Wednesday, March 31, 2010


On Monday morning, I received a phone call.

"Good morning, Taryn," came the voice on the other line. "When I pulled into work this morning, I saw a pretty green car on my lot."

"It's here?!"

"It's here," he said.

That evening at 5:30, I headed over to Bloomington with my parents and Kristi, who faithfully came along to document the whole experience. She captured enough video footage and pictures to last a lifetime... and with it all, she put together a fun little video that is posted on FB. I am so thankful to have a friend who takes videography as seriously as I do! Rest assured, no big moment of our lives will go uncaptured...

Anyway, it was a picture perfect evening. Call me sentimental, but I was really hoping for a blue sky day for when I picked up my beetle. I mean, cloudy would have worked, too, but there's something so positive and happy about driving down the road with a blue sky and sunshine above.

My wish was granted. Monday was a beautiful, blue-sky, sunny day. The Lord knew my heart and blessed me with even that small treasure! I was able to drive my new car home as the sun was setting on a warm, blue-sky evening. It was fun being able to show my family and friends that same night.

I could go on and on, but, it's just a car (my dream car!). So I'll stop now. But, I will say, a feeling of impending doom keeps haunting my mind. I know this is just for the suspicious, but do you ever feel like something is bound to go wrong at a time when everything seems to be working out so right? I keep thinking about the fact that I was able to start my own business with a really good friend, doing what I love to do. Now, a few years later, I purchase my dream car. Not many people get their dream job AND their dream car. I guess instead of assuming something must go wrong, I'll just chalk it up to an amazing God who has blessed me abundantly, and while usually once you've had a mountain top experience, the only place to go from there is down... I'll just enjoy the beautiful sky, my surroundings, and the hike as I make my way down the mountain. Let's hope it's more of a gradual hike rather than a free fall jump and crash...

Love you all!

Enjoy the pictures... T

Thursday, March 25, 2010

3rd Car's the Charm

Well, the Lord is teaching me patience.

Allow me to elaborate. For awhile now, I have been thinking about purchasing a new car. All my life, it has suited me well to drive used cars passed down to me from family members. I started off with a 1993 Geo Prism at age 16. It was great. It was this blue-green car with a sun roof, and it was similar to driving a go-cart. You could zip in and out of traffic, but don't be fooled-- the speedometer barely made it past 90 mph and once I took it up past 75, the whole car started to shake. It had already had it's fair share of drivers... my mom, my oldest sister, and then last and definitely most destructive, my brother.

It did the job, though. As far as I am concerned, if a car can get you from Point A to Point B, then that's all you really need.

Then, I graduated to "the Lumina." My parents purchased a champagne-colored SUV a few years ago. It's a Tahoe, better suited for carting around grandkids and other items that my mom sells in her shop. It came fully equipped with On-Star, a feature my mom can hardly live without. I actually think it's one of the most annoying features in the world, as I get to hear every phone conversation my mom has when I climb into the car with her. Nonetheless, it enables her to have both hands available while driving, and she loves it.

Anyway, when the Tahoe now labeled "Sutsi Pi" thanks to the license plates was bought, their old car was passed to me. The cherry red Lumina was definitely a step up quality-wise, as I felt like I had a little bit more speed power on the interstate and it was definitely more spacious and trustworthy. In fact, Kristi and I found this car very useful for hauling furniture and other photography-worthy items around. Just a few weeks ago, we were at a thrift store in Peoria purchasing a big orange chair.

"I don't think this chair will fit," the man said who was helping us out.

"Oh, it will fit," Kristi told him with determination.

I agreed.

After a few clever maneuvers, Kristi and I proved the guy wrong. We had it shoved in my back seat with no problem.

"Wow," he said, standing back in amazement. "Who needs an SUV when you have a LUMINA?" he said with conviction, shaking his head.

Well, I must confess sadly that the days of the Lumina are nearing an end. But not without quite a journey.

So, all of this serves as a backdrop to the real story here. I decided that my time has come to go for the big purchase and get the car I have always dreamed of... the car I have talked about owning since I knew what it was... the car that I feel describes me perfectly: the Volkswagen Beetle. And a green one.

I visited Suds in Bloomington with my parents a couple of weeks ago and chatted with a sales man there. He was very nice. I told him I was looking for a green VW Beetle with a sunroof.

"Perfect!" he exclaimed, "We have a used one with low miles on it that fits that description exactly, and it's right over..." as he motioned over to the corner of the lot where he thought it was, his voiced trailed off.

"...and, I guess it sold," he concluded after viewing the vacant spot.

I wasn't surprised. I had already tried to go the "used car" route and it had already proven unsuccessful. However, I still had high hopes for getting what I wanted by buying brand new.

"Well," I said, "What about getting a new one?"

We discussed my options. He did a search and found exactly what I wanted: a gecko green VW, one in which he thought was 2010, sunroof, tan interior, the works. It was even in the region.

It sounded perfect. Like it was mine. And just in time, too.

All of this actually went down over a phone conversation a couple of days later, and we arranged for me to come in the next day and sign papers. Upon arrival, I received some news.

"Well, it turns out that the VW we thought was available is not," he said. It had been snatched up in the little window of time that the dealer hadn't called back. And, it turns out it was a 2009.

I found out that 2009 was the last year they made the famous "gecko green" color, so if I wanted green, I had to go 2009. Furthermore, 2010 is the last year that VW is offering the cute bug model. Next year's cars will have a flat top. A shame, yes, I know.

Anyway, owning a green 09 VW beetle then becomes quite valuable. It means I will have the green color the last year it was available during the last year that model was also available in that color. So. If only I could get my hands on one.

My dad and I proceeded to spend all afternoon at the dealership, waiting as the sales man and sales manager hunted down a green beetle for me.

"If color wasn't an issue, you could have a brand new 2010 beetle with everything you want right now," he reminded me, referring to the bright red bug sitting out in their parking lot.

However, I would not be swayed. Green was the dream. And backing down from something even as frivolous as color choice at this point seemed like too big a compromise.

Finally, the very last green one they could find was located in the US, completely out of the region, and with light interior, but-- and here is the trade-off-- no sun roof. After much input, I decided a) it's cheaper without one, b) I won't use it as much as I think I will c) I like putting the windows down, anyway, d) I don't like the sound it makes in my ears when the sun roof is open e) no chances of roof leaks and f) it's just one more thing to go wrong. So 6 good reasons why it's OK the sunroof option didn't work out. Everything else was a go, and this one was located in Phoenix, Arizona, go figure. I have tons of family that live there and am actually headed there in a few weeks myself, but they said they had a driver would who pick it up.

The sales manager locked in the car. He said they were getting snatched up left and right, as many people were finding out this was the last chance to get a green one.

"If you had called 2 weeks ago wanting one, we could have gotten it for you with no problem," he said, "but time is running out and everyone knows that."

Looks like I snatched up one of the last ones available in 50 states. Who would have thought?

So the sales man promised me I would have it by this Thursday, and definitely by Friday of this week (tomorrow).

He even called me to confirm on Tuesday that everything was on board.

I phoned him tonight to check on the status and see when I should plan on coming to get it tomorrow. I was MEGA excited.

He said he hadn't heard anything yet but no news was good news.

Well, he called and left me a message several minutes later apologizing, saying he is so sorry but actually, my car is being picked up by a huge transporter that will be making stops all over the West coast and will not be arriving until (at the very latest) NEXT Wednesday. It would possibly come Monday afternoon, but maybe not.

I was so sad. I mean, I know it's just a car. And I am so very thankful I even ended up getting one of the last ones around! Truly. But I'm not going to lie... I was really looking forward to getting it tomorrow.

My appreciation for it grows each and every day, though, and I know once I do get it, I will be so excited! It has been quite a journey just landing one. Who knew? To me, though, the chase makes it more special.

Writing this post makes me feel materialistic. Yet, at the same time, I like to look at it as another one of God's huge blessings in my life... I feel like in so many ways, a lot of my dreams have come true, this being one of them. I realize how easy it is to place too much importance in material things and idolize them at times. I have always been prone to "self-express" through materials; clothes, gadgets, and now, my car. The VW Beetle fits my personality, and that's why I love it. I smile every time I see it. I love to create, capture, and imagine, and I think that's the "bug" image. This may sound silly, but my prayer throughout this entire process is that somewhere and somehow, I would touch someone by getting this Beetle. I hope it's used for a higher purpose than just buying a cute car to drive around in. I pray that it touches lives, if a car can do that.

I put no limits on God!

Love you all. As soon as the beetle arrives, I'll update with a picture... I am not making any promises about when it will come, BUT we're hoping next week!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Can I Be Old-Fashioned Now?

My cousin, Kelly (that was for you, Kristi) has been posting some old photos on Facebook of our dad's family from back in the day. It's so crazy to see images of my dad, my aunts and uncles, and my grandparents in their youth. A lot of faces pop out and look very familiar. I see a lot of my own siblings, nieces and nephews, and myself in some of the pictures.

Anyway, it goes without saying that I love photos of any kind. In fact, I might call it an obsession. I LOVE to look through photo albums. There is something so timeless about a photo. It's a moment captured in time that lives on forever. Often, these images are only a doorway into a whole host of other memories and recollections. My dad (who does not have Facebook) was on my account last night looking at a lot of the pictures, and he made several comments on them, recounting his days as a young boy as he saw each image. I love that.

And those pictures look so aged and old to me. The clothes they wore, what they did, how they looked; it all looks so dated and old fashioned.

Today, as I was walking along Main St. in the sunny 60 degree afternoon, I was thinking... at what point is the life I am living now going to be "old-fashioned?" It's inevitable... time passes, and we can't stop it. And I can look back as recently as the 90s and think... Wow. What was I wearing? What was my hair? Why did I think THAT gadget was cool? But we take pleasure in what is exciting in the moment. Yesterday's technology is slow and faulty; tomorrow's style is not yet revealed. I can't know the future and often don't want the past.

Yet, there is something so nostalgic and wonderful about "old-fashioned." I love that. I think if I could have 10 wishes in my life, one of them would be to time travel back to each decade from 1900 on up. Live a day in 1910. 1920. 1930... what would I see? How would people talk? How would they dress? It would be so fun to see how my family, friends, and job would be affected by each era. It would actually be quite hysterical, I would imagine.

But I can't make today "old-fashioned" any more than I can get back yesterday. It's just the nature of time and how society evolves through it.

Through this all, I have one thing to be thankful for... my passion. I'm lucky that my job is also my hobby, and it's also the one thing that will help all of this stay connected. Having pictures of (most) every second of my life will help me to remember it, cherish it, and talk about special memories as I continue to get older.

One day, when my grandkids ask, "Grandma, why did you wear THAT?" at least I'll have several pictures to help paint the story of why things were the way they were.

And... I'm hoping that, since my style tends to be quite eccentric anyway, that truth alone will be enough of an explanation.

Love you all!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Drop Some Rocks

I had dinner tonight with a friend. It was a really nice time catching up for awhile over Qdoba. On my way home, I swung by the office... I wanted to put in a little bit of time on a couple of photo books I am creating.

I plan to go through all the pictures of year 2008 and 2009 and create "year in review" books to get printed. Unfortunately, I underestimated how long this process actually takes, and 2 hours later, I only had about 6 pages created. I had expected to be a lot further along. I know these books are something I will love and cherish upon completion, but until then, they are looming above my head as another item on my "personal to-do list" that keeps stressing me out.

I'm sitting in my bedroom now, ready to relax for the evening and read a good book that I've been enjoying. However, thoughts of all the other stuff I want to get done keep surfacing. I'm reminded of a bible study I am going through right now, called "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World." My business partner/friend and I are doing it together, as she tends to be a Martha and I tend to be a Mary. However, the last chapter we covered would tend to speak of me otherwise. It was about "taking on too much."

A story was told about a young person willing to serve the Lord.

"I'll do anything for you," she says.

"Ok," Jesus replied, "Please take this wagon to the top of the mountain, and carry this one small rock in it."

As the young girl heads up the mountain, one of her friends stops her and asks, "Are you going to the top of the mountain?"

"Yes," she replies.

"Great! Would you mind taking these pebbles for me?"

"No problem," she says, and loads them into her wagon. She continues, and runs across someone else.

"Hey," he says, "Will you also take with you this boulder?"

"Oh, sure," the young girl says, "I don't think the Lord would mind."

As she heads up, more and more add their rocks to her wagon. Pretty soon, what started out as an easy, endurable task becomes almost impossible. She is practically dragging the wagon, slumping from the weight of it all. She cries out to God.

"Lord," she says, "Why did you make this so hard?"

"I didn't," He said, "I only asked you to bring up the one small rock."

It goes to show that even though there are countless opportunities in our lives to take on, and most of them are good things, it doesn't mean we should. This is especially hard for me to process. I love doing stuff for people, especially if it means using my creative services. However, just because there is a need, it doesn't mean I have to be the one to fill it every time. Often, when we jump at every opportunity even when we aren't called to do it, we steal the blessing from someone else.

I have a tendency to overcommit in a lot of areas, failing to recognize the amount of time or effort that is required, and then I am overloaded and overwhelmed. Such as now. I have committed myself to multiple projects for others, as well as assigned my own self a huge list of "must get done" projects, and when I add up the sum of them, I become bewildered.

The chapter in Martha & Mary encouraged those of us who struggle with taking on too much to practice "dropping some rocks" by going through the list of projects, prioritizing everything with a 1, 2, or 3, and then dropping all the 3s. I am horrified to think of doing such a thing, but it would definitely benefit me to spend maximum energy and creative potential on projects I have rather than spread myself too thin.

Time to unload!

Love you all...


Friday, March 05, 2010

update: { post. }

Shooting This Weekend:
{ 1 wedding. } BEAUTIFUL weather. Shot the bride & groom today, as well as the bridal party and family (with a camera) in downtown Peoria. What a lovely day! Blue skies, 40-degree sunshine, and lots of smiles and laughter. I love my job!

Neck Status:
{ In pain. } This morning, as I was putting my jeans on, I was jumping up and down to get them on (a sure sign that they are getting too small!) and as I was doing so, I twisted my neck wrong and I drastically caused it to go out of whack. I have only done this one other time in my life, and I was arm wrestling my male cousin in Mexico who is twice my size at the time. The next morning, I woke up unable to move my neck. Recalling that memory ensued fear, because I knew I'd be taking pictures all afternoon. Carrying around a camera bag, step stool, and strapping a heavy camera around my neck was not going to be the best way to treat my injury.

Fortunately, I got into a chiropractor within the next hour, and he fixed me up... put me in better shape than I would have been, anyway. He did tell me, "I've been doing this for 32 years, and you're the first person to come in here who hurt her neck by putting on her jeans."

Story of my life.

However, after taking pictures all day long, my neck is starting to ache... 3 more Advil, coming up.

Dinner Party:
{ tonight. } In 45 minutes, actually. I plan on taking chocolate brownies frosted with a peanut butter + cream cheese spread, a treat I have been dying to try. We are finishing off our meal with a viewing of The Lion King. Hey, Disney movies aren't only for children.

Domniq, Sophia, & Beau:
{ loud. } These are my nieces and nephews, ages 9, 7, and 3. They are staying with us this week as their parents (my sister and brother-in-law) are in Florida. They are sweet kids and relatively well-behaved most of the time, but they do come with LOUD voices and a lot of screaming.

The other night, my mom had about had it after a bout of screaming, and she said, "Everyone, quiet! I'm about ready to have a nervous breakdown."

Sophia frowned and looked up at my mom.

"Grandma, what's a nervous breakdown?"

My mom laughed. "You don't want to know."

=) We love them. Dom officially beat me in every single game possible on the Wii last night. Sophia never tires of asking me 100+ questions a day. And I've never met anyone quite like Beau, he's a funny kid... and a lot of fun.

{ you all! }


Monday, March 01, 2010

To Be "That Guy"

Tonight, as I was standing in line at Dairy Queen (in 35 degrees), I couldn't help but notice a conversation going on right behind me. 

A young couple, probably in high school, had approached.

An adorable girl with a bright orange coat and a black flower in her hair was standing there. Next to her was a nervous, curly-haired boy with his hands in his pockets.

"What are you getting?" she asked him.

"Nothing," he said, "Remember, I told you I have no money with me, like 5 times in the car," he laughed.

"Oh, well then I'll just buy it for you!" the girl resolved.

"No," he replied, "It's okay."

"Yes! Don't be silly, I will buy your ice cream."

"No," he insisted, "I am not going to be 'that guy.'" 

She giggled. "But JOSH," she said, "Then I'm going to be the only one eating ice cream, and I am NOT going to let that happen," she said. 

He laughed nervously.

"What do you normally get when you come here? Like, what is your favorite?"

"I usually get a blizzard," he offered.

"What kind?"

"That's all I'm going to say," he said, with a mischievous smile in his voice.

The girl sauntered over to the menu board and looked at the choices.

"Reeses's," she said, "You seem like a Reese's kind of guy."

He wouldn't give anything away.

"I'm just going to buy something random and make you eat it," she proclaimed.

At this point, I was stifling laughter, and was about ready to turn to the boy and give him my two cents', which would have been, "Hey, listen, if someone offered to buy me Dairy Queen, I'd take them up on it," but right at that moment, the serving window opened and a teenage girl handed me my order in a bag. I smiled over to the young couple and went on my way.

Whether or not this young guy ended up with an ice cream treat or not, I do not know...

but something tells me, the young girl with the bright orange coat got her way.

Young love at it's finest.

Love you all!