Songs


I have not written on this blog for a good few years now, and at this point in time I do not feel that I should take up writing in this space again.   I have left up the blog as it was in 2009, because I see the chronicling of my time back then as (hopefully!) a testament to the Lord’s grace in both the good and the hard.  However, over the years various people have written desiring to know where my little family is in the world and what we are doing.  I have indeed continued to write, but as a songwriter and musician in the last years.  If you would like to keep up with me now and listen to some of my music, you can find me here:

www.letaylor.com

God bless you, and I look forward to connecting or reconnecting with you again!! 

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If you’ve ever seen the movie, ‘Waitress”, you will better understand my relatively newfound passion for cooking. In the movie, the main character bakes pies to get her through her emotional crises. It’s a good movie, I think.

I also love Patty Griffin, the singer/songwriter. She writes beautiful lyrics that usually are filled with pain but about moving on and getting stronger. Based off of her own life experiences, I’m sure. Newly and painfully divorced, she worked as a waitress at a Pizza Uno (a cheap pizza place), I believe it was, wore a hairnet, and hated her life. Until she started singing for people. Then she found purpose in her pain.

I used to sing one of her songs, “Making Pies” to Nathan. It was his favorite song I sang that wasn’t mine, and he would request it a lot. It used to make me sad, but, in some ways, I wanted to be a person that could understand the depths of the pain in it. Here are the lyrics to “Making Pies”. I suggest listening to it, and if you find a version where she’s singing it live with just her and her guitar, that’ll be so much deeper than the studio recorded version. If you can’t tell, it’s written in the character of an old woman:

It’s not far
I can walk
Down the block
To table talk
Close my eyes
Make the pies all day

Plastic cap
on my hair
I used to mind
Now I don’t care
I used to mind
Now I don’t care
Cause I’m Gray

Did I show you this picture of my nephew
Taken at his big birthday surprise
At my sister’s house last Sunday
This is Monday and we’re making pies
I’m making pies
Making pies
Pies

Thursday nights
I go and type
Down at the church
With Father Mike
It gets me out
And he ain’t hard to like
At all

Jesus stares at me
In my chair
With his big blue eyes
And his honey brown hair
And he’s looking at me
Way up there
On the wall

Did I show you this picture of my sweetheart
Taken of us before the war
Of the Greek and his Italian girl
One Sunday at the shore

We tied our ribbons to the fire escape
They were taken by the birds
Who flew home to the country
As the bombs rained on the world

5 am
Here I am
Walking the block
To table talk
You could cry or die
Or just make pies all day
I’m making pies
Making pies
Making pies
Making pies

I never cooked before Nathan died. Didn’t bake, didn’t fry, didn’t read recipes, didn’t cook. Nate made dinner for us. He was a gourmet chef of sorts, particularly with anything involving chocolate. Later, with a new baby on my own, I had to start making things, because especially when you are a single mother, you can’t afford to go out to eat all the time, it’s tiring taking baby all over the place, and you want to know what ingredients and nutrients you are feeding baby. So I started cooking. Everything I had tried before had always turned to mushy grossness. But now, suddenly, I was actually okay at it. It’s like God saved my cooking skills for when I would need them. Please don’t take this to mean that I am really good or anything. It’s just that when you REALLY suck at something, then suddenly you make edible, even pleasurable to eat meals, it’s great.

But more than just eating, baking in particular has become therapeutic for me. I started out with pies. Remember Pie Day Friday? That wasn’t sustainable, but from pies I moved out to muffins, then bread, and by then I had enough confidence to attempt everything else. I’ve needed some self-therapy lately, so I’ve been baking. “You could cry or die/Or just make pies all day” is the line from Patty Griffin’s song. I agree with it. Rather than thinking too much, it’s best just to make some pies and give them away.

Here’s a muffin recipe I really like. Found on allrecipes.com, I think. I haven’t given out any recipes lately:

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour                                1/2 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup sugar                                                       1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 teaspoon baking powder                                    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda                                        1 cup mashed ripe bananas

1/2 teaspoon salt                                                  3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine egg, oil, yogurt, and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients until just moistened. Fold in bananas and chocolate chips. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Makes 16 servings.

This is the rap that 2 month old Jack used to sing to his papa. It came from the brain of his homey, rap-genius mama:

Yo Yo Yo

My name is Jackabee

I’m a baby an’ I like my pacibee

When I see the otha babies I say

HEY!

To all my peeps in their cribs.

Hey. Hey. Hey.

I would pull up his hood, make him squat down while he sang it (supporting his back against my tummy, because he was, after all, only 2 months) and made him to rap arm motions to it, to make it authentic. Yeah, I’m such a cool mom. He’s NEVER going to be embarrassed of me.

Jack’s cool rap has made its internet debut because I’m slowly taking Jack off the pacibee. I feel sorry for him, but I don’t want him to have messed up teeth or have an addiction to it that’s harder to break later on. When I told my mom, bless her sweet little soul, she gave me the puppy dog look, “But Lauren, he’s so little…Just let him have it at nap time. You sucked your thumb until you were five and you didn’t turn out so bad!”

“Yeah, mom, unless you thought it was great fun to pay $5000 for braces? Or how I’m going to have to get braces again before my messed up jaw alignment that the first braces never fixed makes my jaw actually fall off my face (INVISALIGN, thankyouverymuch. My future braces mantra: I will get dates when I have braces…I will get dates when I have braces.). So…that little ordeal only turned out to be like $10,000 total. Yeah, totally worth it, right?”

“Whatever.”

I love her, but she’s like opposite-of-what-I-say “mom #2” that I have to cut out of my line of hearing in order to establish my own parenting style sometimes. Like when we go to my parents’ house and I tell Jack he can’t have another cookie, so he throws a fit. My reaction to fits? Ignore them. But what does he do? He goes to his grandma. Why? Because she caves. And she scoops him up against my will, all flattered at his usury, and runs off to the kitchen to get him a cookie or a warm glass of milk with a sprig of mint in it. Argh. She’s going to protest this post, too. But I just wrote about how I love her, right? Love you, mom. Plus, she’s a grandmother, and I will probably do these same things if I ever make it to grandmahood.

I tried cutting the tip off of one of his pacis at naptime yesterday. Oh man, he was mad! The entire parenting internet, which speaks only truth, spoke of how their kids just never wanted their paci anymore after they cut the tip off. They would just go, throw their paci in the trash, and skip happily off to the land of Big Boys and Girls Who Don’t Suck on Pacis. Not Jack.

I probably need to be more firm. But I give in at times, and then start thinking, “Well, we’re about to go through a big move, and maybe I shouldn’t introduce too much change all at once.”

But then I start thinking about what Nate would say, which would be: “Lauren, I don’t any genteel, sissy boy. He needs to learn how to take things like A MAN. What’s he sucking a paci for now, anyway? Let him cry. He’s a MAN.”

And I would say, “Honey, dearest, you’re ridiculous, love of my life. Because he’s a frikkin’ one year old. He’s not a man. And I don’t think he will suddenly be sapped of testosterone if I let him suck his paci until he’s 2.”

Nah, in all actuality, Jack would probably have him wrapped around his little finger by now, and Nate and Jack would have some sort of secret bonding society where they sneaked pacis (to Jack) and ate cookies all day. I’m just mean, then.

And so. The paci issue that I was firm on when I started writing this post is now yet to be confirmed at a later date. Dang. I ruined a perfectly good paci this morning, then.

I am INCREDIBLY embarrassed about my music. I get embarrassed singing it to anyone, I get embarrassed when people tell other people that I write music, I get embarrassed about any and all parts of music + Lauren in any conversation. Honestly, I think it’s stupid of me, probably selfish and prideful in some sort of deep way that needs psychotherapy to drive out of me, and I want to get over it. I want to get over it particularly for Nate.

You see, Nate and I always had an inside joke that I “seduced” him like a siren with my music and then wouldn’t play for him once he had sufficiently fallen in love with me and married me. He said it was a cruel trick of mine, I shrugged and tried not to hum out loud. Again, I don’t understand why I do that. When we were first getting together over a ski trip to Colorado with our church, I brought my guitar, and although he liked me before, this action plus singing my songs with it particularly did the trick in securing his affections for me.

When he moved to Chicago while we were dating, I gave him a CD with my songs on it, and he would listen to it a lot. The CD wasn’t/isn’t much…I had recorded them when I was 18, my voice wasn’t fully matured, some of them I had only been playing the guitar for about 3 months, they were simply done, etc. But he loved it. And he loved me for it.

Once married, I would sing for him occasionally, but not nearly enough as he wanted me to. I guess I thought we had a lifetime for me to sing all the songs he wanted, and I took it for granted. One night, we were driving in the car somewhere, and he said, “Lauren, would you sing for me at my funeral?”

Me: “Heck, no. I wouldn’t even be able to stand up, much less sing for you at your funeral. Besides, let’s hope I die first.”

Him: “You wouldn’t sing for me even at my funeral?”

Me: “Nope.”

Him: “Yes, you would.”

Makes me sad–No, sad isn’t the word…it’s some deep indescribable melancholy about the way things were, are now, the harshness of reality and death–to think about it, because he was absolutely right. I sang for him at his funeral. I sang my heart out until I was bawling like a baby onstage in front of everyone. I made everybody finish the song I had written just for him 5 days after he died. I wrote it on the horrible flight back from Oregon. The one where I had gone with my handsome, strong, invincible husband and sweet almost 3 month baby, and returned a week later with his ashes in a 5 inch long plastic box. It’s overwhelming to even try to think about now…

I’ll just tell you…it was a bad, bad flight for me. I opened my bible, and just asked God to do something, ANYTHING for me. Help me, help me. He showed me Job, “For the Lord gives and He takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Yes, that was it. Hell was glaring me straight in the face, so what was God telling me to do? Praise Him. Thank Him. So I did.

Here are the lyrics to my song I wrote mid-flight. The thing is being weird and won’t let me format it prettily, so I’ll just let it be weird and write it uglily (yep, that’s a word.):

Who am I to question You?/So high above me/For You give, and You take away./Blessed be Your Holy name.

Thank You for the gift You gave/I’ve never known a love like that/A life so full and a heart so true/No, I’ll never forget my beautiful Nate.

Thank You, thank You, thank You, thank You.

Lord, Your grace falls on me. Lord, Your grace falls on me.

Now he’s running so wild and free/For You give life eternally/So turn your eyes upon me now/And I will lift up mine and sing.

Thank You, thank You, thank You, thank You.

Lord, Your grace falls on me. Lord, Your grace falls on me.

I will keep praising. You have turned my sorrow to joy, my weeping to dancing, and death into Life.

Lord, Your grace falls on us. Lord, Your grace falls on us.

Everybody at Nate’s funeral sang that the Lord’s grace was falling on us. Nate would have loved that. What greater honor could there be that at your funeral, people thank God for His grace and goodness in giving you to them, and them praise Him for eternal life? And I knew God, especially, was proud that we must’ve been screaming back at Satan attempts to destroy us with such powerful words.

So…the point of all this is to say that Coffee Ambassadors is raising funds to buy a building in order to roast more, open a coffee shop, help more farmers, do more missions…etc. I can’t think of a business I want to support more for all the good it does now and the potential good it will one day do.

There are a million ideas floating around about how to raise said funds, but one practical way is selling my music. The CD that I gave Nate when we were falling in love.

So, if you would like to support Coffee Ambassadors, you can go to www.coffeeambassadors.com and buy some songs for 99 cents each. Click on Lauren’s music in the left hand column. If it does well, I’ll probably go in and record the ones I’ve written since we were married, and the ones I’ve written since he died. Also, the introduction, while well-written, makes me sound like some sort of celebrity, and that makes me want to curl up into a ball and die. So, either don’t read it, or just imagine me curled up in a ball, dying while you read it. ha ha.

I’m not going to be afraid to share my music, because Nate always wanted me to, and he would be proud of me. Thank you, Nate. Love you.

God has funny ways of working in peoples’ lives. How is it that He can over and over again do the very thing we don’t want Him to do, and then we end up realizing how wise, how loving, how wonderful He is when He does it anyway?
I didn’t want God to take Nathan. When I was 17, I woke up in the middle of the night with a song in my head. It felt like God was singing this song, this lullabye, over me as I slept. I quickly got up and wrote it down. It came all in one piece, in 5 minutes or so. I sang it over and over, imagining God singing it over me, imagining singing it over my family one day. A few months later, I was singing it one night when I suddenly envisioned singing it over my husband’s casket. I was 17, unmarried, Nate wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye. But I saw it so vividly, I remember crying about it that night. I didn’t sing it for awhile after that, and as time went on I forgot about that night. When Nate and I were engaged, Nate had food poisoning one time and got sick as a dog. He wanted me to sing to him. So, I remembered God’s lullabye for my family, and, seeing as I was engaged to him and wanted him to be my family so earnestly, I sang it over him while he was sick. Later, when I was pregnant, I sang it everyday to little Jack as he was inside of me, and, later still, when he was a little newborn baby. The night that they found Nate, they brought him back to me at his dad’s house. We sat in the back of a truck, and I held him like I had when he was sick and many other times, and I sang God’s lullabye for my family over him. As I sang, I remembered how I had envisioned one lonely night singing that song over my husband’s casket 7 years before. And I knew then, holding my stilled husband, that God had planned this for me from the beginning. But as I sang, I also heard the words I was singing, and it was as if God was singing over me right then. These are the words He sang over me:

In the beginning
Before there was time
I felt your heart beat
And I loved you then
And I love you still
I have and always will
And I don’t ever want to leave
I just want you here with me
Could you love me
Half as much as I love you?
I’d do anything for you
Just let me love you as I do
All I ask is that you mean it
When you say to me
That you love me.

And I don’t ever want to leave
I just want you here with me
Could you love me
Half as much as I love you?
I’d do anything for you
Just let me love you like I do
And no matter what life brings
I will always be.
And I’ll love you.
And I’ll love you.
I love you.
I love you.

I think I sang “I love you” a hundred times, over and over. Me singing it to my love, and God singing it over me.
I don’t think Nate thought he was ready to die yet, either. One week before his death, he had held a woman who had been in a bad carwreck as she lay dying. He came home upset and contemplative before me. I sat quietly at his feet while he sat on the bed with his hand laid on Jack’s head, and tears were streaming down his face.
“What are you thinking of, Nate?”
Quiet. Whispered, “You and Jack.”
I’m sure he didn’t want to leave us. But he also didn’t know what God truly had in store for him in Heaven, or for us here on earth.
All I know is, I couldn’t see it then, but his life has had a ripple effect. It started out small, just with his friends, but then it spread all around to people who never knew him, in places he had never been. Inspiration. A call to people to live life to the fullest. Don’t worry about insignificant things. Life it too short! Love your family and your friends. They are your legacy. Love, love in God’s name. He’s the one who justifies the unjust, comforts the grieving, lifts up the humble. He is the purpose of life. Nathan is a ripple effect. Thus comes the name of my blog here. Maybe, just maybe, Nate’s story, my story, Jack’s story, spreads life even farther. In its sadness. In its joy. In its pride. In its humility.
And so, for Nate, if anyone would like to tell a story about him, about the ripple effect his life has had, please leave a comment on it here. Doesn’t matter if you never knew him…maybe that’s better. Maybe you know me, maybe you don’t. Maybe you came across this blog by googling it or something. Maybe this post is a year old, and no one’s commented on it in ages. Doesn’t matter. I’d like for you to tell us. It’s all part of a ripple effect that you also carry on in your own life.
I love you, Nathan. You, in your life, made me a true woman. A woman who knew what it was to love someone more than herself. To know what it was to sacrifice. In your death, you made me realize how precious a gift is family, friendship, love. You made me realize not to hold on to things too dearly that will fade, but to push on, looking to what truly awaits me after my short breath of life has ended. Heaven. But my ripples will carry on down here. Thank you, darling, for the ripples that went through this heart.
Thank you, God.

mountain.jpg

Jack and I flew up to Chicago to see the rest of the Taylors and Pam this weekend. I love my family. Hopefully one of them will soon send me pictures of the weekend to post up.
Spending time with them, seeing them laugh, not as many tears now, seeing little boys just starting out in life…learning to share, to play, to love. Looking at my nephews, little Isaac (3 months) and Levi (2 years), I realized that I love those boys in a motherly sort of way. I don’t know what it is, but I just have this protection that I feel over them that I don’t necessarily feel over other kids (other than Jack Jack, of course). Maybe because I know they have a little bit of Nathan and Jack blood running through their veins, and Jack and Nathan a bit of theirs, and, after all, they’re family…I’ll love them forever. But not just Isaac and Levi, all of them. And I was just overwhelmed with love for our family, mine back home, and Nate’s in Oregon and Illinois. And that, in turn, made me think of my little family that is just mine, the one that was, and the one that is now, and the one that will be. And then I wrote a song. For Nate. For Jack.
Since I still lack the ability to record it still, here are the lyrics.

Miracle

We laid the baby down
Made nightly love
Then fell fast asleep

Went to work each day
Full of its toils
And came home every night to say

“Honey, I’m so glad
That I have you to come home to.”
We did and said it right,
But did we really know the miracle?

If we hadn’t gone to Oregon,
What would life look like now?
Your son would know a father’s love
I’d still be your wife.

You’d kiss me every morning
And hold me close at night
But would I still be blinded to
The miracle of
Ordinary life?
The beauty of
Every day
Every day

I lay the baby down
Snuggle up closer
Then fall fast asleep

Live and work each day
Full of its toils
And come home every night to say

“Baby, I’m so glad
That I still have you to come home to.
I know I make mistakes
But life with you is just a short-lived miracle.”

If we hadn’t gone to Oregon,
What would life look like now?
Your son would know a father’s love
And I’d still be your wife

You’d kiss me every morning
And hold me close each night
But would I still be blinded to
The miracle of
Ordinary life?
The beauty of
Every day
Every day

But I see it now
How I see it now
And I’m so grateful for the time that
I get with you, I get with you…
I got with you…I got with you.

Thank you for my new song, God.

I know, I know. This was originally supposed to be a song blog, and I have very few songs up on here. Please know that I am working on that. But I just remembered last night about this video from Skillman’s “Day on the Green”. It was so much fun. I love Skillman Bible Church. They’re my favorite small church ever. Anyway, some of you have probably seen this one, too. But, maybe some of you haven’t. But this one is “Little Great Man”, written for Jack Jack. I thought I would post up me singing a song on Nate’s bday cuz he would like that.

The video cuts in late and cuts out early, but here are the lyrics. I’ll put an asterisk next to where the song begins and ends on the video. Oh, and the lovely, wonderful, beautiful girl on the violin would be Laurie. She’s so pretty. I look so bored sitting next to her, but I’m really nervous as all get out. You should have seen us practicing for this with Aiden and Jack running around like wild banchees…

Little Great Man

Little, bright-eyed Jackabee
Full of wonder and wonders to be
God gave you sorrow while still a baby
To grow you stronger; a special blessing

**Your father was the greatest of men
You’re his living legacy
Even so, we knew you’d be greater than
We ever could have been

Dream big, work hard, and get down on your knees
To thank God for every single thing
Grow your love and give it away
Learn to grow from whatever comes your way.

And, my boy, know that I will pray for you
With a mother’s love.
And although I think of you as mine, I know
That you’re really God’s.

My little baby…God’s little great man.

Lord, hear my prayer as a humble mother
Give me wisdom and strength beyond my years

May I guide this life that You have given me so
Tell me what to do
And I see, he’s not mine to keep so I
Give him up to You.
The last time I held on too tightly,
You took it all away.
So this time I’m gonna release my grip
Though weeping I may pray.

There’s only gain if I lose him to You
**Look with favor and draw him to You
Give me wisdom to raise a great man
May he one day grow into the mightiest oak in all the land

Be bigger than my prayers I pray
I give him up to You.
Give me strength to always, to always
Give him up to You.
It’s all I can do
I give him up to You.
It’s the safest but hardest thing to do…
I give him up to You.

My little baby…God’s little great man.
Little baby…little great man.

To see the video, click here.

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