That is the word so many people have said to me over the past 12 months. I think they were trying to calm my anxiety about moving to Las Vegas for my husband’s job, not knowing anyone, totally starting over with my photography business and being uprooted from a community I loved. Looking back, that did not sound like much of an adventure to me. Adventure is a tree covered hike to a waterfall, followed by a picnic. But looking back on the past 11 months we’ve spent in Las Vegas, maybe it has been an adventure after all.
I’ve been fortunate to have met some really cool people here in Sin City, people who have reached out to a total stranger and said, literally, “Let’s be friends!” As a wedding photographer, there’s a goofy mixture in the photography network. Some highly competitive personalities that view you only as competition, while others welcome, are open and believe the more we help each other the better. In these cases, relationships that began as networking have turned into valuable friendships and I’m grateful for the fellow photographers who share the opinion that helping each other out is mutually beneficial (both for business but more importantly for your general well-being.)
It’s been a big year for Andrew and me. We are in much different places then when we started 2014. I’ve learned so much through navigating a new city and new type of clientele. I did my first ever bridal show – a stretch for an introvert like me – and joined Wedding Wire.
I made my fourth trip to Uganda in the spring. It’s funny, a lot of the exploration and adventure in going to Uganda has lessened, but the value of continuing friendships and coming back to the same place and working towards a goal with the same people far outweighs the rush of a new place. Don’t get me wrong, I love exploring new places, but the reason I go back to Uganda has shifted from exploring a new place and learning about the circumstances there, to finding a mission that I’m committed to for the long haul.
Speaking of the long haul, I also joined the Otino Waa staff (state side) about two months ago! Otino Waa is a home for orphaned children in northern Uganda. Currently, we have over 280 orphans, but are still growing. For about 3.5 years I’ve been on the board of directors and have been part of the communications team, but now it’s official! I get to dabble in graphic design, write, create videos, maintain their social media, create newsletters and print pieces and – here’s the scary part – manage the website! A new realm for me. We have a great team both in the US and in Uganda and I love getting to do something I believe in so strongly.
The countdown to the move back to Bend is at 10 days! Andrew’s new job start date got bumped up, so everything is in fast-forward mode. We don’t have a clue where we’re going to live, but so many our awesome and gracious friends throughout Bend have offered their homes to us while we house hunt. There’s been so much craziness in the past two weeks that I’ve hardly had time to think about this next big transition. I’m excited. I can’t wait to get to do life with the community we have in Bend. I have been blessed with an abundance of good friends and I am so grateful for them. I can’t wait to start photographing in Oregon again! The desert of Vegas is unique, but I’m a river, tree, mountain kinda girl and am really looking forward to photographing weddings and families in the loveliness of Oregon. I’m also diving into newborn photography! After photographing a few friend’s babies and my sister’s little girl, I fell in love with it!
All in all, God has been good, faithful and generous to us. The word that keeps coming to mind, is that He has been gracious. Has everything work out as we wanted? Nope, definitely not. But our needs are met, we are learning, growing and changing, our careers are challenging us and moving forward, our families are healthy, what more can we ask for? He has been gracious.