Saturday, May 29, 2010


My life has gone from busy to busier.

But I love it. =D

Each and everyday this past week brought about its own treasure. Let's walk through it.

My Mind is a Black Hole

I have no recollection of what I did on Monday. There is a big blank space in my calendar. Chances are, this was a good "catch-up" day in the office, exactly what Mondays always seem to be good for.

I Drink Coffee for Your Protection

One of my favorite parts about being downtown is our location: our business is situated halfway between 2 of my favorite hometown coffee places. I try to divide up my time between both. They all know me by name and can readily fix my drink of choice. I love living in a small town.

I met my mom at one of the places for a few minutes on this morning. She always orders her favorite, which is an iced green tea freeze, and I get the mocha ice cap at this particular place. We sat outside and chatted for a little while, catching up on life. It's sad, but even though we live in the same house, we don't see each other very much when our schedules get so busy. She has been working long hours getting her space ready in Lulu's on Main, the new boutique that opened a few days ago. Between that and my photography schedule/night life, sometimes we can't touch base as often as we would like.

So getting together and chatting for a few minutes over iced beverages in the cool of the morning is quite a delight.

That evening, I found myself at my OTHER favorite coffee place in Morton, sitting outside and enjoying a cup of Jamaican Me Crazy with 3 of my friends.

When Can I Go Back?

Heather and I had the opportunity to present to the youth in our church for International Night. The kids were 4th grade-seniors in High School. I put together a Power Point with pictures and showed one of the videos I created. We also taped off part of the floor and showed the kids how big the rooms of the houses were that we visited. We brought a couple of the photo books that were made of our team trip and showed those, as well. It was a neat way to paint the picture of a physical orphan and tie in African culture, since they will be supporting Kevin & Erica's (a missionary couple from our church) work in Africa over VBS. We will also be presenting to the whole church next weekend, which I am excited about.

At the end, we told them that without Jesus Christ, we are all orphans, too. Thankfully, we may not be a physical orphan in this life, but we are ALL orphans without His gift of love. We have been adopted in as sons and daughters of Christ.

It was fun reliving our experience and sharing it with others... makes me want to go back. =)

Cars & Boys

Two things happened this day that are noteworthy.

First, I drove my bug to the dealership in Bloomington so it could get serviced. When you buy a new vehicle, they offer a complimentary check on your car, so my appointment to do that was on this afternoon.

Upon arrival, I entered the service garage to tell them I was there. My sales man wasn't too far behind me and greeted me from across the way.

"I'll pull your car in," he said.

He did so, and I found myself in the customer lounge on a couch. He walked in a couple minutes later and stood by the door, peeking in.

"How's the new car treating you?" he asked me.

"Really well, I love it," I told him. "My plates still aren't in, though!"

"So weird!" he agreed. "I'll have to check on those."

He made his way over to the recliner across from me then, and looked at me with his eyes all lit up.

"I didn't know you were a Christian!" he proclaimed.

After he sold my car to me, I had done my usual check on Facebook and added him as a friend. In that moment, I could only surmise that this is how he confirmed this fact.

"Yes," I told him, "I am!"

"That is great," he said, and before I could get in an word edgewise, he continued on with how he saw some of my Africa pictures and some missionary work he knew about going on there. He also told me about his hometown and how people there are very politically minded, although very conservative, yet they value politics more highly over religion.

All the while, he was very excited and passionate about sharing this information.

"You know," he said, "I can usually tell if someone is a Christian, just by their demeanor and persona. But one time, I asked this girl if she was a Christian, and she was very offended," he told me. "She was actually an atheist."

It had me thinking... how is my lifestyle and persona as a Christian witness? Do people look at me and see Jesus, or do they look at me and have to wonder what my passion is? Are people less likely to size me up as a Christian than someone of another religion... even someone who doesn't believe in God at all?

It was a nice challenge for my afternoon.

Next came the evening. I had an opportunity to do something I never would have personally signed up for or thought I would ever do.

I attended a boys' bible study for high-school age boys (led by two of my guy friends my age) and talked to them about guy-girl relationships and things to keep in mind as they enter college.

The night was actually already set up and planned for a daughter (just out of high school) and her mother to talk to the group, and I was a last-minute addition. I actually didn't confirm I was coming until the day of, but my friend thought I'd bring a different perspective since I was a female out of college, so he invited me to come.

And it's interesting, but I actually wanted to do it.

It's amazing to me to look back and see how much I have learned about relationships over the past several years. I feel like getting through High School was one experience. Early college was another. Graduating college and now working as a young single adult is yet another experience. And through it all, the Lord has taught me more than I ever would have imagined.

And I didn't realize the growth until I sat there on Thursday night and shared with these boys the perspective of a female heart, and how we think and feel, and the advice I would have given myself and any other guy friends at that age if I could go back.

They had a chance to ask questions, and while their questions were honest, real, and good, it reminded me how much they still have to learn and it proved to me how much the Lord has taught me through different life experiences.

I am so thankful. To date, I'm just under a quarter of a century through to 100 years, so if I make it that far, the Lord still has much more to teach me about life and relationships!

I Do

Imagine Artists had a wedding this day. It was an absolutely beautiful day... the Illinois humidity was gone for the afternoon, and in place was a bright blue sky and cool shade. It was gorgeous, and we were on some land with a lake, barn, grasses, and horses. It was a fun bridal party and a beautiful wedding. It was an evening wedding, so the reception went a little later and I went straight from that to my third shift job.


That's tonight. We had a few people over for dinner, including a couple that are close with my parents. They always get together and play Euchre, and when I'm around we make it 5-way. Before starting the game, I had found my way to the piano. I love playing every once in awhile when I'm in the mood.

The husband of this couple is basically a musical genius and can improvise anything on the piano beautifully. He wondered into the room where I was playing a few select classical songs. He slid onto the bench next to me.

"Let's play a duet," he said. "Do you know any?"

I smiled. "I'm not sure."

At that, he showed me a few chords and repeated them several times until I understood. I copied him, and he added in a bottom part.

It was a fun tune, one that sounded vaguely familiar.

Once we finished, I asked, "What song was that?"

"Oh, one I just made up," he said.

I was astounded. Really?

After that, he told me to improvise. I stayed in my comfort zone, which is the key of C, and did a little bit of a sweet melody up top. He added in a beautiful tune at the bottom, and it was amazing how he could anticipate exactly what I would play and matched it accordingly.

"How did you know what I was going to play?" I asked him.

"I just knew what was coming," he told me.

He then showed me some jazzy chords in the key of F and played up and down the piano in the most amazingly improvised performance I have ever seen or heard. I paid close attention to his hands, and although they moved quickly, it was interesting to see how he used different chords and variations of notes to attain a certain sound.

"Your homework for next time is to make a jazz song in the key of F," he told me.

And I will. I love jazz. And I love to improvise.

Love you all!


Sunday, May 23, 2010

He's not even holding on!

Illinois summer weather is officially here. And it arrived overnight.

This Spring had it backwards: April flowers brought May showers. We had beautiful April weather with blooming all around, and then May was a series of thunderstorms and cloudy days. As this month comes to a close and with June just around the corner, the hot, sticky, hard-to-breathe air has arrived in everyone's backyard.

Great weekend! My life has stayed consistently busy, just the way I like it. If I don't have enough to do, I get bored and stagnant, and if I have too much I become overwhelmed. Somehow, I am currently living the balance between both.

For anyone that cares, I took care of my eye situation and saw the doctor on Friday. I'm on a 5-day trial with daily contacts; we are going to see if this clears up the problem. So far, so good. I was just happy to learn I would be able to wear my contact lenses. The eye doctor also asked me if I wanted my eyes dilated. I never recall having a choice in the past; usually, they just do it. But after confirming that this would help him out, I was a good sport and let him put the dreaded drops in my eyes. Then I sat and waited for 20 minutes while every light in the office become 100x brighter.

So I drove home with glasses & dilated eyes; it's a miracle I made it home, but I did. I even sported some super-cool shades they make to slip behind your eyeglasses. I was squinting behind the shades; there's no way I could have made it home without them. Kristi promptly pointed and laughed the minute I walked back into the office. I think she was just jealous.

Anyway, enough on eyes. Saturday brought about a hot, humid day and wedding photography. We had the pleasure of shooting the wedding of an adorable and amazing Christian couple. They were so sweet, and so fun to capture. Very natural and photogenic. In fact, we told the groom he could come teach all of our future grooms how to be charming and wonderful; he was perfect behind the camera! Most guys are not comfortable or thrilled to have a hired paparazzi follow you around on your wedding day, but every time we looked at him he was doing something worthy of a precious picture. We had a blast using a black couch on a beautiful property, and the bridal party was also a fun group of energy.

Today was a great day in church. Two awesome messages. Psalm 101:3 stuck out to me this morning; and our youngest preacher had this afternoon's service. I love how he can break apart any verses in Scripture and make it applicable to daily living. He was telling us how he talked to a man who was telling him all about his religion and different meditations that he does.

"Do you know how ashamed he was to tell me about all of that?" he asked. "Zero."

He then went on to make the point that we, as Christians, need to get over any "silence" we allow because of shame.

Ever since I started working at the CILAs, I've had the opportunity to meet and get to know a lot of individuals with developmental disabilities and handicaps. They are all precious and unique, and I love every single one of them. Our church in Morton is blessed to welcome a lot of them each Sunday, so I often talk to those that are milling around. There is one man in particular who ALWAYS comes up to my friends and I and talks to us. He has taken a special interest to Kristi and I, and our photography business.

Every Sunday, without fail, he will walk up and look at me, and then Kristi. He will then look at anyone we happen to be talked to and point to us.

"Do you know they have a photography business?" He'll ask. "They take pictures."

Nods and smiles.

He will then target one of our female friends and say, "You know, I think you should go work for them. Work up front at their shop, and be their secretary."

I always tell him this is a great idea.

He always has something up his sleeve; a new idea, or an insight. His most characteristic feature is the way he exits. He always abruptly finishes his sentence, turns around, and walks away.

I appreciate this in him, because it's often the way I wish I could handle conversation. Sometimes, it's easier to just walk away than try to tie together all loose ends, draw a useful conclusion to whatever was said, or think of an eloquent way to end the conversation. He doesn't worry about such things; he's just done. I love it.

Anyway, today he walked up to me and looked at my outfit.

"Did you knit and crochet that yourself?" he asked me, pointing to my dress.

"No, I didn't," I said. "I wish I could do that. Maybe I could knit you a tie, then."

He pondered this. "Well, yeah, you could," he said. "That would be a little different, but I would wear it."

I always appreciate his honesty, curiosity, and questions.

Tonight, we had my brother and sister-in-law and their family over for dinner to welcome little Milo in. We ate an amazing meal of steak/chicken/veggie kabobs and the works. I made a couple of chocolate pies for dessert, and we enjoyed that with coffee, of course. I played hopscotch with Lola on the driveway, and then a game of bags with my brother. It was actually borderline competitive. I was surprised. But Tate still won in the end.

I then headed to Peoria with a couple of friends for coffee. On the way, I saw THIS (pictured below) on the interstate. I took a picture with my cell phone and posted it on Facebook and received a lot of comments. It got a lot of male feedback, not surprisingly, and a lot of girls who said, "That is so unsafe and stupid!"

But really, how does this even happen?

Love you all!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Odds & Ends

I am sitting on the light olive green chair in my room, listening to my two little nieces fall asleep. Evidently this entails flipping the light switch on and off, paging through multiple picture books, and occasionally jabbering to each other.

I became an aunt of 11 last night. My brother, Tate, had his first boy. Milo Tate was born in the early morning. Milo is also the firstborn male in the next Kaiser generation, so is responsible for carrying on our Kaiser family name. No pressure, Milo.

He is very cute! This is one of the first births of my sisters I have not actually been present at the hospital when it took place. Dating back to Noah (my very first nephew, born 10 years ago!) I have always been there when one of my siblings would walk proudly into the waiting room and announce the name.

Our family is a little crazy about babies being born. It's kind of a production. In fact, when my last niece, Sylvia, was born, we all stayed overnight in the hospital. I'm not even kidding. I was up all night. And all morning until she was born.

Anyway, last night I happened to be at my third shift job when my sister-in-law went into labor, so I had no choice but to stay put. I received a phone called at 2am telling me he was born, and a picture text message not too far after. He is a cutie!

So my brother is a proud daddy to 3 now. I went into a mild panic mode last night as I lay awake, thanking the Lord for a healthy baby boy. I thought... OK. To my knowledge, all of my siblings have completed their families. And I haven't even started mine!

But it's alright. God has a plan, no doubt!

In other news, I think I have a mild eye infection. And by mild I mean, it's been going on for 6 months but hasn't bothered me enough to go to the eye doctor. And by hasn't bothered me enough, I mean I don't want to call the eye doctor because I know what they'll tell me. They'll tell me I am allergic to my contacts and I must wear my glasses, and I must NOT wear my contacts, and I must put eye drops in my eyes for a week or so.

Unfortunately: 1) My vision decreases by about 40% when I put my glasses on and 2) On most days, my main job requires that I can see well. For instance, I'm shooting a wedding this weekend. How can I shoot a wedding half blind?

So, I took matters into my own hands and have been wearing my glasses for the past day and a half. But tonight I finally broke and put my contacts back in. It's seriously torture. I'm not sure what happened to my eyesight but somehow, over the years, it has really declined. If I take everything off, I can literally see nothing but shapes and colors. It's all a blur. I am severely near-sighted and can't read anything unless it's literally 2 inches from my face.

But I won't complain, because I'm thankful I have vision at all. I could be blind, and then where would I be? I'm such a visual person. I'm a visual learner, and without my vision, I wouldn't have my job, which I have a huge passion for. In fact, thinking about losing my vision almost makes me claustrophobic. So I'll stop thinking about it now, but I wanted to go there long enough to realize a reason to be thankful rather than discouraged about this matter.

Conclusion: I'll probably call the eye doctor tomorrow. Mainly because I also found out today that I'm almost out of contact lenses.

Also. One other discovery. Those who know me know that I love to eat, and I eat often. It's really a hobby of mine. Everyday from the hours of 3-5pm, I hit a stage where I am ravenous. It's too early for dinner, but I still feel a need to tie myself over. So, I will feature the snack that I fix. It does the trick every time. I believe I shared this tasty treat with you all in the recent past, but it's worthy of reiteration.

frozen strawberries
Greek yogurt (protein-rich) (vanilla or strawberry-flavored)
Skim milk
Peanut butter

Combine all ingredients in blender. Add more milk for a thinner smoothie; more yogurt or fruit to thicken.

Add some granola and blend that into the smoothie. Pour the smoothie into a glass and top with sliced bananas.

I'm telling you-- if you love peanut butter and/or fruit, this is a great treat and a healthy snack!

Ok, that's all for tonight. I have to go to work. It's kind of crazy when I think about it... I put in a 40+ hour week last week, and I'll be going on 40+ hours this week at my 3rd shift job. That's on top of my daytime job at Imagine Artists, as well as my part-time church website job. But let me define "3rd shift job" for you... in a nutshell, I get paid to sleep.

Love you all!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Letters in the Mail

Dear (fill in your name here),

I love letters in the mail.

I am finding that it is a bit countercultural to participate in this much anymore. Why send a letter when you can e-mail? Or better yet-- reach the person you want to communicate with in a matter of seconds with a text message.

Trust me; I'm not above e-mailing and texting. I do both quite often. I mean, I'm blogging about this, for heaven's sake. Obviously I embrace technology.

But there's a large part of me that still loves the timelessness of letters. The thoughtful, ink-to-paper, stamped envelope method.

It's interesting, though, because mail takes time. More time than a lot of people want to wait. If you have something to share, your proclamation won't arrive to the recipient until, at quickest, the next day. And then the recipient has to open the letter, read it, and write their own letter in return. Back into the mail it goes. The process takes days; an e-mail takes minutes; a text, seconds.

Technology. I love it, but in a way, it's slowly killing anything personal and timeless about our society.

I mean, I'm sure I'll have my grandkids gathered around me someday, and I'll be telling them about the days of "e-mailing" and "text-messaging," and they will look up at me, wide-eyed with wonder, asking me questions about how that all worked. It will seem so old-fashioned, what we're doing now. And that's ok. That's inevitable. I guess part of me just wants to hold onto the current "old way" while we still use it.

Because let's face it- an e-mail is nice, it really is. But how personal can it be? There's something so much more thoughtful about a person's handwriting on a piece of paper. It takes time to sit down and write it. And I can't believe I'm saying this, because I'm a typeaholic, but I do find that my most genuine, heartfelt words come when I write them down on paper rather than type them out on the computer. My brain thinks super-fast, and while my fingers can type out and keep up with the pace of my brain, my hands cannot write that fast. Therefore, a filter is there by default. And only the very best gets recorded.

I used to write letters to my really good friend and first cousin. We lived in the same town, but we wrote each other about once a week. This took place all through Jr. High and High School. We both loved it. Thankfully, we were both creative minds that loved to dream, and so our notes and letters included personal updates, clever stories, witty poems, and anything else we could imagine. I loved those exchanges, and I still have every letter she sent me.

This past year, an opportunity came up for me to use my passion of letter-writing in a God-glorifying way. Our church adopted a program that another one of our nearby churches was doing, called "Pen Pals for Jesus." If you decided to participate, you would get matched with a prisoner to write to as a pen pal.

I was so excited to hear about this program being initiated and I immediately joined. I received one pen pal, and then a month later received another. I am currently writing two women in prison. It is an amazing experience, and I am so glad I can be a part of their lives, even if it's in a very small way. I can't imagine the loneliness faced in prison, and a lot of the inmates there need spiritual guidance and discipleship. In the form of letter-writing, this is a way that God's Truth can go forth and His love can be shown.

Anyway. That's my soap box on letters. And just for the record, now you know how to make my day- just send me a letter in the mail.

It will be cherished long after an e-mail or a text message.

Love you all...



Thursday, May 13, 2010

Great is Thy Faithfulness

I love my church.

For many reasons.

It is interesting, because over the past year, the Lord has really been working on my heart regarding this topic. I gave my life to the Lord at a very young age. I believe I was 12 or 13 years old. A year later, I decided to become baptized in the church that I grew up in.

I will admit that at the time, I was not old enough to comprehend the vastness of my decision. I was joining a church and committing myself to it. I attend a church that takes this commitment very seriously, and so my lifestyle changed by default. Yes, because I gave my life to Christ. But also due to areas that my church strongly encouraged and/or discouraged.

Over the years, I have had a chance to develop my Christian walk, grow in the Lord, and have several life experiences. As I have done so, my attitude about my church has grown from mild annoyance, at times, to huge appreciation. I realize now the importance of a complete surrender to Christ with all areas of my life, not because my "church told me to" but because my church is there to support me and be an amazing guide as my spiritual leadership, via a diverse ministering pulpit of men who love God and strive to speak the Truth of His Word, many attending brothers and sisters in Christ, and also a unique traditional worship service as well as fellowship.

I was talking to one of my friends the other night who used to attend our church but now no longer does. He has been attending another church for a few years now, and he really likes it. I asked him if he ever missed our church. He said that was tough to answer, and he really didn't give me a complete one. But, the part that stuck out to me was when he said, "This may seem odd, but I feel like there is some deep feeling that is satisfied when I come back to this church. Maybe it's just that connection to my past and what I grew up in, but I can't help but feel it."

Which leads into the biggest thing I love about my church. It's connectedness. The people who are are members of my church are often stereotyped; it's easy to do, I will admit. And there is quite a range to work from. Yet one thing that remains true to my church and its uniqueness is this: I could fly 8 states away and show up in one of the churches there in a small, random town, and 3 people would be related to me, 6 people who know my parents, and everyone would welcome me as a fellow sister in Christ (or should.)

Going back to my discussion with my friend. His passion right now, he told me, is the concept of being a unified body of Christ regardless of where you attend church. I love this, as well. Denominations can be vast and different; but at the end of the day, aren't we all on the same team? We may have different worship styles, leaders, ministries, pastors, and teachers... but isn't our end goal the same? My thought is that the end goal is to follow Christ, be baptized, and glorify Him by using the talents from the body of believers. No matter where you attend, there will be flaws. There will be divisions, posers, and there will be Satan trying to destroy every good thing. And for those out there looking for a perfect church; you won't find it.

I heard a sermon on the radio a couple months back from one of my favorite guys; he's pretty dynamic. He said with all passion, "When should you stop attending your church? When GOD stops attending there."

So with all that in my mind, I have found the Lord calling me to embrace where He has me. I have had the opportunity to get involved in a few different ministries connected to my church over the past year in which have been such an amazing blessing to my life. I am finding that I can't glorify the Lord or bloom where I am planted unless I get involved with where I am.

I know that I wear rose-colored glasses. I am an incurable optimist, someone who would always rather see the potential rather than watch the imminent storm rolling in. So maybe it's easy for me to see the good... but at the same time, I will say that over the past year, at times in my life where I should have thrown up my hands and given up, or felt like walking away, I have only felt the Lord dropping opportunities in my lap to shine for Him, use my talents to enhance my church and other ministries, and developed a love in my heart for a place that I want to continue to grow.

I was talking to a friend today who was discouraged for reasons I don't really want to blog about. But tonight, as I was riding my bike (which always seems to clear my mind), I had a thought. God is faithful. Period. And He will convey this faithfulness to us when we are faithful to Him. So as long as we do our part in faith, He will be glad to lead us, to be with us, and to reward us in His faithfulness and His promises.

Love you all... T

Sunday, May 09, 2010

I'm going to need a TALL bookcase

I am about ready to make a proclamation that I hope does not come back to haunt me someday.

But this is a good thing, so long as my focus is clear and my perspective is right, I don't see why it would be haunting. Hopefully.

Anyway, over the past couple of years, I have found that most everything that I see on television disgusts me. Most of what's on these days is not the least bit edifying; in fact, it is quite the contrary. If anything, I think TV (and movies, for that matter) have slowly but surely, over time, slipped into a very wicked category. It's hard to find anything, even a so-called "family-friendly" sitcom, that does not involve foul language, sexual scenes, or unbiblical lifestyles. This is so much a part of the world we live in that even though we would never actively participate in these ways, we still feel justified watching a television show or movie of others who do, because, well, it's "entertaining."

We have been desensitized.

It has been largely convicting to me over the past year or so. I am actually not someone who even watches that much television. If anything, being online is the biggest time-waster in my life, so that's what I generally work on cutting down on.

I remember hearing a sermon awhile back about how desensitized we, as Christians, have become because of our society. He said, "If you want to see how desensitized you are, cut out TV for a week. Or better yet- cut it out for a whole month. I guarantee that when you turn that television back on after all that time away, you will be horrified at what you used to allow yourself to watch."

It's true. As I said, I watch very little TV, so when I do turn it on, I find myself disgusted and frustrated by what I see. And lately, I have been feeling the same way about the movies I watch. Most of the entertaining ones to me usually include something compromising, such as foul language or bad scenes. So why do I watch it? To get a few laughs?

I'm not sure. Yet at the same time, there are plenty of films out there that are educational (in nature) and very inspirational, either based off of a true story or are there to inspire. These are meaningful. If I can walk away educated, inspired, or emotionally moved, I usually feel like I spent better use of my time than just laughing at the cost of feeling a bit uncomfortable.

And that's the thing. I'm afraid too many Christians don't feel that sense of "discomfort" anymore. I remember once, when I was very young and after first becoming a Christian, I was talking to the elder of our church. I expressed to him that sometimes, I felt uncomfortable with certain situations.

"That's a good thing," he told me.

I was a little confused.


"Because," he told me, "That means the Holy Spirit is convicting you."

Most of us won't go out tonight and rob a bank or steal a car- and that's a no-brainer. We might feel bad for doing that. But what about those little things that creep into our life and are completely justified because "every other Christian I know is doing it, too," and "it isn't really affecting me."

Just today, I was listening to a sermon on the radio about this very concept. The pastor was talking about how often, there are certain sin areas that are in our life that are never even acknowledged by self or by other fellow believers, because a) we all do them, b) it is minimized to less than what it really is, and c) we feel inferior to point out something that seems so trivial, fearing that others won't think it a big deal.

But the point is, whether we are murders, rapists, and thieves, or whether we are white liars and disobeyers, we are all in the same boat: headed for Hell and doomed for destruction, unless we repent of our sins and accept the gift Christ offered us via His blood that was shed on the cross. So with that being said... we may not take the Lord's name in vain or curse, and we may not sleep around, and we may not commit crimes and live alternative lifestyles... but do we continually watch TV shows and movies that explicitly shout all of those themes, and accept it willingly? What does our brain do with that?

I hate to come across as preachy. That's the last thing I want to do. It's just something that's been on my mind lately, and that's why I prefaced this post as I did, because I guess my great proclamation is that lately, I've been REALLY into reading books =) and I'm a huge fan of books over TV. I once read a statistic that said that you burn more calories sleeping than you do watching TV, and I'm not saying that reading a book burns calories (in fact, unless you're walking on a treadmill with book in hand, it's probably about the same as watching TV) BUT at least you're working your brain when you read. =)

So, I'm not sure if this will actually happen, but... whenever I move out of my parents' house, I'd love to move into a place with no TV. I'd love it. I would love to stock my book shelves with books, rent films that will inspire and educate, and fill the rest of my free time going out to coffee with friends or riding my bike that would have otherwise been spent wasted in front of a television.

I meant to use all of that to build up to what I really wanted to share about, which is a book I'm currently reading, but it has gotten far too long. So I'll just close with this one main concept. The book I'm reading is called "The Principle of the Path" by Andy Stanley. He states that if you want to get to a specific spot in life, you have to be intentional about how you get there. That seems obvious, but far too often in life, we follow the wrong examples. Look to the wrong people, talk to the wrong sources, ignore all the red flags, and then we wonder why we ended up where we did. Why the bank account is drained, why the class was failed, why the relationship tanked. He told the horrifying story of two teenage girls who were crossing a busy street. They were talking and not really paying attention, and they saw that the two lanes of traffic going straight had a green light, so that started crossing. However, they failed to recognize the other two lanes of traffic in the far left-hand lanes who were turning left, and the two girls were both hit by cars. They ended up visiting the hospital. Neither of them died or were critically injured, but his point was, how often do we walk through life fully INTENDING to choose the right path and get to a certain spot (the end of the road), but getting hit by a car in the middle? How many of us plan to walk into oncoming traffic? Our intentions are usually good. But intentions don't matter when the end result is disastrous, and we have to avoid those situations by paying attention. Seeking the right instructions, sources, and people.

My point in all of this, really, is that it's about perspective, balance, and honesty. I'm not about to become Amish, don't worry. BUT, I think for myself, I need to really evaluate what I allow myself to see and my motive behind it. Furthermore, there's a balance to be had between time spent entertaining myself and time I spend with things that edify and build up. Lastly, I think honesty is key in looking into your heart, cleaning house, and taking care of anything, even the smallest habit or mindset or lifestyle, so that God can be glorified rather than self. Because let's face it, is God glorified when we're jealous? When we don't forgive, or we gossip, or watch reality TV for 3 hours a day? I am convinced that almost every sin we commit is linked back to selfishness, pride, or a combination of both.

Anyway. I should close. I'll be back soon... with more thoughts, I'm sure. Writing like this is like therapy to me... it really is. Thanks for all who read, whoever you are. And I know there are more of you than I think there are, because I still have people who come up to me and say "I read your blog!" and I say, "You do?!" But hey, one of my goals in life is to touch others through writing, and hopefully one day I can publish a book, but until then... the blog is where it's at. Love you all.


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Wait a Minute... Do We Drive the Same Car??!

I have really been enjoying my new ride. The plates still aren't in. I expect them any day now.

I made one assumption that I am finding out is incorrect. I automatically assumed that everyone else who drives a Volkswagen Beetle would automatically want to be my friend. Not like "real life friends," but more like, "Oh my word, that girl has the same car as me, so I'm going to smile and wave," type of friends.

Ever since I received my new car, I have been prepared to smile, wave, and/or strike up a new relationship with any other VW Beetle driver on the road. Unfortunately, I am quickly finding that other VW Beetle drivers do not share and/or return the same affections.

It's not that they're mean. It's just that they aren't all super friendly. I think it's the coolest thing in the entire world when I see another bug. In fact, I have spent a larger part of my life shouting "MY CAR!" and pointing excitedly anytime a beetle passes by. Every beetle on the road was "my car." I have even been known to freak out fellow friends and family because I gasp and point so loudly when I spot one that they wonder if they're about ready to wreck. My reaction is about the same either way. So now that I actually drive one, I feel an even stronger connection to other VW drivers out there.

I mean, as far as I am concerned, not just anyone buys a VW Beetle. They are impractical, bright, eccentric, fun, and zippy little cars. These adjectives don't exactly fit the description most people are giving when they look to purchase a new vehicle. Largely, middle-aged women and young teen girls are the largest market for the VW Beetle. But within those 2 demographics, I still say you're special if you buy one. Because as I pointed out, not just anyone is going to buy this car. So I guess that's my basis for feeling like I'm best friends with anyone else who drives one.

Also, I have established a habit of taking a picture of my car anytime I am parked in the same vicinity as another VW Beetle. It's a fun little game I play. In fact, the other night, guess what happened. Kristi and I were arriving at the wedding reception of one of the weddings we were shooting, and in the hotel parking lot there was an empty slot next to another green VW Beetle. I quickly drove over and parked next to it. And took a picture.

I don't know why I think it's so cool. It's really probably not. The logical part of my brain says "Taryn, they drive the same car as you. Big deal. A lot of people do." But there is still something inside of me that fights that statement and says, "But they drive a brightly colored bubble that is unlike any other car on the road, so SOMETHING about them must be a little different... and therefore, we should be friends, or at least acknowledge how cool it is that we both drive this same car."

A couple of my friends recently purchased new vehicles, as well, within the past couple of years. They were talking about whether it bothered each other putting miles on their new car. Again, call me backwards, but I almost feel like I DO want to put miles on it. And a large part of that is due to my outlook on it: first of all, I don't plan on selling this anytime soon. I bought it brand new and so I'd like to hang on to it... maybe even forever, if possible. So with that in mind, why not get good use out of it? I'm paying for it, so why let it sit on a driveway or in a corner and collect dust? I realize some people like to keep miles down for better resale value and I totally get that. But considering this is my dream car, the one I've wanted all my life, and my end goal is to use it, have fun, and make the most of our journey together, then then way I see it, putting miles on it is the only way that will be done.

The more, the merrier.

I can't believe I just wrote an entire blog post on my car. I'll be back soon with something more substantial and meaningful. Really, I will.

Love you all... T