If you've ever volunteered in our kitchen, you've probably encountered Taylor Mooney. She's genuine, she's really good at loving people, and she's great at keeping her cool during stressful situations. (Just don't mention the word "spiders" around her--see below.) Everyone can be themselves around Taylor. She wears many hats here at Blueprint. During the summer, she's the Mastermind of our kitchen. You will likely find her up to her elbows in caramel popcorn or digging a spoon out of the industrial strength disposal in the kitchen (again with the keeping her cool thing). She makes her tough job look easy. Get to know Taylor!
Where did you grow up and go to school?
I was born in Colorado, but I grew up here, in San Antonio. #gospursgo
I attended Baylor University - Sic 'Em Bears!
When did your interest in cooking begin?
I don't know if I've ever had an extreme interest in cooking. I've always enjoyed cooking meals with/for my family and friends. Trying new things is always fun, too, even if it turns out disastrous.
How did you end up at Blueprint?
I was a construction summer staff 4 years ago, after my last year of college. As far as working full-time here, that took me by complete surprise. I had set out to become a doctor or nurse, work in an inner-city clinic/hospital as I paid of loans, and then move to Uganda to work with former child soldiers. Then my junior year of college, God told me to stop and wait on him. I argued, of course, being super stubborn, but I did end up waiting on Him. It was interesting to learn to yearn for Him as I waited to see what I would be doing next, career wise. Turns out, He was setting me up to come to Blueprint.
What are some lessons you've learned in your time here?
Pans are very hot when they come out of the oven; lavender salve is excellent on burns.
I've learned how sinfully prideful I can be. God has used me working behind the scenes, in the kitchen/building, to shine a light on that sin, which I didn't even know existed. It's been a hard, but freeing lesson to learn.
People give you weird looks in the grocery store when your cart is full of mass quantities of bananas, peanut butter, salsa, and tortillas.
The goodness of God far outweighs the injustice of the world.
Most memorable thing that's ever happened in the Blueprint kitchen?
There are so many LOL moments that happen in there, usually with our hospitality intern.
Two summers ago our intern, Ashley, dropped a gallon of melty ice cream, causing it to explode all over her, the floor, and the ceiling. She was drenched. I stood there laughing at her for a solid minute before helping her clean up.
Last summer, Mara and I were trying out making popcorn for the homeowners for the first time. Our first attempt involved skillets with ill-fitting lids. There were kernels of hot, oily popcorn shooting out at us for a good while.
What's your favorite thing about being in the kitchen?
The kitchen can be full of up to 12 new-to-Blueprint dinner volunteers who all need to know what to do at the same time. Things get CRAY in there as you're directing them on how to get a meal for 100+ people cooked, dished, and served at the same time. I love it. I also love watching these groups bond and become more of a unit as they do this. Another favorite thing about dinner volunteers is how much they love doing dishes using Old Hobart and Nessie the Water Dragon (our commercial dishwasher and hose) because, after 4 years, I am no longer the biggest fan of dishes.
What's your favorite meal to cook?
Fresh Rosemary Bread, which isn't a meal, I realize. This bread will make your entire house smell divine as it rises and bakes.
Aside from the kitchen, you are also the point person for homeowner relations. Tell me how you love on our homeowners.
That's a hard one to answer because it often feels impossible to do it well and perfectly. It's the same for loving on anyone, whether they are part of Blueprint or not. I want to love people the way God loves me, unconditionally and impossibly perfectly. Since I'm not God, I'm still working on loving His people widely and deeply. Putting my thoughts on love aside, there are some tangible ways we at Blueprint love on our homeowners, besides repairing their homes.
-The volunteers that repair their houses also develop relationships with them.
-As a staff, we pray weekly for our homeowners.
-We send them mail saying we've prayed for them/they're in our thoughts/congrats on big life moments/happy birthday/Merry Christmas/etc.
-We coordinate a Christmas gift delivery each December.
-We have homeowner parties full of food and fun.
-We chat with them on the phone and visit them when they're in the mood to talk or hang out.
Tell me about your irrational fear of spiders.
First of all, it is entirely rational to be afraid of living creatures with eight legs, pincers/fangs, sticky webs that comes out of their body, and 1 TRILLION eyeballs.
With that aside, I used to like spiders when I was a wee little lass. I would pick up house spiders and let them jump around on my arms. (I literally have goosebumps just thinking about it, now.) Then one day, in 6th grade, I saw some interesting looking moss/fungus growing on a cave wall. As an intelligent middle schooler, I decided to touch it. Turns out it wasn't moss, but actually thousands of daddy long legs that fell all over my entire body. I was absolutely covered in them. I had to jump in water and run around like a ninja with muscle spasms to get them off.
Now I know daddy long legs aren't technically spiders, but getting covered in them will make you afraid of all eight-legged creatures. Ever since then, they've been my biggest fear.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a firefighter until I came to the conclusion that fires were SUPER hot and not enjoyable.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Anything that involves my family or friends. Just doing life with people I love.
I can also binge watch TV shows as if it was a superpower. Fortunately, I have some friends who also share in this "superpower." #soultribe
If you are interested in hanging with Taylor, sign up to volunteer in our kitchen this summer. You'll have a great time! Click here to sign up.