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Month: July 2014

Debunking the Family Worship Myth

Debunking the Family Worship Myth

I think sometimes it’s easy to hear people talk about certain topics and get an idealistic (or sometimes just plain wrong) view of the matter at hand.

It’s happened in my own life before. You know, a mom brings up a subject in conversation and before I know it I’ve played out the scenario in my head exactly the way “I imagine it.”  For example, I recently spoke with a dear friend who was asking questions about homeschool curriculum and mentioned that her four year old was already sounding out short words.  In my right mind, I knew exactly what she meant. Her child is showing an interest in reading. Her daughter can sound out short words without assistance. End of story. But, part of me turned it into something it wasn’t.

-Wow…my friend must be so diligent to take time out of each day and practice reading with her child. I’m such a slacker mom.

-Gah! Why is my five year old not the least bit interested in the alphabet…much less reading? He’s never going to get into college.

-I’ve got to do a better job working with (insert child’s name here) on reading. Why haven’t I started that yet? Tomorrow I will do better.

Let’s be honest, we all do it.

I’ve wondered if sometimes when I use phrases like “family game night” or “taking children into a worship service with us” people get an unrealistic view of what actually happens in those settings.

Maybe you didn’t get the wrong idea in the past when I’ve used the term “family worship”. But, just in case you had a mental image of our five boys sitting quietly on the couch with the Scripture open while Britten walks our family through an expositional study of the Word, followed by me singing a solo and the boys lying prostrate in worship on the floor….let me share with you a more realistic picture of family worship at the Taylor house.

1. It generally lasts 15 minutes or less.

2. We  have to pull out Mr. Spank Spoon 82% of the time. (ok, maybe that’s being dramatic but you get the idea)

3. Breck is a wild-man. That kid can’t sit still for 20secs.

4. Sometimes one or more of our boys will show up to family worship in underwear…I wish I were kidding.

5. Don’t think FBC Small Town, GA; think 3 Ring Circus.

6. We pray. We read the Word. And we sign a song of worship. That’s it.

To give you a glimpse into our time… we videoed our 3yr old singing his song of praise to his God.

Singing, yes. In his undies, you betcha!

Oh, and please ignore the fact that I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Thats just one more realistic picture of Family Worship: Taylor style.

Gettin’ Groceries

Gettin’ Groceries

Sometimes it helps to just have a good laugh at a situation to keep from crying about it. So that is just what I’m going to do.

I know that going to Publix, Walmart, Costco or wherever you buy groceries is not usually an experience you look forward to with great anticipation. I understand that…I really, really do. But, I hope you will agree with me when I say, it might be a drag, but it isn’t torture. It’s just a trip to the store and as much as one may dread it, it’s just something that needs to get done.

I don’t want to be that girl who “one ups” the next person, but since we’ve moved overseas going to the grocery store ranks pretty high above “taking all five boys to get immunizations by myself” and “scrubbing toilets with bare hands” on the list of things I dread most. It’s that bad. Really.

Let me explain.

You see, going to the grocery store in our city is an act of strength, perseverance, mental fortitude and determination.

In our city…life happens in malls. You can workout- in the mall. You can go to a pharmacy- in the mall. You can pay your internet/cell phone bill- in the mall.  You can smoke the hookah pipe- in the mall. You can get your car washed- at the mall.

And yes, you guessed it, you can buy your groceries… In. The. Mall.

Sounds simple enough, right?

Let’s walk through a simple trip to the grocery store.

Step One: Flag a taxi in order to get to the mall. Those little yellow sedans are not as easy to catch as you think. Sometimes it seems as if they are waiting on you outside your front door. Most of the time it seems they are playing tag with you and you’re “it”. IMG_5909Step Two: Walk all through the mall to get to the grocery store. After buying groceries (not even going to mention the challenge of the Arabic language or culture while on this little grocery adventure) and getting them in the cart, you get to push the cart ALL THE WAY BACK THROUGH THE DANG MALL to get to the taxi line. This can be a humbling experience to say the least. Think with me about rolling that full grocery cart through the Galleria. Now, that’s what we are dealing with here people. And, if you happen to be shopping for a large family, it takes two carts. Boom. #losing

And if you’re really a glutton for punishment if you don’t have anyone to watch your kids so your hubby can help you, your kiddos get to tag along for the fun.IMG_6489

Step Three: After flagging a taxi to get you back home you need to load the groceries into the trunk of the cab…by yourself (about 1% of the cab drivers are actually going to help you load your groceries in the trunk). See why you need the hubby to come with you?

If it’s an extra special day your cart will roll off  the sidewalk while you’re trying to load “said” groceries in the trunk. And if you’re fortunate enough to get a “super patient” cab driver he’ll be yelling “yella-yella” at you from the drivers seat window as he watches you hurl your groceries into the trunk. “Yella” essentially means, “HURRY!”

At this point you will try to refrain from swearing. It may or may not work. I plead the fifth.


I should also mention that if it’s a slow taxi day, you may sit on the sidewalk for 10-30 minutes while waiting on a cab. Thankfully, we don’t see rain much in these parts. IMG_5027

Step Four: You finally make it home with your groceries! But wait, now the fun begins.

  1. You have to get the groceries from the trunk.
  2. Sit the groceries on the sidewalk (again, by yourself of course).
  3.  Pay the cab driver, who is still sitting in the drivers seat.
  4. Wrangle your rowdy kids.
  5. Try not to cuss, again.

IMG_5910 Step Five: After paying the cab driver you need to pick up the groceries for the 52nd time once again. Proceed to carry them into the apartment building and load them on the elevator. You think the party is over at this point? Oh no, it’s not.

The elevator doors will shut multiple times as you attempt to walk back and forth to load the groceries, and if you’re really lucky, someone will need to use the elevator (with your groceries on it) so you’ll have to wait on them to get where they need to go before you can start loading again. This may take multiple trips back and forth depending on how much you bought and how busy the elevator is that day, but can we ALL just pause for a minute and shout “Hallelujiah” for the blessed elevator? Because if the elevator is out of order on that particular day you have another option. Steps. Lots of steps.

Step Six: Carry the groceries from the elevator inside your apartment and fall out on the couch begin the painstaking process of putting them all away.

Now you are mentally, physically and emotionally whipped right about the time your family will ask, “What’s for dinner?”

To which you will reply, “Let’s order takeout.”

What I Wish I Would’ve Known Before Moving Overseas: Part 3

What I Wish I Would’ve Known Before Moving Overseas: Part 3

I’ve mentioned before that when we moved overseas we downsized all of our belongings into 18 plastic tubs. Needless to say, when you pack everything you own for a family of six into 18 plastic tubs you only take the absolute necessities. There’s no room for fluff. I wish I could say that getting rid of all the “extras” was easy and that it was all just “stuff” but now, that wouldn’t be true.

The dress I wore the day I married my husband…sold on Craigslist.

The golf clubs my husband swung over countless rounds of golf with closest friends…listed on Ebay.

The rocking chair I used to rock all four of my babies to sleep in night after night…sold in a yard sale.

Thomas the Train toys all of my boys pushed around the same train table…given to a sweet neighbor.

You get the idea. We weren’t just getting rid of “stuff” we were letting go of memories and that was the difficult part. But today, those things are just a distant thought. Our life is simple, very simple, and I love it.

You see, I never realized the great freedom that can be found in living a simple life. Although letting go of our stuff was an extremely painful process, it taught us that a simple life brings great joy and we actually prefer it that way. Oh gracious, how I wish I had known that when I walked out of my house for the last time because it now belonged to someone else. Two words…hot mess.

As I sit here tonight, a family of seven living in a three bedroom apartment on the fourth floor, I’m reminded just how different life looks today than it did a year and a half ago.


We don’t own a car. We don’t have a mortgage. Our boys have one box of toys and one box of Lego’s between the five of them.


We don’t own a microwave, dishwasher or dryer. (Ok, who am I kidding? I REALLY wish we had a dishwasher AND a dryer) It may sound extreme to some people and others may think we’ve completely lost our minds, but to us it was an unexpected blessing given in the middle of all the crazy.

I’m not saying we will never own a house again or drive a swagger wagon with a soccer decal on the back window. But, in this season of life, I’m incredible thankful for the simplicity and all the Lord has taught me through it.

Hello world…it’s me, Brook

Hello world…it’s me, Brook

I never like it when people disappear from the blog-o-sphere and return somewhere down the road with a “So, it’s been a while since I’ve posted” kind of thing. But, that’s exactly what I’m going to do tonight. I apologize in advance.

I realized tonight that’s it’s been almost two months since I’ve updated the blog. Lame, I know. But, let me assure you it’s not because there’s been nothing to talk about or nothing going on. It’s actually been quite the opposite. So much has happened that I haven’t had a spare moment to sit down and breathe. And blog? That wasn’t even on the radar. Life has been happening to me and I’m ready to take the bull by the horns and right the ship.

So just a quick update on the last two months and then hopefully this week I can get back to a more regular routine that includes finding time to chronicle this crazy life. A lots happened since we talked last but I’ll give you the skinny version just to bring us all up to date.

We opened a CrossFit gym in our city.


We were reunited with some pretty special people.


We spent some time in Greece at a conference and I ate enough feta cheese, ice cream and Snicker bars to feed a large dinosaur.


Breck turned three.


We welcomed a new intern that will be living in our city and working at the gym for the next three months.


And finally, Braeden finished third grade and Brody finished Kindergarten meaning our first full school year overseas is over, which means sweet Rachel transitioned back to the states.


Now you know why Ive been out of pocket. Don’t worry, folks. For all of my peeps- I’m coming back.