Thank you, Tara Brown!

Donald Miller

About eight years ago I hired an assistant who streamlined my work and my life. Because of Tara Brown, Storyline went from a little conference to a small business, and my time went from a few spare minutes to whole weeks of creative openness.

I often refer to Tara as my left Brain. She’s proof the Scriptures are true when they talk about each of us being a small part of a greater body. Without Tara, I’d be without half a brain, an eye for details and a heart for more and more people.

Whenever I travel, I’m often pulled aside by somebody to say how much they enjoyed working with Tara. In eight years, she’s never missed a detail and she’s always cared sincerely for the people we minister to and work with. Tara, you will be missed.

Tara let me know several months go in a tear-filled meeting she was going to take some time off to devote to family and, well, rest. If anybody deserves it, it’s her. And now the week has come when I’ll be saying my formal goodbyes (though I suspect I’ll be talking to Tara even more as a friend).

If you’ve had the pleasure of working with Tara or just the pleasure of getting coffee with her, feel free to say some kind words.

Tara, you were more than my assistant. You became my sister. I’ll miss our daily interactions! You’ve outgrown us.

Donald Miller

Donald Miller

Donald Miller is all about story. He's helped thousands overcome a sense of meaninglessness by helping them create their Storyline life plan. If you're struggling with a sense of meaningless, pick up Storyline today. After studying story for years and successfully using the elements of story to engage customers, Don created StoryBrand, a process any business owner or marketing team can go through to create a communication script that will increase sales. Don is also the creator of the Storyline Productivity Schedule, a free daily schedule using modern psychology to increase a person's productivity. Don believes getting your story straight changes everything. Follow Don on Twitter (@donaldmiller). To read more of his posts on the Storyline Blog, click here.

  • http://Willevanparker.com Will Parker

    Although I’ve never met Tara I know I’ve benefitted from her work. Thanks Tara for doing all you did for/with Donald.

    • Tara Brown

      Thank you Will for the kind words!

  • http://www.chaffeemanagement.com Jim Chaffee

    Tara,

    As the other person who has benifited from your tremendous organizational skills, let me say…YOU ARE THE BEST!

    You have been an inspiration, a spiritual compass, a joy, a delightful co-worker in this crazy ride with Don, and a dear, dear friend.

    Blessings to you, and may you find this time with Eric and the boys rich and wonderful.

    Jim

    • Tara Brown

      Jim!! Thank you for the encouraging words. It has been a true gift to not only be a co-worker with you, but to now be able to call you and your wonderful family my friends!

  • http://www.emandasays.com Mandy FIsher

    In the little time I had interaction with her via email and then meeting her personally at Storyline Nashville, she always seemed extremely aware, on top of things and sincere.

    At Storyline, she took time with every person who came up to her for more information and never seemed annoyed or rushed. I heard her give the same answer to the many people who wanted to know how to contact you (Don) personally. She gave her answers with a smile and patience.

    You were definitely blessed to have her a part of your team…and still blessed that she’s a part of your life!

    Mandy

    • Tara Brown

      Mandy -
      Thank you for being so kind – I am thankful you were able experience at Storyline. All of God’s best on your journey.

      Tara

  • Bryan Norman

    Tara,

    Everything Don says about you in this post is SO TRUE. As Don’s publishing team, we could not have done without you! You have a heart of gold and have been a pure delight to work with. You’ve been a true servant with all the deadlines, calls, travel arrangements, and everything in between.

    We wish you the best in this new season of life. We’ll be cheering you on! That is, unless you’re napping. We wouldn’t want to wake you.

    Much love,
    Bryan Norman

    • Tara Brown

      Bryan- It has been such a joy to work with you. You play an amazing role in “Team Miller” and I am thankful I was able to get to know you…If I am napping, you may want to check in with the Lodge…. :))

      Tara

  • Steve Taylor

    Dear Tara,

    Every interaction with has been a happy one.

    And the quest to make “Blue Like Jazz” into a movie would have been impossible without you.

    When you’re elected Governor of the Great State of Oregon, please keep me in mind for a position on the Film Commission.

    Your friend,

    Steve

    • Tara Brown

      Steve! How in the world have I gotten to be so lucky as to become friends with you? Thank you for always being kind and thoughtful and an inspiration to be in one that holds faith under great tension. I will assuredly hold your place on the Film Commission :))

      Tara

  • Brian Hampton

    Tara,

    The whole Thomas Nelson family is going to miss you! I know I will. You have played such a vital role in our partnership with Don for all these years, and I don’t know anyone who is a more delightful mix of professional excellence and pure kindness.

    I am honored to call you a friend, and I truly wish you every blessing wherever your path takes you next.

    Grace and peace,

    Brian

    • Tara Brown

      Brian- Thank you for the kind words and for your friendship. As a part of “Team Miller”, my job would not have been as much fun if you were not a part of it. I am thankful you were able to come to the Lodge. I have enjoyed getting to know you – and it was so great to be able to meet Karen at Storyline – all of God’s best to you.

      Tara

  • http://www.earthbridgehomes.com James in Flannel Shirt

    I met Tara Shepherd in the first few weeks of starting our freshman year of Bible College at Multnomah in Portland (Fall 1988). She was nice and cool, and wore hiking boots with her dress. In those 3 years at Multnomah, plenty of guys enjoyed her enough to think she had the right stuff to be the Mrs. When I finally got around to giving my shot at winning the heart of one of Multnomah’s favorite daughters 3 years later . . . my friend Eric Brown was already in secret negotiations with Tara and securing the deal between them. Not saying she would have gone out with me, but I wore hiking boots to class myself and I thought that was the connection that was needed to win her. Instead she fell for the Laguna Beach, CA dude who always used the word “Stoked”. But I confess I admired her more for the kind of man she chose. I knew she was a wise woman even at that young age of a early 20s something.

    After Tara and Mr. Laguna ….(lets do a Brangelina thing here for fun) ….after “Lagunara” moved to Seattle and later Florida I seldom spoke long distance with them. When they called me years later and told me they were moving to Portland I was “Stoked”!

    A short time later I spent a great deal of time as the Builder working with Tara on a large addition on their home in Portland. Now with both of us securely married, I did not have to concern myself with Tara making advances towards me. –ooops (I’m kidding) I mean . . . she was really enjoyable to not only work with but to talk about life and struggles, and discussing how life takes such funny turns that we could never fathom. She is one of the few woman I would describe as “wise beyond her years” . . . and I don’t use that phrase often.

    She is a fine mom, and a wife who’s husband sings her praises at meals with me. I usually can trust what a husband says about his wife when her husband and I are gut checking each other. I count Tara’s husband as one of my dearest mates.

    Tara, I married a different girl who would wear the same hiking boots you would wear. . . so I got my “hiking boot girl”. Any other trends you are thinking about setting . . . I would like to know a little before hand.

    You are a good person and I respect you with the highest respect. May you always receive God’s best.

    Can Eric go to the Bob Dylan concert in September with me and McKinley, Hendrix, Kearns and Miller??

    James Small

    • Tara Brown

      Jim,
      thanks for being so kind and for your words of encouragement.

      Tara

  • Tricia L

    Go Tara! I mean… way to go Tara!

    • Tara Brown

      Thank you Tricia.

      Tara

  • Jesse

    Tara –

    We had the opportunity to meet last year, and you left a mark. Your presence, your joy, and your work has had (and will have) an eternal and positive impact on our lives. Enjoy your time in this season of investment with the family. Whitman said to ‘devote your income and labor to others… And your very flesh shall be a great poem.’ Tara Brown, you have written a beautiful poem.

    • Tara Brown

      Jesse,
      Thank you for your encouragement and I looove that quote! I am going to put it above my desk as I dream up what is next. All of God’s best to you..

      Tara

  • http://www.bobgoff.com Bob Goff

    Tara,
    You are one of those people who slip into a room without any fanfare, but even when you leave, there’s an aroma which lingers long afterwards. It’s like fresh baked bread, only better. I think that’s what the scriptures were referring to when they talk about us being the aroma of Christ to one another. You have been that to me, to Don and to countless others.

    You’re more than that though. You’re scrappy too. I’ve seen you thrown from a boat in the Nile; fiercely come to a friend’s defense; morn with friends who have fallen and do the work of four people in organizing events.

    I think some people take joy in having things organized. It’s always seemed like it was about more than that for you. I think you take joy is seeing the outcomes. It’s like you can see around the corners in people’s lives and you know just how much they’ll benefit from what you’re putting together – so you do the work; you quietly set the table for them, for us, while you put the bread in the oven.

    Tara, we don’t just like you; we love you. We all see Jesus a little more clearly because you have done the work and have done it well. Thanks for taking time now in your own life to look around a couple corners and see the outcomes you want. Thanks also for having the guts and grit to go after those things. For running towards Jesus, for running towards your family, and for still running towards all of us.

    I used to think that a friend was someone who was always with you; but after seeing how well you’ve loved Don, me and my family over the years Tara; now I think a friend is someone who is always just for you. We are for you Tara, and you are for us.

    With tremendous love, admiration and respect for how you roll –
    I am your friend for life -
    Bob

    • Tara Brown

      Bob-
      If I comment too much on this incredible note, I will be blubbering, so if I could choose only one amazing ‘take-away’ from working with Don , it would be the absolute privilege of calling you and Sweet Maria not only my friends, but family.

      As you so wonderfully told me when I told you the news to about leaving to spend some time resting and dreaming, “No one is going anywhere-” Thank you both for showing me what it is like to be ‘with and for’ people –

      now let’s think up some capers soon!

      Tara

  • http://www.sherribaierl.com sherri b.

    Tara,
    You were forever kind and accommodating in the interactions we’ve had. I was completely impressed from your professionalism to your warmth.

    I enjoyed Storyline and could see your fingerprints all over it!

    There are few like you.

    I was so happy to have met you,
    Sherri

    • Tara Brown

      Sherri,

      thank you for you words of encouragement and I am so glad you were able to come to Storyline. You and your friend’s story of baking cookies/drilling wells is one of the best stories I get to take away from working with Don. Thank you for sharing it with me.

      Tara

  • http://lanny.com lanny donoho

    Hi Tara
    So…i have known you less than all the folks who have left messages. But…I have been watching the olympics lately and I have an idea that God watches you like we watch the olympics. He probably says….Whoaaa! i can’t believe she just did that!! I didn’t know humans could do that kind of stuff. (tara this is not sports stuff, i have no idea…its a metaphor for stuff you do that is beyond understanding just in life…and i know i didn’t have to explain that) Then I think He looks at you heart and goes….wow…I made that! I like what I make!
    I get the feeling he is wrapping his arms around you saying, walk with me…it’s a different path, but, I got ya.
    oh yeah…and that guy you have only known for a week…Lanny… I used you as a gift to him during some weird times… and he’s the kind of friend you might want to keep on your iPhone list. I like putting the right friends together at the right time.”
    Tara, you shimmer. thanks. from me and God knows who else. Just thanks!

    • Tara Brown

      Lanny!
      I can’t believe Don hid you from me for so long! Thank you for saying ‘yes’ to our crazy adventure in BC and for trusting us. I am thankful for the conversations at the lodge (especially since everyone wanted to sit with you and were willing to push me out of my chair) and for your friendship. You inspire me – and yes, I’m keeping you on my iphone list!

      Tara

  • Reggie Joiner

    If someone were to ask any of our staff at Orange about you Tara, they will immediately get a smile from our team. It’s not just your ability to juggle so many details or execute an event with excellence. It’s also your heart for people and the passion you have to see them engage with a timeless and life-changing message. You have always been an incredible example of someone who stays focused on what really matters regardless of how busy things become. Thank you so much for the many times you have invested in our ministry and so many others like us.

    • Tara Brown

      Reggie,
      aww, just your mention of your Orange Staff makes me grin! You guys saved me at our first Storyline and helped me believe it could be pulled off in the midst of unknown territory. Thank you and your team for your kind words, your friendship and your willingness to answer all my many questions re: events.

      Some day – motorcycle ride with you & Debbie and Eric and I!

      Tara

  • http://www.heartbeatsslavery.com Emily Kimball

    Tara!

    I was always amazed at how prompt your replies were via email when your auto signature clearly stated you only worked part time! I suspect you were always working, even when you were not officially “on the clock”- so not surprised you are ready for some time off. Good for you! And sad for Don, because I know what a great support you must have been for him, his ventures, and his adventures over the past few years. Thanks for always being gracious. And thanks for extending me grace when I missed the discount deadline for the Storyline conference in Nashville. It was worth every effort to be there! I truly regret not meeting you and person when I probably could have in Nashville. If you are ever in Cincinnati, look me up and I’ll give you a tour.

    Praying blessings over you and your family as you take time off to rest and recalibrate. Every blessing of peace, comfort and joy to you!

    Respectfully yours,
    Emily Adele Kimball
    (I have used all these names at one time or another to comment on this blog, and I suspect you moderated a lot of those comments!)

    • Tara Brown

      Emily,
      Thank you for your kindness. I am so thankful you were able to experience Storyline. All of God’s best on your journey..

      Tara

  • Marshall Allman

    Tara,

    The true mark of talent is when you look at something and think “I could do it just as well”. Only upon trying, and falling short, you stand in awe at the recognition of the true depth of skill required to not only complete the task but to make it look easy. You have done that. So well in fact, that I have no idea what you mean by “rest”? I thought all Don needed was someone to order thai and have a warm cup of coco on deck for filming his next installment of Snuggie Talk.

    Tara, I am very excited for what future lies ahead of you and your “rest” and even more excited for your family to have you unencumbered for a period of time.

    Thank you for all you’ve done. Things I was aware of and those I never even knew about,
    Marshall

    • Tara Brown

      Marshall,

      Thank you for the lovely words and for encouraging me – and thanks for being ‘Don’. And you are not suppose to tell anyone the only thing I really did around here was to be at Don’s call for Thai and cocoa in between those excruciating , long takes of ‘Snuggie Talk’ – I am so glad I fooled you in thinking my work was effortless – haha- does this mean I should go into acting in my next phase?

      It was such a joy to get a few conversations in with you in the midst of all that was with BLJ. Thanks also for coming to see us at Storyline. I hope our paths cross again soon!

      Tara

  • http://www.elisefineart.blogspot.com/ Elise

    Dear Tara,
    Thank you for helping me attend Storyline at the 11th-hour, literally. I am grateful for your succinct correspondence, always kind. I enjoyed your sincere directness when I met you in person in Nashville. May the LORD God richly bless your life, your family and restore your energy as you relinquish one of your many valuable roles to fulfill your calling. Rest is a beautiful thing.
    With love,
    Elise

    • Tara Brown

      Elise,
      I am so thankful you were able to attend Storyline and I hope it was a time of reflection and help as you continue on your journey.

      Tara

  • Mary Miller

    My dearest Tara,

    It is with much sadness that I wave good-bye to the one person who kept my son on a path of efficiency, competency, and sanity. Thank you for not running from him when he showed those monster qualities that he says he inherited from me.

    Thank you, also, for the many favors you have done for me over the years. Since FREE is my favorite 4-letter word, I am embarrassed to think of all the venues you arranged for me, getting me and my friends into events that I was not willing to pay for, all done with the sweetest of spirits. I deserved to be ignored but you never treated me like the cheap person I was.

    I already have Tim’s email in my contacts so I can ask for favors. Can I call you if he begins to ignore me?

    I love you Tara. Thanks for taking time for lunch in CA and God bless as you continue on your love journey with our Savior and your amazing family.

    If you get to Houston, the door is always open.

    • Tara Brown

      Mary!
      It has been a true joy to get to know you. Thanks for always being so kind to me. You can call me whenever you want, (though I know you will fall in love with Tim in no time!)

      If I make it to Houston, I will definitely come and see you and next time your in town, let me know!

      Tara

  • http://Stephanielchurch.com StephLChurch

    Wow, Tara, look at all of this wonderful affirmation!

    I’m just one of the many random folks who benefited from the fabulous organization of Storyline in Nashville. The weekend was a game-changer and I’m very grateful for the key part it you played in it.

    I’m also pretty sure you let me exceed my Storyline pencil quota. Thanks. :)

    Best wishes to you and I admire your willingness to respond to promptings to take time for rest and family.

    • Tara Brown

      Hi Stephanie,

      Thank you for the kind words. I am so glad you enjoyed your time at Storyline. All of God’s best on your journey…

      Tara

  • Evelyn Hall

    Dear Tara,

    How blessed our entire family has been in knowing you. I cried after reading that you would no longer be Donald’s assistant. I know Grammy would be asking “What is Donald going to do without Tara?” Well, I wonder that too, but I also know that God has amazing things in the future for each of you as He has had in the past. So may He multiply blessings to you for all the kindness, patience & love you have bestowed to us and others. You have the sweetest spirit of anyone I know. What a joy you must be to Jesus!

    And now who is it exactly that I can contact in the future to get Don’s schedule etc …

    • Tara Brown

      Evelyn,
      I often refer to you as ‘Auntie Evelyn’ – you have always been so delightful to talk with and you have a very kind and sweet spirit. Thank you for your encouragement and prayers and I venture into new territory – and Mary has Don’s new assistant info – you will LOVE Tim – he will far exceed me in helping Don. I know we will run into each other in the future, but for now – take care…

      Tara

  • http://searchwithallyourheart.blogspot.com shellybell

    What sweet messages!

    Tara, I only had a couple encounters with you through Storyline, but on both occasions you were incredibly prompt and gracious. I truly appreciated your willingness to be so kind and helpful. You were a blessing even in a short interaction with a stranger.

    May God richly bless your time with your family!

    On another note, I ordered Blue Like Jazz off Amazon. Super fun!

    I hope all of you who worked so hard on it are blessed this week as it hits stores and enriches the lives of all those who see it.

    • Tara Brown

      Shelly
      thank you for writing such a sweet note. I hope your time at Storyline was one of encouragement.

      All of God’s best to you.

      Tara

  • Virginia

    Tara,

    You’re on my short list of ladies who I want to be like, godly and present, but with an extra oomph that shows a wicked fun personality that you’re ready to share generously. I appreciate that you know yourself well and prioritize your family while also having a great career–good for you for taking some time to be with your men. I’m glad our paths have crossed, and hope it happens some more.

    Peace!
    Virginia Hood

    • Tara Brown

      Virginia..
      awww – you are so kind – thank you!- so glad you are part of my Imago family – i see a ‘girls’ night coming up…

      Tara

  • Christy

    Tara-
    You are the epitome of a quiet and gentle spirit. The rudder to many a ship… rarely seen, but essential to the journey… your wisdom guides, directs and allows others to find the best way possible. You are incarnation: organic, tangible, life giving. I add my voice to the chorus of those who are better for having known you.

    Belmont students really liked Storyline, but they LOVED Tara Brown.

    • Tara Brown

      Christy -
      Thank you for being so kind. I am ever grateful our paths crossed and we are friends. I still want to come and just hang out in your office with all your awesome students and you…..

      grateful for you -

      Tara

  • http://www.newbreedcp.org Peyton

    I never met Tara, but was blessed by this post. It’s a beautiful thing when God puts people on a mission together for a time. What one life can do to make a difference to another…I see God in that big time. It’s one of the reasons why I go to church, and continue to start churches.

    • Tara Brown

      Peyton,
      Thanks for the kind words. I am so glad this blessed you.

      blessings to you -

      Tara

  • Melody Wilson

    Tara!!

    It has been a tremendous joy to cross paths with you over the years. You’ve been as kind as you are detail oriented… which basically means, you’re extremely kind. :) Any time I ran into a problem on tour, you were the person, who from far away, could still help me execute my job with ease. That is talent. You’ve been the behind the scenes super glue and set the bar high for everyone around you. I’m so grateful to have met you & worked with you.

    It was wonderful catching up with you in Santa Barbara and exciting to hear a glimpse of what’s ahead in your life. I wish you all the very best and hope our paths cross again soon. Preferably over lunch next time you’re in Laguna. You’ll have to let me know. :)

    Love, Melody

    • Tara Brown

      Melody! thank you for your kind words of encouragement- you had such a huge task being on tour and were so kind and patient with the crew! loved seeing you in SB and hope to connect next time we come down to Laguna :))

      Tara

  • Heather Farina

    Tara,

    Congradulations on you new season of life!
    Thanks for the free book in Nashville this past May! It was a nice suprise!

    May His peace rest upon you!

    In Him,
    -Heather

    • Tara Brown

      Thank you Heather! Glad you enjoyed the book :)

      Tara

  • Danny

    Tara, I’ve never met you before. In fact, I didn’t know you existed before reading Don’s post. But reading about you just warmed my heart. Hearing stories about people like you inspires others like me to press on along the journey of serving others. Thank you for all of your hard work, fueled by love and compassion for people. May you fully enjoy this new season of rest and quality time with your family!

    • Tara Brown

      Thank you Danny – I am glad the kindness of others’ words have inspired you. I have been blessed many times over being ‘behind the scenes’ – keep pressing forward in you journey.

      Tara

  • http://hartdetailing.com Jordan

    Tara,
    I was able to speak to you briefly after the very first storyline conference in Portland… you gave me your full attention and answered all my questions, and that meant a lot. I’m sitting at my desk and still see my recyclable storyline binder sitting prominently next to my wireless router on the second shelf… completing that binder over that weekend led me to a tear filled breakdown one night after a session- in awe and gratefulness for seeing what God has done in my life after I completed my “Story Line” in the binder. My deepest thanks go out to you and the staff who worked so hard on that conference, and to you personally for talking with me and giving me what felt like loving attention. May we all find our “Taras” someday, and happiness and blessings to your time with that lucky family and to your future endeavors.

    • Tara Brown

      Thank you Jordan. It is a gift to have been a part of something that has touched so many – thank you for sharing how Storyline brought awareness of how God is ‘with and for you’ – stories like yours is why i love to do what I do…and what I will miss most.

      here is to your great story!

      Tara

  • Doug Addington

    I have not had the pleasure of long-term interaction with you that so many others have mentioned, but I have benefited greatly from your gifts. You adeptly answered my many questions about Storyline Nashville.

    Should we register before the BLJ Raleigh preview giveaway is announced? Yes, we should. Okay. What if one of our group wins, how will the previously paid reg. fee be handled? Can we add members to our group registration later, or do we need to wait until everyone is confirmed before registering as a group?

    And then after the conference when I forgot to get materials for one member of our group who learned at the last minute he could not attend, you kindly mailed them to him.

    Our email correspondence and telephone conversations made it clear to me that Jesus is living his life through you, and it is a beautiful thing!

    I observed you tending to some of the details that weekend in Nashville, and was impressed with the ease with which you worked (that is a real gift to make such remarkable oversight look easy!), and your gracious manner with everyone.

    Thank you for being a living, breathing, walking around embodiment of the heart of Jesus!

    • Tara Brown

      Doug,
      Thank you for your kind words and I am so grateful I could be of help to you and your group. Nashville was our first Storyline out of Portland and we loved it! It is because of the great folks at Belmont and my dear friend/sidekick Suzie that Nashville ‘looked easy’ – i wouldn’t have been able to do it without them – it is the beauty of community/serving one another that is the heart of how we live good stories.

      Tara

  • http://www.jeffreyandjuliawoods.com Jeff Woods

    Bummer Tara but understand. When my two older kids and I attended Storyline in Portland last year you were so helpful. I wish you all the best.

    Jeff