heavy stuff, light stuff

Gabe’s dad called us this morning with sad and shocking news. Gabe’s cousin Andrea was killed in a car accident Wednesday morning at 1:30. Tuesday was her birthday. She was 38. Rock (Gabe’s dad) and Sis (Andrea’s mom) are brother and sister. Two of eleven kids in a tight-knit Italian family. Their mom and dad died young, and they lost two brothers tragically many years ago. Losing Andrea will be so hard for them, but I pray God will bring them even closer together and bring glory to His Name.

Please pray for Gabe’s family. For Sis especially. Andrea was her only child, and they were incredibly close.

Gabe’s brother Tug, a youth pastor, was speaking at a funeral today when we got the news about Andrea. Two teenage boys were killed this weekend in a drunk driving accident. A lot of Tug’s youth group kids went to school with these boys. Earlier this year, two kids from the same school were killed–same deal. The funeral was held at the school, and Tug had the opportunity to share God’s Word with a ton of people. Please pray for the families of these boys, for their friends, and that many will come to Christ through this terrible tragedy.

And please pray for Tug. He’s wiped out. Normal youth pastor duties + hours and hours and hours of counseling kids + a funeral + one of his good friends was just in a motorcycle wreck (he’ll be okay) and now Andrea. And pray for Angie (my sis-and-law) and their three kiddos as they minister to Tug and the youth group. When people need Tug, Angie plays single mom a lot. She does a great job, but I know it’s not easy.

And now for some lighter stuff…

Let me preface this by saying that I really don’t mind being a charity case. At one time, I was pretty prideful about not needing people (or their help, their money, their advice, what have you). No more! (okay, it still kicks in on occasion–Gabe would say more frequently than that)

Anyway, there have been times in my life when I’ve been able to bless people with money and gifts. And there have been times when I just didn’t have the resources and had to resort to offering (free) words of encouragement, hugs, laughs, that sort of thing. And then there were times when people saw that I was in need and stepped in to help out.

By now, the fact that I buy my underwear at the thrift store is common knowledge. Then there’s the $21.68 VS gift card (from an anonymous donor) burning a hole in my pocket.

But now, there’s more. I get the mail this afternoon, and there are 2 things for me. An envelope and a package. I open the envelope. It’s from my friend Jamie. It’s another piece of plastic (actually, laminated card stock). One free VS cotton p – – – -. Ha! Jamie just had a baby boy a couple weeks ago. Guess she doesn’t expect to get out and about to the mall before the card expires on April 6. Thanks, Jamie!

Then my package. It’s from my friend Ang in Oregon. Three things– a book she and her sis co-wrote with their dad a few years ago (signed by all 3 of them), one of her dad’s books (also signed–and so sweetly) and a card. I open the card and part of it says, “The gift card is for you to create more scandals. Go wild with your choice of underwear. Gabe can thank me later.” The giftcard is not pink. It’s blue. It’s a $10 giftcard to Goodwill. Goodwill!! Have I mentioned how much I love Ang?

And something I JUST NOW noticed–it says on the back that it’s good for “any of our Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette Retail Locations.” HA! Ang–I have to use this in OREGON! That’s it. I keep saying I’m coming. I HAVE to now! (you’re just trying to trick me into flying out there, aren’t you??)

Speaking of traveling, as you know, we haven’t been to a zoo (except C-bus) in a good long while. We’re taking a BIG leap of faith and planning a Zoo Trip to Texas for the girls’ Spring Break (April 10-19). Obviously, our CA trip in Feb didn’t happen, but we never really made plans either. This time we are. If God wants to make a way, He will. And if not, we’ll head to Michigan or something. Or maybe a dinky zoo in West Virginia. And I’m going back and trying to find everyone who said they live in OK or TX and want to Zoo It with us (or let us stay with them–or both!). If that’s you, a reminder would be sweet (hint, hint).

And no, this is not a subtle plea for gas $ and Pei Wei gift cards. It is, however, a request for prayer. Please pray for a huge measure of faith, wisdom, discernment and provision. God has made it more than obvious that He cares about every detail of our lives. From tragedy and heartache to zoos and underwear. God cares. And He is good.

Have a beautiful day, friends! Thanks for praying for Gabe’s family!

29 thoughts on “heavy stuff, light stuff

  1. Ang

    No it does NOT say that on the gift card…shoot, you found me out. Seriously, had not a clue you had to use that in an Oregon Goodwill, but it was pretty crafty of my subconscious to do that, wasn’t it? I’d say I’m sorry, but…COME VISIT ME!!!

  2. kristen

    Praying for you dear friend. I was so encouraged to read about your weekend and all that God brought into your life. WOW! I was blown away, I can’t imagine experiencing that first hand. And then all of this happened. I think there is a lot of growth opportunity here…God is echoing the frailty of life and the importance of seizing the day. You go girl. Don’t let anythign stop you.

    And if you should (or whenever you should) decide to come to MI. You had better plan a nice stay at my place. We are central to Battle Creek and GR. Ok, so a little closer to GR, but Battle Creek isn’t too far either. 😉 I miss you and can’t wait until you are sitting on my couch. 😉

  3. Kori (PrincessSpider)

    Prayers for Gabe’s family. I’m in westish Indiana and you would be welcome to stay here if you need to… we are about 10 miles from I-70. I also grew up in Southern California and have lots of family and friends around the San Diego area. If you re-plan that trip I could hook you up!!

  4. Lacey

    I am praying for Andrea’s Mom. I cannot begin to imagine the pain she is going through. I am an only child and flipping it around…I cannot imagine losing my mom. We are so incredibly close. My prayers are with them. Lots of prayers for Angie as she ministers to her husband, the youth group and their kids. Lots and lots of prayers for Gabe’s family!!

    Okay we don’t live in Texas anymore but where are you planning on going??? I will be in TX during that time so was just curious! 🙂 I would love to send you some gas $ but unfortunately we are in the same boat you are in right now. 🙁

  5. Martha

    I must encourage you (anyone in the path of the Taviano family’s travels) that if you don’t invite them to stay with you.. you’ll miss out on missing some really wonderful people.

    We only have one double bed and one twin.. but the entire family camped out and loved it!

    Oh.. the girls are precious.. and the testimonies of Marla and Gabe will enrich your lives. You’ll turn cyber friends into dear lifetime friends.

    We immediately felt like we’d known the family in real life for ever! Nothing awkward .. they are nice.. don’t steal and they are very appreciative.

    Hey you might even get written up in Marla’s book. And Gabe will help you with mac questions you might have.

    Hey guys.. will you need an Indiana stay over on your way to or back from Texas? You are always welcome here.

    Love ya

  6. Jamie Nygaard

    Oh good! I’m glad you got the card! I was curious if they would send it back because I wasn’t sure if .43c would cover the envelope.

    So sad about your family…and I feel for Tug. I know how much wear that is on your body. I am praying for all circumstances.

  7. Sarah

    Wow! I just got done praying for your family and also asked that He would take care of all of the details for your TX trip and BAM-I read the comments and see He’s providing already! Awesome! So so sorry to hear about Gabe’s cousin.

  8. Sandi

    …by the way, we’ve got plenty of room, and if it’s warm, a pool for the kids to enjoy! And everyone is right, the San Antonio Zoo is awesome.

  9. Sandi

    Marla, we’ll be out of town from the 10-13th, but should that be the time you’d want to come to San Antonio, I wouldn’t have any trouble finding someone with whom you could stay. We’ll be in town from the 13th on, and you would, again, be more than welcome here. We’d love to see you!

  10. Emily Kay

    You’re always welcome at our house in San Antonio, but we’d only have one sleeper sofa for all of y’all. Might be a little…cozy. 😉 Still, we’d love to go zoo-ing with you! LMK if you end up needing those free passes!

  11. Mary

    Marla you can stay with us if you need if y’all come to the Houston Zoo! I know we’re complete strangers but we’re free AND make breakfast for our guests 🙂

  12. Ashley

    If you’re looking for zoos “close to home” (within four or five hours), the Fort Wayne Childrens’ Zoo is supposed to the best childrens’ zoo in the country and the Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, MI is excellent! I also think there’s a zoo in South Bend, IN (the Potawatmi??) and there’s a “zoo”/amusement park in Angola, IN. The Detroit Zoo, John Ball Zoo (in Grand Rapids, MI), and Potter Park Zoo (in Lansing, MI) are also good options. Happy zooing!! 🙂

    Also, praying for your family as you have experienced this loss. Praying for peace for all involved and for God to be glorified for all to see.

  13. Kaye

    Will keep Gabe and his family in my prayers, without ceasing.
    Not sure if they allow you to use gift cards online, but did you know you can shop Goodwill stores online?
    http://www.shopgoodwill.com They sell in an ‘auction’ format out of stores across the country! And the store your card is from is on this site:)
    We lost our home in a fire in 2005 and I’ve found many things I had before on their site and have been thrilled to find some meaningful pieces for our rebuilt ‘home’.
    Praying for you and your extended family.
    Blessings today and always,
    Matthew 21:22
    PS Wish you were coming to my part of Texas. I’d LOVE to meet you! We are 1 1/2 hours from Tyler, so if you find you’d like to take your kids to their zoo…please come to MP, TX!

  14. Missy

    I’m assuming Andrea wasn’t married/didn’t have kids? Praying for her mom and all of your family as you all grieve such a tragic and unexpected loss. Was she a believer? (I’m not sure if that’s horribly tacky to ask when you didn’t say, so skip answering it if you want…was just wondering how to pray).

    Happy Zooing!

    Are we done with panties after this? 😉

  15. Conny

    Prayers for your family & the people affected by all the tragedies.
    And I second Betsy’s recommendation for the San Antonio zoo! I actually have been to it – twice. My husband did some Army training in S/A so we checked out the zoo – and the area – fantastic! Wherever you end up, Happy Zoo-ing, if God wills. 🙂

  16. Jennifer

    Just prayed for your family. What a sad time for so many people. Praise God that He can get glorify His name and bring the lost to Himself through even tragedy!

    And we’re a stop on your next tour! I wish we had room to have you stay with us, but even our own parents (and they come in sets of just two!) have to get a hotel room when they come and visit. The good news is, though, that those are pretty cheap all over the state. Anyway, we’re up for a visit to the OKC zoo. Just let us know when! 🙂

  17. Betsy

    Marla, prayed just now for all those in your family, esp. for Gabe’s aunt, and all the teens that Tug is dealing with in the after-shock of the accident and his family. My daughter, Megan, I know told you about our church family last week and what has happened here. Tons of teens and 20s affected here…

    Try San Antonio Zoo—Have NOT been there but keep seeing neat things about it. I just spent 16 days in Dallas working, but can’t ever get to San Antonio. Go for me!!

  18. Ali

    Lots of thoughts. Here I go. In no particular order.

    Prayers to your family. Lots of prayers. Lots of ’em.

    Speaking of, they have some interesting names – I like interesting names especially as I consider what I will name my second born. Thanks for the suggestions (oh, you weren’t suggesting those, that’s okay, you did anyway).

    A friend who gives a Goodwill gift card is a good friend. I love it.

    Texas? Can’t wait to hear (and see) all about it! Have fun, Taviano family!

    Oh, and most importantly, love ya!

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