How do I even begin to talk about this incredible woman? Let’s see, we met in college as 18 year olds and spent many nights laughing it up with our fellow DOE club members. (A post coming on that little adventure sometime soon.) As Freshmen, Taj lived across the hall from me in the dorm. She was always a little…uh…crazy. I mean that with love and sincerity. We got along great because I’m loud, she’s deaf, and we both have fighter hearts. That has served us very well in life. I’ve never told her this before because the memory just came back to me as I am writing this, but one night I pounded on her door to borrow something. She wasn’t completely deaf back then, but she still didn’t hear me. The door was unlocked so I opened it and found her dancing around with her back to me, headphones in place, a paint brush in one hand and a multi-colored palette in the other. The landscape of the majestic Rocky Mountains was forming on the easel before her. She was oblivious to me as she hummed along to her music, cocking her head to look at her work as she danced. Every few seconds she’d dab a little more color on the canvas, then grab for her can of Coke. She was in her own little world and looked so…free. I laughed to myself and closed the door. Who was I to disturb her sanctuary?
Fast forward 18 years *gasp* and we’ve reconnected after little contact in between now and then. She’s still a fighter that’s living free and loving the mountains. Unfortunately we live on opposite sides of this beautiful state. One of these days we’ll see each other again. In the meantime, we Instant Message several times a week and we’ve really connected through some deep shared pain and long conversations about life, death, and faith. While I’ve been promoting friends, I wanted to share my story about Taj because she’s been an inspiration to me and because I’m so proud of her and all she has accomplished.
Taj has been through hell on earth. It’s my place to share her life story here, but I can say that I’m amazed she is still alive and feisty as ever. She’s been the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” kind of gal and made something of herself when she was being told what a disappointment she was by her family and “friends”. She is newly married to a terrific guy (yeah Tom) and has two beautiful daughters: Alex (14) and Logan (7). She is a proud (read busy) homeowner in Durango, one of the most beautiful parts of the state. But I’m trying to do more than make my college friend feel good, I’m also promoting her business.
Taj is the web-designer at the Durango Herald AND she’s running her own business doing graphic design for print and internet work as well as professional photography for everything from marketing to weddings and portraiture. Her fees vary depending on the type of work and travel involved, and she works with her clients to find something that gets them what they want for something they can afford. You can see some of her design work HERE until her website is up and running. She can be contacted with inquiries and to discuss her price list at email@example.com. Taj is deaf and doesn’t do phones, but she types 120wpm so if you email her, be prepared for a quick response. She’s also a fellow blogger: tomtaj.blogspot.com Call me biased, but I think Taj is really good at what she does. She is the one who designed our logo for SEVENS which our street kids love…and so do we. Thanks Taj! You’re amazing!