Give Hope.

Africa changed me.

In the three times I’ve been to Africa, I’ve come back a different person, a better person. I’ve come back with a deeper love for people, a humbled heart, an amazement of the people I met.  The first trip I took was to Ethiopia in 2010. I went with my mom, some great friends, and an organization that does community development and orphan-care throughout the region and other parts of the world. I wrote a bit about that experience here and here.  The second and third trips were to Uganda, where I fell in love more deeply, and made connections that will continue to shape my life. I wrote about my first trip to Uganda with Beauty for Ashes (about being deeply loved) here and about being free and fearless here. 

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I met some incredible women, who have lived difficult lives in one of the poorest places in the world. Women who work so hard to provide for their children, whose biggest wish is that their children would get an education so they could somehow have hope out of the poverty cycle that so many find themselves in.

We have an opportunity to MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

What if we spent our lives on behalf of others?

What if for Christmas, we gave the gift of education (life-changing education) to our family and friends on behalf of the beautiful children I had the privilege of meeting across the world?

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I would love to invite you to join a village! Or give the gift of education this Christmas. It’s so fulfilling knowing that we can be a part of someone’s life across the world- and we can make a LIFE-CHANGING difference for a few special kids who want nothing more than to go to school.

To give, please visit Beauty for Ashes Uganda and select “one time donation” if you’d like to pay for one or two (or more!) kids to go to school, or “join our village” to become a monthly partner and make a sustainable impact for these mamas and kids. At this point, we are still in need of about $11,000. But as always, I know God will provide. It’s amazing how he brings people together to provide for these precious kids.

Click on the links above or feel free to e-mail me if you have questions! You can download any of these photos and print to give to your family or friends when you present their gift!

Thank you for changing lives and BRINGING HOPE this Christmas <3

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Colorado Beauty // Prints for Sale!

Hello, Friends!

Every day I’m in awe of the beauty around me. For real.

Most days I am just amazed at how beautiful our world can be. And it helps to remember and be grateful for this, especially when times can be hard, when people are suffering, when the world might seem as if it’s falling apart. I’m grateful to have these daily reminders that there IS beauty. And beauty can bring Hope.

Sometimes I get requests for photos to purchase for gifts, for the home, or for Christmas presents. I’d love to sell some of my photographs for those who might like a daily reminder of the beauty that exists today and every day.

Below are a few photographs I’m selling (they will come without the watermark). Prints and Canvas art will range from ($10- $155) All photographs will be printed on fine art paper with a beautiful matte finish. Please contact me if there’s something that catches your heart and I’ll make you a print or canvas and get it shipped to you! Please note that if it needs to be there before Christmas, we need to place the order ASAP (Forgive me for being a little late to the game!) Please e-mail me at loverootsphotography (at) gmail.com and include in the subject line “prints for sale”.

Thank you for your support, friends.

With love and gratitude,

Abby

 

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2. Rampart Reservoir, Woodland Park 465B0419

 

 

3. A Colorado Mountain Pass
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4. Great Sand Dunes National Park

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5. Paint Mines Sunset 465B2623

6. Wild Horses in Southern Colorado untitled (74 of 93)

7. Aspen Groves and Mountains

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8. Arizona Moon and Cactus

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9.  Wild Horse Crossing

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11. Autumn Sunset

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12. A Life of Whimsy

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Beloved : Ian + Kate

Deep conversations, random adventures, hearing wild coyotes while camping in the wilderness, prayer nights about the suffering of trafficking victims around the world, a trip to Ethiopia…Kate is someone I’ve had many great experiences with. We had spend hours talking about many things- one topic that would come up were her hopes for a soul-mate, a man who would love God, love her well (and be able to keep up with her adventurous heart!) And here he is! Ian proposed to Kate while kayaking in his home state of North Dakota a few months ago. They are obviously in love and it makes me so happy for my friend…for answered prayers and for meeting soul-mates.

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Here’s to a loving and adventurous life together…filled with laughter, growth, joy and depth.

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An Update from Thailand

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I’ve spent over a week here in Bangkok, Thailand with the Unseen Ministries team. Walking miles through the crowded city streets and riding the BTS, buying street food on our way to the ministries we’ve been working with, taking photos, talking about life. We’ve had the honor of getting to know two amazing organizations here : Dton Naam and Home of New Beginnings, both of which serve young people who have, for one reason or another, gotten caught up in the industry of sexual exploitation. It’s so common here that it’s considered “normal” or “a way of life”. But the interesting thing is, this “way of life” only seems to be common for the poorest of the poor. It seems to be “normal” only for those who have had no other choice but to sell themselves in order to help their family eat and survive. We’ve been learning so much from those we’ve worked with and encountered here – and even from observing with our own eyes and camera lenses. I have so many things I want to share, but we’ve been so busy that I haven’t had the time to sit and reflect much. let alone come up with the right way to explain what we’ve experienced.

One thing I’d love to share is that there is HOPE here. There are people that care and have made a home for those who would otherwise have none. I believe that God is at work here through these organizations (and others we have not even met), and is bringing healing and hope.

When Teryn asked the girls at Home of New Beginnings what they love about being there, many of them said “FAMILY”.

One word that contains more meaning to these girls than we might ever know.

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Tomorrow we leave the city and head south. I’ll hopefully have more time to share more soon, but in the mean-time, feel free to check out Unseen’s blog to read more. After our trip, we are helping provide new media / websites / video and photos for Dton Naam and New Beginnings. I can’t wait to share when everything is ready!

So grateful to be here.

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(photo of me by Anthony Delao)

 

 

Maren + Matt’s Spruce Mountain Ranch Wedding

I got to meet Maren when she called me about potentially photographing her wedding day.  I actually showed up to the wrong coffee shop and had to call her and apologize for being thirty minutes late, and she laughed and pointed out that earlier that morning, she had put on two different shoes for work. So we both had been having one of those days….and I was grateful for her grace and humor. Matt and Maren are a fun and joyful couple, and I was so thrilled that they decided to choose one of my wedding collections that gives a percentage to a local organization that brings hope and healing to survivors of human trafficking called Restore Innocence 

Their wedding day was a warm and sunny Colorado day with lots of friends and family that came to celebrate with them at Spruce Mountain Ranch.  She had the lovely Heather of Makeup by Heather B do her makeup, the most stunning flowers by Karol Pete, and delicious food by Buffalo Gals Catering.

Matt and Maren, I wish you much laughter, joy, goofy-ness and love throughout your many years together! Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your beautiful day.

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Perfect little details and doughnuts for cake!!? I loved that idea for wedding day sweet treats.
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I’m going to Thailand!

A few months ago, I began reading an impactful book by Gary Haugen called “The Locust Effect: How the end of poverty requires the end of violence”.  As all Haugen’s books do, it gripped me. It awoke again, my heart’s desire to hear the cry of the oppressed and to take a stand on behalf of those that suffer around our world. Many of the stories in this book are heart-breaking, yet not surprising to me as I’ve been able to work closely with people who have similar stories of oppression and unjust treatment.  In fact, a lot of my encounters and studies on this inspired me a few years ago to get my masters in social work, and find ways to bring hope and healing to such amazing, yet burdened people. Haugen writes, “…the greatest devastations of violence is invisible- it is the destruction of the person inside. For victims of slavery, forced prostitution, sexual assault, and other intensely violent forms of oppression, the psychological wounds of trauma are invisible; they receive almost no treatment in poor communities; and they do not simply ‘heal with time’…” This truth motivates me. It breaks my heart, yet inspires me.

In the course of reading this book (and I still have yet to finish it…), I had applied with an incredible organization called Unseen Ministries to be considered as a photographer on their upcoming trip to Thailand. They were taking a group of artists to capture stories of the work that is being done in the midst of Thailand’s reality of sex tourism, sex trafficking, and the exploitation of many vulnerable people. With my background in social work and heart for exploited and vulnerable people-groups, I knew I had to apply. I’ve always dreamed about using my photography in a way that would help bring justice and also shed light on important issues, but in a way that is honoring to people. I was drawn to Unseen because they partner “with people all around the world to care for orphans, fight human trafficking and end hunger and poverty.” And I love Unseen’s mission to; “equip groups already engaged in social justice causes with the tools and education they need to get their message out”. I was on my way to our annual family trip to Canada when I had my phone-interview with Danae (and I distinctly remember sitting in the airport holding back tears as I was sharing with her my heart for trafficking victims/survivors).  I knew that for the next week I would be mostly off-the-grid with little to no cell or internet service.

I can recall the moment.

I was riding a bicycle down an island road, wind in my face and tears streaming down. Thinking about the book, and the truths within it, thinking about this potential opportunity and if I could handle it, if I was chosen to go.  “Daddy-God, please let me go! I want to go. I want to serve you in this way…” I lifted up my heart-felt prayer and waited a few days. I kept wondering if He would answer my prayer in the way I had hoped, or if He had a different plan. I kept wondering if it was crazy for me to think that I would get chosen to be the Lead Photographer for an important trip like this. Then, as we drove off the Canadian island back to the US, I saw the message in my inbox “Let’s go to Thailand!”. My heart jumped and my joy overflowed, knowing that God had heard me and answered me in this way.

View More: http://eveswishphotography.pass.us/abby-mortenson-headshots-2014

I’m so so honored, and so excited for this trip.

We will be working with three amazing organizations that support survivors of sex trafficking. There’s so much to say about each one, but I’m sure I’ll have even more to say after the trip…so I’ll wait! I am so excited to spend time with the people of these organizations, and hopefully bring encouragement to each one of them, as well as learn so much from them.
We leave THIS FRIDAY! And although I’m a little nervous, I know that I’m going with a purpose, that God goes before me into these hard and difficult places (because He is near the broken-hearted)…and that I can trust that this is where I’m supposed to be. If you pray, our team would appreciate any prayers for our time- for the people we will encounter, for the work we have set before us, for our team, for travel, for God to surround our trip and also shine His love through each one of us to those we get to meet. I’m expectant. And I can’t wait to share more stories when I return. In the mean-time, be sure to check in with us on instagram at @unseenmin and @loverootsphoto.  You can also check out my friend, Teryn’s blog here…she is the writer coming along on the trip and will hopefully be sharing a lot of great stories!

View More: http://eveswishphotography.pass.us/abby-mortenson-headshots-2014

See you when I get back!

 

Photos from my friend Erin of Eve’s Wish Photography

 

A Sweet Colorado Proposal + Beloved Session

Adam and Michelle are two new friends that I met this year at our church.  Adam told me a few weeks ago that he was planning to surprise Michelle and propose a little early (they had talked about getting engaged sometime this year). He wanted to know if I could hide out and photograph him proposing, and then do some portraits right after. I was thrilled to get to be a part of this important act of love and devotion…and I brought along my friend Tony to help me get some shots as well.  Adam is an artist and wood-worker and hand-made Michelle’s engagement ring.

I’m so grateful I got to be a little part of this amazing day for them…and so excited for their journey together. They both have beautiful hearts for loving God and loving people- and I know together they will make a lovely and impactful couple.

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Adam had also arranged for the family to hide and come out for a quick celebrating before they shared a little wine and cheese picnic.

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Congratulations, my friends! May your life together be full of joy and deep connection and love with God and one another.