Thursday, December 24, 2009

Simple Diary

Rainy Christmas Eve: Check.
Chaotic Family Get-Together with the family: Check.
Lots of good food and good times: Check.

Tonight, I received a little book that will hopefully keep me blogging more frequently. It's packed full of random nuggets of questions, quotes, and wisdom. It is called "Keel's Simple Diary." There is a page for each day. There are several multiple choice questions and statements, and some fill-in-the-blank opportunities. I love it. I will try to share the more interesting days that I fill out. Here is tonight's entry, as well as my introduction sheet.

(All of the options I chose are BOLDED. All of my extra comments are in blue.)

Congratulations. You got Simple Diary in ROYAL BLUE.

This could mean that you
a) like Porto Ercole. I had no idea what this is- in fact, until I googled it, I thought it was a person.
b) are a thinker. Well, and I'm a Feeler, but I also think a lot. About everything.
c) dislike muffins. Untrue! I love muffins.

What you might need right now:
1. someone to tell you 
2. Oscar Peterson
3. stop your nicety!
4. less salt on French fries
5. cosmic breeding
6. trim the hedges
7. racing stripes
8. a hummingbird
9. goodwill There is a lot of goodwill in my life; but somehow, I was still drawn to this answer. I love "nice" people, and those who do good.
10. a light suitcase

Plural kills the fantasy, orchids last longer.
Not if the orchard is living with me!

In so many ways, you can't wait for this: Africa
I am so excited to be traveling to Zambia, Africa for 10 days at the end of January! I'm going with a team of others, and I be capturing our trip through photography and video. I can't to see how God uses this trip, and I also hope to be able to put together some media/art for Lifesong for Orphans when I return (we are taking the trip through this organization).

Royal blue is a relief and interestingly
a) flattering. This color IS so flattering. I really like it a lot.
b) works well on blonde. This is true, but the answer I chose is all-encompassing, because royal blue also looks good on brunettes and red heads.
c) unfashionable Untrue!

insatiable patience
palms by sunset What could be more remarkable than this?
united molecules

long explanations
skim milk duds Go for the real deal, if you're going to have milk duds. Except I do use skim milk in my cereal.
uptight anxiety stuff

Date: Thursday, December 24, 2oo9

Your day was:
a party
a U-turn
a smarty

Explain: Christmas Eve w/the fam- it was a chaotic party!

1. Opening an organized, odorless refrigerator filled with everything you like.
2. A mess of your own making, reassuring diversions to keep you busy and engaged in every corner. This definitely describes "feeling at home" to me.
3. The same person or animal that sometimes makes you want to leave your home.

If it's not there, there's nothing to find out.
I really like this quote.

Are you at peace with your hair?
a) yes Truly! A rare moment, trust me... I mean, I never usually hate my hair, but I get bored of it quickly. 
b) no

With respect to your generosity:
a) no comment
b) some take advantage
c) fifty-fifty There are plenty of people who are generous to me in return, so I have to go with 50/50.

*You will either enjoy this as much as me, or you will be someone who reads this and doesn't quite understand why I would spend my time with something like this. I seriously love stuff like this-- and, I think it is a great conversation started for blog material! Thus the comments in blue. I can never just fill out questions like these and then not have additional feedback. =)

Enjoy! Love you all.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Sharing the Gift

Well, people keep coming up to me and saying, "I was a (insert # here)."

After giving them a confused look, recognition floods my face as my brain scans all of the possible Facebook statuses, pictures, or blog posts they could be referring to. Guilty as charged-- my last blog entry was way too long ago, and I need to update so as to give my friends, family, and potentially strangers new material to discuss with me. Ha! Although, the "personality" test was kind of interesting, wasn't it?

Christmas is quickly approaching. Christmas Eve was always the big day in our family. Family tradition was that we opened all our gifts on Christmas Eve night, after dinner of course. As a child, it was always a painfully long day. I would run over to the tree every few minutes and examine all of my presents for the thousandth time, rearranging them, shaking them, changing my mind about which one I wanted to open first. There was such anticipation in getting to open gifts. I still love it and look forward to it, but somehow, when you get older, a lot of the magic dies. Maybe it's because the "surprise" factor is taken out of it-- nowadays, I know about 90% of the gifts I will be receiving before I open them. So how is that a gift? I mean, it still is, but to me, most of what makes a present exciting is being surprised. 

We never believed in Santa. I wasn't one of those kids who had that shocking, devastating moment that I remember when I first realized Santa wasn't real, because to me, he never was. I always knew that my parents bought all my gifts. And I'm glad. Santa is great and all, and I don't mind him, but I'm fairly sure I won't be teaching my kids about him. Presents are a wonderful token of giving, and that's what I want to teach my kids. The importance of a generous heart. Not about some guy with a white beard and a bag of toys who only gives to kids who are nice, and not naughty. 

Anyway. Christmas morning in my family was "stocking" time. So you see, the whole 2 days was full of all sorts of presents. Now, it's a bit different. Everyone is married with kids, so our big family celebration this year is going to be on Christmas Eve day. I'm excited about it; I love being with my family. Christmas day, then, will be my parents and I, and we are going to spend the day with a couple of cousins. That should be a nice time, as well!

I love Christmas. I love the holidays, the music, the decorations, the food, and all the excitement that seems to be present in the air. I love all of the hype and the environment and all the stereotypical stuff that most people either dislike in the first place, or eventually get sick of 10 days into December. But to me, it's what makes the holidays so exciting. It adds sparkle and flair, and it puts a smile on my face. 

I must admit, though, that this year and even in years past, I haven't been doing the best at remembering the true Reason for the Season. I mean, I know what's it is all about. But I feel as though I haven't placed the amount of importance on it that it warrants. I think that after awhile, it is easy to go through the motions of it and chalk it up as "another year of Christmas," instead of stopping to really focus on the magnitude of what it means for all of us.

What are we celebrating? A birth of Jesus, the One who is our Saviour. Without Jesus and His death on the cross, we end up where we belong-- burning for eternity. His gift of salvation is all we really need in this life, and so often, too many of us try to find happiness in other "gifts." But just like any material gift we will receive this Season, it eventually breaks down, becomes outdated, loses its magic, or gets rusty. Does salvation break down? Does it become outdated, lose its magic, or get rusty? Absolutely not-- it's the one gift that cannot be earned, is not deserved, and should always be shared. You can't give anyone salvation, but you can tell others about how this gift has changed your life. 

Anyway, my point is, without Jesus' birth, there would be no ultimate gift. And really, we don't deserve it, anyway. But let's be glad that He was born into this world so that we have hope today.

Love you all, and I hope you have a terrific Christmas with your family and friends. 

I'll be back soon!


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I was a 36

Well, today was crazy.

Kristi left for Florida and will be gone for a week, so I'm manning the shop by myself. I actually really don't mind being alone and enjoy the independence, but I am finding that I miss having a team mate! Especially on days like today. Everyone decided to stop in. I LOVE visitors and customers, but it was just busy! The day flew right by me. 

Anyway, I'll share this fun little test that I've known about for years. I've gotten it in several e-mail forwards, and word on the street is that this is a personality test that Dr. Phil gave on an Oprah show many moons ago. If you have a few minutes, take it-- it's kind of interesting!


1. When do you feel your best? 
a) in the morning 
b) during the afternoon & and early evening 
c) late at night

2. You usually walk 
a) fairly fast, with long steps 
b) fairly fast, with little steps 
c) less fast head up, looking the world in the face 
d) less fast, head down 
e) very slowly

3. When talking to people you 
a) stand with your arms folded 
b) have your hands clasped 
c) have one or both your hands on your hips 
d) touch or push the person to whom you are talking 
e) play with your ear, touch your chin, or smooth your hair

4. When relaxing, you sit with 
a) your knees bent with your legs neatly side by side 
b) your legs crossed 
c) your legs stretched out or straight 
d) one leg curled under you

5. When something really amuses you, you react with 
a) a big, appreciative laugh 
b) a laugh, but not a loud one 
c) a quiet chuckle 
d) a sheepish smile

6. When you go to a party or social gathering 
a) make a loud entrance so everyone notices you 
b) make a quiet entrance, looking around for someone you know 
c) make the quietest entrance, trying to stay unnoticed

7. You're working very hard, concentrating hard, and you're interrupted; do you ... 
a) welcome the break 
b) feel extremely irritated 
c) vary between these two extremes

8. Which of the following colors do you like most? 
a) Red or orange 
b) black 
c) yellow or light blue 
d) green 
e) dark blue or purple 
f) white 
g) brown or gray

9. When you are in bed at night, in those last few moments before going to sleep, you lie 
a) stretched out on your back 
b) stretched out face down on your stomach 
c) on your side, slightly curled 
d) with your head on one arm 
e) with your head under the covers

10. You often dream that you are 
a) falling 
b) fighting or struggling 
c) searching for something or somebody 
d) flying or floating 
e) you usually have dreamless sleep 
f) your dreams are always pleasant

1. (a) 2 (b) 4 (c) 6 
2. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 7 (d) 2 (e) 1 
3. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 5 (d) 7 (e) 6 
4. (a) 4 (b) 6 (c) 2 (d) 1 
5. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 2 
6. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 2 
7. (a) 6 (b) 2 (c) 4 
8. (a) 6 (b) 7 (c) 5 (d) 4 (e) 3 (f) 2 (g) 1 
9. (a) 7 (b) 6 (c) 4 (d) 2 (e) 1 
10. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 6 (f) 1

Now add up the total number of points.

OVER 60 POINTS: Others see you as someone the should "handle with care". You're seen as vain, self-centered, and who is extremely dominant. Others may admire you, wishing they could be more like you, but don't always trust you, hesitating to become too deeply involved with you.

51 TO 60 POINTS: Others see you as an exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality; a natural leader, who's quick to make decisions, though not always the right ones. They see you as bold and adventuresome, someone who will try anything once; someone who takes chances and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your company because of the excitement your radiate.

41 TO 50 POINTS: Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out.

31 TO 40 POINTS: Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful & practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who's extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expect the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over it if that trust is ever broken.

21 TO 30 POINTS: Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy. They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder. It'd really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment, expecting you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then, usually decide against it. They think this reaction is caused partly by your careful nature.

UNDER 21 POINTS: People think you are shy, nervous, and indecisive, someone who needs looking after, who always wants someone else to make the decisions & who doesn't want to get involved with anyone or anything. They see you as a worrier who always sees problems that don't exist. Some people think you're boring. Only those who know you well know that you aren't.

Love you all!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Early to bed, early to rise...?

I am SO not a morning person.

But this morning, I took a deep breath and braved the dark, early hours of the morning... all in the name of "getting things done."

What has this world come to?

I obtained a wonderful 3rd shift job last Spring. What 3rd shift jobs are wonderful? The ones in which you are paid to sleep. =) Anyway, my shift ends at 6am, so instead of driving home, shuffling upstairs, and crawling into my nice, warm sheets... I stayed up.

Do you know what? It's like I added on a whole other half day to my day. It was great. I cleaned the basement, made a pan of brownies, had a leisurely breakfast, and went to the gym... all before going to work!

Will I continue this tradition? On an as-needed basis. My schedule lately has been beyond crazy. I have so many things on my to-do list that I'm not sure there are enough hours in the day for the next 2 weeks to get them all done unless I stop sleeping.

Another wonderful part of my morning was when I picked up this book that has been in my bathroom for quite some time. It's called "31 Days of Praise," and I randomly flipped to Day 11. Do you ever open the Bible or read something inspirational from a book that is exactly what you needed to see at that time? It's so encouraging... and this morning, that is exactly what happened. It was God's way of delivering to me a cup of comfort, and I loved it.

Here is an excerpt of what I was encouraged by...

"Thank You, my gracious and sovereign God, that You have been with me and carried me from the day of my birth until today...that You have known my whole life, from beginning to end, since before I was born...and that You wrote in Your book all the days that You ordained for me before one of them came to be.

Thank You that in Your gracious plan to bless and use me, You've allowed me to go through hard times, through trials that many people go through in this fallen world. How glad I am that You're so good at reaching down and making something beautiful out of even the worst situations! How encouraged I am when I think how You did this for Joseph, how his brothers hated and abused and betrayed him, and how You worked these things out for blessing, both for Joseph and his family and for countless other people.

I praise You that the things that happened in my past, both enjoyable and painful, are raw materials for blessings, both in my life and in the lives of others. So I thank You for the specific family (or lack of family) into which I was born and the opportunities You did or did not provide. And thank You for the things in my past that appear to be limitations, hindrances, bad breaks...the wounds of old hurts, the unmet emotional needs, the mistakes or neglect of others people-even their cruelty to me, their abuse.

How comforting to know that in all my distresses You were distressed. And how I thank You, Lord Jesus, that on the cross You bore my griefs and carried my sorrows, as well as my sings...that I can kneel at the cross and worship You as the One who took on Yourself all my pain and experienced it to he full. And how comforting to know that in the present, day by day, You feel with me any pain, confusion, inner bondage, or struggles that stem from my past. Thank You that all these seeming disadvantages are a backdrop for the special, unfolding plan You have in mind for me...and that if my past still handicaps me, You are able to lead me to the kind of help I need.

I'm so grateful that all my past circumstances were permitted by You to make me see my need of You and prepare my heart for Your draw me to Yourself, and to work out Your good purposes for my life. I rejoice that You are the Blessed Controller of all things-You are now, You will be throughout the future, and You always were. All my days had Your touch of love and wisdom, whether or not I can as yet fully see it.

And Lord, I choose to look beyond me past and present trouble is in this life-this temporary life- and fix my eyes on the unseen things that will last forever. i praise You for the eternal glory these things are piling for me as I choose to trust you."

Love you all!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

You've Got Mail

Being downtown has so many perks. One of my favorite parts is establishing relationships with people.

Normally, our mail man comes quite early-- around 9am. This is when Kristi and I arrive on most days, but on days that we are late or at a shoot, we miss the mail.

Today, I had dropped my car off to get fixed (down the road from where I work) and was walking to the office when the mail man saw me from afar and flagged me down.

"Hey!" he called. "I have some mail for you today, but you weren't there earlier when Is topped by. Wait just a minute."

He ran to his mail truck, shuffled through his stack, and gave me the piece.

On other various occasions, our Fed Ex and UPS delivery guys have seen we were gone and have remembered that we were located in my parents' house before, and have actually delivered there for us instead to make sure we got our package. Or, they have delivered our packages to a next door business for us to pick up later when we arrive.

None of this may seem like a big deal... but, it's the small things and simple acts of kindness that often speak to me the most. I love being able to establish these pleasant relationships... even if it's as simple as a "Hello, how are you today?" and a smile as I get handed a piece of mail.

Have a blessed day! Love you all!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Weekend 5

Well, I'm sitting here in the office on a late Sunday night. There are twinkle lights in our window. There's an empty popcorn bowl on the ground beside me. There's music playing from my speakers thanks to itunes. And I just finished up with about 2 hours of work on my church website job... still have many hours to go!

Kristi and I were busy at the end of last week getting the shop ready for Holidazzle! My mom did an awesome job of helping spruce up the front end of our place with her fun holiday items. We hung Christmas lights, painted snow on the windows, and lined up a bunch of yummy treats to serve on Friday night and Saturday. Friday night was a great turnout! We had a ton of people come through... so many, at times, that it was hard to move!! I think it was a great way for people to see our place and find out what we are.

Saturday and Sunday evening of this weekend was the Benefit Dinner. I sang in it this year. It's always a blessing! It's so neat to see how the songs come together, and it's really powerful to stand up on both of those nights and sing praises to the Lord in such a big choir. It sounds so cool! However, I will be thankful to have 1-2 nights now available in my week again, especially since my life only keeps getting busier!

Here are a few random highlights from my weekend:

1. Between Holidazzle, the Benefit Dinner, and church, I wore a total of 5 formal outfits. The wardrobe forecast for this next weeks looks like "casual, cute, and comfy."

2. I went bowling and scored a 63. I'm really good at bowling.

3. On Saturday night I ate 3 desserts. Creme brulee with berries. A banana split. Cookies 'n Cream shake from Steak 'n Shake. Tonight I ate 1 dessert. Peanut Butter Pie from One World.

4. I played a game where everyone picks a packet of sugar to put in their mouth, except that one of the packets has salt instead of sugar. Then, based off of everyone's facial expressions and reactions, you have to guess who has the salt in their mouth.

I picked the packet with the salt. My tongue almost burned off.

5. Frank Sinatra: A Jolly Christmas (purse) officially made his debut at the beginning of November and he's been accompanying me most everywhere!

Have a lovely day! Love you all!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Denying Coffee : Harder than it sounds

When I was at the conference this past weekend, my heart was moved to support a beautiful little girl from Honduras through Compassion. One of the speakers at the conference put it well: "We are often more concerned about our standard of living than we are about others living." He suggested that instead of buying the pumpkin spice latte that we think we need, just put a lot of sugar in some coffee. =)

This spoke directly to me, as I often treat myself with the luxuries of life. A specialty coffee drink, a big dessert, a new pair of shoes that are too fun to pass up. Do I need this stuff? No. But does it deliver some sort of temporary satisfaction? Absolutely. So much so that after awhile, I almost feel entitled to these things.

So, I made a deal that I would cut back my purchase of coffee drinks to one a week. To some of you, that still may seem like a lot... but you don't understand... my office is located in the center of 2 of my favorite coffee shops in Morton. Furthermore, I have a mild addiction to Starbucks. But I also have a coffee maker at home... and it works just fine. So if I can save even $5 a week on coffee, that money can now go to help this little girl in a country where just having 2 meals a day is a luxury.

The problem is, I told this all to Kristi. Yesterday, I was craving yogurt + berries from Eli's. But then, I also wanted a coffee drink to go with it.

"Taryn, it's only Tuesday," Kristi pointed out. "Are you going to be able to make it the rest of the week if this is the one you get?"

"Absolutely," I said. "No problem."

I was wrong. Today, we had a photo shoot in Peoria so swung by Panera on the way home for lunch. What did I want? Their mocha coffee drink. It's glorious. It really is. But thanks to Kristi's accountability, I said no.

And you know what? It was sad at lunch time, but as I sit here and type, it's not like I'm still in turmoil. It's often hard to deny yourself in the moment, but after the fact, it's always worth it. Whether it's a coffee drink or a serious sin you're denying, in the end, you've saved money, heartache, and guilt.

All afternoon and evening, Kristi and I jazzed up Imagine Artists with the help of both of our moms. There are now twinkle lights dangling from the windows, snow lining the edges, ornament-struck topiaries, and many sparkly gifts and items that will be on sale through the holiday season. It really all came together quite well, and I'm super-excited for the Holidazzle event this weekend! Stop on by and see us at our open house... we will have wonderful treats, specials, and gifts for sale!

Well... I should wrap it up. Just wanted to write a little, as I plan on holding up my end of the deal w/the blogging. I'll write if you read. I'll write even if you don't... because I love it. =)

Love you all!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Busy, but good!

So, I've decided to try to update more regularly by giving myself an easy blogging task. My job is to post something every day or so about the day, most likely concerning office life. Since that seems to be consuming a large portion of my time right now, that's probably what I'll write about.

However, I'll note that I just returned from an awesome weekend in Dallas, Texas! I road tripped down there with an SUV fulled of 6 others. We left Friday morning at 4am, arrived in TX about 4:30 pm, and attended the 1st session of the conference that night at 7. We heard Kay Warren & Francis Chan-- excellent speakers with great messages! God was surely present.

We stayed at my former room mates' relatives' house, and they were gracious enough to keep up on short notice! It was wonderful!! It seems as though everyone is so welcoming and warm down south. Saturday's conference started at 9am. The first speaker was Matt Chandler- he was excellent- and then we had 2 "connection sessions" + lunch with a ministry review of choice. I chose Prison Fellowship, as I've been getting actively involved with prison ministry at my home church. My connection sessions were also both good; one was about how to use art in the community, and the other was question-based discipleship. The last speaker of the day was Donald Miller.

The group walked around downtown for awhile, grabbed some supper, and then headed back about 7pm. Somehow, I ended up staying up all night long. I got myself into multiple AWESOME conversations; and at about 3am, I finished off the road trip as co-pilot for the 3-7:30 am shift. This was after sufficient snacks (popcorn, donuts, a banana, apple, etc.) We arrived home in the morning and topped it all off with blueberry pancakes.

I then did a mad dash for Morton and attended first service (a bit tardy, but I did make it) and stayed over the noon hour to serve as computer/website support, helping people in our church get signed up for the "Barnabas Group," a great service split into 8 groups to serve as help and outreach.

I went home after this and crashed for about 3 hours... then woke up to go out to dinner w/my family for my sister's birthday. Enjoyed steak and ice cream, went back home and slept for an hour in my cozy bed, and then woke up at 9:30 pm to go to my 3rd shift job.

Today is Monday, and it was a busy one in the office. We have a lot to get done this week, including preparation for Holidazzble this weekend!!! We will be hosting our open house this coming Friday/Saturday, so stop by if you're in the neighborhood! It's going to be a great time. We'll have snacks, handouts, and a raffle.

Tonight was "Girl's Night Out" for my sister, Tonya (we love to celebrate birthdays for about a week in my family!!!) I then came back to the office at about 9:30 to do some website work for my church web support job, 1 of 3 jobs in which I am currently employed =)

So on top of my busy life, I'll just throw in the responsibility to keep this blog updated =) Actually, I think I should do it... writing is good for me, and it's actually really a relaxing technique when I make the time to do it. I really love it, so hopefully I can pull it off... hold me to it!

Love you all!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Top 10: New Office Favorites!

I'm back, and with a "top ten" in tow!

But first, a preface...

The latest and greatest in my life concerns moving our Imagine Artists business office into a brand new location in downtown Morton! We received the place at the beginning of October and have been diligently working in it ever since. This includes numerous days and nights of rolling mustard yellow paint onto walls, purchasing old, vintage-like furniture, learning how to correctly use a spray paint can, calling people and recruiting their skills (sign-makers, carpet cleaners, internet providers, artistic painters, handy-men, etc.), and much, much more.

We even painted our front door purple.

So a lot of progress has been made... and in the weeks to come, a lot more will continue to unfold. It has been a great experience so far, and being downtown has been spectacular!

Today's Top Ten will focus on some of the top 10 things I like about our new location and being downtown. This post was inspired by my dad, so you can think him that I'm actually inspired to write... tonight, I was driving in his truck with him, and he asked me what my favorite part was about being downtown. And I thought, now wouldn't that be a great Top Ten.

Also, I should add... I will soon post pictures. Kristi and I are waiting until the office is completely done before we go public with it so that we can unveil the entire process in its entirety.

Top 10 Favorites... What would be your favorite thing about being downtown? Vote for your favorite!

1. Surrounding Businesses
It has been so fun getting to know the people in some of the surrounding businesses. We're right next to a bridal store, and the people in there are great! There is a gift shop/makeup seller next to us, and they are also very friendly faces. I'm excited to meet some of the others around us. New neighbors!!

2. The People
Kristi and I work facing 2 open windows (which will soon be covered), but it is very easy to people-watch. We can see people walk by and cars drive by at any time of the day. Every once in awhile, I'll hear a car jamming out to really loud music... or a huge semi will drive by and it feels like an earthquake is in progress. Anyway, it's fun to be in a place where there's a buzz, and at any given time, a friendly face could show up and inquire within!

3. Accessibility to Coffee
I am essentially right in the middle of 2 of my favorite coffee joints in Morton. So there's a chance that my addiction to coffee will not be cured for quite some time. The problem is, I was already a "regular" at these places... so now they really know me. I walk in, and they don't even have to ask me for my order. If I go early enough in the morning, I see the 65+ older mens' crowd, and I get in on the talk of the town.

4. Accessibility to Ice Cream
You know, DQ is just right across the street. Except today I learned that they are closed. Don't know how I missed that one! I thought they usually stayed open until November, but I sadly found out that are shut down for the season. Nonetheless, I know we will pay them many visits when they reappear in the Spring!

5. "Going" to Work
Before, our office was located in... my basement. So now, I actually get to go out my front door in the morning, get in my car, and drive the 5 blocks to work. It may sound silly, but there is something about having a place to be that gives you purpose. Before, I could go to work in pajamas with my cereal bowl in my hand. Now, I actually have to leave. This also helps me to separate work life from my personal life, which has been really great!

6. Picking out Paint Colors
They say that having a business partner is like being in a marriage without the benefits, and let me tell you... there may be some truth to that. =) Kristi and I have made so many decisions regarding moving this business that I almost feel like we are married. Picking out paint colors was interesting. We were actually inspired by one of the unique t-shirts that my mom sells, which will definitely be posted in the office photos when they go up online. Anyway, the color palette was derived from that shirt, and while we definitely changed our mind a few times, we are both satisfied with the end result!

7. Addition of Birds & Fish
IA now has a new look... including some cute little birds that are incorporated on our wall art. Additionally, there are 2 new Beta fish to keep us company during the day. The Betas still need names, and perhaps our hesitation to name them is due to their inactivity. We've both noted how "boring" they are. Yet the do add something extra to our meeting table.

8. Land Line
I think that Kristi and I will both cut our cell phone minutes in half. We now have a land line with a business number!

9. Walk-in Entertainment
I'm usually not a huge fan of sales people, but the other day, a guy walked in wearing a Santa hat. He handed us both a flyer for "singing telegrams" and "greetings in the grass." He wouldn't agree to giving us a demo, but we did talk about doing a trade! Anyone always wanted a bouquet of balloons and someone to sing you a song for your birthday?

10. Downtown Community Involvement
Our location will help us to be more exposed. There are a lot of fun events that go on downtown, including the upcoming Holidazzle. Kristi and I are excited to get involved with the community and help plan some of the events, and make ourselves known around town as the creative team.

Love you all! Stay posted for pictures!


Sunday, October 04, 2009

Hello Fall

Fall is officially here.

I can't believe it, but somewhere in between Pumpkin Festival activities and moving into our new office, the weather has cooled down. This past week hasn't done much for me... gray, cloudy skies with cold rain isn't my style... BUT, I will say, I am thankful that the weather up until that point has been beautiful. And I don't doubt that we have some nice, crisp, Fall-like days ahead.

The past couple of weeks have brought about a leap of faith and creative progress! Some of you may know that Kristi and I had been looking to get a storefront for our creative business. We weren't necessarily actively searching, but if we saw a "For Rent" sign, we would make the call. Over the past couple of months, we have been in and out of a lot of different spaces and place in Morton. A couple of weeks ago, we went through a place right in the center of downtown Morton. Great location-- and while the place definitely needed some work, we really saw a vision. We went for it...

And now two weeks later, we're still holding paint brushes. But we've made a lot of great process, and we're excited to open the doors to our new office relatively soon! Family has really been awesome in helping us out, and it's times like these that I realize I sometimes take for granted how talented and supportive my family is!

It's neat to look back even a year ago at this time... I was just wrapping up my last days at the publishing company that I had been working for, unsure about where this business would go. I worked at it full-time for a few months alone, and was soon joined by Kristi... but even to do that, there were no guarantees. Now it's October 09 and we have our very own place! I am excited to see what plans God has in store for this business in the future, and I truly hope we can make a difference for His Kingdom in our work!!!

Enjoy the picture... I often look at my nieces at this age and am slightly envious of their childlike freedom. I remember the days when I could run barefoot through open fields, laughing and screaming... and then suddenly, I'm all grown up and I wonder where the time went. =)

Love you all!


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Behind the Scenes

I don't want to fall back into the "posting once a month" habit... so here are my efforts at denying that possibility. Today, I'm posting a few fun images that will give you a little "behind-the-scenes" taste of what it is Kristi and I do.

Whenever we go on shoots, there are 2 of us. We love the teamwork and the mixture of different perspectives, angles, and creativity. However, often one of us is testing lighting or experimenting while the other sets up a shot. This results in pictures that we have of each other. We look through our "photographer gallery" every once in awhile and laugh at some of them...

And one thing we have always noticed is that we end up in entirely strange positions! When we are shooting photography, often the last thing on our mind is what we are doing to get the shot... we just do whatever we can to get it. More than once, I have found myself lying on the ground in the strangest ways possible, or crouched down in a way I didn't even know I could pull off.

Take a look at the following gallery and enjoy some of the many images we have had over the course of the past year on some of our shoots!

Love you all!


Saturday, September 05, 2009

Where did August go?

August has come and gone... and my blog has remained the same.

This is what happens when you get busy. And not only busy, but when you return to your blog every few days and see the same post still siting on the shelf, and you allow yourself to think, "Oh well. It's been this way for awhile... why sweat it? Plus, too busy today." Then I got used to that thought, and here I am a month later. However, just recently started hearing from some of my readers. Then I knew it had been awhile. So for the sake of my readers and also for the sake of "August," in which none of it was shared with the blogging world, here I go.

Work. The thing about August is that Imagine Artists did not shoot one wedding. So it's not like we were tied up every other weekend staring at a girl dressed in white and her circle of colorful brides maids. Kristi and I had a summer that was thick with that scene, and although we had the month off, August was a HUGE game of "catch-up." I can't tell you how many images we had to edit a few weeks ago... no doubt thousands... and it seemed like every couple of days, we just added another small photo session on top of it. So a lot of August consisted of making priority lists to see what we needed to edit next, running to a senior session, or visiting rent-able spaces downtown as we are in the process of finding the perfect place for an office.

It's been really fun. I am reminded-- and so thankful to God-- each and everyday that I'm in a job where I love every minute of it. I feel like I get to express myself creatively every day, and the nice thing about being an artist is that ultimately, I get to call the shots. Well, in a sense. There is a lot of wriggle room there, while still keeping into consideration that our business is a partnership. And since my business partner and I have very little in common (that's no lie!), it's been a really cool challenge working together and figuring out how to run a business with two very different minds. Yet I think this concept enhances us. It gives us dynamics. If we both had the same strengths and weaknesses, I think that would be a disaster. We'd both either always be late, or always be early. We'd both either want to take control, or both want to hang back. We'd both either edit in crazy textures and bright tones, or we'd both be articulate and classy. So we have learned along the way to take our differences and make them a strength instead of a liability.

Enough on business! One other thing I will add... we've been blessed to stay consistently busy and just recently sent out our Christmas Card Special mailer, so will expect to pick up in that area quite soon!

I've really been encouraged lately by God and His faithfulness. He has proven Himself over and over. Now, it's nothing new that my memory is terrible, so one activity that I am glad I do enjoy is to write. I often journal my thoughts and prayers, and in going back, it's amazing to see how God works. I would actually encourage anyone to do this. Sometimes we forget about even the small things that God carries us through. Or we go through something big, and in looking back, if we have a record of everything along the way, we see how God's hand worked in a certain situation.

I recently started a book called "Crazy Love" and while I have not gotten too far yet, I love the theme. It's opening pages really puts me in my place... which is to illustrate how magnificent and Almighty God is. Sometimes I believe that we take the world around us for granted. Do I stop and think about the complexity of the way my body works so that I can take my next breath, or how I'm standing on a globe that is rotating around a giant ball of fire that supplies light and life on Earth, or that if I zoomed out several light years away into outer space, Earth is merely a speck in the Milky Way Galaxy in which we reside, which is really just one of other galaxies out there? Not thoughts that I generally think about on a daily basis... but then, why not? Why am I not daily awed by God? Ultimately, I know that any genuine believer in Christ gets to this spot, but I guess my point is that I wish in my own life, it could be more of a daily attitude.

So there's a snap shot... I could talk about so much more, but have a grocery list of "work items" to accomplish this afternoon and I had an unexpected morning (of sleeping.) So, I will move on for now, and will return sooner than 1 month from now this time!!!

Thanks for reading... love you all!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009


A short video on children. These are among my favorite subjects to capture. I love how candid and uninhibited little tykes are before the camera. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Just because

This is what I learned yesterday.

Just because you plan a day at the lake, it doesn't mean it will be sunny.
Some girls and I had an excellent day planned at a lake. Kristi and I planned to take the day off of work, even though we had a lot to do. We have 2 weddings this weekend so we decided since we're working the weekend, this was going to be our "day off." However, we woke up to clouds. And rain. And COLD! In JULY!

Just because I used to rock at Mario Kart, it doesn't mean I'm good anymore.
Back when I was younger, I played N64 with my brother and brother-in-laws all of the time. And I loved it, because it was the one game I played with them in which I was actually competition. Last night I was at my sister's and my 8-year-old nephew begged me to play Mario Kart on the Wii with him. So I did. And I placed 12th twice in a row. But then we played a round called "Coconut Mall" and I got first place, and my ego was restored. I'll tell you... they have sure advanced in Nintendo since I was 8. I used to spend my days with Bubble Bobble, Pacman, Duck Hunt, and Mario 3, and now before I even begin a game I'm instrcuted to "create" a virtual version of myself, pick out my outfit, purchase a car, and create a profile. It's crazy!

Just because there is free food, it doesn't mean I'll eat it.
WHAT?! I know, right. Hard to believe. I went to a Chiefs game last night and it was "Free Hot Dog" night. But I didn't eat one, even though I love hot dogs. This could have something to do with the fact that I had just finished a great dinner that included Monkey bread and Snickers cheese cake, so I was a little full. Don't worry, I still got popcorn.

Just becasue it's July, it doesn't mean it's going to be warm.
Last night we sat outside with jackets on. It was 65 degrees and cold. Felt like September. I can't wait for Fall, maybe then it will be warm.

Love you all!


Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Stand

Lately, I've been thinking.

The Lord began working in my heart at the beginning of last week. I had the thought, "Is my Faith evident to others? Am I a Christ-like witness? Can people look at me and know what I am about? Who have I touched lately?"

Not that it's all about me. Certainly not. My worry is that my "self" is getting in the way of being real about Christ to others.

Wednesday night was Family Worship in Morton. One of our Morton ministers had the message about the "4 Cs" ... Call, Conviction, Confession, Conversion. The minister who followed up said, "If you are a believer and are wondering what you are "called" to do, don't sit around and wait for a thunder bolt to strike in order to know whether you should witness or not. As a believer, your call IS to witness." As Christ-followers, our jobs are not to be stagnant and wonder, "Hmmm... I wonder if I should have said something there?"

It's not like we need to shove the salvation message down everyone's throat, but it's an attitude of being aware. Taking opportunities as they come. Establishing relationships. Showing people who you are... so when the time does come to "say something," the groundwork is laid. And sometimes it will be more spontaneous. The goal is to be clothed with the Armor of God, have a Christ-like attitude, and "live" the true joy that comes forth. Sometimes it's the nonverbal witness that speaks louder than any words can. We should appear "different." A "different" that stirs others up and makes them wonder, "Where is their source of Hope coming from? What is the joy I see in their face? How did they get through that tough time in such a way?"

Sometimes, I realize that my perspective is so off. I miss opportunities because I think, "But Lord, shouldn't I have some sort of amazing spiritual experience here?" Not necessarily. Often God wants you to work exactly where He has you... such as, the co-worker you've sat by for 3 years, or the brother who has a hardened heart and it's easier to say nothing at all, or the friend who is the nicest person in the world but lives a dysfunctional lifestyle. You don't need a random stranger off the street or a new face at church to "witness." Often the most obvious candidates are just a close friend or family member away. And sometimes they ARE in the form of a new face or random stranger. But let's not forget those who surround us!

What amazes me, as I look at this concept, is that we are talking about souls. Human, living souls. Anyone who believes... are you not filled with so much hope and joy that you will one day get to spend eternity in Heaven? Imagine not having that inside of you. Imagine living a life of sin, emptiness, and despair. Imagine filling your life with activities in order to distract your numb mind and hardened heart so you don't have to face the Truth of the matter which is the consequence of a burning Hell to anyone who does not believe. It's not just a, "Well, I said something but I don't think she received me well. Oh well," type of thing. It's a person's very life! It's a big deal.

While I say that, let me make it clear that we, as humans, do nothing to "save" people. It's totally Christ. We are vessels. We are spreaders of His love. We are children of God. We can show true joy. But we do nothing next to Christ but let Him work through us. It's His death on the cross that saves us all from eternal despair, and it is that blood that covers every person.

We may definitely be used in the process, but really, it's not about us at all. We are just being used by Someone so much greater in order to glorify the King.

On Thursday night I went to a praise singing. There was a talk afterwards that also touched my heart, containing the same theme as the night before: Christ's work to save others and what are we doing to witness? How have we suffered for Christ?

I thought of my own life. The majority of my work is with a business partner who is an amazing Christian friend. While we can be a spiritual encouragement to one another, it's not as if I have to worry about her soul. We do have customers, and we have discussed that one of our goals is to be a Light to those who are unbelievers. Beyond that, though, it's not like I'm daily surrounded by massive amounts of unbelievers who desperately need the Word.

That sounds like an excuse.

And it is. No matter what, there are always people in my life who need Christ. I don't have to go far to find them. As I was saying before... often, they are closer than I would like to realize. After so many tries, witnessing should not become "old news" with a certain person. With that being said, we are not called to be annoying, pestering Christians but as loving. Our attitude of joy and love towards someone should not change just because he/she refuses to listen. Furthermore, sometimes we may face opposition or actual "suffering" for the cause of Christ. Fortunately for most of us, in this day and age and our current culture, this does not mean being stoned, persecuted, or thrown in jail. However, sometimes it DOES mean being put down. Feeling rejected. Being made fun of. Standing alone. Walking away when everyone else stays. Being the odd man out. Showing a different action instead of going with the crowd.

Are we ashamed of Christ? Do we let others and what they think of us become more important than Christ in us? Do we hide Him away in order to blend in or "stay cool" at the very cost of being a witness of His Love and sharing His Story?

It happens in my own life a lot more than I care to admit.

I'll end with a song that we sang on Thursday night. The lyrics really stood out to me.

The Stand

You stood before creation
Eternity within Your hand
You spoke the earth into motion
My soul now to stand

You stood before my failure
Carried the Cross for my shame
My sin weighed upon Your shoulders
My soul now to stand

So what can I say
What can I do
But offer this heart O God
Completely to You

So I'll walk upon salvation
Your Spirit alive in me
This life to declare Your promise
My soul now to stand

So what can I say
What can I do
But offer this heart O God
Completely to You

So I’ll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all

So I’ll stand
My soul Lord to You surrendered
All I am is Yours

Love you all!


Monday, June 29, 2009


I posted yesterday with intentions of not coming back for awhile, but today was monumental.

Well, not really.

But post-worthy.

So, the morning started out like any other... with me being slightly klutzy and tripping or knocking into something and saying, "Ouch." This is nothing out of the ordinary.

Then afternoon rolls around and Kristi and I are loading up her car for a photo session. I was carrying a chair out the back door. It was a relatively big, awkward chair, so I was maneuvering it so that it would fit through the opening. As I did so, the screen door started to shut behind me and my foot came up to keep moving forward. The corner of the door caught my ankle, and instant pain shot through my foot.

No big deal, though. Ouch, but I kept moving. It was one of those injuries that hurt but I didn't really check it out until I was done putting the chair in the car because I just wanted to finish the task at hand.

However, when I looked down, the entire back of my foot was covered in blood. Upon closer inspection, a big chunk of my skin had come off and so I immediately went inside to find a band-aid and Neosporin. First, though, I dabbed at my ankle to clean up the mess. By the time I got into the bathroom and looked down, my foot had continued to bleed and I saw I had tracked it all over the kitchen floor, rug, and bathroom floor. What a mess!

I finished up w/this wound and ran off to the photo session. So much for shoes with straps for the next month. Good thing it's flip flop season.

Then tonight, Kristi was editing some images and I scooted my chair over to her computer to look at something. As I did so, the most painful sensation shot through the bottom of my OTHER foot. I looked down to confirm that indeed, a push pin had been injected into the bottom of my heel. Ouch!

Blood immediately gushed forth.


Up to the medicine cabinet again, this time in search for a smaller band-aid.

Now that I have injuries on both of my feet, maybe tomorrow I can work on my arms. My goal is to stay injury-free for the rest of tonight. I might have to start living inside of a plastic bubble.

Love you all!


Sunday, June 28, 2009

early top ten

I was recently in the car with an individual who will go unnamed and she told me:

"Taryn, don't take this the wrong way, but, lately you have not posted anything on your blog that has made me laugh.

I need you to make me laugh again."

Lucky for me, my self-worth isn't placed in how hilarious I am on my blog. Unfortunately for my unnamed friend, I'm fresh out of ideas.

So I have a feeling that tonight's post will be a few bricks short of something hysterical, but it's OK.

Take heart. At least I'm posting anything at all.

Life has been crazy. Really busy!

If we could get in a time machine and travel back to 6 months ago at this time, we could see me sitting in the dark, cold "purple room" of our basement, dressed in comfy warm clothes, sipping coffee, and deciding whether to turn the space heater off or not.

We fast forward to today and I am sitting in a bigger, more spacious office (however in the same basement) in air conditioning, very sun burnt, crazy busy, and one day past shooting the 6th of 15 weddings this year.

Who would have thought?

Business has grown and has been blessed, and we have the Lord to thank for that!

Anyway, my point is this: I was bored 6 months ago. And now I can't seem to sit still for one day.

But I still like to drink coffee, so that hasn't changed.

OK, enough on how "busy" life is... in other news:

I'm posting an early Top Ten, because chances are I won't be back on Tuesday. So we're early this week, but better early than not at all.

Today's Top Ten will focus on the top ten things that I would love to do if I had 3 hours of interrupted "time" in the morning. I am NOT a morning person, that is for sure. So if I had some sort of "prep" time to my day, just a 3-hour window in which I could just pause all other outside life and carry out these activities, this is what they would be. Vote for anything that you already do every morning:

1. Morning Walk or Bike Ride.
This would include music from an ipod.
It's so much more inspiring and motivating to exercise when you have tunes in your ear.
Plus the fresh air and sunshine help to "wake you up."

2. Breakfast.
I LOVE breakfast.
And not just ANY breakfast, but a good one.
Like French Toast, or
Eggs and bacon, or
A Giant Cinnamon Roll, or
Waffles & Bananas, or
something like that.

3. Coffee.
A big mug of chocolate mocha coffee.

4. Word Jumble.
This is my FAVORITE puzzle in the newspaper.
Some prefer the Sudokus.
Some like the Crossword.
I like the one at the bottom of the page, the one where you unscramble several words in order to form a list of more letters that you have to unscramble into a phrase that is the answer to some sort of play-on words comic.

5. Read.
The newspaper.
A chapter in my current book.
The devotions from my Bible.

6. Learn.
I love
I would love to devote a few minutes everyday to learning about a new topic.
I think it's good for the brain!

7. Clean.
Tidy up the place.

8. Photograph.
Something new every day.

9. Write.
In my journal, or
A card to a friend, or
It's good for the mind!

10. Pray.
It's the best way to start your day.

Love you all!


Monday, June 22, 2009

about today.

5 things about today.

1. it was one of the hottest, most humid days of the year. and i was privileged to spend 2-3 hours out in it. and these hours were not spent a) swimming, b) lying directly underneath a sprinkler, or c) immersed in cold ice water, which, as far as i am concerned, were the only 3 sane ways to spend today if outdoors. no, my 2-3 hours were spent "working" (i.e. taking pictures for 2 different photo sessions), which is enough to heat a person in cold conditions. so. a large portion of my day was spent sweating.

2. but let's not blame the entire sweat session on just being outdoors. no, time spent in my car was also such. why? because my air conditioning is out. that's right. it's out in my car. on the hottest, most humid day of the year. so the 60 miles i drove today in my car were also spent in extreme heat. so then, to relieve this problem, i simply just rolled down my windows so more of this hot, humid air could "cool" me off while driving. worked like a charm... (not).

3. it is almost 11pm and i should be in bed, because i will be waking up at 5:15 am tomorrow morning. but i can't, because...

4. well, i drank 2 really sweet ice coffee drinks today. yes, 2. oops. but... i was by panera. and then i was really close to a starbucks. and, well... it was a hot day. and it tasted good.

ok, so i didn't really need to drink 2.

but they tasted good.

5. i had a great day-- i really truly did! and i topped it off with a wonderful bible study with some very special girls.

and my new best friend got me to bible study tonight.

her name is jennifer.

she belongs to a company called verizon wireless and for $10/month, i get to use her navigation services to direct me anywhere!

she automatically knows where i am at all times, she can direct me to any italian food restaurant, coffee shop, or mall according to my gps location by car or foot, and she provides me with prompts, maps, and directions all at my very finger tips!

what more could i ask for.

tonight on the way home, i actually for a minute fooled myself into thinking i could get home by myself. no problem. no need for jennifer.

after about 5 miles of driving, i saw a sign that didn't seem quite right...

so i consulted with jennifer...

and she told me to take my first legal u-turn.

i had travalled 5 miles in the wrong direction.

for $120 year, i may just be at the right place...

and as far as "at the right time," goes, i'll have to wait until verizon wireless comes out with a new "on-time" system for those of us who are chronically late.


love you all!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

one of those days.

Today was one of those days...

first day back from vacation.
The first day back from vacation is never a happy feeling, but come to think of it, today wasn't half bad considering. I always picture those days as awful, early morning, slow-moving, yawn-invoking times, but today was endurable. Maybe it had something to do with all of the coffee and caffeine I had today.

running late.
All day. And for those of you who know me well, this isn't really a rare, one-day problem. It's basically the theme of my life. I'm surprised I wasn't late for my birth. It's really a chronic problem that I wish some sort of oral medication could resolve, but there's nothing to be done except turn back the clocks in my house to 20 minutes earlier some day when I'm not home. I'm kidding. But really, it all started this morning when on my slow-moving-still-feel-like-I'm-on-vacation body got out of bed. Actually, I gave myself plenty of time, but the problem is that I wasn't as quick as I usually am. Therefore, breakfast forfeited, and the apple-cinnamon oatmeal I fixed for myself was wolfed down in literally 3 large gulps. I grabbed my thermos of coffee and was out the door. I was scheduled for on-the-job training today until 11:30, and since I was driving and mastering the course of mail run, I lost all track of time. I didn't get done until 11:45 which left me with 10-15 minutes to come up with an idea for lunch before I had to be out to TR for my class that started at noon. I'm not one of these people who gives up a meal no matter what the circumstances, so I sped over to the Kmart plaza in search for food. Chinese? Takes too long. KFC? Ugh, totally not my favorite but I headed in that direction until I spotted the solution: Blimpie! I pulled into the parking lot and sighed when I saw a guy who slid into step just a few feet ahead. Bummer. I was a little bugged he got in ahead of me until he opened the door for me, and his gentleman-like character lifted my spirits. However, the sandwich artists at Blimpie today didn't get the memo that I was in a hurry, so they were moving at some sort of turtle pace. You know when you're in a hurry and the world seems to shift into slow motion? That's how I felt. I grabbed my food and hit the road, SO thankful that the construction work going on at Veterans Road (all for the sake of being able to reach Walmart at all angles of Morton) was somehow stopped at the moment and no guy in a bright orange vest was holding up a SLOW or better yet, STOP sign at me. So I made it through class and rushed home to my list of 5 phone calls that I needed to make. My friend and business partner showed up so I talked to her for a few minutes, then made the calls and shot out a few e-mails, only to find I was 10 minutes late to the Survivor Dinner I was suppossed to be at to take pictures. Fortunately, I didn't miss much, and I was able to capture some nice moments at the dinner.

cops, cops, everywhere.
Even in my reading material. I'm reading this book right now about this negotiator, and basically it's about two cops. Then today, I saw police men everywhere. And it's not that I'm thinking more about them becuase of this book, because at one point I was being followed by a police car without realizing it and then suddenly when I saw him I was very nervous that I had been speeding. He continued to follow me for awhile and then thankfully went straight when I turned. I think it's so funny that when police cars are around, everyone drives like 5-10 UNDER the speed limit. I saw several other law enforcement vehicles lurking around town tonight...hmmm...

fresh air.
I needed it badly so tonight after the dinner I hopped on my bike and started the trek toward Nautilus. The air was heavy and humid and the sky was cloudy, but somehow just pedaling on the road with the wind to my face and music in my ears set the world straight and relaxed me. Often, the art of being active is what winds me down the most. It's quite the backwards concept but it's really the truth. Heather had texted shortly within that time so I committed to ging on a walk with her when she got off work at 10pm. Another much needed session! Walking and talking has always come easily to our friendship...

i wish i was invisible.
I noticed this thought for the millionth time tonight as I was walking around at the Survivor Dinner snapping pictures. My task was to obtain pictures of people at the dinner, obviously candid ones. I love taking candid pictures all except for one problem: the people themselves are often an obstacle. Candid cannot be truly candid unless someone knows you're not there. Unfortunately I only had the 50mm lens tonight which has no zoom. YOU are the zoom. A large part of the successful photos captured with this lens are taken at a good 3-4 feet from the person, which means I can't hide in a corner and get a good picture. I have to be willing to get up close and personal. Easier said than done. I've shot enough wedding receptions to interpret the strange looks and brief stares of those mingling that are wondering, "Why is that girl with the camera taking my picture?" Of course I comfort myself with the fact that most people assume I'm a professional photographer and serve a purpose for walking around with 2 cameras strapped to myself while nudging my lens into their space, which is the truth, but sometimes I forget people might know that when I get the apprehensive stares. Then every once in awhile you get the people who immediately react and look away, cover their face, or make a face and look at you like you're holding a shot gun instead of a camera. I guess both do shoot. We do have a lens that allows you to stand a comfortable distance away and zoom in on people from quite a ways back and still get a beautiful picture, which is essential at some events. However this lens was not on me tonight. So I decided tonight that the only real solution to my problem is to become invisible. If I could walk around and get the pictures I really wanted of people being natural, unhibitied, and surrounded in laughter, it would be a beautiful thing. And on some level I eventually get there when the evening has warmed up and people forget I'm swarming around them like a bee by a honeycomb. But until then, and even then, there's still that small, inhibited behavior that resides in anyone that knows a camera is present. I know it because I've been there. And since I'm not at liberty to sit everyone I photograph down and give a speech on "forgetting I'm in the room all night," this is the situation I deal with at most events that I shoot. So obvoiusly I have found ways to overcome (i.e. buy a lens that allows you to zoom in from very far distances). And really, it's not always as hard as I'm making it sound. I just wanted to paint the picture as to how glorious it would actually be to be an invisible photographer.

That's really what I want to be when I grow up.

But I guess if it doesn't work out, a photographer will do.

Kristi introduced me to the concept of organizing all of my emails into folders and only having what the e-mail in my inbox as my "to-do" e-mails, and then file them away as I get them done. It's an ingenious idea... when I'm actually around to keep up on it. And most of the time I am, but as mentioned before I was on a family vacation in WI Dells this weekend (good times! I'll post pictures soon), plus my life has been seriously crazy trying to keep up with 3 jobs that have all suddeny increased in busy-ness, so currently I have 42 e-mails to deal with. That's before 18 more come in tomorrow, 1/3 of which I'll immediately delete (I don't need to know about Old Navy's sale or Barnes & Nobles' latest book of the week), 1/3 of which will remain in my "to-do" inbox, and 1/3 of which I'll quickly reply to and file away if requiring immediate attention. Anyway, I heard on the radio this morning that in a work day, you should only plan on checking your e-mail once and it should NOT be first thing in the morning. Evidently that's one of your most productive, creative times, so you should start with brain-heavy work. However, e-mails should be checked once a day and stay "caught up" on so as not to pile up, perhaps around 11 am. I heard this on 106.9, my favorite morning radio talk show.

love you all!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

my sunday.

Today was the first day in a long while that I was able to enjoy a full day uninterrupted in Morton church. With all of the wedding photography that Imagine Artists has been shooting, my weekends lately have been filled with pictures. It's a wonderful thing... but, I will say, staying in one place all day today was quite a treat. I sat up front this morning, enjoyed a great lunch, grabbed my little nephew and carted him around for awhile (and he fell asleep on my shoulder... oh, my favorite), talked to some friends, and had a great relaxing afternoon.

After church I biked over to Nautilus with my parents, the place where we work out. A lot of people around here work out at Gold's Gym. At first, I wanted to follow the crowd as the "body attack" classes and little community of people and treadmills looked attractive, but now I'm glad I stayed put at our original choice of exercise. I often get one-on-one training at Nautilus including an extra "push" when I need it as well as a correction of form to make sure I'm getting the most benefit. Also, it is my understanding that weight training is the most effective form of exercise to burn fat and stay healthy. I get my cardiovascular exercise in by going on 6-8 miles walks with my friend and by biking to Nautilus on the days I work out, so I feel like it's beneficial all across the board!

When we had successfully returned from our exercising with only a few drops of rain catching us, we decided to bathe our 2 cats. They despise this activity. I'm not sure why cats are so terrified of water but our cats definitely are. I even googled this phenomenon afterward and couldn't find any real good reason why this occurs, but nonetheless, we got the cats nice and clean and brushed.

We then journeyed to Chili's to meet Tate & Melissa and kids for dinner. After that, I hooked up with a couple of my friends. I ended up at Barnes & Noble with Holly by the end of the evening. We got our Starbucks fix and roamed the store finding magazines and books of interest. Among my selections included several books on digital photography and applications, a book on cats, and a book on personality types. I ended up purchasing a book on nonverbal communication (via body language) written by an ex-FBI agent, as this fascinates me, as well as a giant book of Word Jumbles. Those are my ultimate favorite. I look for them every morning in the paper and see how fast I can figure them out. Most prefer the Soduko or crossword puzzles, but I LOVE unscrambling the words and puzzle. Sometimes, if I can't figure out a word, I think about it all day long (in between other activities) until I do.

I also made another goal while in Barnes & Noble tonight. I'd like to make an Andy Warhol Art collection. I really love his quotes and B&N sells his art-quotes in squares, now framed, there. I almost bought another tonight to add to my 1 (I know, my collection is HUGE so far!) but I decided I have plenty of time to accumulate and I left it on the shelf. I would someday like to have 5-8 hanging in a row by my desk when IA has a bigger office.

Well, that was my day. Thought I would share. Sounds kind of diary-ish, but, oh well. I'm going to try to head to bed, I have a big week ahead!

Also, I had an idea for Top Ten this week so if I'm not running around like crazy by then I might post. It's not out-of-this-world spectacular or anything but it's post material, so maybe check back Tuesday.

Love you all!


Thursday, June 04, 2009

life gallery

I fear that I have been going through a bout of writer's block.

Every time I come to the posting board, I freeze. Usually, all that I really have to do is pull up the white screen and start typing, and some sort of post formulates.

Lately, it hasn't come. For the first time in a long time, I cannot put 2 sentences together in a meaningful way to save my life. I don't like it.

So I decided to dedicate this post to imagery to get the focus off of my writing (or lack thereof).

Before I show the gallery, though, a preface:I am not saying this to be repetitive or just because I feel obligated to say it "as a photographer," but I really do mean it... in the past few years, I have come to better experience my life through photos. Allow me to explain... whatever I'm up to, whether it's an outing with my girl friends, a family cookout in the backyard to celebrate birthdays, or a random night on the town, I feel like my best "story" of it is through images. Not only do I see the night more artistically, but snapping photos creates a visual record. Post-production allows me to add additional creative flair and social networks and technology such as Facebook and Blogger gives me the opportunity to share it with others.

Following will be a conglomeration of my March-April-May "Favorites" from my "life" image gallery. I'll let you pick up to 3 favorites since there are so many choices this time. It was hard to narrow down so I just decided to put up anything that I loved.

Good Morning

Tiny Dancer

Rose Bowl

Beau Behind Balloons



Boys Be Boys

May Day

Lil' Sulker

Mirror #2

Big Red
Leaf Me Alone

Pocketful of Posies

Back Bow

Summer Sip



Night Lights

Ladies Night Out

Vote for your 3 favorite titled images! Love you all!


Friday, May 29, 2009

office space

It's the summer of 2009, and Imagine Artists is officially working together in the same office.


...but, it's been interesting.

There are several little idiosyncrasies popping up.

It's one thing to be friends with someone..
It's another to be business partners.
And then it's entirely another to be friends & business partners who work in the same office space.

Let me go over a few quirks about Kristi & I that we have been "learning" over the past few weeks about one another... just another set of bullet points to add to our "differences" list!

I will note, though, that while we have a lot of differences, I truly believe it is what makes us such a dynamic team!

Watching the Clock
Kristi is a very prompt individual, if not insanely early. I remember when we'd run around together back in our early college days and we were both still living at home. We'd set a time to be somewhere, and about 25 minutes before that time she'd walk into my house.

Of course, I'd be upstairs in my bathroom, just thinking about getting ready. So she'd sit and wait on me while I changed my clothes, fixed my hair, brushed my teeth.

Anyway, it's an attribute that is positive-- we should all aspire to be on-time individuals. There is a reason we have clocks and schedules and calendars, so we should learn to adhere to these policies for the most efficient turnout.

However, my brain must have trouble processing that simple request. It is very hard for me to view "time" in the correct concept. In my mind, the party hasn't started until I'm there. Often, I feel like I have more time than I really do. I think, "Oh, that'll take me 5 minutes." An hour later, I'm finding out that I was wrong. Also, sometimes I am in such deep concentration over something that I don't even realize that time is escaping. It's crazy, really. But definitely an area that needs fine-tuning in my life! Let's just say that it's a good thing one of us is so prompt, or else we'd be in deep trouble!

Work Space
Kristi cannot even begin to think about working until her desk space looks flawless. No clutter. It would be the end of life for her to have to edit pictures or design a logo with a pen out of place or a cup off to the right. It would best be taken care of.

For me, I'm the biggest clutter bug on the planet. As I type, I have 2 pens, masking tape, a coffee cup, 2 stacks of checks, a customer folder, my calendar, a bunch of sheets of paper, my phone, and several folders all within reach. What if I need something? No really, though, I have to make a mess IN ORDER to start working. The clutter means I'm actually getting something done.

So, it's interesting when, Kristi looks over at my desk on a daily basis and says, "How can you work like that? Don't you have to clean that up?"

And I look over at her desk and say, "What are you doing? Where's all your stuff?"

Kristi's dream would be to video Skype chat with me while sitting just 4 feet away in the same room. My dream would be to turn my head 90 degrees and say, "Hey, Kristi, what do ya need?"

For real, though, ever since we both got our imacs, Kristi's been trying to call me and video Skype me. Perhaps I would do a good thing to just remove Skype from my Applications. I'm kidding... it's all in good fun. And trust me, we do plenty of verbal (and sometimes even nonverbal) communication while together, miraculously without the help of Skype.

We both have very different styles. It's nice that we've been able to collaborate and create a "look" unique to Imagine Artists, but as independent artists we are two totally different creators! It's crazy. We often sit and view images together before posting final sets online, and it never fails: time after time, I'll love an image that she'll hate, or she'll absolutely adore a picture that does nothing for me. There are plenty of times we compromise or actually agree, but in general, we are so different!

Kristi is very quick and efficient. She sees something needs to get done, she pulls it up, and she does it.

I tend to take my time. I think about something, I analyze it, I make lists about it, and then when I finally do it (if I do), I do it very thoroughly.

Both methods have their pros and cons, but it's been really evident as we both work on projects together!

Doer vs. Dreamer
Kristi is a doer. She sees something that needs to get done and she does it... right then.

I'm a dreamer. I think about something that needs to get done, and then I develop an idea about it. Then I write it down. Then I print it off and add more to it. Then I check over it with Kristi. Then I bounce my idea off of several other people. Then I might do it. Or I might not, because something else might come up.

This is manifested itself in our "daily" tasks. I make lists about everything under the sun-- all our projects and all our ideas. Then I decide the proper order to do everything and I go through and start working... often bounching from project to project or changing things along the way. I am a "big picture" person who wants to see the whole gamut.

Kristi is more of a "here and now" type of girl. She knows what she needs to work on... today. She sits down at her desk and she gets it done. A to-do list like mine would put her over the edge. In fact, it does. Often I bring it out and she about falls off her chair.

I might note, since "personality typing" is so near and dear to my heart, that this describes a good difference between being intuitive and sensing. I am an intuitive who wants the whole picture. I NEED to know what's going on in all aspects... and I have to see it. Kristi is more of a here & now, present day, let's-focus-on-facts-that-matter type of worker. That's a Sensing characteristic.


It's been fun working together, and I'm sure as time goes on we will discover more and more differences and quirks in our "working" styles. As I stated above, a lot of these differences I attribute to our personality types. It makes so much sense that as an intuitive feeler perceiver, I'm often distracted, late, all over the board, dreaming, and looking at everyhing but today. And with Kristi being a Sensor, her mind is set on "today," all the relevant facts of the "now," and would rather take action than sit around and dream.

Fun times!

Love you all!