Tuesday, July 27, 2010


What do you say?

That is what I keep asking myself.

"I'm praying for you" sounds too trite. "I know what you're going through" is a lie.

If there was a way to give a hug, a look of sympathy, a feeling of love, and a prayer of comfort into a verbally expressed package, that is what I would say.

One of my really good friends from my early college days died of cancer this weekend. He married another one of my really good friends about four years ago.

He left behind two beautiful daughters and a beautiful wife, inside and out. Today, there was a Spirit-filled memorial service for him, a celebration of his life and a "revival" for many. As his father-in-law and brother both spoke, I couldn't help but think about some words I heard whispered while I was standing in line at his visitation the night before.

"You have to wonder what the purpose of all this is," floated into my ears from behind.

My mind immediately went to Jesus. Because He has a plan. And while we all may wonder, "Why? What, Lord?" when something so devastating happens, all glory must still point back to Him. And it does. Even in times that make absolutely no sense to our human brains.

We try to explain everything that happens and even though life and what happens doesn't always have an answer, we praise Jesus still. A supernatural energy from the Spirit filled my heart today during Jordan's service, and I felt the Lord nudging me and saying, "Taryn, what are you doing? What are you doing in life right now? Are you living wholeheartedly for me? Devoting every second of it? Fulfilling my purpose for you? What part of your life are you still holding onto, what part won't you give to me?"

A death, especially one that hits so close to home, certainly puts everything into perspective. I was standing in line with a friend for the lunch that was provided after the funeral service, and I couldn't help but note that even "lunch" seemed trivial and flaky after such a memorial. I mean, I know we must eat and life must go on... but somehow, I wanted to keep dwelling on the hugeness of this situation and let it soak in. And putting a piece of fried chicken on my plate seemed out of place in that moment. I think I'd rather be in Heaven with Jordan, and my Grandpa Kaiser, and my Grandma & Grandpa Schupbach... and many others.

But God has us here. So I submit a challenge... to myself, and to anyone else. Going back to my previous line of questioning, what am I doing in life? What parts are strong, and what parts need strengthening? Is the Spirit alive and active in my heart, in my mind, and in my actions?

Jordan was an amazing friend. I can still remember all of the good, fun times we had. He helped make my college experience an unforgettable one. Following are some pictures to paint the picture of a few of our great memories...

May his life and all he touched continue to be a little breath of Heaven and a reminder of the hope that lies within all of us.

We always played N64 together!

Jordan at Jr. High Boys & Girls Camp

ICC Mexico Trip Fundraiser Dinner

Egyptian Ratscrew. Jordan was the BEST at this game and I think I only beat him in this game once... and that was probably a fluke.

One night we had a lemonade chugging contest... Jordan won.

Juggling beanie babies. He had many talents...

ICC cafeteria... the great hang out.


We spent many summer/fall nights at Ryan's timber

Heather and I said we wanted to learn how to golf so one day, Jordan took us. I think he spent more time laughing at us then we actually played, but it was fun!

Eating at Panera after our trip to Taylor

Road trip

Love you all!


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Is It Fall Yet

The 6 in 5 is over. And I'm so ready for the break.

We have a month off, then pick back up the end of August and are shooting a wedding every weekend in September except Pumpkin Festival weekend.

Speaking of which, I'm already pumped for it. I love the summertime, but I am ready for it to cool off. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that I spent the greater part of today outdoors on one of the hottest, most humid days of the summer.

Anyway, P Fest is always a high point in my life. In fact, I feel like the older I get, the more excited I become about it. Which makes very little sense, but all I can figure out is that my propensity to appreciate certain facets of this town festival is heightened as I grow older. It becomes more special.

I hope to run in the early-morning race on Saturday before the parade this year with my dad, brother-in-law, and nephews. Then, top it off with pumpkin pancakes. IA also hopes to have open doors during the week, allowing those who are passing by to stop in, say hello, and check us out. Our location will be a prime spot during the festivities. Furthermore, I am sure I'll eat my fill of pork chops, nachos and cheese, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pie, etc.

Not sure what the tangent on P Fest is all about... it's late. And I'm tired. My brain was quite possibly fried today. I've been up since 5:30 am. At 7am I was attending my very first RPM class at Gold's. It's a cycling class, and it's very challenging. I was out of breath and dripping with sweat by the time I left, as most people are. So I went home and showered. Then I hopped in my bug, drove to Peoria, and met my parents and their friends at One World for a cinnamon roll and smoothie. Then off to OSF to tour the brand new facility, arranged by our family friend and my brother-in-law's father, the administrator of the hospital. After an hour-and-a-half of touring, I stopped and grabbed some coffee, then headed home. Only to prepare for leaving to shoot a wedding. We arrived at our destination at 2:15 this afternoon, and were outside the rest of the day until 9pm. Let me tell you something. It was HOT and HUMID today. Kristi and I were literally drenched and dripping with sweat by the time it was all over. But it was a beautiful backyard wedding, and I loved the bright colors she used which were pink and orange. The food was also catered by one of our favorite caterers, so that was a nice perk.

So it's about time to wrap it up. I am excited to be in Morton church all day tomorrow and spend some time with family for birthday celebrations in the evening. Hooray for a lovely Sunday. Love you all.


Friday, July 09, 2010


Well, here I am.

I'm currently sporting a paint-stained outfit. Less than an hour ago, Holly was giggling at my pants. Not because they are paint-stained, but because evidently the style was a little too much for her to handle. She asked my why I was wearing them. I told her they were my paint pants. She asked me if I ever wore them before. I said yes. She asked me how long ago. I told her, fairly recently. Within the past 2 years.

She was still giggling.

I promptly reminded her that I'm not one to be anything too mainstream in the way I dress. They are light-colored jeans, wide-legged, with no pockets in the back, and they have a hem of fuzzy material straight down the center of both pant legs. I actually regard them as some of my favorite pants I've owned.

Something tells me she was making fun of me. =) I can still remember the first time that I realized that my style is VERY different than most, and at that moment I became OK with it. I was shopping with my closest girl friends in Chicago, and I held up a t-shirt for one of my friends.

"Taryn," she told me, "That is borderline tacky."

I thought it was adorable.

And that's when I knew... I'm attracted to different things, and it's OK.

Ever since, I've embraced my uniqueness and live it out to the fullest. Maybe sometimes a little TOO much, but my friends and family are always there to reel me back in.

Anyway-- painting. We spent all day in our NEW office painting walls. Kristi and I are blessed to have AWESOME friends who have come for a couple of days now and helped us make some great progress. Today we accomplished everything that we wanted-- I am now fairly certain I could sand any plastered wall, climb to mountain-top heights with a paint roller, and do electrical work.

The color we picked might surprise some. It is actually taking everything within me to paint an office such a neutral color. If it was up to Kristi, she'd have the whole thing in black & white. I couldn't be anymore opposite. I love color, and I love combining colors. But in the end, we decided this office needs to upgrade to a certain "classy" feel that our current office lacks. Furthermore, we want to show off our work, not our walls. We can be artistic and creative in how we show off our images, and having a neutral background really helps that effort to pop.

SO. Also-- today at noon, we found out we won a contest that has been going on for a couple of days. Check out the details here.

Well, this is short and sweet, at least for me. But I have to make this a wrap. I'm covered in paint, and my social life for the weekend starts in 1 hour and 15 minutes. I'm going to hit the ground running and probably won't stop until Sunday evening at about 5pm. Sometimes I wish there was a "Pause" button on life so I could book a flight to Hawaii and take a day off. But, as I always say, I'd rather be busy than bored, and, well, looks like I have my wish.

Love you all!


Sunday, July 04, 2010

About Love

I have attended a lot of wedding services lately because of the nature of my job. I have to say that one of the most popular Scripture selections is 1 Corinthians 13.

Fair enough-- it IS the love chapter.

But sometimes hearing it again and again can be dangerous, because an attitude of "heard it, know what it means," develops and soon it's so easily tuned out.

A few years back, I dissected this chapter because it caught my attention for some reason. My thought was, God is love. So if God is love, then 1 Corinthians 13 lists characteristics of His personality.

As a lover of personality types, this was an exciting realization.

Forgive me for using "The Message" as a translation, but there's something about it that simplifies everything so well for me. Following are the characteristics of love:

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

To me, this sounds like a tall order. I find it a challenge to accomplish just one of these phrases, let alone the whole list. And sometimes, situations in life seem to call for it all in one shot. An overall "loving" attitude is not in our human nature. Today, I was just listening about how we naturally want to compete, hate, and feed the flesh... not love.

Anyway, the list is a good one to go over and review, even daily, and keep in check with how life is being lived.

I was studying this chapter recently, and a couple of other things popped out at me...

Verse 12. It talks about not being able to see things clearly. We don't have the whole picture. I tend to be a curious person. I could ask questions all day long if I knew someone was willing to answer me. I love to learn, especially about people and circumstances, and I often want to know "Why?"

Again and again, I hear the Truth from God's Word telling me that in and through the good times and the bad, we won't always know why. The better question we can ask God is, "Lord, what do you want me to learn? How can I glorify You?"

Because I have to face it: Is knowing "why" going to change the way something turns out? Is knowing "when" going to change how God orchestrates something? If anything, NOT knowing does one thing: It causes us to trust God more. It points back to Christ, and makes us realize our deep need for Him, our inability without Him, and the way in which we must have Faith in Him.

There is a lot that goes on that we don't understand. In fact, almost everyday my mind is plagued with "why, how, and when" questions. The more I learn about God, the more I see just how very VAST He is and how I just don't understand. But I always come back to the same conclusion: God must be glorified.

In the words of verse 12: "We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!"

Could it be that there's so much that we don't understand, so much we don't know, so much we can't look ahead and see, because God just wants us to trust in Him?

You see, it points our focus back to where it should be. I'm not in charge, and no one else is, either. My track record plainly shows that whenever I have tried to take over, most of the time the scenario crashes and burns. Life, and living it, is best left in the hands of the Master.

My other realization with this chapter is at the very end, which wasn't so much a realization as it was a powerful reminder... "that the greatest of these three is love." That's serious. It doesn't matter what we do in life, if we aren't doing it in love... it's worthless.

So as I look over that list of characteristics again, I feel a bit overwhelmed. Yet I know that I can obtain the grace and power to be loving in that supernatural way only through God.

Love you all!