A Happy and Sad Day

Today was a happy and sad day. This morning it was with great joy that I was installed at my new church. It was so awesome that people from where my mom lives could bring her down for the morning. The church had a pantry shower for me and I must say it was awesome. I dont think Ill have to buy toilet paper, paper towel and a few other things for a long time. It really will help me. At the service, I got emotional and started crying which caused the lady from the synod office who was there to also cry. Then I was presented with a beautiful painting at my reception entitled, “Let Your Light Shine Before Others” which they said that they knew I would do! Again I started crying and then giggling, I proceeded to tell them how my friends at seminary and etc used to give me a hard time because I cry at Hallmark commercials. After that, one of the guys from the call committee came up to me and gave me a little ego boost. He said, “Tara, we were so totally impressed with you. You have such an enthusiasm and joy for life and that is catching.” It was a happy and good day. It also was a happy day because one of my bestest friends from seminary was ordained today. I must say though it also was sad because it would have been awesome to have been there to share in her day with our other friends M and M. L and my other friend C drove all the way to ND for my consecration service in April so I really would have like to have been there to share in her day. But oh well like my friend H says. “Only Hermione has something to allows her to be in two places at once…well sort of.” L, I hope you had a blessed beautiful day today and know that I was thinking of you. Its weird to think that after all this time, Ive grown so much in my faith and as a women of God. My friends L, M, and M were a big part of me finally coming out of my shell and claiming my identity as a diaconal minister. They were the ones that encouraged me a long the way, celebrated with me in my joys, and comforted me in my sorrow. I truly feel that these three individuals really helped me to open up about my mom’s illness but more importantly, just loved me for me and that has made the biggest difference in the world. I hope I havent given you three too big of an ego boost now! Thanks for everything and may GOD BLESS you all in your ministrys.

A Sudden Burst of Rain

Today was a fairly eventful day. The local county fair has been going on for the past couple of days here. This morning I rode on our church’s parade float. I dont know for some reason I still get a kick out of riding on parade floats but I think its probably because Im such a kid at heart and always will be. Once the parade was over and I got the youth back to their parents, I came home and ended up taking a little nap. After my nap, I decided I should wander over to the fairgrounds which just happen to be across the street from my apartment building. I hadnt eaten anything so I decided to get a taco in a bag. YUMMY YUMMY! After that, I wandered over the carnival area which was sad. There wasnt much there at all. I played a game and won a little bear. I was going to ride on the scrambler but no scrambler in sight. Sorry Heather…couldnt ride it for you! I worked my way over to some of the exhibit halls and walked around for awhile. At 5 pm they had a free dinner so I hopped in line and had a nice supper of a hamburger, chips, pickles, and lemonade. Once the dinner was over, I decided to run home to grab some more money. I had been eyeing a charm bracelet all day and decided that I really wanted it. You know sometimes you just have to treat yourself so I did! I got my bracelet and then headed over to the stage area. I was hoping to hear a band called Rocky Top but they double booked so another guy Sherman Linton who is a Johnny Cash Tribute guy played. I listened to him until Williams and Ree;The Indian and The White Guy came on. After Williams and Ree, I decided to head over to the concession stands. When I got there, there were tons of people in line. I only had a dollar left and it was fairly chilly so I bought myself a nice warm french vanilla cappucino. As I was beginning to drink my cappucino, I started to think about whether or not I wanted to go get more money so I could buy some cotton candy. You know cotton candy is one of those things I love to get especially at fairs. As I was standing there, out of the blue came a burst of rain and the people began to scattered. I started walking home with my cappucino in my hand. By this time, it was raining pretty hard and if I hadnt had my hooded sweatshirt on, I would have been drenched. So needless to say, I came home, nuked my cappucino and dried off. So that was my busy day. Tomorrow I get installed at my church so it should be a good day. Someone is bringing my mom up from where she lives so that is cool. But enough about that…I should head to bed but before I head to bed, I have to give a quick shout out and congratulations to my good friend Liz who gets ordained tomorrow afternoon. Liz, so wish I could be there but know that I will be thinking of you and wishing I was there. It is pretty awesome that we get to share a day though. Well thats enough for today…now off to bed for this tired girl.

Ice Cream Friday Five

1. Ice cream: for warm weather only or a year-round food? Thats an easy answer for me. Ice cream is so totally year-round food. It tastes so great on a hot summer date but it also makes a great comfort food all year round.

2. Favorite flavor(s) I cant really say that I have one favorite because I dont. I like ALL kinds of ice cream. I like Peppermint, Chocolate Chip Mint, Cookie Dough, Cotton Candy, Ben and Jerrys Phish Food and many others. The list could go on and on!

3. Cake cone, sugar cone, waffle cone, cup? Once again it is good in any of these but I prefer waffle cones.

4. Childhood ice-cream memory. Sorry Im having a hard time remembering any childhood memories about ice cream but I do have a few from seminary. Cold Stone Creamery is one of my fave places and we used to go there a lot. In fact, my friend Liz likes to call it Cold Stone Corenary because it is probably so baaaaad for us.

5. Banana splits: discuss. Banana Splits are great but I agree with a lot of other people. They often are too large for me to eat by myself. I like to share Banana Splits because they have different toppings and that leads to a great opporunity to share. Any one want to share a banana split with me?

Bonus: Baskin-Robbins used to make ice-cream sodas. During the 18 months I worked there, I think I made about 3 tops. They’re no longer on the menu, but you can still order them. Question: What are the ingredients/steps for making an ice cream soda? Im totally taking a guess at this but am bored so thought Id take a stab at it. Well it obviously has ice cream, and soda and probably some type of cream. I suppose you put the ice cream in the cup, add the cream, and then the soda. So Im probably totally wrong but thought that I would take a guess.

Ice cream is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world! It is definetely a comfort food for me. At seminary, my friend Liz and I would go by the little containers of Ben and Jerrys and share them with each other. I must admit in the summer there is nothing better than share ice cream with dear dear friends. Boy that sure makes me hungry for ice cream. I might just have to go get that chip and mint ice cream out of the freezer!

Gracious Gifts from God Above

What a wonderful gift each and every person is in this world! Tonight I found myself once again watching one of my fave shows in the world; “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Tonight’s episode was a re-run from the past year. However I had not seen it yet! Tonight Ty and the gang headed to Purdy, MO where they went to rebuild the Teas’ home. The Teas’ started Camp Barnabas for children with disabilities. I must say I always cry when I watch this show but tonight something hit me and I was crying harder than Ive cried at anything in a really long time. Each of the kids there melted my heart and once again made me realize that each of us is born with a God-given gift and it doesnt matter if we have an abnormality, or if we are black or white, or if we are Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, etc…I think you get my point. But there is just something about children/adults with disabilities. They have such a joy for life, for each other, and for their families. This past summer I had the opportunity to work with Special Olympics. It was one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever seen. These children/adults work so hard to be able to compete. They love Special Olympics and for many of them, Special Olympics is their life! When I interviewed for my current/new job, some of the kids asked how they could get more involved with Special Olympics and from that moment, I knew that I was called to come to Zion. One of the families here has a son with a disability and he has become my buddy. He is such an amazing child who has such a joy for life. I cant even put into words how it makes me feel when I am around him. Recently the Farrelly brothers released a movie called “The Ringer.” “The Ringer” stars Johnny Knoxville who most recently starred in the “Dukes of Hazzard.” In the movie, Johnny’s character pretends/fakes having a disability because he is to win a race and he figures this is the only race he can win. I have not seen the movie yet myself so Im not sure how the athletes are portrayed. However the Farrelly brothers approached Special Olympics Internation and the only way they could make the movie was to use real athletes so the athletes in the movie are true Special Olympics athletes. What can I say my life has been changed by so many children/adults with disabilities. They have helped me to treasure each and every moment, each and every day. They have made me realize that each and every one of us especially these children/adults are gracious gifts given to us from God above.And tonight as I close, I leave you with something that Ed said as they were talking about the kids at Camp Barnabas. He said, “Who has found themselves just staring a little too long at someone with a disability? He thought for a moment and raised his hand and went on to say never again will I do that. My prayer tonight is that we all chose to not look so hard the next time we see someone with a disability. Instead I ask for us to learn from their examples and to remember to treasure every day, every hour, every minute, and every moment! In the words of the Special Olympics oath, “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt,” let us strive to always do our best. Or in the words of the Camp Barnabas mission, help us to fulfill their mission of “Enlarging the spirit! Encouraging the heart” of every child with a disability.

For more information about Special Olympics, check out www.specialolympics.org!

Never Been Kissed

First off I want you all to know that this post isnt meant to be about me wallowing in self-pity etc. ITs about me talking about something that has been on my mind lately. I dont want you all to feel sorry for me etc. Now that that is over I can get on to the reason for posting this entry. Last night I was watching the movie “Never Been Kissed” which is a great movie. I was thinking about how in so many ways I’m very much like Drew Barrymore’s character in the movie. At 27 years old, I still have never been kissed. In high school, I never got asked out..that is until this one time when someone asked me out as a bet/joke. At my age, all my friends are getting married etc. I really want to have a family and all that jazz. I know that it will happen in God’s timing or when I least expect it but that still hasnt happened. I have thought about and even tried the online dating thing but am also very leary about it as well. I don’t want to pay a herendious registration fee to just email back and forth etc. However I am at the point when I want to do something about being single. Maybe I’ve just started thinking about it more lately because I am once again in a new town where I havent met many people my age etc. I guess in some ways, Im just sick of being single. I know I should embrace my singleness which I do most of the time but sometimes it gets tiring!

Fabulous Friday Five!

1. In what kind of environment do you sleep best? (e.g. amount of light and noise, temperature, number of pillows, breathe-right strip, sleeping in the buff, etc.) I can sleep pretty much anywhere. In fact, I can sleep through just about anything. The other night it thundered really loud and I didnt here a thing, I slept right through it. But I like to sleep in a t-shirt and usually a light cotton pj pants. I like cozy blankets, one pillow and pretty dark. I’m told I’m a pretty loud snorer so when Im around other people, I’ve started to use breathe-right strips. I cant believe I just admitted that!

2. How much sleep do you need to feel consistently well-rested?How much can you get by on?What are the consequences when you don’t get enough? I really need about 7-8 hours but I can get by with about 5. Actually to be honest, I am told that I can be pretty pleasant even if I haven’t had enough but when I dont have enough, I’m usually more testy and also not quite as upbeat and bubbly!

3. Night owl or morning person?
I’m both. I like to stay up late but then again I don’t mind getting up in the ams either. I’m one of those people everyone hates because I’m usually pretty perky in the morning. Not sure if that is a blessing or a curse!

4. Favorite cure for insomnia? I usually just toss and turn but when that doesnt work, I like to grab a good book or like to see what’s on in the morning. Sometimes I’ll even try to count sheep but that never seems to work for me.

5. To snooze or not to snooze? Why or why not?
100 % to snooze! I figure even if I can lay there or sleep for 10 more minutes that will help me out and it also seems to make it easier for me to get up when I hit the snooze button!

The Perkins Bet

After my last post, I still have a lot to share but am going to stick with something lighthearted tonight. But before I even tell this story I have to make sure not to incriminate my dear friend and I want her to know Im posting this story because it was requested by a certain friend in Japan who is currently missing Perkins runs. Two of my dear friends and I decided to go to Perkins for one of our many late night runs. While there and while enjoying our food, this man kept running to the bathroom, coming back, etc. When he came back, he had changed his clothes and had a bag of clothes with him. Being the curious minds that we are, we wondered what was going on. He didnt look like a homeless man or anything. In fact I would say the man was pretty cleanshaven etc. But our curious minds got the best of us, so myself and the male friend that was with bet our other friend; a female, $5 to ask him why he kept changing his clothes so being the brave soul she is, she walked up to him and asked him. The man got embarrassed and left. Not only was the man embarrassed so was our friend, in fact, she felt terrible about the entire situation. But worst of all some teenage girls came up to our table and in their cheerleader type voices said that was so rude. Needless to say the girls made our friend feel worse. It’s definetely a story and a situation all three of us have learned from. We will never do anything like that again. And to be honest, Im not so sure that we ever paid up on our bet!

In other news, I’m adjusting to life in a new community. The people of my church have made me feel so at home. However I havent met many people my age which has been hard. I suppose in time that will happen. Besides I know that no matter where I am at, my bestest friends will stay with me forever. In fact, I get super excited when my phone rings these days because who knows when it will be one of my dear friends calling and there is just something about hearing someone’s voice if you know what I mean.

Joy in the Midst of the Sorrow!

This post was inspired by a post I read on another blo page and feel that it is important for me to share my story since so many people struggle with depression daily. I have to be honest several years ago I wouldnt have had the courage to share this story but since I’ve grown in so many ways over the past years, it has become such an important part of who I am. You see when I was three years old, my little sister Andrea was brought into the world. Shortly after Andrea’s birth, our mom had a nervous breakdown which means that ever since she has been diagnosed as manic/bipolar. Throughout our childhood, our mom was in the hospital at least once and sometimes even more times a year. In many ways, I became like a mom to my younger sister because my dad was busy on the family farm and mom was in the hospital. My sophomore year of high school our mom got sick again and once again ended up in the hospital. I remember it very vividly. Andrea and I came home from school and Dad sat us down and told us about mom. That was the straw that broke the camels back. Dad with tears in his eyes, looked at us and said, “It’s not that I don’t love your mom anymore. It’s just that I cant handle this illness anymore.” Needless to say, mom and dad got divorced. Mom went to Nebraska to be with her parents but ended up coming back to ND to be closer to her girls. Because of the illness, Dad got custody but Mom got us every wednesday, every other weekend and an entire month in the summer. Eventually Ann and I went off to college. Mom seemed to be doing well. Until my senior year of college around Valentine’s Day, I got a call late at night. It was the hospital telling me that my mom was in ICU. Her lithium level had gotten too high which caused her kidneys to shut down. I went to see her and it was so sad. She hardly knew it was me. She was in ICU for about two weeks and for awhile we didnt know if she would make it but she did come out of it. After that situation, mom aged in many ways. Now she is living in an assisted living facility that has been so great for her and it helps that now I am only about 60 miles from her. My mom’s illness truly helped me grow into the women of faith that I am. When I first worked at camp, it was the first time I told someone about my mom. I was always afraid of what people would think because of the stigma associated with the illness. Also when I went to seminary, it was the first time I was so far away from mom in case something happened. At seminary, I once again realized that I needed to tell people. Seminary also is the place that helped me to make the decision I needed to make that was best for all of us. Thank you to my friends who listened to me and gave me good advice. I don’t know how I would have survived this illness without all of you! During my time at seminary, my sister and I prayed and made the decision to become legal guardians for our mom. It’s quite the thing to tell people that Ann and I are Mom’s guardians. Who would have ever thought that we would be taking care of her at such a young age? This journey has helped me share with so many who have experienced depression etc and I hope that my journey can help people see that there is joy in the midst of the sorrow!

The Pirates Who Dont Do Anything

Its Saturday afternoon and here I am checking email etc but more than that, I’ve been thinking a lot about my seminary friends and what my life would have been like without them. I must say life probably wouldnt have been as exciting. I can think of so many stories that I would love to share but I think Ill just start with a few for today. My friends Mark, Liz, Mike, Chris and I decided to go to the Field of Dreams in Dyersville. It was crazy. Here we were in the Field of Dreams weaving our way through the corn maze etc. We got tired of answering and following the directions so we decide to randomly find our way through the maze. Needless to say, it ended up being total chaos when all of us decided to attack each other with corn stalks. Liz and I were being attacked by the boys so it turned into a boys vs girls match. It was quite the day. Im not sure if this happened on the same trip or not but its still a good story. Sorry Liz I hope you can forgive me for telling this one. We were chatting away in the car while Liz was driving. As we approached Dubuque, Liz got busy chatting and kind of forgot that there was a stoplight. She had to stop fast and there was a semi in front of us. For a brief moment, we all thought we might die but to give Liz some credit, she did have the situation under control. She wasnt going to let anything happen to us.

Another time we all decided that during our senior year of seminary we werent going to do anything. We decided that we had been involved way more than enough so we thought that we would just drink iced tea out of our mason jars on our front lawns. Last year for graduation, I got my friend Mackenzie a mason jar and she got me one and also a pirate’s eye patch. So the rest of the crew, do we need to get you all mason jar cups too? So that no matter where in the US we are we can still be united by our mason jars. Kind of funny that I just watched the movie about the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, do we need to create a Sisterhood/Brotherhood of the Traveling Mason Jar? Okay so maybe Im silly for thinking that.

I also remember one time a bunch of us went to a haunted house just outside of Dubuque. There were quite a few of us. In one of the rooms, there was a guy with a chainsaw that came around the corner and scared us all. In fact, it was a pretty thought out and scary haunted house. Myself and some of the other girls were quite scared and did a lot of screaming. Poor Mike, Chris, and Mark got an earful and thought that by the time we got out of the haunted house they would have no hearing left. Crazy huh! Sorry guys!

Well guess thats it for now. Hope you enjoyed the stories because I sure love telling them. Any stories you’ve all heard in the past that you would like me to tell on my blog page? Just let me know. Happy Storytelling to you all!

Back on the Information Super Highway

Well hello all the computer doctor fixed my computer and now I am back in the blogging world. Hard to believe how much I like to use my computer until I didnt have it. Work is going well. I definetely cannot complain. The people of the congregation have been so welcoming to me and made me feel like this is my home. However I must admit I do miss having all my good friends around. Im glad you are all only a phone call, email etc away from me. I am helping out with Bible School this week. They are only using me as an extra set of hands which is nice. Its a great way for me to meet the kids etc. They sure wiped me out tonight though. I barely can keep my eyes open. My installation at the church will be June 25th. Enough about that though. The weather here in ND has been really not good….no rain etc so please pray we get some rain soon! I miss my good friends so much. I hope that those waiting on calls get a call really really soon. I remember what it was like to wait and that was hard so I pray that God provides for you really soon. I think Im going to head to bed and stuff. Hope to blog again real soon now that Im back on the Internet. Take Care!