When Life Throws You a Curveball, Make Lemonade.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

For My Kids

Hey Baby,

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m about to tell you.  I just want to give you words of wisdom from a girl who has lived a lot of life to a girl who is just getting started.  You are getting to the age where you are starting to think about forever.  Every guy could be “the one”, and you may think you’ve already met him.  Maybe you have, and even if you haven’t, you should think about every guy you date as if he could be “the one”.  There are a lot of things you wouldn’t necessarily think about right now, but will be unbelievably important as you get older with the one you love.  These are a few of those things:
  1. 1.      Love is not enough.  Times are going to get tough, no matter who you choose to spend the rest of your life with.  You need to have a solid friendship and solid commitment to each other that you’re going to tough out even when you don’t feel like you love each other.  You owe that to your marriage, your spouse, and your kids.
  2. 2.    Any guy might seem good enough when there’s nothing at stake, but when you’re married and trying to buy a house (or even rent an apartment) and pay all the bills, you want someone who is willing to work their butt off to take care of you, and eventually you and your kids.  A guy who doesn’t really know what he wants to do with his life and is kind of wishy-washy about his future is perfectly fine.  He is still growing and maturing, but he is DEFINITELY not ready for commitment.  He is NOT READY for marriage and a family.  You might think, “Oh, that’s ok.  I’ll support the family while he’s figuring it out.”  But that will get really old really fast.  You will eventually lose all respect for him and things will go south when he spends months and years taking a class or two of college, jumping from dead-end job to dead-end job, and having no ambition about his future.  Keep dating, and if things don’t change, move on.  You want a guy who is ready to commit, who is ready to be a man, and who wants to be in charge of his home.  You might know the guy, but maybe he needs time.  Don’t be scared to wait. 
  3. 3.    You will eventually want a guy who will be a spiritual leader of your home.  That may seem so unimportant to you right now, but trust me, when you have that precious baby in your arms that you love so much, you will want the very, very best for him or her.  You will want this child to be raised in a home where they know God loves them and who have parents who will guide them to Christ.  Not because it’s, “what you’re supposed to do,” but because God is waiting, aching to love on that baby, that toddler, that child, that pre-teen, that teenager, that adult, and who wants him/her to know Him and know His love.  You want a guy who will lead your child and your family to this.
  4. 4.    Wait for a guy who will give his life, his everything for you.  You are created to be loved, to be cherished.  God created you exactly the way He wanted you to be.  You don’t need to change who you are to please someone else.  That’s not to say that you don’t want to be a good spouse, but if someone is treating you poorly, you don’t have to put up with it.  Wait for someone who loves you for exactly who you are.  You are beautiful, you are important, you are wonderful, you are loved.  Don’t change that for a guy who has no appreciation for who you are.
  5. 5.    When you get married, give yourself completely to your mate.  Don’t hold back.  Love him well.  Make him know every day that he is important to you and you are thinking about ways to make him feel loved, respected, cherished.
  6. 6.    When you are married, every day be the person you would want to come home to.  Would you want to come home to someone nagging, complaining, whining, bitter, angry?  No?  Neither would he.
  7. 7.    You, as a wife and mother, have the power to set the atmosphere in your home.  If you live in a world of sadness, despair, depression, negativity, this will set the mood in your home.  I have learned this the hard way.  I realized after way too long that I lived in a world where I only focused on the things that were broken, that were missing, and I shifted our family into a life of no joy.  We became broken and dysfunctional.  I have so much regret about this, but I’m so thankful that God woke me up before it was too late.  I had a chance to change this before you guys left, and we have all become so much closer. 
  8. 8.    Spend time in God’s Word and in prayer.  This may not seem like a big deal in this time in your life, but as you get older, you will learn that this is as important as sleep, as food, as breathing.  It will change your outlook on life because you will see God everywhere you look.  It will give you love where you could have never loved on your own.   It will give you peace when the world is crumbling around you.  It will give you hope when your future may seem hopeless. It will give you a warm blanket of love when you feel like there is no one in the world who really loves you.  God loves you.  He wants a relationship with you.  Invest in Him.  It’s so worth it.

I’m sure there’s more I will have to say at some point, but you’re growing up, Baby.  I know you are looking to your future, and I want you to benefit from the things I’ve learned.  Hopefully you can avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made, and live a life of few regrets (there’s no way to have no regrets). 

I love you so, so, so much.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Moving on to uncharted territories-at least for me

Well I guess it's official that I'm not a dedicated blogger.  It's been almost two years since I've been here.  I've traveled a lot of ground in the past two years.  Now life is taking me on a new path, one that I'd never planned, but one where I know my God leads my way.

About 5 months ago my youngest daughter broke the news to me that she was pregnant.  As a mother of daughters, you know that it happens. You see it all around you, yet you never think it will happen to you.  You did everything you could to give your kids enough love that they would make better choices.  You brought them up in church, you provided them a loving home with a mom and a dad, and you hoped that they would feel loved and secure enough that they wouldn't have the need to seek the love and attention that they weren't ready for at such a young age.  You may have even made mistakes in your past, but you hoped that these mistakes made you aware and wise and could help you prevent your daughters from making mistakes of their own.  You might have even thought, arrogantly, that you did a good enough job that it would never happen to your family.

If there's one thing that I've learned as a mother, that God has taught me over and over, you NEVER say never.  I can pretty much laugh at that now.  It took having two sweet little girls that smiled and laughed and loved each other and sang Jesus songs to make me a very proud mommy.  I wondered what the fuss was about. I homeschooled, for heaven's sake.  Parenting wasn't that hard.  Why can't other mothers keep their children under control? 

Then God gave me my son.  He was the cutest baby boy I'd ever seen, and he won my heart the day I laid eyes on him.  That boy loved his mommy and his mommy loved him, but God used that sweet baby boy to humble his mommy's heart.  He didn't sleep through the night until he was about 10 months old, and he only began this because I got so exhausted trying to quiet him to sleep that I began to let him "cry it out."  That was putting it nicely.  Really it was "screaming and banging his crib against the wall-ing it out."  He destroyed everything in his path.  He came home from mother's day out every single week with a note saying, "Did not play well with others."  How embarrassing.  What kind of mother was I?  Don't get me wrong.  I loved my baby boy.  He just debunked my position as perfect mother. Ouch, pride! Yeah, I didn't have this motherhood thing figured out.  At. All.  

But then God had mercy on me.  Even though I had it all planned that my husband and I would have two girls and then two boys:  My son was 3 and was manageable, and my two girls were older and could help me with their little brother. And surely my experience with one boy would prepare me for another one.  Thankfully, God had other plans.  He blessed our family with a beautiful, curly-headed princess.  She won our hearts and we all doted on her.  Even when she threw fits or cried because she couldn't get her way, we all thought she was adorable.

She got older and older, and got to the point where she just couldn't find her way.  She lashed out and hated her parents. She threatened suicide.  She ran away from home.  She turned to others to fulfill her and love her, innocently thinking that these other people could make her feel whole.  She made mistakes that so many others have made before her, and her mistakes caught up to her.  Now she was pregnant and didn't know where to turn.  She had friends who had been down this road.  One had placed her baby for adoption, and one had decided to raise her baby on her own.  Both did what they felt was best for their baby.  Thankfully, my daughter bravely decided to come to me.  I'll have to admit, I didn't take it well.  At. All.  I was furious at my daughter doing this to herself, to me, to her dad, to her siblings, and to her innocent baby.   Then furious for thinking for one second that at 15 she knew the first thing about raising a baby.  Are you kidding me?  She's still a baby herself!  I decided in one split second that she would not keep her baby.  She would place the baby for adoption, and that was it.  End of discussion.  

Enter God.  Oops!  Forgot to ask His opinion.  Okay, self.  You've been down this road.   You tried to figure life out on your own before.  You thought you had all the right answers.  Welp,   God had other plans.  And so begins my story.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Merry Christmas/Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  I hope you all are enjoying this holiday season with warm fires, a big mug of hot cocoa, and your family and friends around you.   I took last year off from the annual Taylor letter, so I apologize if this one becomes a mini novel.  The Taylors have been through a huge season of change for the past couple of years. 

Reagan graduated from college in May 2010, and has flown the coop.  She has been living in Anderson, Indiana for the past year or so, but is at home preparing right now to spend 2012 traveling the world with World Race, a mission organization that journeys to 11 different countries in 11 months.  We just can’t manage to keep that girl in one place!  She has mixed emotions about her new adventure.  In her words, “I don't like sleeping on the floor. Or peeing in a hole. Or being dirty. At all. I take about an hour-and-a-half to get ready in the morning. I'm at Starbucks like 18 times a week. And, you know what? I like it. I like being comfortable.”  She is giving up everything she is and knows to let God use her to do His work.  We know God has incredible things in store for our baby girl, and she is exactly where she needs to be.  You can follow her throughout her travels and her experiences on her blog:  http://reagantaylor.theworldrace.org/

Brooke began nursing school at UCO this fall and is up to her eyeballs studying, practicing nursing skills, studying, and more studying.  She and Brock, her boyfriend of two years, have to “see” each other by video chat, since Brock has an equally demanding study load.  She told me that she, Brock and their books have a very open relationship. After completing a few clinicals, Brooke does have a few good stories to share, as in the day she and her fellow classmates were attempting to insert a tube through the nose of a practice mannequin.  Instead of going into the stomach as it was intended, they were shocked to see the end of the tube coming out of the mannequin’s eye!  She and mom hope never to see this on a live human being.  When Brooke and Mom begin talking diseases, IVs, catheters and drug calculations, Dad’s eyes glaze over, and he retreats into the next room to the couch and the tv (“Bor-ring!” he exclaims, in his best Homer Simpson voice).  He has no idea of the fun he’s missing!

Garrison is in his senior year of high school.  It physically pains his mother to say those words.  He is enduring the not-so-fun parts of his senior year (senior portraiting, graduation planning, invitation ordering, class attending) to get to the fun parts (senior tripping, gift getting, and NO MORE HIGH SCHOOL!!!).  Between working at Jersey Mike’s and spending every--and do I mean every--spare second with his girlfriend, Chloe, we don’t see a whole lot of him around the house anymore.  We wouldn’t be sure he still lived at home these days except that we still run across his clothes in the hamper.  He has followed in his Dad’s footsteps, becoming quite techno-savvy (or computer geeky, depending on how you look at it).  He works on his computer and his cell phone, trying to make them both faster and better, but often rendering his cell phone useless (or “bricked” in geek-speak).  He has traded in his cell phone so often that they know him personally at the AT&T store. 

Maddie joined the ranks of the high school world this year, and loves it!  Well, I guess what she loves is being able to leave campus for lunch, getting out of school early on Fridays, and being exempt from exams at the end of the semester. She is VERY impatiently awaiting the moment when she can get behind the wheel and stop depending on others and their free schedules to drive her to her many social engagements.  She frequently gets frustrated by being stuck at home while her siblings are out, and informed me recently that when she gets a car, she plans to just live in it.  I told her to do what she needed to do, but to please come by the house on Sundays to enjoy our weekly roast dinner after church.  I can’t even believe I’m discussing my baby getting her drivers license, but she’s growing up so fast.  She fills much of her free time with texting her friends, photographing her many pets (including her “science project” mouse), and playing video games. (update:  The science project mouse has since bitten the dust and was fed to the snake.  This didn't hurt mom's feelings one little bit.)

Not wanting to be outdone by all the changes in our kids’ lives, Greg and I also set out for new adventures.  Greg resigned from his position with a D.C.-based telecommunications litigation firm in order to focus more of his time and energy on his other business, VYL Media.  Greg’s primary focus, however, has been on his golf game.  In two years, he has lowered his average round from 100 to the low 80s; he even had a few rounds in the 70s this year.  He is still interested in road cycling, and plans to complete his first century ride (i.e., 100-mile event) in 2012.

Last October, after a 16-year sabbatical, I went back to work full-time as an RN!  Saying that I was scared to death to go back into nursing after such a long break was the understatement of the century; but with each passing day, I feel a little less overwhelmed and a little more confident.  I am, for the first time in my career, working three 12-hour shifts a week in ICU and absolutely love it!  I have progressed from thinking, “every day my care for this patient will probably be their last,” to, “maybe I really can do this!”  The family has had a time adjusting to mom working again, but has slipped into a new routine.  The kids have done a great job at becoming our house slaves pitching in to help around the house.  Garrison even asked me, “Mom, do you think you’ll keep working, even if we don’t need the money?”  I answered, “Yes, I’ll probably work some, though probably not full-time.  Why?”  His reply, “We really don’t need you at home anymore. We can pretty much take care of ourselves.”  Ouch.  So glad to see all the years I invested into the lives of my children have paid off abundantly.  I’m sure glad I don’t depend on my kids for my self-worth!

This season will be extra-special to us, as we prepare to send Reagan off into the world to serve.  We know Reagan is where she needs to be, and are both proud of her and a little selfishly sad that we won’t be able to see her for the next 11 months.  It just reminds us that through the growth and changes of the year ahead, we need to treasure the time that God gives us together.  I pray that God will be very close to you all this season, and help you enjoy spending time with the ones you love.  May He bless you and your family, and bring peace and joy in celebrating the birth of His Son, Our Savior.  Merry Christmas!

The Taylors

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My husband got so frustrated that he ran over me on his bike, leaving skid marks on my leg

.....or that's what we like to tell.  That's what it looked like, anyway.

My husband, Greg, has become a die-hard cyclist.  He's been riding for a few years now, and has been begging me to come along with him.  I tried it a few times, but since I only had a kind-of nice bike (a hybrid-whatever that is) and not a super-nice bike (one with approx 3 million different gears),  I couldn't keep up with him or go very far.  Greg was determined to make this a hobby we could enjoy together, so at the first of the year, he bought me a fancy new real-biker bike with pretty pink swirls painted on it and a big cushy seat (or as cushy as you can get on one of these bikes).  He begged me to get clipless pedals (the ones that you have when you wear the shoes that clip onto the pedals...........clipless?), but I was too scared to have that kind.  I had these visions that my foot would get stuck on the pedal and I couldn't get it free in time to avoid crashing my bike.  He relented, and I got the kind where you just slip your foot into a stirrup. Easy insert and release, freedom for the use of my feet and avoidance of falling over when stopping, right? Not exactly.

We "trained" on our bikes inside through the cold weather, so that I could get the feel of the gears, and so that I could get used to the seat.   Yeah, that big cushy seat wasn't feeling so cushy after sitting on it for 45 minutes at a time.  I was sore for a week after my first ride!

Anyway, time passed and I felt more comfortable on my new bike.  I was ready for the great outdoors!  We loaded the bikes on the back of Greg's truck and hauled them out to Austin to ride while we were visiting my sister and her family over Spring Break.  I rode my bike for the first time just for a minute or two, and immediately realized that this was a very different-feeling bike.  It wasn't big and heavy and steady like my old bike.  This bike was vey light and skinny, so I felt big and heavy on top if it!  I felt like I was riding a bike for the very first time!  I weaved and wobbled and made it back to the driveway, a little surprised by how different the bike felt off the trainer.  Yikes!

We got up the next day and took off for my first 20ish-mile ride.  I was nervous, but excited!  We were riding along, and I began to get very winded.  I felt pretty good about myself, though, and thought I was doing quite well for my first long ride.  We must be at least 8 or 9 miles down the road by now, right? It was about this point when Greg turned to me and said, "That was a good 4-mile warmup!  Now we need to really push it!"  Uh-oh.  I'm in trouble!

I hung in there, pushing and panting and taking a couple of stops.  All in all, not too shabby.   We finally made it half-way.  I was kind of nervous because it felt like we were coasting along, going downhill quite often, but Greg kept assuring me that the trip back would be much easier because we would be going downhill and with, instead of against, the wind.  Wrong!  We started back, and I could immediately feel the wind pushing against me.  We rode up what felt like fifteen 90-degree-angle hills with at least 60-mile-per-hour winds pushing against us, and had to cut through several intersections.  He followed me through the intersections a couple of times while he told me where to go.  This went great, just as I would have expected!  I was nervous about crossing the intersections at the stop-lights, avoiding the cars, keeping my balance as I stopped and started and pulled my feet in and out of those stupid stirrups, all while listening to Greg tell me which way to go.  After a couple of times of going pretty much the opposite way of where he told me (well, actually YELLED at me, you know, in a loving sort of way)  to go, I insisted that he go first, and would I follow him.  MUCH better idea, if I should say so myself!  Things were cruising along, and I was feeling slightly more comfortable, when we came to another intersection.  I was slowing down to stop, and was beginning to lean over to my left side to stop, when suddenly I realized that I was starting to lean to the right.  I was at a full stop, and I couldn't get my right foot out of my bike stirrup, so I just fell over.  Right there, in front of God, Greg, and everyone at the stoplight.  How embarrassing!!!!  Greg jumped off his bike and helped me up.  I had cuts all over my leg and knee.  I looked like I had crashed full-speed into a pile of glass, but no, just fell over on the side of the road at a dead stop.  Yay, me!

I recovered from my humiliation and kept plugging along.  We made it back to their neighborhood and more 90-degree hills and were almost on the home stretch.  We came to the top of another hill and the while coming to a stop I began to lose my balance.  I was again leaning to my left, while my bike decided that it wanted to lean to the right, which was UPHILL!  Unbelievable!!!  My left, free foot was useless as I fell over, what felt like in slow motion, all the while frantically trying to free my trapped-in-the-stirrup right foot.  Down I went....again, falling to the ground, foot still trapped securely in the stirrup.  Greg looked over and groaned, but quickly jumped off his bike to rescue his obviously very uncoordinated biking buddy.  Only this time when Greg jumped off his bike, his bike fell on top of my bike, which was on top of me.  I had to think that about this time he was really regretting wanting to share this hobby with me.  To add insult to injury,  there was another biker riding along just about the time I fell over.  What a good laugh I must have given him!  I was in pain, but I just started dying laughing!  Of all the things I worried about when I was riding along, falling over when I was stopped was never one of them.  We got up, finished the ride back to Cindy's house, and I showed off my battle wounds.  I had blood running down my leg, dirt and bruises on both of my legs and what looked like tire tracks (it was really bike chain grease) going across one of my calves.  Cindy said it looked like Greg peeled off, running over my leg in the process.  Like he said, "Forget this!  I'm outta here!"  We had a good laugh, and I decided that would be the story I'd tell.

Yep, my husband ran over me with his bike, leaving me out in the middle of the street, bruised, cut, and bleeding me to death.  I have the scars to prove it!  :)

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I'm sorry, but I really can't understand you

As part of my job as an RN, I care for many patients who are on a ventilator.  Most of these patients are sedated (so that they're not fighting the ventilator), so are in a light sleep.  A few of them are awake enough to want to communicate, but the sedation, added to the fact that they have a tube going down their throat and coming out of their mouth, makes it very difficult to communicate effectively.  These patients try to mouth words, and when they can't get their message across (because I'm not a great ventilator-lip reader), they attempt to write down what they want to communicate.  Knowing that this is a challenge, I've tried everything I know to help them .  I've asked them to write one letter at a time.  I've tried steadying their hand.  I've even written the alphabet on a piece of paper and asked them to point to each letter of the words they want to spell.  None of these approaches has ever worked effectively.  They want to write down what they are attempting to tell me.  Good times.

More often than not, the message looks like this (actual message):


Unless you're telling me that you want to go to the ocean, I really don't get it.

Guess I need to take a class on scribble interpretation.

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

God really does have a sense of humor

He got his acceptance letter today.  What's even better is that he seemed surprised that I was surprised. 

You just never know.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Apparently we skipped that chapter.

In the parenting handbook on Teaching Your Child How to Present Himself Well.  Seriously dropped the ball on that one.

My darling son has decided, after much consideration (about 20 minutes), that he wants to go to med school and become a doctor.  This is after taking, and loving, and performing quite well in his anatomy class.  This was quite a surprise, as he has always, only made plans to become a meteorologist.  He absolutely loves weather and storms, and follows each very closely.  I'm not sure exactly what changed his mind, but having him decided to go into medicine is enough to thrill this nurse's heart.

A couple of days after he announced he wanted to be a doctor, he informed me that he wanted to attend Vo-Tech next year.  Vo-Tech?  Can I tell you how much I love telling people that my son wants to attend Vo-Tech AND med school?  I can barely get the words out of my mouth without laughing!  It wasn't quite so funny when I found out that the program he wanted to attend was actually a bio-med program that gave you AP credits and actually was a college-prep program, but I don't tell people that.  I'm having too much fun.

I got a call about a week later from the Vo-Tech informing me that in order to be considered for the program, Garrison would have to come in for an interview.  I set up a time, forgot it, and set up a second time that we actually attended.  We found our way to the school and entered a room with the instructor who was waiting to conduct the interview with Garrison.  The instructor told us that typically there was a panel of teachers who interviewed each student, but that the other instructors couldn't attend for one reason or another.  She let Garrison know that this interview was very informal, and he shouldn't feel stressed about it.  In hindsight, she probably regretted saying this.  I know I did.  Garrison didn't let out any sigh of relief.  He never even looked the least bit uptight.  He answered, "Alright."  After getting through the initial questions, most of which he answered with a "huh?" or a "yeah",  (with which mom slumped lower and lower into her seat in embarrassment after each question) she asked Garrison, "How much non-school-related reading do you do?"  He didn't answer.  He just held up both hands, each hand formed in "0's".  Not, "Oh, just a little."  Not, "I do so much reading for school, I don't really have time for casual reading."  Just, "00".  None, nada. Then he added, "I hate reading.  I don't read anything unless I have to."  Just what they want to hear in the bio-med program.  Kids who have lots of curiosity in things they aren't forced to read or learn in school.  She asked, "How much time do you spend doing homework each night?"  His answer, "Well, when I HAVE homework, maybe 20 or 30 minutes or so."  Oh yeah.  Great ambition here.  What took the cake was when she asked him, "How much time do you spend studying for tests?"  I was afraid to hear the answer.  I was right in being afraid.  He answered, "Well, I usually cram for about 20 minutes, then right before class."

It's not like he was applying for med school.  I just couldn't for the life of me imagine his trying any less to make a good impression.  We certainly aren't sitting around waiting for an acceptance letter.  Especially after she told us that the morning slots were full, and there were only a couple of afternoon slots open.  You might have thought that would put a little pressure on my darling to make a good impression.  Might have.  Um, no.  It didn't.

He told me later that it didn't sound like something he wanted to do anyway.  Too much work.  Shocker.  Med school?  Hmmm. We've got a little work to do.

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