Hot Mess

Real friendship in our hot mess lives

Over the past few years, I have been learning a lot about being a friend. I love being able to be myself and live life with people who are genuine and real with me. God uses friendship in such a powerful way and I believe the enemy wants to make us feel isolated and alone and afraid to seek the companionship of other women because of our struggles and imperfections.

Perfect people can’t have close friends because someone may expose them for who they really are- a hot mess just like the people they may be judging and looking down on or comparing themselves to without realizing the reality behind the veil we call social media.

In Ecclesiastes 4 it reads, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie down together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him- a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Continue reading


Note: We welcome Julie Anne Taylor. Pastor’s wife, mother of two boys and daughter of Mark and Ellen Strohm.

Something new. . .

Tiny Taylor boys fill my days. Potty training, diaper changing, toddler babble interpreting, grocery shopping, meal prepping, clean up, and loads of snuggles. I know these days are precious and fleeting and I am trying to soak up every moment I can.  A one-year-old and a three-year-old make my days long and my nights far too short. My days start off with a ton of coffee and end with a sigh of victory when my boys are finally asleep. I am beyond grateful for my husband who is always doing this with me, side by side. (Bragging moment: He washed AND folded all of our laundry today… and changed a dirty diaper I discovered first…I found a winner!)

So, why on earth am I blogging? Why not, honestly. It gives me something to focus on outside of this toddler world I find myself immersed in. I am a very inconsistent person and trying to stick to something rarely happens for me, because something shiny or interesting or new pops up and I wander away.  In all honesty, I have started this blog post about a dozen times and walked away from it because I got distracted. Here’s hoping I stick to it, folks. Continue reading

Once Upon A Time Kids Were Kids

kids-8Back before there were drugs to calm little ones down, before recess became extinct, when organized sports were few and far between, when it was OK to play outside and you were not required to follow your kid around to “redirect” them – way, way, way back – kids were allowed and expected to be kids!

I remember my teacher education classes talking about how to handle squirmy boys and there was no mention of drugs. I remember a discussion as to how long a 3rd grader could sit. My professor basically told us we were idiots if we thought they could sit for more than 25 minutes. In today’s 3rd grade classroom I would guess 25 minutes is the shortest stretch they have to subdue their naturally wiggly bodies. Continue reading

Why Boys Need To Move

I know some of you are saying “is he ever going to stop preaching about this?”

The answer is “Once people start listening, I will stop preaching!”

Here is a TedX KC lecture. It is 10 minutes long, but well worth it for parents of boys. Especially if you are being pressured to place your child on medication for depression, anxiety, or ADD. Before placing your child on meds, first, watch this video, then make adjustments to your family and son and only after you have successfully made adjustments should you consider medications. Continue reading

Your son does not have to fall victim to a system that prefers girls. Follow these suggestions to help your son thrive in school.

How Boys Can Thrive in School

proof-2In my last article about boys and schools (See here: Are Schools Failing Our Boys?) you may have gotten the idea that I think all boys in our educational system are doomed. I don’t! Just because the system is stacked against them does not mean boys are automatically doomed. But it does mean parents will have to be on their guard and involved in ways you may not have expected to be involved. Here is how I think boys can thrive in our schools today. Continue reading

Indestructible Log Blocks For Sensory Monsters

Let’s be honest. I love all 4 of my children, but one in particular, though all of them at some point, was a compacting crusher machine who regularly turned toys into pancake messes. (In all fairness, my mother told me over and over that I was THAT child.) So my wife and I were always on the hunt for toys that were nearly indestructible. And now with 6 wonderful grandchildren, who are my descendants complete with some of my tendencies, the indestructible toy search continues.

Before daughter #4’s wedding I wanted to make a small outside play area for my 6 grandchildren ages 6 to 1. A few of which have clearly inherited the compacting crusher gene. So before they arrived I set up a play area complete with log blocks created just for this occasion. I am happy to report not one single block fell victim to compacting crusher syndrome. They all survived and were a big hit. (With both the boys and girls!) Continue reading

The Magic of Star Wars, Review of Star Wars POE’s X-Wing Fighter Build N Play Set

Boys and Star Wars

star wars the force awakens

Excitement builds for the new Star Wars movie – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

poe's x-wing fighterI watched a Fireman’s Parade a few weeks back hoping to take some fun photographs. Apparently the parade got started late so while sitting for an hour near two grandparents and an early elementary boy, I heard all about Star Wars. This little guy could tell me anything I wanted to know about the movies, the TV programs and more – and he did, for 40 minutes! Today on facebook a friend stated he had just purchased 65 tickets to the opening night of the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie. He was getting ready to make a great memory. His wife teasingly asked “Do you even have 65 friends?”

So what is it about Star Wars and boys – young and old? What is the magic which attracts them to this story?

The Star Wars movies have several components that draw boys and men into the story.

First, it is about self sacrifice and fighting for something bigger than yourself. Next it holds family and friendship very strongly. The movie presents tension with good and evil clearly on opposite sides. The characters are flawed, but heroic. Finally, there is lots of adventure and action and a few pretty girls (for the older boys.) What more can any male want?

I know many boys love to “play” Star Wars, especially the battle scenes. So it would be great if your son could feed his creative imagination and even be tested with some intellectual skill, fine motor practice and even patience, just like we used to get from making model kits back in the day – right? Well, maybe he can. Continue reading

Fun with Science – Batteries

My father was one of the original screen time haters. If I was watching too much TV he would say “turn that idiot box off!” (Yes, he called it that because he said it would turn us into idiots.) So, when forced to turn the TV off, I would have to find something to do. Mostly that involved going outside. But if the weather was frightful then I would have to figure out what I could do inside. At around 10 or 11 years old toys did not have a strong attraction for me so I began taking apart old radios and other small electronics. Without having any idea what I was doing, I was somehow able to fix many of these electronic devices. When I ran out of small electronics I found out that there was a host of fun projects one could do with a few electronic components and a battery. Continue reading

Teaching Boys Right and Wrong

Spend 15 minutes to reinforce what is right and what is wrong. Here is how.

DSC_3622Teaching boys the difference between right and wrong can sometimes be a challenge. But all of us know a man whose understanding of right and wrong is very immature. Wanting to raise a mature man requires we spend some time to help our sons see the clear difference between what is right and what is wrong. One of the ways my wife and I would teach our children was through watching a movie together and then discussing the movie afterwards.

As many of you know I am not a fan of increasing a boy’s screen time, however some screen time will not hurt and especially if you are going to watch a film together with your son.

The following is an independent film that runs only 12 minutes and can be watched on YouTube. It is cleverly written and would be great for an elementary and early middle school boy to watch and discuss together with his parent. The film presents a boy in a tricky situation. Continue reading

Are Schools Failing Our Boys?

DSC_1335School has started and many boys have headed back to the classroom. Sending them off we assume that they will be loved and protected by the teachers and administration. But are our son’s best interests being looked out for?

If you want to have a greater chance of being diagnosed with ADD, childhood depression, be behind in reading, get disciplined in school more frequently, be expelled from school or drop out of school what do you have to do? Be born a boy.

Girls will out score boys in every subject at every grade level except for the last two years of school where boys tie or slightly outscore girls in Math and Science. (And I have recently seen some studies that now say girls outscore boys in those areas and grades as well.) Continue reading