Taproot Photography
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SINGING TO THE BEES

A New Home, A New Name

The story of how I made my way back home, including recent snapshots of my life.

 The morning of our move brought with it the first frost of the season. It lay cold on my Creeping Thyme (one of my garden favorites) and highlighted all of its tiny leaves. I'm standing on a stone that we transported to IN from my grandparent's house in PA. The stones are staying behind, but I'm returning to the place where we both once called home. 

The morning of our move brought with it the first frost of the season. It lay cold on my Creeping Thyme (one of my garden favorites) and highlighted all of its tiny leaves. I'm standing on a stone that we transported to IN from my grandparent's house in PA. The stones are staying behind, but I'm returning to the place where we both once called home. 

 

IT'S BEEN THREE WEEKS

...since we moved back to my hometown of West Chester, Pennsylvania. When our family started the process of relocating I decided that I wanted to feel every emotion that came with the journey. Allowing myself to feel these emotions has been important for me. It has also been overwhelming at times. There has always been a desire in my heart to move back to my roots. When our family started Plough & Stars Farm in Columbia City, IN in 2012 I thought that I had forever given up that dream. Yet, I had peace about the decision just as I had when Seth and I first moved to Fort Wayne over 13 years ago. The years that followed our move to the farm were the most challenging for our family on many levels. There was an unraveling of what we had built together. Seth and I had a complete role reversal when he stopped working and driving due to his genetic eye disease. He became a stay at home dad while I worked harder to build my photography business.  Though I love what I do, I felt that somehow I was losing my motherhood and my marriage didn't seem to be far behind. I sought the help of a mentor to gain back some sense of normalcy and to find those parts of me that were swept away in the storm. I labored and toiled the next year, digging deep into my soul to find hidden treasures and to discover and face the things that continue to rob me of them. 

Eventually Seth and I accepted that life on our farm had become too heavy of a burden to hold on to. A change was needed. It made sense to move back to PA but to my surprise I realized that after 13 years I wasn't ready yet. I set two goals for myself that I wanted to meet before taking the next step. The first was for my health and the second was for my heart. I have been in poor health for many years now. I've been handed from doctor to doctor with no solid diagnosis for too many years. Goal #1: Get a diagnosis. Goal # 2: Un-become what I was not and work to become who God created me to be. These were two giant goals! But I was determined to meet them. Late this past summer I told my mentor (a.k.a. therapist who I couldn't have done life without during this year) that I would love to move back home but that there were too many obstacles in the way.

 Halloween at my grandparent's assisted living home. I am forever grateful for these amazing people!

Halloween at my grandparent's assisted living home. I am forever grateful for these amazing people!

She encouraged me to allow myself to dream about it. And I did! What followed was a God-orchestrated chain of events. I had never given any thought to my grandparent's home in West Chester, PA being available until that day when I started dreaming. They had moved to an assisted living home a few years earlier and left their fully furnished home unoccupied. I told Seth that I wanted to ask my grandfather if we could live there temporarily until we purchased a home. I thought there was a good chance my grandfather would turn me down but I snail mailed a letter to him anyway. I missed his call a few days later, but was in tears and smiles when I listened to the voicemail. He thought it was a wonderful idea! He was all in. I wanted to be in PA by the end of October, my busiest month of the year for family portraits. So I convinced Seth that I could do it and stay sane. I was feeling good about Goal #2, but my first goal needed to be wrapped up. I accepted the diagnosis of a new doctor that I visited in August even though testing still didn't fully prove it. This needed to be the end of my searching and the beginning of my accepting. I was ready. Our family worked the whole month of August to prepare our home to sell and it ended up selling in just one week! 

Vow Renewal Photos By Valerie Joy Photography. See more here

 

Seth and I always said that someday we would renew our wedding vows on the farm. That someday had to be soon or we would miss the opportunity. It just so happened to be our 15th wedding anniversary year and we managed to pull off an amazing vow renewal on the farm in late September. It was the result of allowing love to heal us.

A poem that I wrote for the ceremony...

Two strays on a journey,
to each other belong,
traveling lightly,
the wind is our song.

Seeds spill from our pockets,
daisy and red clover,
taproots securing
the ground we walk over.

We wander pine forests,
their soft needles our bed,
sink deep down in rivers,
through cave’s darkness are led.

A torch to light the night,
home and sanctuary,
me and you and us,
forever to be merry.
 
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Before the end of October we were on the road heading east! We had many set backs but the most comical was just before we left. I sat down in the driver seat, turned the key and nothing! The car was fully loaded, bursting with boxes, suitcases and three cats. Thankfully, my friend Val rushed over with jumper cables to rescue us. I got to give her one last big hug before we drove off. 

 


A NEW NAME

The past few months have been unsettling to say the least. But, as I think back on how my family has been prepared for this journey I have a grateful heart. I'm ready to pour love into my new community! I'm excited to meet new clients and have the opportunity to use my talent to tell their stories through photographs. I know who I was created to be and I'm ready to show truth and love through my art. This past year has brought beautiful changes to my business and now the next step is a new name. It is a simple name, yet it has profound meaning. It tells my story and I believe that it tells yours as well.

 My studio/office for now... just as it has been since the '60s (minus the computer!). One of the changes that I wanted to make to my business this year was to minimize and simplify. I realized that the photographs I've always wanted to take don't require a studio full of props. This change has awakened something lovely and pure in me. It's stripped me down- back to my passion for photography and telling stories through my art.

My studio/office for now... just as it has been since the '60s (minus the computer!). One of the changes that I wanted to make to my business this year was to minimize and simplify. I realized that the photographs I've always wanted to take don't require a studio full of props. This change has awakened something lovely and pure in me. It's stripped me down- back to my passion for photography and telling stories through my art.


TAPROOT

| noun | tap·root | -ˌrüt , -ˌru̇t |

A taproot is a large, central and dominant root. The entire root system branches off from this central taproot. A strong taproot provides protection from harsh weather and difficult conditions and through the root system connected to it, the means to grow.

The meaning runs deep for me and I hope that it will for you as well. Not all plants have taproots, but Clovers do. When we first moved to our farm we found a thriving patch of four leaf Red Clover and I knew that we were in the right place. Ever since those early, carefree days on the farm the sight of blooming Red Clover brings me peace and joy. It is a beautiful reminder that when we stay rooted in faith and love we will be nourished, we will grow and we will withstand the storm.

Thank you for joining me on my journey home. If you are in the Fort Wayne area please know that I still plan on offering sessions there throughout the year as I visit. If you are in the Philadelphia area please visit my website to learn about how to book a session with me. Scroll down for a coupon code to use for your next session!

 Photographing my nephews while babysitting... just one of the perks of living near all of my adorable nieces and nephews!

Photographing my nephews while babysitting... just one of the perks of living near all of my adorable nieces and nephews!

 Full Moon Hike with family and friends in early November

Full Moon Hike with family and friends in early November