For the past two and a half years Brooke and I have had the absolute privilege of employing a young lady by the name of Liz Parrett.  Her AIM screen name from back in the day was CrazyLiz827, hence this blog’s title.  If you didn’t already know, Brooke and I recently decided to step away from shooting weddings as a profession and step into the next phase of our professional lives at walk in love.  You can read more about that here if you are interested in knowing why - Seven Years For a Footnote.  Liz also made a similar decision and so she will no longer be under my employ.

So one of the ways I wanted thank Liz for her two and half years of employment was by writing a letter. It’s mostly just for Liz, but I am pretty sure that if you read it you too might be encouraged by some of the great traits and qualities that have made Liz an excellent employee!

 Liz, her husband Weston and their son Jeremiah!

Liz, her husband Weston and their son Jeremiah!

Dear Liz,

For the past two and a half years Brooke and I have had the honor of employing you.  We’ve watched you grow as an artist, friend, mother, wife and follower of Jesus and we have thoroughly enjoyed it all, even when you were an angry pregnant lady :)

Multiple times you have expressed shock that Brooke and I actually hired you in the first place. You have gone on to tell us that your work wasn’t that good and blah blah blah.  You are right.  When we first hired you your work wasn’t great.  It was okay, sometimes good, but not great.  We hired you because of you.  You had all the intangibles.  You were passionate.  As a social worker you decided to pick up a camera and say “I’ll try this.”  That is not something you can teach.  We knew that we could teach you new tricks to add to your repertoire, but we couldn’t teach you to have the passion you already had.  That was all yours.  It was your passion that we saw and that is what we hired.

And that passion did not disappoint.

Over the years we saw you direct that passion toward photography and grow leaps and bounds.  You decided earlier on that you were going to be the best photographer you could be and you wouldn’t settle for anything else, and you didn’t.  You practiced, experimented and took risks with your work.  You’d constantly ask Brooke for her opinion because you wanted to get better and better.  In a sea of photographers who are constantly proclaiming they’ve made it, all while bobbing up and down in the middle of the ocean, you were fervently swimming to the shore.  It was inspiring and motivating to watch.

Brooke and I didn’t hire you because of the photographer you were.  We hired you because we saw the photographer you could become. And man-oh-man did you become that, and more! And it wasn’t just photography that you had that attitude.  You had it toward all of life.  As you stepped into motherhood, and started crying a lot more, we saw all that passion take root in new ways.  We saw your desire to be a good mom to Jeremiah and a good wife to Weston.  Your passion is a constant in your life and I know that as you step into whatever is next it will be that passion that carries you.  Don’t ever forget that or lose it.

I will also be forever grateful to you Liz for helping me be a better leader.  You were unafraid to have hard conversations with your employers.  You pushed us to lead better by having those conversations.  You didn’t just sit back and let your feelings fester, while we had no idea we were doing something wrong, you spoke up.  You asked for things that weren’t easy to ask for, and even when we had to say “No” to some of those requests, you responded with respect, grace and love.  Thank you for that.  As I learn what it means to be a boss for future employees I will always remember the lessons you taught me by talking things out.

I could go on and on about all the great and funny things you brought into our company and life but I will end with this.  From the bottom of my heart I want to thank you for loving my wife so well.  Whether it was a funny text or stopping by to drop off a gift while she was pregnant, you always were and continue to be such a good friend to Brooke.  For that I will be grateful again and again.  Thank you.

So, Crazyliz827, as you step from one phase of life into the next I hope that you continue to let that fiery passion guide and push you.  I pray that you continue to have those harder conversations both for your personal gain as well as the people around you.  I am excited to be able to watch your life grow and flourish as a friend and not a boss.  I am excited to celebrate victories with you and your wonderful family as well as be there for anything during the defeats.  Brooke and I think the sky is your limit and we are excited to watch you climb.

If you ever need anything we will be there, even if it’s just for a double date to Red Lobster, a morning Starbucks run or a delicious hot dog lunch.

I know I speak for Brooke and myself when I say that we love you and are so thankful for all you taught us while you worked for us.  We are excited to have a front row seat for whatever is next for you.


T.J. (and Brooke) (and June) (and Penny)

 Liz and Weston are middle school sweethearts and this photo makes me so happy!

Liz and Weston are middle school sweethearts and this photo makes me so happy!