Saturday, May 30, 2009

I Am Beautiful....

No I'm Not....seriously, do I really think I'm beautiful? Who is this blog fooling anyway????

I have a confession to make. I started this blog over a year ago to try and convince myself that I was indeed beautiful. I didn't feel beautiful. No one told me I was beautiful. But I knew that God made me for reason and that He truly believed in me, His creation, and that I was wonderfully made, so I must be beautiful...right?

I used to believe that I started this blog to encourage others and convince them that they were indeed beautiful. However, I have to admit, I think that is not the total truth. I'm actually trying to convince myself that I am beautiful to someone. Despite my weight gain. Despite my failures. Despite my circumstances. And I have to admit, often I make myself feel better when I write here to encourage others. But does it truly sink in?

When you read encouragement here, do you feel any different? Do you feel beautiful? Is this worth it?

Well, I can't answer for anyone other than myself, but I say "yes" is worth it.

When I look in the mirror, I am often disappointed by what I see. In fact, when I look at my life and the lives of those I love, I am disappointed by what I see. But I have hope. Hope in what God has in store. That fact alone makes me feel somewhat beautiful. It's like this.....I don't "feel" beautiful, but I "know" I am. I know I am beautiful because God made me and He doesn't make mistakes or mishaps....He creates beauty. I am a gift to the world because the Bible says "Children are a gift from God" and I am a child of God, so I must be a gift to this world from God. That's beautiful.

And I need to keep telling myself that because that is true.

Hey beautiful is so short. Much shorter that I wish it was. I can say this because my mother is dying. We don't know how much time this awesome and beautiful woman has left. She has cancer and the outlook is not good. Mom is beautiful. OMG! She's the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. And it's not from her appearance...right now that is frail, pale, bald, and sickly. It's not from her personality...right now that is weak. It's not from her talents...right now she can't get up and go anywhere or do anything special. Do you know where her beauty is?

It's from her heart. And it's crystal clear. Beauty exudes from her heart. She has loved. She has given. She has sacrificed. And it has nothing to do with how she looks or what she's done. It's what's inside.

I have struggled so long with wanting to feel like I mattered and that I was beautiful. I know that Satan would like me to think that I never mattered and that outward beauty defines who I am. Thankfully, I don't fall for that anymore. I hope you don't either.

I talk to many of you weekly that feel like you just don't measure up as a wife, mother, friend, or person. The prayer requests I receive reflect a hopeless world, hopeless marriages, lonely women, and desperate voices crying for help. Feelings of unworthiness, discontentment, and ugliness. It's so sad. And it's all lies because I promise you that your Creator thinks so much more of you than that.

I Am Beautiful....yes I am. I know it and I believe it...I really do. God made me on purpose and though I may not fulfill His every wish, He loves me anyway. I mess up big time. I get ugly and do wrong. but that doesn't define me. Christ defines me. Hallelujah! I am free, forgiven, and beautiful.

And so are you. No Matter What. No matter what anyone thinks of you or says about you. You are beautiful. I pray you know it.

Bless You,


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Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Good Morning Starts With A...

GOOD NIGHT! I wish I could say I was the one who coined that phrase, but I can't. I have to hand that one to my dear sweet husband. As I was running around frantic one morning, stressing out, wishing I had gotten up early for quiet time and exercise, and running late....Jeff said, "You should have planned out your today yesterday. A good morning starts with a good night." Then it just got to be a family saying. Each night when we needed to go to bed, Jeff would say, "A good morning starts with a good night, soooooo GOOOOOD NIGHT!" I know I'm being silly, but isn't it true?

My best days seem to happen when I go to bed a decent time the night before and take a little time to plan it out. It's amazing what a good night's sleep does. And when I have a plan, I don't have to second guess what my next move will be.

This week I have been really focused on discipline. If you read my other blog, , you know that discipline is my new focus. It has been a weakness for much of my life. And I was convicted that it was time to become disciplined. So I have focused, prayed, and studied discipline. I've planned ahead and gotten enough sleep. And I recruited a few friends to help me too.

I got up at 5:15 am each morning this week to exercise. 3 days I met friends to walk together. 2 days I exercised with a video in my home. In order to recruit friends who would actually get up that early to walk with me, I emailed everyone I knew in my area and asked if anyone could walk that early. (for me that's when it has to be) Well, most said "no" or didn't respond at all. But 2 did respond. Denise committed to once a week. Donna committed to 3 days a week every other week. That helps me tremendously. It's not everyday, but it's enough to get me up and keep me motivated. We exercise and we get social time. It's awesome. I don't feel like getting up in the morning, but being committed to discipline, I do it! :)

I have also been preparing my meals a day ahead. That helps because then I don't have to wonder what to eat, I know what I'm going to eat. Not that temptations don't pop up, they do. But that takes strength, conviction, and discipline too. It's hard, but it's happening. And when I overcome those strong temptations, it feels so good afterwards!

Organiziation if not my forte', but my husbands saying holds true. And tomorrow I am meeting Donna and Denise for our weekend jumpstart....60 minute power walk. And it starts at 5:30am. So I must go!

A Good Morning Starts With A "GOODNIGHT!!!!"

Sweet Dreams,


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

One Size Fits All

There's nothing that makes me feel much worse than when I try on clothing with the tag that says "one size fits all" and it's too tight, too small. I think such tags/sizes should be forbidden because truth be told there is no such thing as ONE SIZE FITS ALL!!!!

I remember once my friend, Denise, said she had some clothes she was giving away and thought some of them might look good on me. Humiliating! "Try this one"...."Oh I think that will be too small"...."No it won't, I wore this right after I had Hunter (her child)"..."Nice, if looking like a stuffed sausage is in style." "Try this one"..."nope too small"...."try it, it's one size fits all"...."Right, fits all BUT ME!" So not fair! I actually did find a few good things though. I got 2 pair of shoes :)

I have lost 13 pounds over the past month. I lost the first 10 in 10 days. That doesn't really count I don't think. Those are just those jump start pounds responding to the shock my body was in. I lost 2 the next week and 1 last week. I'm very satisfied with it so far. It's not been easy. I still miss my munchies, but I'm feeling great. (I have cut sugar out of my diet. Eating lots of protein, veggies, and a little fruit.) I'm also walking 45 min daily and getting little spurts of exercise during the day. Though the number on the scales seems impressive, I think those 13 pounds must have been located in my fingers because my clothes do not feel any different!

Today I thought I'd give some old clothes a "try on" just to see. Bad idea. It was just like being in Denise's closet again and trying on the "one size fits all". The ones I wanted to fit in were still just as tight.

Now at certain times in my life, this would have been enough to discourage me, make me feel like it's just not worth it anyway, and maybe even go eat some chips. So imagine how great it felt today to NOT feel that way at all. Those old feelings of humilation and discouragement just weren't there. Of course I'd love to fit into my smaller clothes and see some visible signs of weight loss, but for now (only now) I'm content with the other physical things happening to me. I feel great. I'm sleeping better. I've been treating my body good. The other will come in time.

One size fits all....hmph!

Beautiful Blessings,


Friday, May 22, 2009

Fun Friday is Back!

Why did I stop? Not sure. But, I used to post "Fun Friday" each Friday on my blog. I'm not sure why I stopped. I think maybe life got too serious. I think I'll bring it back, today.

Fun Friday has no real purpose. It's just random fun. So, here goes.

This truly has been a Fun Friday. Work was fun, as usual. I work in a great place, Proverbs 31 Ministries. I do not ever want to work anywhere else. We sit on balls at our desks (no kidding...more about that in another post) and we rebound a couple of times a day (more on that too.). It's one of the only places I really feel like I can totally 100% be myself. I love to work!

American Idol ended this week. This was really sad for my family. We love this show. All in one week, our family faves ended. (Survivor, American Idol, Amazing Race, The Office, and Dancing with the Stars) We truly bond over these shows. We don't always agree, but we bond. And wonderful family discussions stem from them. We loved the AI finale. And most of us loved the outcome. Hayley Grace, my 7 yr old was rooting for Adam. Too bad so sad Hayley Grace! Ha.

So, for Taylor family TV time for the summer, what do we do? We watch a lot of movies and we DVR shows like: "Leave it to Beaver", "Home Improvement", "Monk", "The Cosby Show", and "The Brady Bunch". Ok, do you officially think we are super geeks? Until Football season begins, we have no choice.

It's Memorial Day Weekend. Time for fun, family, cookouts, and the official kick off to summer. What are you doing? For the first time in ages, we have a weekend with no obligations. No baseball games. No speaking engagements. No work. Ahhh..... I'm going to sleep on Saturday morning. Don't know what I'll do on Saturday afternoon. I'll date my husband on Saturday night. Sunday after church, we are going to my Mom's for a family cookout. I haven't seen her in over a week, so I'm very excited about this. I might spend the night on Sunday with her, not quite sure yet. Love her so much.

I haven't talked much about it, but I've altered my lifestyle drastically over the past month. I have been way more consistent with my exercising and I started focusing on cutting sugar and bad carbs totally out of my diet. It has been SO HARD at times. My habits have tried to come back, but I've stayed strong!!!! I've had a great team supporting me and eating the same way and that has helped tremendously. Even the other night, I was speaking at a dinner here in Charlotte. Right before dinner was served, LeAnn Rice came up to me and gave me a small container of dressing. It was our yummy sugar free dressing for my salad. She was helping me stay true to the plan I was on. I know that sounds minor, but it was major!!!! (so was skipping the cheesecake!) I've lost 13 pounds so far. Before you start to think that's a great thing, I have to admit my clothes fit no different. I'm looking at the scales and seeing the number go down. I have to wonder,"where is the 13 pounds coming from???" Jeff says he can tell a difference in my face. So I guess I've lost 13 pounds from my face!

I guess this is enough fun for one Friday. And I've rambled long enough.

If you are reading this, I pray you have a wonderful and blessed weekend. You are beautiful, do you know that? Just ask God!

Happy Memorial Day! Honor and remember those who died for our freedom and the love and safety of our country.

Much Love,


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Being honest, losing weight feels good

I've had a lifetime of ups and downs. Mostly on the scales, I might add! I've been successful at losing and then a failure by gaining it back. Over the past 2 yrs, I've been gaining. Until now.

A few weeks ago, a few gals in my office, a few of my team members, and I decided to make some much needed changes in the way we were eating and treating our bodies. Well, to be more acurate, the team members have been doing this for a while. In fact, it's because of their success (Marybeth is looking way good!!!) that the rest of us were motivated to get started.

I'm 2 and 1/2 weeks into it and I must say I've done better than I expected. I still need to get more consistent with exercise, that's for sure. But I've lost 12 pounds so far. I know a lot of that is just beginner losing body was in shock from the change. I don't feel my clothes fitting more loosely, but they aren't as tight either. My energy level is higher and I'm not as run down after meals. I've cut my sugar out almost completely. I'm eating fruits and veggies and good proteins. Am I hungry? Oh yea. I'm hungry alright! I've learned that I need more protein at the end of the day than at the beginning. When I wake up, I'm hungry. I'm drinking lots of water and a little bit of diet 7 up. The rest of my buddies have given up caffeine. I am still drinking coffee in the morning w/ fat free creamer. That's one thing I just enjoy too much to give up. Besides that, I've gone very natural in my food choices.

We'll see how it goes and I'll keep posting more regularly about progress. I will say, being on a team of people with a common goal is easier than doing it alone.

So, down 12 so far. And that is encouraging. Only 25 more to go! :)

It feels good to be going down.



Sunday, May 10, 2009

Spending Mother's Day With the Most Beautiful Woman I Know

You know who it is. MY MOM! That's right.

This morning I awoke to a very much appreciative breakfast in bed....(eggs and fruit and coffee), a card from my kids, and a card from Jeff. The card Jeff gave me was probably the sweetest and most meaningful. Words are my #1 love language and the card Jeff picked out the best card for me. After I read it, I asked him, "Do you really mean all this?" He said, "I mean every word." That was priceless. I also got a bottle of massage oil and some foot creme. Exactly what I wanted.

After church, I went to the grocery store and then to my mom's in Rock Hill. She is truly the most beautiful woman that I know. Inside and out! As she read the cards from the kids, Jeff, and me, she just started crying. She apologized for putting us through so much with her illness. She was feeling guilty. I said, "Mama, don't you dare! Nothing is your fault, there is no blame. I'm just happy for today. I'm here with you!"

We've had a wonderful day. When it came time for supper, she wanted an Arby's beef and cheese. And that's what she got. I was a good girl and brought my own supper. I've been on a very strict diet for 2 weeks now. (I'll post about that later, but I'm down 10 pounds) And then after supper, mom wanted OUR FAVORITE apple turnovers and ice cream. I told my mother, "I can't have those." She said, "Melissa, you have to! We love these!" Do you know hard it was to pass those up? The apple turnovers and ice cream are a blast from the past. They are a sweet memory dating back to when I was a little girl. But I remained strong. No apple turnovers. Mom had hers though. And I loved watching her enjoy it. (I so wanted some!!! But I've been doing so good for 2 weeks. I stayed strong.)

We just watched the Amazing Race finale and now are watching The Apprentice finale. (I know, too much reality TV...oh well, we love it!) We are laying on the bed together and just enjoying time. I will treasure this Mother's Day forever.

Time is such a precious commodity. It is one of the only things on this earth that we can never get back. When time is gone, it's gone. I'm so thankful I got spend time with my mom today. I love her so much.



Friday, May 8, 2009

Hey Y'all

I just wrote the post for other blog that I have. I scheduled it to post at 5:30 Friday, May 8th in the morning. I have a devo running on the Proverbs 31 site and Crosswalk site on Friday. If you are interested in reading the devo, click here: . If you are interested in reading my response to the devo, click here: .

Honestly, I was caught off guard by the devo that was running on Friday, May 8th. I wrote it a while back when I was facing totally different situations. But I needed it now.

I referred to "The Great Physician"! I need to trust Him now more than ever. I need to trust Him with my mom, who is suffering from stage 4 lung cancer and soon undergoing surgery for a colorectal cancer. I need to trust Him with Dylan, my son who is suffering from sweaty palms and feet (sounds silly, but it is prohibiting him from doing much). I need to trust Him with Hayley Grace who has "walking pnemonia". I need to trust Him with Hayden who is undergoing spine fracture treatment. I need to learn to trust Him with my dad who has recently had his 3rd divorce and is going through treatment for diabetes, depression, and other ailments. I need to learn to trust Him with my sister who has Multiple Schlerosis. And I need to learn to trust Him with all things. The Great Physician is capable of healing and taking care of every one in our lives. Every one and every thing. There is no need to fear. Right?

What I learn over and over again is that God is truly in control. He loves us more than we could ever imagine. And we can trust Him to take care of it all. Ahhhhh, so I can relax, right?

On another note, this week has been so busy! Work has been crazy busy. The She Speaks Conference is filling up and we are getting so many calls into the office about it. I am speaking a lot this month. The kids have lots of activities going on. Life is just crazy! But God is faithful and awesome and has shown up every time I've needed Him! Love that!

This weekend I am heading to Greer, South Carolina (very close to my hometown of Greenville, SC). I'm speaking at a women's brunch. I would appreciate your prayers. I have family attending this event. That makes me nervous!!!!! Safe because they love me, but nervous because.....well, it just does! The theme is "Extreme Makeover: Heart Edition". Praying God's fingerprints all over it.

Sunday, I'm going to my mom's in Rock Hill, SC. After church I'm going to spend the day and night with my mother. There is no place I'd rather be on Mother's Day than with my own mother. So that's where I'll be. We have decided as a family that we would celebrate me as a mom for Mother's Day, next week.

I know this post was a series of thoughts. No real subject. But that's what you get with me today. Happy Mother's Day. Happy Weekend. No matter what you celebrate just remember that God loves you. He forgives you. He made you for a purpose. You are super duper important to Him. He made you for a reason. You are beautiful.

Love You All,


Monday, May 4, 2009

Women of Grace

What a perfect title. Women of Grace. That was the group I was priveleged enough to speak to last weekend. And they were indeed "Women of Grace".

I typically look forward to what God has in store for events that He brings me to. But I have to admit, that this event took my by surprise. I was unprepared. I was distracted. I've been very busy. I've been very concerned about my Mom's health, cancer, and condition...and my son, Hayden's spine defect/injury, MRI, and prognosis. I've been concerned about my Dad and the fact that he's been lonely, depressed, and hopeless. I've been saddened about the prayer requests that have come through the Proverbs 31 prayer line. So many lonely, sad, and lost women.

But God. Yes. But God.

This event, Women's retreat, was amazing. God showed up in a huge way. It's like it was all orchestrated and arranged so that just the right healing would take place. I feel so blessed that God would allow me to take a front row seat to observe what He would accomplish. Hearts stirred, burdens lifted, questions answered and questions unanswered but addressed, transformed lives, and salvations. Oh Lord, I love you so much. I don't doubt you, but I never thought You'd show up like you did this weekend. Those "Women of Grace" really got to experience how cool, real, and awesome you are. Thank you.

Women of Grace at the retreat, please let me know how God met you this past weekend. You blessed me more than I can say. I pray that the message God gave you followed you home. You are "blutiful"!!!! I love you. I miss you. And thank you for welcoming me and taking me in like a friend. I had a great time with you!

Much Love,