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Get to know The Archibald Project

10 Jan

If you’ve been following me on Facebook lately or if you saw this announcement, you know that I have a really exciting trip coming up!  At the end of February (actually the day after Joel finishes the BAR) I’ll be boarding a plane to Uganda.  I’m going there with The Archibald Project as part of their Media Mission Team.

From The Archibald Project’s website:
We exist to advocate for the orphan.  Our stories serve to educate and inspire people towards adoption, and because we exist fewer children will be called orphans.

The Archibald Project has documented several adoptions with photographs and films – including one for my friend, Shannon.  You can see the story of their first adoption, through the eyes of Whitney and Nick, here.  And you can read about their second adoption (a sibling group of three from Jinja, Uganda) here.

We dream about a world where all children, even those deemed unworthy by society, have a chance to know love, feel touch, be given grace and mercy, and experience the love of a family. We desire that no child be without a parent(s), but the harsh reality is there are heart breaking circumstances that cause thousands of children to be orphaned every day. We do not think adoption is the complete answer to the orphan crisis, but there is no question that adoption is being used to save and change the lives of children. We have witnessed it firsthand, and we want the world to witness it with us.

We have seen a miracle adoption of a fourteen year old girl be completed just days before she was forced to the streets. We have seen parents travel to the ends of the earth to love a child that some considered unlovable. We have seen children who are underdeveloped solely because they are never touched. We have seen families spend thousands of dollars that they don’t have to rescue a child they have never met. Our pictures have helped a family find and bring home a boy who is HIV positive.

All of the things we have seen are stories. Some stories are beautiful, some powerful, and some heart breaking, but all of these stories need to be told. We tell these stories. We use our cameras to advocate for orphans. We capture precious moments that stir the heart and inspire others to adopt. We show the world little faces still waiting for a family. We let the orphan know that their life and their story matter. We give a face to the faceless and a voice to the voiceless.  We want the world to know that they exist and we will travel anywhere we are called in order see this purpose accomplished.

Myself and the other artists going on the trip applied, along with a lot of other talented and amazing artists, and were interviewed for a spot on the team.  And the 9 of us were chosen to join Whitney and Nick in Jinja, Uganda – a town outside of Kampala.  Our team is made up of photographers, videographers, and writers, all extremely talented, and all with the desire to use our art to help others.

Our job while we’re there will be to document and tell the stories of the kids in an orphanage.  In the mornings we’ll spend time just hanging out with the kids and getting to know them – holding them, hugging them, loving on them, showing them that they matter and that they are cared about.  Because they do matter.  And I don’t even know them yet, but I already care about them.

While we’re there, we’ll be sharing their stories via social media.  I’ll be telling mine here, on my Facebook page, and through my Instagram account.  Follow me those places to keep up with us and to get to know some beautiful kids while we’re there.  I don’t know how often I’ll get to update, but you can get more regular updates through TAP’s Facebook page.  Go like it right now so you can be sure to keep up with what we’re doing.  And check out their website – seriously, you will be so inspired by what you see there.

So, how can you help?  There are a few ways.

If you have a blog, I would love it if you’d repost this for your readers.  The more people that know about what we’re doing, and who see our updates while we’re in Uganda, the better.  I’d be happy to write a guest post for your blog if that’s something you’d like to have.

And since you’ve liked TAP’s Facebook page (You have right?  I knew it.  You rock.), we would really appreciate it if you’d share our posts with your friends while we’re in Uganda as well.  SHARE, SHARE, SHARE, SHARE, SHARE!  The more people that see what we’re doing, the better!

You can pray for us.  We’ll be in a new place, far from home, which can always be a challenge.  We’ll be serving people and trying to tell their stories – you can pray that we would do that well.  That we would meet their needs as they actually are, not just as we think they might be.  You can pray that we would do justice to their stories and tell them with dignity and beauty.

I’m also raising support to help cover the cost of the trip.  The whole trip, airfare included, is $2200.  TAP is a 501c-3 non-profit organization, so your donations would be tax deductible.  If you want to help in this way, email me (rschlieman at and I’ll give you all the details.

Thanks for reading all this!  I couldn’t be more excited to go with this group of creative people and bring the stories of these kids back to you.  Stay tuned… there will be so much more coming soon!


14 Jul

I’ve got a bunch of posts half-finished, just waiting for the finishing touches, but despite several attempts, I just haven’t been able to finish them.  We have a fun trip coming up, so I’ll have some personal photos to blog then, but unless I get inspired between now and then, I’m sorry for the lack of posts. There’s a lot going on, many things in the works, so there’s no excuse for it, really, but I guess it is what it is.

Maybe I need to start something like “Stuff I Like Sunday” like my friend Heather has, just to keep me on track.  Hmmm.  Ideas anyone?

Stay tuned… I’ll be back soon.

Inspiration: What inspires you?

25 Jun

I find inspiration in lots of places.  A good idea from a friend.  A picture in a magazine.  A scene in a movie.  Blogs.  HGTV.  Etsy.  It’s everywhere, but sometimes I get too busy or too over-stimulated to notice it.  Those are the times when I feel stuck in a creative rut.

Since my job is creative, being stuck in a rut is kind of a problem.  But I think everyone experiences it at some point or another, no matter what you do.

Here’s what I do to help inspire myself….

– Spend the day at a bookstore.
When I have time, I will literally spend hours at the bookstore.  I’ll find books, magazines, journals, postcards and spend all day looking through them, making notes, and figuring out what I like about various things I see.  Some of them will be photography related, some of them not.  I look at wedding photos all the time, so I like to look through fashion magazines and advertisements for things I can borrow and adapt to my clients.

I also like to find all the crafty, diy, and home decorating magazines I can.  These I use for ideas of things I can do around the house.  If you’ve ever owned a house, you know it’s always a work in progress.  I sometimes get my mind set on my plans for something, only to find one little photo that changes everything.  For example, this clock…

I need a clock for the nursery, and I found this one on etsy, and liked it.  But since I’m trying to make everything myself, this could be just slightly intricate…

So, I found this one.  Simpler shape to cut, more painting.  But it still wasn’t quite right.

And then, I found in my blog reader, this fabric. Not the right color palette, but sometimes you have to look beyond that.  (Sorry I can’t remember the blog where I saw this – I save the pictures, I should get better about noting where they’re from so I can tell you.)  Since our room is blue and orange and yellow, and I have kind of an animal theme going on in there, the hippos just seemed perfect.  So, I made a template for my dad, and he’s cutting out a hippo shape for me that I can use as a clock.  Also, I took a trip to the Walmarts with my mom and we found a cheap clock that I could scavenge the clockworks from for about $4.  Cheaper than the ones in the craft stores (at about $9-15), and all the craft store clockworks had super fancy hands.  I wanted simple.  Hence the $4 clock from walmart with super simple hands.

My dad is coming up tomorrow to help with stuff around the house, so I’ll take some in-progress pictures of the clock to share with you.
This site could keep me entertained for hours.  I love to look at all the fabrics, different patterns, and things that people make.  I think I could spend a fortune on bags and purses alone on that site.  Just choose a category and then browse.  So simple.

My google reader is jam packed with blogs.  I do have some friends’ blogs in there that I like to read for the daily (or monthly… or yearly) life updates.  But my main reason for using a reader is to keep track of all the amazingness that’s out there.  I keep a “DIY, crafts, things to do” folder on my desktop and when I see something lovely or something that I think I could make myself, or something that I would like to see in my house one day (whenever I get to build a dream house…far far in the future), I drag the photo over to that folder and save it there for future reference.  I do the same thing for wedding image inspiration in a separate folder.

Just a few of my favorite blogs:

A Cup of Jo – this adorable lady just had her first baby, and it’s been so fun to follow along with her experience, not being too far behind myself.  She also has weekly Wednesday giveaways, and posts some super cute items – for your home, your wardrobe, and your baby.  Lovely!

Design*Sponge – So many great things about this blog!  Under $100 round-ups, the inspirational “living-in” series where she chooses a movie and finds cool and fashionable items that fit the theme and feel of that movie, TONS of great DIY projects with pictures and instructions.  Lots of inspiration here!

Oh Joy! – Oh Joy! has lots of great features.  My personal favorite? The this & that feature.  She finds something amazing that you can wear and something incredible to include in your home design.  Love it!

So, the question is, what do you do to get out of that rut?  Is it as simple as a conversation with a friend?  Or is it more like crawling and clawing your way out of a ditch?  I know I’ve experienced both of them at various times.

Twins and Fabric-Finding Amazingness!

26 May

The other day at work, someone asked me the strangest question. He’s one of my favorite people at work, so I was shocked.  The man approached me and asked, “Are you having twins?”

Ummm, what?  I just stared at him and said, “Really?” (channeling Amy Pohler from SNL during the Weekend Update sketch “REALLY?!?! With Seth and Amy).  For the record, I am NOT having twins.  There’s one baby in there, and one is plenty for me at this point.

I’m sorry, but people like that should just not speak to pregnant people.  Comments like that, and “Wow, you’re ready to pop aren’t you” or “Are you sure you have 2 more months??” And the worst of it all is that usually the people who say those things are women!  Seriously.  Women.  Ok ladies, we all know that most of us have issues with our bodies in the first place… not to mention when you have an ever-expanding belly… just do not say anything.

Ok, rant over.

In other news, I found this incredible website on a blog today… I would credit them, but I cannot remember for the life of me which one it was.  But this is the most incredible thing!  There is an online fabric store with a color grid tool…. You can select the color you want in your fabric, now dominant you’d like that color to be, and how close you want the color to be to what you choose… and it will return all of the fabrics the store has with that color.  Ummm, hello???  This is amazing! Check it out!  You will love it.