I am a storyteller…

The Stories DSC_0092 lo res

Sometimes the stories we find ourselves in are blazing fires of celebration.

Sometimes our stories are grief-stricken; we sift through ashes for flashes of value.

Through art, photography, and writing, I search for glimpses of glory leaking through the cracks of tragedy and triumph. And then I tell the stories of God With Us amidst it all: “fragments of light.”

Prequel to My Story

I graduated from the University of Denver with a degree in Fine Arts in 1993; but my wild journey of following Jesus around the world since then motivates my attempts to capture in words and images His passionate pursuit of each of us.

In the contexts of serving as an InterVarsity Christian Fellowship staff-worker (1995-2002), and then as Hope’s Promise’s Director of Orphan Care (2006-2012), I witnessed first-hand His light shining brightest in the darkest corners of the world, in places such as Mathare Valley slum of Nairobi Kenya and poverty-stricken mountain regions of Vietnam. And even sometimes in my own heart.

My husband of 23 years, David, teaches me the most about seeing God in ordinary moments. We adopted two of our four children from a Kenyan orphanage; they face significant challenges as a result of early trauma and neglect. We remain haunted by the children left behind, and welcomed the opportunity to help pioneer two children’s homes in Kenya, Sanctuary of Hope #1 and #2, now home to 24 former orphans, through Hope’s Promise in 2006 and 2008.

In 2006, a friend and I co-founded a business: www.pambatoto.com to raise money for Sanctuary of Hope. My line of jewelry called Azizi sells through Pamba Toto, and I love offering design input for the Taraja line, created by impoverished single mothers in Mathare Valley, and the Toto for Toto line, created by the SoH kids themselves.

My Story Unfolding Now…

I took a leap of faith in 2012 to pursue Jesus full-time through art, photography, and writing and through being as present as I can to my kids. In images and words, I search for “fragments of light” – evidence of God’s relentless presence with each one of us, of His ability to redeem suffering, and of His intent to give us a hope and a future.

PS I usually post once or twice a week with original writing, photography, and art on topics including spiritual journey, international travel, family and adoption, and artistic process.

I am deeply honored by those who choose to read and view my stories!


Photo by Susan Dukat

26 thoughts on “I am a storyteller…

    • Wow, I feel totally honored that you would even think of me with that title, much less mention me in a post. Thank you and please feel free! I am really enjoying reading your posts and learning more about your beautiful heart.


  1. Hi Colleen, I don’t know if you participate in awards or not but I have nominated you for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award! It’s just a way of showing my appreciation.Participation is optional, and if you want further information visit me!


    • Thank you so much Jody! I’m honored by this encouraging nomination! Forgive my delay in responding – sick computer for a few weeks that is finally in the shop. I will check this out in more detail when I’m up and going again. You are a constant song of encouragement in my life!

      Liked by 1 person

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