31 Days of Imperfect Surrender



I need this.  I am so looking forward to this.  We convince ourselves that by surrendering we are giving away our power, but I know from times where I have surrendered, it just opens up new opportunities for our Creator to do His work.

I am imperfect, so as with everything, my ability to surrender for 31 days will be imperfect.  I may kick and scream and fight and write, but in the end  I hope it finds me on my knees, open to what life trusts I am ready to receive.

I am so looking forward to sharing with you amazing writers these next 31 days.  I pray my writings are a blessing to you as I know they will bless me.

I will post all of the posts in my 31 Days of Imperfect Surrender here on this page.  Please stop back to read more.  I'll be back with Day 1 tomorrow.  Love.

Day 1: Not so glamorous

Day 2: Clutter

Day 3: Letting Go

Snapshots

                                It's Fall - which means I'm obsessed with anything and everything pumpkin! This Pumpkin Roll hand soap and hand lotion from Scentsy is yummy delicious!



I love when he Facetimes me during the day to just say "I'm thinking of you". He was taking me on a walking tour of his hospital's campu.

I'm not running as much as I'd like buy its dark out at 5:30 in the morning. That doesn't feel safe to me. When I do get to run I just need to focus on doing my best.

In my creative space.

Red nails give me life!

You know - just some awesome Grace Adele!

1 on 1



 

Have your ever been going through life....you know living....and all of sudden a problem finds a way to come up to try and stop you in your tracks?  I notice these moments because my jaw clenches and my head starts to hurt and recognize something, something, is causing me to harbor stress in my body and I must immediately figure out a way to move it along.

Life, in all its beauty, joy, and fun, will inevitably present problems.  I have always tried to fix problems or at least cover them up enough so I don't have to think about them or deal with them at the time so that I could go back to living my wonderful life.

The other morning while I was walking and living I could feel something brewing in my spirit telling me something would be presenting itself in the near future.  I started praying about whatever it was going to be and surrendering.  It has been a mental battle all week to surrender something I don't even know what it is.

Today, I've entered full induced clenched jaw and headache mode.  I know why, but not fully, and I'm trying desperately to surrender it.  I knew it was coming because all of the words I've been receiving in my quiet time have addressed this very moment head on.  

 Trust Me & Refuse to Worry ~ Jesus Calling
The Soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind. Caroline Myss
Stay alert, recognizing the battle being waged against your mind. ~ Jesus Calling
I was on alert because I was in the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Mart the other morning buying snacks for my son and they had a value pack of Pepto-Bismal on sale.  I thought to myself "I haven't had to use any of that stuff in a long time. Watch because I'm noticing it today I'll need some".  Wouldn't you know...Monday evening I had a tummy ache.  I take it was a notice for me to realize how much power our minds have...but it doesn't help when I'm battling in my mind and what I'm battling I really don't want to come true.

I'm focusing on Jesus tonight and REFUSING to worry.  Jesus.




How to Miss a Childhood



Last week, a friend made a post on Facebook titled this and shared the notes from her sermon.  I know I am definitely guilty of doing these things and this post came to mind several times this week as I just had to set things down.

How to Miss a Childhood:

  • Keep your phone turned on at all times of the day – allow any rings, beeps or buzzes to interrupt your child midsentence – always allow the caller to take priority.
  • Carry your phone around so much that when you leave it in a room your toddler child will come running with it proudly in hand – treating it more like a part of the family than an electronic device.
  • Take your children to the park & talk on your phone while you push them on the swing.
  • While you wait for the server to bring your food at a restaurant, get out your phone and stare at it despite the fact your child is sitting inches away longing for you to talk to him/her.
  • Go to your child’s sporting event and look up periodically from your phone praying that he/she wont notice you’re not focused on their game.
  • Neglect tucking your child into bed because you are checking / returning email on your phone.
  • Use your drive time in the car to make important phone calls, even though your child sits in the back seat longing to talk about their day or dreams, hopes or fears.
  • Go on a vacation with your family & allow everyone to spend the whole trip on phones.
Do these things ... and you will miss a childhood.

This past week, I have  been more conscious of my behaviors and more intent on noticing the light in my Munchkin's eyes.  We certainly aren't perfect, and we have many things to distract us, so I share this because it made me more self-aware, not as a finger-wagging rant.


Going Public


I left my church.

To many people that is no big deal.  To many people no one really cares.  To me, it was a big deal. It took many months of prayer.  Many years of frustration.  Finally a big giant surge of faith to realize I needed something different.

It was a big deal for me because church is more than just a building with 4 walls where people go.  Church is a part of your greater social construct.  It's a place where generation after generation of families go.  On some level, it's a measure of a families' success how involved the grown children become in a church.  It's rooted.

That was the problem.

This is not an indictment of my former church whatsoever.  If you're looking for juicy gossip stories - that won't happen here. I love the body that makes up my former church and I love the people there even more.  It's a story of my journey.  Of my need to grow spiritually.  Of my desire to raise up a son who has a fire and passion for Christ.  To make it my business to impress upon my child who God is as Priscilla Shrier would say.

I love the Word.  You have certainly read about my passion for it on this blog.  I love the God in the Word more.  The more and more I started pulling away from the world and diving into the Word, I began to sense more and more an ever growing pull away from going to a church that just looked like the world week after week  and really wanting to be the Church every day.  I ignored that pull week after week, month after month, year after year, until finally I began to feel totally out of place in church.

Then it happened.

I no longer felt like I was growing.  Actually, I preferred to stay home and work on my own Bible studies than to actually go to church on Sunday.  It felt like a chore. Not just for myself but for my son.  I wouldn't be the best mother as I had to sometimes literally do everything in my strength to make him get dressed.  It breaks my heart just thinking about it.  What kind of fire and passion for Christ was I instilling in my child?  One of disdain and bad thoughts about what church is?  It is my business after all to impress upon him who God is.

When I started Priscilla's Gideon study in June, it didn't sit well with me.  I hadn't been attending church regularly for a few months now because the chore of it all was just not worth it.  We have all heard the semi-jokes about how we were dragged to church, to Baptist Training Union, to Bible study and prayer meeting, to this to that....and in adulthood we were grateful that we had been dragged to church...but generally we are grateful for that after we have messed up in some way and found our way back to the church.

I didn't want my son to have a dragged mentality.  I didn't want him to be grateful for being raised in the church only after he became grown and left the church.  I wanted it to be my business for him to be excited and passionate about church, but more importantly about Christ, and to carry that passion into young adulthood and adulthood.  To never have to say "I found my way back".

So I went looking.  I started praying.  I began watching.

This past Sunday,  Pastor Galen of Copper Pointe Church started a new series titled "Going Public".  I encourage you to watch it but first, pray.  Pray for God to give you an open heart and an open mind to what He desires for His church.  I just can't reconcile in my mind that when Christ said "upon this rock I will build my Church" that he meant I will build a comfortable building with 4 walls and the same people can come Sunday after Sunday and we can smile in people's faces but talk about them behind their backs and we don't reach the broken because we are more concerned with religious doctrine and what so-and-so is wearing than about the person who walked in today just needing to see someone genuinely smile and feel loved that was hoping that this room full of christians was actually more like the Christ they talk about. (phew....glad I got that out)

Seriously, watch the sermon.  The statistics are pretty shocking.  I don't blame people for finding other paths to spirituality.  The church has become a playground for church folk.  It's not different than the world on the outside of its walls.  We talk about each other. We create social caste systems.  We get so busy doing church things that we stop being the Church.  The Church doesn't need 4 walls. Christ didn't need 4 walls.  His ministry was every day living His life.  I want that.

I am just overjoyed to say that God was ever so gentle with me through this monumental decision making moment in my life.  Sunday's sermon was a sweet confirmation that I had been praying for.  My son is so excited to attend church...he asks me throughout the week if it's time to go.  Some Sunday's when I think "we can just stay home and relax" he jumps up and says we have to go!  He has a passion and fire for the Christ he is learning about in church that I can only pray I can continue to nurture and support.

My favorite quote from Sunday's sermon concludes all of the thoughts swirling in my head quite simply:

Stop doing what religious doctrine makes us do and just start loving people

Really loving people. 

Snapshots


Not my best

 

This is currently the number I see on the scale.  It's actually the number I've seen on the scale for the past 10+ years.  It is not the number that bothers me.  Many of the ideal weight charts say the ideal range for a 6 foot woman is anywhere between 145-172lbs.  I have been in the low 150s since I was in tip-top shape as a Division 1 college volleyball player and as a post-partum mommy with no real work-out regimen.

This is the weight my body likes.  What this number means to me is not as much as how it feels on me.  My max weight of 154lbs when I was playing volleyball in college and squatting 280 felt good.  The 135lbs I weighed when I was going through the turmoil in my marriage didn't feel good.  My grandma didn't think so either. She made a remark to me that one day that I "looked like I had been locked in the basement with no food".  So trust me when I say...it is not this number that bothers me.

I was meant to live a fit life.  I love running (now).  I love practicing yoga.  I love being active.  I love seeing how my mind and body respond to treating it good.  My eating habits are directly related to how active I am...and lately I've been slacking.  So when I see this number right now, I know it is made up of weeks of eating fast food because I haven't been properly planning my meals, inactivity, and quite simply...not my best.

That is when the number starts to bother me.  When it is a reflection of me not being my best, and not a reflection of my total well being of mind,  body, and soul.  I don't expect the number to change much...I don't need it to.  My body feels good at this number when I'm treating it right.  I need to hold myself accountable.  Not to a number...but to a better lifestyle.  To being my best. 

Connect with me on instagram where I share my better: @niecytaylor

Guy Style

Apparently I like guys in blue pants and Chucks.
The Man
The Munchkin

Bottega Louie

 

A few weeks ago I traveled to LA for the National Sexual Assault Conference.  I'll talk more about my trip later, but this little gem that I stumbled upon two blocks from my hotel deserves a post of its own.  

When I arrived in LA and checked into my hotel - the Sheraton Downtown - I got settled and was ready to hit the LA streets!  It was a Tuesday, so downtown was full of business people walking to and from their offices.  I spotted this young(ish) group as I was walking and when they opened the door to this place I noticed how amazing it looked inside and all these bright colors.

I kept walking and on my way back to the hotel decided to pop in. I am so glad I did!

 
The atmosphere is really cute.  I chose to eat from the prepared lunch section because I was a little intimidated not knowing exactly where I was (you know didn't want to get a nice LA surprise check).

This salad was amazing!

 

No caption necessary


So I may have just gone back twice...

I decided to go for dinner here again Thursday eve.

 ... or three times.

...and have breakfast with myself Friday morn.

Hey...I'm a believer...when you find something you like....indulge!

Visit Bottega Louie the next time you're in LA. I'm certain you'll share in my little love affair.




It's none of your business

 
 
Oh how life happens! Yesterday I wrote about other people minding their business, today I'm writing about minding my own.

Something so unexpected, so unbelievable, so unnerving happened to me yesterday evening.  What I intended to be a conversation voicing my concerns turned into a full-on assault of my character, the woman I am, and what God has brought me through.

I went to bed with it last night and woke up to it this morning.  I laughed about it. Cried about it. Surrendered it over and over again. I laid in bed and just felt like evil was trying to fester in my spirit.

Someone who should be one of the last people on the planet I have to worry about exposed to me that they have been reading my journals that I left behind.  Journals that I most likely used in my early twenties when I was discovering myself.  Journals that I probably told some of my most detailed secrets to about myself and my feelings of others at the time.  Journals that were a safe space for me to say all the things an insecure, unsure, 20-something would do.  Journals that chronicled probably some of the darkest times in my life with a failed engagement, trying to find myself after college, and then entering into a marriage that was not the best choice.  These journals tell the story of  how I became the woman I am today.

Those journals, those thoughts, feelings, imperfections so close to me, have been positioned by someone to be used against me.  In this moment, typing this, I feel tears welling in my eyes because I feel violated.  It is not even about what's in the journals.  I am sure there are some not so nice things.  I was in such a dark place during that time in my life that I couldn't celebrate anything good in anyone. I didn't like people.  I didn't love people the way I do now. The way I am able to now. 

Then I sat up in bed, and I felt like a gushing wind came over me.  God immediately started speaking to my spirit - so what if someone intends to do evil to you, I will turn it around for your good. I got this. Trust me. Do not worry.

I've felt hung-over from this whole fiasco all day.  As I searched for words to describe how I feel, I started to remember that this has absolutely nothing to do with me. It is sad that someone would feel the need to read the journal of any young woman... (I say young woman because whatever journal this is is probably from when I was 23 or 24).  They are obviously searching for an imperfection in me to validate their feeling about me and let me tell you - if it is from my early 20s - they got what they were looking for.  Secondly, the whole threat of posting my journal on Facebook...that has nothing to do with me. Everything to do with them.  At some point today I just had to snap out of it and remind myself it is none of my business.  What other's think of me doesn't deserve my energy and it is not really about me anyways.

If you've read my blog for awhile or been connected with me on Twitter for any amount of time, you know I have never professed to being perfect.  I have never acted like I don't struggle with many of the things women struggle with - insecurities, doubt, debt, flaws.  I simply know that God is greater than all of that and the work He has begun in me is greater than all of that....and there's not anything from my life I would change - even if the words I used in my own safe space are now being used against me.

It makes you look good when you avoid a fight only fools love to quarrel. -Proverbs 20:3

 
 

Not everyone deserves to hear your story

 
 
I love how social media literally connects us with the world, allows us to stay in contact with old acquaintances & aides in making us more global citizens.  For all its greatness, the truth is it creates a false sense of reality and we think we know the intricacies of someone's life by what they choose to post. 

This was a post I was prompted to make on Instagram this past weekend after much care and thought because I am literally SHOCKED that people feel like we owe them an explanation about the choices that we as grown adults have made, are making, and will make.  I was literally SHOCKED that people I barely talked to when living on the same campus feel the need to ask for more clarification.  I sat with this because we all know Niecy's sarcasm can often come off as just plain rudeness, but the more I sat with it the more absurd it seemed.  So you have questions? Great.  So you wonder what is going on? Fine.  To actually voice those questions and expect a response and the most we've shared is through social media  - ridiculous.

Then I started thinking, because that's what I do, about what it is that makes people feel comfortable asking questions, and in a public forum at that, like they are exposing some hidden truth. What is it about social media that makes us feel so connected that we want to know more?  We want to dig behind the pictures and statuses to the details. 

This is a new part of our consciousness.  Social media is a big part of our lives.  For all intent purposes, I feel like I am pretty selective about what I choose to post and share.  Yes - participating in social media is a choice.  Instead of being completely like "I can't believe she just asked that", I had to take a step back and look at my choices.  I choose to participate in social media. I choose to participate in a global community.  I choose to open up and live a life of transparency through my blog to help and inspire others.  These are my choices.  So on some level - I own it.  I own the questions. I own the inquiries.  On some level, however, it brings up so many questions for me.  The people who feel like they need to ask questions or not judge are not the wonderful people who I network with through social media.  They are the people who I know.  Not close friends but acquaintances.  They are people who know my story but yet aren't satisfied with what we choose to share.  They are the ones who want more...and on some level feel the right to ask for it.

What are your thoughts about the false illusion social media can create?  Do you have any stories to share?

So I ended my IG post with this:

Those who really know me know every step I take is ordered by much thought, more prayer, and even greater surrender.

The truth is, those who really know me don't have to ask for the story.  They already know.




#stylemefriday - maxinista

I LOVE a maxi. Comfy. Stylish. Sexy. Forgiving.  I could wear a maxi any given day. 

For this past week's #stylemefriday post I'm working 1 dress 2 ways.

I first wore this maxi in Vegas for sister's birthday bash.  It is fairly long (always a challenge for my 6 foot frame) but these new maxis are fitted!  There goes the forgiving factor!

We were photo bombed.
The instagram post seen around the world (or by all UD alumn -haha)
This past week I had to attend a conference for work in LA. By Friday I needed rest and was ready to go home.  I made this same maxi new all over again by adding a semi-dolmanish top (this is my none fashion blogger technacalities showing here) over it.  Instead of the one piece dress with the black built-in crop top, I turned it into a cute maxi skirt with a cute frock top.

Dress - Forever 21, Top - Forever 21, Purse - Grace Adele - here


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