I'm a redeemed child of God and the momma to four vivacious daughters. I'm passionate about finding hidden blessings in the trials of life, living it out in an honest and open way, while encouraging those around me to believe in better.


an end. and a beginning …

I’m sitting here, not knowing where to begin … and for those of you that have been following my blog for a while, you should know by now that means it’s time to grab a cup of coffee!  :)

Is it possible to rejoice and cry all at the same time?  I suppose it is … I suppose that’s why they call it ‘bittersweet.’  But bittersweet almost makes it sound too simple, too easy a description for what I’m feeling.  Surely my feelings can’t be summed up in one simple word?

I’ve not posted on the sale of Broadway Paper because I wanted to make sure everything was set and finalized.  And it is.  I signed the papers a few short hours ago.  And it was hard.  So hard …

I know I’m in trouble {or maybe CJ is}, because I keep feeling this well of emotion and tears, but for some reason I’m not letting myself feel it.  I keep shoving it back down.  I know it’s not good and I don’t know why I’m doing it.  Denial maybe?

I last posted about the sale of the store on March 31 {which was the deadline I’d given myself to sell the store}, when an amazing thing happened, in that someone contacted me {on that date} to take over Broadway Paper.  Well … that’s gone through and she’s the one who signed the papers this morning.  I’m so very excited for her and the opportunity this brings to her life.

I promise, I’m so excited for me too and the opportunity it brings for me!  But that doesn’t necessarily make it easy.

I know this is the decision that’s right for me.  It’s what God has led me to … of that I have no doubt.  As I’ve said before, I can’t take the store to heaven with me … and when I get there, God sure as heck isn’t going to tell me how well I sold paper!

As a gentle reminder of this … he sent me this song, right when I needed it.  Okay, and now I’m bawling … I’d never seen the video, I just love the song … grab some kleenex {and a refill of coffee … I ain’t nowhere done with this post!}

Finally Home | MercyMe

I’m gonna wrap my arms around my daddy’s neck
And tell him that I’ve missed him.
And tell him all about the man that I became
And hope that it pleased him

There’s so much I want to say
There’s so much I want you to know

When I finally make it home
When I finally make it home

Then I’ll gaze upon the throne of the King
Frozen in my steps
And all the questions that I swore I would ask
Words just won’t come yet

So amazed at what I’ve seen
So much more than this old mind can hold


And the sweetest sound my ears have yet to hear
Voices of the angels


The signing was so incredibly difficult for me.  I had little Huntie J with me and that really helped keep my mind off the finality of what was happening.  I had given her my iPhone during the meeting to watch a show {that in-itself justifies the purchase of an iPhone my friends}.  So, as we’re walking back to the car after the meeting she says she wants to watch it in the car.  She never does that.  She always watches a movie on the car system {so I never get to listen to ‘my music’}.  Well … because she was busy with her show, I was able to listen to my music.  I started spiraling down in my feelings about the signing, when I turned on the radio … only to hear the song above.

Without a doubt … God’s gentle reminder to me that He’s proud of me and that I made the right decision.

One more thing I wanted to mention about the store.  The employees had a going away party for me last week … truth be told, I really wasn’t too up for it.  Here’s the thing … I have made it my goal … eight & a half years ago, to be the best boss any employee would ever have.  I’ve had my fair share of bad employers.  Bosses that demean, talk down, don’t give any slack.  And I work hard … I have a great work ethic and I give my all to a job.  Whether it be selling fries or ceiling fans {yes, I’ve done both and plenty more!}.  :)

So here’s the thing … I’ve done so much for my employees … 40% discount {aren’t cha sorry you didn’t have a job there?}, awesome Christmas parties, bonuses, Summerfest tickets, anniversary gifts, flex-time, etc., etc.  But it seemed only a select few ever truly appreciated it.  Most employees were young.  Students.  Sometimes not a lot of experience in the workforce yet.

But sometimes, it really sucked feeling like what I’d done was never good enough.

I was wrong.

At the party, people left me ‘well wishes’ that I will forever hold dear.  Here are a few snippets:

“working at B-way-P fostered in me an even deeper appreciation for this art.  I feel that I only have you to thank, since you gave me the chance to work and be a part of such a creative environment”

“please tell Tracie that I miss her and wish her the absolute best.  She should be proud of herself for creating such a wonderfully creative and hip landmark in the ever growing and evolving city that is Milwaukee.  It is a jewel that everyone treasures.”

“one of the best thing about working at bwp {besides the awesome discount} was having such a great boss”

“I really appreciate your open honesty and understandable nature.  I will always appreciate how well you treated us as employees”

“you are a tremendous person tracie, with a large and sincere heart.  Your influence has helped shape my life, and my future, and that is a debt that extends far beyond you being simply another boss”

Okay … you get the picture … and now I’m crying too much to read through the rest of them again.

Sigh. It was a great final realization and acknowledgment that all I was doing for them didn’t go unnoticed and that it was appreciated.

This chapter of my life is closed.  I realize {or am beginning to realize}, the best thing about a closed chapter … you get to open a new one.

So let me dry my eyes and move on …

hunter shopping

My sweet, sweet supportive husband gave me a belated Mother’s Day gift yesterday … a certificate for tsj photography {that’s me!!} to spend a certain amount {which will not be disclosed} on lighting, furniture, fixtures or studio gear … amazing!  Thank you lover … perfect timing!

So what did I do this morning?  Well, besides bird feeding, dandelion picking, library browsing and candy shopping with Hunter?  We picked out and bought some new furniture for my studio!  YAY!  In fact, in the photo above, Hunter’s laying on the sofa I bought.

Another surreal moment … the furniture store was smack dab in the middle of my new studio and the building where I’d be signing over bwp.  I looked out one window and saw my new studio.  Turned and looked out the other window and saw the signing building.  Unbelievable!

So what about this new studio of mine?  :)

Here it is!  These photos were taken by the architect helping me with the build-out of the space, so the files were a little small from emailing them to me.

This building belongs to another business, but they didn’t grow they way they’d anticipated, so have some extra space to lease out.  My space is on the second floor … that whole bank of windows!!

It’s got hardwood floors, brick walls, my own entry way to the space … I couldn’t be more excited!  The lease is finalized/approved/and ready to be signed.  Just finishing up some details on the layout of the space.  Need to meet with a signage person and the build-out will begin.

studio collage

How blessed am I?

And if you know me … you know there’s a party around the corner, don’t you?  ;)

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Posted in blessed, broadway paper, family thoughts, hunter, photography

13 Responses to “an end. and a beginning …”

  1. Sue says:

    Wow! I had no idea the sale was that close. This begins a new chapter in your life. I’m so happy for you! I can’t wait to hear more about the new digs.

  2. Leslie says:

    I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t waiting for this post! I’ve been wondering what was going on with BWP . . . but figured you were keeping it under wraps for good reason. Not jinxing it is a great reason!! :) Congratulations . . . on your graduation. Because that’s what it is — on to the next wonderful phase!

    Your awesome studio is just a hop, skip and a jump from a favorite studio of mine — the yoga studio! (Which I really need to start visiting again!) I’m excited to have another reason to visit downtown!

    I am so truly happy and excited for you, Tracie. It’s inspirational to see that with patience and faith, that dreams can come true! Yay, you!!!

  3. Marta says:

    I am so very proud of you!!! What a difficult step to take but always remember that you made that decision for the best of yourself and your family. We know how hard it must have been today. Reading your post about the workshop confirms that this is the right step for you even though it’s tough now. Love ya!

  4. Tiffany says:

    Congrats on closing one chapter and opening another new exciting one Tracie! I am so excited for you to be free for your family & life. What a feeling! Can’t wait to see the new space. It looks amazing!

  5. Pam S. says:

    tracie, i have in my head julie andrews saying, ‘whenever one door closes one door, surely God will open a window.’ enjoy Hunter & being a Mom and a fabulous space. love, pam

  6. Kelli Kalish says:


    I am sure it is very bittersweet for you right now. I do remember you mentioning the sale of your shop at the workshop in Chicago. The way I see it is by you selling your shop..you are allowing someone to fulfill their dream and she in turn is allowing you to pursue your dream of photography. I always say it is a big round world and everything is revolving. Your studio looks beautiful and your shop seems to be in good hands. The memories are what you will take with you and those will always be alive. Good Luck on the new space! I would love to see it. If I am up in Milwaukee I would love to stop by.

  7. Kris K.L. says:

    Congratulations Tracie… i’m really happy for you !
    Enjoy the ride on your new adventure !
    p.s. your studio looks like it can hold all of my family so maybe
    we’ll be visiting you soon ! How do you feel about groups of 18? :)

  8. Jeannie says:

    The new studio is really exciting. It looks beautiful!

  9. Sharon says:

    I am so excited for you!!!


    Why do you have to live so far away?
    I’m so excited that we met at the workshop and I’m even more excited to follow you on your new journey!

  10. nichola says:

    I just found your blog – while I’m meant to be preparing tomorrows lessons for my class – and I’m so glad I did! I love it when people, like you, step out of the comfort zone and throw themselves into what they believe God has called them to do!!! It’s exciting! I’m looking forward to reading all your posts X

  11. Rachel says:

    It was so great to see you at the party. and know that those who didn’t seem to appreciate it at the time will someday. (funny how growing up can make you do that!)

    The new studio space is GORGOUS! (…maybe we’ll have to scrounge up the cash for that engagement shoot after all!)

  12. Allison says:

    Wow Tracie this is such an amazing time for you. I am so excited for you and the new chapter of life that He has prepared for you. I can’t wait to hear more about your new studio looks fab. All my wishes!

  13. Jenny Morgan says:


    Working with you and BWP has always been a great pleasure and hen and barley press wishes you all the best in your next endeavor. Good luck to you!


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