Very Random Things

Warning: This might be the most random post I’ve ever written.

I’m wearing white jeans and sandals today…after Labor Day. Please don’t tell my dad. At least my sandals are not white, and I do have on a cardigan. (And it is in the 70’s today) At my 8:15am dentist appointment this morning, the hygienist suggested I might be in denial about the current season, but then went on to commiserate over how we were cheated out of a proper summer this year. She and her husband have a boat and didn’t get much time on the water. Water skiing was almost out of the question, because then you’d have to ride around soaking wet in the cool breeze. I kind of hated answering her question about any trips we took this summer, but it made me relive our adventures in Greece all over again. So thankful for those warm and sunny memories, because the pumpkins and mums have now arrived in New England.

Speaking of the dentist, I finally made the whole family appointments, and I was the last to go. Good reports all around.  Would you believe no one in this family has ever had a cavity or needed braces? Dental mercies, I tell ya. (Well, I have several fillings, but those are from my teen years, and I might just be a test case for the fact that improving the diet strengthens the teeth and gums. And God’s mercy, too, of course.)

Moved Cooper into his dorm at Gordon College on August 28th
Izckra and I went to a Beth Moore conference in Springfield, MA August 25-26. Beth wasn’t able to get home to Houston right away due to Harvey’s destruction in Houston. Wonderful teaching by Beth as usual. Wonderful time with this dear friend, too. (And evidently, I really like these white jeans)

Kayla is in her third week of Challenge IV at Classical Conversations. This week she had to lead the Old Testament/Theology discussion on the book of Exodus. She worked really hard on it, got great feedback, and is falling more and more in love with God and His Word. It has been one of my main prayers for her. She’s both applying at a couple of colleges and considering a gap year, too, for which the Lord seems to be opening some interesting doors. We are praying for His continued direction here. In fact, I was literally sitting and praying for her (journaling it all) and asking God to show her what her next steps would be, when she came and found me just a little while later and told me she was pretty sure about the gap year. After that, a few opportunities for gap year activities were presented to us, and I’m learning more and more how much the Lord wants us to come to Him with the smallest and largest of concerns.

We’ve been gearing up for the return of the Five College Students at church. Enjoyed this free cookout last weekend for first-year students who were in town before upperclassmen.

I got to participate in Classical Conversations this week (I’m not teaching this year) by helping to take the Challenge II class on a quick field trip to collect pond water samples and leaves for a future tree identification project. I loved taking my previous classes to do this. There is just something about getting outside and being given time to observe and interact with the natural, created world. It’s just something the classroom and a textbook can’t truly offer.

I’ve hardly told one soul about this, but I was interviewed for a podcast last Friday. The night before the interview I had a dream that when Bethany, the interviewer, arrived at my house, I sent her down to the basement to set up in Robert’s office while I settled some matters with my kids upstairs. (Somehow my kids all reverted to being 12, 10, and 7 in my dream and needed some wrangling before I could meet with Bethany.) When I finally started down the basement stairs, after leaving Bethany to fend for herself down there, I found her mopping up an inch of water that was covering my basement floor. Evidently my washing machine had broken and leaked water everywhere. I was horrified.

This horrifying dream may have been because I was fairly horrified about giving this interview. 3,000 listeners? Yikes. I’m horrified at the sound of my own voice.  I spoke at a women’s breakfast for a church in central Massachusetts in the spring, and still haven’t listened to the recording for which the pastor’s wife (Hi Christina!) sent a link. Every time I happen to hear a recoding of myself, I wonder why anyone wants to sit and talk with me at all. Ever. Seriously. But I’m learning that many people feel this way, and that all this self-horror is really just too. much. self. focus. And I pray God would rid. me. of. that.

I don’t know when the podcast will air, and I’m still not sure why the interview took the directions that it did. All I know is that I prayed…A LOT. Prayed that it would all be led by the Holy Spirit, and that the things recorded would be just the things that some other woman needs to hear. And Bethany prayed. And then we prayed together before we recorded. So, I’m trusting that, as confused as I was about what ended up being talked about, God has a purpose. Here, I’ll give you a hint:

Just don’t make the mistake of listening to the “hey, girl” podcast – with lowercase letters and a comma. That would NOT be the one on which I’ll eventually appear. (Or on which my voice will eventually be heard. Ugh.)

One of my favorite things. This group – a very random assortment – was gathered around my table on Sunday after church. No one moved until 4pm, as we listened to each other’s stories of faith and new jobs and spontaneous proposals and weddings and ultra-marathons and growing up a homeschooled missionary kid in Afghanistan. Sweet fellowship.

Speaking of opportunities to be horrified at the sound of my own voice, I was invited to speak at a women’s retreat the first weekend of November, and have been working with the women there to decide on a topic. Several themes have been on my mind, and I look forward to which one they’ll choose, so I can begin preparing. (Especially since I just discovered it’s one of my heaviest workload weeks for my seminary class. (Old Testament II)  (Good thing we get to drop three quiz grades!) But one theme has been jumping out at me in my own reading lately.

I’ve really only read the gospels this year – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. (With some occasional departures into the Psalms and Colossians in moments of desperation.) My goal was to read all four gospels each month, and I was able to keep up with that until summertime arrived. Since then, I’ve still stayed in the gospels, really wanting to soak in all that Jesus did, all that He was and still is, but I’ve not made it through all four each month. As I’ve read, a few things have jumped out at me, one of them being how often Jesus touched people, and how often they touched Him.

Especially precious to me is the story of the woman with the long term issue of bleeding who anonymously reached out and touched the fringe of Jesus’ cloak. She was immediately healed of her chronic illness, and Jesus knew immediately that someone had touched Him even though there were hordes of people pressing in on Him. When He investigates and she comes forward, He says

“Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

I just love those words. And I don’t think she was just made physically well. I think she was made wholly well – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and yes, also physically. That she believed Jesus was powerful to make her well was a choice by faith, and that faith made her well from sin first and foremost. It reminds me of the paralytic man who was taken to Jesus by his friends. His most obvious need, his most presenting symptom, was physical disability, but Jesus forgave his sins first and foremost. His eventual healing of the man’s inability to walk was only a verification of His authority to forgive sin.

Faith in Jesus makes us wellsafe, kept safe and sound, rescued from danger or destruction – meaning the danger and destruction of sin, and faith also makes us well…thriving, strong, resilient, sane, healthy, hearty, and more.

He has done that for me. He has made this daughter of His well, and continues to do so on a daily basis. I’ve been praying for this wellness in one young woman in particular this week. I know the wellness is coming, but right now it doesn’t feel so certain to her.

So, I really don’t know how to transition from the woman who touched Jesus’ cloak to Taylor Swift, but I do hope and pray that Taylor comes to know this healing touch of Jesus by faith. How’s that?

This is from Urban Dictionary, and I have to say that I am in full agreement with this definition. 😉

My family and a few other Swiftie friends had a lot of fun tracking Taylor’s crazy marketing ploys for her new album a couple of weeks ago. The group texts were such a fun source of laughter and ridiculousness, and you know what? Sometimes laughter and ridiculousness are just what the doctor ordered.

For the record (I can never pun on purpose), I like her new songs. To be quite honest and vulnerable here, I think Taylor is a gifted, creative, gracious, strong, generous, humble, compassionate, and beautifully confident. I have a theory that people who love to hate on her, are actually just mad that she is able to embody all of those characteristics. Envy and jealousy are oftentimes obvious in our misplaced outrage. True story.

But I’d like to suggest a few edits to her most recent song, “Ready For It.” She has a couple of other songs that are just as suggestive, and I really wish she’d make a lyrical u-turn in this area. So, Taylor, if you are reading, tell me what you think of these changes:

I-I-I see how this is gonna go,

Propose to me, and we’ll never be alone

I-Island breeze, and we’re takin’ it slow

‘Cuz soon enough we’ll know

***

In the middle of the night, in my dreams

You should see our wedding day, baby

Mmmmm…

I can’t wait to be with you

So I pray and I pray

Are we ready for it?

I’ve got my eyes open for a part-time job for when Kayla goes off on her gap year or to college, and I’m really thinking Taylor might want to hire me. I mean…her songs only need this slight tweaking. And I could do it from home – after an initial meeting, autograph, and selfie, of course. It’s a win-win in my mind.

Here’s something else I haven’t told many of you, which has absolutely no connection to Taylor, well, except for the letter T. I’m going on a mission trip overseas. It will be a first for me. I’ve been on several mission trips – to Mexico a handful of times and to Louisiana to help with hurricane clean up in the early 90’s, but never overseas. I’ll get to work with a team and help with English classes, provide respite care for long term missionaries in the country, and participate in outreach to people on a spiritual (superstitious) pilgrimage during this season.  Here’s my team:

I’ve never had to raise my own support, though I’ve helped my kids do it several times. If you’ve sent me money, thank you so much. It has been so sweet to read the notes you’ve sent along with your gift, and I’m always overwhelmed by the joy with which people give. In many ways, you’ve taught me how to give – with both generosity of resources and encouragement. I’m not quite fully funded, but almost.

I leave in just about two weeks, and I’d really love it if you prayed for us – for many open doors to share the gospel, to bless others, to serve others, to learn about God’s work in a very different context than my own, and for safe travels. It’s still scary to me to cross an ocean in an airplane and leave all of my loved ones behind, but this invitation to mission and service seemed like one the Lord was asking me to take.

How’s that for randomness? Thanks for loving me enough to track right along.  I love sharing it with you.

Will You Forget Me Forever?

The assignment was to memorize Psalm 13:1-2.  And 1 Corinthians 10:13 too, but I sort of knew that one already.  So Psalm 13 is where I turned first.

How long, O Lord?
Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul having sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
v. 1-2

The assignment was given by a pastor we’ve had the privilege of meeting with twice a month to talk through ministry, marriage, and parenting challenges. These meetings have been a gift of grace. Who knew there was a colleague nearby who was gifted and trained to come alongside of us for encouragement, wisdom, and support? We would now consider him a friend – a friend unafraid to step into the challenging role of mentor and counselor. We’re planning on a near-future double date with he and his wife. That’s how encouraging it has been.

But difficult, too, as you can imagine, and as the assignment reveals.

So, I started memorizing.  I said them aloud and copied down the verses to get them in my head and in my heart. The memorizing was not difficult.  I even decided not to stop at verse 2 (and on a fairly sad note), since the lines were coming so easily. Like a familiar cadence, the words and stanzas seemed oddly second nature.

Today I realized why.

I have the week off from teaching my 10th-ish graders today at Classical Conversations. When we plan the teaching schedule for the year during the summer months, I always advocate (beg?) for taking a break the week after Easter rather than the week of Easter.  Holy Week is so wonderful ~ my favorite week of the year ~ but also very full. I’d rather teach that week, packing in one more thing, and then take a true breather from teaching and extra church activity the week afterward.

So today, the day I would have been teaching, I’ve spent the morning reading God’s word, praying, and reflecting. I even re-read my entire current journal which began in September. Not at all riveting, it was six months of what seem to be the exact same cries, pleas, and prayers for renewal, healing, restoration, and hope. John Piper says that the one thing that causes him to question the existence of God is the slowness of his own sanctification and victory over sin. I’m not sure that would be my first answer (I am, sadly, not that godly in my perspective), but his response is certainly confirmed in the pages of my own journal. Sanctification and the putting off of sin are slow in my life.

I have friends who burn their journals when they finish filling one up. And though I love archiving, I guess I can understand that somewhat. I just can’t bring myself to do it yet, and don’t know that I ever will be. So, for those who may read them in the future, here’s a warning: Each one is simply more of the same. (Honestly, there is probably more regress that progress.)

When I got to the October 15th entry of my current journal, there was Psalm 13.  I had written out each stanza with my own prayers interspersed.

I remember it now. On October 14 of this past fall, I was driving to meet a friend for lunch an hour away. The tears had been brimming since I’d awoken that morning, and in an attempt to not spill them all over her during our Panera Bread lunch, I plugged my phone into the auxiliary cord and found the Psalms on my Bible App.  (Taylor Swift does not do the trick in moments like those.) Psalm 1-13 played aloud in the minivan as I drove along Rt. 2 headed for Eastern MA. After Psalm 13, I just hit repeat over and over.

Consider me and answer me, O Lord my God.
Enlighten my eyes or I will sleep the sleep of death,
and my enemy will say “I have overcome him,”
and my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken.
v. 3-4

The words of David echoed my own longings and frustrations, and yet the gratitude of my own heart as well. I must have replayed it a dozen times.  No wonder it seemed such a familiar rhythm this spring. No wonder the memorizing came without effort. It was already there.

Five months ago, God had, unbeknownst to me, filled my heart and mind with a prayer that He would use in a very specific way this month.  A Psalm which He would literally assign me to memorize as a way to properly respond to the challenges at hand.

But I have trusted in your lovingkindness
My heart shall rejoice in your salvation
I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.
v. 5-6

If this isn’t proof that He deals bountifully with me, I don’t know what is. His seemingly harsh dealings with me were exactly what I was tearful about, and yet there He was providing the words to pray in such a situation. And then reminding me of it today.

No, He has not forgotten me.  (I really thought He might have.)

Yes, He has answered me and prevented the death of my hope and faith. (Not in the removal of the pain, but in the way through it.)

I can trust.

I can even rejoice.

As If…

Got this email reminder yesterday.  
As if we needed one.  
As if the countdown didn’t start way back in November or some crazy-early time like that ~ when the tickets were purchased, and after I spent a couple of hours of my life researching strategies for acquiring tickets to shows that sell out in the first 10 minutes.
As if we haven’t been Enchanted by the 1989 album ever since its release.
As if the outfit/costume planning didn’t begin about two months ago.
As if there was a Blank Space on the calendar this Friday night.
Friday night!  Just 4 more days! (Still don’t know what I’m wearing!)
We have a group of seven going, and one of my friends in the group, Missy, is a Special Education teacher near Boston.  Her students made a video spoof of Taylor’s “Shake It Off” and it is just so fun.  Take a few moments to watch it and share if you could.  They are really hoping to get Taylor to stop by for a visit when she’s in town this week. She’s well known for this type of kindness and generosity, so I think it’s a definite possibility! 
Isn’t that GREAT???
We just returned from a week of youth camp which is always wonderful and exhausting but mostly wonderful.  Laughing, worshiping, playing, and enjoying such sweet fellowship with those who return year after year.  Robert and I got away for a quick lunch with Lars (Elisabeth’s husband) who’s only five minutes from the Gordon College campus, and I’ll tell you about it as soon as I can.
First….about 200 pages of Ethics reading, two quizzes, a 12 page research paper on biblical patriarchy vs. modern day fatherhood (focusing on Dominionist theology, Rushdoony, Doug Phillips, the Quiverfull homeschool movement, etc.), feeding my family (no food here after 10 days away at camp!), and…………shopping for my concert outfit, of course. 

Start Spreading the News…

We’re leaving today. We want to be a part of it.  New York, New York.
These little town blues are melting away…
That’s right.  By the time this blog post shows up in your news feed or Google Reader, Kayla and I will be well on our way to New York City along with my friend, Izckra, and her daughter.  This has been a long anticipated trip and a promised birthday gift (since December!) to one of Kayla’s best friends.
And you can bet we’ll be cranking Frank Sinatra AND Taylor Swift all the way there.
(Frank Sinatra always makes me think of my high school boyfriend’s father who was (in)famous for lip-synching this song at wedding receptions and parties, etc. ~ complete with dollar bills being tucked into his suit by admiring women. Ha!) 
(And hello, Traci, if you’re reading! 😉  You are a good daughter.)
AS much as I dread the literal six months of winter that New England promises every year, one thing I love about living in this part of the country is that Boston and New York are just a stone’s throw away.  So is the beach.  So are the mountains. In fact, if you drive 2 hours in any direction, you are in a whole new culture and landscape.  I love that.
People who live here, though, don’t necessarily ever drive 2 hours from where they live.  Boston?  That’s 80 miles east!  Why would you want to drive all that way and find yourself in a busy city?  New York City?  That’s 3 hours.  You must be crazy.
Yes, I must be, because I love it.  In fact, as I write this I’m lamenting all the places I haven’t yet been after living in New England for 15 years now. (July 15 is our 15 year anniversary of moving here!)
But I’m from Texas, and you could drive for six or eight hours in some places there and never see another car or house or human.  I’m exaggerating a bit, but I’m used to at least a two hour trip to get to the next town or major city.  Growing up, going to the beach was about a five hour trip.  In fact, occasionally, we made that trip in my grandpa’s little Cessna airplane. (I was much braver then) Anyway, the reality of living this close to Boston and New York is very exciting to this perpetual tourist.
And Boston is my favorite of the two, but I think I’ve mentioned that before.
  

 Our NYC itinerary is all typed up and printed out and includes the following:

Getting up EARLY!
Riding the train from Greenwich, CT to Grand Central Station
Shopping on 5th Avenue (Ummmm… window shopping mostly.)
Picnic lunch in Central Park
Argo Tea Cafe at Columbus Circle
Times Square and Rockefeller Center wandering
Subway to Union Station
Lush (gotta get more of our favorite dessert….I mean, face mask!)
Soho Shopping (more windows…)
Pearl River Market
Babycakes (gluten free, vegan bakery!  wonder if there’s anything paleo?)
Dinner at Risotteria (huge gluten free breadsticks, pizza, sandwiches, desserts) ~ and hopefully with old friends from elementary school!
Back to Grand Central and Greenwich and HOME!

All in one day!  I love it.

See ya soon with a pictorial update.

Dear Taylor Swift…

Oddly enough, it was several several years ago in Vermont that I first paid any attention to you.  My husband and I decided to take an afternoon off and drive an hour north on a beautiful summer afternoon.  We ended up in a little cafe for iced coffee and cookies. They happened to be playing some sort of a documentary or extended news story featuring you there on the TV which hung in the corner near the ceiling. You must have still been a teenager then.

I remember thinking that I was supposed to disdain you, to think you were some silly, girly, flash-in-the-pan pop star.  Those were the murmurings I had heard. But I was drawn in by what I saw, impressed by what I learned.  You were intelligent, creative, tenacious, hard-working, kind, funny, and strong. You still are.

A few years later, my then small daughter grew into a tween and got interested in you and your music.  Now she’s a full-fledged teenager and still a devoted fan. She gets made fun of for this by some of her friends and others, but the more I learn about you and your music, I’m not sure why. Actually, that’s not quite true.  I think I do know why.

Kayla was pretty excited about her new RED hoodie last Christmas.
Listening to your music while wearing your hoodie (sort of) while drawing in her new sketch book.

And because my daughter adores you, I’ve done some research and learned a few things about you for myself. For example, you love your parents and appreciate all they did to nurture you. You are kind and gracious in the face of unwarranted criticism.  (That Kanye West thing….and your song about the Ellen Show on the Ellen Show are just two of many examples) You are more interested in your art than your fame. You dress modestly, and aren’t afraid to embrace and highlight your femininity. (And there’s the reason I think people love to hate you.  They don’t know what to do with a strong, yet beautifully feminine woman.) You are generous with your wealth. You are authentic and honest.  You know your own strengths and gifts and aren’t afraid to pursue them.  You consider others, but you are not a people-pleaser in the negative sense. You don’t take yourself too seriously. Your style doesn’t change to reflect what the culture demands. You are genuinely surprised at your fame and accolades, humble and human.
You are yourself, no apologies.

Thank you for these things that you are, that somehow you choose to be. They are things I want for my daughter ~ a confidence in herself because she is created uniquely ~ in the image of God Himself, we believe.

Funny how being a fan of yours gives her an opportunity to live out that confidence. Funny how it is, for my daughter, similar to being a Christian, something that is also misunderstood and mocked quite a lot around here.  She learns to take a gentle, firm stand on her respect and love for you (and other things unique to her), and at the same time, as strange as it may sound, she learns to do the same for her Lord.

Due to my extensive research, I have now also come to adore you (I really don’t know who wouldn’t after an honest evaluation) as well as your music. (Not everyone has to love your music, of course, but in my book, they should at least respect you.)  I was hopelessly devoted to Olivia Newton John all throughout my childhood, so it seems like the natural course of things to also love you in my forties. I may have even taken several solo road trips in the last few years to various New England cities, airports, friends’ houses in which I secretly made sure my daughter’s iPod was still connected to my minivan stereo, so that I could crank “Red” and sing “All Too Well” over and over at the top of my lungs. That’s my current favorite song of yours (with “Begin Again” and “Everything Has Changed” as close seconds), and you performed it ALL TOO WELL at the Grammy’s this year.

Speaking of your music, thank you for your lyrics.  They are not often sexual, but when they are, they reflect honestly the powerful and addictive nature of sex, like in “Treacherous.”

“And I’d be smart to walk away, but you’re quicksand.
This slope is treacherous, this path is reckless
This slope is treacherous, and I, I, I like it
I can’t decide if it’s a choice, getting swept away…”

Yes, we all get pulled by the gravity of that treacherous slope at some point in our lives.  Thank you for being honest and telling my daughter that it’s just that ~ treacherous ~ and you’d “be smart to walk away.” It helps me to talk with her about how difficult it is to walk away once there, and that she can make a decision regarding “getting swept away” particularly if she doesn’t place herself in tempting situations.

And thank you for lyrics that reflect how a man ought to properly treat a woman. “Trouble” illustrates that in a negative way, but gets a pertinent point across:

“Once upon a time a few mistakes ago, I was in your sights, you got me alone
You found me, you found me, you found me
I guess you didn’t care, and I guess I liked that, and when I fell hard, you took a step back
Without me, without me, without me…
And he’s long gone when he’s next to me, and I realize the blame/joke is on me 

‘Cause I knew you were trouble when you walked in”  

It’s so true, Taylor.  So many women fall for unavailable, insensitive, selfish guys, because they don’t know their own worth, and so I’m glad you also sing about the good guys, like in “Begin Again”:

“Walked in expecting you’d be late, but you got here early and you stand and wave, I walk to you
You pull my chair out and help me in, and you don’t know how nice that is, but I do
And you throw your head back laughing like a little kid
I think it’s strange that you think I’m funny ’cause he never did
and I’ve been spending the last eight months thinking all love ever does is break and burn and end
But on a Wednesday in a cafe, I watched it begin again”

A cafe date? On a Wednesday?  He pulled out your chair? Thanks for showing girls everywhere what they deserve, what they should expect.

And I love it that you mention family so often, Taylor.  When I first heard the song, “The Best Day,” I said skeptically to my daughter in the passenger seat, “I certainly hope Taylor is talking about her mom here.”

 “She is, Mom,” she happily replied.

“I’m thirteen now and don’t know how my friends could be so mean
I came home crying and you hold me tight and grab the keys
And we drive and drive till we found a town far enough away
And we talk and window shop until I forgot all their names”

And it was confirmed that you were talking about your love for your family when you say this:

“I have an excellent father, his strength is making me stronger
God smiles on my little brother, inside and out, he’s better than I am
I grew up in a pretty house and I had space to run
And I had the best days with you”

Thank you for showing my daughter how cool it is to love and appreciate your family.

And thank you for showing her that other families also like to pull out embarrassing childhood photos:

“Photo album on the counter, your cheeks were turning red
You used to be a little kid with glasses in a twin-sized bed
And your mother’s telling stories about you on the tee ball team
You tell me ’bout your past thinking your future is me”
~ All Too Well

Hanging out with your boyfriend’s family at his house and talking about normal life ~ how refreshing!

And I even love your unapologetic portrayal of a woman’s desire to be a beautiful bride, to be married, sacrificed for, and settled into a future with one man.

“Romeo, save me, I’ve been feeling so alone
I keep waiting for you but you never come
Is this in my head? I don’t know what to think
He knelt to the ground and pulled out a ring and said
‘Marry me, Juliet. You’ll never have to be alone
I love you and that’s all I really know.
I talked to your dad ~ go pick out a white dress
It’s a love story, baby,  just say, “Yes”‘”
~ Love Story

While I will have to emphasize that getting married will never complete my daughter, nor should it be her ultimate goal, I’m thankful that the desire is validated somewhere in a culture that thinks it either an unnecessary, irrelevant institution or advocates for its aberration ~ which is sort of ironic when you think about it.

And I know they make fun of you for your supposed “serial dating,” but as you responded to Tina Fey in a Vogue interview, it’s only been two guys since 2010.

So… “don’t you worry your pretty little mind.  People throw rocks at things that shine.”
~ Ours

It’s so true, Taylor, people are so ready to throw stones, and you handle it with lots of grace and humility.  And speaking of those who mock you, it’s also true that women are the worst misogynists. The WORST. Let me apologize for that.  It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with their own jealousy. The thing is, you understand that, and it’s part of what enables you to rise above those petty, catty situations.  One of those totally uncalled for criticisms occurred recently when you wore this outfit.

Seems other women didn’t like that you chose a vintage, modest, DRESS.  I mean, what are you trying to do ~ repress our sexual freedom by covering your body and wearing something too “feminine.”  I think the confusing rule goes something like ~ one or the other, but please, not both. Thank you for not listening to the mixed messages, Taylor.  Thank you for being a lady, dressing like one, and sending the message that it’s okay.

The song that sort of “sealed the deal” for me regarding your worthiness of my daughter’s affection was “Fifteen.”  I want to thank you for being honest and bold enough to write this song.  There is so much truth in it.

“Cause when you’re fifteen and somebody tells you they love you
You’re gonna believe them
And when you’re fifteen and your first kiss makes your head spin around
But in your life you’ll do things greater than dating the boy on the football team
But I didn’t know it at fifteen
When all you wanted was to be wanted
Wish you could go back and tell yourself what you know now
Back then I swore I was gonna marry him someday
But I realized some bigger dreams of mine
And Abigail gave everything she had to a boy who changed his mind
And we both cried…”

I spend quite a bit of time with women who “gave everything she had to a boy” and they regret it, are completely broken over it. Somehow, though, when the secular, pop culture world reinforces the biblical truth from the screen and stage, it helps those who might not be fully convinced of what God Himself has been gently teaching for eternity: casual sex is an oxymoron. When the message comes from you, even subtly, it encourages girls to hold on to something they probably already know deep down, since the law of God is written on their hearts.  I think you might even be aware of this, coming from a Presbyterian church-going family.

I’m just so thankful that you tell the truth.  So many in your business lie about the consequences of promiscuous, outside-of-marriage sex, glorifying the thing that so often brings shame and destruction.

So, my sincerest thanks to you.  That my daughter has chosen you as her favorite celebrity and pop culture role model is, so far, fine by me, because of your choices and message.  I say “so far,” though, because time has a way of testing things, and you are still young.  But you also started young, very young in fact, and you’ve maintained a rare consistency in that amount of time. I pray it will only continue and grow. More than that, I pray, as does my daughter, that you will come to know, in a deeply personal, saving way, the God who has granted you these gifts, this grace.

Hi Taylor!  Warmest greetings from chilly-in-December-Massachusetts!

Yes, we adore you, Taylor, and wish, as all your fans do, that we could be among your BFFs. Keep doing what you do best, and know there’s a mama and a daughter pulling for you, enjoying you, and praying God’s best for you.

Sincerely,
Melanie