We bought a House!

Friday, January 29

I've been dying to share this news for a long time, but the cat's out of the bag now!!
We bought a house!

The Lord has been so good and so kind to us in this process and I'm excited to share the story with you.

The past year i've been looking pretty seriously at houses in my hometown. I never saw anything I loved that was in our price range. In the Fall, we hired a great realtor and one weekend we planned to drive up and look at houses. Our realtor told us there wasn't really anything in our price range in the area where we wanted to live, but he told us he'd take us to a few in different parts of the city. We figured it couldn't hurt.

A few days before driving up, my mom texted me letting me know that one of our family friends knew a couple who were flipping a house in the exact location we wanted to live. They told us to call Frank, and see if we could check it out while in town. So I called Frank up, and he invited us over to look at the house.

Friends, it was amazing. The perfect location. The perfect size (a bit bigger than we even expected to be able to afford!). And it ticked so many of our boxes…TONS of natural light, hard wood floors, a sun room, 3 beds, 2 baths, and a nice sized yard. We couldn't believe it.

It was as if God had lovingly dropped this home into our laps.
We prayed a lot about it, and before they even listed it, we made an offer.
After some negotiations, they accepted.

Escrow closed in mid-Dec, and by mid-Jan we are now moved in!!
(After 2 international trips, and a TON of moving!! whew, it was tiring!)

I am so incredibly grateful and thankful. We have been praying for over a year now that God would put us in the right neighborhood, the right house, and with the right community. He has answered our prayers in such a beautiful way. Like all journeys, there are always bumps in the road and not everything is perfect, but we are thankful for it all!

We have been in town now for 5 days, and already have been shown so much hospitality. So grateful for this new chapter or our life, being right where God wants us:)

Thank you for all your prayers and sweet thoughts!! xoxo

Back from India and Nepal

Wednesday, January 27

We just returned from 2 weeks in India and Nepal. It was a very unique trip. One week of work in India, and one week of visiting family and friends in Nepal.

Both countries had their challenges and their rewards. 

Kolkata was all sorts of chaos. It was gritty and dirty, loud and very stimulating, but we found so much beauty working with the women of Sari Bari. It was bucket showers, spicy foods, and pollution. But it was also communication with body language and laughter (smiles and hand holding with the women). It was hearing stories, watching women make beautiful quilts and bags. It was sensing a freedom in the midst of oppression. 

Nepal was relaxing and nostalgic. Walking down the street of our old apartment, wandering through the fruit and vegetable market we used to buy all our produce at, and generally soaking up all the memories we made in that beautiful country. It was also grand reunions, first with Kevin's sister and brother in law who live there with their 3 kids, and second with all the sweet girls from the aftercare home we worked at. There were happy tears, and much laugher, lots and lots of stories, and just good fellowship. It was also cold with little electricity and not much gas. If you didn't know, India has stopped the petrol and gas from going into Nepal (because Nepal changed their constitution to a secular nation and not a Hindu one, so India was not too happy about that), so there is little heat.  I slept in my jacket and threw a few hand warmers into bed just to cozy it up. But cold or not, it was such  delightful time of reunions with old friends and family.

I took next to no personal pictures on this trip. Because I was shooting 8 hours a day for Sari Bari in India, the last thing I wanted to do when I left was take pictures. And once in Nepal, I just wanted to fully be present and not distracted with my camera. So, here are the crumbs of pictures I took:)

I am so grateful for this trip in many ways. I hope to share more about my time there, as i'm still processing. But this will do it for now:) Happy Wednesday friends!

We're in India

Thursday, January 7

 We've arrived in India.

As a blessing, I was invited to do some photography work for the amazing Sari Bari that is based out of Calcutta, India. Sari Bari employs women coming out of sex-trafficking/prostitution. I will spend the next 4-5 days meeting with the incredible women who make gorgeous products out of Indian sari's. I will hear their stories, and see their great handiwork first hand. I will be documenting their work.

I am so grateful for this opportunity. If you haven't heard of Sari Bari or seen their products, then you are missing out! The message of their products is freedom and empowerment, and quality of their products are seriously gorgeous…swoon worthy:) {here are some pictures of a shoot I did this past spring so you can see their products in action}

Please pray for us during this time:) Thank you so much! 

unraveling and rebinding

Tuesday, January 5

 {blanket by Sari Bari}

There are times in my life where in all honesty I feel a bit unthreaded. Like i've been unraveling for a while, and i'm just now noticing how far undone i've become. The last two years were a glass over flowing with busyness. Busyness that was imperative to furthering my career with graduate school, but busyness that nonetheless drew me away from the roots of life.

From friends. 
From community. 
From God.

Before you start thinking that i'm now an isolated pagan, i'm not. But i've noticed that i've lost the deeper threads of these areas, and I so badly want to reclaim them. I'm moving, and as it stands now, I have no job, no real defined community, and a lot of unknowns.

But in the midst of the confusion, i'm praying into a year where the threads start braiding back together. Where the things I hold most dear, marry in a lovely union that ushers me back into a place of feeling whole.

I'm deeply hungry for meaningful and loyal friendships. For mentors. For Bible studies that explore my faith, challenging me to something greater. For community that is laughter and truth telling and above all, connected. 

Seasons of unraveling are a part of life. I think God does something special in those places.
But I sure do hope 2016 is filled with binding up the brokenness in my life, and mending those areas that have surely been neglected by yours truly.

Praying for you sweet friend, for binding:)

ps- Don't forget to sign up for Be You and Love it! The class is open until January 6th! Friends, it's truly life-changing and i'd love to chat with any of you who decide to go through it!!

pss- Send up a prayer as Kevin and I travel to India today:)


Be YOU and love it! - An incredible resource to make 2016 the BEST!

Friday, January 1

It's 2016, holy moly! Happy New Year friend.

Kevin and I drove up to Northern California to spend New Years with my family. The many hours in the car lent itself beautifully to dreaming and thinking about the future. Not just dreams about what we'll do and we're we'll travel (like these here…), but mostly critically thinking about who I want to become. My character. My inner thoughts. My relationships with others.

The word God has given me for 2016 is confidence. Not a confidence in myself or my abilities, but instead a confidence that comes from knowing I am loved deeply and fully by God. A beautiful and radiant confidence that stems from a life so connected to our loving Lord.

One of the way's i've been proactive in meeting my goal is by going through an AMAZING online course called Be You and Love It.  Stephanie May Wilson, author and blogger put together a beautiful package filled with a journal and 21 online videos. Ladies, I cannot recommend this course enough. First of all, Stephanie is so genuine and authentic, vulnerably sharing her own story through the course. She shares the fears so many of us have, but are afraid to voice. Her vulnerability and honesty has given me so much courage to face my own issues and own them with bravery.

The course is only open a few times a year, and right now it's open from January 1-6!! If you are looking for some extra in-depth life changing course, this is it. Not only will you be walking along with Stephanie, but you will be invited to a Facebook group of ladies who will be traveling with you. The community is awesome and so loving and kind.

So why take this course? Here's a few reasons….

The heart of this course is really simple. So many of us know in our minds that we are perfectly and wonderfully made. We know Jesus, we know the scriptures, we know what God says about us. But it just doesn’t always feel true. 

So the heart of this course is to fix that. The goal of this course is to help that knowledge — the truth of who God created us to be — move from our head down into our hearts so we can believe it wholeheartedly and live as though it's true. 

This course is a step by step journey to help women do the following things: 
  • Discover how they really see themselves — until we know how we actually see ourselves, we can’t do anything to fix it
  • Figure out what in the beliefs we have about ourselves are true, what are false, what are from God, what we’ve picked up throughout our lives, what other people have said about us, what we need to stop believing, and what we need to begin believing is really true about us.
  • We take off the lies, removing them one by one until we have ceremoniously and prayerfully taken them off for good!
  • Then we put on the truth — we tuck up close to God and ask Him who HE says we are. 
  • Last, but absolutely not least, we practice believing that truth. So many of us know the right things to say, but they don’t feel true. In the course, we actually practice believing them. Repeating the truths over and over again until we don't even have to think about it anymore. It's just who we are!
This course is about busting right through the insecurity we all struggle with as women — identifying it, calling it out, and getting rid of it for good. It’s about putting on the real truth of who we are, and practicing believing it until it’s real — until we can confidently, powerfully, and truthfully say, “I am so deeply and forever LOVED, and not only that, but I love myself too!”

How does this work exactly?

Be You and Love It is an online course. There are 21 videos in a membership area (you have to be a member to access them!) and those videos correspond with a downloadable workbook you receive as you sign up. 

There’s also a Facebook community you gain access to when you sign up. (Quick note on this: The Facebook community is SO BEAUTIFUL! The way the group loves and encourages each other is just amazing!) 

How long does the course take?

There is no schedule for how quickly the course should be completed. The fastest someone has completed the course so far has been in 2 months, but i'm still working away on the course and it will probably take me about 5-6 months (i've been going at a slow pace!). It really just depends on how much you have going on in life as you work through it. 

If you have more questions, you can read the FAQ section here. (Just scroll down the page a bit!) 

This course is an investment, but one that has been absolutely worth it. I have been challenged, learned so much about myself, and have continued to grow in my identity and confidence in God's love. 

If you want to start this year in a NEW way, breaking bad habits of seeing yourself in a negative light, then absolutely consider this course! Allow 2016 be the year you break free!! 

Happy Day Friends!! xoxo