I'm home from Haiti.

I'm home from Haiti.

I'm home! I returned from Haiti on Thursday evening and other than picking Sunday up from my mom's on Friday, I have had absolutely nothing to do all this time. (Eh, nothing pressing on the calendar, anyway.) It's been awesome and I definitely plan to give myself a lot of time to settle in after future trips out of town! I didn't realize how much I needed it.

So... it's definitely easy to say Haiti changed my life. 

I'm going to Haiti.

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I am going to Haiti tomorrow.

Tommy and I made the decision at the last minute (one week ago). I have been invited to join the Allow The Children team in Haiti as their photographer for a week and grateful doesn't even begin to describe how I feel. I am overwhelmed in a lot of GOOD ways and I hope my presence will be only helpful and uplifting. My goal during this trip is to capture the essence of Haiti as it is and to help raise awareness of the desperate need for support for their country. Specifically, though, in the children's orphanages. 

I've spent the last week trying to get all of my work tasks taken care of while balancing my need to research and prepare for my trip AND get in good, quality time with the family. I've been learning about the history of Haiti and where the country stands now, having lengthy discussions with Tommy about what I'm nervous about and what I'm excited about (and how jealous he is of me), and trying to figure out how to get all of my work done before I leave while also taking breaks to snuggle with Sunday. 

It's been a busy week. But so worth it. I am very excited. And nervous. Oh, so nervous. I cannot recall many times in my life when I have felt genuinely fearful for my life... but I will share that the last time I traveled to a third world country, I spent almost the entire trip in prayer. I was scared. I hope I won't feel this way again, but I do know I am stepping out of my comfort zone and that alone is not a fun thing, per se.

It is surreal... knowing my life will never be the same again after today.

I will try to put into words what my experience is like after I return, but no promises. I remember being fairly speechless after my trip to Nepal in 2009. 

I'd greatly appreciate your prayers for our team and all of those we will be connecting with... and that my camera equipment will not malfunction while we are there. (I'm scared of that, too.)

belated-mega-gratituesday: so much! | personal

I can't believe it's already Friday! This week has FLOWN by... there is so much stuff swirling around both SLP and my home so my mind has been in a million different places. I am super excited about a lot of things, but more specifically... I am GRATEFUL for so much. Here's a shortened run-down that should cover the last two weeks of Gratituesday. ;)

  1. Earlier this week I booked my flight to Arizona for the end of this month to visit one of my favorite friends, Carrie. She moved out there last fall and I cannot wait to fly out and see her new AZ life! Plus, I'm not sure if you are aware of this... but it was in the 90's this week in AZ. Hah... to say I am excited about enjoying that weather is an understatement. :)
  2. While I am in AZ I'll be stopping in for a visit with one of my wedding photography idols, Melissa Jill. I am so very excited about spending time with her and picking her brain! She inspires me in a lot of the ways that I choose to run my business so I couldn't be more pumped to meet her.
  3. Late last week Tommy sold his miata and on Monday he bought a Nissan Frontier to replace it. Finally. I am so grateful that we no longer have to borrow his dad's truck every time we want to do a big project around the house! And he is in HEAVEN. (He has wanted a truck for years!)
  4. And last but SURELY not least.... dum dum dummmm.... I finally bought myself a Mac. :) My new, slim, silver laptop should arrive sometime today... just in time for me to load her up with all the goodies necessary for me to take my office on the road! Which means that my trip to VA Beach with Tommy next week and my trip to AZ at the end of the month won't be putting a hold on any office work. The relief... oh the sheer relief... I cannot express!

There's even more going on, but we still have some details to nail down before everything is announced. I am so grateful for the growth of SLP over the past few years and the opportunities it has brought to my family. So, stay tuned for a few announcements and changes in the coming weeks!

In the meantime... get off the computer and go outside! It is GORGEOUS today!

taking the train | personal

Well, it’s only January and I am knocking things off of my 101 in 1001 list left and right! Although I shouldn’t get too far ahead of myself since I only have 50 items on the list so far. But, I am excited to cross another item off of it! # 39. Take a trip on a train.

Last Tuesday night I boarded a train to Atlanta to spend a few days with Tommy while he was down there for work. If I’m being honest, I actually almost missed it. Had you been there to see me, you would have totally been able to tell I was a complete newbie. Oops! Lucky for me everyone who was already on the train was asleep, so I didn't have to do any sort of walk-of-shame. :) I took the red-eye (is it called that if it’s a train?) through the night and arrived in Atlanta in the morning.

Overall it was a great experience. Purchasing my ticket, boarding, and riding the train was overall a LOT less stressful than dealing with an airport. The attendants were super laid back and there was plenty of space for me to sleep comfortably in my seat and actually tuck my oversized purse in my seat with me. The pop-up foot rests were a treat, too! While there is a luggage limit, you would have to be moving to a new town to reach it (you can bring whatever you can carry). And though I didn’t take advantage of one of the available beds in a sleeping car, I can definitely appreciate that the option was there.

The best part of the whole thing was that the cost of the train ticket was less than half the cost of a one-way flight from Lynchburg to Atlanta. You can’t beat that! Taking a trip on a train is definitely something I hope to do again in the future... especially because each passenger has their very own electrical outlet right at their seat! Can you say a working trip? Yesss.

And because all posts are more interesting with photos... here's one of my 365 shots taken while I was in Atlanta at Condesa Coffee. This is, hands down, the best coffee I have ever had in my entire life.

Condesa Coffee

Gratituesday | Reconnection

Today I say goodbye to Tommy, again. On one hand, I sure appreciate that the Army gives these little breaks in the year. A 4-day pass here, 2-week R&R there... it's a nice way to break things up and to give us a little something to look forward to. At the same time, it sure is hard saying bye again. It is always the first few days after a goodbye that are the hardest , so this day is extremely bittersweet.

But, we've had a fantastic weekend together. We travel and experience new things very well together. When we're both living under the same roof and our priorities get skewed or we aren't connecting well, we take off for a weekend together and reconnect. It's something that works very well for us. And this weekend was no exception.

Todays' Gratituesday is simply a gratefulness for reconnection. It is refreshing, hopeful, and healing. This weekend was all of those things and exactly what we both needed. It has been heavenly.

So I'll leave it at that. I've got about 9 hours left with this man before he's off for 9 months. I gotta go soak it up!