyes for example). That being said, I am proud of my heritage.

Now, if you know me, you know I generally like to smile. I have liked making people smile for years. When I was younger, my "card production company" was called "Smile Productions", and I would this title and smiley face logo on the back of every card I would make.

When I investigated starting my own graphic design business, I researched this name and discovered it was taken. Of course, I was sad, but then began to create different names. It evolved into "Taylor'D Designs", but unfortunately, this also was unavailable. Finally, I combined my heritage and former company name to create "Lacheln Designs".

I may not be completely correct in its pronounciation, but with the help of my dad (who can speak some German), I figure it is something like "la-Kiln". (I so want to learn how to speak this language!).

Lacheln is the closure to many of my emails and blog posts, encouraging people to smile.

There, now you know! Is your curiousity satisfied?

Lacheln, :)
Taylor

Monday, December 6, 2010

100th Blog Post!

Let's celebrate! This is my 100th blog post on SurrenderingMyAll.blogspot.com!

I have enjoyed blogging on this site since November of 2008, even though I haven't been the most consistent blogger on the block! It has been much fun to share my thoughts and life with you; I truly hope you enjoy your visits and may benefit from my journey.

Looking back, so much has happened since this blog's beginning: Great Adventure Gospel Band has grown, siblings have come and gone, my dad lost his job, I've graduated, and more. But most importantly, I continue to grow and learn how to surrender my all to the Lord.

Thanks for reading my blog and stopping by. I pray you are blessed by what you find here and that God is glorified above all.

Lacheln,
Taylor

Thursday, December 2, 2010

True Beautiful

(Is this beautiful?)


A little background on this article: I wrote this essay earlier this year for a history project on beauty practices of different cultures. Lily Williams is fictional character, as well as Jonathan Friendly and the Truth Seekers Missionary Organization (Jonathan Friendly was the narrator for many of my projects). I hope you enjoy this perspective on true beauty.



Adventures with Lily Williams
TRUE BEAUTIFUL
By Taylor Garms
Streams of Civilization
Project 15, Chapter 15


Hi! I am Lily Williams, a volunteer at Truth Seekers Missionary Organization. I work with people like Jonathan Friendly in studying the past to enlighten the future. This report is about interesting beauty techniques that different cultures have tried to make their girls and women "beautiful." Jonathan thought it would be best if a girl wrote this article, so he asked me to share with you the unique ideas people have had about beauty.

Girls and women have always had the desire to be beautiful and attractive, because God designed us that way to please our husbands. But the notions and beauty tips concocted over the years have been interesting to say the least.

Let’s say I was a fashion specialist around 400 BC in Maya, located in Central America. You come to me for advice about beautifying your baby girl. I would tell you to wrap the baby’s head tightly with strips of cloth and small boards. This would make your baby’s skull longer and very attractive. Oh, and don’t forget to hang a string with beads from your baby’s forehead. This will make her eyes cross-eyed and especially pretty. She will be the fashion statement of the country! Now seriously, these were practices of the Mayan people and they thought their people were most beautiful.

Consider now the Chinese. For many years, Chinese women bound the feet of their baby girls, bending the toes underneath the foot. The soft bones of the babies soon became set in this uncomfortable position. The little girls would cry from the pain, but the parents did not take off the wrappings. Why? For the sake of attraction. You see, the Chinese thought that the smaller the woman’s feet, the more beautiful she was. Men would not want to marry a girl with large feet, the parents insisted. So China was filled with limping and stumbling girls and women, caused from the pain and instability of their deformed feet.

In England and the early years of America, corsets were very popular. What’s a corset? It’s a stiffened garment worn by women under their dresses with laces to fasten it tightly to shape the waist. It was very uncomfortable! In the Little House series, Laura Ingalls Wilder recalled how dreadful it would be to wear them:
'"I’m glad I don’t have to wear corsets yet," said Carrie. "Be glad while you
can be," said Laura. "You’ll have to wear them pretty soon." Her corsets were a
sad affliction to her, from the time she put them on in the morning until she
took them off at night. But when girls pinned up their hair and wore skirts down
to their shoe tops, they must wear corsets. "You should wear them all night," Ma
said. Mary did, but Laura could not bear at night the torment of the steels that
would not let her draw a deep breath. Always before she could get to sleep, she
had to take off her corsets. "What your figure will be, goodness knows," Ma
warned her. "When I was married, your Pa could span my waist with his two
hands."' -Little Town on the Prairie
Before you say that all these cultures were crazy, wait to you hear about this one. In this culture, girls heat metal to make their hair as straight as a board. They pierce their bodies with lots of earrings, tongue rings, nose rings, belly button rings, you name it, till it looks like they have fallen into a tackle box! If your hair has more color in it, the more beautiful you are. Women, and men, have specialized plastic added to their bodies to make certain parts of their bodies more attractive. Imperfections are removed from their appearance. In some cases, whole faces are transfigured to be made more beautiful. Girls starve themselves to make their bodies thin and slender. Heavy powers and liquids are used to transform faces, eyes, and lips, and to hide flaws.


If you haven’t caught on already, this example is today’s culture. Beautiful in our culture has become so crazy, no one knows what true beauty is any more. Magazines scream out with pictures of skinny women with wild make-up and lots of bare skin: "You have to look like this to be truly beautiful." The picture of the teen-age girl staring into nowhere and wearing miss-match clothing with skull earrings states, "This is true beautiful." How many girls are threatened with death and health issues because of their self-inflicted anorexia nervosa and bulimia? Do you know that 25% of girls diagnosed with anorexia die? That’s a lot! And think, all for the sake of the quest for true beauty.

True beauty should be more of the inner self, not the outward appearance. Beauty will eventually fade away, but a woman's character will last her her entire life. True beauty should consist of a quiet and gentle spirit, willing and helpful hands, a bright smile, cleanliness, and a love for God.

Well, I have a lot more I could say on this subject, but Jonathan says I should get off. Hope you have a different perspective now!

Your Sister in Christ,


Lily Williams
Truth Seekers

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Writings Featured on LYWB.com

Lies Young Women Believe


I'm so excited!! This morning when I checked my email, I found an e-update from one of my favorite websites for young ladies, Lies Young Women Believe. The title was "Meet the New LYWB.com Writers", and I felt my heart skip a beat.

Lies Young Women Believe is a website dedicated to bring the truth to young women who are disillusioned about God, themselves, relationships, the media, and a whole variety of topics. It was started after the book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh, "Lies Young Women Believe" was published, and it has been a source of encouragement in my life since I discovered it earlier this year.

Now, I have the privilege to share what God has taught me on it.

A few months ago, LYWB.com extended an invitation to its readers to submit articles pertaining to the website and the book. My interest was piqued and I began to type, sharing some deeply personal stories. I edited them again and again, trying to make my wordy articles fit within the required word count. Finally, after having my mom read them over, they were sent off to LYWB. Then the waiting began.

I had forgotten about it, until I saw the e-update. Curious, I went to the website, and about fell out of my chair. There was my name among the list of writers!

What a honor, and a humbling privilege. I am so thankful for this opportunity to share what God has done in my life. I sincerely hope young women can be encouraged and learn from what God has taught me. I pray the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart are acceptable to God, and that He will use my stories for His glory.

To read the blog post, click here.

I will let you know when my articles are featured!

Lacheln,
Taylor