post

Seasons

Seasons of Life

Andrew and I were chatting with a friend at church a few weeks ago and mentioned how we don’t currently attend Wednesday nights. We explained how it just doesn’t work for us right now. Our oldest, Kenlie is a super-active 7-year-old, who needs her sleep… and well, we have a 1-year-old. Being out until 8:30 at night just doesn’t work. It was then that she said something that will forever stick with me.

“It’s just the season of life you are in, and that’s okay.”

As we drove home that morning, Andrew mentioned how that one sentence made everything seem so much more clear. We don’t have to explain or feel guilty. It’s just the season of life we are in, and it’s okay.

In life, you go through seasons. What works for you now, might not in 2 years. Or what you love to do, might not be best at this time. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t pick it up later. It doesn’t even mean that you shouldn’t feel sad over a small change. You are entitled to your feelings. Do not feel that you have to explain.

Seasons of Self

There have been times where I’ve felt ridiculed by others, for having too much to say, voicing my opinion, or simply sharing my beliefs.

And I can honestly say, I’ve struggled with how others view me. I work hard in my family, in my home, and in my businesses. I love to create and share. “What could they possibly think I am doing wrong?”

Years past, I would concentrate on how others viewed me. However, I try to now be intentional on moving my season of self to one of only acceptance. Acceptance through knowing that I am a child of God, and he made me perfectly imperfect. A forever optimist who stands for what I believe in, and has a voice to use.

And over time, I’ve realized that just as in life there are seasons, there are also seasons in self. Sometimes the season you are in, effects the seasons those closest to you are in. Your ways of doing things, mood, confidence, speech, and mannerisms can hinder the growth of others. Or, it can hinder yuor own growth.

My season of self is to just be me… without apology.

It’s important to remember that whatever season you are in, it can change. It will change. How will you embrace it?

Follow more from Tiffany at TK & Co.

seasons grand rapids

post

Removing Busy

Removing “Busy”

I used to say that I “liked to be busy”.

But as I navigate through life, I’ve realized that isn’t exactly the correct term to use. I’ve also been feeling some negative vibes over what I’m up to with Marc Photography, TK & Co, adopting, home renovations, etc. And to me, there’s nothing more toxic than negativity. So in conversation with a friend I hadn’t seen in over 5 years… FIVE years… she helped me turn around my way of thinking.

I tell ya, God puts people in your life when you need them.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always felt the need to have projects to focus on. I do my best when I am doing. One thing I’ve realized, with the help of that friend, is that I don’t like the act of “being busy.” But, the act of being productive. To accomplish things. And that doesn’t mean they have to be BIG things. Just setting a goal in mind, starting, and finishing through.

It’s not that I like to be busy. It’s that I like to be productive. I love to think of an idea and complete it. To see it out, make it tangible. And really, this is probably why our business has made it nearly 10 years, and that I’m an artist (which is basically the act of envisioning something, and making it tangible).

I fully believe that God calls us to be “doers”, to be the hands and feet, to be movers, to create, to accomplish THINGS. And that can be anything. From keeping a home, to sharing the gospel through greeting cards, to adopting a child, to encouraging other women, to going to work every day to provide for your family, to volunteering at church, everything. My calling just happens to be all of those things, and that’s okay. It’s more than okay! And I find peace in knowing this is where God wants me to be.

Remove “busy” from your vocabulary. Remove negativity from your mood.

And when something is placed upon your heart, don’t be afraid to do.

post

Be Renewed | Grand Rapids Photographer

Be Renewed | Grand Rapids Photographer

It’s been a quiet time for Marc Photography. This time of year is so strange for me… May-December I hustle, hustle, hustle photographing weddings and families. Being a Grand Rapids wedding photographer means we travel a bit around West Michigan and after awhile I really look forward to my slow season. To be renewed. To think of new goals to work towards for the upcoming year. To rest. And I only need a couple of quiet weeks around Marc Photography to feel renewed.

Something that happened in this slow season, though, is my middle daughter has been having some scary health scares. I’ll update about this in another post. But every day, I find myself sitting on the floor while Sadie plays, listening to worship music, and just breathing. Thinking about what’s next for me, trying not to worry about her.

In the Quiet Time

This year, in the quiet time, God has placed upon my heart yet again a project started back in 2015 before my Sadie was born. You probably remember, I started Take Heart encouragement cards. Well, I decided to open an online Market called TK & Co. to sell my Take Heart cards that I design, LipSense, and Fine Art Photography.

First of all, it has really renewed my passion for photography and given me something to focus on! I’m not one to sit, rather I really love to be doing something. I brought back all of the designs I had before, however, I’m adding new hand-drawn designs that I am even more excited about. I hope to make a video soon showing the process of how each card is created.

What This Means For You

Because I am currently working on new designs, I would love to get some feedback from you on the old Take Heart designs. Hop on over to TK & Co. Market and request to join the group to view them and let me know what you think.

grand rapids photographer

post

Community of West Michigan

 

Restoring the Sense of Community in West Michigan

Community of West Michigan

I’m lucky to live in a Community of West Michigan, which is often voted “Best place to…”. It’s full of artistic, athletic, Christian people. But over the 10 years that I’ve lived here, I feel more and more that the sense of community is dwindling.

This past Christmas, my family and I visited the program at Central Wesleyan Church . The message for the evening was on building the sense of community. The Pastor, Craig Rees, asked the congregation how many of them knew their neighbors. Like, really knew them.

I have to tell you… in that moment I shrunk down in my seat a bit. We’ve lived in our house for 2.5 years and have really only met two of our neighbors. TWO.

So on the drive home from the program, I made it my goal to work towards creating a sense of community. I’m not really one for creating New Year’s resolutions. But I am one to work towards a goal. So one of my goals for 2017 is to get to know more people around me, invite families into my home, and really make the word “Community” evident in our lives.

Building a Sense of Community

All bundled up, two days before Christmas, my big girls and I headed out, with Christmas cards in hand to knock on doors and introduce ourselves to our neighbors. Nobody answered at the very first door, so we wrote a little note on the card and left it for them to find. We visited 9 houses in all and were able to meet 4 of our neighbors in person. We left a card and a note for everyone else.

Here’s what I learned in the process:
Although with each knock on the door, I felt awkward, my children did not. They were SO excited. They brought along a clipboard and paper to write down information about each neighbor. Later that day, they prayed for each person they met. So although I felt awkward, it was painless.

Another thing I learned was how inviting a home feels if the walkway is shoveled… *cough* Andrew *cough*. So I’ve made it a point to always keep our walkway to our front door shoveled.

Achieving a Sense of Community

Some of you might recall last year, a man rang our doorbell to tell me “I live about a mile down the road, and wanted to stop to tell you your Christmas lights on your house are so pretty. It gives me something to look forward to every morning on my way to work. ”

At the time, I was so caught off guard and elated with gratitude that I didn’t think to ask for his name. I do think about him often, and his drive into work. This year the lights on our bushes got eaten by rabbits, and on of my first thoughts were that our lights weren’t as good anymore for that man.

So if you do work towards building a community, be prepared. My daughters armed with their clipboards helped us to remember each neighbors name. We have plans to head back in the spring to follow up with our neighbors.

I have a few other ways we are working towards building a community that I’ll share later. For now, comment on our facebook page post how you can work towards building a greater sense of community.

west michigan photographer

post

She’s the third

When you’re a new parent, you get all kinds of advice. A lot of times, unwanted advice, but nevertheless advice. Looking back, we were always quick to have a reason for why we chose formula feed our oldest, not allow her to have juice until after the age of 2 (or longer), limit television, use time-outs as the first line of discipline… I could go on and on. We were always on the defense.

For our second daughter, we received a little less advice and questions about why we decided to parent a certain way or rules we had established. But, we were still on the defense.

Now, when we had our third daughter, it’s like the advice and questioning miraculously stopped. I suppose the third time really is the charm, and people start to realize that maybe you do actually know what you’re doing.

Either that or they know you are now outnumbered and have no time for receiving advice.

Parenting has brought Andrew and I much closer in our marriage. It could be that out of our nearly 10 years of marriage, we have been parents for almost 7 years. And with each addition to our family, we had to band together, even more, to keep each other sane in the craziness of raising small children.

So when we do happen to get the very rare occurrence of advice or questioning certain decisions we have made as parents for our youngest, our standard response is “She’s the third.”

She’s the third. Which doesn’t mean we care less or are more strict because we’ve learned, lazier because we’ve been-there-done-that, or even that she’s our last, so we want to spoil her.

No, it means she’s simply the third baby. There are 2 older siblings to love on her, share goodies with her. We know how quickly the time goes, and if letting my 1-year-old walk around with a chocolate cookie makes all of my girls giggle, I’ll give her another cookie for the other hand. Messy chocolate face and all.

And quite honestly, I think this is that case for most third, fourth, & fifth children.


Tiffany, 1989 // 1 year old, THIRD BABY
grand rapids lifestyle photographer

Sadie, 2016 // 1 year old, THIRD BABY
grand rapids lifestyle photographer

Finding Beauty

dandy-1

One of the things that makes a great photo is beauty in the unexpected. To capture this, you have to be open to photographing things that others might scrunch their noses up to. Although my area of expertise in photography is photographing people and not objects, I am still constantly searching for unique things that I can use to create an interesting background. Every time we drive somewhere, the photographer in me can’t help but point out different locations that would be great for photo sessions.

<strong>And it makes me wonder, why can’t finding the beauty in everything come as easily?</strong>

How can we reprogram ourselves to look on the bright side of things?

What will become of our children if we continue to knock everything down?

When will we see the beauty in all of God’s creation?

To the Father

fatherTo the father who gave this neighborhood kid a ride to church on Sunday and an extra long ride in the country after, taught me the value of looking someone in the eye when you’re speaking to them, and the importance of volunteering… even when it means putting your life in danger by being a fireman.

To the father who welcomed me into the family with just the wave of his hand, worked so hard to provide for his family, went out of his way to help anyone, always thought my projects looked “darn nice”, and left such an impact on my life.

To the father who cried and held me during my miscarriages, took care of me through all of my HG pregnancies, and take care of our girls. You are the greatest father I could have ever asked for for our children. Whether it’s making breakfast, playing soccer in the front yard, washing their hair, changing diapers, working every day to provide for us, reading the girls stories, taking them fishing, or playing games in the pool, you do it all. You set a high standard for the type of husbands our girls should marry. To me, no other can compare. And I thank you.

To the Father… our Heavenly Father. I have felt your arms wrap around me tighter and tighter every year since becoming a mother. I thank you for the fathers you have introduced into my life. I have no words to express how much you have blessed me… even with growing up without a dad, you have placed men in my life that have shown me the meaning of a truly great father. And with that, Father’s Day has a completely different meaning for me.

So this Father’s day, I want to wish say thank you to the father’s who do without asking, the ones who show up and care, would rather be with their family than anywhere else, and show the glory of God through their actions. Thank you for all that you do, Happy Father’s Day.

sadie_newborn-135

If you’ve ever contemplated having more children… don’t.

sadie-41

sadie-51

If you’ve ever contemplated having more children… don’t.

If you’ve ever thought that having one child is enough… it is.

If you’ve ever wondered if you would like having a few kids… you won’t.
You know the thoughts that run through your mind after you have your first child… “There’s no way I could love another baby as much as I love this one!”. Or the feelings of guilt, that by having another child you would be taking time away from your precious toddler.

But let me tell you… and I tell everybody this… One of the best gifts that you could ever give your child is a sibling. And I’m not just saying this because my girls are best friends and get along so well.

I’m saying it because it’s true.

Our oldest two are 18 months apart. They literally don’t know what life is like without each other. The first 4.5 years of parenthood was a blast, literally so much fun… hard, but fun! But the last 6 months, since Sadie came into our lives, has been even better. It’s better because you can see just how much little Sadie affects the personalities of my bigger girls. You can see just how much she is teaching them about love, patience, gentleness, kindness, and so much more. And when they do something that makes her giggle, they light up like the sun. Or when they help me to take care of her, they grow proud and feel rewarded for a job that they do so well.

And it’s so, so good for my heart to see my big girls take care of their baby sister. Like when they hold her close, and snuggle her cheeks. Or when they sing her the song that I made up for Kenlie when she was just a couple of weeks old.

So, if you’ve ever wondered if you would like having a few kids, or if one is enough. My advice to you is this: Don’t contemplate it, do it. One child is technically enough, but more than one is so much more. And having a couple of kids is something you won’t like, but you’ll love.

Trust me.

sadiesleeping

sadie-11