soaking it in

If you’re here looking for links to our TV interviews, scroll down until you get to the bold print and blue links. Thanks!

We’re blessed. No two ways about it. I have a sentence in my brain that’s just BEGGING to come out through my fingers. But I’ve gotta save it for the book. I’ve spilled too much already. Suffice it to say that we asked God for one thing, and He gave us something else. And we’ll never ask for what WE want again. Because His ways are un-bee-leeeee-vably BETTER.

We had a party this weekend. And I’m going to try to make it through this post without using my 3-letter cop-out word when I’m feeling speechless (wow).

I’m going to be honest. A few things bummed me out. We got home Saturday afternoon, and I had a list of regrets running through my head. We didn’t get enough pictures (and since I was the photographer and don’t know anything about when to use a flash…). We had lots of people RSVP and not show up (many had very, very good reasons, and the others? not sure). I got waaaaaay too much lemonade (and forks/cups/plates/goody bags…), and if there’s one thing I hate, it’s waste. I didn’t get my picture taken with this friend… or that friend… or that friend…

Anyway. Typical spiritual battle stuff. God does an AMAZING thing, and the devil would love to keep me focused on the shoulda, coulda, woulda.

I’m done with that. It’s over. The party ROCKED. And you know why? Because God has surrounded us with some of the most selfless, talented, giving, sweet, encouraging people in the UNIVERSE.

Here are five of those amazing people–Amy, Emily, Kim, Ali, and Holly. (Denise was working hard at the prize table, Cindy was holding a neon green sign, directing people to the party, and we missed you, Val!) These gals MADE MY DAY. Ali (in the green) gently offered to be the Party Coordinator when it became apparent that I was floundering under the enormity of it all. And each of the other gals (and many others!) sacrificed time, energy, and money to make our day special. Bless you, friends. My heart is swollen with love and appreciation.

We had about 140 guests (who had RSVP’d), then about 30ish more who popped in unexpectedly. The band was awesome. The prizes were great. People had fun. All, all, all glory to God!

Can you believe this cake?? Because I haven’t been able to get over it since I saw it for the first time. My friend Jessica, cake GENIUS, showed up at the party with this little beauty and stunned the daylights out of me. If you live anywhere close to Dayton, OH and need a cake, call Jessicakes immediately.  My friend Jamie made the cutest 2-foot-tall (at least!) giraffe cake–melt my heart! My friend Missy made a beautiful cake that said 52 ZOOS in animal print letters (and sent her cake with Jess because her little girl got sick!), and my friend Jen decorated a cake with hershey bars and adorable wooden animals. Crazy-awesome! And so many people brought cookies! My friend Sarah and her girls cut out animal-shaped cookies and decorated them–so sweet!

This picture is a total God-thing. This is my friend Cheryl and her four could-be-super-models children. I’ve mentioned Cheryl before. We rode the bus together in elementary school. And despised each other. I was viciously mean to her. And she hated me right back. A few months ago, God brought her into my mind, and I couldn’t get her out. Then, two seconds later (or something like that), I got a friend request from her on Facebook. She told me later she had been debating about it forever (does Marla still hate me??) and finally did it. Praise the Lord! We asked for forgiveness, gushed all over each other’s kids, and thanked Jesus for His amazing grace! Thank you SO much for coming to the party, Cheryl!! Love you!

This is Scott (?) from 10TV Columbus interviewing us for the evening news. Our friend David Hutchison (thank you, David!!) took the video clips from TV and made them into YouTube videos so we could share them with all of you. They did a phone interview with me for the Weekend Morning Show (Saturday at 6:20am). Then coverage from the Zoo Party was shown at 6pm. Then some slightly different coverage at 11pm. Then (we missed this one) this morning at 6:15, they had another clip. Sweet.

Here are links if you want to watch (the first one is 5 minutes, but the other 2 are short):

10TV Weekend Morning Show Saturday (phone interview with zoo pics)

10TV 11:00 News Saturday

10TV Weekend Morning Show Sunday

And I’ll be chatting with Stacy McKay on her Morning Show at 8 a.m. Monday (today) on 104.9 The River (Columbus). I’m pretty sure you can listen live on their site if you’d like.

I’ll have more pics and party news tomorrow. If you came to the party and didn’t get a chance to sign our guestbook, leave a comment here, and I’ll print it out and glue it in the book (I’m not kidding). Or if you signed the guestbook but have something else to say, feel free! Or if you wanted to come and couldn’t, I’ll put you in there too! And if you want to just praise God for something, I want to hear it!

We have so many people to thank. It’s going to take a long, long time to show them all how very much we love and appreciate them.

And there’s this book brewing and stewing in my head that’s not going to write itself.

And my house is a wreck.


I love you, Jesus! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

29 thoughts on “soaking it in

  1. Pingback: Marla Taviano | Christian author and speaker » Blog Archive » what. a. year.

  2. Nixie

    Wish I could have been their for the party! Watched the youtube footage – you guys rock and look like you had an awesome time!

    Maybe now you can really visit some of the animals from Australia in Australia and then of course visit me 😉

    Got your message – just off out but will reply laters. Love you!

  3. Laura Strough

    ahhhhhh! i can’t believe it’s over with!!!! so super excited for you guys… have been such a blessing thru all this with all your stories in the adventure and everything that God did. Can’t wait for the new books!!! Blessings and hugs and wish we coulda been at the party, looks like lotsa fun and very cool cake!!!

  4. Sarah Montanye

    I was sooooo incredibly bummed that I coldn’t stay in Ohio for a few more days to attend the zoo party. I prayed for you guys and thought of you all day Saturday. I had tears in my eyes watching your interviews on you tube. How neat to see the opportunities that God brings your way! What a blessing to have met you on the East Coast leg of your journey. Hope our paths cross again (before heaven 🙂 All the best! Hugs!

  5. Jenny L.

    We had a great time!!! Your “welcome committee” was awesome and very helpful!! The kids LOVED their goody bags (which by the way were decorated so creatively!!!) and your tin full of candy came in handy when Nathan and his Dad got a little queezy on the Viking Ship ride……the peppermints saved the day!!! The band was awesome! (Nathan and I went to school with the Holley Brothers – so it was fun to see Matt). We had to leave before the prize drawings – hope someone wonderfully deserving won the “Engraved Eunique” prize!!!! Thanks for inviting us!!
    The Lusher Family

  6. Denise

    It was truly awesome to be able to serve you! You just always are so supportive to us, it was the least I could do! You did great – don’t worry about the over buying – it happens – just hope you like lemonade 🙂 Love ya

  7. jess

    one more thing.
    i need to know who made the strawberry chocolate chip cookies–and i NEED to have the recipe. really…not want…NEED. i loved them (and i hope they really were strawberry and not just pink, otherwise i have a seriously overactive imagination.) they were delish!

  8. Gail

    Oooh. You’ll put me in the guest book? Cool!

    Congrats, dear Taviano family! What a treat to get to chase a dream, a nearly impossible dream, and in the midst of it to learn it was more about God than about you. I can’t wait to hear all the details. Can’t wait. But have to wait for the book. Rejoicing with you,

    Gail Sowell

  9. jess

    thanks for the shout-out. 🙂 i’m glad you liked it! i always have fun making them…i can get lost in something other than laundry & diapers.

    we had a wonderful time at the party & the zoo. i was glad manda & andy came, too–did you know he knew the drummer in the band? went to h.s. w/ him. small world. and those zoo tins–in my laundry room to collect pennies for chores the kids do–i’ve been looking for cheap, fun containers to hold their cash. free=better than cheap. 🙂 um…i feel like i have a lot more to say but can’t thik of it right now…concentration=minimal to none.
    have a fab day!

  10. Bethany your sis

    I completely forgot to sign the guestbook! Isabelle and I had a fun time at the party! I want to see pictures of your other cakes because they were already cut up by the time I got there. I liked the name backwards game. And even though I didn’t win a giveaway, I enjoyed the anticipation of hoping you’d pick my name. 😉 Although Isabelle was bummed about not winning the $10 Starbucks giftcard. She loves their frappuccinos! 😉

  11. Sandi Faulk

    People that you didn’t know – like, internet friends and strangers – let you into their homes during your travels? I would NEVER do that! And I wouldn’t trust the people who would invite me into their homes either! heeheeheeheehee…. (that is sure to be misunderstood and ruffle some feathers)

    Really, Marla, Coach and I are so blessed to have been any part at all of your wonderful journey. I’m still so regretful to have had to leave town at such an inopportune time. Wish we could have been part of your day of celebration. Thanks for your friendship.

  12. Megan@SortaCrunchy

    WOW! What a cake, what a party, what a beautiful group of family and friends. THRILLING!!! I love it. GLORY to God. You are so precious to me.

    Now on to the hard work of writing. I’ll be praying . . .

  13. Aunt T

    I am glad you ended your adventure with a bang! It looked like a great time. Have fun putting it into words for your book. Take care and love you all!

  14. Nichole

    We were incredibly blessed to be a small part of your zoo journey. In fact, Kylie is still talking about “her friend Nina”. Praising God with you for all the things He did to make it happen, and praying that the words just fall onto the pages of the book 🙂

  15. Lisa

    That was SO cool seeing your family on TV!!! I feel like I’ve known you forever. You are something else. No wonder God honored your zoo endeavor. I cannot WAIT to read the book! Please tell me it’ll be picture-heavy!

    A girl and I were horribly, horribly mean to each other in elementary school, proceeded NOT to talk to or even look at each other all the way through twelfth grade, and got back in touch a couple years ago. Now we adore each other. Isn’t it so beautiful how God works???

  16. Meg @ Spicy Magnolia

    What a great celebration to top everything off! That cake looks so cool and absolutely delicious. Did you get the leftovers?? 🙂 The Lord will bless your writing of the book just as He has the whole process thus far…and we’re looking forward to seeing how!

  17. Cheryl

    HI Marla,
    Well, we’re sore from all the walking (we reaaallly need to exercise more LOL), and tired from sleeping in hotels beds (how did you guys stay away from home so often???), but it was such an amazing weekend. I don’t know how many ways to say the zoo was awesome! And I agree your party rocked! God has done and will continue to do great things through it.

    Have a wonderful, hopefully restful, rejuvenating week!

  18. Missy

    Leah’s words when we decided to turn back, “Buh mommy, I feel better now.” 🙁 Poor kid.

    So glad your party turned out so wonderfully…from the pics, everything looks fabulous! Way to go!

  19. Colleen

    Marla, so happy for you! We loved watching the interviews on TV! We drove all the way to the zoo for the party…we only had a minimal amount of time (due to family coming in, see yesterday’s comment) Anyhoo…the line at 11am was out the entrance, down powell road alllllll the way back to I don’t even know…We knew we wouldn’t be able to make it in in time…it broke my heart to have to turn around…we still had a half hour trip back home…needless to say, my kiddos were totally bummed…so sorry to have missed it…we “waved” to you all from way back:(

  20. Amanda

    Fun, fun, fun! I can’t wait to hear and see more. What a cool cake! Your other ones sound neat, too. I’m even more sad to have missed it now!

  21. Martha

    You know I wanted to be there. Glad we didn’t actually RSVP… because then I’d have likely been one of the folks with skeptical excuses. Tommy just couldn’t get motivated for such a weekend. Sometimes our fellas deserve rest after all week of working.

    But I’ve kept up with twitter posts/ FB posts/ blog posts and most importantly in prayer.

    So proud of what you’ve done.. and your hearts.. and testimony. And also rejoicing at the awesome provision of our Great God who created every animal you saw and every mile you rode.

    God Bless the Taviano family. Thank You Lord for getting them this 22 THOUSAND miles in safety… and O Lord..thank You that they do not steal!!

    Now Lord… I pray You would get the glory of the outcome of this adventure. Give this family the book deal they need with just the right publisher. I pray Lord that You’d be lifted up high and many would be drawn to You for eternity by the honesty and enthusiasm and precious “Jesus hearts” that the Taviano family lives out. Thanks Lord for easing Marla’s head pain for this trip. Thank You Lord for providing every inch of the way.

    Your forever friend who was honored to have your family stay in my humble home


  22. Erin

    I’m SOOOO sorry we weren’t able to make it. I feel horrible for not being able to come and sad because I really wanted to be there!!

  23. Kimberly

    I so wish I could have been there! I had the best time with y’all at Sea World in San Antonio. I’ve loved following your adventure and can’t wait to see what God does next!! I’m really hoping HE sends you on another adventure my way!

    Oh, and that cake is amazing!!

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