Monday, October 31, 2005

Living for Him

Some days, I think: What have I even done for God today?

Then I think: That was an inaccurate thought. (Or, at least, it should be. Read on.)

Essentially, as a Christian, ALL that we "do" should be for Christ. It's not like I need to get out the sign-up sheet and reserve a little block of time for doing Christ's work. Even though I may not be raking truck loads of leaves for the elderly or cooking a five course gourmet meal for the family down the road every day, that doesn't mean I'm excused from serving God. So I'm stuck at school all day? What about if I hold open the door for someone instead of barging straight ahead into the dark building of gloom with a scowl on my face? Or, what about if I smile at that kid who I just passed in the hallway who looks like he may go off the deep end? Or what about if I bow my head and pray before I eat my lunch, to thank God for the food that I take for granted every day?

And WHAT ABOUT if I do that ALL in the name of Jesus Christ! How powerful is that? Do you know what? That is exciting. It puts a whole new outlook on my day at school. It makes me think, "How can I live for Jesus today in my actions, words, and deeds?"

Living for God doesn't mean that I have to be on a missions trip all my life. That would be great, but it's not likely for most of us. It instead requires us to take a second out of our days and do this: remove yourself out of the picture for a second and step aside. Let life happen while you look at it without actually being consumed by it, and just pray:

"God, use me today. Use my talents, use my personality, and use me in ways that I may not even know. Help for me to glorify You in all that I do, and show me opportunities to witness Your Name and shine forth the Joy I have in You!"

What if we ALL prayed that prayer today? Do you know what would happen? Amazing things! God doesn't hear a prayer like that and say, "Well... nah, I'll just give her the day off." He wants to use us and will, and how much more exciting when we are willing!

The more I seek God and His Word, the more thankful I become for it. Do you know what the Word gives us? Truth. The power of Truth. Truth gives me hope. Hope gives me gratitude, because what I have is a hope undeserved. I deserve Hell, but instead, I get Jesus.

I just got done memorizing James 1. It is beautiful... and what is even more beautiful is how accessible it now is to me. Having the Word of God in my heart is special, and it offers a whole new avenue of help, portion of wisdom, and reason of gratitude that coats my life. It is amazing the amount of times I have already sprinkled some of those verses into conversation or thought when I have needed them most... and what is even more powerful- how I have been able to use them as a shield against temptation. "For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword... and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

Verses that inspired this tangent:

Colossians 3:16, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

I just finished a bowl of Cocoa Krispies with Tricia about a half hour ago. I'm hungry again. Go figure. I better keep heading to bed before I find my way to the kitchen again...

I love you all!


Sunday, October 30, 2005

Confessions of a Kindergartener

This weekend was one of those weekends where I had around 50 options as to what I could do. What was my choice?

I stayed home. I needed a "weekend off." It was really nice... I came home Friday afternoon and spent the evening with my parents. We went to Chili's for supper and watched a movie together, and then I just "hung out with myself" the rest of the night. :-)

I didn't start my day until 11:30 on Satuday... it was NICE to sleep in :-) I spent the majority of this day getting caught up on business problems with Kristi. We are getting an over-abundance of phone calls to do Christmas cards, which is GREAT! I told her we may just have to quit school and work full-time for our business (which would be fine by me) although I think that we would be wise to actually get a degree. I'm only a year away from my bachelor's, and I wouldn't trade anything for college life.

I find it interesting that even though I formulated it in my mind ahead of time that I was going to stay home all weekend, social life still seems to intrude upon my life. On Saturday night, I turned down my first offer after re-evaluating the fact that I really did need to work on a project. Needless to say, the project made extraordinary progress until 8 p.m. when I decided I should go get dinner. Katelyn, my life-long "AP" (accountability partner and AWESOME friend) called me to come hang out with her, and I just couldn't say no. I went and spent time with her with my little bag of McDonald's for supper (healthy eating has always been a strong point in my habits). We talked and played Roco, a game that was actually pretty fun and required some strategic thinking. Gab, Brooke, and Julia all ended up coming to hang out with us, so it was a fun girl time.

Today after church, my mom, Melissa and I went shopping. I think one of the main reasons my mom wanted to go was to get Melissa walking... she's due soon and my mom is determined to speed up the process of her having this baby. I just think it's funny. My dad was watching the 3 Steffen kids, so we met them and Tate at Buffalo Wild Wings to visit Laura, my long-lost friend, who waitresses there. I love that girl and never get to spend time with her any more, it seems.

So, guess who I got to sit next to? My 5-year old kindergartner nephew, Noah.

"So Noah, do you have any girl friends?" I asked him.

"Yes," he answered, his eyes sparkling as he hit my face. (Noah is a very hyper child, so visualize every one of his answers from here on out being accompanied with a smack to my face or with his whole body being thrust in my direction with forces capable of knocking me off my chair).

"Who is it?" I ask. With that, he smacks his hand over my mouth.

Then, he answers, "Cassidy."

"Is she cute?"

He ponders. "Yeah. She's pretty."

"What does she look like?"

"Um... she has blue eyes, and reddish hair, and pink finger nails."

I smile at his cuteness and turn to my mom. "Hey mom," I say.

With that, I get another smack of his hand over my mouth. "You can't tell!"

I give out an evil laugh. He keeps his hand over my mouth and exclaims, "I'm keeping my hand here until your food comes."

What a funny kid.

During the course of the meal, we counted to 100 together, played Rock-Paper-Scissors, and got yelled at by "Grandma" for being loud.

Later, back at my house, I was in my room, finally away from the kid, and he comes bounding in again. Great.

"T, what are you doing?"

"I'm cleaning my room. I have to put some stuff away."

"I'll help you."

"How? You don't know where anything goes."

He lets out a laugh and says, "Then tell me."

He's a smart one. And I did- he actually helped me while I cleaned, and entertained me.

"T, do you know what I do sometimes?"


"I get up really really late and go to my dad's room, and I bug him."


"Just because. I want him to wake up."

"Why would you wake him up?"

"Because I think it would be funny to keep him up all night, and then in the morning, he'd be really tired."

"What does he say to you?"

"He says, 'Go back to bed.'"

"Then what?"

"Then I keep bugging him. And he says, 'GO BACK TO BED!'"

"What if you don't leave?"

"Then, he tries to get me, but I trick him. I run underneath his legs and all around the room and hide, and he can't find me."

I was dying laughing as he told me this story.

Sometimes, I need the musings of children like him to remind me of the simple pleasures in life. Noah is a smart kid... he's quicker than you'd believe and is always two steps ahead of everyone. He has his daddy's wit and humor, and knows how to brighten your mood, but also knows how to bug you until you feel like going crazy (probably a trait inherited by me). He excells hugely at sports... I kid you not, I think the kid was more talented me at every sport possible at the age of 3 than I am now. I see great potential in Noah's future... oh, and here he comes.

He is standing here now, so I asked him to give you all a message. Here is what he said:

"I had a great day today because I went to Sunday School and I really had a great day cuz I love school very much. Sometimes after school I like running down in the basement. I like playing with Naomi and racing with daddy. I like racing with Oliver, too. (T: Who wins?) Me. I like playing freeze tag with daddy and my friends. I like helping mommy feed the baby and all that stuff. I like playing baseball and football with daddy. My favorite meal from mommy is grilled cheese and pancakes (not together). My dad makes really good eggs. I like playing every sport (he is currently listing a lot of sports that I will not type). I like everything in the world, and that's all I guess."

Well, all... it's been fun, but I should probably go play with Noah a little more before he leaves. I love you all!


Wednesday, October 26, 2005


1 Thessalonians 2:4- "On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts."

I was searching this morning for the reference to the verse, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." If anyone knows it- let me know! Anyway, I came across these verses in Thessalonians and they were convicting to me.

The first part of these verses minded me of 2 Timothy 2:15, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividng the Word of Truth."

"We are not trying to please men but God."

I'm a people-pleaser. I hate confrontation. I usually try to avoid it, and I am the queen at sugar coating. With those I don't know well, I am especially excessive in this area. However, with my closer friends, I am more able to be honest and open with them, and speak words that may not be easy to hear but are necessary to say. The closer I am to someone, the easier it is to admonish them in love and honesty. I have also found that the closer I grow to Christ and the more I grow in His Word, the easier it is to be honest with those who need advice and counsel rather than just tell them what they want to hear.

God knows our hearts, and He knows us. There is no need to try to "sugar coat" things with Him. In the recent past, I have learned the importance of being 100% REAL and honest with God. He already knows what I'm thinking and how I feel, so why try to hide it? That may even sound like a silly thing to do... but often times I have to wonder if some of us just put all our problems in a nice little package with a bow on top instead of confronting the issues in their reality up front by giving them to God. It's hard to receive help from God if we don't acknowledge our problem areas... as Fred Witzig said at the Morton invite, "Life is bigger than what any of us can handle!" After we see the problem, it is then important to realize that we are weak and can NOT handle it! We aren't suppossed to be able to handle it. If we were super-people, why would there be a Higher Power? We are weak human beings, but the good news is that we have a Lord who loves us and is capable of miraculous things.

Through this "faith like a child" and trust, we please God.

Do I try to please others? Yes. I already said I'm a people-pleaser. This is not a bad thing, as along as I am pleasing people to glorify God. To God be the glory in all that I do! That way, I not only please people, but I please God. If I am trying to please God through all that I do- whether it be pleasing people or not- then my attitude will stay humble, and my heart will be focused.

Is there an unhealthy way to please people? Yes. The question I would ask to evaluate this is, "Where is your self-worth?"
In yourself? You can't do it alone.
In others? Others will not bring you happiness.
In God? Bingo.

Do not be a man-pleaser. Be a God-pleaser.

"...who tests our hearts."

God tests our hearts! What is your heart's score right now? If you are pleasing God in how you are living your life right now, then the score should be pretty high. If it's in the lower range... let's think about how to boost that.

How do you prepare for a test in class?
First, it would help to GO to class and learn about the material. We need to be going to church and soaking up the Words of Life that we hear.

How do you study for the test? You read the curriculum or the book that the test is going to cover. For us, that would be the Bible. How do you remember this information? You look at if often. You study it. You memorize it. You practice it.

A lot of Christians wonder why their life falls to shambles when they are "tested." It's not much different then why some students wonder why they got a "C-" on their test when they only read through their notes once and hardly listened in class. It's tough to apply something that we don't really KNOW. Let's know the Word and what it says, so that when we are tested, we have the ability to stay strong... not on our own, of course, but with the help of God!

Alright, guys... I haven't done one of these long, drawn-out "verse" posts in awhile, so I apologize if I was unclear or detached in my thinking. I hope that through these posts where I share my thoughts on Scripture, I can offer a new perspective or encouragement to some of you. Thanks for all who read and comment! I appreciate your thoughts and wisdom!


Sunday, October 23, 2005

My Car has 9 Lives

I'll start on Friday.

The first part of it was pretty low key- I got up in the morning and got some stuff done, went to work until 3, and went back to my apartment to get my stuff together to head back to Morton. My cousin, Kelly, was visiting, so I waited around to talk to her for a little bit. She brought us all cookies in little ziploc baggies with our names on them, and she even gave me two cookies that had MORE chocolate chips than the others. What a cousin!

So, Tammy and I were leaving at the exact same time. I let her back out first, since I was changing my CD. I half-hazardly start to back out, going pretty slow, yet not looking... but not even to the point where I can look around the parked cars to even SEE if there are any cars coming.

Then, the back right part of my car gets struck and all I hear is a bunch of glass breaking.

I look back and see that a car has successfully run into mine, and I start to drive forward to get my poor car out of the way of the other. I get out, and of course, there are these two guys driving one huge BOAT of a car, probably made out of STEEL. The driver gets out and communicates his cluelessness to me as this is his, "first accident." Well, it was mine, too, but I knew enough to exchange information. About this time, Tammy has made her way back, and suggests that we call the police. I go to get my phone, and he got back in his car to get his.

Wait, no he didn't. He's driving off! No!

So I have no information on him. I'm pretty sure they live around me, though, and the fact that he ran at the message, "call the police," it made me think they were shady characters. Besides, the accident did NOTHING to his car, but check out the pictures below of the beloved Prism. It was crushed.

I'm pretty sure that it will be proclaimed, "my fault," because anyone driving in a street or parking lot has the right of way. I should have been looking. Considering I wasn't even to the point where I COULD look, anyway, and was already HIT... ok, those guys were driving pretty stinking fast to not have enough time to brake or swerve. But sitll. I take blame for this.

Anyway, the rest of my Friday was better. We had our "girls' night out" for my sister's (Tonya) birthday. My mom, 2 sisters and sister-in-law as well as my mom's first cousin and Erica Stoller, went to One World and then came back to our house and watched "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." That movie seriously makes me bawl every time I watch it. I don't know what it is, but it gets to me!

So... the rest of this weekend was the Morton Invite. Thanks to call who came! It was an aweomse turnout, and we got a lot done for the service projects! The turnout got even bigger in the evening, and we all got to hear a phenmonel message by Fred Witzig. Boy, is he on fire for Christ! I LOVE contagious enthusiasm.

I kept Elise Kaupp and Nicole Weigand- such sweet girls! We had fun... it's always fun keeping company.

Tonight is my nephew's (Domniq) 5th birthday party. I can't believe he is 5. I remember MY 5th birthday party- I got a bike. And I'm pretty sure I wanted a chocolate cake (surprise surprise). How time flies.

Dom is on the far right.

Wow, another semi-lame weekend report! Except the car part, and except for these next pictures that I am going to post. On Saturday morning, I was outside with my camera and I just went crazy. I can't help it- I see colorful flowers and I think they belong on my camera's memory card.

Another major highlight of my weekend was seeing my long-lost friend, Kristi, at church. Since she insists that I am no longer her friend and do not care about her, I'm going to prove that I do by posting a picture of her.

Remember that, Kristi? It's our SKIT GROUP! We should have gone to Hollywood with that preformance in Mexico.

I love you all!


Friday, October 21, 2005


I read Nahum this morning. I'll point out a few things that struck me.

"The Lord 's Anger Against Nineveh

2 The LORD is a jealous and avenging God;
the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath.
The LORD takes vengeance on his foes
and maintains his wrath against his enemies.
3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power;
the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.
His way is in the whirlwind and the storm,
and clouds are the dust of his feet."

Reading that kind of stresses me out. Yet we read...

9 "Whatever they plot against the LORD
he will bring to an end;
trouble will not come a second time.

11 From you, O Nineveh, has one come forth
who plots evil against the LORD
and counsels wickedness."

Do I plot against the Lord? Do I counsel wickedness? Do any of you? I doubt it. The Lord had a good reason to be angry with Ninevah. The introductory page in my Bible stated that Jonah had been prophesying in Ninevah almost 100 years earlier, yet it is interesting to note the evil and wickedness that had overtaken the place since then. How quickly this can happen.

SInce I have been in the Old Testament a lot this year, I have sensed a certain pattern. It seems as though it is a vicious cycle: people hearing prophets speak the word of God, people listening and believing, people eventually returning to their evil nature/ways, wickedness and idolatry consuming a nation, God becoming angry and placing His judgment and desctruction upon them, and then we are often brought back to the beginning. It resembles human nature, really. We are naturally sinful creatures, prone to wander, complain, and turn from the narrow road. But what are we called to do?

7 "The LORD is good,
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him,

8 but with an overwhelming flood
he will make an end of Nineveh ;
he will pursue his foes into darkness."

"He cares for those who trust in him." Do you trust Him....with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength? He deserves us in our entirety. He doesn't want 99.9%, He wants ALL of us. I know I've used this verse before, but I find it such a comfort... 1 Peter 5:7, "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." Let Him know how you feel. Sometimes, I'm like, "Ok, obviously God KNOWS how I feel," but to completey surrender to Him requires a pouring out of self. The Lord wants our hearts.

This book reminded me over the bible study I heard last night at ISU- 40 years crammed into 40 minutes about the children of Israel. We got to see another one of those cycles I'm talking about... and the punishment/consequences of wandering in the desert for 40 years as a result. There is a spiritual parallel to learn from, there: Trust in God. Obey God. Do not turn from God. Be faithful to Him, and He will be faithful to you.

Completely reject that advice and you can experience God's wrath and punishment.

Alright... time to step off my soap box...

I like to share this prophecy, though, because I find it fascinating. We don't often read out of Nahum or Habbakuk or Micah or any of those books at church... we rather get caught up in the Psalms and Jeremiah and Isaiah, etc. which are wonderful... but so is Nahum. :-)

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend... and, I love you all.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

Tracy Part II

This is the continuation, or, PART II, of my previous post entitled "Tracy."

She thinks that she looks like a sheperd boy.

She also enjoys the word, "mother board."

She believes that she resembles a turtle.

She has a long neck.

She is morphing into an animal...oh no!

Her favorite food is "everything."

Her secret dream is to run away and become a professional surfer, "even though I've only done it once," she says.

And to top it all off, she has a killer serve in volley ball.

Comment if you love Tracy.

I love you all, and Tracy too.


Monday, October 17, 2005

Scaredy Cat

So I was cleaning in my basement tonight and I was just finishing with the sweeping. I look over to make sure the carpet looks immaculate and what do I see? A ginormous spider sitting in the center of the room. You probably would have laughed if you had seen my reaction. I made a face and backed away, grabbing the sweeper and running the opposite direction. Thank goodness there are 2 ways to get upstairs from our basement.

I delivered the sweeper to the front hallway, and ran around to the other basement entrance where I found my dad heading downstairs.

"Dad!" I exclaim.


"Is that a spider?" I ask icredulously, pointing wildly at the black creature that is still motionless in the middle of the room.

My dad walks up to the massive insect, inspects it a little closer, and says, "Yeah," as he stomps on it with his shoe.

"Argh! Dad, HOW do you do that?" I ask, running up the stairs and cringing inside, still feeling queazy.

Then, I thought about my dad's reaction, and I started laughing. He is so funny some days.

Anyway, I don't know WHAT it is about spiders, but I DON'T like them. I just can't deal with them. Seriously. I don't know if it's their little crawly legs, or their evil connotation, or their quick movements, but when there's a spider, there's a scream (from me). They freak me out.

So, I was inpsired to write a "What Scares Me" list.

1. Spiders

2. Chocolate shortage (not likely, but what if there really was?)

3. Really HOT stuff (I used to be scared to get things out of the oven. That fear has subsided and I can now successfully take brownies and cookies out of hte oven without cringing, but I'm still careful. Also- if you are extremely good-looking, take note of this #3 fear :-) Only kidding...

4. Haunted houses (ok, so I've never been in a REAL one, but I'm pretty sure they'd scare me)

5. Speed (and the lack of control that comes with speed. I don't like going really fast on anything- cars, amusement park rides, whatever. I know it is invigorating to some, but it just plain scares me, especially when I have NO control.)

6. High places (although I can ride the ferris wheel. But get me up really high and tell me to look down, and I doubt I'll be too thrilled about it. Hey Heather- remember when we tried to climb that mountain in AZ? I felt like if I went up any higher, I would fall down the mountain and die.)

7. Hell (thankfully, it doesn't scare me personally anymore, but it did enough at one time to make note of it as a major fear. If it is a fear in your heart- there is a way to change that! Repent and take advantage of the shed blood of Christ!)

8. Rejection (Who doesn't want to be accepted and embraced? A big fear to overcome is insecurity itself. Once we have our security where it should be- Christ- this fear should vanish. I had to make note of it, though, because I know it's one we probably all struggle with.)

9. Bees (When I was little, I got stung direclty under my eye. Ever since, bees scare me... I will usually make a point to escape the area they are around.)

10. Evil (Essentially, our corrupt world. I look around and I am, quite frankly, disgusted with the world and it's ways. I suppose my fear doesn't lie in evil itself, but in what will come of evil people and their lives. It's a scary thought. What am I doing to shine a different lifestyle and counteract those wicked ways?)

What scares you?

Psalm 34:4-I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

I love you all!


Sunday, October 16, 2005

Typical Weekend Report

As usual, I should be curled up in my warm, soft, fluffy, purple sheets right now. But instead, I'm sitting here writing as if I have 0% to do tomorrow. Nothing could be further from the truth, yet I blog on.

Anyway, I was very blessed to be able to go to college weekend. And I bet I am going to be among the FIRST to post about it! I won't say too much, because I'd like to hear what others thought, too, without stealing all of the topics to write about. So I'm just going to say this general comment: Anyone present at college weekend was blessed to hear some phenomenal deliverers of the Word on the topic of relationships... regarding Christ, one another, our family, the opposite sex, and the unsaved.

I bowed out early and came home on Saturday night after the program. You know, there is something about sleeping in your own bed. My bed at home beats all. It is seriously the most comfortable bed you could ever sleep in. I sleep smack dab in the center of it with pillows surrounding me on all sides, directly under my fluffy comforter for warmth, with my fan spirring above me and my music in the background. Can you tell I'm tired?

Anyway, it was good to be in Morton today. It was kind of empty, but it was good, nonetheless. I had an eventful afternoon with my brother, trying to figure out how to make a carbon copy image of my hard drive onto his external hard drive. My apple mac's speakers stopped working a few weeks ago, and no longer can I plug anything into my head phones jack. I presume those two problems are related, and upon having an apple technician look at it in Bloomington, he said it appeared to be something internal so I have to send it into Apple to get it reparied. Thus- the hard drive being backed up. If they find anything wrong with my hard drive, they replace it. I hope that the problem is something completely not my fault so that they will fix it free of charge, due to my Apple Care Protection Plan... becasue otherwise, I will be a very sad girl with a mac that has no audio. Yet, when I get out the puzzle box of my life, I see that this small problem=a very small portion of my life on the puzzle box picture, so I'm going to try to avoid worrying about it too much. :-)

I had fun with my brother, even though we ran into some difficulty along the way. We eventually figured out the problem, though, and got everything to work. My brother and I always have to get past this initial state of annoyance/friction, and then we can have fun. That's when he starts finding it hilarious to hit me, call me names, and verbally express how dumb I am... yet, for some reason, it is in those times that we bond the most. The only reason I am at level 9 in martial arts is because of Tate. It is him you can thank when I fight off all the gangsters with my hands tied behind my back (because boy can I KICK, it MUST be a Morton thing!).

After that, Tate and Melissa took my parents and I to this pizza place in Pekin called Mickey's. It was REALLY good! I then went to Laura's house for Brooke's not-birthday-party (since she didn't want it to be officially for that), and hung out with a random but fun group of people there. I left there exhausted, and forced myself to practice the piano for an hour. Usually I'm too tired to care at night, but some nights, I am absolutely inspired to play. Tonight, thankfully, was one of those nights where I was focused. I am in private piano lessons this semester and suppossedly, I should be practicing 1 hour a day. I think I usually average about 1 hour a week, if I'm lucky. ;-) Somehow, I have fallen into the habit of doing what I used to do when I took piano lessons all those years: I would practice about 1/4 of the time I was suppossed to, and whether beacuse of luck or actual talent, my teacher doesn't know the difference unless I REALLY practice the amount of time I'm required, and then it's obvious that I am not putting in as much time as I could be. It hasn't happened yet for me to put in 7 hours a week, but I'm still learning a LOT and my professor is so inspiring and a great teacher!

Enough on piano... it's time for bed. Just thought I'd say "hi" to everyone and give one of those semi-boring weekend reviews sprinkled with lots of details and nothing overly exciting in particular. I would feel bad, but you guys all do it, too, every once in awhile. And if you're still reading, obviously you found some of it interesting. So THERE.

Night, I love you all!


p.s. Kristi U.- I thought of you when I added the colors. :-)

Friday, October 14, 2005

A Matthew Miracle!

The most amazing thing happened to me just now. It reminds me of God's awesome amazingness.

I was sitting here, thinking of a realization I had tonight. Often times, I feel like I do things that look good because... they "look good." As a Christian, I want to appear a certain way to certain people, so I do the actions while my heart is somewhere COMPLETELY different. I was disgusted with myself tonight and thought, "Taryn, you are so FAKE sometimes!" I want to be REAL... I want to be who I am in Christ and with that comes glorfying HIM through all that I do and say. And Him and ONLY Him. Not Him AND me. Just Him.

So, anyway, I was sitting here, thinking, "Yeah, it'd be cool to write about that, but I probably won't because I have absolutely NO idea where that even is in the Bible (and I was too lazy to look it up). I was at, a place I visit every day to read devotions, and I did something that I have only done one other time. I typed in a random bible reference to see what verse it came up with. The last time I did it, Psalms 37:4 came up, and I have found that chapter an AWESOME comfort to me since, and it was exactly what I needed to hear at the time. Well, TONIGHT, what verse do I type in? Matthew 6:6. Without knowing what in the world that verse even was, I was amazed to read,

"But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

Now, I know that isn't EXACTLY what I was just talking about, but upon looking up chapter 6 in Matthew, here are the verses up until verse 6:

1"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

That is EXACTLY what I was looking for! God just showed me. I love it when that happens!

Often, even after I've said something wonderfully spiritual or have sung a song of praise to God, I realize that my motives were completely off. Why? Because after I said my clip of wisdom, I became proud and puffed up and inwardly patted myself on the back for being so wise. Or, after singing that song, I realized the whole time I was singing it, I was in a different world while trying to LOOK like I was a wonderful Christian who was praising Him the whole time I was singing it.

It forces me to try to figure out how to avoid this. One way is to pray BEFORE I even go to a bible study, to church, to college weekend, or wherever. It is good to pray for ministers, speakers, and coordinators. It is also good and vital to pray for an open heart, and teachable heart, and a heart with the right motives. If we prepare our mind and attitude before we go, motives can be kept in check.

Letting God use us through words of wisdom and Truth, songs of praise to Him for his glory, and acts of servanthood are amazing! It is always the challenge to keep a humble heart and in-focus motives. Upon reading the beginning of Matthew 6, it is a great reminder to remember that God is the One and only receiving the glory in our acts of service, not us.

Today, say a prayer of thanks to God, our Father, and ask Him to help you to get the focus off of yourself and onto Him and His glory.

He is amazing and will work through His word to help you and teach you!

I love you all!


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Merry Christmas

Here is the Christmas card for 2 Peas in a Palette. Feel honored that you are among the first group of individuals to see this! An early "Merry Christmas" to you all! Also- take this as a partial advertisement- if you know of anyone who needs a Christmas card designer- pass the word along! Thanks!

Moving on to non-holiday items...

I forget if I mentioned this in a recent previous post or not... but even if I have, I'm going to say it again.

I recently came across a quote that said, "Our emotions are only servants of our will..." and the advice to that is, "Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

I had to sit and think about that one for awhile, but once it forumlated in my mind, it became the most powerful quote linked with advice that I have received in a long time.

It is SO true. As a girl :-) I have learned that my emotions and feelings are very inaccurate. That is why my trust most always be in Christ. Because often, even when it is, my feelings can become so overpowering and intense that I allow myself to believe my emotions. Some people are amazing at separating out feelings from rationality, but I am not one of those people. I am just glad that I am to the point in my life where I realize that what I feel is not always what IS.


Because... going back to the quote... our emotions are only servants of our WILL. We allow emotions to be there by feeding them with deceptions, opinions, and thoughts... and once they have resided in our mind for awhile, they become a truth to us. Thus- intense emotions that are often false.

Our downfall is letting OUR will decide instead of giving it to God's will right off the bat. I have recently learned that. Things go a lot smoother when we say, "Ok, God- this upcoming situation looks like it has potential to envoke emotions that are SERVANTS OF MY WILL- so please, take it. Take it all RIGHT NOW before I have a chance to THINK about it any more."

That way- we have surrendered OUR WILL over to God before we have a chance to form servants out of our emotions!

I do believe that sometimes, God allows us to "feel" a certain way for a reason. If we have surrendered our way to Him, we should be able to recognize when the Lord's power is at work.

Does that make sense? What are your feelings and emotions on that? *wink wink*

Anyway... I am forced to end this post. I am SO hungry right now and a bowl of cereal is in order.

I love you all!


Sunday, October 09, 2005


Wow! This weekend was busy.

Friday night, I went to Jr. High girl's/boy's camp at Lake Bloomington. I was a counselor! It was my first camp being a counselor, and I loved it! I had a REALLY great cabin of girls. They were all so fun... I had Brooke Monfre's little sister, Kaitlyn, who I loved already, and a few girls from Morton that I knew, and a couple of other great girls. Lindsey Yackley was my co-counselor. It was fun!

We had 2 great speakers this weekend. Matt Kaufmann talked about "Purity" on Friday night. Most girls that I talked to said they were sitting there with their mouths open and eyes glued to him the whole throughout his talk. He did GREAT! He even brought tears to my eyes at one point. He made a good point regarding girls and how they dress... encouraging us not to "give our bodies away." So true! He also spoke about how when he got married, he received a locket from his father-in-law that his wife had given her dad. The locket symbolized her heart, and she told her dad to keep it and to make sure it was guarded and not given away to anyone else until the day she got married. Touching! He witnessed about how that was so special and amazing to know that he was getting her WHOLE heart. He encouraged us to treat anyone from the opposite sex as if they were someone else's future mate... which they are.

On Saturday, Chad Hermann talked about seeking God. He illustrated this wth some great visual examples and props with 3 steps: Seek God... Know God.....Do it. Find Him, establish that relationship, and live it. His talk was very interactive and encouraging.

Overall, camp was very fun and an awesome experience... so if it was for me, a counselor, I'm sure the campers had an amazing time! It seemed that way.

After camp, I traveled to Taylor to hear the testimonies of Wes and Shane on Saturday night.

You know, I hate to admit this, but I'm going to. I always seem to have a bad attitude about testimonies. I think it is because once I'm there and I listen to the miraculous story about how a soul has come to know Jesus and has given Him their whole life, and how they have finally attained that AMAZING peace... I sit and wonder why I wasn't more excited to come! Once I'm there, I'm captivated. It's just keeping that attitude in check before I actually get there. I think it's so important to pray for those giving testimonies... it is the most important story one could share with a group of believers, and it is a time to let that soul be completely humble before God and let the Spirit talk. And when that happens, it is truly phenomenal.

I got to hear TWO TRULY PHENOMENAL stories Saturday night. After each one, when the congregation would arise in standing support, elder Bro. Kent Heimer would request to the boy sitting in the front, "Stand up, and turn around. He will come. He will. Satan will tempt you. But when he does, you just remind him of this night when all of these people stood for you."

If that doesn't bring tears to your eyes, I don't know what will. For those of us who have been through testimonies in our church, we know how special that standing of support is. It causes me to think of something so much greater- which is the support that I have from Jesus Christ himself... are we standing up for Jesus?

Testimonies are so encouraging. Baptisms are, too. The public testimony of a soul's changed life is... it's unexplainable. Do you know why? It is because it is a symbol of THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION ANYONE CAN MAKE. One thing Chad Hermann said in his talk that I failed to mention earlier is that we were created for a purpose. If we are not living up to that purpose, why are we here? We were created to seek and glorify God. That is why we are here. PERIOD. Chad voiced with compassion, "It is NEVER to early to give your life to Jesus." You ask anyone you know who is a believer, and I hopefully doubt they will not regret how early they come to know Christ.

What an amazing weekend! Busy, but fun. And well-worth the busy-ness.

I saw a bunch of old "ICC" people in Taylor, and it was so good to have a miniature "reunion." I still say the ol' ICC group needs to have a real reunion. A lot of times in life, we don't realize how good we had something until it's not there anymore. I'd like to say that about our ICC YG. It was a huge blessing- the group we had. What a beautiful group of people.

Alright. I need to keep moving. I've had one of those super-productive evenings. Ever have those? I don't know what causes them, but it is like a mode I get into. Since I got home this evening, I have unpacked, showered, cleaned my bathroom and bedroom, started some loads of wash, eaten pizza with Trish and Tammy, talked to my mom on the phone, finished up Kristi and I's business Christmas card, talked to my sister about it, and am now posting about it. Figures.

I plan on posting our Christmas card once it is finalized. Be looking for it in the next couple of days... I want it there as an advertisement so if you know of anyone who wants/needs a Christmas card designed, direct them towards this site or give them our e-mail! Thanks!

T aka Pea #1

Friday, October 07, 2005

Pumpkins, MK, and Jonah

Well, Kristi beat me to my post idea. Check out her blog today for an in-depth description of what we did last night.

After ISU Bible Study, we went and carved pumpkins at Ashley Keiffer and Natalie Stoller's place. It was so much fun! I wasn't quite sure I'd enjoy it very much because usually I don't do well with fine motor skills- I'm just not a details person when it comes to being intricate. Besides the fact, knives are not my favorite device to work with. However, it ended up being REALLY fun! I love the feeling of popping the circle off the top of the pumpkin and reaching into the goopy, pulpy seeds and digging it all out.

I bought a shirt from Jon Ringger last night. He designs his owns shirts. He has his own website, check it out. It was good to talk with another designer and get insight about how he does his business, and since Kristi and I were both there, he got to meet both "peas." :-) He was staying at 116 with the boys, so Kristi and I stayed over there for awhile and played Mario Kart with him and Jordan.

It was really fun to play Mario Kart last night, again. I hadn't played in forever, and Jordan is about the only other person other than my brother Tate and brother-in-laws (who have grown past the need to play nintendo) who is actually at my level of skill in that game. Well, I guess the other exception there would be Kelly, my cousin. She's pretty good.

I have memories of sitting in the basement with my brother-in-laws and Tate and completely smoking them all, and they would get SO mad. Wow... those were the days. Those boys have been through so many obsessions- first it was Mario Kart, then speed Uno, then bocce ball, then basketball, and now, cards. They are pathetic.

Onto other things...
Tonight and tomorrow, I am going to be a counselor at the Jr. High boys'girls' camp. I am so excited! Yesterday, my co-counselor and I came up with our devotions for our cabin. The theme this year is, "Dare to be Different" and all the cabins are named after games (I don't know the correlation there, but it's still fun.) Our cabin theme is "trouble," so we centered our devotions around that. I am also in charge of being a part of the skits, so I am really excited about that, too.

The weather...
It is getting colder. Usually I welcome the crisp air and the cooler days, but not this year. I am not even sick of our warm weather, yet. I think it because I am responsible for walking to my classes a very long distance from my car every day, and freezing to death is not my favorite. Although, this cold weather gives me a reason to break out my vests, which I LOVE to wear. I don't care if they make me look "like a giant marshmallow," in Heather's loving terms... vests are the epitome of ultimacy in my winter time wardrobe.

Alright. Hmmm... you know, I read Jonah this morning, and after doing that devotional yesterday on "trouble," I couldn't help but make a parallel.

Jonah's story is very simple:
God told him to do something
Jonah didn't listen to God
He ran from God
God punished Jonah
Jonah learned his lesson
Jonah listened to God
Jonah obeyed God
God showed compassion on the people Jonah talked to

And then this is where we lose Jonah... Jonah gets upset with God for showing compassion on the people and is so angry that he "wants to die."

Aside from that last line, we can really learn a lesson from Jonah. How many times in life do we ignore what God is trying to tell us? Even though he may not speak to us directly, we still need to obey what He commands and what His word says, and there ARE time when He DOES give us a conviction to do/not do something.

Obedience is vital. If we are not obeying God, we may have to suffer the consequences later on. I went through a very hard situation last Spring that was completely like Jonah's story- I disobeyed what I knew God wanted me to do/not do, and I was, in essence, "punished" because of the consequences. Now, I find myself faced with similar circumstances and it is amazing how that shaped me right up- I WANT to listen to God and obey Him this time because I know what will happen if I don't!

Isn't God's refinement amazing? I love how He brings us through certain seasons of life in order to mold us into the shape He wants us to be in. He is the potter, we are the clay. Are we being moldable?

I love you all!


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Do not be Deceived

The girls in the ISU Young Group are doing a bible study this semester entitled, "Lies Women Believe." While it is directed towards women, I certainly think that the concept of the study could be applicable to anyone.

The scary part about being deceived is that often times, to be deceived is to be "tricked." That means that we don't necessarily realize that we are believing a falsehood until it's too late. However, there are times when we have that hunch that something isn't right... but because we are evil beings, we continue on in our own ways becasue it is easier and more pleasing to ourselves.

There are 4 main steps pointed out to becoming deceived and believing a lie, paralleled to Adam and Eve's sin in the garden:
1. Listen to the lie- Eve listened to Satan
2. Think/Dwell upon the lie- Eve thought about what Satan said
3. Believe the lie- Eve eventually figured that eating the fruit would be perfectly fine, and wanted to reap its "award"
4. Act on the lie- Eve ate the fruit and in the process, casued Adam to sin, as well

This chapter in the work book talked about how we are often held bondage by sin. Sometimes, there is sin in our life that we are a slave to. This shouldn't be... but the reason we got there is because of the 4 steps listed above. Think about your life and an area that needs work- an area that you may be deceived. Can you apply these steps to the process you went through before falling bondage to that sin?

I found it fascinating... it's such a simple process, yet often it can happen VERY quickly and almost without notice. It is so classicaly true, too. How often do we allow ourselves to listen to something contrary to God's Word or unedifying in nature, even if it isn't necessarily a "sinful thought," and think about it... just a little bit? Pretty soon, our thoughts become our beliefs, and after we believe something, the devil has us. All we have to do then is act the sin that is engrained in our minds as truth, and we are in bondage.

It's kind of depressing, I know. Yet, it is IMPORTANT to recognize this process so that we can stop it while it's taking place or before it does rather than after it is too late! How can we be sure that we don't fall bondage to sin? We search out the Truth. We KNOW that with all our hearts! That way, we will know without a doubt whether something is potentially harmful to us... because of it's not compatible with God's Word, then we need to be VERY careful.

That should make us want to have a passion for the Word! How to recognize the wrong, the evil, the deceitful: by knowing the Truth!

Ephesians 5:6
Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

2 Timothy 3:13
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

Revelation 20:10
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Let God be your guide, and...

Matthew 16:23
Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

tell Satan to get lost.

Love you all!


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

New & Improved... or just, new?

Well, guys... I was sitting on my couch last night, trying to figure out what I could post about that was spiritually edifying (since my posts have been on the "fun" side lately)... and Kristi started IMing me. She had many questions about blog templates, adding color to fonts, and changing the look of the entire deal. She insisted that it was so difficult and challenging, and I told her that it really wasn't too bad...

About 15 minutes later, she told me she was messing in the templates section and that her whole blog was getting changed. I told her I was happy for her and disregarded her excitement. I had just come from about 2 hours' worth of work in the computer lab at school, coding text tracts and captions into a Quick Time movie with chapter lists. While that is all fun and great, I had my fill of "coding" and reading jibberish language for the evening.

Well... evidently, I hadn't. Curiosity got the better of me, and I began a 2 hour rampage of switching templates, messing with colors, fonts, sizes, etc., and clicking "Preview" many-a-time to get a somewhat new blog style going on. Now, before my design critics make a comment, I realize that my colors don't all necessarily match perfectly, but they work for the purpose, right? There are only so many web colors to choose from. I found a very helpful color coding website that allows you to create your own colors, and it tells you the according color code. Very useful.

Ok... so, for some reason, none of my links carried over, which is really buggy. I'll get those Edit-Me's fixed ASAP and tidy the place up, and it will be a happenin' blog in no-time.

Alright, I love ya'll and I'll be back real soon.

p.s. I owe my new blog style to this girl who went color-happy tonight, and also is going for a new look.


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Pretty Bird II

Today I got a phone call.

I picked up the telephone. "Hello?"

"Taryn," a very somber voice said. Silence.

"Yeah?" I asked, trying to add some excitement to my voice to counteract the voice on the other end.

"I have some bad news for you," the voice on the other end told me.

My heart started racing. What happened?

"Pretty Bird died today."

I then recognized the voice as Kathy Kaufman's.

"NOOOO.... that is SO sad!"

"Taryn, my heart is broken," Kathy said, her voice very heavy and sad. It made me want to cry.

Ok, guys. Now. Let me just tell you a little story so you know why this is so sad.

Growing up, we always had a bird. Our first bird- Pretty Bird, was the neatest bird in the whole world. We taught it how to talk, how to do the wolf whistle, and he was like part of the family. Well, he died, and it was very sad... especially for a young girl like me. We tried to get a new bird, but that didn't work out because the new bird was really dumb. So we ended up trading him in for another...

Pretty Bird II. I was in third grade by this time, and each year at school, we have a program called "Young Authors" that I participated in. In first grade, I won the illustration award for my book, "My Trip to Arizona." In second grade, I won another illustration award for my book, "Why does my Brother Bug Me?" Now, in third grade, the idea for my book was easy to figure out... I would write about my bird. Thus, the book, "Pretty Bird II."

Below is the book... I was going to put up pictures of each page of the book, but it proved to be too much work so here is the cover with the words...

On my brother's tenth birthday, we went to the mall. He was going to buy a bird at the pet shop with his birthday money. There were hundreds of birds there.

I pointed to a big yellow bird... but my brother picked a blue one with a blue tummy and black, white, and blue striped wings and a white head. There were purple spots below his beak.

We took him home and named him Pretty Bird. We wanted to teach Pretty Bird how to whistle and say his name. Every day we would say "Pretty Bird" over and over to him and do the wolf whistle.

We also tried to teach him to kiss. One day he started to make kissing sounds back to us and he would try to kiss us with his beak. We were so excited!

And after awhile, he could say "Pretty Bird" in a high voice and a low voice, and all kidns of funny ways. When we did the dishes, he would squawk real loud at the water noise.

One morning, my brother and I were eating cold cereal and Pretty Bird was on my brother's shoulder. Pretty Bird thought our bowls of cereal were a bird bath. He flew into my brother's bowl of cereal and flapped his wings to clean himself. We laughed and laughed.

Pretty Bird rode on our shoulders all the time. One day, my brother took Pretty Bird to his room and left for school. Pretty Bird was missing. I looked all over the house for him. I whistled and he whistled back, but I still couldn't find him. My friend came over to help me. We heard him whistle in my brother's room. "There he is!" my friend shouted. "He's in the closet!" Pretty Bird was smashed between the hangers and the ceiling and looked really scared.

I would take Pretty Bird on rides, pulling him in a basket around the house. My brother said "Here, let me try," and he took him around in circles. I cried, "Stop! Stop!" Poor Pretty Bird... he was so dizzy, he was turning his head in circles.

Pretty Bird liked to sit in my mom's big plant. He thought he was pretty neat, like other birds. My mom didn't like it, though, becasue he ate holes in all the leaves.

One day, Pretty Bird stopped making noise. The house was so quiet. He jsut sat in his cage and wouldn't eat or sing. We took him to the vet, but there wasn't anything to do to make him better.

The next morning, I made my sister look to see if Pretty Bird was alright while I made my bed. When she came back upstairs, she looked sad. She said Pretty Bird died. I cried and cried.

We wrapped him in a white blanket and took him outside and dug a hole. We covered him with dirt and I put a stone on top and some of mom's flowers. I was so sad.

I made a poster about Pretty Bird so I would always remember him.

A few days later, my family and I went to the pet store to get a new bird. We missed Pretty Bird so much. This time, we got one that was bright green, and he sure didn't act like Pretty Bird.

This bird would get into his water dish and get all wet. He'd crawl into the food dish too, and get stuck. My mom took off the lid, but then he would sit in his food and spread it all over. My mom said, "This bird is a ditz, let's take it back!"

We went to a new pet store and looked at all their baby birds. Some were yellow, some all white, and some blue like Old Pretty Bird. We finally decided on one that looked like clouds in Heaven.

We had to teach him how to get on our finger and how to let us hold him. He still can't say his name or do a wolf whistle, but he loves to be petted around his neck, and he loves to make big swings with his sing.

Even though he's not our old Pretty Bird, we sure to love him.

He's our Pretty Bird II.

Shortly after that book was written, I won the general author award for it, but then I was asked to read the book aloud at a huge Young Author's Assembly at my school in front of all the other winners and their families.

I was SO nervous. I remember my mom helping me practice reading it, because I used to talk really fast (ok, STILL DO), and she wanted me to be understandable.

The night of the assembly came, and I just remember going up on stage with my book and reading it very loudly and clearly, and everyone laughed at some of the parts, which made me feel good.

After reading the book, the Disctrict Winners were announced. Guess what?! I won the district award for my book!

I was so excited!

Having that book about our "Pretty Birds" helped make them more special, and especially our most recent. Pretty Bird II definitely learned a lot while he was with us. We taught him how to say many things, how to whistle, and he had this one hot pink swing that he LOVED. He would sit on top of it for hours and talk into the little bell hanging off of it. I think he was in love with it.

There came a time, however, that we didn't really want him anymore. I know that sounds horrible, but no one paid as much attention to him, and although we loved him, we knew someone else would have more fun owning him. We gave him to our friend, Kathy, who at the time was a teacher at Lincoln School in Morton.

Pretty Bird lived at her house most of the year but during the school year, Kathy took Pretty Bird to school and he lived in the library there where she was the librarian. The kids at Lincoln School LOVED him and always talked to him and laughed when he talked. He was a hit, and I was so glad he was somewhere getting love from many different people!

I would go help Kathy in her classroom sometimes before the start of school and August, and it was always fun visitng Pretty Bird. Kathy would get mad at me because I knew exactly what to do to wind him up and make him wild, and she'd say, "Taryn! Stop it!" It made me laugh.

I have so many fond memoreis of Pretty Bird. Kathy wouuld always tell me funny stories at church of him and what he would do. Sometimes, I'd say, "Kathy, one of these days, you're going to call me and tell me that he died."

Well... that day was today.

Pretty Bird lived a happy 11 years. Although I am sad he is gone, I am also very glad that he got so much love from some many different people.

I know all dogs go to Heaven, and when my cat died, I wanted to believe that all cats did, too. I bet the same applies for birds. :-)

Love you all!