Last week, we were lucky enough to spend a couple of hours with my niece, Susan.  

Emileigh and Susan with Joe and Muffy?  I can NEVER remember the dog's name!

Susan is just a few years younger than Kevin, so that makes she and I almost sisters.  But because her dad is the oldest, she has the joy of calling Kevin, "Uncle Kev."  Emileigh thinks it's hilarious.  I just love that she loves Emileigh.

There are a million things I love about Susan.
She is super supportive of my blogging.  Most of the time I post fluff because it's hard for me to hit post on the super personal blog that took me three days to write.  Ya'll would lose your mind if you read some of the stuff I write from the heart.  (Perhaps, someday, I'll share some of it.)

Susan always urges me to write.  She loves the stories from us about the kiddos.  I love that she is consistent.  

Susan lives in New Zealand which is half the world away.  She works with colleges, in Student Life.  You'll have to really ask her what that means, because I get distracted by world travel, oceans, and black sand.  

She is brave.  She's been all over this world.  She has the sweetest little passport with stamps filling the beautiful pages.  She is proud of that little passport, I am proud of it!  I tell her that I live vicariously through her... that is the truth.

She relies on NO ONE.  Strongest gal I know.  I long to have Emileigh have that part of the Taylor blood.  Kevin has that as well.  Me on the other hand can't go to McDonald's and eat dinner by myself.  

She has a tough relationship with her dad.  I can totally relate with her on this one.  

She is kind.  She has a way of talking to me which makes me feel as if I have known her my entire life.  

She has the best Bert and Betty stories.  I wasn't fortunate enough to meet Kevin's parents or 6 of his siblings, but she always is quick to share a story with me.  I get tons of "Kevin was a perfect kid" stories from people, because he pretty much must have been.  But Susan gives me the "Kevin was ornery." 

She has gifted my sweet baby girl a shawl from her grandma Betty that makes me tear up each time I think about it.  

There are some pretty big changes on the horizon with Team Taylor.  We have been seeking information, praying about the calling, and discussing the changes with all of our might.  We have gone from maybe  to plan zone.  

I'm thankful that, even though she didn't know it, she has helped us with some big decisions.  She has given us the encouragement that we needed.  My sweet little Emileigh looks a lot like her cousin, Susan.  It's my dream that she can be much more like her than just a beautiful face.

Susan and Emileigh, 2016  Eskimo Joe's Stillwater, Oklahoma


There isn't anything that warms my heart more than watching my husband love our daughter unconditionally.

100 Days of School - Kinder Edition

When you were in school, did you celebrate the 100th day of school?  If we did, I don't remember it.  I can tell for certain, that my little won't ever forget it.

EmJ was given a task: Bring something to showcase 100 days of school!  um... okay..  When Boog was in Kinder, we did something with pennies.  But for my baby... my last little presh, that simply wouldn't do.

So- for Em's project, we did 100 faces of Emileigh :)

Gather your craft supplies.  Here is just a snippit of what we used:

* 100 photos.  (I printed 115, because you never know when you'll screw something up)
* 1 Project Display Board (you know, the kind you use for the science fair
* Sharpie Markers
* Glue
* Scrapbooking embellishment stickers 
* Scrapbooking paper for mats
-I chose the 100 pack from the Walmarts.  That way... I KNEW I wouldn't miss a photo :)
* Paper cutter
* TIME. LOTS OF TIME YA'LL lots of time.  

I measured out the board and then we used the maths to determine that I would have to cut my photos down to a 3 x 3 picture in order to mat it, and still have room for a title and larger photo.  

While I do own one of those handy scrapbook paper cutters, I realized super quick that it was going to take me FOR.EV.ER if I measured 100 photos... So, I made a guide:

Tear off the back of that photo mat stack.  I believe in using all of the supplies I purchase!!

Cut your mat the size you want your picture.  This is a 3 x 3 mat that worked PERFECTLY. :)  

*** Sorry- I forgot to add that you MUST have a beautiful made up helper.  This one is a MESS! Who seems to pull all of my creative juices out :)***

Take your guide and a silver sharpie and draw a box around each of the 100 photos you are going to want to use in your project.  

Again, you can use your cutter thingy, but it really is much quicker to do it this way... I mean, unless you have a BigShot.  In that case, use those dies and save yourself a ton of time!  We went the old fashion way.  

It doesn't have to be perfect (which is SUPER hard for me to understand) so allow the little person you have hanging around pitch in!  It is THEIR project, after all :)

After you cut out the little pictures, glue them on the mats.  yeah... I know -  more cutting ahead...  Its super worth it, ya'll!  Promise.

Isn't this picture precious?  LOVE.

We purchased white letters for the poster and then just colored them with Sharpies.  That worked so so good.  I'll show you a finished picture soon...

Daddies are GREAT helpers.  Ours cut the mats with a little helper.
  *notice a couple of things... (1) Em is now showered, THANK YOU JESUS (2) I prefer to drink out of a jar. Any jar will do... pickle jars are the best!*

Grease Live was on by this time... Em was more interested in that and was OVER this project... But isn't it looking ADORABLE?!?!?!?!

Here's the deal, ya'll.  You're probably going to mess up.  I did.  You might have to replace the stickers and move them around.  IT IS OKAY!  

Lay the photos down and get it all situated before you glue ANYTHING, though.  You have to do this step... do NOT skip it.  You'll be angry if you do.

The finished project.  

We added some scrapbook embellishments and washi tape. But other wise, the pictures tell the story alone.  

This was the most amazing, sweet, exhausting project we've tackled last minute.  However, it was so worth it!

Comment below if you have any questions... and if you attempt this, PLEASE leave me a picture.  If anyone will appreciate the hard work, I will !

**OUTTAKE - Em was not having fun about 24 minutes in...

He's always there.

If you are one of my friends, or someone who has known that I've had a blog for 8 years, you will be SUPER shocked to see that I am actually posting, again.  (I'm pretty shocked, myself)

This is a year that I want to explore via my blog posts, though... so I'm committed.

What was your very first memory?

Not something that someone told you about... or you've seen pictures of.   Something you really, really, remember.

My first memory is from a baseball field.  I remember having my little matchbox cars running them up and down the dugout bench.  

My uncle Mike was a Senior the year I was born, so I spent the next five years going to games with my grandparents.  I stayed with them a. lot.  
I've never thought of those young men much before I started thinking about this blog post.  Then, my mind went crazy.

- How many went on to play in the league?  A, AA, AAA, Bigs?  
- How many walked away and never picked up a bat again?  
- How many of those guys were super annoyed by that bratty little girl bugging them?
- How many are coaches, today?
- How many aren't living?

I'm struck tonight with this thought how many times in my own life have I had an impact on someone without being aware.  Those young men had SUCH an impact of my life.  They allowed me to play with them while they were playing the game a lot of us love.  They were patient and kind.

Are there folks that can say the same about me?

I want to be the light.  A person who inspires those around me, young and old.  Those men were Jesus in that moment.  

isn't that cool??   

I love how I can look back at my very first memory...and see my King.  

He's always there.

Day 1

January 1, 2016.

When I logged onto blogger, today, and clicked new post, a nice white sheet of blank screen stared right back at me.

That's what January 1 is all about, though, right?  Fresh starts.  We each have been gifted 364 days ahead of us to make this year The BEST year ever.

I'm going to be participating in that mantra.  With a little difference.  I'm going to be posting each day of this year.  Yep.  Everyday.  I'm going to be writing letters to my children. I'm going to share some pretty personal things, and Im going to post short snippets.

Why?  Because I feel called.

I feel as if Jesus is asking me to be vulnerable.  He is asking me to tell my story, then to tell people why I trust Him.

You see... If you are having a sucky day, you might not know the One who can bring peace that passes all understanding.

Is my life perfect? absolutely not, y'all.

I have stories that need to be told.  I need to tell you about growing up.  That is going to be very hard.
I have stories about marriage that will be hard.
I have stories about being a terrible parent to my children.

I'm going to tell you how I struggle with money and time and exhaustion.  How I long to please everyone, yet fail at that, daily.

Im going to show off two of the most important people in my life.  I'm going to share my dreams, my fears, my faults, and my tears.

I'm about to get real in 2016.

Will you join me?  My email is  I'd love feedback and comments.  You can add them to the posts, or privately.

It's my prayer that I am able to encourage many of you this year but if it turns out to be just one - Well, that will be okay

Back to the blank white page.

There are some stuff in 2015 that was so hard to walk through. I failed multiple times, but just like January 1st, I've been given an opportunity to start over.  Jesus teaches me, and he FORGIVES me.  I'm so grateful for grace.

I'm also thankful for these two adorable kiddos!
The first picture of 2016- after I gave Blayne a haircut for the very first time.

There is a change in the air...

How was your weekend?  Here in America, we celebrate our Independence on the 4th of July.  Growing up, it blew my mind that it was an actual date... I would always ask, "When is the 4th of July this year?"   yeah... I'm that kid.

Thankfully, my kids are just 1/2 of me... (the cute half) so they were gifted with a bit more common sense from daddy.  Whew!

One of our traditions that we have kept pretty tight to is hanging out at my grandmother's house in Slick.  Slick is a tiny little ghost town in Oklahoma where people are proud to be considered redneck and rules are merely suggestions.  However, it's where my dad and his three brothers were raised, so it is home.

This weekend, though, was different.

Something was off.  Something didn't feel right...  It took me until Saturday evening to really put my finger on the feeling... and when I did, It almost made it worse.

Last week SUCKED.  Like, 2x4 to the face, sucks.   Why?  Loyalty, Friendship, Trust.  I am very much an introvert. I prefer to not be in big groups, I prefer to not participate in activities, go out... I am very content to sit in my living-room on my couch, binge watching Netflix (currently into House of Cards) and never walking out of my door.  People, I avoid WALMART!

I do however get lonely.  I have had some REALLY fantastic friends, and I am super blessed in that area.  Where I suck?  I am a terrible friend.  Remember the whole, sit on the couch and not speak to anyone?  yeah.  That makes me a terrible friend.  I might or might not return a text within 12 hours, I might not ever return a phone call, let alone listen to a voice mail... However, it is never my intention to be a bad friend.  It just happens.

Something else I'm not?  malicious.  I will listen to a story, I will give the best advice I can give and that's the end of it.  I feel like I am a "right fighter" though... I never want a bully to win.  I am loyal to a dang fault.

This week, I was hurt so deeply by a friend.  Someone whom I trusted, confided in, and prayed for.  Someone who I looked forward to raising our children together, who I felt close to.

Why am I writing it on this silly blog?  Because I'm not the only person who has ever been betrayed by a friend.  We all have... and I will go so far to bet that we have all been the betrayer at one time, too.
Yeah.  That didn't feel well, did it?

I look to the Word for comfort.  I started in Psalms and ended with Jesus...because, really, it all ends with Jesus, ya'll.  Talk about betrayed.  His very best, closest friends were there when he was arrested.  Once was a major player in the arrest.  His friends denied even knowing them.  Tell me how hard that must have felt!

I sometimes wonder how Jesus really knows how I feel.  Meaning: my mundane boring life...Jesus was so BIG.  HE CREATED ME. HE CREATED EVERYTHING!...He created loyalty...but he definitely felt sabotage and pain.  (He didn't create that, don't get me wrong.)

You know what else he did?  He taught me that I am to LOVE those people who hurt me.  LOVE THEM.  That is hard for me... but, it's important. It is my job to show them the love of Jesus.  The way I see it, they are going to wonder how I can smile and be nice.  Perhaps that will begin a conversation with someone who will be able to share Jesus and they will get it.  Maybe they already know Him, and they will see this as a wake up call.

I can forgive.  I will forgive.  I have forgiven.
The bible doesn't tell me that I will forget.  So I'll walk a little tighter, keep people away a little longer, and be a little less open.  I will take this week that started so horrible yet ended so well and remember the lesson.  I also look to Jesus and say, "thank you."  You could have fixed so many things, but you endured so I would feel that much closer to you.

Have you been there?  Which side?  Do you have any pointers?  I'd love to hear from you!

How about 4th of July traditions or pictures?  SHOW ME! :)

(did you notice the new watermark?  Yeah?!!  That is just something I've been working on... Stay tuned!)

If you could see the "back-office" of my blogger account, you would see several posts that have written and never posted.  More than several.  Hundreds maybe.  All posts that I have sat down and written.

Some of the content is phenomenal, some of it is junk.  It's all 100% authentically, me.  I've been doing some soul searching and blogging has always been where I felt most comfortable.  I am an introvert, one that LOVES to interact behind a computer screen or a cell phone text app.

Am I the only one?  Who else is with me?

Look forward to some posts being published.  I'm going to eventually rename the blog, revamp the brand, and hopefully connect to some great folks.

Thanks for always following me during my highs and lows.

It's three o'clock somewhere

The last time I was awake at 3:30am, I was sick. The time before that... We were heading home from Garth's concert.  The time before that?? Probably NEVER!  

I was the girl in high school who loved my midnight curfew because I couldn't stay awake 2 minutes longer.  

Perhaps I am just enjoying the quiet. 
Perhaps I've slept enough the last few days.  Who knows.  

Do you ever have trouble sleeping for no apparent reason? 


Christmas is 11 days away.  I'm not exactly sure where we are in the song.. if I should receive two turtle doves or if I should be receiving eleven lords a-leaping.  either way... the gifts would be the ONLY thing that would suggest Christmas in my house.  Well, except the pesky elf on a shelf that forgets to move days on end.  He does, however, remind my children to be nice... WIN.


I feel guilty that my tree is buried in my garage, that my living room has been transformed to a playroom so there isn't a snowballs chance of a tree fitting in there, anyway.  I feel guilty that my children don't beg for decorations and fluff.  Guilty because there will come a time soon, that they won't care about a tree or decorations and I'll wish for nothing but a year with them small.

Am I the only one who doesn't go above and beyond for holidays?  I post the cutest ideas to my pinterest boards, yet never follow through.  I'm just tired.  Exhausted.  I come home to recharge and do nothing.

My children seem to appreciate the low key atmosphere, the days that are carefree with no schedule or requirements.  Weekends are spent in pajamas with mismatched socks and messy hair.  We eat picnic style whenever we are hungry- usually in living-room while watching cartoons.  We nap, we play, we do laundry.

This is normal, yet for some reason, 11 days from Christmas, I feel like I am cheating my little people from something I see enjoyed on television.

I look back and don't ever remember celebrating holidays.  sure, we had a Christmas tree with a hundred wrapped boxes under it.  I don't have many other memories of Christmas when I was younger.

Am I doing the same disservice with my own children?

What are your thoughts?  Am I scaring my children?



I sit here, alone, in my kitchen tonight.  I have cinnamon rolls in the over for dinner.  The kind you peel out of a can, not the kind you spend hours and pour love into.  The kind that promises to heal a broken heart if you inhale the entire 8,431 calories, alone.

My children are in their bedrooms, thankful that I've decided cleaning was declared "OVER" for the evening.  They have been troopers today.  We are rearranging the living areas in our home to accommodate a "play room" for the knot-heads.  Their rooms are much too small and my patience for trash and mess has come to a head.  It's either we build a playroom or I sell someone.

I digress, though.  This post isn't about how terribly unorganized or filthy my children's bedrooms are.  It started off being about grace.

What exactly is Grace?  I'm so happy you asked!


 noun \ˈgrās\
: a way of moving that is smooth and attractive and that is not stiff or awkward
: a controlled, polite, and pleasant way of behaving
graces : skills that are needed for behaving in a polite way in social situations

Full Definition of GRACE

a :  unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
b :  a virtue coming from God
c :  a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace
a :  approvalfavor grace
b archaic :  mercypardon
c :  a special favor :  privilege grace
, shall rule his heritage — Rudyard Kipling>
d :  disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency
e :  a temporary exemption :  reprieve
a :  a charming or attractive trait or characteristic
b :  a pleasing appearance or effect :  charm grace
of youth — John Buchan>
c :  ease and suppleness of movement or bearing
—used as a title of address or reference for a duke, a duchess, or an archbishop
:  a short prayer at a meal asking a blessing or giving thanks
plural capitalized :  three sister goddesses in Greek mythology who are the givers of charm and beauty
:  a musical trill, turn, or appoggiatura
a :  sense of propriety or right grace
 not to run for elective office — Calvin Trillin>
b :  the quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful

Examples of GRACE

  1. She walked across the stage with effortless grace.
  2. She handles her problems with grace and dignity.
  3. He has shown remarkable grace during this crisis.
  4. She is quite lovable despite her lack of social graces.
  5. Let us give thanks for God's grace.
  6. By the grace of God, no one was seriously hurt.
  7. She tried to live her life in God's grace.

Origin of GRACE

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin gratia favor, charm, thanks, from gratus pleasing, grateful; akin to Sanskrit gṛṇāti he praises
First Known Use: 12th century

I spend a lot of time with my grandparents.  They have stood in the gap where my biological parents should have been, but never were, since before I was born, I imagine.  My grandmother talks about not wanting to be a grandmother at the young age of barely 41.  She was just days into the year when my parents dropped me off to tend to my mother's something or other at the hospital.  We bonded the first day.
Growing up, grandma was the one who would give me advice.  She would pick me up on Friday nights and beg my parents to allow me to spend the night.  She was the one who furnished my school clothing, she was at every dance recital and softball game I was a participant.

She fought for me.  She called DHS when my parents thought hitting was okay.  She forgave my parents, but never forgot.  She cried when I was carted off to New Mexico, then to Utah (which looking back I loved but missed her terribly) and was there the night my parents packed up all of my belongings and put them on the porch in trash bags when I was 17
She financed a wedding that was so beautiful when everyone involved knew we were too young, but no one had the guts to pump the breaks.  She was in the room when I cried out, "what have I done!??" two days upon returning from our honeymoon.

She watched me go back to my mother again and again in hopes that she would love me like the mothers of my friends loved them, knowing my mother never would. She didn't have the capacity.  How that must have broken my grandmother's heart.  She never said a word.

She was the very first person I called when I thought I was pregnant with Blayne.  I'll never ever forget that moment.  ever. She was the first person and the person I needed most when my mother was found dead.  She was there to guide the three of us (Kaitlynn and Butch and myself) as we buried our mom and cleaned out her house.  She spoke up when we needed her to, and she stood back when she thought it was best.

She has allowed me to fall flat on my face, time and time again, but she has never allowed me to stay there.

She loves my children as much as she loved me and hurts to know that one day she will be gone and I will have to fill her shoes for them.

Her favorite song is "Wind beneath my wings" but not the version sung by Bette Midler.  She loves the color green and is friends with anyone who has ever known her.

She gives the best advice and the best hugs and she makes the BEST food.

She is my very best friend and knows every single thing about me and my life.  Hopes, dreams, crashes, and failures.  She gives the worst looks and she can break my heart in two when I've done something to disappoint her.

That is what brought me to this blog.

I have disappointed her today and there isn't a single thing I can do to go back and fix it.  I've cried most of the day, not because I'm upset, but because I've upset her.  It is my biggest fear, aside of the dreaded phone call, to disappoint my gran.

She loves me though. Oh how she loves me.  She loves me enough to teach me at a young age that Jesus loves me.  She loves me enough to show me how Jesus loves His children.  She is grace.  The Grace Paul speaks about.  The grace that forgets the wrong.   The grace that I am so not worthy of, but so very thankful for.

Grace.  Grace is Joann Shelton.

I love you, Gram.