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.

IMG_6908

IMG_6902

IMG_6938

IMG_6982

IMG_6975

IMG_6985

Advertisements

heartbeats

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

IMG_5788

IMG_5792

IMG_5800

IMG_5807

IMG_5822

IMG_5846

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.

IMG_4144

IMG_4164

IMG_4182

IMG_4184

IMG_4186

IMG_4194

IMG_4157

IMG_4199

IMG_4213

IMG_4224

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

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

IMG_0462

IMG_0476

IMG_0444

IMG_0431

IMG_0492

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

love life

I don’t have many words to describe my time in Ontario these past few weeks, but I have tried to make a point of bringing my camera with me and actually taking pictures. My camera has been pretty cooped up since I got back from Uganda in August.

Snow, friends, and adventures have fairly sufficiently filled my time here. Yesterday afternoon may have been the peak. There’s nothing like a good nature walk with a some of your best friends and a crazy dog to fill your emotional tank.

These two are something else.

IMG_2969

I love them dearly and they are some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. They live and breathe love and laughter – and it’s infectious.

IMG_2959

Kristin – Ridiculous, loud, hilarious, caring. I have so much fun with this girl. Whether we’re walking in the rain, running over curbs in Dundas, or drinking coffee – it’s always met with laughter and sarcasm. We make fun of horrible art galleries, drink mediocre coffee, and quite often start conversations with ‘Can I ask you something?’. She is open with how she’s feeling, genuinely cares about how you’re doing, and somehow makes you feel better in the midst of crappy life situations. This girl is joy through and through.

IMG_2995

Riley – This girl is something else. We bonded over rugby and it’s just gone from there. She’s my fellow wandering spirit and understands my heart on more levels than anyone else. All filters are lost when we’re together – this tends to be the best entertainment. Her smile and laugh are infectious. We can be separated by distance for years – reunite us and you’ll wonder if time passed at all. I’m making bets on whether we’ll ever live on the same continent again, but I love seeing where we are now and cannot wait to see where we end up years from now. She loves well – even if it’s in the form of picking on me. We may be crazy, but at least we can be crazy together.

IMG_3036IMG_3037IMG_3038

I’m so excited for these girls next adventures together in Australia. Hopefully I’ll be able to join them for a few weeks to cause some ruckus on the other side of the globe. I’m so thankful for who they are and their intentional friendships. These girls are going places – they’re on their way.

IMG_3019 IMG_3050 IMG_2966

winter wonderland

Ontario is good for the soul.

Clean air. White snow. Tim Hortons.

I leave for Uganda in just over a week, and there’s no better way to finish my time on this content (for now) than with a white Christmas and the people I grew up with.

I won’t lie to you – it’s stinkin’ cold all the way up here. I’m lacking in warm clothing, winter footwear, and any tolerance for being outside for longer than three-and-a-half minutes. The days where the temperature dipped bellow freezing were few and far between in North Carolina, and leaving the house to find frost on my windshield was as crazy as winter got. I haven’t seen a temperature above freezing since I arrived here in The North Pole. I don’t see Santa, his elves haven’t brought me hot chocolate, and I’m face deep in snow.

Although the hot chocolate has been scarce, the cinnamon roll I had from the farmers market this morning more than made up for it. I’ve been trying to fit in all the classic activities that come with being here. This is the longest period of time that I’ve spent in Ontario since moving almost two years ago. My sweet/crazy/Aussie-ish friend Riley is also home for the holiday season – so of course we’ve been causing a fair amount of trouble and consuming far too much caffeine. Quite necessary after almost two years apart – clearly making up for lost time. This morning was the St. Jacobs Farmers Market adventure. It was complete with maple syrup scouting and drooling at the sight of poutine. It ended with a lady trying to make Riley smile for a picture by repeatedly wishing her a “Merry Christmas”. We attract the crazies – and we’re okay with it.

Smiles and cinnamon rolls for all!

IMG_2754 IMG_2759 IMG_2761IMG_2760

 

forevermore

20131028-231104.jpg

What a weekend.

Thursday started with a rather chilly ride to Asheville, a quick Target run, a drive to Greenville, a bit of procrastinating at Starbucks, and a trip to the Greenville airport – all before 10:30am. We picked up our much anticipated guest Natalie (a blogger and Sole Hope Advocate who can be found at Take the Cannoli) just in time for me to realize that I had forgotten all 200 shoe patterns that we needed for the conference. It was 11am and the weekend was off to a…stressful start. While Nat was ecstatic that she would be able to visit the Sole Hope office in Asheville, Asher and I were trying to crunch the numbers and figure out how we could fix this little mistake of mine. We started our trek up the mountain and found ourselves at one of my favorite overlooks. It’s the perfect time of year to visit the mountains, and Nat was experiencing all this beauty for the first time. We continued to Brevard, said our quick hellos, and sped off to Asheville as fast as our loaded down van would allow. A quick visit to the office, three inhaled crepes, and a walk around the block later – we were on our way to Greenville – again.

After the morning chaos, the stress of setting up our booth, and forgetting to give the van keys to the valet, we settled in for a much anticipated weekend at the Allume Conference. Sole Hope had the honor of sponsoring the conference which allowed us to not only share our mission on stage in front of 450 attendees, but we were able to host an Impact Opportunity on Saturday in the form of a shoe cutting party. It was incredible seeing this group of 45 women coming together with the SOLE purpose of cutting shoe uppers that will eventually be put on the foot of a child in Uganda. I was honored to be a part of the event, and was taken aback by how excited everyone was about being involved with Sole Hope. I loved seeing people as excited about these projects as I am. It was a successful weekend of not only connecting people with Sole Hope, but making personal connections with so many women that attended the conference.

It was three days full of laughter, tears, ridiculous humor, blogging, and friendships. To say the three of us had fun would be just the beginning. To say we got enough sleep would be a joke. To say I’m thankful for new and old heart friends would be an understatement. To say I’m even more passionate about Sole Hope would be nothing but the truth.

77jjk40186

Asher was able to bring back a few of the shoes whose uppers were cut in the States, sent to Uganda, and have returned in the form of the most adorable shoes. While I spent all weekend being a little jealous (okay, unbelievably jealous) that they do not yet come in my size, we had a few pairs that fit Nat like a glove. Clearly, a mini photo shoot in the cold (or freezing cold if your Miss SoCal Natalie) air of Greenville followed. Hopefully these shoes will be available for purchase in the States within the next year.

From the USA to Uganda to South Carolina – these shoes are world travellers.

IMG_2409 IMG_2445 IMG_2458 IMG_2480 IMG_2485 IMG_2491 IMG_2497 IMG_2499 IMG_2513 IMG_2531

The weekend was more of a success than I could have ever imagined. I left with a refreshed passion for Sole Hope and blogging. I can’t wait to share new updates in both of those areas, but we’ll leave that for another post…

The weekend was filled with amazing speakers that made you think about life and art in a completely new way. Refreshed, renewed, and a little sleep deprived, we left the conference excited about not only the future, but where we are right now.

You are where you are for such a time as this; not to make an impression, but to make a difference. – Ann Voskamp

life keeps moving on

_MG_3807

One month.

Somehow it’s been one month since I left Uganda.

Somehow it’s only been one month since I left Uganda.

What a month it has been. I think I’ve only slept in my own bed just less than two of those weeks, yet it feels like months since I last crawled underneath my cozy mosquito net on the bottom bunk in that white house in Jinja.

Can your heart be completely content where you are, but still wish you could be somewhere thousands of miles away? I think I have that.

These last few weeks have been emotionally exhausting. While I absolutely love catching up with everyone I missed while gone, answering the same questions about my trip is rather challenging when I haven’t really had the time to process what happened while I was there. I apologize for all the short answers, fake smilies, and avoided eye contact. That was probably my not-so-healthy way of trying to communicate that I didn’t have all the answers for the questions being asked. I still don’t. I don’t know if I ever will.

For the first time since being back, I went through most of the pictures I took while I was in Uganda. I put the last of my pictures on my computer, and was able to relive so many memories moving from picture to picture. Some of them made me cringe, some made me incredibly sad, and others made me laughing hysterically. We had fun walking down memory lane while realizing just how many things we desperately miss.

Those beautiful smiles.

That beautiful view.

The wonderful Collie family.

I loved seeing those white smiles, that ebony skin, those sweet little hands. My heart ached to be back, but I was so thankful for the memories made, the relationships built, and the time I did have there. I know I’ll be back holding those precious hands so soon. This journey is no where near finished. I think it’s just starting.

Content in where I am. Thankful for where I’ve been. Excited for where this journey takes me.

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy.” Phillipains 1:3

_MG_3827 _MG_3810

_MG_3802

_MG_3900

_MG_3914