Wednesday, August 31, 2005

"God's Will is 98% About Who You Are"

Hey everyone! I was reading my usual blogs today and Luke's post inspired me to check out the James MacDonald website. There are some categorized articles available on the site, and here is one that stuck out to me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! It's mostly just a great reminder and a comfort to recognize that God is in control. (Thank goodness).

God’s Will is 98% About Who You Are
By Dr. James MacDonald

As a pastor, I often hear questions about God’s will. “What does God want me to do?” is the most common, but there are others: “Where does God want me to live?” “Who does God want me to marry?” “What job does God want me to take?”
This may come as a surprise to you, but the Bible doesn’t spend any time on that stuff. God’s focus isn’t so much on the externals; He wants to change the inner you. He says, “If I can change you into the person I want you to be, you’ll know where you’re supposed to go, and you’ll know who you’re supposed to marry, and you’ll know where you’re supposed to work.”

God’s will is 98% about who you are. Don’t believe me? Need some evidence? Check out the words of Paul: “You ought to walk [to] please God . . . for you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:1-3). You can’t get much more clear than that!

The word “sanctification” comes from a root word that means “to make holy.” Sanctification is the process by which God takes sinful people and makes them holy. (It’s not really as churchy as it sounds.) Holy is a great word; it means “set apart” or “distinct.” It means “different from the sinful world around us.” It means being like God. “This is the will of God, your sanctification.” That’s what God is doing—He’s trying to sanctify or change you.

Choose to believe the truth that God is changing you, and you should clear up a lot of confusion. Next time you wonder about what you are seeing or experiencing and struggle to know what God could be up to, just say to yourself, “He’s changing me,” and you’ll be right. Next time disappointments or heartaches come (maybe you’re in the midst of them right now), try to recognize that God Himself is holding the hammer and chisel.

But why? Why is He so stuck on this matter of change? Here’s the hard truth that sets people free: God’s bottom line doesn’t have anything to do with you or me or any human being. This whole universe is not about us; it’s about Him. God does not exist to fulfill our purposes; we exist to fulfill His purposes. The reason why you are here is because God wants to demonstrate His power and splendor through your life, and if you realize that you are not doing it very well, then you truly understand why He wants to change you. He wants to get you to the place where no matter what happens to you or what you go through, you trust Him and follow Him and are committed wholly to His goodness. And so He’s coming after you, and He’s trying to change you. Let Him do His work in you, and watch Him display His awesomeness through you.

Original article can be found here.
James MacDonald website can be found here.

Check 'em out! I guarantee you'll be blessed.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

2 Timothy 2:15

Printed at the top of the Morton AC Church calendar is a new memory verse each month. July's calendar displayed 2 Timothy 2:15.

"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth." (KJV)

Study... a word with a possible negative connotation for some of us (especially the college students :-) but when it comes to knowing His Word, it's essential. Raise your hand if you've ever sat down with your Bible in your lap and you start in on devotions, reading along, word by word, paragraph by paragraph... and afer about 5 minutes you realize that the only thing you've accomplished is worrying about whether tomorrow's test will be that hard even though you have only studied 10 minutes, or whether that project you are working on at work is coming along how it should.

Study. Not worry. Study. Not skim. Study. Not read. STUDY. It's a mind thing. It's a focus thing. Sometimes, I literally have to stop reading my Bible for a second and say, "I am doing my devotions now. No more thinking about MY life!" Becasue after all, it's not about our petty little life. It's about Him... and His Word. Are we studying it as diligently as we should every time we read it?

"To show thyself approved unto God." APPROVED. Acceptable. When I think of myself being approved unto God, I am humbled. Isn't it great when someone gives you the thumbs up sign? GREAT JOB! Well done! You did it! That's approval. That's affirmation. And it feels good. How are we to be approved by God? When does He give us the thumbs up sign? My Life App says, "... we should build our lives on His Word and build His Word into our lives." We can't do that unless we know the Word... and how do we know it? By studying! As we continue to become more acquainted with what He says, we'll establish that firm foundation in our lives.

"A workman that needeth not to be ashamed." WORKMAN. We are workmen for Christ. We are here to do His work. "If we are the body..." We all know that song. Most of us have probably heard it a thousand times and are completely numb to its words by now, but if you stop and think about its message, it can be convicting. We are a workman for the body of Christ. How are we doing?

Aside from being a workman, are our hearts where they should be? A real quick test for myself to see if my heart is in check with my studies in the Word is for me to consider the phrase, "that needeth not to be ashamed." I may read the Word, I may know it, I may even have it stored away in my heart. Yet is it doing any good with me if I'm not sharing it? Living it? Proclaiming it?! It amazes me how easy it is for me to shy away from that when that is the very reason I am here. Sometimes I forget that I'm not here for ME. And most certainly, I'm not here to get others' approval, either. There is only One who needs to approve of me, and that is God (as mentioned earlier in the verse!) So why do I look around and bite my fingernails and become all nervous when I think of possibly sharing that joy of Jesus with others? Becasue THEY may not approve of me? Logically speaking, who really cares? So they don't approve of me. Ok. Whoop dee do. That shouldn't be a problem unless I have incorrectly placed my security in THEM rather than in CHRIST! Where is our security? Where SHOULD it be? If it is where it should be, then "being a workman that needeth not to be ashamed" should come pretty easily. If it doesn't, let's try to dissect our lives and figure out why.

"Rightly diving the Word of Truth." The NIV says, "And who correctly handles the word of truth." With what we have been given- His Word- and with what we study- His Word- how do we handle it? It is 100% correct. If a teacher handed you the answer key to your final and said, "Here. Study this. These are all the right answers." Would you study it? Uh...YEAH! You want to pass the final! Ok, so we want to pass this "earthly final," so to speak, that God is putting us through. I do believe we have the answer key. Are we studying it, and using it correctly?

"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth."


Ok, so I was going to dissect both the July and the August verses tonight but I think I wrote enough with just one, so we'll look at the August one another time. I previously got done writing an essay on Internet Art and I felt the urge to be spiritual :-) as I often do late at night (that's when my inspiration mode kicks in), so I type in and let my fingers type. I love using this as an outlet for my writing needs, even if no one reads it.

Well, all of my room mates have been in bed for a couple of hours now, so I best follow suit. I don't go to work until 11 tomorrow, but I need to train my body that it is not acceptable to stay up until 2 a.m. EVERY morning, even if I am 80% more productive. GOOD NIGHT EVERYONE! I love you all.


Monday, August 29, 2005

The College Life

This week has been busy, intense, fun, and amazing.

It was my first week living away from home. A lot of people ask me if it is weird. My response- yes and no. At the beginning, since everything was so new and different, maybe just a little. But NOW... yeah, I'm lovin' it. Like the McDonald's motto, but better.

It helps tremendously that all my room mates are here. I am SO blessed with AWESOME room mates! May the Lord keep us strong and bring us together in amazing ways. We are a good mix. We have a French major, teacher, nurse, and Arts Tech designer.

Our living room was lacking in decor, so Tricia, Tracy and I had this idea that each of us would buy a poster and hang them next to each other. So we did, and now everyone who comes to our apartment has to guess which poster belongs to who. They all shout out our personality in one way or another, and it really made the room homier.

My parents came to Bloomington church with me today and then there was a dinner tonight for all the new ISU students and their parents at the church. We had some GOOD pizza. Bloomington church is awesome. The whole church is so family-oriented and really interested in centering their outreach around being there for us college students, which I think is great. I met some really nice people today.

This afternoon in church, we heard a phenomenal message by Jeff Thames. He stayed in 1 Samuel 15 the whole time. He broke up the whole chapter into simple, manageable parts, and made the story so applicable and meaningful. I'm not going to write too much about it, but I'd encourage any of you to go read the chapter and see how easy it was for Saul to disobey God just a little tiny bit, get "caught," and justify his actions by shifting the blame to others. How often do we do that?

Some things that stuck out to me:
*The importance of giving 100% obedience to God
*If I have to justify something, my actions need a refocus
*Obedience is better than sacrifice
*Rebellion and stubborness are VERY evil (look at what they're compared to in 1 Samuel)
*Faithfulness in small things is essential

This past week, I got a job at the computer lab. It was really actually a God thing... something that I prayed for and definitely needed. It's perfect. I just sit in the computer lab in the CVA- the building where most all my classes are- and I am the "monitor." This includes helping students with printing, any computer questions they may have, and answering the phone. Otherwise, I'm free to use the G5 Mac that is sitting right in front of me on the desk, work on my homework, or listen to music. So basically, I get paid to have a stuy hall. The nice thing about this job is that I work during my breaks, so it really isn't taking away time that I cherished too highly. I still have my evenings and weekends open.

I biked to school every day last week and I plan on continuing to do that while the weather stays nice. It is really convenient and predictable, and the bike trail behind our apartment is PERFECT. It takes me right over to campus with a nicely paved path and it's secluded and shaded by trees.

Alright. I started writing this post at 11 p.m. and then Trisha and I talked until now... 1 a.m. It's probably a good time for me to go to bed :-) Good thing I don't have class til 9 tomorrow...

I love you all!


Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Tonight I read about a big uh-oh in 1 Chronicles. Let me share.

So, David is in the process of bringing the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. For a little background, "The ark of God (aka The Ark of the Covenant)... the most sacred object of the Hebrew faith, it was a large box containing the stone tablets on which God had written the Ten Commandments..."

And in 1 Chronicles we read,

"When they came to the thresing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord's anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God."

Yikes. Uzzah died by God for touching the ark... something God said NOT to do. When God gives rules, we need to listen! I was kind of shocked at the severity of this punishment, so I looked down at the Life Application paragraph written for these verses. It read,

"Why did Uzzah die? He touched the ark, and that offense was punishable by death. God had given specific instructions about how the ark was to be moved and carrid...Uzzah died instantly for touching the ark, but God blessed Obed-Edom's home where the ark was stored. This demonstrates the two-edged aspect of God's power: he is perfectly loving and perfectly just. Great blessings come to those who obey his commands, but severe punishment comes to those who disobery him. This punishment may come swiftly or over time, but it will come. Sometimes, we focus only on the blessings God gives us, while forgetting that when we sin, "it is a dreafdful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31, (referring to those who reject God's mercy)). At other times, however, we concentrate so much on jedgment that we miss His blessings. Don't fall into a one-sided view of God. Aolong with God's blessings come the responiblity to live up to his demands for fairness, honesty, and justice."

This really made me think. Uzzah died for disobeying God. It was a huge offense. Yet, how many times do I disobey God? Just because I don't drop dead every time I disobey, that doesn't mean it's a good excuse for doing it next time or that it's not serious. Sometimes, it's easy for me to take lightly the times when I "slip up" and just brush it under the rug and say, "Oh well, better luck next time." Over time, that attitude builds up into a "I can get away with everything" attitude. Yet I need to realize that with God, I'm not getting away with ANYTHING. He sees everything that I do and don't do.

Sometimes, I realize that if my mom really were riding around on my shoulder all day, I would act so much differently. Then I chuckle to myself when I realize that Someone so much more important and powerful- GOD- IS with me all day, every day. He doesn't miss a thing. Am I pretending God isn't there or am I recognizing He is so that I can ask Him to lead me, isntead?

God is God. We should not disobey Him. If we are letting Him lead our life... which requires a conscious effort to ask Him DAILY, hourly, even by the minute to guide us and help us, then we won't want to disobey Him. And we will feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit when we do.

When I first started repenting, I felt guilty very often. I was really distraught about this, thinking that something was wrong and that I was a horrible person. After sharing this with my elder, he said, "Taryn, that is a very good sign. Do you know what that means? That means that the Holy Spirit is present and working in you to convict you for your mistakes."

When we feel guilty, that can be good! It means the Holy Spirit is at work within us, and that our hearts our soft enough that we are realizing our sin! Some have hearts so cold and hard that they are numb to guilt. They don't feel anything. They just go and do a please and do not even have a thought about the consequences. Sadly, some Christians who go astray can even end up this way if they are not careful. It's important for us to have a heart that is ready and willing for chastisement and correction.

Well, my reading on Uzzah sure made me blow up the story into a bunch of different directions. I'm not quite sure if I even came close to making it full circle, let alone half circle, but I'm going to stop here. I think that we can all learn something from Uzzah's severe punishment... if not only the fact that obedience to God is what we should be desiring and striving to daily! It's not something to treat lightly.

I love all of you! The big university is treating me pretty good. All of my classes look like they're going to be fun. Biking to campus these past couple of days has been GORGEOUS! I love God's beautiful creation, and great weather like this is a reminder of His amazing beauty.


Sunday, August 21, 2005

Locked, Leo, Lemons & Leaving

Wednesday night was my first night in my apartment. Very weird. Yet, I am excited.

Tricia and I were the only two there. It is kind of crazy what all happened to us in a 24 hour period, but you can definitely tell we two are new at it. One of the things that happened is worthy of being posted about, so here goes.

All four of us who will be living there at the apartment want wireless internet, so on Thursday I drove to Insight to figure out when they could come hook us up. Well, after a slight misunderstanding, I go outside to my car to call my brother (Mr. Computer Networker who will be configuring a wireless deal for us) to consult him about this. He told me to go back into Insight, so with my phone to my ear, I do my habitual act of locking my car doors.

Now let me divert to another topic for a second. I am a woman, and most women are great multi-taskers. Now. There are times where I am probably very good at this, but talking on the phone while doing other things is not my strong suit. Everyone would always laugh at me at DQ because whenever I'd answer the phone, I'd have to go to the back and sit down in order to concentrate. Or, whenever I clean and am talking to someone, I subconciously stop cleaning and sit down. If I'm doing something intently, it usually requires my FULL attention without any response to all outside distractions.

That paragraph is an excuse as to why when I slammed my car door shut (with both sets of my keys IN my car), my brother made the statement, "Taryn, some days I swear you are a blonde."

Thank goodness for room mates. Tricia came and picked me up, and later that night before I took off for Leo, good old David brought me a key from Morton for me to go retrieve my car. That is the frist time I have ever done that in a hugely inconvenient situation, though, in the 4 years I've been driving.

So other than that, my first day went relatively smoothly. On Thursday night, I headed out to Leo with a group of 14 in a 14 passenger van. THAT was fun! I ended up getting the front seat on the way out, so that was great. It was good to be with our "ICC" group (which really isn't the "ICC" group anymore) one last time.

Our group helped set up the clothes stand on Friday and get that all organized. That night, we went back to Abby Klopfenstein's and had fun in the sun for awhile, then cleaned up and went to the singing at Gateway. The praise singing later that night was awesome, and after that we split up into small groups and went around our circle prayed for topics that were given out every few minutes. What a tremendous blessing to be able to pray together! It's something that some aren't always comfortable doing, but it really is powerful.

Saturday was the biggest AC event of the year. It's always fun to walk around and see people, but it is also fun to help. I helped at the lemonade shake-up stand in the morning, which was great! I've never cut and juiced so many lemons in my life... or seen so many bees swarm me. After we ran out of lemons and got more, we started back up again and had a huge line for about an hour. Fun times! I now know how to make a killer lemonade shake-up. Mmmmm.

After a long, hot day of helping, talking, eating, and walking, it was good to be headed back home. I got home late last night. It was good to be in Morton today. One of my really good friends, Laura, came flying up to me in church and said "I'm SO glad you're here! I feel like I'll never see you again and I'm going to miss you soo much!" It's funny how some people think that me moving to Bloomington means dropping off the face of the earth never to return again. I reassured her that I would be home almost every weekend, and I do plan on it. I love Morton church and it's good to come home and see family and spend some time at home after a long week at school. Today, her family had a potluck so a lot of out-of-town families came. It's always fun when we have visitors, especially when I know them! We got to hear Tim Funk this morning. Great service! He opened up to Proverbs for the first reading... one of my favorite places!

Anyway. Tomorrow is my first day of school, and I am excited aside from my transportation issue. I never got a commuter pass because I figured I'd bike or take the bus, but now I'm realizing that I have no idea of knowing how long those two options will take me so I may catch a ride with a room mate. Wish me luck in my first real week out there in the real world...

I can't wait until ISU Bible Study! Hopefully I'll see some of you Central Illinoisans there.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A Definite Benefit

Tonight, I went to Benefit Dinner Choir Practice.

What's that?

Every two years, Morton AC Church holds a Benefit Dinner in early November for two nights (at the Fellowship Hall). The Bible Class is trained, almost professionally (thanks to Lynn Roeschley, the lady always in charge of the delicious food!), how to formally wait on tables and a very nice meal is served by them. This is mostly because the dinner is a benefit to them, hence, the "Benefit Dinner." Money that is raised at this dinner goes in part towards a missions trip the Bible Class takes every 4 years. Proceeds also go towards other charities and organizations in need.

The night is followed up by a massive choir of around 60 singers (or more) who deliver a beautiful message through powerful singing. Sitting in the audience is moving, but the best seat of the night, in my humble opinion, is a seat in the choir.

Tonight, I was reminded of how powerful it can be singing in this group. It is open to anyone who is able and willing to sing. The songs we sing are so.... majestic! It's great. We practice 2 hours one night a week and when it gets closer, two nights a week. By the end, it is a beautiful harmony of hugely ranged voices combining to make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

Phil Witzig is our director. Now THAT is a man with an evident gift from God. He directs like no other... with a contagious love of music and singing, and with enthusiasm that gets mirrored to all of us.

Alright... it's late and I'm getting overly passionate about singing in a choir, so I should close. I just wanted to share my excitement for singing and give the 411 on the dinner. Everyone should come and taste and see (and hear).

Love ya'll.



After I wrote my "On the Move" post tonight, I thought about how lucky I am. And that caused me to be thankful. For...

-a great, fun, and REALLY close family who is so supportive in EVERYTHING

-a really nice apartment that I get to move in to and live in for at least the next year with some amazing girls

-my brother, sisters, parents and friends who have all willingly helped me so far and will continue to help me as I move in

This is all stuff I'm used to and just automatically receive, but isn't anything that I really deserve. I just felt the desire tonight to sit for a moment and really apprecaite what I have been given because not everyone has it as blessed as I do. I too often take for granted what is so easily dished out to me.

Some don't even have 1/100th of what I do and still find more time to be thankful than I do.

God gives a lot of us a lot. But regardless of whether we have a lot or a little... do we spend time being thankful for what we DO have? Especially the important things? Really... the most important things in life aren't really things. They're people. They're souls. Souls we will hopefully know and see in Heaven someday.

That challenges me to remember where my treasure is. It doesn't matter what we have here, because it's not going with us. I need to focus more on establishing relationships and sharing Jesus than on what I own.

Love you all.


Monday, August 15, 2005

On the Move

This weekend, I went to Oak Run with my family. Guess what? It was cloudy and rainy the whole time. Like my family joked, we didn't get ANY rain this whole summer and the one weekend we go away to enjoy it... it rains. Ah, well. We ddin't much mind as long as Morton was getting some precipitation, too... and it was. So all was good.

We had a great time being together, though! Sometimes it is just fun sitting around and relaxing, even if it is indoors. I went out on the boat with the boys on Saturday morning. We all went skiing. While I was up, my brother kept motioning for me to get out of the wake and when I wouldn't, he'd pull the rope in the direction that he wanted me to go in. What a fruit cake. Then Tom looked out at me after awhile and held up one finger. This meant that it was time for me to kick off a ski and go it single. Ha. Well, not sure as to the correct technique to use, I completely just WHIP off the ski as fast and as furiously as I can and WHAM! I'm down. It was fun, though. Later, in the boat, Tom's like,

"Usually, Taryn, you kind of lift up your foot slowly and test it out, and then gently kick your ski off..."

That information could have been helpful before I tried it. Or maybe I could have just used my common sense. But regardless, my back is still sore. Then, Tate and I took Noah and Domniq (4 and 5) out on this MONSTROUS tube (a THREE seater!) for awhile. That was pretty lame, although I understand that with little children, you have to go slow. After they were back on the boat and it was just Tate and I, the mischevious Tom had to test out this monster-tube's ability to TIP OVER. I don't think it's humanly possible or tubily possible but he tried. He took us around curves at about 30 mph which woulda put Tate and I at 60 mph. Yeah we were going FAST. Tate said he had never been so scared before. I wasn't scared but then I also wasn't the one unable to control myself (he was bouncing EVERYWHERE).

Back on the boat, when it was Brad's turn to ski, he was up there whimpering about how cold and wet the life jacket was so I proceeded to tell them all that they were big babies for crying around about coldness. Weren't they man enough to take it? That wasn't my exact wording but it still got me dumped in the lake by Tate. (It's ok- I kicked him off the tube later on when we went again). AND, when he threw me in, TOWEL AND ALL, he was so concerned about saving the towel that when he was leaning over the edge to retrieve it from me (BAD move, Tate, esp. with Tom in the boat), Tom came over and knocked him the water right next to me.

"That was for you, Taryn!" he yelled. SWEET! At least someone's on my side.

So, as you can see, even though it was cloudy, we all managed to have fun. We played lots of games and ate lots of food.

On Sunday afternoon, the boys fished.

Oliver was cast-happy. He would cast, wait 3 seconds, reel it in, then cast again.

He needed Grandpa's assistance after awhile. He showed him how to cast correctly.

Tonight my mom, dad, Kristi and I moved out all of the furniture I'm taking down to ISU. That included 2 huge couches that hardly made it out of the basement, and 3 tall dressers, my bed, and much more. My dad and mom both drove down trucks and we got it all there and moved in! I'm SO excited now that it's happening. Tomorrow, my mom, sisters, Kristi and I will take more down and finish it all.

My dad and I got Steak n' Shake on the way home and then I went with him and worked out at Nautilus for the LAST time. I could cry. Even though I am excited to move away, there are little things about being home in Morton that I go and do or that are just available that I will miss so much. At Nautilus, the guy who owns it, Mark, has really stuck with me these past few years and practically personally trains me. I suppose I can go visit on weekends but it's not the same. I'll have to find a gym down at ISU.

Guess what? I think I'm going to take the bus to school. Kristi laughed at me today when I said that but I think it's way cool. I've never taken a bus to school and there's this free charter that comes every 15 min. and picks up loads to take to campus. How sweet would that be?

This post is getting long and I'm running out of stuff to talk about so while that is the case, I'll close. By the way, my voice came back on Sunday. Thank goodness.

Friday, August 12, 2005


Nooooo!!!!! It's GONE!

Everyone sing without me:
"Gone like a freight-train, gone like yesterday.
Gone like a soldier in the civil war, bang, bang.
Gone like a '59 Cadillac,
Like all the good things that ain't never coming back.
She's gone (Gone),
Gone, (Gone),
Gone, (Gone),
She's gone."

AND... to top off my voice being gone, I didn't sleep last night. I tossed and turned until 2:30 when I actually gout out of bed and wandered around the house. Furious that I couldn't sleep, I grabbed the box of the cold medicine I'm taking and it read on the back, "Stop use of this product and consult a doctor if you become dizzy, naueseated, or SLEPPLESS."


Well, I'm off to work my last day at Dairy Queen without a voice! :-(


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Summer Reminiscing

As I was sitting here, looking up at my bulletin board full of pictures of memories, I couldn't help but remember what a great summer I have had. So... this post is dedicated to some of my best summer memories.

I really should just be getting to bed. Something started getting to me last night (probably allergies) and I woke up this morning with a scratchy throat. Ugh. Now I hardly have a voice and this whole day I have sort of been floating about in an aura of tiredness and "not myselfness," although it has been quite a productive day in which I smiled and talked when I had to. I actually talked A LOT tonight (I was having one of those "if you're willing to listen, I'm willing to talk!" moods), both on the way to Bloomington and on the way back, to two different people (both my future room-mates!), so that hasn't really helped my going-away voice any.

This morning, I woke up, made some cookies that my mom wanted me to make (oatmeal toffee somethings, not my type of cookie but they WERE good and my mom loved em) and some peanutbutter squares with chocolate that are refridgerated and taste like Reese's peanutbutter cups. MMmmmmm!!!! Those were for this weekend. Then, Kristi and I worked all afternoon on business stuff, and squared away some stuff before I leave. That felt good. Then, I went with 2 of my friends to Chile's in EP before heading back to Morton to meet Tammy to drive to Bloomington! Her, Tracy and I met our landlord and his wife to see the apt. and go over some stuff. Actually, a LOT of stuff. But I was so happy, AT LAST, to be able to see my place! It's great! I'm excited to move in! And I got KEYS!

I took some meaurements of my room there and also of my furniture when I got home. Then, I got out a piece of paper and did a little room draw-up with a scale. Wow, what a great practice in algebra. All of this scale stuff and proportions and measuring, etc., I felt like I was doing a story problem for Algebra I!

Back to the topic of the post...

This summer was actually pretty relaxing and slow-paced compared to the previous year of my life, but it was kind of nice for a change. Busy-ness is fun, but sometimes when I let it overtake me I tend to lose my focus and become unprioritized. No good. This summer was a giant refocus and time of peace for me spiritually, which I thank God for! I need that before I head into the real world...

June. The beginning of June always means "Yeah! School is out!" and the beginning of our typical muggy weather. This year, however, the nice stuff held out longer it seemed. I spent a lot of those first days at Laura's pool, because she wasn't in her terribly hard chemistry classes at Bradley yet so she still had a life. Then, she kind of vanished from social life. I feel bad because last summer, I was with her all the time. Every night, we'd rollerblade our 8 mile route (and then go eat DQ!) but I missed that. Instead, I stayed religious to my running agreement to run a minimum of 1.5 miles twice a week. That has been since December (yes, I ran in the FREEZING cold weather, ice, snow, rain, you name it!) Some select people made fun of my black leggings that I wore, but HEY, they kept me WARM, OK? I actually QUIT that a few weeks ago. I still like to run, but lately I've sorta been slacking on that AND working out. There's a nice bike trail behind us in Bloomington so I hope that helps to get me back on track.

Ok, I started talking about June and ended up talking about exercise. Although, exercise was a big part of my summer. That became a hobby to me... in a way where I enjoyed doing it. I hope it can always stay that way. My highlight of June was Relay for Life. I was on a team for the second year (not consecutively, but I would like to do it next year). We were the "Rescuers." To be on a team, you have to raise $100. My first year, this was like torture, but THIS year, I got smart and followed Kristi's lead by sending out letters. Those are huge. It's amazing how many people will contribute if they know it's for a great cause, and what a better cause than research for cancer?

I raised around $1,000, and our team of 12 raised almost $8,000, giving us the gold award. Not too shabby considering we're all college-age kids. Actually, most of that can be to the thanks of Kristi, who raised a large chunk of that number herself. Good job, Kristi! That really was a fun time. Our team did pretty good about staying on the track a lot. I was on the track running that day when a huge gush of rain started pouring from the clouds.

"Continue on!" the loudspeaker encouraged. "We'll let you know if you should go inside!"

About two minutes later, they told us to go inside :-) Needless to say, after that we were all very soaked, cold, and shivering. I think we all ended up changing. Anyway, that night was the luminaria, a special service for either survivors or those who have possibly lost the battle to cancer. I made a bag for my grandpa Schupbach who died of cancer a number of years back. What a touching service... afterward, everyone was invited to walk the track and see the bags with names lining the track all lit with candles inside. My mom and sister came for that, and we walked a lap together and read all the names.

At one point in the night (or early morning), I carried Kristi around on my back for a whole lap. Ok, she may not look heavy but after 1/4 a mile she is! We had fun, though. It was a great team, and staying up all night wasn't TOO bad. I actually got a cat nap in at midnight and then slept from 4-6 in the morning, but we made some good memories.

Second week in June was VBS. I love VBS. We had excellent speakers. I helped with the little kids downstairs for craft time... my mom and I signed up for the 4 year olds. They made a darling little step stool that said "Stand up for Jesus!" with their footprint on it. THAT was fun, painting ticklish little 4-year olds' feet.

Another highlight of June was going to Leo. I almost didn't go, but I'm glad I did! It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing where I was like, "Heck, why not?" But wow, what a blessing I would have missed if I didn't go! Plus, I got to meet Tyler Scott! (That pic is for you, buddy!) Everyone who went had fun laying sod, spreading mulch, and doing some other random jobs that day. Plus, who could pass up dodge ball after lunch and the great supper and singing we had that night? It was a great weekend where everyone had fun serving the Lord, and learning a little bit more about the mission at Gateway. I can't wait to go out for the sale!

July had two highlights. One was starting the business, Two Peas in a Palette with Kristi. It has been pretty successful so far which makes me glad we actually did it! We've learned A LOT, and are still learning. If it continues to grow and gives us a future job... then GREAT! Otherwise... it's definitely fabulous resume material.

July highlight #2 was Arizona, but I won't even talk about that because there's already a post about it. That pretty much speeds us up to today.

Tomorrow is my last day at Dairy Queen. Sniff. I'm going out to breakfast with Danielle and Dawn, my boss's wife (the sweetest woman ever and practically my second mother). Then, I'll work my LAST shift at good ol' DQ. People keep asking me if I'm sad, but I'm really not. I mean, I'll miss it... but I've been there for so long that it'll be nice to just be DONE.

This pic is from last fall... oh, the memories.

This weekend, my family is going to Oak Run. Tasha (my sis) and Tom Steffen have a cabin up there that his family owns. It's nice that they let us use it for a weekend to get away and spend some time together. I'm looking forward to being with my fam one last time before I move off...

Mon. and Tues. of next week will probably consist of me moving madly down to Bloomington, so you probably won't hear from me in awhile. Try not to cry. For newcomers, reading this post in its lengthiness will be enough until then, anyway.

Alright. Well I believe my voice is officially on its way to Hawaii. I tried to tell my dad something a few minutes ago and I sound like a man. I hope it comes back soon, though. I hate losing my voice. I love to talk, and when it's gone I just sit there and think about all of the comments I COULD be making and all of the questions I COULD be asking... and I kind of realize that half of them are unnecessary, but regardless I DON'T LIKE IT!

However... losing my voice doesn't stop me from writing! Ha ha ha ha ha ha....what a pity.

Time for bed. I'm a tired girl who needs rest. Love you all.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Jabez was cool

I just got back from playing volley ball at Jeff Weigand's for the third time in my life. So let me just state the obvious: I'm not good at volley ball. But somehow, I still manaage to have a lot of fun when I go. Every week, it seems to be a different crowd, so it's fun to get to know others and to play. Some people are just amazing at volley ball. And some are just amazing at making volley ball fun no matter what. A lot fall into both categories but I probably just fall into the latter :-) The sand court there is great and the corn field directly behind it makes for some good volley ball hunting every once in awhile!

So just a few minutes ago, I was talking to my mom about starting to pack up some of my clothes to take down to ISU because my family is going to be gone this weekend to Oak Run, so I'll move in on Monday. And while she said that, I was overcome. I mean, I've been "preparing" to move for awhile now, but it just kind of hit me tonight. No longer will I reside in this house on second street and sleep in my purple bedroom every night. No longer will I be only a few minutes away from a lot of my close friends and family. And no longer will I have my mom just a step away for advice, my dad in the next room for a question, or my 2 cats outside for company. I'll be ON MY OWN. And it'll be different, a lot different than what I'll be used to. New people. New places. New experience. New memories. New everything.

In this time of change, it might be really fun and easy or it might be difficult, but regardless... I'll have God. :-) He is unchanging. And that is a comfort!

I'm sure you'll all be well-informed as to how everything's going down at ISU (as long as my blogging stays religious). Anyway.

Today, I read 1 Chronicles 1-4. Ok, I have a confession to make. So I didn't exactly READ through it, I mostly just skimmed over it. Anyone unfamiliar with the beginning of 1 Chronoicles, let me fill you in: It's a bunch of names. Anyone pregnant and need a name for the baby? Go there. What caught my attention is about halfway through the roll call in 1 Chronicles 4, after 44 names (according to The Prayer of Jabez, the book) "a story breaks through."

It definitely catches one's attention. Here you're falling asleep to the names and all of the sudden, WHAM! Right smack dab in the middle is this: (1 Chronicles 4:9-10)

"Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, 'Because I bore him in pain.' And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, 'Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!' So God granted him what he requested."

WOW! Amazing. It reminded me of the little book, The Prayer of Jabez, that I read awhile back. I was inspired to get it out again tonight, and was blessed when I did. Let me share some findings from this book.

On analyzing the prayer.... (everything in quotes is from the book, and everything that's not is me:-)

"At first glance, the four requests may strike you as sincere, sensible, even noble, but not terribly remarkable. Yet just under the surface of each lies a giant paradigm breaker that runs exactly opposite to the way you and I usually think...When was the last time God worked through you in such a way that you knew beyond doubt that God had done it? In fact, when was the last time you saw miracles happen on a regular basis in your life? If you're like most believers I've met, you wouldn't know how to ask for that kind of experience, or even if you should..."

But, we should.

"When you stand before Him to give your accounting, your deepest longing is to hear, 'Well done!'"


"God really does have unclaimed blessings waiting for you, my friend... and with a handful of core commitments on your part, you can proceed from this day forward with the confidence and expectation that your heavenly Father will bring it to pass for you."

Basically, this book takes the prayer of Jabez and breaks it up, focusing on each part and how we can learn to pray this prayer in our life. And if we REALLY are committed to praying this prayer, miraculous things and blessings will follow.

Books like this, such as Traveling Light, which breaks up the 23rd Psalm and focuses on each line intently, really amaze me. And when I say amaze, I mean HEAVILY. Like amaze me in a way that INSPIRES me. When Scripture can be broken up in a way that makes the Word COME TO LIFE, it really makes me want to go back for more. And that's great! What a blessing we have when others can write books that are centered around the Word of God so it can be shared! Look at what the Purpose Drive Life did. Today I was in Berean Bookstore, and I walked by a book right next to PDL that said, "Living a Life with Purpose" (or something like that), and upon checking the back, I saw it was a book written about how The Purpose Driven Life touched and moved so many in our nation to actually LIVE a purpose driven life! AWESOME!

Back to the Prayer of Jabez, that prayer is a simple prayer that we can all pray. He asks for four things. First, that he would be blessed.

The book touched on this a little but perhaps to some of us, that seems like a selfish request. "Oo oo Lord, me, me! Bless ME!" That request can become very UN-selfish with a quick refocus. Do we want God to bless us for our own good, or to bless us in order to do HIS work?

Request number two: Enlarge my territory.... "The next part... is where you ask God to enlarge your life so you can make a greater impact for Him." That reminds me of something I have heard over and over again: Sometimes, being a Christian means being uncomfortable. Living as one isn't ALWAYS going to be smooth sailing. No way. In fact, it's supposed to be uncomfortable sometimes. It requires us to reach out to those untouchables, to those who look like they might bite your head off or turn and run the other direction. It requires for us to speak up when on one else will, to stand up when everyone else sits for the wrong cuase, and to bow your head when everyone else starts right into the meal. It requires us to say, "Hey, do you want to come to church with me next Sunday?" (compliments of Luke's post ;-) Those things may seem to be easy to talk about doing, but when it comes down to the moment... where is our strength? WHERE is our strength? From WHO comes our strength? If we are on fire for God, it's no problem. And with a prayer like this, the opportunities WILL be there. But where are we?

Third request..."that your hand would be with me..." Nice lead-in. We can't do the above paragraph without Christ. We need His help. The author of the Prayer of Jabez talked about a time where he took on an enormous challenge... one in which he most obviously needed Christ's help... but he felt overwhelmed, baffled, and weak. Upon being counseled by an older man, he heard, "'Son...that feeling you are running from is called dependence. It means you're walking with the Lord Jesus... actually, the second you're not feeling dependent is the second you've backed away from truly living by faith.'... It's a frightening and utterly exhilarating truth, isn't it? As God's chosen, blessed sons and daughters, we are expected to attempt something large enough that failure is guaranteed...unless God steps in." That says it.

Request number four. "That you would keep me from pain, that I would not cause evil!" The book talks about how we sometimes count it as a blessing when there is no temptations or trials that are huge in our lives going on. Everything seems easy. Now, that may be a great thing, but it may also be a very BAD thing. Do you ever realize that whenever you seem to start doing great... floating up there on cloud nine with a piece of chocolate cake and some pretty harp music and all... that you just come plummeting down and fall flat on your face? Yeah, that's how Satan likes to play the game. He has us in the palm of his hand sometimes because we think we are doing JUST fine and then he hits us where it hurts, and when we LEAST expect it. He is crafty, and knows our weaknesses. Do we pray to God to help us overcome temptation? BEFORE hand? Something that I have discovered lately is that I need to forsee my temptation. I'm not saying that I get my crystal ball out and look into the future of my life to plan on when I should ask for God's help... no, not at all. But I know my weaknesses and I know that there are certain things that I'll feel tempted about, let's say, TOMORROW, even if I don't feel tempted at the current moment. So i pray right then and there for God's grace, mercy and help, kind of to prepare myself for what lies ahead.

Satan is powerful. But God is more powerful. The temptation or trial or struggle that seems IMPOSSIBLE to overcome... may certainly be. But with God's power, it is not. Yet we still gotta ask. God wants to help us... are we willing to be helped?

Sorry this got so long, but as you can see, the prayer of Jabez is basically 4 main requests wrapped up into a very cool but very simple unit. If we could learn to pray this prayer in our lives... how amazing would that be!

I reccommend the book, The Prayer of Jabez, to anyone who hasn't read it. And also to those who have... read it again! It doesn't get old.

I love you all! Thanks for reading...

And by the way, for those of you who do make it through my posts like these, I'm sorry if I get kinda "preachy." :-) I just get really excited sometimes and I like to just write out all my thoughts, and if I can encourage even just one person, that's great! If not, though, it certainly helps me to have this in writing so I can better oganize the stuff going on up in my head.


Sunday, August 07, 2005

And that's the way the cookie crumbles...

Anyone know what Jim Carrey movie that's from? Not too hard to figure out if you've seen it... it's a good one. I like that quote and will try my hardest to use it periodically throughout this post so as to tie it in with my many stories and thoughts.

I went to Emily Endress's apt. last night and ate supper with some girls and then we played games. We played Imagine If...Has anyone ever played that? It's REALLY fun.

One question was, "Imagine if Taryn were a breakfast. Which would she be?" I kind of forget the choices but most said I would be pancakes and maple syrup. Mmmmm. You're all probably lost if you've never played that game but just try it sometime. Good laughs will result. And that's the way the cookie crumbles.

She had this book there with all these indiosyncrasies and weird things that people do. Most of them just seemed OCDish to me, but one guy wrote in that he never dries his dishes. Instead, he microwaves them. CRAZY! Another girl was afraid to touch wooden spoons in her kitchen. If she did, she would have to leave the kitchen and recuperate because she thought they felt weird. Ok seriously. It's WOOD! Most of them made me laugh and appreciate my semi-normalacy. Although, I suppose I am pretty OCD and I think we all are half the time, without even realizing it. I guess that's just the way the cookie crumbles.

So anyway, during one of our games, we heard glass shatter outside. Weird. Then, about two minutes later, we heard this huge CRASH. We look out Emily's upstairs window and see this truck pulling away from Erica's car. Ok, NOT COOL. A couple of minutes later, THREE cops show up and we all went outside to check it out when Emily's grandparents (who live downstairs) rang our door bell.

Turns out, this boy was COMPLETELY wasted, and it was ONLY 9:30. The cops were helping him (holding him up) as he tried to walk a straight line, failing at it miserably as he stumbled frequently. The cops came over to Emily's grandma to get her witness report and informed us he was pretty intoxicated. He basically had just gotten in his truck and floored it in reverse, jamming into Erica's car. It wasn't TOO bad, and she got her car license and registration stuff taken care of, but I felt really bad for her. Here she just moved and look what happens to her car!

When I left later that night, I saw two boys outside and went over to talk to them because they wanted to know what had happened. It was actually two boys from my class in school, so they knew me. They live with the boy who got arrested, and he is a class below me in school. They told me it would be his SECOND DUI. Sick. Good luck to him ever getting his license back, esp. if it was a hit and run.

What really just re-instilled itself in me was the fact that SO many kids out there are up to no good. I mean, it's obvious without witnessing stuff like last night, but it just makes me sad. It's like anyone who isn't a Christian can't find any better use of their time than drinking and partying, but then, I suppose, what else do they do for fun? And besides, if they can't solve yesterday's problems or tomorrow's concerns, alcohol can at least numb the pain for a night. Drugs can make life seem euphoric. What better source to confide in than a few drinks and a good time? Our world is CORRUPT. Kids searching go to all the wrong places! It makes me so sad. Yet... what do I do about it? What CAN I even do about it? Sometimes when I think of stuff like this, I'm like, "Oh, well, surely somewhere along the line, I'll just go out and be this huge witness for Christ and save their life and make them really realize what is important so they stop their foolish living." No, it's not that easy. It's takes Christ's power to do Christ's work. I have to be willing and ready, and not think that I am superwoman and can do it all alone. I want to help, but how? I just feel so helpless, sometimes. Helpless, but lucky.

Lucky to have grown up in a Christian home with morals. With right living. SURROUNDED by it. TAUGHT it. A lot of kids out there don't have that. Instead, they have a dad that left their family and a mom who drinks her life away. Sadly enough, that IS the way the cookie crumbles.

Let's just remember to pray for those out there who are lost... especially those we know and who are maybe even close to us and are struggling with a rotten lifestyle. It may seem to be working for them now, but in the end, it will amount to Hell. And in all reality, these people aren't happy. Alcohol isn't a Teacher, drugs aren't the Truth, and sex isn't peace. And no one finds happiness without those (the Teacher, Truth, and peace, to clarify).

Alright, I'll get off my enormous soap box and let the cookie crumble some more...

So today, I slept in until 11. Sick and pathetic, I know. But really, it's been awhile since that has happened. I then painted two chairs green that will go in my apt. kitchen. Kristi came over and helped me. I don't really appreciate oil-base paint. It doesn't go on smoothly, and you have to have turpentine to get it off of everything you spill it on (which in my case is a LOT of things). I like the color my chairs are, though, and coat 2 will be going on tomorrow. After that, Kristi and I went to the pool for about 2 hours. My cheeks are like FLAMING right now. Color always comes out at night, I don't understand it.

My cousin, Carrie Spangler, had her wedding tonight at 4, so I got ready for that after the pool. She married Joe Miller, very nice guy. It was a very nice wedding ceremony in this little church in Pekin. My sister, Tasha, sang "If you could see what I see." Her voice is so beautiful. She has one of those voices where you just get goosebumps when you hear her sing. What a gift from God. Anyway, during the song, the pastor got Carrie and Joe's son, Riley (7 months!), and handed him to Joe. OK, and I got teary-eyed! It was just so amazing seeing those 3 (4, really... Joe has a son named Michael who is 5 and absolutely darling) up there in a church getting married and united as a family under God. I think Carrie and Joe may keep the church they got married in as the church they go to, which would be awesome. The pastor had an amazing service, and he would be good for them. Their two boys need to grow up going to church, as do they. I just pray for them and their salvation as they are married and raise their boys... they could use prayers.

Anyway, the reception was at the Pier Marquette in Peoria. It was fun and nice but pretty long. Later on, when people were dancing, I looked up and saw Carrie dancing with a black guy who looked like one of my friends from ICC who I've kept in touch with, named Vic. About ten minutes later, I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around and who was it? Vic! It WAS him! I love Vic. He is someone I met through another friend, and I just continued to see him a lot at ICC or he would come see me at DQ, etc. I found out awhile back that he is involved with Cai Alpha, a Christian organization that has a lot of events that go on. He came and visited me at my house not too long ago and is continuing to sport his GODSTRONG bracelet, and I've talked to him about his church and everything, so I keep praying for God to work in his life! He's a great guy. I don't know where he's been or what he's been through... but I praise God that he seems to be in the right direction!

Below is a picture of Kelly, my cousin, and I with Carrie... the bride!....tonight.

Here's a shot I got of my niece, Naomi, this afternoon after the wedding. She is soooo cute.

And that's the way the cookie crumbles.

K I'm sick of being cheesy and trying to incorporate that phrase into every conclusion of my thoughts, so time to wrap it up and throw the cookie out. The cookie has to be pure crumbs by now, anyway, as much crumbling as it has done.

Love you all.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Who are you?

If the field of graphic design and multimedia wasn't such an easy road to travel down as far as education, business, and interest (in my case) goes, then I would be a writer. I suppose that I will always be a writer, it just won't be my occupation. And if writing wasn't an option, I would pursue my FASCINATION.

Do any of you have one of those? If so, let me know after I explain what I mean.

My fascination is something that I became interested in a few years ago. I don't know how, where, or why, but it was something that completely put me in awe and still does. It is one of those topics that I could research forever and never get sick of it.

Personality. I LOVE researching personality. So, if options A and B, as mentioned above, were not pursuable, I would definitely be a psychologist.

Anyway, the personality test that I enjoy the most is the Myers-Briggs assessment. It has 16 resulting types, using a combination of 4 sets of 2 different characteristics (reperesented by letters).

You are either:
Extraverted (E) or Introverted (I)
Sensing (S) or iNtuitive (N)
Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)

I am an ENFP. Want to know your type? Take this personality test and find out! I just found this site today and although it doesn't look it (and I got annoyed by the ...'s in the description), it is pretty accurate. Then, go to this website for a better description of what you are.

If you take the personality test, let me know what type you are and how accurate it is. Even if you're not a huge fan of stuff like this... it is kinda intersting, isn't it? It's weird how close they come to describing who we are! It's obviously not going to be 100% accurate, but I do believe the Myers-Briggs testing comes the closest to describing a lot of people's personalities in a general sense with decent accuracy.

All of this talk on "personality" and "who we are" inspires me to take a religious spin on the topic. Ultimately, it doesn't matter WHO WE ARE as long as we are living who we were created to be in Christ! In researching a topic like this, there's a lot about "type compatabilities" and "what type works best with what type." I think that there is some good information out there about that stuff, but whether we get along with someone or not or who we end up spending the rest of our lives with isn't only dependent on personalities cliquing or clashing. It should ONLY depend on God and what He has to say.

Are we in His will? Do we allow HIM to work in our lives and bring out the best in WHO he has made us? After all, GOD is the one who created our personalities... all of us with our very own, unique combination of characteristics that form to make us useable workmen for him. Let's USE the natural talents and positive personality characteristics that God gave us!

Sometimes, we don't get along with others, and there IS a huge personality flaw or clash going on. So pray. Pray to the God who created you and knows you better than anyone else. Isn't that comforting? He knows where the problem is, and He's willing to help you. Or on the flip side, maybe you are in a relationship that is just AWESOME and AMAZING BECAUSE of the personalities just "clicking." Thank and praise God for that!

Today, I was reading up on the personality type facts and my personality type was "overrepresented in writing." Naw, it couldn't be. :-)

Love you all for who you are, T

p.s. Psychologist Taryn Kaiser... sounds natural, eh?

Monday, August 01, 2005


I was sitting outside tonight (a BEAUTIFUL evening to be outside) reading my devotions. I was scheduled to read Leviticus 22-24 tonight. Now, to give a brief background... "The overwhelming message of Leviticus is the holiness of God-- 'Be holy becasue I, the Lord your God, am holy.'" That was taken out of the introdcutory page of the book of Leviticus in my NIV life-application Bible. Basically, I've been plowing my way through a lot of sacrificial rituals and sin, guilt, fellowship, burnt, grain, and etc. offerings and the necessary steps. All I can say is... I'm glad Jesus Christ came and died on the cross and shed His blood to be the Ultimate Sacrifice... the Lamb of God. Obviously not only because we no longer have to go through these intense, detailed rituals, but because we are able to establish that AWESOME, personal relationship with the One who gave His life for our own. Think about it. We DO NOT DESERVE our lives. We are only here because of Christ. Sometimes, I almost think that having to go through these guilt and sin offerings would almost open our eyes to how big of a sacrifice Jesus really made, and how often we need to keep going back to God for forgiveness and seeking Him daily. We aren't perfect and we are GONNA screw up, but if we remember Jesus... we are reminded again Who we are living for and WHY we are, and that we are so unworthy of Him. That puts a whole new perspective on things. It makes my falling-apart car that I drive around ever day not matter. Who cares? At least I got one, and it gets me where I need to go. (And I really do love my car!) It makes my uncertain future not look so uncertain. So I don't know where I'll be in 2 more years? At least I know what I want to major in and that I love it, and that no matter what, God will use my talents and gifts to glorify Him! So I didn't get to go do something today that I REALLY wanted to do because I had to work. At least I have a JOB and OPPORTUNITY. It's a matter of focusing on what we ARE blessed with and remembering that even though things don't always seem to go perfecto, we don't have to let our attitudes be shattered and fall apart the second life isn't top notch.

Because when you really think about it... our life IS top notch. It's is nothing compared to what we will have in Heaven, but for what God has given us, it is sufficient and always will be. Maybe you're a Job. I doubt it, but look at him. He lost everything he had. Are you sitting in a miry pit somewhere without your house, job, car, family, friends, and pretty much every worldly possesion you own? No, I don't think you are (or else you wouldn't be reading this). But Job endured. And so can we.

A true measure of your character, in my opinion, is your reaction to life's difficulties. Where is your attitude? Do you let things that won't matter next week bother you? Ok, so you're a little ticked for a couple of minutes or hours when your computer locks up or your car breaks down or your dog peed on your BRAND NEW WHITE carpeting. But get over it. The computer can be thrown out the window (esp if it's a PC). The car can be fixed or replaced. And they make carpet cleaner. Or maybe it's a relationship issue... someone is REALLY kinda bugging you. What does Jesus say to do? See, I can tell the people who are founded on Christ and who have that awesome relationship and continual solidness with Him because those are the people who will take life's little frustrations or trials and difficulties and will find a way to smile about them, find the blessing in it, and give it to God. Now THAT is maturity. (And boy do I have a long way to come!)

So back to Leviticus... I dove in. The first part talked about the Seasons and Feasts, which was kind of interesting, but what really struck me was the latter part of chapter 24. The heading was "A Blasphemer Stoned." STONED. I sat there for a second and really let that word sink in. It made me cringe. I was intrigued, so I did an online search.

Here is a portion of the text I found on one of the websites:

"In early Bible History, stoning was the (perhaps surprising to many) God-commanded Israelite method of executing those found guilty of the most serious offenses against His Law. The Bible does not describe in specifics which form of restraint was used while the very gory process of stoning was done, however some manner of keeping the condemned individual from escaping was used (as documented by witnesses, and participants, over the centuries), ranging from being thrown before the stoning from an elevation of some sort that caused incapacitating injury, to being tied to a post (or simply tied hand and foot), to being buried with just the head and shoulders left above ground, to just being surrounded by a large crowd of stone throwers in an enclosed area. Unlike most other forms of capital punishment, stoning had no specific executioner, "all the congregation shall stone."

What I wanted to really find was what was entailed physically through stoning. It would be interesting to hear the gory details... exactly what they had to go through. The methods they used were meant to create a slow and painful death in punishment to the awful sin that was committed.

Since I'm reading through the Bible in a year, sometimes I get kind of bogged down reading all of the nitty gritty details of the Old Testament. I have discovered, though, that it IS intersting and it usually makes me thankful that I am living today and not then. It is an eye-opener and learning experience.

Enough on stoning! I have a Dairy Queen blizzard sitting on the floor next to me, and it really wants me to eat it. (This is being jusitifed by my Nautilus visit about a couple of hours ago...)


Any thoughts on this post are welcome!

Oh yeah, I love you guys.


Growing Old/Overview of My Weekend

I always feel like I have to have something REALLY exciting to write about in order to post. Well... sorry to disappoint you all, but I don't have much of anything too exciting to write about. So you can stop reading here if you want.

Anyway, my weekend was a good one. Friday night, I went with the Morton YG and sang at Restmor. The old people there LOVE it. First, we sang out in the open area in the front and after every song, this one lady would clap and whisper over to us at the end, "Now, where are you young kids from?" I think we told her about 6 times that we were from Morton. After a bible reading and prayer, we went through the halls and sang.

We also sing the first of every month at Washington Christian Village with Washington young group. That is always fun, too. I'm not much for old people and I seriously do not know how half of my friends (actually... pretty much ALL of them) at one point or still currently do work at Restmor. It takes a SPECIAL person to do that. I'm so glad that some people are blessed in that area and just have that gift to know how to deal with older people and put them at ease. It's a gift, I tell you. Even though I could never work there, I still enjoy going there and seeing their beautiful, wise, smiling faces as we sing to them.

It kind of makes me sad, though. As I stand there, it's almost like I envision myself in another 70 years sitting there in a wheel chair or curled up on the couch next to another lady who I don't know or won't remember in 30 seconds, gazing up at the glowing, youthful faces of about 20 young kids singing hymns to me. It's sad but also comforting. If there are still young kids willing to come do that on a Friday night, praise God! I guess it's up to me to raise my kids (Lord willing that I have kids, of course) in the way of the Lord so that there WILL be kids there doing that.

Anyway, afterwards we went to Aaron Funk's house in Morton. Kelly Kaiser, my first cousin, and I talked a lot there and then stood outside for awhile and chatted, as well. It was good being with her again... she's been so busy with school (nurses training, yuck) and everything over the past year and a half and our friendship didn't really pick up again this summer, but one thing we will always have is our cousinship :-) Kelly is just one of those friends where it doesn't matter if I haven't seen her for 3 years, I could probably go out to lunch with her and pick up right where we left off. We just "understand" each other on some certain level. It's like this personality thing... we just click. Do you have a friend like that? It's weird, because when we were best friends for awhile in high school, we would seriously be so intuitive about each other that we would say the exact same thing at the same time because we were always thinking the same thing. We also have the same humor... must be that Kaiser humor. We can sit and laugh over certain stuff for hours. WEIRD! But very cool. I will always cherish Kelly and her friendship.

Then, I went home and had a good talk with my mom. It was still pretty early (like 10:30) but I love it when you can just have these randomly GREAT talks because the timing is on and the moods are right. That night, I didn't end up going to bed til like 2 a.m. I am so in sane sometimes. I waste SO much time at night. No, I don't waste, I just cut my precious sleep time out doing things that I can't fit in at any other time. My mom came into my room at like 1:30 and was like, "Why aren't you sleeping yet?" so mad. She informed me she couldn't sleep with the lights on. That will be one thing that is nice about moving out.... I can stay up as LONG as I want and NO ONE will care!!! What can I say? I'm an owl. If I could pick my sleeping hours, they'd be from 1:30 a.m.- 10 a.m. PERFECT. Unfortunately, the rest of the world usually doesn't operate on that time schedule.

Saturday was fun. My mom and I went to Peoria and got all my bedroom stuff at Target for when I move. YEAHHHHHHHHHH! Target. I LOVE Target. Love it. Always have, always will. Well, LOVE it as much as the worldly sense of the word can define. Did that make snese? Basically, what I'm trying to say is that sometimes, I misuse words. Today, Jeff Thames talked about when he hears young kids say, "That pizza is AWESOME!" and he's like, "No, that pizza is NOT awesome," (congregation chuckles), "That pizza is good, but not awesome. GOD is awesome!" Amen to that! I think that only God can truly define that word. And only God can truly define love. So, I really just like Target A LOT. Awhile back, I got on to one of the girls I work with because she said she hated people. Now that's a word that I DO NOT LIKE being misused. Hate is a very strong word. I told her that no, she does NOT hate these people, she just very strongly dislikes them :-) so every time after that, she used my new description instead of hate. This is going to go against everything I just said, but I hate it when people misuse the word "hate."

Ok, so sorry. I kind of get side-tracked sometimes. It's like, I start off talking about my weekend, and I end up going into this huge dissertation about Hate and Like and Love and Awesome and everything in between. Hee hee.

To steer myself back onto the track of the original topic....

Saturday after all that jazz, I drove Gab and Kelly to Bloomington to the Crossings. That is where I am going to be living! TWO weeks! WOOOOWWWW! I can't wait. Anyway, some kids hung out there and that was SUPER fun. I met some girls a couple doors down that were extremely nice and had a big dry erase board with all the apt. #s and who lives where. It looks like lots of people will be down there. It's going to be a party all the time! TP (Tricia Plattner, one of my roomies) and I went to the apt. we will be living at and kindly knocked on the door to see if the boys living there would show us around again. Well, no one answered. After banging on the door, we gave up. Later, we transported this metal shelf thing to our backyard and put a note on it that said, "Please keep for the T's moving in." It'll be interesting to see if it's still there when we move in. I peeked (ok, put my face up against the glass and GAWKED) into the kitchen sliding doors and checked out that arena from the backyard. I have honestly NEVER been in OUR apt. Isn't that sadness? Every time the girls have gone, I haven't been able to go for one reason or another.

You know, that would be a good story. Telling about how I decided to go to ISU instead of Bradley when I was so set on going to Bradley up until like... oh.... THREE months ago. Lol. Maybe another time. This post is looking lengthy enough.

But, while we're on the topic of moving in, I get my apt. the 13th of August. I'm living with "the T's," Tammy Sauder, Tracy Zimmerman, and Tricia Plattner... 3 of the most amazing girls EVER. How did I luck out so much? We are going to have a BLAST! Seriously, though, I could not have asked for nicer girls to be living with.

Sat. night still, we ended up singing. Jeremy Hodel was there (It was SO good to see him... he had spent a month in Leo serving) and he willingly played some worship songs for us. Oh, the sound of sweet worship being plucked from a guitar and getting to sing along... that has to be my favorite and I will never tire of it. Now, that I really do LOVE. Singing praises to our great God! Anyway, after that we had sort-of a focus time where we shared some goals for the next semester, headed up by David Thames. What a great sharing time!

David Wuthrich and Scott Wettstein came to Bloomington, which was awesome. It was great being able to see and talk to them again.

Sunday. Baptisms in Morton that brought the whole Thames family to Morton. What a clan! But, a GREAT clan. I love that family, so loving. Jeff Thames had an AWESOME sermon in the morning. No misuse of that word, either. He was on FIRE. Wow.

After church, a bunch of us met Dave and Scott up at DQ and chatted with them awhile before they left. Tonight, my family minus the Steffens and Melissa had Erica over for supper. Erica is a girl who recently moved to Morton from Atlanta, Georgia away from her family. She works at the AC Counseling Services (Agape Counseling) where Ted Witzig, Jr., works. She goes to Morton and is around my brother's wife's age. It was good getting to know her, and it was fun having her as my 3 sisters and I can continue to form a friendship with her. It must be hard moving from a small church family and away from her family to a bigger church with so many more people and hardly anyone that she knows. She's a very sweet girl and it was fun having her here. We hope to include her in the future.

So now, here I sit. Writing. And I thought I had nothing to write about! Well, nothing exciting, I guess, which is partly true but partly not. I got to share some pretty cool things that happened this weekend.

Time to wrap it up. I have to prepare for bed and do devos (all which will probably take at least an hour and a half, knowing me.) That makes it practically 12 and I have a day tomorrow. Love you all!