Friday, September 30, 2005


The left shows my favorite picture of Tracy and I.

I am devoting this post to Tracy.

Her name is pronounced TRAY-CEE, not to be confused with TRACK-EE. Her middle name is Jean. Her last name is Zimmerman. She lives at (insert address here) and her birthday is March 15 if you would like to stalk her. Her elder is Bro. Ted Witzig.

Only kidding...

Tracy can dance like no other. In a few days, I will post a quick time of her dancing on castpost. Stay tuned in.

She enjoys snowboarding in Colorado, pigging out on food some nights, and long jogs on the Constitution Trail.

She could be yours today, all for the cost of your VERY heart! Just call 1-800-I LOVE TRACY, or log on to and sign your name on the list.

Don't let another day go by without this girl. You are missing out.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Test of Friendship

Well, since my previous e-mail rubbish was so popular, let me introduce another e-mail rubbish item I found. I made a quiz last year sometime, and I'm sure all of you have either taken one or have made one. But still. It's fun.

Go here... and take my quiz! and then Check out the Scoreboard!

See how well you know me.

If you score bad... I may have to remove you from my list of friends. No pressure.

This is the REAL test to see who really deserves to be my friend....

Love you all (even if you score poorly, I guess),


E-mail rubbish

I was looking through my e-mail folders today... It's amazing. I still have e-mails from 2 or 3 years ago! Many of them needed to be deleted. I came across a few interesting forwards, though. Some of you may have seen this, but if you have time, try it out. It's kind of interesting!

..."Dr. Phil gave this test on Oprah she got a 38. Some folks pay a lot of money to find this stuff out. Read on, this is very interesting!"

Basically, just take this as a quiz. Have a piece of paper and pencil handy to mark down your answer and total the score at the end.

1. When do you feel your best?
a. in the morning
b. during the afternoon & early evening
c. late at night

2. You usually walk...
a. fairly fast, with long steps
b. fairly fast, with little steps
c. less fast, head up, looking the world in the face
d. less fast, head down
e. very slowly

3. When talking to people, you...
a. stand with your arms folded
b. have your hands clasped
c. have one or both of your hands on your hips
d. touch or push the person to whom you are talking
e. play with you ear, touch your chin, or smooth your hair

4. When relaxing, you sit with...
a. your knees bent with your legs neatly side by side
b. your legs crossed
c. your legs stretched out or straight
d. one leg curled under you

5. When something really amuses you, you react with...
a. a big, appreciative laugh
b. a laugh, but not a loud one
c. a quiet chuckle
d. a sheepish smile

6. When you go to a party of social gathering, you...
a. make a loud entrance so everyone notices you
b. make a quiet entrance, looking around for someone you know
c. make the quitest entrace, trying to stay unnoticed

7. You're working very hard, concentrating hard, and you're interrupted. You...
a. welcome the break
b. feel extremely irritated
c. vary between both extremes

8. Which of the following colors do you like most?
a. red or orange
b. black
c. yellow or light blue
d. green
e. dark blue or purple
f. white
g. brown or gray

9. When you are in bed at night, in those last few moments before going to sleep, you lie...
a. stretched out on your back
b. stretched out face down on your stomach
c. on your side, silghtly curled
d. with your head on one arm
e. with your head under the covers

10. You often dream that you are...
a. falling
b. fighting or struggling
c. searching for something or someone
d. flying or floating
e. you usually have dreamless sleep
f. your dreams are always pleasant

1. a-2, b-4, c-6
2. a-6, b-4, c-7, d-2, e-1
3. a-4, b-2, c-5, d-7, e-6
4. a-4, b-6, c-2, d-1
5. a-6, b-4, c-3, d-5, e-2
6. a-6, b-4, c-2,
7. a-6, b-4, c-2
8. a-6, b-7, c-5, d-4, e-3, f-2, g-1
9. a-7, b-6, c-4, d-2, e-1
10. a-4, b-2, c-3, d-5, e-6, f-1

Add 'em up.

OVER 60 POINTS: Others see you as someone they should "handle with
care". You're seen as vain, self-centered, and who is extremely
dominant. Others may admire you, wishing they could be more like
you, but don't always trust you, hesitating to become too deeply
involved with you.

51 TO 60 POINTS: Others see you as an exciting, highly volatile,
rather impulsive personality; a natural leader, who's quick to make
decisions, though not always the right ones. They see you as bold
and adventuresome, someone who will try anything once; someone who
takes chances and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your
company because of the excitement you radiate.

41 TO 50 POINTS: Others see you as fresh, lively, charming,
amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's
constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently
well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as
kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer
them up and help them out.

31 TO 40 POINTS: Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful &
practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest.
Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone
who's extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expect the
same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it
takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that
it takes you a long time to get over it if that trust is ever

21 TO 30 POINTS: Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy.
They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady
plodder. It would really surprise them if you ever did something
impulsively or on the spur of the moment, expecting you to examine
everything carefully from every angle and then, usually decide
against it. They think this reaction is caused partly by your
careful nature.

UNDER 21 POINTS: People think you are shy, nervous, and indecisive,
someone who needs looking after, who always wants someone else to
make the decisions & who doesn't want to get involved with anyone
or anything. They see you as a worrier who always sees problems
that don't exist. Some people think you're boring. Only those who
know you well know that you aren't.

I believe the last time I took this test, I was in the 41-50 range, but this time, I had 53 points. Leave a comment and let me know which one you are...


Come on, admit it. It's FUN!

I love you all for who you are.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Oh, to be Wise

This morning I was thinking about wisdom, and how I needed some.

I read in 2 Chronicles about Solomon's wisdom, and I asked myself the question, "How did he get so much wisdom?"

I'm memorizing James 1 right now and the verse that was reverberating in my mind earlier when I was having thoughts about wisdom was, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, which giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given Him."

We may not ever get handed the wisdom of Solomon, but God will give us the wisdom we need if we ask! If we are on our knees down here below and pray, "Lord, please give me wisdom for this situation," God isn't going to be like, "Hmm...NO." He wants to hear us ask for it! However, often times the first and most hardest step to asking is recognizing that we NEED it.

One thing to watch out for is the verses directly after... "But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that waverth is like a wave in the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. Let not that man think that he shall receive anything of hte Lord."

If we're going to ask for wisdom from God, we have to have faith that He's going to give it to us. We have to have faith IN HIM and stop thinking that our own philosophy/theory/idea/option/desire is going to solve what we're dealing with. We have to place our ALL, our EVERYTHING, our whole LIFE in His hands and say, "Lord, I need wisdom in this situation" and mean it.

God knows our hearts.

Let's all try to remember that we need godly wisdom in our lives and be faithful enough to ask for it... and realize that we do.

Love you all!


Monday, September 26, 2005


The most amazing thing happened this weekend.

I rode out to Taylor with the most fun people EVER to go on a road trip with: Heather Knobloch, Tricia Plattner, Tracy Zimmerman, and Jordan Schroeder. We laughed a lot. Actually, some of us laughed almost TOO much, because as Heather (probably correctly) assesed near the end of our journey yesterday, this comment being directed towards Trish, Tracy, and I, "You 3 laugh at so many things that AREN'T funny."

Yeah that's probably true, but laughing is my favorite, and it's a sign that I'm having a good time. I tend to laugh at everything. However, we need people like Heather and Jordan who only laugh at the things that are REALLY funny to stay level-headed and logical, and balance us out. So we were a good traveling team together, and managed to make some good memories.

That's not the point of my story, though. That's just me getting side-tracked.

So, we are in Taylor, about 5 minutes from our destination point, and my phone rings. I answer it, and it is my good friend Matt Knobloch.

He asked me what I was up to, then said, "Guess what I did last night?"

"What?!" I asked.

"I became a Christian," he replied.

Ok. Is that not the BEST news anyone could ever tell you? I was ecstatic!

He is repenting!

It made my whole weekend. I mean, being at Taylor was enough in itself, but this made it great before it even started!

For me, this was a huge answer to prayer! I LOVE it when God does that. It's so encouraging when God answers prayer like that... It is one of the best feelings when He does, especially when it means another soul has been touched and will live for Jesus! Yet, the praying doesn't stop here. Often times, one answered prayer leads to another opportunity to pray for someone in a different way!

God is so amazing in His ways, His timing, and His work. I love looking back over the past and seeing how God is so sovereign in everything that He does. So often, situations occur in my life where I am so caught up in the moment that I forget there is a time and purpose for everything that doesn't necessarily allign with the way I think it ought to be. Yet how comforting to know He sees the puzzle box picture, and He knows exactly how everything is going to piece together.

This weekend, we were given an acrynom G-U-I-D-E.
Go to God
Understand His Principles
Ivestigate your options
Discuss with others
Exercise your freedom

One thing the speaker really hit on was, "Live every day with God (as your guide)."


The weekend in Taylor was a blessing, and I was happy to see so many people! What an awesome turnout there was!

I love you all,

p.s. I was looking around today, in need of some encouragement, and I found this. It seemed to flow with letting God by your guide... by letting the Holy Spirit live through you! Check it out!

Saturday, September 24, 2005


I was told that my posts increase in interest when pictures are included. So this is going to be a post with some pictures.

Here is what the fun T House did on Friday night...

Proudly displaying our Starbucks orders

Tracy, posing for a Starbucks ad

All 4 of us


Standing in amazement

Melts in your mouth...

Watching in amazement

The result of too much coffee + too much sugar

Come on, just admit it. You wish you had been there.

Love you all!


Friday, September 23, 2005

Random Fun, Priceless Moments

Ohhh, tonight was fun.

Guess what? For the first time in... um, EVER, we finally got a picture of all 4 T's!

After ISU Bible Study, we all (ok, basically I did) decided that we needed to do something wild and crazy. We never really accomplished that task, but we tried to. Tracy and I sang all the way home from BS in the front seat with the windows down. Then, a bunch of us girls ate about 3/4 a pan of banana cake... mmm... compliments of Stephanie Barth! the living room. Then, Trish and I went out to the open field by the interstate and ran around for awhile. Then, we watched some quick time movies and projects on my mac. Then, Trish, Tracy and I did a "Face Photo Shoot" where we each took turns describing an event, made a face to corresspondingly match that event, and took 25 shots that will be constructed onto a sheet with captions. Then, we added more quotes to our post-it wall (we make post-its of all the clever quotes we T's or guests come up with). Somewhere along the line, we also pushed the couch in front of the stairs, just to be random.

Random nights full of random actions = fun. Why? I have learned that the most random times are the most fun...they speak of memories that are unique and original. It brings forth the future ability to be like, "Remember that ONE time when we did THAT?" It is those priceless moments of genuine laughter that get locked in your heart forever.

Wow, that was really cheesy. I haven't had a cheesy, heart-felt, warm-fuzzy post in awhile, though, so it was called for. Right?

Onto other things...

I had this huge presentation on Tuesday that I spent ALL last weekend working on. It was an "artist story" which contained video clips from part of a video interview I did, digital images, and audio clips extracted from the interview and some Norah Jones song clips included. I was happy with how it turned out and my presentation went well, but it was one of those projects that stressed me out hugely and took a lot of time and thought. My artist was Vicki Taufer. I love her photography work, and if you go here
you can check out her photography.

I was happy to be able to attend the Pumpkin Festival last weekend. I went Friday night with some friends, and then Saturday night, a group that dressed and acts EXACTLY like the Beetles preformed in the food tent. They were AMAZING, they sounded just like the Beetles. Saturday morning, of course, was the parade. My grandma lives on Jefferson Street so we have always gone there and everyone brings food and we sit and watch the parade from her curb. It's fun to see all the little kids enjoy it. I remember when I was 5 years old, and I was the one sitting on the curb with my little bag, running out into the street to pick up candy and being overwhelmed by all the big, loud bands that marched by. Now, all my nephews and nieces are experiencing it. I feel so old.

Last night, I went home for church because I had a meeting after church in Morton. Then, my mom, sisters and I went to Ruby Tuesday's and got 2 of those giant chocolate tallcakes. Mmmm. It was good being home for a night and spending some time with my mom and sisters... it's so fun to get together with them and talk, uninterrupted by kids and the buzz of everyday life.

Tomorrow, I work from 12-3, and then beings my first official Friday night spent at my apartment. I usually always go home on Fridays, but since I leave for Taylor Saturday afternoon, it doesn't make sense to go home. I'm excited! I'm not quite sure what the plan is, but regardless, I'm sure we'll have fun...

I hope to see some of you in Taylor this weekend!

Love you all!


p.s. Tracy- we WILL have our late-night Krispe Kreme run. As soon as that banana cake is gone...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Don't Worry!

I have been slightly stressed out lately, and that is uncharacteristic of myself.

I don't know if "stressed out" is the correct term. I'm not pulling my hair out or running around like a mad woman, but I feel like I have been on edge lately. Maybe a better phrase would be "a lot of stacked up unecessary worrying."

Matthew 6:27
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

That verse really causes a light bulb to go off over my head. It brings to life how pointless worrying really is. Worrying about something isn't going to change it. And surprisingly enough, by worrying, my life won't get longer, either. It'll only get shorter with a history of wasted time.

Worry is a disease, I tell you. Even when you tell yourself not to... a lot of times, you still do. Recently, I have been really thinking about what it takes to completely surrender my all to Christ. It is kind of like one of those pass-fail tests. You either get a 0 or a 100%. The same with your surrender to Christ- you're either giving Him it all or you're giving Him nothing. You can give Him 99% but that 1% that you insist upon controlling will ruin it all.

I was just talking to Heather last night about this. What does it require to give your ALL to Him? For the longest time, I thought that by being a "good Christian," (i.e. reading, praying, going to church), I was doing enough. Yet, to completely surrender your life to Christ is more than actions. It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. It's an attitude... and all 3 of those things turn into actions that reflect your life as a surrendered Christian.

It's different for everyone, I think, but for me it means saying, "Lord, it's yours! All of it!" It's a statement and a prayer. And do you know what that does? It eliminates my worrying. If I have given it to God, the Perfect One, then logically speaking, there is no reason to worry.

Now, does that mean that I still won't worry? Not at all. It's not necessary to, but that doesn't mean I won't because I am human. That is when this verse comes in handy...

1 Peter 5:7- Casting all your care upon Him, for he careth for you.

What comfort. Jesus wants to hear all about it, and when we decide to share with the Almighty, it's amazing how much better we come out feeling!

Oh my, the Lion King Hakuna Matata song is going through my head right now, "It means no worries, for the rest of your days...It's our problem-free...philosophy, Hakuna Matata...."

Look what I've done.

Too bad my post for today can't end with an audio clip of that song playing... although, I think the written out words is enough to get that song stuck in anybody's head. Good luck getting rid of that one... :-)

Luke was nice enough to provide this Hukana Matata clip for me to go along with the theme of my post. Just click on that link below for a phrase to keep in mind whenever you feel the urge to worry...Enjoy.

Listen to me!>

by Castpost

Love you all,

Monday, September 19, 2005

True Humility

On the way out to the Purdue Sing, Katelyn and I put all of Paul's 13 letters in chronological order. I'm certainly open to correction, but here is what we came up with:

1. Galatians
2. 1 Thessalonians
3. 2 Thessalonians
4. 1 Corinthians
5. 2 Corinthinas
6. Romans
7. Ephesians
8. Colossians
9. Philemon
10. Philippians
11. Titus
12. 1 Timothy
13. 2 Timothy

Katelyn said it was mentioned at a recent bible study that as Paul progressed through his letters, he became more and more humble in what he considered himself. I believe first he started off as calling himself, "Paul, an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ," developed into a "servant of Christ," and then ended up by calling himself the "chiefest of all sinners."

Isn't it interesting how Paul's view of himself changes as he matures... and his self-image seems to get lower? Yet, it's not his self-worth that is faltering... it's his humility that is increasing.

In 1 Corinthians 15: 9-11 (NIV),
"For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed."

My Life Application says,
"As a zealous Pharisee, Paul had been an enemy of the Christian church--even to the point of capturing and persecuting believers. Thus he felt unworthy to be called an apostle of Christ. Though undoubtedly the most influential of the apostels, Paul was deeply humble. He knew that he had worked hard and accomplished much, but only because God had poured kindness and grace upon him."

Paul calls himself the least of the apostles, undeserving of even being called one. We see why if we look in Acts 9:1-6,
"Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners in Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
'Who are you, Lord?' Saul asked.
'I am Jesus, whom you are persectuing,' he replied. 'Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.'"

Paul went from persecuting God to becoming an amazing instrument of His. Without Paul, 13 precious books of the Bible would be missing. If we would know someone like Saul today, we would probably shake our heads and wave him off, thinking, "this man's salvation is hopeless." Yet just LOOK at what God did with Saul! He can do the same for anyone you know today... and I doubt most unbelievers you know today were to the extremity that Paul was. So take heart! God can and will change hearts!

Going back to humility, here are the sentences that wrapped up my Life Application statement from 1 Corinthians:
"True humility is not convincing yourself that you are worthless, but recognizing God's work in you. It is having God's perspective on who you are and acknowledging his grace in developing your abilities."

You can love yourself without being in love with yourself. At ISU Bible Study the other night, one phrase that I took with me is, "You don't have to impress anyone when your security is in Christ." This all comes with being humble. It's all in a little package. If our self worth is placed in Christ and Christ alone, and we lean fully on Him to develop our character through His grace and mercy, we will be focused enough to realize that HE is the only One we want to please and glorify... and with that kind of attitude, we are being HUMBLE!

That works out nicely.

True humility is hard to attain, and for some of us, it may be a life-long journey. It's a good thing God gave us Paul... a man who developed true humility where it is clearly evident throughout the letters he wrote.

Sometimes, when I feel like I need to be humbled, I just think of the Cross. I think of Jesus. I think of God... I think of those characters in the Bible who fell face down in the presence of God.

I have a childhood dream of Jesus. I was in Sunday School at church, and Jesus was there. I met Him. I just remember seeing him and being SO relieved, and running over to embrace Him.

Thinking of Jesus and His Cross is humbling, yet isn't it great to know He is always there, waiting to give you a hug?

I love you all,

Friday, September 16, 2005

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Power of Color

Look! I can write in colors, now! I LOVE colors. So much. Guess what I'm doing right now? Eating out of a Cookies 'n Cream ice cream carton. I poured Hershey's chocolate syrup all over the last 5-6 bites and am eating it. Hey, that's the joy of living on my own. My mom can't come in and say, "Taryn, that's so gross, why wouldn't you put that in a bowl?" No... now my room mates are responsible for keeping me in line.

But none of them are around right now, so I'm not too worried about it. :-) The way I see it... I'm going to polish this ice cream off, and then throw the carton away... without having to worry about washing the bowl I put it in! So. Really, I'M the one thinking here. I'M the clever one. I'm saving myself the trouble of rinsing a bowl out and putting it in the dishwasher.

Pink is my favorite color. Today, I wore a pink Gateway Woods shirt and a pink watch, and I have a funny story about that. So, I went to my piano lessons today and my piano teacher sat back to listen to me play, and right after I started he put a hand up to stop me. In all seriousness, he confessed, "I have to apologize. If I had known," he said, gesturing to my outfit, "I would have bought a pink piano for you to play on."

Wouldn't it be nice if I color-coded all of my topics within my posts? Then, if you got bored of one of my topics, you could jsut skip it and know exactly where the new topic picked up!

Yeah, but I'm not going to do that because then you will all get lazy and never read my posts thoroughly. Not that most of you do, anyway. I've heard it said more than once, "Taryn, I just read the first sentence and then the last sentence of all your posts." Well, thanks guys. Thanks a lot. We'll see how long it takes me to recognize all you non-readers when I become a famous author some day and accidently forget to dedicate the book to you...

Anyway, onto more important things, tonight was an amazing sermon in Bloomington. I feel like every minister feels obligated to preach about New Orleans, which he DID bring it up, but with a new twist. He said that we all sit and say, "Yeah, those poor people," and maybe even do what we can by praying and sending some supplies. "BUT," Bro. Ron said, "I believe there is something spiritual that we can benefit from this." He took us to Ezekial 47 and then talked about the levee built in NO and how it wasn't sufficient for the huge storm that came through. Yet, so many times, that is completely like our spiritual life if we aren't careful. If we don't build it high enough, sin and evil will flood in with it's overpowering force. Are we strong enough spiritually? He talked about Adam and Eve in the Garden, and asked, "Who let Satan in? Who let him into the Garden?" God allowed him to be there. And Adam and Eve would have been fine had they not focused so much on details... Ron said that some of us are details people. We focus on the here and the now and the nitty gritty details and get caught up in them so much so that we forget about the big picture. But stepping back from the numerous surrounding puzzle pieces and looking at the picture on the box gives us a whole new perspective... and it causes us to realize that we need faith. Faith in God! That's what it is ALL about! Adam and Eve lacked that... if they hadn't gotten so caught up in those details and had just had faith in God, oh how things would be different. They let the walls of the levee break and in came the flood of sin.

Ron left us with a beautiful illustration. He asked us if we had seen the Target sign (for the store). Well, yeah. And what is it composed of? A bull's eye in the center, with ONE concentric circle outside of it. He said, "Imagine the bull's eye as Heaven (and God), and the surrounding concentric circle as faith."

Target is one of my favorite stores, and now it really is. I will never shop there again and not think of that! If we are to press on to Heaven, we have to surround ourselves by FAITH!

Something I often think about is the fact that I hear great sermons ALL of the time, but how often do I really apply their teachings to my life? No, really. It's a real challenge. Spiritual application is often one of the hardest things to do. It's easy to sit in church on Sunday and nod my head and agree inwardly to great points that the minister is making... but what am I doing about it? I find that the things that convict me the most are the hardest things to apply. Yet with God's overflowing amount of grace, I can.

Another thing Ron said tonight that stuck out to me was, "Christians shouldn't have any reason to frown (and granted, he said, we're going to go through hardships and that's understandable). That made me smile because some days I kind of have a scowl on my face, sometimes even for no reason and an instant smile comes because I think, "I'm a Christian, I need to smile to show others I have joy!" I pass tons of college students every day on campus and around here, and if they can't look at me and see that I'm happy... that's too bad, really. I want to spread the Jesus-Others-Yourself JOY!

May God bless you all today! Show your love for Jesus on your face! Others will notice...

I love you all!


Don't worry, it gets better after the first 3 paragraphs

Last night was the first night where I could not sleep due to a storm in a LONG time.

Usually, I sleep like a rock. Give me five minutes and if I'm tired enough, I'm out like a light for the rest of the night. The other night, I went to sleep holding a pillow and woke up in the same position holding the same pillow. Now THAT is rare. I've been told that I roll over, trample, smash, hit, kick, steal (covers), and talk in my sleep. I can be a dangerous person while unconscious...

Anyway, after about 10 minutes of laying there, I knew something was wrong. Like I said, usually I'm out. I kept seeing flashing and then came the storm. Grrr. The storm probably wasn't even the reason I couldn't sleep. It was probably because I had been so active at volley ball about an hour earlier. NOT. I was actually pretty lifeless at volley ball, but it was fun and good to see the "volley ball people" again.

It WAS nice to have rain, though, and it cooled things off around here. I woke up this morning VERY tired. I think I had myself fooled that 6 hours a night is all I needed of sleep, and now that I'm getting 8, my body is getting kind of greedy. Hmph.

I just took up 3 paragraphs talking about my sleeping experience last night. This is a sign that I have no topic for today.

Two exciting things, though....

1. Someone is working for me on Friday, which means that after ISU BS on Thursday I get to go home and go to the P. Fest and be home for the rest of the weekend!

2. I'm a counselor at the Jr. High girls/boys camp. The only disappoinment I have at this point is that I think they have done away with the shaving cream fight. Ok. That is only the BEST part of the whole camp! I guess I'll live without it, though. And as a counselor, I suppose that means I'M the one who has to be mature this time :-)

I have this teacher who always picks on me. I have him every single day because he teaches 2 of my classes. Yesterday in Sound Design, he was talking and out of the blue goes, "Right, Taryn?" because he thinks I never listen to anything he says because I look around the room a lot. Well, that's just me. He's like, "You think everything else other than the front of room where I am talking is interesting at this point."

So he proceeds to say, "Now I'm going to talk about something that I should just take out of the currciculum, but I leave it since someone always inevitably ends up getting something out of it." So he talks for about 5 minutes, then says, "Ok, so did anyone get anything out of that?"

Being my kind self, I raised my hand to signal that yes, I did get something out of it. He goes, "ALRIGHT! That's it! Taryn gets an A+ for the day, and everyone else fails." THEN, he turns around, and writes my name on the board with an A+ next to it and "Everyone else- F-." What a funny guy.

What else? The T House is great. I feel really bad because all my room mates study. Now, before you think that I DON'T, let me clarify. I do when I have to (kinda), but my major field of study is one that is very project-oriented. So, instead of burying my head in a book or notebook, I spend my time making presentations, giving them, researching, taking video, editing audio, and manipulating images. In my opinion, A LOT more fun then studying :-)

My favorite times are the random times where we sit around and talk in the kitchen while eating or in passing. It's spontaneous, humorous, and with most of us... you never know what's going to happen next. Everyone comes home with stories for the day, which are usually pretty funny. I think Tricia has had the best stories so far.

Yesterday, Tracy made my day with something that made her day. She showed me something really cool. We both have itunes on our macs, and there is this feature called podcasts. Neither of us knew what it meant, but evidently you can subscribe to radio station's programs that air certain shows for FREE. One of those programs is Walk in the Word with Dr. James MacDonald! YEAH!!!! So ever day, one of his talks downloads on my mac for absolutely FREE! How sweet is that? I listened to him talk about prayer yesterday. He talked about how God CALLS us to pray... He doesn't ask or request, he CALLS. Also, if we pray and ask for anything according to God's will, He hears us! What's a way to pray in God's will? Pray the Word! Then we KNOW we are in His will! We know if we say, "God, please help to get me through this trial," He's going to be like, "OK!"

Because, sometimes we pray for things we don't need. James said that as mature Christians, though, we get to the point where we stop praying for stuff we don't need and start praying for stuff that we desire to glorify Him that is alligned with the Word and His will.

He also told us how the Bible says God can't lie. It's not, "He WON'T lie or he SHOULDN'T lie," it is He CAN'T. James used the analogy that guys can't have babies :-) Or, (this is for Luke), like Kristi CAN'T spike the ball :-) Well, neither can God lie. God stands firm on His promises to us, and we need to rest assured that He can't lie to us about anything (not that we think he should), but then why do we doubt? If we think our way is better than God's, we are essentially doubting that God won't bring us through. As long as we do not forsake Him, He won't forsake us.

I'm looking forward to some more of James' talks!

Something I'm tackling in these next couple of weeks is memorizing James 1. I was talking to Katelyn Thames on the way out to the Purdue sing and she asked me if I was memorizing anything. I'm like, "Uh, the monthly memory verse for my church," but that sounded kind of lame. I used to memorize chapters of the Bible for Sunday School... why can't I, now?

So, I was flipping through my old KJV that I used awhile ago and decided that the first New Testament chapter I came to with highlighting in it (I highlight stuff that sticks out to me, so I knew it would be good :-) I would memorize. It was nothing other than my FAVORITE BOOK in the bible! James. I LOVE James! This may be overstepping it, but I made it a goal to memorize the whole book.

I have James 1:1-10 down pretty good, so I need to keep going. I'm thankful for Katelyn and her challenge, because otherwise I would not have thought I could do this! It's really not as hard as it sounds... Katelyn just got done memorizing James 1, as well, so it's kind of ironic that it's the chapter I opened up to, but as I sat and listened to her say it, I was amazed. Yet, all it takes is sitting down and going over it. Katelyn told me that whatever chapter I decide to memorize will become my favorite. I think she's right :-) There's something about really learning EVERY SINGLE word and having it in your heart that makes it special.

I challenge everyone to try memorizing a chapter in the Bible! If that sounds a little big, just work on some meaningful verses. It's so nice to have the Word of God accessible without it having to be there in physical form. And you never know when you're going to be able to use it for His glory or even for your own good to fight off Satan.

I love you all!


Monday, September 12, 2005

"But the greatest of these is..."

I am going to provide a character profile of a trait, and I want you to tell me what it is.

It is...

It is NOT...
*easily angered
*delighted in evil

What is it?

If that all sounded familiar, it is because you have probably heard it described many times in 1 Corinthians 13. The trait I was describing is love. Yet, I hate to just stop there. It isn't only someTHING that I am describing, it's someOne.

This passage was preached about in church yesterday, and as I was sitting there looking over it, an obvious truth came to my mind that made this chapter so much more real to me. I thought of 1 John 4:8, "God is love."

If God is love, then 1 Corinthians 13 describes God's personality.

"Love" is a word today that has come to mean a lot of different things. The love of God is not the "I love pizza" love or the "I love my new car" love or even the "I love that Bible verse" love. It's GODLY love. It is love so high and deep and wide that we could not ever physically contain it. And look at it's characteristics!

When I look over those characteristics, it convicts me to strive for that GODLY love by keeping all of it's traits in check. By being a "loving" person, look how many other traits you posses with it! It's truly amazing. If we would all just fine-tune our ability to be loving...

Love can be a complicated thing. So often, we search for love in all the wrong places. What we end up with is a kind of love that is empty and broken, and a lot of times false. Where do we find real love? God. The love that comes from God is so deep and pure and real, and it is ultimately all we need. Christ is our all. His love endures forever!

Another beautiful thing about God and His love is that He loves everyone... not just the ones who love him back, but even the ones who don't. How good of a job are we doing at loving everyone, as Christ does? One piece of advice that I received on this matter was from Bro. Joe Braker many years ago, and I will never forget it. He said, "If you are having trouble loving somebody, pray for him." Trust me, it works!

What do we need to work on in our own lives to have this 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love?

1 John 4:8-12 (NIV)
8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

I love you all.


Friday, September 09, 2005

T is where it's at

Here is the post everyone has been waiting for.... a review of the inhabitants at the T House.

I have now lived here (getting calendar out), let's see, about 3 weeks now. For those of you who are COMPLETELY out of the loop, my room mates are Tammy Sauder, Tricia Plattner, and Tracy Zimmerman. Although I may seem slightly biased, this next comment is 100% fact: I have the best room mates EVER.

Now... before I officially begin, let me just say this: Tracy, I know you are reading this post right now and that one day, you, too, will have a blog. Even though you think it's a waste of time now, you will change your mind. Just wait. (To everyone else: Please be on the look out for Tracy Zimmerman's future blog... the premier of this is TBA.)

If we were all characterized as family members in this apartment, I'd elect Tammy as the "mom," because she's so caring and thoughtful, and... domesticated. Tracy would be the "dad," because she's logical, real, and even knows a little about plumbing... and when things seems to fall apart, she's like "Guys, it's going to be ok." Trish and I are the kids. We're the care-free, easygoing girls who just go with the flow.

It is truly amazing how I feel like I can connect with each and every one of my room mates on a different level.

Tammy... her and I get along really well. At our best, we have had some REALLY awesome, powerful conversations! I love sharing with her what's going on in my life, and we always seem to have great, spiritually focused talks! Her love for the Lord is SO evident every day, and I love her for that. She always has a smile for you and is the first to ask how your day was. Tammy brightens our place up, that's for sure! She's my source of enthusiasm.

Tricia... her and I have already stayed up until 2 a.m. talking many-a-night. She is one of the best listeners I know. For someone like me... that can be both a good and bad thing, because sometimes I feel like I talk her ear off, but at the same time, the questions and words she has to offer are so perceptive and we agree on almost everything. Trish is very easygoing, like I said earlier, and her and I click there, too. It's refreshing to live with someone else like that. Her and I also have one of those problems where when we start laughing about something, it's kind of difficult to stop, even if what we were laughing at isn't even that funny.

Speaking of laughing... Tracy.... is really funny. I've always known Tracy because we've grown up in church together, but tonight we noted that only in the past year have we become close friends. She is the life of the party over at our place, always making us all laugh with her wit and endless stories. She offers a very rational perspective a lot of times, which I really appreciate about her. She's not afraid to speak up about what she thinks in boldness, which is amazing! You can tell she lives her life in accordance to the Word, and I respect her for that.

Every night around 11, Tammy will retire, but before she does she says, "Ok guys, you're not allowed to have any more fun." It's very sad because she has 8 a.m. classes every day, so she misses out on all the laughter between 11 p.m.-2 a.m. (depending on when Trish and I go to bed.)

Also, on Thursday nights, we've already made it tradition to have people over for supper. It's really fun! It's also fun on the nights when the T's eat together or just have time together and chat for an hour or so. Wow! God really has blessed me. Amazingly.

Alright! Well, now I'm in a good mood! You know, there really is a unique bond that is formed when you are room mates with someone. May that bond of Christian friendship and sisterhood endure long after we are all room mates...

I love you all! And I love my T's.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Run the Race... but First, Unload

Could you run a mile?

If asked to do this, most of us could probably whip out a mile. Even those of us who are out of shape... running a mile isn't THAT big of a feat.

What about running a mile with a book bag full of bricks on your back? Suddenly, the task seems difficult. Our backs would be weighed down and after about half of one lap, we'd already be tired. We would become weak VERY fast and the heaviness of the bricks would not only slow us down but almost make the task impossible to accomplish. There's no doubt that we'd be sore the next day.

What am I talking about? In Hebrews 12 (NIV), we can read:

"1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

The book bag of bricks represents burdens we carry in our lives. Hebrews says to "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and LET US RUN WITH PERSEVERENCE THE RACE MARKED OUT FOR US." If every brick is a burden, think of how weighed down we allow ourselves to be by carrying them. It makes it tough! Why carry around more bricks than we have to, if any at all? All it does is slow us down and makes us tired. After awhile, these burdens can make us "sore" if we don't get rid of them. Just like carrying a brick load of weight on your back would make you physically sore, carrying a burden load of trouble in your life will make you spiritually sore.

What is a burden? says:

"Something that is carried.
Something that is emotionally difficult to bear.
A source of great worry or stress; weight.

tr.v. bur·dened, bur·den·ing, bur·dens
To weigh down; oppress.
To load or overload.

Synonyms: burden, affliction, cross, trial, tribulation"

Instead of carrying all your burdens around and letting it hinder your ability to run the race, give them to God! During my online search, I found this article that captures this concept.

Are you carrying burdens today? Take the book bag off and hand it to God. He'll take care of it... and your life will seem so much lighter!

Hebrews goes on to tell us that we should "Endure hardship as discipline..." None of us liked getting spankings or sitting in time-out when we were children. But why did our parents do those AWFUL things to us? Cuz they love us :-) and they knew if they didn't, we'd never learn. Same goes for our Loving Lord. Hebrews says, "But God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness."


Let us continue to unload our burdens and give them to God so that we can better run the race that He has set for us to run!

Love ya'll.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Isn't that a cool picture? When I got home tonight, I ran inside my apartment, darted up the stairs, grabbed my Canon, shot back outside and into the open field across from our apartments and then halted. Off to my left was the most BEAUTIFUL sunset I have seen in awhile and I wasn't going to miss my chance. I took some shots. Although it was overlooking the non-descript scenery of the interstate, I still found it beautiful! It's like God painted a picture. (I hope I'm not blind tomorrow from looking into the sun.)

The lamp post one was taken about a week ago. Another gorgeous sky... that night, Tracy taught me the phrase, "Red sky at night, sailor's delight; red sky in the morning, sailors take warning."

Speaking of warnings, this is going to be one of those spontaneous posts where I don't have a topic in mind.

I'll start with reporting on Morton's work project for New Orleans. We were SO blessed! We got THREE whole semis packed full of supplies and food to send down! I have never been to Walmart so much in my life. Basically, we would go there and BUY THEM OUT of everything they had of one thing. Sometimes, I felt like I was raiding the store because I woud literally de-shelf everything and throw it in my cart! Walmart was SO gracious. They worked with us and helped us organize everything, and even boxed our stuff last night.

Anyway, that pretty much consumed my life all day Sunday and Monday, and it was awesome! I can't believe how much we all got done. As we were buying, we kept getting phone calls (because we were hooked up with someone in direct contact with the needs down in New Orleans) and the "needs" kept changing. One hour it was flashlights and batteries, the next it was clothes, the next it was food.... there is such a HUGE need for a lot of things.

On Monday morning, when we all arrived to work, it was really cool because we were all together in a circle, and different guys volunteered to pray for about 3 or 4 different things pertaining to New Orleans. It was powerful. Billy told us that at one point, semi loads went down and were trying to find the "delivery point." One driver found it and saw a huge row of people lined up, waiting to get what was in the load. When they saw him pull up, they got out of line, helped him unload the semi, and then got BACK in line to get supplies. That makes me so sad! At one point, someone came up to one of the drivers and said, "Promise me one thing. Please... please... promise me you'll be back with more. Don't forget about us now."

That statement made it more real that the thousands of items and supplies that we were raiding stores for were well-worth it and going to be used!

Ok, enough on that but seriously, it was amazing.

I came back to school this morning. I think my mom is kind of sad that I don't miss home more. I told her that home doesn't even seem like home anymore because all of my stuff is at ISU... I just feel like I'm "visiting." She said, "That's so sad, maybe you should bring more of your stuff back home, then!"

No... she's glad I'm having fun :-) It's nice that I get to go home every weekend or pretty much whenever I want. That eases the case of homesickness that I could be having. AND, the blessing of fantastic room mates who are all so special and fun in their own way definitely contributes!

Although... I do miss my family. On Sunday, I went on a mad search for Naomi, my youngest niece. Sometimes, I just need my baby fix. I LOVE my nieces and nephews. It was good to be with them all last night for Labor Day.

So lately, I've been thinking a lot about God's work in my life. I know I just posted about this not too long ago, but for some reason I keep thinking that I could do a better job with witnessing to the lost (even people I know!). SERIOUSLY, when I think of HOW many people I come in contact with EVERY day who isn't a Christian or who possibly knows nothing about the Word... it makes me really sad. Yet I just sit around and observe them and think, "Yeah, that's really too bad," when I KNOW the Truth and could be sharing it! It's just frustrating. Some days, I feel so... worthless. It's like if something amazingly spiritual didn't happen that day, I must have missed a thousand opportunities or was off track.

I know that isn't true. God works in mysterious ways, and He works through us in myserious ways... and beyond that, if I'm willing to be usable and my heart is where it should be, I WILL BE USED! So I need to stop worrying. I can't save the world. Jesus saves, not me. I can help share the Word (and I perhaps COULD do a better job), but nothing of my own power will save ANYONE. So. Enough on that. I just overthink things sometimes and become overly passionate about them, and this is what happens. Does anyone ever think stuff like this? Or is it just me? It's ok if it's just me. Because I'm kind of odd.

Laughing... ok, we all know THAT. Yet something tells me that no, I highly doubt I am the only one in this world who overanalyzes.

I only have 3 days of school this week. As of now, 2 of my classes have already been cancelled, and other than the fact that I believe I have a presentation due in EVERY one of my classes in the next 2 weeks... everything's looking BRIGHT!

And I hope it is for you, too! If it's not... just think of the story about the empty mayonnaise jar and the golf balls. You've never heard that story? Oh... well please read on.

A philosophy teacher took a mayonnaise jar and filled it was some golf balls, and asked his class if the jar was full. They all agreed that it was.

Next, he took some rocks and dumped them into the jar. The rocks fit into the gaps between the golf balls, and he again asked his class if it was full. Affirmative.

After that, he filled it with sand, which filled in any crack that was left. Was the jar full? The whole class nodded in unison.

Lastly, he had 2 cups of coffee sitting next to the jar. He dumped one of the cups of coffee into the jar and the class laughed. The philosophy teacher explained that each golf ball represented a bigger monument or important ideal in our lives... such as God, church, family, friends, etc... stuff that even if all the other little stuff was taken out of our lives, our life would still be full because of them.

The rocks represent semi-important things such as education, jobs, etc. that are small compared to the golf balls but are still halfway impactful. The sand bascially represents the small, petty things in life that we encounter every day that don't really matter, but there's a lot of it.

One of the students, after this explanation, was confused about the extra cup of coffee.

"Well," the philosopher said, "That represents the fact that no matter what happens in life... there's always room for a cup of coffee with some good friends."

Are you all smiling yet?

Ok, so everyone who works in the computer lab (for those who don't know, I work in the computer lab) had this meeting tonight, and the lab manager had his "share time" at the end of the meeting and read this story to us. I thought it was cute, and a good way to wrap up my post that has seemingly gone nowhere. So... I hope it made you smile and made you think of your life in terms of the things that really ARE important. :-) Ok, bye.

I love you all! A lot!


Sunday, September 04, 2005

Happy to Help

The disaster in New Orleans makes me sick. For awhile, I though that my only source of helping power was to pray.

This morning in church, Brother Bob Pflederer led in with the tragic New Orleans news, and took the liberty to open up into Revelation. He read of the end times when the seven seals would be opened, and horrible plagues and disasters would litter the earth... but to no avail. People STILL will choose not to believe. I shook my head in horror until I realized that it isn't much different than today.

911. The War in Iraq. Earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes... New Orleans. Look at how God displays His power time and time again, but people STILL choose not to believe. Granted, some souls are touched. Yet what about those who continue to turn away? If anything, these thoughts envoke a sadness in my soul for those who are still lost and searching, but it also makes me so thankful for my life in Christ. My peace.

We sang "Gratitude for Deliverance" after the first reading and never before had I thought about or appreciated the words so much as I did this morning.

After the sermon, Bob presented an opportunity... a "recently-organized (in the past 12 hours!) project" for the Morton AC Church to become involved in. He told us their goal was to get enough volunteers today and tomorrow and possibly for the rest of the week to split into teams and go buy much-needed supplies for those in New Orleans at different stores... bring them back to Rocke's plant in Morton, box it all, and load it into a semi to be taken down South. We are involved with an organization that is directly connected to the help down in NO.

As of a few days ago, there was a shelter that seated 300 with 3,000 people in it. There were refridgerated semis taken down, probably to deliver food... coming back loaded with dead bodies. Today, we learned that the hugest need is FOOD... a lot of the people are starving to death from going without food for several days. That all makes me sick to my stomach.

There was a meeting held after church for any volunteers who wanted to help this afternoon and tomorrow. I was pumped when I arrived into the Sunday School room and all of the benches were filled. Hellejuah! It's stuff like this that makes me excited. HELPING. Doing something together as a church... WE ARE THE BODY! I'm glad my hands are helping, along with many others! As we've said a lot today, our small little load of supplies isn't going to solve all their problems... it'll probably help just a very small chunk of the people who are suffering. Yet, it's these "small" helps that add up and really make the difference. At one point in the meeting, the speaker said, "Raise your hand if you plan on helping today," and I was beyond happiness to look around the room and see tons of hands raised.

My parents and brother and sisters went with some others as a "team" to Sam's this afternoon and helped buy some supplies... tooth paste, children's books, bar soap, toilet paper, diapers, etc. The list goes on. When we arrived back in Morton, truck load after truck load kept arriving to drop off supplies. We entered the truck loading unit (air conditioned, as it's for meat packing, very cold!) and boxed and taped and boxed and taped with many others. It was mass chaos, but we are accomplishing A LOT! Tomorrow, there will be 2 shifts of people to continue to box and tape, so that we can get everything loaded into the semi(s). Our goal is to be done by tomorrow night. It's my prayer that God can bless us in this small act of service so that we can help decrease the suffering of those who are sick, homeless, lost, scared, and dying... stuffed in a dome or shelter with thousands of other people.

I'm so excited to go help tomorrow! It's amazing, because I honestly had NO plans this weekend for Labor Day, and God kept me and many others available for a reason!

Let's all continue to pray for these people... especially for those who are suffering and without a Savior. Pray for their hearts to be vulnerable and workable. After an event like this, they have to realize that they are very much NOT in control of their lives, so let's pray that they can seek the One who is and let Him in!

My heart goes out to President Bush. Tonight, my brother said, "I think this has to be one of the toughest presidencies that has happened in a long time," yet how thankful we can be that our president is who he is. I once read that Bush gets up every morning and starts his morning in the Word. Let's pray that God can continue to shower His wisdom and direction on Bush so he can lead our nation in the right direction. It's so easy for some to ridicule him and say he's not doing his job correctly, especially with a tragedy like this. I have two questions for these people.
1. Have you ever been president? Oh, you haven't? Ok, thank you.
2. Did you try praying for him yet?

Bush isn't God. He's going to make mistakes and he's going to have poor judgment sometimes, but since when were we perfect? And besides, there's A LOT he does that we don't necessarily know about. We have to pray that he will continue to listen to the One who is ultimately in control. We can't do Bush's job for him and talking about how we would won't change what he's doing.

Sometimes I get so sick of people "talking" about stuff like they are in the know. NONE of us are. We have our opinions. I have my opinions. I won't deny that. Yet how is griping around and putting others down and becoming negative about EVERYTHING going to change ANYTHING? It's not. About the only thing it'll change and possible ruin is your attitude. Instead of running at the mouth to others, let's consult a Higher Power who actually DOES know what's going on. Let's pray. Replace the chattering with prayer. I confess I'm the worst at this, sometimes. It'd do me a world of good if I'd keep my lip zipped half the time and offer up a simple prayer, instead.

Alright, everyone! Let's keep praying! And if you think of it, pray that this project that the Morton church is doing would be successful and glorifying to no one but God.


Friday, September 02, 2005

Through Us, Extreme Faith, and Highs & Lows

I came across another inspiring article by James. Read on.

By Dr. James MacDonald

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life.
2 Corinthians 2:14-16

Every on-fire follower of Jesus Christ wants to make a difference in God’s kingdom. Am I right? You don’t wake up in the morning and say, “I just want to be a wallflower today. I want to spend the next 18 hours taking up space.” Well, good news! God has chosen a very cool way for you and me to impact our generation and we’ll talk about them on the broadcast this week in the series, Straight Up: Engaging in Ministry God Energizes.

Though He could have chosen a million ways, God has ordained that His good news to the human race be delivered through us—through those who by faith have embraced Jesus as Lord. God assumes the risk of using just ordinary human instruments to carry His gospel to the world. Second Corinthians 2:14 describes it this way, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal processionand through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere.”

This verse is talking about the victory parade of a Roman army. When the army would return home, the people would line the streets and a guy would walk out in front of the army swinging an incense cantor. This great smell would go everywhere. And the crowds would roar and people would throw flowers—it was like an ancient ticker-tape parade.

In Christ, you have a place in God’s victory parade. Through us He sends out a message to the world about the gift of eternal life. God does His work of changing people for eternity. He does it through us! He gets the good news out through regular, average, ordinary people like you and me.

What scent does the world smell as you and I walk with them each day?—they smell Christ, the knowledge of Him spreads everywhere you go. Isn’t that cool?!

I want to be part of the train of people God is using to impact our generation; will you join me? Today, I want the fragrance of the knowledge of Him to permeate every place I go, every conversation I have, every attitude I knowingly or unknowingly convey, every thing I do. Wouldn’t if be great if after being with us, people lift their noses and ask, “What’s that great smell? It smells like . . . abundant life!”

*** This article was convicting AND encouraging to me. It really is a challenge to try to reflect Christ through EVERY conversation, EVERY attitude, EVERY action.

This morning I was talking to my mom on the phone on my way to work, and she was telling me about how she is having company this Tuesday night. She was dropping huge hints that she would greatly appreciate my help in cleaning this weekend for her. While I didn't completely shut her down, I wasn't exactly offering my cleaning services in a giving, happy manner. Instead, I was clenching my teeth between long silences, saying, "Yeah mom, whatever, I'll help you," and thinking in my mind, "I moved OUT, I don't live there anymore, why do I have to CLEAN?"

That may be a petty, everyday example of a poor attitude, but I think that is what James is getting at. Am I reflecting Christ in EVERY attitude? Was I with my mom this morning? I could have done better. I could have been willing. I could have WANTED to help her. It is amazing how having a great attitude can change the outcome to everything.

It is my prayer that the Lord can teach me how to shine my gift of abundant life to others... so that they will want it, too!

Last night at ISU Bible Study, we heard about "Extreme Faith." One thing that stuck out to me is when John Bradle asked, "If you lost everything you have- every convenience as we know it today, (etc.), would that shake your faith?"

My first reaction was to think, "Naw... I would be fine. I would know that Christ is my all... blah blah blah."

And then I really got to thinking. It's easy to imagine yourself reacting a certain ideal way in a hypothetical situation, but when it comes down to real life, it's not always easy sailing.

If my house burned down, all of my family and friends died, I got thrown in jail and chained to the wall, and I had to live off of bread and water alone... I highly doubt I'd be sitting there with a huge grin on my face the whole time. And perhaps that picure is a bit extreme. However, the point is, if our faith is what it should be...."extreme"...... something like that SHOULDN'T shake our faith. Christ IS our all. Not the house. Not the spouse. (I should take up poetry again :-) Not the friends. Not the salary. Christ is.

It's amazing how it's so easy to rely heavily on our faith in Christ when everything is going wonderful. Right now in my life, I'm so blessed to say that everything IS going marvelous... by the grace of God! Yet, one little thing goes wrong: I get a bad grade, gas prices sky rocket, a friend disappoints me, etc... and I get all bent out of shape and have a tough time "getting over" something so minor. If I'm going to get upset over something so small, what will I do when something big and bad really happens that I have to deal with? It's all about attitude and perspective, and it's about learning how to apply those principles to the little things that go wrong so that we can then apply them to the big struggles in life that we have to get through.

It's time to look at my life as a pathway to Heaven rather than an obstacle course to success.

The Chrisitan life, I've learned, is VERY extreme. I'm either on cloud 9 or down in the valley. In my "on cloud 9" times, it's easy for me to see through rose-colored glasses. Everything seems wonderful, blessed, marvelous, great, spectacular! Yet I've learned to let these times of peace to be sort of a preparation, because no Christian goes through their whole life without struggles. While I'm "doing good," I try to really grow and become closer to Christ and His way so that when I AM confronted with one of those bombs that just HIT me out of nowhere... I'm prepared.

Then begins the struggle. Any of you out there who have ever gone through "stuff" know what I mean when I say that sometimes, the hard times are what draw you closer to God than your BEST times. When you get so low that your face is on the hard, cold, dusty ground and you have nowhere to go but up, you find yourself diligently seeking Him and His Word and His Truth. I find myself craving that spiritual food. I NEED it. I'm STARVING and THIRSTING for it. It is then when I commune the deepest with God... I find myself at His feet, pleading for mercy and grace and wisdom to get me through... to get me through.... to give me peace.... and I plead and I plead and sometimes, I wonder if it'll ever come.

One huge thing I've learned about "struggling" is that it takes TIME. It's not about our time schdule. God doesn't borrow my agenda and read over it and say, "Hmmm.... It looks like Taryn doesn't have a whole lot going on September 10-September 23. I think I'll hit her with this struggle HERE. Then... I'll shower her with peace over Thanksgiving becasue she'll be busy around that time..."

No. God's timing is not even fathomable to me. But it's perfect. That's what I DO know. It's like all of a sudden, a couple weeks go by and you start to "survive" again. This inner contentedness starts sweeping over that constant turmoil, and one morning you wake up to find that you are completely peaceful. It's an amazing feeling.

Yet through it all... I can place my faith in God and be whole in that.

Wow. I'm REALLY good at getting off the subject.

Enough said. Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!


Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Proverbs Morning

Proverbs 20:24- A man's steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?
Proverbs 21:30- There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.

I may have already mentioned this in a previous post but it is applicable here so I'm going to say it again: I saw a girl at the Leo Sale wearing a shirt that said on the back, "There is only one God. Stop applying for His job."

I have expectations a lot of times. Mostly... good ones. Often I think that in order to follow Christ in the manner I should, I have to complete numbers 1-10 on my to-do list of "Ways to be a Great Christian" (hypothetically speaking). Goals are good... I don't want to minimize the effect of Christ-like goals. However, my set of expectations, although they are "good," may not necessarily match up to what God has in mind for me. Just because I don't feel like I'm doing what I think I need to do doesn't mean He sitll isn't using me in His own ways. He uses us all differently.

If my one, ultimate goal is to follow Him and not try to pave my own way with ideals and expectations, then I WILL be living in God's plan. And He's perfect. I may not always understand Him in His perfection, but as Proverbs 20:24 points out... why should we?