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Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Running through the mountains
Riding over the streams
Slipping through oceans
It's been a long time for you and me

Some of the years are hard ones
Some of them were kissed
We're on this trip together
And somehow we're not without

God has been our sustainer
He showered grace through droughts
The valleys weren't as low as they could have been
Somehow we're not without

The days you were in bed
Not a book to console you
Hope seemed distant and Fear seemed real
Walking hand in hand and somehow we're not without

Now we're on the other side
Trials sting like cuts
They carve on and make you
Into something you were not.

God has been our sustainer
He showered grace through droughts
The valleys weren't as low as they could have been
Somehow we're not without

copyright 2014 Melissa Taylor

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Power of 15

     Fifteen is a small number. Especially for me. I go for big numbers, numbers like 50 or better yet 100. But life sometimes hands you small numbers. The guitar has been put away for several years now. Not forgotten, for it's still pulled out to sing the occasional fireside song, or used as a kid corralling tool, not to mention the role it sometimes plays as a Soul Soother. Why bother settling in to reflect on what it takes to write a song when there are 100 other things to do? Another wise musician perceived my predicament over the last week and helped me see that rich and valuable things can come from small numbers. In the past, 60,80,100 or even 120+ minutes were needed to write a song. But what could be accomplished if one only took a mere 15 minutes? Perhaps quite a bit. So, my long standing goal in the back of my mind of writing 30 songs in 30 days began to actually look doable!

 I first began to compulsively obsess that quality might be sacrificed if  songs were perpetually written in 15 minutes! That was the crux until I realized that a poorly written song was better than no song at all. Now that I have begun this project, it has become apparent that because of the constraints of having only 15 minutes, all fears are out the window. I don't have to carefully write to perfection - there's no time! I don't have to write with a certain "hook" to make the song flow perfectly- there's no time! I don't have to re-write lyrics over and over so they draw glorious pictures. Nope, just a raw and pure song the first time it flows out onto paper.

It's only day 2 and already I've written more songs than in the last 3 years!


Do you remember those days?
The warm baby on your skin?
A hot walk past the barn.
Do you remember the cherry trees in the yard?

Time was new- Life was young
The sun rose and set like the howling of the wind.
- A bitter with the sweet.

Coffee on the deck.
The sun bursting in.
 Do you remember the days
where country was king?
The kitchen had a life- stories to tell by it's fire
and songs that sang through window sills.

Long runs up and down those roads.
Do you remember the farms and the smell of mud
caked on those bellies of the rambling cows?

Do you remember?
Do you remember?
Do you remember?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Big Time

As the winter is hunting us down and waiting to devour us at any moment, I thought it would be a good time to take that last ride up Big Cottonwood Canyon. It's about 7 minutes exactly from my house and usually a very popular spot for cyclists. Except for today. Why was no one going up the canyon? Several people were coming down but alas, it was just the three of us going UP. I learned later what caused this phenomenon. Going up was grand. Fresh air, pine, sunshine, views of the snow and rock and newly-naked Aspens. Approaching the top after climbing 4,000 feet in 15 miles, all I could think of was food. Unfortunately for my stomach (which as this point was about to devour my entire body) the cafe at the top of Big was closed for "fall hours". All I could do was speed down about .4 miles to the nearest resort and sprint to the pizza cafe there. That .4 miles of speeding to the cafe had my fingers hurting, my lips numb, water pouring out of my eyes and my teeth just about chattering. Yes, the sun had gone behind the walls of the canyon and to say it was freezing could would have been an understatement. I waited for my two cousins (in-law) who I was riding with. We scarfed a sandwich and hot chocolate. Then the agony started. .4 miles had been quite traumatic in the cold but now we had over 15 miles of it.

 We doubted we could descend (well the women folk did) and we plotted how to get out of it but nothing was going to come to our rescue! We had no other choice but to go down. Was it best to hobble down so as not to get too cold? I decided it was NOT and bombed down the canyon around 40-45 miles an hour pretty much the whole way. Today was not reminiscent in any way of the last time I descended the canyon which included such experiences as: Joy, peace, relaxation, sunshine, warmth, gentle breeze, FUN. This was more like: Agony, pain, uncontrollable shaking, teeth chattering, and a moaning so loud everyone could hear it as I flew by. Many times the shaking and chattering caused the bike to wobble. Finally I was in the last few miles!! Using the brakes was becoming out of the question since my fingers at this point were not only numb but aching and burning and frozen in one position.

I guess the only good thing that came out of the suicidal descent was that I reached the parking lot where I could get to the van and try to drive up the canyon to give a ride to my relatives. Amy, who had even thinner gloves than me had actually stopped halfway down and did the one thing every woman secretly wants to do when her hands are frozen: She put her hands in her husband's armpits! Now that is true love! (and a true case of frozen fingers and hands!) Thanks for the pictures, Amy!

This was definitely the worst prepared I have ever been for the cold. Lesson learned. ...until next fall.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Peace of Wild Things

In the years past, much of my life was spent in nature. I think I'm finally getting back to those roots after a break of over 10 years. Now I have more worries than before but the words of Wendell Berry in his poem "The Peace of Wild Things express my comfort. The wilderness is one of the places where God speaks.

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. 

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Dinosaur Time!

One of the most well-preserved skeletons ever discovered. The head of  the flesh eating Allosaurus.

So, traveling we went to Dinosaur National Park in Utah (our new home) last weekend and what an experience. Bones, petroglyphs, quarries, museums, psychotic chipmunks, and interesting campground people. And all of it only a few hours from our home!

Before this trip, I had never heard of Dinosaur National Park. Who would have thought that this place is  littered with dinosaur bones? They are literally sticking out of the mountains and scattered throughout the quarry. The main museum/visitor center/dinosaur bones viewing station is literally built right into the mountain. People who aren't necessarily into hiking on 100 degree sand up the fossil trail, can take the tram from the visitor center to the museum. Of course, we had to do both. Anna in particular grew beat red in her excitement.
the tourists

So, after traveling through the hot quarry we headed back to the campsite to cool by the river!

Caleb was our firewood fetcher.

That night around 10pm as we quietly sat by the campfire, a woman approached our campsite. Shining her painfully bright flashlight right into our faces she shouted with her thick German accent that there were thieves in the camp who stole her camera battery charging in the bathroom. We were to return it by the morning and if not, she was reporting us to the police. She proceeded to make her way through the whole camp, yelling and demanding and waking people up for quite a while after that. In the morning, the boys were elated to see a reward posted in the bathroom. Whoever found the battery got $50. They talked with her and she told them she would reward them with gummy bears from Germany. Not to be fooled by this, they said they would find the battery for ME to turn in thereby securing their $50 reward which would promptly be used to buy Lego. Unfortunately they failed. Aside from that it was a great campsite situated right next to the Green River. Another note about camping: Don't be surprised to find people not properly dressed to use the camp restroom. Apparently some people think they are the only ones using it in the middle of the night.

Arriving at the campsite, we were surrounded by hordes of chipmunks. It was as if we showed up in Africa to a bunch of starving children.They surrounded us and eventually scampered through our van, ate into our trailmix as we stood 3 feet away and generally acted like the rodents they are. Later in the day, Jesse yelled "OH NOOO" from the back seat. It took me about 20 questions to get him to a place where he exclaimed: "There's a CHIPMUNK in the van!". At this moment, the chipmunk flew across Caleb straight to the front of the van. The rest of the morning would bring several different chipmunk attacks. Normally all would be quiet and then the chipmunk would  all of a sudden flip out, come out of hiding and jump all over everyone. Eventually we decided we would have to remove everything from the van and lift all the seats up. Only then did it decide to leave us and we watched it flee with great gusto from underneath the back seat.

The final day we drove and then hiked to some great Indian petroglyphs and hiked to the very first box canyon I have ever seen. 
Jesse along the petroglyphs
of course, everyone had to climb up into the hole
Can you spot Josh's yellow shirt? Eagles had just been soaring in the canyon.
the amazing walls in the box canyon
a rock cubby

All in all, a great trip. We can't wait to explore more of Utah's amazing wilderness and stories of old! In a couple weeks we're heading to Zion where cooler temperatures hopefully await.
chasing down a lizzard
standing with the petroglyph lizzards

Bella enjoyed the Stegosaurus tail spike and back plate

yeah, these people

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

BlaBla on GaGa

I’m a hopelessly boring housewife to most, I admit. I feel as though I teeter on the line of being a complete neanderthal when it comes to my participation in the latest fashions of dress and apparel or the latest pop-culture disasters. The prime motivation for my lack of concern comes from a very strong desire to keep myself un-spotted from the world. Que lots of Scripture verses about how this world is not our home, etc. Sadly, no... that’s not why. To be honest, I just don’t care- most likely to a fault.

The recent Lady GaGa production, “Judas” is something I just can’t get away from. Everyone seems to be having a conniption, stomping their Facebook feet, and lighting up the blogs about how GaGa has “gone too far”. Since I do at least try to teeter on that line of remaining somwhat culturally relevant, I forced myself to see what everyone was shouting about. (I also recently forced myself all the way through Rebecca Black’s “Friday” video but that’s another story). Here’s a sample:

In the most Biblical sense,
I am beyond repentance
Fame hooker, prostitute wench, vomits her mind
But in the cultural sense
I just speak in future tense
Judas kiss me if offensed,
Or wear ear condom next time

I wanna love you,
But something's pulling me away from you
Jesus is my virtue,
Judas is the demon I cling to

So now I am left to ask the questions: Why is everyone so upset? What is everyone so upset about? Perhaps it boils down to this one thing: In our minds, in our reactions, in the very way we relate to the world around us, we too frequently and easily deny what God tells us directly:
(Eph 4:17) “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindess of their heart; who being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. “ Sometimes we live as though we forget that everyone who is not walking with Christ in the Gospel walks in the futility of their mind. Sure, this song rightly warrants outrage and “I am outraged!”
To get a little deeper though, I have to ask where my outrage is coming from. Incidentally, this song skillfully and clearly articulates the depraved condition- a condition of separation from God! I don’t believe Lady GaGa went “too far”- she spelled it out perfectly. I wonder if a certain amount of indignation and outrage at times subconsciously comes from deceiving ourselves on some level: the notion that a lot of things might be kind of “bad” but in reality we can safely process it as somewhat neutral. Then, when it gets “really bad”, we are outraged and don’t want to have anything to do with it! Perhaps I am the only one who suffers from this perspective at times.

In the end, I’m reminded by this latest cultural outrage that nothing, not even something that seems somewhat innocuous is neutral. It’s funny how many times we choose to make war on something only when it crosses the level of becoming obvious to the masses! I’m also reminded of God’s grace in the Christian life and the amazing work he has done for us. In a way, a song like “Judas” is humbling. John Owen says:" The spiritual life which I have is not my own. I did not induce it, and I cannot maintain it. It is only and solely the work of Christ. It is not I who live, but Christ lives in me. My whole life is His alone." We’d be lovin’ on Judas too if Christ hadn’t first loved us.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mother's Best Friends

My kid's know not to mess with two things:

My Coffee.

My Beer.

I've discovered some similarities between the two. Nothing is more refreshing in the morning than slurping up a big mug of black, strong coffee. Reheated about 4-5 times (kids). Sure, half of it is water-pressed decaf but when you create that beast in the french press and steep it for twice the time it's required to brew (kids again), no one complains you added decaf. I may not sit down for breakfast, I may have had a horrible start to the day. But, the familiarity and comfort of that deliciousness reminds me to look up, and to charge forward. Coffee brings friends AND enemies together. It creates wonderful snobbish cliques but also unifies in mysterious ways. Yes, if everyone drank coffee there would probably be no more war. Ok, so I went a little too far. Maybe not...

Beer is very similar. What can top opening up the strongest most grape-fruity IPA after [ insert the trial-of-the-day here]. My cooking is just more appealing to my husband when it sits on the table next to a nice dark Guiness. Burned salmon? There's Guiness! Over-cooked broccoli? Who cares when you have a nice ale! Stew for the 8th night in a row? We've got a nice wheat beer to add to it. Yes, like coffee, beer can unite friends and enemies alike. A nice beer after dinner reminds me of all the good things God has given to us, and all the good things yet to come.

Please, let's go out for coffee... or beer.

Love On, People!

How the Holy Spirit pours God's love into our hearts so that we are not overcome by circumstances or the way others may behave towards us. I recently read a quote by Louisa Alcott that said "Love is a great beautifier". What an accurate and eloquent way of pointing out that the love we have for someone covers and diminishes the many ugly spots we may see in them. In fact, our love for others can turn the ugly into the beautiful and the stormy night into a beautiful sunrise. How little do we court this kind of love, feeding it so that it blossoms and grows! If we see an ugly spot, a spot of imperfection, we are so apt to frame it, to make a mountain out of it! Jesus blood: washing, renewing, and covering us with grace should empower and quicken us to show the same towards others. For oh how he loved a wretch like me!