Skip to content

Posts from the ‘widow’ Category



My first trip to India with the most amazing, gracious souls I’ve ever encountered.   -Kaveri Vanita Seveshrama Orphanage

Every year on our anniversary I have tried to spread the love of a wonderful man by doing acts of  intentional love/kindness for strangers and family alike.

It has turned a day that for so many years was unbearable, into a day full of shared joy and excitement.

This year I’d like to ask your help in spreading the love! For the 12th Anniversary, having just 12 of you to help my mission of giving, would be the most amazing gift you can give to a day that personifies love.

Are you in????! Do you accept the mission? I know….what the heck is the mission, Taryn!?

Slow you roll, Tom Cruise….Here’s what I’m planning……..

It is no secret that my heart is deeply in love with India and the people who inhabit it.

It is in India that I have found the true meaning of surrender/letting go and trusting the unknown.

In India I learned the true meaning of happiness.

I learned how freaking lucky I am to have the things that so many of us take for granted each second (true story…I am kind of a master at not taking showers after not taking one for 20 something days there…I know…but really, it’s all about the baby wipes and Teen Spirit deodorant).

It is in India that I realized that Mother Theresa knew her shit(though I never doubted this saint)…because “I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?’ rather he will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?”


So this leads me to the goal I have to make this day that encompasses so much love, into one that spreads love…to India 😉

I have stayed in touch with folks in India and was recently contacted by Gokulananda (go ahead…..say it 5 times fast…) who heads the Widow Initiatives in the Keonjhar District…..but first, let me digress…

I’m not sure if you know what it’s like to be a widow in India…I didn’t know until I was in Vrindavan where the “Widow Home” was…and never have I ever been more grateful to be a widow in the United States….to have the rights to pursue life after loss…to have created the AWP….to have the choice to rebuild after the ruins of tragedy.

Take a quick second to watch this clip….it sums it up pretty well (or google “Widow in India”…it’s pretty much the same across the board) what these women face.


Digression done and back to my buddy Gokulananda….who for typing purposes and because I think we’re cool with each other, I’m going to now call Goku on this post 🙂

So Goku’s been keeping me updated on all the amazing things they’re doing to educate all in the district on the importance of supporting widows and their children, while also giving the widows in the region opportunities to have a purpose and a plan to thrive after loss (which is basically my favorite thing in the world). Here are some pics of the ladies, their education initiatives, the children of the widowed they’re serving and some more eye goodies of good deeds:


Goku rocking it….and rocking that plaid!

So Goku and I have been going back and forth, and having run a non-profit for 10 years myself, I know that donations are great, but I love when physical items/services can be given instead of money. So I emailed Goku to send me a list of what I ( or WE….if you’re in 😉 ) could physically send for them to use now….even more so, I want to go beyond that and if you decide to answer this call, you’ll send it directly to them in India (straight to the source!).


So my dude Goku wrote me this:

….Thank you so much for your mail and your concern for the Widows and their Orphan Children.
The materials you have mentioned are very useful and is a dire need for the stakeholders.As per your mail we need the following materials:
White Polo Shirts(For Kids Only)
School Supplies(Note Books,Pencil,Pen,Markers,ABC Books for Kids Only)
Sandals(For both Widows and their Kids )
Water Filter is a dire need for every Widow family.
For Sarees,if it is not possible to arrange it in US,we are trying to arrange it from India.
Thank you once again in advance for your concern for the helpless Widows and their Orphan
Children living in India and supporting IDP Team’s effort in Widow Welfare,Empowerment and
With Kindest Regards.
In Solidarity,


So there you have it! Everything that may seem small that could make a huge difference (cue Mother Theresa…).

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

These are items that you (or you and your kids/family) can go grab anywhere for very little moola (but make a huge impact with). I would also urge you to write letters of support to them, and as they learn english I have no doubt that those letters will be their aim to one day read. As you can see in the email, I had mentioned the difficulty in finding white sarees (mandatory widow garb in India…and maybe why I like to wear rainbows….we’re lucky!). If for some reason you know how to get some, that would be amazing!

Having spent time there I know that water filters are indispensable, and something as small as this $15 life straw will make a huge impact if that is an item you have the means to donate.

So there you have it! The mission! If you do decide to partake (THANK YOU in advance!) please take a picture of it about to be sent off or of y’all working on putting it together and attach it to the FB post or in the comments below! I’d love to meet the goal of 12 folks sending packages of love (and I promise, you’ll get soooo much out of giving it)… and the posts will let Goku know our little corner of the world is helping in a big love/small gesture kind of way (and maybe I’ll send him rad plaid or non-plaid pics of us coming together for them…I’m thinking plaid…yep).

I’ve included the address to the foundation/Goku below. Print it out and bring it to the post office in case of any confusion.

I am a widow because of December 23rd, 2005…the day I chose to follow my heart and marry Michael….

There is no better way for me to pay gratitude to him for choosing me to be his wife then to help those who are suffering because of their “I Do” ending too soon.

Thank you for taking this journey with me (Cue Mother Theresa…)….

“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.
We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”




Some of my favorite souls during my time of teaching in Baljeet Nagar.







Tel:- +91 7377720394






Taking a risk….

We have been taught that one of two things can occur from such an action:

Something bad, with  an unfavorable outcome..


Something magnificent, soul empowering and life-affirming.

So what happens when you take a risk and both occur?

Would it be a mutant? An “X-Men” of risks?

A grey area that few talk about or like to admit to?

Or is risking something of ourself….of our life, always going to have both outcomes?

You know what. That’s what I believe. Because at the end of the day, when we take a risk and our dreams come true, we forget to admit that even the magnificent is finite.

And when the “bad” occurs, we forget to see and honor the great wisdom that comes from the hardships.

And maybe, just maybe, by embracing that risk will not have one of the outcomes….but both….maybe that allows us to cherish, and be grateful, and honor the roses and thorns that occur from such a noble and courageous act.

Marrying Michael at 19 was one risky move….I can admit to that. Not only because of age but because he was Infantry in the Army in the middle of a war.

But you know what…. I refuse to look at that risk as one I shouldn’t have taken because he died and I was left a widow a 21 years old.

He was one of the greatest risks of my life.

And yes, a “non-favorable” outcome occurred that temporarily shattered me.

But if he had come back and lived another 70 years by my side, one of us would have eventually passed-on….and that wouldn’t be favorable either.

But the risk is always worth it.

I can’t decide the timing or the turmoil or the triumphs that happen as a result of such an action….but I want to keep risking.

I want to keep milking every ounce of beauty in the risks that turned out the way I planned, and keep honoring the teachings from the risks that didn’t (seem to at the time) end as hoped for.

And what is life if not one short or long and beautiful stretch of hoping, trying and loving and living…..but only if you risk to feel/experience it.

Risk on.

It’s Time


Taking in the wonder that is the Grand Canyon- Oct. ’14

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste it, to experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”- Eleanor Roosevelt


It’s been well over 6 months since my last post.

Much has happened. I’ll highlight a few:

  • I’ve risen in love with an amazing human, best friend, spirit, lover and overall partner in (good) crime (not that that makes logical sense….but you get me 😉 ).
  • I began studying and practicing Peruvian Shamanism (and became a reiki practitioner).
  • I’ve flown over 46,000 miles this year….and it’s nothing compared to what’s ahead!
  • The AWP is rockin’ and rollin’ with features on Wall Street Journal, CNN, NPR and TODAY…this year alone!

So now that you’re kind of caught up, it leads me to what is coming…what has already begun…I am leaving to travel around the world for the next 5 months (to start)…

Austin -> Norway -> India -> Nepal -> Thailand -> Cambodia/Laos -> Indonesia -> New Zealand -> Australia -> Austin

To be more specific!

Destiny has been knocking at my door for some time, and this year I made the decision to answer…and oh what a glorious welcome she has given me.

I’ve been lucky enough to do a “once-in-a-lifetime-once-a-year” trip every year since Michael’s death… but after the next 5 months, I think I’ll be set for a while, allowing me more time to grow and expand my horizons and future (for myself, my passions and with the man destiny hooked me up with out of nowhere….well played, destiny…well played…).

I’ve been blogging a bit on the site where we will be sharing our stories, photos and revelations.

You can find it here.


My eyes are ready to be opened a bit wider.

My feet are ready to walk a bit farther.

My hands are ready to reach a little bit further.

My heart is ready to grow a bit larger.

My horizon is ready to become a bit broader…


It’s time.


I’ll see you along the way….

7 & 8


If there is any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not deter or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.

~ William Penn


On December 23, 2005, he said I was the kindest person he knew.

A year and a half later I never had the chance to tell him that it was he that was the kindest. It was he that chose me for some odd reason and showed me what true kindness was. It was he that I prayed to god every night to keep alive over me. It was he whose life echoed and echos on through those I had no clue his kindness had touched.

Now, 7 years later, I woke up on the sofa. It was a hard night to try sleep in my bed. I awoke knowing that I could take this day that was the moment that solidified our eternal love, and for once, not make it a day that was harder than any other. This day was going to be the day I wanted to live up to the vows he wrote to me. Today was going to be a day that I echoed his life, even more, to strangers who would never know his name or sacrifice.

My best friends sent me flowers and survival kits full of tissues and chocolate, but I knew there was much more to be done.

I jumped in my car and headed to Wal-Mart. I purchased the needed items. Heavy duty sticky notes, “Hello, My Name Is” labels, Ferrero Rocher chocolates and 4 gift cards.

“$25 on each please.” I asked the cashier.

“And I need you to do something for me. Keep one and give the next 3 to the next 3 people to check out.”

“Are you sure?” she asked hesitantly.


“Well, Merry Christmas!” she replied.

I walked out as I heard her tell and hand the first gift card to the next to check out.

I exited with a smile.

I got into my car and started preparing the notes and labels for their mission for the day.


I drove off and stopped at the first ATM to leave one gift of kindness. Then off to a Redbox.


Then off to Starbucks where I ordered a drink and 3 more gift cards.

The lady was going to grab a bag for all three when I stuck a label on each and asked her to give one to the next 3 customers. She couldn’t believe it, and even gave me a free drink coupon. I looked in my mirror at the young man in the truck that would get the first one and I drove off.

All of this had taken place in 15 minutes and my heart swelled…and so did the tears in my eyes….this was the feeling I had when Michael read his vows…I was living them out loud 7 years later…but had just begun…

I headed to the nearest shopping center for a continuation. I stopped at another ATM to leave a message of hope before heading to Marshall’s to leave a message on the bathroom mirror and on a couple of cars before departing.-14 -13I knew there was a nearby bus stop that would be my next location. I pulled over to see a single dad with his two kids, lovingly playing with them while sitting on the bench and smiling with pure love. I put together another bag of things to ensure their day and Christmas would be a better one, handed it to him as he looked at me in shock and uncertainty, and walked off to turn and see the kids smiling and waving to me. It was amazing.

As I drove off, I saw a group of world travelers, with a lack of means and two dogs, asking for any sort of help. I pulled over, gave them water, dog treats, and some funds to buy a couple more meals, shook their hands, shared some laughs and a photo and departed. Their spirit was amazing.
I drove to the next town where I left a couple other messages and goodies in random spots before heading to McDonalds and grabbing a snack wrap and the tab of the stranger in the car behind me.

Next was Half Price Bookstore, where I grabbed some 80s records, and while checking out, a gift card for the next person to check out. The kind-hearted cashier told me she would remember this for a very long time. I smiled and exited and left another note on a random car.

I then headed to pick up our favorite food we used eat together…sushi…where I tipped 50% and while walking back to my car saw a young couple and their young children,  and left one more note for the end of the day on their mini-van.


These individuals weren’t any worse off, any less happy, and less loved than I. But they are individuals I feel forever grateful for. They were strangers that became saviors, friends, and  ones that I admired.

They let me give them what I have always felt in my heart I was given too much of. Even when I didn’t deserve it.

I don’t know what will happen. How may people I may have freaked out or may have made their day better. But for 24 hours, I have felt pretty damn good on a day that has always been hard to bear without the person that chose me 7 years ago to be his wife. A person that showed me a level of kindness that I can only try to live a quarter up to.

We danced on December 23, 2005 to Louis Armstrong’s “A Kiss to Build a Dream On”. One set of the lyrics stated:
“Give me a kiss to build a dream on
And my imagination will thrive upon that kiss
Ah sweetheart, I ask no more than this
A kiss to build a dream on..”


That kiss he gave me led and leads me to thrive, to live, to give, and to show kindness the way he did….or at least a fraction of the way he did. And for the first time in a long time (outside of my daily AWP mission), I felt it the way I did when kissing him, when knowing that all was possible, because I saw it in each person and stranger, and others that I don’t even know that were affected by the kindness he inspired me to show on the toughest, but most beautiful,  of days.

Happy Anniversary, baby. So in love with you. SO grateful for you. So eternally inspired by you in every way.




Today marks 8.

8 years since the most remarkable man chose me to spend the rest of his life with….and he did…if only for a year and a half in flesh.

I prepped the night before…jotting down what great deeds I would do, not only in commemoration of this special day, but the people and universe that surround and house the spirit and love that we share.

I awoke, opened my eyes to the sun shining through the blinds and said aloud “Happy Anniversary, my love…let’s rock this!”

As I showered, Sam Cooke’s “What a Wonderful World” played and I my heart filled with the mission at hand.

The mission to share a fraction…an ounce..of the love…unconditional love…I had been shown during his time on earth.

This year was different, I wanted to spread kindness, but throw in bit of us…who we are…what we love.

I warmed up with a stop at Starbucks, buying giftcards for the two cars behind us and leaving a 300% tip to the warm smile that handed me the green tea latte.

I found joy in looking in the rear view mirror at the unsuspecting person that I hoped to share a bit of sunshine with.


Next, I stopped to get flowers, hoping that our favorite (tulips) would be available. We used them in my wedding bouquet and Michael loved surprising me with them on occasion.

With my heart open to whatever was available, I smiled to find red and white ones waiting.

I then googled “cemetery”. It led me to a small back-country haven, in which I headed to the back corners.


Once there, my heart led me to one headstone, cracked in half due to time’s grip. No longer bearing a name, all it shown was a poem that I have no doubt I was supposed to read:

This lovely bud so young and fair
Called hence by early doom
Just came to show how sweet a flower
In paradise could bloom.

I laid a bouquet of tulips, and offered it the attention I know a loved one past would have appreciated.

-3Next, I set forth to my favorite used bookstore.

At arrival, I headed to one of Micheal’s favorite book series “The Dark Tower” by Stephen King. I found the oldest edition of the first book of the series and inserted enough for its next reader to buy the whole set. As I placed its message, I remembered the moments in bed where Michael would read aloud to me. My heart swelled knowing that that memory may be passed on to another lucky soul who falls in love with a Stephen King reader.


I headed out, also ensuring that the next two book lovers left with their books on us.

As I left, I bought a mildly inappropriate Christmas card (the best ones, in my opinion) and found a man who looked as if he deserved a laugh and kind deed.

I hope it made him smile.


My next stop led me to a random car, where I placed another bouquet on the windshield.

As I was plotting my next route, I was honored enough to see the elderly couple return to their car, find the flowers, sit in their car seats and simply inhale the flower’s fragrance with a smile. It was one of the best moments.


Next, being a lover of the sweets 🙂 I placed many a treats on many a cars:


One of my last stops was at a place that embodied so much of what we love…FILMS!

My dear friends know just how many 12 hour film marathons I’ve attended, and Michael knows just how many sofas we imprinted while watching our favorite foreign films.

I wanted to make sure other people could enjoy such a blissful aspect of our intertwined passions, so I headed over to the Alamo Drafthouse to buy multiple gift cards for the next groups to arrive.


The gentleman preparing the gift cards responded with ” I thought all of humanity was lost…thank you.”

I thanked him.

He was giving me much more than I was giving monetarily.

I entered my car, with my list of acts of kindness completed in hand, and smiled with the same joy I felt as if Michael was by my side.


I ended the evening with a dear friend, at a favorite restaurant, sharing some of my favorite memories of my journey with Michael. She surprised me with dessert, and I was humbled to know the staff felt honored to share in the celebration, as well.


I conclude this remarkable day with gratitude.

Gratitude for the messages sent. Love shared.

Gratitude for those that let me show and give them something they undoubtedly deserved.

Something that I believe to be the greatest resource our society has.

A resource the kindest being I knew shared with me to their last ounce.


Happy Anniversary, baby.

Thank you all.

There’s No Place Like Hope



I was spending my Friday evening perusing a used book store when my eye was caught by this very catchy title.


Being an avid “Wizard of Oz” fan, the switch of HOME with HOPE struck such a chord with me.


Home, for me, has never equated to a physical structure, but rather a place to fully be me.


To be immersed by all that I love.


To let me hair down.


Dance around naked.


Talk out loud.


Find myself.








A breeding ground to create memories and share moments with those I care about.


A place of peace.









When thinking of all that I hope for, I saw that it literally embodied what “home” was/is.


Hope is nothing more than us trying to find our way back to all that we are when we find ourselves in a space/energy/place that embraces all that we are and all those that add color to our canvas….hope in disguise.


I have no freaking clue what that darn book is about that stirred this realization…But I sure as hell know that it made me realize that there really is nothing like hope.


Nothing like ‘home’.


Nothing like remembering where the yellow brick road leads to and what that homecoming means to one’s soul.


Sometimes we just need to click the heels of our hearts and mind together to remember where it is.




22732_1339886731200_3772854_n“In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! We are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien


Something happened last weekend that awakened me.


It was an AWP Health and Fitness weekend.


We were ending the evening with reiki sessions.


I’d never done reiki, and since leading it, I hadn’t planned or set aside time to do so.


A window opened and one of the practitioners had come down, looking ready to depart, and I figured I’d ask if she had a free 20 minutes so I could at least try it.


She did.


She led me upstairs. I layed down. Closed my eyes. And just kind of waited.


I didn’t feel anything. My mind was wandering so I went to meditating.


I could hear her as she progressed from my head to my chest.


A slight touch.


Then she broke the silence.


I don’t know what occurred or what she truly is (being a skeptic on so much).


She heard him. She said things only he would know.


At first I kept my eyes closed thinking “This is reiki?!”


Then I went into “What does she know?!”


Then she continued to slam me with facts….court worthy facts that washed away any doubt.


Her hand shook on my arm.


She continued to spit out things that opened the well to my emotions like only Michael could do.


It was my Demi moment. He Swayzee-d her like she was Whoopi.


It was….. I don’t know. It was real.


20 minutes turned into over an hour.


She wasn’t a medium or clairvoyant, nor sought out.


It was something I’ll never forget. It was something that has reaffirmed all the crazy things so few believed. It was him.


All around.


Madly in love.


Guiding me.


And now I sound completely mad 😉 but honestly, I feel so drenched in love and assurance that I find it hard to stop smiling.


They’re here. Undoubtedly. All around. Listening. Lifting. Loving.


He hears me when I talk to him at night. He’s there with Charlie. He wants me to get up off my butt and outside more! He chose to spend his spirit-life as my guide. And we have lived many lifetimes together in the past and will again. Our love transcends time, plains, everything.


This I know.