A few pictures of my recent trip to Jamaica…more to come
A few pictures of my recent trip to Jamaica…more to come
I love people… especially ones like Savannah and Jenny.
I love connections… especially ones that create lasting friendships.
I love stories… especially ones that don’t end.
Once upon a time when I worked at Turner Field and photographed the World Series… Okay, maybe it’s not so dramatic, but I figure all good stories must start with “once upon a time”…Right?
Anyways I met an amazing guy at work– Vasily…. I photographed his brother’s wedding and met Katie (Vasily’s girlfriend- now fiance).
Vasily and Katie are those friends that you ask–“Why haven’t we met before now”?!
Instant “life partners” as Savannah would say ;)….
Katie’s roomie was (Jenny–see below)…. and I’ll be photographing Jenny’s wedding soon!
……And Jenny’s business partner/best friend is Savannah.. I’ll be doing her anniversary pics soon!
Anyways, that’s how we were connected– our little tree of love and friendships.
Savannah and Jenny aren’t just “stop in your tracks and stare” beautiful— They’re extremely talented bloggers/designers/jewelry makers/ business partners. (I could put a lot more slashes in there but we’ll be brief-ha ha)
When I first met with Jenny to talk about her wedding , she told me about MaieDae (their business)!
I was amazed. It’s so perfect!
Over the weeks Savannah, Jenny, and I exchanged Facebook messages and texts to talk about MaieDae business pics…. but they couldn’t just be any type of business picture. (You know, like the ones where you sit in a studio with the blue background?)
It had to be just as creative/vintage/artsy as they were…. as if that is possible?
…But maybe it is
Anyways, I was at a photography class last week and saw some pics that were taken by MyLife Photo and LOVED the location. Catherine was kind enough to share her secret and off we were to this eclectic/artsy venue.
Hope you enjoy the sample photos!… And visit their blog! It’s fantastic!
I love practicing new lighting techniques… especially when it’s with some amazing photographers!
How could you take a bad shot of this girl? Whoa!
Meet Miranda… and my favorite shot of the day!
I woke up this morning at 5.00 a.m. and I kinda like it.
Jet lag? maybe.. but much more time to spend with Jesus.
As I sit this morning and reflect on a whirlwind of a trip, I’m so thankful I was able to spend those 2 weeks in India. The Lord really taught me so much about true love and what loving Him looks like.
Yesterday, it was funny re-adjusting to life here in America. Because I lived in India almost a year, when I visited, it wasn’t hard to readjust myself to the way life is there.
When I first woke up yesterday, I was a bit delusional trying to figure out where I was– and realized it was my bedroom. Ha! I think all the food I ate in India helped put me into a sleepy coma when I returned.
When I went to the bathroom for a shower, I began looking around for the geyser! (The little machine in India that you have to switch on to give you hot water) I actually got frustrated looking for it, and then started to laugh when I realized the hot water here is automatic.
It’s the little things you learn to appreciate… but there’s so many little things I miss so much there.
I laughed and joked with my friend Oscar(the cool Columbian that came on the trip to do videography–He’s amazing! Check out his work) when I showed him where “my hood” was.
We walked down this tiny little street and all my friends came out to see me! (Word spreads fast)… The tailor, the puri-maker, the Hindu priest, the children, the mafia– ok not really, I call them that lovingly because they run that street and play poker every day. lol. Resemblance? YES! Oh!– and my dog, Happy. Yep- she remembered me.
I was a bit embarrassed with my Bengali skills, which were much better when I lived there… but they were very gracious in re-teaching me some of the basics… and as days went on it did get easier…but not easier to leave.
I’m totally that girl that cries at happy endings in cheesy movies… We all know how it’s going to end, yet we all like the fairytale ending. (Well maybe all except Oscar.. he hadn’t seen most of my favorite chick flicks… –something about being a film junkie… but for the good films! hahaha)
…And the fairytale ending isn’t quite complete at the end of any of my visits to India. I cry because there’s so much need and so little time… because it is like a second home to me… because I learned photography there.. I have family there…because I discovered so much of me there.
I believe so much in India.. because she believed in me.
When I first came 4 years ago as college student, wondering what I was going to do with my life, I would’ve never imagined that years later I would return as a photographer, working on staff for the very organization I volunteered for.
Life is crazy like that. … and unpredictable-like India.
I think about who I am today and there’s no way my story could be told without India. God has done so much in my life while I’ve been there…this past trip was about learning in truth and love. Loving God with all your heart, soul and mind.. what it really means to love and be disciplined in all those areas…
So thankful for a wonderful trip and refreshing time with Jesus.
Strength. Hope. Endurance. Love.
I photograph it everyday.
In the States, it comes in the form of beautiful couples: engagements, weddings and eventually the love produces more than selflessness—but new life in the form of a sweet little child…. Thus- Families.
And today I looked at the sweet families in a village and tried to think how I would capture their spirit and tell their souls’ stories. I’ve seen many different ways that photographs can tell stories, inspire people and raise funds….
But I’ve decided I don’t want to be that photographer that captures hopelessness.
I don’t want to be the one to capture crying faces, desperation, fear and regret.
Though those elements do exist in Calcutta, it’s fair to say they exist in any city in the world….
After all, how could I capture hopelessness, when I know there is hope?
So today I focused on telling their “soul” stories, not their economic status. When I look at Mondal, I see a little boy inundated with joy. Just giving him a smile makes him laugh and giggle…. (funny faces help too)
Strength. Hope. Endurance. Love.
That’s what I see in Mondal.
That’s what I see in all the little children I met today, and in the sweet young Doctor, Ankit, who treated them.
So today, my journey of discovering how to love God completely, began with capturing the joy He gives…
Joy in the midst of pain or sorrow, peace that passes all understanding, and strength to sustain us through the most difficult circumstance.
1 Corinthians 13:7
“Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.”
“Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment.”( Matthew 22:37-38)
My morning started early today. I was so happy when my body naturally woke me up an hour before the intended alarm… gave me three hours till church and a beautiful time with the Lord this morning.
I sat on the outside balcony at Aunty Sheila’s house… Bible, journal and beautiful view of the city.
Gazing over the city, I read Matthew 22. . . and though I’ve read it a million times, today— in India, it was different.
I’m here, in a rapidly developing country, and ask, “What does it mean to love God with all my heart?”
When I go overseas there’s always a few people that give accolades for the work I’m a part of… But why do we, as Christians, think it’s radical to love God how he commanded us? With all your heart, soul and mind.
This morning I reflected on a former relationship … trying to compare that “love” to the love I give Christ…..Then, my whole day would be changed to spend time with this guy. I’d get so excited to hear his voice, so excited to know him more…. Gave up sleep, time, resources and sacrificed to be with him- because I wanted to know him. To know how he thought, what he loved, and how to love him. . . I think anyone in love would do the same things.
People say, “you do crazy things when you’re in love–”
But how are we living “crazy” for Christ?
Most Christians go to church, because it’s expected. They read their Bibles and pray a few times a week because “we should.”
But when we truly love Christ—we don’t do “things” because we should, but because we get to.
We don’t “fit” Him into our schedule– our schedule revolves around Him. We make sacrifices, we plan our day, we long to spend time with Him, ask ourselves how we can love him better and are excited to know him.
We don’t care about the status quo.
…the degrees we need to get, having the 2.5 children , or the boards and committees we need to be a part of.
We don’t just give our spare cash to the poor or to some “missions project “ , our lives change in order to create more giving opportunities—
We do “crazy” things like realize we don’t need that extra pair of shoes every 2 months. . . We realize we don’t have to go to Starbucks once a week. .. or need that really cool new gadget.
For me, loving God whole-heartedly is not about my trips to India or the work I do here. To me, that’s standard. That’s the simple part. It’s not about the 3 or 4 trips I make here a year… the 2 months I spend here. It’s about the other 10 back home.
How am I living to know Him and love Him more? How do I make him known at home?
Last night I gathered with a group of young adults to celebrate Christmas—It’s hard when your away from your family on Christmas, and this group of Americans and Indians gathered together to celebrate it like we would in America.
Hence the traditional decorating of the tree. As we hung ornaments on the tree, listened to Christmas music and decorated sugar cookies, I noticed one thing about this group.
A crazy, passionate love for Christ.
Most people would be sad being away from family and friends, but this group was rejoicing in the opportunity they were given to serve Christ in such a unique way.
Totally challenged and pursuing a different way in learning how to love God whole heartedly….
I’ve lived in this city almost a year and though I’m based in Atlanta now, I can’t seem to stay away from this magical place called Calcutta more than a few months at a time.
Magical is far from what many would describe it as… but for me– its like home. Oscar seemed to understand the feeling and has been moved by the city and wonderful people since we arrived last night.
Oscar Torres is an amazing cinematic videographer I met this past summer in New York. We were both hired to shoot a wedding and our teams went out to celebrate with some coffee at the close of the day in beautiful Rochester.
As we sat there and discussed our journey into the media world, we found something we had in common: a heart for people– and a drive for missions.
Months went by and the organization I loved so much (Calcutta Mercy Ministries) decided to change my status from volunteer to employee. (This means I get to go to Calcutta more often and take pictures!)
When they asked if I knew a videographer, Oscar was the first person that came to mind. It’s easy to find people with talent, but rare to find people with passion.
Oscar has it in spades.
As we rode in the rickshaw today, we were both silent. (Probably the first time since we left Atlanta!) No matter how much I come to this city, or how many pictures I take, I never cease to be amazed at the hand of God here.
Most visitors would look at the city and ask the opposite: “Where is God?”
For me, I see Him at work– everywhere.
I see him at work in the feeding line when we give a child a meal…. A meal they would otherwise not eat today. I see him at work in the church when we pray for the father who feels as if he’s lost it all when he’s laid off from his job. Or when someone comes, like today, and is moved by the patients at Mercy Hospital
I was that someone today, and these little friends are the guys that inspired this idea.
Meet Shreya* & Ankit*
Both of these sweet children are awaiting cleft palate surgery…
Shreya’s mom talked with us today and joked how Shreya was a daddy’s girl. I kept telling her mother that Shreya was “kup sundor.”– “very beautiful” in Bangla. Her mother reminded me that yes, she was beautiful- except for her cleft palate. Once that is fixed, it will all be beautiful. And to think, we could change this little girls life with $400.
That’s all it costs for the surgery.
With an almost 2-year old niece, it makes me rethink this process in a totally different light. My niece is just now learning to talk… Like a parrot.
She repeats everything!
I think its kinda funny to talk ghetto with her repeating things like “Hey guh” or “whatchu doin”…It’s so cute to hear her little baby voice and watch her nose crinkle when she smiles…
….and then to see little Shreya, and know that unless she has this surgery– when she talks, the cleft palate will prohibit people from understanding her words.
And little Ankit– he is so funny! Today he began laughing hysterically when I inched my fingers close to his bare feet acting like I was going to tickle him. Just the thought made him squeal! He is a doll!… He has cleft lip and cleft palate. He easily gets infections, can’t eat well, and won’t be able to integrate into society without these 2 surgeries.
Giving Christmas t0 Calcutta is about kids like Shreya and Ankit. They probably won’t receive presents on Christmas, but your present of $400 could change their lives forever.
How amazing would it be to celebrate Christ’s birth, who forever changed our lives, by passing the gift to a child a need?
Consider giving Christmas to a child this year in Calcutta.
To donate: Click Here
(**Names changed for privacy**)