My Story

This blog is not just a snapshot of my life, it’s a window into my heart.

I love to learn and I love to teach, but my passions are so varied that I needed a place to organize them all. That’s how this blog was born.

I’m sure you’ve figured out that the name of my blog, Taylor of All Trades, is a combination of my last name – Taylor – and a spoof of the saying, “jack of all trades.” Although I wouldn’t consider myself a “master of none,” I do know that my interests span many different aspects of life and this blog celebrates those differences.

But there’s more to me than just my posts and I wanted to share my story with you so that you can get to know the woman behind the blog.

I am a Christian

The most important thing anyone needs to know about me is that I am a Christian. Although I can’t claim to be a perfect Christian, not by a LONG shot, brining God glory is the the fundamental desire of my heart. I have a passion for Truth and an eagerness to display the goodness of Christ in every aspect of my life. I fall short so often, but my God is patient and He never forsakes. What He started in eternity past He will complete, and that is such a comfort to a Type-A, driven, perfectionist like me.

I am a Wife

My dad and I were just talking last night about what a good man my husband is.  Sometimes I can’t believe I get to be married to the bravest, strongest, kindest, most patient, most upstanding, most handsome, most steadfast man on the planet. He’s such a gift, such a joy, and I love him more now than when we first met over a decade ago.

Don’t get me wrong, our marriage isn’t perfect. Andrew isn’t perfect. I’m not perfect. We have our ups and downs just like everyone else, and I can safely say that marriage is sometimes the most tedious, bewildering commitment I’ve ever made. But those moments don’t define my marriage. My marriage is defined by the One for Whom it exists: Christ.

I am blessed to be married to a man who loves the Lord and seeks to honor Him in everything he does. I am blessed to live in the faithful protection, provision, and love of a man whose character is rooted in godliness.

Being Andrew’s wife is the crowning achievement of my life; oh, how I love him!

I am a Mother

My babies. My little bundles of joy. My precious, precious munchkies.

Ok, fine, sometimes they are more monstrous than marvelous, but they truly are treasures in this momma’s heart and it is a joy to be the one who gets to raise them.

We have three earthly babies, two girls and a boy, and one angel baby in heaven. God called our Shiloh home at 8-weeks gestation and even though it happened over a year ago, it still hurts in a very real way.

But that’s just par for the course when you’re a mother – hurting for your children. If we had it our way, our children would never feel any kind of pain for any reason, ever. If we could, we would protect them from every ugly, harmful, hideous, hurtful thing under the sun and make sure they only ever knew goodness and grace and kindness and success and joy.

That’s not a choice we get to make, though, is it?

No, it’s not, but fortunately we can entrust them to someone who loves them even more than we do. Their heavenly Father is infinitely wiser, more loving, more powerful, more gentle, more patient, more generous and more able to sustain and protect them than we will ever be. And for that reason, we can trust Him with them. Even if we’re scared. Even if we don’t understand. Even if it hurts.

I am a Teacher

I am blessed to be able to teach at the most wonderful university under the sun – The Master’s University. I started teaching in the classroom just over seven years ago, and recently made the transition to teaching online so that I could stay home with my kids.

I received my Master’s Degree in 2014 in the field of Communication Studies with dual emphases in Rhetorical Criticism and Performance Studies and, before you ask, yes! it was a blast getting that degree.

Sometimes I think the only place I really belong is in the classroom, whether as a student or as a teacher (often times, those roles are one in the same). I have a hunger for growth and learning and teaching at TMU has been one of the great joys of my life.

I am a Fighting for my Health

I’ve been a daddy’s girl all my life, but I recently almost lost my dad. About 7 months ago he had the first of nine strokes but God has been so gracious in keeping Dad here on earth so that we can enjoy his company a little while longer.

The cause of his strokes were complications relating to unregulated diabetes – a disease which runs on both sides of my family and one which I had recently realized I was in danger of obtaining.

Six months before Dad had his strokes, I set out on a weight loss journey with a goal of losing 100 pounds in a year and I was determined to see it through. After learning a TON about health, nutrition, and fitness, I scrapped my weight loss goal and replaced it with a far superior aspiration: losing inches in keeping with a lifestyle that promoted the proper care of my body and my health.

I was doing pretty well before Dad got sick. I’d gone from a size 22/24 to a size 16 and I was feeling better and more energetic than I ever had. But sometimes there are more important ways to spend time than on a goal that can be put on hold. It’s all about perspective and priorities.

Dad needed me and I wasn’t about to chose a dress size over the man who has shaped and encouraged me throughout my entire life.

We are just now coming out of the woods as Dad recovers and I am fighting to get back to a place where my health is a priority. I chronicle my adventures in fitness here on the blog, so stay tuned for updates as I post them.

I am a Crafter

Crafting is my happy place. It’s my own little slice of heaven on earth and I have the crafting supplies to prove it. Although I will turn my hand to almost anything crafty, my absolute favorite way to spend time is paper crafting.

Whether it’s cards, invitations, boxes, bags, tags…if it’s paper, it’s got my name on it!

My YouTube channel, Taylor of All Trades, predominantly features crafting tutorials and I recently opened an Etsy Shop (WishingFlowerCrafts) as a way to sell handcrafted items.

I’ve learned a great deal about crafting from other crafters and my two favorite crafting instructors are Sam over at PootlesPapercraft and Stacey over at Scrapbooking Made Simple (also my favorite brick and mortar crafting supply store).

Stacey is basically the reason I am the crafter I am today, and Sam is definitely the reason I have an affinity for making paper boxes. If you don’t know who these two amazing women are, go check them out, like, yesterday!

I am a Creative

You might think I covered this in the section above, but I added it as a stand-alone because, for me, being creative is something that transcends crafting – it’s at the core of who I am and influences everything I do.

From handlettering…

To drawing…

To cartooning…

To cooking….

…being creative is what keeps me vibrant and excited about life. There is always something new to learn, to try, to master. There are always more way to grow, to mature, to develop one’s sense of courage and accomplishment.

In other words, being creative is not something I do, being creative is who I am.

I am More and Less Than I Seem

And since this is my blog, “who I am” might seem like wonder woman, or a woman who has it all together. A woman who never struggles with insecurity, or inconsistency, or failure, or disorder. A woman without flaws.

May I be the first to say that that is 100% incorrect. A public representation of the best of one’s self might give others the impression that one is infallible, that she is more than what she seems. I’m here to tell you that that just isn’t true. I’m just an everyday woman like you. I’ve got Christ written on my heart, a husband wrapped around my shoulders, kids hanging off every limb, a house to keep, a job to do, and hobbies and interests that give me a sense of “self.”

There’s just no possible way I could publish everything there is to know about me and in that way I will always be less than what I seem. Only those who live everyday life with me know the real me, the me I don’t publish. They see the good, the bad, and the ugly. They have a sense of perspective and context that readers might not. They keep me humble and grounded and sincere. They love me and I need them.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is: don’t let this blog fool you. I’m not wonder woman. There is more and less to me than what I publish and I am honored that you have chosen to spend some of your time reading what I have lovingly labored to print.

May God use this blog for His glory and may we all continue to grow in ways that are pleasing in His sight!

Until Next Time My Friends,

S. Taylor

The Taylor of All Trades

I’d Love to Hear From You! Here’s How You Can Reach Me…

Want to get a hold of me? Have comments, questions, advice, a word of encouragement (that last one’s my favorite, obvi)?

Here’s how you can get a hold of me on all of my platforms:

Until Next Time My Friends,

S. Taylor

The Taylor of All Trades

A Blanket Named Sophie: The Ugly Truths Behind a Beautiful Transformation

Two and a half weeks ago I set out on a journey to change my life. I’ve been posting a picture a day on social media and writing a short, daily journal/blog post detailing a weight loss journey that will span the course of a year.

My friends and family have been a huge support thus far, and many of them have commented that my transparency is inspiring them to start or continue their own transformational journeys.

But, like all people, there are still things I’ve been too afraid to share, ugly truths that are so shameful I’ve found a way to keep them VERY well hidden.

But this journey is about transformations that are far more significant than just losing weight. In fact, I believe that shedding the pridefulness that worships self-preservation is one way to ensure the most beautiful kind of transformation – one that surrenders all my insecurities to Christ so that He can begin to reign in my heart more fully than I have ever allowed Him to before.

So get ready. I’m about to share all of the ugly truths that finally pushed me to start this beautiful transformation

 

A BLANKET NAMED SOPHIE

Try your hardest not to judge me. This is my blanket.

a-blanket-named-sophie

Or, more correctly, this WAS my blanket up until VERY recently.

This blanket is the perfect visual aid to summarize the pathetic state I was in just prior to starting this journey.

I’m a keeper, you see, an emotional keeper. What does that mean? It means I keep things because they are meaningful to me and because certain things become so much more than just THINGS, they become a part of who I am.

Exhibit A: my blanket.

This blanket is the most comfortable, most perfect blanket I have ever had the pleasure of sleeping under. It’s stained, it’s discolored, it’s worn, and about two months ago, it started to tear down one seam.

When I first noticed the tear, I told myself I needed to sew that up before it became an even bigger problem, but, because I’m a procrastinator, I did nothing. And the tear turned into a  rip which turned into a gaping whole which lead to…well, what you see in the picture.

Any sane person would have thrown the blanket away when the tear first started leaking fluff all over the place.

But I couldn’t.

All I could see was…

The first time I’d brought it home – a sign that I was arriving because this blanket was really expensive and being able to afford expensive things was a mark of financial success.

The first time I made love with my husband in our very first “marriage bed” in our very first apartment  as newlyweds, a joy greater than any I’d known up until that point.

The first time I’d snuggled up with my newborn baby girl to breastfeed her, terrified I was doing it wrong, comforted by its warmth and familiarity.

Doing the same exact thing with my other two children.

All of the late nights I stayed up typing in bed as I wrote my Master’s thesis, propping it under both legs to keep my feet from falling asleep.

All the times I’d snuggled up inside it and fallen asleep begging the Lord to bring my husband home safe from work.

All the times I’d hidden myself under it and wailed deep sobs of loneliness and hurt after a gnarly fight with Andrew.

All of the sleepless nights during pregnancy that seemed only to be soothed by the comfort of this one thing – my blanket.

So, to me, throwing this blanket away meant turning my back on the most important, most impactful, most special moments of my adult life.

And I just couldn’t do it.

Until….

CHANGED INTO HIS IMAGE by JIM BERG

About four months ago, my husband and I started a teeny tiny bible study with some close friends of ours. We’ve been going through a book called Changed Into His Image by Jim Berg.

It’s a phenomenal book.

Berg does an amazing job of walking his readers through the biblical change process, starting with a brutally honest portrayal of the factors which prevent us from surrendering our hearts to the Lord – all those sinful excuses we make to maintain our rebelliousness in ways that are so nuanced we often don’t even realize we are making them.

In chapter two, entitled Recognizing the Evil Within, Berg explains that the heart of man “is in constant conflict with the Spirit of God and represents everything within us that attempts to make life work apart from God (p. 25).”

He follows this up with one of the most impactful statements I have ever read:

“The toxicity of the heart is so potent that when God wants to judge a man, all He has to do is turn that man over to his own heart. What a frightening thought! You and I have enough evil residing in us that if God were to let us have our own way, we would destroy ourselves. Rather than demanding ow own way, we ought to be begging God never to let us have what our flesh demands. We ought to pray, ‘Dear God, limit me, bind me, restrict me. Do whatever you have to, but please don’t let me have my own way (p. 42).”

Let that sink in for just a bit.

I couldn’t (and still can’t) get away from the pride-shattering impact of those words.

Although I responded to them in the way I (to my shame) respond to all convicting circumstances – with stubbornness and procrastination – the Lord continued to faithfully reinforce their truth over and over again in my life, until I could escape them no longer.

1 CORINTHIANS 9:27 – I DISCIPLINE MY BODY

One of those ways was through my quiet time with Him.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again  – God’s timing is perfect.

A couple of months before I started this journey, I’d started a reading plan that began in Romans and would conclude in Revelation.

About three weeks ago, my reading lead me to 1 Corinthians 9:27, in which Paul states:

“But I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”

Discipline? Slave? Disqualified?

I thought about it long and hard and was ashamed to admit (first to myself, then to Andrew) that my life wasn’t even remotely marked by self-discipline, and my body certainly wasn’t MY slave. No, the reverse was true. I was a slave to my body – to its wants, to its comforts, to its desires, to its moods and limitations. My body was my master, not the other way around.

And that was just the beginning.

THE UGLINESS OF UGLINESS

As the seeds of that truth began to bloom in my heart, some other, really embarrassing things started coming to light as well.

On the relational side, I began to realize that my self-worship was the catalyst for most of the conflict in my marriage. This past year was a hard one for me and Andrew. Just after our third child was born, he got a promotion at work which meant MUCH more time away from home than we’d anticipated.

This, and the fact that I struggle with explosive outbursts of anger toward him (yet another area which the Lord is currently refining in my heart), meant that what little time we did have together was marked by slammed doors, silent-treatments, and – the utterly useless – sleeping in separate rooms.

All of these things, of course, we kept hidden from, well, everyone. We’re that solid Christian couple, remember? We don’t have problems – our marriage is perfect.

HA!

Hold on, I’m not done – HAHAHAHAHA!

Nothing could be farther from the truth!

Spiritually, I was allowing my martial issues to justify distance from God. Wisdom told me that trying to manage this life apart from God was the dumbest thing I could ever attempt, but sin and selfishness told me that if I just made sure to be more stubborn than Andrew, some day I would get what I wanted most – his unconditional and frequently expressed love.

Aaaaaaand, on top of all of these intangible issues, I was dealing with some pretty gross physical ones too.

After years of basically destroying my body, my digestive system was a wreck. Irregularity would have been a welcomed condition because I only had two types of bowl movements: the constipated kind and the liquid kind.

Did I mention that ugliness was ugly?

And I’m not even done yet.

On top of some pretty hideous digestive issues, I was also developing (with increased regularity) something that embarrasses me more than words can say: cystic pimples in my fat folds.

You have no idea how much I did NOT want to share that information.

No idea.

BEAUTY AFTER UGLINESS

“So why did you,” you ask?

Because.

Beauty is only beautiful because of ugliness. Darkness is only dark because of the light. Truth is only Truth because of lies.

And transformations are only transformative when they defy apathy.

Do I have to share all of this with you? No. Do I have to expose my deepest, darkest, ugliest secrets? No.

But will my honesty bring God glory? I believe it will.

You see, all of this ugliness is a direct result of my sin. And sin is the opposite of who God is. To openly confess to sin is to admit that I can’t do this my way and that I cannot do this alone.

In 50 weeks, I will be a different person. My body will be evidence of the fact that I have overcome tremendously difficult physical and emotional battles.

But when I get there, I am going to say one thing over and over again: I didn’t do it, God did.

You see all this ugliness? You see all this filth and brokenness and worn, stained imperfection?

It would take a miracle to transform this ugliness into beauty, this filth into cleanliness, this brokenness into something whole.

And thats exactly the point.

One year from now, when I am half the woman I am today, my internal and external transformations will be one thing and one things only: a testament to the fact that God can do what man cannot – MIRACLES.

Until Next Time My Friends,

S. Taylor

The Taylor of All Trades

Some of the Things I’ll be Writing About

So, again, this is a blog about dabbling. But even dabblers need to be a smidge organized. That’s what this post is all about. What topics do I intent to cover? Why did I chose them? And what can you expect from them? I’m glad you asked! I’ll be writing about the following 10 things on a pretty consistent basis:

God

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

Galatians 2:20

And that sums it up folks. I am a Christian. Although everything else is fun, everything else is secondary. I’ve got a long road of growth ahead of me and I’ll be sharing the lessons God teaches me along the way. May God use them to bless, mature, and teach you as well!

Married Life

“Then the LORD God said, ‘it is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”

Genesis 2:18

I have said it many times: marriage is the best, hardest thing I have ever done. God’s design for marriage is that I be a helper to my husband, NOT the other way around. I’m still a work in progress, but the Lord continues to grow a desire in me to be the very best helper my husband needs. May the Lord continue to grow all of us as we endeavor to be the most god-honoring spouses we can possibly be!

Parenting

“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;”

Psalm 127:3-5a

My children are such a joy. The Lord has used them to sanctify me in ways I couldn’t even have imagined before they arrived. So cute. So full of love. And so very sinful. My prayer is that I will be the faithful mother God has called me to be so that my children will desire Him and, Lord willing, accept Him as their personal Lord and Savior. I pray for your children too, and for you as you seek to parent them in a way that brings glory to God.

Cooking

“Then God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;’ God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.”

Genesis 1:29, 31a

I love food. I love to learn about it. I love to smell it. I love to prep it. I love to cook it. And I LOVE to eat it. Food is one of those blessings that I am thankful for all the time. Not just because I need it to survive, but because God was so good to us in making it taste so good. I’ll be sharing my love of food with you as often as I can – it’s just too fun not to!

Crafting

“She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hands grasp the spindle. She makes coverings for herself;
 Her clothing is fine linen and purple. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies belts to the tradesmen.”

Proverbs 31: 19, 22, 24

Crafting is one of those things that I never grew out of. My mom was always encouraging us to use our imaginations and crafting was one of my outlets for doing just that. I could craft all day, and, before the kids came along, I used to. But now I have to be a little bit wiser about how long I craft, for whom, and to what end. The projects I share with you will usually be 6-8 hour crafts, split up across a few days. Easy to learn and easy to make. That’s what my crafting is all about these days!

Homesteading

“She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.”

Proverbs 31:27

There’s only so much homesteading I can do living in an apartment, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try. The things I share with you will cater mostly to people living in small spaces, but still want to make wise choices when it comes to saving money and being healthy. I’m no expert, and I’m just starting out, but, boy-oh-boy am I having a ton of fun!

Writing

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Although it would be blasphemous to claim that my work is inspired by God, I do aim to create pieces that are profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. That doesn’t mean my work is the fluffy, feel-good stuff we sometimes demand Christian authors produce, but it is always keenly aware of God’s design for the use of language and it always uses Scripture as an example of what types of stories Christians ought to tell. The ability to write is another one of those blessings that completely floors me and that I try to use as often as I can manage!

Teaching

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Although it would be blasphemous to claim that my work is inspired by God, I do aim to create pieces that are profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. That doesn’t mean my work is the fluffy, feel-good stuff we sometimes demand Christian authors produce, but it is always keenly aware of God’s design for the use of language and it always uses Scripture as an example of what types of stories Christians ought to tell. The ability to write is another one of those blessings that completely floors me and that I try to use as often as I can manage!

Reviews

“Discretion will guard you,
 understanding will watch over you.”

Proverbs 2:11

Everyone’s a critic. And if they’re not, they should be. In today’s society we value ratings, percentages, customer commentaries, testimonials, and reviews. Let’s be honest, they help us make wise decisions by gathering countless pieces of data into one neat, little star system. This section of information isn’t much different. I’m one of those people who spends hours researching the perfect product to find the best quality at the best price point, and I don’t think you should have to reinvent the wheel if you are consuming the same product as me. From music to movies to books to home products to just about everything else, I’ll be sharing my educated opinions for you to take or leave at your leisure.

Everything Else

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31

Let’s face it, if one is going to be a taylor of all trades, she’s probably got a lot of things going on at once. And I usually do. That’s why this page exists. It’s a place for me to gather all the other things I’d like to share that don’t fall neatly into one of the other nine categories I’ve already created. It will be fun to see what shows up here – enjoy!

Until next time, my friends!

S. Taylor, The Taylor of all Trades