Monday, February 28, 2011

On This Last Day of February

FYI: The link on the below picture was switched from our website to our blog. My mistake!

Isn't interesting how when I do not write at least once a week, it feels as though I have abandoned my blog? :)

February has been an extremely busy and memorable month for our family. Our first CD was sent off to the duplicators last week, my oldest sister returned home, we had a total of six appearances for Great Adventure Gospel Band, school continuing to be in session for Leesha, Sam, Jayme, and Caleb...let's just say we keep busy with the routine tasks about the home and our individual responsibilities!

I have refrained from posting about my recent designing ventures and personal tasks, as I was convicted by this quote from an article I read recently:

"I used to pride myself on keeping so many plates in the air. It's a badge of honor for women today to say, 'Oh, I'm so exhausted! If you knew what I had on my schedule for today!' And we sort of play, 'Poor me!' But we really are bragging about it." ( "Phyllis Wallace: The Woman Behind Woman to Woman" - Lutheran Woman's Quarterly, Spring 2011)


Instead of focusing on my tasks and responsibilities, overwhelming you with my "stuff", and essentially focusing on me, I want to direct you to the Lord, and encourage you in your walk in life. I want to share things the Lord is teaching me in order to inspire you in your journey. Yes, sometimes I will interject personal and fun stuff about me and our family, to keep this blog from becoming "dry", but all in all, it's not about me. I do not desire to come across as "full of myself", but as a sister who shares similiar struggles and walks beside you.

In review, here is my personal mission statement, "To encourage the Body of Christ, especially Christian young women, to passionately serve God in every area of their life, and to give hope to those who are going through similar situations and trials I have experienced." I pray you are encouraged by your stays at my home on the web, and that this blog fulfills my mission statement.

Thanks for visiting, friends! Hope you had a wonderful February!

Lacheln,
Taylor

P.S. I have been writing extensively on our family's blog; if you are interested in Garms Family happenings, visit today and become a follower! (Click on the link banner below.)


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I Can Do All Things...Through Christ

"Urgh! I've got so much to do!" I complained one morning while reviewing my tasks for the day, thumping the bread machine on the counter with a little more umph than usual. Mom responded gently, singing a Bible verse set to music by Steve Green: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13. The song stuck in my mind as I combined the ingredients for bread, and I couldn't help but take it mentally a step further. I began to say to myself: "When I am...'I can do all things through...'", providing a redirecting contrast between what I cannot do by myself, but what can be accomplished through Christ's strength, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22).

  • When I am pressured by responsibilities and expectations and feel overwhelmed - "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

  • When I am battling sinful thoughts and habits and feel I can't win the battle - "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

  • When I am losing my patience with younger siblings and feel I will lose my calm - "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

  • When I deal with bitterness and feel I should take revenge - "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

  • When I face redirection and rebuke and feel like lashing out - "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

  • When I confront uncertainty and feel that I cannot trust anyone or anything - "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

  • When I struggle with surrendering my all - "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Lacheln!
Taylor

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Little Brown Bible

I love the little Gideon Bible in our bathroom, and then again, I can't stand it.

The cover is brown and turned out on the edges. The pages are crumpled and worn. But the truths are so relevant each time I open the small Bible, and God uses this book to get a hold of my life, to wake me up.

My daily journal time comes around after we've all said good night and headed to our bedrooms. I grab my journal and camp out in the bathroom for a while, pouring my heart out, telling of unique happenings, relating mundane routine around the home, etc. Some days my entries are several pages long, others, just a sentence or two. As I share my stuggles, and battles become stronger as I mull over the day, the Bible calls and I seem to hear: "Open the Bible."

It is often reluctantly I pick up that little brown book, but other times, my heart is yearning for a Word from the Lord. God moves my fingers and directs me to exactly what I need to read. Sometimes I don't like what I find, as God's Word is "sharper than a double-edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12-13) and convicts me of sin I am dealing with at that exact moment. It always points me to what I truly need to be focused on: the Lord and living for Him.

Let me share with you a journal entry I wrote a while ago:

'Ugh, I go back and forth with my thoughts! I so want to go into my "room of
pictures" (Ezekial 8:12), but then I want to follow God's way. Seesaw, up, down,
round and round, yours or mine, up, down, seesaw. I'll see what God says... "You still the hunger of those You cherish..." (Psalm 17:14b) God can still the hunger in my mind and body for short-lasting pleasures, and fill me with true satisfaction and love, found only in Him. "...My people shall be satisfied with My goodness." (Jeremiah 31:14b) I will trust in Him to carry me through this trial, this tempting of my faith. "Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He has anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." (2nd Corinthians 1:21-22) "Put on the full armor of God..." (Ephesians 6:11a)'
God always lovingly redirects me with His Word, patiently reminding me of Himself and what He has done for me through Christ. He speaks so clearly to me through just the right verses at just the right time.

Thank God for the little brown Bible.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Continually...

While our vocal warm-ups are going on, I have a quick opportunity to write a little before we settle into a good practice session...

In 1st Thessalonians 5:17, the apostle Paul states "pray without ceasing" in the English Standard Version. When I was younger, I knew this verse as simply "pray continually" (from the New International Version), and it has bothered me. How could, and why would anyone pray continually...non-stop...without ceasing?

The image that forms in my mind is someone mumbling hurried phrases and absent-mindedly completing their every day tasks: "Be with Mary today at her doctor appointment and-opps! The telephone is ringing! Dear Lord, hello? Oh! Excuse me! Sorry, I was just praying." :) And how could they think of enough things to pray for? This, along with the thought of praising God continually in Heaven, made me wonder: Wouldn't it get, well, slightly "old"?

One day, while pondering such topics, the parallel of an engaged young woman came to my mind. Honestly, what (or WHO) does she talk about constantly? Her beloved fiance. How many of us have been in such a girl's presence and heard "his" name in almost every subject? I remember being at a family music festival several years ago, and while one family was introducing themselves, one of the girls barely said her name and age before she was talking about her engaged. "Anyone who wants to hear about him and our story, just find me later and I will tell you!!" Her enthusiasm made everyone smile.


*Well, have to go practice! Will be back soon!*

[Insert sounds of music, singing, loud instruments, and conversation.]



*I have returned* :)


Of course, I imagine the day when I will have the same glitter in my eyes (and ring finger!). Wouldn't my thoughts be filled with dreams of "him" and craving every opportunity to talk on the phone and treasuring the moments spent with "him"? Wouldn't I be talking about "him" to everyone I'd meet? :)

And here's the parallel with the topic at hand: if I truly am in love with the Lord (because He has first loved me), shouldn't my reactions be the same? Just as I would be seeking out time to spend with my future "special someone" everyday constantly, shouldn't I be doing the same with my Lord Jesus-to get to know Him more? And just like I would be "singing 'his' praise" to everyone I'd meet, why should I question praising the Lord constantly?

But of course, just as when you start a relationship with anyone, you have to learn to love them-it's a process. And I guess that's where I am at: still learning to love Jesus above everything. I am still learning to desire Him and His Word, and seeking out His presence in prayer. And as I get to know Him more, my desire to spend time with Him will grow, and thus, "pray[ing] continually."


I believe Paul also mentions "pray continually" not only out of a desire to spend time with Jesus, but as an encouragement to bring all our problems, joys, temptations, struggles, and praise to Him. When I spend time in prayer (if my mind doesn't start wandering), my focus is where it needs to be-on the Lord-and "the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His Glory and Grace". Temptations are lighter when borne with someone else, and joys are sweeter when shared together.

Praying continually is something I will continue to grow into as my relationship with my First Love blossoms. And the more it deepens, the more I understand "pray continually."


Lacheln!
Taylor

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hello World!

Wow, it seems like it has been months since I last wrote! In reality, it has only been a few short weeks. Life has been busy (as usual) and January was filled with many interesting happenings.
"GAGBAND" HAPPENINGS:

First, in Great Adventure Gospel Band news, our first CD is almost done! The recording process completed and now we are in the final mixing stage. I know for many of you, this all means nothing to you, but this is big news! We are looking to have our CD done by late February. WAHOO! To read our recording stories, visit our blog: http://www.greatadventurefamily.blogspot.com/. The night when Ben first transferred all our recordings to CD for analyzing purposes, I grabbed a portable CD player and listened to the halfway-finished songs, just being blessed by what the Lord has given to us. I am so excited about our first album!
Part of the listening crew (analyzing our CD).
During the month of January, our family was interviewed for the local newspaper, the Isanti County News; to read the interesting article, click here.

Our family "posing" for the newspaper; Photo by Luke Reiter

Our 2011 concert schedule continues to fill up-Praise the Lord!-and we have roughly 19 appearances booked. This next week is going to be busy for the band, as we'll have four concerts in six days. (That can become tiring, but it sure is a whole lot of fun!)

MINNESOTA WINTER STUFF

Our "winter wonderland"

A while ago, I peeked outside a window and, discovering the clouds releasing their heavy snow burdens once again, I almost let out an exasperated yelp: "Oh, won't it ever stop!" While I do truly enjoy winter and beautiful snowfalls, I have had a hankering for a warm summer day, with the clear sunshine streaming through the sliding glass door, a cool breeze rustling the lucious green leaves of the trees, the occasional bug running into me in midflight (yep, I'm that desparate!), and...heat!

A friend from church reminded me that February was a short month and then we have March (which means mud and melting up here). That's technically spring, but what I want right now is a perfect June day. Mmmm! (Opps! I'd better brush up on my contentment!)

And yes, Christmas has come and gone, which meant we had to take down all our Christmas decorations. So long ornaments!

Most of my ornaments (note all the blonde hair!)

OTHER RANDOM NEWS

I have had several opportunities to use my graphic design skills, and am blessed to see doors open for Lacheln Designs. I am currently creating a website for my business, and continuing to grow and learn in this wonderful field.

GodlyGirlhood.org is almost completely designed, needs editing, and will someday soon be published. What exciting developments!

Again, life stays busy for the Triple F Ranch Crew, and we treasure this time together as family. God has great things in store and we continue to follow His leading in our lives.

Well, I feel better now. I have finally written and let you know I am still alive. I have many things to catch up on, and this was one of them. "Surrendering My All Blog": check!

Now...I'm going outside to play "clash swords" with Ben and Leesha, as it is a "heat-wave" (around 30 degrees)! Tootles!

Lacheln, Taylor