Month: August 2015

Who is family?

LuminitaLuminita, NOROC. Tulcea, Romania. 

Who is family? 

From my perspective as a young adult, it was my parents and siblings. I was raised by a mom and dad who loved me and pushed me toward success. On top of that, I am a triplet with a brother and sister who are constantly part of my life, even in adulthood.

If you have been following me on social media, you will notice that I spent two weeks of August with The Archibald Project working with an organization called NOROC. Through NOROC, I was introduced to many of the orphans in Tulcea, Romania.

Meet Luminita. When she walked up to our group, she seemed a bit shy and reserved at first. That was what drew me to her. I am similar in the fact that I may be a bit reserved in new settings or around new people. As I have gotten older, I have grown to be more comfortable and confident in those situations but it has definitely taken time and can still catch up with me on a bad day. As we made introductions and were paired with a translator, I wanted to know and hear a bit of her story.

Luminita

Luminita, NOROC. Tulcea, Romania. 

Luminita was taken into foster care at just 11 months old and has been with NOROC for 8 years. She does not know her parents or much at all about her family. The little she does know is that her family is from Turkey, and she is number 8 out of 12 siblings.

As she talked about her family and not knowing them, she seemed fairly matter-of-fact. She shared that “it’s hard not to know them. But I have learned to deal with it.” 

How many times in life are we placed into difficult and sometimes impossible circumstances? As the years have passed by, I have been discouraged that life has not turned out the way that I thought or even dreamed. It has been much more complicated and hurtful with long seasons of waiting. It struck me that what she learned to “deal with” at such a young age, I am dealing with in my late twenties. 

So how do we cope with situations and circumstances in life that are impossible? Mostly, we have people and community in our lives that have surrounded us during those hard situations. For Luminita, there is support and friendships at NOROC. For me, it is family and friends who have listened and provided direction. While she may not have grown up with her birth parents and siblings like I did, she was surrounded by her community and has overcome and is continuing to overcome less than ideal circumstances.

Sometimes it is community that surrounds us that becomes our family, whether by birth or not. 

“…let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:18

Julia Louise - Signature
Support community and relationships of NOROC here.
Support storytelling of The Archibald Project here.

Is Storytelling Important?

Archibald Project

Is storytelling important? Is it needed?

I have spent the past two weeks in Romania with The Archibald Project sharing stories of the need for orphan care in this city through photography. As I’ve been searching for the right story to share or words to write to inspire awareness of the sweet children in this city, I keep coming back to the need to share the beauty of storytelling.

I am the first to admit that I love photography more than writing. Sharing my thoughts and opinions is definitely a challenge for me, but at the core of my heart, I believe the need to share thoughts on this: storytelling is needed.

Generally, how do you find out that there is a need waiting to be met? Through stories. When I decided to move to Memphis to work in the inner city and leave all that was familiar, it was because of the organization SOS that shared the story of unmet needs in Memphis. Hearing those stories stirred my heart and life to action. Thus…

How are we stirred to action unless someone is able to share unmet needs through the art of storytelling?

Archibald Project Whitney and Nick Runyon, Founders of The Archibald Project

The Archibald Project was founded just a few years ago with the mission of sharing stories through photography and videography about the orphan crisis, and desiring its elimination. Whitney Runyon was a wedding photographer at the time but slowly started turning away clients as she began to feel God stirring her heart and leading her to pursue storytelling of these children and create awareness and education of the orphan care crisis across the world. Her husband, Nick, was an airline pilot and just recently left that position to join The Archibald Project full time. That was and has been a huge risk in and of itself, letting go of financial comforts and stability to pursue this passion. But why did they choose this?

They saw the power of adoption through a story they documented in Bulgaria. Through their photos from that trip, a family was inspired to adopt a chronically ill 5-year-old from Ukraine. They were amazed that stories and photos could be used to inspire people into caring for orphans and formed a 501c3, The Archibald Project.

Thus, if there is a need for stories to be shared, there needs to be ongoing support for artists to share those stories. How do we support storytelling with The Archibald Project? Donations are constantly needed to fund storytelling and travel to locations, so others can hear. You can support their work by making tax-deductible donations here. While monetary donations are needed, there is a greater need for more sustainable support. Does your business have opportunities to provide ongoing sponsorship or opportunities to partner with The Archibald Project to give a percentage of sales to support this nonprofit? I would love to meet with you or you can reach out to nick@thearchibaldproject.com to learn more about potential ways to get involved.

These children need hope. They need to be adopted. They need ongoing support in countries like Romania where they are unable to be adopted.

But how do we know how to get involved and be stirred to action, unless stories are shared.

Julia Louise - Signature

 

 

Fashion: The Classic Summer Look

Sadie Classic Look

Sadie Classic Look

Sadie Classic Look

Sadie Classic Look

Sadie Classic Look

I’ve always admired this friend’s eye for fashion. We both share a love for modern vintage! In this photo shoot, she’s definitely rocking the classic summer style, not to mention an adorable new haircut.

I love the simplicity of a crisp white blouse with a denim skirt. This outfit also will transition well into fall fashion as that season is approaching quickly!

Top and skirt from Fossil. Sunglasses from TOMS. Unfortunately Fossil has just discontinued its clothing line. Similar items can be found here: Shirt. Skirt. Belt.

Here’s to embracing August and it’s heat!

Julia Louise - Signature