Barbara (Hilligoss) Taylor


From the Quad Cities Times

June 3, 2017
CLINTON — Barbara Kay Taylor, 71, of Clinton, Iowa, passed away at the Clarissa Cook Hospice House on Saturday, June 3, 2017. Honoring her wishes, cremation rites have been accorded. A memorial service will take place on Saturday, June 17, at 3 p.m. at Lemke Funeral Homes – South Chapel (2610 Manufacturing Drive). A visitation will occur one hour prior to the memorial service from 2 p.m. until the time of service at the Funeral Home. Lemke Funeral Homes assisted the family with arrangements.
Barbara was born November 27, 1945, in Aledo, Illinois, the daughter of Clyde and Kay (Beard) Hilligoss. She was a graduate of Aledo High School. She earned a specialized two-year degree from AIC college. Barbara worked as a secretary at both St. Ambrose University and Clinton High School.
Barbara was united in marriage to Terry Taylor on September 18, 1981. Barbara was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Barbara enjoyed sewing and cross-stitch. She also enjoyed reading and watching movies. She loved observing animals, nature and loved watching the passing of time through the changes of the season. Early in life, she enjoyed taking trips with her husband, especially to Minnesota. She loved her family very much and enjoyed socializing with them — she will be sadly missed.

Barbara is survived by her husband, Terry, of Clinton; two sons, Brandon (Karla) Barker of West Des Moines, Iowa, Nathan (Courtney) Barker of Rosemont, Minnesota; one step-daughter, Dianne (Dan) Piercy of Thomson, Illinois; two step-sons, Terry Taylor of Clinton, Iowa, and Joseph Taylor of Preston, Iowa; two brothers, Charles (Sharon) Hilligoss of Silvis, Illinois, and Daniel (Connie) Hilligoss of Aledo, Illinois; 14 grandchildren; several great-grandchildren; two aunts, June Brewer of Silvis, Illinois, and Margaret Creiger of Branson, Missouri; with many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Preceding Barbara in death were her parents.
Memorials made can be directed to the wishes of the family.

Psalm 38:9


All my longings lie open before you, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. Ps. 38:9

The number of hairs of my head are known to God. My soul He knows. My sin He knows. My pain He knows. My repentance He knows. My longings for renewal He knows. God reads me like an open book. He is not shocked or surprised. He isn’t amazed at my sin. I cannot hide anything from Him.

David’s cries in Psalm 38 are vulnerable. He is weak. He is fragile. I weeps for God’s protection and love. Who on earth wants anything different, really? God does not hide. Though we feel far away–He is close. He is the sun rising in the morning, the breath in our lungs, the song on our lips, the hope of a better tomorrow. God is always there.

I, on the other hand, stray. I turn my back. I walk away slowly at times, and sprinting at others. I feel the pull to connect coming from him and I hesitate. I pause. He sees me though. He knows me.

God, all of who I am lays open before you. I cannot hide from you. Forgive me when I try.

Psalm 37:23-24


The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him;  though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. Ps. 37:23-24

Though he may stumble? Of course there will be stumbling. Life cannot be lived without stumbling. The key to this verse is that the “fall” is covered. God has taken the necessary steps to make sure that we cannot be impacted by the fall. We need not worry about it. We need not be afraid to take a step.

His hand is a hand of support. It is a strong hand that can hold us in even the worst of terrains. My path is treacherous, but God holds me with His hand and so my steps are not filled with peril. There has to be cycle of delight in this as well. When I put my trust in him, He shows that He is trustworthy and deserving of my faith and hope in ALL areas of life.

Psalm 36:7


How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”‭‭Psalm‬ ‭36:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I used to refer to this verse to show people that the Bible uses metaphor at times to describe God. “God doesn’t have wings” I would say, proving that there is room for creative liberty in God’s Word. But, today this passage has a depth of meaning for me that I treasure.

God’s love can be used as a protective, secure state of presentness. The immenseness of God allows for a shadow to be cast that covers me. It is something I can take refuge in. I can be protected like a young one under the wing of my protective Parent. 

Dr. Russell Moore Symposium


I recently was able to attend a symposium hosted by Cornerstone Church in Ames with Dr. Russell Moore.  Dr. Moore is the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, or ERLC, the moral and public policy agency of the Southern Baptist Convention. Cornerstone Lead Pastor Jeff Dodge hosted the conversation with questions for Dr. Moore before opening the floor for questions from the audience.

I was drawn in by his compassion for people that he doesn’t agree with, and his highly intelligent arguments to modern ethical issues.  For anyone interested in engaging culture with the Gospel, I highly recommend watching.  He has also authored a few books which can be found here.



Prayer of the Distressed


Feeling overwhelmed? Feeling like you’ve been swallowed up? Here is a prayer of someone who felt the same way.

Jonah 2:2 NIV. He said: “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.

There is no depth you can be at that God cannot hear you…or reach you.

People Pleasing


Yesterday was President’s Day.  It doesn’t mean much to people anymore. It’s a holiday invented to honor our supreme national leader (and give government agencies the day off).  I was reminded, however, of something that President Abraham Lincoln said:

“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.

These words, by poet John Lydgate, were used by President Lincoln to talk about the demands of leadership and meeting people’s expectations. Recently, I have had a lot of expectations to consider.  Due to stressful circumstances in my life, I have been forced to look at who I am and how I do things. This isn’t something that is new. In fact, this is how people grow in maturity. We adapt. We grow. Yet, in this phase of my life I am realizing that the path isn’t always clear. The “grey areas” of life seem to grow and I have been stuck wondering, “where do I go next?”

This is when people give me their thoughts and ideas, and I am brought to wonder how I-and if I-should meet the expectations of those looking into my leadership. The more people I ask, the more opinions and directions I am given and the more convoluted the way seems to be. Who do I listen to? Who do I ignore?

Here are a few questions that run through my mind as I seek to meet the expectations of some, and try to lead them all:

  1. Who are my “Arm Lifters”?  In Exodus 17 Moses and the Israelites are in a battle with the Amalekites. Moses is told by God to go onto the hilltop and raise the staff of God above his head. When he does this the Israelites are victorious over their foes. But holding your hands over your head is hard to do for an entire battle–and Moses wasn’t a young man. So, Aaron and Hur sit Moses down on a rock and lift his arms for him. The hold his arms up. We all need people like this. These are the people we need to listen to and trust.
  2. Am I being asked to go against my character or nature?  Sometimes people expect you to be someone else. In this world of cult of personality it’s easy for someone to put the expectations of another leader onto you. “That church has 1000 people” they may say. Or, “this author has a different approach”. I’m not saying that these are bad things (how could I?). What I am saying is that some of the expectations that leaders encounter are due to unrealistic expectations that are put on them because of some persona incognito. We must ask ourselves if the expectations being placed on us are unrealistic for who we are and what we know we can accomplish.
  3. Why do I want to meet these expectations?  Dr. Henry Cloud, in his book The Power of Other, talks about the human’s desire to please others. That sometimes our drive to please them causes us to make compromises in who we really are.  As a leader it is important to understand why you want to meet an expectation of the people you lead. Do you desire to be accepted? Are you trying to please them so they will do your bidding later? Our motivation to meet expectations should be considered. Sometimes leaders have to make decisions that will be unpopular, but they are the right decision. Sometimes we move people to a place that isn’t easy. A strong leader knows what is motivating them to meet the expectations of others.

President Lincoln was wise to point out the obvious. We CANNOT please everyone…not for very long that is. So, we must know why we make decisions. Why we listen to some, and ignore others. Why we stand for something that others might not. That is leadership.

How to Have a Tough Day


Tough days are something we all have from time to time. The key is: How do you handle them? Here are a couple of quick tips in how to have expected tough days that won’t keep you down.

  1. Wake up early for it. No point in trying to sleep through it. Meet it head on. There is something about being fully awake for a difficult day that prepares you for obstacles unlike just trying treat it like normal.
  2. Create alliances. When you know you have tough things to say, hard things to do, or difficult news to hear, it helps if there are others that are there to make it as painless as possible. It doesn’t mean that it isn’t going to hurt. Only that it will hurt considerably less.
  3. Admit that it’s tough. My toughest meetings have almost always been prefaced with “this isn’t going to be an easy meeting for you.” It sets the stage for the difficult journey that is required.
  4. Understand your “dark issues”. Are you a child of divorce with abandonment issues? Are you so afraid of conflict that you sweep everything under the carpet? Do you yell when you’re stressed? Know these things (and more) about yourself in trying times. Say them out loud in the midst of them. “I normally yell at times like these, but I want to have a calm tone with you…” or “I normally run from situations like this, but…”
  5. Ask for feedback.  Sometimes our perception isn’t what is exactly happening. Get others to give their input as to how the difficult situation is being handled.
  6. Seek love. The Bible is right that love “covers a multitude of sins.”  When we seek to show love in the midst of the worst situations it can only be beneficial.  Even more that being understood or agreeing, feeling love and showing love can get you through some pretty tough stuff.

So, next time you’re preparing for a bad day, think of a couple of these and I know it will help.

2016: A Look Back


It is a tradition every New Year that Karla and I look back at the previous year with review and introspection. Here are the “highs” and “lows” of 2016.

  •  Spring Break trip to Laguna Beach, FL
  • College visit weekend for Grace (University of Iowa, Bradley University, University of Chicago, Loyola University, Lake Forest College)
  • Seth wins U14 Iowa State Cup in soccer
  • Seth plays in regionals in Indianapolis, IN
  • Grace goes to state for the 3rd time in IHSSA storytelling
  • Karla gets new job in West Des Moines School District
  • Brandon and Karla do Whole30 for 6 months losing much needed weight
  • Grace declares University of Iowa as her college destination
  • Westwind Church celebrates its 8th birthday
  • Jason and Tara Bollback move to Iowa to join the Westwind team
  • Brent and Kari Minter leave Westwind to lead church in Ankeny, IA
  • First ever St. Oktobrick’s Fest party: It’s a holiday I invented combining Irish and German cultures
  • Major house remodeling project
  • Seth gets his driving permit
  • Grace travels to Albania for mission trip
  • Karla helps pack up and sell her childhood home
  • Seth gets braces
  • Grace turns 18…nine days after she would be allowed to vote
  • Close out our foster care license
  • Nate and Jamee Heemstra join the Westwind team