Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Testimony: You Never Know What You're Going to Get!

*I share the following testimony with the prayer that God will touch other hearts, no matter what hardship or struggle others may be going through. I love it that the Lord can turn the bad into good, and work the worst out for the best. During any dismal trial, when we truly have the Spirit of God in us, we have the powerful ability to comfort others who are struggling with the comfort with which we have been given by the Spirit. A terrific promise from our Lord.*

Steak is good, but it's even better when you season it.

This may be a poor analogy, but it works as a lead-in... last year at this time, God was in the process of seasoning my Christian walk. Hardships, difficulties, and emotional times often seem horrific in the midst, but when we are willing to learn, God is so willing to teach us.

At the time, my head knowledge was on key... I knew the Truth. Yet my heart was so wrapped up in emotions that were contrary to what was unfolding that I was blind to my own good advice and prayers. And to that of others.

It's interesting to look back now with a clear head and heart. I can see how God worked out a bleary situation for amazing glory and good. He took the one thing that I always wanted and desired, and He allowed me to see it as temporarily available. When a bigger issue came up, it crushed me. What I finally thought could be, and would be... was just as quickly snatched away.

But I would not let go so fast. I held on as long as possible.

Just yesterday, I read a quote that is so fitting to what my situation was:

‎"Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open." -Corrie ten Boom

After working through the worst of it, I slowly but surely started to heal. In one of the biggest surrenders of my life, I handed the broken pieces of my heart back to God so He could mend it back together.

Over the course of a year, He has done just that. When I am weak, then He is strong... a wonderful promise from God, and one I have come to know dearly and personally. What I have today is a heart stronger than it was last year, and more seasoned with the experience of Faith. What I have is an amazing testimony of how God worked in my life... in a very unlikely way... to reveal unto me where I belong. For example: I feel more involved in my church now than ever before, and my desire to be there and connect with the body is so strong. At a time in my life that could be difficult and painful, I am met with contentment and joy by God's good grace.

He has taught me that attitude is everything. When I dwell only on myself and what I want and think I deserve-- even if those things happen to be good or "for His glory" in my mind-- then I become even more unhappy when those things aren't delivered. But if I focus solely on what HE wants for my life, then I have nothing but joy to cling onto as I see Him work and unfold miracles in front of me.

Like the famous line, "Life is like a box of chocolates- you never know what you're going to get," at times, so are God's ways. Despite our best efforts, intuitions, and insight, we can't always predict God. So we're better off letting Him handle the results because the minute we think we deserve a chocolate-covered cherry, He gives us one with caramel instead, and we end up discouraged.

I don't think expectations and desires are always bad. But only looking at the "wants" and "haves and have nots" of life is a recipe for disappointment. Our job is to ask God how we can show Him the most glory and to be open to His guiding. Yet that requires complete surrender... even when He says, "No."

Because it's in the times that He withholds something good from us that He has something even better to reveal.

Love you all. T

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Man I Never Met

Some say he had terrific arm strength. Just today, a man who owns a horse farm looked me in the eye and said, "He was a very nice man. Everyone who knew him, loved him."

Also reported was that he could walk on his hands like nobody else; he could even climb stairs that way.

I never knew him. Never even got to meet him. He died of a sudden heart attack 6 years before I was born.

Sometimes, I wish I could have the chance to talk to him. Or see him. What did he look like? I hear that he liked to tease... but that he could also be quite serious. That he was quiet, but when he did talk, you listened.

I love to hear the story about what happened shortly before he died. He was a farmer, and he was out in the field. And suddenly, his dad, who had been deceased for quite some time, was there with him, sitting beside him.

They talked.

"You've had a good life," his father told him.

He lives on in so many other people, but now it's been so long that I am not sure what part is his legacy. All that I know is that somehow, part of him still lives out in me.

Someday, when I get to Heaven, I'll get to meet my Grandpa.

Love you all-T

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Don't Rain on my Parade

My goals were accomplished.

1) Eat an Elephant Ear.

Pictured. It was placed into my hand dripping in grease, so I looked the other direction and pretended not to see it until I had the cinnamon sugar in my hand. Then I shook vigorously... for a very long time. Until the elephant ear was covered, or until I heard Kristi say, "How much cinnamon are you going to put on that?" I don't remember which came first.

I deducted how much of this treat would keep me up all night with a stomach ache and then backed it off a few bites. Once I reached that point, I handed the rest off to Noah and Silas, my two nephews of ages 9 and 2. They were thrilled to finish it off for me.

2) Drink a Lemonade Shake-Up.

Confession: This picture was staged. The lemonade shake-up cup in my hand was not actually mine. However, I did drink one... I just failed to photograph it at the time. I will say, though, that it was truly a good experience. Most sips consisted of 80 parts sugar and 10 parts lemon and 10 parts water, making for 100% satisfaction.

3) Eat a Meal in the Food Tent.

This actually happened on the very first night! Who would have thought. Kristi and I finished up at IA around 7:15, then headed to the food tent for dinner. On the menu for me... the usual: a pork chop, nachos & cheese, pumpkin pie, and a pop. All the must-haves. I must comment on the new system put into action this year by the food tent; it is very efficient! Kudos.

4) Ride the Ferris Wheel.

This is how this went down:
5:30pm on Saturday night...
Kristi: Finally, we're done.
Taryn: Yes, believe it or not, I am about PFested out. Wait...
Kristi: What?
Taryn: I didn't go on the Ferris Wheel.
Taryn is about to shrug it off when Kristi says: You have to go!
With her mind made up, we head towards the festival.
Kristi: Who will you go with?
Taryn: Myself.
Kristi: You are going to go on the Ferris Wheel by yourself?
Taryn: Yes. I kind of like going by myself.
Kristi: You are strange.
Taryn purchases a ticket for $2.50 and gets in line.
Taryn boards the Ferris Wheel.
Kristi takes pictures with the little pink camera.

Goal #4: check.

5) Attend the Parade.
On Saturday morning, the usual crowd gathers at my Grandma's house on Jefferson St. She has always had the perfect location for the parade-viewing party. Wonderful food is brought by everyone who comes, including but not limited to hot dogs, cheese dip, donuts, cookies, and sweets.

Rumors of rain was in the air, but those in denial kept shrugging it off.

"It will slip right by us," some said.
"I think we're on the edge of the system," others predicted.
"It won't rain. Last night, there was only a 40% chance!"

However, right before coming to the parade, my dad said, "We should be prepared for rain. The storm is supposed to hit right when the parade starts."

If there's anyone who knows when to expect the first rain drop, it's Fred Kaiser. He watches the radar as if he himself is responsible for predicting what it will do.


It's 15 minutes before the parade is to start. Kids are restless and excited, running around with little Pumpkin-shaped candy-collectors in their hands. Adults are standing in the lawn and along the edge of the street, talking amongst one another while enjoying a hot dog or cookie. My grandma is perched up on her normal spot on the porch, and had already proclaimed, "I'm ready for whatever it is that I'm supposed to be watching."

Yet as I peer down the length of the street, it seems to me as though all of the hundreds of other spectators standing around, anticipating the parade, are in denial of the storm clouds rolling in. Uneasily, I look to my left. Up above, the clouds are getting darker. Leaves have started to fall rapidly from the trees as the wind has picked up, and a bite is now apparent in the air.

I look to the person I am standing by and remark, "This is the point in a movie or book when you sense imminent danger."

"Yes," he agrees, "All that is missing is the eerie music."

The parade does begin. I sit on a lawn chair close to the curb, trying to enjoy my hot dog while gusts of wind blow at my face and it begins to drizzle.

Umbrellas pop up all around me, and I still attempt to eat the food on my plate as my mood grows darker along with the weather. This does not look good.

The first band to march by suddenly takes a sharp right and turns down a side street. That's not on the parade route.

But neither was the gusts of wind and downpour of rain that has now seemed to take over. Thunder sounds in the distance, and no one can mistake the faint flashing of lightning in the sky.

Not 5 minutes later, about 12-15 families are huddled in my Grandma's garage and household, where the food is now.

"The parade has been suspended," comes the announcement.

Suspended, which comes to mean, canceled.

Pumpkin Festival 2010 did not see much of a parade.

As the sad truth dawned on most of us, I noticed a small child that was crying, clutching his little empty candy bag.

Call me crazy, but at 24 years old, I wanted to do the same thing. I was mildly heartbroken.

All your life, you hear phrases like, "Starving kids in Africa" and "Don't Rain on my Parade." Until you can experience them personally, they are just a grouping of words to be tossed out when the situation seems to fit.

However, as a lot of you know, I traveled to Africa this past year and saw, firsthand, what starving kids in Africa looked like. And to me, that's not just a phrase anymore. It's real.

Much less serious but still just as true, sometimes, rain DOES occur during a parade. And at that point, it ruins it. So when someone says, "Don't rain on my parade," what it really means is, "Don't ruin this planned event that happens to be special to me."

I can't control hunger, the weather, or create world peace, but this I know: I don't like it when it rains on my parade.

6) Run the 2-mile Fun Run/Walk.

This was an added goal. It was something I was tossing around and decided to do, so since it was accomplished I will add it. My dad, brother-in-law, and 8-year-old nephew, Domniq, signed up to run the 2-mile fun run. About 2 days into the Pumpkin Festival, I decided to take my chances and do it, too. Why not?

My brother-in-law happens to be a very gifted and faster runner. His son, Domniq, seems to have inherited his skill. My dad has been running religiously over the past few months.

Me? I hadn't ran a mile since... May?

So my goal was to run the whole thing without walking.

As we arrived on early Saturday morning, I stood by after registration and waited for the big event.

"We're going to run this thing in 18 minutes," Brad proclaimed, looking down at his GPS-powered stopwatch device.

I calculated that this meant 9-minute miles. Doable... I think.

Those ambitious enough to run the 10K were situated in a huge group at the front line. The rest of us had our own line behind them. At take-off, we all moved as a giant mass down First St. By the first turn, we spread out a bit more. I kept up with Brad and Dom's clip pretty easily; my dad faded out into the background after awhile.

The first mile was mostly a breeze, much to my surprise. Every 1/4 mile of the way, Brad gave us updates.

"More than halfway done," he would say, or ,"80% completed," or "We're running at a 9-mile-minute pace right now."

We would pass by older couples who had shuffled out to the curb with their morning coffee, wanting to observe those jogging by. Towards the end, several people were lined up on the sidelines, cheering us on and waving.

By the mid to last part of the second mile, I was starting to get pretty tired. First of all, I threw this whole idea onto my body without much warning. Very little stretching, no training, and not to mention, it was earlier in the morning than I am used to seeing. However, I did push through, all without walking. Brad and Dom finished at about 16:55, and I rolled in a few seconds later. My dad was a little while after that.

Today, needless to say, I feel a bit rattled. Actually, my body feels like that of someone in her 80s whenever I try to stand up after sitting for long periods of time. I brought it on myself, though, and it does inspire me to continue to stay fit so races like this are possible. Although, before beginning, when someone heard that I had not trained, he said, "Well, she has youth on her side."

And I'm afraid that fact, more than anything else, contribute mostly to why I was able to finish without walking or keeling over and dying.

I won't always be 24, though, so next time I would be better suited if I was physically prepared.


Love you all! I'll be back soon with more thoughts.


Monday, September 13, 2010


Wearing a mustard yellow dress and a camera strapped around my neck, this weekend I was both wedding photographer and brides maid. I pulled it off because I have a business partner who is a great wedding photographer, with or without me. The moments with me were a welcome break to her, but the moments without still turned out nicely.

It was a lovely wedding and a wonderful day. And I'm not just saying that because my good friend got married and it's my duty. It is all true-- my friend was a beautiful bride, inside and out. The style and details of the wedding was so "her," and everything ran smoothly. I was honored to be a part of this special day on Saturday.

Below are a couple pictures I snagged from our IA Facebook page to share with you... check our IA blog or website for more (tomorrow):

On Sunday morning, I attended an adult Sunday School class. It is something new that our church is offering. I am signed up to be in this class for the next 4 weeks with around 20 other individuals, and our teacher is a man in our church who recently lost his wife to lung cancer. His topic is Heaven.

Needless to say, the first session was a tearjerker. His interest in the topic paired with his passion for Christ and his ability to teach is going to make this class fantastic. I can't wait to see what God continue to teach us all about Heaven. He made a good point to us all: when we plan a week-long vacation, we usually do research. We're going to a new place, and we want to know all about it before we go. Fair enough. But. Are we researching with the same vigor regarding our eternal destination? A vacation lasts a week, but your final retreat after death is a forever place. Are we interested in the details, or do we just take for granted what we think we know about it? I am anxious to learn more!

Pumpkin Festival starts in about 48 hours. IA is finally coming along. Today we made great progress. I have spent about 14 out of 16 of my waking hours today at the office, but it's all been worth it. I can't wait to have our doors open to the P Fest crowd. My to-do list for the festival is as follows, despite the fact I'll be in this office for most of it:
1) Eat an elephant ear.
2) Drink a lemonade shake-up.
3) Eat a meal in the food tent.
4) Ride the Ferris Wheel.
5) Attend the parade.

If I get all that done, I'll be happy.

Tonight, during about an hour and a half of the time I wasn't at the office, I attended my small group bible study. We're studying Philippians. I really love my group. I am by far the youngest. There are 4 other couples and then another single older lady, and then me :) But I love it. I feel like I have so much to learn from the older and wiser, and the more I can surround myself with those type of people, the better.

Upon arrival tonight, the leader of the group looked at me and said, "Taryn, do you realize you are the most important person here?"

Speaking with sarcasm, I answered, "Of course. But does everyone else realize it?"

He laughed. "Really, though," he said, "You're the youngest one here. We have a lot to learn from you."

Someone else nodded.

"I think it's the other way around," I told him.

Well, kids. I better sign off. I need to get home, eat a bowl of cereal, and get some sleep before starting another busy day. Love you all. I'll end with a picture of the San Fransisco skyline I took while in CA this August. A bit random, but just got done editing the rest of my CA trip pictures tonight, and I liked this one.


Sunday, September 05, 2010


I purchased a bag of candy corn pumpkins and emptied it into a bowl. I put the bowl on my desk at work. I knew I would be safe with Kristi; she has expressed more than once her disgust of candy corn, and pumpkins in general.

Yet I find it interesting how every time she walks by my desk, she pops one into her mouth. As does several other office visitors. I am glad that they do. It takes the temptation of overdosing on a high-sugar, worthless sets of calories type candy, away from me.

It's that time of year again. The time of year that brings about intermittent periods of crisp, cool air and deep blue-sky days. The time of year that Morton adopts the smell of rotting pumpkins in the air. The time of year that Dairy Queen announces on its sign "Pumpkin Pie Blizzards are back!" and half of Morton can be found searching under picnic tables and benches for the hidden pumpkin pin.

I have already logged about 3 hours looking for that pin. I've had my fair share of pumpkin candy corn, and upon seeing the DQ sign yesterday, I dreamt about ordering a blizzard but have yet to do it.

Apart from thinking "pumpkin," I have been filling my time with wedding photography, sprucing up the new office space, and trying to get through whatever else is on my plate. It seems like even in my down time, I still have so much to do. I liken this to how I often view eating, if you may humor me with my analogy here. My eyes often tend to be bigger than my stomach. I would like "one of everything," and usually in no small portion. This looks interesting, that looks great, and for that I should have room to spare. Yet after I sit down, take a few bites, and survey what I have before me, I find I'm "full" a lot sooner than anticipated. Before I know it, I have a plate full of food I can't finish.

And so runs my life. I say "yes," to this, "yes" to that, and "absolutely" to everything else, because, well, it all looks interesting. It all seems feasible. And why should I turn it down?

Nonetheless, I am learning the power of saying "no," and the power of relaxing with a book in hand, going to bed early, or just taking an hour to pamper myself amidst chaos.

Anyway. It's Labor Day tomorrow, which means a day off. This is very exciting.

We shot a wedding this weekend, on Saturday. It was truly gorgeous weather. The bride and groom were also beautiful people inside and out, both of them vivacious, full of life, laughter, and love. There was never a dull moment the entire day. The highlight of my day was as follows:

Kristi and I were walking out of the church with the bride and groom trailing behind, both of us with our hands full of camera equipment. My eyes were fixed on a small piece of cardboard that one of the groom's men was eating out of... he saw me staring so I asked, "What's in there?"

"It's a cinnamon roll. Do you want the last bite?" he asked.

I did, but replied, "No, I'm not going to finish your cinnamon roll for you. I would hate to take your last bite."

"No, no," he said, moving towards me, "I can't finish it. Here," he offered, holding the fork out to me with a huge piece of cinnamon roll that was dripping with frosting.

I smiled big, and with no hands to help me, I leaned in and enjoyed the bite of warm cinnamon and sugar.

"That is amazing," I told him.

"It's the best bite, too," he agreed, "because it was right at the bottom so it was soaked in all the frosting."


Let me make it clear that this groom's man was older and married. No sparks flew, and rightfully so. But I will say, feeding me delicious food may just be a quick way to my heart...

That night, I went out to dinner with my parents and a family friend couple of ours. We ate at a wonderful pizza place, then we came back to our house and played cards. I was introduced to buck Euchre. I have never played this version before, and my beginner's luck was nowhere to be found. I ended the first round with a score of -16. For those of you who have never played, this isn't like golf where a negative score is good.

As soon as our fifth player arrived, we played 5-way Euchre, always a favorite.

Today was excellent. I am off to a campfire shortly, so must wrap things up. Otherwise I'd probably just keep writing. I'll be back soon... love you all.