April 15, 2013

2013 - Out of Control

Have you ever had too much "awesomeness" scheduled for one year?  This might be that year.  2013 will be the year we take two trips to India, run our first marathons, finalize Isaac's adoption, launch a non-profit in Detroit, and transition Liz to a new job. (I'm sure I've forgotten something, maybe move to Detroit, but that list seems sufficient.)

When you prepare for busy seasons, it is easy to make exceptions in areas you wouldn't normally (family time, healthy habits, meditation & Bible reading, etc). However, it is during the stressful and chaotic moments in life that you most need these practices.  To let them slide during the season when they are necessary is to initiate an unhealthy spiral.

For this reason, 2013 will also be the year I read the Bible cover to cover, spend every morning with my son, exercise daily (not only running in preparation for the marathon), and read literature that uplifts, inspires, and educates.  This will be the year I watch less television, give more money, and spend more time with the relationships that matter most. Will you join me in this?  You don't have to copy my list, but let's make this year awesome.

It is already April, if you hadn't noticed, so most of this list is already underway. I finished the Bible already, I'm up to 4.5 miles in marathon training, I've picked out my book-list for the year, and the morning routine with Isaac is awesome! What will you do this year?

March 16, 2013

Let the Madness begin!!

Why yes, I am adorable!

As all of you know, Isaac joined our family last October, and he has been a source of joy and laughter for Liz and I ever since.  If you want to see more pictures of him, click on this link: LE Photography. His adoption story is one of unexpected speed and surprise, so we have been reeling in the aftershock for a while.  We had great plans for fundraisers and preparations so that when the time came, we would be ready to pay for it - but God had a different plan.

At this point, out of the $22,000 needed to fully pay for the adoption, we have been able to pay $9,000. God is great, and we are excited to see how He closes that gap.  Below is a way for you to play along!

As promised before we left for India, here are the details for our adoption fundraiser through YahooSports.  Please take a few minutes to read through the details, then let the March Madness begin!

The brackets tournament field is announced March 17th...  
Which means it's game time!
Let the MADNESS begin.
Here are simple and easy instructions on how to participate:

1.  Join our Tournament on Yahoo Sports by following this link:  
   Click "Sign In" (If you don't have a Yahoo! account you can sign in using your Facebook or Google account)
   Create a new bracket
   Title your bracket
   Once your first bracket is saved there will be an option for you to create more brackets
2.  Donate to our Adoption via PayPal
   Go to www.paypal.com
   Click "Send Money"
   Enter the donation amount 
   Send donations to jaytaylor84@gmail.com
   (You will have to create a PayPal account if you don't already have one)
     Suggested donations are:
   $10 for 1 bracket
   $20 for 2 brackets
   $25 for 3 brackets
   $30 for 4 brackets
   $35 for 5 brackets
3.  Have Fun and Best of Luck
     We will send tournament email updates through Yahoo! Sports and post updates on this blog.

All Brackets are due by Thursday, March 21st at 11:00am (EST)


1st place will win 20% of the money raised (or up to $300).
2nd place will win 10% of the money raised (or up to $100).

The rest of the money from the tournament will go toward Isaac's adoption, which is finalized in April. Also, we would really appreciate it if you copied and pasted the information posted above to tell your friends, family and co-workers about the tournament.

If you have any questions at all, don't hesitate to contact us at jaytaylor84@gmail.com.  I hope you have fun doing this, and thanks again for being a part of this exciting journey with us.  

March 11, 2013

Reminder - Only one more week!

Just one week.

Don't forget.

Just one week from today...
All your bracket dreams can be fulfilled!

If you haven't started watching college basketball yet, you only have one week left. The Adoption March Madness Tournament starts Sunday, March 17th. Participation will be by donation only, so technically you can participate without paying.  Suggested donations are:

$10 for 1 bracket
$20 for 2 brackets
$25 for 3 brackets

We won't stop you at three...you can fill out as many brackets as you'd like!  All donations will go toward Isaac's adoption payment that is due in April.

Now to the good stuff.  We're sure you're wondering if there is a prize for the winner.  There is indeed.  

1st place will win 20% of the money raised up to $300.
2nd place will win 10% of the money raised up to $100

The brackets come out on Sunday, March 17th so until then we cannot give you details on how to join our tournament.  Participation details will be posted here as soon as the brackets are out.  It will be simple, we promise!

February 27, 2013

Stay Tuned.

"GUYS!!! Guess what!?! 
You could make your March-Madness 
brackets count for something awesome! 
Stay tuned for a chance to win up to $300 
a chance to help my adoption be funded!"

Tune in on March 12th for official brackets and final details.

December 13, 2012

Put yourself out there.

I recently read a short explanation for why live productions are worth the extra money.  I do not remember the author, but the premise was that inherent in any live show lies the tension and risk of failure.  When the soloist is all alone, and there is no possibility of hiding a mistake, the price of admission has been validated, and you are on the edge of your seat.

Now take a step back, and think about this from the perspective of the soloist. What would cause a person to step out and take that risk? (I will, for the sake of simplicity, ignore the professional arena for this discussion.)

Why does the church soloist do her special music?  Why do the performers in community theater take months out of their busy lives to perform for free?  What drives first-time marathon runners to start the race, knowing they might not finish it? Each of these people is risking failure, but for what reward?

The answer might be different for every person that has ever embraced that risk, but the greater question is this: what is keeping you from doing it? Put yourself out there! Tempt fate and risk failure, because in those moments, you just might discover yourself.

December 5, 2012

Solving a Rubik's cube the hard way...

Have you ever tried to solve one of those stupid little games? Just when you get one side all one color, you realize that there are still five more sides.  As you try to get those sides to look right, you undo the one you were so proud of earlier.

Is life like that?

As you focus on finding balance, its a tug-of-war between competing desires and demands.

There are two ways you can look at a Rubik's Cube. (I will concede that there may be a third.) It is either a device of torture that you have to twist and spin and manipulate until you have spent 4 hours and developed 2 ulcers just to solve, or it is another example of how Google knows all because you cheat and look at the video tutorial. (The third option is that your brain is wired in a way that solves puzzles like that easily - and then I hate you.)

Allow me to take this in two different directions. First, an unbalanced life is a lot like a partially solved Rubik's cube. If you've only solved one side, the hardest work is still undone. Anyone can figured out how to succeed at work, but if you've abandoned your family, or left God on the sideline, you have a lot of work left to do.
Second, we always try to solve things on our own, as if the network and resources that surround us are for wimps.

Stop it.

Lean on the experts, and don't let pride get in the way of maximizing your strengths by leveraging someone else's. (There is no shame in letting Google (or your mentor, best-friend, coworker, etc) take the guesswork out of your struggles.

I don't know what you struggle with, but balance is possible. Here is a great video, with the quote: "it's all wretch and no vomit." In it lies one piece of the puzzle.

November 22, 2012

This city, Lord, it is yours.

photo courtesy of Geof Crowl
There is no denying that right now Detroit is in a bad place.  There is destruction and devastation everywhere you look, and the people are hurting.  I have never seen a city in such pain before, and it breaks my heart.  However, on Thanksgiving Day, as I lift up the needs of Detroit before the Lord, He has reminded me of his faithfulness, and prompted me to share this with everyone, in spite of the dire circumstances:
Habakkuk 3:17-18 
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,

though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my savior.

Knowing that it might not get any better for a long time does not change the fact that we can be thankful for so much.  In the midst of pain, we have life.  In the depths of despair, we have hope that these momentary afflictions create a backdrop for God's promise of a hope and a future.