california is calling

Hey long lost friends of wordpress, I made a blog to document the experiences I have and lessons the Lord is teaching me during my time as an intern in California.

Taryn Takes Cali


why California?

That’s a great question. And as I’ve recently gotten into the the habit of asking people – would you like the short story, or the long story?  Personally, I’m a long story kind of gal, and I love to learn all of the details when my friends share a story, and I tend to elaborate in detail myself. But let me tell you, God has done some pretty rad stuff in my life this past year that I feel like sharing. So where shall I begin?

I like to look back to the beginning of a lot of things. There’s something worth treasuring in the first memory you have with a friend, or the first feelings you have in a new environment. But when it comes to my relationship with the Lord, there’s multiple beginnings. Some of them are hazy and drift into one another as I gradually learned stories about Jesus in my elementary…

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You are a pristine palace. Elegance is the architecture of your soul. Smooth-stoned statues of age old kings garnish your halls – memoirs of the past preserved in the present. Seemingly eternal beauty.Your vaulted ceilings ascend upwards, trying to contain your elegance. But just as a shooting star arches across the night sky into oblivion your being cannot be contained. And maybe there was some stardust mixed in while your foundation was poured because the world’s eyes marvel at your marble floors. You are simplicity at it’s finest. Your granite pillars tower, columns of your grandeur. Your great hall opens as a vast expanse of royalty. Cherubs are etched upon your ivory walls, pure light reflected reflected in the morning sun. All around you are trimmed with fine gold. It is laced around your spire, dancing along your white halls and decorating your gates.

And me? Well I’m just that cathedral next door. Although we were both decreed to be build under the same king’s rule I am nothing compared to you. My architecture is a whirlpool of  stories and colour. By my gates is a statue of Christ, but the stone is beginning to crumble. A fading image of David and Goliath is painted on my ceiling – although it only ever makes me feel claustrophobic. Besides, I’m no king David anyways. My halls are closing in on themselves and my foundation is sinking. I’m just an annoying flash of colour – a mess of stained glass mother Mary’s, brightly coloured murals and worn down statues. Clashing colours invade my halls.

I wish I could be like you with an air of elegance in my halls. You’re beautifully crafted and appeal to everyone. You are so clean, your walls are so pure. If only the architecture of my soul could be beautiful like yours.

Yet you long for colour to splash your tiles. You don’t want to worry about being polished all of the time. Although vast, your halls feels empty – void of life.  You long to be bright, to be colourful. You long to be free. You wish you could be more like me. It’s ironic that where I see beauty you see imperfection. And where I see a mess you see life dancing.

If only we could see within ourselves the beauty that we can see within others.

Utopic Awakening

They say that poetry can make anything beautiful.
Your ill tempered friend is a brilliant flash of lightning
Who simply shines so bright she cannot be contained.

And life? Life is a garden, flowers constantly in bloom.
But one must be wary as some are prone to withering;
Be sure to pick those that will continually flourish.

Life’s struggles come as surging waves, sweeping you off your feet;
A swirling current encompasses you with an ever tightening grip.
However within these storms you learn how to survive, how to swim.

But these words are merely an idilic view of humanity.
So please don’t tell me that they are art.
That creation is a grand masterpiece destined for eternal sunshine.
That am artwork – my soul crude poetry.

Because I am ancient pottery that has been reduced to shards over the years.
And this pain that we feel will not be remedied so easily.
We will not be healed through comparison with the moon
Who is not the authentic source of light but still manages to shine every single night.

These words effectively stringing together images to please the mind
Are not the essence of beauty, for on their own they are merely an absent abyss.
They lack any meaning if there is no individual to read them.
So you see, poetry is only beautiful when consumed by mankind.

Perhaps humanity is the tangled root from which beauty grows.

Arrival in Belize

I spent a little over an hour writing this for a Tumblr post so I though “Hey, may as well post this on here, too!”


February 11, 2015

Arrival in Belize – Project Serve Belize 2015 Day 2

This day. Let me tell you something about this day.

In my mind, February 10th was always the date to remember. I mean that was the day that the trip began. That was the day I was focused on – literally checking my countdown app multiple times a day. That was the day when I would go to the airport at 5am, check in my luggage, say goodbye to my family and friends and cross through security with just my teammates, ready to journey to new lands together and serve together. February 10th

But February 11th, oh boy February 11IMG_9813th.

I woke up in California bright and early on the floor of a church after only 5 and a half hours of sleep. But I couldn’t be more awake. We headed to the airport, and hopped on a plane to Houston. Up to this point the entire trip felt almost like a dream. This couldn’t be real, that I was actually going on this trip to Belize. Walking down the pier at Huntington beach simply felt like another day of team bonding, only this time the weather was significantly warmer and the sun shone with more intensity than it did at home. But this was real.

From Houston we hopped on another flight to Belize. It’s funny, I’m trying to remember moments from our time in the Houston airport, even what it looked like, but I can’t. And I’m usually good at remembering places. I guess I must have been too excited to continue on to Belize.

IMG_9815And on we continued, into a day that I will cherish forever.

But here’s the thing about the airpot in Belize city. The plane does its whole landing, taxiing and parking by the gate thing as most would assume typical. But there’s no jet-bridge or whatever you want to call it that connects the door of the airplane to the gate. You have to descend down a staircase to exit the plane like what you see presidents do in movies. And we descended into humidity. As we approached our final destination we eagerly gawked out the windows at this new terrain that blossomed with God’s beauty. As soon as we landed – although we were still in the plane – the heat was tangible. This thick, humid air that tickled our skin as a greeting. Sarah Hodson’s curly hair already was increasing volume. We were beyond excited to be here. I was just so thankful to finally have this opportunity to be on the trip after wanting to go for so long. But God is good. And descending those stairs we were in a new world, and it was a land in which we were going to declare God’s goodness.IMG_9801

Going through the airport seemed to stretch on endlessly as we all were so eager to get outside and enjoy the land. Customs, baggage claim, security checks, lines, lines, lines. But eventually we made it through. It was late afternoon and some loitered outside the airport while others loaded luggage into the bus. Laughter, photos, excitement.

We loaded the bus a bit later, though some had to sit on top of all the bags because they took up too much space. Then we began our drive to the YWAM base (Youth With a Mission)  where we were staying, just outside the city of Belmopan. Windows down, wind blowing through our hair. We were ready to serve the people of Belize.

I stared out at the beautiful scenery as the bus bounced along. I don’t know how to explain this feeling, but it’s the same one I get as I drive by my childhood home. Everything just is. The trees and shrubs just were. We were all just living, being. This sense of not exactly belonging or normal-ness, but a mixture of the two. The land – though extravagant – did not necessarily captivate me. Maybe it’s because the previous year I had been to Cuba, which had similar geography, and the sights were no longer new to me. This feeling comparable to driving by my childhood home – that Belize was simply the place where I naturally belonged. Maybe it felt this way because I had spent so many hours over the past couple years longing to be in this place, my longing had led to a sense of belonging.IMG_9812

I was sitting beside Bobbi. I just remember her staring intently out of the window with biggest smile on her face as she took in the land around her for the second time in her life. She was like a dog who joyfully sticks it’s head out the window whenever they’re in a vehicle. She was so happy to be back. I hoped that this land would provide me with memories to smile so fondly about too. I hoped that serving the kids of the King’s Children’s Home would bring out the best in me. And I think Bobbi’s eagerness accurately portrayed how much this place would come to mean to all of us on the team. It for sure set the tone for me as for what was to come.

Along the way to the base we stopped for an infamous pineapple Fanta – a signature experience of the Project Serve Belize trips. We continued driving to the base, sipping pineapple Fanta, and getting to know one another even better. Talking, smiling, rapping and laughing. Me and Emma tried to get some songs going as the sun set descended on the team’s first experiences together in Belize.

Eventually at dusk, we arrived at the base. My first experience at the place that I had heard so many stories about and seen so many photos of. I am so thankful and blessed to have gotten to see it for myself. Walking across the suspension bridge for the first time over the Belize River was hIMG_9814onestly a dream come true. I’d like to say that I soaked in the moment, but in reality I had to pee. Badly. And so did a few others. We followed Terry as we raced across the base towards the washrooms. I could feel thee gravel underneath my flimsy flip-flops and I clambered along in the dark. Huge tress with massive roots, watch out for fire ants!, a German Shepherd guard dog – whoa. The base was a dark blur but still astounding. Eventually I came to a rest at the bathrooms, out of breath. Thats the only night I ever noticed fireflies twinkling in the grass. It was also my first time ever seeing fire flies. I also looked up as the Belizean jungle cleared to make room for the base. The stars were unbelievable – and different. I’m not a huge astronomy geek but I do know the constellation Orion, which was now almost directly above instead of being near the horizon as I was accustomed to. I was in complete awe of God’s creation. Of His goodness to create this world and desire relationship with us. Of His mercy to hear my cries to Him and pIMG_9806rovide me with the opportunity to finally be on this trip. This day makes me smile.

February 11th, 2015.

The day I learnt what it meant for home to be where the heart is.

Some Conversations I Would Like to Think Would Have Some Sort of Impact on the World Somehow

Teacher: And what would you like to be when you’re older?
3rd Grader: I don’t know. A doctor? Maybe a lawyer. I don’t really know. I want to be someone important, someone that matters.
God: I wish you could see how important you are to me.

Little Boy: You’re dying, aren’t you?
Lady: Of course I’m dying. We’re all dying. We’ve always been dying. But do you want to know the best part? We’re also living.

Interviewer: Tell us, what is something that fascinates you, and why?
Protagonist: Personally I love to analyze writing. You know, symbolism, imagery, metaphors and such. I’d like to think that just as there is something more to these figures of speech there is something more to everyone that we meet. That there is  always some meaning hidden within the course of life.


I once painted in black and white. Every finite stroke of the brush, every dull drop of ink, every tediously crafted detail was monotone. Simply whites and blacks, melting into a limp grey.
One day, however, the colours began to flow. Rivers of lush liquid; ever-changing, recreating. They oozed out as a geyser of hues and shades. A fountain of hope trickling beyond the canvas, percolating within the soul of the painter.
But the colours’ ravishing grandeur grew uncontrollable. Faltering, their once intricate dance withdrew into incoherent splatter. Their flamboyant pigments merged into a single, disgruntled tone. Saturation melting into monochromatic unity.

I don’t want to paint in black and white again.

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

10 Things That Say Something About Me

1. The only time I ever swear is when I’m angry with myself.

2. I am an unmotivated perfectionist – high personal expectations, minimal results.

3. I hidden part of me is unlocked when I write.

4. I value relationships even though I suck at maintaining them.

5. I am constantly imagining conversations in my head.

6. When I ask “how are you doing?” I want to know the genuine response, even though mine will always be a simple “good”.

7. Even though I feel distant from and constantly doubt in God, I still choose to believe.

8. I am more of a dreamer than a doer.

9. I would love to hear everyones life story, struggles and triumphs, but I just don’t know how to initiate deep conversation.

10. I believe that life is a blessing, even though its most important lessons are only found within a curse.