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Category Archives: Grandparenting

Maybe He Saved More Than Your Life!

I just returned from a fantastic week of trout fishing in Montana. It’s the second year I’ve been invited there by my great friend, Ty Bean. It has been, these two years, an incredible time to unwind, relax, replenish and meet up with a few old, and some new friends. I had a great time….all except when I fell into the river! Maybe I’ll tell you about it sometime. But, until then suffice it to say that the Big Horn, …in October, is waaaay too chilly to go into…on purpose!

We were picked up at the airport in Billings by a sharp young man named Tyler. There were five of us in the Suburban for the hour and a half trip to the lodge. I was riding ‘shotgun’ with Tyler and he began to ask me about my life. Now I sure don’t mind telling ‘my story’ but I have absolutely no agenda to try to force my way into telling it. But I was glad to answer Tyler’s questions and tell him how the Lord rescued me 32 years ago. When I finished he said, “That’s a great story!” I said, “Well, I take no credit for it, it’s just the story of how God saved my life.”

At almost that precise time I received a text. My screen-saver on my phone now ( I change it periodically with a pic of one or more of our 9 Grandkids!) is a pic of Knox and Timber, our two ‘newest’ grand babies. He (the Lord) immediately took me to that time in 1984 when my marriage was over with no hope of repair, and just about every other problem you could imagine. At that point in my life I only had two sons, Clint and Cade. And, the Lord showed me all that I now have…..that I wouldn’t have had, had He not answered my desperate prayer of, “God, if You’re out there, you gotta help me!”

My mind went immediately to Cole, his wife Kelly and their 3 precious little kids, Calli, Maverick and Knox. Then to Clay, his wife Chelsea and precious little Timber. Then to Cord, our little boy in heaven. *(Something for us to really look forward to!!) Then to Cameron, our little girl who has been the ‘icing on the cake’ after four boys! I was broken beyond words right there in the Suburban. It wasn’t tears of sadness but tears of overwhelming joy and gratefulness toward the Father.  None of these, who are now such a huge a part of our lives, and a huge part of why our lives are so rich today……,  would’ve been here. I can’t imagine life without them!!

God did the impossible….and fixed the un-fixable!! 

And, maybe…..just maybe…..He saved more than your life!!

**Here’s that pic on my phone!! The two newest little Taylors’, Timber & Knox!

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“God, If You’re Out There, You Gotta Help Me!”

It’s A Different Kind of Love!

If He Can Fix My Life…..I Know He Can Fix Yours!

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Prayer Changes Things!

It was the message on a little plaster of paris wall hanging at my Grandmother’s house in Wheeler, Texas. (My Mom’s Mom) I never knew my Granddad, he was killed in a motorcycle accident earlier in the year that I was born. That left her to raise 3 kids who were still at home. (2 older ones already married) She was an incredible person, in my opinion, and I’ve grown to appreciate that more and more as I’ve gotten older and understanding more of what it takes to raise a family.

One of my favorite things to do was to stay overnight, or a few days, at her house. I still vividly remember bedtime at her house. There were two beds in her room…one for her and one for Herman, my uncle, her youngest son. (only 3 years older than me) There’d be a story or two before we all fell asleep and they were always good ones. *(Herman always tried to tell a scary one..so we’d sleep with a butcher knife under our pillow for safety! lol) One story she told me when I was 3 or 4 years old was of an ‘old, old Grandmother by the name of ‘Mamaw Teak’. Well, that name ‘stuck’ and I called her that for the rest of my life.

When you’re a single mother with 3 kids in a small town you just have to do what you have to do to make ends meet. I remember her working at cafes and cleaning houses for people and then coming home completely worn out…but then cooking one of the best meals that you could possibly imagine. One of my most memorable Christmases was when Herman, my brother Monty and I all got our “Rifleman” rifles. We maintained a high level of justice on that block and kept the bad guys at bay in Wheeler, Texas for a good long while!

I think, somehow, the importance of prayer was imparted to me back in those days. That’s one of the things we’d do every night that I was at her house. And looking back and assessing her situation….I think she lived by it! They lived a simple life, a good life….but a simple life. And they got by,…I believe, by the provision of the Lord.

There’s a lot more to say on the subject of prayer. But simply put, “Prayer Changes Things”! 

*When my Grandmother passed on, I asked for this little plaster of paris wall hanging. It means a lot to me!

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It’s A Different Kind of Love!

Just as strong,…..just as pure, just as perfect…..it’s just different! I’m talking about the love I have for my three daughters-in-law, Kristy, Kelly….and Chelsea! I don’t know how to accurately explain it….I just know it’s different. After I came to the Lord in 1984, and after I learned the incredible value in prayer….I’ve prayed for my kids….even before they were born…..and especially after they were born. One of the things that I prayed specifically for them, even when they were just toddlers, is that the Lord would cause that “one”  special person on the planet that they were to be married to, and spend the rest of their lives with would gravitate toward them at precisely the right time in their lives. I prayed that they would love my boys, be Godly, genuine girls of integrity, beautiful on the inside and out, that they’d have a ‘heart for the Lord”, be great, loving, nurturing mothers….and women of prayer, and be the perfect partner/friends for my boys. (and Cameron too)

When these beautiful girls showed up on the radar screen, the Lord did more than just answer my prayers. He really ‘over-delivered’!  And as high as my expectations were as a dad…..they totally exceeded them. They are all such a fit in our family. In fact….I told the boys when they were dating them that if this didn’t work out….the girls stayed and they’d have to leave! lol

They’re raising some phenomenal kids, (all except Chelsea….who’ll have her first, a daughter, in January! *Can’t hardly wait!) handsome, pretty, smart….and teaching them all the right things as well as instilling in them, genuine character….something that you don’t find often in this day and time. I’d be fiercely protective of them if the need were to arise and I’d do for them anything that they’d ask of me.

They’re, all three, amazing ‘gifts’ from the Lord to our family.…and I love them with an incredible, almost indescribable love. It’s a different kind of love.

*Incidentally, Kelly….just two days ago (11/22/2015) had her third baby….our 8th Grandbaby!! A little boy, Knox River Taylor!

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These are “Our Girls”, Kelly (Cole), Chelsea (Clay), Cameron (Our Daughter), Kristy (Clint)

 

 

 

 

 

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VIP’s #10 – Cliff & Charlene Taylor

Obviously my VIP Blogs are not listed in any order of importance. If they were these two would be right up there toward the top of the list. Cliff and Charlene….that’s my Mom & Dad. I wish you all knew them. They’re two of the most incredible people you could ever meet. They’re now in their 80’s and live only a few blocks from us. I like that. I’ll go there at least a few times a week and have coffee and visit with them. They amaze me in that they’re still telling me stories that I’ve never heard before….and they can do it with nearly total recall.

Now seems like a proper time to write them up as VIPs since just about three days ago they celebrated their 66th Anniversary! Pretty amazing when you think about it. That’s setting the bar up there pretty high for the rest of us Taylors’. Good job, Mom & Dad! There’s no way I could come close to telling all the good qualities they have…and the good qualities they’ve passed along to Mont and I. It’d take a good sized book to get that done. But for the sake of time and space, I’ll try to give you a little insight on ‘who’ they are.

They have been the hardest working pair I’ve ever seen. Dad has always been a cattleman so we learned at a very young age to handle cattle and horses with the best of ’em. Dad had Mont and I doing things that most men couldn’t do when we were just little kids. We learned how to do it right. When I was 12 I started riding colts for other people for pay. I did that successfully, at least at some level, for the next 25+ years. Most of our  lives were spent on a ranch. It was a great life. Besides handling every aspect of the cattle business (receiving, shipping, gathering, doctoring, buying and selling) we learned to build fence, repair windmills and water gaps and about every other thing you need to do to run a ranch the right way.

Mom was the best! I can remember as a little kid, her pulling broomcorn to help make ends meet. She’d come home tired, dirty and worn out but always managed to get us one heck of a supper cooked, without fail. Later on in our rodeo days there were many times we’d roll into the ranch in the middle of the night with a carload of buddies. She’d get up even if it was 2 am and cook us up some chicken fried steak, french fries and gravy. There are retired rodeo guys all over the United States and Canada who spent time at our house and who have the greatest amount of respect for my Mom & Dad. Oh, and incidentally, when we’d come in to the ranch in the middle of the night and have that great meal….Dad was always gracious to let us sleep in ’til 5:30 or 6 in the morning before we started whatever project he had planned for the day…….and there was always a project! Most serious ranchers work their cattle according to the Zodiac signs. Dad always said that when there were a couple of carloads of rodeo friends at the ranch……that the ‘signs’ were right!

They sacrificed, and went without, to haul us to junior rodeos all over Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. They gave us a ‘leg up’ that way and enabled us to have a successful career in professional rodeo. We were both inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2008. And in our acceptance speeches we made sure that they got the credit they deserved. In all actuality……they’re the ones who should’ve been inducted.

I could go on and on with those kinds of things but they gave us far more important things than teaching us cattle and ranch work. In my 62 years I haven’t seen them do one person wrong. I have seen them wronged plenty of times but they always handled it with class. They’ve lived their lives with the highest degree of integrity. Their ‘word’ has been their bond in the truest sense of the term. We didn’t go to church but they somehow instilled in us that God was ‘real’.…..and that He was good!

All those things are important but the most important thing of all is that we were loved……in word…..and in deed. We let them down plenty of times with some of the dumb stuff we did….but they hung in there with us, always having our back and always believing in us, and never, ever wavering in their love.

In the final analysis I’d say if, when it’s all over, if I’ve been half as good a person as they have been…..I’ll have done pretty decent.

Cliff & Charlene Taylor, VIP’s to anyone who’s had the good fortune of knowing them!

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Some of It’s ‘Taught’……But Most of It’s ‘Caught’!

After observing for over half a century, and looking even closer the past 20 years or so it just seems to be a fact. We can spend a good deal of our time teaching or being taught…..and I’m definitely for that. I’ve committed myself to be a ‘learner’ up until my last day on the planet. And so far it seems to be working. It’s easy to be a learner if you want to be one. And, if you are really serious about being a learner it’s wise to understand that you can learn a little something from just about anyone.

Learning comes in a lot of different packages. (Experience is a great teacher. I’ll write about that later.) Some of our learning came in the classroom. Especially, early on, we learned from teachers (or our parents) how to read, how to write and basic things like that. So, obviously, a lot of what we have learned in our lives has been taught. But as I look at myself and my life it’s clear that much, maybe even most, of what I know, and what I’m actually living out….I’ve ‘caught’ from others along the way.

When I look at how I think and reason, how I behave and how I react to different situations it becomes pretty clear that I picked a lot of that up from my folks growing up and then being around them as an adult. I admire them to a great degree. I see them at least a few times a week (they’re in their 80’s) and I’m still ‘catching’ things from them. We have a tendency to ‘catch‘ things in life from those that at are ‘over’ us; parents, teachers, coaches, church leaders, etc.  It’s especially true when those people have been ones that we trust or admire.We can even ‘catch’ things from our friends who are on an even level with us. I think that ‘s a good thing. Even Paul in the Bible said, “Imitate me, as I imitate Christ.” 

So, from here on out, I think we should commit ourselves to both….what we’re ‘taught’..….and what can be ‘caught’. As I write this I kinda wonder what people might say they ‘caught’ from me.

I really hope some of it’s good.

If you liked this one….I think you might like these too:

*Click on highlighted link to read.

There’s Just So Much of This Stuff in Life We’re Gonna Have to Learn the ‘Hard Way’!

Listen More …….. Learn More!

There’s Something To Be Said For Not Knowing Anything!

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There’s Just So Much of This Stuff in Life We’re Gonna Have to Learn the ‘Hard Way’!

It seems like it’s just a universal trait of humanity; this learning stuff the hard way. I was re-reminded of this a few days ago when my littlest grandson, Maverick, got his most recent knot on the head. He’s a year and a half old and the cutest little guy you’ve ever seen. (a little partiality here, but you understand!) He had two wrecks in the span of about 4 days that put two good-sized nicks in the ‘ol noggin’! The first one happened when he tried climbing up on a big heavy chair made from a old style tractor seat. You can imagine how heavy that was. Well, he got up about one step and the chair tipped over backwards with him and the edge of the heavy seat caught him right under the left eye. Miraculously, it missed his eye or it could’ve been really bad. Off to the ER they went to get him tended to. We were out of town when it happened but I “Face-Timed” Cole & Kelly (his dad & mom) later and got to talk to Maverick, himself. It was just an hour or so after they got home from the hospital. His eye was swelled shut but he was already in a good mood. 

The other wreck happened as he was playing with the front yard gate at his house. It’s just a little 4′ gate made out of inch and a half square tubing. He was just having fun pushing it all the way around one way….then all the way around the other way. He built up a little confidence and got a pretty good run at it pushing it around. Well, you know, every swinging gate has a ‘stopping place’…..and Maverick found it…with his little forehead! I saw it coming from 30′ away but no way to get there before it happened. Immediate tears and a fifty cent piece size knot on his forehead reminded me again of how our lives go sometimes. Five minutes later he was running and playing again!

As much as we try and help our kids and grandkids avoid those kinds of things…it just seems like a fact of life that quite a few of our lessons are going to be learned that way. We could only wish those kinds of hard lessons ended with our childhood….but not to be true. It even seems that as adults we’re determined to defy logic, intuition and common sense, sometimes, to learn those lessons.

The good news is that “experience is a great teacher”!! Nothing like a hard lesson to help us not to do it again! And, you know, the Lord will let us just run past the wisdom, foresight and instruction of the Holy Spirit if we’re determined to. I’m trying to do better. I’ve had all the “lessons learned the hard way” that I really want. I think I’ll spend more time trying to listen to the Lord….and pay attention to what He’s saying to me!

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**Disclaimer: Being a ‘Taylor’ might make one have to learn more than their fair share of ‘hard lessons’!!

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‘Ol Mile Marker #62 – Well, That Sure Didn’t Take Long!

When they were telling us all that stuff about how fast life goes by….I was listening. But I had no idea it would happen this fast! I didn’t think I was ever gonna turn 21….Now I can barely remember when I was. It is amazing, looking back, how fast the years do go zooming by. So, here I am clipping along at 62, ….with 70 in sight. And, as it appears….no slowing up!

There’s a good number of milestones along the way, as I see it. It’s kind of a big deal when we hit 13 and become teenagers. Then, of course, 16’s the next one….when we start driving; that was a big deal. Next stop, 21….we can ‘legally’ go to the bar then! After that it’s 30 then 40. You know, “Life begins at 40”.….Makes me kinda wonder what was over at 39! Yep, 40 seems like a big one. It’s kinda like saying, “Adios” to the young life and “Hello” to middle-age. Then it’s 50…and the time between 40 and 50 went by in no time at all for me. I enjoyed my 50th birthday. The Perry’s (Daryle & Carrie) totally surprised me with a party at their place with about a hundred friends and family there. It’s one of the most memorable of my whole life. I tell everyone when they’re approaching 50, ’cause there’s usually some kind of thing to commemorate it, to really enjoy it….’cause when you turn 51….nobody cares!! lol

Then it’s the Big ‘6’ ‘0’!! Survived that one without much hoopla. And the 60 thing….it wasn’t painful at all. After all, 60’s the new 40, you know?! Well, that was two years ago. So here I am at the ‘ol #62 mile marker today and wondering how I got here so fast. I’m guessing 65 will arrive at my place in record time, and without much warning as well!

If you’re a youngster reading this I’d encourage you to ‘get ahold’!! It’s all gonna happen pretty fast. The Bible even says, “Life is a vapor”. I can totally relate. So, what’s a feller to do?? Well, to each his own but for me….I’m gonna keep my body movin’, I’m gonna try to worry less and laugh more. I’m gonna love and enjoy my wife more than ever. I’m gonna keep on enjoyin’ watching my kids become great parents themselves. I’m gonna keep on doing the one thing I know I’m good at…..being a Grandpa! I’m gonna see my Mom & Dad as often as possible! I’m gonna keep on enjoyin’ my friends! I’m gonna keep on helpin’ anyone who cares, …..to know God as a Father.

And, I’ve took a look out there; I can see out there a ways….65, 70, 80 ……….It all looks good from here!

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