What It's all about!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Catch up time!!

Okay - so it is time to catch up. 
I hate it when I wait so long to blog - but life is a wee bit crazy right now.
We are in the middle of Mongolia right now,  getting ready to bid farewell tomorrow morning.  Mongolia is our 2nd country of 14 that we are heading too.  It is one of those things that every time we arrive at a new place, we kind of stop and pinch ourselves to make sure it isn't all a dream!

Top 5 things I loved about Japan - (would be 10 if I had more time!)

1 - Beautiful happy people
2 - Amazingly clean everything!
3 - Green lush countryside & Mr. Fuji
4 - Kind humble people
5 - Taking pictures of beautiful places, families and kids

We had a whirlwind amazing time in Japan.  We shot 4 families with kids ranging from 4 mos. to 13 yrs. old. We photographed them laughing, playing instruments, playing traditional games, jumping in the air, playing with chopsticks, blowing bubbles, riding unicycles, posing in front of Mt. Fuji, showing us how to make yummy octopus dumplings, lighting  sparklers, reading books, with loving mom's, with caring dad's, and as happy families.

We took our shoes on and off so many times I stopped counting.  We loved saying arigato - which means thank you over and over just cause it was fun to say - well and because we wanted to thank them all!! 

Our awesome videographers took miles of footage and have posted some of our video's on FB and our website. Denver's GoPro video captures our quick travels through Tokyo perfectly.  

After great success in Japan - we boarded our next flight to Ulaan Baatar Mongolia, which is our current location.  We have had just as much fun and success here.  Every day we have so much fun photographing the families that we just can't wait until the next shoot, and each family is as unique and beautiful in their own wonderful way.  Literally every family we shoot, we fall in love with the family, and after over 2 hours with them, we have to say a sad goodbye.  

Some highlights from Mongolia -
Family with 5 children living in a tiny apartment of a war torn country, on the 12th floor of an old Russian apartment bldg.
Seeing the family of 5 play with each other, share their hobbies and interests and feed us some beautifully made traditional foods.
Family with 2 girls - age 14 and 11, living in a small Ger - a one room home where everyone sleeps, eats, cooks, dresses, plays, studies, and everything we do in life.
14 year old girl - so mature, taking online classes (and they don't have the internet) hoping to be a doctor someday, like her grandfather.
Cutest mom and dad as they interacted with the girls.
Family with 3 little kids living in a smaller Ger.  Stoic mother that we only saw smile maybe 4-5 times the whole time we were there. 
Traveling 1 1/2 hours to Ger out on the plains of Mongolia.
Incredible day - beautiful weather - the most authentic looking family we could have hoped for. Truly best day ever!

Cutest Grandma living with them. Thanking them after a picture perfect day, and Grandma grabbing us and smelling us! Tradition in Mongolia.
AND - every house we went to - they invited us to sit down first, eat prepared food for us, including homemade cheese (not a fan), Mutton dumplings called - Buuz, Airag - fermented milk, pretty much gave anyone who drank too much a little buzz!

To top it all off, we ended up at a Shelter in downtown U.B. that takes in kids, that are homeless. They all have parents, and the goal is to find the parents, and return them if possible.  It is not a great situation because most of the parents are abusive to the children and can't take care of them.  They are tough children and have already had very hard lives.
We took some fun pictures of them smiling and goofing off with each other. The heart breaker came when we interviewed a few and the responses were: What is something you really hope for? - "A Ger (home) for my family."  and "To have a pretty wedding dress."
We had a great visit with a woman named Nara Thompson who is involved with the shelter, and Mr. Steve took several pictures we will give to her for her cause.  She is a remarkable woman with a great love and passion for helping these children.
As we got ready to leave, the children (all boys and one girl) sang us 2 songs.  They were some of the most beautiful songs I have heard. One boy in particular, had an incredible voice, and sang a beautiful solo.  Then as the whole gang sang, our hearts were touched as we remembered once again - that Heavenly Father loves ALL of His children. He know them, and He expects those of us that are so very blessed, to use our blessings to help those that are less fortunate in this life.

Every day, is a blessing to me! Every day, strengthens who I am, as I learn about these incredible happy families. Mr. Steve has captured in his photos lives that now get to be shared with so many, and we hope that it will make a difference in their lives, as they see and feel the greatness of children and families all over the world!

And we're off - to another wonderful country - Hong Kong!

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