The MacGregor Legacy - From Scotland to the Carolinas

(Book 1 - For Love or Loyalty) (Book 2 - For Love or Country) (Book 3 - For Love or Liberty)

Path of Freedom, Quilts of Love series

1858 North Carolina - When Quakers Flora Saferight and Bruce Millikan embark on the Underground Railroad, they agree to put their differences aside to save the lives of a pregnant slave couple..

Highland Sanctuary, (Highland series - Book 2)

1477 Scotland - A chieftain heir is hired to restore Briagh Castle and discovers a hidden village of outcasts who have created their own private sanctuary from the world.

Highland Blessings, (Book 1 - Highland series)

1473 Scotland - The story of a highland warrior who kidnaps the daughter of his greatest enemy and clan chief to honor a promise to his dying father.

Awakened Redemption (Inspirational Regency)

1815 England - A story that pierces the heart and captures the Regency era.

Monday, December 31, 2012

A Brief Look Back & What Will 2013 Bring?

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

For my family, I pray it brings healing and restoration. In 2011, we watched two family members battle cancer, as they endured surgery and radiation. One made it and the other did not. We grieved. We coped. And we continue to love and cherish our memories.


Here is a video my daughter made for my father-in-law on Father's Day, 3 months before he passed away. Remembering Winston Taylor. Also, here is a tribute I wrote regarding my father-in-law on his birthday. Giving Thanks for More Time.

At the same time as we were losing Winston, my mother fought a very aggressive breast cancer. She is a survivor! Here is a tribute I wrote to her on Mother's Day! A Tribute to My Teen Mother.

By now, many of you know that in 2012 my daughter began having seizures after being seizure-free and med-free for over eleven years. It marked the beginning of many challenges. Additionally, we discovered that our daughter also had Asperger's Syndrome. In October, I wrote a post on how our life changed, November is National Epilepsy Month-How It Affects Our Family. In spite of all the difficulties, I believe the greatest and most stressful challenge for my daughter has been public high school, so I wrote a post on How the Public School System is Failing Our Students.

So, what will 2013 Bring?

First of all, I don't believe in making New Year's Resolutions. I have found that goals with short-term milestones, are much more motivating.

1) Homeschooling - We are fed up with the public education system and will be taking matters into our own hands. Based on our daughter's medical situation and her special needs, we believe we can better provide a safer, happier environment for our daughter to learn. She will be able to learn at her own pace so she can really grasp the material rather than being pushed through a system and barely grasping basic concepts at a rapid pace. We will concentrate on giving her opportunities to apply what she learns to life rather than memorizing facts for a test that will be forgotten as soon as the test is over. She will be given more hands-on projects. We have already picked out her curriculum and planned her courses for the next 3 years to graduation. Right now she is considering being a Pediatric Occupational Therapist. We will see if this changes!

2) Church Youth Group - Now that our daughter is doing much better on her meds, with her migraines, and learning how to cope with her Asperger's issues, we are encouraging her to get involved in a new church youth group. We believe this socialization with peers her age will be better than she had experienced in the public school environment.

3) On Writing - I have two new books releasing. Path of Freedom will release January 2013 and the For Love or Loyalty will release November 2013. It's the first book in The MacGregor Legacy series. While these books are releasing, I plan to finish the manuscripts to the last two books in the series and turn them in by the deadlines in 2013.

4) Restoration - Ever since the migraines and seizures began, we have fought the fear of worrying when the next seizure might occur and where and what she might be doing as a risk to her safety. We don't worry every moment of every second, but we do consider things that were never a problem before. For instance, we never worried about her taking the stairs, but if she has a seizure while on the stairs, the injuries could be severe. It's the same around water with swimming and bathing or driving. While adjusting her seizure medications, her neurologist cautioned us about her doing physical exercises, any contact sports, horseback riding, etc. On January 31st, if Celina continues to be seizure-free for six months, she can begin resuming some of these activities.

These are just a few things we are looking forward to in 2013.



Friday, December 21, 2012

Giving 3 Copies Away - Path of Freedom by Jennifer Hudson Taylor


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Path of Freedom by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Path of Freedom

by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Giveaway ends January 08, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Monday, December 17, 2012

Word of Inspiration: We Live By Faith

“But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21

This must have been a confusing time for Joseph. How many of us actually pay attention to our dreams? Some of us dismiss our dreams when they don't make sense. What if Joseph had done this? Usually this passage is used to teach about the miracle of Jesus' birth, but today I want to concentrate on the faith that Joseph had to act on without understanding the purpose behind what had happened. He probably wondered, how could the Holy Spirit mate with Mary? But he chose not to have her stoned as most men would have done in that time. He chose to take her as his wife and continue on the path of their betrothal in spite of the circumstances. This doesn't mean he didn't have moments of doubt, feelings of betrayal, and times when he questioned his sanity. Other men probably taunted him, tried to convince him to put her away, and snubbed him--and cast those hurtful looks that people give when they judge you.

Today, many parents are faced with the reality that their precious, innocent child has been taken from them in such a violent way after the school massacre in CT. Much of the nation is still reeling in shock and asking why. Others will be saying extra prayers and taking deeper breaths as they drop their children off at school and watch them catch the school bus. We don't have a choice. We must keep living. Parents who lost a child in the massacre have other children they must live for and offer them hope in the midst of their grief. Just like Joseph, these parents and the rest of us must keep going, even though we don't understand. 

Our trust and sense of security in our fellow man has been violated--once again--betrayed. We know these things can always happen, but we live with the hope that they won't. Our faith has been wounded and will need to heal with each new day. Time is a great healer, but God is an even better healer. But rather than turn to Him to bind our wounds, many will blame Him, questioning why He didn't stop this from happening. I have an answer that you may accept or reject. The choice is yours. 

God gave us the greatest gift of all--His love. With His love comes many other gifts that He will not take back from us now that He has given it. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). One of those gifts is free-will. Every man and woman on this earth has been given the free-will to do good or evil. Now that we live in the New Testament, God works through the hearts of men and women. I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people (Jeremiah 31:33). This is that inner ability to know right from wrong. 

We will never know all the things that God might have done to try and stop this. He may have tried to speak to Nancy Lanza's conscience not to buy those guns or teach Adam how to shoot them, but she didn't listen. And we will never know. He may have tried to encourage Adam to think positive thoughts through teachers, mentors, and counselors. We may never know. He may have tried to reach Adam through ministries, programs, therapies, or medications. He may have allowed certain circumstances to warn others that something wasn't right through Adam's behavior, but it was ignored, neglected or excuses could have been made. Again, we may never know. 

God did not do this, nor did He allow this. He is grieving with us and comforting those who will allow Him to comfort them. 

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Word of Inspiration: Jesus Knows Us Intimately

“I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15

The Bible uses this analogy to compare Jesus as the shepherd and those who believe in Him as the sheep. He dwells in our hearts because that is where our soul is--the deepest part of us. In order to love us, He must intimately know us, and to return that love, we must know Him. He is the good shepherd because He takes the time to know us and loves us enough to die for us. It is necessary for Him to lay down his life for us, because it says that the Father knows Him. It doesn't say that the Father knows us. God is so holy that the natural born sin in us separates us from Him, but through the perfect blood of Jesus, the Father is able to know us and reconnect with us as before the fall of mankind. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

You Don't Have to Fake the "Merry" Through Christmas

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

This is not a "Bah Humbug" post. 

It's for the people who are suffering loss, dealing with financial burdens, trying to heal from broken marriages and relationships, struggling each day in pain with health issues, and for those who have difficult families. 

Christmas comes once a year, but our problems don't go away just because it is the Christmas Season. It doesn't always bring joy, but we feel like it should. After all, isn't this the season of miracles? Many of us wonder when we'll get our miracle, especially if we're praying for a loved one to live, a spouse to come back, and bills to be paid. 

For those of us who are going through these situations, we feel a myriad of emotions. We don't want to bring others down with our misery, so we fake smiles, go through the motions of buying gifts and decorating like we're robots. We cringe each time we hear Christmas music, or specific songs. We attend parties and feasts because we feel obligated and don't want to hurt people's feelings. We eat another dessert we don't need or want because people keep tempting us, or pushing us to "live a little" and we "deserve a break". We stress over whose house we will visit and how long we will stay there before we go visit more relatives to keep from hurting feelings. 

Others feel obligated to keep tradition alive even when other family members no longer care. We want to send out traditional Christmas cards, decorate with our favorite things, and argue with family members if someone wants to decorate with a different theme. We take our annual trips, work hard to make sure meals are perfect and struggle to hold it together when things don't go as planned. We have to "work" at making Christmas special and perfect because we want to create lasting memories. If you are having to work at it too hard, something is wrong. Let the memories create themselves naturally. 

Then there are the family members who refuse to get along with each other, who say mean and hurtful things just to get at each other. Or the boastful ones who live the perfect life, the trouble makers who can never get on their feet and always need a loan, the complainers who are never satisfied with the food, what is prepared or how it is served. Don't forget the bossy ones who have to dictate in what order everything is done. I might have missed a few personalities, but you get the general idea. 

Does any of this sound familiar?

I have always been one of those cheerful individuals during the Christmas season, and now I realize I might have been quite annoying to some. I start listening to my Christmas music as early as October, at least by November. I hated it if someone is down and depressed, and I viewed it as my responsibility to try and cheer them and make them feel better. I loved sending out my personal Christmas cards. I loved decorating, watching Christmas movies, reading Christmas stories, and going places to view lights and experience Christmas events, such as ice skating, carriage rides, touring Biltmore at Christmas, seeing the festival of lights, the Nutcracker, the dinner theater and Christmas events at church. 

My enjoyment of these things have not changed. I still love them, but my view of them is somewhat different.

Over the last three years something about Christmas has changed for me, and I believe God has allowed me to experience these things so I will be able to identify with people that I could not identify with in the past. Since I've been on both sides of the fence, I want to offer some suggestions for both the "merry people" and the ones feeling obligated to "fake the merry". 

To the ones feeling obligated to "fake the merry", you need to set boundaries.
1) Don't allow others to force you to listen to Christmas songs that bring painful memories or stir anger and strife inside you. Leave the room, put on earphones and listen to your own music, suggest a different Christmas CD that does not make you feel yucky. Your feelings matter and your request to not hear something should not hurt someone else. They need to be respectful. Just make sure you are courteous, but stand your ground and set the limit. 

2) Don't visit extended family members that cause division, arguments and fights. Offer to visit the nonviolent family members at a different time and have your own private little gathering. It will be more peaceful, and you might actually enjoy it. You could also limit your stay and leave before people start getting tired and bored with each other. You need to protect yourself and your loved ones, especially your children. Don't spike the eggnog and serve alcohol, if someone in the family can't handle it. 

3) Some traditions need to change as our family dynamics change. If grandma's health is failing, it's time for a younger person in the family to host the gathering and cook the meals. Be prepared for a few complaints if you change the traditional menu. Don't get your hopes up that they will love it. Just do what works for you, as long as you don't serve someone food they are allergic to, and move on. 

4) If you don't have time to decorate, don't force it, scale back on the decorations or offer to let your children or grandchildren do it for you--or nieces and nephews. You could even offer to let a youth group from your church decorate for you. 

5) If you don't want to do Christmas cards, don't. If it makes you feel good, set aside the postage money ahead of time and send them out. Don't do it out of obligation. This only builds friction inside you. 

6) If the commercialization of Christmas bothers you, avoid it. Order things online ahead of time and have it delivered to your doorstep. Make and bake gifts. Create crafts or do something that makes you feel good. 

7) If you are having financial difficulties, tell family members you would prefer to draw names, or only give to children, or not give gifts this year--just enjoy the gift of company. You have nothing to be ashamed of so be honest and tell them you have a strict budget. You don't have to go into details and explain things. If family members keep asking questions, tell them you are fine and that you would like for them to respect your wishes. 

8) Jesus is the reason for the season, but He is also the reason for 365 days throughout the year. Don't feel like you have to get all hyped up to celebrate the birth of Christ if you have a close relationship with Him throughout the year. Be thankful and mindful, but don't feel obligated to make it "feel" special or different. Jesus is more interested in how you live your life throughout the year. 

To the ones who are very merry, you need to respect other people's boundaries.
1) You can try to cheer someone, but if they really want to be left alone, leave them alone. Let God be God. He will deal with them. Your responsibility is to pray. You will only annoy them further and that only ignites feelings that could be avoided.

2) If someone wants you to change the music, do it. You will have plenty of time to listen to the Christmas music you like when you are alone, in your car, on your cellphones, and at home or when you don't have company visiting. You don't know why that person doesn't like something, and even if you do, it isn't your place to judge them or to decide when they should get over something. 

3) If someone doesn't want to come over because of family strife with others, don't try to pressure or manipulate them to do what you want. Offer them a chance to come over at a different time. Sometimes we need to love at a distance. Don't judge. Just because you would handle the situation differently, doesn't mean the way they are handling it is wrong. 

4) If someone in the family is dealing with a financial burden, don't make them feel worse by offering to buy gifts for others in their name or loan them money. Let them keep their dignity. Don't ask a bunch of questions. They will tell you what they want you to know. If you want to still give gifts to the children, offer to provide wrapped gifts with each child's name, but put no return name on it. Ask if this will be okay. Some families are so large, the kids may not know which aunts or uncles provided them. 

5) Don't use this time to preach to people. If the opportunity arises, share your faith in a one-on-one way that won't push them away, but will make them want to hunger for more. It's fine to pray over the food, but don't make someone feel as if they have to do the praying aloud. 

6) Don't judge and criticize family members that have made poor choices in your effort to make them see what they are doing to themselves. Stay off of topics that are "pulse buttons" with individuals known to explode about certain things. Don't tease a relative that rarely takes teasing in a good way. 

7) Don't stay married to your traditions. Be willing to compromise and allow others to introduce new traditions. If you're the only one who wants to continue doing something the way it has always been done, recognize that it is over. It is now a cherished memory. That is what memories are for. 

8) Don't go into someone's house and immediately start rearranging their kitchen, ordering people about, or taking over the organization because you don't feel it is organized. Ask what the hostess would like for you to do if you came over to "help out". No one wants to deal with a "know it all" or a bossy relative. By the same token, if you are the hostess, don't expect people to come over and just jump in and do things. They may not want to step on your toes or know how you want things done. 

9) Don't tell new parents how to parent. Offer suggestions, but be prepared to accept the fact that your suggestions may be ignored and don't get an attitude about it. Parents will learn by trial and error and they need to figure out what works best for their family. Don't feed grandkids, nieces and nephews things that their parents have said they can't have. Ask first. 

Above all, remember that Jesus wants your Christmas to be as peaceful as possible. Treat others as He would. 


Monday, December 03, 2012

Word of Inspiration: In the Beginning was the Word

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-2, 14

This is one of those concepts that is beyond our ability to comprehend. If God is the beginning, then how did God begin? It requires faith to believe He is the beginning. There was no process or evolution to create God Himself. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Before the creation of the universe, stars, and heavens, God was. When God spoke the word, then the formation of the universe, stars and heavens began to take shape. I imagine it would have caused great movement, shaking and even explosions as this process took place. This is what I believe the scientists of today have discovered as part of their evolution theory.

In the beginning was the Word, the Word was God, and the Word became flesh--Jesus, the son of God. Not only did God come to us in the flesh, but He then poured out His heart into the written Word to help guide us and to communicate with us. He wrote a journal--the Bible--directly to his people, to everyone willing to believe and accept Him.

The Word was. The Word was spoken. The Word was written. The Word became flesh. The Word is fulfilled.