Brandi & Nick: Destination Wedding: Central Park

In December, I received the best email from my friend, Maisie, that read, We wanted to see if you would be interested in flying to NYC [in January] to be the wedding photographer & surprise Brandi.” My friends, Nick & Brandi were having a destination wedding in Central Park, & Brandi assumed the photographer her mom booked was a local NYC photographer. Spoiler alert, it wasn’t.

surprising Brandi

It was such an honor to fly to NYC & surprise this dear friend (& former roommate) of mine! I left Port-Au-Prince in the morning & 6 hours later I was standing in the hotel lobby in Times Square surprising Brandi. It was an amazing [COLD] weekend filled with dear friends, sweet memories, & lots & lots of laughing. Here are some my favorite photos from the weekend celebrating Nick & Brandi’s love.

Nick & Brandi, this entire weekend was beautiful & I hope looking back on these pictures reminds you of the beauty of the covenant you’ve made! May your marriage be filled with wonderful moments that create a lifetime of memories to cherish.

sunrise adventuring.

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” C. S. Lewis

Disclaimer: photo overload.

6:00 am sunrise photo adventures might be one of my favorite things.

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Strong coffee, wild hair, & the steady rising sun coming over the hills?
All the good things.

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A couple weeks ago on a Saturday night, my sweet friend Amanda & I had the wild idea to get up early the next morning, make a french press, meet each other out on a hill, & create an adventure. This may seem silly to some of you – but for me? It was exactly what my heart needed. To stare at the mountains with strong coffee in one hand & my camera in the other with one of my dear friends beside me – watching the light make itself known – so peaceful.


It’s beautiful to recognize how God has graciously provided many friends as a staff family – and see how each of them have different passions & skill-sets. I love how different we all are, & that we truly create a family. I love how some are incredibly musically talented, some are business savvy, some are amazing with children, others are jewelry makers, a few are google doc pros, some love the medical field & actually don’t pass out at the sight of blood (who knew?!), some are gifted communicators, others are artists, some are teachers & pastors, others are fixers – it’s a beautiful melting pot of people here for the sake of the Gospel & the glory of God.

It’s family, & I adore all of these people.

Amanda is no stranger to this blog. She is a dear friend-basically-sister that shares passions of photography, doodling, neutral colors, Gilmore Girls, coffee, sun-flare, theology talks, & the list goes on. Her & her husband Matt are one of the power couples on staff here, & I am very thankful for their friendship.

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All of the below photos are from Amanda. Thanks for adventuring with me early in the morning & sharing wild ideas like waking up extra early for fun pictures!

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“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” – C. S. Lewis

the process.

The process of creating a masterpiece?

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It’s messy.

It often looks like a jumbled mess with pockets of color everywhere: sometimes bright patches, sometimes dark patches.

A couple of years ago, I had an experience at a class in the States where I was painting a beautiful forest filled with trees & flowers. It was a group class, & we were all following the instructor’s directions. When she told us where to start painting & what colors to start with, I thought she was crazy. I didn’t see what she saw. I couldn’t fathom how the strokes I was painting would eventually turn out to look like a beautiful forest. When the class was over & I looked at my painting, I was pleasantly surprised at the way it turned out. It did, in fact, look like a forest with trees & flowers. There were valuable life lessons in this experience…but I, being a forgetful & busy human quickly moved past it & didn’t ever really sit & process how rich the experience was.

The Lord graciously brought back another opportunity for me to learn a deep Truth.

Yesterday, my job was out of the ordinary of my typical Wednesday. I had the privilege of going to Port Au Prince with Amanda to meet with my very talented painter friend Jojo (John Paul Joseph). He was born with a congenital birth defect & has very small arms & no legs. He loves the Lord, loves Haiti, & loves to create beautiful paintings.

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I first met Jojo in 2012, & I remember his magnetic personality, his kind heart, & his perfect English. When it came time to think of someone to help us with a painting, Jojo immediately came to mind. Jojo shared stories while Amanda & I took photos. I was working on getting my camera settings right (hello blue walls), & then I felt the weight of the beauty of where we were at & the lessons the Lord was reteaching me. There we were, visiting with this talented, God-fearing man in the middle of Port Au Prince at a home for the disabled. The smiles from everyone when we walked in were filled with hope, purpose, & gratitude.

I focused in on the brush attached to Jojo’s right arm by a band. There was a cut-off soda bottle with water to rinse the brushes, & a tray full of paint.

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Below, Emmanuel stands closely beside Jojo to help him when he needs more paint.

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The process of creating a masterpiece? It’s trusting the one creating it. There are messy parts. There are sections of bright colors. There are sections of dark colors. But the artist? He knows what he is doing.

Jesus wrecked me yesterday.

He reminded me that what I can often view as unfinished or messy is part of the process. Each stroke has purpose. It’s all contributing to the masterpiece that is well-intentioned & thought out.

It’s beautiful because we have a perfect Creator who loves us deeply and has promised not to abandon us or leave us unfinished.

I’m resting in that Truth & I’m grateful the Lord put me back into a situation to remind me.

Here’s to the visual learners, the artists, & the ones that feel like a bit of a mess. I’m right there with you.

Village of Hope Summer Highlight Video

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“I want to make something new & different for the summer so everyone can be happy & proud of this work. So everyone can have fun. We make it for fun. So everyone can enjoy it. All the kids, all the babies, all the mommies – everyone.” – Macline (center of above photo).

After you watch, be sure to scroll down to read more about it & see some of my favorite shots from the video.


Macline is one of the older girls that lives at MOH in the Village of Hope.

(You’ve seen her on the blog before here.)

Her idea this summer was to make a music/highlight video of activities throughout the orphanage. She knew she wanted to use the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. We brainstormed ideas & made a list of the different shots she wanted, & then…we got to filming!

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What I love about this video?
My friend Katie, our interim Orphanage Director, empowered Macline to take ownership of this project…& she did. Macline led this. This was her vision. Macline was supported. She had great leadership that led her well, & she in turn was able to lead the Village of Hope for this fun project. They danced together, sang together, laughed together…& I simply had the privilege to film it & put the pieces together.

What I love about this video?
The kids were joyful to participate in this summer video because Macline was leading this. She stood up at their family meeting one Saturday morning & shared why she wanted to do it, & they did it. Macline, like a great leader, shared with the other kids the “WHY” behind this video, & then she was in it with them.
She didn’t simply tell them what to do – she did it with them.

What I love about this video?
When we had the reveal party earlier this week here at the mission, Macline responded with, “Thank you! Can we watch it again?” And we proceeded to watch it again. After we watched it on the big screen again, they still wanted to watch it more, so we gathered around my laptop & watched 3 more times.

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5 times they watched this video. 5 times they giggled, jumped around, & tapped each other on the shoulder each time one of them was on the screen. I hope Macline walked away from the reveal party feeling like a rock star…because she is.

Below are just a few stills from the video that I just love. What a fun project that created many sweet memories!

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Above is Mr. Lookens – I LOVE that he agreed to be in the video for the kids. He is a deeply respected staff member here & this only made me respect him all the more. Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 9.04.04 AM

Room Decorations – Haiti Edition

Hey y’all! Here is a little peek of my room in Haiti! I brought a lot of lightweight decorations and photo projects from my old room.

I’m a big believer that creativity is most rewarding when your resources are limited and you come up with a successful project. Be prepared to see flowers made from sticks, coffee filters, and water colors on the blog soon. (thanks to my friend and fellow MOH staff member Amanda for this brilliant idea!)

I’m a HUGE fan of pictures. I love that my room here is filled with people that I love and reminders of great memories.

Anyway, here is a little look around my room! More to come later!

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