My husband took a business trip last week, which normally would propel me into manic-single-parent mode.

But not this time! My fabulous in-laws agreed to take the kids for us (#500), so I launched into manic parents-leaving-kids-behind-during-the-school-year mode. It was totally worth it when my husband loaded up the car and threw my bags in with his (#501). Hurray for business trips combined with anniversary getaways!

Us at Chicago's Cloud Gate (aka The Bean)

We're on the far right -- see me waving in my green jacket?

Before I became a mother, I never could have dreamed how heavenly spending a day alone would be. It was heavenly (#502).

I talked to friends on the phone without having to mediate arguments, wipe dirty bottoms, or supervise hand-washing (#503). I poked around a new city (#504). I wrote (and edited) for uninterrupted swaths of time (#505). My husband and I had dinner dates (#506) and breakfast dates (#507), and even a couple of lunch dates (#508). We went to see a movie on a week night (#509). We listened to whatever we wanted to on the car stereo (#510).

We returned home refreshed and calm (#511). I am one week into a new medication for depression, and between that and the time away, life has taken on a much less volatile and emotionally-charged tone (#512). Your prayers and encouragement after the last couple of posts on my struggle with depression have been so appreciated (#513).

One of the things I worked on during all my quiet free time was my report on my trip to Bolivia. I’ve actually been working on it for at least three weeks, but it was crunch time — I spoke in both church services yesterday. Our church gave me 15 minutes to share about the trip (hurray! #514), but I really wanted to do it justice. That’s just silly because the only way I could really do this trip justice is to make people sit through an hours-long video documentary of the entire thing… maybe. Since we didn’t bring a film crew, I decided to tell one story and hope that people asked me for more.

My husband (who also ran my slides and video for me #515) recorded my presentation yesterday (#516), mostly because I thought our families would like to see it (hi mom and dad!). But then I thought about the life: unmasked series I began a few weeks ago (don’t forget to link up starting on Wednesday!). I’ve been thinking about stepping out from behind the printed words on the screen to do a video blog. So I decided to go ahead and share it here with you.

(RSS readers, you’ll need to view this post in a web browser to view the videos. The link appears at the bottom of this post, or click the title.)

Here is the video I played at the end of my talk, created by Matthew Paul Turner using photos by Amy Conner and him.

Sponsor a child in Bolivia with World Vision today!

Counting 1000 gifts with Ann Voskamp for her Multitudes on Mondays link-up

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