Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I wish I was better about stopping to smell the roses.

Most of my life is spent rushing around. It's the way I like it. I didn't notice that most people do not set such a pace until one evening a few years ago. My mom had company over and we were both working in the kitchen to prepare dessert when I noticed we were running around...literally. It was if an egg timer was quickly ticking away and if we didn't deliver dessert before it sounded, the kitchen would explode.

I remember making a comment at the time, and both my mom and I shared a laugh, yet we continued on in our busy way.

So some of it is learned. Yet I am convinced that a lot of it is just how I am wired.

I can remember walking the walls oh High School, and my fellow classmates would ask me in passing, "Where is the fire?"

I also walk fast...very fast...by nature. It pains me to be stuck in a slow-moving crowd, and I would rather walk backwards or carry very heavy objects to slow myself down rather than just slow my pace. One of Kristi's biggest pet peeves us when I walk ahead of her, but my natural pace carries me along and before I know it, I'm several feet ahead of her. I have to concentrate and try really hard to walk slow.

All this to say, I have a hard time relaxing, and it's not a wonder why. I like to keep things moving, and even while I am doing one thing, my mind is already anticipating the next step. I get bored very quickly, so switch between projects often. Even my alone time is planned. I am not regimented by nature, but I like to anticipate, so if I can plan on grabbing a coffee later in the afternoon, or taking time for a bubble bath to start a new book, or take a bike ride in the evening (all loner yet enjoyable and somewhat relaxing actitivties), I am as happy as a puppy. But if my schedule is thrown off by something not quite as exciting, I become irritated. If it is something better, I welcome the spontaneous interruption.

So tonight was very unscheduled in my world. Usually I decipher open nights in terms of what, on my agenda, will or will not get done. This doesn't mean I may not get side-tracked or completely change my mind, but like I said, I like to anticipate. And truly, there is always a sense of urgency with each planned activity.

My mom and I grabbed dinner in EP, then I drug her into PetSmart to buy personalized name tags for my cats. When we got home, the evening had cooled to a nice sunny breeze, so I sat outside and assembled my cats' new collars.

As I did so, I couldn't help but realize that time was not a stresser for me tonight... and that is rare. My family used to call me a motor mouth because when younger, I would talk really really fast, trying my hardest to saying everything I wanted to say before someone interrupted or stopped listening. That's how I often feel about time. Like it's going to run out before I can get it all done, hence the sense of urgency.

Anyway, I noted how enjoyable it was to sit outside and enjoy the evening, not letting a to-do list or extraneous responsibilities kill the moment. I thought of how it is all just a mind game. Because when I am on vacation or in a place where I know that time is all I have, I find I can enjoy easier. But everyday life doesn't allow such luxury. It beckons with a schedule, a list of projects, and endless distractions.

My lesson learned for tonight is to take time to smell the roses... and not literally of course, because that would put a cramp in my walking style. Yet even if a brisk walk is exactly what I need, I should learn to fit it in without such a stressful anticipation of the next step in life. I love the feeling of getting lost in relaxation... not to the expense of throwing responsibility to the wind, but to the benefit of pure enjoyment of the moment at hand.

Love you all!


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Learning to Accept

**The following are some thoughts I have regarding a current situation in my life. Without getting into the “what,” I wanted to share the “how God is working” part.**

The crying always catches me off guard.

Maybe it’s because deep down, I don’t feel like it is something that I should cry about. So when the tears do come, they stream down my face abashedly uninvited.

Yet it makes me sad, and the recipe for tears is sadness.

There are so many other worst-case scenarios. No one is dying. No one is moving away. No one is choosing an alternative lifestyle.

It’s just that a decision is being made—one that unintentionally but ultimately causes hurt. I can put it into perspective. I can exercise my use of rationale. I can believe from the bottom of my heart that this is truly what they feel God wants them to do. But all those things don’t take away the hurt and the sadness. It just doesn’t.

Through it all, it has shown me that God works in ways that are personal to each individual, and the way He works for one person is not necessarily the way He works for another. I can’t always understand why Person A can drop their life and move away to a foreign country to do missions. I can’t always understand why Person B chooses to stay in his boring job and use that as a mission field. I can’t always understand why Person C feels comfortable where she is, and why Person D moves on to another place. The point is, I am not Person A, B, C, or D. I’m Taryn. Jesus speaks to me personally through our relationship together, and no one else is in on that. My job is to follow Him as He leads me.

The way He leads me may never make sense to another, and it may be a beautiful thing to someone else. The point is, I can’t spend my whole life doubting others and their choices or claiming it is faulty because I don’t understand. Sometimes, my job is not to understand, because it’s not my decision to understand. At the end of the day, we all make decisions for better or for worse, and it is up to each of us as an individual in our own personal relationships to Christ as we make those decisions. Some people have an amazing source of wisdom in family and friends, and some people do not, but one thing we all have is the source of Truth—the Word—and God as our guide.

I can write and know all this in my heart. But I still miss them, and I always will.

God works in mysterious ways, and in the end, Truth & Love WILL reign. May we all show Love in the best way we know how while we live on Earth.

**As I have progressed on this journey, I have found certain treasures to be helpful to me along the way. One was found in one of my favorite devotional books called “Jesus Calling.” I will share its words:

“When things don’t go as you would like, accept the situation immediately. If you indulge in feelings of regret, they can easily spill over the line into resentment. Remember that I am sovereign over your circumstances, and humble yourself under My mighty hand. Rejoice in what I am doing in your life, even though it is beyond your understanding.

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In Me you have everything you need, both for this life and for the life yet to come. Don’t let the impact of the world shatter your thinking or draw you away from focusing on Me. The ultimate challenge is to keep fixing your eyes on Me, no matter what is going on around you. When I am central in your thinking, you are able to view circumstances from My perspective.”

I have found that keeping Christ at the center of my thinking drastically changes my attitude and perspective. God is teaching me over and over that the only way to attain true peace and joy in my own life is to take my “self” out of the way. Self wants what self wants, and self gets easily confused and swayed by emotion and circumstance. But God guides, and when I let him take control, all else falls into place.

One promise I love about our God is that He has the “grand scheme plan” figured out… and with that, our best interest at heart. The situations we find ourselves in can’t and won’t always make sense. After all, we serve a God so much bigger than ourselves… who are we to think we can understand Him and His ways? It’s a foolish thought. So with that in my mind, I look ahead to the future where I know God has so many wonderful things in store, all orchestrated by events, actions, and circumstances that surround me now.

May God be glorified in and through it all!

Love you all,


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How it All Began

Tonight I was reflecting. Kristi and I were driving home from an engagement shoot, and right before we got into the car, she announced, "Tonight during the shoot I made a decision to change 2 things in our business."

She was half-sarcastic, half-no-nonsense. I knew she wouldn't make an executive decision without my input, but at the same time, I usually agree with her decisions. That's why we work so well together. :)

Anyway, her dramatic pronouncement caused me to think about our business and how much it has changed over the past several years.

It all began one evening about 6 years ago. We were sitting at a restaurant, what was then called Brick Oven, and we were eating dinner together. At that point in our lives, we were both in college and having fun attaining our degrees. Work was part-time and secondhand in our lives, and neither of us knew what our futures would hold.

Over the past few months before that point, my mom, with her entrepreneurial spirit, had been planting the seed in my mind... "Taryn, why don't you start a graphic design business? You could do it on the side, and design all sorts of things for people..."

I remember looking at Kristi from across the table and telling her, "So I think I'm going to start a business."

"What kind of business?" Kristi asked.

"A graphic design business," I told her. "You know... design Christmas cards, invitations, logos... stuff like that."

Kristi's face turned serious and she leaned across the table. "Taryn," she told me, "You can't start this business without me." She said it as if to do so would put an end to the world... as if, since I had not originally included her in the business plan, I must be crazy.

I smiled. Always a fan of teamwork and having a sidekick to turn to, I told her, "We can do it together."

And so began the our journey of starting our business together, which was then geared towards graphic design.

One Saturday, we sat in her basement with a pad of paper and pen in hand, trying our best to agree upon a business name.

After about 30 minutes of throwing out ideas, I started to get silly.

"Purple Rainbow," I said. "Poptart Design. Because there are 2 poptarts in every package... and there are two of us."

After compiling a list of several creative words, we finally came up with our first business name: Two Peas in a Palette.

Within days of sending out our very first advertising mailer, the response was wonderful. Among other small projects, we were honored to take part in helping Apostolic Christian Restmor come up with a new logo design for their Frank Lloyd Wright-esque building that was being built at the time.

The next year or so brought about a very lucrative "Christmas" season for us in which we designed a lot of Christmas cards. Other small projects gave us a great side-business during our college careers.

After college, we both went our separate ways for a year, growing professionally in other careers while sustaining the small side-business. Sprinkled into the graphic design projects was the occasional family photo or senior. During the Fall of that first year out of college, we shot our very first wedding. Kristi's cousin was getting married, so she agreed to let us take her wedding pictures.

Around that same time, business began to pick up, and we were faced with a decision. My mom, ever the catalyst, pumped enough courage into me to quit my current full-time job (which was a steady paycheck but not creatively challenging or a promising future career) and take the dive into our business full-time.

I worked that Fall and Winter full-time with our business out of the basement of my parents' home, while Kristi kept her full-time job and would join me after work or on weekends to keep everything rolling.

That Spring, we shot 2-3 more weddings and as our year started to book up with more weddings and photo sessions, Kristi also made the decision to quit her job full-time and join in the fun.

From there, we made a lot of important changes. We rebranded ourself, changing our business name to Imagine Artists and launched a brand new website. We also decided to focus more on photography and grow in that field professionally.

After our first year in business out of the basement, we had an amazing opportunity that following Fall to rent out a space in downtown Morton. We established our very own storefront and housed some of my mom's cute trinkets and treasures in the front to draw people in for both of our benefit.

Shortly thereafter, Lulu's came to town and my mom moved out and across the street, giving us the opportunity to make full use of our space and continue to grow. We were in our bright yellow office for a year before the building on the corner of Main St. and Jefferson St. caught our eye.

I can remember peeking in the windows with Kristi. When we had been in the basement, we had dreamed of a storefront, but now that we had a space, we dreamed of more room + the ability to have a studio.

"It would be PERFECT," we said, stalking the interior of the place from behind the glass window as cars drove by behind us. "We need to check it out."

We called the phone number on the sign and got a tour pronto. And we were right... it WAS perfect. It was split up exactly as we needed it to be, and it was also a beautiful building with tons of character in the best location possible.

We said yes.

Our photography business currently resides in this building, and our most recent change has been to focus entirely in photography as a studio. We are definitely still in love with natural lighting photography and exploring all of the wonderful options the great outdoors bring us... and even the window-side locations on rainy days. Additionally, we LOVE having our (small) studio in which we can shoot babies and children.

As photographers, we also both still share our passion of graphic design and use those talents as they apply to photography. We take a lot of time making our albums, coffee table books, collages, invitations, etc. to be as unique and custom-made as possible, making each a creation all its own. No two designs are ever the same, and we capitalize on being able to use the images we capture in our design work.

Getting to sit in downtown Morton on the busiest intersection and greet customers as they set foot in our OUR business... it brings me such joy. Sometimes, I know people look at us funny and think we are way too young to be business owners. In fact, just the other day, two older men walked in and had to clarify that we were, indeed, the right ones to speak with for decision-making :) but I look at that and count it yet another blessing among many others.

All along the way, God has had His hand in this in such an evident way that we would be blind not to see His working. First of all, anything we have ever needed has been supplied in a heartbeat. I just read in one of my devotionals about how "delay is not denial," and while that was comforting to me in others areas of my life, where business is concerned, God has not delayed a thing! His awesome provision has been amazing on this journey.

Furthermore, he has taught us both such big life lessons in just 3-4 short years. Over time, Kristi and I have learned how to be best friends AND business partners. I would be dishonest to say that it isn't a challenge. Just like anything else in life worth working hard for and trusting in God with... it has its ups and down, its peaks and valleys, and its pluses and minuses. But I can truly say that in it and through it all, God has taught us one of the biggest lessons we will learn in life, and that is how to love unconditionally and in spite of someone else's mistakes. We wouldn't be where we are today without God's Love in both of our hearts, and our willingness to give and take.

I can assure you that there are few people as different as Kristi and I. We are so different. Yet we always say... it is the differences that meet in the middle and make us a dynamic team of two. We have found a way to mesh her strengths and my strengths to grow our business, and to work out the weaknesses of us both and compensate with our different personalities.

God is good! When I went to Africa a year ago, the little orphans would chant that phrase every morning: God is good! It is true, and as long as I wake up every morning and say that... on the sunny days, and on the gray days... I can remember that is IN Him and THROUGH Him that IA is what it is.

Love you all!


Wednesday, May 04, 2011


I figured out what my problem is. It's not that I wouldn't love to update you all fairly often. It's just that a) I have a terrible, terrible memory and b) due to my terrible memory in which, if I don't make a point to remember my life and every clever thing that occurs, I have nothing to write about.

Well, unless I'm in an inspirational mood... which doesn't just happen at a moment's notice.

I've decided that this is why God made me a photographer. Without pictures, I wouldn't be able to keep track of anything that happens.

So, I shall default to my usual cop-out: my life in pictures. Here is our Easter celebration w/the fam:

Tonya made these adorable cupcakes for the kids.
After several years of family get-togethers with multiple children, we got smart and figured out that it's best to have TWO desserts: one for the adults, one for the kids.

The adult dessert. :) Beautiful, and again, made by Tonya.

At age 25, YES, I am still getting an Easter basket. I'm not complaining!
The hectic kid's area-- dinner time.

The less-crazy adult table.

Easter egg hunt for the toddlers

Post-Easter egg hunt for the older kids

All the ladies
Reaching for an egg

More unveiling...

What are cousins for?
Beau- such a silly boy

Until next time...

Love you all!