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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take the world

My sweet camera doesn’t see enough daylight. I feel like I take the same pictures over and over again at our removals/clinics, so I tend to not think about taking more pictures of the same things. But I need to stop that thinking. I’m determined to master the “capture each moment” philosophy and see the beauty in this. Each moment is unique – I want to capture that. So here is my little attempt at that from this week. Also, BIG thanks to my dear friend Lindsey who let me borrow her Canon 35mm 1.4 lens. I am in love – and she may never get it back.

Here’s to the little moments and capturing each memory.

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heartbeats

Here’s to the living the little moments. The everyday. And two blogs in one week.

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Sometimes I forget how incredible it is that this gets to be my “everyday”. In the hard moments, the stress, the exhaustion, the missing of family and friends – these smiles greet me every morning. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

joy

I’ve been missing our sweet outreach kiddos this week. I miss their shy smiles, the sound of the razor scooter whipping around the compound, and how smart they looked with their new Sole Hope shoes on. They helped me choose JOY – each and everyday. On some level, I think the memory of them being here is tied to other emotions. The #blogHOPE team was here when they first arrived, and how I miss them so. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I don’t even think that’s enough to describe these sweet littles.

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I need to send a quick shoutout to @wanderingwithmary. She gave me the best LightRoom tutorial, and I will be forever grateful to her for that. Editing of all future pictures are in some way thanks to her. #editingwithmary

time moves quickly

I don’t even think I could sum up the emotions I’ve felt this last few weeks – even if I tried. It’s been one of the most emotionally draining times of my life. Despite that, God is still good – yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

When I don’t have the right words, pictures speak for me. Here’s a peak into the moments of JOY that shine through in the darkest days.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kids, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” – James 1:2&3

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