current location

Some friendships can transcend time and continents. This week was the first time I saw Lindsey stateside and not half a world away in Uganda. We originally bonded over pumpkin scones and chili, and were known to meet fairly very regularly for espresso milkshakes and spicy fries. I’m so thankful for a friendship that can pick up after years apart and one that is never short on laugher and eye-rolls.

This was Lindsey’s first time on the west coast, and I was determined to show her as much as I could in a few short days. While we didn’t make a big dent into the list, we did dip our toes (or our Converse shoes) in the ocean, drank lots of coffee, and ate enough sugar to last a lifetime. Come back soon, please. The best coast is [not so patiently] waiting :)

Also, can we just talk about the iPhone 7+ Portrait Mode? I think I’m in love.

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shine on us

Oh, how I’ve loved having a house full of people again.

Living alone, working alone, and finishing online classes was a little too much for this extravert to handle. While the down time was nice and the transition was needed, I was getting a little antsy not having other people to do everyday life with. It was the first time I had ever lived entirely on my own & I had reached my maximum capacity of solitude.

Now, I have a house that never sleeps, is always on the go, and full of laughs – and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have two littles that keep me entertained and giggling all day as they dance around the house, throwing in a “baby yoga” pose or two along the way. It’s been a joy watching their “firsts” in America, and I love seeing the amazement on their faces as they experience something new.

So here’s to adventures and laughs and not enough sleep. To iced coffee and popcorn and lots of champagne. To the snuggles and meltdowns and the moments in between.

And speaking of adventures, here’s a glimpse of our little one today.

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when i lost my heart to you

My goodness, how do I even describe these people & this day.

Through a crazy mess of twists and turns, I was able to make it to one of my best friend’s weddings. Not only that, but I had the honor of taking a few pictures throughout the day.

Though it may have been raining before the wedding and during the ceremony, it was one of the most beautiful wedding celebrations I’ve ever been apart of. The wedding party was safe & dry underneath a big oak tree that was the most vibrate shade of yellow that is only seen during a true Ontario fall as two lives were pledged to God & each other forever.

I laughed, I cried, I ended up half in the pool trying to move the filter sprinkler – you know, a typical day. But most of all, it was a beautiful joining of two amazing people who seek God above all else in a way that is tangible to everyone around them.

My dearest Chris & Riley, I love you something fierce – from California to Canada and Australia and back.

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almost home

Cottage adventures are the best adventures.

We’ve been spending time up at a little cottage on Golden Lake for over 15 years. The cottage belongs to some of our best family friends – we’ve grown up there together, skipping rocks and catching frogs for a week almost every summer. This summer was the first in about four years that all of us were reunited on this little lake in Northern Ontario.

While the visit was brief, the nostalgia was thick. Suddenly, we’re old enough to take the jet ski out and wander onto the dock without cautious warnings from our parents. Sometime during these years, we’ve grown up – living lives together and apart. But still, we can always come back together for a few ridiculous card games and the best popcorn that you ever did taste (shoutout to Mrs. Hillier for that).

So here’s to those days spent together & and the lifelong memories made – wherever we may be.

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love will be enough for us

Oh Florida, while your beaches are beautiful, your humidity is fairly unnecessary.

As the sun lowered & the humidity became bearable, I ventured outside with my good friends, Duncan + Christina, to shoot a few engagement pictures. While this trip is the first time I’ve met Duncan, it feels as though we’ve known each other for years. And it doesn’t hurt that the two of them make quite a cute couple.

I was dreading these photos, nervous that I wouldn’t get a good shot worth anything at all. I tend to lean more towards snapping candid photos, opposed to posed shots. However, it turns out that you can still capture the candid moments within them all.

So here’s to being bold & trying new things, and life, love, & other mysteries.

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sailboats

Sundays are for sailing – or at least every Sunday should be for sailing.

Last weekend, I spent a beautiful afternoon on the water in the Toronto Harbour, on the most gorgeous sailboat. My Sperrys finally felt at home, and the views weren’t too bad either.

This girl used to be terrified of boats. I mean, cry in the middle of the boat that goes around the outside of Magic Kingdom for the whole ride, kind of terrified. In fact, you couldn’t find me in or near much water that was outside of a swimming pool and in its natural habitat. However, I have thankfully overcome that ridiculous fear & now find water to be the most calming & relaxing places in the world.

So here’s to resting, slowing down, and dusting the dirt off of my camera for a beautiful day on Lake Ontario.

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home

I haven’t had many words to share these past few months, but I’ve had pictures.

As I got ready to travel back to Uganda for 10 weeks (my ploy to escape the record low temperatures Ontario has been experiencing), the sister and I decided to go on a wee adventure. This plan not only reinforced my need for warmer weather, but only lasted about 15 minutes before our fingers were freezing and our boots were filled with snow.

But alas, pictures were taken, laughs were had, and woods were explored. In fact, we chose Steckle Woods, which our family owned 5 generations back. It’s as though the roots beneath our feet held years of rich history & untold stories. And that’s the best feeling.

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heartbeats

Oh Nashville, you were good to me.

Each time I go back, I worry about the city losing its sparkle. I’m scared that the beauty will fade and my love will fade with it. And while I would be lying if I said it hasn’t come with its struggles, the beauty & excitement outweigh it – tenfold.

The city itself is full of charisma & charm – the community there has roots deeper than anyone could comprehend just skimming the surface. It’s full of coffee shop conversations, balsam fir lattes, library puppet theater & hot chicken.

One of my most absolute favorite parts of my most recent trip was just doing life with my dear friend Nat and her two beautiful kiddos. It was the most I felt “at home” since returning from Uganda. While dealing with sickness and all that it brings, Nat extended the most gracious and hospitable hand, opening her home and life to me.

In between the moments of coffee shop hopping and naps, we stole away to the stream in their backyard, snapping a few pictures of them in their “home” environment. I had completely forgotten about those pictures until today. I loved reliving those moments as I went through each picture, smiling along the way.

Here are a few snapshots of our quick adventure.

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And because this is real life.

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look out

I’ve come to love the unexpected.

Whether it’s a last minute coffee date or an unexpected life change – I love the anticipation and the unknown that comes with it.

A few weeks ago, this unexpected came in the form of a 36 hour road trip to Florida for a few days of fun in the sun. While it did, in fact, come with fun – the sun was…lacking. It ran, far away from this vitamin D deficient [partly Ugandan] soul. But still, it was Florida – and there was no snow.

We saw manatees, drank coffee, froze our tails off walking around downtown Disney, and listened to one too many – high school years – mixed CDs. However, we did stop to take a few pictures during our manatee adventures. Having a model for a best-friend doesn’t hurt during impromptu photo shoots.

Here’s to the unexpected. To road trips and photoshoots, and adventure.

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give thanks

Oh, my heart is full.

Today was my first time hosting a Thanksgiving dinner – it was also my first Thanksgiving in Uganda. Holidays here are different – not bad, just different. You are away from family, the comforts of “home” (no matter what Drü says, this “Canadian” still gets to celebrate Thanksgiving), the temperature is completely wrong, and you can’t buy 75% of what you would need for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Have no fear, we snuck (okay, not so exciting) people brought us those foods that we are missing here (Hello French’s Fried Onions) & helped us make this day even more special.

This morning started off a little different than most. Instead of putting the finishing touches on my assigned dish and heading to the farm to shoot skeet, I walked down the street to watch Asher kill our dinner. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, our turkey was happy as a clam, running around the outreach house this morning. Some might think that is the most disgusting things that you could do the morning of Thanksgiving, but honestly, it was a perfect start. There was lots of laughter, turkey chasing, & just being with friends. So our sweet Mr. Turkey that tasted oh so good this evening, started our morning out in a unique and ridiculous way.

This afternoon was filled with laughter, cooking, pumpkin, cheese (because the aforementioned friends brought good REAL cheese from America – bless them), & fighting with the oven for more space than it could offer. Creativity was at its peak this afternoon as we tried to find enough pots to cook in, enough pans to bake in, and a make-shift pie plate to bake my pecan pie in. But have no fear, the puzzle was completed and everything turned out just beautifully.

We sat around the table, sharing a meal, just enjoying the different relationships that were around us. (Not to mention it was #SweetStellaBella’s first Thanksgiving as apart of the Collie family – such a special time.) It was definitely different than any Thanksgiving that I’ve experienced (I mean we imported half of our food), but it was one of the best Thanksgivings I’ve ever experienced. For one night, we could put our work aside, and truly be thankful for the beautiful country that we are in, the delicious food before us, the community around us, & our Creator above us.

But enough of my rambling – clearly you are all waiting for the turkey killing pictures. Well, don’t you worry, they are here. Here’s to Thanksgiving – to traditions in an untraditional place.

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