Archives for May 2012

May 23

What’s Holding You Back?

My line of work often takes me out of town and this particular weekend in January, 2012 was no different.  Well, except it was on a cruise. To Cozumel. With a bunch of fun Christian ladies.

I was invited by Premier Christian Cruise’s Girls Getaway Cruise to speak about my very favorite thing in the world…Online Bible Studies.  The cruise featured a mini-She Speaks Conference and I taught 2 sessions on “How to Start, Lead, and Maintain an Online Bible Study.”  It was so much fun!  I mean, I had sunshine, the best food ever, the company of great speakers like Lysa TerKeurst~Angela Thomas~Lisa Bevere, got to hang out with everyone’s favorite girlfriend~ Mary Snyder, enjoyed a full day in Cozumel, Mexico, dined with the best editors~agents~authors in the business, did Zumba in the fresh sea air, relaxed by the pool, and had the extreme pleasure of spending hours with Glynnis Whitwer, who just happens to be the editor of The P31 Woman Magazine and the author of I Used to Be So Organized. Even better than that though she’s my friend. And a really good one at that.

I’ve known Glynnis for years. We’ve worked and served together at Proverbs 31 Ministries for a long time. There’s been just one thing to keep me from knowing Glynnis as well as I would like to…distance. Like a long distance. East coast to west coast. We see each other a few times a year at a conference or meeting, but usually at these events we are working and running in opposite directions. This event was different. We not only worked together, but also had a lot of free time together. At the time of this cruise I had not planned to do an online study of I Used to Be So Organized.  Wanna know why?  I was scared. Yep, fear was holding me back.

You see, I have never been organized. I’ve made my attempts and they usually work for a while but then crazy life takes over and my mind, house, car, and workspace gets cluttered.  (If you can’t see the picture here, click here.)

Look at my desk today.

Just the word “organized” makes me feel sick because I’ve failed at it so many times. I finally just accepted that maybe I’m just not organized.

The truth is though, that I believe God wants better for me. I spend (waste) way too much valuable time looking for misplaced items, worrying about unnecessary things, and living in a state of disarray. I blame it on working full time and running a home with 4 active kids….those are good excuses right?


While sitting by the pool in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, Glynnis and I were discussing her book, I Used to Be So Organized. I explained to her how that book was NOT for me, I had never been organized in the first place. To my surprise she replied, “I think it is for you.”  I went on the explain the clutter, piles, and disorganization of my home and office. She said, “This book is practical and could be helpful in organizing your stuff Melissa, but even more this is a book about bringing order to your life and peace to your world.”   Ahhhh… she had my attention. I decided to take another look at I Used to Be So Organized, but this time with an open mind.


Check out a few of the chapter titles:

Welcome to the New Reality
I’m Somewhere in Here
Setting Reasonable Expectations for Yourself
Establishing Priorities
Simplify Your Schedule First
Remove the Clutter
Where to Start
Time Management
Overcoming Paper Clutter
Taming Technology
Meal Planning for Health and Sanity
Functional Living Areas
Closets and Storage Spaces
Keeping it Real

After reading the chapters and the reviews of this book, I knew Glynnis was right. This book was for me. And I bet it’s for a lot of you too.

Unlike other Online Bible Studies I’ve led here, this one is a lot different. There won’t be questions at the end of each chapter to answer. Instead we will engage in rich discussions, sharing with each other, and applying practical application of the principles in this book into our own lives. There will be no pressure to do it all, Glynnis is a “keep it real” kind of woman. There will be a lot of prayer, Scripture, and of course the return of the Word of the Week and Verse of the Week.  God willing video messages will also return. Glynnis will also deliver a message to us each Friday with a weekend activity . I want this summer study to be light, fun, practical, but as always life-changing. I want you to have a feeling of accomplishment. Even if one good change is made, then we’ve succeeded!

I hope you will join me! All you need to participate is the book I Used to Be So Organized and internet access so you can keep up with our lessons, assignments, messages, and fun on my blog.

What’s holding you back? Sign up today. Hurry! If you sign up by noon Thursday EST (we extended it) and you will be entered to win a fabulous Organizational Gift Pack! 

Study begins June 3rd and you can get all the details here. Sign up in the spaces provided in the right column of this blog.

You can also follow Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Studies on Facebook.

You can follow Melissa on Twitter too.

If you are joining this study or you  follow me on Facebook or Twitter, leave me a comment here and tell me a little about yourself. I look forward to studying, doing life, and keeping it real with you! (If you are receiving this via email, click here to leave a comment.)

Have a great day y’all!

May 21


Do you know what a burpee is?  Until January of this year I did not.

I was on stage with Lysa TerKeurst filming her live webcast for Made to Crave. She asked me to join her so I could talk about the Online Bible Study I was leading for Made to Crave. That was my only reason for being there. Until…

Lysa had a group of people from her boot camp join her for the Made to Crave Challenge. They were challenged to select one healthy change in their lives and make it a discipline for the next six weeks. She asked them, they answered, then she turned the microphone on me. “Melissa, what is your healthy change?” she asked.  “Uhhhh, well I am going to make exercising consistently part of my routine again.”  To which Lysa replied with way too much excitement, “PERFECT! You can join us for boot camp three days a week. You will won’t you?”

Ok, now remember I’m not only caught on the spot, but we are also on LIVE webcast! No retakes or do overs. What else could I say except,  “Sure, I’d love to.”  “Great! We will see you Wednesday and report your progress in a few weeks!”

What in the world had I gotten myself into?

Let me tell you a little about our Body by Buck boot camp.

*It’s the hardest workout I’ve ever done in my life. It changes each time, plenty of variety, hard core, using every muscle in your body, and pushing to the extreme with all kinds of equipment, your own body weight, and cardio to the max. The first time I went, I was exhausted after the first ten minutes and Lysa looked at me and said, “That was just the warm up.” That should have clued me in.

*It’s the most encouraging workout I’ve ever done. Buck and Kelly (our trainers) push us hard, but they are so motivating, encouraging, sweet, and helpful. The others in the class cheer each other on so there is no quitting. Just when you think you can take no more, Kristi will shout from the other side of the room, “Come on Melissa, you can do it…you can do anything for 15 seconds…we got this!”

*It’s early in the morning. It starts at 5:30 am. That’s all I’ll say about that.

*It’s something I thought I’d do for a little bit, to fulfill my commitment to Lysa, then quit. No way. I’m in it for the long haul. It has become an important part of my life: physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. And because I know there’s a group waiting on me to show up, I’m going to go. When someone isn’t there, we really miss them.

*I’ve seen improvement in my performance. I still feel like I’m going to die with each workout. During the workout, I admit, I have said the words, “I can’t do this.”  But I have found out that I can. And I’m much better than I was 4 months ago.

*There are all shapes and sizes in our class. Anyone can do boot camp. There are modifications for each exercise. No excuses. I injured my knee falling off of my high heels a few weeks ago. My first thought was, “Oh, now I can’t do boot camp.” WRONG. Modifications were made, I worked out just as hard, and now my knee is all back to normal. (no comment about the falling off high heels please)

*Our least favorite word in boot camp is burpee. Burpees don’t look so hard to watch someone else do them. Take my word for it. They are hard. Try for yourself. (If you can’t see the video below, click here.)

The only difference between my burpee and this girl in the video is I don’t do that split jump, I just jump straight up. Also, I go all the way to the ground on my belly when I go down. Push up occasionally. Go ahead and try them. Have fun :)

*Our favorite words in boot camp are “1,2,3…BOOTY CAMP!” Because that signifies the end of class. That’s the call that says, “we did it!”  “we rock!”   “we are changing our bodies!”  “we are strong and healthy!”

Are you doing anything to keep yourself fit?

I can’t help you much with the nutrition or exercise, but I can help you stay spiritually  fit in God’s Word. I’d love for you to join me for our next Online Bible Study, I Used to Be So Organized. The study begins June 3rd and all you need to participate is the book and internet access. Sign up information can be found here. It’s going to be a great, fun, and practical study filled with discussion, application, and the Word of God. I hope you will join us!

We have two give aways going on. Give Away #1 has a winner. Congratulations Frieda! You commented on my blog and Taylor Koziarz’ blog and was randomly selected to win a copy of our next Online Bible Studies book, I Used to Be So Organized. I emailed you, so check for details.

Give Away #2 is a biggie and you still have time to enter. Sign up for the Online Study, I Used to Be So Organized by Wednesday at midnight and you will be entered to win an Organized Gift Pack containing our study book, journal, pen, highlighters, post it notes, daytimer, and items to help keep you organized. Sign up information can be found here.

Many of you did Made to Crave with me either this year or last year. How are you doing with the changes you made in your life as a result of that message? Eating healthier?  Taking care of your body? Staying in God’s Word? Please share in the comment section of this blog, your one healthy choice or what you are doing to keep fit physically and spiritually. I’ll share mine too!

We Got Da Powahhh! (My MTC gals know exactly what that means!)

Love y’all!

May 18

Organized Give Aways

***To those of you who received this post via email yesterday, I apologize. User error…the user being me~  Read on anyway, I added a few things.***

If you are visiting from the Proverbs 31 devotion, welcome! I’m glad you stopped by and I hope you’ll stay a while.

Before I share my Top Ten Ways to Connect With Your Children, I’d like to share something that’s applicable to almost everyone, whether you have children or not.

I lead online Bible studies and my next one is perfect for the summer. Many people like to take the summer “off” and I can understand that, but I also think what better time than the summer to get some peace and order in your life so you are ready to go strong in the fall?  My next online study will be of Glynnis Whiter’s popular book, I Used to Be So Organized. The study will take place right here on my blog and I’d love to have you join me! Author, Glynnis Whitwer will be an active part of this study, offering us weekly input and encouragement. I’ll be posting video messages again and sharing first hand the progress I’m making in my very cluttered life!  There will be simple assignments and lots of motivation and encouragement. We will be digging into God’s Word as we restore order and peace to our lives. Do you need to declutter your life? Well, sign up for this study.

Sign up in the right column of my blog and get more information here. We get started June 3rd!

Those who sign up for the Online Bible study by Wednesday, May 23rd will be entered to win an Organizational Gift Pack filled with a  book (I Used to Be So Organized), a daytimer, journal, pens, highlighters, post it notes, P31 Woman June issue magazine featuring someone we might know, and conference call series for this study. Winner announced Thursday morning!

If you read today’s devotion, you know I’ll do anything to connect with my children. The cool thing about me texting my kids a Bible verse each day is that now I even text some of their friends and other special young ones in my life a Bible verse also. Not because I decided to do that, but because they asked for it!  If you are looking for different ways to connect with your kids, I surveyed a few trusted sources and listed a few of my favorites here in my Top Ten Ways to Connect With Your Children.  I hope you find them helpful. And before you leave here today, share with me in the comment section some special ways you connect with your children.

Top Ten Ways to Connect With Your Children

By Melissa Taylor

It ranks among one of my top priorities in life. I know my time with them is borrowed. My own mother told me to make the most of the time I have with my children, because it will be gone before I know it. Wow, isn’t that the truth?  But what exactly does it mean “to make the most of the time” we have with our kids?  I think a lot of it has to do with the ways we choose to connect with them.  There are many ways we can find to bond with our children. Here are my Top Ten.

10.  Ignore your cell phone when you are with them. Let it ring and let the caller leave a message!  Send the message to your child that they are #1 and way more important than anyone who may be calling you.

9.  Show up. Be there for their special days, no matter how little or big the event or the child is.

8.  Game Time. Playing games is a great way to just hang out, be competitive, insert values when they don’t realize it, and just have fun! There are so many fun family games. Just last night, I observed my 9 year old daughter playing “Go Fish” with my husband. It was the tiniest deck of cards you ever did see, but they were laughing and having the best time.

7.  One on one time. Be intentional on having some time just for you and one of your children. For me, this is tough sometimes. I have to make this happen. For example, my daughter and I have a lot of time alone and we do a regular Mommy~Daughter date night, but my sons and I don’t.  (We used to, but since they have gotten older, not so much.) I have to create that time so I try to select an activity that will intrigue them…like going to Starbucks, to a sports store just to look around, to a movie then ice cream, or sitting in the garage to listen to the drums.  The activity isn’t so important as the time is.

6.  Family Devotions. Priceless. If you can get your whole family together for some Family Time Devotions and discussion, do it!!!!  It’s a great time to have the opportunity to bring God’s Word to life and learn to apply to real life. My kids learned how to look up Bible verses because of family devotions.

5.  Car Time/Bedtime. You have a captive audience in the car, don’t let that time slip by.  Talk to them. Pay attention to what they want to listen to on the radio and let them listen to it.  Ask them about their day. And at bedtime, tuck them in.  Again, you have a captive audience. Sometimes this is when your kids will just unload. For some reason mine seem to let their guards down at bedtime. Pray for them and let them hear you.

4.  Family Meals. Whether you are a single mom or the mom of six, try to make time for a meal together. Not only does it encourage conversation, but also table manners.  We used to all have breakfast together. Something we like to incorporate into our Dinner time is reporting the  High-Lows:  Each person reveals their high of the day and their low of the day. Quite telling.

3.  Get interested in what they love even if it’s not what you love. Find out the best way for THEM to communicate. This may not be your #1 way. Follow them on Facebook.  Look at their iTunes music files. Play their video games. Text them. Get to know their friends and love them.

2.  Talk to them about anything! And listen too! From early on, let them know that they can ask anything, talk to you about anything, or approach you with any subject.  NOTHING is off limits. Oh I have stories on this one!

1. Be available. Show your children that they matter by being available to them.

And finally, one I can’t leave off.

*Pray for them. Pray a specific verse for them. Let them know you are doing this. It may be a life verse you have claimed for them or just a prayer you have on your heart that day. This is a way you can connect with them EVEN IF THEY DON’T RESPOND TO THE OTHER 10 SUGGESTIONS.

Thank you to my Facebook and Twitter friends, P31 gals, Fab 5,  and also to my own kids and husband for their ideas in helping create this list. I love you and would not want to do life without you! Xoxoxoxo

Last but not least:

Want a tween girl’s perspective on texting?  Visit sweet Taylor Koziarz’ blog today. She shares her views on tween texting, what she likes about it and what she doesn’t like about it. She’s new to blogging and great young writer. After you comment here, pop on over and say “hi.”  I know it would make her sooooo happy to hear from you!  Comment on my blog and then Taylor’s blog and you will be entered to win the book I Used to Be So Organized.  This winner will be announced on Sunday morning.


Hope you got all that. We have 2 give aways and an awesome Top 10 presented here today.

Give Away #1~ Sign up for the Online Bible Study by Wednesday at midnight and you will be entered to win an Organizational Gift Pack. Winner announced Thursday morning.

Give Away #2~ Leave a comment on my blog and Taylor Koziarz’ blog and you will be entered to win the book, I Used to Be So Organized. Winner announced Sunday morning. Make sure if you comment anonymously that you at least include your first name. Thanks!

Top Ten Ways to Connect With Your Children~ Hope you find these useful :)

Love and Big Blessings!