Where to Begin?

I am back!

And I missed you friends while on my mission trip in Atlanta, GA! But Atlanta was nothing like I expected and everything I needed in life. I cannot even describe how my eyes have been opened because I am still processing everything myself. I plan to recap this trip in a different way, because it was different from any other experience or trip I have ever gone on. For right now though I just want to do one of those snapshot posts I love so much to give you an idea of what I have been up to. I wish these pictures spoke a thousand words, but they don’t. These pictures will however serve as a lifetime reminder of this life changing, and eye opening experience.

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Made it to GA! It was such an easy and relaxing ride!

Yes I am the one in the obnoxiously colorful sweats. I guess I missed the memo that long car rides should be done while looking cute… Whoops

First day of serving at Action Ministries Soup Kitchen!

First day of serving at Action Ministries Soup Kitchen!

We served at a Soup Kitchen that was restaurant style the first two days. I cannot begin to describe the impact this had on me. Serving these women and their children and hearing their stories changed how I view all aspects of my life. I was able to see for the first time how very fortunate I am. My heart was broken several times, but it was also filled with joy when speaking with the women, serving them a hot meal, and playing with the sweet children who deserve nothing but the best in life.

Getting my hair done by the cutest girl at The Stewart Center! I got to tutor young kids all afternoon #dreamcometrue

Getting my hair done by the cutest girl at The Stewart Center! I got to tutor young kids all afternoon #dreamcometrue

I spent the entire afternoon playing with kids and helping them complete their homework! If you didn’t know already, my passion is learning and helping others to learn. Hearing a child say “I get it!” will always put a smile on my face. I only hope the few hours I spent helping with homework and reading books will make a difference in these kid’s education.

Sorting at the furniture bank!

Sorting at the furniture bank!

The furniture bank provides furniture for those transitioning into a home. It is such an awesome cause and I was overwhelmed with emotion seeing these individuals have the opportunity to pick out the furniture for their new homes! It showed me how much I take for granted. Thanks to this wonderful place these people will have a mattress to sleep on, a couch to sit and talk with family, and a kitchen table to sit down and enjoy a meal with family.

Um we built a fence. Epic but I never want to do it again... I am not a good fence builder

Um we built a fence. Epic but I never want to do it again… I am not a good fence builder

We spent a morning at a local farm IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CITY! I have a bunch to say about this experience, but for now I will leave it at this… Do not hire me to build your chickens a fence because I will probably fail. I am never going to complain about my studying again (that is probably a lie) because I am grateful I do not have to do manual labor for a living.

Night out! Hard Rock Cafe! So good and wonderful company!

Night out! Hard Rock Cafe! So good and wonderful company!

We got the night off. Shopping, coffee, ice cream, dinner, more dessert. It was so awesome to have this time to relax and get to know everyone more. We had a blast and our tummys were very satisfied at the end of the night.

More time at the furniture bank. So many mattresses!

More time at the furniture bank. So many mattresses!

Books for Africa! Check out the organization it is AWESOME! I was in a book nerd's heaven and all of those books got to go to children for reading and learning!

Books for Africa! Check out the organization it is AWESOME! I was in a book nerd’s heaven and all of those books got to go to children for reading and learning!

The caption says it all. If you ever have the opportunity to volunteer for Books for Africa you should do it. The people are amazing and the service is awesome. Just think of all of the kids that can read because of this organization!

The whole group!

The whole group!

Thank you to Tanya Green and DOOR for giving us this opportunity. I will never forget this trip or the people I met throughout the week. #lifeforeverchanged

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Our last dinner. Prepared by a professional chef! AMAZING I don’t even like cheesecake and I loved this

Um yeah we had our dinners prepared by a real chef named Chef! This was such a treat because breakfast and lunch were minimal and simple. I never realized how lucky I am to have the opportunity to eat hot and fresh meals daily. I do now. More on this later this week.

Buckwheat pancakes and a night in with my mom! Let me tell you pumpkin pancakes + wine + Miss America makes for a rather enjoyable night :D

Buckwheat pancakes and a night in with my mom! Let me tell you pumpkin pancakes + wine + Miss America makes for a rather enjoyable night 😀

Mom and I spent the weekend in Blacksburg! So much fun was had and so much shopping was done! OMG. and Mom helped me to continue conquering that fear food by allowing me to make us buckwheat pumpkin pancakes for dinner Saturday! I had a skillet that had never been used and new buckwheat flour to try. I am now on a pancake kick so recipes would be very much appreciated! Especially recipes with buckwheat!

I got to be Hollie's #coffeeaday O why does she have to go back to the Tundra today?

I got to be Hollie’s #coffeeaday O why does she have to go back to the Tundra today?

Breaks have become like 100 times better thanks to this girl and our brunch and coffee meet ups! I request Mexican next time! The real stuff none of that healthy fake stuff- chips, salsa, cheese, guacamole, the whole shabang. In all seriousness though Hollie gets it. Enough said.

What a week huh?!? I am so incredibly grateful for life right now. So many lessons have been learned and I cannot wait to begin recapping tomorrow. But let me end this post with this…

I always come back from vacations and fall right back into my normal routine. I do not want that to happen this time. I am forever changed.

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18 thoughts on “Where to Begin?

  1. I do actually really like buckwheat flour too. It’s a weird more thick flour then normal.

    Anyways your trip looks and sounds incredible, I can’t even imagine how much growth and what you learned from seeing everything. I’m actually really jealous.

    • They were super thick! Mom made some of the leftovers into an egg sandwich the next morning and I think the thickness made it really good for that actually. But they take longer to cook because they are so thick. I hope I continue to grow now that I am back. I really would like to say that I refuse to go back to the same way of living

  2. Absolutely amazing love 🙂 I can feel/read/see the joy coming out of this post from you, and it makes me so happy…especially that last line! I couldn’t agree more 🙂 And I still can’t believe I never thought of wine and pancakes…sounds like a fabulous combination that I must try at once!

  3. Wow you really did have an incredible week. I love experiences like that that really make you realize how lucky we are. I love spending time with little kids (in small doses). It’s such a good feeling when they tell you straight up how much they like you, or show you by playing with your hair or drawing you pictures. They really know how to reach you, deep down. And they mean it, too.
    Also, LOVE that you guys aren’t afraid of the good old cheesy goodness. I agree- I’d rather have the real stuff than the “healthy fake crap.” Thank god SOMEONE out there understands!

    • Little kids can bring such insight into our lives. It is why I enjoy spending time with them. It is a good thing they didn’t know how much they were teaching me, because then they might not have thought I was qualified enough to tutor them all afternoon!

  4. It sounds like you had a wonderful and enlightening trip; what a great experience!! I think it’s fantastic that you were able to help out so many people; I am sure they were very grateful for all your assistance:) I would love to volunteer for that organization some day. Experience like that truly DO make you feel grateful for everything you have.

    • The best part of experiences like this are the thank yous you never receive. Because honestly you don’t receive many. I hope I was able to help the people of Atlanta in this small amount of time. The people of Atlanta certainly helped me

  5. man when i did trips like that we lived off of pretty lame groceries, this is amazing a chef cooked for you all nightly. that blows my mind. I am glad you had such a good time, for me the reward was coming back and really internalizing all that happened.

    • Yeah we lived off of very little in the mornings and for lunch so it was certainly a treat to have him come for dinners. He took the most simple things like pasta and chicken and made them gourmet. I was very grateful! I am in constant reflection right now girl. Honestly my whole life has been flipped upside down. I don’t even know how I could go back to living the same way.

  6. I have to start by saying that I love the enthusiasm and joy that radiates from your words, Shannon. It sounds like it was an absolutely amazing experience, and I’m looking forward to hearing more about the things you went through and how they changed your views on life. Being able to serve others is one of the most wonderful things, and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside that you loved it so much. You’re a beautiful person 🙂

    • Aw Amanda this is so sweet and I am blushing ever so slightly. I have never thought of myself as much of a caring person (or I guess I never thought others saw how much I actually do care) so this really means a lot to me. Thank you!

  7. I’m so happy to see that this was such a life-changing trip for you!! Hold on to your thoughts, feelings, and reactions to all the amazing events you experienced – they disappear quickly! I went through the same life-changing feeling while in Russia and I found that it was very tough to maintain it as time passed. The way you describe your volunteering experience is truly amazing – sometimes it takes a true change in perspective to fully appreciate what we so often take for granted. I can’t wait to hear more about your experience!

    • You just expressed my deepest fear. Forgetting. I do not want to forget and lose the mindset this trip set for me. I do not want to fall back into my comfortable life of choice and freedom and fortune. I know it will be tough but I hope writing everything down as I reflect will allow me to remember forever

  8. Oh man I’m so sorry I’m ridiculously behind…gradually catching up on my google reader lol! Anyway, this brief recap makes your trip sound like an incredible experience – I don’t doubt that it was a challenge for you, as it would be for me too! But it looks like you rocked it and really got out of it what you wanted to – so much more appreciation and gratefulness for everything you have in life. Like coffee dates with friends and wine/tv nights with mom! I saw your tweets about that and it sounded like so much fun – my own mom and i were watchiing the NFL playoffs (we’re rabid Pats fans lol), but I wasn’t allowed to drink because of the meds 😛

    • Boo to the meds! I hope you are beginning to feel a bit better girlie! This recovery will be your own challenge and I don’t doubt that it will be nothing like you planned, but I also don’t doubt that it will be everything you need in order to enjoy your life and live every moment out!

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