thankful for this staff family.

It’s far too often that I find myself caught up in the busy-ness of life, & another week slips by. And you know what? I’m over it. I’m over time slipping by right before me.

I don’t want to look back & see that I’ve lived years in Haiti & I forgot to document life in this unique season right here & right now.

I wanted to take a moment to highlight each member of this Haiti staff family. I don’t want to forget the beautiful melting pot that is the staff family in this season. We’ll never have the Fall of 2015 again, & I’m grateful the Lord has compiled these incredible people here for such a time as this.

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Kenol & Rachel: When I think of this power couple, the one word that comes to my mind is faithful. They have a beautiful family, the BEST smiles I’ve ever seen, & they work each day to faithfully follow the path God has set before them. They are leaders.


Elizabeth: EB is a total #GirlBoss. (if you don’t know what that means, it’s essentially saying she’s an inspiring leader). She was my boss when I interned back in 2012, & she’s since become a dear friend. She is a strong leader with a humble heart & a sincere love for Jesus. Give her a guitar? You’ve found yourself in the middle of a worship session. She’s one of my favorite worship leaders because she makes it ALL about Jesus. Google Docs has got nothing on her. Her mind is sharp & her talents are many.


Katie: Katie is a warrior. First, she’s a prayer warrior. There is no doubt in my mind that when Katie says she will pray for you – she will. She reminds me not to put God in a box. Her love for the Lord radiates. Her heart for the 60+ Orphanage Kids she’s “mom” to is one of the first things you’ll notice when you meet her. She shines!


Matt & Amanda: Both Matt & Amanda are two ridiculously creative friends. Amanda – with a brush & paper, a camera, & words. Matt – with a guitar & the ability to write a sermon that is relatable & theologically sound. They enjoy good coffee & will make it for their neighbor (cough, me) often. They are hospitable & gracious. They are the best parents to be & I can’t wait until baby J comes into the world Spring 2016! They’re always up for an adventure, or watching The Office…both are equally valuable. They make marriage look fun!


Kelci: I’ve known Kelci since 2012, & I have loved to watch her grow. She is brilliant, y’all. She’s also hilariously witty & strong. She pours herself out for the least of these, & has an endurance that is clearly God-given. She handles difficult situations with prayer & grace. I’ve watched many people’s lives transform because of her faithfulness.


Britney: Britney reminds me to never take life too seriously. She busts out into random dance moves, twirls, & laughter daily. She is FUN. She has a deep joy that comes from a vibrant relationship with Jesus. She knows her purpose & she walks confidently in it.


Haley: Haley connects with everyone. She is relatable & kind, while also hilarious. She says one liners that will have you cracking up. She also has a way of articulating what the Lord has taught her in a relatable & sincere way. She is more talented than she would admit, & she’s filled with grace & Truth.


Courtney: Courtney is a Godsend. She reminds me of Jesus & has such a gentle spirt about her. When I’m around her, I am always encouraged & more aware of Jesus. She is one who lifts people up. Kindness radiates from her. She also has a beautiful singing voice but she would never tell you that.


Carrie: Carrie is a constant. She is gentle & calm, even in the midst of what others would call chaos. She is joyful, intentional, & a breath of fresh air. I often find myself thinking Carrie has been here for longer than she has because she just fits so well. I admire this woman!


Holly: Holly is amazing with children. She is also so incredibly artistic & talented. When she makes pottery, she is in her happy place. Her creativity & kind spirit are qualities that I admire. She’s also really patient with kids…which I also admire. ;)


Justine: FUN. Justine walks in & she can own a room with her charisma, while she also can sit in the corner with a woman & talk about life. She has a way of finding joy in the ordinary moments of life. She loves to celebrate & she makes the best cupcakes.


Chris: Chris is one of the few men on staff, & I’m thankful for his presence. He’s a calm in the midst of medical situations, & he handles difficult situations with strength, sensitivity, & wisdom. He has grown so much in the time he’s been here & I admire him!


Reuben: He loves Texas & bacon, but most of all he loves the Lord. He’s a hard worker with a unique fashion sense, & he always knows how to make someone laugh. He speaks fluent Creole & has a way of making you feel like family, even if he just met you.

Oh, I should write about that.

There have been multiple times the past few months where I’ve thought, “Oh, I should write about that.”

But then, I don’t.

I jot down notes on word documents & file it away for another day “when I have more time.” Isn’t that absurd? As though more hours will appear tomorrow? Or as though I’ll all of a sudden have the motivation to write?

Well, here I am. Writing. ehh, trying. ;) Putting fingers to the keys.

Before you think you’re about to embark on reading an excellently worded post: let me stop you. There are much more talented writers out there in the land of the internet. There are better photographers, people that are brilliantly hilarious, & ones that have way more “adventurous” jobs.

But you know what? I’m not competing with them. At the end of the day, I want to love God & to love people. Here’s to the ones that are doing that adventurously, ordinarily, wildly, boldly, faithfully, loudly, quietly, on stages, behind the scenes, & all the in-between. We’re not competing with each other.

This blog is a place to catalog the little corner of the world that God has graciously placed me in & stories He’s allowed me to experience. Right now, these stories are taking place in Haiti. And I want to be faithful to share what I’m learning, where I’m growing, people & moments I’m photographing, & things I’m laughing about.

Life is too short not to share. There are so many stories out there in the world & they matter. Your story matters.

Here’s to the wanna-be writers — cheers. I’m with you.

**if any past teachers of mine are reading this, I’m sorry I started a few sentences with “And” – don’t hate me ;) 

photos: ryan & jessie.

I’ve been back in Haiti for 3 weeks now after a whirlwind of a few weeks in the States. My time home was filled with great quality time with my brother & sister-in-law, Ryan & Jessie before they moved to Greece!

Yep. You read that right! They’re in Greece with Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) specifically with a focus on college ministry. It’s been deeply encouraging to see the Lord put this on their hearts & to watch their obedience & faithfulness of following Him.

We had #durbansiblingweekend in Austin & adventured through the city & made some time for photos.

Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-6979 Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-6995 Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-7002 Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-7009 Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-7019 Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-7065 Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-7068 Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-7097 Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-7109 Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-7113 Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-7153 Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-7154 Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-7166 Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-7169 Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-7171 Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-7175 Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-7199 Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-7222 Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-7237 Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-7247Love these two so much & am grateful to call them family.Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-7128 Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-7130 Ryan Jessie Austin LQ-7143If you’re interested in what Ryan & Jessie are doing in Greece or you want to join their support team, click here for more information!

travel thoughts.

During my last few rounds of international travel, I’ve been taking notes on my phone about my observations & random thoughts while traveling. Enjoy!

1. Memory foam neck pillow. It’s the best thing that has been invented for travel, and even though I feel like this:

baby pillow
I don’t even care. Best purchase ever.

2. Middle seat problems. Listen…I’m not a touchy person…but when you are stuck in the middle seat for a long flight, I think it should be socially acceptable to ask your neighbor if you can fall asleep on their arm. I recently had a 3 hour flight where me & my window-seat neighbor (who, might I add – looked like a body builder #muscles #tookupmorespacethanheshouldhave) awkwardly avoided touching our arms together for 3 hours. I was THIS CLOSE to saying, “Hi sir, I know you don’t know me, but I’m really tired & just want to sleep. Can I nap on your arm that is bigger than this plane? Okay great thanks.”

3. Listening to music. I have learned that regular ear buds don’t quite communicate “hey don’t talk to me, I’m about to sleep.” below: not good enough

Note to self, it’s time to invest in some Bose over the ear headphones that appropriately communicate that you’re wanting silence & are about to nap. (pictured below) headphones2

4. Airplane mode on your phone…really? Does it matter? 😁

5. Occasional sneezing. Sorry folks, I’m not sick. It’s a little thing I like to call Texas allergies. I didn’t choose this life.

6. Reading a book & laughing out loud. Thanks Jen Hatmaker.

7. Skymall went bankrupt? Where else am I going to find the most absurd things that marketing agencies try to convince me I need to purchase (like ramps for cats, a pen that doubles as a doctor’s thermometer, squirrel decor, an umbrella for your pet, ridiculous dinosaur yard statues, & a life size R2D2)?

skymall skymall2

all images found on Yahoo Search

not an average wednesday.

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Sometimes, my job is logistics, office work, email, & google docs. Other times, I find myself in a rural village holding my friend’s BRAND NEW BABY GIRL that she had that morning, hours before.

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I was in the area shooting video footage & decided to stop by & say hi to her family…totally not expecting for her to have had this sweet little girl hours before. What a joy to hold this little one for a few moments & to pray for her, her mama, & family. Processed with VSCOcam with m6 preset

I watched as the family members gathered around, looking at this baby girl. I watched grandma in the corner prepare a bucket of water to wash sheets & blankets that were used in the delivery. I also watched her delegate work & take care of the other little ones running around. I stood there, sweating in this home knowing that this little girl’s life mattered. I held her & looked at her tiny fingernails & her little lips & I know she is created in the image of God.

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But honestly, for a split second, I start to panic. I know there will probably be days where she doesn’t know where her next meal is going to come from or when she will get it. I know there will be days where she doesn’t have what she feels she needs. What is this little one’s hope? This little baby, hours old, out here is this rural village in Haiti, how will she handle the daily difficulties? And what about all the other kids, as there are many just like her.

And like the Lord softly whispers, “I see her. I see them. I see you.”

Tears welled up in my eyes as I began dwelling on the deep truth that I know this little one is seen by her Creator. Jen Hatmaker’s words from her book, For the Love, sums up my feelings beautifully:

If it isn’t also true for a poor single Christian mom in Haiti, it isn’t true. … Theology is either true everywhere or it isn’t true anywhere. This helps us untangle us from the American God Narrative and sets God free to be God instead of the My-God-in-a-Pocket I carried for so long. It lends restraint when declaring what God does or does not think, because sometimes my portrayal of God’s ways sounds suspiciously like the American Dream and I had better check myself. Because of the Haitian single mom. Maybe I should speak less for God.

The Gospel is the Gospel. The cross means the exact same thing for me as it does for my single Haitian mama friends. Jesus redefines absolutely everything & he is in the business of redemption. He is full of grace and truth. Friend & reader, God sees you. He is for you & he so very much wants to have a relationship with you. If you read about Jesus & are not buying it, I challenge you to start with the book of John & study who Jesus is. Ask questions. He is better than anything I could imagine & has radically transformed my mind, heart, & life. He is faithful & trustworthy.


Below are some screenshots from some of the video footage I captured. Life in a tent is incredibly difficult, but there is a joy that cannot be stolen.

Tent Smiling Playing